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Staff

 

Shilpa Jain is currently rooting herself in Oakland/Berkeley, CA, where she serves as the Executive Director of YES!. Prior to taking on this role, Shilpa spent two years as the Education and Outreach Coordinator of Other Worlds and ten years as a learning activist with Shikshantar: The Peoples’ Institute for Rethinking Education and Development, based in Udaipur, India, where she served as coordinator of the Swapathgami (Walkouts-Walkons) Network. Shilpa has researched and written numerous books and articles,  and facilitated workshops and gatherings on topics including globalization, creative expressions, ecology, democratic living, innovative learning and unlearning. Her publications include A Poet’s Challenge to SchoolingReclaiming the Gift Culture, Other Worlds of Power, Paths of Unlearning, Unfolding Learning Societies volumes one, two and three, and several issues of Vimukt Shiksha (“Liberating Learning”) and the Swapathgami newsletter “Making Our Paths of Living and Learning”. She is also co-author of “Connect. Inspire. Collaborate”, a highly sought-after facilitation manual.

Shilpa has facilitated dozens of transformative leadership gatherings in India, Jordan, Senegal, Lebanon, Egypt, Thailand, Canada, Peru, Pakistan, Puerto Rico, Turkey, and the US, working with hundreds of young leaders from over 80 countries. She was founding coordinator of the Global Youth Leadership Collaborative, a network of 15 Jam facilitators from 14 countries that has collectively produced dozens of international gatherings for young changemakers, and distributed hundreds of thousands of dollars to small-scale grassroots social change innovations worldwide.

Many years ago, Shilpa made the decision to leave the trappings of academia, Washington, DC, and the path of “professionalism” that had been laid before her to live and work in greater alignment with her soul’s calling. Today, she sees her work as contributing to the deep healing of internal, interpersonal and systemic breakdown. Shilpa is committed to using very simple human technologies – like listening, speaking from the heart, slowing down, breathing, and connecting to nature – to support authentic relationships, a deeper sense of self, an essential shift in consciousness, and aligned living practices. She is passionate about dance and music, organic and natural farming, upcycling and zero waste living, asking appreciative questions and being in community. All of her work seeks to uncover ways for people to free themselves from dominating, soul-crushing institutions and to live in greater alignment with their hearts and deepest values, their local communities, and with nature.

 

Jovan Julien is the new Alignment and Storytelling Integrator at YES! He currently makes home in Atlanta, Georgia, by way of Rhode Island, Massachusetts, New Jersey, and Haiti. After 21 years being incubated in the North, he began to make his way back towards the beloved Caribbean. As a storyteller, organizer, and facilitant educator, Jovan has been working for years in the practice of building Beloved Community through the practice of radical witnessing. Whether as a part of the “Beyond Borders: Peoples of the Caribbean and Latin America” radio collective that broadcasts weekly, a regional organizer at Project South, a Ph.D student at Georgia Institute of Technology, or most important a member of his communities, Jovan works tirelessly to design elements both analog and digital to bring community closer together. Whether in the South of the United States, or the greater Caribbean, Jovan’s current work focused on transformational change by building tools for open and honest dialogue and radical democratic governance by community. As a photographer interested in education, a facilitator working to protect memory, and an engineer interested in the long term sustainability of his community, Jovan brings a particular focus to developing group practices and midwiving our most radical dreams into existence.

 

Isissa Komada-John serves as the new Design & Development Catalyst at YES!  She is a multidisciplinary designer, curator, and creative arts administrator. In addition to her work with YES!, she does development writing for Cave Canem Foundation and is a freelance graphic and exhibition designer. Isissa previously served as Exhibitions Manager at the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture in Harlem, NY and Exhibitions Director of MoCADA (Museum of Contemporary African Diasporan Arts) in Brooklyn, NY. She has worked with over 100 artists to develop socially engaged projects and has curated, organized, and designed more than 30 exhibitions. Isissa holds a degree in Africana Studies from Brown University. A native New Yorker, she lives in Bed-Stuy, Brooklyn.

 

imageJoanie Smalley is the part-time Operations Manager at YES!, joining the team in July 2015. She brings with her a passion for supporting people. This passion took her to Australia in 2008, where she studied Holistic Kinesiology, earning a diploma from the Australian College of Complementary Medicine, in 2010. Today, she has a Holistic Kinesiology practice based in Oakland, CA. Prior to moving to Australia in 2008, Joanie worked for eight years as an assistant in the Executive Offices at Pixar Animation Studios.