About StartingBloc

Our world needs better leadership.

We envision a just and thriving world that works for all beings, stewarded by leadership that is purpose-driven, inclusive, whole, and collaborative. StartingBloc exists to convene and grow one million conscious leaders.

StartingBloc does three things really well.

First, we run highly-rated five-day leadership institutes in New York, New Orleans, Los Angeles, and Washington D.C. that reach more than 300 civic leaders, educators, activists, and entrepreneurs each year. The curriculum focuses on collaborative problem-solving (using human-centered design), a full-day harnessing inclusion and unconscious bias, and a respected leadership tool called Polarity Mapping, which allows people to hold and integrate paradox and divergent perspectives.

Second, we are an inclusive organization – 65% of our Fellows are people of color, 55% are women, 20% are international, and last year we awarded $80,000 in financial aid to make the program accessible and socio-economically diverse.

And third, we’ve built and sustained one of the most active communities of change leaders through a cohort-based model. Our Fellows continue to work together, share resources, coach each other, start projects, and engage in StartingBloc’s chapters for years after their Institute.

Since our founding in 2003, our programs have reached 2,500 change leaders in 56 countries. StartingBloc Institutes have been held in New York, DC, LA, New Orleans, Boston, London, and India. Over the past fifteen years, we’ve helped entrepreneurs, activists, and other change leaders learn the skills, obtain the resources, and find the allies they need to craft thriving movements and organizations — and we’re just getting started.


Our Transparency Reports

Each year we endeavor to share our impact, our financials, our successes, and our failures with the intention to stay accountable, build trust, and share what we are learning.


Team

Cesar Gonzalez

Cesar Gonzalez

Chief Executive Officer

Cesar believes that for the first time in human history we have the real opportunity, the tools, and the will to build a world that works for everyone. He lives out this belief by supporting leaders of change to build the skills, the alliances, and the strength they will need to bend the arc of history. Cesar has a degree in Computer Engineering from Caltech, he is an Unreasonable Fellow, a StartingBloc Fellow, and has training and experience as a facilitator and speaker. And he loves Cuban dance. cesar@startingbloc.org

Kristine Sloan

Kristine Sloan

Director of Operations

Everyone can participate in cultivating the good in our world. This fact is both terrifyingly large and absolutely actionable – and Kristine loves a good action item. Kristine holds a Masters of International Studies specializing in Rural Development, and has over six years of experience in international development. She gets excited about seeing other people go for it, whether that be a new startup, participating in a social movement, or full on raging dance moves in a crowded elevator. kristine@startingbloc.org

Annika Erickson-Pearson

Annika Erickson-Pearson

Director of Search

Annika is the consummate people-person and token extrovert on the StartingBloc staff. She believes deeply in the potential and capacity of every person she comes across, and knows that humans have the power to make the world a better, kinder, and more inclusive place. Having spent her career in community organizing, Annika values authenticity, curiosity, drive, and the curative power of a good hug. Annika holds a degree in International Affairs from the University of Colorado, Boulder, and as a long-time Coloradan, spends most of her free time frolicking on mountainsides. annika@startingbloc.org

Jordan Roodman

Jordan Roodman

Business and Communications Apprentice

Jordan envisions a world in which the circumstances you are born into do not impact your ability to live a fulfilling life. She sees empathy as an essential first step to meaningful social change and collaboration as the means to cultivate a world of inclusion and equity. Jordan is a rising Junior at Tulane University studying business management and social entrepreneurship, and never fails to enthusiastically sing the wrong lyrics to every song. jordan@startingbloc.org


The Board of Directors

Brandi Nicole Johnson

Brandi Nicole Johnson

Board Chair

Brandi Nicole Johnson has spent her entire career working within the nonprofit sector and is a celebrated contributor. She is currently the Executive Director at Apex United Methodist Church Family of Faith Communities. Prior to becoming an Executive Director, Brandi was a Project Director at the Center for Creative Leadership and a House Manager at SECU Family House at UNC Hospitals. Brandi has degrees in Political Science and Communication Studies from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. She loves consuming food that is life changing and asking provocative questions that inspire action.

Ellie Bahrmasel

Ellie Bahrmasel

Board Member

Eloise (Ellie) D. Bahrmasel is an Engagement Strategist & Entrepreneur, focused on helping individuals and organizations utilize the principles of human-centered design to solve problems and create impact driven solutions. Ellie has leveraged this skill set to advance initiatives in the private, public and nonprofit sectors, including work with The Kennedy Forum, Comcast, and The Office of the Mayor in Chicago. Ellie co-founded civic tech startup RISE/NewFounders in response to the results of the 2016 election cycle. After stepping away from day-to-day operations of NewFounders, Ellie launched DAWN PAC, which is a political action committee focused on resourcing women in down ballot races in key blue wall states. Ellie has recently been recognized for her work with a number of awards, including the Jewish United Fund’s 36 Under 36 and the Chicago Scholars inaugural 35 Under 35. A lifelong Chicago resident, she currently lives in the Albany Park neighborhood with her husband, Matt Altstiel.

