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Meet the Scholars from Season 3 of The SIP

The SIP, short for The Coke Scholars Ignite Podcast, shares a taste of the Coke Scholars around the world who are igniting positive change.

Get to know the Scholars we’ll be learning from in our third season!

Listen to them here on The SIP.

HOSTING SEASON 3

Aisha Chebbi

2020 Coca-Cola Scholar

Student, Princeton University & Founder and Host, The Hybrid

Aisha Chebbi is a rising junior at Princeton University pursuing a Bachelor of the Arts in Medical Anthropology with a certificate in Global Health and Health Policy.

Her own multifaceted identity — as a Hispanic, Arab, American, Muslim woman — has shaped her life significantly and inspired her to use her voice for the betterment of her community. Aisha is the founder and host of The Hybrid podcast, which fosters much-needed conversation about the beauties and struggles of balancing multiple identities in the melting pot that is the U.S. This podcast is the culmination of three years of work in the Miami community centered around inclusivity and activism. Aisha is also the co-founder and president of Interfaith Youth Miami (IFYM), a youth group whose mission is to eradicate the barriers that divide faith communities. Locally, their meetings include students of Christian, Hindu, Muslim, Jewish, and agnostic backgrounds, all united in their interest in interfaith dialogue.

Her focus on health care stems from having observed, first hand, the disparities that exist in the delivery of health care to underserved communities, both here and abroad. At Princeton, she served on Class Council as an undergraduate representative for the class of 2024. She also serves on the boards of Princeton’s chapter of Partners in Health, the Muslim Student Association, and the Princeton Arab Society. Aisha was recognized by the Princeton Prize in Race Relations for her work promoting cross-cultural understanding, and also received the Princeton Club of South Florida’s inaugural Gail Serota Award for Civic Service. For her studies of the German language, she received DSD 2 Sprachdiplom, a diploma presented by the German government for excellence in the mastery of the German language. During her first year, she has continued to advocate for equity and justice – on issues from vaccine availability, to unethical labor practices in the clothing industry. Aisha’s ultimate goal is to be a physician and researcher focusing on global health and the impact of socio-cultural environments on health.


EPISODE 1

Just Do It: How Jorge, Jarvis, and Rosalyn are Leading with Purpose

Jorge Casimiro

1994 Coca-Cola Scholar

VP, Chief Public Policy & Social Impact Officer, NIKE Inc. & President, NIKE Foundation

Jorge Casimiro serves as NIKE, Inc.’s Vice President and Chief Public Policy & Social Impact Officer, as well as President of the NIKE Foundation. He leads an experienced and diverse team driving NIKE’s global government relations, public affairs and social impact strategies to effectively and responsibly engage in public policy and to create lasting, positive change in communities around the world. 

Jorge also leads the integration of NIKE’s purpose-driven work to unite the world through sport. These efforts come to life through innovative and collaborative partnerships on behalf of the Nike, Converse and Jordan brands. A passionate champion of equity and inclusion, Jorge also serves as the Executive Sponsor of NIKE’s Latino and Friends Employee Network.

Before joining NIKE, Jorge held prominent roles across government affairs, communications, social responsibility and general management at The Coca-Cola Company. Most notably, these included two assignments in Latin America, as well as Chief of Staff to the former Chairman and CEO. He began his professional career in higher education, working in International Advancement and Community & Government Relations.

In 2016 Jorge was named among the “40 Under 40 Latinos in Sport” by the Huffington Post. He was also recognized by The Alumni Society as a Culture Connector and by the Association of Corporate Citizenship Professionals as a master of the profession. Jorge currently serves on the boards of the World Federation of the Sporting Goods Industry and the Oregon Health & Science University Foundation, as well as on the Executive Forum of the Boston College Center for Corporate Citizenship. He is a graduate of Brown University and holds a Master of Science degree in public policy from Rutgers University.

Jorge lives in Portland, Oregon, where he spends his free time enjoying the outdoors with his wife and three children.

Jarvis Sam

2009 Coca-Cola Scholar

Chief Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Officer, NIKE Inc.

Jarvis Sam is Chief Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion Officer at Nike Inc and was recently named Forbes 30 Under 30 in Sports class of 2021 as well as Portland Business Journal’s 40 Under 40. In his current role, he oversees a team of people focused on driving diverse representation, inclusive leader and social justice education, professional development and the ecosystem of promoting and creating a culture of belonging inside and outside of Nike.

Prior to his current role, Jarvis held various roles focused on acquiring new talent capabilities for the company and driving large programs, partnerships and initiatives aimed at impacting representation and accelerating the flow of Nike’s diverse talent pipelines. Jarvis collaborated closely with key stakeholders and partner organizations, internally and externally to facilitate and measure effective workplace diversity and inclusion models. Additionally, he led Nike’s candidate experience and talent attraction/ employer branding efforts – driving best in class approaches and strategies to amplify the company’s employment voice and obsess the candidate.

