About us

Meet our Board!

These are the individuals who bring their expertise to the table to ensure that Aspire is healthy and thriving, year after year.

See our Board Agendas and Meeting Minutes

Jonathan Garfinkel, Board Chair, TPG Capital

Jonathan Garfinkel is a Partner of TPG, a global alternative asset investment firm.  At TPG, he focuses on corporate development, compensation and human resources, having spent the majority of his career working on private equity transactions.  He is a member of the Advisory Council of the Stanford Graduate School of Education, and has been actively involved in the LEAD Commission on digital learning.  He holds a BA in Economics, an MBA and an M.Ed., all from Stanford University.

Jim Boyd, Executive Director, Pyramid Peak Foundation

From his work as a church leader to non-profit president to running a charitable foundation, Jim Boyd‘s career has been marked by his spirit of service. Since October 2011, he’s been Executive Director of the Pyramid Peak Foundation in Memphis, focusing on public education and the challenges facing women. Jim studied political science at Vanderbilt University, attended Episcopal seminary in Washington, DC and was ordained in 1977. Prior to his work at The Pyramid Peak Foundation, Jim established urban ministries in Memphis, led churches in Fayetteville, NC and Salem, OR, and served as president of BRIDGES, a Memphis youth leadership organization.

Warren Felson, Private Investor

Warren Felson has been managing family investments since 2000.  He lived in London from 1986 to 2009 where he was President of the commodity trading firm Gerald Metals, S.A., Managing Director of Drexel Burnham Lambert Ltd and ran a quantitative equity hedge fund.  Prior to moving to London he was President of Metal Traders Inc. in New York.  Mr. Felson was Chairman of the Governors and Financial Governor of Chelsea Community Hospital School, London, where he was also a volunteer teacher from 2003-2008.  He has a Bachelor of Metallurgical Engineering from McGill University, Montreal, and an MBA with Distinction from Harvard Business School.     

Nisa Frank, Lower School Division Head, Hamlin School

Nisa Frank is the Lower School Division Head at the Hamlin School, a K-8 girls school in San Francisco. In her current role, she is responsible for the growth, safety, and support of various constituencies, as well as programmatic growth in all-academic and social emotional curriculum. Over the past 15 years, she has spent most of her career in education in New York City where she has been an educator, director of admission, assistant head of preschool and lower school, faculty board member at the Town School in NYC, an active member of various committees dedicated to equity, and remains truly passionate about her role in ensuring that excellence in education is accessible to all. Nisa is is a Bay Area native and was born and raised in Berkeley, CA and currently resides in Oakland. She holds a BS in Child and Adolescent Development from San Francisco State University, a MS Ed in Early Childhood Education from Bank Street College of Education, and an MS Ed in Private School Leadership from Columbia University, Teachers College. 

Kay Hong, CEO, Torrid LLC

Kay Hong is the Chief Executive Officer of Torrid, a leading women’s apparel retailer selling stylish apparel, intimates, accessories and footwear for curvy women sizes 10-30.  Prior to Torrid, Kay served as Managing Director with Alvarez & Marsal, a global advisory firm, where she was a member of its Executive Committee.  At Alvarez & Marsal, Kay specialized in providing C-level interim management for retail companies in distress as well as leading performance improvement initiatives for financially healthy companies.  She holds a BS from Stanford University and an MBA from Harvard Business School. She lives in the Los Angeles area.

Leslie Parker Hume, Historian

Leslie P. Hume is an active community volunteer in the San Francisco Bay Area, with a particular focus on education and the arts. For the past twenty years much of Leslie’s volunteer service has been centered on Stanford University. She has served on a number of advisory councils; been active in the university’s fundraising campaigns; and recently completed eleven years of service as a trustee of Stanford, chairing the board from 2008-2012. She currently co-chairs the Stanford Live Advisory Council and is a member of the Arts Advisory Council. Leslie also volunteers for Radcliffe College and is on the Dean’s Advisory Council for the Radcliffe Institute. Previously, she served as either a member or chair of the board of the San Francisco Foundation, the Bay Area Discovery Museum, the Breakthrough Collaborative, and the San Francisco Day School. She earned her bachelor’s degree from Radcliffe College in 1969, and a doctorate in history from Stanford University in 1979. Leslie is married to George H. Hume, the President and CEO of Basic American Foods. They have a son, Parker Hume, and a daughter, Lilah Hume.

Beth Hunkapiller, Educator & Administrator

Beth Hunkapiller is a former middle school educator and administrator who taught 8th grade reading and English in El Monte, CA.  She is a a 19-year member of the San Carlos School District Board of Trustees. Mrs. Hunkapiller is a founder of the San Carlos Charter Learning Center, the first school to receive a charter in California.  She served ten years on the California Advisory Commission on Charter Schools and was its chair in the final two years.  Mrs. Hunkapiller was the Director of the Charter Schools Division at the California Department of Education. Currently, she is a member of the board of Charter Board Partners and The College Ready Promise. Mrs. Hunkapiller graduated from Oklahoma Baptist University with degrees in English and political science and received her masters from the University of Southern California.

Steven L. Merrill, Venture Capitalist

Steve Merrill has been active in venture capital investing since 1968, and most recently was a Partner with Benchmark Capital. He was president of BankAmerica Capital Corporation in 1976 and managed this very successful venture activity until 1980 when he formed Merrill, Pickard, Anderson & Eyre (MPAE), a privately held venture capital partnership. He was chairman of the Board of Trustees of Town School for Boys, a member of the Committee to Restore the San Francisco Opera House, and he is a past director of the Children’s Health Council. He holds a BA in Sociology from Stanford University and an MBA from the Wharton School of Finance. 

