Webb Announces 2021 Alumni Award Recipients
There is no greater testament to The Webb Schools’ mission, culture of service and honorable leadership than our extraordinary alumni. Through our annual Alumni Awards program, the Alumni Council and the Board of Trustees honor alumni whose service and achievements truly exemplify the qualities and values that Webb represents.
We are pleased to announce the four distinguished recipients of Webb’s 2021 Alumni Awards:
ALUMNI OUTSTANDING ACHIEVEMENT
The Alumni Outstanding Achievement Award acknowledges alumni who epitomize the core values of their school’s motto:
Webb School of California: Principes non Homines, “Leaders not ordinary men”
Vivian Webb School: Sapientia Amicitia Atque Honor, “Wisdom, Friendship and Honor”
Jenn Louis ’89
Chef, Author, Humanitarian
Jenn encompasses the motto of Vivian Webb School in her work and life. Her wisdom has led her to the top of the culinary world, while her friendship has led her to exhibit kindness and compassion to everyone during a global pandemic.
Jenn has competed on Bravo’s “Top Chef Masters,” was named one of Food & Wine’s “Best New Chefs,” and her simple, sophisticated cooking style, utilizing seasonal Pacific Northwest ingredients, has earned her two nominations for the James Beard Foundation Award of Best Chef: Northwest. Her debut cookbook, “Pasta By Hand” published in 2015, was nominated by the International Association of Culinary Professionals in the category of “Single Subject Cookbooks,” and her second book, “The Book Of Greens,” which debuted in April 2017, won an IACP award. The book was also nominated for a James Beard Award. “The Chicken Soup Manifesto,” Jenn’s third book, was published in 2020.
She has owned and operated three restaurants and a catering business in Portland, Oregon. Jenn is actively involved with nonprofits including Alex’s Lemonade and Share Our Strength. She resides in Portland with her three cats, Wasco, Silverado Silverstein, and Tov, and loves to play the drums, work in her garden, and cook for her friends.
In response to the ongoing pandemic, Jenn has begun the Homeless Relief Initiative, which provides homeless people in her area hot meals, pans, jackets, and more. She is currently caring for nine homeless tent camps and others have joined in her efforts, bringing clothing and other essential items to those most in need.
This account from Jenn’s website describes her work and compassion: “During the pandemic it was more than apparent that the homeless community in Portland, OR was growing beyond its normal epidemic. The number of tent communities has been growing and those who are in need most are falling further and further away from being able to get any basic needs met. When my boyfriend cleaned his closet and had several warm wool sweaters to donate, I asked if I could bring them to a tent camp that I passed almost every day. After dropping them off I thought about how mainstream society thinks of homeless people as “other” rather than people. I was frustrated and angry. I purchased some rice and beans and made a hot meal the following day. I placed the hot food in a cooler, so it would stay hot, and distributed it amongst 7 camps of varying size. In the past month I have brought a hot meal to the same 7 camps 3 times each week. I pack all of the donated clothes, blankets, sleeping bags, hats and gloves and distribute them, too. Everyone can ask for all that they want or need, there is no limit. Every visit I ask what they need and make sure I have it on my next run (propane, dog food). The fourth day per week is spent offering all supplies and non-perishable food. I offer these things with an open heart and without judgement. I do not ask about anyone’s past, just ask what they need and what I can supply for them. If I gave someone a coat the day before and they ask for another, that is fine. Who knows if they lost it, if it got wet or whatever. All I want is that their basic needs are met. I am building trust with these lovely people and can see the small changes in our relationships. With basic needs met, I know that they can choose their next step, whatever it is.”
With open arms and a wide smile, Jenn has hosted Webb visitors countless times to her Portland restaurants. She remains an active member among the Class of 1989, always finding new ways to serve with a generous spirit.
Sameer Dholakia ’91
Entrepreneur and Investor
Sameer represents all aspects of Webb’s mission in his work, the corporate culture he promotes, and in his generous time and treasure to Webb.
Sameer led Citrix to unprecedented heights resulting in the company’s sale to SendGrid. In 2014, he was named the new CEO of SendGrid and during his tenure, the company’s revenue has nearly quadrupled to $111 million in 2017. He led the company’s 2017 initial public offering. Under his leadership, SendGrid has emerged as a leader in customer communications, delivering transactional and marketing email through one reliable cloud-based platform.
Sameer has over 20 years of experience in successfully bringing high growth, disruptive cloud and enterprise software solutions to market. Prior to joining SendGrid, he served as Group Vice President and General Manager of the Cloud Platforms group at Citrix, driving the company’s product strategy for cloud infrastructure and server virtualization. Sameer joined Citrix in 2010, following the company’s acquisition of VMLogix, where he served as CEO and doubled revenues during each year of his tenure. Previously, he worked at Trilogy for 12 years, where he held key leadership roles in sales, business development and product management and helped the company grow from a start-up to a $300 million business. In 2019, Sendgrid was acquired by Twilio, the leading cloud communications platform.
