SEMI Foundation Team Member
Shari Liss is the Executive Director of the SEMI Foundation. Shari is responsible for driving the SEMI Strategic Initiatives for Workforce Development. Specifically, she provides leadership to the SEMI Foundation with sustainable programs that attract and fill the global electronics industry talent pipeline. Shari is also responsible for leading our Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion initiatives.
Shari joined SEMI from Ignited, where she was the Chief Executive Officer. At Ignited, she recruited, trained, and placed more than 400 educators in summer fellowships at top companies for transformative professional development that grew the Bay Area’s STEM talent pool and workforce pipelines. Prior to Ignited, Shari piloted an alternative high school for at-risk students, taught college calculus, and developed mathematics programs to serve both gifted and challenged students in the Bay Area. She was also named a Woman of Influence in 2017 by the Silicon Valley Business Journal for her long-standing service to the education and nonprofit communities.
Shari received a Bachelor of Science, in Mathematics from the University of California, Santa Cruz, and a Master of Science, in Mathematics from the State University of New York at Albany.
Emma Bush, EdD joined the SEMI Foundation as Sr. Program Manager in October 2022. Emma supports Foundation leadership in coordinating strategies, partnerships and programs that expand and strengthen workforce development, opportunities for apprenticeships, pre-apprenticeships, and other career pathway strategies within the microelectronics industry.
Emma Jean Bush is a consultant, professional advisor, and resource for leaders in the public, private, nonprofit sectors. She resides in Dallas, TX and is an avid lifelong learner holding a Doctor of Education, Master’s in Public Administration, and a Bachelor of Science degree.
Emma's track-record includes leadership in Chuck Colson’s organization--Prison Fellowship Ministry (PFM), American Red Cross, and Boys and Girls Clubs of America. Her work has been acclaimed and gained recognition from the American Corrections Association, Department of Corrections and Department of Labor in various states, the White House Office of Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships, U.S. Department of Labor, Baylor University Research Institute, and more.
Outside of professional interests she enjoys jogging, baking, reading, Western cinema, volunteer work, traveling, and time with family and friends.
Patrick Gillen joined the SEMI Foundation as an Apprenticeship Administrator in September 2022. He will primarily support the administration, data, and contract compliance of the SEMI Career and Apprenticeship Network (SCAN) in Michigan, including both apprenticeship and pre-apprenticeship programs. He will also provide support for related SEMI Foundation programs.
Before joining SEMI, Patrick worked with clients at Thomas P. Miller and Associates to develop workforce and economic development solutions for their communities. Before that, Patrick worked as an advancement research specialist at Kent State University.
Melinda Gomez joined the SEMI Foundation in March 2023 as the Manager of Veteran Initiatives. In this role, she will create and expand opportunities for Veterans across the semiconductor and microelectronics industry.
Melinda has been working to connect the Veteran community with meaningful employment opportunities for over 10 years. She joins the SEMI Foundation from the US Chamber of Commerce Foundation’s Hiring Our Heroes Initiative where she worked to help transitioning military find their place in the American workforce. She has a Master of Public Administration and is a Certified Career Coach. She lives in San Diego with her family and enjoys all the beautiful outdoor activities of the area in her spare time.
Jeana Harper-Kirkland joined the SEMI Foundation as Program Navigator – SCAN Michigan in September 2022. She will be the boots-on-the ground support and coordinator for the design, development, and implementation of the SEMI Foundation’s SEMI Career and Apprenticeship Network (SCAN) program in Michigan.
Before joining SEMI, Jeana worked as an Eligibility Specialist at the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, and before that, as a Career Pathways Navigator and Instructor at Southwest Economic Solutions. Jeana also is a veteran Spanish Teacher and Teacher Coach with the Detroit Public Schools.
Jeana holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Spanish from Michigan State University and a Master of Arts degree in Spanish from Eastern Michigan University with Teacher Certification. Jeana is located in Detroit, Michigan, where she lives with her husband. In her spare time, she runs her small business, enjoys reading, dances African and Latin dance, and is a “resource navigator” for family and friends.
Jeanny Ho joined SEMI Foundation at SEMI in June 2022 as Program Manager, Workforce Development. She provides administrative support to Foundation programs, communications, and leadership. She also oversees the Foundation’s mentoring program and will support diversity, equity, and inclusion activities and research.
