OUR MISSION

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

OUR STORY

The Hidden Genius Project was founded 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.

OUR TEAM

LEADERSHIP TEAM

BRANDON NICHOLSON, Ph.D.

Founding Executive Director

An Oakland native, Founding Executive Director Brandon Nicholson 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.

TARIQ NORRIS

Director of Finance and Operations

A San Francisco native, Tariq Norris is the Finance and Operations Director 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.

HODARI TOURÈ, Ph.D.

Director of Curriculum and Instruction

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.

SEAN VALENTINE

Director of Strategic Initiatives

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.

ALICIA PINN, PHR, SHRM-CP

Human Resources Director

Alicia Pinn is a Bay Area native and the Human Resources Director 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.

ADMINISTRATIVE

DENZEL RUSSELL

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 marganlized 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.

KRYSTAL M.

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.

KYRON LOGGINS

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.

ALUMNI ENGAGEMENT

ARNOLD LOPEZ, M.Ed, MBA

Alumni Coordinator

As the Alumni Coordinator at The Hidden Genius Project, Arnold Lopez actively manages the personal, professional, and academic ecosystem of initatives 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.

BAY AREA PROGRAMS

EUGENE LEMON

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.

DAVID MALONE, JR.

Senior Innovation Educator: Richmond Site Coordinator and Curriculum Specialist

Originally from Cleveland, Ohio, David Malone Jr. serves as the Innovation Educator 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.

ABRAHAM KELETA

Oakland Innovation Educator

Computer science enthusiast and aspiring entrepreneur, Abraham Keleta is the Innovation Educator 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.

JAMAL MITCHELL

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.

KACIE PATTON, MSW

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.

CHRIS WILSON

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.

PERRY IRVING

Genius Fellow Educator

Perry Irving, Oakland native and OAK3 Hidden Alum, supports The Hidden Genius Project as the first Genius Fellow 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.

JABARI ALII

Oakland Innovation Educator

Game developer and music composer, Jabari Alii is an Oakland native and the Innovation Educator 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.

KEVIN BUTLER

Genius Fellow Educator

OAK4 Hidden Genius Alum, Kevin Butler, proudly serves as a Genius Fellow Educator 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.

DÉMETRIOUS BROWN

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.

CHRISTOPHER JAMES

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.

LOS ANGELES PROGRAMS

KAYLA MASON, MSW

Los Angeles Site Director

A native of Los Angeles, Kayla Mason is the Los Angeles Site Director 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.

SHERIDA HARRIS

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.

TYLER GRADY

Los Angeles Innovation Educator

Bio coming soon!

CRAIG TINSLEY

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.

DETROIT PROGRAMS

WILLIAM MALCOLM

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.

MIRACLE BAYNES

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.

BOARD OF DIRECTORS

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

Christina Gutierrez Iguodala

Advisor, F9 Strategies

Kevin Hart

Senior Vice President,Kaiser Permanente

Megan Holston-Alexander

Partner, Andreessen Horowitz Cultural Leadership Fund

Erik Moore

Founder and Managing Director, Base Ventures

Kenneth Englund

Principal Advisory Services Technology Sector, EY

OUR CO-FOUNDERS

 JASON YOUNG
Founder and CEO,
Mindblown Labs
Harvard College

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

KURT COLLINS
Chief of Staff at Refound
Massachusetts Institute of Technology

KILIMANJARO ROBBS
Director of Platform Partnerships
UserTesting
Duke MBA and Northeastern Eng. Alumnus

 TRACY MOORE
Executive Coach & Co-Founder,
VeraVis
Harvard College

RON BROWN SCHOLAR PROGRAM SALON SERIES

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).