Our Staff

our partners

We are consistently growing our Staff & Support Team!  Be sure to check our position openings from time to time.

Staff Team

Joshua Gorman, Founder & Coordinator

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Oakland, CA, USA

Joshua is accountable for stewarding the work of GenUp as a whole, including strategic planning, organizational governance, leadership & community empowerment, partnerships, and our Thrive program coordination.

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I grew up in the heart of mainstream, middle-class American culture in the suburbs of Washington, DC.  As I awoke in my adolescence to the state of our world, I went “mad” and set out in search of deeper meaning.  For years I traveled and worked in California, Oregon, Alaska, and Hawai’i.  In my early twenties, I went through a personal transformation that altered the course of my life: I saw clearly the pivotal role that our generation is being called to play in creating a thriving, just, and sustainable world for all.  Supporting young people creating positive change has become the passion and purpose I wake up committed to every day.

Joshua designed a major called “Global Youth and Social Change” at George Mason University.  He serves on the Board of Directors for the Global Youth Action Network/TakingITGlobal-US and supports youth-led projects around the world.  In 2008, he co-founded Global Passageways, a network of individuals and organizations working in the fields of youth & community development, contemporary rites of passage, intergenerational mentoring &collaboration, and cultural renewal.  He is a lifelong student of human development and transformational education with a focus on providing young people the experiences, knowledge, and skills they need to thrive in the twenty-first century.  Currently he is at work completing a book titled Generation Waking Up: How A New Generation Of Young People Is Coming Of Age And Changing Our World. 

Barbara Jefferson, WakeUp & Training Coordinator

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Oakland, CA, USA

Barbara is accountable for the WakeUp program, the development and implementation of GenUp training programs, along with supporting GenUp leaders in the field who are building community and taking action.

imageComing of age on a perfect planet in an imperfect society that constructs false realities out of unjust lines was traumatic, to say the least. I was poor, queer, african-amerindian, wombyn, and fatherless; the bottom of the social totem pole. Hungry for truth, justice, and a compassionate planet, I set out on a journey to pave my own paths whole.

Barbara is a student of life. Stirred deeply by the truth of the US industrial food system, phe fled to France where phe worked on organic farms and vineyards and gained an experiential education in sustainable living, cooperation, and resilience. Changed forever by an understanding of what's possible, Barbara has dedicated phe's life-force to stewarding life experiences that have the power to transform and heal all our relations. Phe is trained as a facilitator of Theater of Oppressed, Restorative Justice, The Work That Reconnects, and is a Co-Founder of Young Women's Leadership, a program dedicated to the solidarity and leadership of young women world-wide. Phe is madly in love and often walks on the wild side. 

Hanni Hanson, Operations Coordinator

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Oakland, CA, USA

Hanni is accountable for the multi-faceted, day-to-day operations of GenUp, supporting the WakeUp program, communications, volunteers, and special projects.


I was exposed to environmental and social justice work growing up, but it was only in my late teens that I began to wake up to the gravity of the global crisis. I spent my college years on environmental activism and studying religious social movements, and I’m now beginning to draw those two threads together, learning how building community ties and shifting the stories we tell ourselves can empower us to make change. My stated mission is “cultivating compassion and healing in the world,” and I love to see all the different shapes that can take!

Hanni (Johanna) Hanson is a Bay Area-born, Portland-raised activist. She spent the last four years working primarily on issues of climate change and environmental justice, of which her favorite projects include coordinating a local No on Prop 23 campaign in 2010, co-founding activist training workshops for high school

sustainability groups, supporting a climate parade for an interfaith nonprofit, and gardening for a summer in an ecovillage. Hanni earned her B.A. from Stanford University in Religious Studies, with focuses on religion and spirituality’s relationship with social change movements and religion through a feminist lens.

Cherine Badawi, Curriculum & Training Consultant

Oakland, CA, USA

Cherine is accountable for the design of GenUp's dynamic experiential trainings, the development of GenUp Trainers, and is also helping to develop GenUp's curriculum for high school teachers to infuse in their classrooms. 


