Optional Board page entry section….

Meet The PCC Board

Vivian Nixon

Senior Faculty Advisor

Bard Prison Initiative

After 20 years at College & Community Fellowship (CCF), a nonprofit that helps women with
criminal convictions graduate from college and pursue their dreams, Vivian joined the Square
One Project as a writer in residence. She contributes to narrative change and educational work
that elevates racial reckoning in conversations about the United States justice system. She also
serves as an advisor for the Bard Prison Initiative, building support to expand access to no-cost
associate’s degrees through a network of micro colleges.
Vivian earned an undergraduate degree after she was released from prison. Later, she earned an
MFA from the Columbia School of the Arts and was ordained an elder minister in the African
Methodist Episcopal Church. Vivian is the founding board chair of JustLeadershipUSA. Most
recently, Vivian received an Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters from Bard College.
Vivian’s essays, poems, and commentary can be found in various periodicals and anthologies.
She co-edited What We Know: Solutions from Inside the Justice System. Vivian is working on a
book that chronicles a career in justice reform and identifies the personal and professional
complications that occur when authenticity meets opportunity. The work was started and
sustained by Art for Justice and PEN America. It continues with support from Square One.

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Douglas Wood

Director, Criminal Justice Reform Initiative

Aspen Institute

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Elizabeth Thompson


The Cleveland Avenue Foundation for Education

Tina Tchen

Chief Strategy and Impact Officer

Obama Foundation

Tina Tchen is an Executive Vice President and Chief Strategy and Impact Officer for the Obama
Foundation. She is responsible for leading the development, implementation, and monitoring of
the Foundation’s strategy, oversees the Girls Opportunity Alliance, formalizing the senior
advisor role she has played with the team over the last year, and is involved with the
Foundation’s work with Obama alumni.
Ms. Tchen is an attorney, activist, and lifelong advocate for women and girls. She served in the
Obama White House through both terms, and was an Assistant to President Barack Obama,
Chief of Staff to First Lady Michelle Obama, and Executive Director of the White House
Council on Women Girls. At the White House, Ms. Tchen spearheaded the first-ever White
House Summit on Working Families, helped form the White House Task Force to Protect
Students from Sexual Assault, and led the Administration’s effort to promote education for
adolescent girls around the world, including Mrs. Obama’s Let Girls Learn Initiative.
Prior to the White House, Ms. Tchen practiced law for 23 years at Skadden, Arps, Slate,
Meagher & Flom LLP. She was a partner in the Litigation Department, representing companies,
senior management and corporate boards for major Fortune 500 companies, including Sprint,
Abbott, McDonald’s and United Airlines. She also chaired the firm’s pro bono committee, was a
long time leader of the American Bar Association’s Section of Litigation, and was named
Chicago Lawyer Magazine’s Person of the Year, among other accolades. During this time, she
served on numerous boards, including as chair of the board of the Field Foundation of Illinois, an
elected member of the board of the Harvard Alumni Association, a trustee for the University of
Chicago Medical Center, and a board member for the Chicago Public Library, the Chinese
American Service League, the Chicago Foundation for Women, and Personal PAC, a statewide
political action committee electing pro-choice candidates throughout Illinois.
After the White House, Ms. Tchen returned to a corporate law practice and specialized in
workplace culture, advising companies on gender equity, sexual harassment and diversity and
inclusion. Her clients included XPO Logistics, the Southern Poverty Law Center, and she
chaired the Task Force on Diversity and Inclusion for the Recording Academy, the music
industry organization that awards the Grammys. In 2017, she helped design and launch the
TIME’S UP Legal Defense Fund, which is now housed at the National Women’s Law Center and
has connected thousands of people with legal or PR support for sexual harassment across dozens
of industries. From 2019-2021, Ms. Tchen also served as President and CEO of TIME’S UP
Now and the TIME’S UP Foundation, as the organization worked to build safe, fair and dignified
workplaces, and launched the TIME’S UP Care Economy Business Council.

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Tim Schwertfeger

Former Chairman and CEO

Nuveen Investments

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Beth Swanson


A Better Chicago

Jim Parsons

Chairman of the Finance Committee

Brinson Foundation

Jim Parsons served as President of The Brinson Foundation, a private family foundation based in Chicago
which supports education and scientific research programs, from 2004-2019 and continued as a Senior
Advisor through 2021. In addition to serving on the Board of the Partnership for College Completion
where he also chairs the Finance, Legal and Audit Committee, Jim is a member of the Board of Trustees
and chair of the Education Committee at the Chicago Architecture Center and serves on the Board of
Directors and the Leadership Council of Communities In Schools of Chicago. Jim also chairs the Board of
Advisors of the Morton Arboretum. He is a former member of the Board of Directors of the
National Center for Family Philanthropy, a past chair of the Board of Directors of Forefront (formerly
Donors Forum) and previously served on the Board of Trustees of Denison University. He also served on
the Board of Directors of King-Bruwaert House, a continuous care retirement community, and is
a life trustee and former Board chair of The Community House, a social services agency located in west
suburban Chicago.

Prior to his career in philanthropy, Jim practiced law at the Chicago law firm of Gardner, Carton &
Douglas (now Faegre Drinker Biddle & Reath LLP) where he also served as Managing Partner.

