Our staff is deeply experienced in a variety of fields that contribute to our mission of creating radical breakthroughs for the benefit of humanity.
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Cynthia AshleyProject Manager, Google Lunar XPRIZE
I Prize Compassion
Cynthia Ashley comes to XPRIZE as a seasoned project manager in the areas of informal education and the environment. Ms. Ashley will use her extensive experience in developing and monitoring high budget, high profile projects to oversee the production and distribution of a digital Fulldome planetarium show for the Google Lunar XPRIZE.
Ms. Ashley has worked as a project manager for Morrison & Foerster, a large San Francisco law firm, the Lawrence Livermore Laboratory, the Lawrence Hall of Science, Chabot Space & Science Center and the East Bay Depot for Creative Reuse.
Ms. Ashley has a B.A. in history, and a M.A. in education from George Washington University.
Eileen BartholomewSenior Vice President, Prizes
I Prize Health
Eileen Bartholomew joins XPRIZE with more than 15 years of experience in building innovative programs for public, private and non-profit organizations. Ms. Bartholomew’s extensive experience helps her oversee the Prize Development efforts for XPRIZE.
She has worked across the Life Sciences and Health Care industry, helping clients worldwide identify, plan, launch and sustain a wide range of medical products and services, from blockbuster drugs to specialty pharmaceuticals to niche medical devices. Prior to joining XPRIZE, Ms. Bartholomew served in leadership positions in several large and boutique management consulting organizations, including Navigant Consulting.
Ms. Bartholomew received a Bachelor of Arts in Biology at Harvard College and is a graduate of Singularity University.
Andrew BartonDirector of Technical Operations, Google Lunar XPRIZE
I Prize a Space-Faring Civilization
Dr. Andrew Barton joins XPRIZE with 10 years of experience working in the aerospace and mechanical engineering fields. As Director of Technical Operations for the Google Lunar XPRIZE, Dr. Barton is responsible for finalizing the prize's rules and guidelines, selecting and managing the panel of independent judges and communicating with external stakeholders on technical aspects. Dr. Barton's experience spanning large and small space projects will ensure that the Google Lunar XPRIZE rewards innovate and talented teams, setting the scene for the next wave of space exploration.
Prior to joining XPRIZE, Dr. Barton was involved in the private space industry as a technology developer, project manager and entrepreneur. He also worked for 4 years as a specialist at the European Space Agency ESTEC facility in the Netherlands where he supported the development of space missions, including significant contributions to future lunar and Mars landers as well as the Vega launch vehicle. His deep understanding of space mission development covers all phases of the design process from conceptual design studies through to final system qualification.
Dr. Barton holds Ph.D and bachelors degrees in aerospace engineering from the University of Sydney and a Masters degree in Space Studies from the International Space University. He is also an avid student of languages and international cultures.
Jennifer BravoManager, Prize Development
I Prize Sustainable and Compassionate Food Systems
Jennifer Bravo joins XPRIZE with nearly ten years of experience in research and public policy. She has worked closely with various stakeholders, including government agencies, non-profit organizations, and academic institutions to develop and implement policy in the public interest. Her experience in research, development, and project management helps her design prizes that address the world's Grand Challenges.
Prior to joining XPRIZE, Ms. Bravo managed the City of Los Angeles's Campaign Finance Program, where she successfully regulated candidates, elected officials, and independent spending in local elections and increased public disclosure and engagement in the campaign finance arena. She also worked as a researcher and teaching assistant at the University of Southern California, where she focused on addressing the state's budget crisis.
Ms. Bravo earned her Bachelor of Arts degree from California State University, Sacramento in anthropology with an emphasis in environmental science, and her Master of Public Policy from the University of Southern California, where she serves on the alumni board of the USC Price School of Public Policy. She spends her free time volunteering for environmental and animal welfare organizations.
Jordan BrownDirector, Visioneering
I Prize Disease Prevention
Jordan Brown joins XPRIZE with a decade of experience at the nexus of politics, entertainment, and philanthropy, and specializes in building hybrid coalitions that span those three spheres. At XPRIZE, Mr. Brown leads Visioneering, the process used to translate visionary ideas for combating the world’s Grand Challenges into incentivized competitions.
Prior to joining XPRIZE, Mr. Brown launched the social impact agenda for Summit Series, a global community for leading young entrepreneurs. In 2007, he joined actress and activist Fran Drescher in launching the Cancer Schmancer Foundation, a leading voice for prevention and early detection of cancer. Mr. Brown has also worked on a variety of political and issue campaigns at the local, state, and federal levels.
Mr. Brown earned a degree in Political Science from Stanford University, and studied at L'Institut d'études politiques (IEP) in Paris. Jordan is a California native and lives in Los Angeles.
Paul BunjeSenior Director, Prize Development, Ocean Health
I Prize a Thriving Planet
Paul Bunje comes to XPRIZE with more than 12 years of experience in science, policy, education, and environmental leadership. Dr. Bunje brings his unique ability to bridge the gap between science and society to the Wendy Schmidt Ocean Health XPRIZE to help lead the identification of solutions to the challenges facing our world’s oceans.
Prior to joining XPRIZE, Dr. Bunje served as the founding Executive Director of the UCLA Center for Climate Change Solutions and as the Managing Director of the Los Angeles Regional Collaborative for Climate Action and Sustainability. In these roles, he facilitated innovative research and communication between scientists, decision makers, and the public and led the creation of regional climate change programs for the 10 million people of Los Angeles County.
Dr. Bunje has served as an AAAS Science & Technology Policy Fellow in the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and as an educator at science museums in California and Minnesota. Dr. Bunje’s service includes the City of Los Angeles’ Green Retrofit Advisory Council, a fellow of the Center for Tropical Research, board member of Climate Resolve and the Los Angeles Sustainability Collaborative, and as an advisor to USAID, Clean Tech LA, and the Asia Society. Dr. Bunje has lived and conducted scientific research in Europe, the Middle East, and the Pacific—providing first-hand insight into the diverse challenges we face in protecting critical habitats and communities.
Dr. Bunje is trained in biology, with a B.S. from the University of Southern California and a Ph.D. from the University of California, Berkeley.
Lindsey BurrisDirector, Alliances
I Prize Teleportation
Lindsey Burris comes to XPRIZE with a background in sales, marketing and customer service. This experience helps Ms. Burris support the Alliances team operations and donor relations. She is responsible for managing Alliances event logistics and XPRIZE'S Customer Relationship Management system, Salesforce.com.
Previously, she was an assistant manager at Enterprise Rent-a-Car. Ms. Burris has also served as a fundraising intern for The Howard for Penal Reform in London, England.
Ms. Burris attended Pepperdine University where she studied in Buenos Aires, Argentina and graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology.
Vivian CabralManager, Team Relations
I Prize Unleashing Potential
Vivian Cabral comes to XPRIZE with over 12 years of healthcare experience in both corporate and non-profit organizations. Her background in project management, drug and device development and strategic communications allows Ms. Cabral to successfully lead team relations and management for the Qualcomm Tricorder XPRIZE and the Nokia Sensing XCHALLENGE.
Prior to joining XPRIZE, Ms. Cabral designed messaging strategies and executed communication campaigns for healthcare corporations and brands at Edelman. She counseled private and public sector clients including Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, Edwards Lifesciences, Shire Regenerative Medicine, Sangart, Care Harbor and CoachArt. In addition, Ms. Cabral successfully launched and managed global marketing, clinical research, philanthropy and communications projects for Pfizer, Biogen Idec, Harvard Clinical Research Institute, Massachusetts General Hospital, Yale School of Public Health, the Taproot Foundation and Shanti Bhavan Children's Project.
