IDEA Fund Chair
University of Virginia, CLAS, B.A. ‘94
Georgetown University, M.A. ’97
Karima is the Assistant Director of the Philadelphia University Honors Institute at Thomas Jefferson University. She has twenty-one years of experience in higher education, having served in several administrative roles (and as adjunct faculty) at various institutions in the Greater Philadelphia (PA) area, including Community College of Philadelphia, Bryn Mawr College, Montgomery County Community College, Villanova University, Delaware Valley University, the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, and Rutgers University-New Brunswick, where she served as an Assistant Dean in the School of Arts and Sciences Honors Program. Additionally, she has engaged her interests in non-profit leadership and community development through work for the Belmont Mansion & Underground Railroad Historic Site, the Cobbs Creek Community Environmental Education Center, and West Mt. Airy Neighbors. Karima is also a former board member of The Ivy Legacy Foundation, The Johnson House Underground Railroad Historic Site, and UVA’s Madison House Alumni Board.
As a proud member of The Links, Incorporated, Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated, the Association of Black Women in Higher Education, the Board of Managers for the Associated Alumni of Central High School of Philadelphia, and the United Nations Association of the United States, Karima invests her time in “giving back” to those communities that have given so much to her. A native Philadelphian, Karima was born and raised in southwest Germantown and is a proud graduate of Central High School of Philadelphia. She earned her Bachelor’s degree in English (with a minor in African-American Studies) at the University of Virginia, and a Master’s degree in English Language and Literature at Georgetown University. Karima is also a 2014-2015 Education Design Studio, Inc. Fellow, having advanced to the semi-finals of the University of Pennsylvania’s Milken/Graduate School of Education’s Educational Entrepreneurship competition. She is currently a doctoral candidate in the Graduate School of Education at Rutgers University-New Brunswick. When she is not working, studying, or volunteering, Karima enjoys spending time with her family, podcasting, and participating in the arts.
Jennifer Gibert Mencarini
IDEA Vice Chair
After graduating from Emory University School of Law, Jennifer Gibert Mencarini relocated to Dallas, Texas and built a successful law practice primarily representing health care providers who had been sued for malpractice. She is licensed to practice (inactive status) in both Texas and Washington, D.C.
Jennifer returned to graduate school in 2008 and obtained a Master’s degree focused on human rights and social justice, and then worked to support the Office of Multicultural Student Affairs at Southern Methodist University. In addition to furthering her deep commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI), Jennifer’s work with students and staff at SMU prompted her to pursue further work in legal education.
For six years as the Director of Career Development at Elon University School of Law in Greensboro, NC, Jennifer blended her legal and higher education experience, and focused on providing professional development and support services to law students and graduates. In addition to providing 1:1 career coaching and co-managing Elon Law’s DEI programs, Jennifer co-taught the Lawyering, Leadership & Professionalism course. Although she has left her full-time work at Elon Law, she still serves as an adjunct faculty member supervising student externs, and coaches graduates studying for the bar examination.
In September 2021, Jennifer became the Director of Diversity and Inclusion for Fox Rothschild, LLP, a national law firm with 27 U.S. offices. She supports the Chief Diversity & Inclusion Officer in strategizing and structuring the firm’s DEI efforts.
Since joining the Greensboro community in 2015, Jennifer has pursued multiple community service opportunities and serves as an active member of local organizations including the United Way of Greater Greensboro’s Education and Economic Impact Council, the Piedmont Business Capital Loan Committee, and Leadership Greensboro. Jennifer serves on two North Carolina Bar Association Committees (the Pro Bono Committee and the Minorities in the Profession Committee) and is an active member of the Women’s Professional Forum.
University of Virginia, BA, 1983
Kevin is the Senior Vice President, Senior Consultant, Federal Practice Leader and Market Director, Southeast Higher Education Market Leader, and Federal And Government Contractor Practice Leader with Segal in their Washington, DC office. Kevin has over 30 years of leadership, business development, operations, and HR and Management consulting experience. Kevin has also been appointed to Segal DE&I Steering Committee at Segal. In addition to Segal, Kevin is the Managing Director of Br&U Partners, LLP, where he developed a process for emerging leaders to create and manage their personal brand, “Brand You – Making Who You Are Make A Difference.”
