Meet Our Board

Tamara Prather

Tamara Prather is a purpose-driven leader with a love for people, a passion for justice, and a history of building and leading effective teams to impact transformative change. Tamara currently serves as the Chicago Executive Director of The Surge Institute. She is setting and executing the vision and direction for the organization, ensuring an exceptional fellowship program, building and maintaining relationships with partners and funders, and cultivating an intentional organizational culture representing the Surge values. Tamara brings over 18 years of combined experience in the private sector and education through her past work at GE Capital, Kraft Foods,Chicago Public Schools and A Better Chicago.

As an African-American first-generation college graduate, Tamara is intimately aware of the opportunities education
affords and is passionate about leading change grounded in race and equity that makes quality education accessible to all. Tamara holds a BS in business administration from Ohio State University, an MBA from the Kellogg School of Management at NorthwesternUniversity, and an M.Ed in education leadership from the Broad Center for Management of School Systems.

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Britney Robbins is the founder and CEO of The Gray Matter Experience. Britney has worked within Chicago's entrepreneurship and tech community for the past seven years working within some of Chicago's top venture capital firms and incubators including Sandbox Industries, Lightbank and 1871. She has been recognized as one of Ariel Investment, BMO Harris and WVON's 40 Under 40 Gamechangers, Essence Magazine's Woke 100, a finalist for Ebony Magazine's Power 100 People's Choice Award, featured on Fox32, Chicago Inno,, DNAInfo Chicago, Chicago Tribune, Forbes and Essence Magazine for her work through Gray Matter. Britney is a proud graduate of the University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign where she received her B.A in Rhetoric.

Britney is passionate about the intersection of entrepreneurship, education and youth and believes in empowering others to use their passions and strengths to create opportunities for themselves. In 2015, she authored and published her first children's book and is working to complete the second book of the series early 2020. Britney is committed to inspiring youth to reach their full potential and aims to continue to create channels for them to do so. 

Britney Robbins

Jonathan McGee

Jonathan McGee is a social entrepreneur, civic leader, and external affairs expert with over 7 years of non-profit, public sector, and social impact experience. He currently serves as Deputy Director of Regional Economic Development for the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity. Prior to this role, he founded The Global Organization for Applied Political Leadership, the first of its kind global training incubator for advocacy, specifically focused on lower socioeconomic communities of color.


Jonathan is an Adjunct Professor for West Virginia University, where he teaches Event Planning in the Reed College of Media. He previously consulted for Get In Chicago and The Chicago Community Trust's Civic Engagement team where he led social capital initiatives, and facilitated programming in Chicago's neighborhoods most impacted by poverty and violence.

Jonathan holds a Bachelor's Degree in Political Science and Law Enforcement from Western Illinois University, and a Masters of Professional Studies in Political Management degree from George Washington University.


Chika Umeadi is the co-founder of tiphub, a firm specialized in supporting African and African Diaspora focused startups at the intersection of technology and impact. Since its inception in 2014, tiphub has engaged over 100 companies through programs, funding, mentorship, and technology assistance yielding to top partnerships with companies like the NBA, Uber, Google, and State Farm and $10 million USD raised by companies to date.

While he’s not working with start-ups through tiphub, Chika is a Product Manager at Google. He also advises and supports Cornell Pharma, a pharmaceutical company based in New Jersey with operations in Nigeria and Kenya. Cornell Pharma’s mission is to bring cost-effective oncology and anti-infective therapeutics to underserved markets leveraging innovative manufacturing and delivery mechanisms.

Chika received his MBA from the Kogod School of Business at American University and his Bachelor’s degree from University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign.

Chika Umeadi