Corinne Baker

Corinne Baker

Board Member

Corinne is a Digital Engagement Manager on the Strategic Marketing team at Coca-Cola North America where she works to bring people closer to the experiences they love. Most of her time is spent threading digital consumer engagements and marketing tech capabilities across the portfolio. Before joining Coke, Corinne got her start in marketing in the nonprofit sector at Washington Performing Arts. She is a huge advocate of the creative economy and still aspires to be on Broadway when she grows up.

Sharan Bal

Sharan Bal

Board Member

My career reflects my commitment to change how we do business to be sustainable and human. I began my journey as a corporate sustainability consultant in Hong Kong. I spent a year backpacking across Asia studying and supporting social enterprises in Laos, Mumbai and Beijing. Since moving to New York I have guided organizations towards purpose-led and values-based cultures. Now I help organizations upgrade their ways of working to be fit for the future.

Gordon Casey

Gordon Casey

Board Member

At the end of 2015 I sold my financial services business in the Caribbean and moved to Vancouver with my family to launch Brave, a platform co-op to build a kinder, more resilient world through urgent acts of kindness. I was raised between Africa, Qatar, Ireland and Canada, practised law in South Africa for a few years in the late 90's and launched my business in Curacao in 2004. I loved building the business, nurturing a team, helping clients to launch and connecting with people around the world but my passion for social impact and curiosity around technology finally won me over, with help from StartingBloc, and my focus is now exclusively on Brave and my family.

Cortni Grange

Cortni Grange

Board Member

Cortni Grange is the Executive Director of Future Leaders & Young Entrepreneurs (FLYE). Mr. Grange has been recognized in Black Enterprise, USA Today, The Washington Post, on ESPN, Fox and ABC. He was named a 2017 Top Millennial Influencer by The Next Big Thing Movement and received one of the first Creator Awards from WeWork for creating sustainable change in his community. Mr. Grange resides in Alexandria, VA with wife Jessica and son Jameson.

Nils Klinkenberg

Nils Klinkenberg

Board Member

A StartingBloc Boston'11 Fellow, Nils has been delighted to mentor or volunteer at more than fifteen Institutes, including serving as StartingBloc's Mentorship Program Lead since 2015. Nils is the Executive Director of the Beacon Hill Friends House, a 21-resident housing cooperative and center for Quaker learning and action in the heart of downtown Boston. He previously worked at The Cadmus Group helping federal and state agencies manage energy efficiency and sustainable transportation programs. Nils is enthusiastic about many things, including science, civic engagement, cooperation, community, big-picture sustainability, applied weirdness, civilizational resilience, clever people, and the future.

Jai Krishan

Jai Krishan

Board Member

Jai Krishan is a product manager at Google for the WebM project, an open source standard for video compression. He represents Google at several technical organizations including the Consumer Technology Association WAVE consortium, and Alliance for Open Media. Previously, he was an Accenture consultant working in the technology and energy industries. Originally from South Florida, Jai currently lives in San Francisco. He holds degrees in electrical engineering from Stanford and human-centered design from Northwestern. Jai became a StartingBloc Fellow at the Boston Institute in 2012, and has returned regularly to mentor Fellows.

Whitney Smith

Whitney Smith

Board Member

Whitney is a London ‘08 StartingBloc fellow and has sat on the executive board for nearly six years. Currently, he serves an executive at Carr City Centers, a best-in-class real estate investor, developer and owner based in Washington, DC. Prior, Whitney started Sustainable Strength, a 501(c)3 non-profit with a focus on sustainable urban economic and infrastructural development with a focus on Newark, New Jersey. Whitney holds a BA and MA from Dartmouth College an MBA from the McDonough School of Business at Georgetown University and has completed related coursework at Oxford University, Columbia Business School and the Tuck School of Business.

Rhoda Tamakloe

Rhoda Tamakloe

Board Member

Rhoda K. Tamakloe is the Program Manager of the Kapan Educational Foundation. With over 10 years of experience working in higher education, Rhoda is deeply committed to improving college access and success for low-income populations. She currently serves as an alumni interviewer for her alma maters Wesleyan University and Phillips Exeter Academy. Originally from Sandy Hook, CT, Rhoda now resides in Brooklyn.


Legal Information

StartingBloc NFP
EIN 32-0049184
501c3 status since 2003

1877 Broadway St. #100
Boulder, CO 80302