We're a team that believes anything is possible

  • Dream Directors
  • Co-Founders
  • National Staff
  • Board of Directors
  • Advisors
  • Support Team

Andrew Mangino


For the past decade, Andrew has devoted himself to a two-word mission that inspires him every day: waging possibility.

In 2009, he was speechwriting at the White House when he began to mentor a student in a D.C. and asked him a simple question: what’s your dream? When the student said he had never been asked that question before, Andrew realized that the education crisis he had been studying for so many years—whether up close as a city reporter in New Haven or as a student at Yale—might be a lot simpler at heart than we’ve led ourselves to believe.

As he poured through research and spoke with dozens of teachers, principals, and students, a theme emerged: students (and teachers) on average were not being inspired by schools to learn, let alone to lead extraordinary lives. In too many cases in the toughest environments, schools became places of despair and apathy. Teachers, too, were checking out amid schools reforms that factor in their voice. Students weren’t learning how to be powerful, and they rarely found what brought them alive. And without these ingredients, he realized, not even great reforms could ever work. With Kanya, he got to work.

Prior to The Future Project, Andrew—a Forbes "30 Under 30" Social Entrepreneur and Ashoka Fellow—wrote speeches for Attorney General Eric Holder and Vice President Joe Biden, and he soaked up everything he could about social entrepreneurship while working as a senior entrepreneur at Ashoka. A Marshall Scholar, the 130th Editor in Chief of the Yale Daily News, and a magna cum laude graduate of Yale with political science major that focused on education, Andrew is passionate not only about education, but also about Oldies Music, theme songs, American history, oratory, and, above all, the magical power of passionate teams to change the world.


Kanya Balakrishna


After seeing so much of the world and attending nearly 10 schools growing up—she was born in South Korea, moved to Japan, and spent the second half of her childhood in both southern California and Tennessee—Kanya believes there is no more urgent challenge we must join together to meet than transforming the way young people grow up.

For the past 13 years, Kanya has been teaching, mentoring, and supporting young people in learning how to transcend expectations and dare dreams others say are impossible. The oldest daughter of nationally recognized educators, Kanya—who was recently named a Glamour Magazine leading social entrepreneur and one of the top young female activists in America by Generation Progress—has always been happiest empowering those around her to succeed on their own terms.

However, at Yale, where she led a campus mentorship initiative and a 200-person volunteer staff as the managing editor of the Yale Daily News, she realized something startling about New Haven’s youth: that most young people never realize this fact, and while educators always go into the field to develop and inspire others to be great, the system often does not give them space to focus on that.

She went onto study anthropology to grasp what it would take to take a listening- and understanding-first approach to making change, and she interviewed dozens of change makers in the world devoted to transforming systems. Ultimately, Kanya saw that the most important ingredients in changing the world were listening, imagination, family, and purpose. And it was with these values in mind that she co-founded The Future Project in 2011, determined to unite her generation in a movement that felt like a family more than a fight—and focused on people, not policy, first.

Prior to The Future Project, Kanya—a Presidential Scholar, Intel semi-finalist, and 2009 gradate of Yale—conducted HIV/AIDS research for a global-health NGO in Pune, India and served as the chief speechwriter to FDA Commissioner Dr. Margaret Hamburg. As the toddler-aged founder of the Three Sister’s Club, Kanya is also passionate about her family, Scandal, the New York Times Modern Love column, and the one idea that keeps her up at night and drives everything she does: that there is a fearless humanitarian within us all, waiting to be let out.


Zachary Hill

Chief Operating Officer

After three years as a lead designer for the gaming company Wizards of the Coast, where he managed many product teams, Zac made the journey from Seattle to New York City. At The Future Project, he oversees operations, marketing, fundraising and finances, making sure that all of those functions work together seamlessly.


Michelle McKeever

Field Intern


Katherine Welsh

Production Assistant

Katherine is a senior at Marymount Manhattan College, studying Communication Arts and Environmental Studies. She has produced a number of documentary shorts about New York, from stories of teenagers’ lives to pieces about skateboarding.


Emily Lamb

Field Intern

As part of our DC Team, Emily works in our schools and across the city, building a network of partners and supporters for events, as well as conducting local outreach through social media.


Andy Ogden

Chief Creative Officer

Andy’s spent his life building and crafting creative projects, obsessing over every little detail. That craftsman’s attention to the little things carries over into his work at The Future Project, where he’s in charge of the look, feel, and design of the visuals and brand. He makes sure that the creative work the team puts out into the world communicates our values and vision.


