We come from many backgrounds. Our shared goal: Helping you succeed.
The Ground Team
We're your admissions specialists, your academic coaches, your advisors, and your do-whatever-it-takes'ers.
Shilpa Bhongir — Coach & program strategist
As a Coach and Program Strategist, Shilpa is responsible for coaching fellows and supporting the program design at Concourse. Shilpa brings experience supporting entrepreneurs through global startup programs, particularly focused on expanding access to mentorship and funding for female entrepreneurs and social businesses. In addition, she has worked with various nonprofits on programs addressing women’s rights and education. Shilpa has a BA from Occidental College and is a native of LA.
Eli Bildner - Co-Founder
Eli's experience spans entrepreneurship, philanthropy, and politics. As an early employee at Coursera, Eli helped lead the company's international expansion, growing the platform to a million Chinese users in just over a year. Eli has also consulted on housing policy for the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, and on education for Bloomberg Philanthropies.
Eli has a BA from Yale, and an MBA from Stanford's Graduate School of Business. He was a Fulbright scholar in China, and speaks Mandarin and Spanish.
Tanesha McGowan - Admissions Lead
Tanesha is our admissions & financial aid guru, helping lead recruiting, admissions, and fellow onboarding.
Previously, Tanesha led admissions for Year Up Bay Area — a non-profit training program for young adults between the ages of 18-24. Tanesha is also a graduate of Year Up, and is currently working toward her college degree through College for America (Concourse's degree partner). Tanesha is a Bay Area native, and aspires to continue to find ways to give back to her community.
Iris Jong — Director of Program Design & Lead Coach
As our Director of Program Design & Lead Coach, Iris helps shape Concourse’s strategy while also coaching Concourse fellows.
Iris is a nonprofit strategist, former consultant, and comics artist. After working at Deloitte and Sony in LA, Iris joined the team at Year Up Bay Area, where she managed strategic projects, coached students, and led a new site launch. Iris is a graduate of Pomona College, where she was involved in organizing the LGBTQ and Asian American communities. Iris is also a cofounder of Comic Arts Los Angeles.
Jeff Manassero - Co-founder
Jeff is an educator and school leader who has spent his career preparing low-income, first-generation college students for higher education. During his recent tenure as Academic Dean at Leadership Public Schools - Richmond, the school rose to be ranked 18th out of over 2,500 California public schools, and was placed in the top 1% of high schools nationwide.
Jeff earned his BA at UC Berkeley, an MS in Urban Education at the UPenn, and an MA in Educational Leadership from UC Berkeley.
Maria Ortega — Office Manager & Community Outreach Coordinator
As Concourse’s office manager and Community Outreach Coordinator, Maria helps manage our Richmond microcampus, while also working to support our fellows through events and access to resources.
Maria is also herself a Concourse fellow, and is earning her BA in Management from College for America. Maria has lived in Richmond for most of her life, and previously worked in a variety of roles in the food industry, from barista to supervisor. Maria is a native Spanish speaker.
Claire Fisher — Entrepreneur-in-Residence
Claire is a Fellow at Stanford GSB’s Center for Social Innovation, and is working to build a career-connected public school in the Bay Area. Previously, Claire was a Teach For America corps member in New Orleans, where she taught high school math and served as a grade-level dean. Claire has also worked for Charter School Growth Fund and was an Education Pioneer.
Claire earned her BA from Stanford, her joint MBA and MA from Stanford, and her MAT from Relay Graduate School of Education
Board of Directors
Our board members combine deep experience in education, college access, business, and philanthropy.
Ted Williams: Ted Williams is Managing Partner at Springbok Partners, an investment firm which provides seed capital and consulting in the financial service industry. Ted is also a founding board member of the BASIC Fund, the former CEO and Board Chair of Summer Search National, and a former Big Brother at the San Francisco Juvenile Probation Center. Ted lives in Marin County with his wife Lisa and three children.
John Philip Coghlan: John Coghlan is Executive Chairman of Life360, a location-sharing app keeping families connected and protected, former President and CEO of Visa USA, and former Vice Chairman of the Charles Schwab Corporation. John is a board member of the Glide Foundation; former board chair at KIPP Bay Area; and a former founding board member of Friends of the Children/San Francisco Bay Area.
Lauren Dutton: Lauren Dutton is a consultant to educational nonprofits and foundations, and was previously a partner at NewSchools Venture Fund. Lauren also served as the first director of new site development for City Year, as the founding executive director for Teach for America in Oakland, and as a management consultant with Bain & Company. Lauren was a 2007 inaugural fellow in the Pahara-Aspen Educational Fellowship, and has served as board chair for KIPP Bay Area Schools and as a national board member for Peer Health Exchange.
We're grateful to have the support of a team of top-notch advisors with experience in college access, community development, higher education, and beyond.