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Erik Sakamoto

Chief Operating Officer

Erik has nearly 15 years of experience with media education, youth development, workforce development, and juvenile justice programming through his work in various community-based organizations and public schools within the East Bay. He graduated from the University of California, Los Angeles, with a degree in Psychology.

Jabari Gray

Deputy Director

Jabari develops employment partnerships, creating meaningful classroom-to-employment experience for young people. He has professional histories in fundraising, marketing and education, and holds a bachelor’s degree from USC Annenberg and a certificate in fundraising from UCLA Extension.

Ellin O’Leary

President and Chief Content Officer

Ellin is an award-winning journalist who leads the editorial and strategic direction of Youth Radio. She founded Youth Radio in 1992. She led the acquisition of our 20,000 sq. ft. media and technology center in downtown Oakland, the expansion into digital media, and the development of a national network with major media and community partnerships. Her previous experience includes starting newsrooms, channels and bureaus for Inner City Broadcasting, KQED, Pacifica and NPR, and working as a reporter, news director, and producer in radio and television.

Ai Le

Finance Director

Ai leads the finance and accounting team. Ai has a degree in engineering and design. Prior to joining Youth Radio, she was a process engineer in the semiconductor industry, studied industrial design, and was a partner/finance controller at a creative firm in NYC.

Rebecca Martin

Managing Editor

Rebecca leads the day to day operations of Youth Radio’s award-winning newsroom, including editing and producing local and national features. She works closely with the Chief Content Officer on strategic planning and the development of our national network. Before coming to Youth Radio, she worked for The World (PRI/BBC), NPR and CNN.

Elisabeth Soep

Senior Producer and Research Director

Lissa (PhD, Stanford) leads Youth Radio Interactive, where youth integrate journalism and technology to produce engaging, data-rich stories. She founded the YRI, co-wrote Drop That Knowledge (UC Press), had a hand in several Youth Radio award-winning series, and lectures on digital media learning.

Brett Myers

Senior Producer

Brett works hand-in-hand with students filing stories for national outlets, and has contributed to multiple award-winning productions, including Trafficked, a Peabody-Award winning investigation into child sex trafficking. Before Youth Radio, Brett worked at Sound Portraits Productions, StoryCorps and The Kitchen Sisters, and before that Brett was a photographer.

Denise Tejada

Reporter and Multi-media Producer

Denise works alongside newsroom interns to produce stories (in all formats) for local and national outlets. She was a reporter for Trafficked, a Peabody Award winning investigation by Youth Radio on child sex trafficking in Oakland. Denise was part of Youth Radio’s broadcasting class of 2004.

Teresa Chin

Producer and Designer

Teresa works with teens in Youth Radio’s newsroom and interactive teams to produce deep multimedia stories. She is an award-winning journalist and a former classroom teacher, with master’s degrees in both public health and journalism. She also develops and helps implement Youth Radio’s curricula. Her work has appeared in numerous media outlets, including Matter, Hyphen, KQED, KALW, and The Cleveland Plain Dealer.

Asha Richardson

Youth Radio Interactive Manager

Asha coordinates digital communication strategies for the newsroom. She co-founded Youth Radio’s App Lab in 2010, where young people develop web based and mobile apps that engage the community. Asha is a recent graduate of Mills College, B.A. in Economics, and has passion for marketing and tech.

Chaz Hubbard

Video Producer

Chaz works within multiple departments at Youth Radio to provide quality videos for various outlets and has over 6 years of professional video production experience. Chaz holds a B.A. in Cinema from SFSU in 2006 and has worked independently on short films and music videos.

Noah Nelson


Noah Nelson is a reporter for, Youth Radio’s online news service covering the intersection of tech and culture. His coverage of trends in transmedia, crowdfunding, and gaming have been featured on outlets including NPR and Marketplace. He’s a graduate of SF State and alum of Youth Radio’s first class.

Clifford Lee


Cliff (PhD, UCLA) researches and publishes findings and supports Youth Radio Interactive. He also collaborates on the Teach Youth Radio hub; creating, disseminating, and analyzing the curriculum. He has over 15 years of urban education experience where he was a founding English, Social Studies, and Media Arts teacher at Life Academy High School in East Oakland. Cliff is also an Assistant Professor in the Kalmanovitz School of Education at Saint Mary’s College of California, where he teaches preservice secondary teachers.

Shawn Wen


Shawn works with teens in Youth Radio’s newsroom to produce stories for local and national outlets. She is a writer, radio producer, and multimedia artist. Her radio work has broadcast on This American Life, Marketplace, and Freakonomics Radio.

Brandon McFarland

Production Manager

Brandon is the producer of the Youth Radio podcast and the lead mixer for Youth Radio’s broadcast features and commentaries. He joined Youth Radio at the age of 17, and since that time, helped launch, produced for Turnstyle, and reported for national outlets including NPR’s All Things Considered. He led production for Youth Radio’s “What’s Going On…NOW” project in collaboration with The Kennedy Center.

