Staff

Year-round staff

Lara Mendel

Lara Mendel

Executive Director and Co-Founder

Lara works tirelessly to inspire inclusive communities and believes that, like Gandhi said, “If we are to reach real peace in the world, we must start with the children.” Lara holds the vision for a peaceful, equitable world very close to her heart and The Mosaic Project is the culmination of her personal and professional experience.

Read Lara’s story…

The seed for The Mosaic Project was planted in Lara Mendel when she was in high school and attended a weeklong summer camp that brought together students from different backgrounds to discuss prejudice. While the experience was impactful, she observed that the hurt and anger accompanying the discussion were deeply entrenched. She left believing that waiting to address issues of difference until high school was waiting far too long.

In college, Lara traveled to Germany with a program that brought together Jewish students with former Nazis. Through the dialog on this trip, she came to a deeper understanding of how small prejudices could lead to broader discrimination and violence. It also filled her with a resolve to dismantle this cycle and show future generations that peace is possible.

After years of conversations with Gogi Hoder, Lara and Gogi founded The Mosaic Project as a way to create a peaceful future.

Lara graduated from Stanford University with B.A. and M.A. in Anthropology. She has worked extensively in violence-prevention and with youth in several countries promoting understanding of self and different cultures. She is a black belt in Kajukenbo Kung-Fu and practices in Oakland, CA.
Brian Lowe

Brian Lowe

Chief Operating Officer

Brian manages The Mosaic Project’s day-to-day operations and provides the strategic vision for the Mosaic Consulting Project. Brian’s work experience includes consulting at Price Waterhouse, corporate finance with Hewlett-Packard and Sitesmith Inc, outreach for the Golden Gate Opera, and program development for the Silicon Valley Triathlon Club. The highlight of his career thus far has been facilitating The Mosaic Project’s diversity curriculum at the Outdoor Project.

Brian received a BS in Electrical Engineering from Duke University and an MBA from the Johnson School of Management at Cornell University. He is an expert bicycle racer, an avid gardener, and Mosaic’s own “Mr. Everything.”

Mark Yanez

Mark Yanez

Deputy Director

Mark oversees relationships with Mosaic’s partners and families. His work enables all students at Mosaic’s partner schools experience the magic and ensures that their families understand the significance of Mosaic’s programming. In addition to being the administrative backbone, Mark is also an experienced facilitator and an expert in Mosaic’s immersive, experiential education curriculum.

Mark’s background is rooted in activism, organizing around issues facing his community in South Los Angeles, particularly LGBT and Chican@ movements. He worked as Program Coordinator at Our Family Coalition before returning to Mosaic full time.

Mark is a graduate of UC Davis. He has an extensive zine collection and enjoys cooking vegan Mexican food, discussing decolonizing efforts, planning his next Disneyland visit, and playing cooperative board games.

Khemnes Fisher

Khemnes Fisher

Youth Leadership Project Director

Khemnes manages Mosaic’s Youth Leadership Project and is responsible for providing a network of teens and youth adults with opportunities for mentorship and leadership. He connects youth from all different backgrounds and offers them facilitation experience in assertive communication, conflict resolution, and Mosaic’s unique curriculum. Since 2007, Khemnes has worked with Mosaic at the Outdoor Project and through the Mosaic Consulting Project.

Khemnes’ previous work experience includes Education Specialist in the assistive technology field, Outdoor Recreation Assistant Director for Lighthouse School for the Blind and Visually Impaired, and Resource Program Specialist within the San Francisco and Alameda County Unified School Districts.

Khemnes has a BA from California State University of Fullerton and an Education Specialist credential from San Francisco State University. He thinks he is the best at Goal Ball, but that has yet to be proven.

Christian (Chano) Tizon

Christian (Chano) Tizon

Program Director and Resident Rock Star

Born in Salem, Oregon and raised in the Philippines, Chano landed back in the states at age ten. Amidst transition and travel, he collected creative and multicultural influences and became a skilled musician, educator, and cross-cultural communicator, adept at reaching audiences and students of diverse backgrounds. Chano first came to The Mosaic Project as a Youth Leader in 2005 and then joined our Outdoor Project staff as a facilitator and our Resident Rock Star. He then moved to Philadelphia to pursue his music career. We are extremely excited to have him back this season after 10 years. He is joined on our team by his wife Shanae and son Quest.

