We believe in a generous world

We strengthen institutions and organizations by activating the generosity of their communities.

About

Our Mission

Strong institutions need healthy communities

We believe that colleges, universities, independent schools, and organizations need strong communities to help students and alumni succeed. Switchboard helps schools and other organizations create responsive, caring networks where members of their community can find and share transformative opportunities.

Switchboard began as a passion project run by alumni volunteers. We retain that can-do spirit of service today.



Our Story

The internet brought us together so we could make the internet a better place.

Switchboard was founded by Mara Zepeda and Sean Lerner. They met over Twitter in 2012 and built the first Switchboard for their alma mater, Reed College. They wanted to create an intuitive platform that prioritized building community and meeting the needs of community members. Six years later, Switchboard serves dozens of institutions across the globe. You can read the entire story here.

Our team comprises experts with decades of experience across higher education, nonprofits, and the private sector.

We serve colleges, universities, independent schools, nonprofits, industriesfarmersaffinity communities, and membership organizations.

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Mara Zepeda

Co-founder & CEO

Mara Zepeda was inspired to create Switchboard while serving on the alumni board of her alma mater, Reed College, and while reporting stories about economic mobility as a reporter for NPR. She’s spent two decades working in higher ed and non-profit organizations including Harvard and the University of Pennsylvania. A student of servant leadership, she believes the success of institutions depends on their ability to listen to their communities, connect them with resources and opportunities, and serve their needs.

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Chelsea Haring

COO

Chelsea has 14 years of experience in higher education helping institutions assess their technology, training, and professional development goals and developing solutions to meet their needs. She is adept at bringing teams together to engage alumni with career education and recruiting initiatives. She has worked at Johns Hopkins University, Wingate University, and Portland State University in career and alumni career services roles. Working with companies like Handshake, and now Switchboard, she has supported over 150 institutions in designing cross-departmental solutions that scale.

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Sean Lerner

Co-founder & CTO

Sean strongly dislikes using computers, which is a surprising and surprisingly useful disposition for a software engineer. His disdain for spending time in front of a screen informs how he approaches feature development and design, keeping a focus on building things that are useful and efficient. When not in front of a screen, Sean can most often be found riding his bike in the hills. 

 
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Tara Nelson

Software Engineer

Tara is a drummer, gardener, and full-stack developer who joined Switchboard in 2014. Her holistic approach to product development is informed by her background in enterprise data analytics and comparative literature.

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Tim Cooper

Director of Partner Success and Education

Tim supports all of Switchboard’s partners in preparing for, building, and fostering their communities. He is an alumnus of Denison University and Fordham University’s Graduate School of Education. Prior to Switchboard, Tim served in Teach for America as a middle school science teacher in New York City; as an aide in the Ohio Senate; and as an online student success coach with InsideTrack, a leading university student support company.

 
 

Kieran Hanrahan

Director of Marketing & Communications

Kieran draws on his experience in journalism and political communications and academic background in history to engage, educate, and inspire higher education professionals. He believes that educational institutions are at their best when they serve the world and the people they comprise, and he uses his work at Switchboard to help them further that cause.

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Tina Hart

Chief of Staff

Tina has spent the last ten years working in higher education. She started as an AmeriCorps VISTA focused on service-learning at the University of South Dakota, and most recently helped found Wayfinding Academy, a new college in Portland, OR. She’s particularly passionate about finding ways for colleges to connect more deeply with the communities they exist within.  When not working, you can find her outside year-round exploring the Pacific Northwest’s incredible mountains and trails.

 

ADVISORS

Andy Shaindlin

Andy Shaindlin

Advisor, Higher Ed
@alumnifutures

Jesse Bardo

Jesse Bardo

Advisor, Higher Ed
@bardo

Jessica Hische

Jessica Hische

Advisor, Design
@jessicahische

Noah Pepper

Noah Pepper

Advisor, Operations
@noahmp

Metalab

Metalab

Advisor, UI/UX
@metalab


INVESTORS

You can read more about our thoughts on company culture and fundraising.

Alumni

Brent Bailey, Brett Beutell, Martha Janicki, Will Jones, Aria Joughin, Hannah Hay-Smith, Melissa Lewis, Lea Loo, Chris Lopez, Chris Lu, Jennifer McCarthy, Tanner Seward, Kevin Steigerwald, David Wilson

 

Thanks!

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Kelli Anderson, Nate Angell, Jennifer Armbrust, Peat Bakke, Brad Berens, Kate Bingaman-Burt, Greg Borenstein, Will Bryant, Jinnina Chiles, Jerry Colonna & Team Reboot, Anil Dash, Lennon Day-Reynolds, Andrew DeVigal, Adam DuVander, Mat Ellis, Tina Roth Eisenberg, Dawn Foster, Kaori Freda, Dr. Karen Gilmore & Dr. Mitchell Charap, Renny Gleeson, Jason Glaspey, Kirsten Golden, William Henderson, Scott Heiferman, Matt Haughey, Ingrid Fetell, Sue & Greg Hadfield, Jacob Hinmon, Brian Hufft, John Jay, Nina Johnson, Jennifer Jordan, Jake Knapp, James Keller, Marshall King, Nancy King, Wendy Kotila, Marshall and Mikalina Kirkpatrick, Allison Krug, Matt Knox, Tina Snow Le, Albert Lee, Lena Lencek, Adam Lisagor, Laura LoForti, Patrick Maloney, Chris May, Debbie Millman, Isaac Oats, Mark Patel, Tsilli Pines, Alexis Peterka, Gemma Petrie, Portland Development Commission, Reed College, Darius Rejali, Jessica Rickson, Clay Shirky, Gina Trapani, Rick Turoczy, Tom Watson, Copious, Kimberly Davis

Contact Us

info@switchboardhq.com

Phone: 503.482.9447

Terrestrial mailing address
(Washington High School!)
1300 SE Stark Street, Suite #304
Portland, Oregon 97214

Interested?

Contact Us