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 graduate degree in architecture but has also worked in many other experiential design fields. Throughout all her work, she has been passionate about creating transformative experiences that have personal or social impact. 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. She is also the Founder of Videos for Change: a powerful global platform that is enabling and amplifying the voice of young people to creatively engage with social issues and catalyse 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.

Ana Addobbati
CEO, Viven

Ana Addobbati is the CEO of Viven – Cidadãos para um amanhã melhor, in Brazil. She began her career in 2005 as a reporter of Human Rights, migrating in 2008 to the Corporate world, having worked for Natura Co., where one of her missions was coordinating the main Corporate Social Responsibility program, which raises funds for supporting Public Education. In 2017, she co-founded Women Friendly, an initiative that uses education for fighting against sexual harassment inside organizations, having impacted 120k people in Brazil. Since then, she has been involved in several feminist campaigns, having been invited to be part of Civicus Alliance for the Civil Society, where she is one of the members in the Board of Directors, having integrated task forces for promoting Diversity and inclusion inside organizations and innovation on the funding process for social organizations. Before Viven, she was the executive director at Social Good Brasil, having expanded the programs throughout different regions in Brazil, fundraising more than BRL 1,3 million.   As an enthusiast of innovation for supporting Human Rights, she is one of the ambassadors of the Human Rights Measurement Initiative, which collects data to demonstrate the human rights situation around the globe. She also holds a Master Executive Degree in Communication and Digital Marketing at IE Business School, Madrid, Spain.

I am passionate about Viven because…

as someone who has been an activist against racism and gender violence and constantly speaking to adults, I clearly see how it is urgent to have a generation where empathy and inclusion are two key thematics to be present in the conversation with our youth, foremost, in a global world where bridges must exist. I am confident that Viven and High Resolves address this urgency in the most proper methodology.

Naysan Baghai
Director, Film & Photography Operations

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 and photographer for the High Resolves Australia team since 2015. A graduate of Australia’s national film school AFTRS, Nays has worked as a corporate videographer since he was a teenager. His past clients include Telstra, Deloitte, the Commonwealth Bank of Australia, Raine & Horne, and the Pressure Project.
He is also the Creative Director of Running Cloud Productions, a production company that specialises in character-driven storytelling. The company’s first feature film, Descent – which Nays directed, co-produced, and edited – won the Documentary Australia Foundation Award for Best Australian Documentary Film in 2020. Nays is also the company’s resident underwater cinematographer and photographer, and his work has been featured by Tourism Australia, DeeperBlue, Molchanovs Freediving, Channel 9 News, and many more.

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.

Liz Bremner, CFRE
Director, Philanthropic Partnerships, North America

Liz is an experienced fundraiser who has worked in the for-purpose sector for almost a decade. Born in
England, she spent her formative teenage years in Kenya before moving to Canada, where she currently
lives. Liz enjoys connecting people with their passions and specializes in building relationships with
donors and partners who can advance the mission and impact of the organizations they support. She is a
leadership volunteer with the Young Diplomats of Canada and has worked with youth and educators to
create action plans for social change. Liz holds a B.A. (Honours) in International Relations & Political
Science and a Certificate in Non-Profit Leadership and Impact from the University of Toronto.

I am passionate about High Resolves because…
I am committed to creating positive social change and believe in the transformative power of immersive
learning experiences for young people. High Resolves challenges youth to think critically about the
world’s problems, encourages them to be curious and ask questions, and empowers them to change the
world – I’m grateful to be involved in this life-changing work!

Chad Brown
Executive Director, Digital Services

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.

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

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
Operations Manager, Digital Services

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 Leader, 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. 

Jacqueline Ewens
Project Manager, Composer

Jacqueline holds an MS in Social Entrepreneurship from the University of Southern California, and a BA from Chapman University in Sociology and Socially Responsive Organizations. A member of the Composer team since June 2019, Jacqueline helped to prepare the platform for public launch and continues to work on a number of projects, including user engagement, communications, and product development. She is extremely passionate about social change, interdisciplinary approaches to impact, and the catalytic power of education to change the world

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.

