Our Team

Get to know other Sylvans working from around the world

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Sameer KumarSameer Kumar
Product & Engineering

Sameer Kumar

Product Engineer
New Delhi, India

Sameer's the first engineer at Sylva. He's been into tech for the past five years. Sameer has held founding engineer positions at early-stage startups, from Pre-product to the Growth stage.

Leading a curiosity-driven career, on most weekends, Sameer is an Indie-hacker, running micro-SaaS products or exploring new ones in community forums :)

Also, he loves traveling and likes getting out of his comfort zone. Currently, he is learning about product growth!

Know your audience!

Dani MermelsteinDani Mermelstein
Product & Engineering

Dani Mermelstein

Data Lead
New York City

Hi there! I have ~10 years experience working in Data/Analytics, most recently in the fintech field. Super excited to be heading up Data here at Sylva!

Fun fact: I go canoeing on the Hudson, which I will talk about nonstop if you let me (don't let me).

My extended family (community?) is important to me because life and reality are shared experiences. Those experiences can guide you to do better for yourself and those around you.

Data Engineering, Data Analytics/Science, scripting automations, rowing

Kristianne BurnellKristianne Burnell

Kristianne Burnell

Customer Service Representative
Eastern Washington
Community Operations

Most of my working experience has been customer service and administrative. This has given me a wide range of skills in tech, accounting and human resources. A fun fact about me is that I am semi decent at ventriloquism. I'm passionate about web and graphic design.

Management, Multitasking, Time management, Quickbooks, all Microsoft Office Suite, Google Docs, Graphic design, Phone and email etiquette, Proof reading, 10 Key, AR & AP

Brilliant customer service

Carly TaylorCarly Taylor
Tech Ladies

Carly Taylor

Head of Sales
Remote (mostly El Salvador)
Community Operations

Hi! My name is Carly and I'm the Head of Sales at Tech Ladies. I'll be helping the team build out our sales process while creating content and helping women take over the tech industry 😃.

I found Tech Ladies through another online community I was part of so communities are near and dear. I'm passionate about bringing people together while also pushing myself outside of my comfort zone and saying 'yes' to most experiences. When I'm not working you can find me surfing, scuba diving, planning my next trip, or looking at pictures of my dog 🐶.


Apoorv SharmaApoorv Sharma
Strategy & BizOps

Apoorv Sharma

Director of Strategy, Growth, and Business Operations
New York City, NY

After graduating with my degree in mechanical engineering, I pivoted to a career in investment banking. After a few years, I transitioned to a strategy role focused on Digital Consumer Banking. Eventually, I ended up serving as the chief of staff and leading the strategy team for the innovation economy business of the bank, focused exclusively on supporting startups.

Fun Fact - I like a good dose of adrenaline. I spent my early-mid 20s racing motorcycles and have now transitioned to racing across the Atlantic on a sail boat. I don't know how to sail.

I am passionate about sustainability in business. If the planet burns up, none of this will matter. It is thereby imperative to be focused on that sustainability, and frankly, it makes good business sense. What better business could you run a DCF on than one that literally improves the state of our world? Talk about a growth story.

As somebody who moved around a lot growing up, community became an important aspect of how I was able to adjust to the new environments.

Financial Modeling, Strategic Analyses, Executive Presentations

Be nice

David NebinskiDavid Nebinski
Chief of Staff Network
BizOps Network

David Nebinski

Community Operations Manager
Brooklyn, NY
Community Operations

A cohort based course changed my life in 2018. The community within that course was magical and something I hadn't really experienced before. I want to try to create that kind of magic for members.

Fun fact: I don't know how to ride a bike

Member experience, Slack engagement, Program design, Program execution/facilitation, speaker outreach, content creation, events

Make it fun!

Adam AgenskyAdam Agensky

Adam Agensky


Listen to your community; if you focus on your members, everything else will fall in place.

Anish PatelAnish Patel

Anish Patel

New York

Melissa MadsenMelissa Madsen

Melissa Madsen

Head of People

Shawna JamesShawna James
PreSales Collective

Shawna James

Community and Events Manager
Brooklyn, NY
Community Operations

Like most community professionals, I have been doing this work for years without ever even knowing it!

