Fall 2023 /Harvest/

New Members of the Board of Trustees

Six new members and one ex officio member have joined the Pomona College Board of Trustees. They began their terms in July, with the exception of Erika H. James ’91, who will begin her service on July 1, 2024.
Top row left to right: Steve Olson, Carlos Garcia, Erika James. Bottom row left to right: Christina Tong, Nathan Dean, Johny Ek Aban and Betsy Atwater.

Top row left to right: Steve Olson, Carlos Garcia, Erika James. Bottom row left to right: Christina Tong, Nathan Dean, Johny Ek Aban and Betsy Atwater.

Betsy Atwater ’79

Atwater has engaged in nonprofit board work for a variety of institutions, including the Guthrie Theater, Planned Parenthood of Minnesota, Breakthrough Collaborative and Public Radio International, and has served as board chair of the Santa Barbara Museum of Art and Graywolf Press. Her work has focused on governance, development and strategic support for the nonprofits’ missions and executive directors. A history major at Pomona, she earned a J.D. degree at the NYU School of Law before moving to Minneapolis and now lives in Santa Barbara, California. Her mother, uncle and two grandparents attended Pomona.

Nathan Dean ’10

A forensic accountant in FTI Consulting’s Los Angeles office, Dean focuses on understanding companies and their internal and external records, including financial and non-financial records. He advises outside counsel on damages and accounting issues in commercial litigations and advises entities on their environmental, social and corporate governance reporting. For the last three years, Dean served as the national chair of annual giving at Pomona. A biology major, he earned a master’s degree in accounting from the University of Southern California and is a certified public accountant.

Johny Ek Aban ’19

An investment associate at Architect Capital in San Francisco, Ek Aban works with startups across the world and particularly in Latin America to provide debt funding at early stages of a company’s life. He enjoys working with entrepreneurs and startup hubs that reach beyond Silicon Valley. Ek Aban also serves on the Young Leaders Board for Next Generation Scholars, a nonprofit college access program in Marin County that coached him on his journey to be the first in his family to graduate from college and enter the corporate workforce. An economics major, Ek Aban was very active during his time at Pomona, serving on the President’s Advisory Committee on Diversity and as a leader and advocate for first-generation, low-income students at Pomona.

Carlos Garcia ’73

Garcia has had a long career in marketing research with a focus on the Latino sector. He currently serves as the CEO of Garcia Research, a 90-employee firm based in Palm Desert, California. A foreign languages major at Pomona, Garcia appeared in some of Professor Leonard Pronko’s Kabuki productions. His senior year production was one of 10 shows featured by the American College Theater Festival at the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. He later earned a master’s degree from UC Berkeley in comparative literature, an MBA from National University in San Diego and studied medieval theater and French literature at the Sorbonne III. While at Berkeley, he earned a Ford Foundation Fellowship for Mexican Americans.

Erika H. James ’91

James became dean of The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania in 2020. Trained as an organizational psychologist, she is a leading expert on crisis leadership, workplace diversity and management strategy. Before her appointment at Wharton, she was the John H. Harland Dean at Emory University’s Goizueta Business School. An award-winning educator, accomplished consultant and innovative researcher, James has paved the way for women in leadership both in education and corporate America. She serves on the boards of Morgan Stanley and the Philadelphia Orchestra and Kimmel Center. She is a sought-after thought leader whose expertise has been quoted by The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, MSNBC and Bloomberg, among others.

Steve Olson P’23 P’26

Olson is a partner in the Los Angeles office of O’Melveny & Myers and co-chair of the firm’s white-collar defense and corporate investigations practice. He also advises non-U.S. headquartered companies on investing and operating in the U.S. and on navigating the regulatory and political environment. In 2021, he served as interim general counsel and chief legal officer for Hyundai and Genesis Motor America. Olson is chair of the Los Angeles County Economic Development Corp. and the World Trade Center Los Angeles. He also serves on the boards of the Public Policy Institute of California and the Rose Bowl Legacy Foundation. He and his wife, Liz Olson P’23 P’26, chair Pomona College’s Family Leadership Council.

Christina Tong ’17 (ex officio)

Tong joins the group as Pomona’s national chair for annual giving, an ex officio member of the Board of Trustees. A senior product manager at Google Maps, Tong leads a team responsible for the user experience and growth of products including Immersive View, Street View, Live View and the look and feel of the Google Maps mobile apps. Her work has been featured in leading tech publications such as The Verge, TechCrunch, Engadget and VentureBeat, and she has Augmented Reality research patents. Tong also lends her leadership to LGBTQ+ nonprofits. She is board chair at InReach, the world’s first tech platform connecting LGBTQ+ people in need with verified, safe resources such as therapists and lawyers.