The Hidden Genius Project trains and mentors Black male youth in technology creation, entrepreneurship, and leadership skills to transform their lives and communities.


The Hidden Genius Project, a national nonprofit organization, was founded in Oakland in 2012 by five Black male entrepreneurs/technologists who were unnerved by the dramatic juxtaposition between the high unemployment of Black male youth and the plethora of career opportunities within the local technology sector. To address this challenge, the founders established a program to connect young Black males with the skills, mentors, and experiences that they need to become high-performing entrepreneurs and technologists in a 21st century, global economy.




Chief Executive Officer

An Oakland native, Chief Executive Officer Brandon Nicholson, Ph.D. has always felt a deep sense of commitment to promoting equity in the public realm, particularly in the education space. Previously, he was a Senior Associate at Social Policy Research Associates (SPR), where he conducted research, evaluation, and analysis across a range of key social policy areas. Brandon has conducted substantial research in the areas of education and youth development, with a particular focus on issues of equity and access in K-12 education for underserved populations. He has considerable experience investigating linkages among race, class, and youth development.


Chief Finance and Operations Officer

A San Francisco native, Tariq Norris is the Chief Finance and Operations Officer at The Hidden Genius Project. His expertise is rooted in organizational development, fiscal management, non-profit administration, youth development, and strategic planning. Previously, Tariq held leadership positions at several local and national non-profit organizations which focused on organizational growth and creating positive pathways and opportunities for children and families. Tariq was educated at Alabama State University where he studied Communications. Tariq believes strongly in the power of community and continues to dedicate his life and career to helping historically underserved youth and communities advance and thrive.


Chief Human Resources Officer

Alicia Pinn is a Bay Area native and the Chief Human Resources Officer at The Hidden Genius Project. She was born in Santa Clara, the heart of Silicon Valley, and raised in both the South and East Bay Areas of northern California. The movement around the Bay exposed her to many diverse cultures and people. This and her sundry family makeup allowed her to embrace people of all backgrounds and identities. Alicia is an individual that likes to find the positives and works to drive change. She believes that drive, learned experience, and organization are paramount to success.

Alicia has over 20 years of work experience in nonprofit and for-profit companies and a non-traditional path of education rooted in the Executive level program for Human Resource Management at Cal State East Bay. She also holds certifications with the Society for Human Resources (SHRM) as a Certified Professional (CP), and a Workplace Inclusivity Specialist. She is also a Professional in Human Resources (PHR) with the Human Resource Certification Institute (HRCI). Alicia is an active board member with the Stanford Community Advisory Board and her local high school's athletic booster club.


Chief Strategic Initiatives Officer

Sean Valentine grew up in the Greater New York City Area. In 2009 he relocated to Oakland to work with youth athletes through personal training. In this pursuit, Sean developed a passion for mentorship and teen counseling. While studying Economics he became determined to incorporate his life’s experiences, scholastic knowledge, and pure people skills to help underserved teens reach their true potential. Sean received his B.S. in Economics from Saint Mary’s College.


Chief Programs Officer

Mounir Tyler is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW) with a diverse background in non-profit executive leadership, consulting, clinical therapy, and for-profit management. His leadership philosophy is grounded in the importance of developing capacity-building systems in operations, programmatic services, staff development, and strategic planning. In addition, Mounir has expertise in youth development and previously held executive positions with national non-profits, serving multi-service populations with a primary focus in mental health, supportive housing services, and financial capability.

Ultimately, Mounir is passionate about empowering resource deficient communities affected by systemic inequities, to gain confidence and skills toward improving their mental and physical wellness and overall financial status. He attended Southern University in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, The University of Cincinnati, and California State, East Bay earning a Bachelor's and Master's degree in Social Work.


Chief Innovation Officer

Hodari A. Tourè received his doctorate from UC Berkeley in the School of Education in Social and Cultural Studies. His research in anthropology and education reflects a strong emphasis on inner city African Americans and has resulted in an interest in organic community discourse, which he calls block pedagogy. He states it is a discourse, which reflects the constant negotiation of identity power and privileged knowledge.

Prof. Tourè has taught courses at UC Berkeley and has vast experience working with young Black males throughout the East Bay including; Emery middle school, King Estate middle school among others.



Communications Manager

Born and raised in San Francisco, Denzel Russell is the Communications Manager at The Hidden Genius Project. He provides a wealth of experience in youth development, program management, marketing, and non-profit administration. Prior to this role, Denzel’s passion for mentoring marginalized youth stemmed from his service at the Children’s Creativity Museum, where he worked as the Marketing and Development Associate, Floor Manager, and Youth Program Coordinator. Denzel received his B.S. in Business Administration with a focus on Management from San Francisco State University.


