Our 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.

Rebecca Absalom
Program Director, Regional Victoria

Rebecca is an engaging educator with experience as a team leader developing transitional programs for disengaged young people and mentoring pre-service teachers. Rebecca specialises in participatory learning for disengaged youth and has led programs in Australia and internationally. Throughout her time abroad, she experienced firsthand the power of real-world experiences on young people.

I am passionate about High Resolves because…

I believe in young people. I believe by empowering the next generation to embrace cultural differences and by encouraging collaboration we can create a positive, more inclusive world.

Naysan Baghai
Director, Film & Photography Operations

Naysan ‘Nays’ Baghai is an independent filmmaker based in Sydney, Australia. Originally an alumnus of the High Resolves program in its early years, Nays has been the official on-site videographer, photographer and digital media specialist for High Resolves since 2015. Since taking up filmmaking professionally in 2013, Nays has won over 20 awards from international film festivals for short student films he has directed, and has produced audio/visual content for dozens of companies, including Telstra, Deloitte, and the Commonwealth Bank of Australia. Nays graduated with high honours from the Bachelor of Arts (Screen Production) program at Australia’s national film school AFTRS in 2018. He also operates in a professional capacity as an underwater cinematographer, graphic designer, consultant and educator.

I am passionate about High Resolves because…
I get to work with some of the most professional, inspiring and personable individuals in the world who work tirelessly to bring an innovative, well-structured program to life across the world, and create change for the greater good, sans dogma.

Ali Berry
CEO, Composer

Alexandra “Ali” Berry is CEO 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 San Francisco, 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.

Ariel Blackman
Program Manager, Wollongong

Ariel has over a decade of experience working with young people as a social worker, providing psychosocial support and interventions to some of Australia’s most vulnerable people; developing trauma-informed intake processes at a crisis centre for homeless youth in Melbourne, case management and advocacy for vulnerable women in the inner city of Sydney, and more recently designing and delivering resilience-focused psycho-educational programs to disadvantaged young people in high schools across Western Sydney. Ariel holds a Bachelor of Social Work from the University of Sydney and was awarded First Class Honours for her original research on Youth Participation and Citizenship. This research is what sparked her passion for the power of young people as active citizens.

I am passionate about High Resolves because…

Young people have the greatest potential to be agents of social change. Our programs are engaging, evidence-based, cutting edge, and position young people to really make a difference in the world.

Abi Blessing
Program Director, Sunshine Coast

Abi is an innovative leader who believes that education is at the core of social equity and opportunity. She believes that every young person, regardless of their background, deserves a great education and real choices in life. With over 10 years international teaching and leadership experience as a secondary Science teacher across Australia, Africa and the United Kingdom, Abi is an avid Biologist dedicated to protecting and informing people about the fragile ecosystems that exist all around us. Abi was recently awarded the ‘Freedom of the City of London’ award for her work in education for the community, after designing and delivering a $4.3m secondary school programme in Bermondesy, London. She holds a dual degree in Science and Education from the University of Queensland and loves travelling and cooking fresh foods from her vegetable garden.

I am passionate about High Resolves because…

The only way to transform lives and our world is through education. I am driven by the opportunity to release the potential in young people and in the communities that I serve, by lighting transformational fires in those who we encounter through High Resolves. I strive to shape resourceful, resilient and well-rounded young people who can make valuable changes to our diverse society as global citizens.

Chad Brown
Program Manager, Sunshine Coast

Chad grew up in a small town in country Victoria, Australia, and started his first business at just 19 years old. Delivering an innovative physical activity program to Melbourne primary schools, he helped students to not only be more active and healthy, but also to develop critical life skills, such as teamwork, respect, co-operation and dealing with success and defeat.

Chad’s own ‘Peak Experience’ occurred in his early twenties when he travelled to Uganda to volunteer in rural communities through a not-for-profit organisation that had been set up by his parents after their first visit to the country. He is now the Vice President of ‘HUG – Help Us Grow’ and continues to support the amazing work that HUG and the local communities in Uganda are carrying out on a daily basis.

Chad has also spent ten years living, travelling and working abroad, including five years in Spain and five years in the UK. During this time, he worked in a variety of organisations of all shapes and sizes to improve both employee and customer satisfaction through the constant refinement of user experiences. He now applies this real-world experience and knowledge to help achieve the maximum possible impact in his work at High Resolves.

