- Andrew Slack | HPA Creator/Cofounder/Executive Director
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Andrew is a Nathan Cummings Foundation Fellow where he is spending one year in New York City developing the Imagine Better Network: an unprecedented movement that goes beyond Harry Potter to all fandoms so 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 York Times, and been named one of the GOOD 100. He’s spoken at TEDx Rome and TEDx Youth in San Diego, served as a keynote speaker at the Nobel Peace Prize Forum and headlined an event there with Nobel Laureates Muhammad Yunus and Tawakkol Karman. Andrew has also been a featured speaker at MacArthur’s Digital Media Learning Conference, SXSW, Harvard, MIT, 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.
- Paul DeGeorge | Director of Campaigns and Operations
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Paul co-founded the Harry Potter Alliance with Andrew Slack in 2005 and currently serves on its board of directors. In 2002, Paul and his brother Joe started the band Harry and the Potters, now cited as the founders of Wizard Rock, a genre of music based on Harry Potter. They have spent much of the last decade touring the country, performing in libraries, and promoting the powers of love, reading, music, and enthusiasm. Paul also founded the Wizard Rock EP of the Month Club, a subscription-based CD club that has raised over $50,000 for lit-based charities. He was profiled in the 2008 documentary We Are Wizards as a pioneer in the creative subculture spawned by the Harry Potter phenomena. His heros are Bruce Springsteen, Ian MacKaye and Wayne Coyne and his high score in Ms. Pacman is 261,370. He lives in Lawrence, KS where he and his wife own an art gallery and shoppe called Wonder Fair
- Ashley Clement | Operations Manager
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Ashley, an enthusiastic Gryffindor, has been a fan of Harry Potter since 1998 and an active HPA staff member since early 2012. Outside of her wizard work at the HPA, Ashley is a graduate student in Macro Social Work and Public Health, studying program planning, policy analysis and community organizing. Previously, she has worked in community health and academic research.
- Julie Barton, Ph.D. | Development Director
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Julie joins the HPA after recently completing her PhD in Literature from the University of East Anglia (UK). She has years of development and non-profit management experience, and has worked for the Philharmonia Orchestra, the Design Museum (London), Raising A Reader San Francisco and Alameda County, and taught undergraduate courses at the University of East Anglia. Having presented articles at conferences around the world, being published in academic books and journals, she always believed that academic research and popular culture can positively influence the world, and has joined the HPA with a passion to implement best practice development ideals to enact positive social change.
- 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 | Spokesperson & Digital Content Strategist
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Lauren received her Bachelor’s degree in Comparative Literature from New York University, where she was an Honors Scholar focused on Documentary Filmmaking. She has spoken on various transmedia and fan activist panels, including Futures of Entertainment at MIT and TEDxWomen. When she’s not immersed in the fandom or defending the rights of wizards and muggles alike, Lauren enjoys creating art and seeking out adventure.