Our Team

Get to know other Sylvans working from around the world

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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.

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

Serge EfapSerge Efap
Growth & Marketing

Serge Efap

Growth Marketing Manager
New York

Serge has spent the majority of his career at the intersection of content, marketing, and operations. In 2011, he joined the media publisher Elite Daily as a founding member where he focused on operations and marketing through their exit in 2015.

Shortly after, he ran a digital marketing agency in NYC for 6 years before joining the team over at Kindred where he oversaw marketing.

Now, as a member of the growth team at Sylva, he will focus on helping define growth across the org and providing resources, services, and infrastructure for our communities.

Community has always been important in my life and my work. Whether it was on a sports team growing up, or at my first startup, community has always helped foster a positive and motivated mindset for me.

Fun fact about Serge:

Worked part-time as a mover in NYC while working on his very first startup. Enjoying learning how to properly pack & move people in and out of their apartments because now he never hires movers.

Growth, Marketing, Sales

Build the community that you wish to be a part of.

Will PetersWill Peters

Will Peters

Head of Finance

Doc WilliamsDoc Williams
Chief of Staff Network
BizOps Network

Doc Williams

Community Operations Manager
Washington D.C.
Community Operations

I've been working in startups for over a decade.

I've had the privilege of being a CTO, CIO at an AI company and live streaming.

Passionate about learning new things.

Communities have shaped my life and critical thinking.

No Code Tools, Youtube analytics

Actively listen to members and if possible record sessions instead of trying to write down everything.

Christine YuChristine Yu
SDR Nation

Christine Yu

Head of Community
Community Operations

My experience has predominately been in healthcare IT and consulting. I am passionate about building businesses especially businesses with an impact. SDR Nation is a very humble community built and connected mainly through referrals and filled with curious, genuine, SDRs who want to grow and accelerate their careers in the industry.

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

Ahrif SarumiAhrif Sarumi

Ahrif Sarumi

Community Manager
Houston, TX
Community Operations

Hi everyone, I’m Ahrif, a Community Manager at Propel. I joined to enhance Propel's member experience through event programming, fostering meaningful connections, and creating content from our collective insights. What excites me most about joining Propel is that I get to take my local IRL experience and scale it across multiple cities, as well as virtually through our online events.

Prior to joining Propel, I co-founded two communities. The more recent one was focused on bringing together local food enthusiasts with public/private events, as well as working with brands to tap into our highly-engaged group.

Fun fact: I finished the Chicago Marathon and jumped out of a perfectly good airplane in the same year to cross them off his bucket list

IRL events and experiential marketing.

Communities thrive when members are getting more value from one another than the leaders(s) of the community.

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!

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

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.

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!

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

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.

Lucy HallLucy Hall
Digital Women

Lucy Hall

Community Manager
Kent, UK
Community Operations

Community builder, speaker and educator on digital and social media regularly speaking at conferences and commenting in the mainstream media. She has been Interviewed on Twitter for Business Blog and featured in an interview as a creator on the Facebook community creator portal as well as regularly commenting on BBC Radio, Talk Radio and The Mainstream Media. Created courses around content planning, eCommerce and SEO which are CPD certified and has trained 1000's of people through the Digital Women and Social Day platforms.

Proud creator of the Social Media Content Planner for the past 4 years and sold thousands of copies all over the world! it's the content planning tool of the Meta Communities team! ;-) Other users include Hootsuite, BBC, Twitter and more!

Passionate about digital education in social media and also the digital future: web3 and metaverse space.

I love getting up in the morning and doing squats to Lizzo / Bey songs. And I'm traveling a lot. I am passionate about everything ;-) (But not admin, if I'm honest nothing makes me sadder)

Accreditations, Associations and Awards: Kent Women in Business Marketing and PR - Winner 2022 Kent Women in Business Inspiring Achievement Award - Winner 2022 Women in Tech - Role Model of The Year 2019 Meta #shemeansbusiness accredited trainer Meta Blueprint Certified Lead Trainer Enterprise Nation Advisor Vodafone Business Connect Adviser Qualifications: Meta Digital Marketing Associate Meta Media Planning Professional Meta Media Buying Professional Meta Certified Community Manager

It's not about you, it's about them

Will ChamberlinWill Chamberlin
Growth & Marketing

Will Chamberlin

Head of Growth
Brooklyn, NY

At Sylva, Will is responsible for driving top-line growth across all Sylva communities. Prior to Sylva, Will worked at two financial services firms, building and leading digital-first marketing teams. For the first half of his career, Will ran subscription acquisition, retention, and audience development programs for major media brands. Will is a passionate New Yorker who tries new restaurants a little too often, loves to travel, and always has six half-read books on his coffee table. As a habitual connector, Will is usually scheming to create informal communities within the spaces where he operates.