Jarvis frequently liaises with the sports marketing function and product teams to execute on key initiatives with signature Nike athletes like Serena Williams and League partners like the WNBA and NFL. Prior to Nike, Sam worked as the Head of Diversity & Inclusion at Snap, Inc., where he was accountable for building the company’s first ever D&I strategy, establishing the first five employee resource groups and rolling out the initial iteration of the global unconscious bias awareness and implicit association training all whilst driving key technology recruiting approaches to scale the company 6x through IPO. Before that, Sam worked at Google as a Diversity Program Manager and led part of the diversity recruitment practice.

Jarvis began his career as a strategy and operations consultant with Deloitte Consulting in Houston, primarily focused on clients in the oil & gas industry. Jarvis is a graduate of Rice University where he studied History, Public Policy, and Sport Management with emphasis in race and gender rhetoric. Jarvis will receive his MBA from Brown University and IE School of Business in May 2022. In his spare time, Jarvis does musical theater, most recently acting as Jimmy Early in a production of Dreamgirls. He loves film, sports, karaoke, and can be frequently seen doing a rendition of Tina Turner’s greatest hits around Portland, OR, where he currently resides.

Rosalyn Menon Kennedy

1997 Coca-Cola Scholar

Communications and Partnerships Lead, Social & Community Impact, NIKE Inc.

Rosalyn Menon Kennedy has twenty years of corporate communications and journalism
experience at some of the most well-known and beloved brands and organizations in the world.
She is a two-time National Emmy Winner, a Utah Business 40 Under 40 honoree and a former
Miss Pennsylvania. She currently leads Communications and Partnerships for Nike’s Social &
Community Impact, a team focused on driving lasting, positive change in communities around
the world.

Prior to Nike, she served as Vice-President of Corporate Communications at
McKesson, the medical distribution company at the center of COVID-19 vaccine distribution
efforts.


Previously she was Vice President, Executive Communications and Community Relations at
Ancestry.com, the global leader in family history and consumer genomics. Rosalyn also held
roles leading Executive Communications at Google and as a Global Director of External
Communications for the Coca-Cola Company.


Rosalyn began her career as an award-winning television producer and journalist with
experience spanning “60 Minutes,” the “CBS Evening News,” “The Dr. Oz Show,” and
primetime CNN programs.


She is a graduate of the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism and Brown
University, where she currently serves as a member of their Communications Advisory Council.
A passionate education advocate, she served on the boards of the Oxford Day Academy, a
charter school in East Palo Alto, California, the edtech start-up MIDAS Education and the
alumni board of the Coca-Cola Scholars Foundation, as well as volunteering for her local PTAs
and the Miss America Scholarship organization.


She and her husband are the proud parents of three young children and recently moved to the
Portland, Oregon area, where they love exploring the natural beauty of the Oregon coast,
mountains and forests and visiting National Parks, including the mighty 5 of Utah this past year.


EPISODE 2

Visual Arts & Storytelling

Jared Michaud

2015 Coca-Cola Scholar

Baritone, Educator, and Facilitator

Jared Andrew Michaud is a London-based American baritone and a current Kathleen Roberts Vocal Scholar at Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music & Dance, pursuing an MA in Vocal Performance and Music Education. He graduated cum laude with Distinction in Theatre Studies and a certificate in Education Studies from Yale University, where he studied under Janna Baty at the School of Music, served as the President of the Yale Glee Club, and performed with the Yale Baroque Opera Project and the Opera Theatre of Yale College. As the recipient of the YGC Service Through Music Fellowship, Jared previously served as an Assistant Conductor and Dialogue Facilitator for the Jerusalem Youth Chorus and sang under Zubin Mehta, Stanley Sperber, and Dan Ettinger in the Jerusalem Academy of Music & Dance Chamber Choir. He currently continues his community arts work in London as a Project Assistant for the Lewisham Urban Opera project with Music and Theatre for All. 

Jared has trained and performed with companies such as the College Light Opera Company, Quisisana Resort, and Berkshire Choral International, and he has performed in masterclasses with esteemed artists such as Sarah Connolly, Roderick Williams, David Kempster, and Andrew Shore. Jared works closely with his duo partner Christina Koti, and together they are currently on the SongEasel Young Artist scheme.  Select credits include the Count (The Marriage of Figaro), Georg (She Loves Me), Le médecin (La chute de la maison Usher). Upcoming roles include Barabashkin (Cheryomushki) with the Welsh National Opera Young Company and Chorus in Der Freischütz with Random Opera Company.

