board of directors

We are taking bold action for equity, especially racial equity.

Five Frogs, Inc. is led by a diverse founding Board with wide-ranging expertise and life experience. We share a passion for ending racism and building a more equitable future in Connecticut.
Mohamad Alkadry

Mohamad Alkadry

Director

Professor and Department Head, University of Connecticut

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Mohamad Alkadry

Mohamad serves as a Professor of Public Policy and an affiliated faculty of Women’s, Gender and Sexuality Studies at the University of Connecticut. His research interests include social equity and disparate outcomes of policies on individuals and communities of color. He also publishes in the areas of sustainable public procurement and gender equity. Dr. Alkadry served in the past as a senior research associate at the Center for Urban Redevelopment and Empowerment (Florida Atlantic University) and as a value for money auditor with the Office of the Auditor General of Canada. Dr. Alkadry has authored in excess of fifty community and professional studies primarily addressing inequity or development issues in communities of color.

Mohamad considers himself an engaged scholar who conducts both applied and scholarly work. In the State of Connecticut he has provided several studies and consultations with the CT Council of Women and Girls and several other agencies and units within the State. Dr. Alkadry is an elected Fellow of the National Academy of Public Administration.

Bob Arnold

Bob Arnold

Director

President and CEO, Family Centers

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Bob Arnold

Bob is the President and CEO of Family Centers. Along with a team of dedicated professionals, volunteers and board of directors, Bob works with numerous community groups, businesses, foundations and individuals whose philanthropic goals are met through the work of Family Centers. Over the past 30 years, he has facilitated Family Centers’ continual growth and orchestrated numerous mergers which strengthened the organization.

Bob is a past chairman of the Connecticut Council of Family Service Agencies, a past president of the Greenwich Kiwanis Club and has served on a variety of advisory boards and task forces. Additionally, he was instrumental in numerous successful mergers resulting in a broad-based organization that assists over 17,000 children and adults each year. Bob holds a Master’s degree from Columbia University and is a licensed social worker and marriage and family therapist.

Jennifer Barahona

Jennifer Barahona

Director

CEO, Norwalk ACTS

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Jennifer Barahona

Jennifer serves as the CEO of Norwalk ACTS, a collective impact partnership working to transform systems by ensuring resources, policies, practices, and power structures actively dismantle racism and drive equitable outcomes for every Norwalk child and young person. She previously served as the Executive Director & Chief Financial Officer for the Newtown-Sandy Hook Community Foundation. Founded after the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School, the Foundation played a critical role in the development of short- and long-term funding support and recovery strategies for the community and those most impacted by the tragedy.

Jennifer received her master’s degree in social work from Columbia University. As a licensed clinical social worker, she has spent her career in the social sector. Jennifer served as the Director of Youth Services at FCA in Norwalk for 13 years, a legislative researcher and lobbyist for the Bridgeport Child Advocacy Coalition, and started her career as a youth advocate working with victims of domestic violence. She credits the late Richard Cloward, her influential graduate school professor, for her passion for social justice and engagement of disenfranchised communities. Eager to help grow the macro-level perspective in the field of social work and develop new talent, Jennifer has also served as an adjunct professor in the Social Work Department at Sacred Heart University.

Jennifer has been a passionate supporter of the LDR program since her participation in 2013 and is excited to support the evolution and growth of Five Frogs as a board member.

Andréa Comer

Andréa Comer

Vice President

Deputy Commissioner,
Department of Consumer Protection

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Andréa Comer

Andréa serves as the Deputy Commissioner for the Department of Consumer Protection. In that role she leads the department’s social equity strategies for the cannabis industry, supports oversight of the department’s 15 divisions, and manages special projects. She previously served as Chief External Affairs Officer for the CT Paid Leave Authority, where she led communications efforts and strategies for the quasi-public state agency. Her career includes work communications, strategic planning and development efforts for government, industry and nonprofit entities.

Andréa has a BA in journalism from SUNY Buffalo State, is an Aspen Executive Leadership alumnus, and is a UConn Master of Public Administration Executive Fellow. She previously served on the Hartford and CT boards of education, and currently serves as Vice Chair of Five Frogs and on the Hartford Public Library board. Andréa is proud to support diverse leadership in Connecticut through Five Frogs’ innovative programming.

