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President, Advocates for Youth
Deb Hauser is the President and Executive Director of Advocates for Youth, an organization that partners with youth leaders, adult allies and youth-serving organizations to advocate for policies and champion programs that recognize young people’s rights to honest sexual health information, confidential sexual health services and equitable social and economic opportunities. Deb has been at the center of numerous innovations in the field of adolescent sexual health, including co-founding the Future of Sex Education—an initiative that produced the first-ever National Sexuality Education Standards, designing an innovative HIV/AIDS prevention and testing-to-treatment program on the campuses of historically black colleges and universities, expanding the Great American Condom Campaign into a ground-breaking effort to normalize condom use on more than 1,000 college campuses across the U.S., and helping to build the infrastructure of the LGBT youth movement in the Global South. Deb is committed to a cascading style of leadership that promotes youth activists as change agents and leaders in the field. Deb serves as Vice Chair of the Board of Directors for the American Sexual Health Association and is a member of the CDC/HRSA Advisory Committee on HIV, Viral Hepatitis and STD Prevention and Treatment. She is proficient in Spanish and holds a Master of Public Health in Population Planning and International Health from the University of Michigan.
Executive Director, Answer
Nicole Cushman is the Executive Director of Answer, a Rutgers-based program that provides and promotes comprehensive sexuality education. Nicole is passionate about empowering young people through honest, relevant and effective sexuality education. She has nearly 15 years of experience as an educator and trainer in sexual and reproductive health and has worked to strengthen sexuality education policies and programs across the U.S. Nicole oversees Answer’s sexuality education programs, finances and fundraising. Nicole’s research and writing appear in peer-reviewed journals, including an article on promising sexuality education programs across the U.S. published in the journal Sex Education. Her most recent publication is “Community-based Sexuality Education,” a textbook chapter in Evidence-based Approaches to Sexuality Education. She also serves as co-chair of the Sexuality Task Force at the American Public Health Association. Nicole holds a Bachelor of Science from Stanford University and a Master of Public Health from Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health.
Executive Director, Youth Tech Health
Bhupendra Sheoran is the Executive Director of Youth Tech Health (YTH), an organization committed to advancing youth health and wellness through technology. He began his career as a medical doctor in India and started working with young people over 15 years ago when he worked with teenage mothers to provide them with nutrition education. Sheoran has since moved into public health; designed, implemented and evaluated text messaging health campaigns; and conducted social media outreach for at-risk and hard-to-reach populations. Today he works with the YTH program team to design new media and technology programs. He also provides capacity building assistance to agencies that want to apply these technologies to their work, especially in sexual and reproductive health for young people. Sheoran holds an MBA in health management and has published articles in the Journal of the Association of Nurses in AIDS Care and the Journal of Public Health Management and Practice. His work has been featured in both online and print media including POZ magazine, Aegis and BAR. Sheoran likes to bring a combination of clinical and public health knowledge and experience to address health issues at both individual and population level. He believes in compassion, respect and humility; these are the values he continues to incorporate in his work at YTH.
Amaze Program Manager
As Program Manager, Kristi Mahoney is responsible for oversight and coordination of AMAZE’s video production, marketing and branding. She excels at managing a diverse group of stakeholders and maintaining clear communication between sexual health experts, video producers, animators, web developers and the marketing and branding team. When she is not laughing with the AMAZE team, she manages the Reproductive Health and Rights Program at the WestWind Foundation. She holds a Master of Public Health from Tufts University, has a background in business administration and holds degrees in marketing and French from Lehigh University. She also serves as the co-leader of the Youth Working Group at the Funders Network for Reproductive Health and Rights and serves on the Advisory Council of the Vincent Obstetrics and Gynecology Department.
Technology & Management Consultant
Paul Hess specializes in management planning and execution for advanced technology projects. Paul has worked with WestWind on several internet, e-commerce and content management projects such as the Attitude Network / Happy Puppy sites which at the time constituted the largest gaming related internet property on the web, and the original development of HotelDiscount.com (now Hotels.Com) which was one of the few consistently profitable e-commerce sites during the early internet bubble. When he is able get the AMAZE tunes out of his head for a few minutes at a time, Paul is Research Director and Technology Manager for Westwind Management.
