Board of Trustees

Esteban Armenta

Esteban Armenta

About Esteban

Esteban is an accomplished professional and an alumnus of the Breakthrough program. He is currently a Project Designer at Dick Clark + Associates, a prominent architecture and interior design firm. He provides design services on a team that completes projects around Greater Austin, both residential and commercial. Esteban is a graduate of Texas A&M University where he earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Environmental Design and Architecture in August of 2019. He was active in multiple student organizations including the College of Architecture’s Office of Students Services, as a technician in the College’s Woodshop, the Corps of Cadets, and in the American Institute of Architecture Students. In service of the American Institute of Architecture Students, he was part of a five-person committee to help plan and execute the Annual Forum for the national chapter in 2017 and served in multiple leadership positions in the local chapter including Marketing Director in 2016. He also led the local chapter’s efforts to provide free architectural services to local residents to solve design and construction challenges for those with limited or constrained mobility.

 

Esteban’s experience with Breakthrough extends back to 2008 when he first joined the program as a middle-school student in Austin ISD. He has been an active participant throughout the program and is a loyal Austin High School graduate from the Class of 2014. Esteban’s parents, Rosario and Esteban, are also actively involved in the program, as are his younger siblings, Xitlali and Hector. Esteban also served as a Summer Teaching Fellow in the summer of 2016 while in college to give back to the organization and support younger students to follow in his footsteps as a first generation college student.

Jeanette Auerbach

About Jeanette

Jeanette Auerbach moved back to Austin after a diverse international career in industry and volunteerism. Holding a B.S. in Science and Education from The University of Texas and M.S. in Organizational Behavior from London School of Economics, she has lived in various overseas and domestic locations. Jeanette started her career in food chemistry with Pillsbury, and moved onto a technical and recruiting career with Exxon in the Northeast. She moved to England to help found an organizational change company and later helped begin the Organizational Change practice at Accenture in Mexico City. She also taught at Universidad of the Americas in Mexico City and set up their corporate internship program. Ms. Auerbach worked for the National Audubon Society in Greenwich Connecticut, and later served as chair of the board of an Audubon sanctuary. With her husband on expatriate assignments, she lived in Hong Kong, and in Tokyo, guided projects with the USO. Once back in New York City she volunteered in the Asia Wing of the Metropolitan Museum of Art and with CARE International’s Women’s Initiative, a fund raising consortium of donors.

Auerbach lives with her husband, Ernest, in downtown Austin where they are active volunteers in arts and culture organizations.

Cyndi Bock, Development Chair

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. 

Christie Bybee

About Christie

Christie Bybee is a community volunteer passionate about education and public schools. Christie started her career as a fundraiser, first at the University of Chicago and then at United Way of Central New Mexico. She then pivoted to being a parent full time to her two children when moving to Austin and dedicating her time to volunteering for schools and community organizations.

 Her list of involvement is widespread and extensive. She served on the PTO of her children’s schools in Eanes ISD, on the District Leadership Team, as a board member on the Education Foundation, and in other district leadership roles. She also became directly involved in multiple nonprofit organizations including Mobile Loaves & Fishes, the National Domestic Violence Hotline, and Westlake Hills Presbyterian Church. In 2017, she was honored for her significant leadership and fundraising efforts with the Outstanding Volunteer Fundraiser Award by the Association of Fundraising Professionals, Greater Austin Chapter.

In 2019, she quickly became an involved and enthusiastic supporter of Breakthrough. She agreed to serve as co- chair for the Breakthrough Challenge Campaign. In April, she and her husband Clint hosted the Campaign Reveal Party. Her passion, energy, and skill as a fundraiser for Breakthrough have been valued by her team of fellow volunteers and staff.

Marc Chavez

marc chavez

About Marc

Marc Chavez was born and raised in Lubbock, Texas. After graduating from Lubbock Christian University, he attended law school and graduate school at Texas Tech University where he got a joint degree in Law and Business, JD/MBA. He started his career in San Antonio as a defense attorney and had the opportunity to serve as personal assistant to then State Senator Frank Madla. He later went on to be the Assistance District Attorney in Lubbock and then in Travis County. After much preparation, he started his own law firm, Marc Chavez Law Firm, in January 2018, covering a wide range of issues including but not limited to criminal, family, personal injury and real estate law. He’s married to his loving wife, Allison and in January of 2018 they welcomed their first child Mia on the same day that he opened his law firm.

Marc’s passion for supporting first-generation college students is a product of his whole family and what they believe in. From an early age he was lucky enough to have a family who pushed education. Having a mother who has been in education for nearly 50 years and a father’s whose message to leave the next generation better off is what drives his passion to invest in first-generation students who seek college. He believes if we can have more students who can graduate and challenge the norm and impact the community, state, and nation, then the better off we can leave this world. 