Adam Pulver

2007 Coca-Cola Scholar

Theater, Film, and Television Writer

Adam Pulver is a Los Angeles based writer for stage and screen and live drag performer. For the stage, his body of work includes The Nebraska Cycle, ten plays about life in the rural Midwest; The Seaside Cycle, four plays about modern love and loss; The Prairie Cycle, three adaptations of Willa Cather novels; and The History Cycle, four plays about scary things that happened. For the small screen, A.P. is a writer for FOX’s scripted dance dramedy series The Big Leap, andis also developing an hour-long dramedy about outsiders in a small Nebraska town called The Good Life. For the big screen, A.P. is developing adaptations of his plays Burning Barn and On the Ascent, as well as an original script, Lucky Tom, about the politics of a small town being turned upside-down by the arrival of a wild turkey.  

He holds a BFA from NYU/Tisch and an MFA from Hunter College, where he studied under the tutelage of Brighde Mullins, Annie Baker, and Branden Jacobs-Jenkins.  For the past eight years, A.P. has worked as the Literary Manager and dramaturg for the Seven Devils National Playwrights Conference, supporting writers in developing new plays that have gone on to be produced all over the world. When he isn’t writing, A.P. can be found performing as his better half, country queen Superior Nebrasska, in drag performances throughout LA. Sup is currently at work on a soon-to-be-launched faux-news video/radio/podcast series called The Good News.

Nicole L. Thompson

2010 Coca-Cola Scholar

Director, Writer, and Producer

Nicole L. Thompson is a filmmaker born and raised in Newark, New Jersey. She is the Director of Lifetime Television Network true crime movie titled Suitcase Killer: The Melanie McGuire Story. Nicole is also the Producer for Nickelodeon’s Noggin animated children’s show Rhymes Through Times featuring Nick Jr. characters. Nicole graduated from USC with a MFA in Film & TV Production. Recently, she served as the 2nd Unit Director of Lifetime Television Network Original Film Envy. Nicole also received her Bachelor of Arts from The College of New Jersey where she majored in Communications Studies with a concentration in Radio/TV/Film. In addition she has studied filmmaking at Northumbria University in Newcastle Upon Tyne, England. Nicole is a world traveler who has filmed her journey to over 25 countries and has been to 6 continents.

In 2015, Nicole began her career at SAG-AFTRA working in the Communications and Marketing Department as a Production Coordinator, Digital Strategies, where she served as an in house cinematographer and editor. She has filmed panels, interviews on the red carpet, and behind the scenes footage for the 22nd SAG Awards. While at SAG-AFTRA Nicole has filmed interviews of Kerry Washington, Carol Burnett, Mayor Eric Garcetti, and much more. In the years to come, Nicole departed to pursue a MFA at USC and create films.   

While she was a student at USC Nicole focused on directing and screenwriting at the School of Cinematic Arts. At USC she proudly served as the president of the African American Cinema Society for two years founded by the late John Singleton.  Nicole was hired by NBA All Star Kyrie Irving to serve as his personal cinematographer capturing footage for his movie Uncle Drew and also directing segments for Kyrie’s 2019 All Star Weekend Highlights.  Following this Nicole worked in the camera department for Season 2 of HBO show Euphoria in the Warner Brothers Access to Action program.

In the fall of 2019, Nicole was hired by SAG-AFTRA as a Director and Producer. She was responsible for overseeing the creation and production of several videos for the Communications & Marketing department. During this time she was the lead Producer and the Director for both the 2019 and 2021 American Scene Awards.

Nicole’s films Blackbird, Between The Pages, and Harlem Blues are broadcasting on Aspire TV. They have been licensed  in a 3 year deal. Nicole’s animation Between the Pages has also been licensed by Fox Soul TV. Most Recently, Nicole L. Thompson was featured as a film Director in Variety Magazine’s POWER OF WOMEN issue with the Lifetime Television Network.


UPCOMING EPISODE

Mental Health & Imposter Syndrome

Dr. Robert Accordino

1999 Coca-Cola Scholar

Chief Medical Officer, Ontrak Health

Robert Accordino is a physician executive and passionate champion of mental health parity, currently serving as the Chief Medical Officer at Ontrak Health. In 2020, he was named to Modern Healthcare’s Top 25 Emerging Leaders list.

Robert previously served as the Chief Mental Health Officer of Quartet Health and the Chief of Psychiatry and Behavioral Health at CareMore Health System. In 2016, he was appointed by President Barack Obama to the White House Fellowship, a yearlong, non-partisan program founded in 1964 by Lyndon Johnson to foster public service and leadership development. In this capacity, he advised the Secretaries of Defense of the Obama and Trump Administrations on health care delivery, technology, and payment innovation for service members and their families. For this work, Robert received the Secretary of Defense Medal for Outstanding Public Service, among the highest civilian honors in the DOD.

