Meet the Team

Founding Team

Expert Advisory Board

Nayla Bahri serves as Dean of Students and Assistant Dean for the MBA Program at Columbia Business School, where she has worked for nearly 15 years.   

Nayla earned her AB in English Literature and French Studies from Smith College, a master’s degree in education from the University of Pennsylvania, and is a doctoral candidate in Adult Learning and Leadership at Teachers College, Columbia University. Her research focuses on the development of leadership and personal resilience in individuals and teams. She has extensive training in group dynamics, conflict resolution, qualitative research methods, autobiography and storytelling in leadership, appreciative inquiry, action learning, and counseling and coaching.

Nayla is a passionate community-builder, educator, program designer and manager, facilitator, coach and advisor. Nayla has served as a mentor to generations of MBA students and professional staff, guiding them through the development of strategic insights, the enhancement of emotional and social intelligence, and helping them build the capabilities necessary for their personal and professional growth.  

Matt Brimer co-founded General Assembly, a global educational institution headquartered in NYC, where he leads global partnerships and business development. He is responsible for many of the key partnerships General Assembly has created with Fortune 500 companies, including Google, Facebook, Amazon, American Express, General Electric, PepsiCo, Viacom, JP Morgan, and McKinsey. His passion for online + offline education and community-building has helped thousands of talented students develop the mindsets and skills in technology, business, and design needed to succeed in an increasingly digital environment. Matthew was most recently named to Forbes Magazine’s “30 Under 30”, Vanity Fair’s “The Next Establishment”, and Inc. Magazine’s “30 Under 30”. Prior to General Assembly, Matthew started a venture-backed social gaming company called PickTeams and a profitable antique furniture business called Aloysius Properties. He holds a BA in Sociology from Yale University and lives in New York City.

Meibell Contreras is a web developer in New York City. She created her first web application in 1994. She has worked for several consulting companies, both in her native Venezuela and New York City, where she moved 12 years ago. She now works as a freelancer, creating web sites and e-commerce solutions. She teaches at the STEP program at Barnard College; has taught classes on web development and database design in community programs at Columbia University, and volunteers with the NYC chapter of Black Girls Code. Meibell lives in Harlem with her 2 kids and her husband Sebastian Delmont who is also a computer scientist (CTO & Co-founder of Streeteasy.com). Meibell was part of the swimming national team in Venezuela and broke more than 10 national and South American records. 

Malla Haridat is an entrepreneurship strategist, founder of Mom and Daughters Inc., and a trainer for youth business-builder programs. As the founder and CEO of New Designs for Life, Malla is a nationally recognized expert in the specialized field of entrepreneurship education and has trained over 1,000 students. She has traveled extensively throughout the United States working in partnership with companies developing creative solutions for entrepreneurs and intrapreneurs. A dynamic thinker, strategist, and speaker, Malla  works with a wide variety of organizations applying her creative talents to the challenges of business transformation. Her company was awarded the 2005 New York City Small Business Award of the Year by New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg and has been featured in publications like The New York Times and on Martha Stewart Radio.

Amanda Himmelstoss is a Web Developer based in Brooklyn, NY. She graduated from Barnard College in 2011 with a degree in Anthropology, and attended the Flatiron School’s web development immersive course in the Fall of 2013. She blogs about tech stuff here, and she can be found in the tech community presenting at Meetups and tutoring and mentoring those learning to code.

 

 

Vanessa Hurst is the founder and CEO of CodeMontage, which empowers coders to improve their impact on the world. She also founded and runs Developers for Good. Vanessa is a cast member for Code.org, a nonprofit dedicated to expanding opportunities to learn to code which empowered over 12 million students in 2013 alone. She co-founded Girl Develop It, which taught over 5,000 women to code through in-person instruction across 16 chapters worldwide in under three years. Vanessa previously wrangled data at Paperless Post, CapitalIQ, and WealthEngine. She holds a B.S. in Computer Science with a minor in Systems & Information Engineering from the University of Virginia, and loves marshmallows and ebooks.

