Dear Friends and Colleagues,
In the past 12 months defined by uncertainty, we remain more appreciative than ever for our Avathon community. Together we have been resilient, we have gone through many highs and lows, and we have embraced change with creativity and
kindness. We entered 2021 optimistic that several lights at the end of the proverbial tunnel had been lit, and yet are forced to balance that with our realism of knowing that the road towards full mobility and unity will inevitably be longer and bumpier than we would prefer. What we’ve found, and hope you have as well, is that despite challenges, our human nature has allowed us to uncover many silver linings, to find joy in simple pleasures, and to celebrate in new and meaningful ways.
Today we are thrilled to make several exciting announcements and invite you all to join us in congratulating our colleagues, old and new, on their next professional chapters.
A BITTERSWEET TRANSITION
Ofa Stead has officially transitioned from our team at Avathon to now working with Steve Fireng at Keypath. Keypath is experiencing tremendous demand and growth. Their global business required a global head of talent that was strategic, experienced, and dynamic. When the need was identified, we knew that Ofa would excel at the role and we provided our full endorsement.
As some of you may know, Jason Rosenberg and Craig Pines recruited Ofa to Amerigo, an entrepreneurial start-up that was still more concept than business at that time. She was allured by the new challenge and jumped into the deep end with us, working tirelessly and well beyond the scope of “HR” to inject a soul into Amerigo. And when that chapter turned its page, we presented Ofa with another entrepreneurial idea. Come join us at Avathon – help us infuse the EQ side of business into everything that we do. But we got so much more. Ofa has become a thought-partner, friend, and mentor to all of us. She injected new thinking and helped us build community.
WORKING TOGETHER AGAIN
Patrick Vogt has officially been named the new Chief Executive Officer at Academic Programs International, an Avathon investment. Jennifer Attal, the company’s founder, has become the Executive Vice Chair and will continue providing strategic and operational guidance. We are grateful for Jennifer’s almost 25-year leadership of API and remain humbled and inspired by her mission to expand access to global study programs for students around the world.
Most recently Patrick was CEO of NRCCUA, where he drove transformative change in the U.S. higher education enrollment management space. Patrick brings a wealth of experience to API that will be relevant as the company embarks upon a new, broader vision in global experiential learning – unlocking credit-bearing opportunities for all U.S. college students to access work and study programs aligned with in-demand academic and career clusters. API has been investing in technology, analytics, and hybrid learning programs during the pandemic to ensure that students and faculty have perpetual access to global experiential learning opportunities.
A WARM WELCOME
Raquel Gilmer joined Reading Plus’s Board of Directors in late January. Raquel has an impressive background in leadership roles with organizations dedicated to transforming the lives of students. Currently, Raquel serves as the Executive Director of OrchKids, which is an organization that uses music as a vehicle of social change in some of Baltimore’s most under-resourced neighborhoods. Prior to joining OrchKids in July 2016, Raquel worked with academic support and enrichment services provider LEARN Behavioral for nearly eight years as chief operating officer and vice president of legal and government affairs. LEARN provided services for children with autism and other special needs. She was also the
national director of community and business development for Educate Online, an affiliate of Sylvan Learning, that promoted online learning. In 2007, Raquel founded Perfectly Me, a company committed to empowering children to use their “superpowers” to make a difference in their communities and of which she currently serves as the president and CEO.
A WELL-DESERVED PROMOTION
Brian Schwartz joined Avathon in 2016 as a principal and has been an integral member of our team over the last 5 years, embodying our core values of curiosity, creativity, determination, and thoughtfulness. Brian has been active in all aspects of the investment lifecycle and has played particularly valuable roles at NRCCUA, Panopto and Big Blue Marble. Brian is committed to supporting our portfolio companies, to mentoring our next generation of team members, and to
identifying new investment opportunities that meet our double bottom-line objectives. This past year has been particularly difficult in all respects, and Brian rose to the occasion and demonstrated the heart and character that precipitated this worthy promotion to managing director.
Wishing you the best in the year ahead,