Blog Archives


Wenmei Hill

As the Peake Fellowship’s Director of Operations, Wenmei Hill oversees the management and execution of Peake’s operating procedures, including effective governance, program and talent management, and operational policies and guidelines. Wenmei helped create the original pilot program for the Fellowship beginning in 2013. Since then, Peake’s development has drawn on her background as an architect and designer of experiences, systems, and software.

Wenmei’s past roles range from leading her own local business and nonprofits to leading teams for global organizations at Accenture, Starbucks, Microsoft and Amazon. In each case, Wenmei specialized in creating inclusive processes that more effectively engage and strengthen the talents of all team members. She deepened her passion for that approach as a leader for Ultranauts, a software testing firm serving global clients supported by neurodivergent teams.

Beyond her work on business systems, Wenmei co-founded a community group for women photographers and teaches photography while also providing professional photographic services. Wenmei also serves as a photographer and board director with Soulumination, a nonprofit that provides free professional photography to families facing life-threatening illnesses. She enjoys taking part in fundraising cycling events for Obliteride which raises money for cancer care and research at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center.

Wenmei holds a BS in Architecture & Design from MIT and a Master’s degree in Architecture & Digital Design from the University of Washington. While a graduate student, she spent a year working on community design-build projects in Seattle and Mexico which included construction of a primary school.

Wenmei grew up in a military family in Germany and worked her way through school in different roles for the Department of Defense. All those experiences added to her passion for strengthening communities, local businesses, and individuals as they learn and grow.

read more


Beverly Ortega Babers

Beverly Ortega Babers brings to the Peake Fellowship her distinguished experience in public service, a personal background growing up in a military family, and a commitment to strengthening communities through higher education. After three decades of nationwide public sector leadership roles, Bev is currently the domestic policy lead at MITRE’s Center for Data-Driven Policy.

Bev previously served as the deputy assistant secretary for management and budget at the U.S. Department of the Treasury. In that position, she oversaw the formulation and execution of the department’s $14 billion budget, as well as its strategic planning and organizational performance management programs. As the most senior (non-political) executive in the management office, she was the principal deputy for all administrative functions and transition director for the 2016 Presidential election. Babers previously served as the Chief Administrative Officer for the U.S. Mint, Chief Administrative Officer & Performance Improvement Officer for the U.S. Department of Education, Chief Human Capital Officer and Chief of Staff for the IRS, Corporate Ombudsman for the American Red Cross after Hurricane Katrina, and Chief of Staff and Trial Attorney for the Department of Justice Tax Division. Bev began her career as an Associate Attorney for the global law firm Jones Day after earning a bachelor’s degree from Haverford College and a law degree from the University of California at Berkeley.

Personally, Bev relates to the Peake Fellowship’s focus on military veterans and their spouses. Her mother, following graduation from then Morgan State College, became the first African American woman to receive a direct commission into the Air Force as an officer. Bev’s father, after emigrating from Cuba to the US, rose through the enlisted ranks to became an Air Force Chief Master Sergeant. As a student at a base high school in Germany, Bev met her future husband, Alonzo Babers, who went on to be an Air Force pilot after attending the U.S. Air Force Academy.

Bev’s own experience with higher ed included enrolling in the first co-ed freshman class at previously all-male Haverford College. She served four years as captain of the College’s first women’s basketball team and was the first female president of the student government. In June 2022, Bev starts a two-year term as President of the Haverford College Alumni Association.

read more


Lana Lashley, CPA

Lana Lashley-Jordan is a Certified Public Accountant with over 23 years experience. Lana became a CPA during her time at KPMG. She went on to various accounting roles ranging from Financial Controller to Internal Audit Manager at Gildan SRL, one of the world’s largest vertically-integrated manufacturers of apparel, socks, and hosiery as well as auditing roles at Ahold USA and Massachusetts Port Authority. At Massachusetts Port Authority, she also served as Outreach & Supplier/Workforce Diversity Administrator. Lana earned a B.Sc. Hons, Economics and Accounting from the University of the West Indies.

read more


Peter Beach

Peter Beach has specialized in non-profit and tax law since 1984. He began his career as a tax associate at Miller & Chevalier in Washington, DC and joined Sheehan Phinney in 1996. In 2001, Peter became a partner in Ernst & Young’s National Office West, specializing in the taxation of mergers and acquisitions. He returned to Sheehan Phinney in 2004. Peter has represented clients in software, telecommunications, healthcare, real estate, natural resources, private equity and venture capital, logistics, education, and the public sector. Peter is also a frequent contributor to professional journals and seminars. He earned a BA summa cum laude from Maharishi University of Management and a JD magna cum laude from Cornell University Law School.

read more


Eric Eaton

After graduating from Howard University, Eric became a Certified Public Accountant with Ernst & Young serving multinationals in the U.S. and overseas. Eric’s CEO team executive positions span across market leaders from media to financial services including his pivotal Chief Financial Officer & Chief Administration Officer roles for the pioneering Graves family organization and its cornerstone publication Black Enterprise.