Joseph Weissgold

Chief Knowledge Officer

As a systems thinker, Joseph uses his expertise in design to help us stay innovative in the complex and rapidly changing education system. A dynamic leader, a visual thinker, and a curious learner, Joseph inspires a culture of experimentation that is at once iterative and intentional. On the inside he’ll always be an inventor and a camp counselor.


Jim Parsons

CEO, Junto Capital


Kanya Balakrishna

Co-Founder & President, The Future Project


Natalie Marrero

Field Intern

A dancer, and artist, and all-around entrepreneur, Natalie is a Project Specialist with The Future Project in Newark, where she works with the Dream Director in the school and out in the community to identify partners and gather resources for students.


Alex Colby

Director of Inspiration/Filmmaker

Our resident filmmaker, Alex travels from city to city, school to school, filming our Dream Directors and students in action. The videos that he edits allow the world to understand our work on the ground, and give the students in them a chance to see themselves for what they are—the foundation of The Future Project’s work and vision.


Ted Dintersmith

Venture Capitalist; Philanthropist


Chris Frank

Technology Director

Chris is an investor, philanthropist and inventor who builds crazy stealth vehicles and other never-before-dreamed-of products. He moonlights as a martial artist who fights crime outside the bounds of the law, dressed completely in black to blend seamlessly into the night. Although his penchant for vigilante justice has earned him the ire of the police, they still send up a signal into the sky every time he’s desperately needed.

He also codes websites, and has built this one. A true master of all trades.


Brittany Harley

Field Intern

Writer and Newark native Brittany Harley has always seen the beauty in her city, and she cherishes the oral history tof Brick City that she learned from her grandparents. She’s continuing her commitment to the city and the young people who call it home through her work with the Newark team of The Future Project.


Mariely Garcia

Former Future Project Student; Freshman at Bowdoin College


Dan McIntosh

Director of Story

As our Director of Story, Dan spends his time on the ground in our cities and our schools, searching for (and hopefully finding) the best stories from the world of The Future Project and produces video, audio and written stories from them. After a stint in documentary film, he made his way over to TFP to start building the storytelling operation. For him, the best thing about that process is not knowing what he’ll find, who he’ll talk to, or what kinds of stories will come out of it. Luckily there are a ton of good stories there, just waiting to be found.


Ali Oberg

Expansion Intern

Ali comes to The Future Project from Massachusetts, by way of Brooklyn, with quick stops in New Hampshire and at campsites across the world. She works closely with our CEO and the Leadership Team to keep everything organized, and to research new cities and schools for potential growth.


Erin Hinkle

Director of Development

A longtime development and fundraising whiz, Erin has spent the last eight years developing partnerships and fundraising for initiatives from Harlem to Nepal. Here at The Future Project, she manages our fundraising systems and donor engagement, making sure that all of our supporters know what’s going on in our schools. She also reaches out to new donors, foundations and corporate partners.


Anina Denove


Anina, who comes to us all the way from LA, is in her final year at The New School, where she’s studying Education and Music. Here at The Future Project, she works with the film team to produce shoots, prep for interviews, and do all kinds of research and fact-finding for the stories we create.


Andrew Mangino

Co-Founder & CEO, The Future Project


Ryan Allis

Co-Founder and CEO, Connect; Former Co-Founder and CEO, iContact


Jenny Shilling-Stein

Co-Founder and Managing Director, The Draper Richards Kaplan Fellowship for Social Entrepreneurship


Niko Canner

Founder, Incandescent


Ray Chambers

Former Chairman, Wesray Capital Corporation; Philanthropist


Tim Shriver

Chairman, Special Olympics; Chairman, Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning


Ndeye Ngom

Social Media Manager

Ndeye is a social media whiz, who has a passion for compact, powerful stories that can be told in small, digestible bits. She spends much of her time as an advocate for patients of lupus and for access to healthcare, as well as for community engagement for the African Diaspora, especially in her native Bronx.


Gabrielle Santa-Donato

Curiosity Director

Before joining the team, Gab spent time at the Harvard School of Education researching the psychology of creativity and innovation. Here at TFP, she handles our measurement and evaluation, and brings in fresh perspectives on the latest academic thinking to inform how we measure our work.


Deepak Chopra

Best-selling author of Quantum Healing, What Are You Hungry For, and The Book of Secrets


Tim Coleman

Senior Managing Director, Blackstone


Bill Damon

Professor of Education, the Stanford University; Editor-in-Chief, The Handbook of Child Psychology


Kelly Lopez


Kelly discovered her passion for youth development and the arts when she was part of a youth group in Camden, NJ. She is our Dream Relations Specialist in Newark, where she works mostly at Malcolm X. Shabazz High School, linking students with opportunities and resources both in the school and in the city at large.


