Leadership

Board of Directors

Headshot of Gregg Cohen

Sarah Bishins

Sarah Bishins is a graduate of Boston University where she received both her BA and MA. Sarah worked at Houghton Mifflin Company for over 20 years and most currently she switched careers to open a fitness franchise in the Massachusetts market growing the area with her husband and business partner. Sarah has actively volunteered and donated her expertise to several non-profit organizations including Boston Children’s Hospital, Teen Empowerment, The Carroll School and The Nativity Preparatory School. Sarah served on the Board of the Children’s Hospital League from 2004-2014. A proud mother of two, Sarah shares her hopes and dreams for equitable education access for all.

Headshot of Gregg Cohen

Gregg Cohen (Executive Committee)

Gregg Cohen is a graduate of Union College and received his MBA from Babson College. In 2003, Gregg founded and has led Campus Bound, a company supporting students through the college admissions journey. The company has partnered with non-profit organizations to make support available to low-income families. As part of his role, he has personally assisted thousands of families through the complicated financial aid process. His passion for assisting families with navigating the various ways to reduce the cost of college has allowed for students to save tens of thousands of dollars, decrease debt and increase choice. Gregg has appeared in multiple media outlets and is a frequent presenter on the topic.

Headshot of Zoe Umeh

Wendy Kohler

Wendy Kohler is a graduate of Vassar College and earned her EdD from the University of Massachusetts/Amherst.  For 32 years she worked in increasing positions of responsibility for the Amherst-Pelham Regional School District serving as an English and social studies teacher, Social Studies Department Chair for grades 7-12, Junior High School Principal, and finally as the Executive Director for Curriculum and Program Development for the regional school district.  For several years, Wendy taught education and psychology courses at The University of Massachusetts/Amherst as well as at Smith College and Westfield State University. Wendy’s commitment to promote equity and opportunity for all students spans both her professional and volunteer work, from the start of her career to the present time. These efforts include her role as Program Administrator for the Pipeline Scholars Program (a partnership between Amherst College and the local public schools providing tutoring and mentorship to close the “opportunity gap” and her work as President of Board of Directors of Amherst A Better Chance, where she also chaired Student Affairs Committee.

Headshot of Zoe Umeh

Scott Mahoney, MBA, Principal

Scott is a Principal within PwC’s Operations Transformation Consulting practice with over 24 years of healthcare industry experience in the biopharmaceutical and medical device/diagnostics sectors. Within PwC, Scott serves as the Operations Transformation Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DE&I) Leader and supports the Product Development and Manufacturing (PD&M) Team recruiting efforts for industry hires, sMBA and undergraduate talent.

Prior to joining PwC, Scott worked for Genzyme Corporation, a Cambridge Massachusetts biotechnology company, focusing on manufacturing and operations optimization. Scott graduated from Yale University with a Bachelor of Science in biology. He also received a Master of Business Administration from the University of Michigan, where he concentrated in operations and corporate strategy.

Matthew Malatesta

Matt Malatesta is Vice President for Admissions, Financial Aid and Enrollment at Union College in Schenectady, NY. He has been in that position for fourteen years. Prior to this, he worked at Hamilton College, both in admissions and as Director of Financial Aid. As a first-generation college student himself, Matt understands the importance of financial aid. Both colleges he has worked at are committed to meeting the full financial need of admitted students and work to help students from a range of socio-economic backgrounds attend. He is passionate about helping students realize the transformational aspect of a college education, while understanding the details and importance of investment in their futures. Prior to working in higher education, as the father of three, with two currently in college, he has seen the process close-up in recent years. Matt graduated Union in 1991 as a Managerial Economics and received his Masters in Teaching degree from there in 1992.

Lex Mongo

Lex Mongo is a Roxbury, Ma native. Currently a teacher and Director of Basketball Operations at the Dexter Southfield school. He also self published the top selling children’s book, “Little Big Dreamers.” He cares passionately about the community so in 2019, in memory of his cousin, he established the For TJ Foundation which is a non-profit community based organization. In 2015, he founded iHoop Academy, a basketball skills and drills company to help student-athletes propel on and off the court.

