As PENCIL’s CEO, Gregg brings over 25 years of experience working at the intersection of school needs and business expertise. Gregg draws on deep experiences as an educator and a leader at the NYC Department of Education where he led Mayor Bloomberg’s efforts to improve college and career outcomes for students, founded the Office of Postsecondary Pathways & Planning and the Office of School Programs & Partnerships, and managed relationships with CUNY. Gregg joined PENCIL in 2015, leading the organization to financial stability, programmatic clarity, and renewed citywide credibility in the service of student success
Prior to his work at the DOE, Gregg served as Senior Vice President of the National Academy Foundation. He oversaw program operations and strategy to sustain a national network of career academies supporting the development of America’s youth toward personal and professional success in high school, higher education, and throughout their careers. NAF Academies represent business/school partnerships that prepare young people for future careers through a combination of school-based curricula and work-based experiences. He started his career as teacher and Assistant Principal of Martin Luther King, Jr. High School, where he taught American History and Finance. Gregg is a public school graduate and holds a B.A. in Government & Law and History from Lafayette College, an M.A. in Social Studies Education and M.Ed. in Educational Administration from Columbia University. He lives in Maplewood, New Jersey, with his wife Karen and two daughters.
Jessica Bynoe is currently President of PENCIL. She holds a BA in Psychology and Metropolitan Studies and a Master of Public Administration Policy and Nonprofit Management from New York University.
Previously, Jessica was the Executive Director of Variety the Children’s Charity of New York, a foundation dedicated to supporting programs that transform the lives of children through the arts. Jessica created a unique philanthropic model to support small, diverse grassroots organizations with a combination of funding and intense capacity building. She elevated the work of over 50 grantees and ensured arts access to over 75,000 children. Prior to Variety New York, Jessica held leadership positions at Usher’s New Look Foundation and the Academy for Educational Development.
Jessica has conducted over 100 workshops and presentations and is internationally recognized for her expertise on youth development, civic engagement, and strategic philanthropy. She is the author of celebrated white papers, including Confronting the Glass Ceiling of Youth Engagement and The Art of Adding Value: Variety New York’s High Touch, High Impact Philanthropic Strategy
As a native New Yorker, Jessica has served her city as a Big Sister for Big Brothers Big Sisters and as chair of the Young Professionals Network for Let’s Get Ready, a college preparatory organization. She is a former president of the NYU College Alumni Association and is currently Vice President of the NYU Alumni Association Board. When not volunteering or working, you can find Jessica pursuing her passion for cooking by hosting multi-course dinner parties and experimenting with new culinary techniques and cultural influences.
Tracy began her career by joining the ranks of the Executive Training Program at Saks Fifth Avenue. After successfully completing the program, she spent 4 years as a buyer honing both her buying, planning, and financial skills for various divisions within the Saks organization. Her career then progressed to Bloomingdales where, as the buyer for the Men’s Division, she superseded the company’s profitability expectations to win the prestigious “Buyer of the Year” Award.
Later she attended the International University of Monaco where she earned her MBA with a concentration in Corporate Finance. On her return to the U.S, Tracy worked for several private companies in a financial and analytical capacity. It was at companies like Michael Kors as a Finance & Strategic Partner she further adapted her financial skills to lead a team of four to accomplish what is still to date retail’s most successive IPO which garnered global brand recognition. In 2014, Tracy joined the Opening Ceremony Team and partnered with Private Equity Group Berkshire Partners to build financial processes that streamlined the company’s inventory levels world-wide. During her tenureship with the company, they doubled their revenues, and mitigated excess inventory by lowering it more than 75%. At Coach/Stuart Weitzman she oversaw the North America region, growing their sales by 50% while improving profitability year over year by 7%.
Tracy has most recently completed her Master’s in Public Policy from the esteemed University of Chicago, Harris School of Public Policy. With over 15 years of private-sector experience Tracy is now making a deliberate decision to transition her private sector financial acumen to the world of nonprofit and build sustainable yet profitable programming.