Prior to joining Segal, Kevin served as a Principal at Hewitt Associates (now Aon Hewitt), where he was a member of the firm’s Executive Leadership Group. Kevin was also the Vice President and Senior Director of Business Development at Carrington & Carrington, Ltd. Executive Search, where he managed new and existing client relationships with several Fortune 500 clients. He has also held several national and global leadership and business operations positions over 17 years with the Xerox Corporation, including General Manager and Midwest Regional Director for Public Sector Outsourcing.
Kevin graduated from the University of Virginia with a BA in Economics. He is the Chairman, Senior Advisory Council for the National Association of African Americans in Human Resources (NAAAHR), and is the Past President of the NAAAHR Washington DC and Chicago Chapters. He is also a Life Member and Life Member Emeritus of NAAAHR, and a Life Member of the UVA Alumni Association. Kevin is on the Advisory Board of the Ron Brown Scholars Program, and is a member of the Jefferson Scholars Foundation Piedmont, Virginia regional selection committee.
Kevin and his wife live in Leesburg, Virginia and have three children one graduated UVA CLAS 2018, and two currently attending UVA Batten 2021, and CLAS 2023.
Shannon Bryan is the head of North America Brand and Communications for the Shell retail business. Shannon leads the development and deployment of the advertising and other integrated creative expressions of the brand in the US & Canada. This includes leading the development of a Retail marketing communications strategy for fuels, cards, loyalty, convenience retailing and sponsorships. Shannon’s previous positions with Shell include head of NA Fuels Marketing; General Manager, Global Customer Insights; and General Manager, Retail Marketing Strategy & Performance.
Prior to joining Shell, Shannon was the Director of Brand Marketing for Pizza Hut where he managed the nation’s largest pizza business and launched several new products. Shannon’s extensive consumer brand management and marketing experience includes roles at Frito Lay managing Cracker Jack and Fritos brands and leading the Frito Lay marketing team for Wal*Mart, Costco, Target, & Kroger. He began his marketing career at Procter & Gamble managing household brands Mr. Clean, Swiffer, & Tide.
Shannon serves on the Board of Directors of Colbea Enterprises, L.L.C. He also serves as a trustee for the University of Virginia IDEA Fund and chairs the governance & nominations committee. Shannon serves on the Marketing Advisory Committee for the McIntire School of Commerce at the University of Virginia. He has been a member of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Incorporated since 1991.
Shannon holds a Bachelors of Science degree in Commerce from the University of Virginia and a Masters of Business Administration from the Ross School of Business at the University of Michigan. Shannon Bryan is married to Shanee and has two children, Renee and Caleb. He enjoys spending time with his wife and family, playing golf, socializing with friends, and traveling to new places.
Sophie Dougadir is a professional school counselor at the Benjamin D. Foulois Creative and Performing Arts Academy in Prince George’s County, Maryland where she provides services to help students reach their full academic, social, and creative potential regardless of economic or personal barriers. Sophie holds a B.A. in Psychology (2011) and an M.Ed in Counselor Education (2017) from the University of Virginia. Sophie’s most cherished memories during her time at UVA are jogging around her hometown of Charlottesville and singing with the Virginia Sil’hooettes acapella group. As a graduate student at the Curry School of Education, Sophie completed the IDEA Fund Early ID Program Assessment report, which the Fund commissioned in 2016. The report was a catalog and assessment of University-led and/or affiliated initiatives and programs created to increase the yield and poll of high-quality diversity and low-income applications to the University. When she’s not serving her students or school community, Sophie enjoys visiting friends and family across the globe and looking for her next physical challenge.
Dallas Ducar NP is the Chief Executive Officer of Transhealth Northampton. Dallas is on faculty at Northeastern University, the University of Virginia School of Medicine and Nursing, Columbia University, and the MGH Institute for Health Professions. She has advised international research groups on best practices and has carried out community-based participatory action research programs. Dallas seeks to revolutionize healthcare, building novel systems to provide holistic, empowering, gender-affirming care.
Dallas finds meaning and passion in her life by spending time hiking with her dogs, exploring the outdoors, and spending time with her loving family and friends. She is actively working to demedicalize healthcare by empowering patients, creating more ethical systems, and restoring a community focus back to clinical care.
University of Virginia, BA, Sociology, 1995
Temple University, MBA, General and Strategic Management, 2007
John is a Deputy Director of Finance for the City of Philadelphia. He is the Executive Director of the Finance Program Management Office where he leads a group of Project Managers and Business Analysts who are dedicated to on-time and on-budget project delivery. John has built a civic-minded team of professionals who are focused on large scale business process improvement projects with significant technology components.
