Global Executive Team

Mehrdad Baghai
Co-Founder, Chairman, and Global CEO

As Global CEO of High Resolves, Mehrdad has focused on rapid growth of the program in Australia and expansion into the U.S., Canada, China, Brazil and Africa. Mehrdad is Chairman of Alchemy Growth, a boutique strategy advisory firm. Previously, he was a partner at McKinsey & Company and co-leader of the Firm’s worldwide Growth Practice, and an Executive Director at the CSIRO, Australia’s national science agency. Mehrdad has degrees from Harvard Law School, Harvard Kennedy School and Princeton University. He is a Henry Crown Fellow at the Aspen Institute.

I am passionate about High Resolves because…
I have seen and felt the impact of social division and hatred first hand. We need to think of prejudice, racism and hatred as public health issues and engage in immunization programs in order to eradicate these diseases.

Roya Baghai
Co-Founder & Chief Creative Officer

Roya has a degree in architecture but has worked in many different design fields, from graphic and object design to typography. Throughout all her work, she has been passionate about creating transformative experiences through design. Her commitment to creating positive social change and empowering young people to do the same was the inspiration and driving force behind the co-creation of High Resolves in 2005 and her deep involvement since. Over the last three years, she has also been the Executive Director of Videos for Change: a powerful platform that is amplifying the voice of young people who have creatively engaged with social issues and are catalysing positive change in the world.

I am passionate about High Resolves because…
I am passionate about contributing in some small way to the creation of a world with unity in diversity, and where justice and equality of opportunity is upheld and experienced by all. I am joyous and privileged to work towards this vision with the impressive and multi-talented team at High Resolves.

Alexandra ‘Ali’ Berry
Executive Director, Composer

Alexandra “Ali” Berry is Executive Director of Composer, a global ecosystem and digital platform for providing young people greater access to high-quality civics and citizenship education. Ali began her career as a teacher in Houston, Texas. She is committed to advancing educational equity, with experience across the education system including K-12 practice, higher education, education technology, philanthropy, and research. Ali has worked at innovative education initiatives KIPP, Amplify, Relay Graduate School of Education, and the XQ Institute which she helped launch and grow from 2015 to 2019. Ali graduated with honors from Harvard University and earned an M.Ed. from the University of St. Thomas in partnership with Teach For America. She is based in Palo Alto, California.

I am passionate about High Resolves because…

I am empowered by its mission to create a more just, equitable, and inclusive world, and its approach that is grounded in learning science and student voice.

Alisa Cleary
Program Director, Queensland

Alisa is a highly experienced global educator working in the field with teachers and administrators in Queensland since 2010. Alisa has provided advice to schools and government about incorporating innovative programs into school curriculums, and has supported schools and teachers in delivering cutting-edge programs. She holds a Masters in Educational Studies and Bachelor of Arts (Geography and Economics) from the University of Queensland and a Graduate Diploma of Teaching (Secondary Education) from the Australian Catholic University.

 Alisa is passionate about High Resolves because…

I am excited about the transformative power of High Resolves’ educative approach to empowering students to think critically about the global context of their local lives. I believe it is important that students develop a sense of belonging to a common humanity and act responsibly for a more just, peaceful and sustainable world. I am thrilled at the part High Resolves can play in making that happen.

Cassandra Cooke
Program Manager - Global Operations, Videos for Change

Cassie is an experienced secondary English and Drama teacher and has also worked within the early childhood and primary school sectors across Australia and internationally. She has specialized in the design and implementation of Creative Arts and Language programs to promote community cohesion and effective integration strategies for newly arrived immigrants and disengaged and disadvantaged youth. Her time traveling and living abroad sparked her passion for providing real world, high-impact learning opportunities for young people, which build a deep understanding of global citizenship and a commitment to leading positive social change. Cassie holds a Bachelor of Contemporary Arts and a Bachelor of Teaching from the University of Tasmania.

I am passionate about High Resolves because…
I love being a part of a dynamic and diverse team, who have a shared vision and dedication to empowering a generation of young people with the skills and motivation to transform our world for the better.

Josh Densen
CEO, North America

Josh Densen is the CEO for High Resolves North America. Josh began his career as a Teach for America Corps Member in Oakland, California in 2000. He relocated to New Orleans to open and lead the local office of The Achievement Network in 2009, a position he held for two years before starting to work on Bricolage, which opened in 2013. Bricolage Academy is a New Orleans charter school with the mission of advancing educational equity and creating innovators who change the world. Josh received his BA from Washington University in St. Louis and his MBA from The Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania.

