Our Team

Staff

Emily May, Co-Founder and Executive Director

Emily is an international leader in the movement to end harassment — in all its forms. 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 20 cities in 14 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.  

Our executive director has also won many awards for her leadership, including the TEDCity 2.0 Prize. In 2014, she was named one of the year’s Mulheres Inspiradoras by Think Olga, and in 2013, one of the Daily Muse’s “50 Fearless Minds Changing the World.” In 2012, she received five awards including one of twelve women to watch in 2012 by the Daily Muse, one of 20 women “leading the way” by the Huffington Post, a “Hero Among Us” in People Magazine, an AOL “Next Maker,” and one of Jezebel’s “25 kick-ass and amazing women we love. In 2011, May was named one of Women’s eNews “21 leaders for the 21st Century”, which was presented by Dan Rather, received the “40 under 40” award from the New Leaders Council, was selected as a Top 10 finalist for the “Young Nonprofit Leaders of the Year” Classy awards, and was named an Ashoka “ChangemakHER” joining such social change makers as Melinda Gates and Fran Drescher. Additionally, and to our utter delight, when feminist icon Gloria Steinem was asked, “What women today inspire you and make you feel that the movement continues?” Her response was, “Emily May of Hollaback! who has empowered women in the street, literally.”

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 and a Prime Movers Fellow.

JORGE ARTEAGA, DIRECTOR OF OPERATIONS

Jorge’s passion for history, places, and people joined by his ability to plan and execute have allowed him to bring his operational skills to serve in the social justice movement. His background in Operations and in serving marginalized communities has informed his holistic approach to creating processes and systems that consider every aspect of a person’s experience. Jorge has worked on racial justice, LGBTQ+, and arts education initiatives along the East Coast. He hopes to continue contributing to the social justice movement by ensuring all the phenomenal people leading the movement have the tools and resources required to enact real-world changes. Jorge earned his B.A. in American Studies from SUNY College at Old Westbury, and his M.A. in American Studies at The City College of New York. 

CONIQUA JOHNSON, TRAINING AND PROGRAM COORDINATOR

Coniqua is our Training and Program Coordinator. She has a passion for inclusivity, civic engagement, non-profit capacity building and personal empowerment. This passion has fueled her work in various sectors such as government, sexual reproductive health, and education. It has allowed her to serve in various roles in training, programming, logistics and operations. She hopes to integrate these many experiences and skills across the sectors in her work at Hollaback! Additionally, while merging her lived experience as a black women to the movement to end harassment in all forms. Coniqua has earned a M.S. in Nonprofit Management from the New School alongside a B.S. in Public Policy and Public Affairs from Sage College of Albany.

FELLOWS

ASHA NELSON, “A WEEK IN OUR SHOES” EDITOR

A motivated academic and aspiring diplomat, Asha Nelson is a 24-year-old young woman striving to lend a helping hand to endangered minority groups throughout the world. Having been awarded a Bachelor of Science degree in Sociology with Law, Asha opted to pursue a Master of Science in Gender Development. She is currently conducting research on her thesis for her master’s degree, specifically, examining the consideration of gender-related matters in current regional integration and economic policies, or lack thereof, in the Anglophone Caribbean. She hopes that her research will highlight existing gender-related policy issues in the Anglophone Caribbean and will create heightened awareness and sensitivity toward gender as a central and important factor to be considered during policy reformation.

In 2016, Asha worked as a Digital Marketing Intern at the Organization of Eastern Caribbean States, an international inter-governmental organization in the Caribbean. In said capacity, she was a creative writer and journalist, reporting specifically on youth in the Caribbean. At the end of her internship, she was recognized as one of the top performers and was selected as the Valedictorian of the group, hereby crediting her for her drive, commitment, and hard work. Following this, in 2017, she gained further experience as a freelance writer for Sporte Avis, a St. Lucian media house, providing coverage on young athletes in the Caribbean.

RALPH FERNANDEZ, COMMUNICATIONS FELLOW

Ralph is our Communications fellow. He’s a recent graduate of SUNY Purchase where he earned a BA in Communications. His Senior paper was focused on the benefits of organizations for community building. During this time he was also president of an organization on campus called Students of Caribbean Ancestry. He focused on putting up events that would bring the campus community together as well as educating the students about Caribbean culture. Part of his work there was to also combine his new knowledge from his internship (Leadership in Bystander intervention) to educate members on how to be good bystanders at parties where harassment was becoming a concern.

In his spare time Ralph enjoys writing short stories/plays, creating/editing videos, and cooking.

