Entering a new era with ScholarMatch’s Board of Directors

ScholarMatch
6 min readJun 14, 2024

--

As a student-centric organization committed to educational equity, ScholarMatch strives to foster a diverse community of supporters who can relate to and uphold our mission at every level.

Our Board of Directors reflects that shared commitment by drawing upon the expertise of its members who come to ScholarMatch from diverse professional and cultural backgrounds.

These members serve to advance our critical work of supporting first-generation college students as they get to and through college.

As we expand our work and enter a new chapter in ScholarMatch’s history, we’re excited to welcome four new board members who will contribute their time and skills to ensure the organization’s long-term success. Meet our new board members below.

Steve Bennet

Steve Benner

“As a professor at San Jose State, rated the most transformative college and one of the most diverse, I believe strongly in the ScholarMatch mission. Supporting first-generation students from low-income backgrounds with mentorship and scholarships, not only in the college application process but throughout the college journey, is incredibly important in providing opportunities to all students. I’m excited to help provide opportunities to an even greater number of students as a member of the board.”

Steve Bennet is the founder and managing director of Bodega Partners and an active participant in the Silicon Valley entrepreneurial ecosystem as a start-up CFO, angel investor, and professor.

Over the past 25 years, he has been CFO, investor, and board member of over 100 technology startups, primarily in the software, Internet, and mobile sectors. Steve has a passion for both entrepreneurship and education.

He has taught entrepreneurial finance since 1995 and is currently adjunct faculty at San Jose State University. He focuses on experiential education and has developed new courses at SJSU, including the Entrepreneurship Lab (ELAB), Venture Lab (VLAB), Start-up Founders and Funders, and the Silicon Valley Experience.

At San Jose State University, he has also served on the Steering Committee for the Silicon Valley Center for Entrepreneurship, the Patent Review Board, the Dean’s Advisory Board, and the Spartan Angel Fund. Before that, he was a lecturer at UC Berkeley.

Steve earned a Bachelor of Science in Economics from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania and an MBA from the Anderson School at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA).

Neha Gupta, Esq.

Neha Gupta, Esq.

“All young people deserve the opportunity to achieve their full potential, and access to high-quality education is a critical component of that. From my own lived experiences, I know the transformative impact a great mentor can have in helping students believe in themselves and reach their goals. I am deeply honored to be a part of advancing the ScholarMatch mission to make the dream of college a reality for so many first-generation students. Working with ScholarMatch fills me with hope for a brighter future!”

Neha is a Senior Advisor at the Harvard Kennedy School Government Performance Lab and a Non-Resident Fellow at the Urban Institute. Neha previously served as Associate White House Counsel to President Biden, where she was responsible for driving the Administration’s legal strategy on a portfolio of civil rights and equity policy issues.

She also served as counsel on the Biden-Harris Presidential Transition Team through the 2020 presidential election.

Prior to that, Neha was a Deputy City Attorney at the San Francisco City Attorney’s Office, where she wore several hats as General Counsel to agencies, including the city’s Police Commission and Fire Department; lead litigation counsel in cases challenging city laws; and as a member of the City Attorney’s Affirmative Litigation Task Force.

During her tenure in city government, Neha helped architect and lead legal policy efforts to reform San Francisco’s cash bail system, protect its sanctuary city status, and craft and implement landmark environmental health initiatives.

Neha currently serves on the board of directors for the Northern District of California Historical Society and previously sat on the boards of the American Constitution Society Bay Area Lawyers’ Chapter and Community Legal Services in East Palo Alto.

Neha graduated from Harvard University with a Bachelor of Arts in Social Studies and received her J.D. from Stanford Law School.

Paige DeLacey

Paige DeLacey

“I was introduced to ScholarMatch through its Destined for College program. I am a proud first-year college coach and am now on the board of directors. I have tremendous respect for ScholarMatch’s mission and the rigorous standards we expect our volunteers to uphold. My greatest reward was when my scholar notified me with utmost excitement that she got accepted into her dream college, UC San Diego, this fall. It is very rewarding to see her shine! My goal is to use my skills, experience, and passion to uplift the experiences and voices of our scholars at ScholarMatch.”

With over twenty years of senior human resources leadership experience at premier companies, Paige advises and supports early-stage startups, nonprofits, and high-growth companies with tools and practices to help them achieve their full potential.

Drawing from her diverse background in retail, consumer products, and technology, she leverages her insights and expertise to facilitate scalable solutions that foster healthy cultures and business success.

As a certified coach and a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania’s Master’s program in Applied Positive Psychology, Paige is focused on empowering individuals and organizations with practical ways to increase resilience, establish meaningful goals, and cultivate stronger relationships.

Paige is passionate about young adult well-being and invested in participating in organizations where she can mentor, coach, and provide tools for success in life.

Dr. Gourjoine M. Wade

Dr. Gourjoine M. Wade

“My personal and professional lived experiences have affirmed my belief that educational opportunities are indeed the key to achieving one’s personal and professional success. I am also a living testimony to the value and importance of making higher education accessible to underserved first-generation students from low-income backgrounds. That profile describes me 25 years ago! I am committed to leading and living a life that positively changes the lives of the students I serve, and ScholarMatch provides me with an additional opportunity to do just that!”

Dr. Gourjoine M. Wade is an executive higher education leader currently serving as the Vice President for Student Affairs at Texas Lutheran University and an Adjunct Faculty member at San Antonio College.

A Monroe, Louisiana, native who currently calls San Antonio, Texas, home, Dr. Wade is a high-impact, outcomes-driven student affairs practitioner and digital engagement leader with almost 20 years of higher education experience.

He has dedicated his professional career to finding innovative and strategic ways to expand higher education attainment and retention. Gourjoine is a student-first advocate who continues to foster a sincere passion for serving youth, especially first-generation and HBCU students, traditionally underserved students, and those who were counted out.

Dr. Wade’s leadership philosophy is built around collaborative leadership, authenticity, honesty, transparency, and data-informed decision-making, with students at the center of this work.

Dr. Wade has a Doctor of Education degree in Higher Education, a Master of Science degree in Higher Education with a focus on Student Affairs, and a Bachelor of Public Administration degree with a minor in Political Science.

--

--

ScholarMatch

Connecting Students with the Community to Make College Possible