Mia Garrett
Program Director, Regional Victoria

Mia is a passionate educator and strong believer in its transformative power.  Through her extensive travels and time living abroad, she has developed an understanding of how powerful real world learning experiences can be.  This, accompanied by her love of working with young people, drives her to provide meaningful educational experiences which encourage students to engage in their local and global communities.  Across her nine years of teaching experience in secondary schools she has led international immersion trips, managed social justice initiatives and developed a student leadership program to empower young leaders.  She has a Bachelor of Secondary Education (PE/Health/Science) from Deakin University.

I am passionate about working at High Resolves because… 
I have the opportunity to connect with students through empowering them to lead positive social change.  Their insight, passion and drive to make our world a better place is truely inspiring.  Education and self belief are powerful tools, and High Resolves supports students in deepening both.

Neela Haryani
Program Director, Victoria

Neela has spent over six years working in pursuit of positive social change, across fields as diverse as communications, education, aid and development and public health. She cut her teeth at Oaktree, Australia’s largest youth-led organisation, where she ultimately served as Head of Communications. Here, Neela played a pivotal role in major national campaigns, including Make Poverty History and Live Below the Line.

Neela is an alumni of the Teach for Australia program, and holds Master of Teaching from Deakin University.  She has taught English, Literature, Humanities and Business Management in both regional Victoria and metropolitan Melbourne.

Neela’s early passion for social justice stemmed from yearly trips to India, and her own family’s experience of being locked out of the education system. She believes deeply that education is key to a life of agency and empowerment, and that all young people have an infinite capacity create change for the greater good.

I am passionate about High Resolves because…

I am convinced that by investing in young people now, we will see our global society transform. Led by a new generation of citizens, we can build the kind of world we all desperately need – one that is more just, free and compassionate.

Rachel Hinds
National Program Director, Australia

Rachel has worked in the education sector in both Australia and overseas since 2007. She has a strong commitment to empowering students to be the leaders of tomorrow and a belief that all young people can make a difference to their own lives. During her time as a classroom teacher, Rachel worked predominately with disengaged and at-risk students and was instrumental in designing and implementing an alternative education program for disengaged students in the UK. She holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts and a Graduate Diploma in Education from Griffith University.

I am passionate about High Resolves because…
I have seen first-hand the impact we have on young people. It is an awesome thing to experience when you see a young person feel empowered to step up and create the change they want to see in the world!

Anna Howarth
Director, Strategic Programs & Business Development

Anna is a community engagement professional, who worked for Microsoft for 14 years, most recently supporting youth and community outcomes, in the position of Microsoft Philanthropies Manager. Prior to this role, Anna was Microsoft Australia’s chief customer advocate in the position of Customer Experience Director. She also led Employee Communications functions across Microsoft, Optus and the Commonwealth Bank.

I am passionate about High Resolves because…

I am a passionate advocate for supporting Australian youth and I am excited to personally be involved in an organisation that embraces diversity and works with young people to develop inclusive behaviours in our leaders of tomorrow.

Donna Hutchison
CEO, Australian Region

With over 15 years of experience in design, strategy, corporate finance and transformation, Donna is a business leader who loves helping people solve complex problems. As CEO of High Resolves Australia, Donna is focused on growing the program to reach more than 50% of Australian teenagers over the next five years. 

I am passionate about High Resolves because…

We are changing the world, one young person at a time. By equipping a critical mass of young people with the skills required to solve complex problems and act in the long-term collective interest of humanity, I believe we can make a difference. 

Paul Kelsey
Global COO

Paul Kelsey was the inaugural CEO for High Resolves for ten years in Australia and is now the Global Chief Operating Officer. Prior to High Resolves, Paul was in various senior management positions in financial services for over 20 years.

I am passionate about High Resolves because…
I am passionate about High Resolves more than ever now because I have three teenage children, and I see first-hand how difficult it is for young teenagers to develop a genuine sense of empathy for global issues and to feel empowered to make a difference.

Chantelle Kohn
National Program Director Canada, Head of Curriculum North America

Chantelle’s passion is helping others become critically aware of how our world currently functions and the role they can play in transforming it to create inclusive and equitable communities. She has a decade of extensive experience in the education field and has facilitated multiple countries. Chantelle has held various roles at High Resolves, starting as a Program Manager in Brisbane, Australia and now leads the Toronto hub while also overseeing the curriculum development and training for the North America team. She has a Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Education (Secondary) from the University of Queensland and a Masters of International and Community Development from Deakin University.

