Board of Directors

Neil Webber, Chair

Neil Webber

About Neil

Neil Webber is Chair of the Webber Family Foundation, which was formed in 1999 and has distributed over $11 million in grants to organizations targeting the educational needs of lower-income youth. Neil has a Bachelor’s degree (1983) in Computer Science and Engineering from MIT and has worked at a number of technology startup companies throughout his career, culminating with Vignette Corporation where he was the co-founder and Chief Technology Officer. Neil lives in Austin, TX.

Lynn Rupp, Vice Chair

About Lynn

Lynne is a retired real estate lawyer, formerly with Graves, Dougherty, Hearon & Moody and Fulbright & Jaworski. She has a B.S. from California State University Fullerton and a J.D. from the University of California Hastings College of the Law. She has volunteered for numerous Austin non-profit organizations, including Breakthrough Austin, St. Stephen’s Episcopal School, St. Andrew’s Episcopal School, Meals on Wheels, Jane’s Due Process, and El Buen Samaritano. In addition, she has volunteered for and fund-raised on behalf of several political campaigns. She and her husband, Doug Brothers, have two children. Her hobbies include riding bicycles, yoga, pilates, reading, piano and walking her dog.

Danielle McNeely, Treasurer

About Danielle

Danielle has twelve years of experience with Ernst & Young in the Assurance Practice, serving both public and privately held organizations. She has served some of the most predominate technology, real estate, internet, and health care organizations in the state of Texas, as well as high growth companies in the life sciences and biotechnology industry. Danielle resides in Austin, TX and serves as the EY Community Outreach leader and on the Board of Directors of Breakthrough Austin. Danielle earned her BBA in Accounting and Marketing from Texas State University.

Cyndi Bock

About Cyndi

Cyndi Bock is a community volunteer having been active in non-profits in the Austin area for over twenty years. She is particularly drawn and devoted to causes involving issues surrounding our community’s youth, both in terms of care and education.

 

Since arriving in Austin in 1995, Cyndi became involved with LifeWorks and went on to chair its first capital campaign and would ultimately serve as Chairman of the Lifeworks Board of Directors. Subsequently, Cyndi was asked to assist the Make-A-Wish Foundation of Central Texas in celebrating  its Twentieth Anniversary by chairing the foundation’s Cinderella Gala. She would go on to get involved with fundraising at the Make-A-Wish Foundation through its Over-The-Edge Event, and then serve on its Board of Directors.

In 2007, Cyndi and her husband, Bill, were honored with the Outstanding Fundraiser of the Year Award by the Association of Fundraising Professionals, Greater Austin Chapter. 

Ricky Green

About Ricky

Ricky D. Green is a Texas native who grew up in Fort Worth, and attended St. Stephen’s School in Austin, Texas for his last three years of high school. After graduating from St. Stephen’s, Ricky went to the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia where he received his Bachelor of Arts with a major in American History. Ricky then attended SMU law school where he graduated in 1993. He began his legal career in workers’ compensation in Dallas, Texas, and then joined Harris and Harris law firm in March 1996. He worked at this workers’ compensation defense law firm for nine years and became a profit partner his last three years of service. On February 16, 2005, Ricky opened the Law Office of Ricky D. Green, and continues to dedicate his practice to representing insurance carriers, self-insureds and third party administrators in workers’ compensation cases in Texas and Oklahoma.

Ricky has specialized in Texas workers’ compensation insurance defense for more than 20 years and travels to every field office in the State of Texas. He is a member of the workers’ compensation section of the Texas State Bar, has regularly spoken at the Texas State Bar Advanced Workers’ Compensation seminar, and is authorized by the Texas Department of Insurance to present certified continuing education courses. Ricky is a member of the Texas Chapter of the Public Risk Management Association, the Austin Black Lawyers’ Association, the Travis County Bar Association, the North and South Central Texas Regional Minority Certification agencies and is also licensed to practice law in Oklahoma. In addition to his legal service, Ricky serves on the Board of Trustees at St. Stephen’s Episcopal School, volunteers with Breakthrough Austin, and is involved with other volunteer opportunities. In his spare time, Ricky enjoys traveling, running, theater, arts and is an avid sports’ enthusiast.

 

Ben Eynon

About Ben

Ben has worked in the semiconductor industry for over 28 years after earning a BS in Microelectronic Engineering from the Rochester Institute of Technology. His career experience is comprised of positions in R&D engineering, high volume manufacturing, and business development, with the last 17 years at the executive leadership level. He has 38 technical papers, 4 patents, and has published a book entitled, “Photomask Fabrication Technology” which has become the industry’s handbook on photomask technology. He is currently serving as Sr. Director of Engineering Development for Samsung Austin Semiconductor, and is also on the Board of Directors for two education-focused nonprofit organizations in the Austin, TX area.