I am passionate about High Resolves because…

I believe in the limitless power of young people and their critical role in solving the greatest challenges of our time. The opportunity to work for an organisation that facilitates such a powerful movement of global citizens and gives them the skills and confidence that they need to change the world is a humbling and inspiring experience that I’m incredibly grateful for.

Alisa Cleary
Program Director, Brisbane

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.

Nia Coats
Intern, North America Team

Nia Coats is a senior at San Francisco State university studying journalism with a minor in business administration. She is here working with the High Resolves team to be a marketing intern for the company. Nia has a passion for social change and making a difference in the world, which was a driving force in her choice to major in journalism, her goal is to be able to help people who are not able to see themselves in the media a chance to. She is so excited to help people learn more about High Resolves and what they can learn from using the program.

I am passionate about High Resolves because…

I want to help people have the chance to learn about all of the events that are happening in the world. I know that not everyone gets to have the same experiences and not everyone experiences the same issues and with using High Resolves, there is a chance for everyone to see what is happening outside of their own world.

Mary Michele Connellan
Program Director, Newcastle

Mary has extensive experience in consulting, legal strategy and developing public policy. Mary is a Teaching Associate at Monash University and holds a Juris Doctor from Melbourne Law School. Mary published “A Gendered Lens for Genocide Prevention” with Palgrave McMillan and has worked in social justice and human rights for over a decade. While completing her Masters in the Philosophy of Citizenship and Ethics at the University of Barcelona, Mary developed improved teaching methods for English language programs in high schools in regional Spain.

I am passionate about High Resolves because…

I believe in the power of young people to facilitate positive global change.

Cora-Lee Conway
Program Director, Canada

Cora-Lee Conway is an engaging educator with years of experience connecting with youth in Canada and abroad. From teaching English in Northern Quebec, supporting first-year university students living in residence, to providing career readiness workshops to youth in Ghana; a passion for education has always been at the core of her pursuits. And as a first-generation Canadian of Afro-Caribbean descent, the values of education she believes in have always involved the inclusion of marginalized voices and developing the capacity to understand the ways in which communities can support equity, diversity and liberation. Cora-lee is pursuing a PhD in Education from McGill University and holds a Bachelors and Masters Degree in Political Science from York University.

I am passionate about High Resolves because…

I believe that the time to address inequity and to pursue liberation is always right now. Young people have often been at the helm of social change and I’m grateful for the opportunity to be a part of creating generative spaces for open and honest discourse that brings us closer to the reality I know we can have, together.

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.

Tim Costigan
Board Member, Canada Board

Tim is the owner of Tim Costigan Travel Design, a company specializing in creating culturally immersive travel experiences for companies and cultural institutions looking for extraordinary retreats and explorations for their leadership teams and donors. Tim has always been deeply involved in his community, sharing his legal and organizational skills with a range of charitable and not for profit organizations through service on boards and in other volunteer positions. His most important anf favourite role is Dad to three wonderful children, aged 16, 13 and 11 and husband to a highly successful wife.

Josh Densen
CEO, North America

Josh Densen is the CEO, 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.

I am passionate about working at High Resolves because… 

I am inspired by how our world might be different when a generation of young people feel empowered to make a positive difference.  Our world’s biggest challenges have both individual and collective elements – High Resolves addresses both

Allana Duncan
Program Manager, New South Wales

Allana is a High Resolves alum, having participated in the program as a student in 2009. Coming full circle, Allana is excited to work with an organisation that was pivotal in cultivating her passion and interest in social justice. Allana holds a Bachelor of Arts (Honours) in Philosophy from the University of Sydney, writing her Honours thesis on the political rights of children. Allana’s previous work experience includes Project Officer and Instructional Designer for HammondCare, a not-for-profit aged care provider. Allana spent her early career working with children in educational settings, as well as holding volunteer positions, working with students at 826NYC and Children of Promise. In her free time, Allana enjoys performing in improvisational theatre.

I am passionate about High Resolves because…

I believe that every young person should be recognised as, and empowered to be, a contributing member of their community.  I am passionate about the mission of High Resolves, to encourage young people to be critical thinkers and vocal advocates for the change they want to see in their world.

