Alex Vega joins the BUILD team with years of experience working with data in K-12 education. As a former Student Data Coordinator at Bright Star Schools, he helped manage all student data and systems across three different school sites while providing analytics that influenced stakeholder decision-making. As a Technical Lead at InnovateEDU he helped advocate for data interoperability in K-12 through Project Unicorn by engaging with school districts, education technology vendors, and other education stakeholders.
He is excited to join BUILD as a Salesforce and Program Data Manager and is looking forward to utilizing his data and technology skills to continue to make an impact in the lives of students. In his spare time, he enjoys spending time with family, volunteering to help people in need, and playing sports. Alex holds a bachelor’s degree in Psychology from the University of California, Santa Barbara.
Alicia Perry joins BUILD with many years of administrative experience in the nonprofit world in the areas of conservation, higher education and philanthropy. She was born and raised in Boston, MA, and holds a B.A. in Communications from Suffolk University. In her spare time, she enjoys documentaries, traveling, and writing.
Alicia is excited to be a part of the National Team supporting the Director of Impact and Organizational Learning and the Director of Philanthropy. She looks forward to mentoring and seeing the impact BUILD is making in the world first hand.
Alyssa Hudak joins BUILD as a student at Robert Morris University, where she is studying business administration. She was first hired at BUILD as a Salesforce intern and is now being taken on as a part-time associate. She is excited to be a part of the BUILD culture and transition to this new role. In her spare time, she enjoys volleyball, reading, and baking.
An has recently worked in the not-for-profit sector within the fields of education, youth development, health, and community welfare initiatives. He is currently working on his master’s degree in finance. In addition, An enjoys hiking, playing racquetball, and he sometimes partakes in testing pastries and diverse culinary recipes. He is working from the Washington DMV area, and he joins BUILD with over five years of experience as a finance and accounting professional.
Benjamin Knight joins the BUILD team with years of experience working in nonprofits and academic day settings. As former Associate Executive Director for After-School All-Stars NYC, Benjamin oversaw the New York portfolio of schools and managed the HR and Operation functions of the chapter. He is excited to join the BUILD team to continue using his skill sets with the development and talent teams. He strongly believes that the culture of an organization always reflects its leadership and is excited to help support finding top talent to join the BUILD team. Benjamin enjoys travel, and music and is often curating experiences for friends. He holds a bachelor’s degree in Political Science from the University of Detroit-Mercy.
Having been in the for-profit sector for over ten years, Beverly joined BUILD after witnessing BUILD’s impressive student entrepreneurs at the 2013 Gala. Beverly currently leads the National Talent Team and brings her passion for equity into her daily work and connections with BUILDers across all of our regions. Beverly lives in the San Francisco, Bay Area with her husband, three children and cat. When not supporting our team with the important work, she enjoys watching competitive sports, learning about different cultures, trying new recipes and spending time outdoors.
Brian Costanzo was most recently President and CEO of SOCAP International. He entered the association profession in 2005, joining the executive staff of the Entrepreneurs’ Organization (EO). He served first as EO’s Senior Vice President, Global Membership and later became the group’s Senior Vice President, Business Development in 2014. Brian’s previous 20 years were spent providing unparalleled client service in a variety of roles—as restaurant manager, sales manager, customer service manager and director of operations—for high-end properties, including Hyatt Hotels and Resorts, The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company and Signature Hospitality Group. He is a member of the American Society of Association Executives (ASAE) and became a Certified Association Executive (CAE) in January 2011. As a former entrepreneur himself, Brian founded his own company, Vision Hospitality, in 2004. Brian says, “Entrepreneurship has been a significant part of my life for many years and I can think of no better mission than to deliver a program to our youth that builds self confidence and self-esteem.”
