Get to know our dedicated board
Meet Our Board Members
Yukari Schneider’s family are proud graduates of the Family Connection, which her children attended for three enriching years. The experience was so inspiring that Yukari went on to embody one of Family Connections’ primary goals of empowering parents as well as children: she became a board member in 2019 and is now the Board Chair.
Professionally, Yukari has a Ph.D. in Mass Communications and a master’s in Public Health from the University of Florida. She has expertise in audience and market research and science and health communications. Previously, she promoted community health through back-to-sleep campaigns for infants, bullying prevention, and traffic safety education. She also draws from her multicultural experience growing up in Japan, Indonesia, and the Philippines. Yukari is the owner of Yukari Presents, a children’s alphabet game company inspired by her kids and based on her own Japanese childhood. She loves to explore, create, and experience new things with her husband and two boys.
Kevin Laws joined the Family Connections board in 2019. He discovered the organization when his daughter was tutoring students in Family Connections’ Young Scholars program. Kevin believes that reaching entire families while children are still young is the best way to invest in improving their opportunities.
Kevin is a founder and investor in early-stage technology startups globally. He has worked as CEO of AngelList and of Vast/Carstory (sold to Vroom in 2020) and was VP of Product at Epinions (sold to eBay). He earned a bachelor’s in Computer Science at Dickinson College and an MBA from MIT Sloan School of Management. Kevin enjoys traveling and volunteering for organizations that his children get involved in.
Anita (“Anaita”) Kapadia joined the Family Connections board in 2020. She was introduced to the organization by a friend, went on a tour of one of Family Connections’ preschools, and was impressed by the range of services that Family Connections provides families in addition to high-quality education. She particularly valued the fact that Family Connections supports underserved caregivers in becoming leaders in their families and communities; Anita worked full-time while raising two sons and knew how much her family benefited from a high-quality preschool with strong supportive leaders.
Anita is a leadership and certified Positive Intelligence (PQ) Coach. She focuses on overcoming the pressure to be perfect, builds on strengths, and encourages learning to handle healthy conflict to find mutual purpose. For over 20 years, Anita held leadership roles in high-tech companies and has a dual degree in Math & Computer Science from UCLA. She is now focused on helping others who feel stressed, anxious, or need clarity to manage negative self-talk, lower anxiety, and learn to stay calm while managing life’s challenges. She loves to read, travel, and volunteer.
Elizabeth Weal, who joined our board in 2022, first learned about Family Connections more than 20 years ago while teaching English as a Second Language (ESL) classes at Sequoia Adult School in Menlo Park, where many of her adult students were enrolled with their children in the Family Connections program.
Elizabeth is the founder of Upward Scholars, a local non-profit that provides adult immigrants support to continue their education in community college. Prior to working as an ESL teacher, she was at Apple Computer, then spent a decade as a freelance marketing communications consultant. Elizabeth received a bachelor’s degree in journalism from Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism and an elementary teaching credential from Santa Clara University. She recently retired and is loving the freedom of having time to improve her Spanish, read, volunteer, and spend time with her grandchild.
Sebastien Hutchinson joined the Family Connections Board in 2018. He got to know Family Connections and developed an appreciation for the organization while a student at the Stanford Graduate School of Business. While at the GSB, his work in a strategic philanthropy class led him to conduct thorough diligence on Family Connections in his search for a Bay Area non-profit that impacted the lives of families through early childhood education. Sebastien believes that the best way to impact the lives of underserved children and their families is through investment in early childhood education in conjunction with parent education.
Professionally, Sebastien is Partner at Crescent Park Management, an investment firm in East Palo Alto. He started his career in investment banking before transitioning to be an investor. Before Crescent Park, Sebastien held several investment analyst positions. Sebastien received his bachelor’s in Economics from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania, his MBA from the Stanford Graduate School of Business, and is a Chartered Financial Analyst. He lives in Hillsborough and, in his free time, enjoys spending time with his family, traveling, trying new restaurants, and watching sports.
Claudia Schweikert learned about Family Connections through Little Wonders, a cooperative preschool that her children attended. Little Wonders proved to be a transformational experience for Claudia’s family, which inspired her to join the Family Connections Board in 2019. She wanted families from all demographic backgrounds to be able to experience the magic of a high-quality preschool classroom, a supportive parent community, and nurturing teachers.
Claudia’s professional background is in law and education. As an attorney, she practiced securities litigation. She also worked at a legal services agency, serving low-income clients in the areas of housing, consumer fraud, and public benefits. Claudia served as Assistant Dean for Graduate Diversity at Stanford, working to attract and retain graduate students of color. She served on the Site Council at Escondido Elementary School and is an emeritus mediator for the City of Palo Alto. She also served on the board of Parents Nursery School and is a former volunteer with the Stanford Alumni Consulting Team.