Ashley Benson is a program administrator for Advocates for Youth, an organization that partners with youth leaders, adult allies, and youth-serving organizations to advocate for policies and champion programs that recognize young people’s rights to honest sexual health information; accessible, confidential, and affordable sexual health services; and the resources and opportunities necessary to create sexual health equity for all youth. Prior to joining Advocates she was a conference coordinator for the Cato Institute in Washington, D.C. Ashley holds a Masters in Applied Psychology and a graduate certificate in Human Resource Management from Sacred Heart University.
Senior Manager of Strategic Projects at Advocates for Youth
Lincoln Mondy is the Senior Manager of Strategic Projects at Advocates for Youth. Lincoln drives campaigns, media outreach, and partnerships focused on young people’s sexual and reproductive health and rights. Prior to Advocates, Lincoln was a Senior Account Executive at BerlinRosen, a public relations firm where he supported progressive organizations on a range of issues including criminal justice, reproductive health, and racial equity. He is the filmmaker behind Black Lives / Black Lungs, a short film investigating the infiltration of the black community by the tobacco industry, which received media attention from NPR, HuffPost, AJ+, and other media outlets under his direction. A native Texan, he graduated from The George Washington University.
Director of the International Youth Health and Rights Division at Advocates for Youth
Nicole Cheetham, MHS, is the Director of the International Youth Health and Rights Division at Advocates for Youth. She has more than 20 years of experience working in international public health and provides technical assistance and training to partner organizations in sub-Saharan Africa, Asia, and Latin America in support of adolescent and youth sexual and reproductive health and rights program design and implementation. Core areas of expertise include school-based and out-of-school sexuality education, community mobilization, peer education, youth-friendly services, parent-child communication, and youth-led advocacy. Nicole leads the organization’s international efforts on comprehensive sexuality education, with expertise in curriculum development and review and teacher training. She is the author of a teacher training module for sexuality education developed in collaboration with UNESCO and UNFPA for East and Southern Africa. Nicole holds a Masters of Health Sciences in International Public Health from the Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health, serves on the Editorial Advisory Board of the Journal of American Sexuality Education, and speaks English, Spanish and French.
Director of Sexuality Education and Training at Advocates for Youth
Nora Gelperin is the Director of Sexuality Education and Training at Advocates for Youth. Nora is one of the national technical assistance providers on the Working to Institutionalize Sex Ed (WISE) initiative and has been a member of the Future of Sex Education (FoSE) initiative since it’s founding. She has more than twenty years of experience providing sexuality education to youth and professional development to school health and education professionals. Prior to joining Advocates she was the Director of Training at Answer where she founded the Training Institute in Sexual Health Education (TISHE) and Answer’s online professional development workshops. She was a community educator with Planned Parenthood of the Great Northwest and Planned Parenthood of Greater Northern New Jersey. Nora holds a Masters in School Health Education from Temple University was awarded a Mary Lee Tatum Award from Planned Parenthood Leaders in Education (APPLE) and has been named a 2014 Fellow of the American School Health Association.
Director of Training for Answer at Rutgers University
Dan Rice is the Director of Training for Answer at Rutgers University. Dan Rice has worked directly with youth in public and private schools, community-based organizations, foster programs, the juvenile justice system and communities of faith as well as advised teen-to- teen leadership and mentor groups. Through years of experience, Mr. Rice knows the powerful impact sexuality education can have on the lives of young people, and he has worked for almost 15 years to train educators to provide the high-quality sexuality education that young people deserve. Mr. Rice oversees Answer’s Sexuality Education Training Initiative, including the Training Institute in Sexual Health Education (TISHE) and the development of Answer’s newest online workshops. Mr. Rice also manages all of Answer’s relationships with strategic partners in the field and contributes to the Future of Sex Education (FoSE) partnership. Mr. Rice holds a Master of Education degree in curriculum and instruction from Western New England University.
