Kendrick Ashton is a founding member and Managing Director of Perella Weinberg Partners, a boutique financial services firm founded by Joe Perella and Peter Weinberg. From December 2009 until April 2011 he served as Chief Operating Officer of the Firm’s Corporate Advisory Business. Prior to joining Perella Weinberg, Kendrick was an investment banker at Goldman, Sachs & Co., executing large mergers, acquisitions, and debt and equity offerings across a broad range of industries. Kendrick also gained legal experience at the law firms of Cravath, Swaine & Moore; and Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz.
Kendrick received a Juris Doctorate from the University of Chicago Law School, where he was a Merit Scholar and the Earl Dickerson Public Service Scholar, and a Master of Business Administration from the University of Chicago Graduate School of Business, where he was also a
Prior to entering the University of Chicago, Kendrick served as Deputy Press Secretary of Steve Forbes’s presidential campaign (1999 – 2000) and as a Congressional Aide to Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton of Washington, D.C.
Kendrick received his A.B in International Relations – Political Economics from the College of William and Mary in 1998, where he was a member of the Dean’s List, an all-conference cornerback and received the William and Mary Quarterback Club’s President’s Award, the John Kratzer Memorial Award for Exemplary Courage, Self-Sacrifice, Leadership and Spirit, and the Benjamin Stoddert Ewell Award for Outstanding Leadership in Campus and Community Activities and for Service and Contribution to the College. In 2009, the Board of Directors of the College’s Alumni Association awarded Kendrick the Young Alumni Service Award for his service and commitment to William and Mary.
A fifth generation Washingtonian, Kendrick is a member of the Board of Visitors of the College of William & Mary; an Emeritus Trustee of the College of William & Mary Foundation; a Trustee of
the National Urban League; Co-founder, Board Member and Treasurer of Urban Prep Charter Academy for Young Men (Illinois’s first all-boys charter school); and Chairman of the Board of the Dance Theatre of Harlem.
Tina V. Fernandez is currently the director of the newly established Pro Bono Program at the University of Texas School of Law, whose vision is that UT Law students engage in pro bono work to increase access to justice and develop a lifetime commitment to providing legal services to those in need. Ms. Fernandez is also a member of the UT Law legal research and writing faculty.
Prior to serving in this capacity, she was the managing director of Alumni Engagement and Infrastructure for Teach For America, a national nonprofit dedicated to closing the achievement gap in this country. In that role, she worked to engage Teach For America’s then 14,000 alumni through fundraising and volunteer recruitment. During her tenure, Teach For America engaged a record percentage of alumni — over 40 percent in 2009. Prior to joining Teach For America’s staff, she was the associate director of career services at the University of Texas School of Law. In this position, she worked primarily with students interested in pursuing public interest legal careers and served on the national board of PSLawnet, a national clearinghouse of public interest organizations and opportunities.
From 1999 to 2004, Ms. Fernandez worked as a litigation associate at Fulbright & Jaworski LLP. During that time, she handled several pro bono cases, representing indigent women in divorce cases and children in abuse and neglect cases. She also served on the firm’s diversity committee. She earned her J.D. from Columbia University School of Law where she was a recipient of a Human Rights Fellowship Award. She was also a member of the Human Rights Law Journal and contributed to A Jailhouse Lawyer’s Manual, a handbook of legal rights for incarcerated individuals.
Before attending law school, she was a Teach For America ’94 corps member and spent two years as a bilingual elementary teacher in the South Bronx. She graduated from Harvard University in 1994 and is from the Rio Grande Valley. She currently serves as chair of the Teach For America Austin Alumni Association and vice-chair of the Hispanic Bar Association of Austin Charitable Foundation. She is also a founding member of FuturoFund Austin, a philanthropic organization dedicated to supporting nonprofits that have an impact on Latino communities in Central Texas.
Grace Heintz is a partner in the Boston office having begun her career with Bain as a summer associate in 1997 after graduating from Wharton Business School.
Since starting at Bain, Grace has worked on a variety of industries, but has focused on consumer products over the last few years. Within consumer products, Grace has worked on strategy and performance improvement projects including supply chain restructuring and premium segment growth development. In addition, Grace spent two years as a manager in Bain’s Private Equity Group performing due diligence on consumer and industrial product targets for private equity clients.
Prior to joining Bain, Grace was an equity capital markets analyst at Donaldson, Lufkin & Jenrette, were she was responsible for marketing and pricing new issues in the equity market. Prior to DLJ, Grace worked for Kidder, Peabody & Co. as a corporate finance analyst in the Leverage Buy-out Group.
Grace earned her MBA from the Wharton School in 1998 with a concentration in finance. She is also a graduate of Trinity College in Hartford, Connecticut, where she earned a degree in economics and legal studies.
In her spare time, Grace enjoys golf, wine, and spending time with her husband and two children on the beach.