Board certified in general psychiatry and child and adolescent psychiatry, he completed a fellowship in child and adolescent psychiatry at Massachusetts General and McLean Hospital of Harvard Medical School and a residency in general psychiatry at New York-Presbyterian Hospital of Weill Cornell Medical College. Robert continues to practice psychiatry and is a member of the faculty of Massachusetts General Hospital, Harvard Medical School. Throughout his medical career, Robert has actively engaged in clinical research resulting in over 40 peer-reviewed publications, book chapters and articles and over 80 conference, seminar and grand rounds presentations.


In 2007, as a first-year medical student, he founded the nonprofit organization Music for Autism, serving as executive director and leading the charity’s fully-subsidized programs’ national expansion.

Robert received an A.B. in Psychology, summa cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa, from Princeton University; an M.Sc. in Experimental Psychology from University of Oxford as a Fulbright and Rotary Ambassadorial Scholar; and an M.D. with Distinction in Research and Medical Education and as a member of the Gold Humanism Honor Society from Mount Sinai School of Medicine.

Chris Biehn

2014 Coca-Cola Scholar

Creator, raging seas & Rising Suns

Chris A. Biehn is a storyteller by nature, advertiser by trade, and PR enthusiast by preference. He’s a graduate of Temple University and former Park Scholar at Ithaca College. The power of communications has always been his instrument for change.

Chris pioneered the Ithaca ­­Homeless Crisis campaign that raised funds to equip the city with lifesaving resources and recruited and trained volunteers to provide ongoing help. He’s organized and emceed several fundraisers for the Muscular Dystrophy Association, which is the charity related to his mom’s illness. He’s championed causes connected to mental health awareness and advocacy.

Growth and faith are his two core values. He believes helping people effectively starts with listening to their stories. He currently lives in South Jersey and is working on releasing a book called raging seas & Rising Suns.

Diana Chao

2016 Coca-Cola Scholar

Founder, Letters to Strangers

Diana Chao is a first-generation Chinese-American immigrant from Southern California. Diana founded Letters to Strangers (L2S) when she was a sophomore in high school after bipolar disorder nearly ended her life. By beginning to heal through letters, she discovered that writing is humanity distilled into ink.

Today, L2S is the largest global youth-for-youth mental health nonprofit, impacting over 35,000 people every year on six continents and publishing the world’s first youth-for-youth mental health guidebook for free. For this effort, Diana has been named a 2021 Princess Diana Legacy Award Winner, 2020 L’Oréal Paris Women of Worth, and Oprah Magazine’s 2019 Health Hero. As part of Adobe’s inaugural class of global Top Talents, Diana’s “Minority Mental Health Month” self-portrait series went viral with 2+ million views, and she teaches and speaks on youth mental health. But most of the time, she is a 2021 graduate of Princeton University trying to figure out how best to navigate life.

Dr. Nina Vasan

2002 Coca-Cola Scholar

Chief Medical Officer, Real & Founder and Executive Director, Brainstorm: The Stanford Lab for Mental Health Innovation

Dr. Nina Vasan is a psychiatrist, entrepreneur, and pioneer in digital mental health innovation. Dr. Nina Vasan is the Chief Medical Officer at Real, a mental health care company building a new therapy model. Outside of her work at Real, Dr. Vasan is a psychiatrist and professor at Stanford, where she is the founder and Executive Director of Brainstorm: The Stanford Lab for Mental Health and Innovation. Brainstorm is the world’s first academic laboratory dedicated to transforming mental health at scale through clinically-informed consumer tech products. Brainstorm’s experts worked with Pinterest to design the “compassionate search” experience which provides treatments for anxiety, depression, and self-harm for Pinterest’s 450 million users. This work was named by Fast Company as the “Most Innovative Wellness Projects” and “Best Designs for Social Good”.

Dr. Vasan has worked as a healthcare advisor to the UN, the WHO Director-General’s Office, and the Obama and Biden presidential campaigns. She majored in Government at Harvard, graduating as one of Glamour Magazine’s Top 10 College Women, and received an MD from Harvard Medical School, where she was voted by classmates as a commencement speaker. She graduated from Stanford’s Adult Psychiatry Residency Training Program, where she was a Chief Resident, and received an MBA from Stanford’s Graduate School of Business. She co-authored the #1 Amazon Best Selling book “Do Good Well: Your Guide to Leadership, Action, and Social Innovation” and was named by Business Insider as one of their 30 Under 40 in Healthcare in 2021.