Andres is the Operations Manager at PENCIL. Andres joins PENCIL after a 10-year career as a professional dancer with Boston Ballet. While at Boston Ballet, Andres took on numerous roles across organizational departments, working to improve and expand programmatic initiatives, strengthen the organization’s pipeline of next generation donors and leaders, and served as an organizational spokesperson for media interviews and fundraising events. Additionally, Andres was a member of Boston Ballet’s cross-functional DEI committee – working to review and strengthen the organization’s commitments to diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI). In this work, Andres performed a comprehensive review of Boston Ballet’s existing policies and practices, developed new organizational policies, systems, and procedures, and implemented a DEI resource hub to promote and support ongoing organization-wide education and training – efforts that distinguish Boston Ballet as a leader in DEI work within the professional dance industry. A passionate advocate, Andres also serves as 5th Vice President of the American Guild of Musical Artists (AGMA), a national performing arts labor union representing dancers, choral artists, and staging staff across the United States. Serving on the Board since 2016, Andres is a member of AGMA’s Executive Council and Administration and Policy Committee, tasked with overseeing the effective implementation of Union governance and steering the organization’s long-term strategic priorities. A two-time graduate of Northeastern University (Go Huskies!), Andres holds a MS in Nonprofit Management and Project Management and a BS in Liberal Studies and Business. In his free time, Andres is an enthusiastic tennis fan and player and enjoys cooking, architecture tours, filling his camera roll with photos of his adorable kittens (Ziti and Ace), and taking advantage of the experiences and cultural institutions that make NYC one of the greatest cities in the world.
Arianny Hidalgo graduated from the University at Albany in 2020 with a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology and a minor in French. Before working at PENCIL, she worked at a public school with Pre-K students and at a shelter for refugee children. These experiences made her realize how much she enjoys guiding and mentoring students through the most pivotal moments in their lives. Arianny intends on continuing her studies in Mental Health Counseling and one day open up an organization that promotes Mental Health awareness to students and their families. Aside from this, she really enjoys traveling the world, reading books, and spending time with the people she loves.
Carly is the Employer Engagement Manager at PENCIL. Before joining the team, she worked as a Squash Director for the afterschool youth enrichment program StreetSquash Harlem, where she coached middle and high school students in the sport of squash and connected them to external educational, athletic, and professional opportunities. Carly is a graduate of Smith College where she studied Psychology and Education. As an experienced youth developer, she is passionate about the impact of holistic support and equitable opportunity in the long-term success and well-being of young people.
Christine Gorman is currently the Chief of Staff. In this role, she oversees Board and ELC engagement, special events, and government contracts. Her work also includes oversight of the systems and structures of the Development team. Christine has a breadth of experience supporting and leading fundraising initiatives across more than a decade of experience. Prior to joining PENCIL, she supported the Corporate Relations team within Global Resources at the Wildlife Conservation Society. Christine earned a BA in Social and Cultural History from Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. When not at work, Christine can be found cooking and reading books that double as door stops.
Clair Oblamski is a Program Manager with PENCIL’s Programs Team. For the past three years she has worked for the City Parks Foundation in their education department as the program manager of a STEM-based afterschool program. Previously she worked at a youth-focused nonprofit that provided squash instruction and academic enrichment to students in Harlem. She grew up in a suburb of Milwaukee but came to the east coast for school. At Smith College she majored in neuroscience and psychology, and played on the varsity tennis and squash teams. In New York she plays in various sports leagues, and enjoys walking, running, and biking around the city.
Darlene Okpo has been an Educator for a little over ten years. She is Nigerian-American and a Bronx native. She graduated from Lehman College in 2012 with a Bachelor’s Degree in African American Studies. Darlene is passionate about education and the success of others. Her purpose in life is to support the youth in making sure that they have fulfilling successful lives. She enjoys reading and summer’s in New York City.
Devaughn Fowlkes is a native New Yorker born in the Town of Hempstead by loving teenage parents. Of Black southern and Panamanian roots, Devaughn attended public school and was a first-generation college graduate of Columbia University. His career evolved from management consulting with IBM, finance with Bank of America, corporate development with MCU, but found his passion in education at the Harlem Children’s Zone. Starting as a college advisor Devaughn helped HCZ serve over 1200 college students. Devaughn later provided capacity building support to education nonprofits with a venture-philanthropy, and helped a business accelerator incubate Ed-Tech start-ups. Most recently, Devaughn led the college persistence and career development programming as the College & Career Success Director at Breakthrough New York, serving over 500 high potential low-income students starting in middle school through college completion and into careers. Devaughn is excited to continue his education reform journey as the new Associate Director of Programs at PENCIL.
