Board of Directors
A multidisciplinary jack-of-all-trades with experience both in the trenches of early stage startups and through hyper-growth phases, Kevin brings a customer-centric approach, business strategy focus, and UX intuition to my software engineering work. He spent 4 years as a Product Manager at General Assembly (employee #4) for products ranging from online education and hiring platforms to community products. Kevin also consults for companies and first-time founders who are looking to define and build their MVP.
Portia Jones is a Director of Special Services and Principal Fellow at Achievement First currently in her 15th year in education where she supports Deans, principals, and teachers in developing strong special education programs across NYC schools. She previously taught lower elementary as a Special Education ICT teacher and served as a Dean of Special Services. She received her B.A. in Psychology from Columbia University and an M.S.Ed from Bank Street College of Education and is a Teach for America NYC Alum. In the past, she has served as a Curriculum Developer and founding After School Director. She has developed a passion for education through her personal experiences and work with schools and organizations across the globe including Chicago, Boston, London and Kenya. She is incredibly excited to be on the Board at Project Rhythm to support music education, self-expression & creativity.
Ambassadors and Advisors
Allison Jones is a branding expert with a deep background in the arts. In her current role as Brand Strategist at Google, she helps shape how the Google brand evolves and connects with an ever-changing world. In her previous role at global brand consultancy Landor, Allison worked with leading organizations across diverse sectors to sharpen their core purpose and pursue their unique opportunities for growth.
She also served as a Senior Strategist at LaPlaca Cohen, a New York-based strategy, design, and advertising firm working exclusively in the cultural sector. In this role, Allison led engagements with clients including Yale University, the Hammer Museum at UCLA, and the American Institute of Architects. Previously, she worked in communications and curatorial roles for the Studio Museum in Harlem, SITE Santa Fe, and the Yale Center for British Art.
Allison received a B.A. in Art History from Yale University and an M.A. in Art Business from Sotheby’s Institute of Art.
Annetta joined UNH as Director of Policy and Advocacy in January 2012. She comes to UNH with a 20-year track record as a leader within the social justice movement. Prior to UNH she served as an independent consultant, providing strategy, policy and organizational development services to not-profit organizations. In September 2009 she completed an eight-year tenure as the Executive Director of South Asian Youth Action (SAYA!), the pioneering organization dedicated to ensuring the transition and success of low-income South Asian youth and families in the United States. Under Annetta’s leadership SAYA! grew from a start-up to a nationally recognized organization that provides comprehensive youth development programs to 600 youth whilst having an influential voice on public policy issues related to youth and immigrants. At the time of Annetta’s departure, SAYA! was considered to be the largest South Asian American organization.
Prior to joining SAYA!, Annetta spent five years at the International Youth Foundation, where she ran YouthNet International, a best-practices network of youth development organizations in over 30 countries, and created YouthActionNet, now a leading global initiative promoting youth social entrepreneurship. Earlier, Annetta worked for the United Nations Development Fund for Women and the Gender and Development Program of the United Nations Development Program.
Annetta holds an M.A. in international political economy and development from Fordham University, a B.A. in political science from Manhattanville College, and executive management certificates from Columbia Business School and Harvard Business School. She serves on the boards of the New York State Immigrant Action Fund, New York Immigration Coalition and the National Coalition for Asian Pacific American Community Development.
Boris Khmelnitskiy is an organizational effectiveness consultant, partnering with education, social justice and community non-profit organizations on project management, organizational strategy, technology innovation, and grassroots organizing. His recent collaborations include Immigration Equality, San Francisco Spikes, Urban Opera, Voter Owned Elections, and GetEqual. Boris’s expertise areas range from leadership (corporate and non-profit management) and organizational effectiveness (budgeting, evaluation, revenue generation) to talent management (training facilitation, integration of technology into traditional instructional design and delivery models) and technology (programming languages, databases, web technologies). Currently, he works with Community Collaborative Consulting to help manage the Soda Foundation ASK Initiative, with a focus on knowledge capture and the website.
