Accelerator and Post-Accelerator Fellows
With a bold vision, strong leadership, and deep community engagement, Newark is working towards a strong economic future for all residents. Having joined Newark in 2015, Braven is proud to be a partner in this community-wide effort.
Newark is poised for a renaissance, but only if all local talent thrives. The city’s established companies are growing, mixed-use development is booming and start-ups are being incubated. Yet 30% of Newark’s residents are living below the poverty line and 20% of Black residents are unemployed. Braven has joined forces with Rutgers-University Newark and local employers to help the Newark community meet its ambitious goals around college and career success.
Braven Fellows receive 3 elective credits for taking the Accelerator course. In the 2020-2021 school year, 89% of Braven Fellows identified as people of color and 59% were first-generation college students.
With a mix of well-established companies and start-ups, Newark employers are looking for innovative talent solutions to help them hire a new generation of local talent and ensure the strength of their community. With an anchor employer partnership with Prudential and strong support from companies ranging from Enterprise to Audible to College Board, local employers are leveraging Braven’s professional development opportunities for their employees while helping to build their future talent pipeline.
Our Fellows, volunteers, Employer Partners and University Partner are working together to ensure all college graduates are set-up for success.
Accelerator and Post-Accelerator Fellows
of Rutgers-Newark Fellows graduate college on-time
of Braven Fellows have had at least one internship during college
Our employer partners encourage their employees to participate in Braven’s professional development and engagement opportunities, sponsor events and learning experiences, provide access to externship, internship and full-time opportunities, and offer critical financial support.
Generous investments from our supporters fuel our model and complement the financial support we receive from our university and employer partners.
Adwoah oversees the overall student experience of Braven at Rutgers University-Newark. She runs operations and logistics for Learning Labs and Braven events, and supports the Post-Accelerator experience.
Vince joined Braven as the Executive Director of the Newark Region in 2018, where he is responsible for the growth and sustainability of the region. Before joining Braven, Vince assumed the role of Chief Academic Officer and Chief People Officer for KIPP New Jersey, and Vince’s position as a Teach For America (TFA) corps member inspired him to dedicate his life’s work to ensure all students have access to a quality education. After completing his two-year corps commitment, he joined the staff of TFA in 2005 as a Program Director. Vincent worked closely with corps members to identify skill gaps, set goals for closing those gaps, and create plans that helped them achieve significant gains with their students.
Vice President and Private Banker, J.P. Morgan Private Bank
Jackie is a Private Banker with J.P. Morgan’s Private Bank. She leads a team of experts who support wealthy individuals and their families by providing advice and creative solutions to address the full spectrum of their wealth management needs.
Before rejoining in 2017, Jackie worked at Citi Private Bank as a Private Banker. She spent the first ten years of her career in equity research most recently as an Analyst at Lazard Capital Markets, covering the Healthy Lifestyle segment within Consumer Products.
Jackie is an active member of the Montclair Art Museum, participating on the Development and Events committees. She is a former member of the Junior League of Montclair-Newark and Impact 100 Essex.
Jackie holds a Bachelors degree in Biochemistry from New York University. She lives in Montclair, NJ with her husband Sean and has three children.
Board Chair of The Writing Revolution
Lisa is an active volunteer, serving a variety of education and health organizations over the past 20 years. She is currently the Board Chair of The Writing Revolution, a nonprofit organization that trains educators and supports schools and districts in implementing the Hochman Method, an evidence-based method of expository writing instruction.
Lisa also serves on the KIPP New Jersey board, Newark, NJ chairing the KIPP Through College & Career committee. She also serves on the BRAVEN Newark, NJ Board, Partners for Health Foundation Board, Montclair, NJ and the Montclair Art Museum Board, Montclair, NJ. Lisa is a member of the New York Museum of Modern Art Contemporary Arts Council.
After raising their three children in New Jersey, Lisa and her husband Joseph now live in New York City.