Build for the people who are most passionate about your community.

Joshua TiernanJoshua Tiernan
NoCode Founders

Joshua Tiernan

Community Manager
Edinburgh, Scotland
Community Operations

I'm JT. I run the No Code Founders community. One of my main passions for the last 20 years has been entrepreneurship. For this reason, I've started many online businesses and sold a few in the process. When I discovered no-code tools in 2018, it opened the possibilities for me. I soon found myself wanting to connect with other founders using no-code tools. I started a Slack community called "No Code Founders" for that very reason and it grew from there. Community is one of the most exciting types of business I've ever ran as it constantly changes. I love being able to help people towards their goals and find it an exciting challenge to come back to each day.

No code tools, strategy, productivity

Taking time to speak to members 1:1. For the first 4000 members in NCF, I DMd them all manually and found out what they were working on

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 🐶.


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.

Kim EbeltKim Ebelt

Kim Ebelt

Recruiting Coordinator & Sourcer
Springfield, Vermont

I'm currently supporting all things interview scheduling and finding great talent for Sylva! I'm passionate about candidate experience and ensuring that we're translating why Sylva is the best place to work.

Sourcing, Coordinating

Emma FlemingEmma Fleming
Strategy & BizOps

Emma Fleming

Revenue Operations
Missoula, Montana

Data-driven revenue & sales operations professional with experience at a global, growth-stage start-up. I'm comfortable with rapid change, iteration, and a broad spectrum of responsibilities; routinely lauded for my business acumen and ability to operate with a full system view.

I'm passionate about solving complex problems in an efficient and scalable manner, and making a difference while doing so!

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

James KaikisJames Kaikis
PreSales Collective

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.

Katrina WardellKatrina Wardell

Katrina Wardell

Chief of Staff
Oakland, CA

Hi! I work on a variety of projects that change constantly - that's the fun part of the Chief of Staff role! From Offsites to All Hands to Leadership Team meetings to investor updates, it's all about context switching.

My experience? I come from an Executive Assistant / Executive Business Partner background. I was at Dropbox for five years, Gusto, Alto Pharmacy. I love working in tech - it offers you so many opportunities to learn and grow!

I'm passionate about organization, supporting execs and follow through. Personally, I'm passionate about Teddy - my toy poodle, the beach, living in California and anything to do with travel.

My fun fact is that I've lived on four continents - Africa, South America, North America and Europe. Ask me about it! :)

Budget management, calendar management, event planning, managing meetings, presentation creation, etc.

Anish PatelAnish Patel

Anish Patel

New York

Grant PuzaGrant Puza

Grant Puza

People Operations Lead
Missoula, Montana

I got my start in People/HR by creating an HR function in a growing craft brewery about 8 years ago. I then pivoted into tech and held roles where I was able to partner with various business units, providing strategic people-centric guidance and building out various People/HR programs. I'm currently the People Ops Lead at Sylva, running the gamut on all things People.

Living in Montana, I spend most of my time partaking in some form of outdoor recreation (snowboarding, mountain biking, backpacking etc). But I also love traveling and getting out of Montana, so you may see some variance in my Zoom background from time to time as well.

Listen actively!

Emily PikEmily Pik
Community Operations

Emily Pik

Co-Founder & Community Operations
Los Angeles

Emily's a co-founder of Sylva and Propel. She currently heads up programming and knowledge sharing for all community employees at Sylva. Prior to that, she led Propel for 2 years. She's also a career coach and proponent of prioritizing personal and professional growth (through community and otherwise!).

Prior to Sylva, she was building teams at Capsule, a Series D health tech startup, where she joined as an early growth hire and helped build out the Account Management and Partnerships teams. In her last year there, she was a Director and Chief of Staff on the People team. Previously, she worked for the expert network Third Bridge as their VP of Operations.

She went to the University of Virginia and was captain of the D1 Women's Rowing team there.