UPCOMING EPISODE

Reimaging Schools & Inclusive Education

Brandon Cardet-Hernandez

2003 Coca-Cola Scholar

Executive Director, Ivy Street School

Brandon Cardet-Hernandez has devoted his career to creating the conditions that allow young people to achieve their greatness. A life-long educator, Cardet-Hernandez has worked as a community organizer, college and career counselor, and special education teacher. He is currently the Executive Director of The Ivy Street School. Through residential and day programming, Ivy Street centers learning through a therapeutic approach. In addition, through the Skills for Life division, Ivy Street works with families and school districts to help neurodiverse students strengthen the healing and skill development needed to transition into adulthood.

Previously, as a public school principal at The Urban Assembly Bronx Academy of Letters, Cardet-Hernandez led a turnaround team in a dynamic re-envisioning of school culture and instruction. Under his leadership, the school went on to hold the highest graduation rate for an unscreened school in the district and far exceeded the citywide graduation average. Additionally, he grew college readiness by double digits, bolstered teacher retention and satisfaction, and reimagined learning through a justice-focused lens. Empowered and supported, his students would also develop now-nationwide organizations advocating for school integration and sports equity.

Cardet-Hernandez has also worked as the Director of Strategic Initiatives for the NYC Department of Education, guiding strategy for the city’s most struggling schools. And, most recently, Cardet-Hernandez served as the Senior Education Advisor to former New York City Mayor Bill DeBlasio. In his role, he oversaw key initiatives, including the nation’s most significant expansion of early childhood education, the design, and launch of a $30M citywide Restorative Justice and Social-Emotional Learning program, strategy for the 32B education budget, and the launch of the Bronx Plan–  a partnership with the United Federation of Teachers that made room for NYC’s first salary differential for hard-to-staff schools. Notably, he also played a critical role in handling the COVID-19 emergency response in NYC public schools and for NYC families.

Brandon is a leader in advancing justice through education. His work has been featured in Essence Magazine, EdWeek, The Atlantic, People en Espanol, Commonwealth Magazine, and the Netflix documentary, Teach Us All. Brandon resides in Boston with his husband, Ariel, and their son, Cielo. In January, Boston’s Mayor Wu (also a Coke Scholar) appointed him to the School Committee – a 7 person leadership body charged with defining and monitoring the vision, mission, goals, and annual budget for Boston Public Schools. In addition, the School Committee works to set and review district policies and practices that support student achievement.

Growth and faith are his two core values. He believes helping people effectively starts with listening to their stories. He currently lives in South Jersey and is working on releasing a book called raging seas & Rising Suns.

Pegah Taylor

2003 Coca-Cola Scholar

Managing Director of Leadership Development, KIPP Texas Public Schools

Pegah Taylor is the Managing Director of Leadership Development with KIPP Texas Public Schools.  In this role, she has helped launched the Striving School Leader Cohort and Principal-In-Residence Program to build a healthier and more transparent pipeline to school leadership.  Prior to this role, Pegah was the Founding School Leader of a KIPP CONNECT Houston Middle School (in the neighborhood she was born and raised in).  She started her career at KIPP as a 2008 Teach For America Corps Member teaching 8th grade Math and Algebra at KIPP Academy Middle School, and is grateful for the strong instructional and coaching lens she developed there. 

Pegah has a deep belief in human development and growth, whether you are 10-years-old or 100-years-old.  This passion has also led her to become a Leadership Coach, coaching educational leaders across the country and is a certified coach with the International Coaching Federation.  Pegah received a dual BBA in Business Honors and Management Information Systems from The University of Texas at Austin, and she completed her Masters in Education from the National-Louis University with a concentration in Administration and Supervision. 

Outside of work, Pegah enjoys spending time with her two young boys, her husband, and her parents, enjoying the outdoors, and traveling as much as possible!

Today, L2S is the largest global youth-for-youth mental health nonprofit, impacting over 35,000 people every year on six continents and publishing the world’s first youth-for-youth mental health guidebook for free. For this effort, Diana has been named a 2021 Princess Diana Legacy Award Winner, 2020 L’Oréal Paris Women of Worth, and Oprah Magazine’s 2019 Health Hero. As part of Adobe’s inaugural class of global Top Talents, Diana’s “Minority Mental Health Month” self-portrait series went viral with 2+ million views, and she teaches and speaks on youth mental health. But most of the time, she is a 2021 graduate of Princeton University trying to figure out how best to navigate life.

Star Wallin

2002 Coca-Cola Scholar

CEO and Founder, Bell Creek Consulting

Star Wallin is the CEO and founder of Bell Creek Consulting, a firm dedicated to helping mission-driven organizations achieve the change that matters to the communities they serve.  She has fifteen years of experience serving organizations spanning the public, social, and private sectors in areas including strategy design and implementation, governance and complex decision making, change management, and operational improvement.