Priscila Ferraz
Project Coordinator, Viven

Priscila is a social educator and researcher in Race and Ethnical relations in the work environment. She has been working since 2017 with peripheral literature production, building bridges between Culture and Education. She is taking Psychology at the University as a Major.

I am passionate about Viven because…

I believe in citizen education as a structural changing tool for promoting equal rights.  The methodology used by Viven ensures real opportunities for the construction of a just society.

Tas Fitzer
Program Leader, Wollongong

Prior to joining High Resolves, Tas spent a number of years working in the tertiary education sector, primarily facilitating both study support and personal development workshops for students of a variety of backgrounds. Studying History and Sociology as part of a Bachelor of Arts at the University of Wollongong really furthered his passion for being a part of improving the world we live in and built on his experiences and involvement in a variety of social justice campaigns and movements both growing up and into adulthood.

I am passionate about High Resolves because…

There are few things more rewarding than being able to work with young people on the issues that matter. At High Resolves, I can match my education, passions, and professional background to do something I really care about.

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.

Kristen Green
Program Director, US

Kristen is a proud New Orleanian and even prouder product of two educators who instilled in her a fierce desire to advocate for and implement change surrounding inequities present within education systems. She has subsequently spent her career working towards achieving this balance by educating youth to own their strengths, interests, and power via experiential learning. Kristen started her career working on school board campaigns and in nonprofits in the Bay Area in California before teaching high school English and writing State policy in North Carolina. Upon returning home, she built a community-based, work-based learning program in the Upper Ninth Ward of New Orleans, was part of the team who developed the current National Career Readiness curriculum, and managed a local partnership surrounding large scale city-wide career exploration events and the daily implementation of career readiness programming in high schools with the support of high-wage, high-demand industry partners across the Greater New Orleans Area. Kristen is an alumna of Tulane University and the University of San Francisco where she completed her MA in Public Affairs and Politics with a concentration in Education Policy.

I am passionate about High Resolves because…

I believe emboldening teens with experiences to own their voice and learn how to use it will foster civic engagement for generations to come. I am excited for the opportunity to support teens as they experience this “ah-ha!” moment through critical thinking and self-reflection in my hometown of NOLA and across the US.

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.

Matheus Henrique
Pedagogical Assistant, Viven

Matheus Henrique is currently at the University of Campinas studying Social Sciences and during his journey as an undergraduate, he focused his academic research on racial issues and social movements. He also has experience with education in the field, either through popular education – where he helped found a supportive course for vulnerable students who aim to enter the University by taking the National Exams for the public academic institutions – or in classrooms of public schools managed by the State, where he taught and also monitored teachers. 

He believes in the importance of racial discussions to understand the reality that surrounds us and in the power of education to transform it.

I am passionate about Viven because…

I care about the education of citizens to deal with the changing reality of the current times. This transformation refers to values such as diversity, inclusion and equality. These values are present in the work of Viven.

Beth Henry
Customer Success Manager, Digital Services

Beth has spent over 18 years working with young people as a facilitator, manager, Youth Worker, coordinator, mentor, volunteer and coach. With a background in Youth and Community Development, Beth is passionate about working with young people in creative ways to help them develop to their full potential and to find positive connections to themselves and their community.

Having spent 10 years with PCYC Queensland, she has hands-on experience in managing and facilitating a diverse range of community and youth development programs across metropolitan, regional and remote Queensland. In this time, she managed State-wide projects and programs around leadership development, crime prevention, a program working with young people with diverse genders, sexualities and/or bodies, and a domestic and family violence response program.

I am passionate about High Resolves because…

The organisation has very clear values and a vision of what we want to achieve and how to achieve it. I love that High Resolves is about action and that we are giving others the tools to intentionally use their powers for good and make a difference in their lives.