Connecting people, Sales Pitch, Growth Metrics

Build with your community members, not just for them. Tap them to get feedback, learn their needs, ask for referrals, and more. They'll feel like they're part of building something really special.

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.

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!

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

Shriya K NevatiaShriya K Nevatia

Shriya K Nevatia

General Manager
New York, NY, USA

I'm excited to join Sylva as General Manager of the Entrepreneurial Cluster, including Propel, Foodboro, No Code Founders, 10X, NF10X, and any additional founder communities that we acquire or create. Previously, I helped run the On Deck Founder program, OD50 (job-seeker program), and led Catalyst (early-career program). I also was Founder & CEO of The Violet Society for female & non-binary founders, PMs, and engineers.

I'm passionate about helping people achieve their potential, believe in themselves, and build long-term relationships. For fun, I love reading science fiction and going to dance classes, and I love artichokes so much that my first email address was "i_love_artichokes".

Community launching & scaling

Become the core connector for your community through 1:1 relationships, then empower your most active members to emerge as connectors themselves

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

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

Allison MedinaAllison Medina
Tech Ladies

Allison Medina

Founder and CEO
NYC + Princeton, NJ
Community Operations

Hi! I'm Allison the Founder and CEO of Tech Ladies, the largest community of women in tech. We are so excited to be part of Sylva. Before starting Tech Ladies, I worked in product and marketing at places like Foursquare, Google and a startup that was acquired by Google. I'm also an investor in funds and companies that have a special focus on funding women and underrepresented founders. I'm passionate about helping move women forward in business and teaching all kinds of people to take risks and live up to their potential.

Strategy, management, marketing, product, sales, profitability, growth.

It feels good to help other people (even strangers) so enable people to help each other in your community and they will do so more than you can imagine.

Kevin MeffordKevin Mefford
PreSales Collective

Kevin Mefford

Head of Community
Austin, TX
Community Operations

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

Mariel RošićMariel Rošić

Mariel Rošić

Community Growth Manager
San Francisco
Community Operations

Focused on growing and supporting the Propel community! Outside of work, I make art, design immersive experiences, and read about the history of religion, meaning-making, and belonging.

prev. Growth @Wefunder, Community @Makelane, Neuroscience @Brown U

Christian GuevaraChristian Guevara

Christian Guevara

Software Engineer
Community Operations

I have more than 10 years of experience as a software engineer for different types of companies and government entities as an employee or consultant.

I'm mainly working on AdLeaks video platform called "The Vault" and the HQ which is an internal tool that manages user subscriptions.

Furthermore, I have a LEGO collection 🤭 and I'm passionate about building things with code.

I believe communities are a key part of the human race, we were born in communities, and it is super important for us to have human contact in different levels, having a sense of belonging makes us human after all. The best community for me is my family :)

- Web technologies - Databases - Amazon Web Services

Interaction between members and clear rules about how to behave

Lucas KostkaLucas Kostka

Lucas Kostka

Visual Marketing Lead
Dana Point, Ca
Community Operations

I have been creating organic and paid content in several industries for about 7 years, generating a trackable 5M+ in revenue for brands.

I will be working on ways to capture and interest new prospects into our community as well as retain current members with ongoing and high level value.

A fun fact is that I was a volunteer firefighter for a couple years in my hometown of Yorba Linda, Ca.

I am passionate about spending quality time with my family - my wife Chelsey, my daughter Kaiya (2 yrs), and my son Kove (6 mo.). Some of my other passions include playing guitar and singing at local restaurants, surfing, cooking, and woodworking.

A community is important in my life work, because it's very easy for me (working remote) to isolate myself, and communities give me a sense of belonging, and the ability to grow with the context of human beings to bounce ideas off and learn from.

Video, Photo, Graphic Design, Script Writing, Acting, Content Creation

have a team help come up with the best possible content strategy, implement, and test.

Apoorv SharmaApoorv Sharma
Strategy & BizOps

Apoorv Sharma

Strategy & Business Operations Lead
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

Esmé Ara'resaEsmé Ara'resa
Newsletter Crew

Esmé Ara'resa

Community Operations Manager
London, UK
Community Operations

Ops and Content are my lifeblood at Propel and Newsletter Crew. Prior to Sylva, community was always embedded into my work as a three-time founder of small fashion/ wellness/ education businesses and a fash-tech startup. I'm excited to share and collaborate wherever my past experiences and current learnings can help fellow Sylvans in their work.

