Chymeka Olfonse, Executive Director
Chymeka Olfonse is the Executive Director of Minds Matter National Inc. Having spent her entire post-college career in the non-profit sector, she joins the organization with a wealth of experience. Chymeka has dedicated her entire professional career to empowering individuals through education. She brings to Minds Matter an entrepreneurial spirit, volunteer management expertise and significant leadership experience in the education sector. She has worked in both programming and management capacities at the New York City Department of Education and at The After-School Corporation (TASC). In her role at TASC, Chymeka oversaw the development and implementation of the Center’s college credit-bearing certificate programs and continuing-education courses. She also built relationships with local colleges and community-based organizations, leading the Center’s recruitment and marketing efforts. As a Program Manager in the Office of Strategic Partnerships at the New York City Department of Education, she oversaw a number of large efforts to bring private-sector philanthropy into the public schools. Prior to that, Chymeka was Deputy Director for the Mid-Atlantic region of Jumpstart for Young Children, a national non-profit serving disadvantaged pre-schoolers. Chymeka is a graduate of Yale University where she earned a dual Bachelor’s degree in Sociology with Economic Policy and African and African-American History. She completed her Masters in Public Administration with a focus in Public and Nonprofit Management at The Wagner School of Public Service at New York University. In the summer of 2012, Chymeka earned a Strategic Perspectives in Nonprofit Management certificate offered through Harvard Business School’s Executive Education Program.
Ashley Donecker, Development & Communications Manager
Ashley joins Minds Matter National, Inc. from Carnegie Sports & Entertainment, a boutique firm focused on cause marketing and philanthropy. There she provided communications and fundraising management consulting to small and mid-size nonprofits. Prior to joining Carnegie, Ashley spent nine years at America SCORES, the nation’s largest soccer, health, and literacy program serving youth in low-income communities. During her tenure, she oversaw a broad range of responsibilities including fundraising, marketing, communications, program and curriculum development, special events, and an organizational re-brand. Ashley graduated from Messiah College in 2000 where she earned a B.A. in Sport & Exercise Science.
Kate Hayes, Director of Evaluation & Program Impact
Kate Hayes graduated with honors from Northeastern University, where she earned a B.S. in Behavioral Neuroscience. She is currently the Chair of the Young Alumni Committee of Northfield Mount Hermon School, and serves on the Executive Committee. She is also developing an Alumni Initiative in NYC for Strong Women, Strong Girls, a non-profit based in Boston. She previously taught an advanced course in physics at a private boarding school summer program, where she also functioned as a student advisor. She has also volunteered as a high-school health education teacher in the Boston public school system, and as a direct service provider at a Harvard Medical School clinic. She currently serves as a Gift Chair and on the Reunion Committee of the Northfield Mount Hermon School.