Isabel Oregón Acosta
Isabel Oregón Acosta works with the senior managing director to manage the foundation’s public policy and advocacy work to sustain effective and innovative practices, policies, and institutions. Isabel began her career in public policy working for the Congressional Research Service in Washington, DC, where she decided to focus on education policy. During graduate school she honed in on issues of equity in education as a legislative intern for the House Committee on Higher Education in Austin, and as a researcher at the Charles A. Dana Center. She went on to serve as a graduate research assistant for the Texas speaker of the House of Representatives in Austin, as a research team leader for Independent Colleges and Universities of Texas, and as a policy intern for The Education Trust-West, where she researched and co-authored briefs on teacher quality and a standard curriculum for all California high school students. Immediately before joining The Broad Foundation, Isabel conducted research, policy and data analysis on school finance, among other issues in California, for EdSource. In 2009, Isabel took a yearlong sabbatical from the foundation to work for the U.S. Department of Education in the Office of Elementary and Secondary Education. She has a bachelor’s degree in political science from the University of California, Santa Barbara and a master’s degree in public affairs from the University of Texas at Austin.
Sue Y. Chi
Sue Yun Chi manages the foundation’s charter and district work. Prior to joining the foundation, she was a vice president at SeaChange Capital Partners, a nonprofit financial intermediary that enables transactions to increase the impact of nonprofits. There, she managed the group’s advisory services projects with education and youth development nonprofit organizations, and was part of the diligence team involved in sourcing, selecting, and stewarding philanthropic investments in education reform organizations. Prior to graduate school, she was an investment banker at Goldman Sachs Asia, based in Hong Kong. Sue has a bachelor’s degree in government from Harvard University, a master’s degree in international economics from the Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies, and an MBA from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania.
Chief Communications Officer
Karen Denne oversees all marketing and communications efforts across The Broad Foundations’ work in education, scientific and medical research, and the arts. Karen has more than two decades of experience in corporate communications and media relations in both the public and private sectors. She came to the foundation after working for seven years at Enron Corp., serving as vice president of public relations, acting as corporate spokeswoman and heading the company’s media relations and internal communications. Karen previously worked as communications director for the general manager of the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power. She began her career as a reporter, writing for City News Service, the Los Angeles Times and the Los Angeles Daily News. She has served as an adjunct professor of public relations at the USC Annenberg School for Communication. Karen received a bachelor’s degree in print journalism, English and international relations from the University of Southern California, where she also earned a master’s degree in public administration.
Senior Director, Administration
Heidi Kato manages the foundation’s core support team and oversees the grants management process. She comes to the foundation from the UCLA School of the Arts and Architecture, where she was the office manager and assistant to the dean. Prior to that, Heidi served as a project consultant for the Getty Conservation Institute and spent nearly 10 years in marketing, special events, and administrative roles at the Japanese American National Museum in Los Angeles. She has a bachelor’s degree in liberal studies from California State Polytechnic University, Pomona.
Tina Larsen is an executive assistant, supporting both the founder’s office and the education team. Larsen spent eight years as executive assistant to U.S. Congresswoman Jackie Speier and previously worked as a field organizer for the presidential campaign of U.S. Sen. John Kerry. She has a bachelor's degree in fine arts from Wright State University.
Gregory McGinity oversees the foundation’s policy investments to improve the K-12 education operating and policy environment. His career includes extensive work at the federal and state level on education policy. Prior to joining the foundation, Gregory was the senior education policy consultant to the California State Board of Education, where he worked on the creation of California’s academic content standards and assessment system. In 2005, on leave from the foundation, Gregory served as chief of staff to the California secretary of education. Gregory previously worked for U. S. Senator Thad Cochran as a legislative assistant and for U. S. Representative Lindsey O. Graham as legislative director. Gregory advised both members on education and training issues. Prior to that, Gregory served as a legislative liaison at the U.S. Department of Education during President George H.W. Bush’s administration. Gregory received his bachelor’s degree in history and political science from the University of California, Berkeley and an MBA from the UCLA Anderson School of Management, where he was a Sigoloff Fellow.
Swati Pandey provides communications support to the education team. She worked with Eli Broad for two years, collaborating on "The Art of Being Unreasonable" and writing his internal biography. She previously was managing editor for Zocalo Public Square and worked for three years as a researcher, writer and assistant articles editor at the Los Angeles Times. She has a bachelor’s degree in ethics, politics and economics from Yale University.
Director, Marketing and Communications
Rachel Smookler manages communications, marketing and branding initiatives across The Broad Foundations. Previously, Rachel worked for the Broad family for seven years, serving as associate manager handling special projects, including aircraft management, personal and political philanthropy, and Arts + Culture LA, an initiative to market the cultural assets of Los Angeles. Prior to that, Rachel served as director of administration for the Hollywood Entertainment Museum, a nonprofit organization that served as a visitor destination and a vocational training campus for the Los Angeles County Office of Education’s at-risk youth population. She has a bachelor’s degree in mass communication studies and sociology from UCLA and an MBA from the UCLA Anderson School of Management.