Cindy Pineda is a mission-driven educator with over 10 years of experience who has dedicated her life to youth development, fighting social injustices and closing the achievement gap. She cares deeply about future generations and seeks to leave a legacy through everything she does. Hailing from the sunny city of Los Angeles, she attended the University of California Berkeley, where she received her Bachelors’ in Psychology with a minor in Public Policy. Upon graduation, Cindy interned in Washington DC, working on educational policy reform on Capitol Hill. While in Washington, she moved on to work as an Academic Advisor for a non-profit organization called Upward Bound, chaired the Policy Committee for the District of Colombia of Consolidated Services and worked for the US Census Bureau. Her interest in international education came after she worked on and led various Latin American education development projects in Colombia and El Salvador. Being a huge advocate for social change and multicultural exposure, Cindy was devoted to bring students of all backgrounds together to share their stories and experience the world from different perspectives. This interest led her to pursue a Master’s in International Education with a focus on development at New Yok University. While at NYU, she continued her career as the Assistant Director of the Field Projects office. There, she managed the daily operations of all civic engagement, college preparation and community outreach programs with NYC public schools, and designed first-year college programs. At BUILD, Cindy has spent the last 4 years instilling and developing entrepreneurial lessons to a budding group of students in NYC communities. Her innovative ideas and program design have been instrumental in improving the student experience. She serves as an imputation to the first graduating class to become the best they can be, add value to others lives and explore the world as evidence by lessons learned in her travel of over 30 countries. Cindy is obsessed with tacos and french-fries., and loves to try new foods wherever she goes. On her free time, Cindy likes to work out, do yoga, run, cook, show off her dancing skills or just sit at a park on a sunny day and read a good book.
Dianna Nguyen is a Staff Accountant at BUILD. She handles account payable activity and trains BUILD staffs on the most effective ways to use Concur. Prior, she was a part of San Jose Grant Thornton Audit team. Dianna had experienced in teaching and working with students during her years in college as a Supplemental Instructor at San Jose City College. She was a member of BAP, a prestigious Accounting Club running by students where she gained an insight Accounting. She also worked at The Health Trust and Bank of America. Dianna is a proud Spartan, graduated from San Jose State with a Bachelor degree in Accounting.
She always believes that “success doesn’t become reality through magic; it takes sweat, determination and hard work”.
Liz has been with BUILD since the spring of 2018 and is currently the National Talent Acquisition and Benefits Manager. Previously employed by Wolf Trap Center for the Performing Arts and Arlington Free Clinic, Liz has always had a passion for helping others and working for organizations which put people at the center. She was initially drawn to BUILD because of its mission – helping underserved youth recognize and harness their potential for greatness – and continues to be blown away by the affect BUILD’s programming has on students’ personal growth. In her spare time, Liz refinishes old furniture, volunteers at the local dog shelter, and cheers on her Boston sports teams. Liz graduated from the University of Arizona with a degree in Studio Art and Family Life Cycle Studies.
Jill S. Moran, CSEP, has spent her career creating memorable experiences across the globe bringing people, ideas and organizations together for social, corporate and fundraising initiatives. Throughout her career, she has served in various leadership roles in the International Live Events Association (ILEA), been featured on TV and in the press and lectured at industry events and universities. Her passion for education and innovation prompted her to create the Special Events Institute, an online educational program for event professionals, and ultimately led her to BUILD, where she serves as Director of Events. She leads Boston and National event initiatives and supports all regions with best practices in event management.
She an alumnus of the University of Connecticut and has completed graduate coursework at Babson College, the University of Connecticut and the Arizona State University. She is proud of her numerous industry awards for events she’s created, her online program and for her two books Howto start a Home-based Event Planning Business and How to Start A Home-based Wedding Planning Business(Taylor Trade). She loves a good party, and when she’s not at one, she’s with her family, cooking up something new or in her vegetable garden.
Julie brings her passion for visual storytelling, entrepreneurship and digital design to her position as the National Creative Director. She uses her positive energy and strategic digital tactics to bring the spark to BUILD’s national communications plan, digital campaigns and video production.