Julie Fisher

About Julie

Julie Fisher is the Senior Community Affairs and Public Relations Specialist at Samsung Austin Semiconductor. She manages Samsung Austin’s nonprofit relationships and employee engagement initiatives. Through her leadership at Samsung, they have become an outstanding corporate leader of philanthropy in  the Central Texas community. As an Austin native, she is passionate about giving back to the community that raised her by championing causes including civic engagement, environmental initiatives, and education. Julie is proud to serve on the board of Keep Austin Beautiful and Leadership Austin.

Julie is a respected leader in the corporate giving and volunteer community. She is also a Breakthrough fanatic, frequently attending fundraising events and program events. Julie has built strong relationships with our school district partners in Manor ISD and with Breakthrough students, most notably college graduate, Gloria Perez, who interned as part of the Future Focus program at Samsung. Outside of her role at Samsung, she enjoys trail running on the greenbelt, taking too many pictures and embarking on new and exciting adventures.

Dr. Eva Garza-Nyer, Chair

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.

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.

 

Dr. Charles Martinez, Jr.

Dr. Charles Martinez

About Charles

Dr. Charles R. Martinez, Jr. is the 12th dean of the College of Education at The University of Texas at Austin. Martinez began his tenure as dean on January 1, 2019. Martinez’s scholarly work focuses on identifying factors that hinder or promote the success of children and families who are from vulnerable and underserved populations. He is particularly interested in how immigrant Latino families adjust to life in the U.S. and how to better harness culturally specific protective factors to ensure their success in navigating the many challenges associated with immigration. Martinez has led numerous national and international research projects designed to examine risk and protective factors involved in linking social and cultural factors to education and behavioral health disparities for Latino children and families, and to develop and test culturally specific interventions for at- risk families in the U.S. and in Latin America. Prior to joining Texas, Martinez was the Philip H. Knight Professor in the Department of Educational Methodology, Policy, and Leadership at the University of Oregon, where he also served as founding director of the Center for Equity Promotion. He is a nationally recognized scholar on organizational equity, cross-cultural research, and community engagement.

A first-generation college graduate, Martinez received his bachelor’s degree in psychology from Pitzer College, and his master’s degree and Ph.D. in clinical psychology from the California School of Professional Psychology. Martinez holds the Lee Hage Jamail Regents Chair in Education and the Sid W. Richardson Regents Chair. He is a professor in the Department of Educational Psychology.

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.

Karey Oddo

About Karey

Karey and her husband Chris Oddo have been Breakthrough supporters since 2015. Karey served on the Champions committee that year, invited by event chair Laurel Simmons. Karey joined the Development Council in 2016 and has been a significant contributor to our fundraising efforts. She and her husband Chris chaired the 2018 Champions Celebration and did an excellent job engaging their network. Karey is a 6th generation Austinite from the Nalle family, an Austin family dating back to the mid 1800’s.

Karey spent years as a commercial litigator with both Clark, Thomas & Winters and with Winstead. Currently, she is general counsel for a real estate company that owns and manages commercial properties in Austin and San Antonio. Karey won the 2014 Preservation Austin Merit Award for Restoration of a National Landmark property in downtown Austin. Karey has volunteered for numerous local charities and has passionately served on the Board of Directors of several non-profits such as: Helping Hand Home, The Junior League of Austin, Women’s Symphony League, Elizabeth Ann Seton Board, Preservation Austin, Inherit Austin, and Pioneer Farms. She is a past Coats for Kids Chair, which provided over thirty thousand coats to needy Central-Texas children, and she is also a graduate of Leadership Austin. Karey is proud mom to two precious pre-teens and two dogs – a Labrador and a Puggle. In her free time, she loves to travel with her family, entertain friends, keep current with political news, and read a good mystery.

Walt Penn

About Walt

In 2005 Walt Penn established Wealth Advisory Services of Raymond James, along with his partner Jenny Miller. From 1995 until 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

Walt Penn is a former Breakthrough Central Texas Trustee, serving from 2013-2018. He also chaired the 2016- 2018 Growth Campaign, successfully raising $2.3M for the organization. Undeterred, he spearheaded the next campaign, the current $10M Breakthrough Challenge. Walt is a fierce advocate for Breakthrough students and its mission in Central Texas.

He has a long history of involvement with many other local organizations, including 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. In 2016, Walt was recognized as the Outstanding Volunteer Fundraiser of the year by the Associate of Fundraising Professionals, Greater Austin Chapter.

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, Vice Chair

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.

Lynne Rupp, Vice Chair

About Lynne

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.

Taylor Sisson, Finance Chair

About Taylor

Taylor is an assurance partner serving SEC registrants, private-equity investees, and VC funded private companies in the technology, retail, real estate, and utilities industries. He has extensive experience serving high growth companies, and work closely with those companies to advise them on executing their growth and financing strategies, and related accounting issues they face. He’s assisted clients with the successful completion of numerous initial public offerings (IPOs), secondary offerings, equity and debt private placements, acquisitions, and carve-outs.

