◆ I am an Executive Leadership Coach at Proof Leadership Group and the outgoing Executive Director of Character Lab, a non-profit founded with the mission to advance scientific insights that help kids thrive. I serve on the advisory boards of Behavioral Scientist and Psychgeist Media and as an advisor to various K-12 research and development initiatives, including the Advanced Education Research and Development Fund (AERDF).

◆ In my tenure as Executive Director of Character Lab, we raised over $30M to fuel our mission. I led a phenomenal team through a pandemic, reported to an incredible board of directors, and received mentorship from some of the world’s most outstanding leaders, including co-founder Angela Duckworth (best-selling author of Grit) and board chair Luis von Ahn (CEO of Duolingo). Our work has been featured in a broad range of outlets, from the back of Corn Flakes cereal boxes to CBS Mornings. 

◆ As an academic, I’m proud to have founded Character Lab Research Network, which has facilitated the research of over 150 world-class scientists, including Nobel Laureates and MacArthur winners, as well as emerging scholars of color. Our team facilitated hundreds of school-based research studies that have led to dozens of publications in top-tier publications such as Science and Nature. I’m particularly proud to brag about presenting to Bill Gates (the man himself!) on how we built a fast, frictionless, and fruitful research infrastructure in education. 

◆ Before my time as an academic and nonprofit leader, I got my first dose of leadership experience in the military. My time in the U.S. Air Force included combat deployments in Afghanistan and training special forces in Jordan and England. I had the honor and privilege of attending special military training such as airborne, air assault, and survival school as well as rappel master and fast rope master training. I now get my adrenaline hits from scuba diving, which might be the most relaxing “extreme sport” ever. 

◆ A Cuban American from Miami, I’m a high school dropout and juvenile detention center survivor turned first-generation college graduate. I completed my bachelor’s degree in psychology, master’s degree in industrial and organizational psychology, and master’s degree in teaching—all while serving on active duty in the U.S Air Force special operations. After leaving the military, I completed my Ph.D. in experimental psychology at the University of St. Andrews (Scotland).