Director of Communications for Answer at Rutgers University
Lucinda Holt is the Director of Communications for Answer at Rutgers University. Lucinda Holt oversees Answer’s media relationships and external communications, including all aspects of Sex, Etc., our national, award-winning print and online resource produced by the organization’s teen editorial staff. In addition to overseeing the editing and design of Sex, Etc., Ms. Holt ensures that teen voices are kept in the forefront of our national work by providing the teen staff with writing and media training. She has worked for Condé Nast Publications and youth organizations such as Prep for Prep and the Columbia University Liberty Partnership Program. Ms. Holt holds a Master of Arts in anthropology from Columbia University.
Social Media and Marketing Manager
Shazmin Taylor manages the youth-facing social media and web presence for AMAZE, Answer’s animated video series for 10-to 14-year-olds created in partnership with Advocates for Youth and YTH. In addition, she is responsible for tracking social media analytics and strategizing digital marketing efforts. Prior to joining the AMAZE project, she managed digital content and social strategy for a variety of publications and B2C clients that include The Knot magazine, HarperCollins Publishers and IHOP. Shazmin earned her B.A. in journalism and media studies at Rutgers University and earned her M.A. in multimedia communications at Academy of Art University.
Animated: Top Signs Boys are in Puberty & Talking Sexual Orientation with Jane & Being Female, Male, Transgender or Fluid & Top Signs Girls are in Puberty& Masturbation: Totally Normal & Body Image & All About Getting Your Period & Consent & Porn: Fact or Fiction? & The Jimmy Pimple Show-All About Male Puberty & Birth Control Basics: Condoms, The Pill & Patch & Is it Love? & Bullying & What is HIV?
Nadav Arbel is the founder and owner of “The moving company” animation studio, which specialize in creating high quality and original animation movies. Nadav lives and works in Israel and has almost a decade of experience in producing directing and animating 2D animation shorts. He is also a lecturer of cinema and animation at The NB Haifa School of Design.
Ashraf Bekhit is a 3D animation director, born and based in Cairo Egypt, since 2004 been participating in several 2D and 3D animated projects as an animator, character designer, storyboard artist and director, most of those projects focus on delivering values to young people and helping them overcoming struggles, winner of 2004 Dubai’s IBDA’A animation award, currently working at Arascope
Animated: Expressing Myself. My Way & Contraceptinator
Dalila “Dee” Boyd graduated in Illustration and Film from Rhode Island School of Design. She then pursued a career in animation, working for several studios animating and art directing numerous commercials, television shows, and interactive software titles. She now heads Floating Pear Productions, an animation company she co-founded.
Dee has done commercial work for Nickelodeon and Olive Jar Productions . She has been a storyboarded and animator on several animated television shows such as Home Movies (UPN and Cartoon Network), Dick and Paula (FX), projects for WB, and was assistant art director on Hey Monie (Oxygen and BET), as well as several television pilots. She served as Art Director on interactive software titles for clients such as Sesame Street and Hasbro. With her own company now, she has worked extensively on writing, designing, and animating nearly all of Floating Pear’s original property such as Tedi, Write Gidget, and her children’s book “Only the Stars” with Scholastic and Color Bridge Books.
Animated: Sad and Happy: Feelings Happen
Sachio Cook is a Japanese American animation artist from Queens, NY. The inspiration for her work comes from a wide variety of sources including Anime and Literature. Sachio has worked with Titmouse Inc., Bent Image Lab, Cartoon Network and has shown her work in BunnyCutlet Gallery, NY. In 2015 she was awarded Best Music Video at the South Australian Music Awards for her video “Switch Lanes” with Tkay Maidza.
Animated: Friend or Foe
Anthony Galante is an animator from New Jersey. He graduated from the Rhode Island School of Design with a BFA in Film/Animation/Video. Anthony has worked on a few major productions, including Muppets Most Wanted and Irrational Man, as well as commercial work with Hornet Inc.
