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 others. 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.”

Joy Johnson

Joy Johnson

Administrator

Joy is responsible for coordinating with schools, teachers and parents who attend the Outdoor Project. She is also on the year-round team and helps Mosaic run smoothly all year.
She first came to us as a stellar youth leader in 2010. She obtained a B.S. in International Business at San Francisco State University. After living in France, then working as a legal assistant, she has joined us here at The Mosaic Project. It is such a “Joy” to have her on the team.

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 & Communications 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.

Chandra Page

Chandra Page

Accounting & Development Coordinator

Bio coming soon!

Outdoor Project Facilitators

Andria Gonzales

Andria Gonzales

Facilitator

Bio coming soon!

CJ Suitt

CJ Suitt

Facilitator

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.

D'Andre Smith

D'Andre Smith

Facilitator

Bio coming soon!

Jakeya Sanders

Jakeya Sanders

Facilitator

Professional Musician, Vocalist, Educator and Youth Mentor from Philadelphia Pa, who loves people and social justice work. Jakeya believes that the most rewarding work is mentoring and empowering youth and children. “Motivating our youth to believe that they are limitless, to manifest and achieve anything that they put their minds and will to doing, is what brings me complete joy”

Jeron Jennings

Jeron Jennings

Facilitator

Bio coming soon!

Jyler Donovan

Jyler Donovan

Facilitator

Jyler is a full-time experiential educator who believes strongly in the importance of employing both theory and practice in social justice work. Each year, Jyler travels the US and works with K-12 students on challenge courses and in a variety of outdoor settings. In their free time, Jyler enjoys rock climbing, reading, visiting amusement parks, and playing video games.

Kia Parrish-Haim

Kia Parrish-Haim

Facilitator

Bio coming soon!

Kineta Lyde

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!

Peter BG Pita Chipper

Peter BG Pita Chipper

Bio coming soon!

Rebeca Pessoa

Rebeca Pessoa

Facilitator

Beca has been a facilitator for many wonderful seasons at Mosaic in addition to taking high schoolers abroad for service learning leadership programs and backpacking the world on a shoestring. She is happiest when spreading peace and love through self expression and intercultural communication. Beca also enjoys cheffing up plant based foods, dancing to Latin and African rhythms, and hiking and swimming in the Mother Nature. She was born in Brazil and raised in Fresno, CA. 
Michael DeJuarez Jr

Michael DeJuarez Jr

Facilitator

Bio coming soon!

Shanae Savage Tizon

Shanae Savage Tizon

Facilitator

Shanae joins the Mosaic Project for her third season this Spring and part time during the off season. She is a singer/songwriter and epic story teller , traveling with her husband Chano and their baby Quest all the way from Philly.

Theron (Fame) Reed Jr.

Theron (Fame) Reed Jr.

Facilitator

Bio coming soon!

Zakery Ijadi

Zakery Ijadi

Facilitator

Zak is an outdoor educator, backpacking guide, and general nature lover from Seattle, Washington. In his off season, he works at Mt. Baker Ski Area and Camp Unalayee. On his weekends off you can find him thrifting, looking for fresh tomatoes at the farmers markets, or napping.