Office Administrator

Krystal joins The Hidden Genius Project as an Office Administrator, where she aligns her experience with implementing organizational development and establishing internal infrastructures to support long-term sustainability. Following several years of Administrative Operations and Management at the Executive level— including her most recent position with Edrington and Associates, a leading real estate consulting firm in the Bay Area, where Krystal had the opportunity to revisit her nonprofit roots. She left a significant career in the private sector to pursue a lifelong passion for providing support to young people to help strengthen their capacity to transform their lives and communities. Krystal earned her B.A. in Psychology with an emphasis on social, cultural, organizational, and community contexts with a minor in Africana Studies from San Francisco State University. Her work experience spans considerable domains including juvenile justice reform, youth development, and education.


Development Associate

An alum of our OAK4 cohort, Kyron Loggins is a longstanding member of the Hidden Genius family. Both a peer and mentor to our Geniuses, Kyron first joined The Hidden Genius Project in 2016 as a student of our Intensive Immersion Program, later serving as one of our senior-most youth educators, and now proudly serving in the capacity of Development Associate. He serves to champion the youth in his community, and displays his passion for furthering the opportunities of young Black men in his work with The Hidden Genius Project and his endeavors beyond, which includes community development.


Regional Director, West

A native of Los Angeles, Kayla Mason is the Regional Director, West at The Hidden Genius Project. Kayla operates at the nexus of program operations, coalition building, and organizational development. She is driven by the opportunity to influence systemic change for at-opportunity youth and has overseen community growth opportunities for local and national organizations. Kayla believes in building youth intrinsic power and is a proud alumni of Community Coalition SCYEA an organization that builds campaigns to improve the conditions of South Los Angeles schools.


Manager of Alumni Engagement

As the Manager of Alumni Engagement at The Hidden Genius Project, Arnold Lopez actively manages the personal, professional, and academic ecosystem of initiatives to support current students and alumni. Arnold started his career in San Diego where he worked with young people through local recreation centers, the YMCA, and with his church youth group. His passion for education and youth development amplified when he moved to the Bay Area and joined Destination College Advising Corps (DCAC) with UC Berkeley. Arnold is currently studying Educational Entrepreneurship at the Harvard Graduate School of Education as a MS.Ed Candidate with the intent to bring more resources back into at-opportunity communities.


Community Partners Program Manager

Chris Wilson supports The Hidden Genius Project as the Community Partner Programs Manager. Originally from Berkeley, CA, Chris graduated from San Francisco State University with a Bachelor’s Degree in Africana Studies. He is passionate about serving young people in our communities and his work is guided by a deep love for the African Diaspora and the Black experience in America. Prior to this experience, Chris worked as a Program Manager for City Year Los Angeles, where he managed young adults who served students with; tier 2 support time, social & emotional development, and leadership workshops in the Watts and Inglewood communities.


Support Services Director

Ashley Robinson empowers our young people and their families as the Support Services Director at The Hidden Genius Project. With over twelve years of experience working with communities of color in the education, child welfare, mental health, and juvenile and criminal justice systems, Ashley is a longtime advocate for families fighting against systems of oppression and institutionalized racism.

Prior to this role, Ashley served as Director for FIRST 5 Santa Clara County overseeing professional development trainings for industries that serve pregnant women, children 0-5 and their families. She has also served as the Assistant Chair for the Black Leadership Kitchen Cabinet. Ashley holds a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Psychology from the University of San Francisco and a Master of Arts Degree in Psychology, with an emphasis in Marriage & Family Therapy from Golden Gate University. In her spare time, Ashley enjoys painting, fashion, dancing, cooking, and spending time with friends and family. Most importantly, she credits all things to her belief and faith in God.


Ubuntu Center Coordinator

OAK4 Hidden Genius Alum, Kevin Butler, proudly serves as the Ubuntu Center Coordinator at The Hidden Genius Project. After completing our Intensive Immersion Program in 2016, Kevin continued to support The Hidden Genius Project by teaching basic computer science skills to students of color in his community and beyond as a Youth Educator. He currently attends Laney College and plans to transfer to a 4-year university to get his Bachelor's degree in Computer Science. Kevin is deeply passionate about giving back to his community and aspires to create innovative ways to support the next generation of young people.