Previously, Boris worked as the Vice President/Chief Technology Officer for The New Teacher Project (www.tntp.org), a national non-profit that applies innovative human capital strategies to eliminate educational inequity. In this role, he led the division during the 20% org-wide business expansion and executed strategy to double internal IT capacity to meet increased demand in technology services. Additionally, he introduced a 5-year IT roadmap – a strategic plan for growth and cross-product integration. Mr. Khmelnitskiy also spent many years with Morgan Stanley as a Learning & Development Manager, a Program Manager for IT Analyst Training, and an Equity Trading Systems Developer.
Boris started his B.S. in Mathematics at Moscow University in Russia, and received B.A. in Computer Science and Mathematics and an M.S. in Computer Science from New York University.
Nancy served as the liaison between the Department of Education and the cultural community of New York City, expanding the walls of the classroom by encouraging collaboration among teaching artists, performing ensembles and schools. Ms. Shankman conducted the choir at Hostos Community College, served as Director of Creative and Performing Arts for Bronx High Schools, chaired the Department of Music and the Arts at Columbus High School and held the post of Arts Coordinator in Community School District 7. She designed and developed music programs and curriculum, most recently creating the Blueprint for Teaching and Learning in the Arts in collaboration with the New York Philharmonic, the Metropolitan Opera Guild, Jazz at Lincoln Center and other arts and cultural organizations. In March of 2002, Ms. Shankman was honored by the Music Educators Association of New York City and in April of the same year, was recognized by the Bronx Museum of the Arts for her outstanding contributions to Bronx schools. In May of 2003, her work was cited by the New York Assocation for Supervision and Curriculum Development, and in December of 2005, she was privileged to receive the Outstanding Educator of the Year Award from the New York State School Music Association.
Carrie is an advocate for the powerful, positive impact of music education on the developing brain, and is excited to support Project Rhythm in its measurement and evaluation. Carrie is a current doctoral student at the George Washington (GW) University in Applied Neuroscience in Special Education and Disability Studies. She is a graduate assistant for the Secondary Special Education and Transition Services program at GW. She has worked with students, families, educators, and policymakers in a variety of roles, including as a former school psychologist, as a special education teacher aide, as a government relations intern at Autism Speaks, as a research fellow at the National Institute of Mental Health, and as a consultant to the U.S. Department of Education for the National Assessment of Educational Progress. Carrie grew up playing piano and violin and singing, and is currently a high school musical theater coach and student of musical improv. She has consulted to schools on applying neuroscience findings to improve music education for students with disabilities. She has a M.Ed. in school psychology from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and a B.A. in English and Creative Writing from Bates College.
Originally from Southern California, Radhika came to New York City in 2008 to pursue a Master of Public Administration degree. Upon graduation, she began working on BBVA’s project finance team which funds large-scale infrastructure and energy projects. Her day-to-day involves the analysis of potential infrastructure opportunities to determine whether they meet the bank’s financing criteria and support in the execution of such projects. Though in the private sector, Radhika is dedicated to incorporating social change issues into her life. As a two-year Indicorps fellow in rural Rajasthan, Radhika worked primarily on livelihoods and employment projects such as a start-up women-based small business and a vocational institute. Her exposure abroad instilled in her the desire to give back beyond her time there. As such and given that she also worked to engage youth in sports in India, Project Rhythm’s mission resonated with her and she’s excited to be involved.
In her free time, Radhika can be found trying new restaurants, justifying the food with exercise, reading, or rooting for the Lakers.