Janey Lee is a co-founder of Agile Pixel Studio (formerly Hanee Designs) where she has been leading her team in the creation of marketing websites for her global client base for the last 12 years. Prior to starting Hanee Designs, she was a front end developer and graphic designer. Her passion is collaborating with her clients on making the most of the ever changing world of online marketing. Janey graduated from Barnard College in 1998. She resides in Hartsdale, NY with her husband and two children. When she has time, she enjoys gardening and wine. 

 

Jennifer Lopez, Founder and CEO of Wisenn & Co., has over 15+ years of experience spanning from molecular biology to business development to social entrepreneurial enterprises. She is an active philanthropist raising significant capital and awareness around important issues: STEM education, economic empowerment, health and patient advocacy, poverty alleviation, providing resources and opportunities for young people and underserved communities around the world, and serves as an advisor and supporter for many award-winning organizations: Pencils of Promise, United Nations Association, The Malala Fund, American Society for Clinical Pathology, Weizmann Institute of Science, Toilet Hackers, Women's Foreign Policy Group, Clinton Global Initiative, to name a few. Jennifer lives in New York City and can be followed at @lopezjenniferw

Jyoti Menon is part of the Global Corporate Services team at American Express, focused on building robust mobile travel and expense solutions for corporate travelers. In prior roles at American Express, she has launched global marketing tools, redesigned client reporting solutions, and has owned and developed key partnerships. Jyoti started her career at Goldman Sachs’ commodities trading middle office where she worked to improve the trade reconciliation process.

Jyoti also serves as an Advisor to Rank and Style, a fashion-technology start up that simplifies and will revolutionize shopping for beauty and fashion-related items by bringing users unbiased, data-driven top-ten lists of the best fashion and beauty products. Jyoti holds a Masters in International Affairs from the Columbia University School of International and Public Affairs. She is currently an Alumna Trustee on the Barnard College Board of Trustees and is a founding member and Co-Chair of the Athena Leadership Council at Barnard.

An Nguyen is a biomedical engineering PhD student at Columbia. As a professional student, she did her undergrad at Penn in bioengineering and finance and her masters in mechanical engineering and medicine. An got her start in entrepreneurship through the Weiss Tech House at Penn. Since then, she has pursued her passion for bringing technologies to market through working with the University City Science CenterNew York City Investment FundNew York City Tech Connect, and InSITE. Outside of the lab, she works on Dorm Room Fund and Vital Score. In her spare time, you'll find her out riding her bike or taking her dog, Shadow, on new adventures.

 

Tracey Welson-Rossman is a Founding member and Chief Marketing Officer at Chariot Solutions, a leading Philadelphia area enterprise application and mobile development consulting firm, and the Founder of TechGirlz, a non-profit organization dedicated to inspiring teenage girls to consider careers in technology.

She is the Founder and current Chair of the annual Emerging Technologies for the Enterprise Conference. ETE attracts world-renowned thought leaders in cutting-edge technologies and serves as a community forum.  She is also co-Founder of the Women in Tech Summit.

A prominent member of the Philly tech startup community, she is also a Founding Board Member of Philadelphia Startup Leaders, dedicated to growing technology startup businesses and the largest and most active community of startup entrepreneurs in the Philadelphia. She was honored in 2013 as one of 40 Women to Watch over 40.

Shaolee Sen In her role as Vice President of Development and Strategy for Accion, the U.S. Network, Shaolee is elevating the work of microfinance in the U.S. by developing strategies to scale, developing industry-wide standards and benchmarks, and pioneering nationwide initiatives and corporate partnerships. Her work supports her firm belief that with access and opportunity, small businesses have the power to create lasting economic and social change.  Shaolee was selected as a member of the first class the ELM² Fellowship — offered by Aspen Institute in partnership with the Capital One Foundation- to support emerging leaders in microbusiness.