John Harcourt

About John

John is the former CEO of Camelot System of Care, a leading provider of behavioral health services to at-risk and special needs youth and adolescents. The Company operates residential treatment facilities and outpatient clinics for youth and adolescents with emotional and behavioral disorders. Camelot’s Education Services Division, purchased by The Riverside Company in January 2011, operates therapeutic day schools and contracts with public school districts to manage specialized educational programs for at-risk youth, including remedial discipline schools and academic programs for over-aged students. Camelot is headquartered in Austin, Texas. John and his wife Sue Ellen Stavrand live in Wimberly and are avid art collectors who opened their front yard sculpture garden to the public. They contribute to a number of community organizations, and they have also established a foundation dedicated to sponsoring school tours to their sculpture garden and studio and teaching children the fiber arts. John currently serves on the board of The Contemporary.

Dr. Kevin Ilcisin

About Kevin

As vice president of Product Marketing, Kevin Ilcisin works  with NI’s segment and R&D teams to refine the company’s portfolio management process and support key initiatives like the Internet of Things.Prior to joining NI in 2015, Ilcisin served as the Vice President and Chief Technology Officer at Tektronix, where he was responsible for the core technology development, R&D strategy, and portfolio process governing R&D investments. He has also held leadership roles at LAM Research/Novellus, Zight Corporation, and Technical Visions Incorporated. Ilcisin is the inventor or co-inventor of 42 US and foreign patents. He has been recognized with five postgraduate and two postdoctoral awards including the Princeton Merit Award and Killam Memorial Award. Ilcisin holds doctorate and master’s degrees in plasma physics from Princeton University and bachelor’s degrees in physics, computer engineering, and electrical engineering from the University of Alberta.

Carolyn Long

About Carolyn

Carolyn Long a community volunteer passionate about conservation and education. She has chaired parent annual fund campaigns at St. Stephen’s Episcopal School and Pomona College (Claremont, California) where her children attended college. She is a Texas Master Naturalist and has served as a director, and ultimately Advisory Council Chairman, at Austin’s Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center. She is a Trustee for the Tennessee Chapter of The Nature Conservancy, serves on the Texas Nature Conservancy’s Austin Advisory Council, is a TNC Global Ambassador, and is on the Global Priorities Campaign Committee. Carolyn holds a BBA from Baylor University and an MBA from Vanderbilt University and her professional career was in commercial banking. Other interests include road cycling, bird watching, reading, cooking and traveling with her husband, Jack.

Diana Lowe

About Diana

Diana Lowe served as a board member for the Freescale Foundation benefiting STEM education and provides healing touch services to the terminally ill at Hospice Austin’s Christopher House. Along with her husband, Diana is a co-chair for Way of Greater Austin’s 2014 campaign. Diana has lived all over the world, including Detroit, Munich, Nice, Houston, Dallas and Santa Fe, before relocating to Austin with her husband Gregg, President and CEO of Freescale. Diana and Gregg have two children: daughter Vanessa, an MBA student at Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles, and son Kevin, a mechanical engineering graduate from Southern Methodist University in Dallas.

 

Diana has been an active volunteer at the schools her children attended. She also served on the board of trustees for Santa Fe Preparatory; acted as advisory chair for Breakthrough Santa Fe; and was president of her homeowners association in Santa Fe. She earned her Bachelor of Business Administration degree in Marketing from Eastern Michigan University, and when she’s not traveling, Diana can be found walking her four dogs; practicing yoga, pilates, or golf; enjoying the eclectic Austin restaurants and music scene; or detailing the family’s German model train.

Rick Morales

About Rick

Rick previously served as the Director of Community Engagement & Inclusion at NXP/Freescale Semiconductor. In his role, Rick and his team focused on: 1) developing an inclusive, global workforce; 2) fostering active employee engagement; and 3) building NXP’s brand and reputation as an outstanding corporate citizen in the communities where employees live and work.

Rick has more than 20 years of experience in human resources, with expertise in talent acquisition and mergers & acquisition integration with Fortune 500 companies, including NXP/Freescale, Motorola, PepsiCo and USAA. He holds a Bachelor of Science in Economics from the University of Texas at Austin, and currently is on the board of directors for Girlstart as well as the NXP Foundation. Rick was instrumental in helping Breakthrough launch the Breakthrough 9th Grade STEM Academy for Manor ISD students, hosted at NXP. He and his wife Cleo have been longtime supporters of Breakthrough and its work with students.