Animated: Boobs and More
Rachel Gitlevich is a 2D Character Animator living and working in New York City. For the past 4 years she’s been with Titmouse Animation and worked on projects like Home, Ninja Turtles, China IL, Hot Wheels, SuperJail, Turbo F.A.S.T., and a handful of pilots, music videos, and commercials. They’ve worked for Dreamworks, Netflix, Adult Swim, Nickelodeon, and Disney.
Animated: The ABCs of STDs
Meejin Hong is an animator born and raised in Spartanburg, SC. After studying experimental animation at Calarts, she moved to Pasadena, CA to live and make stuff amongst a pandemonium of parrots and creep of desert tortoises under a century old oak tree.
Bria Jones is an animator and designer based out of Burbank, CA. A graduate of the Savannah College of Art and Design, she has worked on various projects for studios such as Echo Bridge Pictures, Primal Screen, and Adult Swim. She is currently an animator at Bento Box on Bob’s Burgers. When she isn’t drawing, Bria enjoys gaming, food and puppy cuddles.
Liz Keene is an animator and illustrator currently based in Rhode Island. She’s worked on Titmouse productions such as Home, Superjail!, China IL, Turbo FAST, Hanazuki and has also worked with Adult Swim and Bleacher Report. Aside from her professional work she enjoys working on her own personal projects and illustrations in her own time.
Bo is an aspiring animator & a character designer who cooks as much as she draws. Life is sometimes bitter that she wants her works to make people laugh and be happy in the most spontaneous and genuine way.
She believes that heart-warming stories and charming characters are endearing to children, but they also bring back childlike innocence to adults. She is a production artist at BBDO by day, and a owner of secret peach farm by night.
“All adults were once children. However, only a few adults remember it.”
Animated: Wise on the Web
Tami Kim is a freelance illustrator and animator from New York City. She graduated from the Rhode Island School of Design with a BFA in Film/Animation/Video. She loves all forms of storytelling, which was what drew her to animation. She has worked on projects for Storycorps, Audience Entertainment, and several start-up companies throughout Boston and NYC.
Inna Komarovsky is an illustrator and graphic designer who creates a wide variety of graphics for AMAZE’s events, outreach, and education. Her illustration work outside of AMAZE has focused around other education initiatives, including classroom mobile apps, science curriculum, and museum-based activities for families. Inna holds a BFA in Illustration from Rhode Island School of Design.
K. Kypers is a “professional doodler” with a BFA in animation from the University of the Arts in Philadelphia. In addition to their work on My Friend is Transgender and contributing to several other Amaze projects, their resume includes storyboarding for NBC/Sprout’s Astroblast! and directing/animating a handful of holiday-themed web videos for Post-it Notes. K. values dreams, empathy, and crude drawings.
David Masanso, Founder and Director Crossroads digital multimedia ltd, an Animation studio in Uganda (East Africa). A graduate in 3DComputer Animation, University of Wales Trinity Saint David (UK) He has over 9 years of experience in animation industry and training animators. He have directed and worked on several animation projects for organizations and corporate TV Commercial. Founder of women in Animation –Ugandan, An organization at Crossroads established to create awareness and support female animators through partnerships with schools and Universities. Founder Crossroads Kids Club, which organizes art skills training holiday programs for children.
1. An Award for the best Short Animation film Uganda Film Festival 2013 ( Imitate)
2. An Award for the best Short Animation Peal international film festivals 2013 ( African Drums)
3. An Award for the best Director short animation film 2013 Nile Diaspora ( Imitate)
4. An Award for the best Short Animation film Uganda Film Festival 2014 ( The Vow)
5.An Award for the best Short Animation film Uganda Film Festival 2015 ( The Run Away Rolex)
Allie Mehner (School of Visual Arts, BFA 2D Animation 2013) is an animator and character designer based in New York City. She’s worked at Titmouse, Inc. for the last three years, where she’s done work for companies such as Adult Swim, Dreamworks, Fox, and Nickelodeon. When she isn’t working for a client, she passes the time working on her own personal stories and projects.