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
Global Competition Manager, Videos for Change; 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 Leader, 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.

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.

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.

Camila Lopes
Program Coordinator, Viven

Camila Lopes has a degree in Arts from the University of São Paulo, and she is a specialist in implementing educational policies. She also has an MBA diploma in project management. But, above all, she believes in the potential of what happens in the school grounds. As she experiences the role of  a teacher in public schools in Brazil and as a resident at the State of Sergipe’s Public Department of Education, she understands what kind of impact she wishes to create in the world: working with along different people with the same purpose of developing integral human beings through education

I am passionate about Viven because…

I share the belief that it is necessary to provide teacher training that promotes spaces within the school in which students can exercise their leading role through citizen education.

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
Executive Director, Premium Services

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.

Céu Mendonça
Communication and Design Supervisor, Viven

Céu Mendonça has a bachelor degree in Social Communication, with a major in Communication for Education, and she is also a visual artist, art educator and handicrafts woman.  She is also part of the Aroeira Collective for the People from Terreiro, where she is engaged in the fight for the rights of the people from the Terreiros – Terreiros is a word in Portuguese that refers to the sacred territory for various African and Indigenous religions in Brazil.

I am passionate about Viven because …

I believe in the potential for the change that the youth have in their hands and Viven has the purpose to support young students put into practice their social protagonism and, therefore, to collaborate with a just common future to everyone.

Camila Mendonça de Barros
Consultant, Viven

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.

Marlina Moussa
Director of Partnerships and Growth, Digital Services

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.

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.

Brandon Paterson
Program Leader, Sydney

Inspired by his own development and aha moments through attending an immersive, ‘peak experience’, leadership camp in the US as a teenager, Brandon saw the value and impact that non-traditional education can have on a person’s life. Brandon volunteered at this same camp a number of summers in a row, getting the opportunity to lead some activities and group sessions. This planted seeds that one day, he too could become a facilitator and create aha moments for others. After developing his skills through acting studies and performance, Brandon began facilitating behaviour change workshops in secondary schools on behalf of corporate clients.

I am passionate about High Resolves because…

I want to see a world where we don’t just survive, but we thrive. To do this we need to create a world that works together for everyone, with no one left out. To create this world we need bold, ethical and empathetic leaders who strive not just to propel themselves forward, but who will bring others with them and lead others to do the same. What better way to achieve this, than through immersive education? I see a whole generation of young people resolving to do their part and make a difference.

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.

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.

Chris Presland PSM FACEL
Board Member

Chris is the immediate Past President of the NSW Secondary Principals’ Council (NSW SPC), the largest single Secondary Principals’ association in Australia. He had the honour of being the Principal in three different settings over a 20 year period. He has been a member of multiple working parties at both state and national levels over a number of years. He has now retired from full time work, but currently works as a Professional Learning Project Officer with the NSWSPC where he has led the development and delivery of courses building the aspirations and capacity of future school leaders. He remains very active in the education scene.

Annabel Rattigan
Program Leader, Melbourne

Annabel’s career has focused on designing and delivering participant-led programs for professionals and university students to build their cultural competency. Annabel has facilitated hundreds of group programs for culturally diverse groups and focuses on building trust and collaboration as a way to break down cultural differences and develop inclusive practices. Annabel remembers her own peak experience as a 14 year old travelling to Java in Indonesia. This transformative experience led to her passion for global issues and social justice. Since that experience, Annabel has spent time studying in Yogyakarta, Indonesia, living and working in Samoa in the South Pacific and volunteering in Timor-Leste. Annabel has a BA (Hons) in Gender and Asian Studies from the University of Melbourne as well as qualifications in Intercultural Communication from the University of British Columbia and Training and Assessment.

I am passionate about High Resolves because…
I love supporting young people to find their spark. High Resolves provides an opportunity for students to find their voice and to think critically about social justice issues and become agents of change.

