EMILY MAY, CO-FOUNDER AND 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, DEPUTY DIRECTOR
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. He is currently completing his M.S in Project Management and Operations at Southern New Hampshire University.
GABRIELA MEJIA, TRAININGS AND COMMUNICATIONS ASSOCIATE
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.
KELLY ERICKSON- TRAINING DIRECTOR
Kelly strives to promote equality and to honor the journey of others—believing that life is full of wonder and opportunity. She is a trained hostage negotiator and PTSD counselor, understanding some of the dimensions of conflict and trauma, and their devastating effects. Kelly has developed and delivered training on crisis prevention and intervention, sexual harassment prevention, motive-based communication, change and transition, project management, facilitation, and personal and workplace resilience.
Kelly believes that individuals, empowered with resilience, practical tools, and a reconnection to our shared humanity, can positively shape this moment in history. And this moment needs us.
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.
ANA VELASQUEZ, HEARTMOB FELLOW AND COMMUNICATIONS CONSULTANT
Ana is a Colombian journalist interested in utilizing media to increase public awareness about social issues. In the past, she worked as a tech journalist at EL TIEMPO, where she produced mostly educational content on cybersecurity and online privacy.
Ana has a particular interest in understanding how to create healthier digital 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 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 the impacts of cyberbullying and other forms of online harassment like revenge porn.
She is currently completing her M.A. in Media Studies at Queens College, City University of New York.
APURVA TANDON, COMMUNICATIONS FELLOW
Apurva is a Philadelphia-based graduate student of English literature, studying how 16th–17th century British drama co-constructed notions of race and gender that have trickled and embedded into our current culture.
This academic interest both informs and draws from Apurva’s commitment to social justice advocacy work around narrative change. Whether over four hundred years ago or now, gender, race, and other identity markers like sexuality, class, and disability have never been unrelated, so for Apurva, an intersectional analysis of both the past and present is a major key to fostering positive culture change in the future. Engaging in intersectional advocacy work through writing, learning, and teaching, in both academic and non-academic environments, is Apurva’s driving force.
Molly Fowkes, Story-sharing Research and Design Fellow
Molly is a researcher, designer, and engineer for social good, with a passion for tackling complex issues around users who are traditionally overlooked.
As a senior in the Product Design program at Stanford University, she spent her time designing non-violent, defense products to help women feel more confident and safe when ‘going out’ as a group. Molly drew upon this experience as a master’s student in the User Experience Design program at Loughborough University, where she spent much of her time conducting in-depth research around gender-based harassment and designing a platform that aims to empower users to document and speak out against harassment.
After finishing her master’s program, Molly joins Hollaback! as the Story-sharing Research and Design Fellow, where she’ll provide research-based recommendations on intersectional approaches for story-sharing components of the website and app, and create and implement ways to elevate stories and story-sharing.
Ashma Luitel , Organizational Growth Fellow
Ashma is a social worker who deeply cares about marginalized communities and is passionate about social justice. She is an immigrant from Nepal pursuing a master’s degree at Silver School of Social Work at New York University.
Ashma feels immigrating to the US has stoked more than just internal conflicts. She found herself adjusting to a new culture very different from hers and difficulty navigating and managing the new reality. However, she felt the culture of harassment was no different. The impact on a person’s dignity and self-esteem is severe and can sometimes take a very long time to recover (if it ever does). She believes that respect and dignity should not depend on your age, race, caste, and gender.
At Hollaback!, Ashma aims to dismantle the culture of “OK” of being harassed. Ashma aims to bring her experience of working in different countries, nonprofits, and diverse groups of people to deepen the impact of Hollaback.
Jeannie Chen, Training Fellow
As an information professional and educator, Jeannie has developed a set of varied skills and experiences, including time spent in rich instructional environments both domestically and overseas. Her philosophy includes a drive to constantly learn and apply new abilities towards serving diverse communities of learners. A combination of proactive outreach, educational and leadership skills have allowed her to adapt quickly in the midst of crisis and generate creative solutions to meet current-day challenges.
Having taken an unconventional path to where she is today, she enjoys seeing the connections in all she does and applying interdisciplinary approaches to her practice, research, and writing. These areas include Instructional Design and Pedagogy, K-12 and Higher Education, Academic
Librarianship, Archival Studies, Asian American Studies, Critical Information Literacy, and Music. She is also a professionally trained pianist, with experience in music theory, collaborative piano, chamber music, and concert performance both regionally and internationally, and she continues to incorporate and apply this knowledge today.
Jeannie earned her M.L.I.S. degree from the University of California, Los Angeles, where she conducted research and wrote her Master’s thesis on examining archival representations and descriptions of the early Chinese in America before and during the Chinese Exclusion Act. She is currently completing an M.Ed. in Learning Design and Technology at the University of Southern California.
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.
MELISSA SHILLINGFORD, TRAINER
Melissa has always been a fierce advocate for justice. Melissa is the Founder of Make Ideas Work, where she delivers trainings and consulting services on Project Management to social change agents. Melissa is also the Director of Leadership Trainings at a national organization where she organizes leadership development and advocacy trainings across the country for formerly incarcerated leaders. Prior to that, Melissa was the Director of Fellowships at the Institute for Justice & Opportunity at John Jay College of Criminal Justice. There, she was responsible for developing and managing several fellowship programs for students passionate about youth justice, advocacy, and philanthropy. Before John Jay, she served in AmeriCorps at the Center for Civic Engagement at Northwestern University where one of her main projects was to develop and manage music mentorship programs for incarcerated young men at the Cook County Juvenile Temporary Detention Center.