Director of HR Business Partners, Panasonic North America
Liz is presently Director of HR Business Partners for Panasonic North America in Newark, NJ. Prior to joining Panasonic, Liz held different HR roles in the technology, education and retail sectors both in the US, EMEA and LatAm. Her focus is on effectively balancing the needs of employees with the business strategy. She started her career as an INROADS intern with Prudential in Newark. Liz studied Labor Relations and Psychology at Rutgers New Brunswick and remains a proud Scarlet Knight. She is a mom to two boys, a dog and a bunny.
Matthew Iversen is a Financial Advisor with Wells Fargo Advisors. He and his team focus on the wealth management needs of families, privately held businesses, and foundations. Prior to joining Wells Fargo Advisors, he and his team worked at Merrill Lynch Bank of America.
Matt was born and raised in Montclair, NJ. He graduated from Connecticut College in 2000 with a double major in Government and Spanish. Upon graduating, he worked on Al Gore’s Presidential campaign and the subsequent election recount in Florida. After the recount ended, Matt went to work for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) in Washington, DC. The following year Matt returned to New York City to complete a year-long Coro Fellowship in Public Affairs.
Driven by a belief that strong democracies are based upon social justice and access to high-quality education for all children, Matt joined Teach For America in 2003 and taught in the Bronx. Matt spent six years teaching at his original placement school PS 170. He consistently led his students to achieve 1.5-2 years of growth. His students, unfortunately, often regressed or stagnated academically in the years after leaving his classroom. This harsh reality led Matt to seek out a teaching environment that ensured positive growth for all students year after year.
So in 2009, Matt joined a small team of like-minded educators tasked with founding KIPPNJ’s first elementary school SPARK Academy in Newark, NJ. Matt along with eight other teachers and their school leader, Joanna Belcher, set out to establish a consistent, results-driven educational pipeline for students in Newark, NJ. Matt spent six years teaching at SPARK Academy bringing the school to and through full growth, serving over 500 children in grades K-4. After 12 fulfilling years in the classroom, Matt changed careers in 2015 to build a practice in Wealth Management.
Matt currently lives in Montclair, NJ with his wife and daughter. He serves on the boards of the Montclair Film Festival, Teach For America NJ, and Braven.
Semi-Retired Teacher, Community Volunteer
Susan has been working for educational equity in Newark, NJ since 2004. She has been a long term volunteer with K-8 students in the KIPP schools. She serves Braven on the National and Newark boards. Susan is a member of the Spelman College Board of Trustees. In NYC, where she now lives, Susan is a member of the board of the Soho Rep. Theater. Susan’s other commitments include Teach For America – NJ and the New Jersey Chapter of The Nature Conservancy. She received a Bachelor’s in Sociology from the University of Chicago and a Master’s in Elementary Education from Bank Street College.
Ryan is the Founder and Chief Executive Officer of KIPP New Jersey and was the founding principal of TEAM Academy, a KIPP middle school in Newark, New Jersey’s South Ward. Prior to founding TEAM Academy, Hill was a Teach For America corps member in New York City, where he taught sixth grade.
He is a winner of the Bank of America Local Heroes Award and the New Schools Venture Fund Impact Award. Ryan is a graduate of the University of Wisconsin, and he holds an M.Ed. in Education Leadership from National Louis University. He is also a graduate of the Broad Academy for Urban School Leadership.
Solomon is an entrepreneur, tech aficionado and education advocate who has spent his career creating opportunities for students and parents. After earning a B.S. and M.S. in Mechanical Engineering and Applied Mechanics from the University of Pennsylvania, Steplight went on to lead a number of education software startups. He then turned to public service, managing the finances of both Newark (under Mayor Cory Booker) and Hoboken – improving the latter’s credit rating from near junk bond status to AA+.
He currently serves as COO and CFO of the national nonprofit Girls Who Code, where he strives to shrink the gender and racial achievement gap in tech.
Rick Radice is the Chief Operations Officer for Law, Compliance, Business Ethics, External Affairs (LCBE). Radice provides day-to-day leadership and management of the service organization dedicated to supporting the 700+ associates of LCBE. Radice also serves on the PRU/Rutgers University Advisory Council where he provides strategic support of the BRAVEN program rollout at Rutgers-Newark. Recently named member of BRAVEN’s Newark, NJ Board of Directors.
