Before Ello, Tom was the head of impact and adoption programs at Google for Education, where his team was responsible for ensuring that Google tools were used effectively in classrooms worldwide. He is on the board of GO Public schools, an organization dedicated to giving voice to families in the most underserved communities, and on the advisory board of Education Reimagined, the movement builder of learner centered education. He has also worked as an intelligence officer, a product manager, founded an EdTech company (with Catalin), and has built a mini-golf course in Cambodia. Tom graduated from Cambridge University with first-class honors in maths and psychology and has an MBA and MA (Education) from Stanford. He has won the Lamor prize at Cambridge, the Queen’s medal at Sandhurst, the Intelligence top student award, and was a Siebel Scholar at the GSB. He loves running, rugby, and lives with his wife and son in San Francisco.
Favorite Children’s Book: Little Blue Truck
Elizabeth is a clinical psychologist who specializes in child development, child behavior, and working with children and families in community settings, schools, clinics, and hospitals. She has worked with children and families for over 15 years. She provides training and education to students and professionals, has presented at national and international conferences, has published articles and book chapters on child development, and has been interviewed by magazines and radio programs on a variety of parent topics. She lives in Northern Virginia with her husband, two children, and labrador.
Favorite Children’s Book: Where the Wild Things Are
Catalin previously developed an AI-based augmented reality therapy for children with autism which is currently pursuing FDA clearance. He is currently on a leave of absence from the PhD program in Artificial Intelligence at Stanford University where he led a project using natural language processing to identify racial disparities in the California criminal justice system. He previously graduated from Stanford with an MS in Computer Science. He also co-founded machine learning companies DukaConnect and Sension (with Tom), both acquired.
While in high school, Catalin built a mobile payments system at PayNearMe with Macintosh-father Steve Capps. He has won the Lemelson-MIT Graduate Student prize, Stanford's Kennedy Medal, Forbes’ 30 under 30, and Business Insider’s 40 under 40. Originally from Germany, Catalin moved to Silicon Valley at age 17 and now lives in San Francisco with his partner Ruby.
Favorite Children’s Book: Die Kleine Raupe Nimmersatt (The Very Hungry Caterpillar)
Lauren has been teaching and tutoring in the reading field since 2004, and has worked with students from preschool through college. She has a B.A. in English from California Polytechnic University, San Luis Obispo, and her M.S. in Education with an emphasis in Reading Instruction from California State University, Fullerton. Lauren has training in the Orton-Gillingham method of instruction and is actively involved in the Science of Reading movement so that all children, including those of diverse backgrounds and neurologies, can become strong, motivated readers.
She lives in Southern California surrounded by a large extended family, including 8 nieces and nephews under age 4. They are all budding bookworms, at least according to their doting aunt.
Favorite Children’s Book: Charlotte’s Web
Samantha Brooks has been an Educator for the past 30 years. She currently resides in Fayetteville, Arkansas with her husband Lee and two children.
Earning her BSE in Elementary Education from Kansas State University in 1991, she then spent 28 years as a Special Education Resource Teacher for grades K-5. She has worked with students with various academic and behavior disabilities in regular classroom settings, small group intervention and one on one therapy settings. She received her Masters in Special Education in 1994 from University of Central Arkansas. Enhancing her knowledge of reading, she received training in the Orton Gillingham methodology in 2013 receiving Therapist level credentials and a Dyslexia Endorsement from the University of Arkansas in 2014. Implementing Orton Gillingham practices in her classroom significantly enhanced her skills as a reading teacher, especially in the area of Dyslexia and related reading disorders. Upon retiring from the classroom in 2017, she joined Brainspring as an Orton-Gillingham Instructor and has conducted trainings all over the country, helping teachers deepen their knowledge of the science of teaching reading. She continues to serve as a reading consultant with many districts and teachers.
Favorite Children’s Book: Winnie the Pooh
Tiffany is a certified reading teacher who has taught Pre-K and Kindergarten for more than ten years, helping young children develop a love for reading. She earned a B.A. in Psychology and a Master of Arts in Teaching from American University, as well as a Certificate in Emergent Literacy from Johns Hopkins University. In addition to Tiffany’s passion for discovering engaging and diverse children’s literature, she enjoys reading to her own daughter (and husband) at their home in Maryland.