Sameer has also been an outstanding volunteer and advocate for Webb. He was a reunion chair for his 15-, 20-, and 25-year reunions. He currently serves on the Alumni Council as the regional representative for Silicon Valley and has been instrumental in building Webb’s alumni community in the area by hosting alumni events at his home and his office in Menlo Park. He has been an industry mentor for young alumni networking, receiving calls or having coffee with recent Webb graduates. In May 2019, he flew down for the day to participate in Webb’s Innovator’s Edge panel. Sameer and his brother Sanjay ’87,a long with their spouses, established the Pravina Dholakia Scholarship Fund in honor of their mother to help deserving young women attend Webb. Sameer is also a member of the T&V Society, having documented a planned gift to The Webb Schools.
YOUNG ALUMNI RISING STAR AWARD
The Rising Star Award recognizes recent alumni of the past 15 years who have used their success to bring good to the world, demonstrated exceptional achievements in their chosen field, and have shown an affinity for Webb.
Ariel Fan ’10
Founder/CEO of Greenwealth Energy
Ariel lives out Webb’s mission every day. By starting her own company, she embodies the motto of “think boldly, mindfully and creatively,” and “leads with distinction” shown by the career path she formed herself. Ariel has always been an active alumna and that is demonstrated by her continued volunteering on campus, benefitting the current student body and the alumni community.
Ariel’s company GreenWealth Energy Solutions, a design-build energy transformation firm that provides clients with sustainable solutions in the areas of energy efficiency, renewable energy and EV charging infrastructure. She started her energy efficiency career on the streets of Manhattan, walking door to door between hotels, bagel shops and dry cleaners helping small businesses save energy.
From her experience, she felt that green building technologies and financial incentives were so poorly understood and confusing to the public, so she made it her mission to create easy pathways for building owners and managers to save energy. After 5 years in New York, she returned home to Los Angeles where she managed a portfolio of 60 commercial buildings across California, working with utilities such as SCE, PG&E, and DWP to educate building owners on how to speed up the decarbonization of buildings. In 2016, Ariel was recognized as Southern California Edison’s Energy Efficiency Partner of the Year, which led to her founding GreenWealth Energy to continue advancing green building technologies for commercial, industrial and public sector buildings.
Today, GreenWealth is rapidly growing and has recently been certified as the only woman, minority owned business enterprise (WMBE) energy company certified for government and public procurement.
While a student at Webb, Ariel served on the Service Council as the Environmental Committee Chair. She also founded the Project Earth Club at Webb and spent many weekends working to clean up local watersheds and beaches. Ariel joined the Alumni Council in 2020 and has returned to campus on numerous occasions to speak to the entrepreneurship class about creating her own company.
COLBORN DISTINGUISHED SERVICE AWARD
Named in honor of Ken Colborn ’47, the Colborn Distinguished Service Award pays tribute to an alumnus/a in recognition of selfless commitment and ongoing volunteer service to The Webb Schools and/or Raymond M. Alf Museum of Paleontology.
Bill Ripley ’60
Reverend, Retired Teacher
If there is an alumnus or alumna who visits campus more than Bill Ripley, we don’t know about it. At any time, you may find Bill working steadily away in the archives room, helping the Alumni Office with Alumni Weekend activities, joining an Alumni Council meeting, or attending a Webb event.
Bill has dedicated his career to education. After graduating Webb, Bill started dedicating his life to service. He served in the Peace Corps for two years from 1964-66, and soon after was a faculty member at Webb from 1971-1981 teaching Spanish. He served as Dean of Faculty before becoming interim Headmaster in 1979. His mother was chair of the museum board for 10 years and his father was a member of the board of trustees. He previously taught at St. Lucy’s School, and he recently retired from teaching Spanish at Rio Hondo College, where he taught online classes during the pandemic, surprising himself with his technological savviness.
Bill is always representing Webb in a positive and informative way. He has served as a class agent for over 10 years, a reunion chair at multiple reunions, and Alumni Weekend volunteer for many years. As a class agent, he keeps his class informed of school news and events. Bill also helped the Class of 1974 with their 40th reunion and rallied other former faculty to attend their Palm Springs reunion gathering. More recently he has served on the Alumni Council and spends many hours in the archives room, reviewing and sorting through Thompson Webb’s personal files, old school publications, stacks of yearbooks, and anything else you may find in 100 years of history.
In addition to his volunteer service, Bill has presided over the alumni chapel services at Alumni Weekend for dozens of years and helps to make the service a very special occasion. He is a staple at many campus events, such as the annual Head’s Reception for leadership donors, faculty retirement celebrations, student plays and dance shows, and many other campus happenings. Bill is also a member of the Hastings Society for his annual gifts to the schools and museum. He has given almost every year since graduation, just skipping one or two years. He is also a member of the Thompson & Vivian Webb Society, having documented a planned gift. Bill is an active Peccary member who often attends alumni peccary trips in Barstow, as well as in 2018 when he and his wife Erin attended the summer peccary trip to Peru.
Bill’s service to Webb really has no bounds, and we are forever grateful for his continued service.
Please join us in congratulating this year’s recipients. We will be further celebrating and recognizing our four 2021 recipients in the coming weeks. Please stay tuned.