Ms. Cabral holds a Bachelor of Science in Biopsychology from the University of Michigan, a Master of Public Health in Health Services from Boston University School of Public Health and a Master of Science in Strategic Communications from Columbia University.
Leo CamachoAssociate, Media & Outreach, Google Lunar XPRIZE
I Prize Art Through Science
Leo Camacho joins XPRIZE with a multi-faceted background ranging from the arts to social media outreach. He brings 10 years of experience in graphic design and illustration, as well as several years in entertainment, to his role in engaging the Google Lunar XPRIZE community in more interactive and creative ways.
Prior to joining XPRIZE, Mr. Camacho worked as a freelance graphic artist, a position where he worked on a multitude of projects including corporate marketing and illustration for children’s books. Aside from his experience as an artist, he also co-founded the popular website Radnerd.com, which covered news and events in the pop culture world such as video games, entertainment, comics and tech. Later Mr. Camacho launched and co-hosted a weekly live, internet community-focused web-series called “The Radnerd Show” on TheStream.tv, which went on to be nominated for “Best Online Interactive Live Program” at the 2010 Streamy Awards. The show focused on bringing news and entertainment to the audience and also featured industry guests pertaining to community interests, allowing live viewers to ask questions in real time. Mr. Camacho has also hosted various online, cross-platform events for DK Publishing, Niko Electronics, and Nintendo focusing on social media and outreach.
Grant CampanySenior Director, Qualcomm Tricorder XPRIZE and Nokia Sensing XCHALLENGE
I Prize Good Health and Wellness
Grant Campany comes to XPRIZE with nearly 20 years in the Life Sciences industry. As the founder of BLOGiQ Advisory Group, a boutique consultancy firm offering strategic planning for non-profit organizations, Mr. Campany brings his wealth of experience in the non-profit sector to XPRIZE.
He began his career with 3M Pharmaceuticals and led the development and implementation of 3M’s first global Research & Development portfolio prioritization process across three technology platforms. Mr. Campany’s experience includes business development for PPD Discovery and Onyx Pharmaceuticals and global strategic planning for Chiron Corp.
Mr. Campany holds a Bachelor of Science in Business “With Distinction” and a Master of Business Administration from the Carlson School of Management, University of Minnesota.
Denise CannonSenior Director, Events
I Prize Curiosity
Denise Cannon comes to XPRIZE with a rich tenure in the world of experiential marketing. For more than 15 years, she has developed, managed and led teams to dimensionalize brands through strategic communications, integrated marketing programs and captivating live events. Ms. Cannon has worked with a number of clients that range from technology based firms like AMD, PeopleSoft, Intel, Nokia, 3M to Consumer Product Companies like Nike and Sony as well as non profit organizations like Mental Health America and the American Heart Association. In addition, she is an active consultant with the Taproot Foundation, developing brand strategies for small to medium sized non-profits in Los Angeles.
Formerly, Ms. Cannon was the Vice President of Activation for Jack Morton Worldwide, a global brand experience agency. For more than a decade with Jack Morton, she worked in the US, Europe and also had a two-year post in Asia cultivating experiences for some of the most recognized brands spanning the automotive,technology, financial and health sciences sectors. She has the skills and passion to work in all media including live event production, digital communications, social media and print and has won a number of industry awards within the experiential community.
Ms Cannon holds a Bachelor of Arts in Communications with a Technology focus from the University of California, Santa Barbara. A self-proclaimed doodler, Denise describes herself as part journalist, part problem solver - all heart.
Joel CarnesVice President, Prize Operations
I Prize Innovation for the Common Good
Joel Carnes joins XPRIZE with 20 years of experience as a leader in strategy and management in the high tech, entertainment, and consulting fields. At XPRIZE he heads the Prize Operations group, supporting innovators around the world as they compete to bring their breakthrough ideas to fruition.
Prior to joining XPRIZE, Mr. Carnes lead Central Operations at Activision, supporting global franchises including Call of Duty and Skylanders. As Director of Business Operations and Strategy at Disney Online, he managed a complete reboot of the Technology Group, responsible for Disney websites, games, and application development. Acting as Sr. Strategist at Disney Imagineering, Mr. Carnes defined and managed multiple Corporate Alliance partnerships, including Wellpoint and T. Rowe Price. He has held leadership positions in both boutique and major consulting firms, including KPMG/BearingPoint.
Mr. Carnes received a Bachelor of Arts in Social Ecology from the University of California at Irvine. His diverse background includes work in visual effects cinematography (including leading the VFX camera crew on Starship Troopers) as well adventures as a Ranger in the U.S. Forest Service.
Christina CavalliDirector, Human Resources
I Prize Accessible Quality Healthcare for All
Christina Cavalli comes to XPRIZE with ten years of recruitment and human resources experience.
Prior to joining XPRIZE, Ms. Cavalli served as a Senior On Premise Manager for Ultimate Staffing. During her tenure at Ultimate Staffing she was responsible for the recruitment and management of the contingency workforce at 20th Century Fox.
Ms. Cavalli received her Bachelor of Arts in Sociology from Sonoma State University and is certified as a Senior Professional in Human Resources.
Marissa ChristiansenManager, Alliances
I Prize Gender Equality
Marissa Christiansen joins XPRIZE with five years of experience in the fields of urban planning and public policy. She will be using her background in strategic planning and stakeholder relations to help the Alliances team’s operations and donor relations.
Prior to joining XPRIZE, Ms. Christiansen served as the Assistant to the City Manager in the City of Redondo Beach where she was responsible for setting operational goals and served as a project manager for many of the city’s priority initiatives. Prior to that, she was the South Bay Initiative Director with the Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition where she led a multi-jurisdictional campaign promoting active transportation, environmental sustainability and improved community health.
Ms. Christiansen received her Master’s in Urban Planning from USC and her BA in Psychology from UC Santa Barbara. The South Bay Initiative she led was the recipient of an American Planning Association Award and has been used as a national model for regional alternative transportation planning.
Kama CraigAssociate, Prize Operations
I Prize Sustainable Agriculture
Kama Craig comes to XPRIZE with more than 15 years of experience in office management, accounting, logistics, and expert customer care. She is both honored and excited to use her extensive administrative background and exceptional organizational skills to provide the day to day operational support for the Qualcomm Tricorder XPRIZE and the Nokia Sensing XCHALLENGE.
Prior to joining XPRIZE, Ms. Craig worked primarily in the private sector, holding managerial positions in home décor and apparel design and manufacturing, a top international logistics company, and most recently managing operations from the ground floor up at an architectural tech start-up firm.
Ms. Craig studied nutrition education at Orange Coast College which led to a lifelong passion for health, nutrition and wellness. She is an advocate for supporting local farmers and the importance of affordable nutrient rich food for a healthier population.
Zachary DavidWeb Producer, Marketing & Communications
I Prize Exploring the World
Zachary David comes to XPRIZE with more than six years of experience in the communications and entertainment industries. His responsibilities include working alongside other departments to help integrate XPRIZE’s core principles into both internal and external facing marketing and communications materials.
Prior to joining XPRIZE, Mr. David worked in television production, helping to create content for networks such as MTV, VH1, and Style. He has also worked as a freelance communications consultant, helping to craft public relations and marketing materials and events for the LA Shorts Fest, Flip Creative, and the Colonial Theater.
Mr. David received his Bachelor of Science in Public Relations from Boston University.
Eric DesatnikDirector, Public Relations
I Prize Wildlife Conservation
With a decade-spanning academic and professional background in both the entertainment industry and environmental advocacy, Eric Desatnik has carved a niche at the intersection of the two fields.