Daniel Dyer
Program Director, Sydney

Dan grew up in Southern California where regular trips to Mexico and South America opened his eyes to the disparities in wealth between communities around the world. To pursue his passion for social justice and help the poor, Dan got a degree in International Development from Seattle Pacific University where he learned about the globalised world and the ways in which it empowers some and creates hardship for so many others. He has worked for various non-profits that focussed on the development and empowerment of young people and is passionate about creative teaching methods that inspire young people to work for the greater good and help those that are in need around them. 

I am passionate about high resolves because…

To see young people learn something new and realise that they can have a positive impact on the world around them is so inspiring to me. I love being a part of an organisation that truly believes in the power of young people to create change on a local and global scale. 

Ravi Erraguntla
Technology Advisor, Ventures

Ravi Erraguntla received his Bachelors in Electronics Engineering and Masters in Electrical Engineering from India.  Subsequently, Ravi received his Ph.D. from Louisiana State University in Computer Science where he pursued research interests in Software Engineering and Artificial Intelligence.   Ravi joined Sabre a company of AMR corporation which is also a parent of American Airlines as a Senior Consultant.  Ravi was part of key teams in Sabre that developed complex Crew Scheduling and Operations Research solutions for marquee airline brands. Ravi played key leadership roles in Sabre, Vignette, and OpenText in Product Management, Software Development Management, and Enterprise Architecture.  Ravi provides consulting, coaching, and mentoring services on product management and strategy to CXOs of startups.  Ravi’s interests include emerging technologies like blockchain, P2P micro-social networking, and machine learning.  One of Ravi’s core value is to help build innovative products that improve quality of life for humankind.

Jacqueline Ewens
Project Associate, Composer

Jacqueline is a recent graduate from University of Southern California where she received her Masters of Science in Social Entrepreneurship. She holds a BA from Chapman University in Sociology and Socially Responsive Organizations. Jacqueline is joining High Resolves as an intern and will be working on the Composer Project on the New Ventures Team. She is extremely passionate about social change, interdisciplinary approaches to impact, and the catalytic power of education to change the world. At High Resolves, she is thrilled to be a part of an innovative project and is eager to implement High Resolves’ pedagogy and approach for large-scale citizenship education.

I am passionate about High Resoles because…

I recognize the socialization aspect of education. Through citizenship education, we can socialize our youth to become genuine citizens, who will subsequently take social action. In this way, High Resolves truly contributes to creating a better world.

Mia Garrett
Program Director, 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.

Alice Feng
Intern, Composer

Alice is in the middle of completing her Master in Public Policy, where she has learned the importance of citizenship education in creating a robust, participatory democracy. Previously she was a public servant for the New Zealand government, working on policies related to worker collectivisation and workforce development. While at Colgate University, Alice taught outdoor education classes and led freshman wilderness orientation trips, where she was first introduced to experiential education methods.

I am passionate about High Resolves because…

I believe that building a community’s democratic capacity depends on such educational experiences.

Jay Coen Gilbert
Founding Family, Philadelphia

Jay Coen Gilbert is the co-founder of B Lab, a nonprofit organization that serves a global movement of people using business as a force for good. B Lab supports a new type of corporation called “B Corporations”, which, unlike traditional businesses, meet the most rigorous standards of social and environmental performance and transparency, and legally expand their fiduciary duties to include consideration of stakeholder interests.

Randi Coen Gilbert
Founding Family, Philadelphia

Randi began practicing yoga over 30 years ago and has been teaching for the past 17 years, In 2012 she became a Yoga Therapist and a Certified Doula helping women through the birth process. She especially loves supporting women in mindful pregnancy & parenting and teaching Mommy and Me classes. She also works as a child advocate through CASA since 1997, investigating cases and speaking for adjudicated children in the foster care system. Randi received her Master’s Degree from NYU and has worked as a drama therapist with adults and children.

Elizabeth Goodyear
Founding Family, New Orleans

Elizabeth is our founder and champion in New Orleans and it is thanks to her that NOLA has become our biggest hub in North America.

David Gordon
Board member

David Gordon is the founder of Lexicon Partners Pty Limited, a boutique advisory and investment firm. He is also a director and significant shareholder in RCG Corporation Limited and is a former chairman of Network TEN. Prior to founding Lexicon, David was an M&A Partner of Freehills law firm.

