Akanksha Jain-Taylor is a Boston-based Product leader, Management student at Harvard University, and a dance fitness instructor. She has had a variety of professional experiences ranging from Business Development to Supply Chain Strategy and is currently a Lead Product Manager at Takeoff Technologies and aims to reduce the cost of e-grocery delivery through technology & design. Passionate about learning and motivated to make the world a better place to live in, Akanksha has always used her voice & skills to lead positive change in her environment, however small it may be. She is enthused to be part of the LW Creators team and narrate important & real stories for the generations to come.
Alex Freedman works in the fields of urban planning and public policy, attempting to create more livable and equitable urban spaces. In particular, he holds a passion for food systems and spent many years working with schools and communities to build more robust and just access to healthy and affordable food. When not working or advocating, Alex enjoys exploring new places, connecting with new people, and eating lots of great food. He holds degrees from Tufts University and the University of Southern California.
Alex Ding, MD, MS
Alex Ding is a Harvard and UCSF-trained board-certified physician specializing in medical imaging and minimally-invasive image-guided surgeries. He is currently the Chief of Radiology and Medical Director of Imaging at a Sutter Hospital in Northern California and was previously the Vice Chief of Staff of a County Medical Center. In addition to holding a graduate degree in public health, he is now completing an MBA at Wharton. He is a member of the American Medical Association's Council on Science and Public Health and was previously a member of its Board of Trustees.
Alexandra McNair is the Founder and CEO of Fashion FWD, a consumer-facing non-profit focused on detoxing the apparel supply chain and in turn, protecting the health of consumers, workers and water. With more than a decade of experience in the sustainability space across the globe, she is widely recognized as a changemaker in today’s sustainable fashion ecosystem. After working in sustainability consulting for Lord Deben, the former Secretary of State for the Environment in the UK, Alexandra received three sustainability focused certifications from the Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT).
Allegra Fletcher is a Boston based singer-songwriter, musician and crafter. She began songwriting when she was 12 years old and hasn't stopped since. Allegra has performed as a solo artist in Boston, Philadelphia, New York, and Milan, Italy, where she also sang lead in a blues band. An educator, Allegra has taught guitar, trained worship bands, and helped individuals find their voice and gain confidence as musicians and writers. In her work as an artist and educator she is an advocate for justice, recognizing the power art and media have to catalyze positive individual and societal change
Ang Yu Qian
Yu Qian is currently a PhD student at MIT’s Sustainable Design Lab. He graduated from the National University of Singapore School of Design and Environment as valedictorian and holds an MPhil in Technology Policy (Distinction) from the University of Cambridge as a Gates Scholar.
Yu Qian’s professional experiences include technology and public policy, venture capital, built environment consultancy, innovation development, as well as startups. He is also passionate about leveraging education as a catalyst to enhance social mobility and has participated in volunteering and community work locally and abroad.
Anushree recently graduated with her MA in Publishing and Writing program at Emerson College, Boston. Her writing has been featured in many digital and print platforms, including the award-winning Football Paradise and well-known Indian newspaper Hindustan Times. Anushree's micro-fiction collection, 55 Words, was published in October 2015 by LA-based Underground Voices. This native of Mumbai, India is a senior editor for Football Paradise and also works as a freelancer in the industry.
Asmita Barve - Karandikar is an entrepreneur and software engineer with over ten years of experience solving complex real-world challenges. Her last job was at Amazon Web Services where she worked on building infinitely scalable and highly available solutions for DynamoDB. A story geek at heart, she loves reading books and watching all kinds of movies and series, including the likes of Peppa Pig & Curious George! Her most favorite activity these days, is reading picture books with her three year old daughter.
Bishakh’s work has appeared in The New Yorker, We're Still Here (The first all-trans comics anthology), The Other Side: An Anthology of Queer Paranormal Romance Comics, Beyond, vol. 2 (The Queer Post-Apocalyptic & Urban Fantasy Comics Anthology), The Strumpet, The Boston Review, Black Warrior Review, VICE, The Brooklyn Rail, Buzzfeed, Ink Brick, The Huffington Post, The Graphic Canon vol. 3 and Little Nemo: Dream Another Dream. She received the Xeric grant in 2003 for her comics collection Angel. Her new collection of comics, Apsara Engine, is being published by The Feminist Press in Spring 2020 and her graphic memoir Spellbound will come out from Street Noise Books in August 2020.
