Our Mentors

Our mentors are intrepid and experienced chasers of future horizons, deep divers into uncharted waters, collectors of unusual knowledge, designers and purveyors of myriad mindware.


In their various careers they have been teachers, writers, servers, scientists, performance artists, taxi-drivers, BBoys and BGirls, yogis, entrepreneurs, stagehands, rumor-researchers, engineers, house-sitters, filmmakers and flaneurs.


Ishan Shapiro

Program Director, Systems Storyteller

Ishan Shapiro is a creative entrepreneur, artist and storyteller. With a classical training in film direction at the International Film School of Paris, he uses narrative as a lens through which to look at the complexity involved in addressing wicked problems. Mapping concepts, networks, and narratives in the context of contemporary culture and movements, his primary interest lies in how to use and innovation to empower communities and collectives to innovate through technology, creativity, curiosity and imagination.

DeKoven Ashley

Operations, Development Conduit

DeKoven is an Innovation Strategist with a passion for Human-centered Design as well as Product and Program Management. He’s a trained Urban Designer and Community Organizer with over 13+ years of experience in strategic consulting encompassing all aspects of the business and digital development lifecycles. His primary functional skills include Consultative Sales (or, Business Development), Sales Engineering and Experience Design. He enjoys deep research and facilitating conversations that create monetary, social and cultural (or, local) value, and serves as a conduit between departments from the boardroom to the field.

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Watson Hartsoe (LA)

Story Forager

Watson is equal parts story forager, collaborative media maker, and an aspiring BBoy.  His passion for storytelling, technology, and exploration were born in the Appalachian mountains where he spent inordinate amounts of time buckdancing in cul de sacs growing up in the suburban foothills of the Smoky Mountains in east Tennessee.   From working with hip hop artists in Central America to fight violence, to building sensors arrays that can model a place, Watson is passionate about imagining the future of how communities imagine themselves and weave shared narratives.

Megan Daalder (LA)

Art/Sci-fi Explorer

Megan May Daalder (US/NL) is a Los Angeles based narrative artist who works at the intersection of live performance and recorded media. Her work explores the human desire for intimacy and identity in the context of science and technology. Based on a period of research, each project explores a possible future and how it may, or may not, connect to our primordial origins.

She has worked with high school students at UCLA’s Art|Sci Nanolab summer program, and led storytelling workshops for UCLA’s iGEM team. Currently she is developing a web series called Children of the Singularity, documenting the live of children whose parents have adopted futuristic lifestyles ahead of the curve.

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Matthew Stoltz (LA)

Design Maker and Consultant

Matthew Stoltz is a design consultant and trained professional woodworker. After studying Philosophy at Stanford, Matthew opened his own workshop, designing high-end furniture for various clients in California. While he still makes special commissions, Matthew also is a trained addiction recovery coach, and he is currently researching the emergence of new contexts in indigenous ways of learning and knowing, through apprenticeships and studies with elders of various communities in North and South America.

Pegah Vaezi

Curator, Exploring Borders

Pegah Vaezi is an interdisciplinary art curator, artist, cultural ambassador, and inspiration seeker whose passion is to create collaborative spaces for intercultural creative discourses. In her journey, Pegah explores borders: cultural, linguistic, sexual, political – which separate us and prevent mutual understanding. She seeks to traverse these borders, inviting a hybridized world. Born in Portland and raised in Tehran, Pegah studied Design and Sculpture at the University of Tehran and finished her undergraduate studies at Virginia Commonwealth University in Sculpture and Extended Media. In the Bay Area, she has curated art exhibitions and events with the goal of connecting communities internationally. Pegah believes that art together with technology has the power to bridge the borders and facilitate perceiving shared human experiences.


Ele Jansen (SYD)

Facilitator of Radical Play

Ele Jansen is a collaboration designer and teacher with a focus on play, story, ethics, and the commons. Throughout her PhD in Media/Design Anthropology she co-founded Learn Do Share, an international R&D collective that works with Columbia University, NGOs and local communities to engage people in open innovation through storytelling and making. Ele seeks to expand how flow and joy inspire collaboration and poietic entrepreneurship.

Speaking internationally, Ele facilitated games and workshops at Parsons New School of Design NYC, OUIshareFest Paris, Re:publica Berlin, Vivid Ideas Sydney. She advised Europe’s largest gaming-media conference FMX and award-winning international transmedia productions.

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Rubén Darío (MX)

Facilitator, Coach, Mime

Rubén Darío (Mexico), serves as bridge between persons and their potential-unleashing “Aha!” moments. Sucker for Truth and clarity. Non-religious ritualist. Gift economy practitioner. Clown when convenient. Nomad photographer.

He has designed and implemented Self DIrected Learning models in North and South America, Africa and Asia, for evolving education. Currently facilitating @Real Life Agile Learning Center, in Tampa Bay.

Connor Turland (TO)

Thought provoker, potentials explorer

Connor Turland’s favorite pastime and occupation is thinking. He enjoys all flavors of thinking, but systems thinking, critical thinking, and creative thinking are especially to his taste. He brings together a unique combination of technical, design, and social skills, from a background in an interdisciplinary undergrad, intentional community, web app development, and organizational consulting and facilitation. Connor approaches life with a relentless curiosity, driven by the experience that in each human is a deep well of potential, the limits of which continue to remain out of sight.

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Katie Gemmer (LA)

Creative Voice Coach

Katie is an artist, poet, yogi, and mermaid who has been inspiring teens to free their creative voice in her nearly 9 years as an educator. Driven by her passionate curiosity, she delights in facilitating the exploration of subjects and mediums as diverse as the students she works with, from graphic arts to personal health, watercolor painting to psychology, and everything in between. Katie also holds certification as a yoga instructor and mindfulness practitioner.

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Gabriel Shalom (PDX)

Hypercubist Media Artist

Gabriel Shalom is an award-winning director and video artist with a focus on music, dance, design, and fashion. Profiled by French Vogue for his documentary work, recipient of the ADC Young Guns award for his branded content commissions, he is an international public speaker on trends and futurism.


Tsolmondorj Natsagdorj

Computer Science and New Economics Fellow

Tsolmondorj Natsagdorj (Tsoma) was born in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia where he immigrated to Roanoke,VA USA. He is a developer, writer, and sci fi nerd. First investing in Bitcoin in 2011, Tsoma is an experienced cryptocurrency trader and analyst of the emerging crypto-economics space. Tsoma also started a think tank which studies and connects industries and governments, to create “Startup Societies.” His interests range from Smart Cities, Special Economic Zones, Eco-villages, micro-states, intentional communities and sea-steading. He is currently an advisor to Nonpariel Capital and developer for trive.news – which has an aim to kill fake news with the power of the crowd. Tsoma is passionate about introducing youth to the new emerging economic paradigms early on so that they can be the authors of their own financial future. In his free time he enjoys reading, writing, hiking, kayaking, camping, and working on an ambitious personal project – a platform for tokenizing all national currencies.