I began my community journey working for the March for Our Lives: Boston movement as a community organizer. With my degree in Theatre Arts, I began to combine my passions for politics organization and the arts by working at a number of non-profit artistic institutions with a justice centered ethos. In 2021, I made the decision to switch into tech/for-profit and landed in PreSales!

Here I work with our whole team on building and maintaining our community of 21,000 PreSales professionals all over the globe and help manage all of our in person/virtual events (~100 per year). I also run and manage our special programs including: WISE (Women in Solutions Excellence); Diversity, Equity, Equality, and Inclusion; and the Ambassadors Program.

Since my work began in political organization, everything I do and work towards comes with an equity mindset. I am passion about building community with purpose and accessibility. I think the work we do is amazing and can really transform lives and businesses; it's up to us to set the standard :)

Career Pivoting (resume/cover letter review), Event Planning/Management, Community metrics, engagement strategy,

Ask way more questions, listen to hear and not to respond

Kelli SmithKelli Smith
Tech Ladies

Kelli Smith

Partner Success Manager
Community Operations

My education is in international business, and I've worked in customer success and admin for logistics, education, and, for the past 9 years, tech, with a focus on supporting women in getting the great careers they deserve.

At Tech Ladies, I support our partner companies, from getting started with us to hiring lots of terrific Tech Ladies candidates for their roles.

A fun fact about me is that, while I grew up in the U.S., I've lived in Finland for almost 27 years. (Came for work and never wanted to leave!)

Besides my work, I'm most passionate about my dance hobby. I practice every day and, whenever possible, travel to dance events all around Europe.

Community is key for me. It's been so wonderful to get to meet - and, in my career, also get to work with and/or help! - so many amazing people from around the world. And it's all thanks to the communities I've gotten to be a part of. Can't and wouldn't want to imagine life without them!

customer success, career support, admin

Talk with - and listen to, of course ;) - the community members. They ARE the community so understanding them and want they need/want is so important for building a strong and thriving community.

Chintan SavaliyaChintan Savaliya
Product & Engineering

Chintan Savaliya

Nocode Engineer
Surat, India

Chintan is a designer and developer who just loves building stuff using nocode tools. He's passionate about crafting beautiful and functional interfaces that people truly loves.

Prior to Sylva he was working independently by helping businesses build their online presence and grow organically. In his college days he founded two startups in autonomous drones and traffic optimisation fields.

He loves playing football and table tennis in his free time (sometimes video games too ;).

Member experiences, Web design, No Code Tools, Creating & Automizing Processes

Experiment with member experiences and ask for feedbacks

Celeste McKenzieCeleste McKenzie
Tech Ladies

Celeste McKenzie

Houston, TX
Community Operations

I've spent the bulk of my career in alcoholic beverage sales in the distribution and supplier tiers. After needing an industry change, I transitioned into a business development role with a SaaS company. I am currently working on the Tech Ladies team to help develop an outbound sales development strategy to generate new leads.

Community is important to me because they not only give you feedback and advice, but also support you through tough times and bad days.

Fun fact: I graduated from culinary school.

Sheila ManiSheila Mani

Sheila Mani

Staff Accountant
Fremont, California. U.S.A.

10 years of experience in the field of Accounting. Will be working as a Staff Accountant at Sylva. I am passionate about learning new technologies, social causes and travelling to new places and countries. Community is important in my life as it gives me a sense of belonging and purpose. At work, Community is important because it embodies the sentiment " strength in numbers" and gives me a voice and conviction. Fun facts- I used to be part of a professional Indian music group as a lead vocalist. For a person who hates running, I have completed 7 half marathons to raise funds for educating underprivileged children in India.

Accounts Receivable

Being steadfast and never loosing sight of the cause that brought you together.

Felix SibalFelix Sibal
Product & Engineering

Felix Sibal

Analytics Engineer
Oakland, CA

Data professional with over three years of experience in the data science field. Will be helping build out our data infrastructure and reporting tools. New dog dad and black belt in Taekwondo.

Alec WittenbergAlec Wittenberg

Alec Wittenberg

Venice, CA

As an Analyst on the M&A team I will help source, evaluate, and execute on acquisitions of new communities for Sylva. Previously, I spent 2 years in lower middle market Investment Banking working primarily in the healthcare sector.