Julie comes to BUILD after working with the United Nations as a digital content analyst/video producer where she produced, edited and shot promotional videos in Guinea-Bissau, Cameroon and Hawaii to spotlight grassroots organizations and local sustainable development solutions to be showcased at the UN Climate Change Summit. Julie’s passion for entrepreneurship comes after co-founding the nonprofit organization, Design Xchange in 2019, a startup providing training to Ugandan social enterprises in digital communications. While working in Liberia as a Visual Storytelling Consultant at the nonprofit Accountability Lab, Julie developed her interest for nonprofit communications while producing digital marketing content promoting accountability and exposing corruption.
Julie first developed her passion for education as a teacher during her 2 year Peace Corps service in the small village of Zvan, Macedonia. Julie’s love for teaching only grew while teaching internationally in Morocco and Myanmar in the years following her Peace Corps Service. Julie completed her MPA in Development Practice at Columbia University with a specialization in Technology, Media and Communication. She has a Bachelor’s degree in Architectural Design with a minor in Film Production from the University of Virginia.
Prior to joining BUILD, Kate Slater, Ph.D. was the Assistant Dean of Graduate Student Affairs at Brandeis University and the Associate Director and Manager of Programs at the Institute for Recruitment of Teachers, a nonprofit that addresses the lack of educators of color in the American educational system. Kate is also a professor and teaches courses in the Department of Education at the University of New Hampshire, including “Issues in Education” and “Teaching Race”. Kate also facilitates trainings and conversations around social justice and anti-racism with K-12 schools, colleges and universities, and private organizations.
Kate Slater, Ph.D. received her doctorate in Educational Policy and Leadership from the University of New Hampshire, where her dissertation research focused on the experiences of underrepresented students who participate in bridge / access programs as an entry point into predominantly white institutions (PWIs). She is thrilled to bring this expertise to her role as the National Director of College Success at BUILD. Kate lives in Massachusetts with her partner, her two daughters, and her absurd dog Carrot Cake. In her spare time, she’s an obsessive reader and a very slow runner.
Lisa Pham is a graduate of the University of Texas at Austin, who majored in Health and Society. Because of her lifelong passion for digital art and an interest in social entrepreneurship, she began an internship at BUILD in January 2022, while she was in her final year at university. During her internship, Lisa achieved a sense of fulfillment and support that led to an offer of full-time employment. She is now the National Communications and Marketing Associate!
In her personal life, Lisa is into Dungeons and Dragons, reading novels, and developing enriching stories in various visual mediums.
Marisol Adriana Burgueño is the National Senior Manager of Digital Strategies and Innovation. Before BUILD, Marisol dedicated her career to public advocacy and the intersection of design and social impact. Marisol received her Master’s in Product Design & Development from ELISAVA Barcelona School of Engineering and holds a Bachelors in Industrial Design from California College of the Arts. Marisol started her career by working in various roles in product design and visual communications for social entrepreneurship companies. After leaving the for-profit sector, she put her knowledge of design and background in communications to use, working with nonprofit anti-violence organizations and educational programs for under-served youth in the Bay Area. Marisol’s goals are fueled by her passion to bring an end to the cycles of violence and poverty in her community. She is focused on strengthening community partnerships, increasing access to resources and public awareness.
Pepper Hayes loves to crunch numbers and look for patterns in data. She uses these insights to coach BUILD’s development teams to raise the funds we need to support BUILD students. As Director of Development Operations and Communications she maintains our infrastructure for fundraising operations and oversees donor communication and stewardship. As an entrepreneur herself, Pepper knows first-hand how empowering the experience can be and was immediately drawn to BUILD’s mission, which inspired her to leave her career in law in 2014 to join the BUILD team. Pepper is an enthusiastic cat-lover and blogs about her knitting adventures in her spare time. She holds a BA in History, Philosophy, and Gender Studies from Westminster College and earned her JD at the Boston University School of Law.
Rashaida is a lifelong educator who enjoys providing life changing opportunities to students and coaching and supporting teachers. As BUILD’s first Satellite Program Director, Rashaida supports partner schools and organizations across the country implement the BUILD experience with their students. Her support ranges from curriculum development to student event support. Rashaida’s goal is to support teachers and students as BUILD expands across the country.