John is a member of the City of Philadelphia’s COVID-19 Recovery Steering Committee where he co-chairs the Financial Administration and Grants Working Group. He also participates in the City’s Racial Equity Working Group.
John started his career as an Information Technology professional working on large software implementations in both the public and private sectors.
John is married to Kelley Hodge, CLAS 93, and is father to Grant. He enjoys rooting for his favorite teams, watching motorsports, travelling, camping, and spending time with family and friends.
Meryem Karad is the Policy and Communications to the Secretary of Natural Resources in Governor Ralph S. Northam’s Administration. Meryem previously served as Governor Northam’s liaison to the Virginia Asian Advisory Board, as well as under Governor Terry McAuliffe in the same roles. During her career in government, Meryem’s policy portfolio has included conservation, environmental justice, environment and energy, wildlife and marine resource management, and the Chesapeake Bay. Prior to her gubernatorial appointments, Meryem worked for ExxonMobil and the American Thyroid Association. Meryem received her Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Philosophy, Policy and Law from the University of Virginia in 2011. Since graduation, she has volunteered in several capacities including serving as a member of the planning committee for Black Alumni Weekends 2017 and 2019. Meryem also served as an alumni representative on the Community Task Force to the President’s Commission on Slavery and the University (PCSU), and as a community engagement ambassador for the Memorial to Enslaved Laborers at the University of Virginia.
Born in Rabat, Morocco, Meryem immigrated to northern Virginia with her family at the age of seven. She grew up in Arlington and Springfield, VA before heading off to Charlottesville for college. Meryem currently lives in Richmond, and often makes the quick hour trip to Charlottesville several times a year. In between visiting with family and friends across the country and in Morocco, she enjoys exploring the Commonwealth’s beautiful trials, running, and VA’s state parks.
University of Virginia, CLAS, BA, 1990
University of Arizona, MFA, 1994
The Darden School, University of Virginia, MBA, 2001
New York, New York
Matthew Kirsch is the Vice President for Operations for Ideal Protein, where he oversees sales operations, customer service, marketing operations, communications and events for North America. Prior to his current role, Matthew has extensive ecommerce and digital marketing experience across verticals including retail, technology, consumer products, fashion and non-profit. He has worked in direct-to-consumer, B2B and multi-channel businesses, for brands such as Dell, Walgreens, and DirecTV.
Matthew advises several young companies and entrepreneurs. He has been a member of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Incorporated since 1988.
Matthew is a double Hoo, having earned a Bachelor’s degree in English and later an MBA from the Darden School, with an MFA in creative writing from the University of Arizona in between. He was born and raised in Charlottesville, just a few houses up from Alumni Hall. His father was a professor of English at UVa and his mother worked on the Papers of George Washington in Alderman Library. Matthew currently lives in New York City with his wife Daniella and their two dogs Lola and Tallulah. Matthew has two children, Elijah and Phineas – Elijah graduated UVA in 2010, with a Bachelor’s from the McIntire School of Commerce. Matthew’s parents still live in Cville, as does his sister and her family, and he visits as often as he can.
Yen Ling Shek
Yen Ling Shek leads nonprofit and social impact efforts within Russell Reynolds Associates’ Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Practice, as part of the Leadership & Succession team. Her recent work includes organizational and leadership assessments, experiential inclusive leadership trainings, and equitable search advisory. Yen Ling integrates research and best practices to provide data-driven and market-based insights for accomplishing individual and organization diversity, equity and inclusion goals. She partners with clients across industries to help build forward-thinking, inclusive and effective executive teams, with a particular focus on assessing, developing and advising organizations undergoing transformational change. She is jointly based in San Francisco and Los Angeles.
Yen Ling has over 20 years of diversity, equity and inclusion professional experience. She joined Russell Reynolds Associates from the University of California, Los Angeles, where she was residential life assistant director of research and adjunct faculty at California Lutheran University in the counselor education program. She has taught courses on intercultural communication, student activism, assessment and research methods at multiple universities. Previously, Yen Ling was with the Talent Advisory Board for three years, as a senior analytics and training consultant. She has led strategic initiatives to support diverse communities and increase capacity for DE&I efforts.
Yen Ling holds a BA in psychology from the University of Virginia, an MA in counseling and personnel services from the University of Maryland College Park, and a PhD in higher education and organizational change from UCLA. She has also published a number of academic articles on diversity, gender roles and leadership. Yen Ling was the founder and is former chair of the Asian and Asian Pacific American Alumni Network at the University of Virginia.