In addition to serving clients, Taylor also is the leader for the Central Texas EY Entrepreneur of the Year program, which annually recognizes high-impact entrepreneurs whose successes help make Austin the best city in the world!

Javier Valdez, Governance Chair

About Javier

As Chief Operating Officer of Karisha Community Center for Wellness, Javier Valdez is a leader with a commitment to driving positive change and inclusivity in the fields of entrepreneurship, economic development, education, and healthcare. Through nearly 24 years of corporate & non-profit leadership roles at multiple Austin organizations supporting learning, inclusivity, and diversity, Javier brings to Karisha a talent for building strong relationships and communications between stakeholders; managing organizational operations with a focus on increasing efficiencies; reducing costs; and fostering talent in a collaborative team-centered culture

Javier has 19+ years’ experience in non-profit board strategic leadership at several local and national non-profits including Con Mi Madre, Breakthrough Austin, Economic Growth Business Incubator (EGBI), and the Greater Austin Hispanic Chamber of Commerce. 

His 24+ years’ experience as a technology and sales executive in diverse industries will also ensure sound business management as Karisha embarks on its mission to forge a new health care model in Austin. His professional resume includes leadership responsibilities at Oracle, Electronic Reliability Council of Texas, Inc. (ERCOT), Cisco Systems, Inc., Renew Data Corporation, Toppan Photomasks, Inc., and Motorola.

 

Jasmin Vara

About Jasmin

Jasmin is an accomplished professional and an alumna of the Breakthrough program. She is currently an Admissions Officer at St. Andrew’s Episcopal School. She supports the Lower School admission events and activities, organizes shadow days and visits, and produces and distributes the school’s Admission Newsletter. In addition, she is pursuing her Masters of Arts in counseling at St. Edward’s university. Jasmin’s expertise in Breakthrough goes back many years prior. She joined as a sixth grader as part of Breakthrough’s second class of students in 2003. After graduating high school, she was one of Breakthrough’s first students to travel out of state to college. In 2013, she became the first in her family to earn a college degree with her bachelor’s in psychology from Middlebury College. While in college, she also served as a Summer Teaching Fellow and Assistant Summer Director at the UT site. Her younger brother, Jose Vara, is a Breakthrough graduate, having just completed his degree at Southwestern University. Jasmin’s parents, Maria and Jose, are also very active participants in the program and have helped lead many conversations with families about the path to college graduation for first-generation students.

Tito Vidaurri, Treasurer

 

About Tito

Tito’s work experience has included senior roles in government, investment banking, private equity and real estate development.  His current professional focus is on energy and infrastructure investments in Mexico and affordable housing for working families in Central Texas.  From 2014 to 2019, Tito worked for EIG Global Energy Partners where he led the firm’s investment efforts in Mexico. Prior to joining EIG, Tito accumulated 23 years of experience in banking, holding senior leadership positions at Bank of America Merrill Lynch, Deutsche Bank, Morgan Stanley and Credit Suisse.  At Bank of America Merrill Lynch, Tito was Mexico Country Executive as well as Chairman and CEO of Bank of America Mexico, S.A. and was responsible for senior relationships in both the public and private sectors as well as for overseeing the entirety of the bank’s business activities in Mexico including corporate and investment banking, capital markets and sales and trading.  Previous to his banking career, he worked five years for the Mexican Federal Government in several areas including the Ministry of Finance

Tito is a first-generation college graduate, who received a B.A. in Economics from Universidad de las Americas in Puebla, Mexico, a M.A. in Economics from the Centro de Investigación y Docencia Económicas (CIDE) in Mexico City as well as a M.A. in Economics and a Master’s in Public and Private Management from Yale University. He is currently a member of the Board of Advisors of the Yale School of Management.

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 low-income youth. Neil holds a bachelor’s degree 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, Texas.

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.

Past Board Trustees

Mayor Steve Adler
Barry Aidman
Felicia Cantu
Jessica Slade D’Arcy
Tommy Deavenport
Mark Eshelman
Ben Eynon
Jeri Moe Faykus
Lynn Garcia
John Hintz
Vicky Hunter
Kevin Ilcisin
Mickey Klein

Kevin Lalande
Carolyn Long
Diana Lowe
Richard Marcus
Danielle McNeely
Jim Montgomery
Eva Munoz
Jose Ofman
Walt Penn
Kala Ranganathan
Geoff Rips
Brian Roberts

Bryan Rollins
Yolanda Rocha
Mike Rovner
Hector Ruiz
Hannah Temple
Dr. Denise Villa
Dr. Gregory Vincent
Alexa Wesner
Steve Yeich