Co-Founder & President / July 2014 - Present
AsylumConnect is a nonprofit startup providing the first ever online resource database for LGBTQ asylum seekers in the U.S. The AsylumConnect catalog helps persecuted LGBTQ people identify and access verified human needs resources upon their arrival in the U.S. We piloted our catalog model in Seattle, WA. Our catalog is now listed as a recommended resource by Seattle's LGBTQ Center and Office of Immigrant and Refugee Affairs. In February 2017, in collaboration with the University of Pennsylvania's Hack4Impact, we migrated the catalog from a static site to a dynamic web application and scaled our product to Philadelphia, PA. We're now partnering with One Degree to build a national version of our resource catalog. Our long-term vision remains to scale our catalog to all major U.S. cities and ultimately, streamline the safe integration of LGBTQ asylum seekers in the U.S.
I lead a remote, cross-functional team of 21 students and young professionals. In my role as President, I oversee all areas of nonprofit development, including: PR/communications, marketing/advertising, HR, technical, fundraising, and partnerships. I've had the opportunity to prepare and deliver marketing presentations, draft press releases and progress reports, produce funding proposals, collaborate on social media ads and video projects, recruit and interview applicants, onboard new hires, shape policy, pitch to media outlets, and negotiate partnerships.
For my work on AsylumConnect, I was selected as the winner of the Millennium Peace Prize at the 7th Annual Millennium Campus Conference at the UN (2015), a finalist for the Forbes 30 Under 30 List Social Entrepreneurs category (2016), a featured Commitment to Action at Clinton Global Initiative University (2016), a finalist for the Harvard Social Enterprise Conference (SECON) Pitch Competition (2017), named to the Clinton Global Initiative University's alumni "Honor Roll" (2017), and named a Mogul Influencer (2017).
Major Awards Won for AsylumConnect
- Honor Roll for 2017 Clinton Global Initiative University (CGI U) (CGI U's tenth anniversary: most accomplished program participants)
- Finalist for 2017 Harvard Social Enterprise Conference (SECON) Pitch Competition
- Commitment to Action featured at the 2016 Clinton Global Initiative University (CGI U) meeting at University of California, Berkeley
- Winning Team of the 2015 Business Today Impact Challenge at the BT International Conference
- Winner of the 2015 Millennium Peace Prize at the 7th Annual Millennium Campus Conference (MCC15) at the United Nations
- Fellow for the 2015 Penn Social Impact House (22 Penn and Columbia student and alumni leaders in social impact)
- Winner of the 2015 Global Hesselbein Student Leadership Award (1 of 50 global student recipients)
Co-Founder & Advisor / July 2016 - Present
In July 2016, I co-founded a second Internet-based organization, UPchieve (formerly known as "BelieveAchieve"). UPchieve is a nonprofit ed-tech initiative seeking to provide free, online, and on-demand educational and guidance services to disadvantaged high school students in the U.S. UPchieve focuses on helping students who fall into at least one of the following categories: low-income, racial/ethnic minorities, LGBTQ, immigrants, and/or first-generation college students.
In my role as co-founder, I helped to assemble a team, draft advertising and web copy, launch a social media presence, secure a student enrollment partner, and obtain pro bono legal support for incorporation and fiscal sponsorship. As a member of UPchieve's advisory board, I now advise on organizational development (recruiting, marketing, partnerships, funding, etc.) and pilot strategy on an as needed basis.