Animated: When Will I Be Ready
Yekaterina Minskova is a Russian born, Brooklyn based multimedia artist. She specializes in Stop-Motion Animation featuring real people. Minskova is the Red Bull Art of Can 2015 winner for digital media.
Olivia Porretta is a 16 year old sophomore in high school currently residing in Connecticut. She is an animator, voice actor, director, producer, and writer. She loves cartoons and animated films, and wants to keep on producing animated stuff. This is her first job! Wow-y! She hopes you like her film, and that you learn how to navigate the internet safely.
As an executive creative producer, Erica brings over a decade of experience in helping for-profits, non-profits, and government organizations create powerful communication. Her area of expertise is in cause-based messaging, with a special focus on the role and implementation of video content. She is the producer of award winning projects such as The Story of Stuff video series, the Alliance for Climate Education national assembly program and the Autodesk Sustainability Workshop “Mr. Imagination” series. Erica’s experience spans the range of everything from smaller budget micro-documentary work, to animation, to longer form episodic content mixing both live-action and animation. She is passionate about storytelling as a tool for transformation.
Arnold Wasajja Suuna is a self taught animator/ 3D generalist who lives in Kampala, Uganda. He has been teaching 3D animation for 5 years in Kampala. He wants to eventually master storytelling (through animation of course)because that is his new obsession and Uganda has so many untold stories.
Animated: Love is Love: Free to Be Me & Where do Babies Come from
Olivia Taussig is an animator and illustrator based in New York City. Her work incorporates traditional hand drawn animation, multi-plane animation techniques, along with 2D and 3D computer animation. She works on independent animation, documentary and music video projects, to commercial work in the advertising and entertainment sector. Her independent work has screened at the Whitney Museum, SXSW along with various other festivals and gallery’s over the past seven years.
Animated: How the Boner Grows & Oh No BO & “He Said He Did It”- Peer Pressure
The New York based, 2016 GRAMMY™ Nominated songwriter/cartoonist has received multiple awards for his critically acclaimed Gustafer Yellowgold animated DVD/CD series; Nappa Gold, Parents’ Choice, 1st Place winner – Kids First! Film Festival, and is a Grand prize winner of The John Lennon Songwriting Contest. Taylor’s collaborative musical projects include Wilco members’ The Autumn Defense, Lisa Loeb and Tony award winning songwriter Duncan Sheik.
The AMAZE team is working with: Rich Chapple & Justin Lee.
Country Director México & CCA at DKT Int’l
Vice President for Programming & Communications at Planned Parenthood of the Southern Finger Lakes
Global Programs Manager at Planned Parenthood of the Great Northwest and the Hawaiian Islands
“Diane Bushley is the Global Programs Manager at Planned Parenthood of the Great Northwest and the Hawaiian Islands (PPGNHI), and has more than 15 years of experience in the field of sexual and reproductive health (SRH), both in the U.S. and on projects in 12 countries in the Global South. Diane manages all aspects of PPGNHI’s Global Programs, including creating overall program strategy, developing strategic partnerships, collaborating with partner organizations in the Global South to advance sexual and reproductive health and rights, and directing program marketing and communications. Current PPGNHI Global projects in the Dominican Republic and Vietnam focus on sexuality education with very young adolescents. Prior to joining PPGNHI, Diane worked in various roles with a wide variety of SRH-focused organizations, including as an educator and patient advocate at a Planned Parenthood health center in Arizona, a project manager and trainer for innovative SRH participatory action research projects in Bolivia and Peru, and as a program officer for a USAID-funded global family planning project. Diane holds a Bachelor’s degree in History and Latin American Studies from Oberlin College, and a Master of Arts in Applied Anthropology (with an emphasis on Public Health, Medical Anthropology, and International Development) from Northern Arizona University.”