Oakland Site Director

Game developer and music composer, Jabari Alii is an Oakland native and the Oakland Site Director at The Hidden Genius Project. He believes in using art and technology to give voice and agency to underserved youth. His work is fueled by a mission to have the Black community play a larger role in the global impact of technology and media. Emerging technology has always been Jabari's passion, as he previously worked as a sound designer for Facebook and a video game design instructor for the David E. Glover Technology Center. In his spare time, Jabari enjoys playing chess and the piano.


Senior Innovation Educator

Eugene Lemon has over thirty years’ experience in the computer technology field, first as a business software consultant and then as a computer science teacher. He recently retired from Oakland Unified School District after twenty years of service where he worked in alternative educational settings; primarily serving at-risk students who would otherwise have a difficult time succeeding in a traditional high school environment.

Eugene is the president of the local CSTA (Computer Science Teacher Association) Chapter and a member of the CSTA’s Advocacy Leadership Team. Eugene is also a member of The Level Playing Field Institute’s Broadening Participation in Computing advisory committee providing feedback on the development, implementation and evaluation of the BPC project.


Oakland Support Services Manager

Jamal Mitchell drives the holistic arm of The Hidden Genius Project as the Support Services Manager. With over twenty-two years of experience in serving youth and families in the foster care system, Jamal specializes in cultivating relationships with at-risk and underserved youth. He has a strong passion for comprehensive case management and possesses a gift for developing a holistic needs-based service plan. Jamal was also a Life Skills Trainer for twelve years at the Alameda County Independent Living Skills Program.


Innovation Educator, Youth Educator Lead

Computer science enthusiast and aspiring entrepreneur, Abraham Keleta is the Innovation Educator, Curriculum Lead at The Hidden Genius Project. Being an Oakland Native, Abraham is interested in utilizing technology and leadership principles to inspire and empower the next generation to build the tools needed to make a global impact. In his spare time, Abraham is devoted to curating his passion projects; Asend, a personal blog and running a clothing brand, Leopes. He also enjoys reading and reviewing books focused on personal development.


Oakland Innovation Educator

A southern native of the robust rural city of Jackson, Mississippi, Démetrious Brown is an Innovation Educator for The Hidden Genius Project in Oakland. He received his education in Dual degree Computer Science/Computer Engineering from Xavier University of Louisiana and Jackson State University. As an educator, Démetrious has a philosophy of " Quisque Doceat Unum" meaning "Each One Teach One". He strongly believes in collaborative learning and experiencing the journey more than the end goal. In his spare time, Démetrious develops various articial intelligence (A.I.) programs and code to run on robots to act as a more in depth personal assistant. He also enjoys working on cars in his free time.


Oakland Care Champion

Oakland born and raised, Christopher James graduated from Skyline High School. For more than a decade, Christopher has worked as a substance use counselor and group facilitator for young people in the Mission, Potrero Hill, and Bayview districts of San Francisco. Serving as the Oakland Care Champion at The Hidden Genius Project, Christopher continues to leverage his passion for working with young people by creating holistic and innovative ways to unleash their potential.



Richmond Site Director

Janay serves as the Richmond Site Director for The Hidden Genius Project. Originally from Southern California, Janay relocated to the Bay Area to pursue her undergraduate degree at UC Berkeley and graduate studies at University of San Francisco.

As an equity-fluent leader and service-learning practitioner, Janay has devoted her career to supporting the professional and personal development of Black students, leaders, and kin. Her professional praxis is rooted in the community cultural wealth model where she supports her community in recognizing and leveraging their lived experiences and ancestral wisdom as strengths and tools for collective transformation.

In her spare time, Janay serves her community as a proud member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Inc., enjoys spending time with family and friends, dining at local eateries, and exploring new hiking trails at East Bay regional parks.


Richmond Support Services Manager

With a commitment to supporting marginalized communities, Kacie Patton is the Support Services Manager at the Intensive Immersion Program site in Richmond, CA. Kacie knew early on her passion was being in service to others and this prompted her to pursue her MSW from University of Louisville – Kent School of Social Work. After serving The Hidden Genius Project as an MSW Intern for two years, Kacie brings her wealth of experience, education, and alignment with the mission and vision of the organization to her role. Outside of her professional endeavors, Kacie enjoys reading, research, and has a passion for attending live music shows, plays, and sporting events.


Genius Fellow Educator

Bio coming soon!


Genius Fellow Educator

Born and raised in East Oakland, Devon Nutting first began his journey with The Hidden Genius Project back in 2015 as an OAK3 Hidden Genius with his twin brother, Donovan. After completing the program in 2016, Devon continued to nurture his passion for coding and video game development with the organization as a Youth Educator, where he exposed hundreds of young people to computer science basics and fundamentals through our Community Partnership Programs in the Bay Area, including national and international Catalyst events.

