Board of Directors
Ruchi first became involved with Minds Matter in 2011, when she was a mentor in the New York City chapter. As a recipient of education philanthropy, Ruchi is a firm believer that education access should not be based on a child's zip code. Over the years, Ruchi has advised education based non-profits in New York and Seattle on mission-driven strategy, fundraising and community partnerships. At Minds Matter, she is focused on developing a scalable strategy for the organization's community and corporate partnership efforts. Ruchi currently works in Amazon Fashion on Growth Strategy. Prior to this, she was a Senior Consultant within the Strategy & Analytics practice at Deloitte Consulting in Seattle. She also spent seven years building a career in revenue strategy in the institutional finance industry in New York. Ruchi holds a BA (Hons) from Middlebury College and an MBA from the Foster School of Business at University of Washington. She currently lives in Seattle with her husband and 4-year old goldendoodle, Simba. Outside of work, Ruchi enjoys traveling, boxing, interior design and baking - she hopes to open her own bakery someday!
Marée, known as M, joined Minds Matter in 2015 as a mentor in the New York City chapter (2015-2018) and more recently as a Board member in the Seattle chapter (2021). M is currently a Manager of Account Management at Amazon Fashion. Prior to Amazon, she specialized in leading digital transformation as a Management Consultant at PwC. M holds an MBA from Kellogg School of Management, M.S. in Design Innovation from McCormick School of Engineering and Applied Science, and B.A. in International Relations Global Business from University of Southern California. She recently moved to the Wallingford neighborhood of Seattle with her husband, Eric, and Yorkie, Teddy.
Sonali is a Data Scientist in the Advanced Analytics department at Seattle Cancer Care Alliance. She has also worked as a Senior Clinical Data Scientist at Virginia Mason Medical Center. Healthcare Data Science is a field that uses quantitative and analytical techniques to impact human lives very directly. This is the perfect nexus where Sonali likes to be. She has a Ph.D. in Physics, a Masters in Mathematics, and a silver medal from the Indian Institute of Technology. Prior to her transition into healthcare, Sonali worked in the academic sector, conducting research in Particle Physics and teaching at Hamline University, St. Paul, and at Seattle University.
Sonali has always enjoyed volunteering, including at Japanese and botanical gardens, as a judge at Science fairs, and as an Executive Board member at the Association for India's Development. Sonali believes that volunteering enriches a person as much as a volunteer contributes to an organization, and is excited to begin her journey with Minds Matter. On the personal side, Sonali loves to travel, paint, and best of all, share both silly and profound moments with her son.
Sara began her career in education as an elementary student, marching alongside her mother for education reform. Trained as a family therapist and later supporting youth and family empowerment through college and career access programs, Sara excitedly accepted the invitation to join the Minds Matter Seattle team. With a lens toward equity-driven, culturally relevant practice, Sara hopes to bring her dynamic personal and professional experiences to support our dedicated volunteers, scholars and families. Sara currently serves as Director of Human Resources for a local school district, and holds a BA from Washington State University, and Masters from Lewis & Clark College.
Forrest has been a mentor with Minds Matter since 2014, and is currently acting as the Board Liaison. Forrest was born and raised in Franconia, a small town in the White Mountains of New Hampshire. Forrest has an undergraduate degree in Physics from Princeton University, and a Phd. in Neuroscience and Molecular Biology also from Princeton. He was a postdoctoral fellow at Stanford University before moving to Seattle to work at the Allen Institute for Brain Science, where he is currently an Assistant Investigator. His research presently focuses on the patterns of how different neuronal cell types in the brain connect with one another.
Steven E. Kern, PhD is Deputy Director of Quantitative Sciences at the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. The Quantitative Sciences group is focused on quantitative analysis to support program strategies for therapeutic projects that the foundation funds.
Prior to this, he was Global Head of Pharmacology Modeling at Novartis Pharma AG based in Basel Switzerland where he lead a team focused on providing model based drug development support to therapeutics in many disease conditions across all stages of drug development. He joined Novartis in 2010 from the University of Utah in Salt Lake City, Utah where he was Associate Professor of Pharmaceutics, Anesthesiology, and Bioengineering, and served as co-investigator for their NIH funded Pediatric Pharmacology Research Unit. He is married to Jennifer Hughes Kern and has two daughters, Emily (in the picture above) and Jane. When he is not traveling the world working on tropical diseases, he loves to hike, ride his bike, ski, and in a former time play ice hockey. Reading and NY Times Sunday crossword puzzles are also favorite less-active passions.
Amulya Cherala is a Program Manager at Amazon with the Amazon Prime team. As a program manager on the Prime team she works to develop coordination mechanisms with Prime leadership, communicating the status of science roadmaps and projects. Prior to her role with Prime, Amulya was a Business Analyst working with Talent Acquisition Leaders, Recruiters and Recruiting Program Managers to build easy, intuitive products to help her customers make the best recruiting decisions for their businesses.Amulya has worked closely with grassroots youth civic engagement organizations across the Seattle area to get young folks excited about getting involved in their community. In her free time, Amulya mentors transitioning professionals through locally based organizations like We Are Pistachio and through her own professional Linkedin Network. When not at her desk, Amulya can be found doing landscape and wildlife photography, staying active (whether in the gym or outdoors) and trying out new dessert spots in the Seattle area.Amulya holds a BA in Political Science from Trinity University in San Antonio,TX.
Richard joined the Minds Matter Seattle Board in 2021. He is an Investment Associate with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation where he works to evaluate, structure, and manage strategic investments in support of the foundation’s program strategies including K-12 and Postsecondary education. Outside of work he enjoys the great outdoors hiking, rock climbing and trail running as well as cheering on local sports teams. He holds a BSBA in Finance from the University of Miami.