Lisa Gorman
Chairwoman of U.S. Board

Lisa is the Chairwoman of High Resolves’ U.S. Board. Lisa was formerly of counsel with the Detroit-based law firm Abbott Nicholson and was a former partner at Timmis Inman. Her clients included non-profit organizations and private foundations. Lisa holds a BA from Tufts University and a J.D. from Boston College. She serves on the President’s Advisory Council of Tufts University.

Tom Gorman
Board member

Tom Gorman was formerly the CEO of Brambles Limited, an ASX-listed supply chain solutions company operating in over 60 countries. Prior to joining Brambles, Tom spent 21 years working with Ford Motor Company in a number of senior positions in the US, Europe and Australia where he was President of Ford Australia from 2004 to 2008.

Alex Harvey
Board member

Alex is the Global Chief Financial Officer of Macquarie Group globally. He has more than 20 years’ experience in the financial services industry across Australia, Asia, Europe and the United States. In August 2015, Alex was appointed Chairman of the Police Citizens Youth Clubs NSW Board.

Greg Hayes
Board member

Greg was formerly the CFO of Brambles, an ASX listed provider of supply chain solutions and information management through its two businesses CHEP and Recall. Previously, Greg was Group Managing Director and CEO of the Tenix Group, the CFO and interim CEO of AGL.

Rachel Hinds
National Program Director, Partnerships

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
Global Director, People & Culture

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. 

Nike Irvin
Board member

Nike served as Vice President, Programs with the California Community Foundation (CCF) where she was responsible for $25 million in annual grants in Los Angeles. She has two decades of experience with non-profit organizations and foundations. Nike holds a BA in Economics & Political Science from Yale University and was named among the “100 Most Inspirational Alumni” by the UCLA Anderson School of Management, where she earned an MBA.

LiAnn Ishizuka
Head of Product Marketing, Composer

LiAnn serves as the Head of Product Marketing for Composer leading the work of expanding Composer’s reach to thousands of schools globally. LiAnn has worked at the intersection of technology, social impact, and marketing at organizations like Facebook, XQ Institute, Acumen and United Way. She is passionate about making a positive impact in the world and brings over 8 years’ experience in the social enterprise and non-profit sectors, working on marketing and communications. LiAnn graduated from the University of California, Los Angeles with a BA in International Development Studies and Global Studies minor, and is a StartingBloc Fellow. 

I am passionate about High Resolves because…

I believe in creating a positive dent in the world and passionate about the potential of transformative education to create real, lasting systems change.

Rachel Jackett
Program Manager, Newcastle

Rachel has been working with young people predominantly in the arts and education sector for the past ten years. She spent the majority of this time on the road touring as an actor with theatre in education company, Brainstorm Productions, delivering well-being programs to primary and secondary school students across Australia. Rachel recently spent 18 months back in her regional hometown, Port Macquarie, on the Mid North Coast of NSW as a School Outreach Officer for Charles Sturt University, inspiring students to follow their career goals and aspirations.

I am passionate about High Resolves because…

We get the privilege of helping to mould, and learn from, tomorrow’s leaders and changemakers who are working to create a world worth living in.

Bijan Kazerooni
Curriculum and Content Intern, Composer

ijan is a high school history teacher based in Anaheim, California. Early in his career, Bijan realized the importance in providing learning experiences that allow students to be civically engaged. By equipping them with the tools they need to make their voices heard, students can be agents for change in their communities. As an educator, Bijan is interested in curriculum development, specifically refining the Social Science curriculum that makes learning history engaging and meaningful for students. He sees civic engagement as a benefit to history education. Bijan holds a Bachelor of Arts in History and a Master of Arts in War in Society from Chapman University.

I am passionate about High Resolves because…

I believe in investing in our youths so that they are empowered to keep fighting against injustice in our world.

Paul Kelsey
Global Chief Operating Officer

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.

Gyan Kumar
Financial Controller

Gyan has over seven years of not-for-profit experience, working for in different roles in operations and accounts.  He has a Diploma in Finance from TAFE NSW and BA Accounting from the University of South Australia. Gyan also has a Post Graduate Certificate in MBA and is a current member of IPA-Australia.  Gyan has been volunteering with PCYC for over 5-years working with youths and currently volunteers at a number of sporting codes, including Little Athletic NSW, soccer and boxing.