Jim Follett

Jim Follett

Director

Co-Founder, Embracing New Beginnings

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Jim Follett

Jim is a growth activist passionate about “lighting up the possible.” He has done this consistently over his 40-year, for-profit career as a global CEO, Board Director, Board Chair, and Strategic Advisor.
In 2020, he transitioned into the world of philanthropy, social impact, and non-profit to create positive social change and impact with programs that change lives. His current focus areas include workforce development, racial justice, and global forest conservation projects.
In 2020, Jim joined The Philanthropy Workshop (TPW), a global leader in strategic philanthropy education and networking. That same year, he became a partner at Social Venture Partners, Connecticut. SVP aims to close the opportunity gap in Connecticut a mission focus on workforce development, race equity, and early childhood education and care initiatives. He is currently playing the lead SVP partner role supporting Open Doors in Norwalk, CT, and their aim to end homelessness. Separately, Jim is serving as an advisor to Mission Green, a global forest conservation initiative to preserve our planet’s biodiversity. Jim also serves as a Vice Chair of the Alumni Fund at his alma mater, Williams College. Jim is proud to be joining the Board of Five Frogs in Fairfield, CT in 2022. FiveFrogs is
focused on building leadership skills among social impact leaders, especially those from
underrepresented groups.
Before 2020, Jim co-founded and ran two different consulting practices serving CEOs, executive teams, and P/E firms in the market research, data, and insights services markets. During this period, he also served on 2 for-profit boards (one as board chair), 1 non-profit board, and in advisory roles for various companies including one NYC investment bank serving the media, marketing, and technology markets.
Before this, Jim spent 12 years as a portfolio CEO or COO for five private equity or corporate-owned global market research, data, and insights services companies. Jim was proud to have re-engineered each of them which resulted in accelerated growth for all five companies and sales transactions for three of them.
His early career was defined by a series of marketing management positions of increasing
responsibilities at 4 world-class consumer packaged goods companies. He later transitioned to one of the more innovative services providers in the market research, data, and insights services market where he spent 12 years culminating in becoming president the of client services & consulting division.
Jim is a graduate of Williams College with a BA in History and from Columbia University Graduate School of Business with an MBA in Marketing.

Omar Garro

Omar Garro

Treasurer

Chief Financial Officer, Family & Children’s Agency, Inc.

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Omar Garro

Omar is honored to serve as the Chief Financial Officer of the Family & Children’s Agency, Inc. in Norwalk, CT. He is an experienced financial leader in the nonprofit arena, with over twenty years of professional experience in the fields of non-profit finance, business administration, and process improvement in the US and South America. Omar is passionate about the power of standardization, process improvement, and key process indicators management in every level of the organization. Previously Omar was the Chief Financial Officer at Liberation Programs, and Yerwood Center, both nonprofit organizations located in Fairfield, CT.

Omar is a native from Lima, Peru. He has a Bachelor of Science in Industrial Engineering from the Pontific Catholic University of Peru, and an MBA in Management from Sacred Heart University. He is currently a board member of the Center for Nonprofits at Sacred Heart University, and a former Co-chair and Treasurer of the Hispanic Council Advisory of the Greater Stamford. He is also an alumnus of the 2009 Fairfield County cohort of the Leadership Development Roundtable Program (LDR).

Johnathan Gibson

Johnathan Gibson

Director

Co-Founder & COO, Odyssey Learning Inc.
Co-Owner of Gibson Educational Consulting LLC

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Johnathan Gibson

Johnathan is the Co-Founder & COO of Odyssey Learning Inc. as well as the Co-Owner of Gibson Educational Consulting LLC. Johnathan specializes in creating and strengthening educational opportunities for children in the field of early childhood education up through high school. Prior to his current roles, Johnathan spent over a decade in the nonprofit sector focusing on educational access for students of color where he has helped hundreds of students gain admission into high-performing public and independent schools across the country. Johnathan is passionate about servant leadership and supporting students to achieve their fullest potential both in and out of school. In addition to recently becoming licensed foster parents, Johnathan is happiest spending time with his wife Monisha, his two daughters and the family dog.

Meghan Lowney

Meghan Lowney

Director

Principal, Ripple Effect Consulting

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Meghan Lowney

Meghan is a fierce advocate for equity and justice, advising philanthropic, nonprofit and public sector leaders in support of their efforts to achieve impact as Principal at Ripple Effect Consulting. Previously, Meghan served for nine years as the Executive Director of The ZOOM Foundation, a Connecticut family foundation focused on education and climate change. In 2008, she founded Leadership Development Roundtable (LDR), now the flagship program of Five Frogs, Inc., an organization building a powerful movement of diverse leaders with the competencies, mindset, drive and relationships necessary to create lasting, positive change for an equitable Connecticut. Meghan served for a decade as the Executive Director of Operation Hope of Fairfield, providing innovative solutions to homelessness in greater Bridgeport. She was promoted to director from a direct service role supporting women who were homeless.  In recognition of her work, Fairfield University bestowed upon her an Honorary Doctor of Laws degree in 2007.

Meghan currently serves on the boards of Five Frogs, Inc. and Planned Parenthood of Southern New England. She earned her BA in Applied Psychology & Human Development and Communications from Boston College and a Master of Social Work in Community Organizing from the University of Connecticut.  She is a 21/64 certified multi-generational advisor to philanthropic families. Meghan is a Connecticut native and resides in Fairfield.