Christabel Nunoo

Christabel Nunoo

Program Specialist

Christabel first became involved with The Mosaic Project as a Youth Leader in 2016 and joined the staff as a facilitator later that year. She received her Bachelor of Music in Vocal Performance from the University of Michigan and continues on her path to becoming an opera singer. Being involved with Mosaic’s Outdoor Project provides her with an avenue to combine both her passion for music and youth. She also joins the Year-Round Team as the manager of the Kids Board of Directors and joins the In-School Project. She loves silly dancing and singing around the campfire, and adds to the magic of Mosaic when she shows off her operatic skills.
Myles Posey

Myles Posey

Americorps Volunteer

Myles first came to Mosaic in Fall 2011, and has moved through many roles including Youth Leader, intern, and facilitator. He grew up in Berkeley and spends his time making pizza and working on his design brand “Happy Camper,” inspired by the Mosaic values and spreading peace. His infectious energy and surprising goofiness makes him one of the most memorable staff members for alumni. His talents include telling campfire stories, hyping up the crowd, and being a logistical behind-the-scenes mastermind.

Outdoor Project Facilitators

CJ Suitt

CJ Suitt

CJ has been flying to the Bay Area from North Carolina since 2011 to facilitate at the Outdoor Project. He is a poet and facilitator working to elevate youth and their collective voices through spoken word poetry. He is Co-founder of the Sacrificial Poets, a youth organization that works to create safe spaces for young people to empower themselves through the sharing of their stories. CJ is dedicated to being a creative catalyst for the highest potential of a dynamic generation not afraid to speak truth to power.
Rebeca Pessoa

Rebeca Pessoa

Rebeca is thrilled to be back at Mosaic for her second season. She has a Bachelors degree from Tufts University in Peace and Justice Studies with a focus on race studies. She is interested in spreading love and peace, living sustainably and healing naturally. Beca’s hobbies include Latin dancing, camping under the stars, cooking, and traveling the world!
Shanae Savage Tizon

Shanae Savage Tizon

Shanae joins the Mosaic Project for her second season this Fall. She is a singer/songwriter, traveling with her husband Chano and their baby Quest all the way from Philly.

Dee Beaux

Dee Beaux

Duanee, affectionately referred to as Dee, first came to Mosaic as a 4th grader in 2005, has been a cabin leader more than ten times, and will be our first student to come back as an outdoor school facilitator this Spring. She is majoring in Child Development at Humboldt State University, in hopes to continue working with young individuals of all age groups to fight the daily prejudices and discrimination that we are being faced with today. She enjoys officiating middle school basketball and spending time with her three little siblings. Her energetic personality keeps everyone at the Outdoor Program in high spirits and smiling.
Ray Ray Young

Ray Ray Young

RayRay has been a facilitator with The Mosaic Project for many wonderful seasons. RayRay has a background in mechanical engineering with a focus on product design. In their free time, they perform in community theater and make visual art. RayRay also has a plot in a community garden and enjoys experimenting with cooking delicious food.

Kati Sullivan

Kati has been connecting people of all ages to nature throughout California for the past four years. She is stoked to join the Mosaic team in connecting people to people as well as to the world around them. Kati is a Wilderness First Responder, yoga teacher, and bird whisperer. When she is not singing, playing, teaching, and learning at Mosaic, you can find her at Camp Unalayee leading backpacking trips and teaching survival skills.

Kineta Lyde

Kineta was a staff facilitator during Mosaic’s very first pilot session. Now she returns as the Logistics Director to get everything and everyone where they need to be, support staff with her wise words, and to make magic behind the scenes!
Marvion Gillam Burgess

Marvion Gillam Burgess

Marvion attended Mosaic as a 4th grader back in 2006 with Cragmont Elementary. He has since been a cabin leader more times than he can keep track of, and he now returns to facilitate as a staff for his second season. He is well known for being one of the first alum to become a staff, for singing at campfires in strange voices, and his passion for skin care. When he isn’t with Mosaic he is earning a double degree in fashion and neuroscience.

Samantha Armacost

Samantha is so pleased to be joining The Mosaic Project team for her second season. She is an Oakland native and is grateful for the opportunity to connect Bay Area youth to the outdoors and to each other. Over the years, she has been introduced to camping and canoeing and fell in love with it so much that last summer she went on a 62-day canoeing expedition to the Arctic Ocean! When she isn’t paddling down rivers, Sam loves spending time watching movies, going hiking, learning about flowers, singing karaoke, and playing with her puppy Kazoo.