THE MEMRIA TEAM
CEO & FOUNDER
Louis Bickford has worked in the fields of collective memory, human rights, and transitional justice since 1996, and has held executive leadership positions for over 15 years. Most recently, he managed the Global Human Rights program at the Ford Foundation. Before that, he worked at the International Centre for Transitional Justice (ICTJ), which he helped grow from a start-up in 2001 to an important international NGO. He later worked at RFK Human Rights. He has consulted with various national and international institutions in every world region. He is also an adjunct professor at Columbia University and NYU, where he teaches regular graduate seminars on human rights. He has a PhD from McGill University and an MA from the New School for Social Research, both in political science.
HEAD OF PRODUCT
Karen Schlesinger leads product development at Memria, where she oversees a team of engineers and manages the development of the platform at the heart of Memria. Karen is responsible for conceptualizing and operationalizing tech solutions to provide partners with the best possible user-experience. Karen is also part of a team of professional co-founders, advisors, product developers, engineers, business strategists, and expert problem solvers at Founder Therapy, where she leads the company’s Tech for Good initiative focusing on helping startups build and launch products that are addressing social and environmental challenges. Over the past 13 years she has also founded and managed her own startup as well as a local economic development organization. She has been an adjunct professor and instructor at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Rochester Institute of Technology and University of Alabama. She has an MBA in Sustainable Management from Presidio Graduate School and an MFA in Imaging Arts & Sciences from RIT.
Laila Pedro advises and helps develop projects at Memria, focusing on story collection and editing, using the Memria platform. She is an editor, writer, scholar, and translator based in New York.She holds a PhD in French from the Graduate Center, CUNY, where she studied intersections between French and Cuban poetry and painting. From 2015 – 2017, she was Managing Editor of the Brooklyn Rail, a monthly print and digital magazine of art, politics, culture, fiction, and poetry. She is currently at work on a book about cultural connections between France, Cuba, and the Francophone Caribbean.
Dana Spiegel is a Product and Software Engineering expert in charge of technology. Previously, he was the VP of Product and Engineering at Axial, which operates a private network for qualified buyers and sellers of privately held businesses. Dana has a Bachelor's Degree in Brain and Cognitive Sciences and Artificial Intelligence from MIT and completed his Master's Degree at the MIT Media Lab.
Brian Tait focuses on holistic product development, sales operations development and optimization, and user acquisition strategy and development. Previously, Brian built and launched profitable outsourced Sales and Customer Service Operations for a number of technology and software companies, including HP, Intuit, Polycom and ADP.
Marijana Toma is a historian and transitional justice consultant. She was the Deputy Executive Director at the Humanitarian Law Centre between 2012-2016, where she worked on documenting war crimes, oral history, forced disappearances and transitional justice. During the past 14 years, she has been involved in numerous transitional justice projects in the region and internationally.
Eduardo Gonzalez is a human rights consultant and sociologist, specializing in transitional justice. A Peruvian national, he participated in his country’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission. Since then, he has contributed to the establishment and operations of truth and reconciliation processes in about 20 countries, providing technical and strategic advice. (gonzalezc.com) (photo credit: Hannah Dunphy)
Secretary General, Amnesty International. Formerly Director of the United Nations Millennium Campaign from 2003 to 2010 and from 1998 to 2003, chief executive of ActionAid.
President, Magnum Foundation. Award-winning photographer: Robert Capa Gold Medal Award (1979), the American Society of Magazine Photographers (ASMP) award (1982), a MacArthur Fellowship (1992), and Guggenheim Fellowship ( 2016).
The founder and director of CIEL (see: http://cielab.in), which guides the development of media, art, and technology projects from story to social action, creating narrative-based social change initiatives with NGOs, global institutions, and independent media creators.
United Nations Special Rapporteur on the promotion of truth, justice, reparation and guarantees of non-recurrence, and Director of the Transitional Justice Program at the Centre for human rights and global justice at the School of Law, New York University.
FATIMAH LOREN MUHAMMAD
Deputy Director, Equal Justice USA. Recognized by President Bill Clinton as a leader in social innovation; Director, Trauma Advocacy Initiative; candidate for State Assembly in Pennsylvania (2012); and a leader in racial justice issues in the United States.
Executive Director, The Narrative Initiative. Previously: Ford Foundation; Surdna Foundation; 18MillionRising.org (an effort to build the political power of Asian Americans using social media/online organizing); Pseudo.com; AsianAvenue.com; BlackPlanet.com; and BET.com. On Board of Greenpeace.
Director, Humanities Action Labs. Formerly Director of the Guantanamo Public Memory Project and Founding Director of the International Coalition of Sites of Conscience.
CESAR RODRIGUEZ GARAVITO
Executive Director of the Center for Law, Justice, and Society (Dejusticia) and founder of the Program on Global Justice and Human Rights at the University of the Andes (Colombia); board member of WITNESS, the Business and Human Rights Resource Center, OpenGlobalRights and the Business & Human Rights Journal.
PhD neuroscientist; works with GlobalGiving and Keystone Accountability; created the GlobalGiving Storytelling project and the FeedbackCommons; author of several books, including Storytelling for Change (2017) and Slack for Project Management (2018).
Director, JustFilms, Ford Foundation. Formerly director of the Sundance Institute Documentary Film Program and Fund, and part of Sundance Institute’s leadership team; executive producer of the PBS documentary series POV.
PAUL VAN ZYL
Co-Founder and CEO of Maiyet, a luxury fashion brand that celebrates and cultivates traditional design and culture by partnering with global artisans to incorporate exquisitely handcrafted details into the collections. Also co-founder of the International Center for Transitional Justice (ICTJ).
President, the Jacob and Hilda Blaustein Foundation. Formerly Executive Director of the International Human Rights Funders Group (IHRFG) and the Coro New York Leadership Center.