Executive Team

Ellin O’Leary

President and Chief Content Officer

Ellin is an award-winning journalist who leads the editorial and strategic direction of Youth Radio. She founded Youth Radio in 1992. She led the acquisition of our 20,000 sq. ft. media and technology center in downtown Oakland, the expansion into digital media, and the development of a national network with major media and community partnerships. Her previous experience includes starting newsrooms, channels and bureaus for Inner City Broadcasting, KQED, Pacifica and NPR, and working as a reporter, news director, and producer in radio and television.

Jabari Gray

Executive Director

Jabari joined Youth Radio in 2009 as part of the development team. A graduate from USC Annenberg, Jabari began his professional career as an educator in Los Angeles and transitioned into cause-related marketing after a unique opportunity to promote his work on commercial radio.

Since then, Jabari has combined his technical skillset with years of creative work in college radio, television voice acting, podcasting, music recording, and film production to successfully evolve his tenure at YR through roles in fundraising, classroom instruction, senior management, and executive leadership. Jabari is a 2017 Punch Sulzberger Fellow, sits on the Oakland Thrives Leadership Council, mentors with the East Bay College Fund, and is a member of both the Huguette Clark Family Fund for Protection of Elders and Rotary Club of Oakland #3. He also served on the boards of The Downtown Oakland Association and the Museum of Children’s Arts.

Ai Le

Finance Director

Ai leads the finance and accounting team. Ai has a degree in engineering and design. Prior to joining Youth Radio, she was a process engineer in the semiconductor industry, studied industrial design, and was a partner/finance controller at a creative firm in NYC.

Art Pathways

Maeven McGovern

Director of Arts Pathway and Youth Outcomes

Maeven facilitates Youth Radio’s Remix Your Life and builds partnerships with community arts institutions. She studied community art and performance theory at UCLA’s World Arts and Cultures Department, focusing on best practices in leveraging the arts for trauma recovery and community empowerment.

Ben Frost

Music Director

Ben teaches music production, sound design classes, and manages Youth Radio Raw and AllDayPlay. He attended UC Santa Cruz and the Sorbonne and has credited works with organizations and artists such as Deuce Eclipse, Zumbi, Andre Nickatina, Destiny Arts Center and the Hip-Hop Theater Festival.

Development Communications

Ashleigh Kenny

Director of Institutional Giving

Ashleigh leads Youth Radio’s development department. Before Youth Radio, she worked in fundraising and publishing for non-profit media companies in Washington, DC. She began her studies in journalism and communications at American University in Washington, DC. She studied indigenous literature in New Zealand, and earned an English degree from the University of Iowa.

Heather Buchheim

Director of Marketing and Communications

Heather leads Youth Radio’s Marketing and Communications department. She has been helping social justice organizations reach and grow their audiences and raise money since 2006. She holds a degree in Global Studies from the University of California, Santa Barbara, where she first caught the radio bug in the newsroom at KCSB-FM. Heather likes to write in her spare time too — her work has appeared in BUST Magazine, Refinery29, Feministing, and The Establishment.

Heather Platt

Individual Giving Manager

Heather comes to Youth Radio with a background in political organizing and fundraising. Prior, she worked on environmental, consumer rights and social justice campaigns. She earned her degree in Religion and Women’s Studies from The University of the South.

Victoria Hinshaw

Development Associate

Victoria brings several years of development experience to her role, as well as a passion for education and progressive media. Past experience includes building a development department from the ground up at one organization, and scaling development procedures through a dramatic growth period at another. She holds a BA from Reed College.

Haylee Thikeo

Marketing and Communications Manager

Haylee is a marketer with digital advertising and event marketing experience in tech, retail, education, and nonprofits. Haylee holds a degree in Communication and Media Studies from Northeastern University and is passionate about creating transformative spaces with a media justice lens and healing justice framework.

Finance and Operations

Ivan Rivera

Staff Accountant

Ivan graduated from San Francisco State University with a BA in Economics, and he has ten years of experience in the nonprofit finance sector. As the Staff Accountant, he supports the Finance Director and offers key operational support to staff and students. Ivan has also taught personal finance workshops in Youth Radio’s Pathways program.

Anna Fagergren

Learning and Evaluation Specialist

Anna is Youth Radio’s Learning and Evaluation Specialist. Before joining Youth Radio, she worked as a research and evaluation consultant with Bay Area, national and international youth development organizations. Anna earned her MA from Claremont Graduate University in Positive Organizational Psychology and Evaluation.

David Berwick

Executive Assistant

David joined Youth Radio to increase the organization’s administrative support for the executive director and the board of directors. With over 10 years of experience in the non-profit sector, David brings a wealth of knowledge and expertise across a broad range of responsibilities including project management, day-to-day operations, and executive correspondence. When he is out of the office, David enjoys reading, website design, studying financial markets, and spending time with his family and friends.

Media Education

Elena Botkin-Levy

Director of Media Education

Elena teaches journalism and leads the Media Education team at Youth Radio. She started producing radio as a young person and has produced, trained, and collaborated with youth media groups around the country. She’s a graduate of Temple University.