Dr. Eva Garza-Nyer

Meet Eva

A native Texan, Eva has earned her undergraduate and graduate degrees (BA, MEd & PhD) from The University of Texas at Austin. After three years as a management consultant with Accenture, she followed her calling in Education. She has served our educational system in numerous ways. Eva spent four years working in the President’s Office at UT. She has taught at Austin Community College and for the past thirteen years she has served as a College Counselor in Austin ISD. Eva also founded Texas College Advisor, an educational consulting company that helps families navigate the college search process.

Eva has a true passion for helping teenagers plan for their future. She has helped to increase the number of students who apply, enroll, and complete their college education. She currently serves on the Board for Breakthrough and Con Mi Madre (board secretary) and was an advisory board member with Hispanic Scholarship Consortium. Additionally, she works closely in assisting Austin Sunshine Camps, College MAP and College Forward, all non-profit organizations that help low-income, first generation college bound students apply to college.

Eva is a member of the Rotary Club and has participated in Leadership Austin, Hispanic Austin Leadership, and the Texas Public Policy and Candidate Training Program through Las Comrades. She has been a finalist for Austin Under 40, she was Austin Partners in Education- Staff of the Year and was selected as the YWCA Woman of the Year- Leader of Promise.

Walt Penn

About Walt

In 2005, Walt Penn established Wealth Advisory Services of Raymond James, along with his partner Jenny Miller, to combine the full scope of his 28 years of experience in investments and asset management with the comprehensive resources of Raymond James. His goal was, and continues to be, to serve the unique and often challenging needs of wealthy individuals and families.

From 1995 to 2005, Walt founded and served as President and CEO of The Penn Investment Group, Inc., an independent broker/dealer and registered investment advisor specializing in wealth management and alternative investments in the private and public equity arena, including the biotech, real estate and financial services areas. From 1987 to 1995, he served as an investment advisor with Rauscher Pierce Refsnes, now RBC Wealth Management.

Walt holds a Bachelor of Business Administration in finance from the University of Texas at Austin, and is involved with many community organizations, past and present, including the Breakthrough Austin board, The Paramount Theater board, PeopleFund advisory board, The Seton Fund board, The Greater Austin Chamber of Commerce board, SafePlace Foundation board, Brackenridge Children’s Hospital council, Caritas of Austin advisory board, and the Texas Capital Bank advisory board.

Vince P. Reyna, Secretary

About Vince

Vince Reyna oversees strategy, process, and partnerships along the continuum of Pennybacker Capital’s investments. He brings business and technical acumen to sourcing, closing, underwriting, and analyzing deal structures. Vince closely monitors existing investments and is a member of the firm’s Investment Committee.

 

Vince joined Pennybacker Capital subsequent to his tenure as vice president and senior underwriter with CIT Corporate Finance. At CIT, he analyzed and structured asset and cash flow based loans to middle market companies.

Prior to CIT, Vince helped Prudential Capital Group originate, analyze, and monitor cash-flow loans to middle market companies. His earliest private equity experience was marketing limited partnership interests for private equity funds at JPMorgan.

Vince earned his undergraduate degree in Astronautical Engineering from the U.S. Air Force Academy, a master’s degree in Electrical Engineering from the Air Force Institute of Technology, and an MBA from McCombs School of Business at the University of Texas at Austin. He holds the Chartered Financial Analyst designation and serves on the Small Scale Development Council of the Urban Land Institute.

Sergio Rodriguez

About Sergio

Sergio is a native Texan, born in Alice, Texas and raised in Austin. After attending school in Austin, Sergio received an AB in Architecture from Princeton University, worked for 2 years as the owner representative for the construction of the US Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, DC and then received an MBA from the University of Michigan.

 

From 1995 to 2014, Sergio worked at American Management Systems and CGI Technologies and Solutions as a technology account executive for public and private sector clients in Denver, London, Washington, DC and Austin.

In 2015, Sergio took over the management of a South Texas family ranching business based out of Alice, Texas. Sergio is passionate about education for disadvantaged youth and currently sits on the board of Con Mi Madre. He has taken that passion as a call to action to learn as much as he can about the reasons educational inequity exists for students in our community, having met with thought leaders across the state of Texas about solutions that work.

Dr. Hector Ruiz

About Hector

Dr. Hector de Jesus Ruiz is a founder of Advanced Nanotechnology Solutions, Inc. (ANS) and serves as the company’s Chairman. A luminary in the field of technology for nearly three decades, he is an accomplished engineer, corporate strategist and chief executive.