SOPHI TOMASULO, COMMUNICATIONS FELLOW

Sophi, a current New York high school student who will be attending Tulane University in the coming fall, came across Hollaback! in the summer of 2019 and has been a part of our communications team since then. From a young age, Sophi has found her calling in Non-Profit work, leading her to travel around the world and creating connections with those from all paths of life. More specifically, Sophi has a passion for topics like disability rights, gun control advocacy, youth empowerment, and mental health awareness. When she’s not working at Hollaback! or in the classroom, you might find Sophi in the middle of one of her many arts and crafts projects or working at farms and ranches in upstate New York.”

SELINA VAN DE WETERING, RESEARCH FELLOW

Selina is a Dutch research fellow at Hollaback! She is currently finishing her last semester of her studies, Global Project and Change Management by doing research for Hollaback! After graduating she will have earned her BA in business Administration. 

Before starting this study, Selina was already very interested in feminism, which was the main reason for her to start it, as she wanted to help those who needed it.

During this time, she got the opportunity to explore this more by setting up projects together with a team of other students, for example on improving maternal healthcare in Kosovo, providing women with sexual education in the Netherlands and setting up a LGBTQ+ student association in her hometown Zwolle.

Next to this, Selina enjoys cooking and traveling whenever she gets the opportunity.

ANA VELASQUEZ, HEARTMOB FELLOW

Ana is a Colombian journalist and a Media Studies graduate student at Queens College, CUNY. She worked as a tech journalist at EL TIEMPO, one of Colombia’s largest media outlets, where she produced mostly educational content on cybersecurity and online privacy issues.

She created several multimedia projects including one that focused on offering recommendations to the audience on how to protect their personal information and another that explained how technology has helped to the conservation of spectacled bears in Colombia. She received the ESET Award for Computer Security Journalism for a multimedia piece on the risks of going on the Dark Web and was recognized with an honorable mention from 2017 El Tiempo Excellence in Journalism awards for a report on cyberbullying and revenge porn. She is also the author of the first book about e-sports in Colombia, called ‘From Players to Professionals’.

Her master’s program emphasizes how to use digital media for social justice purposes. Ana has a particular interest in understanding how to create healthier media and information ecosystems and her current academic and personal interests include researching areas like online harassment, the use of tracking tools, and how technology is impacting media consumption in general. She wants to use her skills and experience to improve our anti-online harassment platform, Heartmob.

SOPHIA GALLAGHER, TRAINING FELLOW

Sophia is a Training Fellow at Hollaback! She is a New York University student going into her senior year studying cultural studies and critical theory. She is interested in cultural narratives, ideology, and social change.

Since high school, Sophia has been interested in activism and education. She is involved in student organizing on campus and is passionate about racial and economic justice and anti-war work. Sophia discovered Hollaback through one of her classes, and has been working developing trainings since. In her free time she enjoys cooking, biking and reading

XAVIER MCCOMBS, SITE LEADER PROGRAM FELLOW

Xavier is a driven and a hardworking person who is passionate about helping people. He is a student at NMSU and is a part of the LGBTQ+ program on campus. He is going for a Bachelor’s degree in communication studies. He has cut and donated his hair three times for the organization Locks of Love, which is to create wigs for children that have cancer. In his free time, he sings and dances.

CONSULTANTS

JILL DIMOND PHD, CHIEF TECH DEVELOPER

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.

JACKIE MILLER, PARTNERSHIPS DIRECTOR

Inspired by the belief that everyone has an innate ability to communicate powerfully and purposefully, Jackie launched Bespoken in 2014 to provide individuals and teams with dynamic, interactive, and customized communication and presentation skills training that teaches people how to make powerful verbal and physical choices in order to communicate successfully at work. Jackie also joins Hollaback! with 15 years’ experience as a director and curator of arts and culture programming across New York City, most recently as Associate Director of Only Make Believe, a non-profit that creates and performs interactive theatre for children in hospitals, care facilities, and special education programs throughout the New York and Washington DC metropolitan areas, free of charge to every site, family, and child. Even though her experiences are greatly varied, they have shown Jackie that regardless of one’s age or professional affiliation, the desire to speak with purpose is a universal one – and one she’s proud to help many different people achieve. She holds a B.F.A. in Performance and M.A. in Arts and Public Policy, both from NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts.

JANE OCHS, EXECUTIVE ASSISTANT

Jane Ochs is the Owner of Jane Social Media Marketing. She holds a degree in Accounting from the prestigious Philippine School of Business Administration. After years of pursuing an accounting career, she rediscovered her passion for teaching and began teaching English online to mostly Asian students. She was later engaged as a Virtual Assistant by several firms in the U.S. and Canada, where she handled many responsibilities including website management, social media management and digital marketing. Jane has extensive experience consulting in marketing and administration for community websites and a law firm.