Chase Bluestone, also known as Nate Restrepo, is a New York based illustrator & author who has been dreaming up stories since they can remember. They strive to create narratives that inspire wonder, compassion, and depict a hopeful future that is diverse and accepting. They received their BFA in illustration from the Fashion Institute of Technology. While in school, Chase had an autobiographical comic published in HUE Magazine and made promotional art for the inaugural Diversity Comic Con. They are also a passionate creature designer, and they dabble in spiritual art. When Chase isn’t creating, they can be found playing Dungeons & Dragons or tending the family hens.
Erin Burk lives for people and possibilities. From an early age, Erin has supported the growth and development of kids as a Tutor, Sports Coach, Nanny, and Mentor. Her favorite childhood book is Letters from Felix, about a stuffed rabbit who writes letters to his owner about an international adventure. Her child-like curiosity has taken her around the world for work and play. Erin’s current leadership role at Uber Eats, in Global Strategy & Ops, has shown her the power of teamwork at scale and the impact of bringing new business to hundreds of cities and its citizens. Erin currently resides in San Francisco and is originally from Seattle, where she received a Bachelor’s and a Master’s Degree from the University of Washington.
After graduating with a BBA in Marketing and a BA in Plan II Honors from the University of Texas, Erin spent 5+ years in the fashion retail industry in NYC at luxury department stores Bergdorf Goodman and Lord & Taylor as a personal shopper and e-commerce merchandiser. In 2015, Erin graduated from the joint degree MBA/MPP program at Harvard’s Business School and Kennedy School spending her summers interning at an accelerator in Rio de Janeiro and at Shinola in Detroit. After graduating, Erin served as the Special Assistant to the CEO at the Kresge Foundation and then joined Ponyride Detroit, a non-profit supporting creative and social entrepreneurs, as Director of Retail and Marketing. Currently, she is the acting CEO & Founder of Defy Beauty & Wellness, a plant-based hair care company, and Adjunct Professor of Political Science at the University of Houston-Downtown.
Originally from New Haven, Connecticut, Greg Francois is currently pursuing an MPA in Development Practice from Columbia University's School of International and Public Affairs (SIPA). While in New York City and at SIPA, Greg has fully realized his passion for storytelling and its power to both convey and inspire impact. Over the past year, Greg has explored opportunities for voice acting and has also worked as a Field Producer on films with the United Nations Development Programme's Equator Initiative which took him to the deserts of Western Australia, the rainforests of Vanuatu, and to the Raposa Serra do Sol and Wawi Indigenous Territories of Brazil. While in those locations, Greg directed four short films that sought to highlight Indigenous-led initiatives that were working to combat climate change and promote social justice.
Jill Landis Jha
Jill Landis Jha grew up in the U.S., but dreamed about being an astronaut and traveling to the moon. Instead, she has traveled around the world, and worked as an editor, writer and consultant on issues related to children and armed conflict for the United Nations and a variety of humanitarian agencies. Jill currently lives in northern Indiana with her three daughters and their goldendoodle.
Dedication: For Anuraj, who always encouraged me to write. I miss you every day.
Josh Kristoff is father to three energetic children. He has a lovely wife, Kassandra, and they had their first daughter in Bahrain while both served as US Naval Officers. He loves soccer, running, and hiking national parks with his family. He lives and works in Silicon Valley, California.
Kadeem Gilbert is an evolutionary biologist (B.S.: Cornell ’12, PhD: Harvard ’19), currently working as a postdoctoral fellow at Penn State University. Kadeem studies how plants interact with insects and microbes, with a particular interest in the biology of carnivorous pitcher plants in Southeast Asia. He has explored tropical forest in various countries including Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, the Philippines, Panama, and Equatorial Guinea. When not doing research, he enjoys music: playing and composing for piano since age 11, and more recently singing in choral ensembles. He also enjoys writing poems and learning new languages.