Star hails from a long line of public school educators and has worked across the education to employment continuum to dramatically improve educational quality and economic mobility for students. She leads Bell Creek’s work to support K-12 districts, charter school networks, and state education agencies in architecting, implementing, and continuously improving strategic decision making aligned with the goal of ensuring every student, regardless of background or zip code, has access to excellent schools.  A lifelong learner, Star has had the opportunity to work alongside and learn from dynamic leadership teams across the country, including in Akron Public Schools, Cleveland Metropolitan Schools, Indianapolis Public Schools, the School District of Philadelphia, and numerous districts involved in the Texas Education Agency’s System of Great Schools Network.

Star began her career at the Washington, D.C. office of McKinsey & Company where she served as an Engagement Manager and as the Chief of Staff to the head of the Social Sector Practice. She took her data-driving consulting toolkit and passion for activating the power and potential of students to the classroom, teaching middle school science at Johnson Middle School in DC Public Schools.  Star graduated Phi Beta Kappa from Vanderbilt University and was selected as a Truman Scholar for her commitment to a career in public service. She earned an M.A. in Teaching from American University.  She is the proud mom of two kids made of 100% magic.


UPCOMING EPISODE

Pandemic Parenting and Beyond

Nelda Brown

1989 Coca-Cola Scholar

School Board Staff Aide, Fairfax County School Board

For nearly two decades, Nelda led efforts to promote and expand curricular and co-curricular programs in our nation’s K-12 schools and communities. Nelda worked at both the state and national levels to build awareness and increase public support for programs that engaged youth in civic education and active learning. This included leading efforts to design and pursue a state and national agenda to advance youth service and service-learning. As a Program Officer at the California Department of Education and an Executive Director for two national organizations, her work included agenda-setting, engaging community partners, field leader training, research and analysis, producing social media content, and a strong working knowledge of government affairs, education policy, and the legislative process at the local, state, and national levels.  

After serving as the Director of Strategic Development for a public health data management and administrative services company from 2011-2020, Nelda returned to education policy and public administration. She now serves as Staff Aide to Fairfax County School Board At-Large Member Karen Key-Gamarra. Fairfax County Public Schools is the 10th largest school system in the nation, serving almost 200,000 children in Northern Virginia.  

In 2007, Nelda became the custodial guardian and primary caregiver for her then three-year old cousin Eric. After almost 15 years of single parenting, Eric is living his best life and “Cousin Nelda” enjoys being his ride!  

Dr. Laura Froyen

2002 Coca-Cola Scholar

Early Childhood and Parenting Specialist

Pegah Taylor is the Managing Director of Leadership Development with KIPP Texas Public Schools.  In this role, she has helped launched the Striving School Leader Cohort and Principal-In-Residence Program to build a healthier and more transparent pipeline to school leadership.  Prior to this role, Pegah was the Founding School Leader of a KIPP CONNECT Houston Middle School (in the neighborhood she was born and raised in).  She started her career at KIPP as a 2008 Teach For America Corps Member teaching 8th grade Math and Algebra at KIPP Academy Middle School, and is grateful for the strong instructional and coaching lens she developed there. 

Star began her career at the Washington, D.C. office of McKinsey & Company where she served as an Engagement Manager and as the Chief of Staff to the head of the Social Sector Practice. She took her data-driving consulting toolkit and passion for activating the power and potential of students to the classroom, teaching middle school science at Johnson Middle School in DC Public Schools.  Star graduated Phi Beta Kappa from Vanderbilt University and was selected as a Truman Scholar for her commitment to a career in public service. She earned an M.A. in Teaching from American University.  She is the proud mom of two kids made of 100% magic.

Growth and faith are his two core values. He believes helping people effectively starts with listening to their stories. He currently lives in South Jersey and is working on releasing a book called raging seas & Rising Suns.

Samuel Wakefield

2001 Coca-Cola Scholar

Leader, The Organizer Zero Project & Partner, DEI Works

Samuel leads the collective leadership body of work for The Organizer Zero Project, an organization that believes that when parents have the tools and resources they need to advocate for educational equity, then they can lead their own liberation.  Samuel also serves as Partner and Collaborator with DEI Works, a collective of DEI practitioners committed to social justice and liberation for all people.  Prior to this, he has served in a variety of leadership roles across the metro Atlanta educational landscape including at Teach For America, Fulton County Schools, and Atlanta Public Schools where he first began as an elementary teacher.  

Samuel’s undergraduate background from Emory University is in Political Science and Economics, with a minor in Community Building and Social Change. He acquired his Master’s in Public Administration from Georgia State’s Andrew Young School of Public Policy with concentrations in Nonprofit Management and Leadership Development.

Central to his theory of change has been the concept of collective leadership.  Systemic change requires collective leadership.  Transforming systems is ultimately about transforming the relationships among the people who control those systems and the people who those systems impact, so his work seeks to do just that.  

