Board of Trustees
Blake's Board of Trustees is charged with ensuring Blake's long-term strength, growth and vitality. The board provides fiduciary, strategic and generative leadership and helps steward the mission and values of the school into the future. The board works closely with the Head of School.
Blake's Board of Trustees for the 2021-22 School Year
Amy Saldanha, Chair, is founder and CEO of Kiddywampus, a specialty toy retailer and art studio located in Hopkins. She has practiced law as a civil litigator in Chicago, followed by positions in operations and talent management at several digital startups. She graduated from Gustavus Adolphus College with a B.A. in political science and speech communications. She holds a social sciences degree in political philosophy from the University of Kent in Canterbury, England. She earned her J.D. from Valparaiso School of Law.
Chad Abraham serves as CEO of Piper Jaffray and is a member of the firm's board of directors. He joined Piper Sandlar Companies in 1991 as an investment banking analyst and served for 13 years on the West Coast as a banker in the technology investment banking group. In 1999, he became managing director and head of technology investment banking. In 2005, he became head of capital markets and in 2010, he became the global co-head of investment banking and capital markets. Chad serves on the board of the Minnesota, South Dakota and North Dakota chapter of the Nature Conservancy. He received a bachelor's degree in economics and political science from Northwestern University.
Neil Bizily is a senior portfolio manager at Thrivent Asset Management in the high yield and leveraged loan group. His past work experience includes positions in private equity with Madison Dearborn Partners in Chicago and in investment banking with Deutsche Bank in New York. He previously served on the board of advisors for Arete Academy, an independent school supporting students who learn differently. He holds a B.A. in economics from Cornell University and an M.B.A. from the University of Chicago Booth School of Business.
Mosi Bennett is a partner and senior consulting cardiologist specializing in heart failure and transplantation at the Minneapolis Heart Institute. Before joining the group in 2013, he trained in cardiovascular medicine and advanced heart failure at the Cleveland Clinic. He completed his Internal Medicine residency at Johns Hopkins Hospital, received a B.A. and B.A.S. from the University of Pennsylvania, and M.D. and Ph.D. degrees in the Medical Scientist Training Program at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine.
Jason Bowles, Vice Chair, is a senior vice president and financial advisor for RBC Wealth Management. Before joining the company in 2000, he worked for the Pillsbury Company and Freddie Mac as a financial analyst. He earned his B.A. from James Madison University in Virginia and his M.B.A. from the University of Texas at Austin.
Richard Higgins, Officer Emeritus, is an estate-planning attorney in his firm, Higgins Estate Law, PLLC, which he opened after graduating from William Mitchell College of Law. He attended the Hotchkiss School in Lakeville, Connecticut, and earned a B.A. in history from Cornell University and an M.A. in teaching from the University of St. Thomas. He has taught social studies and coached football and boys' lacrosse at Benilde-St. Margaret's School. He serves as board president for Gracie's Room, a nonprofit that designs rooms for children with life-threatening and chronic illnesses. He serves as treasurer and board member for Bearstangs Club Girls' Lacrosse for Blake and Breck.
Colleen May, Treasurer, is the global managing director for Cargill Texturizers and Specialties. She began her career as a commodity merchant and has held a variety of merchandising and commercial leadership positions at Cargill. She is a member of Cargill's Commodity Risk Committee and serves on the board of directors of the Cargill Foundation. Colleen earned a B.A. from St. Olaf College in chemistry and economics.
William (Bill) Miller is a partner and leads the Upper Midwest Assurance practice at Ernst & Young (EY), where he has worked since 1989. He has led EY's Upper Midwest Strategic Growth Markets practice and the firm's Entrepreneur of the Year program. He currently serves on the board of directors for the Minnesota Orchestra and previously served on the board of directors for the Washburn Center for Children. He served for eight years, including five as treasurer and one as president, on the board of directors for the Minikahda Club. Bill earned a B.A. in business administration with an emphasis in accounting from the University of St. Thomas.
Kevin Myren is CFO at the American Academy of Neurology. Prior to that, he was CFO and vice president of CommonBond, the largest nonprofit provider of affordable housing in the upper midwest. He has served as CFO at Augsburg College and CFO at Madison Area Technical College and for various firms as a certified public accountant. Kevin earned his B.A. from the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire.
Hema Nealon is principal, CFO and COO at Peregrine Capital Management. Previously, she worked as vice president at Nuveen Investments and as a founding member of Clean Technology and Industrials Group at Piper Jaffray. Prior to moving to the U.S., she worked at United Technologies and HCL Corporation in Singapore and India. She received a B.S. from the University of Madras in India and an M.B.A. from Harvard Business School. Hema serves on the board of trustees of the Nature Conservancy of Minnesota and has served on the board of directors of the Minnesota Children's Museum. She is an interviewer for Harvard College.
