About Us

Every child has a genius. Every child deserves to thrive. At Thrively, we are guided by those two core beliefs. With a little ingenuity and a lot of hard work, we're helping kids reach their potential. We're helping parents understand their children better. We're helping teachers connect with their students on a more personal level. If you are passionate about adolescent development and inspired to use your strengths to make a difference, join Thrively today.

Our Team

We are a team of parents, technologists, educators, entrepreneurs and adolescent development specialists who are passionate about helping every child thrive.

  • Girish Venkat

    Founder & Chief Executive Officer

    Girish, a lifelong entrepreneur who has spent his career building innovative technology, including as the founding Chief Architect of Stamps.com. Girish’s relationship with his son, Rohit was the spark that started Thrively. Girish struggled, like many parents do, to find the right enrichment activities to spark a genuine passion in Rohit. Helping Rohit find his passion, became Girish’s and through countless hours of speaking with experts in child psychology, reading books from Malcolm Gladwell’s “Outliers” to Jenifer Fox’s “Your Child’s Strengths,” and applying his entrepreneurial mindset to Rohit’s fledgling interests, Thrively was born.

  • Jeff McConaghy Ed.D

    Chief Education Officer

    Jeff enjoyed a rich first career as an English teacher, outdoor trip leader, and administrator at five different independent schools over 20 years. Through his doctoral research and firsthand experience working to found multiple schools in the Los Angeles area, Jeff has had the unique opportunity to become expert in the starting of schools and the promotion of NextGen educational approaches. Now, Jeff seeks to make an even larger impact as he leads educational strategy, content, and implementation for Thrively's powerful strengths-based educational platform.

  • Steve Wandler

    Chief Operating Officer & Head of Growth

    Despite never graduating from high school, Steve has a calling for systematic change for the future of K12 education. Founder of YourTechOnline - Acquired by Support.com. Founder of Metabridge a NonProfit focused on startup entrepreneurs to create meaningful connections with mentors and VC’s. Co-founder of FreshGrade, a learning collaboration platform with$20M in Venture funding, focused on the challenges of communicating learning in K12. Steve also sits on the Dean’s Education Council at the Faculty of Education at Simon Fraser University.

  • Gina Thackrey

    Director of Innovation and Deeper Learning

    In 2014, Gina created an award-winning K-6 STEM program that engaged students to explore rigorous content and build 21st Century skills through project-based learning. She served the California Department of Education and helped draft the state’s first set of K-12 CS standards. Gina worked on the Hewlett Packard/Microsoft/Digital Promise Global Learning Studios Project, an international collaboration for the establishment of educational technology best practices. As a leader in educational innovation, Gina has been a featured presenter at National, educational, science, and technology conferences, Maker Ed podcasts, webinars, and livestreams. In her commitment to provide equitable access, Gina has worked with industry partners such as Qualcomm and YMCA to create engaging and empowering learning experiences that allow students to explore the world of work in authentic and meaningful ways. Through her work with Thrively, Gina is excited to continue building rich opportunities for students to develop deep passion and utilize their strengths to become successful, productive, and empathetic global citizens.

  • Patrick Dela Cruz

    Head of Classroom Engagement

    A passionate educator who believes that every child is a genius and every child deserves to thrive. As a classroom teacher, Patrick discovered the tremendous impact student-centered learning has made for his students. The level of engagement, passion, and interest drives the learning experiences to new heights and really gives every student a sense of pride and purpose. Patrick continues to share his passion for personalized learning with a platform that focuses on students' strengths, interests, and aspirations. As Head of Classroom Engagement, Patrick gets to champion every child's inner genius and support educators all over the world on how their students can thrive with Thrively.

  • Jon Kraft

    Co-Founder

    Jon is the father of 3 children, ages 6 to 13, and has been active in the community working with kids as a youth sports coach for more than 30 years. He was also the founding CEO of Pandora, and he has spent much of his career as an entrepreneur developing recommendation engines around highly complex information sets.