Grammy and Multi-platinum Producer/Mixer Bob Power possesses a wide and diverse range of musical talents: producer, engineer, composer, arranger, performer, and educator. In the recording world, Power has produced, recorded, or mixed hundreds of pop and jazz recordings for such artists and groups as Erykah Badu, D’Angelo, India Arie, Chaka Khan, MeShell N’degeocello, Ozomatli, De La Soul, Common, A Tribe Called Quest, Miles Davis, the Roots, Tony Toni TonÈ, Mos Def, Macy Gray, Curtis Mayfield, David Byrne (Talking Heads), Spike Lee, The Brand New Heavies, Big Daddy Kane, Maceo Parker, Pat Metheny, KRS 1, Phylis Hyman, The Jungle Brothers, Quincy Jones (Remix), Greg Osby, and Run DMC. A 1997 Grammy Award nominee himself for mixing, Bob Power has had over 40 charting records, and has received more than 20 gold or platinum records. As a feature T.V. composer, Power is best known for his theme music for the Emmy Award winning Over Easy on P.B.S.; he also composed the original theme and score for the Disney family series The Scheme Of Things. Bob Power is a popular and dynamic speaker and lecturer; clients include Apple Computer, Apogee Electronics. The National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences (Grammys), Aguilar Electronics, Red Bull, CMJ, Guitar Center Pro, Boot Camp Convention -Vancouver, Pacific Coast Jazz Festival and has taught or lectured for University of San Francisco/Lone Mountain College, NYU, William Patterson University, Mercy College, New York Institute of Technology, Parkway School District (St. Louis), and the Boys’ Club of New York. He is an adjunct professor at New York University.
Akir has been dedicated to outreach and activism predominantly focused on underserved youth. In 2008 he was named the head of artist relations at the Hip Hop Caucus during the Respect My Vote campaign, which featured such celebrities as TI, Chris Brown, Maino,DJ Green Lantern, Dawn Richard, Keyshia Cole, Sean Kingston, The Simmons Sisters and Pharoahe Monch. Akir also found himself working with at-risk youth teaching writing, production, and recording with the non-profit organization Art Start, working in a studio donated by Bruce Willis, Russell Simmons and Queen Latifah. As an MC artist he was featured in the The Source’s: Unsigned Hype and Off the Radar and XXL’s: Show & Prove and Chairman’s Choice among them. AKIR has rocked over 1000 shows, completing 7 international and 10 domestic tours, including Paid Dues, Rock the Bells Vans Warped Tour and, tours with Fort Minor and Redman. He’s also performed with other such landmark artists as Lauryn Hill, Snoop Dogg, Rage Against the Machine, Nas, Wiz Khalifa, Kool G Rap, Tribe Called Quest, Rakim, KRS-One, Wu-Tang, The Game, Talib Kweli, and Yelawolf. As the founding member of “The Sound” production collective he has produced for: Immortal Technique, Chino XL, Crooked Eye, and Timbo King.
Samara is a New York based activist, educator, dancer, poet. She has been working as a teaching artist in the New York City schools, shelters, transitional programs and community centers for over ten years. Her active involvement in progressive social change has taken her beyond the classroom and the stage, and towards actualizing the change she wishes to see. As a consultant for a number of Arts and Education organizations, she has initiated young women’s groups, support networks for pregnant and parenting teens, interactive educational theatre residencies, and performance poetry and hip-hop intensives for formerly incarcerated youth. She serves as an educational specialist, teaching artist, and artist in residence at the Brooklyn Academy of Music and was the lead teaching artist for BAM’s Theatre and Justice program.
Samara graduated Magna Cum Laude with a BA from NYU’s Gallatin School of Individualized Study; her interdisciplinary degree was awarded in performance as a tool for cross-cultural education and social change. She received her Master’s Degree in Performance Studies from NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts with a thesis that explored trauma, advocacy, and witnessing.
Maya Azucena is a global singer-activist known for making music that uplifts the soul. Born & raised in Brooklyn, she travels the world inspiring through her songs. Featured as a coach on MTV’s Made, she also has a Grammy-certificate for her collaboration with Stephen Marley; performed at the 2013 Essence Fest with artists like Beyonce, Jill Scott and Maxwell; has been mentioned in O Magazine, Washington Post, Billboard, and countless other publications; heard on HBO’s The Wire, seen on NBC’s 30 Rock; and sang at prestigious events with incredible world-movers such as TEDxWomen; Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon’s Every Woman, Every Child event at the UN; One Billion Rising international campaign to end violence against women; and Omega Institute’s Where We Go From Here conference alongside President Bill Clinton. Maya is also an artist ambassador for BeadForLife, an NGO based in Uganda that enables women to overcome extreme poverty by becoming business-women with sustainable skills, through jewelry making.