Kim Smith Kim Smith is CEO and founder of the Pahara Institute, a national nonprofit that aims to identify, strengthen, and sustain diverse high-potential leaders who are transforming public education. Its programs, including the Pahara-Aspen Education Fellowship (previously the Aspen-NewSchools Entrepreneurial Leaders for Public Education Fellowship), are designed to identify seasoned leaders in education reform, and through a time-tested dialogue approach, strengthen, and sustain their efforts to bring about transformational improvements in our public schools – especially those in under-served communities. She is widely recognized as an innovative and entrepreneurial leader in education, and was featured in Newsweek’s report on the “Women of the 21st Century” as “the kind of woman who will shape America’s new century.”
Immediately prior to the Pahara Institute, Kim was co-founder of Bellwether Education Partners, a non-profit organization working to improve educational outcomes for low-income students. Earlier in her career she served as a founding team member at Teach For America, created and led an AmeriCorps program for community-based leaders in education, managed a business start-up and completed a brief stint in early online learning at Silicon Graphics. After completing her M.B.A. at Stanford University, she co-founded and led NewSchools Venture Fund, a philanthropy focused on transforming public education through social entrepreneurship, where she helped to catalyze a new, bipartisan, cross-sector community of entrepreneurial change agents for public education.
Ms. Smith has helped to incubate numerous education and social change organizations and has served on a range of boards, which currently include those of Pahara, Bellwether, NewSchools, Rocketship Education, and ROADS Charter Schools. She has authored or co-authored a number of publications about innovation and social entrepreneurial change in education, including “What Is Educational Entrepreneurship?,” “Social Purpose Capital Markets in K–12,” “Creating Responsive Supply in Education,” “Innovation in Education: Problems and Opportunities,” “Encouraging Social Innovation Through Capital: Using Technology to Address Barriers,” “Pull and Push: Strengthening Demand for Innovation in Education,” “Supporting and Scaling Change: Lessons from the First Round of the Investing in Innovation (i3) Program,” and “Steering Capital: Optimizing Financial Support for Innovation in Public Education.” She is a Henry Crown Fellow at the Aspen Institute and a member of the Aspen Global Leadership Network. She is based in the San Francisco Bay Area, where she lives with her husband and two daughters.
Sid Smith is the founder and president of SRS Counsel, P.C., a solo law practice that provides virtual general counsel services on a range of corporate and transactional matters. He serves as general counsel to Syncom Venture Partners, a leading media and communications venture firm, and the National Association of Investment Companies, the leading trade association for investors in ethnically diverse companies.
Prior to founding SRS Counsel, Mr. Smith practiced for almost 14 years at the law firms of K&L Gates and Cooley Godward Kronish LLP. Most recently, he was a partner in the corporate and securities group at K&L Gates. Before becoming an attorney, he was Assistant for External Affairs for New Jersey Governor James J. Florio and prior to that he was Special Assistant for Intergovernmental Affairs for New Jersey Congressman Robert G. Torricelli.
He is active in many organizations dedicated to service in the areas of education and economic development. He currently serves on the board of directors of the University of the District of Columbia, David A. Clarke School of Law Foundation and is co-chair of the Multicultural Affairs Committee on the Phillips Academy, Andover Alumni Council. He has been involved with the Greater Washington Division of the National Foundation for Teaching Entrepreneurship (NFTE) for over a decade, serving as outside general counsel and as advisory board chair. He is also a charter member of The Marathon Club, an organization focused on increasing investment of capital into businesses with significant minority ownership or management. In addition, he has chaired the Greater Reston Chamber of Commerce Incubator Advisory Board and has served as a commissioner on the Virginia Governor’s Commission on Minority Business Enterprise.
Mr. Smith graduated with a B.A. in English from Yale, where he was a member of the varsity basketball team, and received his J.D. from the University of Virginia School of Law. He is also a graduate of Phillips Academy, Andover.
Mary K. Wells is a co-founder and managing partner at Bellwether Education Partners, a non-profit organization working to improve educational outcomes for low-income students. Ms. Wells leads the Strategic Advising practice within Bellwether, which focuses on supporting education reform organizations with growth strategy, assessing partnership opportunities, market assessment, business planning, organizational development, and implementation planning. Recent clients include The Achievement Network, Teach Plus, New Haven Public Schools, and the Charles Sposato Graduate School of Education (launched by MATCH).
Ms. Wells has worked as a private sector consultant, an investor, and a nonprofit executive. From 2005 to 2007, she designed, launched, and managed the Texas Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (T-STEM) Initiative for the Texas High School Project. T-STEM is a $71 million initiative to improve the quality of math and science education in Texas and to expand the pipeline of highly skilled employees qualified for careers in the economy of the 21st century. She also managed the New Schools portfolio for the Texas High School Project, which included investments in high-performing charter schools and school developers.
Ms. Wells brings extensive experience from the private sector. She was a manager and consultant with Bain & Company, where she worked primarily with Fortune 500 companies on growth strategy, new business development, and post-merger integration issues. She was with Bain & Company for over seven years. During that time, she advised Boston Public Schools on the creation and implementation of small learning communities within their comprehensive high schools on a pro bono basis. She holds a B.A. from Harvard University and an M.B.A. from Stanford University.