- Matt Maggiacomo | Executive Director
Matt joined the HPA in 2007 as a founding member of its Board of Directors. His service to the HPA began just as he was in the process of quitting his day job in favor of touring the country in his wizard rock band, The Whomping Willows. Since making these wizardly commitments, Matt has been unable to pry himself from the Harry Potter fandom. He even married Lauren Fairweather of The Moaning Myrtles. Matt worked as the HPA’s Chapters Director from July 2013 to December 2014 and presided over the program’s expansion from 120 chapters in seven countries to 293 chapters in 30 countries. Matt’s leadership was also instrumental in the development of Granger Leadership Academy 2014, the HPA’s first fan activist leadership conference. He begins 2015 as the new Executive Director of the HPA. Matt enjoys being a cat lady in his spare time.
- Andrew Slack | HPA Cofounder/Movement Director
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Andrew is an Ashoka Fellow and a former Nathan Cummings Foundation Fellow where he laid the groundwork for Imagine Better: a program of the HPA that is bringing together educators, professional storytellers, workers, and activists to amplify their messages through the HPA’s model of “cultural acupuncture.” In this regard, Andrew is leading the charge in sparking an unprecedented movement grounded in the notion that that fantasy is no longer an escape from our world, but an invitation to change it for the better.
He’s been featured in Fast Company, the front cover of Forbes.com, the New Yorker, the New York Times, and been named one of the GOOD 100. He’s spoken at TEDx Rome andTEDx Youth in San Diego, served as a keynote speaker at the American Library Association’s Midwinter Festival and the Nobel Peace Prize Forum where he headlined an event with Nobel Laureates Muhammad Yunus and Tawakkol Karman. Andrew has also been a featured speaker at MacArthur’s Digital Media Learning (DML) Conference where he now co-chairs DML In Action, and has spoken at SXSW, Harvard, MIT, Phillips Exeter, Ashoka’s Changemaker conference, and has written for the LA Times and CNN.
A Phi Beta Kappa of Brandeis University, Andrew spent years performing comedy across the US and in online viral videos, studied at an acting conservatory in London, volunteered at a spiritual center for peace and reconciliation in Northern Ireland, and has taught workshops in creative writing and modern mythology to kids of all ages.
- Acacia Ludwig | Creative Director
Growing up in a family of artists and surrounded by the vibrant world of Chinatown, New York, Acacia Ludwig strives to embody a deep and sincere love for artistic expression, good storytelling, and social justice for all people. While she has had stints in acting and modeling, Acacia’s most dedicated work is in music and design. As a musician, Acacia has had the honor to collaborate with some of the world’s greatest rock musicians while living in LA, NYC, and her current home of Woodstock, New York. As a designer, Acacia has created a countless array of logos and web sites for a variety of bands and social justice organizations. She has been working with the HPA since 2007, literally shaping the face of the organization with her artwork and attitude.With a passion for humor, people who hear Acacia’s laugh either find it warm and infectious or just scarily loud.
- Lauren Bird | Communications Director
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Lauren began working with the HPA as a volunteer in 2010 and has since become the full-time Communications Director. She received her Bachelor’s in Comparative Literature, with a concentration in Documentary Filmmaking, from New York University and has spoken on numerous panels including Futures of Entertainment at MIT, TEDx Women, and San Diego Comic-Con. Lauren produces the HPA’s online videos, which have been featured on sites such as Upworthy, Mashable, and the Huffington Post. She also writes the horoscopes for the W.A.N.D. Beyond her wizard activist duties, Lauren can be found on YouTube answering the age-old question, “Will It Waffle?“
- Janae Philips | Chapters Director
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Janae was both a Chapter Organizer and a member of Chapters staff before becoming Chapters Director in December 2014. Born and raised in the Sonoran Desert, she’s a proud alum of the University of Arizona where she received a B.S. in Family Studies and Human Development with a concentration in Leadership Studies and Practice, and is currently pursuing an M.S. in Educational Technology. Janae has worked closely with numerous youth leadership and social activism organizations and specializes in engagement design. She strongly believes that peeps is a sorely underutilized term for multiple humans.