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.

Kevin Lewis
Program Manager, US South

Kevin has a desire to help young people better understand their own identities and how they can see themselves as social change agents inside and outside of their communities. While in college, Kevin developed a passion for building spaces of community and learning across difference through cultural and social justice education. His dedication to facilitating and teaching social justice and global competency concepts led him to serve in various roles where he was responsible for creating and facilitating workshops and programs. Kevin holds a Bachelor of Science in Human Development & Family Studies from Bowling Green State University and a Master of Science in Higher Education & Student Affairs from Indiana University Bloomington.

I am passionate about High Resolves because…
Growing up in Detroit, MI opened my eyes to the issues that plague many urban cities in the United States. It was not until I was older that I realized I truly missed out on being able to have conversations about leadership and social change at an early age. This informs why I believe beginning conversations about collective identity and global citizenship earlier in childhood is so critical. I’m passionate about educating youth about different social issues because I believe that they are the ones that can truly take ownership over the progress of our society. High Resolves builds capacity within youth to understand how they can contribute to a more just and equitable world for everyone to live in.

Ingrid Lobo
Founding Family, Canada

Ingrid is a Travel Advisor affiliated with TTI Canada. Her previous experience includes being a Clinical Instructor at Toronto General Hospital and has held numerous volunteer positions in community organizations.

Vernon Lobo
Board member

Vernon is a Managing Director of Mosaic Capital Partners, a Canadian-based private investment firm. Through 22 years in the investment industry, Vernon helped build several companies from start-up to acquisition or public listing, seven of which achieved valuations in excess of $100 million. Vernon sits on the boards of several public and private companies.

Anthony Mackay AM
Board member

Anthony is CEO of the Centre for Strategic Education. He is Chair of the Australian Council for Educational Research, Chair of the International Advisory Board for the National Institute for School Leadership in the USA, and advisor to Asia Society’s Global Cities Education Network. He was Inaugural Chair of the Australian Institute for Teaching and School Leadership.

Jack Markell
Board member

Jack served as the Governor of Delaware from 2009-2017. Previously, he served ten years as Delaware’s State Treasurer. Prior to public service, Jack helped lead the wireless technology revolution at Nextel, where he served as Senior Vice President for Corporate Development. Other private sector employers included Comcast Corporation and McKinsey & Company.

Jack serves on the National Board of Directors of Jobs for America’s Graduates and as a trustee of the Annie E. Casey Foundation

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.

Camila Mendonça de Barros
CEO, 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.

Hannah Morris
National Program Director, Platforms

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
National Program Director, Growth and New Hubs

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.

Sam Newman
Program Manager, Gold Coast and Tweed Coast

Sam is no stranger to culture and diversity having left his leafy, suburban hometown in England as a small child to live in the fast-paced, multiethnic and international setting of Hong Kong.

Growing up as a “Third Culture Kid’ in a city where he sometimes felt he did not ‘fit in’ raised Sam’s awareness about the importance of inclusivity, tolerance and international mindedness.

Sam graduated from Otago University with a Bachelor of Education and describes educating as his vocation. He places an emphasis on connecting and building trusting, open and honest relationships with students through a holistic approach. Sam specialised in working with at-risk students and he was also responsible for developing and embedding an innovative student and staff well-being programme which covered K-12 in a school with over 1500 students. Sam combined his love for teaching with his addiction to fishing by founding Get Hooked Fishing Camp, with the intent of combining mindfulness with fishing whilst educating the next generation of Third Culture Kids around topics of sustainability, conservation and human impact all whilst developing each student’s understanding of their identity, self-confidence and stress management.

I am passionate about High Resolves because…

I know first-hand that finding your purpose and identity can be a complicated and constantly evolving process. The High Resolves program, addresses these processes, explores global issues, challenges perceptions, and informs and shapes crucial life skills guiding our next generation to be ambassadors of positive and impactful change.

Matthew Owens
Head of Curriculum & Content, Composer

Matt is a High Resolves curriculum developer based out of the Boston area. Matt got his start in education working as an English teacher in China before moving to Spain on a Fulbright scholarship. While there, he served as an English and Social Sciences teacher, where he worked with the regional government to organize and teach the Global Classrooms project, a global citizenship initiative designed to empower students to achieve the Millennium Development Goals. A graduate of the Harvard Graduate School of Education with a master’s in international education policy, Matt has worked on a wide variety of projects around the world with a focus on providing empowering educational experiences for all children.