Fun Fact: I was a member of a pit crew for a race team in college.

I love cars, comedy, smoking meats, and spending time with friends and family.

Financial Modeling, Excel, PowerPoint

Member engagement drives deeper value for both members and community leaders and will ultimately facilitate monetization and growth

Nina BergerNina Berger
PreSales Collective

Nina Berger

Career Services Manager
North Bethesda, MD
Community Operations

Current Career Services Manager with PreSales Academy. I lead in our admissions and placement process to help our students launch their careers in PreSales.

With an background in higher education administration and roles that have given me the opportunity to craft curriculum, programs, and trainings centered on learning - I see myself as a creative team player driven by collaboration, strategic thinking, and effective communication. I love to dive into research and literature to create programs that utilize best practices and are data driven.

What motivates me? Projects/initiatives where I can sink my teeth in and bring ideas to the next level. Teams that challenge me to do better. People who celebrate the highs and support others in the lows. Most of all, the opportunity to learn and grow no matter where I am in my life.

Admissions, Strategic Planning, Curriculum, Communication, Organizational Leadership, Teamwork, Career Services, Advising

Create space for people to be heard and valued by others.

Courtney FlickwirCourtney Flickwir
PreSales Collective

Courtney Flickwir

Member Experience Manager
San Diego, Ca
Community Operations

I was the community and events manager for a personal development company for about 7 years, and through that role, I grew to appreciate the importance of the entire, overarching member experience.

Community and events are just one piece of the bigger picture and I loved seeing how all the pieces fit together to bring a holistic experience.

I truly love understanding what drives motivation and engagement with a company and a community so that we can provide something of value to members and something that lasts.

Being the Member Experience Manager allows me to be involved with every touchpoint we have with our members. I get to take their feedback and thoughts and turn it into something that makes our community feel valued and heard. Essentially, I get to build the support system people need to be their best selves.

Fun Fact: I organized a small intimate dinner with Larry King for an event and he made me sit down at the table next to him instead of being the one working the event. He was a super nice man with amazing stories!

Listen - Don't give members what YOU think they need. Talk with them, ask them what they value and how you can better support them and give them that.

Wendy SaccuzzoWendy Saccuzzo
Tech Ladies

Wendy Saccuzzo

Head of Hiring Services
Larkspur, California
Community Operations

My work is in career development, recruiting and hiring. I connect members of Tech Ladies to resources, ideas, and opportunities with our Hiring Partners to help them achieve their career goals. In 2022, I'm focused on scaling the Tech Ladies Candidate Database and Retention. 📈

Fun fact: I have more than 75 houseplants. My faves are Pilea, spider palnts, fiddle leaf fig, and a variety of succulents. I propagate them regularly so I always have plants on hand to give out to friends and family. 🪴

In 2017, I was laid off from a job where I had already gone through a traumatic acquisition, and while recovering from all that, Tech Ladies became my number 1 resource. I joined Founding Membership, grew my private practice as a career counselor specializing in women in tech, and rapidly realized that connection and community have always been my drivers. 🌲

Career development, customer success, career coaching, and diversity, equity, inclusion and justice.

People want to be heard. I am always working on listening more than I talk, and when I am my best listening self, community members can tell and it's impactful.

Rahul DesaiRahul Desai
BizOps Network
Chief of Staff Network

Rahul Desai

General Manager
Durham NC

I started my career in strategy consulting and served clients like Uber and Google. After that I worked in BizOps and Chief of Staff roles at a couple insurtech startups. I was an early member of the BizOps Network! Most recently, I started an online business school called Upslope.

I'm excited to be the GM of Sylva's Ops Cluster, helping grow the BizOps and CoS Networks.

I'm passionate about helping operators improve their career prospects (see above about starting a business school). I also spend a lot of time with my boxer-greyhound puppy, Poppy, as well as my partner, Katherine.

I've been blessed with a very large extended family, which was my community growing up. Now, while Katherine gets her MBA, I find myself hanging out with lots of students, some of whom I try to convince to join our communities!

Fun fact: part of my jaw is made of cement. The story is TMI, but ask me about it if you want!