Most recently, Eric spearheaded communications efforts at an international wildlife conservation group, overseeing public relations, strategic partnerships, social media, and celebrity ambassador engagement. Eric and his team leveraged over $200 million in placed and earned media on a budget of $1.5 million.
Eric founded and programmed the Environmental Film Festival at Yale, which has since grown to become one of the leading environmental film festivals in the world. For his work on this, Eric was named one of Variety’s “Standout Students” of 2010.
Alongside Ryan Reynolds and Scarlett Johansson, Eric served as Executive Producer of the documentary, The Whale, a “Critic’s Pick” by the New York Times and the Washington Post, about a lone killer whale who befriends humans off the West Coast of Canada.
Eric’s background in the entertainment industry includes positions at George Magazine, Management 360, and BWR Public Relations, where he executed publicity campaigns for clients including Brad Pitt, Adam Sandler, and Sirius Satellite Radio.
Eric holds a Master of Environmental Management degree from Yale and is certified as a LEED Accredited Professional by the U.S. Green Building Council.
Peter H. Diamandis M.D.Chairman & CEO
I Prize Creating a World of Abundance
Dr. Peter Diamandis is the Chairman and CEO of XPRIZE, which leads the world in designing and launching large incentive prizes to drive radical breakthroughs for the benefit of humanity. Best known for the $10 million Ansari XPRIZE for private spaceflight and the $10 million Progressive Automotive XPRIZE for 100 mile-per-gallon equivalent cars, XPRIZE is now launching prizes in Exploration, Life Sciences, Energy, and Education.
Diamandis is also an international leader in the commercial space arena, having founded and run many of the leading entrepreneurial companies in this sector including Zero Gravity Corporation, the Rocket Racing League and Space Adventures.
As co-Founder & Chairman of the Singularity University, a Silicon Valley based institution partnered with NASA, Google, Autodesk and Nokia, Diamandis counsels the world’s top enterprises on how to utilize exponential technologies and incentivized innovation to dramatically accelerate their business objectives.
Dr. Diamandis attended the MIT where he received his degrees in molecular genetics and aerospace engineering, as well as Harvard Medical School where he received his M.D. Diamandis’ personal motto is: “The best way to predict the future is to create it yourself!”
Winona DorrisController, Finance
I Prize Quality Education for All Children
Winona Dorris joins XPRIZE with more than 20 years of experience leading finance and accounting teams in the entertainment, healthcare, and consulting industries. She is the central point of contact for all day to day financial issues, primarily responsible for leading the operational strategy as it relates to the finance department.
Prior to joining XPRIZE, Ms. Dorris was a finance consultant where she serviced clients in management level roles in finance, accounting, and taxation.
Ms. Dorris holds a Bachelor of Arts in Economics-Accounting from Claremont McKenna College and a Master of Business Administration from the University of Phoenix.
Jennine DwyerSenior Director, Sponsorship Services
I Prize Improved Healthcare for the Elderly
Jennine Dwyer joined XPRIZE with more than 15 years of experience in the sponsorship, marketing, event and public relations arenas. Ms. Dwyer has effectively supervised, developed and implemented strategic brand teams through tactical positioning, integrated marketing programs, interactive events, incentivized programs and endorsement opportunities within the automotive, sports, and entertainment industries. This vast array of knowledge allows Ms. Dwyer to successfully oversee partner and sponsorship relationships among XPRIZE Title, Presenting, and Category Sponsors as well as Supporting Partners.
Prior to joining XPRIZE, Ms. Dwyer operated as Experiential Marketing Director for General Motors’ vehicle brands, where she concentrated on producing and executing multi-level consumer based experiential marketing programs generating awareness and ROI for General Motors through marketing, advertising and public relations. During her extensive tenure within the automotive industry, Ms. Dwyer generated regional and national based events incorporating GM brands into such programs as the Tostito’s Fiesta Bowl, The GRAMMY Awards, MTV Video Music Awards, NASCAR, NFL, PGA, NCAA, the Pac-10 and The Walt Disney Company. Her previous career with Rolling Stone, US Weekly and Men’s Journal Magazines fused in-book client participation in Los Angeles based signature marketing programs with client advertising efforts.
Ms. Dwyer holds a Bachelor of Science in Advertising with an emphasis in Graphic Design from Northern Arizona University.
Connie FoxSenior Executive Assistant to the Chairman & CEO
I Prize Clean Oceans
Connie Fox comes to XPRIZE with more than 15 years of experience working as an Executive Assistant for CEO’s at KB Home, Herbalife and Activision. Her current role at XPRIZE is assisting the CEO with day-to-day operations.
Ms. Fox started her career as a Sales Representative/Marketing Manager for Donnelly Yellow Pages and PageNet before realizing her true passion was organizing people’s lives.
Ms. Fox holds a Bachelor of Science in Marketing from California State University, Long Beach.
Christopher FrangioneVice President, Prize Development
I Prize the Environment
Christopher Frangione brings to XPRIZE more than 15 years of experience in the strategy and operations fields, initially with energy companies and then as a management consultant. This experience helps Mr. Frangione work at the intersection of audaciousness and achievability to ensure XPRIZE achieves maximum positive impact. In this role, Mr. Frangione works with all departments of XPRIZE, prize sponsors, and other prize stakeholders to develop prize strategy.
Prior to joining XPRIZE, Mr. Frangione ran the market assessment practice at a boutique management consulting firm, where he consulted to CEOs of major engineering companies on all issues related to internal and external strategy. Chris has leadership experience across all sectors of the energy industry, including serving as Manager of Operations and Business Development at Green Mountain Energy Company. In that role, he managed a regional market and defined new business opportunities, policies, and strategies for the retail renewable energy company. Mr. Frangione consistently seeks out entrepreneurial opportunities, and has founded several organizations and helped others expand into new markets.
Chris received his Bachelor of Arts in Environmental Policy from Colby College and Master of Business Administration and Master of Environmental Management from Duke University.
Beau FrankDirector, Talent Acquisitions
I Prize Canine Rescue
Beau Frank joins XPRIZE with more than 18 years of experience helping organizations build cutting edge recruiting and human resources functions.
His unique opportunities to work within some of the world's most respected organizations, leading talent and human resources functions, has helped him hone his abilities to attract highly skilled and intellectually charged professionals. He served in roles such as Global Head of Recruiting at Standard & Poor's CVC and Global Head of Talent Acquisition at Coach, Inc.
Mr. Frank received a Bachelor of Arts in Communications at Bradley University.
Chanda GonzalesDirector, Education, Google Lunar XPRIZE
I Prize Education and Gender Equality
Chanda Gonzales comes to XPRIZE with more than ten years of experience working with K-12 students, University students and teachers from a variety of backgrounds. Additionally, she has directed programs that foster community and partner collaboration. This experience helps Ms. Gonzales oversee the direction of the Google Lunar XPRIZE Education Program, where she is responsible for managing all aspects of the global Science, Engineering, Technology and Math (STEM) program.
Prior to joining XPRIZE, Ms. Gonzales served as a Program Director with the University of California, Riverside and Davis campuses. During her tenure with these academic institutions, she worked on programs that looked at the importance of reengineering policy to attempt to better serve its communities. She has worked with a variety of entities like the Office of Secretary Defense, Department of Interior, European Union, local governments, 4-H, Boys and Girls Club, Charles Schwab, Accenture and Sears in developing programs that supported environmental, personal finance, citizenship, recreation and science based education. Ms. Gonzales holds a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology and a Master of Public Administration from California State University, San Bernardino.
