National Executive Committee
Co-Director of Alumni Program
Lauren is a new member to Minds Matter and is very much looking forward to being a part of this organization. Lauren currently works as a Consulting Professional for Marsh USA Inc. in Morristown, New Jersey as part of Marsh's Risk Consulting Group. Prior to Marsh, Lauren worked as a Claims Examiner in Environmental Claims for Chubb Insurance in Warren, New Jersey and also as a Senior Consultant in the Complex Claims department for The Hartford Insurance Group in Hartford, Connecticut. Lauren has a Bachelor of Arts in history and economics from the University of Connecticut as well as a Juris Doctorate with a Certificate in Tax Studies and a Master of Laws in Insurance from the University of Connecticut School of Law. Lauren is admitted to practice law in the states of Connecticut and New Jersey.Lauren also possesses a Chartered Property Casualty Underwriter "CPCU" designation and is a member of the local CPCU Chapter in New Jersey.
Director of Web & IT
Brian McAllester works in urban education, helping found Breakthrough Schools, a network of high-performing schools in Cleveland, Ohio. Breakthrough’s goal is to grow from three founding schools to twenty schools, ultimately serving 7,000 students throughout the city. Breakthrough was recently awarded $2M in funding from the Charter School Growth Fund, recognizing it as one of the top urban charter organizations in the United States. Brian serves in three primary areas: network-wide strategy, communications/web, and grant development. Previously, Brian has worked as a management consultant, 7-8th grade teacher, and curriculum coordinator. He also designed the new Minds Matter website.
Director of College Partnerships
Joel Presti was previously the Vice President of College Relations for the Cleveland chapter from 2010-2012. Joel is currently the Associate Director for International Implementation at the College Board, based at its national headquarters in New York City. Prior to joining the College Board, he worked in college admissions at Oberlin College, specializing in international student admissions and financial aid. Joel holds a bachelor’s degree from Bowdoin College and a master’s degree from Teachers College, Columbia University.
Director of Test Prep
Meredith Shoop is an Associate Attorney at Littler Mendelson, P.C., where she advises and represents employers in legal matters related to their employees. She holds both a B.F.A. in Painting and B.A. in Philosophy from Kent State University, from which she graduated summa cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa. Meredith then earned her J.D. from Case Western Reserve University School of Law. During law school, Meredith worked part time as an SAT instructor in an exclusive private school, and developed a GRE curriculum for a regional test prep organization. She has volunteered with Minds Matter Cleveland since 2011, where she began as a tutor, then taught test prep as an instructor, and, from there, graduated through the Chapter’s leadership ranks until she attained her current position of Executive Vice President. Meredith is honored to connect with test prep leaders across the U.S. to share best practices and resources as a member of the National Executive Committee.
Director of Writing & Critical Thinking
Mark Shpizner is a Vice President at BlackRock, the world’s largest asset manager. Mark recently transitioned to BlackRock from BNY Mellon, a global investments company headquartered in New York, where he had worked since 2009. Mark has been involved with Minds Matter of NYC for five years, first as a Writing & Critical Thinking advisor for the Junior and Senior Programs, then as Co-Director of Senior Writing & Critical Thinking. Mark graduated magna cum laudeand Phi Beta Kappa from Northwestern University, double-majoring in American Studies and English.
Co-Director of Alumni Program
Michelle Wood has been involved with Minds Matter for over five years, where she started as a mentor and senior program team leader for the NYC chapter. As the Co-Director of Alumni with the NEC, she will be working with the chapters to further develop their alumni programs, share best practices and create a national social network where former Minds Matter mentees can continue to build their academic and career experience. Michelle is currently a principal within Mercer’s Growth Markets Strategy & Operations team– a global consulting leader in talent, health, retirement, and investments. Michelle has more than ten years of experience in strategy/corporate development, sales operations and risk advisory, and holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in economics from New York University.