Vendor Selection, No Code Tools, Spreadsheet Modelling, Javascript / React, No Code Tools, Process Automation, Outsourcing

No member's question should go without a response from someone, whether another member or someone on staff.

Christie NixChristie Nix

Christie Nix

Community Manager
Upland, CA
Community Operations

I have been with AdLeaks for three years, focused on gaining new members, member retention and our partner program. I love HGTV, country music and traveling to the different WorldMark (timeshare) locations. In addition to the communities I am apart of for work, I am also apart of traveling communities, as I love to see other people's pictures and experiences of places they visit.

Account coordinator, community management and executive assistant.

Community is all about the members who you choose to be apart of it, as they are what makes the community so great.

Dasha ZumwaltDasha Zumwalt
PreSales Collective

Dasha Zumwalt

Community Event Operations Coordinator
Community Operations

I've been working in events for the past 10 years. My passions include dance, reading, and staying updated on current tech trends. I have a masters in Global Communications and am working on my MBA currently. I'm part of the Peloton community, feel free to add me @dasha_kae.

Fun fact: I danced in the 2010 Olympic Opening Ceremonies in Vancouver!

Samaar HaiderSamaar Haider

Samaar Haider

Director of M&A
New York City

I work to identify, evaluate, and acquire the best independent online communities. Prior to Sylva, I worked in late-stage venture capital and growth equity and also had stints in traditional private equity and investment banking.

M&A, community landscape, financial modeling, business analytics

Know who your members are and make sure you're building for them

Brad KesslerBrad Kessler
Strategy & BizOps

Brad Kessler

Strategy and BizOps Associate
Who knows

Hello! I'm on the Strategy and BizOps team. We work on all sorts of things from data to operations to integrating new communities.

I like to learn new things, meet new people, and have a laugh.

When I was 21, I joined a community filled with people I loved and admired. I wouldn't be where I am or who I am had I not been introduced to this amazing group of people, so I'm extremely grateful to be in the position to help create spaces where others can have similarly impactful experiences.

Be open. Create space for everyone's voice.

Scott AmentaScott Amenta
Product & Engineering

Scott Amenta

Co-Founder & Head of Product
Berlin, Germany

I've worked in the early stages of technology startups in NY, London and Berlin focused on biz dev, operations, product and strategy. Prior to moving to Berlin in 2019, I served as the Chief of Staff at Spring, a fashion & beauty marketplace where I led projects across product strategy, fundraising (raising over $100mm in 4 rounds of financing), investor & board management, corp dev, finance, and operations.

Before co-founding Sylva with Tom and Emily, I started the Chief of Staff Network in 2016 - a private community of Chiefs of Staff from hundreds of VC-backed tech and media companies*. Pretty much every career move and most big learning opportunities in the past 5 years have spawned from or been supported by this community.

*Fun fact, this is how Tom and I first connected!

I'm currently leading Sylva's product strategy and engineering team, supporting initiatives across Sylva's roadmap addressing community operations, member experience, revenue generation, platform migrations/integrations and the data that links all of these things together.

I'm passionate about all things outdoors - rock climbing, hiking, kayaking. Europe has been a fun playground of mountains, rivers, fjords and forests to explore :)

Community management, product development, strategy & operations, "chief of staffing".

Don't lose sight of your member's journey through the community!

James KaikisJames Kaikis
PreSales Collective
SDR Nation

James Kaikis

Co-Founder, General Manager
Chicago, IL
Community Operations

Sales, Technical Sales, Operations, Marketing, LinkedIn

Community is Hard. Growth is great but engagement is the most important aspect of every community.

Mattie StremicMattie Stremic
PreSales Collective

Mattie Stremic

Head of Academy Programming
Nashville, TN
Community Operations

Hi! My name is Mattie and I'm the Head of Academy Programming at the PreSales Academy (PreSales Collective). I specialize in designing and running our training programs to help individuals change and growth their careers within the PreSales profession. In both my personal life and in what I do for work, I am passionate about helping others develop themselves professionally!

Training & Development, Curriculum Design, Program Management, PreSales, Performance Management, Selection and Interviewing, DE&I, etc.