Hannah Chan graduated from Smith College with a B.A. in History and East Asian Languages & Literature, with a focus on Japanese. After college she was selected to join the JET (Japan Exchange and Teaching) Program where she taught high school English for 5 years in underserved areas of southern Japan. Before joining PENCIL, she was an elementary school teacher specializing in ESL at a bilingual school in New Jersey. She holds a certification in TEFL (Teaching English as a Foreign Language) and is fluent in Japanese. She’s excited to continue working with everyone at PENCIL and looks forward to creating more opportunities for students in NYC.
Hannah is the Associate Director of Development at PENCIL. Before joining the PENCIL team, Hannah managed and developed children and youth programs and cultivated partnerships at Homes for the Homeless (HFH), a nonprofit that provides transitional housing and educational services for families experiencing homelessness. Prior to her work at HFH, Hannah served as the Co-Executive Director at Art Start – an organization that uses the creative process to engage youth experiencing homelessness and navigating the justice system. At Art Start Hannah primarily focused on program development and building partnerships in the corporate, nonprofit, foundation, and government sectors. Hannah graduated in 2009 with a Bachelor of Arts in Urban Design and Architecture Studies from New York University and holds a Master of Science in Urban Policy and Leadership with a concentration in Nonprofit Management from Hunter College. Hannah lives in her hometown of Brooklyn where she is an active member of her neighborhood’s community garden.
Keith started with PENCIL over 3 years ago as the Associate Director of Evaluation and Organizational Learning. In his current role, he continues to lead PENCIL’s research and evaluation work as well as build organizational capacity through improved processes and technical solutions. He holds a B.A. in Political Science and Sociology from Rutgers University and an M.A. in Sociology from Fordham University. Before joining Pencil, Keith worked with Breaking Ground and United Way of New York City to advance the organizations’ data maturity and develop M&E frameworks. He served in the US Army as a military police officer including a tour in Baghdad and training development at Ft. Dix, New Jersey. Keith lives in Central New Jersey with his wife, two children, three chickens and a wide assortment of plants.
Marina is PENCIL’s Program Manager for Internships. She is excited to work with New York City students and provide high quality internship opportunities that connect students from all walks of life to opportunity and success. Marina graduated from NYU’s Gallatin School of Individualized Study where her focus was the sociology of education and health. Prior to PENCIL, she has worked in education and youth development under AmeriCorps and the All Stars Project. She is passionate about ensuring that all people have both access to opportunity and support to act on it.
Robert was most recently a Business Development Officer with Grant Associates in the NYC Business Solutions Bronx Center, a division of NYC Small Business Services that assists entrepreneurs to open, operate and grow their business. His career is rooted in the sports and entertainment industry where he has worked within the Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) and Marketing & Communications divisions of the New York Mets and Major League Soccer. Robert majored in Urban Studies with a specialization in Political Science at Columbia University where he received a Bachelor of Arts degree. In his spare time, he is an avid sports fan and enjoys volunteering in his local community. Robert lives in Harlem and has a daughter.
Sumara Ahmad is a Program Manager at PENCIL. She joined PENCIL in 2019 and has supported the Internship and Development teams. Her interest in youth development and advocacy related work began while attending CUNY Hunter College and volunteering with Peer Health Exchange, an organization that brought health-related curriculum and conversations into high school classrooms. She is committed to connecting NYC students to career development and opportunities, especially being a Queens native and resident herself. Prior to PENCIL, she worked in corporate cash logistics, retail, and customer service.
Tiana Douglas is a Program Associate at PENCIL and started her career in education in 2018. She is Jamaican American and a native New Yorker who has spent parts of her career in retail management and music. Her purpose in life is to support others and build community through music amongst her peers so that they can experience ease and joy. Using her knowledge gained from attending the Fashion Institute of Technology, Tiana hopes to continue to support and grow her community. Tiana actively DJs in Brooklyn and abroad and currently practices Brazilian Jiu Jitsu.
Xheni is PENCIL’s Communications Manager. She attended NYC public schools and furthered her education with a B.S in Marketing from CUNY CSI. Prior to PENCIL, she worked in business management and marketing.
She has a background in fashion design and a passion for all things creative, which led her to her career in digital and social media marketing.