Nancy Deville

Network Producer

Nancy works in Youth Radio’s newsroom and focuses on statewide collaborations and productions in California, and helps coordinate the national network.  She’s an award-winning journalist who has done work for several media outlets including The Tennessean, USA Today, KQED and Latino USA.  Prior to joining Youth Radio, she was a college journalism instructor.

Elena Botkin-Levy

Director of Media Education

Elena teaches journalism and leads the Media Education team at Youth Radio. She started producing radio as a young person and has produced, trained, and collaborated with youth media groups around the country. She’s a graduate of Temple University.

Ben Frost

Music Director

Ben teaches music production, sound design classes, and manages Youth Radio Raw and AllDayPlay. He attended UC Santa Cruz and the Sorbonne and has credited works with organizations and artists such as Deuce Eclipse, Zumbi, Andre Nickatina, Destiny Arts Center and the Hip-Hop Theater Festival.

Maeven McGovern

Director of Arts Pathway and Integrated Learning

Maeven facilitates Youth Radio’s Remix Your Life and builds partnerships with community arts institutions. She studied community art and performance theory at UCLA’s World Arts and Cultures Department, focusing on best practices in leveraging the arts for trauma recovery and community empowerment.


DJ Skills Instructor

David Elliot, aka DJ FUZE, heads up Youth Radio’s DJ Skills Program, part of Remix Your Life. He has over 25 years of history working as a part of the platinum selling, grammy-nominated, Bay Area rap group Digital Underground. He produced and toured with the iconic Tupac Shakur, as well as the platinum Oakland duo, the Luniz, and most recently, toured with comic legend Dave Chappelle. FUZE graduated from UC Berkeley in 2008 with a degree in International Development.

LaToya Tooles

CORE Journalism Instructor

LaToya Tooles has written for The Brooklyn Ink,, OhDang!Mag, The Afro American, The Golden Gate [X]Press and the Western Edition. She most recently worked as a web producer at The Center for Investigative Reporting in the San Francisco Bay Area. She has a master’s degree in digital media from Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism and a bachelor’s in print journalism from San Francisco State University. She is a longtime nerd known for her love of fantasy novels, old and new radio shows, crafting, coding and flow charts.

Michael Lee

Managing Director

Michael began working with Youth Radio as an intern while in school and is now program manager for Youth Radio’s Digital Communication Pathways Program. An Oakland native, Michael has 6 years of experience working with youth and holds a B.A. in Social Work from San Francisco State University.

Ilene Abrams

Education and Career Coordinator

Ilene works to help students get to college. Prior to working at Youth Radio, she was a college advisor at Envision Academy and Berkeley High School.

Jessica Damian

Pathways Program Coordinator

Jessica has years of experience supporting staff and programmers at KPFA Radio. She holds a B.A. in Social Welfare from UC Berkeley and credits her studies at Cosumnes River College in Sacramento for developing her appreciation of the community college system. As the administrative component of the Pathways Program, she hopes to share this passion and support the goals of students at Youth Radio.

Shelby Stark

C.H.E.F. Program Coodinator

“Chef Shelby is formally educated in Culinary and Holistic Culinary Arts. She has been working in the culinary field for the past four years, holding various positions from Culinary Instructor to Executive Chef. Chef Shelby has extensive catering, restaurant, banquet, and event coordinating experience which she has shared with several Bay Area organizations and event venues. When she is not here, she is running her own business.

Ashleigh Kenny

Development Director

Ashleigh leads Youth Radio’s development department. Before Youth Radio, she worked in fundraising and publishing for non-profit media companies in Washington, DC. She began her studies in journalism and communications at American University in Washington, DC. She studied indigenous literature in New Zealand, and earned an English degree from the University of Iowa.

Heather Platt

Individual Giving Manager

Heather comes to Youth Radio with a background in political organizing and fundraising. Prior, she worked on environmental, consumer rights and social justice campaigns. She earned her degree in Religion and Women’s Studies from The University of the South.

Anna Fagergren

Learning and Evaluation Specialist

Anna is Youth Radio’s Learning and Evaluation Specialist. Before joining Youth Radio, she worked as a research and evaluation consultant with Bay Area, national and international youth development organizations. Anna earned her MA from Claremont Graduate University in Positive Organizational Psychology and Evaluation.

Marlena Holland

Development Associate

Marlena brings to Youth Radio a background in arts event production ranging from gallery openings to concert series. She previously headed label relations as the Music Director at KALX 90.7 FM, where she continues to DJ as Audio Cheesecake. She earned a BA in Rhetoric with a focus on Narrative & Image from UC Berkeley.

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