Charles O'Hearn

Charlie is a graduate of Yale University where he received his BA in Math and Economics. In 1988, while a senior at Yale, he founded Summit Educational Group which has become one of the premier tutoring and test preparation companies in the country.  After 34 years, Summit was sold in 2022. Charlie served on the board of BUILD, a non-profit organization that helps youth in under-resourced communities build career success, entrepreneurial mindsets, and opportunity through entrepreneurship. Currently, he serves as a Mentor for SCORE, helping young entrepreneurs with various elements of starting and running a business, and he works as a part-time caretaker for Seniors Helping Seniors, an organization that provides companionship and in-home care to seniors with various forms of dementia. He is a very happy husband and proud father of two teenage girls.

Polly Ross Ribatt (Executive Committee)

Polly Ross Ribatt is a graduate of Haverford College where she majored in History with a concentration in Growth & Structure of Cities at Bryn Mawr College. She is also a graduate of the University of Chicago Booth Graduate School of Business where she majored in Finance and Marketing. After a decade working in for profit companies in consulting and life sciences, Polly has dedicated herself to not for profit clients like The Rashi School in Dedham along with academic work at both Harvard Business School and Tufts University. She has been a passionate, hands-on volunteer college planner for Beacon Academy along with other low income and first generation students seeking higher education.

Board of Advisors

Jillian O'Neil

Jillian O’Neil is a graduate from Boston College, where she doubled majored in Human Development and Communications. She earned her Master of Arts in School Counseling from Boston College and is a licensed school counselor and principal in Massachusetts. Over the last ten years, Jillian has served as a school counselor, Dean of Students, Assistant Principal, and Principal working with students in grades PreK-12 at various private schools throughout the state. As a high school Principal, Jillian had the wonderful opportunity to work directly with College Affordable and it ignited her passion to continue to help students access resources to make affording college a possibility. 

Lori Packer

Lori Packer holds a business degree from the University of Phoenix. As an advocate of culture and people, Lori has dedicated the last two-plus decades to Harvard Bioscience, advocating for continual improvement in her broad responsibilities in human resources and administration. Lori enjoys spending time with her family and has served many rewarding roles in non profit organizations.

Marc Rysman, Ph.D.

Marc Rysman is a Professor of Economics at Boston University. He received his Ph.D. in Economics from the University of Wisconsin at Madison in 1999. Rysman’s research focuses on industrial organization and competition, and the related issues of antitrust and regulation. In particular, he specializes in issues of network effects, platform markets, standardization and compatibility. He has worked on a variety of industries, such as financial markets, telecommunication, payment cards, consumer electronics and Yellow Pages directories.

Headshot of Zoe Umeh

Zoe Umeh

Zoe Umeh graduated Beacon Academy in 2018 completing an extra year of high school preparation to expand her educational opportunities. After Beacon, she enrolled in the Nobles and Greenough school in Dedham Massachusetts. She graduated in 2022 and is currently a first-year student at Barnard College in New York City. Zoe noticed the disparity in navigating the college process between students requiring financial aid and those who did not. Zoe has joined College Affordable to help the path toward higher education be more accessible and equitable for all.

Executive Director

Headshot of Brian Gardiner

Brian Gardiner (Executive Director)

Brian Gardiner is a graduate of Wesleyan University where he majored in Economics. He is also a graduate of Babson College with a Masters of Business Administration (MBA) with a concentration in Entrepreneurship. He worked for Haemonetics Corporation for twenty five years with various roles and experience in Finance, Services and Marketing and most recently was COO of GetTrained Inc. He has been actively involved in variety of not for profit organizations for over 30 years.

Director of Financial Aid

Lynette has worked in financial aid and student services offices since 2007. Through roles at Emmanuel College, American University, Suffolk University, and the University of Maryland System, she has acquired in-depth knowledge of the full financial aid process and intricacies involved in completing applications and appeals.