About Our Team


Emily MayEmily May, Co-Founder and Executive Director

Emily is an international leader in the gender justice movement. In 2005, at the age of 24, she co-founded Hollaback! in New York City, and in 2010 she became its first full-time executive director.

Under her leadership, the organization has scaled to over 50 cities in 25 countries, and launched HeartMob, Hollaback!’s platform designed to support people being harassed online, and  The People’s Supper, a collaboration to designed to bring people together to repair the fissures in our relationships, heal, and bridge difference. Emily believes that by having each others backs in deep and meaningful ways, we can disrupt cycles of hate and create a world where everyone has the right to feel safe and confident.  

Prior to running Hollaback!, Emily worked in the anti-poverty world as a case manager, political action coordinator, director of development, and most recently, a one-woman research and development team. She has also worked on four political campaigns. Emily has a Master’s Degree in Social Policy from the London School of Economics, is an Ashoka Fellow, a Prime Movers Fellow, and has won over ten awards for her work including the TEDCity 2.0 Prize.


Mikaela Xochitl, program manager

Mikaela Xochitl (pronounced meh-KY-el-ah soh-CHEE-dtol) is a Two Spirit Community Healer, activist and creator, with over a decade of experience grassroot organizing in the Trans & Queer community. In 2015, Mikaela created Ihiyotl, a decolonized community healing practice centering the emotional needs of Trans & Queer People of Color and survivors of sexual trauma. Mikaela’s work at Ihiyotl is rooted in their belief: liberation is only possible when the entirety of the Self is honored and engaged in decolonized healing. To that point, in 2017 Mikaela founded the Trans is Magick Collective, with a mission of building Trans resilience & visibility through art and PoC community leadership.

Mikaela earned their Bachelor of Arts in Women’s, Gender & Sexuality Studies Cum Laude, with a concentration on feminist aesthetics and cultural studies, from California State University, Long Beach. As a self-care practice, they write poetry investigating Queer survival at the intersections of Trans identity and melanation. They reside in occupied Lenape territory, commonly known as New York City.


26167253_1625278330863182_5360079342378135551_nTiffany ketant, communications AND DEVELOPMENT COORDINATOR

Tiffany is a multi-dimensional and passionate change-maker fighting against global inequalities and institutional oppression that permeates marginalized communities. Graduating from American University with a Bachelors in Public Health, she has worked with organizations, after-school programs, and institutions specifically geared toward challenging and eliminating these issues. As a game player in the non-profit sector, her current focus is to gain experience and new skillsets hoping to become the next game changer in how we tackle health and social justice; the criminalization of Black and Brown communities; women of color empowerment; and racial and gender equity and equality.

Tiffany continues to find ways to combine her vision for health and social justice with her passion for documentary photography. Whether it be through her field research or community narratives in Brazil, Cuba, and her home country of Haiti, she only hopes to create pieces that gives voices to the communities these systems and inequalities have abused and neglected. In her free time, she enjoys reading and re-reading books by her favorite authors, traveling, dancing, and being around children in their happiest moments.



Maryam Salmanova, Online harassment FELLOW

Maryam was originally prompted to study at John Jay College of Criminal Justice after attending a panel voicing the story of a wrongfully convicted individual. As a Macaulay Honors student, she had the unique opportunity to study incredibly focused classes around incarceration. Understanding the role of exploitation and colonialism within the U.S. and wherever national interests are entertained has pushed Maryam to pursue an Economics major and an English minor. Class construction and rhetoric consistently impact popular perception and subsequent policy. Maryam’s goal is to eventually amass enough skills to critically assess and respond to sociopolitical needs.

This past summer she interned with New York City Councilman Brad Lander. Representing District 39, the office addressed a spectrum of needs from various communities. As an intern, she worked on one of the most effective ways to do so is Participatory Budgeting—a civic exercise where community members design, vote, and implement projects. This initiative is now city-wide following the midterm elections, yet it began in this pocket of Brooklyn.

Now as the Online Harassment Fellow, Maryam merges her experience of individual expression and community response. The HeartMob platform draws on the constantly-changing world of policy around software as well as the personal journey of receiving or responding with support.

As soon as she’s free, she finds her pup, Rory!