I am passionate about High Resolves because…

It is through education that we can transform the way we see ourselves, the world and our role within it. High Resolves provides important opportunities for people to better understand the oppressive structures of society and how they have contributed to both past and present inequities and harmful divisions. Most importantly, it focuses on helping participants develop the attitudes, values and skills needed to take action and create inclusive communities, locally and globally. I am passionate about High Resolves because it is helping people create much-needed change.

Lee Martin
Director, Curriculum & Impact Australia

Lee has worked at High Resolves since 2010, working in a variety of roles including face-to-face delivery of content to young people and teachers, developing curriculum, and quality assurance and training. He holds a Post Graduate Certificate in Education from the University of Sheffield and a Bachelor of Arts (Honors) in History and Politics from the University of Warwick. Lee worked as a high school history teacher in socially diverse areas of the U.K. and took on the roles of form tutor, Head of Year and Head of Department. In May 2009, government inspectors reported that the history department and its management were “outstanding”.

I am passionate about High Resolves because…
I have always believed that education is the most effective way of overcoming some of the problems that the world faces today. High Resolves offers me that opportunity by working with young people to develop the confidence, motivation and skills to make our world a better place.

Paul McWilliams
Chief Financial Officer

Paul is a senior executive leader with 20+ years’ experience at ASX listed companies.  He is a seasoned governance professional with extensive experience in various areas of risk management including compliance, internal audit, insurance, tax and treasury.  He is a chartered accountant and holds a Masters of Applied Finance and a Graduate Diploma in Applied Corporate Governance.  He is also a member of the Australian Institute of Company Directors. Paul is Chair of Mandala Community Counselling Inc, a small not for profit organisation. He is married, to Siew Ling, and has two children and two grandsons.

Camila Mendonça de Barros
Viven Brazil

Based in Brazil, Camila is passionate about education. She has focused her professional career in Social and Educational Policies implementation, especially at the public sector, whenshe worked at the State Secretariat of Education in São Paulo and as a Social Cash Transfer Management Director. She holds her PhD Fundação Getúlio Vargas, internship at Stanford University as Lemann Center Fellow as well. Her Master is in Social Public Policies and her Bachelor in Economics Science, both of them at State University of Campinas (UNICAMP).

I am passionate about High Resolves because…

I am passionate about High Resolves because the development of our youth’s social skills is better way to prepare then to handle with the contemporary society challenges and to promote the social changes needed for a more just society.

Steve Moore
Director, Program Office & Compliance

While working in some of India’s poorest communities, Steve was struck by the power of education to create social change. Upon returning to Australia he resolved to help equip young people with the skills to positively change the world around them. Working as a science teacher in Sydney’s high schools, Steve saw the need for new educational experiences that developed students as active participants in society, leading to him organizing and running leadership programs in low socio-economic status schools. Joining the High Resolves team enabled Steve to unite his management experience in the for-profit sector with his passion for social change through education. Steve holds a Master of Science from the University of Bristol, a Graduate Diploma in Education from Macquarie University, and a Master of Business Administration from Kaplan University.

I am passionate about High Resolves because…
I have the opportunity to work with a group of individuals who are incredibly determined to make the world a better place.

Hannah Morris
Program Director, New South Wales

Hannah’s passion is working to achieve social justice and the empowerment of young people through education. She has over five years of experience working in the intersection of the education, advocacy, social justice and not for profit management sectors. Hannah holds a Bachelor of International and Global Studies and Juris Doctor law degree from the University of Sydney, and a Master of Teaching from Deakin University. An alumnus of the Teach For Australia program, she spent three years teaching English and Humanities in Darwin where she loved engaging her students to think critically about global issues. Hannah’s previous work experiences include a volunteer legal placement with the North Australian Aboriginal Justice Agency, Board Director of UN Youth Australia, National Ambassador for education charity One Girl, and President of the University of Sydney Union.

I am passionate about High Resolves because…

I truly believe that the education of young people is the most important and powerful way we can invest in our future. Helping to create a generation of globally aware, values-driven, curious, and empathic young citizens and leaders is something that fires me up and gives me hope for our society and our world.