Jill GravenderDirector, Prize Development
I Prize Sustainability
Jill Gravender comes to XPRIZE with more than 15 years of experience in environmental policy and management. She has worked closely with diverse stakeholders (NGOs, corporations, federal and state governments, as well as academic and financial institutions) to develop innovative approaches to mitigating the negative impacts of climate change. This breadth of experience helps her to strategically identify, design, and launch new competitions across the XPRIZE’s five Prize Groups.
Prior to joining XPRIZE, Ms. Gravender served as the Director of R20 USA, an organization founded by Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, which strives to align technology, policy and financial investments to help governments around the world implement low-carbon energy and sustainable development projects. Ms. Gravender’s leadership also contributed to the development of the first state-level voluntary greenhouse gas reporting program in the country (California Climate Action Registry), as well as the first North American greenhouse gas registry (The Climate Registry ).
Ms. Gravender has a Bachelors degree in Economics from Arizona State University and a Master’s degree in Environmental Science and Management from the Bren School at the University of California, Santa Barbara.
Darlene GrayExecutive Assistant, Marketing and Communications
I Prize Healthier Meals for Public Schools
Darlene Gray comes to XPRIZE with 15 years of experience as a Senior Level Executive Assistant. In her current role, she will continue to support Trish Halamandaris and Rob Hollander with extensive calendar management and assisting with detailed event coordination in our marketing department.
Prior to joining XPRIZE, Ms. Gray held executive assistant positions for such companies as the Four Seasons Hotel Los Angeles, and Vivendi Universal, and JP Morgan Chase where she supported the senior managing director of investment banking.
Before starting her career as an executive assistant, Ms. Gray briefly had a career as a model for both print and runway and has a background and interest in the Healing Arts and is a California State Licensed Massage Therapist.
Trish HalamandarisSenior Vice President, Marketing & Communications
I Prize Global Education of Women
Trish Halamandaris joins XPRIZE with more than 20 years of experience leading marketing and sales for both small and large companies including The Walt Disney Company, Electronic Arts and Procter and Gamble. Her depth in branding, digital marketing and strategy will help build the XPRIZE brand by developing creative and impactful campaigns.
Prior to joining XPRIZE, Ms. Halamandaris led marketing for a start-up e-commerce company, driving significant revenue growth through advertising, acquisition and CRM/email efforts. While at Disney she managed global marketing and sales for the mobile games group. Prior to Disney, while at MGM Studios, Ms. Halamandaris initiated the turnaround of the Pink Panther property with the first upscale apparel and promotional effort in licensed merchandise. This campaign won several press awards, including the PR Prism, MarCom, and the Mercury PR Gold Awards. At Electronic Arts, she oversaw the original global launch of The Sims game which became the top-selling PC game in history.
Ms. Halamandaris received a Bachelor of Science in Business from the University of California at Berkeley and an MBA in Marketing and Finance from the UCLA Anderson School of Management.
Cindy HemmingAssociate, Business Affairs
I Prize a Cure for Lupus
Cindy Hemming joins XPRIZE with more than 18 years of experience as a paralegal working in both corporate and law firm environments. Ms. Hemming’s diverse and extensive experience will be used to assist with the legal needs of XPRIZE, as well as coordinate with our outside legal counsel to prepare, review and process the legal contracts.
Prior to joining XPRIZE, Ms. Hemming worked for 12 years as a paralegal for the Co-President/General Counsel of Playa Capital Company, LLC (“Playa Vista”). At Playa Vista, she helped create the legal department and protocols, and was responsible for providing legal support in areas of litigation, contracts, commercial leases and corporate compliance.
Ms. Hemming attended Cal Poly University in San Luis Obispo majoring in political science and pre-law. She completed with honors an ABA approved paralegal studies program at Penn State University. Ms. Hemming is an avid runner and has completed numerous marathons. In 2012, she ran the L.A. Marathon and raised money for her sponsor The Lupus Foundation of America.
Julienne HoDirector, Alliances, Innovation Board
I Prize Creativity and Innovation
Julienne Ho joins XPRIZE with experience in fundraising, communications, sales, events and investment banking. She is responsible for developing the Innovation Board on the Alliances team.
Prior to joining XPRIZE, Julienne worked in non-profit development and events for Creative Visions Foundation and Action Against Hunger. She was responsible for membership and events at Mosimann's, a Belgravia-based private members' establishment in London. As a graduate, she was an analyst in investment banking at Robert Fleming & Co and JPMorganChase.
Julienne has a degree in Spanish from the University of Edinburgh and a Masters in International Relations and Diplomacy from University of London's School of Oriental and African Studies.
Rob HollanderVice President, Brand & Content
I Prize Technology & Education
Rob Hollander brings with him more than 20 years of experience in brand building, digital marketing and content strategy. At XPRIZE, he leads the planning, development, implementation and execution of XPRIZE branding, creative and media efforts in support of Alliances, Sponsorship, Prize Development and Operations.
Formerly, Mr. Hollander was Senior Vice President, General Manager and Executive Director of Content Strategy at Aegis Media’s Carat where he led the Los Angeles office’s broadcast/print/digital integration effort and managed relationships including adidas, New Line Cinema, Seagate and MGM Mirage. Prior to Carat, Mr. Hollander was Senior Partner, Group Creative Director at Ogilvy & Mather, where he launched Mattel’s first transmedia marketing campaign. In 1996, Mr. Hollander founded the digital agency, MagickBox, partnering with Bank of America, National Wildlife Federation, Qwest Communications, Universal Studios Online and Warner Bros. Prior to MagickBox, he was SVP, Group Creative Director at Grey Advertising NY, leading the youth marketing practice and was a founding member of Grey Interactive Worldwide, pioneering digital marketing.
Mr. Hollander holds a Bachelor of Arts in Communications from Binghamton University, New York. He has extensive experience across film/video production, web development, animation, CGI and app development, and has won numerous industry awards including Cannes Lions International, New York Festivals, Houston Film Festivals, Mobius Awards, Effie Awards and DoubleClick Top iAgency. Passions include guitar, songwriting and teaching his daughters the laws of cartoon physics and the plausible impossible.
Matthew HuelsenbeckManager, Team Relations
I Prize Healthy Oceans
Matthew Huelsenbeck comes to XPRIZE with seven years of interdisciplinary experience in ocean research, environmental advocacy and conservation. He is excited to bring his passion for the relationship of ocean and energy issues to the Wendy Schmidt Ocean Health XPRIZE.
Prior to joining XPRIZE, Mr. Huelsenbeck worked as a marine scientist at the conservation organization Oceana, based in Washington, D.C., where he advocated for policies to promote clean energy, and communicated the threats to marine life from ocean acidification to the media, public and policymakers. He has also worked for a congressional campaign, grassroots climate change advocacy, marketing for a residential energy-efficiency software tool, and as a researcher at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography.
Mr. Huelsenbeck holds a Bachelor’s degree in Environmental Studies from Miami University and a Master’s in Marine Biodiversity and Conservation from the Scripps Institution of Oceanography at the University of California San Diego.
Sara JenningsTeam Administrator, Prize Development
I Prize Space Development
Sara Jennings joins XPRIZE with more than eight years of experience in science non-profits successfully coordinating events and programs. Mrs. Jennings will be working with the Prize Development team in a support role as well as supporting Eileen Bartholomew. In this role, she will be doing varied work from event planning to document management across the Prize Development team.
Prior to joining XPRIZE, Mrs. Jennings worked for the Challenger Space Center where she designed and taught summer camp science curriculum and coordinated the Honeywell Fiesta Bowl Aerospace Challenge. She also ran the NASCAR meets NASA, Night Rover Invention Experience where she developed a program for 1,200 5-6th graders to design and build solar powered rovers. Mrs. Jennings has also worked at Marketwired as a product specialist in client care, as a consulting assistant at Aquarius Group and a Conference Chair for the annual NewSpace Conference.
