About LEDA

Our Staff

Meet the LEDA Team
LEDA staff June 2016

Executive Leadership

Beth Breger, Executive Director

Beth Breger joined LEDA as its Executive Director in September of 2009. Most recently, she served as the director of special projects in the Office of Student Enrollment Planning and Operations at the New York City Department of Education (DOE), where her responsibilities included developing and implementing enrollment policy reforms and managing enrollment issues for special population students. Prior to working at the DOE, she served as the director of the School Connection Center at the Center for Alternative Sentencing and Employment Services (CASES), where she launched a school admission office for court-involved students, the first of its kind, in partnership with city and state juvenile justice agencies. Before CASES she spent eight years working at the Open Society Institute (OSI), the foundation funded by George Soros. While at OSI she founded the Urban Debate Program and the New York Urban Debate League, initiatives that successfully reintroduced policy debate to underserved school districts throughout the country. She also managed the foundation’s educational grant-making. Beth received a bachelor’s degree in international relations from Brown University and a master’s in public policy from the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University.

Euriphile Joseph, Deputy Executive Director

Euriphile Joseph joined LEDA in September 2014 from her role as a project manager for New York City’s HHS Connect. Prior to her work with the city, she was the chief operating officer of ReServe, Inc., a national organization that leverages the talents and passions of retired adults to have an impact on their communities. At ReServe, she worked to expand the organization into five cities across the country and brokered partnerships with community-based organizations, foundations and public institutions to strengthen ReServe’s impact. Before ReServe, Euriphile served as a special assistant to the president at the After-School Corporation, a nonprofit dedicated to giving all kids expanded learning opportunities that support, educate and inspire them. Euriphile has also served as a fund development consultant for the Eagle Academy Foundation. Euriphile has a Master of Arts degree in analytic philosophy from Tufts University and Bachelor of Arts degrees in philosophy and political science from the College of the Holy Cross.


Operations, Administration, and Development

Zach Cherry, Operations Manager

Zach Cherry joined LEDA in 2011 as the administrative director for LEDA’s Aspects of Leadership Summer Institute before becoming office manager and, later, operations manager in the New York office. Prior to officially joining the team, Zach worked alongside LEDA’s Summer Institute for years while employed in Princeton University’s office of conference and event services. Zach is a graduate of Amherst College, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in arts, law, jurisprudence and social thought.

Joseph Lee, Development and Communications Officer

Joseph Lee joined LEDA in 2013 and provides support across a spectrum of development and communications efforts, including fundraising, database maintenance, event planning, grant proposals, organizational literature, website design, social media, and public engagement. He has previously worked for several nonprofit organizations that address a range of issues, including religious tolerance, mental health, homelessness, employment training, and access to the arts. Joe received a bachelor’s degree in physics from Brown University.


Recruitment and Admission

Iris Early, Director of Recruitment and Admissions

Iris Early joined LEDA in November of 2008 as a recruitment and admissions officer and became director of recruitment and admissions in 2011. In her role at LEDA, Iris has helped define LEDA’s recruitment and admissions strategies and works to develop partnerships with schools and community-based organizations across the nation to identify and recruit LEDA Scholars. Prior to LEDA, Iris worked with organizations such as the Anti-Defamation League and the National Conference for Community and Justice in Los Angeles. She brings her passion for racial justice and human rights to her work at LEDA. Iris graduated from Haverford College with a bachelor’s degree in political science, a minor in sociology, and a concentration in Africana studies.

Sayra Alanis, Community Outreach Officer

Sayra Alanis is a LEDA Cohort 6 Scholar and joined the LEDA staff in September 2015, first as the Program Assistant, then transitioning to her current position as Community Outreach Officer. Her work focuses on cultivating LEDA’s partnerships with community-based organizations and assisting in recruitment and admissions. Sayra received a B.A. in Spanish and Portuguese and the Study of Women, Gender, and Sexuality from Rice University, where she conducted feminist-engaged research at Rice’s Center for the Study of Women, Gender, and Sexuality, and managed the university’s IT help desk. Sayra has also been a member of LEDA’s summer staff – in 2014 as a Resident Mentor, and in 2015 as a College Guidance Coordinator. She plans to pursue a master’s degree in higher education administration.