 

Dr. Ruiz’s professional career began at Texas Instruments in the company’s research laboratories and manufacturing operations. He then spent two decades at Motorola, rising from running a microchip manufacturing facility in Scotland, to overseeing the firm’s worldwide semiconductor operations, to leading semiconductor research and development, and finally serving as President of the company’s Semiconductor Products Sector.

In 2000, Dr. Ruiz joined AMD as President and Chief Operating Officer, and in April 2002 he was named Chief Executive Officer. At AMD, Dr. Ruiz set the strategic direction of the company, helping guide its growth from a small, broad supplier of components to an innovative technology solutions leader in the processor space.

In 2006, he announced plans to build and operate the world’s most advanced semiconductor manufacturing facility in upstate New York, and in 2009, he led an industry transformation by spinning out AMD’s manufacturing assets to form GLOBALFOUNDRIES, the first truly global leading-edge semiconductor manufacturing company. During his tenure at AMD, Dr. Ruiz received numerous accolades, including: the Semico Bellwether Award (2009); Executive of the Year – 2005 (EE Times); CEO of the Year – 2005 (Electronic Business); and Top 25 Business Leader – 2006 (FORTUNE Magazine), among others.

Hannah Temple

About Hannah

Hannah Temple holds a B.A from Pomona College and a J.D. from Stanford Law School, and was admitted to the Texas Bar in 1999. Hannah worked as an attorney in the Travis County Attorney’s Office, the Office of the Texas Secretary of State, and Legislative Council, before taking a break to spend more time with her two young children.

Hannah currently serves on the board of directors of Balcones Resources in Austin, Texas and the T.L.L. Temple Foundation in Lufkin, Texas.

For more than ten years, Hannah has been a supporter of non-profit organizations in the Austin area benefitting children and adolescents. She currently serves as a member of the Children’s Trust of Dell Children’s Medical Center. She previously served on the board of directors of St. Stephen’s Episcopal School and the Dell Children’s Medical Center Foundation. Hannah also served on the steering committee for the capital campaign to build a new Children’s Museum in Austin (the Thinkery), which opened in December 2013.

Javier Valdez

About Javier

Javier, originally from El Paso, serves as Sr. Solution Architect at Oracle. He has an extensive career in IT, having worked at several major companies including ERCOT, Motorola, DuPont Photomasks Inc., and Cisco. Valdez has a long history of community service. He has served on the Board of Directors for the Greater Austin Hispanic Chamber of Commerce (GAHCC), is a graduate of Austin Leadership Essential Class of 2010, and is McBee Fellow (2012) with Austin Area Research Organization (AARO).

Valdez is also past-president of the Young Hispanic Professional Austin Association (YHPAA), the founder of the Mexican American Engineers & Scientists (MAES) student chapter at the University of Notre Dame, and is a former president of the Austin Professional Chapter of Society of MAES, also having sat on the MAES national board. With a passion for giving back to his community, he has also been involved with Un Sabado Gigante, been a Spanish literacy tutor for Austin Partners in Education (APIE), and involved with Hispanic Organizations Working Together as One (HOWTO) Alliance.

Dr. Denise Villa

About Denise

Denise Villa, PhD, is co-founder and Chief Executive Officer at The Center for Generational Kinetics. She leads custom research and operations for The Center whose clients includes many of the most influential companies around the world. Prior to founding The Center, Dr. Villa was a middle school and high school teacher and administrator in rural, suburban and urban schools. Dr. Villa is the first in her family to attend college, The University of Texas at Austin, and received her Masters and Doctorate at Texas State University. Her doctorate focused on closing the achievement gap in math and science for at risk students through school reform. Dr. Villa serves on the board of Breakthrough Austin, Economic Growth Business Incubator, and Entrepreneurs Organization-Austin.

Ted Whatley

About Ted

Ted Whatley is an educator, civic leader, and founding board member of Breakthrough Austin. Whatley earned Bachelor of Arts and Master of Education degrees at Harvard University. In between, he served for three years as an infantry and communications officer in the U.S. Marine Corps. He pursued a career in education at private schools all over the country, teaching history for eleven years and serving as a headmaster for thirteen years at St. Mark’s in Dallas. Since 1988, when he returned to his native Austin, Whatley has volunteered with organizations including People’s Community Clinic, the University of Texas Visiting Committees for History and Libraries, and many more. He also served many years on the Board of Trustees for Austin Independent School District. In 2001, Whatley joined as a founding board member of Breakthrough Austin, helping lead the organization to tremendous growth and significant impact from 2001 to 2013.

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