The Team

Board Members

Nicole Serena Silver

Founder, President, and Executive Director

CREATION – IMPACT – PEOPLE – Nicole has founded and advised startups and has a degree from UC Berkeley in entrepreneurship. She grew up surrounded by nonprofits. Her grandfather was a non-profit attorney, her mother and uncle nonprofit executive directors. It was just a matter of time before Nicole joined the family by starting her own nonprofit. Nicole is skilled at bringing the right people into organizations and is able to think both globally and locally. Her goal is to impact the lives of many and make G.R.O.W. a globally recognized organization.

Bryan Breckenridge

Vice President

AUTHENTIC – HUMANITARIAN – GLOBAL LEADER – Bryan has helped organizations, both in the nonprofit and commercial sectors, utilize technology to exceed their goals since the mid 90’s. He has led social innovation and philanthropic endeavors for, LinkedIn, and is currently the Executive Director of He is working on an initiative at Box designed to empower nonprofits with the Box content management and collaboration platform. Bryan’s energy and relationships are immensely valuable as we GROW our impact.

Leroy Elkin

Chief Financial Officer

STRATEGIC – COLLABORATIVE – EMPATHETIC – Leroy was the Vice President of Finance at Apple. He led large, global organizations in a variety of strategic and operational activities. Since retiring from Apple in 2010, Leroy works with a number of small tech companies as a volunteer advisor with the Central Coast Small Business Development Center, and is an active investor and board member as well. Leroy’s career in Financial management at the corporate level as well as his work with non-profits and start-ups make him an ideal person to provide Financial oversight and leadership for G.R.O.W..

Jill Brogan


COMMUNICATION – DEDICATION – EXUBERANCE – Jill has fifteen years in the entertainment business operations and office administration. She has worked with record labels such as Universal and EMI/Capitol, helped produce numerous music videos, helped coordinate major tours with artists like John Mayer, worked with late night shows such as Jay Leno and David Letterman. Jill devours Excel tables, slays complex tax and legal forms, and gets down and dirty in process details to make sure the job gets done. She is reliable, smart, extremely personable and thinks fast on her feet. Jill goes the extra mile, where as most would stop at fulfilling the basic needs. Jill recently discovered her passion for health and is pursuing a career in the wellness industry;

Elisa Sabatini

GLOBAL – VERSATILE – LOYAL – Elisa has created and stewarded international nonprofit organizations for over 30 years. She has dealt with the complexity of poverty, war and human transformation in these environments. She supports GROW to develop leaders who are working to bring about change in individuals that will help shift the roots of the volatile issues of our time.

Team Members

Piedad Marcela Echavarria

VP of Operations

PERSEVERANCE – EMPOWERMENT – TRUSTWORTHY – Born and raised in Colombia, Marcela arrived in Connecticut at the age of 18 without speaking English. She enrolled at the local Community College to learn English and took credits towards her Associate degree while working 2-3 jobs. Piedad transferred to Stevens Institute of Technology where her interest in technology led her to graduate with a Bachelors in Computer Engineering and a Masters in Network Information Systems at the same time! While at Stevens she served on the board of the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers chapter holding various positions, ultimately becoming the President in her senior year. She led the chapter to win various accolades and ultimately got full support and sponsorship from the dean of the school. It was this experience which led her realize her passion to help underrepresented youth pursue a higher level education and inspire them to explore the countless opportunities available them. She joined GROW in October 2014 because our mission aligns so well to her passion and she sees the need and potential of our organization.

Roberto Giannicola

Program Director

ENGAGING – PASSIONATE – CARING – Roberto has a background in technology and instructional design, as well as in facilitating and coaching people for Presentation, Communication, Change Management, Leadership, Cultural Awareness and other soft skills. He worked with groups and audiences of virtually any size (though he admits that he gets a kick out of keeping large audiences utterly captivated). He has facilitated sessions developing people from a variety of industries and business situations for companies or organizations like: The United Nations World Food Program, Cisco, ASML, Oracle and Dale Carnegie training, among others. His passion is to help people grow and discover their hidden potential. To see the transformation that comes from this, with empowering experiences that resonate, is the real paycheck for him!

Sruti Bharat

G.R.O.W. Facilitator

COMPASSION – LEARNING – AUTHENTICITY – Sruti has worked in project management, facilitation, and strategy for nearly four years at OSIsoft, a software company. She graduated from UC Berkeley and is passionate about sustainability, social justice, and education in the East Bay community. Her strengths lie in understanding diverse perspectives, bringing teams together, and empowering individuals to be their best selves.