Jim received his law degree from The University of Chicago and his undergraduate degree from Denison

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Marcella Nurse

HR Business Partner and Director of Talent


Marcella Nurse is an HR Business Partner and Director of Talent at Netflix. Supporting Content Legal, she guides leaders to drive business growth, promote inclusion and cultural competency, and maintain organizational health.
Previously, Marcella has held leadership development and learning experience design roles at Microsoft, Amazon, and Goldman Sachs. She began her HR career at Korn Ferry—first as an executive search consultant in the Global Financial Technology Practice—and later transitioning to the Talent Consulting business with a focus on organization design, top team effectiveness, and performance management.
She is deeply passionate about education and began working in operations and learning roles in the New York City nonprofit sector. With positions at the Mayor’s Office Commission on Women’s Issues, Department of Youth and Community Development, and the “I Have A Dream” Foundation, Marcella helped first-generation Americans and first generation college students—much like herself—prepare for and navigate post-secondary education.
Marcella has also held research positions at Cornell University Weill Medical College and Georgetown University School of Medicine. She received her clinical training at Columbia University Teachers College; holds a Master’s from Harvard Graduate School of Education; and a bachelor’s degree in psychology from the University of Notre Dame.
She currently resides in Los Angeles, CA with her husband, Louis. Marcella identifies as Caribbean-American and her family hails from the islands of Trinidad and Grenada, West Indies.

Nivine Megahed


National Louis University

Nivine Megahed, Ph.D.
President of National Louis University

Dr. Megahed has worked in higher education for over thirty-five years. As an educational entrepreneur her passion is building innovative student centered organizations focused on student success and empowering our most marginalized populations to achieve social and economic mobility through education.

Since 2010, Megahed has served as the 11th president of National Louis University, a 136-year-old institution recognized for its leadership in professional preparation across a broad set of disciplines, and for its commitment to closing the post-secondary attainment gap through cost effective scalable models of education.

Dr. Megahed earned her bachelor degree in psychology from the State University of New York at Buffalo. Her master and doctoral degrees in clinical psychology were earned at the University of Rochester.

She serves as Board Chair of University of Arizona Global Campus, Finance Committee Chair for Chicago Public Media, and is a Fellow for Complete College America. Dr. Megahed is also a member of The Chicago Network, The Economic Club of Chicago and The Commercial Club. She has been sought out internationally to present on issues related to the democratization of education, women in leadership, innovation in education and closing the achievement gap.

September 2022

Dr. Frank Harris III

Professor of Postsecondary Education & Co-Director of the Community College Equity Assessment Lab

San Diego State University

Dr. Frank Harris III is a professor of postsecondary education and co-director of the Community College
Equity Assessment Lab at San Diego State University (SDSU). Dr. Harris is also a senior strategist in
SDSU’s Division of Campus Diversity and Student Affairs, advising on efforts to institutionalize equity and
design innovative professional learning experiences to build equity mindedness among faculty and staff.
In 2021–2022, SDSU’s president named Harris the faculty athletics representative to help ensure
integrity and student-athlete welfare in SDSU’s athletics programs. In Fall 2022, Harris began his
appointment as associate dean of diversity, equity, and inclusion in SDSU’s College of Education, and he
received the SDSU Alumni Distinguished Faculty Award for the 2021-2022 academic year.
Dr. Harris is best known for his expertise in racial [in]equity in postsecondary education and has made
important contributions to knowledge about college student development and the social construction of
gender and race in college contexts. His work prioritizes populations that have been historically
underrepresented and underserved in education. Harris has obtained competitive grants and extramural
funding for his research, including support from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the College
Futures Foundation, and the Steve Fund. Harris’s scholarship has been published in leading journals for
higher education and student affairs research and practice, including the Journal of College Student
Development, Journal of Diversity in Higher Education, Educational Researcher, International Journal of
Qualitative Studies in Education, Journal of Negro Education, and the Community College Journal of
Research and Practice. Harris regularly disseminates scholarship through refereed conference
proceedings, workshops, symposia, and keynote addresses, and he has delivered thousands of academic
and professional presentations throughout his career. He also serves on the Every Learner Everywhere
Equity Advisory Board and on the Partnership for College Completion Board.
Harris is the co-editor/author of four books: College Men and Masculinities: Theory, Research and
Implications for Practice, Teaching Men of Color in the Community College, Teaching Young Boys and
Men of Color, and Supporting Men of Color in the Community College. His commentary has been sought
by high-profile media outlets, including Diverse Issues in Higher Education, The New York Times, The Los
Angeles Times, The Chronicle of Higher Education, The Huffington Post, Inside Higher Ed, CNN, and Fox 5
News San Diego. Colleges and universities across the country consult Harris regularly for his expertise on
student equity, student success, and institutional transformation, and he has worked with more than
100 postsecondary institutions, community organizations, and nonprofits on equity-related efforts.
During the Obama Administration, Harris was invited to The White House to share his knowledge and
expertise on the status of boys and men of color in education.
Before joining the faculty at San Diego State, Harris worked as a student affairs educator and college
administrator in the areas of student crisis support and advocacy, new student orientation programs,
multicultural student affairs, academic advising, and enrollment services. He also served as an adjunct
professor of speech communication at Los Angeles Trade Technical College. Dr. Harris earned a
bachelor’s degree in communication studies at Loyola Marymount University, a master’s degree in
speech communication at California State University, Northridge, and a doctorate in higher education
from the Rossier School of Education at the University of Southern California.

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Cristian Martinez Gomez

Student Board Member

Northeastern Illinois University

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Brain Fabes

Managing Director

Corperation Coalition of Chicago

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Judy Earwin

Managing Director


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Joan DiLeonardi

Trustee Emeritus

Oakton Community College

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Greg Darnieder

Founding Partner

National Postsecondary Strategy Institute (NPSI)

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Kevin Considine

President and CEO

Lake County Partners

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Valerie Butt

Head of Customer Strategy, U.S. National Accounts

Zurich North America

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Felicia Davis Blakely

President and CEO

Chicago Foundation for Women

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