Before joining SEMI, Jeanny worked for various semiconductor-related companies such as Golden Spirits VN (Vietnam), NXP Semiconductors, Pericom/Diodes, Philips Semiconductors, and VLSI Technology. She worked from an Administrative Assistant position at VLSI to becoming a Marketing Communications/Program Manager after completing her B.S. in Marketing from San Jose State University. Her diverse experience in the semiconductor industry includes managing tradeshows, webinars, World-Wide Technology Center training, branding, graphic designs, product launches, and websites. She speaks Cantonese, Mandarin, Teo Chow, and Vietnamese. Jeanny enjoys traveling, playing volleyball, watching anime, gardening, aquascaping, and raising fancy goldfish.
Margaret Kindling joined SEMI in September 1988. After many years overseeing all aspects of meeting management for the Americas, including ASMC, university engagement and regional programs, she is now the Senior Program Manager for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) programming for the SEMI Foundation. Margaret continues to manage the Women in Semiconductors (WiS) program which was the first SEMI event developed and managed by women. In addition to WiS, she manages SEMI VetWorks initiatives, WFD/DEI programming at SEMICON West, the SEMI MOD and the SEMI Foundation Excellence in Achievement Award.
Near and dear to her heart are the many industry volunteers with whom she has had the honor to work over the years. She owes a debt of gratitude to RIT (Rochester Institute of Technology) students attending ASMC for an ‘aha’ moment which led her on the DEI path. In 2007, she was awarded a SEMI Global Recognition Award for her work on ASMC. She holds a Bachelor of Science degree in German from Georgetown. An Upstate New York transplant, Margaret works out of her home in Northern Virginia.
Berton Mahardja joined the SEMI Foundation in September 2021 as Senior Manager, Global Education Initiatives. Berton will help envision, design, and lead the expansion of current programs and the creation of new programs that support STEM learning for students and adults. He will evolve, deliver, and grow successful global programs, build relationships with member companies and educational institutions, and enhance the impact and effectiveness of all of SEMI Foundation’s education programs.
Before joining SEMI, Berton led a successful school turnaround as the Vice Principal at Redwood High School in Redwood City, California that decreased school policy violations by 89%, lowered school suspensions by 70%, and raised attendance rates by 18%. Prior to that position, Berton served as Director of Teacher Engagement at Teach for America, and as a Special Education Teacher, Resource Specialist for San Jose Unified School District. Berton enjoys skiing, traveling, and cooking.
Rick VanIttersum joined the SEMI Foundation as Program Manager – SCAN Michigan in September 2022. He will strategize, oversee, and implement the SEMI Foundation’s SEMI Career and Apprenticeship Network (SCAN) program in Michigan. He will collaborate closely with a wide range of external stakeholders, overseeing the development of apprenticeship and pre-apprenticeship programs in multiple occupations in the industry.
Before joining SEMI, Rick spent eight years at Kinexus Group/Michigan Works! Berrien-Cass-Van Buren working as a Talent Development Specialist and then a Talent Development Manager in the American Job Center. Most recently, Rick served as Vocational Training Manager & Apprenticeship Success Coordinator. He managed apprenticeship building activity in Southwest Michigan and created new USDOL Registered Apprenticeship programs in non-traditional occupations.
Rick enjoys spending time with his wife Sara, his daughter Chloe (age 5), his son James (age 1), and his dog Brownie. Rick is an avid University of Michigan sports fan where he is a football season ticket holder, and has attended Michigan games at nearly every Big Ten campus (minus Rutgers and Maryland). He is looking forward to future Big Ten games at USC and UCLA. Rick also enjoys traveling, exploring craft breweries, and relaxing on Michigan’s many lakes and waterways.
Michelle Williams is the Deputy Director of the SEMI Foundation. Michelle is responsible for the organization’s storytelling and communications, resource generation, and working toward diversity, equity, and inclusion within the Foundation, within SEMI, and for the industry.
Michelle’s diverse professional background includes working as a professional musician and performer, published writer, Emergency Medical Technician, emergency services responder in disaster relief, and in wine education. Previously, Michelle served at the helm of nonprofit organizations dedicated to strengthening local communities and positively impacting policy and program development on regional, state-wide, and national levels.
Most recently she served as Executive Director at Arts Council Santa Cruz County, where she led an institutional turnaround and oversaw systemic and programmatic overhauls to address equity, sustainability, and greater community impact. At the core of Michelle’s work is devotion to equitable and supportive workplace culture, and the cultivation and nurturing of powerful and successful cross-sector partnerships.
Michelle is located in Tampa, Florida, where she lives with her husband and two young sons, and where she is still getting used to looking for alligators on a daily basis.