Claudia received her bachelor’s degree from Duke University in History and French Literature and a JD and MBA from Stanford University. She lives in Palo Alto with her husband and three children. She enjoys traveling, playing with her children, and reading.
Yvonne Freund joined the board in 2023. What piques her interest in Family Connections are the wrap-around services that include the entire family and bring it into a supportive community of other parents, with parenting classes, social options and
if necessary, mental health support for the youth and/or their parents.
Yvonne is retired, and her current activities include advocating for youth in the social services system through CASA of San Mateo County and working to decrease gun violence through Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America.
Professionally Yvonne is an immunologist and worked for many years in a biotech start-up in Palo Alto, where she was part of a team who developed new small-molecule drugs to combat neglected tropical diseases. She worked as a consultant in the areas of infectious diseases and drug development for 5 years before retiring.
Yvonne has a Ph.D. in microbiology/immunology from US Davis, a master’s degree in nutrition from UC Davis, and a BA in biology from Mount Holyoke College in MA.
Yvonne has 2 grown children, a son, and a daughter, and worked full-time while raising them. She enjoys traveling, skiing, kayaking, hiking, cooking, and gardening.
A long-time supporter of Family Connections, Amy Schwimmer joined the board in 2021. A native Bay Area resident, Amy is passionate about supporting opportunities for under-resourced populations, especially in education. Her background includes being a teacher and administrator at Middle College High School sites serving at-risk students and working as Director of Operations and Communications at The Life You Can Save, a nonprofit promoting sustainable, cost-effective global extreme poverty interventions. She is also a long-time volunteer with local organizations, including PTAs, Friends of the Library, Second Harvest Food Bank, and of course, Family Connections. Amy enjoys applying her communications and project development skills to supporting Family Connections’ important work.
Amy received her bachelor's degree from U.C. Davis in International Relations and her secondary teaching credential in English from U.C. Berkeley’s Bay Area Writing Project. She and her husband enjoy hiking and spending time with their daughter, who is a high school choir teacher, and their son, a product manager.
Iliana Garcia-Ruiz, who joined the Family Connections Board in 2023, was raised by a hardworking single mother who migrated to the United States from Michoacan, Mexico. As a child growing up in Watsonville, CA, Iliana recalls being raised by a loving village that contributed to her upbringing. Now, as a member of the Family Connections board, she is eager to be in a position to give back by helping to provide families in our community with the kind of support that was crucial to her own family growing up.
Iliana graduated from the University of California, Santa Cruz, with a joint major in Latin American/Latino Studies and Sociology and earned a Master’s in Public Administration from the University of San Francisco. She has extensive experience working with the community Family Connections serves, having worked for five years at Nuestra Casa in East Palo Alto, then working at the Primary School also in East Palo Alto where, as a Family Engagement Manager, she was responsible for recruiting new families, leading parent leadership spaces, and recruiting and training Primary School parents to serve as Board members. More recently, Iliana served as Pal Center’s Community Wellness Director and recently transitioned into her new role as their Development Director.
Iliana will soon be a new Mom and looks forward to enrolling in Family Connections classes with her baby.
Mike Hoffmann joined the Family Connections Board in 2023. He grew up locally in San Mateo County and attended Aragon High School. He and his wife, Berit, are both heavy supporters of mission-driven organizations that focus on providing under-resourced individuals with the tools to improve self-sufficiency, particularly in the educational and healthcare spaces.
Professionally, Mike is Partner at Thoma Bravo, a software-focused investment firm. He joined Thoma Bravo in 2014, having worked previously as an investor at Providence Equity Partners and as an investment banker with Citigroup. Mike earned an MBA from The Stanford Graduate School of Business and an AB degree from Harvard University.
Alia joined the Family Connections board in 2024. She was introduced to the organization by a friend. Over the course of her engagement with Family Connections, she was drawn to their unwavering commitment to providing quality early childhood support to underserved families and their holistic approach towards education, mental health, and skills development. Being a working mother and having seen the importance of quality care and support up close, Alia deeply believes in Family Connections’ mission to help create a lasting positive impact on our future generations and their caregivers.
Alia holds over twelve years of experience in the impact space. She is a Senior Manager for Impact Investing at The Bridgespan Group. Previously, she was the Vice President of Investments at an Impact VC fund, Elevar Equity, and has held various roles at foundations, consulting firms, and government bodies focusing on educational outcomes, financial inclusion, and workforce development. Alia holds a Master's in Economics from University College London and a Bachelor’s (Honors) in Economics from Delhi University. Alia is a Bay Area resident who loves reading, painting, and spending time with her husband and daughter exploring local gems.
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We steer the organization toward a sustainable future by adopting sound, ethical, and legal governance and financial management policies, as well as by ensuring the organization has adequate resources to advance its mission.
Contact us at email@example.com to learn more about joining our board.