Director of Health Information
Jennifer Johnsen is the Director of Health Information at Planned Parenthood Federation of America. Her primary responsibility is to ensure the accuracy and educational value of the health-related content on plannedparenthood.org and on PPFA’s social networking properties. Her previous experience includes delivering sexuality education programs at Planned Parenthood Nassau County and writing a guide for pediatricians to address the sexual and reproductive health needs of their patients at the New York City Department of Health. Jennifer earned her BS in community health education and master of public health with a concentration in sexual and reproductive health from Hunter College.
Associate Professor of Pediatrics at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine
Dr. Maria Trent is an Associate Professor of Pediatrics at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine with joint appointments in the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and the Johns Hopkins School of Nursing in Baltimore, Maryland. She serves as the Training Director for the DC Baltimore Research Center on Child Health Disparities, Adolescent Medicine Fellowship, and the LEAH Training Program. As an independent scientist, she has utilized a variety of research strategies to understand and intervene on the barriers and facilitators to adolescent and young adult (AYA) sexual and reproductive health care delivery and patient adherence to treatment for complicated sexually transmitted infections (STIs) to reduce STI-related health disparities. Her work has been funded by the National Institutes of Health, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and foundations such as the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. She has received numerous awards by professional and lay organizations for her research and service to the community. Dr. Trent currently serves as a consultant to several professional organizations, is the Chair of the Section on Adolescent Health for the American Academy of Pediatrics, and provides care to tweens, teens, and young adults in the Johns Hopkins Children’s Center.
When 17-year-old Iman isn’t doodling in her note pad or making music playlists on her computer, she focuses on learning about different countries around the world. She’s already visited nearly every continent. From the bullet trains of Japan to southern France, Iman has seen a lot. Although she tends to prioritize sleep, her favorite pastime by far is reading. Finding out about Sex, Etc. was perfect for Iman because she wants to learn more about sexuality. She hopes to inform other teens who are also wondering if there is more to “the birds and the bees.” She mainly wants to write about subjects related to teen pregnancy and gender roles. Iman also wants teens to learn about their bodies, so they can make informed choices. In the future, she pictures herself in politics, and although she’s not sure exactly what profession, she definitely sees herself helping people.
Student and Community Organizer
Marcella Morales-Lugo joined the Young Women of Color Leadership Council of Advocates for Youth in 2012 at the tender age of 14 to raise awareness about the need for HIV prevention efforts, the inclusion of young women of color in planning and implementing sex education programs, and to empower young people, especially young girls of color, to get involved in advocacy efforts. In addition to her role at Advocates for Youth, Marcella has been a key organizer in the Committee to Honor Puerto Rican Women on International Working Women’s Day, an annual event celebrating women who fight for the rights and freedoms of Puerto Ricans willingly with love and dedication. Marcella has donated her personal resources, time and talents to organize this annual event attended by hundreds. She is the youngest member of the group working with seasoned organizers and activists in the Puerto Rican community.
Marcella brings great understanding and patience in her efforts. She acquired this as a young volunteer in Puerto Rico where she spent her summers working with the Associacion de Sindrome Down, and where she supported the independent living skills of young and adult Puerto Ricans with Down Syndrome. She traveled with their dance troupe of Bomba and Plena, helped them with arts and crafts and this resulted in Marcella’s deep understanding of differently- abled people.
Marcella is a dedicated young woman who commits fully with passion and drive. She is results oriented and produces beyond expectations. Marcella also participated in YouthBridge-NY a non-profit organization that convenes, trains, and prepares young people to meet the challenges of an extremely diverse New York City. In addition Marcella completed one year of Model United Nations where she represented the needs of the country Chad to the World Health Organization. She is passionate about social justice issues and has a global understanding given her travels to Africa, the Caribbean and throughout the USA. In the future Marcella wished to study criminal justice to pursue a career in Law.
