Team

cynthia
Cynthia Barbera

Cynthia has over 25 years of product development, marketing, and communications experience in digital media, broadcast television, cable television and education. Cynthia created and launched two K-12 edtech ventures and marketed educational technology to schools across the US.

Cynthia was responsible for Scholastic’s corporate public relations, public affairs and investor relations, contributing to the company’s highly successful IPO.

Cynthia’s other work in education includes executive producer of a 5-year running Emmy-award winning television campaign titled A+FOR KIDS where she also founded an off-air foundation serving 40,000 teachers. Cynthia has also taught English for primary school children during 5 years living in China.

Her background includes UC Davis, Scholastic, Cablevision, MCA Broadcasting and Westinghouse Broadcasting & Cable. She has lived in Europe and China and is the recipient of many industry awards including US Presidential recognition for her work in education.


Cynthia Barbera
Founder, CEO
david
David L. Kent
Co-Founder, CTO

David joined Napster as Director of New Technology, where he led the team that built the first music file-sharing and community network with technology that redefined the way internet applications communicate and how digital music is consumed.

David went on to serve as the founding technology developer and CTO of INgrooves, the music industry’s leader in providing rights management and distribution, marketing and accounting for independent record labels and artists throughout the world. At INGrooves, David started the company’s technology from a single motherboard and parts, building it into a flagship digital processing and delivery solution for the world’s largest music company and a host of independent record labels and digital retailers. 

David has written a server-side Pythonic framework for unbounded asynchronous business applications, the software that now powers STORYWORLD.


David L. Kent
Co-Founder, CTO
ning
Ning De-Eknamkul
Designer

Ning is a digital product Designer, writer and aspiring entrepreneur, born in Bangkok, Thailand. Her sweet spot is the intersection between design, education and technology where she hopes to create meaningful changes.

She recently graduated from UC Berkeley. Now she's helping STORYWORLD bring great products and experiences to market. She speaks four languages, including Thai, English, German and French.


Ning De-Eknamkul
Product Designer
rose
Dr. Rose Marie Garcia Fontana
Researcher

Dr. Fontana has over 20 years in education as a K-8 classroom teacher, resource teacher, assistant principal, bilingual program director, and researcher. A graduate of Stanford University's Graduate School of Education and an ethnographer, Dr. Fontana has provided research services for television and Internet-based programs for media companies including MTV, Disney, PBS, Warner Bros. and Pax TV among others.

Dr. Fontana served as a WestEd senior research associate with the RegionalEducational Laboratory (REL) and the Northern California Comprehensive Assistance Center (CC). She served as an evaluator for a National Science Foundation grant,California Alliance for Math and Science (CAMS) and conducted bilingual and ESL training programs for educators in the US and overseas.


Dr. Garcia Fontana
Researcher
stephahie-rach
Stephanie Rach
PR & Marketing Lead

Brand Marketing Strategist and Marketing Expert, Stephanie Rach turns inspiration into action, motivating entrepreneurs, innovators, and idea-generators to do good while doing well. Disciplined, creative, and highly energetic, Stephanie is an award-winning writer and producer, creative and disciplined brand strategist. Stephanie knows how to turn cottage industry brands into household names.


Stephanie Rach
PR & Marketing Lead
mafe
Mafe Pulido Duarte
Spanish Linguist

Mafe is STORYWORLD's lead Spanish language advisor and the narrator for all of our Spanish-language stories.

Born in Bogotá, Colombia, Mafe has over fourteen years of teaching experience, first as an ESL teacher in Bogotá, Colombia and then as a full-time Spanish language instructor in elementary, middle-school, and high schools throughout the San Francisco Bay Area - including Live Oak School, Lick Wilmerding HS, and French American International School. A student of translation and interpretation, she also works with families in need of translation services.

A mother of a young daughter, Mafe is a graduate from the Modern Languages and Socio-cultural Studies from the Universidad de los Andes and also holds a minor in Literature Studies.


Mafe Pulido Duarte
Spanish Linguist
karen
Karen Wang
Mandarin Linguist

Karen is STORYWORLD's lead Mandarin advisor and narrator for all of our Mandarin language stories.

Born in China, Karen is a native Chinese-English bilingual speaker and a mother of two. She is deeply passionate about leveraging the magic power of reading to help children get a head start in learning different languages. She holds a BA in Social Studies from Wesleyan University and a MA in Learning, Design and Technology from Stanford University.


Karen Wang
Mandarin Linguist


Board & Advisors

johnbrown
John Brown
Business advisor

Over the past 23 years, Mr. Brown has been involved in every facet of business, including partnering, managing, and growing businesses through internal growth and mergers and acquisitions.

Fluent in Chinese and an early pioneer in offshore processing, Mr. Brown’s focus in recent years has been on consulting for Chinese firms and managing business development in China while also identifying and solidifying connections with relevant government officials in China.  Mr. Brown also conducts education programs for Chinese officials in the US as well as facilitating homestay programs for young students in US.