Fun fact: I know 8 languages. (I only use 4 day to day).


Niche is king.

Kyle CavanessKyle Cavaness

Kyle Cavaness

Content Manager
Huntington Beach, CA
Community Operations

Experience as a journalist and agency copy/content writer; I write AdLeaks' blogs, emails, landing pages, scripts (sometimes), and other stuff; I'm left-handed but play guitar right-handed; I love my family and music; community is important because life and work can't happen without it

Content Writing, Copywriting, Script Writing, Email Newsletters, Social Publishing

be authentic

Sarah MaddenSarah Madden

Sarah Madden

General Manager
Los Angeles, CA
Community Operations

Josh PersonJosh Person

Josh Person

Community Manager
Community Operations

Josh has 8+ years of experience in the food & beverage space, working on the agency level and in the trenches at a number of food startups. As Foodboro Community Manager he is building a community of f&b leaders and service providers with the goal of helping them connect and grow their businesses.

Fun fact: LOVE cars and boats :)

Passionate about: food and fitness (wellness)

Community is important to me because I thrive in creative and collaborative environments. When we come together with no judgement, great things happen.

Social media, content, copywriting, event management

Don't take yourself so seriously! Be yourself and your people will find you.

Mamie PesantMamie Pesant

Mamie Pesant

Talent Acquisition Lead
New York

Based in Brooklyn, NY and originally from Miami, FL. Leading Talent Acquisition here at Sylva. I am Cuban-American, I enjoy reading, and have to pet every dog I see.

Melissa MadsenMelissa Madsen

Melissa Madsen

Head of People

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

Racquel JosephRacquel Joseph

Racquel Joseph

Head of Content
New York
Community Operations

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.

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.

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

Amber PetersonAmber Peterson
Planner's Lounge

Amber Peterson

Community Manager
Marysville, Washington
Community Operations

I was a wedding planner for 10 years, and then started a content marketing agency. During that time I was writing content for the Planners Lounge, so this position is a culmination of all my experience in the wedding and marketing industries.

Being a wedding planner is a hard job with a high burn out rate. I am excited to grow a community that not only provides connection but also helps wedding planners grow a business that lasts!

Community has always been important in my career. During my years as a planner I also created an in person wedding community in my county called the Skagit Wedding Society. This community created connection between members and provided business help for the members. In a competitive industry it facilitated a sense of collaboration instead of cut throat competition.

I have also been (and remain) a member of two amazing communities that have been instrumental in growing my businesses over the years. Not only did they help me with business resources, they created connection with other small business owners and those connections alleviated some of the isolation of being an entrepreneur.

A fact about me is that since I was 8 years old I always dreamed of having three daughters and that is exactly what happened! I have three amazing girls (Brielle, Elise & Madeleine).

Marketing Strategy, Content Marketing, Pinterest Marketing, SEO

Listen to pain points that the members are having and find/create solutions within the community. As a community member, if I know that I can find a solution to my problem within my community, it creates a loyalty that lasts.

Adam AgenskyAdam Agensky

Adam Agensky


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

Lars PedersenLars Pedersen

Lars Pedersen

Team Lead
Quito, Ecuador
Community Operations

My background is in development of web apps/platforms and websites. In AdLeaks I have taken on more responsibilities and lead the team day to day.

I work in all areas of the business, but currently, my main focus is the acquisition of new members.

Fun fact: I am Danish, but I live in Ecuador since 2008 with my girlfriend and two kids.

Development, Automation, Processes.

Continue to adopt as your community grows and changes.

Winny DelcinWinny Delcin
PreSales Collective

Winny Delcin

Training Program Manager
Community Operations

Marcy CarricoMarcy Carrico

Marcy Carrico

Community Manager
Community Operations

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

Joshua Wexler-WaiteJoshua Wexler-Waite

Joshua Wexler-Waite

M&A Manager
New York, NY

I worked in clean technology and renewables investment banking at Bank of America Merrill Lynch for 3 years before joining a smaller generalist M&A advisory firm. I have a French Bulldog named Boris and I'm very passionate about social, environmental justice and reproductive rights. Communities are an essential medium for building trust and communal progress amongst individuals, whether it be in ones personal, professional or academic life, I view communities as a crucial element of progress.

Mergers & acquisitions, financial modeling, business valuation, leveraged finance, private capital raising, building relationships.

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