Spark Adds Finance Executives to National Board of Directors

August 2, 2016 – CHICAGO – Spark, a national nonprofit youth mentoring organization, welcomes finance executives Elena Gomez and Ben Rowe as the newest members of its National Board of Directors.

“Both Ben and Elena bring significant leadership in finance and operations to our National Board,” said Jason Cascarino, Spark’s Chief Executive Officer.  “Their expertise will be incredibly valuable as we align our business and program models to scale the organization and serve thousands of students annually in the coming years.” 

Elena Gomez leads the global finance and accounting team at Zendesk as Chief Financial Officer and joins Spark’s Board with more than 20 years of financial experience with companies including Salesforce, Visa, Charles Schwab and KPMG.  Prior to joining Zendesk, Gomez was the Senior Vice President of Finance and Strategy for Salesforce, a company that partners with Spark by engaging employees in volunteer mentoring.  While at Salesforce Gomez held several senior finance roles most recently serving as a trusted advisor to the Chief Operating Officer.

“I am inspired by what Spark has achieved in its formative years and thrilled to be part of the team that will help it to grow exponentially in the next 10 years,” said Gomez.  “I’ve experienced the program’s unique impact in the workplace first-hand and look forward to bringing this mentoring opportunity to my colleagues at Zendesk.”

Ben Rowe is a Managing Partner at KHP Capital Partners, the successor company to Kimpton Hotels & Restaurants’ private equity fund management business. Rowe has direct responsibility for the company’s finance, asset management, capital raising and investor relations functions. For more than 10 years, Rowe held leadership positions with Kimpton Hotels & Restaurants, including Chief Financial Officer, Senior Vice President/Treasurer and Director of Corporate Finance and Development. Prior to his work with Kimpton Hotels & Restaurants, Rowe served as the Chief Financial Officer of Lerium and was an Analyst with Salomon Smith Barney.

“I’ve been impressed with Spark ever since I was first introduced through my work with Kimpton,” said Rowe.  “I’m very excited to have the opportunity to contribute to the organization’s strategic growth and support the tremendous impact its mentoring program has in schools and workplaces across the country.”


Spark inspires 7th, 8th and 9th grade students to succeed in high school and beyond by connecting them with mentors in leading workplaces and supporting their academic journey with skill-building and resources. By engaging working professionals and connecting businesses with local communities, Spark empowers the next generation to perform better in school, graduate on time and lead fulfilling careers and lives.

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