Joanna Martinez

G.R.O.W. Facilitator

MOTIVATE-PASSION-INTEGRITY – After earning her degree in Sociology and African American Studies from UC Berkeley, Joanna began working at a non-profit providing educational, career, and mental health services to youth/young adults and the prison reentry population in the Bay Area. She grew up much the same way many of her current clients grew up–in a family struggling to make ends meet. This is where she gets her indelible passion for helping young people define and achieve their dreams in spite of hardship. Joanna is skilled at sparking a flame in anyone who wants to BE someone. Her interests span from helping others pursue higher education to providing individual coaching for health and wellness. Joanna has been involved in teaching GROW’s AIM class and is the first certified GROW teacher. She continues to bring our teachings to BYA, which is a partnership organization of GROW.

Don Frazier

G.R.O.W. Facilitator

CHANGE-AGENT – SELF KNOWLEDGE – DISCERNMENT – Don Frazier, Jr. Passionate about education and self-development, Don is the Family Support Coordinator and Reentry & Preventative Services Counselor; he is also a mentor and an advisor for young fathers at Berkeley Youth Alternatives (BYA). Six years and counting, Don has provided a critically conscious sociocultural sensitivity to the field of education. Don obtained his BS in Media Arts & Animation and his MA in Counseling Psychology. He is currently applying for his Doctorate in Educational Leadership at San Francisco State University. A proud father, Don holds a personal perspective around the importance of nurturing relationships and supporting others development.

Jessica Bank

G.R.O.W. Facilitator


Jess studied to be an elementary school teacher but soon discovered a passion for working with teenaged youth. She is so passionate about her work with non-profit organizations supporting low-income, first-generation, college-bound students that she joined G.R.O.W. as opportunity to give back even more. Jess believes in the need to understand and embrace diversity in life, as well as to continually practice self-improvement.

My Tran

Chief Creative Director

Resilient, Tenacious, Enchanter – My N. Tran is a world-renowned, award-winning free-to-play game designer and product executive who lives in San Francisco, California. During her stints at Red Robot, Kiwi, and Storm8, My has had three games in the top-100 mobile grossing charts, Life is Crime, Brightwood Adventures, and Castle Story. Currently Chief Product Officer at ADVR, Gamesauce has called My, “the maestro of monetization,” and she is one of Fast Company’s “Designing Women.

Adele Rios

G.R.O.W. Co-facilitator

ORGANIZATION – PERSPECTIVE – MOTIVATER – Adele Rios is a Psychology major (Disabilities Studies Minor) at U.C.Berkeley with the intention of working in social services after Berkeley. She was a part of the first class run by G.R.O.W. and will be co-facilitating future classes to help bring the experience to others.

Lindsay Stanley

G.R.O.W. Co-facilitator

INSPIRATIONAL – OPTIMISTIC – OPEN-MINDED – Lindsay Stanley is a UC Berkeley student majoring in Social Welfare. Her involvement with G.R.O.W. began after her life changed from taking the A.I.M. class. She is a compassionate people person, energetic, and thrives on motivating others.

Rachel Finkelstein

Social Media Manager

Rachel graduated from Bard College in 2013 with a degree in Studio Arts and a concentration in Mind, Brain, & Behavior, and has work experience in marketing, advertising, and psychology research. With a passion for education and new media, she is excited to utilize her creative and organizational skills to expand G.R.O.W.’s online presence. Rachel is currently transitioning between careers and is expanding her skillset as a Continuing Studies student at Stanford University.

Marlon Burns

Marlon is a native San Franciscan, born in the Mission District. He graduated from San Francisco State University with a Master’s Degree in Communication Studies. While a graduate student, Marlon worked as both a Professor Intern and a Teacher’s Aid. He is committed to helping young people achieve their scholastic and professional goals. His interests include performance art, comic books and graphic novels, film and music.

Tracy Wu

Fundraising and Finance

MOTIVATED – FREE-SPIRITED – PERSONABLE – Tracy Wu is an Economics major at U.C. Berkeley and an alum of the first class ran by G.R.O.W.. She has joined the G.R.O.W. team after realizing how many people are in need of career guidance. Her goal is to help promote and expand the organization in reaching out to as many students as possible. She is responsible for conducting fundraisers and assist in financial management.

Victoria Lyons

VP of Human Resources

BUILDING STRONG PARTNERSHIPS – COMMUNICATION – IMPROVING COMMUNITIES – Vicki’s diverse experience has focused on communication vehicles and tools to engage people to connect with each other for success. Her career includes the management of products, projects and relationships in the telecommunications, technology and retail industries. As a sales product consultant at LinkedIn she partners with sales professionals around the globe to maximize social selling and LinkedIn Sales Navigator as their primary solution to drive sales. She’s passionate about connecting employee, community and company goals for social responsibility and improved business results.

Daisy Esparza

Director of Human Resources

Daisy Esparza is a 4th year at UC Berkeley studying business administration. She is responsible for the recruitment and management of positions at GROW. She has a passion for nonprofit work, specifically in the education and women’s rights initiatives. Her long-term goal is to become a leader in the nonprofit sector. Her short term goal is to help GROW recruit the best talent with the essential skills, values, and passion consistent with GROW’s mission.