I am passionate about High Resolves because…
of the importance of social emotional skills and knowledge of social issues to the individual growth of every student.

Lisa Paul AO PSM
Board member

Lisa was a Chief Executive in the Australian Public Service for over ten years including as Secretary of the Australian Government Department of Education and Training, being made an Officer of the Order of Australia in 2011 for distinguished service to public sector leadership. Since 1999 Lisa has served as a non-Executive Director for a number of community organizations.

Gabe De Pina
Summer Intern, Marketing and Communications, Composer

Gabriel is currently an undergraduate at the University of California, Merced, where he is majoring in Global Arts Studies. Being a First-Generation Latino student, Gabriel realizes the importance of providing the proper educational resources in order to highlight the necessity of education amongst younger individuals. As an undergraduate, Gabriel has developed an affinity for graphic design and digital marketing, and in the future, he hopes to provide his skillset in an effort to enact educational and social change, specifically within the Latino community.

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.

Raghu Ponnapalli
Head of Product Technology, Composer

Upon graduating from Andhra University with a Bachelor’s degree in Computer Science, Raghu Ponnapalli moved to the US to pursue a Master’s degree in Computer Science from UMass and an MBA in Leadership from Franklin Pierce University. Raghu held Senior-level Technical positions at Sun Microsystems and Infosys for over 10 years. His experience led him to a start-up, growing over 150 employees providing solutions to customers across the globe in 12+ years. For the past 6 years, Raghu’s interests shifted from providing IT solutions to building software products – with at least 4 products for which he was the product owner – from conception and design to managing development and delivery.

I am passionate about High Resolves because…

I am fortunate to have been brought up in a family with parents who were teachers, I believe that leaders are born from having right education combined with a keen understanding of social responsibilities.

Nicole Ramos
Project Manager, Videos for Change

Nicole is a strategic leader in nonprofit, talent, and education with 12+ years’ experience building innovative and high impact programs from the ground up. With a B.A. in Psychology and an M.Ed. Curriculum & Instruction earned at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, she understands the facets of educational experience from the inside out. She started her own consulting firm focused on blending strategy and evaluation to support nonprofits making shifts in their strategy.  She also served as the Vice President of Program Design and Evaluation at BUILD.org, a non-profit serving low-income youth across the United States. Her accomplishments include over a decade of progressive leadership, publication of college-preparatory curriculum certified by the University of California, and developing an innovative, award-winning assessment design for measuring social and emotional skills. She also has been a consultant for biotech companies, helping them build systems for rapid scale of their training and education functions, a director of public health programs in the migrant farmworker community, and a high school classroom teacher.

I am passionate about High Resolves because…

My mission is to influence the way young people are educated in our schools and communities.  Specifically, I want all young people to be equipped to solve the unknown problems of tomorrow, and prepared to prioritize justice over power as they become leaders. 

Aaron Raye
Intern

Aaron has a deep-rooted interest in bridging gaps between different groups of people and working towards creating a more equitable future for all of humanity. Aaron is from Frisco, Texas, and is currently a Levine Scholar at The University of North Carolina at Charlotte and is working on a project to bring High Resolves to North Carolina in order to assist school districts in Charlotte with producing global citizens. While in high school, Aaron created a club called The Bridge that responded to discord and brought together different groups of people to talk about the world’s most pressing social issues in an open and non-discriminatory manner. The results of The Bridge is what inspires his work with High Resolves as it helped to illustrate that the power to change society is in the hands of youth.

I am passionate about High Resolves because…

We are currently living in a world that is becoming more globalized and connected by the day, and increasing global fluency among young people is the key to advancing society. I am passionate about spreading the motives of High Resolves in order to rally young people to be positive agents of social change.

May Samali
CEO, Ventures

Based in San Francisco, May Samali is passionate about investing in people and ideas that can change the world. As CEO, 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.

Luiza Sassi
Program Manager, Viven (Brazil)

Luiza graduated with a BA in social science by Unicamp and have been working with not formal education and mediation focused on citizen formation, that struggle for their housing. Before that she worked as a teacher in the state public school with participatory methodologies.