GABRIELA MEJIA, COMMUNICATIONS CONSULTANT AND TRAINER

Gabriela is a writer, trainer, and social media content curator. She completed a Communications Fellowship at Hollaback! from 2019-2020, where she gained expertise in social media management, content creation, social media marketing and analytics. Gabriela is a graduate of Fordham University, where she earned a degree in Latin American Studies and International Studies. While earning her degree she studied the politics, history, economics, and films of Latin America, and she closely studied worldwide political and economic trends. Her studies culminated in her Senior Thesis, an extensive research paper, where she focused on the deterioration of the Venezuelan State.

A Salvadoran-American New York native, Gabriela focuses her time and expertise to serve her communities. Through volunteering alongside New York Cares she has worked at the Annual NYCares Coat Drive warehouse, and knitted Blankets of Love in Greenwich Village. Her first time volunteering was as a high school student, in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy and it was that experience that prompted her interest in NYC non-profit work. Gabriela is a baker, storyteller, and avid reader, who believes that through creativity, our culture can change for the better.

BLOOM DAVIS, TRAINER

Bloom Davis (they/them) is a queer, trans/non-binary facilitator and performer. They previously worked as a facilitator with Voices Against Violence in Austin, Texas where they engaged in conversations around healthy relationships, consent, and sexual violence prevention. They have also facilitated conversations on LGBTQIA+ topics, worked as a teaching artist with kindergarteners, as a performer, and (currently) an outreach counselor. Bloom is deeply invested in personal and social liberation, community care, and building a better world they know is possible.

DAX VALDES, TRAINER

Dax Valdes is an actor, choreographer, director, and teaching artist based in NYC. Currently, he is an actor with Only Make Believe – a non-profit organization that creates and performs interactive theater for children in hospitals and care facilities, and on faculty with the Art of Science Learning. He is excited to merge his experience in these fields into the work here at Hollaback. He has served as the Associate Artistic Director for Leviathan Lab, Education Associate for the Vineyard Theatre, Associate Producer for the annual Career Transition For Dancers Galas (2004-17), and as Producer for Capezio Dance Company’s 125th and 130th Anniversary Galas. Associate member – Society of Directors and Choreographers. Education: BFA Musical Theater – Point Park University; Pacific Conservatory of the Performing Arts.

CHANNIE WAITES, TRAINER

Channie is a theater maker/performer, audiobook/voice-over artist, facilitator, educator and program consultant. She has worked and collaborated with youth, senior citizens and social justice leadership programs in the United States, Rwanda and South Africa. She has facilitated workshops within schools, hospital care facilities, supportive housing communities and within corrections facilities. Channie is proud to bring her passion, knowledge and commitment to positively contributing to the world and working towards undoing racism to the Hollaback! Team.

Channie was a co-founder of Capacity Arts, a theatre collective that created highly interactive historical dramas and developed tailored leadership workshops to lift-up untold stories, build empathy across dividing lines, and deepen participants’ analysis of historical and present-day conditions.

Channie has been program director for The International Theater Project (ITP) –Rwanda for the last six years where she has co-directed five original plays devised by youth and led professional developments at the Agahozo-Shalom Youth Village and the Rwinkwavu Community Learning Center and Library in Rwanda. Channie has a M.A. in Applied Theatre from the School of Professional Studies-CUNY and has a B.A. in Theatre with a minor in Anthropology and Dance from Penn State University.

LEAH BACHAR, TRAINER

Leah is an educator/theatre practitioner/activist. She has worked in the arts & education fields for over 20 years and believes in the power that learning and creativity have in the areas of social justice and human rights. Fascinated with human connection, Leah is drawn to public performance and unique, interactive situations that create an open arena for spontaneous experiences and community building between artists and spectators. 

Leah also has a background in journalism and social justice work, having facilitated workshops all over the world in areas of global community creation, revolutionary theatre, creative writing, and immigration issues. Leah has worked extensively with both immigrant and refugee communities, LGBTQ migrants seeking asylum, transborder justice, environmental justice, domestic workers, and marginalized communities.

Board of Directors

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

Vice-Chair: LaWanda Holland, Global Head of Vivarium Operations, In Vivo Models, & Corporate Animal Welfare (Nonclinical Safety)

Treasurer: Liza Maharjan, Consultant at the World Bank (full bio)

Secretary: Hillary Sobel, Senior Counsel, Zwerling, Schachter & Zwerling

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

Kelsey Thompson, Former Vice President of Human Resources for a global, public company (full bio)

Kater Gordon, Emmy Award-Winning Writer (full bio)

Esther Pang, Business Manager at major finance firm

Shelley Atwell-Vasko, Founder and Chief Principal Consultant of Projects, Incorporated (full bio)

Laura Somoggi, Womanity Award Programme Manager, The Womanity Foundation (full bio)

Rose Pierre-Louis, Chief Operation Officer, NYU McSilver Institute

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

Kimberleigh Constanzo, Grants Manager at Howard Gillman Foundation (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].