Kloe lives her life with the rooted belief that one’s actions should leave lasting, positive impact to society. This has been a driving force behind many of her decisions in both her professional and personal life.
Her work explores the nexus between entrepreneurship, technology, urban environment and spatial data science, and has co-founded two startups collaborating with entities such as National Gallery Singapore and featured on medium such as The Business Times. Someday when she has the capacity to, she will have a wholesome dog cafe selling ice cream and donating the proceeds to a non-profit.
She is an Alumnus of the National University of Singapore and New York University.
Rong Xin currently helms the team at Explorer Junior. Since the company’s full launch in 2016, she has led the company to grow from a small team of 3 to over 15 members in 2018. Apart from teaching, product and curriculum development, Rong Xin has also established partnerships and conducted events with organizations such as the Singapore National Library Board, Google and MENSA, among others.
Prior to taking over Explorer Junior on a full-time basis, Rong Xin has worked in multiple roles in major organizations including the Singapore Ministry of Education and American Express. Rong Xin graduated from National University of Singapore with a Bachelor of Business Administration (Honours), double specializing in Finance and Management.
Sean Bagge is passionate about technology and history. As a student, he led the surveying team for Brown University's archaeological dig in Egypt and also constructed a wooden replica of an ancient Egyptian chariot. After receiving his master's and bachelor's degrees in Mechanics from Brown University, he has built a strong technology career in a variety of industries ranging from aviation to finance. In his present role at Goldman Sachs, he leads technology projects that aggregate risk and produce government reports. Sean loves traveling to different countries and experiencing new cultures. He also loves exercising and listening to podcasts and audio books.
Shreyas Navare is a cartoonist and a creative entrepreneur. HarperCollins published two collections of his work as the editorial cartoonist of the Hindustan Times. He has held several international cartoon exhibitions and his original artworks are in the collection of the Library of Congress. A Harvard WCFIA Fellow on international affairs, Shreyas has covered elections in India and the United States through the eyes of a cartoonist. Currently, he also serves on the board of Arts Connect International and as the Planning Chair of the Arts Equity Summit.
Shipra is an actor with experience in films, TV and theater. She loves her job and bringing characters to life. She has worked with the BBC, done several award winning films and theater productions involving puppetry, storytelling, dancing and singing. She has a Post Graduate degree in Performing Arts from Anupam Kher's Actor Prepares, and is trained in Salsa and Bollywood dance forms.
Shipra has a B. E. (computer engineering) and an MBA from IIT Bombay. She is of Indian origin, lives in London and can speak English, Hindi, Urdu and Punjabi.
Shivani Khot is a final year Master's student in Animation and Digital Direction at Supinfocom Rubika, France. She has interned as a 3D animator at The Criqus ltd. in Hyderabad, India and Pixable Studios in Dresden, Germany. 'Madarasi', an animated short film she worked on was selected by several film festivals including Animakom and Migranti and received The Rookies Excellence Award in 2018.
Shivani is passionate about storytelling and enjoys sketching, painting and reading in her free time.
Shuan Sim is a journalist and storyteller, and enjoys transporting readers to new worlds with his prose and poetry. He also runs a regular circus workshop in New York City, sharing his experiences with friends and strangers alike. Shuan has reported across many beats for various publications, including healthcare, science and technology, and current affairs. He is an alumnus of New York University.
Soudamini Shankar is a creative writer with a graduate degree in Communication Sciences & Disorders from The University of North Carolina at Greensboro. As part of her clinical training during undergraduate studies in Mangalore, India and graduate studies at Greensboro, she has worked closely with several school age children with communication disorders. She has also assisted in conducting a book drive for a Title 1 elementary school for a language and literacy camp for low income African American children with speech and language disabilities. She is an active member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators.
Tyler Varian is an event producer who recently moved to Los Angeles. After receiving his BS/BA in Finance and International Business from The George Washington University, he built a career in experiential marketing, working with some of the most recognizable Fortune 100 brands in the world. Tyler loves to travel, practice his Spanish and explore new countries. While roaming the world he enjoys immersing himself in the food and culture of his new surroundings. As a competitively ranked beach volleyball player, he finds that regardless of the country he is in, there are never any language barriers on the court.
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