David Oxford is a partner at Game-Mill Publishing. He has held various leadership positions in the video gaming industry, most recently serving as executive vice president and as general manager of publishing for Activision Blizzard. He is an advisor to several technology companies and serves on the boards of for-profit and non-profit entities. He earned a B.A. in economics from the University of North Dakota.
Meredith Ross is an interior designer specializing in residential commissions with a focus on 20th century decorative arts and design. Prior to moving to Minneapolis, she was an executive producer for VH1, credited with creating many of the network's defining TV series, such as I Love The 80s and Where Are They Now?. As a documentary television producer, Meredith was nominated for a NY Emmy for a teen-oriented, weekly PBS series. She was actively involved with teen outreach in schools across the country and co-chaired the Go Project, an education based nonprofit in New York City. Meredith earned her Bachelor’s degree in English Writing from Northwestern University.
Molly Simmons is a partner with McFarland Partners, where she is focused on business advisory and private capital investments for large families and founder-owned businesses. Her past career work includes private equity fund partner roles at Tonka Bay Equity and Gemini Investors, focused on growth capital and buyouts, as well as investment management at a large single family office, Pohlad Companies. She has served on the boards of over 20 public and private companies across diverse industries, along with the boards of industry associations such as Association for Corporate Growth and Small Business Investors Alliance. Molly also serves on the board of Microgrants. She earned a B.S. in education and social policy from Northwestern University and an M.B.A. from Harvard Business School.
Christopher (Chris) Smith, Secretary, is president and CEO of Kipsu, a technology company he co-founded in 2010. He has worked as a venture capitalist with Coral Ventures, an associate with IBM's venture capital group and a consulting manager with Accenture. He co-chaired and co-founded Minnesota Comeback, a nonprofit addressing the educational achievement gap in Minneapolis. He has served on the board of advisors of the School of Information Studies at Syracuse University and on boards for a number of for-profit venture-backed technology companies in Silicon Valley. He received a B.S. from Syracuse University and an M.B.A. from the University of California at Berkeley's Haas School of Business, where he was an IBM Venture Fellow.
Anne Stavney, President, has served as Head of School at Blake since 2012. She came to Blake from the Lakeside School (her alma mater), where she served in several leadership roles, including assistant head of school. At Blake, she has led the school in a successful $80 million comprehensive campaign; overseen six capital projects including a new science wing, entry hall and dining commons; developed a global immersion program and a computer science program; and significantly revised the school’s curricula in world languages, literacy, mathematics and humanities. She serves on the board for the Children’s Theatre Company of Minnesota and chairs its Education Committee, and is a member of the Accreditation Review Committee for the Independent Schools Association of Central States. She holds a B.A. in government from Smith College and a B.A., M.A. and Ph.D. in English from the University of Washington.
Kweli Thompson is vice president and general manager for Medtronic Cardiac Resynchronization Therapies. His previous roles at Medtronic include: vice president of clinical affairs for the cardiac and vascular group; head of the global marketing organization for endovascular therapies; vice president and director of global clinical research for coronary and peripheral business; and business development associate for the neurological and diabetes operating segment. Kweli completed a Doctor of Medicine and Masters of Public Health in a combined degree program at Harvard Medical School and the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. He earned an M.B.A. from Harvard Business School and a B.A. in Chemistry from Harvard College.
Mary Sue Vorbrich, Parent Association Liaison, is founder and owner of solVo, LLC, a provider of mediation and arbitration services for commercial disputes. She previously was a shareholder and trial lawyer at Fabyanske, Westra and Hart P.A. in Minneapolis. She lived in Japan for five years where she studied Japanese, architecture, culture, religions and taught English. She serves on the board of trustees for the Minnesota, South Dakota and North Dakota chapter of the Nature Conservancy and is on the Vestry (board of directors) at St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church in Edina. She has a B.A. from Albion College in philosophy and political science and is a graduate of the Ford Institute of Public Policy. She earned a J.D. from the University of Michigan Law School.
Adebisi "Bisi" Wilson '97 is a partner at Ward & Wilson, P.C., a firm that focuses on neutral investigations, family law and litigation. Prior to Ward & Wilson, she was vice president of Innocent Technologies, an organization that enhances student-teacher relationships to close the achievement gap and worked as a litigator at Blackwell Burke P.A., where she practiced product liability, toxic tort, commercial and other litigation. She is experienced in education, affirmative action compliance and has developed training, spoken at conferences and authored articles on diversity in the workplace. She is president and co-founder of the Minnesota Mother Attorneys Association. Bisi holds a B.A. from the University of Minnesota and a J.D. from New York Law School.