Ever the character, his most important roles are those of husband and father to four precocious daughters.  He’s also a published author on fatherhood, avid education blogger, and wannabe superhero.  When he’s not with his family, he can be found serving on a few boards (Next Generation Men and Women and Chatt Hills) and riding his bike around #southfulton.  


UPCOMING EPISODE

Creating a Personal Brand

Safiya Jihan Miller

2005 Coca-Cola Scholar

Fashion Designer & Strategic Partnerships Director of Worldwide Commercial Business, Microsoft

Safiya Jihan is a trilingual multi-hyphenate, blazing her own creative path in technology, fashion, entrepreneurship and philanthropy, to empower others. By “day” she manages a team of Client Executives and Technology leads at Microsoft and by “night” she’s an entrepreneur. Safiya founded the vibrant womenswear line, Safiya Jihan, influenced by her mother and Caribbean roots. Safiya’s been featured in PopSugar, the Grio, and the Daily Beast and partnered with Bloomingdale’s, Saks Fifth Avenue, The W Hotel, and Bumble. She graduated from Harvard with a BA in Psychology and a Foreign Language Citation in Spanish, lived and worked abroad in Sao Paulo, Brazil, and then completed her MBA focused on Digital Marketing at Cornell.

Safiya is also passionate about education empowerment and started the “No Boundaries” scholarship with her brother Daren in 2012 to honor high school students that dare to dream big and pursue America’s best post-secondary opportunities. In her most important role to date, she is a new mom of twin warrior princesses, Zuri & Zaila and lives in San Francisco with her husband Bakari.

Ben Kaplan

1995 Coca-Cola Scholar

Founder and CEO, PR Hacker & CEO, TOP

Ben Kaplan is among the world’s leading experts on viral marketing, digital marketing, branding, and sales. He is the founder and CEO of TOP Worldwide — an international agency network comprised of 12 data-driven marketing agencies working in 20+ countries.  TOP’s unique methodology — Test, Optimize, and Perform — has reinvented marketing communications for some of the world’s fastest growing startups and brands like Budweiser, Mercedes-Benz, Citi, Smuckers, and Milk-Bone.

Kaplan is the bestselling author of several books (including the viral hit ‘How to Go to College Almost for Free’) and a frequent public speaker on four continents. He has appeared on more than 5,000 TV and radio programs, including interviews on ‘Oprah,’ ‘TODAY,’ ‘Good Morning America,’ NBC, CBS, CNN, Fox News, and the BBC.

Connect with Ben on LinkedInTwitterFacebookInstagramTOP, and National Today.

Kaiti Yoo

2018 Coca-Cola Scholar

Content Creator

Hey you, it’s Kaiti Yoo! Kaiti is a Korean-American creative who started a YouTube channel as a coping mechanism during the pandemic — or better yet, the “panini press” as she likes to call it. Through her fashion-forward, comically chaotic, and meme-saturated content, she has built a community of over half a million subscribers in less than two years. Now graduating from Brown University with a double concentration in Media & Economics, she hopes to use her growing platform to advocate for the AAPI, Gen-Z, and immunocompromised communities she calls home.

Connect with Kaiti on YouTube (Kaiti Yoo), Instagram (@kayteeyou), and TikTok (@kootooyoo).

Tiffany Kassab Williams

1996 Coca-Cola Scholar

Strategic Thought Leader, Todem Brands

Tiffany Kassab Williams is the Strategic Thought Leader for Todem Brands and an Adjunct Professor in the art department at Furman University in Greenville, SC. At Todem, Tiffany facilitates her clients in cultivating their company’s brand, finding their purpose, and developing their culture, so owners and employees alike find fulfillment through their job. At work and in life, Tiffany is always eager to learn and willing to take on any challenge that is thrown her way. She also loves challenging her students and watching them grow in the process.

Tiffany’s mantra is to spread joy in the world and works to make every situation a little better than before she arrived. She graduated magna cum laude as a Studio Art major from Wake Forest University, then moved to Atlanta and completed the Portfolio Center’s rigorous Design program. Having lost her parents in a car accident, Tiffany has a deep understanding of how precious the people are in her life. She adores her husband, Freddie, and her two children, Kass and Lindlee, and savors the time she gets to spend with them.


UPCOMING EPISODE

Building Better Health Systems

Joel Bervell

2013 Coca-Cola Scholar

Medical Student, Washington State University & Social Media Medical Educator

Joel Bervell is a Ghanaian-American medical student at Washington State University, Elson S. Floyd College of Medicine.

In 2017, Joel graduated from Yale University, where he earned a BA in Molecular Cellular Developmental Biology. After graduating, he completed a Masters in Medical Science at Boston University and spent a year working as a clinical research assistant at Providence Hospital researching best treatment modalities for appendicitis.