Having grown up in an activist family in Montgomery, Alabama, Eric saw first-hand the impact individuals can make including his grandparents and mother who were active in Montgomery bus boycotts. His father, Rev. Herbert Eaton, became the pastor of the Dexter Avenue Baptist Church succeeding Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. after MLK returned to Atlanta.

As part of his own commitment to education, Eric served as Chief Financial Officer of two HBCUs, South Carolina State and Grambling State, in support of his Howard classmate Dr. Cynthia Warrick, when she served as president of those institutions. Eric went on to serve as CEO of the Daniel Morgan Graduate Program in National Security which is now part of Texas A&M University’s George H.W. Bush School of Government & Public Service. Most recently, he serves on the executive team of i-Build Global, Inc., a Platform as a Service company that facilitates the construction of affordable housing in the developing world, working in concert with Habitat for Humanity and other international organizations. Eric’s experience across industry and academia supports the Mary S. Peake Fellowship as a catalyst for minority serving institutions and all U.S. higher ed institutions playing a greater role in nationwide upskilling.

read more


Ariadne Valsamis

Ariadne serves as Executive Director of Resources for Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government. Prior to the Kennedy school, Ariadne was Development director at the Harvard Medical School and Vice President for Institutional Advancement at Cambridge College. As a member of the Cambridge College President’s Leadership Team, she helped develop the College’s three-year strategic plan after serving as Vice President of Development for the John F. Kennedy President Library. Ariadne has a BS from University of Pennsylvania, and Masters in Policy and Planning from Harvard University Graduate School of Education.

read more


Dr. Karl Reid

Dr. Karl Reid serves as Vice Provost and the first Chief Inclusion Officer of Northeastern University, a global leader for over 100 years in experiential learning through its “Co-op” cooperative education programs in applied learning. Dr. Reid previously served as the longtime chief executive officer of the National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE), Vice President of Research and Innovation at the United Negro College Fund, and Associate Dean of Undergraduate Education at Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

As an MIT undergraduate, Dr. Reid was a NSBE member before being elected as NSBE’s National Chairperson during his senior year. Dr. Reid went on to a career at IBM in various product management and consulting roles before returning to MIT where he led the Office of Minority Education. In his executive role at NSBE, the organization established the U.S. goal to graduate 10,000 Black Engineers by the end of 2025. While at NSBE, Dr. Reid co-founded the 50K Coalition which aligns the American Indian Science and Engineering Society, the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers, and the Society of Women Engineers to end the underrepresentation of minority students in engineering.

Dr. Reid earned a BS and MS at MIT and earned an EdD from the Harvard University Graduate School of Education. He is the author of Working Smarter, Not Just Harder: Three Sensible Strategies for Succeeding in College…and Life. His honors include the American Association of Engineering Societies Kenneth Andrew Roe Award which recognizes efforts to promote unity between engineering societies; the Transformer Award from the Black Alumni of MIT; and the U.S. Presidential Award for Excellence in Science, Mathematics, and Engineering Mentoring.

read more


Lieutenant General
Darrell K. Williams (Ret.)

The Peake Fellowship benefits from Lieutenant General K. Williams (US Army retired) as Founding Chair given his own experiences with service learning.

He began as an ROTC first generation college student at Hampton Institute, now Hampton University. After graduation as a psychology major, he entered 37 years of military service and earned a Masters in Business Administration from The Pennsylvania State University specializing in supply chain management.

LTG Williams (ret.) completed his U.S. Army career directing the $40 billion Defense Logistics Agency (DLA) which collaborates with more than 11,000 businesses in the Department of Defense supply network. In 2021, he went on to lead the DLA’s counterpart for the British Ministry of Defense as a senior executive for Leidos. On July 1, 2022, LTG Williams became Hampton University’s 13th President since its founding in 1868.

LTG Williams (ret.) credits his impact to the intergenerational mentoring he has given and received throughout his life. His commitment to mentorship, veterans & military spouses, higher education, and small business success strengthens the Peake Fellowship’s nationwide role with next generation leaders helping local business grow.

read more