Favorite Children’s Book: There Is a Bird On Your Head
Victoria is a Software Engineering graduate from the University of Sheffield. During her time in university, she worked on building a social platform to allow for restaurant retailers and tourists to interact. She also worked on a data collection system to support animal survey schemes.
Victoria covers both front-end and backend software development for Ello and has an interest in machine learning. Victoria's goal is to build software systems that improve people’s lives and she strongly believes that software has the power to change the world for the better.
Victoria lives in Nairobi, Kenya and she enjoys spending time with friends and family, sketching, and photography.
Favorite Children’s Book: The Nancy Drew Mysteries
Anish is a software engineer who studied Electrical Engineering & Computer Science (EECS) at UC Berkeley. In the past, he has worked with ion thrusters for space flight, financial communication systems for loss mitigation, and tools for early-age autism diagnosis using wearable technology. Anish has a newfound interest in human-computer interaction (HCI) and wants to bridge the gap between novel research and impact. He loves to stargaze, watch the sunset, collect vinyls, and explore the corners of the cities around him.
James is a full stack software engineer who has worked for both startups and innovation labs for local and international companies. These include Dukaconnect a machine learning startup that was later acquired by Mastercard. This led to him joining Mastercard Labs For Financial Inclusion where he continued working on the product together with contributing to other projects that helped with financial inclusion for farmers, schools, and small retailers in Africa and India. He also worked for Safaricom Alpha an innovation lab for Safaricom, the leading communications company in Kenya where he helped work on an instant messenger that integrated payments using MPESA a mobile money transfer service in Kenya. He lives in Nairobi, Kenya.
Favorite Children’s Book: Aesop’s Fables
Andrew is a software engineer who previously worked at Apple before joining Ello. While at Apple, he was able to make major contributions and lead projects delivering wide impact in many areas including data privacy & access, health & research, and developer education. Andrew received his master’s degree in Electronic and Information Engineering from Imperial College London.
Andrew is passionate about education and building products that can deliver a positive social value. Outside of work, Andrew enjoys basking himself in the outdoors and can commonly be found enjoying himself on a bike or a pair of skis. Andrew is currently based in San Francisco.
Favorite Children’s Book: The Thief Lord
Alena graduated from Samara State Aerospace University with a BA in Informatics and Computer Science. She has been working primarily in Unity with C# ever since she started programming in the Game Industry in 2014, and participated in the development of a large number of hyper casual games.
Unity isn’t just work for Alena, but is also her main hobby. She’s an indie developer who has already published her own game.
Alena was born and raised in a village in Russia and now lives in Berlin with her husband, daughter, and two cats. She enjoys reading and is crazy about house plants, which she tracks caring for using a Trello board in true engineering style.
Favorite Children’s Book: The Moomins and the Great Flood
Before Ello, Jackie co-founded three organizations focused on empowering individuals to achieve their potential: Dent Education, edwell, and YaYa. She has worked across early childhood, K-12, and postsecondary education as a teacher, consultant, and startup leader. As a former high school English teacher, Jackie was named an "Outstanding Teacher of the Year" by Baltimore City Public Schools in 2010. She received her MBA and MA in Education from Stanford University, her MA in Teaching from Johns Hopkins University, and her BA from Princeton University. She loves spending weekends outdoors with her husband, son Sawyer, and dog Kepler.
Favorite Children’s Book: Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day
Eliachim previously worked for Mastercard Labs in Nairobi as a Lead Field Operations Manager, and later for a stealth Venture Capital firm based in San Francisco as a junior analyst, where he helped process and close 300+ early-stage investments.
Eli loves meticulous work and never gives up. Outside of work, he loves listening to music (he used to make music), and hanging out with family and friends. He lives in Nairobi, Kenya with his family.
Favorite Children's Book: Goat Matata
Bru is a game development veteran with roots in product development operations and project management. For the last decade, he has enjoyed a rewarding career in games and interactive entertainment as an indie Art Director, Lead Artist, Senior 3D Environment Artist, Producer, and Production Designer. He’s also had the great privilege to help build and lead a variety of different teams. Bru has collaborated on products published to PC, mobile, film, and VR platforms in genres like AAA MMO, action, and celebrity RPG. He also has a background in music production and is a multi-instrumentalist with bachelor’s degrees in both Fine Art and Game Art / Design.
