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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Anne Shields is a senior leader and consultant with more than 30 years of experience in career services and alumni relations at institutions including Bowdoin, Carleton, Davidson, and the University of Rochester. Anne served on the national board of the Alumni Career Services Network and taught strategic planning at NACE’s Management Leadership Institute for seven years. She is adept at developing staff, building partnerships across campus to serve underserved student and alumni populations, and engaging alumni and parents as volunteers.
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 their community, and he uses his work at Switchboard to help them further that cause.
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.
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
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
Terrestrial mailing address
(Washington High School!)
1300 SE Stark Street, Suite #304
Portland, Oregon 97214