James H. Quigley, CEO Emeritus, Deloitte

James H. Quigley, CEO Emeritus, retired as Senior Partner from Deloitte U.S. in June 2012. Throughout his 38 years with the organization, Jim has held numerous key leadership roles and built a distinguished track record of service to many multinational clients. Jim is a member of the board of directors of Wells Fargo & Company and HESS Corporation. Jim also serves on the boards of Merrimack Pharmaceuticals, Inc., The German Marshall Fund of the United States, and is a trustee of the International Financial Reporting Standards Foundation. In addition, Jim is a member of the National Advisory Committee – Brigham Young University and the Advisory Board of the Center for Leadership and Ethics – Duke Fuqua Business School. Jim has a history of involvement in various business and community groups including The Economic Club of New York, The Council on Competitiveness, The Japan Society, Catalyst – the Center for Audit Quality, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the Financial Accounting Foundation, the U.S. Council for International Business, the Business Roundtable, the Shanghai International Financial Advisory Council, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission Advisory Committee on Improvements to Financial Reporting, and numerous committees of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants and Junior Achievement of New York City. Jim earned a bachelor’s degree and an honorary doctorate of business from Utah State University. He was awarded an honorary degree of Doctor of Commercial Science from Bentley College in Waltham, Massachusetts.

Joaquin Torres, Deputy Director at the San Francisco Office of Economic and Workforce Development

Joaquin Torres is the Deputy Director at the San Francisco Office of Economic and Workforce Development where he leads Mayor Lee's Invest In Neighborhoods Initiative leveraging city resources across city departments to maximize positive economic and social impact in our neighborhoods.  He is the President of the San Francisco Housing Authority Commission overseeing the historic rehabilitation re-envisioning of public housing.  Joaquín also serves on the board of SPUR and the Board of Trustees for A.C.T. (American Conservatory Theatre). Prior to these appointments, Joaquin served as Director of the Mayor's Office of Neighborhood Services (MONS) under Mayor Edwin M. Lee.  Under former Mayor Gavin Newsom, Joaquin served as the Liaison to the Latino and American Indian communities and to districts nine and eleven.  Joaquin is a graduate of Stanford University and New York University's Tisch School of the Arts.  He lives in the Outer Mission.

Advisory Board Members

Greg Jones, President & CEO (Retired) of State Farm General insurance

Greg Jones is the President & CEO (Retired) of State Farm General Insurance. Mr. Jones currently serves on the Board of Directors for Junior Achievement of Southern California, the California Chamber of Commerce, Franklin University, the Los Angeles Urban League, the National Urban League, the NCAA Leadership Advisory Board, the Tiger Woods Learning Center and the California State Board of Education. He is a chairman of the board of the Los Angeles Urban League, the California Education for Excellence Foundation, the Los Angeles Sports Council, and Operation Hope. Mr. Jones earned his B.A. degree in business from Franklin University and his M.A. degree in 1981 from Hood College.

Louise Muhlfeld Patterson, Human Resources Executive

Louise Muhlfeld Patterson has had an extensive career as an HR executive and trustee of college-preparatory schools. She was Vice President of Human Resources for American Express for 14 years. As a volunteer, she has served as a Trustee for many independent schools, including St. Mark’s School in Massachusetts, Drew College Preparatory High School in San Francisco, and Marin Country Day School. She also currently serves as a Trustee for the San Francisco Zoological Society. Ms. Patterson received a BA in Psychology and Education from Vassar College and also studied the British school system at Oxford University.

Melvin J. Kaplan, Chief Executive Officer, Wellington Financial Group

Mel Kaplan has been a real estate investor since 1960. He is CEO of Wellington Financial Group, an entity that invests in commercial real estate nationally. In 1988 Mr. Kaplan and his family founded the Harry Singer Foundation, a nonprofit educational operating foundation dedicated to youth development. Mel is an alumnus of MIT and UC Berkeley where, in the 70s, he lectured at the School of Business Administration.

Richard Yanowitch, Start-up Executive and Board Director

Richard Yanowitch has helped transform numerous start-ups into successful public companies, creating thousands of jobs, millions of customers, and billions of dollars in revenue and market capitalization.  He has been a top operating executive at companies such as Sybase,VeriSign, and the NDS Group (CSCO), where he served as vice-chairman and senior advisor to News Corporation.  He is founder and chairman of The Entrepreneurs Group, which serves private sector, non-profit, and public-sector enterprises.  He is an advisor and mentor to numerous non-profit CEOs and boards in the Tipping Point Community, whose focus is on alleviating poverty and creating economic self-sufficiency.  He is Founder of the Yanowitch Philanthropic Trust, which makes charitable contributions across a wide range of fields. Richard also created The Messaging Project in Washington, D.C., where he worked extensively with congressional leaders to apply private sector practices to a broad range of policy issues.  He earned a M.B.A. from the Harvard Business School and a B.A. in Classical Studies from Swarthmore College. Richard and his wife, Wendy, live in San Francisco with their two children. His avocations include meditation, music, cycling, and travel, as well as continuing studies in the Humanities.

Contact our Board



  • Jonathan Garfinkel: 510-434-5064
  • Beth Hunkapiller: 510-434-5082
  • Warren Felson: 510-434-5040
  • Nisa Frank: 510-434-5514
  • Kay Hong: 510-434-5515
  • Jim Boyd: 510-434-5511
  • Leslie Hume: 510-434-5585
  • Joaquin Torres: 510-434-5855