Mrs. Jennings received a dual B.A. degree in Linguistics and Communications from the University of Arizona. She holds a level 2 certification for high powered rocketry, is an avid stargazer, and is on the board for the Space Frontier Foundation, a non-profit seeking to further develop space.
C. David JonesOffice Assistant
I Prize a Clean Environment and Longevity
C. David Jones joins XPRIZE with more than 20 years of experience in the private sector. Currently serving as an office assistant, Mr. Jones’ experience and hard work has made him a valuable part of XPRIZE.
Prior to his tenure at XPRIZE, he worked in the film industry, in positions ranging from production assistant to gaffer.
Mr. Jones received his Bachelor of Arts in Communications from Appalachian State University.
Dave KeboAssociate Producer, Creative Services
I Prize Positive Creative Self Expression
Dave Kebo joins XPRIZE with more than a dozen years of experience in the Film and Television industry as a screenwriter, director and editor. His extensive background in shepherding a diverse array of projects through all stages of the creative process will help XPRIZE to produce dynamic and engaging content.
Mr. Kebo began his career as a screenwriter on the Jet Li film “The Black Mask.” Since then, he has written projects for Beacon Pictures, Artisan, Digital Domain, Fremantle, Hydraulx Films and MTV. Mr. Kebo has also directed numerous music videos and award-winning shorts as well as two feature films. His work has appeared on Showtime and the Sci Fi Channel and premiered at international festivals including the Los Angeles Film Festival, Sundance and Cannes.
Prior to joining XPRIZE, Mr. Kebo edited trailers and sizzle reels for companies such as LMNO Productions, Rive Gauche TV and A&E. Corporate clients include Google, Easton Sports and Northrop Grumman.
Mr. Kebo earned his Bachelor of Arts in English from the University of California, Los Angeles. He has mentored as a Big Brother for the past seven years.
Matt KellerSenior Director, Global Literacy XPRIZE
I Prize Learning
Matt Keller is the Senior Director of the Global Literacy XPRIZE. Matt is leading an effort to develop a prize that will challenge teams from all over the world to create innovative technologies that will reach the poorest and most remote children on Earth – children who have no access to school or any kind of quality learning environment. Previously, in his capacity as Senior Vice-President of One Laptop per Child (OLPC), Matt led OLPC’s ground-breaking literacy project in remote Ethiopia testing the theory that children from non-literate communities could teach themselves to read using tablets filled with applications designed for self-learning.
Matt has also served as a senior program officer with the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) for five years, serving in Rome, Italy, and as Legislative Director for Common Cause in Washington, DC where he led efforts on Capitol Hill focusing on openness, accountability, and campaign finance reform in the United States Congress. Matt has also worked as a lawyer and lobbyist on behalf of migrant farm workers in the Southwest United States, and as a Jesuit Volunteer in Portland, Maine.
Denean KorenExecutive Assistant, Executive Office
I Prize Recycling
Denean Koren joins XPRIZE with more than 20 years of executive assistance experience supporting C Suite business leaders. Denean is the Executive Assistant for Bob Weiss, Vice Chairman and President of XPRIZE.
Ms. Koren has had a wealth of experiences in multiple organizations such as KPMG, Dole Food Company, Honeywell, Herbalife and the cinema industry.
Mark KrynskySenior Manager, Web Production
I Prize Advancements in Healthcare
Mark Krynsky comes to XPRIZE with more than 15 years working in website production. His experience spans many areas including project, product, and content management. Mr. Krynsky is also an advocate in the use of open source platforms which are essential to XPRIZE and other non-profits. He also brings strong knowledge for ways to leverage social media services and tools.
Prior to joining XPRIZE, Mr. Krynsky held project management positions for CitySearch and Traffic Marketplace.
David LockeManager, Team Relations, Google Lunar XPRIZE
I Prize a Clean Environment
David Locke comes to XPRIZE having worked in the Film and Television industry for the past several years. Organizing complex global productions has helped Mr. Locke in his efforts to establish and administer XPRIZE’s competitions.
Most recently working as a Coordinator in the Production Department of Sony Pictures Television, Mr. Locke helped oversee the production of more than twenty award winning TV Movie and Mini-Series. Prior to his tenure at Sony, Mr. Locke worked freelance on a number of well-respected network and cable TV programs (scripted, live & reality programming), feature films (both studio and independently funded) as well as music videos and commercials.
Mr. Locke holds a Bachelor of Arts in Television Production with a minor in Business Administration from Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles.
Jon MadjidovDirector, IT
I Prize Autonomous Cars
Jon Madjidov comes to XPRIZE with 12 years of experience in the field of Information Technology. He is responsible for planning and implementing the technological needs of XPRIZE, overseeing future system developments and ensuring the continuity of information flows.
Prior to joining XPRIZE, Mr. Madjidov worked in Denver for Rocky Mountain Orthodontics and Navajo Manufacturing. As a Network Administrator at Navajo Manufacturing, he enhanced the network infrastructure, recommended and implemented hardware and software upgrades, including a wide range of various technologies. Additionally, Mr. Madjidov was responsible for the development of electronic data interchange at Navajo Manufacturing. As a Network Administrator at Rocky Mountain Orthodontics, he continued contributing to system development, administration and design.
Mr. Madjidov currently holds several industry certifications, including CCNA, MCSE, MCDBA, MCP and MCTS SQL 2005.
Angela MaungAssociate, Production
I Prize Clean Oceans
Angela Maung comes to XPRIZE with more than 5 years of field experience as a Production Coordinator. Ms. Maung’s background helps her to fulfill the varied responsibilities of production, including navigating the logistics of all production services undertaken. She is also responsible for XPRIZE’s vast media library and event assets.
Ms. Maung received her Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from the University of California, Los Angeles.
Allyson McKinneyAssociate, Events, Marketing & Communications
I Prize a Cure for Ovarian Cancer
Allyson McKinney joins XPRIZE with 4 years of experience in event planning and hospitality management. Ms. McKinney will be joining and assisting the Events team meet its objectives by providing operational and guest relations support.
Prior to joining XPRIZE Ms. McKinney had the extraordinary opportunity to work as the Events and Operational Assistant at TEDActive 2013. During her time at TEDActive, she produced special events, which enhanced the overall experience at TEDActive 2013. Ms. McKinney also performed the role as the Hospitality Manager at Singularity University for 3 years and helped oversee the day-to-day operations, including personnel management, conducting facility and venue support, providing customer satisfaction and producing the upkeep of administrative records per event.
Ms. McKinney holds a Bachelor of Sciences degree in Hospitality, Tourism and Event Management from San Jose State University where Ms. McKinney graduated with honors as a Dean Scholar.
Lina MorlandoGraphic Designer, Marketing & Communications
I Prize Humane Animal Welfare
Lina Morlando comes to XPRIZE with more than 20 years combined experience in Administration/Operations, Marketing and Graphic Design in both the public and private sector. Her role as Associate is divided between graphic design, and the coordination and production of XPRIZE’s Prize Development collateral.
Ms. Morlando’s past experience includes Marketing Coordinator for the Space & Communications Division at Boeing, assisting with the launch of the International Space Station.
Jeffrey NerdinSenior Director, Business Affairs
I Prize Reduced Carbon Emissions
Jeffrey Nerdin joins XPRIZE with more than 12 years of experience as an attorney representing corporations, non-profit organizations, universities, and other institutions on a wide variety of matters including commercial contracts, regulatory compliance, intellectual property licensing, and corporate finance. His broad legal experience is valuable as XPRIZE seeks to analyze and maximize the many opportunities that frequently arise as we pursue our various prizes and campaigns.