Melissa earned a Project Management Certificate from Baruch College, CUNY, a joint Master’s degree in Human and Community Development and Urban and Planning with concentrations in Community Studies and Outreach & Community Development for Social Justice from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and earned her B.S from John Jay College of Criminal Justice.
BLOOM DAVIS, TRAINER
Bloom Davis (they/them/theirs) is a proud non-binary queer performer, facilitator, and writer. They are grateful to be part of Hollaback’s team as a Trainer. Bloom spent two years working for Voices Against Violence, a comprehensive violence prevention program in the Counseling and Mental Health Center of the University of Texas in Austin. Here they helped create and facilitate productions on consent and relationship violence prevention.
They then spent one year working with Peers for Pride, an educational group at the University of Texas where they presented on topics that affect LGBTQ+ communities. After graduating from the University of Texas with a degree in Theater and Dance and a certificate in LGBT Studies, Bloom began working as a Teaching Artist with educational arts-based nonprofit, Creative Action, where they shared teachings on anti-oppression strategies through theatre and movement.
They then began studying improvisation and producing queer and trans fundraisers, comedy shows, and healing circles in New York City. Bloom has also worked in theater, as an outreach counselor, and as a caregiver. They are engaged in a lifelong process of learning in hopes of becoming what the next generation needs. Bloom is driven by the desire to create accessible spaces of care, to propagate joy within their communities, and to grow their life’s work at the center of expression and healing.
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.
Vanessa Miller, trainer
Vanessa considers herself a seed planter when it comes to training and development. Her goal is to establish an environment where information is provided (seed) into the minds and hearts of the participants (foundation) with the expectation they will leave the event with knowledge they can use and apply (produce) in their personal and professional lives
Vanessa is a highly accomplished and dedicated learning and development professional with an extensive background in training, professional development, instructional design, program management, and administration. She has worked with many prestigious organizations to deliver and create training events that are engaging, thoughtful, impactful, and reflective. She has collaborated, produced, and delivered trainings in many areas such as implicit bias, sexual harassment and LGBTQ+. Vanessa holds the strong belief that everyone has the right to be who they are.
Wendy Davidson, trainer
Wendy holds a passion for us to deepen our ability to hear ourselves and one another with openness and kindness.
To that end, Wendy founded Healthy Teams Insights in 2014, focused on helping organizations access their internal resources (like listening and empathy and inherent strengths) to thrive. She’s developed and facilitated trainings with a broad spectrum of organizations, from large multi-national corporations to small family owned businesses, nonprofits to government.
Along with her training business, Wendy has a wide background of work experience, including a decade of International nonprofit work focused primarily on gender injustice, and 8 years in the Fortune 500 sector working with executives as they relocate internationally. Wendy has lived in or visited about 50 countries and is passionate about celebrating the beauty of the diversity of our world.She holds a bachelor’s degree in International/Community Development and certificates in Human Resources and Life Coaching as well as Communicating and Negotiating with a Global Mindset. She is a certified Mindfulness and Emotional Intelligence facilitator.
Board of Directors
Board Chair Esther Pang, Director of Operations at March On Foundation.
Co-Chair: LaWanda Holland, Vice President, Global Head of In Vivo Sciences at The Janssen Pharmaceutical Companies of Johnson & Johnson (full bio)
Co-Chair: Allison Sesso, Executive Director of RIP Medical Debt (full bio)
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, Chief Human Resources Officer (full bio)
Kater Gordon, Emmy Award-Winning Writer (full bio)
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 Operations Officer, NYU McSilver Institute, Former Commissioner OCDV, Former Manhattan Deputy Borough President (full bio)
Kimberleigh Costanzo, Program Officer at the Howard Gilman Foundation. (full bio)
Digna Saad Global Business Leader, Learning Specialist, and Transformation Expert. (full bio)
Joanna Chen, U.S. diplomat and business development consultant. (Full bio)
Svetla Alexandrov, eCommerce Executive, Entrepreneur and Diversity Champion. (full bio)
Patrick Chun, Engineer and Entrepreneur. Co-founder of IITTI World Civility Index to set up soft skills standards. (full bio)
Donald Eash, Life and Executive Coach and Business Consultant. (full bio)
Sana F. Shtasel, Principal of her own consulting firm Shtasel Consulting. Attorney and non-profit executive with experience in non-profit leadership, policy advocacy, law, and public administration. (full bio)
Karana Pierre was born and raised in Louisiana, but her educational and professional roots are in New York and Connecticut.
W. Kamau Bell, comedian (full bio)
Samuel Carter, Associate Director at the Rockefeller Foundation and Hollaback! co-founder (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)
Thao Nguyen, Web Producer at Viacom Media Networks and inspiration for Hollaback! (full bio)
Esta Soler, founder and president of Futures without Violence, expert on violence against women and children (full bio)