Contributing to meaningful projects and imagining aspirational futures inspires Bru to seek out unique projects. Through these projects, he has helped migrate game production technologies and methodologies to new sectors and communities. His skills as an artist, game developer, and being a parent all come together to inspire and reinforce his work with Ello.
Bru lives in the Seattle area with his wife and two sons.
Favorite Children’s Book: The Butter Battle Book
Sergii was born and raised Kharkiv, Ukraine. He graduated from Kharkiv National University of Civil Engineering and Architecture with a master's degree in civil construction and engineering. After graduating, he spent several years figuring out what to do next, including taking a couple of years to tour with his band.
His design career began with creating artwork and merchandise pieces for the band, and he quickly shifted from designing for other musicians to freelancing full-time. In 2021, his main project became developing Ello’s brand identity, as well as web and app design. Sergii lives in Ukraine with his wife Maria and their cat Slash.
Favorite Children’s Book: Kyrylo Kozhumyako
Andrew is a customer support agent with over 5+ years of experience in the field. He began working for the US Army immediately after high school where he found his passion in assisting people and being a big team player. Moving on, he worked with computer hardware companies like NZXT and Gigabyte in Customer Support as computer hardware is a big passion of his.
Currently, Andrew fields the customer support and service front of Ello. Answering customer questions, fixing account issues, and communicating problems to other departments are just some of his duties here. He lives near Los Angeles, California, and enjoys spending time playing video games, hanging out with his friends/family, and watching Japanese anime.
Favorite Children’s Book: The Percy Jackson Series
Doli works closely with the CEO providing administrative assistance. Before joining Ello, she worked as a customer service representative and as an assistant operations manager of an e-commerce business. She likes baking, and has a passion for singing. She enjoys teaching kids how to sing. She lives in Quezon Province, Philippines
Favorite Children’s Book: Mga Kwento ni Lola Basyang (The Stories of Grandmother Basyang)
Lauren Barbaran is an Industrial Engineer who previously worked in a Social Media Marketing Agency as administrative and customer support. She also focused on social media content creation during her time at this agency, creating visuals and designs for different companies in different industries around the world.
Born in Perú but raised a few minutes from San Francisco, Lauren has always had an inclination for languages and helping others, as she often acted as an interpreter for her parents growing up. As a first-generation immigrant, Lauren began learning to read, write, and speak English at the age of four, making her passionate about education and helping those who may not have access to help at home due to language barriers.
During her free time, Lauren enjoys spending time with her family & friends, watching old 90’s shows (Boy Meets World is her favorite), traveling, and trying new foods!
Favorite Children’s Book: The Cat in the Hat
Ian is an operations associate who studied business at the Emory in the Emory Woodruff Scholars Program. Through Teach for America, he currently serves as an Economics and US History teacher at Title 1 school in Atlanta. In the past, he has worked on the strategic rebrand of a WNBA team, feature improvement for teacher-facing EdTech products, and indoor tracking without pre-deployed infrastructure. While he isn’t teaching or running e-commerce operations for Ello, he buys and sells baseball gloves to fund the sandwich bar in his classroom. He spends his summers in San Francisco, his hometown.
Favorite Children’s Book: Harold and the Purple Crayon
Brandon first found his love of marketing when he began posting on social media sites to share his music. This led him to realizing how useful social media can be for promotion. He is currently entering his senior year at St. Xavier University in Chicago, IL where he is studying for his bachelor's degree in Digital Marketing with a focus on Social Media Marketing. In his free time, he enjoys making music, competitive go-karting with his younger brother, and spending time in the city.
Favorite Children’s Book: Love You Forever
Before Ello, Zac worked in strategy consulting, electoral politics, and higher education. Most recently, he served as Director of Strategic Initiatives at Sarah Lawrence College, working closely with the president on institutional strategy. After starting his career in consulting at EY-Parthenon, Zac left for an internship in the U.S. Congress and worked his way up to state director for a presidential campaign before exiting politics for higher education. Zac received degrees in History and Public Policy from Duke University.
Zac is passionate about mission-driven organizations and improving education outcomes. He is a Kentucky native, an avid reader, and an enthusiastic outdoorsman, and he lives in Philadelphia with his partner Lauryn and their dog Finn.
Favorite Children's Book: Where the Wild Things Are