Director of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion
Mary brings experience in leading DEI teams and a passion for building initiatives that foster a culture of equity, inclusion, and belonging. She’s worked at the intersection of education, public policy, tech, and social justice, with her most recent tenure at UC Berkeley and Fordham University. She enjoys iced coffee (even in the winter!) and loving on her dog, Zoe.
Chief Executive Officer
Prior to 826 National, Laura held leadership positions at high achieving youth organizations including Build, First Graduate, Juma Ventures, and The Posse Foundation, where she developed the organization’s first national career, corporate engagement, and alumni programs. She holds a Master’s in Education and a Master’s in Counseling Psychology from Columbia University, and is the Chair of the Board of Directors at Youth Speaks.
Director of Research
Cynthia brings expertise in data storytelling and in conducting research to help develop and measure impact of educational programs. She’s worked with the Exploratorium, Apple Education, Sesame Workshop and other organizations to bring research-based content across learning platforms to diverse communities. Her background is in developmental psychology, conducting research on the design of educational media. Cynthia holds a BA in psychology and sociology from Northwestern University and a PhD in developmental psychology from the University of Virginia.
826 Digital Manager
Anna brings teaching, curriculum development, and instructional coaching experience to her role as 826 Digital Manager. Prior to this role, Anna was a high school English teacher in New Orleans and Chicago, where she also served as department chair. She first joined 826 National as Program Development and Support Coordinator. In her free time, Anna loves jumping through East Bay creeks with her daughter.
Director of Operations
Abbey joins 826 by way of the private sector, having spent the last 15 years building businesses in technology, start-ups, art, and hospitality. Charged with developing scalable systems and processes designed to help 826 flourish, Abbey hopes to bring her passion for the arts and analytical skills to bear. When not working, Abbey can found cooking on a yoga mat while reading a novel after a bike ride.
Network Support Manager
Kona began her 826 journey as a volunteer with the 826 Valencia Tenderloin Center, then later led its Podcasting Field Trip program. She attended Wellesley College and NYU, and has taught English in France, China, and Ghana. She adores travel and dreams of visiting Antarctica someday.
Director of Development
Areesah joins 826 National after nearly seven years as the Director of Advancement at 826DC. She brings a total of 17 years fundraising experience in youth development, human services, and civil rights at DC nonprofit institutions including Martha’s Table, the Marijuana Policy Project, and Kid Power. A Communication graduate from George Mason University, Areesah holds an equal passion for relationship building and organizational strategy.
Research & Systems Coordinator AmeriCorps VISTA
Gabriela graduated from University of California Santa Cruz with a B.A. in Sociology and Literature. Writing has always been one of her passions, and she is excited to help spread a love for writing to students all across the country. Science fiction novels, long road trips, and the California coast are just a few of her favorite things.
Director of Field Operations
A founding member of 826CHI, Kait played a key role in program/curriculum development, serving as the organization’s first Programs Coordinator and later as its Director of Education. Prior to joining 826, Kait taught creative writing in the foothills of the Indian Himalayas. She holds a B.A. in English/Creative Writing from Northwestern University.
Shida earned her B.S. in Psychology at Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo and believes in the importance of investing in youth and education. As a certified Salesforce administrator, Shida values clean organized data. She also loves traveling, Giants baseball, and searching for the best east coast style pizza in the Bay Area.
Board of Directors
826 Valencia Representative
Chief Inclusion Officer, Stanford Graduate School of Education
Board Vice President, Board Secretary
Literary Agent at the Ross Yoon Agency
Investment Management, Goldman Sachs
SVP Global Design, Marriott International
826 Boston Representative
Active Community Volunteer
Founder & Executive Coach, The Transformance Group
SCOTT A. GINSBURG
Managing Partner, Boulevard Partners
Poet, Activist, and Inaugural U.S. Youth Poet Laureate
826 New Orleans Representative
President, Legacy Inventive Solution for Schools
Senior Advisor, Albright Stonebridge Group
Founder & President, Productive, LLC
General Manager, Industry Affairs, Legal and Corporate Affairs, Microsoft
President and Chief Executive Officer at WMFE | WMFV
826 MSP Representative
Director, West Monroe Partners, Minneapolis
Google Ann Arbor
ALEXANDRA SUICH BASS
Senior Correspondent for Politics, Technology and Society, The Economist
MORGAN W. TOVEY
Partner, Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan, LLP
Director of Business Development, Systems Engineering Group
Founder, UPSIDE + the Augie Fund
Director of Corporate Initiatives at Everytown for Gun Safety
EMERITUS BOARD MEMBERS
826 National Co-Founder
CEO, Enterprise for Youth
President & Founder, Teacher Salary Project
826 National Co-Founder
Founder of McSweeney’s Publishing & Award-Winning Author
Join the 826 National Network
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