I am passionate about Viven because…

of the way Viven answer to schools and organizations demand of developing the social skills that the youth needs. In Brazil there is a big possibility to innovate and go beyond of the collective resources, and with our work we our can motivate the new generation in this path.

Dr. Bror Saxberg
Board member

Bror leads the learning science efforts for the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative. Previously he was Chief Learning Officer at Kaplan. A Rhodes Scholar, Bror received an M.A. in Mathematics from Oxford University, a Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science from M.I.T. and an M.D. from Harvard Medical School.

Carrie Silver
Learning and Development Manager, Australia

Growing up in one of Canada’s largest and most diverse cities, Carrie developed a great curiosity about the cultures that surrounded her, which led her to study world religions, modern history and population geography and make the brave leap to move to Australia in her late teens. She has taught history, geography and social and community studies in Queensland classrooms, and holds a Bachelor of Arts/Bachelor of Teaching from the University of New England.

I am passionate about High Resolves because…
At High Resolves I have the privilege of connecting with young people and finding out what they are passionate about. Every day brings a new story from amazing young people who inspire me, and I’m excited to see what this generation will do to make the world a better place!

Lauren Swift
Program Manager, New South Wales

Lauren’s passion for social justice was nurtured and fueled through her Bachelor of International and Global Studies from the University of Sydney. With several years of teaching experience in both high school and university classrooms, Lauren combines her love of teaching and facilitation with hands-on experience from the non-profit sector to bring enthusiasm and passion to her job every day.

I am passionate about High Resolves because…
I am fueled by my passion for creating a fairer, more peaceful world, and my deeply held belief that the best way to do this is to raise a generation of young people who believe that this world is possible. I’m passionate about emboldening young people to reach their fullest potential in all aspects of life.

Victoria Tucker
Program Coordinator

With a background in Positive Psychology and Wellbeing, Victoria has a passion for understanding people and enabling them to thrive. Victoria loves being a part of creating the best learning experiences for students and is inspired by the powerful personal development that young people go through with High Resolves. She believes that education is the gateway to transformational change; by educating young people on the importance of cultural awareness, social justice and positive leadership, and giving them practical learning opportunities, we are empowering them to step up and be the change they want to see in the world. 

I am passionate about High Resolves because…

We provide students with the opportunity to learn and engage with education that is not typically taught in the classroom, yet is critical to living in the global world that we live in today. I feel privileged to be a part of an organisation that is transforming the way that young people think, feel, and act, which in turn, is having a positive ripple effect on their friends and families, communities, and the world!

Emily Vining
Program Manager, Victoria

Inspired by her own time at school and the teachers who surrounded her, Emily aspired from a young age to work in the education system.  She has continued to foster this passion for working with young people through her time teaching in metropolitan and regional Australia.  Emily now recognises and believes in the transformative power of real-world learning and believes that engaging people outside of the confines of traditional subject areas can be extremely powerful in shaping young people’s beliefs and values about themselves and the world they live in.  Emily also volunteers with a peer-based drug harm reduction program and has previously volunteered with a sexual assault service where she facilitated workshops in secondary schools to promote healthy relationships and anti-violence strategies to diverse groups of young people.  She has a Bachelor of Physical Education and a Postgraduate Certificate of Health Promotion from Deakin University.

I am passionate about High Resolves because…

I love working with and learning from young people and I am proud to work for an organisation who recognises the power of youth.  I take great pride in empowering young people to recognise that, together they can drive positive social change towards a more fair and equitable world for all.  

Dr. Sue-Anne Wallace
Board member

Sue-Anne is a non-executive director whose experience over the past twelve years has been directed towards governance in the not-for-profit sector. She currently sits on a number of boards, particularly those focused on self-regulatory codes of conduct and social impact.

Danitra Wansley
Program Director, US South

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.

Eduardo Wurzmann
Board member

Eduardo is the co-founder of Grupo Ibmec Educacional S.A, one of the most prestigious post-secondary education institutions in Brazil, with annual revenues of $70 million. Ibmec was sold to DeVry in 2015. Eduardo was Ibmec’s CEO for 11 years. Prior to that he was Managing Director of Unext.com in Sao Paulo, one of the largest and leading e-learning companies.

Lina Wurzmann
Founding Family, Brazil