Kate Manahan

Kate Manahan

Director

VP, People & Culture, Built Technologies

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Kate Manahan

Kate is the Head of People & Culture at Built Technologies where she is responsible for leading the firm’s overarching People strategy, inclusive of learning and developing, total rewards, and DEIB. Prior to that she was the Head of Reward and Talent Enablement at Bridgewater Associates. Throughout her career Kate has led large scale changes across People and HR functions, aimed at ensuring best in class, inclusive programs that will drive strategic hiring and retention of world class talent. She is also passionate about gender equality in the workplace and, as a mother of three, infrastructures that support the progression and retention of working mothers and parents.

Kate is a graduate of Boston College where she earned a B.A. in Economics and Communications, and minored in Women’s Studies.  Having called Connecticut home for most of her life, she takes great pride in being a member of the Five Frogs Board to advance the mission of cultivating impactful, diverse leadership to help drive a more equitable future.
Tamara Smith

Tamara Smith

Director

Executive Director, Teach for America-Delaware

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Tamara Smith

Tamara is honored to serve as the Executive Director of Teach For America-Delaware. She has dedicated her career to ensuring educational equity for all students and has pursued this mission in various capacities. After graduating from Spelman College, Tamara joined Teach For America as a 2003 Philadelphia corps member. Following her tenure as an educator, Tamara joined the legislative team of former Congressman Robert Andrews, with a focus on economic development initiatives and education and immigration policy.

Previously Tamara was on staff at Teach For America as a Managing Director for both the Connecticut region and National team, with a focus on alumni work. Before returning to staff to lead the Delaware region, she served as the Executive Director of Operations and Co-School Leader of Great Oaks Charter School in Bridgeport, Connecticut.

A New Jersey native, Tamara is passionate about community-focused advocacy. She is an active member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc., the National Coalition of 100 Black Women, the National Alumnae Association of Spelman College and is a member of the board of Five Frogs, Inc.

Mirellise Vazquez

Mirellise Vazquez

President

Vice President of Philanthropy, The Connecticut Project

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Mirellise Vazquez

Mirellise Vazquez is a purpose-driven leader, committed to making the world more just and equitable for all children and families. Mirellise has over twenty years of experience in the public and non-profit sectors, focusing on human rights, children’s rights, and education, including policy, advocacy, and philanthropy. Mirellise currently serves as Vice President of Philanthropy & Strategy at The Connecticut Project, a state-wide catalyst and convener, committed to ensuring that all our neighbors can thrive on the path from birth to school to work and prosperous, self-directed lives. Prior to this role, Mirellise served as Executive Director of the Tauck Family Foundation. Mirellise has also held policy and advocacy roles in both New York City and Washington, DC, working for the International Planned Parenthood Federation’s Western Hemisphere Region and ChildFund International. Before transitioning to the nonprofit sector, Mirellise worked at the United States Department of Labor’s Bureau of International Labor Affairs.

Mirellise is Board President of Five Frogs and a former Board member and Vice-Chair of Building One Community. Mirellise is also a member of Impact Fairfield County, and an alumnus of the 2011 Leadership Development Roundtable and Hispanics in Philanthropy’s Next Generation Latino Philanthropy Leadership Program. In 2019, Mirellise was named a Leap of Reason Ambassador. She has a Master of Public Policy and International Affairs Degree and a Certificate in Latin American Studies from the University of Pittsburgh and a Bachelor of Arts in Government from Franklin & Marshall College. Mirellise is the recipient of the Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence’s 2020 Marvin Maurer Award.

Ellie Webb

Ellie Webb

Secretary

Field Services Advisor, AARP Foundation - Experience Corps

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Ellie Webb

Ellen (Ellie) Webb is passionate about empowering communities to find and leverage assets that are already present, yet underutilized, in addressing their most pressing challenges.  As Field Services Advisor for Experience Corps, she is able to do just this by supporting affiliate programs who are engaging highly trained adults 50+ to help children attain literacy proficiency by the end of 3rd grade.

Ellie’s commitment to educational equity began as a Teach For America Corps Member where she taught elementary school in Hartford, Connecticut.  From there, she went on to coach teachers in the Teach For America Connecticut region and eventually led the ongoing support program as Managing Director of Teacher Leadership Development.  During this time, she served as a coach for emerging nonprofit leaders across Connecticut as part of the Leadership Development Roundtable program.  Upon moving back to her home state of California, Ellie worked as a Program Manager at California Education Partners where she led the launch of a fellowship program for school system leaders, as well as a collaborative that convened teams from 22 of California’s school districts focused on continuous improvement.

With a bachelor’s degree in Sociology from the University of California, Irvine and an Executive and Organizational Coaching Certification from Teachers College at Columbia University, Ellie holds the belief that all people carry tremendous worth with which they can use to improve their own lives as well as the lives of others in their community.  She is honored to be able to live this value alongside others in the AARP Foundation community.

Five Frogs challenges leaders to stretch their understanding of complex issues, evaluate their approach, and take steps to create a diverse, inclusive, and equitable organization. Together, we are driving a more connected and productive nonprofit workforce in Connecticut.

Darlene Yule, Five Frogs Leader
Deputy Director, Operation Fuel