Meet the Dream Team — Chicago’s best and brightest, dedicated to our Scholars and our city.
Jeffery Beckham, Jr. is the Chief Executive Officer at Chicago Scholars. In his role, he is responsible for leading the development of the organization that serves more than 5,000 first-generation and low-income students to reach their dreams to pursue a college education. Jeffery is a community leader, artist and tech-entrepreneur known for advancing the fight for equity for youth and marginalized communities throughout the United States. Jeffery lives by the quote: “To whom much is given, much is required.” He strives to support traditionally underserved youth, working as a mentor with the 100 Black Men of Chicago, Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity INC. and other Chicago programs. Jeffery is also a self-taught painter and uses his art to advocate for social and economic justice. His work has been on display around the world.
Brooke McKean has over a decade of executive-level experience in fast-paced and start-up environments, in addition to experience managing teams in 12+ countries. Brooke is an expert in change management and has developed dozens of systems, policies, and infrastructure across all areas of operations, including IT, HR, finance, data systems, and beyond. Brooke believes in service-oriented and values-based leadership to ensure that Chicago Scholars embodies the values that define its programs to “be the change.”
Dr. Tamara Hoff Pope oversees the implementation and execution of Chicago Scholars’ seven-year college access, success, and leadership development. Prior to pivoting to the education nonprofit sector, she taught, advised, and mentored minoritized students and students from low-income communities as both a professor and higher education administrator. Her life’s work has been devoted to ensuring equitable, inclusive, and affordable pathways to higher education and economic mobility for historically marginalized youth. Dr. Pope earned a Bachelor of Science Degree in Mathematics, Master of Arts Degree and Doctor of Philosophy Degree in Educational Policy Studies, all from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. She is a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc., a world traveler, an avid bid whist player, and currently resides in Bronzeville with her husband Keyonn and son Keyonn II.
Rachael Carbone leads the strategy and implementation of fundraising, communications and strategic engagement to elevate and achieve Chicago Scholars’ mission. She also oversees the teams responsible for organizational operations – the day-to-day of business management – that supports the incredible programming provided to some of Chicago’s most talented young leaders. If you want to learn more about how to support the Chicago Scholars vision through your time, talent, treasure, or testimony, Rachael can help.
With over 20 years navigating the social impact landscape, Khadeejah has navigated her way from direct services to leadership. Through her work directing programs, partnerships, human capital, and DEI strategies across universities, school districts, nonprofits, and Fortune 500 companies she has observed and noted the trends that lead to employee disengagement and burnout as well as the common traits and tools used by those who persist and succeed. Khadeejah’s experience has equipped her with an arsenal of leadership strategies and tools proven to work in a variety of settings, while her background as an educator allows her to guide learners through using those tools for themselves. Khadeejah uses an asset-based, holistic approach to systems change that is rooted in self-awareness, emotional intelligence, and a growth mindset. Her approach is rooted in cultural competencies and delivered through a lens of racial justice, equity, accessibility, diversity, and inclusion. Khadeejah holds a Bachelor of Science in Psychology from Clark – Atlanta University, a Masters of Arts in Education from Prescott College, is a Surge Institute Alum, a Allstate Foundation Executive Leadership Fellow, and a Baumhart Leading for DEI Fellow. Khadeejah considers herself to be a fighter for social justice, an amateur ethnographer, and a lifelong learner. The world knows her as a champion for education, a dedicated mentor, a proud two-time cancer survivor, a wife, and a mother.