John Brown
Business advisor
sarah
Sarah Chesemore
Education advisor

Sarah brings over 15 years of professional management consulting experience with McKinsey other business and non-profit organizations, including the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

Among other ventures, Sarah managed a multi-million dollar business line for continuing education and professional development that included training solutions, online course sales and clearinghouse, trainer education/certification programs, and national competency standards.

Through her own consulting firm, Sarah now focuses on assisting philanthropic and social sector organizations in education and health-care achieve their mission through impact-driven strategies, business planning, and rigorous program design to yield stronger performance.


Sarah Chesemore
Education advisor
dean
Dean Galbreath
Technology advisor

Dean has over 30 years of experience in information and communication systems, network and applications integration for companies that include IBM, Siemens, ROLM, McAfee, and Intel.  Having also co-founded two technology service businesses, Dean brings personal and practical experience to help start-up businesses with technology, sales planning and training, marketing, and overall program management.


Dean Galbreath
Technology advisor
jaymes
Jaymes Hines
Outreach advisor

Jaymes negotiates on behalf of client content providers, production companies, on-demand networks and advertising agencies as well as overseeing all in-house production and development of apps, games, VOD and interactive content programming for social, broadband & mobile video platforms. As an entrepreneur, Jaymes brings over 12 years of negotiating and consulting experience in independent music, film, television, newmedia, and e-commerce and over 10 years experience in interactive and digital production.


Jaymes Hines
Outreach advisor
ross
Ross Uchimura
Board member

Ross S. Uchimura is a 30-year veteran in Banking and Finance with a background that includes industry expertise in food, oil, real estate and media. Ross's financial expertise includes M&A and private placement of foreign capital into US and Asian markets. Ross also served as CFO of ChoiceRadio.com where he raised their Series A round and guided the company to a successful exit.

Ross has extensive business experience throughout Asia and the Caribbean and has provided strategic and socio-cultural guidance to Fortune 100 companies such as Intel, AMD, HP and Fujitsu. He also served as senior lender at Comerica Bank where he managed relationships in Small Business, Middle Market, Technology, and in Venture Capital and Private Equity.

Ross currently serves as an Advisory Board Member to Pacific Union Investment Corp, and co-invests in Seed to Series A+ investments. He serves as Representative to the United Nations Asia on behalf of the Women's Intercultural Network, among other boards and non-profits.


Ross Uchimura
Board member

Meet our Illustrators

STORYWORLD’s books are carefully illustrated by a team of amazing, talented artists. We pride ourselves on how our stories engage readers visually, enhancing the learning experience. The artwork on every page of every book came from one of these creative minds:
melissa
Melissa Batiller

From: Pittsburg, CA

Education: California College of the Arts, Illustration Major

Speaks: English, some Japanese

About: Melissa is interested in Japanese culture and finds ways to integrate Japanese elements into her art. She was recently diagnosed with Type One diabetes and hopes that with that diagnosis, she can be inspired from it and create children's books based on it.

Stories: Where is My Pet, The Little Seed

Melissa Batiller
cassandra
Cassondra Conlin

From: Encinitas, California 


Education: California College of the Arts, Illustration Major

Speaks: English, French


About: Cassondra is an aspiring Expressive Arts Therapist, and has a passion for helping others. She loves taking on projects that allow her to use her artistic talents for a greater purpose. 

Stories: Look at the Sky!

Cassondra Conlin
andrea
Andrea Pescosolido

From: Arce, Italy

Education: California College of the Arts, Illustration major

Speaks: Italian, Spanish, English

About: Andrea wants to make people happier by doing his art and travel the world for the rest of his life.

Stories: Clouds, The Rabbit and the Turtle, The Spear and Shield Salesman

Andrea Pescosolido
adelya
Adelya Tumasyeva

From: Moscow, Russia

Education: California College of the Arts, Illustration major

Speaks: Russian, English

About: Adelya is interested in painting cats, traveling in Europe and having deep conversations. “The bilingual children's book project appeals to me because I studied English and the learning process could have been more fun if only I had these interactive books at the time!”

Stories: Food!, The Ant and the Grasshopper, My Senses, Monkeys Save the Moon, For Pete’s Sake

Adelya Tumasyeva
andrew
Andrew Lincoln

From: Merced, CA

Education: Academy of Art University, Animation/Storyboard Major

Speaks: English, some Spanish

About: Andrew loves to play music, travel around on his bike, socialize, and meet new people. He wants to see the world and illustrate children's books that inspire the imagination.

Stories: My Neighborhood

Andrew Lincoln
china
China Jones

From: San Francisco, CA

Education: Academy of Art University, Illustration Graduate.

Speaks: English, some Spanish

About: China is interested in writing and illustrating children's books. “One of my favorite children's books is Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak. I believe creativity is important in children's education.”

Stories: Let's Make a Hat!

China Jones
clara
Clara Chang

From: Toronto, Cana

Education: California College of the Arts, Animation Major

Speaks: English, Mandarin

About: Clara finds animation brings out the childlike sides of everyone. “I’m attracted to illustrating children's books because it lets me express my imagination in a way that I think a child would be able to understand and enjoy at the same time.”

