Our Team


Michaela Pratt

President & CEO

Michaela has been part of Mentor Foundation USA’s management team since 2011. She has been instrumental in establishing the organizations first programs and strategic direction.

Before leading the organization, Michaela was the Director of Marketing & Outreach, working on securing important relationships and funding for Mentor. “I am very proud to serve Mentor Foundation USA.  As a mother of two young children, I am determined to see our programs make an impact and help our young people live healthy lives, free of drugs.”

Michaela, a native Swede, moved to the U.S. after graduating high school to attended George Mason University where she obtained a B.A. in Marketing and Business Management.

Karl C. Colder

Director of Program Development

Special Agent in Charge, Drug Enforcement Administration, Washington Division (Retired Senior Executive Service). Karl has 32 years of career leadership and professional investigative experience with the DEA. He was responsible for managing the Investigative productivity and leveraging budgetary strategies for a Division consisting of more than 500 personnel comprised of Special Agents, Task Force Officers, Intelligence Analysts, Diversion Investigators, Security Specialists, IT Specialists, contract employees, and support staff located in 13 facilities within a four-state region (MD, VA, WV, DC). Karl has also served as the DEA Deputy Chief Inspector and other management roles in Philadelphia, Dallas/Ft Worth, Newark, and in the Caribbean.

Melissa Neves

Marketing Manager

Melissa supports the organizations efforts in Marketing, Program Development and Fundraising.  She has a broad experience within non-profit management focused on youth development, as well as being a Founding Member of Empower and Motivate for Change (EMC), a female network for young professionals focusing on encouraging women to pursue their ambitions and training women to be prepared and empowered to become the next generation of leaders.

Melissa is a warm, energetic and committed team member. She loves to connect with new people and get motivated by inspiring others to “walk the extra mile.” Although she loves her home country Sweden, she is very excited by her new move to the U.S!

Melissa was born and raised in Gothenburg, Sweden, where she obtained her Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration as well as her Master’s Degree in Marketing and Consumption at the School of Business, Economics and Law at the University of Gothenburg.

Linda Rhodes

Business Manager

Linda comes to us with 25 years of experience working with non-profits. Through previous employment experience with the State of Maryland and in the for-profit world, she brings core knowledge in working with various business activities and financial reporting.

Linda is active in various community activities and strongly believes in the need for prevention programs in schools.  With two grown grandchildren, she knows from their experiences the impact of peer pressure and its impact on educational experiences.

Sergio Chavez

Program Coordinator

Sergio Chavez is a motivational speaker, life coach, and professional youth counselor. He has traveled across the U.S., Central America, and the Caribbean engaging youth and young adults in a compelling and life-giving way through his facilitation and public speaking.

As a child growing up in Falls Church, Virginia, Sergio developed a passion and gift for speaking and communicating through music, acting, and writing. He hit his first major turning point at age 12 when his father walked out on his family, which drove him to turn to the street life. Years later, he came to the realization that those around him, including himself, needed hope, restoration, and motivation. Sergio’s ambition to spread this message moved him to begin speaking to small groups in family homes and working in inner-city communities. What started as small discussions has now become speaking engagements in larger venues, businesses, non-profits, schools, and correctional facilities. He is known for his message of empowerment and motivation. His personal story inspires many across the nation to arise, dream big, and live a life without fear and limitations. Sergio and his wife, Franchesca, currently reside in Montgomery County, Maryland. 

 Thomas A. Werner

Sustainability Officer

Tom advises the organization on sustainability strategies in order to establish new, and maintain existing, connections. He also assists in the hands-on preparation of proposals and research. He has been involved in the substance abuse issue since 2013, advocating on the need for closer collaboration and coordination among the many organization who have very good, but overlapping, programs in order to have a greater more effective impact on resolving the substance use problem. He advises a number of other organizations involved in programs benefiting society as a whole, and especially youth. Thomas is a graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy and Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, then, Naval Military Service, Private Sector and Federal Government Management Positions, and Hands-on Development of Commercial Web sites.

Chantal Teixeira

Intern

Chantal is currently a Junior at the George Washington University majoring in International Affairs, with a concentration in International Economics and a minor in Spanish. Chantal has past experience working at the Embassy of Brazil and DLA Piper LLP, one of the world’s largest law firms, this summer. She is very interested in public policy and youth international development.