I grew up sprawled across an ocean: a foot in Egypt and a foot in the States. My parents immigrated to the US a few years before I was born with the earnest hope of making a better life for themselves and their families at home. Thanks to their ambition and hard work, I grew up in a very privileged context. I attended private schools, traveled extensively, and had many wonderful experiences. Still, amid the abundance and seeming realization of the 'American Dream', I grew up often feeling alone, ashamed of my differences and feeling somehow 'other' and outside in both Egypt and in the US. Always in between, I never quite fit, anywhere. And so I learned from a young age, if I want to live in a world where I belong, where we all belong, I must work to create it. I feel fortunate beyond measure to have found an avenue to do just that. 

Citizen to both Egypt and the United States of America, Cherine had the privilege of growing up on two sides of the planet. She has devoted her life to developing and facilitating holistic, transformational experiences that bring diverse individuals and communities together in authentic, purposeful exchange. Currently, in addition to her work with GenUp, Cherine works as an independent consultant offering instructional design and facilitation to a broad client base. She specializes in diversity and intercultural capacity building, leadership development, and team building. Prior to becoming an independent consultant, Cherine served as a Senior Leader for Challenge Day and as the Curriculum and Training Director of The Mosaic Project. In 2005, she was awarded the Rotary World Peace Fellowship which funded her graduate work and provided her with the opportunity to support the International Bureau of Education-UNESCO in developing a handbook to support member states' diversity and intercultural education initiatives. In 2008, Cherine served as the Community Coordinator on The Scholar Ship, a transnational floating university that hosted staff and students from more than 50 countries as they studied and traveled around the world together. Cherine received her Bachelor's degree in Cultural Studies from UNC, Chapel Hill and her Master's degree in Peace and Conflict Studies from ICU, the premier graduate school of diplomacy in Tokyo, Japan.

Sun Nguyen, Special Projects

San Francisco, CA, USA

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Growing up in the bustling city center of San Francisco, my vision for a just, sustainable, and thriving world was first realized at age 12 when I attended an education science camp in the beautiful redwood forests. Our 5-day excursion revitalized and reconnected my love for the natural world, thus forever changing my relationship and understanding of what I call "home". This trip seeded my passion for an environmentally conscious world that inevitably spread to social justice and food justice activism. My international experiences include sea turtle conservation in Costa Rica, studying abroad in South Korea, and volunteering with a food security and agriculture NGO in Kenya that have led me to understand the interconnectivity and complexity of our nested world. I am eager to share my energy working towards a just, sustainable, and thriving world.

Sun Nguyen graduated from San Diego State University in 2010, with a B.S. in Business Administration and Management with an emphasis in Entrepreneurship. After graduating, Sun continued her work at San Diego State University by working as a project coordinator for the Center for International Business Education and Research (CIBER) as well as Energy Innovation Small Grants Program (EISG). As an artist and change advocate, Sun seeks to combine her professional experience and love for the natural world through permaculture design principles, youth empowerment, community engagement, and food and social justice.

Support Team

Do you have professional-level services you'd like to offer freely, and time to contribute them?  Contact us to join our Support Circle!

Dori Koll, Senior Advisor

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San Francisco, CA, USA

Dori supports GenUp's fundraising, marketing & communications, culture, and strategic partnerships.

As the mother of four young adults, I believe the Millennial generation has the potential to create sustainable systems and lead positive change. I feel a strong calling to inspire, mentor and co-create this movement. I am committed to living the second half of my life fully engaged in support of projects with integrity that manifest new possibilities for the world. 

Dori Koll is a designer, innovator, and leader at heart. She graduated from Stanford University with Honors in Design, completed a BFA at Art Center, and launched a successful career as a graphic designer before having four children. By 1992 she "had it all" - professional success, a beautiful family, a busy life in Orange County, California - and yet deep at her core she knew something was lacking. At that moment she began to wake up, and started her journey towards a more soulful, courageous life. In 1996 the opportunity of a lifetime dropped into her lap. Orange County was lacking an independent, not-for-profit, secular high school, and it was time to build one. Dori led the effort with passion and conviction, and throughout the next four years, this initative grew into a team that represented the cultural and socioeconomic diversity of Orange County. The founding team raised $40 million and on September 14, 2000, Sage Hill School opened its doors. Eleven years later, Dori has committed the second half of her life to creatively and courageously making the world a better place. She recently completed the Leading By Design Fellows Program at California College of the Arts with a focus on transforming our schools and education system. Dori believes in the power of the next generation and works tirelessly to ignite their creativity and imagination, inspiring young people to unleash their potential and to participate fully in the creation of their world.