At Washington State University, Joel served as Medical Student Council President and the co-founder and president of a chapter of the Student National Medical Association. He is the founder and director of the Coug Health Academic Mentoring Program (CHAMP), a mentoring program dedicated to increasing the number of underrepresented students interested in medicine. He is also the co-founder of Hugs for, a non-profit that is dedicated to empowering the next generation of high school global leaders. Today, Hugs has mobilized hundreds of youth volunteers and fundraised over $500,000 worth of material gifts and monetary donations to Ghana, Kenya, Tanzania, Sierra Leone, and Uganda.

Joel is committed to fighting health disparities in medicine through education and regularly shares topics about racial disparities/ biases in healthcare and other industries on his TikTok and Instagram (@joelbervell) where his platforms have over 500,000+ combined followers and 65,000,000+ impressions. Joel has been named by TikTok as the top 2021 “Voice for Change,” was featured by TikTok as one of 10 “Changemakers” on their inaugural Discover List, Mashable called him “your next must-follow creator.” He was selected by the National Minority Quality Forum as a 2022 40 Under 40 Leader in Minority Health and is the recipient of the National Medical Association’s Emerging Scholar Award, the highest academic honor presented to a student by the National Medical Association.

He currently is a participant in the White House Office of Public Engagement’s Healthcare Leaders in Social Media Roundtable, serving as the American Medical Association’s Medical Student Digital Fellow, working with the World Health Organization’s Digital Communications Team to combat the spread of misinformation on social media about COVID-19, and working on a Diversity, Equity and Inclusion project with the VA Hospital systems. He speaks around the world and has been featured on local and national media outlets like Good Morning America and NPR.

Follow him on Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, and TikTok.

Athena Kan

2015 Coca-Cola Scholar

CEO, Dreambound

Athena Kan is the CEO of Dreambound, which is creating a new supply of healthcare workers—starting with Certified Nursing Assistants. Dreambound pays for jobseekers to go through training and matches them to training programs and employers. Dreambound’s investors include Union Square Ventures and Arrive, a Roc Nation company. 

Athena previously worked at Johns Hopkins researching minority health disparities and started the non-profit Coding it Forward to help government agencies modernize their systems – including the US Department of Health and Human Services. Athena was named to the Forbes 30 Under 30 list in 2021 and graduated with a BA in Computer Science from Harvard.

Dr. C. Anthoney Lim

1997 Coca-Cola Scholar

Associate Professor of Emergency Medicine, Pediatrics, and Medical Education & Director of Pediatric Emergency Medicine, Mount Sinai Beth Israel

Dr. C. Anthoney Lim is the Director of Pediatric Emergency Medicine for the Mount Sinai Health System and the Medical Director of the Pediatric Emergency Department and Short Stay Unit at Mount Sinai Beth Israel.  He is also an Associate Professor in the Departments of Emergency Medicine, Pediatrics, and Medical Education at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai. 

After receiving degrees from The College of William and Mary and Weill Cornell Medical College, he then went on to complete his residency training at the Children’s Hospital at Montefiore and a fellowship in Pediatric Emergency Medicine at Jacobi Medical Center. His clinical and research interests include asthma and allergic diseases in children, pediatric trauma and point of care ultrasound, observation medicine and pediatric safety and quality improvement.

Kaitlyn Chana

2009 Coca-Cola Scholar

Administrative Fellow, Texas Children’s Hospital

Kaitlyn Chana is a passionate and diligent healthcare leader who strives for purpose and helps others. She obtained her Master of Business Administration and Master of Health Administration from the University of North Florida in December 2021. Following a decade in the news industry with a degree in broadcast journalism from the University of Central Florida, Kaitlyn felt compelled to amplify people’s voices to create change. But, she wanted to do more, so she dreamed bigger. 

Her strengths lie in her commitment and vision for the future by leveraging quantitative data in a qualitative format to forge better connections that capture the why behind her actions. Previously, she asked people to tell their stories daily, which, in turn, compelled her to share her story. Kaitlyn is a survivorof three different eating disorders: anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, and binge eating disorders. 

Kaitlyn is honored to join Texas Children’s Hospital because of the characteristics that blend her values with the organization’s mission, focused on creating a healthier future for children and women. She wants to serve by helping grow the behavioral health services, work in business and organizational development, and enhance the patient experience. 

Kaitlyn aspires to be the President at Texas Children’s Hospital West Campus, Houston’s community hospital, serving the community’s health through access to the highest quality healthcare and community partnerships. Her goal is to achieve positive outcomes that continue to aid Texas Children’s Hospital as the leading pediatric and women’s health organization.

Her definition of leadership is to lead with heart and intention. Those combined traits will equip colleagues to feel supported personally while working to serve our patients and their families.