Human Sexuality educator, author, and consultant
Named one of Time Magazine’s “Top Sixteen Parenting Experts for the 21st Century,” Debbie Roffman is a sexuality educator, consultant, and author based in Baltimore, Maryland, where she has taught sexuality education in grades 4-12 at the Park School for more than 35 years. Debbie’s most recent book, Talk to Me First: Everything You Need to Know to Become Your Kids’ “Go-To” Person About Sex, was published in 2013 by Perseus Books. In addition to her constant writing and teaching, she’s worked with parents, teachers, counselors, administrators, students, alumni, and trustees at more than 400 schools and organizations across the country, and she publishes widely throughout the national media. She’s referred to by her colleagues as the most articulate professional voice in the US on the need for broad-based human sexuality education. Her ability to find common ground by keeping the focus on young people and their universal needs around healthy sexual development is one of her gifts.
Health and Physical Educator and Creator of TedEd video "What is Love video"
Brad has taught health and physical education since 1995. He has used a variety of strategies to reach teenagers. His educational goal has been to inspire young people to pursue a lifelong active and healthy lifestyle. He has been a teacher of the year recipient, a two time Wisconsin nominee for the Kohl fellowship award and has presented on best practices at various workshops and clinics. He currently is pioneering a blended model of instruction in his Health and Physical Education classes. Through his website www.healthteacher101.com he uses his video lectures to deliver content while using hands on activities in the classroom. One video “what Is Love” is featured on TEDEd and has been used in various setting all over the country. Brad currently lives in southern WI with his wife and 4 children. He enjoys outdoor activities, coaching and spending time with his family. Brad has been excited about being part of the AMAZE team. “It is humbling to have been asked to be a part of this project and have an impact all over the globe. To see how big the vision is and the importance of its purpose is truly “AMAZING”!
Director of Research for the Institute for Reproductive Health at Georgetown University
Rebecka Lundgren is the Director of Research for the Institute for Reproductive Health at Georgetown University. Rebecka has over 25 years of comprehensive, hands-on experience in the design, monitoring and evaluation of sustainable reproductive health and behavior change programs, with particular interest in youth and gender. Rebecka’s current research interests are focused in the areas of gender, gender-based violence and very young adolescents. As an applied anthropologist, Rebecka has particular interest in applying qualitative and ethnographic methods to her work.
Founder of Girlology & Guyology
Dr. Melisa Holmes is a mom, physician, author, and Founder of Girlology & Guyology, a national physician-led sexuality education platform that provides parent-child programs, a web community, and a series of books on puberty and emerging sexuality for youth. Girlology & Guyology started in 2003 as a local “hobby,” but has experienced a national expansion into 20 states where community based programs target children ages 8-12 and their parents. Dr. Holmes is a Clinical Associate Professor of Ob-Gyn and Pediatrics at the University of SC School of Medicine in Greenville, SC where she provides reproductive healthcare for children, teens and young adults and directs a new Teen Health Center. As an advocate for adolescent health, she served on the Adolescent Healthcare Committee for the American College of Obstetricians & Gynecologists and continues to serve on the board of Directors for the SC Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy. She speaks to national audiences about adolescent health and changing the culture of sexuality education. She has also presented a TEDx talk titled “Eight is Great” for talking to kids about sex. She likes to spend her “up” time with her husband and three daughters – one tween, one teen and one young adult.
Associate Director of Programs for Youth, Gender and Rights at the International Planned Parenthood Federation / Western Hemisphere Region
Marissa Billowitz serves as Associate Director of Programs for Youth, Gender and Rights at the International Planned Parenthood Federation / Western Hemisphere Region (IPPF/WHR), where she leads a team responsible for integrating gender and sexual rights into the delivery of comprehensive sexual and reproductive health clinical and educational services, particularly for adolescents and other vulnerable populations. Marissa has extensive experience in the sexual and reproductive health and rights field, particularly with regard to gender, sexuality, training, capacity building, and program management. Prior to joining IPPF/WHR in 2009, Marissa served as Director of Emergency Contraception Education and Outreach at Planned Parenthood of New York City. She previously coordinated initiatives addressing HIV/AIDS in Latin America and Latino men’s health in the U.S. at Columbia University’s Heilbrunn Center, and served as Program Officer for Latin America and the Caribbean at the Margaret Sanger Center International. Marissa holds a Masters in Latin American and Caribbean Studies from New York University.