Marlina Moussa
Program Director, NSW

During her time as an English teacher, Marlina’s passion to empower and inspire young people to be positive leaders in the community and globally saw her develop and implement new educational programs and initiatives that increased student involvement and engagement in understanding social issues. She participated in the Make Poverty History Campaign in NSW, which involved meeting with ministers at Parliament House on the issue of foreign aid. Her experiences in Africa, Asia, Europe and the Middle East further fueled her desire to see students become global leaders and citizens who are motivated to make a positive difference, which led her to High Resolves. She completed a Bachelor of Secondary Teaching (Double English major) at the University of Technology Sydney and a Bachelor of Arts (English Literature and History) at the University of Wollongong where she also undertook a 3-year leadership program, delivering a number of projects for social action, development and change in the University and community.

I am passionate about High Resolves because…
What we do is for the greater good. Seeing that achieved by empowering young people to be global citizens is inspiring and exciting.

Roxy Pirnia
National Program Director, USA

Roxy is extremely passionate about education reform and equity, particularly in the United States. Upon graduation from university, Roxy joined High Resolves as an intern, analyzing student work and reporting on program outcomes. After her internship, Roxy returned to the United States to continue pursuing her passion of working with youth. She worked as both a Corps Member and Team Leader with City Year in Boston, and subsequently as a Program Manager with Boston Scholar Athletes. Through her various roles, Roxy has continuously seen the importance of providing the space, resources, and skills for young people to build the social emotional capacities that are often not explicitly taught in school settings. Roxy is excited to again join the High Resolves team, and to build the bridge to the United States. She holds a Bachelors’ Degree in Psychology from the University of California, San Diego, and a Masters’ Degree in Education Policy and Management from Harvard Graduate School of Education.

I am passionate about High Resolves because…
My passion for this work stems from my own experiences in education. Prior to college, my education was mostly academic, lacking much application to life beyond the classroom. It was not until my time at the University of California, San Diego that I began to think critically about the world around me – about my own identity, about how I fit into the world, and what type of world I wanted to see. I am passionate about the work we are doing at High Resolves because it provides young people with the opportunity that I did not have, the opportunity to begin this journey earlier on and to better understand my role as a global citizen.

May Samali
COO, New Ventures

Based in San Francisco, May Samali is passionate about investing in people and ideas that can change the world. As COO, New Ventures at High Resolves, May is leading a new initiative to build a technology platform and ecosystem for citizenship education across the US. May has a decade of extensive experience advising technology start-ups and nonprofits across the US and Australia. She is currently a Venture Partner at NextGen Venture Partners, a network-driven venture capital firm. She was formerly an investor at the Urban Innovation Fund, a Director at Tumml, and a corporate lawyer at Herbert Smith Freehills in Sydney. May holds a Master in Public Policy from the Harvard Kennedy School, and Bachelors of Laws and Economic & Social Sciences with First Class Honors and the University Medal from the University of Sydney. She is a John Monash Scholar and an Australian American Young Leadership Dialogue Fellow. She was a Gleitsman Leadership Fellow and a New World Social Enterprise Fellow at Harvard’s Center for Public Leadership.

I am passionate about High Resolves because…
High Resolves is a game changer. The program engages students when they are most receptive to transformation. It has the powerful potential to change hearts and minds – both individually and collectively. Responding to the complexity of today’s challenges requires fundamental interventions like High Resolves.

Danitra Wansley
Program Director, New Orleans

As a Black woman from rural Georgia in the United States and a first-generation university student, Danitra was driven to use her strengths to serve the communities that needed her most. After directing a non-profit academic summer camp in Boston, Danitra joined Teach for America in greater New Orleans. She taught 7th grade English Language Arts at KIPP McDonogh 15 Middle School for the Creative Arts while serving as a part of Teach for America’s cohort for culturally responsive pedagogy, Teach4Liberation. As an Impact Manager with City Year New Orleans, she managed and coached three teams of school-based AmeriCorps members on leadership development and K-12 instruction. Danitra earned a Bachelor of Arts with honors in History and Literature from Harvard University. She is also a recipient of Harvard College’s Jonathan M. Levin Prize for Teaching and Social Justice, awarded annually to the most promising undergraduate who intends to become a public school teacher.

I am passionate about High Resolves because…
of the way that High Resolves responds to the needs of schools and organizations in the development of our youth’s social skills. In New Orleans, there is a tremendous opportunity to innovate and leverage our community’s resources, and my role allows me to do that and empower youth to do the same.