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Nicole Stapleton, People’s Supper Fellow

Nicole Stapleton is an undergraduate student at New York University’s Gallatin School of Individualized Study where she is studying ‘Female Narrative’: The intersections of gender, storytelling, and sociology. While at Gallatin, Nicole has had the privilege of learning about social justice from many amazing change-makers and educators. She was able to spend a semester facilitating art workshops with the youth incarcerated on Rikers Island in Lyrics on Lockdown taught by Piper Anderson; this is also where she gained her love for facilitation and a deeper understanding of storytelling as the heart of justice.

Nicole incorporates her interests in social justice and gender equality into her career as a movement artist, storyteller, and professional dancer for JKing Dance Company, Nadine Bommer Dance Company, and in projects at the 92nd street Y. In her free time, she stage manages for Accomplice The Show and sometimes sleeps!



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LaWanda Holland Thompson, Management Consultant

LaWanda is the Founder and President of Sustainable Outcomes, LLC, a coaching, business consulting, leadership development, and healing arts organization. Her background as a Ph.D. scientist, business leader in a Fortune 100 company, and Master Somatic Leadership Coach has uniquely shaped LaWanda’s professional career. She combines her expertise in executive management, biomedical sciences, traumatic stress studies, somatics/holistic practices, and action-oriented communication skills to help individuals and organizations to make long-lasting, sustainable differences in the world. Her areas of business expertise include: Executive Management; Regulatory Compliance; Strategic Planning; Operational Excellence; Talent Management; Employee Engagement/Empowerment; Diversity & Inclusion; Corporate Responsibility & Sustainability (Social & Environmental). LaWanda has a B.A. in Chemistry and Biology from Talladega College and a Ph.D. in Molecular and Cellular Pathology from the University of Alabama at Birmingham. She also holds numerous certifications and is currently a MBA Candidate (2018). She is the recipient of the Healthcare Businesswomen’s Association’s 2014 Rising Star Award in recognition of her exemplary leadership.



Jill is a worker-owner of Sassafras Tech Collective—a tech research, design, and development shop based in Ann Arbor, Michigan specializing in custom web and mobile applications for social change, academics, artists, and others. She completed a PhD in 2012 from the Georgia Institute of Technology in Human Centered Computing. Her research expertise is at the intersection of social computing, social justice, and the learning sciences. She has published many academic papers in these areas and has received numerous awards including a NSF Graduate Fellowship and Google Anita Borg Scholarship. Jill has a bachelor’s in Computer Science from the University of Michigan and has worked for Google and Blink UX. In her spare time, Jill enjoys the play between low and high tech and can be found pickling garlic scapes, making tinctures for a local free apothecary, and reconnecting with her roots in Detroit.


Board of Directors

Chair: Allison Sesso, Executive Director of the Human Services Council (full bio)

Vice-Chair: Rita Pasarell, employment lawyer

Treasurer: Esther Pang, Business Manager at major finance firm

Secretary: Courtney Young, Popular culture and politics writer; founder of Think Young Media Group (full bio)

Jon Atkins, Former Managing Director at KCG Holdings

Nicolai Bezsonoff, Managing Director of Security Services at Neustar, Inc. (full bio)

Jenny Dills, Sexual and Intimate Partner Violence Prevention Expert

Raina Kumra, co-founder at Mavin, Inc. (full bio)


Advisory Board

W. Kamau Bell, comedian (full bio)

Samuel Carter, Associate Director at the Rockefeller Foundation and Hollaback! co-founder (full bio)

Sandra Fluke, attorney and women’s rights activist (full bio)

Sally Kohn, CNN contributor and columnist for The Daily Beast (full bio)

Yetta Kurland, partner and civil rights attorney at “The Kurland Group,” educator, radio host, small business owner and community activist (full bio)

Samhita Mukhopadhyay, senior strategist at Purpose and author of Outdated: Why Dating is Ruining Your Love Life (full bio)

Thao Nguyen, Web Producer at Viacom Media Networks and inspiration for Hollaback! (full bio)

Ai-Jen Poo, executive director of the National Domestic Workers Alliance and co-director of the Caring Across Generations campaign (full bio)

Cameron Russell, fashion model and founder and executive director of Space-Made (full bio)

Esta Soler, founder and president of Futures without Violence, expert on violence against women and children (full bio)

Erin Weed, founder of Girls Fight Back and Evoso (full bio)

Jamia Wilson, executive director of YTH: Youth Tech Health (full bio)


If you are interested in applying to be a member of our board of directors, please send a letter of interest and resume to [email protected].