Now, Devon supports The Hidden Genius Project as a Genius Fellow Educator in Richmond by mentoring the next generation of Geniuses in our Intensive Immersion Program. He also participates in the newly created Genius Studios, developing digital games with a team made entirely of Hidden Genius Alumni. Devon is currently pursuing his Bachelor's Degree in Games and Playable Media at the University of California, Santa Cruz. His ultimate goal is to have a career in the technology field and launch his own gaming studio in the Bay Area. Devon's other passions include fitness, cooking, and self-care.


College Adviser

Andrew Pope grew up in Vallejo, California. After graduating from high school he wanted to learn more about the historical factors that have affected his community to this day and went on to attend UCLA where he majored in African American Studies and minored in Pilipino Studies. After graduating, Andrew accepted a position as the College Adviser Fellow at The Hidden Genius Project through Destination College Advisor Corps to work towards getting more students of color into four-year universities.



Los Angeles Site Director

Bio coming soon!


Los Angeles Support Services Manager

Sherida Harris is a Los Angeles native who has focused her career on providing mindful and enriching experiences for Black and Brown families throughout South Los Angeles for the past 20+ years. Her professional philosophy incorporates both a holistic and solution-based approach which both supports a space and positive narrative, for at-opportunity youth and families to thrive.

As the Los Angeles Support Services Manager, Sherida’s commitment is the betterment of all youth and their families through empowerment and an asset-based approach. In her free time, she enjoys swimming, visiting local museums, and time with family and friends.


Los Angeles Innovation Educator

Rap lyricist and game designer, Craig Tinsley, is the Los Angeles Innovation Educator at The Hidden Genius Project. Throughout his career, Craig has worked in digital media and entertainment, soaking up a diverse skill set in quality assurance, technical writing, and digital product management along the way. Heavily inspired by hip-hop culture, physical sciences, and a wide range of animation, Craig uses his linguistic mind to oscillate between big picture ideas and fine details in order to detect opportunities to synthesize new understandings and outcomes.


Los Angeles Alumni Engagement Coordinator

As a proud South Central native, Alumni Engagement Coordinator Janet Lopez believes in the power of education. Being the first in her family to graduate from college she was able to develop a passion for service and advocating for college access to at-promise youth. While studying Sociology and Black Studies at the University of California, Santa Barbara, Janet realized the overlap of her own lived experiences and her educational studies that led her to see the great impact of mentorship through her involvement in various youth development organizations. She is passionate about mentoring youth to reach their full potential and giving them holistic care in order to accomplish their goals. Janet is humbled and honored to become part of The Hidden Genius Project to continue reminding folks that our Geniuses matter today, tomorrow, and always.



Detroit Site Director

William Malcolm serves as the Detroit Site Director at The Hidden Genius Project. With over 15 years as a business and social entrepreneur, William has developed extensive leadership and project-based programming pathways for Black male youth. William strongly believes in the unlimited potential of all Black boys, which is why his work focuses on educational achievement, social and emotional wellness, goal-setting techniques, and conflict resolution strategies, while reinforcing the importance of understanding one's self and cultural identity.

A member of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity Incorporated, William has received numerous awards and recognitions for his community involvement. He was awarded a 2010 Detroit Chamber of Commerce Fusion Award, a 2010 Vanguard Award, a 2012 Molina Community Champions Award, a 2013 Black Male Engagement Award, a 2016 Spirit of Detroit Award, and a 2019 Michigan Chronicle Man of Excellence Award.

William also hosts, The William Malcolm Morning Show (92.7 WLQV Detroit-Market); the goal of the weekly show is to inspire, uplift, and motivate listeners to become dreamers in action.


Detroit Support Services Manager

Miracle Baynes is a Detroit native who has a deep passion for caring and supporting for those in her community. Throughout Miracle’s career in the human services field, she has been dedicated to changing lives with a zest for helping others navigate healthcare, supportive services, direct care, and mentorship. As the Detroit Support Services Manager, Miracle continues to impact the lives of our young people in many ways. She received her B.S. in Psychology from Wayne State University.

Outside of Miracle’s professional endeavors, she enjoys spending time with her family, traveling, and being the best mom ever.


Senior Innovation Educator, Curriculum Lead

Originally from Cleveland, Ohio, David Malone Jr. serves as the Senior Innovation Educator, Curriculum Lead at The Hidden Genius Project. Soon after receiving his B.S. in Computer Engineering from the University of Akron, he moved to Oakland in order to pursue his passion of uplifting Black communities. The under-representation of Black people in the tech industry sparked an interest for David to help provide the resources and opportunities needed to diversify the tech sector. He also worked as a Technical Support Representative for Rockwell Automation overseeing numerous software products.