Prior to joining XPRIZE, Mr. Nerdin negotiated industry-sponsored research awards, non-disclosure agreements, and other business contracts on behalf of the Regents of the University of California during his four years with the UCLA Office of Intellectual Property and Industry Sponsored Research. Prior to UCLA, he spent more than six years with top west-coast law firms before briefly striking out to pursue his own entrepreneurial ventures. While at UCLA, Mr. Nerdin negotiated numerous multi-million dollar research contracts with leading corporate partners in the aerospace, pharmaceutical, software, automotive and materials science industries.
Mr. Nerdin received a Bachelor of Arts in Biology from Lewis and Clark College and a Juris Doctor from the Northwestern School of Law at Lewis and Clark College. He is licensed to practice law in California and Oregon and is an active member of the State Bar of California.
Patrick PabalanAssociate, IT Systems Administrator and Help Desk
I Prize Life Stations
Patrick Pabalan comes to XPRIZE with 12 years of experience. He is responsible for IT user support and Systems Administration for XPRIZE.
Prior to joining XPRIZE, Mr. Pabalan worked for Experian as an IT Support Specialist. At Experian, he provided user and system support for the EL Segundo, New York, Kuala Lumpur and Costa Rica offices. He made sure that all workstations and servers were tuned and fully operational.
Mr. Pabalan holds a Bachelor of Science in Computer Science and is a Microsoft Certified Professional.
Paul RappoportChief Operating Officer
I Prize Access To Quality Education
Paul Rappoport is the Chief Operating Officer of XPRIZE. In this role Mr. Rappoport is responsible for driving organizational change and scaling the Foundation for the future, including optimization of operating structure, systems and processes. Mr. Rappoport also directly leads the Finance, Legal, Technology and Human Resources areas of the company, and will play an active role in business development and positioning the Foundation as the leader in innovative, incentivized competitions that drive global impact.
Mr. Rappoport most recently lead the Entertainment, Media & Gaming vertical for Rosetta Marketing, a leading customer engagement agency. In this role Mr. Rappoport helped drive audience engagement and profitable business impact for clients through engagements including personalization-driven CRM for Activision’s Call of Duty franchise and cross-service user experience strategy and design for Sony Entertainment Network. Mr. Rappoport was actively involved in new business development and drove results for other clients including Electronic Arts, Zynga, Namco Bandai, Participant Media, Vizio, Major League Gaming and Qualcomm.
Mr. Rappoport was previously Chief Operating Officer for LEVEL Studios, an independent digital agency with three locations in California. Mr. Rappoport helped this user experience-focused agency to scale aggressively to 250 employees with over 100% revenue growth in less than two years. He was also instrumental in marketing the agency to a broad list of potential buyers and ultimately helped drive the acquisition of LEVEL by Rosetta Marketing in 2010.
Prior to his agency experience Mr. Rappoport was Vice President of Strategic Planning for Activision’s Worldwide Studios, where he focused on M&A and operational initiatives. Mr. Rappoport has also held operational and financial roles with Electronic Arts, Disney Animation and Mattel.
Robyn ReadyProject Manager, Prize Operations
I Prize a Clean Environment
Robyn Ready joins XPRIZE with more than 15 years of experience in project management. Having worked in fields as diverse as Litigation Support to Warehousing to Telecommunications, she brings her project management experience to XPRIZE in the execution of prizes and challenges.
Prior to joining XPRIZE, she worked as a supervising project manager with Agile•1 in the field of Human Capital Management where she led the team that received the 2008 President’s award for quadrupling an account to more than $180 million in six months.
Ms. Ready received her Bachelor of Science in Management from Purdue University.
Steven ScottAssociate, Alliances
I Prize Space Exploration
Steve Scott is a member of the XPRIZE Alliances team. Before joining the XPRIZE Foundation, Mr. Scott worked in the Special Events Department at the John Wayne Cancer Institute. He also worked for both 20th Century Fox and Universal Music Group where he produced numerous small and large scale employee events.
In his current role at XPRIZE, Mr. Scott is responsible for overseeing departmental operations and project management. Mr. Scott received his Bachelor of Arts from Emerson College in Boston, MA.
Al ShaikhDirector, Product Development
I Prize Medical Breakthroughs
Al Shaikh joins XPRIZE with more than 15 years of experience in building innovative digital programs for organizations of all sizes. Mr. Shaikh’s extensive experience helps lead digital marketing efforts for XPRIZE. Mr. Shaikh's specialties include digital product development, web analytics, and conversion optimization.
Al Shaikh received a Bachelor of Science in Biochemistry and Psychology from Stony Brook University and a Master of Business Administration from Hofstra University.
Stephanie ShapiroAssociate, Prize Development
I Prize Intrinsic Motivation
Stephanie Shapiro comes to XPRIZE with more than eight years of experience working in nonprofit and education organizations as a case manager, community outreach manager, fundraiser, and facilitator. Ms. Shapiro uses this background to help design prizes focused on benefiting humanity in new and innovative ways, as well as fostering industry breakthroughs.
Prior to XPRIZE, Ms. Shapiro worked with a variety of at-risk populations including homeless women in crisis pregnancy, inner-city youth, children affected by HIV/AIDS, and homeless adults reentering the workforce. This past summer, Ms. Shapiro was an Education Pioneers fellow where she was part of a dynamic cohort of graduate students committed to education reform.
Ms. Shapiro earned Psychology and Human Rehabilitation Services degrees from the University of Northern Colorado and an MBA with an emphasis in Entrepreneurship from Loyola Marymount University. She founded the LMU Net Impact chapter and recently completed a yearlong research project focused on how social enterprises in the US, Singapore, Hong Kong, and India overcome barriers and develop best practices. Ms. Shapiro loves learning about and experiencing other cultures.
Jennifer SisemoreSenior Associate, Events, Marketing & Communications
I Prize a Cure for Parkinson's Disease
Jennifer Sisemore comes to XPRIZE with more than 13 years of experience working in the Aerospace community and has over 18 years of event marketing experience. Ms. Sisemore is an integral part of the Events team to meet its objectives by providing operational support as well as the planning of multi-day events conducted by Prize Operations.
Prior to joining XPRIZE, Ms. Sisemore worked for 9 years at Sea Launch Company, LLC. At Sea Launch, Ms. Sisemore gained valuable international experience as Manager of Customer Relations and Community Affairs, working closely with both the executive and operations team while supporting the mission campaigns. She also managed all events and meetings within the company. Ms. Sisemore supported over 24 rocket launches and she served two missions to the equator, supporting mission control and helicopter activities while at sea.
Ms. Sisemore attended Cypress College with a major in human services, and Long Beach State with a major in Event Management.
Shannon SmithDirector, Marketing & Communications
I Prize Innovation & Science Education
Shannon Smith joins XPRIZE as Director of Marketing with more than 14 years of experience in Digital Marketing. She will be supporting the Ocean Health and Global Literacy prizes. Ms. Smith has an extensive background in the application of content developed specifically for branding consumer packaged goods, developing strategic events, building cross promotional partnerships and creating engaging social media campaigns to drive consumer activation.
Prior to joining XPRIZE, Ms. Smith was with UberMedia, an IdeaLab spin-out company, proving instrumental in the launch of their turn-key mobile advertising network, managing their multiple app properties and social strategy.
As a strong supporter of cancer research and children’s charities she enjoys volunteering for organizations that benefit the YMCA, City Year and the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society.