Bill Drayton

Founder, Ashoka; Godfather of Social Entrepreneurship

Kathleen barquin

Kathleen Barquin

Executive Assistant

Kathleen is the Executive Assistant to the co-founders, and she’s a whole lot more. A freelance web designer, a mother, and a brilliant get-things-doner who somehow manages to keep us all on track while working remotely from suburban Maryland. If we didn’t know any better, we’d assume she was too good to be true. Lucky for us, she’s both.


Angela Duckworth

MacArthur Fellow; Associate Professor of Psychology, University of Pennsylvania


Carol Dweck

Author of Mindset; The New Psychology of Success; Professor of Psychology, Stanford University


Scott Barry Kaufman

Author of Ungifted; Intelligence Redefined; Co-Founder, The Creativity Post


Danielle LaPorte

Best-selling author of The Firestarter Sessions and The Desire Map


Paul Martucci

Operations Director

Paul came to us after a four-year stint working in corporate accounting, and yes–he keeps a tight ship at The Future Project. A crazy creative at heart, Paul maintains the team’s culture and keeps everyone up to date with his highly acclaimed daily radio broadcast.


Shane Lopez

Senior Scientist, Gallup; Research Director, the Clifton Strengths Institute


Hope Taitz

Former Managing Partner, Catalyst Partners; Board of Directors, Pencils of Promise


Franchesca Cifuentes

Newark Coordinator

Before she joined The Future Project team, Franchesca co-founded Harlem Peace Partners, a grant-making organization supporting anti-violence and entrepreneurship in Harlem. Born in Ecuador and raised in Jersey City, Franchesca is our Community Outreach Specialist in Newark, NJ, building partnerships with companies, community and local political organizations.


Sarah Tankoos

Director of Engagement

Before joining The Future Project, Sarah was building classrooms out of Eco-Bottles and trash as a Peace Corps volunteer in Guatemala. That kind of brilliance and resourcefulness comes in handy as she manages our communication and engagement with the broad TFP community, gathering information and keeping them updated and informed about the latest happenings in our schools and on our team. Based in New Haven, CT, she also works on the partnerships with community organizations and with the city.


Bill Milliken

Author of The Last Dropout; Stop the Epidemic!; Co-Founder and former President, Communities in Schools


Dekunle Somade

Production Assistant

Dekunle is a freelance filmmaker and writer. As our Production Assistant, he keeps all of the film team’s never-ending stream of footage logged, organized, and ready to be turned into beautiful visual stories.


Dan Pink

Best-selling author of Drive, A Whole New Mind, and To Sell is Human


Maria Vecchiotti

Private Practice Attorney; Philanthropist


Peter Salovey

23rd President of Yale University; Pioneer and leading researcher in emotional intelligence


Tony Wagner

Author and Professor, The Harvard School of Education


Sonal Shah

Former Director of the Office of Social Innovation and Civic Participation in the White House

John Michael

John-Michael Parker

National Dream Director

John-Michael has been with The Future Project from the beginning, and spent two years as a Dream Director in New York City. Now, he’s taken that experience and leads the team of Dream Directors, giving them support, coaching, and insight into the design and execution of the work in their schools.


Sallomé Hralima

Chief Dream Director

For years, Sallomé dreamed of giving every high school student in America a life coach. She never dreamed that she’d actually find a job that allowed her to do that. Sallomé co-founded Plan It Brooklyn, a brain trust for entrepreneurs and emerging leaders, and produced A Great Day in Brooklyn, a visual blueprint she created of Brooklyn residents merging the worlds of art, activism and entrepreneurship. At The Future Project, Sallomé designs and creates trainings for our Dream Directors, and runs our Dream Director recruitment.


Tim Shriver

Dream Director

As Dream Director at the NYC Lab School, Tim uses his knack for organizing groups of people into small movements, works closely with the principal and draws on his experience as co-founder of the national campaign Spread the Word to End the Word, in order to give the students in the school a sense of ownership over the school and its values.


Christian Shaboo

Dream Director
New Haven

As the Dream Director at High School in the Community in New Haven, CT, Christian has used his passion for the arts to transform the halls of the school into a community art gallery, and brought scores of alumni back to the school to support current students. In these and many other ways, he’s been working with students, teachers and alumni to find ways they can reimagine, recreate, and completely own the identity of their school.


Divine Bradley

Dream Director

Divine’s been a social entrepreneur ever since he was seventeen, when he turned his parents’ house in Brooklyn into a community center for other young people in the neighborhood. Ever since, he’s been dedicated to creating a new generation of leaders, a charge he’s taken to Malcolm X. Shabazz High School and the entire City of Newark.