Most recently, Radice was the primary contact with the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston’s examination staff in connection with Prudential’s prior designation as a non-bank systemically important financial institution (SIFI). Previously, Radice led the Global Business Solutions Center which provides consulting services to support individual or cross-business strategic initiatives. Radice also served as the executive chairperson of Prudential’s Project Management Council from 2006 – 2016. During the last 25 years, Radice has led or been a part of teams that have successfully completed more than 90 strategic initiatives for Prudential’s businesses. Radice has also managed various operations functions including the company’s Mail & Imaging and Executive Transportation Services departments.
Before joining Prudential, Radice was a licensed financial advisor for PNC Financial and CitiStreet. His responsibilities included managing retirement plans for individuals as well as employees of various state and local municipalities.
Radice holds a Bachelor of Arts in Economics from Rutgers University.
Jonathan Simon is the Head of Leadership Development and Diversity for Apollo Global Management. Prior to this role, he was an Executive Director on the Advancing Black Leaders team at JPMorgan Chase & Co. responsible for leading the Student Strategy, which included a portfolio of initiatives and programs to increase acquisition and retention of black talent. Primarily, Jonathan partnered with campus recruiting and university relations teams to identify and coordinate recruitment efforts that support firm-wide campus hiring initiatives. Additionally, Jonathan was responsible for JPMorgan Chase’s firmwide recruitment strategy at HBCUs (Historically Black Colleges & Universities).
In prior leadership roles at Citi, he was a Director in Corporate & Investment Banking in the Global Public Sector group and, previously, was the Head of Diversity and Employee Programs for Citi’s Institutional Clients Group.
Jonathan remains actively engaged with several professional and non-profit organizations, which includes serving as Chairman of Montclair Public Library Foundation Board of Trustees in Montclair, NJ; member of the Art Acquisitions Committee of the Montclair Art Museum; Trustee of Bloomfield College in Bloomfield, NJ; member of the Advisory Board of the Honors Program at the Howard University School of Business in Washington, DC; He is a former member of the Acquisitions Committee of the Studio Museum of Harlem; and a former member of the Board of the Council of Urban Professionals (CUP) in New York City. Jonathan is a graduate of Morehouse College in Atlanta, GA, and holds an Honors Degree in Finance. He is married to his wife of 17 years, Sidney, and has two children – McKenzie and Jackson.
This Braven Fellow learned how to seek the kind of professional connections he would have had trouble making on his own as the child of a construction worker and night-shift lab technician who emigrated from Macedonia a decade ago.
Braven, a national nonprofit that helps Rutgers-Newark students land strong jobs after graduation, announced that fellows in its program last year had higher rates of job attainment compared with other students in the U.S.
Braven’s focus is on economic mobility–not just stability–for Fellows. And, Braven Fellows are proving what’s possible, according to the 2022 Newark Jobs Report.
c/o Newark Venture Partners
1 Washington Park, 7th Floor
Newark, NJ 07102
Sophomore and first-year transfer students are preferred, but the course is open to all undergraduate students in all majors who are:
This course prepares students for the increasingly competitive, globalized job marketplace. Through online and peer learning, interactive experiences, and reflection, students will build meaningful networks, discover their innate leadership, and cultivate the “hard” and “soft” skills and habits of mind needed to thrive in twenty-first-century workplaces. This course will require your commitment. Nothing good comes easy, but this course will be equally rewarding as it is challenging.
The Braven Leadership and Career Accelerator is a 3-credit elective course that meets Tuesdays or Wednesdays from 6pm to 8pm ET, or Fridays from 11:30am-1:30pm ET.
By the end of the course, students should be able to:
Due to the effects of COVID-19 and the pandemic, the location of this course has not yet been determined. Please check back for more information.
We are looking for professionals from all fields who are willing to share their career experience, personal stories, and unique talents with our diverse and driven Fellows.
All volunteer opportunities will be virtual while social distancing orders are in effect. To receive alerts about upcoming volunteer opportunities:
Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org with questions.