At LitLab, our Board of Directors is committed to building a non-profit that is information rich, efficient in program delivery, accountable, unique, cutting-edge, and inclusionary of our stakeholders.GET INVOLVED
Mialisa T. Bonta, CEO & Founder
Mialisa Bonta is the CEO and Founder of LitLab. She brings with her nearly 20 years of education and youth development experience in the non-profit sector. Her inspiration to launch birth LitLab emerged while she was the Executive Director of Bring Me A Book working on innovating the manner in which parents and caregivers interacted with technology to teach children to read. She quickly realized that although the method of delivering information to children is always evolving, innovation in the space of connecting parents and caregivers to children in the learning process has been overlooked. LitLab was started to embrace interactive learning through the fusion of technology, learning, innovation and parent and caregiver support. Prior to Bring Me A Book, Mialisa was operating her independent firm, Oyen Consulting, where she worked with clients on strategic planning, scaling programs, and exploring best use of educational technology tools. Prior to this she served as CEO of The Breakthrough Collaborative, a national youth development and education non-profit with affiliates in over 28 sites throughout the country and in Hong Kong. Prior to this, she served as Associate Director at Stupski Foundation, a philanthropic organization committed to improving the quality of public education by developing the capacity of urban school district leaders. Mialisa also served as Program Resource Officer at The San Francisco Foundation. There she conducted grant making and worked with donors to fund nonprofit organizations in the areas of early childhood education, K-12 school reform, youth development, and family support. Mialisa’s formative professional experiences were in early childhood education as a childcare provider, and in bilingual education, child advocacy and community development. She began her professional career in non-profits with Leadership, Education, and Athletics in Partnership (LEAP), a nationally recognized youth leadership program based in Connecticut. Mialisa hails from Bronx, NY and pursued her B.A. at Yale College, an Ed.M. from Harvard Graduate School of Education, and a J.D. from Yale Law School. Mialisa stays connected to her east-coast roots through her service as Board Vice Chair for the Campaign for Community Change. She is actively engaged in her local community in Alameda along with her husband, Assembly member Rob Bonta, and their three children, Reina (age 16), Iliana (age 10), and Andres (age 6) (all avid readers).
Ush Patel, Board Chair
Ush primarily focuses on finding and evaluating investment opportunities and the strategic direction of the company. He brings extensive experience in operations, product development and technology to VKRM and its portfolio companies. Most recently he has been advising a number of portfolio companies including Kidaptive, PowWow and the various Indus International Schools. Previously, he helped launch Apara Global Services and developed its client base to enable growth in its European and Middle East business. Prior to that, Ush was a senior technology manager with Merrill Lynch for 7 years where, he was instrumental in the development and implementation of key operational processes that form the underpinning of his group’s success today. Ush has a Bachelor’s degree in Mathematics and Management from King College London and a Masters in Computer Science and Engineering from University College London.
Lea Anne Borders, Board Member, Secretary
Lea Anne Borders is a founder and principal of Bookelicious LLC. Bookelicious is a startup dedicated to inspiring children to read by finding great books that match each child’s personal interests, age and reading ability, and making those books available through online purchase and school and local libraries. Ms. Borders has also served as an advisor to Silicon Valley startups since 1998. Prior to Bookelicious she was general counsel for MyWire, Inc. an online media retail startup, where she led development efforts to create online multi-media products including Let’s Cook! Life Skills for Kids on the Autism Spectrum. A former partner at Cooley LLP, a Silicon Valley-based law firm known for its expertise in the areas of venture capital and technology transactions, Ms. Borders holds an MS in Management from Stanford University Graduate School of Business, a JD from the University of California Hastings College of Law, and a BA in Political Science from the University of California, Los Angeles.
Mike Knych, Board Member, Treasurer
Mike oversees accounting, financial analysis, risk management and cash management for Asset Management Company and Its portfolio. He focuses on financial transactions, policies and procedures related to Asset Management Company’s family office operations. Mike is responsible for funding the venture, non-profit and wealth management functrons of AMC. He has over twenty years of experience in venture capital, private equity, startup company management and investment banking. Prior to joining Asset Management Company, Mike worked with Trimingham, Inc. where he provided special services to underperforming and distressed middle market companies. He holds a BA. in Economics from Colgate University.
Steve Midgley, Board Member
Steve Midgley is a Managing Director of Learning Tapestry, an educational innovation company. He has served in government as a senior adviser to the US Department of Education for education technology, interoperability standards and educational infrastructure and as the Director of Education at the FCC, where he headed the team that developed the Education policy for the National Broadband Plan. Steve currently serves on this board at the LitLab and on the foundation RaiseYou. Steve has also run the private technology consulting firm Mixrun, providing consulting CTO services to organizations including the California Department of Education project Brokers of Expertise, a platform to share and build the expertise of educators, as well as Pearson, Amplify and the Hewlett Foundation. Mixrun has also worked with successful for-profit and non-education sector companies. Steve has provided investment consulting to venture capital funds. He also worked with the Stupski Foundation, designing and implementing grants for technology in K-12 education. Steve was the founding Vice President of Engineering for LoopNet Inc., a commercial real estate listing firm. He designed and built LoopNet’s technology and web systems from its inception. LoopNet remains a successful business and was listed on NASDAQ until it was acquired by CoStar in 2012.
Eliza Leighton, Board Member
Eliza Leighton is an accomplished social entrepreneur with extensive management, strategic planning and fundraising experience and a strong track record of building solutions to address the needs of children and their communities. Eliza is the CEO and Co-Founder of The Family Room, an app to connect children and their loved ones when separated by distance. Prior to founding The Family Room, Eliza designed and implemented two programs to support the education of immigrant children that received Department of Education competitive grants. Ms. Leighton is the co-founder of Stand for Children, a leading national education reform organization originally affiliated with the Children’s Defense Fund. Ms. Leighton holds a J.D. from Yale Law School and a B.A. from Wesleyan University.
Caitlin Roberson, Board Member
Caitlin Roberson is a storyteller and entrepreneur, who most enjoys merging the two. In her mid 20’s, Caitlin started and sold a content marketing agency that served dozens of technology companies, including Google and LinkedIn. After spending a year with the parent company, Skyword, Caitlin left to join acclaimed venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz as a partner. Caitlin advises early-stage startups and non-profits and is honored to serve on LitLab’s Board of Directors. She enjoys painting, cooking, and sprinting at the track — and is excited for her first book, entitled “30 Ways to Happy”, to be published in late 2015.
Josh Wright, Board Member
Josh Wright is an Executive Director at ideas42, the preminent non-profit focused on applying behavioral science for social good. At ideas42 Josh is focused on work in financial services, economic mobility, education, and healthcare. Josh has extensive experience in the for-profit, non-profit, and public sectors; industry experience in financial services, media and entertainment, housing, and youth development; and functional expertise in business strategy, new business development, and new venture creation. Immediately prior to joining ideas42, Josh headed up the Office of Financial Education and Financial Access at the United States Department of the Treasury. Previously, Josh held positions at the Center for Community Change, Booz Allen and Hamilton’s Commercial Management Consulting business, and was a Senior Executive at Bertelsmann’s Random House, Inc. In addition, Josh served for two terms as an elected City Councilmember for the City of Takoma Park Maryland. He holds a BA from Wesleyan University and an MBA from the Yale School of Management, with concentrations in Business Strategy and Finance.