Stories: Where Are You

Clara Chang
steven
Steven A. Gomez

From: San Francisco, CA

Education: Art Institute of San Francisco, Media Arts & Animation Major

Speaks: English

About: Steven loves to travel and learn about the world. He has always believed that changing the world is a decision that anyone can make. “The world is in need of understanding and unity, and learning each other’s languages is a great way to begin to understand each other better.”

Stories: The Lizard and the Sun, Trash

Steven A. Gomez
jingwen
Jingwen Ma

From: San Francisco, CA

Education: Academy of Art University, Illustration Major

Speaks: English, Chinese

About: Jingwen enjoy digital art and oil painting. She likes telling her stories and experiences using illustrations.

Stories: The Tree

Jingwen Ma
meimei
Meimei Mao

From: China

Education: Academy of Art University

Speaks: Chinese, English

About: Meimei loves to challenge herself to try new things artistically or in life.

Stories: Get Strong

Meimei Mao
heidi
Heidi Perry

From: San Rafael, CA

Education: Animation Mentor, Character Animation Major

Speaks: English

About: Heidi loves to draw, play with dogs, and take really long naps.

Stories: Five Little Monkeys

Heidi Perry
jasmin
Jasmin Perez

From: Burlingame, CA

Education: Ex'pression College, Animation Major

Speaks: English, Spanish

About: Jasmin enjoys writing, sketching, and traveling. She hopes to one day create her own feature length animated film inspired by her stories and illustrations.

Stories: Our Body

Jasmin Perez
stephanie
Stephanie Shin-Hua Lin

From: Taipei, Taiwan

Education: Ex'pression College of Digital Arts

Speaks: Mandarin, English

About: Stephanie likes to make food for family and friends. Other than that she enjoys making drawings, paintings and illustrations that help her communicate with audiences, both adults and kids.

Stories: Cooking with Dad, Wow! A Potato, My Clothes Don’t Fit!

Stephanie Lin
isabel
Isabel Patino

From: Crockett, California

Education: California College of the Arts

Speaks: English, Spanish

About: Isabel loves doing illustrations, especially for children.

Stories: Let’s Go!

Isabel Patino
danielle
Danielle C. Pendergast

From: Parkland, Florida

Education: Syracuse University, Illustration Major

Speaks: English

About: The ocean is a big source of inspiration for the artwork and tattoos Danielle is commissioned to design. “As a child, looking at the pictures was my favorite part of reading books, so being a part of that experience is such a privilege.”

Stories: "The Ugly Duckling”

Danielle Pendergast
akiko
Akiko Neumann

Stories: The Moon Lady

Akiko Neumann
jinnace
Jinnace Gray

From: Philadelphia, PA

Education: California College of the Arts

Speaks: English, wants to learn Spanish

About: Jinnace is currently focused on surface design and is in the process of creating her own children's product line.  “I love cute animals and would like to create a career drawing them.”

Stories: At the Zoo

Jinnace Gray
sergi
Sergi Calavia

From: Oakland, CA

Education: California College of the Arts - Illustration Major

Speaks: Spanish, English, and Catalan

About: Sergi is an art teacher at an elementary school in the San Francisco Bay Area. He highly enjoys reading children's books to his students.

Stories: The Magic Mirror

Sergi Calavia
jackie
Jackie Carson

From: Bay Point, CA

Education: The Art Institute of California, Media Arts & Animation Graduate

Speaks: English

About: Jackie loves art and children. She wants to help others especially young children by using her creative and artistic skills. She hopes to one day write and illustrate her own children's book in the future.

Stories: My New Home

Jackie Carson
tiffany
Tiffany Rodriguez

From: Oakland, CA

Education: California College of the Arts (pursuing BFA in Animation)

Speaks: English, Spanish

About: “I am fascinated with character and wish to be part of each and every aspect of a character’s growth: chronicling the formation of their identity and personality to when they are able to come to life and interact with audiences.”

Stories: The Butterfly, What Time Is It?, The Goat and the Vegetable Garden

Tiffany Rodriguez
cynthiasantos
Cynthia Santos

Stories: My Funny Classmates

Cynthia Santos
caitlin
Caitlin Stevens

Stories: Shopping with Mom

Caitlin Stevens
stephanieszabo
Stephanie Szabo

From: Oakland, CA USA

Education: California College of the Arts, Illustration Major

Speaks: English, Hungarian

About: Speth is an illustrator and designer living in the San Francisco Bay Area. “When I'm not working on artwork, I'm busy playing with my two rats Wild Billy Jones and Silly Boy Blue, and biking around Lake Merritt. I love creating immersive and colorful worlds and characters, and putting a smile on people's faces.”

Stories: The Nine Dragon Sons

Stephanie Szabo




Interns

trent
Trent Hommeyer

Trent is a San Francisco resident who loves coding, robotics and engineering. He's currently attending Minerva for Undergraduate Education, where he will be in one of seven places: San Francisco, Bangalore, Berlin, Buenos Aires, Seoul, London, or Istanbul.

Trent Hommeyer
tyler
Tyler Kwok

Tyler Kwok