College Guidance

Tara Gellene, Senior Director of College Pathways

Tara Gellene directs LEDA’s college guidance and writing programs. Prior to joining LEDA full time in 2014, she taught writing and literature courses at Columbia University, Barnard College, and New York University. She holds a Master of Arts and Master of Philosophy in English and Comparative Literature from Columbia University and a Bachelor of Arts in English from Stanford University.

Rebecca Amoah, College Guidance Counselor

Rebecca Amoah joined LEDA in May 2015 as a college guidance counselor and supports Scholars through the college admissions process. Before joining LEDA, she served as a college adviser for College Advising Corps at Excel High School in Boston, where she provided individual college counseling to students and helped foster a college-going culture at the school. She has also taught English as a Second Language and provided career counseling services for recently immigrated adults through the Irish International Immigrant Center. Rebecca graduated from Wellesley College with a Bachelor of Arts in neuroscience and a minor in music.

Jahnelle McMillan, College Guidance Counselor

Jahnelle McMillan came to LEDA in June 2016 as a College Guidance Counselor and supports Scholars through the college admissions process. Prior to joining the LEDA team, she was an admissions officer at Prep for Prep for the PREP 9 program, of which she is also an alumna. She has also served as a Customer Services Representative at Metroplus Health Plan, an Academic Tutor with Figure Skating in Harlem, and a staff member in the Pre-College Division of Kaplan Test Prep. She has also worked as an independent college admissions consultant. Jahnelle received a Bachelor of Arts degree in English Language and Literature/Letters from Colgate University.


College Success

Vynessa Ortiz, Director of College Success; Director of Residential Life

Vynessa Ortiz first came to LEDA in the summer of 2014 when she served as the Director of Residential Life. She joined LEDA full-time in May 2015 as the Director of College Success and of Residential Life. Vynessa has served as a data analyst in the Student Affairs Research & Assessment office and a case manager in the Office of Student Conduct at Pennsylvania State University. She has also served as an academic adviser, residence life coordinator, director of the Women’s Resource Center and Director of the residential academic mentoring program at Humboldt State University. Vynessa has a B.A. in political science and ethnic studies from Humboldt State, and an M.S. in higher education from Penn State.

Jasmin Hinnant, College Success Counselor

Jasmin Hinnant joined LEDA full-time in the summer of 2016 as the Assistant Director of Residential Life and serves as the College Success Counselor throughout the school year. Prior to LEDA, Jasmin was the College Success Activities Manager for Brown University’s Summer@Brown program and an Assistant Community Director at Michigan State University, where she also advised Black and LGBTQ+ student groups. Jasmin has a B.A. in Adult and Organizational Development from Temple University and an M.A. in Student Affairs Administration from Michigan State University.


Program Staff

Josh Rosenthal, Director of Curriculum and Facilitation; Senior Program Officer

Josh Rosenthal joined LEDA in 2007 as a facilitator for the Aspects of Leadership course. In his role as director of curriculum and facilitation, Josh oversees the curriculum and faculty of the Aspects of Leadership course—the central academic component of LEDA’s Summer Institute. As senior program officer, Josh supports all LEDA programs, especially recruitment and scholar support, in addition to overseeing Aspects of Leadership marketing, outreach and business plan development. Josh began his teaching career at St. John’s University in New York while doing Ph.D. work in sociology at The New School for Social Research. Prior to joining LEDA full time, he taught sociology, ethics and public speaking at Coyne College in Chicago. Josh holds a bachelor’s degree in communications and journalism from the University of Iowa and a master’s in sociology, culture and society from the London School of Economics and Political Science.

Linh Tran, Program Assistant

Linh Tran joined LEDA in 2017 and provides administrative support to all components of the LEDA Scholars Program including recruitment and admissions, college guidance, college success, and the Aspects of Leadership Summer Institute. Linh graduated from Georgetown University, where she studied Government and Women’s and Gender Studies with a concentration in International Relations. Passionate about social justice and gender equality, she plans to pursue a master’s degree in public policy or international affairs.

Up Next

Meet LEDA's Board of Directors and Leadership Council

Continue Reading

Become a LEDA Scholar

Find out about the selection criteria and how to apply.

Support Our Work

Your contribution will help diversify leadership in America.
Give Now