LaToya Tooles

CORE Journalism Instructor

LaToya Tooles has written for The Brooklyn Ink, Salon.com, OhDang!Mag, The Afro American, The Golden Gate [X]Press and the Western Edition. She most recently worked as a web producer at The Center for Investigative Reporting in the San Francisco Bay Area. She has a master’s degree in digital media from Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism and a bachelor’s in print journalism from San Francisco State University. She is a longtime nerd known for her love of fantasy novels, old and new radio shows, crafting, coding and flow charts.


Rebecca Martin

Managing Editor and Director of National Network

Rebecca leads the day to day operations of Youth Radio’s award-winning newsroom, including editing and producing local and national features. She directs Youth Radio’s national network of correspondents and partners who contribute to Youth Radio’s outlets and platforms. She also works closely with the Chief Content Officer on strategic planning. Before joining the team at Youth Radio, she worked for The World (PRI/BBC), NPR and CNN.

Have a question or need more information? Call or email us. We look forward to hearing from you.

Elisabeth Soep

Senior Editor & Founding Director Innovation Lab

Lissa (PhD, Stanford) leads Youth Radio Interactive, where youth integrate journalism and technology to produce engaging, data-rich stories. She founded the YRI, co-wrote Drop That Knowledge (UC Press), had a hand in several Youth Radio award-winning series, and lectures on digital media learning.

Denise Tejada

Reporter and Multi-media Producer

Denise works alongside newsroom interns to produce stories (in all formats) for local and national outlets. She was a reporter for Trafficked, a Peabody Award-winning investigation by Youth Radio on child sex trafficking in Oakland. Denise was part of Youth Radio’s broadcasting class of 2004.

Teresa Chin

Producer and Designer

Teresa works with teens in Youth Radio’s newsroom and interactive teams to produce deep multimedia stories. She is an award-winning journalist and a former classroom teacher, with master’s degrees in both public health and journalism. She also develops and helps implement Youth Radio’s curricula. Her work has appeared in numerous media outlets, including Matter, Hyphen, KQED, KALW, and The Cleveland Plain Dealer.

Asha Richardson

Youth Radio Interactive Manager

Asha coordinates digital communication strategies for the newsroom. She co-founded Youth Radio’s App Lab in 2010, where young people develop web based and mobile apps that engage the community. Asha is a recent graduate of Mills College, B.A. in Economics, and has passion for marketing and tech.

Chaz Hubbard

Video Producer

Chaz works within multiple departments at Youth Radio to provide quality videos for various outlets and has over 6 years of professional video production experience. Chaz holds a B.A. in Cinema from SFSU in 2006 and has worked independently on short films and music videos.

Noah Nelson


Noah Nelson is a producer working with our national network and the communications team. His coverage of trends in transmedia, crowdfunding, and gaming have been featured on outlets including NPR and Marketplace. He’s a graduate of SF State and alum of Youth Radio’s first class.

Clifford Lee


Cliff (PhD, UCLA) researches and publishes findings and supports Youth Radio Interactive. He also collaborates on the Teach Youth Radio hub; creating, disseminating, and analyzing the curriculum. He has over 15 years of urban education experience where he was a founding English, Social Studies, and Media Arts teacher at Life Academy High School in East Oakland. Cliff is also an Assistant Professor in the Kalmanovitz School of Education at Saint Mary’s College of California, where he teaches preservice secondary teachers.

Shawn Wen


Shawn works with teens in Youth Radio’s newsroom to produce stories for local and national outlets. She is a writer, radio producer, and multimedia artist. Her radio work has broadcast on This American Life, Marketplace, and Freakonomics Radio.

Nancy Deville

Network Producer

Nancy works in Youth Radio’s newsroom and focuses on statewide collaborations and productions in California, and helps coordinate the national network. She’s an award-winning journalist who has done work for several media outlets including The Tennessean, USA Today, KQED and Latino USA. Prior to joining Youth Radio, she was a college journalism instructor.

Support Services

Michael Lee

Managing Director

Michael began working with Youth Radio as an intern while in school and is now program manager for Youth Radio’s Digital Communication Pathways Program. An Oakland native, Michael has 6 years of experience working with youth and holds a B.A. in Social Work from San Francisco State University.

Molly Bilick

Case Manager

Molly supports Youth Radio participants through resources, relationship building, one-on-one counseling, and crisis support services. Molly has seven years of experience working with adolescents in a variety of settings including health centers, high schools, colleges, and community-based organizations. She holds a Masters in Social Work from the Silberman School of Social Work at Hunter College.

Tiff Parrish

Case Manager

In her role as a case manager, Tiff provides Youth Radio participants with a wide variety of support services including counseling, referrals and advocacy. She has been working with youth of all ages for nearly 10 years. Prior to joining the Youth Radio team, Tiff worked as a medical social worker at Laguna Honda Hospital, at Berkeley High School as an MSW therapist intern, and as a case manager for pregnant and parenting teens. Tiff is completing her Masters in Social Work at California State University, East Bay this fall.

Dovie Siaway

Education & Career Pathways Manager


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