Rashaida is excited to join the BUILD team so that she can combine her love for coaching teachers with entrepreneurship. As an entrepreneur herself, Rashaida has learned how to run and manage her own businesses through trial and error. She recognizes the value that BUILD provides as we teach students the skills early on that allow them to thrive as young entrepreneurs, ready to be successful young adults in the 21st Century. Rashaida finds value in knowing that her work with BUILD provides new opportunities for students that look like her, opportunities that students of color deserve to receive, but often are denied simply due to the color of their skin or where they live.
Rashaida comes to BUILD after serving as a school leader, leading a team of instructional coaches, and teaching in the classroom. Every day Rashaida strives to provide positive opportunities for students so that they may dream big, aim high, and shatter glass ceilings.
Ryan joined the BUILD family in 2016, stepping into her current role in 2018. She is responsible for gift processing and helps manage BUILD’s donor database. Ryan works closely with Pepper Hayes to develop data and tools that grease the wheels of BUILD’s development team.
Originally from Austin, TX, Ryan now lives with her husband near BUILD headquarters in Redwood City, CA. She earned a BA in Sociology from Eckerd College in 2015. Education has been a guiding beacon of her professional and volunteer efforts. Serving as a math and statistics tutor through high school and college, Ryan found that thinking outside the box with her teaching style helped transform even fervent math-haters into A+ students. As someone who fell through the cracks early in school, Ryan is immensely grateful to have found an alternate path to education that reignited her love of learning. She is proud to draw on her own experience and is determined to support those with diverse paths to achieve their education goals.
Steve Mea joined BUILD in 2016 and currently serves as Operations Manager for the National Shared Services team. In this role, he supports our organization by keeping tabs on our technology, government filings, insurance coverage, external vendors and contractors, and student program operations. Before stepping in to this position, Steve was a member of the Boston Program team as a Youth Engagement Coordinator and Student Experience Program Manager, in which he supported students, teachers, mentors, and staff in all aspects of the BUILD program. Prior to his time with BUILD, Steve worked for the Germantown Historical Society in Philadelphia and led educational tours of historic homes for 4th and 5th graders. Steve attended Millersville University of Pennsylvania where he studied History and Governmental & Political Affairs, and currently resides in Philadelphia with his Fiancé, rabbit, and two cats. In his spare time, he enjoys playing the drum kit for his band at local Philly-area venues.
“I BUILD because of the incredible impact the program has on students, school communities, and families. I saw this first hand as a member of the Boston Program team, and am fortunate enough to continue this work remotely in Philadelphia. An education in business provides a young person with 21st century skills that their normal course load does not have the time to cover. It empowers them to realize their dreams, and graduate from high school with a vision for the future.” -Steve Mea
Tony Shavers III joins the BUILD National team as the Assistant Director of Donor Engagement. Before joining BUILD, Tony was the Development Officer at the University of Maryland and previously served as the Leadership Annual Giving Officer at San Jose State University. In these roles, he secured several impactful gifts supporting campus-wide initiatives. Prior to working in higher education, Tony was a Youth Advocate for Community Works West-Project WHAT! (a leadership development program for children of incarcerated parents.)
As an alumnus of BUILD (Class of 2010), Tony is excited to come full circle and credits the program for giving him the confidence to believe in his abilities. He recently authored his first book: Is Your Dream Really Worth It? Tony holds a bachelor’s degree in Sociology from California State University, East Bay.
Virginia Duke is proud to be in her sixth year as part of the BUILD family. She currently serves as BUILD’s National Manager of Systems Improvement and Knowledge Management, a role that draws heavily from her previous positions as both a grant writer and program manager, teaching BUILD juniors in Oakland how to run their own businesses and prepare for the college application process.
Prior to BUILD, Virginia taught English in Nepal on a Fulbright English Teaching Assistant fellowship and taught eighth grade math in rural Alabama through Teach for America. Born and raised in Montana, she is a 2011 University of Oklahoma graduate (Boomer Sooner!). Virginia lives in Austin, Texas, is an avid reader, and is writing her third novel.
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