Detroit Alumni Engagement Coordinator

As the Detroit Alumni Coordinator at The Hidden Genius Project, Nadia Shelton identifies, and actively manages personal, professional, and academic initiatives, at a programmatic level to build relationships with our partner organizations for maximum impact on our alumni and current Geniuses. Nadia grew up in the Metro Detroit area with roots from both sides of the city. After graduating high school Nadia went on to the University of Toledo where she got a Bachelor of Arts degree in Communications with a minor in Peace and Justice Studies.

Nadia is very passionate about living in a peaceful and just society. While in college she led a successful effort to bring NPHC and MGC Greek plots to her campus. Nadia is also very involved in giving back to her community and often volunteers with the National Kidney Foundation of Michigan. She is currently pursuing a Masters Degree in Public Administration from Wayne State University with the goal of one day being able to put policies in place to make her community and world a better place.



Atlanta Site Director

Nancy Taiye Aragbaye, MPA has always been an advocate for those who cannot advocate for themselves. Since her youth, history has always been an interest of hers. Fascinated by how communities and cities grow, she became hyper-focused on developing solutions to transform impoverished communities into thriving environments.

As a former Metro-Atlanta Teach For America Educator, She discovered a gap in the education system - a desperate need for formal business & leadership development. Since her time as an educator, she has worked with various institutions and organizations providing entrepreneurial education and leadership development to women and youth across the globe as a way to drive economic mobility within black communities.

She consults nationally and internationally with SMEs, Corporate bodies, NGOs and Governmental agencies providing fresh ideas and strategic guidance to ensure organizations obtain their desired outcomes. Her unique perspectives and strategies ultimately help organizations, refocus, re-center, and resume with increased efficiency.

In addition to her business and leadership acumen, Nancy is a Global Speaker and uses her voice to drive transformation across communities and organizations. Her versatile speaking profile enables her to empower women, youth, and business leaders across the globe. Whether she is delivering high-quality training or serving as an empowerment keynote speaker, Nancy’s ultimate goal is to leave an indelible impact on her audiences.

Nancy, now serves as the Founding Atlanta Site Director for The Hidden Genius Project. She is excited and feels privileged to have the opportunity to be back in a space that enables her to anchor her efforts in social impact work that directly impacts Black Male youth.


Innovation Educator

Perry Irving, Oakland native and OAK3 Hidden Alum, supports The Hidden Genius Project as the first Genius Fellow Educator, and currently as a Innovation Educator. In 2015, Perry joined our Intensive Immersion Program with his twin brother, Paris, where he thrived learning about computer science and entrepreneurship. While in the program, Perry combined his passion for technology and skateboarding and founded iCreateSkateboards, which helps skaters design their own skateboards.

After completing the program, Perry continued to support The Hidden Genius Project as a Youth Educator for five years, leading technical workshops to young people and adults throughout the Bay Area, including national and international Catalyst Programs. He also participated in our inaugural Alumni Venture Seed Fund program in 2020. In his spare time, Perry enjoys skateboarding and creating content videos.



Chicago Site Director

Bio coming soon!


Biff Wayne Clark

Managing Partner,Coefficient Technologies

Board Chair

Kilimanjaro Robbs

Director of Platform Partnerships, UserTesting

Board Treasurer

Jason Young

Co-Founder and CEO,Mindblown Labs

Adriane Gamble Armstrong

CEO, Juma Ventures

Kenneth Englund

Principal Advisory Services Technology Sector, EY

Kevin Hart

Senior Vice President,Kaiser Permanente

Megan Holston-Alexander

Partner, Andreessen Horowitz Cultural Leadership Fund

Erik Moore

Founder and Managing Director, Base Ventures

Christina Gutierrez Iguodala

Advisor, F9 Strategies


Founder and CEO,
Mindblown Labs
Harvard College

Visual Storyteller, Product Visionary, and Product Designer, Facebook Singapore
Western Washington University

Chief of Staff at Refound
Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Director of Platform Partnerships
Duke MBA and Northeastern Eng. Alumnus

Executive Coach & Co-Founder,
Harvard College


Hear about the humble beginnings and early vision of The Hidden Genius Project by watching the Ron Brown Scholar Program’s Salon Series featuring our inspirational Founding Executive Director, Brandon Nicholson (2001), and our two dynamic and fearless Co-Founders, Jason Young (2000) and Tracy “Ty” Moore II (2002).