Yaniv SnirDirector, Prize Development
I Prize Global Development
Yaniv Snir joins XPRIZE with more than 12 years of experience in global development, including managing projects and developing new business for contractors working with the US Agency for International Development, Millennium Challenge Corporation, and the Centers for Disease Control. As Director for Prize Development he will be working with the Prize Development team on our continued global expansion efforts and on our Energy and Environment portfolio.
Before joining XPRIZE Yaniv was a capture manager for the Emerging Markets segment of Deloitte Consulting. In this role, he led business expansion efforts in Africa. Earlier in his career, Yaniv served as Business Development Manager for Chemonics International and Management Sciences for Health, where he worked in Eastern Europe, Africa, and Asia on proposal management and development, international recruitment and partner negotiations, budgeting for proposals, and project management.
After receiving a Bachelors degree in Global Studies at the University of California Santa Barbara, Yaniv joined the US Peace Corps as a forestry volunteer in Ghana, West Africa. He later moved to Washington, DC, where he earned a Masters in Development Management from the School of International Service, American University.
Damien SomersetSenior Manager, Production
I Prize Science Education
Damien Somerset comes to XPRIZE with experience in a wide array of video and digital media projects. This experience helps Damien oversee video production and social media efforts for XPRIZE and its competitions.
Prior to joining XPRIZE, Damien served as Project Manager for the AFI Digital Content Lab and Social Media Consultant for a number of web content companies including Revison3, NextNewNetworks, and Generate. He also has a passion for environmental issues and has worked for Treehugger, GOOD Magazine, and was the creator of the acclaimed green web video series ZapRoot.
Mr. Somerset attended University of Southern California Film School.
Tammy StockfishManager, Sponsorship Services
I Prize Creating Opportunities to Improve Our Planet
Tammy Stockfish comes to XPRIZE with more than 15 years of experience in developing brand strategies, identifying new business opportunities and managing product development for licensed products. Her experience in building strong and profitable strategic partnerships will contribute to the continued development of our XPRIZE sponsors fulfillment and activation. Her interest in working for a nonprofit led her to XPRIZE. Prior to joining XPRIZE, she worked for Paramount Pictures Consumer Products Group and the Walt Disney Company in several business units including Disney Consumer Products and The Walt Disney Internet Group.
Ms. Stockfish received her Bachelor of Arts degree from Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles.
Elke StollAssociate, Accounting
I Prize Animal Welfare
Elke Stoll comes to XPRIZE with an extensive background in business and administration.
Prior to joining XPRIZE, Ms. Stoll worked for several Internet startup companies and explored her creative side by working with an artist who designed clothing.
Originally from Ulmen, Germany, Ms. Stoll has a Bachelor of Arts in Economics from the Berufsschule in Cochem, Germany and received a certificate in Computer Systems and Programming from Computer Learning Center (CLC).
Allison TarcelliAdministrative Assistant, Executive Office
I Prize Creativity
Allison Tarcelli comes to XPRIZE with 12 years experience in administrative, creative, and operations experience in the Finance, Event Planning and Advertising industries. Ms. Tarcelli will be assisting the Executive Offices of the CEO & Chairman and the President.
Prior to joining XPRIZE, Ms. Tarcelli planned investor conferences for a Boutique Investment Firm in NYC, and provided administrative and customer services support in finance and fashion industries. In addition to her planning and administrative experience, she also designed and produced print advertising campaigns for a major international publisher.
Ms. Tarcelli received a BFA in metalsmithing from Moore College of Art & Design. She continues to be an active member of artist communities, and co-founded an up-cycle fashion and accessories collective with several MCAD alumni. Her work has been shown in galleries and museums throughout the Los Angeles and Philadelphia areas (Including the Philadelphia Museum of Art), and has been featured in various print and online magazines.
Zenia TataProgram Director, Global Development
I Prize Accelerating the End of Global Suffering
Zenia Tata joins XPRIZE with more than 21 years of experience in program design, management and business development for not-for-profit organizations and social enterprises. Her work has spanned 20 countries in Asia, Africa and Central America, with diverse issues ranging from water and food scarcity, economic enhancement, climate change, land rights, healthcare, education and child welfare. Her unique contribution has been to infuse these traditional development solutions with an entrepreneurial approach, where all stakeholders can draw tangible value from these programs and services.
Ms. Tata’s consulting clients have included academic institutions like MIT’s D-Lab, private sector social enterprises like Spring Health and Medeem, technology incubators such as D-Rev, impact investment groups like Beyond Capital, funders like Nike, Soros’ Open Society Foundation and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundations and large international NGOs such as Concern Worldwide. Before that, she was the Executive Director of International Development Enterprises (iDE) USA. iDE pioneered market-based approaches to increase income for impoverished farm families in Asia and Africa and has doubled the incomes of 20 million people living in abject poverty.
Originally from Mumbai, India, Ms. Tata is passionate about her work with economically disadvantaged populations, believes in the innate entrepreneurial qualities of the poor and is constantly searching for innovative solutions to global problems.
Ms. Tata has taught classes on social entrepreneurship in universities such as Harvard Business School, Stanford, MIT, University of Colorado and New York University.
Gina TenazasAssociate, Human Resources
I Prize Human Rights
Gina Tenazas joins XPRIZE as an Associate, Human Resources, with more than 12 years in the entertainment industry.
Mrs. Tenazas worked in member services for the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees (IATSE) for over eight years, specifically for Locals 790 & 847 (Storyboard Artists and Set Designers). In her first two years at IATSE, she was able to reduce the outstanding dues and initiation receivables in excess of $50,000 by developing and creating payment plans crafted around individual members’ needs. Most recently, she worked at Universal Music Group in their Human Resources Department, supporting Distribution, Physical Logistics and Digital Operations.
Mrs. Tenazas received an Honorable Discharge from the United States Marine Corps, after completing basic training at Paris Island, SC and serving the remainder of her time at the Marine Corps Air Base, El Toro, CA.
Gianelle VeisManager, Prize Development
I Prize Every Child’s Right to an Education
Gianelle Veis joins XPRIZE with more than six years of experience creating, managing and implementing integrated, multi-platform marketing and sponsorship campaigns for IMAX Theatre films and their respective environmental and educational initiatives. Ms. Veis applies her experience to XPRIZE by developing marketing and sponsorship programs to engage prospective partners in support of prizes in development. By comprehensively analyzing the marketplace of potential prizes, Veis creates and manages prize marketing strategies, including public relations, social media and education plans, and functions as a liaison between prize development and operations to transition prizes from the design to launch phases.
Prior to joining XPRIZE, Ms. Veis served as Manager of Marketing and Sponsorships at MacGillivray Freeman Films, the world’s highest-grossing independent producer and distributor of educational IMAX Theatre films. During her tenure at MacGillivray Freeman, she managed the development and implementation of marketing and sponsorship campaigns for partners aligned with film content, themes and educational initiatives in order to support film development, production, distribution, and releases.
Ms. Veis received her Bachelor of Arts in Communication, with minors in Spanish and Theatre, and her Master of Communication Management from the University of Southern California.
Jyotika VirmaniDirector of Technical Operations, Wendy Schmidt Ocean Health XPRIZE
I Prize an Informed World
Jyotika Virmani joins XPRIZE with more than 10 years of experience in the oceanic and atmospheric sciences, including both research and leadership positions. As the Director of Technical Operations for the Wendy Schmidt Ocean Health XPRIZE, Dr. Virmani brings her scientific and technical expertise and knowledge of ocean and atmospheric observing systems to help address the challenging problems we face in understanding the Earth’s climate system.