IDEA Fund Intern
University of Pennsylvania, BA, 1989
University of Virginia, Commerce, 1994
University of Virginia, Education/GSAS, Ph.D., 1996
As the first chair of the IDEA Fund, Tierney led the development of our first “Big Idea” – recognizing the University’s historical relationship to slavery. Tierney now serves on the President’s Commission on Slavery and the University (PCSU) as the IDEA Fund’s representative and chairs the External Partners working group.
Tierney holds a BA from the University of Pennsylvania (Class of ’89), an MBA from the UVa Darden School of Business, and a Ph.D. from the UVa Graduate School of Arts and Sciences and Curry School of Education. Professionally, Tierney has worked in the education reform arena for 20 years, focusing on leadership development and school turnarounds. She worked for 10 years at United Technologies in community relations and training and development, and in 2003 became the founding executive director of the Darden/Curry Partnership for Leaders in Education at UVa. Tierney consults and speaks nationally and her writing has appeared in The Washington Post and Education Week. In 2011, she co-authored The Turnaround Mindset. Tierney and her husband Greg (Darden ’92) recently co-founded Resilience Education, a nonprofit organization that brings university quality educational programs to under-served populations. With Darden MBA students, alumni and community volunteers, they currently deliver a suite of entrepreneurship and financial literacy courses in two Charlottesville area prisons.
At UVa, Tierney led the Business Women’s Forum at Darden (now GWIB) and received the Hyde Award while completing a dual MBA and Ph.D. in Education. She is a member of the Raven Society. Tierney, Greg, and their three children Naia, Cole, and Jude live in Charlottesville.
University of Virginia, CLAS, BA, 1993
Howard University School of Law, JD, 1997
Stephanie is Senior Counsel in the Reinsurance, Claims, and Group Benefits Law Group c. At The Hartford, Stephanie is the co-chair of the Attraction & Retention Committee of the Black Insurance Professional Network (BIPN), as well as a member of the Group Benefits Diversity and Inclusion Council, the Professional Women’s Network, and the Law & Communications Department Diversity Committee.
Prior to joining The Hartford, she worked in Washington, DC as a law clerk for the Chief Judge of the Superior Court of the District of Columbia, at Arnold & Porter, LLP, and at Howard University in Washington, DC. Stephanie is a graduate of the University of Virginia and Howard University School of Law.
Stephanie is also active in the community as a member of the Board of Directors of the George W. Crawford Black Bar Association of Connecticut, a member of the Connecticut Racial Profiling Prohibition Project Advisory Board (Systems & Process and Training Working Groups), serving as a teacher for the Junior Achievement Business Ethics Program, and a volunteer for Hartford Stage and TheaterWorks.
In her spare time, Stephanie enjoys cooking and being involved in the arts community in Connecticut.
Managing Advisor, Sugaer Business Advisors
Chair Emeritus, University of Virginia IDEA Fund
Management Consultant and Corporate Executive
Center for Strategic Business Integrity – Certified Board Advisor™
Mr. Logan is Managing Advisor, Arlington, Va-based Sugaer Business Advisors. He advises on both sell-side and buy-side transactions including commercial due diligence, valuation, deal structuring support, and negotiation. He often advises clients on growth strategies as a means to increase enterprise value prior to sale.
Previously as Chair, UVA IDEA Fund, he led the organization & strategy of this 10-yr old Alumni fund which augments the University’s investments in programs and resources to create a more inclusive and vibrant community. He was primarily responsible for working with University administration in identifying and prioritizing initiatives for investment from the fund. He was also responsible for overseeing fund development, determining strategies to raise funds from University alums through direct giving as well as through corporate fundraising.
His management consulting and corporate experience includes MarketBridge, Accenture, Coopers & Lybrand; industry roles with GTE, CSX Fiber Networks, and Espire Communications. Functional experience in marketing, product management, and growth strategy.
Mr. Logan has earned a coveted certification as a Certified Board Advisor™ recognizing his excellence in professional managerial talents, executive leadership, and Board directorship and advisory. The CBA designation is a capstone certification clearly denoting that the holder is a proven leader with a commitment to taking personal responsibility for competent corporate governance and strategic decision making.
Mr. Logan was awarded a MBA from University of Virginia Darden School and BS, Systems Engineering from UVA.