People are your BEST promoters / marketing strategy

Christopher MabryChristopher Mabry
PreSales Collective

Christopher Mabry

General Manager
Valatie, NY (Upstate 2 hrs north NYC)
Community Operations

With 10 years of PreSales experience as an individual contributor and leader, I'm bringing this to my GM PSC role. I've long used the PSC community to build a deeper understanding of my role in our profession, to figure things out, and to feel connected. A fun fact - I was once stranded at sea.

Solutions Engineering, Leadership, Business Development, Sales,

Ask yourself, how does this outlive your role in the organization.

Marcy CarricoMarcy Carrico

Marcy Carrico

Community Manager
Raleigh, NC
Community Operations

Tom GuthrieTom Guthrie

Tom Guthrie

Co-Founder & CEO
NYC and NH

Scott, Emily, and I got together in 2020 to build our first community, Propel. Since then, it's been a pleasure to get to know so many amazing community builders and the communities they support.

Ask your members what they want from the community

Yuji HigashiYuji Higashi
PreSales Collective

Yuji Higashi

Co-Founder, General Manager
Seattle, WA
Community Operations

I'm a passionate PreSales leader who thrives in fast-paced, innovative environments where people dream big, get things done, and have a ton of fun. Today, I'm based in Seattle working on building PreSales Collective and PreSales Academy on a mission to help people succeed in a career that they love.

In the past, I've contributed to the rapid growth of two successful startups (Apptio and Outreach) through helping build their professional services and PreSales functions. Prior to startup-land, I started my career in management consulting at Deloitte Consulting.

Sales, PreSales, Consulting, CRM, Community, SaaS, Tech Startups, Investing

Tom BantonTom Banton
PreSales Collective

Tom Banton

Head of Leadership Enablement
Fort Lauderdale, FL
Community Operations

I've been in PreSales for almost 30 years and passionate about training people of all levels in the profession. I've built PreSales teams at multiple startups and a always been a top revenue generator in every company I have worked for (hopefully here too!). I am very knowledgeable of Configure-Price-Quote (CPQ) and Recruiting software. I would love to make an impact for all of Sylva and not just PSC and very happy to be here! I have also been an instructor in fencing, waterskiing, and aerobics and went back to teach aerobics during the pandemic when I wasn't traveling for work.

Presentation Skills (remote and in-person), Product Demonstrations, CPQ, Recruiting, Most ATS's (Applicant Tracking Systems), Master Data Management and Enterprise Architecture

Be Authentic, Concise, Considerate

Cheryl MorrisCheryl Morris
Tech Ladies

Cheryl Morris

Community & Partnerships Manager
Community Operations

Howdy! Cheryl here ~ I'm a native New Yorker, traveler, music lover (emo forever), skincare connoisseur, and costume enthusiast. If you love to chat about art, anime, ren fairs, martial arts, or left-leaning politics feel free to message me. :)

I manage the Tech Ladies Founding Membership community by helping to create an educational and supportive environment for our group of amazing ladies. My focus this year is on reducing churn and creating a new leadership development cohort program.

Interest-based communities played a major role in my life by increasing my sense of belonging in the various environments I found myself navigating as a young adult. Now that I'm older, I'm excited to give back by creating positive experiences for our members.

Get to know the folks in your community and focus on building a strong rapport; people are more likely to support you when there's a real connection

Winny DelcinWinny Delcin
PreSales Collective

Winny Delcin

Training Program Manager
Community Operations

Justin BrennerJustin Brenner

Justin Brenner

Head of Operations
Hartford, SD
Community Operations

I have been doing marketing for 14 years and help run and work on the AdLeaks community which is about digital advertising. I am passionate about teaching, learning and supporting others. Community is everything as it's the foundation of success. You are who you surround yourself with.

Marketing, Leadership, no code and code tools, strategy, website building, growth, SEO, Fb ads, Tiktok ads, analytics, Conversion Rate Optimization, Amazon, Email marketing

Support and help at any cost! The members are everything.

Caro GriffinCaro Griffin
Tech Ladies

Caro Griffin

VP of Operations
Mexico City
Community Operations

Operations, people ops/HR, hiring, no code tools, automatization, process development, online education, strategy, forecasting

Always make time to regularly talk to members 1:1

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