Prior to joining XPRIZE, Dr. Virmani served as the Associate Director of the Florida Institute of Oceanography, as a Senior Scientist at the Met Office (the UK’s national weather service), and as the Executive Director of the Florida Coastal Ocean Observing System Consortium. In these roles, she has worked with the scientific community to observe, understand, and forecast the marine and atmospheric environments.
Dr. Virmani has also served on the Scientific Planning Committee for the joint AGU/ASLO/TOS Ocean Sciences 2014 Meeting, on the Board of Directors for the Southeast Atlantic Coastal Ocean Observing System Regional Association, and on the Board of Directors for the Pier Aquarium/Secrets of the Sea.
Dr. Virmani has a Ph.D. in Physical Oceanography from the University of South Florida, where she worked on both blue water and coastal oceanography. She won a Rotary Foundation Ambassadorial Scholarship which allowed her to earn a M.S. in Marine Environmental Science (Atmospheric Science) from SUNY at Stony Brook. She also has a B.Sc. in Physics from Imperial College London and is an Associate of the Royal College of Science and a Fellow of the Royal Meteorological Society. In her spare time she maintains a humorous and informative tropical storm blog.
Stephanie WanderAssociate, Prize Development
I Prize Mental Health for All
Stephanie Wander comes to XPRIZE with over 12 years of diverse experience in film production and digital media. Recently, Ms. Wander earned her MBA from the UCLA Anderson School of Management, where she focused on Sustainability, Corporate Social Responsibility, and Non-Profit Management. Ms. Wander uses this background to help design prizes that address the world’s grand challenges.
Prior to XPRIZE, Ms. Wander worked as a Coordinator for News Corp Digital Media, the organization responsible for overseeing Hulu.com and Myspace.com for Newscorp/Fox. She also worked for for A-list producers and actors and on 7 feature films, including Mr. and Mrs. Smith, Man on Fire and Jarhead.
Ms. Wander earned her BS, Radio/Television/Film, from Northwestern University and her MBA from University of California, Los Angeles Anderson School of Management. Ms. Wander also currently serves as a board member for Clifford Beers Housing, a Community Housing Development Organization that develops affordable housing for individuals and families with limited incomes, including households that are either homeless or at-risk of homelessness and have a member living with a mental illness.
Robert K. WeissVice Chairman & President
I Prize Creating the Future
Mr. Weiss is Vice Chairman and President of XPRIZE. XPRIZE’s mission is to foster innovation through incentivized competition. XPRIZE has active competitions in Lunar Exploration, Healthy Oceans and Mobile Health Care, and is now developing XPRIZEs in Education, and Energy.
Weiss is a veteran Hollywood television and film producer having produced over 20 feature films and TV series during the past 25 years. He began his career in the late 1970’s producing the feature film, KENTUCKY FRIED MOVIE and later produced the ABC television program POLICE SQUAD! as well as the three NAKED GUN movies starring Leslie Nielsen.
Weiss produced the international hit, THE BLUES BROTHERS for Universal Studios. His other feature films produced for Universal include AMAZON WOMEN ON THE MOON and DRAGNET. Weiss was the Executive Producer for the television series WEIRD SCIENCE and SLIDERS (that he co-created).
As president of Broadway Pictures at Paramount, Weiss joined forces with Saturday Night Live Executive Producer Lorne Michaels. Weiss executive produced many films at Paramount including TOMMY BOY, A NIGHT AT THE ROXBURY, SUPERSTAR, and THE LADIES MAN. He went on to produce the hit movies, SCARY MOVIE 3 & 4.
Weiss served on the Board of Directors of IS Robotics (now called iRobot in Cambridge, Massachusetts) from 1990 to 1994.
Under the banner of Earthlight (a multimedia production company), Weiss has produced award-winning productions for XPRIZE, The Boeing Company, the Zero Gravity Corporation and Anousheh Ansari, the first female private space explorer.
Mr. Weiss has been the Vice Chairman and Executive Producer for XPRIZE since 1996. In the fall of 2004, he produced the award-winning live telecast & webcast of the Ansari XPRIZE space flights. Weiss has been the President of XPRIZE since July 2008.
Lizzy WikaProject Manager, Marketing
Elizabeth Wika joins XPRIZE with more than 20 years of experience in project management and broadcast business affairs from various Los Angeles advertising agencies. She brings her expertise to XPRIZE in the implementation of project management systems to streamline the creative processes, ensure accurate and transparent tracking, accountability and approvals.
Prior to joining XPRIZE, Ms. Wika worked as director of media and project management at Red Marketing, a firm that successfully launched the UCLA satellite radiology center in Manhattan Beach where she planned print, broadcast and digital media for their health industry clients. Her career path began at TBWA\Chiat\Day and continued at Stein Robaire Helm, Team One, Deutsch, Siltanen + Partners, and Ogilvy.
Ms. Wika received her Bachelor of Science in Journalism from Northern Illinois University. She is a Chicago native and lives in Los Angeles with her husband and daughter.
Rossana WooAssociate, Public Relations
I Prize a Healthy Environment
Rossana Woo joins XPRIZE with four years of experience in Public Relations. She works alongside Public Relations Director Eric Desatnik in helping to raise public excitement and engagement of the XPRIZE brand. Her knowledge and skills of public relations will help bring about awareness of the XPRIZE foundation to the community and beyond.
Prior to joining XPRIZE, Ms. Woo worked at The Lippin Group, a boutique PR agency in Los Angeles. She started her career at another non-profit organization called the Housing Corporation of America creating the company’s first newsletter. After that, she worked as a Publicity Research Editor with DVS Intelestream, before being hired at The Lippin Group.
Ms. Woo received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Journalism, with a collateral in Communications, from California State University, Northridge. While there, she anchored, produced, and reported for Valley View News and KCSN 88.5 FM.
Alan ZackSenior Director, Marketing & Communications
I Prize Clean Oceans
Alan Zack comes to XPRIZE with more than 20 years of experience successfully developing marketing strategies for top entertainment brands within The Walt Disney Company, Mattel, Activision/Blizzard, as well as several startup companies. This experience helps Mr. Zack oversee all marketing, branding and communication efforts for XPRIZE and its competitions. He is responsible for designing and executing customer-facing programs that will generate both awareness and interest.
Prior to joining XPRIZE, Mr. Zack served as Director of Marketing at Encore Software, a subsidiary of Navarre Corporation. During his tenure at Encore, he created and implemented national consumer marketing campaigns for leading software brands such as PC Tools, The Learning Company, Hoyle, Broderbund and H&R Block.
Mr. Zack received a Bachelor of Science in Journalism at University of Oregon and a Master of Business Administration from the University of Florida.
David ZweigCreative Director, Marketing & Communications
I Prize the Power of Inspiration
David Zweig comes to XPRIZE with more than 15 years of experience in brand development, creative direction and multidisciplinary design. At XPRIZE, David leads the creative and design direction of the foundation and its prizes.
Prior to joining XPRIZE, Mr. Zweig served as Director of Design for Harman International, where he supervised the development and design of its consumer and corporate brands while providing critical support for all three divisions of the company. His work was instrumental in bridging multiple groups of engineers, designers, celebrities and world-class automotive and entertainment partners to create award-winning products, experiences and business opportunities.
Mr. Zweig has served as Creative Director, Director of Broadcast Design, Supervising Animation Director and Character Design Supervisor in numerous fields, developing everything from singular brands, stories and characters to virtual worlds, museums and themed entertainment venues.
Mr. Zweig received a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Character Animation from California Institute of the Arts and Bachelor of Arts in Design from California State University, Northridge. Additionally, he served as a Big Brother with Big Brothers of Greater Los Angeles for more than ten years.