Eve King

Dream Director
New Haven

Eve is a visual artist and an athlete, who knows both the importance of expression and the power of grit and hard work. As the Dream Director at Hill Regional Career High School in New Haven, Eve is taking her passion for art, working with her Dream Team to transform the way the school looks and build connections between Career and the other high schools in the city.


Frank Brady

Dream Director
New Haven

A long-time fixture of New Haven’s arts and performance scene, Frank is a spoken-word poet who actually found The Future Project when he performed at an event organized by one of our students. As the Dream Director at Wilbur Cross High School, one of the two biggest high schools in New Haven, Frank and his team have taken their vision for the school and scaled it up with school-wide events, giving students a renewed sense of Wilbur Cross pride.


George Black

Dream Director
New Haven

When George was growing up in New Haven, he never imagined that he’d be devoting a big part of his life to the city that raised him. In fact, he was convinced at one point that he needed to move away, only to be drawn back. A skilled storyteller, George is giving the students at The Riverside Academy in New Haven, where he’s the Dream Director, an opportunity to tell a new story about their school and city.


Joyce Gendler

Dream Director

Joyce’s approach to Dream Directing draws heavily on her experience as a kid who decided that she didn’t have a learning disability, but just a unique and different set of talents. It’s led her to see the gifts that all young people possess, and made her passionate about bringing those gifts out. That belief led her first to working with incarcerated youth at Rikers Island, and now to to her ultimate dream job, at the Richard R. Green High School of Teaching in NYC.


Kleaver Cruz

Dream Director

Raised in The Bronx, Kleaver is proud to be the first Dream Director in his home borough, at the Leadership Institute High School. At Leadership, Kleaver has been working with the principal and students to strengthen the school’s roots of leadership, community action and social justice. He and his Dream Team are reminding the world that the Bronx has a lot to offer.


Lamarr Womble

Dream Director

A proud son of Omaha, Nebraska, Lamarr brings his experience as a motivational speaker to work, instilling in his students a passion for leadership. He’s built his life around listening, inspiring, and sharing with young people around the country the things he’s learned. And he’s taken that passion into The College Academy, in the Washington Heights neighborhood of NYC, as its Dream Director.


Laura Winnick

Dream Director
New Haven

A New Haven native, and a resident all her life (save a detour to Ann Arbor for college), Laura has been with The Future Project since the beginning, and was the first Dream Director in the city. At New Haven Academy, she leads a strong Dream Team of students who have come to own their school’s identity through senior projects, integration with the curriculum, and school-wide campaigns.


Maritza R. Alarcon

Dream Director

A proud native of Brooklyn, Maritza is the Dream Director at the Henry Street School for International Studies in Manhattan’s Lower East Side. She’s worked in marketing for the Boston Red Sox, directed programming at the Boys and Girls Club of Brooklyn, and won a Starting Bloc Fellowship. Maritza has been using her experiences to bring a spirit of entrepreneurship to Henry Street, and to equip the young people there with the tools and confidence to create.


Nataliya Braginsky

Dream Director
New Haven

Before joining The Future Project as the Dream Director at Metropolitan Business Academy in New Haven, Nataliya was a high school teacher in Philadelphia, where she learned firsthand the importance of guiding students as they develop courage, confidence, and belief in their own possibility, both in and out of the classroom. At Metro, she is bringing her passion for social justice and artistic expression to the students as they confront difficult issues and turn them into creative projects.


Shantae J. Edwards

Dream Director
Washington, D.C.

As the Dream Director at Cardozo Senior High School in Washington, DC, Shantae is making sure she knows every face and every name in the school. That’s because she knows that in order to build a new sense of community, you have to understand all of the individuals in it. She and her team are using social media campaigns, storytelling, and a lot more to reveal the great things that no one knew before about Cardozo and the people who go there.


Voncia Barno Monchais

Dream Director
Washington, D.C.

Voncia spent years as a history teacher in Miami, where she was also a Teach for America corps member. The granddaughter of a civil rights activist, Voncia always had a desire to work with young people as they discover their voices, create and own who they are, and build a world of equality and respect. It’s what she did as a teacher, and what she is continuing as Dream Director at Eastern Senior High School in Washington, DC.


Carlos Walton

Deputy Dream Director

Carlos has spent years doing extensive work within NYC’s school system and various communities throughout America. He’s run an organization that focuses on college prep for young people in Brooklyn, and another that gives support to middle school and high school boys. Carlos is at West Side High School in Newark, NJ.


Zaki Smith

Deputy Dream Director

Zaki has a reputation for giving no-holds-barred advice and intervention to young people battling with a wide range of social or emotional issues, skills which, along with a deep sense of compassion, he honed over years working with Dream Director Divine Bradley on a youth-led project called Team Revolution. Now, Zaki is taking his skills to West Side High School in Newark, NJ.