Shaolee holds an MBA from the Haas School of Business, UC-Berkeley and a BA from Barnard College, Columbia University.  She resides in New York City

Jennifer Shaw is currently Founder of NYTechWomen and Bella Minds and former Senior Data Analyst for comScore. Jennifer hales from rural Nebraska, and uses these All-American roots as fuel for empowering people to leverage technology and improve the state of STEM education and workforces in the US. Ms. Shaw quickly established NYTechWomen as the authority for women in tech in the NYC metro area. With Bella Minds, she is leading the way to educating rural areas of the US and tackling the urgent need of increased participation and attainment rates of the underserved of America. Jennifer is a recognized innovator by several NYC-based ventures, and has spoken at TEDxHobokenWomen. Jennifer is a continued advocate for bridging traditional corporate success and the hustle and empowerment of a startup attitude. Her mission remains focused in mentoring opportunities and empowering women who are serious about the technology sector. 

Darrell Silver After 10 years hiring and training high-potential teams in technology, Darrell co-founded Thinkful to make adult education accessible to everyone. The company has a team of mentors around the world that work with students online and one-on-one to learn technology and engineering skills that advance their careers.
Prior to Thinkful, Darrell founded Perpetually, the enterprise web archiving company which was acquired by Smarsh (Dell) in 2012. Thinkful has raised funding from Peter Thiel, RRE and Quotidian Ventures, among others.

 

Dr. Rae Silver, Ph.D., is Helene L. and Mark N. Kaplan Professor of Natural and Physical Sciences at Barnard College and holds joint appointments in the Psychology Departments at Barnard College and Columbia University, and in the Department of Pathology and Cell Biology at the College of Physicians and Surgeons at Columbia University. Professor Silver has taught courses in Quantitative Reasoning, Neuroscience and Psychology. Her contributions to Barnard include serving as Department Chair at the creation of the first computer lab in the psychology department, and subsequently establishing, with the engagement of college faculty, a Quantitative Reasoning course and curricular requirement, helping to establish the first computer center in Lehman Hall. The Silver laboratory, now located in Schermerhorn and Milbank Halls has received continuous research support from the NIH NSF and AFOSR for students, materials and equipment.  One line of research focuses on the role of mast cells in the neuro-immune system. A second is the role of the brain clock, located in the suprachiasmatic nucleus, in regulating daily cycles such as sleep/wake timing. Rae Silver has appeared on the Daily Show with Jon Stewart to discuss daily rhythms and also to comment on the ethics of animating mannequins. She has served on many committees and review panels at NIH and NSF and also NASA’s Research Maximization and Prioritization Committee reviewing co-chairing the committee that set scientific priorities for the International Space Station. Most recently, she chaired the Council of Scientists for the Human Frontiers Research Program.

Kristen Titus is the founding Executive Director of Girls Who Code, a national nonprofit organization working to close the gender gap in technology and engineering. With support from Twitter, Google, GE, Microsoft, Intel, and AT&T, Girls Who Code programs work to educate, inspire, and equip young women with the skills and resources to pursue opportunities in technology fields.

Recognizing her work in the field, Kristen was named one of TIME Magazine's "30 People Under 30 Changing the World," one of Forbes’ “Woman Changing the World” in 2012, and noted in Elle Magazine as one of "11 Women Who Might Just Change the World." Her work in the New York tech community has been widely recognized; she was named one of Business Insider’s 2013 “Silicon Alley 100,” and noted as one of its “30 Most Important Women Under 30 in Tech.” In 2013, she was named an Aspen Ideas Festival Scholar. 

Student Advisory Board

  • Amel Abid 
  • Lauren Beltrone 
  • Katherine Brea 
  • Linda Ortega Cordoves
  • Jenna Davis
  • Hosanna Fuller 
  • Sarah Kim
  • Sara Lee
  • Jenna Murdoch
  • Tola Oniyangi
  • Fiona Rowan
  • Naomi Tewodros

Student Advisory Board Alumnae

  • Nazli Danis '14
  • Danielle Deluty '14 (original founder)
  • Elizabeth de Luna '14
  • Carmen Ren '14