Pound & Grain is a digital marketing agency founded in 2010. The Pound is big-picture digital creative and strategic thinking. The Grain is delivering results and connecting audiences. From content-driven campaigns to technical solutions, their goal is to put digital marketing ideas at the forefront. Embedded throughout is a culture of hustle as their 5 rules define who they are and what they stand for: Work hard, be nice, think big, love digital and have fun.
Ben Eppard is the owner of Burwind, a Charlottesville-based studio specializing in branding, strategy, and design. He is enthusiastic about developing organizational narratives and has 11 years experience in public relations and the non-profit sector.
Previously, he served as Director of Communications for Madison House, the student volunteer center at the University of Virginia.
Josh Bettenhausen always has one eye on the future and the other in the moment. His work focuses on efficiency and shaking up the status quo. During his career, he has worked with some of the biggest names in Rock ‘n’ Roll and has launched a number of influential small businesses. He is an exhibited artist who is always working on his next idea or just living in the moment by hanging with his niece and nephews.
A former music and brain neuroscientist, Christine Koh has spent the last decade creating and advising on content to help people live better, happier, and with elevated purpose and intention. She is the creative director at Women Online (a communications firm that specializes in using social media for good), founder/editor of Boston Mamas (a pioneer in the hyperlocal lifestyle niche), co-host of the Edit Your Life Show (a podcast devoted to helping people edit their lives to make room for awesome), co-author of Minimalist Parenting (a book to help parents enjoy family life more by doing less), and designer/co-owner of Brave New World Designs (a stylish,
advocacy-oriented design collection).
Morra Aarons-Mele is an Internet marketer who has been working with women online since 1999. She is the founder of the digital cause marketing agency Women Online and its database of women influencers, The Mission List.
Morra was founding Political Director for BlogHer, and has written The Harvard Business Review, The Huffington Post, The Wall St. Journal, The New York Times, and The Guardian. She covers events from the White House to the campaign trail in her role as a blogger on women, politics, and work. She has taught at the Yale Women’s Campaign School, the Harvard Kennedy School, and at the World Economic Forum’s Young Global Leaders forum at Harvard, as well as at the Johns Hopkins Graduate School of Communication. See where she’s at now.
Shantha Susman, Senior Vice President
A Senior Vice President in BerlinRosen’s National Issue Advocacy practice, Shantha Susman has over a decade of experience developing and implementing communications strategies for nonprofits and campaigns focused on immigrant rights, voter engagement, reproductive rights, comprehensive community change efforts, and education policy. Shantha has led strategic communications efforts to advance economic and social equity, and has provided communications and campaign assistance to a variety of local issue and candidate campaigns.
Emma Thomas, Senior Account Executive
Emma Thomas is a senior account executive on BerlinRosen’s National Issue Advocacy, overseeing strategic content development and media relations. She supports clients with the execution and implementation of strategic engagement initiatives on a range of policy issues, including sexual and reproductive health and rights and women’s economic security. Emma holds a degree in journalism with concentrations in political communications and crucial race & gender studies from American University.
Usamah Andrabi, Associate Account Executive
Usamah Andrabi is an Associate Account Executive on BerlinRosen’s National Issue Advocacy Practice, driving media relations, creative strategy and digital content for clients on a range of issues including, racial justice, reproductive rights, criminal justice and youth advocacy. Prior to working at BerlinRosen, Usamah was a Project Manager at Epic Systems, implementing reporting and analytics software in large hospital systems.
Becca Rose, Account Coordinator
Becca is an Account Coordinator on BerlinRosen’s National Issue Advocacy team, driving media relations and strategy on a number of issues including environmental justice, immigration, and healthcare and reproductive rights. Prior to BerlinRosen, she worked with SEAMAAC, a nonprofit organization that developed and invested in community-building programs to help immigrants and refugees in Philadelphia. Becca holds a degree in strategic communications and political science from Temple University.