Susan Rivers
Chief Learning Officer

Susan Rivers, PhD, is Executive Director and Chief Scientist of iThrive Games Foundation. With her team and partners, Susan designs responsive environments and experiences for teens that facilitate deep learning about themselves, society, and the world. Susan is a social psychologist and expert in social and emotional learning and emotional intelligence. She earned her doctorate at Yale University and also served on the research faculty in the psychology department. Her work has been funded by foundations and federal agencies including the William T. Grant Foundation, the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Institute of Education Sciences, the Novo Foundation, the Einhorn Family Charitable Trust, and the Air Force Research Laboratories. Susan is founding Editor-in-Chief of Journal of Games, Self, and Society, and is proud to be a Large-Scale Social Change Leadership Fellow with Billions Institute. She lives near Boston, Massachusetts where she plays and designs games with her husband and three children.

Susan is at iThrive because she passionately believes that games, game design, and play are powerful tools for learning, forging connections with others, supporting authentic social and emotional development, and making the world a better place for all humans.

Luiza Sassi
Program Manager, Viven

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.

Riellen Scherer
Facilitator and Project Coordinator, Viven

Riellen Scherer is an environmental scientist and believes in the power of dialogue. Therefore, she has been dedicating  her studies on scientific research and on the use of active methodologies during the facilitation for educational ends as a way to mobilize young people for building a better future for everyone.

I am passionate about Viven because…

As Paulo Freire, the most well reputed Brazilian educator says, if education itself does not have the power to change the world, it makes us aware of the existing contradictions that prevent us from moving forward. And I think Viven and High Resolves do an exceptional job on supporting the schools on the efforts of leveraging the students’ awareness about the world’s problems

Carrie Silver
Learning and Development Manager

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!

Natasha Woolley
Marketing and Communications Manager, Australia

Natasha is a marketing and communications professional with over 12 years experience. Starting out as a filmmaker, she translated her love of storytelling into marketing and content producer roles across the commercial, entertainment and government sectors. She held senior Communications roles at Sydney Water and Telstra, where she designed immersive customer experiences. Her peak experience was finding that working with disenfranchised communities to co-design their journeys and tell their own stories, was what really ignited her spark.

In her role as Marketing and Customer Experience Manager at community housing provider, SGCH, she oversaw a range of initiatives that social housing tenants can access to help improve their health, wellbeing, education, and employment opportunities. She led the Strive Scholarship program, running events and sourcing funding and sponsorship to award scholarships to around 250 economically and socially disadvantaged primary, secondary and tertiary education students each year. Internally, Natasha developed cultural programs to improve customer service and staff morale, leading a team on a staff exchange tour of a Central Australian housing organisation to learn about the Indigenous experience of accessing housing support.

I am passionate about High Resolves because…

We’re familiar with the proverb: “it takes a village to raise a child”. To my mind, it takes a community approach to raise kind, resourceful, independent thinkers.  I believe we need more than an academic education to be well-rounded and resilient. In the modern, digital environment, kids are being exposed to more sophisticated concepts at a younger age. Parents and teachers are under so much pressure to help young people navigate their social networks and relate to the world around them. The work of High Resolves supports educators and gives students the experiences, tools and skills to make informed choices.

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

Lina has a degree in business administration, yet has worked as an artist making sculptures for more than 12 years. In 2011, Lina co-founded PARTE Feira de Arte Contemporânea, an art show that has the purpose to show up and coming new artists and to be the bridge between new art lovers and the art world. Lina also co-founded Viven – Cidadãos para um amanhã melhor in 2019 with her husband because she is a believer in the fundamental ideas of High Resolves and is engaged in making changes in the Brazilian education system.

I am passionate about High Resolves because
Empowering youth to face the challenges of an ever more complicated world on matters like racism, prejudice, bias and more, help me to believe in a better world for the future.