Top Row (Left to Right): Alexandra Castillo-Kesper, April De Simone, Lara Furtado, Sabrina Dorsainvil and Thomas Lane
Alex comes to Parsons after serving as Director of Development for Watts House Project, an artist-driven urban redevelopment project located across from the historic Watts Towers neighborhood in South Los Angeles. Originally from upstate New York, Alex received her M.A. in Art History from the University of Southern California and graduated magna cum laude from Middlebury College. While at Parsons, Alex is interested in designing radical strategies to leverage local skills and talent and empower communities to reimagine and redesign their city on their own terms.
April De Simone
April De Simone has over 15 years of experience in productively launching and developing for-profit, non-profit and government projects. Ms. De Simone’s professional, volunteer and personal experiences enhance her effectiveness in targeting the most efficient frameworks that maximize the full potential of blended value impact initiatives.
Continuing to advocate for social innovation, Ms. De Simone launched, and currently chairs the New York Metro Chapter of the Social Enterprise Alliance (SEA). Since 1998, SEA continues to serve as the “go to” hub for a diverse pool of stakeholders committed to using progressive methodologies to promote social impact and change. With a network comprised of chapters across North America, SEA bridges in-depth resources and opportunities to a vast and growing network of dedicated entrepreneurs and organizations that demonstrate how social ventures are catalysts for change.
Ms. De Simone is also a founding partner of two social hybrid ventures launching in 2013 (kreatealamode & Access the Change). kreatealamode stems from a previous venture, Urban Starzz, and uses consumer lifestyle purchases to create economic, educational, and community growth. Access the Change focuses on engaging a wider community of stakeholders to define their place of value in the ecosystem of social innovation.
A graduate of New York University, Ms. De Simone has been recognized for her leadership and dedication in empowering individuals and communities and is actively involved in various boards, initiatives, and ventures that employ innovative capacities that scale social impact. Most recently, Ms. De Simone was nominated as a candidate for New York Governor Andrew Cuomo’s Economic Council Initiative. In addition, she currently is a graduate candidate at The Parsons School of Design, Design and Urban Ecologies Program.
Lara Furtado is a Brazillian citizen that participates in a governmental program that encourages top students to be visiting students abroad. As an Undergaduate student of Architecture and Urbanism in one of Brazi’ls most socially unequal cities, she decided to study urbanism in a non traditional way that challenged problems from a practical and direct approach. She has worked as an intern in 3 architecture firms only to understand that their business model and quality of projects did not match her ideas of what a good social project should be. Later she became a Researcher in a laboratory in Ceará’s Federal University foccused in Urban studies, and worked closely with communities affected by the World Cup’s infrastructure actions that were going to be removed from their homes. She has also dedicated, with a group of 12 students, to make sure that commnities from favelas could have legal access to their homes and resist eviction. Her challenge is to contribute significantly into making Brazil’s social programs more effective when it comes to garanteeing property to low income families, effectively charging taxes from big real estate developers and making sure that governmental capital is being invested towards high quality housing programs.
Sabrina Dorsainvil, a Boston, MA native, received her undergraduate BFA in Industrial Design from Massachusetts College of Art and Design in the spring of 2012. Growing up in a Haitian family with nomadic moving tendencies instilled in her a need to understand connections and relationships between people and their interactions with their environments and objects. She has been involved in student groups, service work, art initiatives, and has participated in a series of projects such as the designing of the Center for Art and Community Partnerships SPARC Artmobile. These experiences have called on her to use art and design as a tool for positive change, especially in youth and community development.
Tom Lane has more than a decade of nonprofit management and fundraising expertise, having advanced the work of several leading regional, national and international political advocacy, environmental, health and human rights organizations. Most recently, Tom was a Major Gifts Officer with Global Greengrants Fund, an international NGO dedicated to promoting global, grassroots social justice and environmental sustainability movements. In addition, Tom is a active member of the Association of Fundraising Professionals, The New School Alumni Association, and he has provided pro-bono fundraising consulting services for various youth, educational, and human rights advocacy groups. He currently serves as a volunteer Advisory Board Member for The Child Soldier Relief Foundation. Tom holds a BA in Political Science from Boston College, and a MS in Nonprofit Management from The New School.