Our team is made up of creative, socially conscious and energized educators, entrepreneurs, designers, developers, writers and illustrators. We believe in the unequivocal power of education and in the magic of Sleepovers.
President and Founder
Geeta brings over 15 years of experience in international development and humanitarian assistance to The Global Sleepover, including over 9 years as a Senior Program Analyst with the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). Geeta’s experiences working and living in Afghanistan, South Sudan, South Africa, Colombia, the U.K., Albania, Serbia, Kosovo, Bulgaria, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Moldova influenced her as an entrepreneur to found and grow The Global Sleepover.
Geeta’s experience ranges from: entrepreneurship, creative direction and design, interactive and multi-media technology, creative writing, international development project implementation and management, and cultural, global and literacy education. A 2003 graduate of the Presidential Management Fellowship program in Washington, DC and a 2011-2012 Innovation Fellow with ConvergeUS, Geeta is a two-time recipient of the Washington, DC Commission on the Arts Folk and Traditional Arts Grant and speaks Hindi, Urdu, and basic Spanish and Serbian. Geeta holds a BA in Creative Writing from University of Houston and a MA in International Peace and Conflict Resolution from American University in Washington, DC.
Geeta learned about the unequivocal power of education through her father. A refugee from an ethnic partition in India in 1947, he overcame economic and social adversity through earning five higher education degrees – truly transformative education. This is Geeta’s motivation behind founding Global Sleepover – harnessing the power of technology to make education and literacy more accessible to children who have least access. Geeta enjoys cooking, traveling, dancing, anything that involves the imagination of children and, of course, Sleepovers! You can follow Geeta on Twitter at @geetadhyanaraj, email her at: firstname.lastname@example.org, or learn more about at: www.geetaraj.com
Michelle Darden Lee
Senior Marketing and Communications Advisor
Michelle Darden-Lee has over 20 years of experience in marketing, communications, small business and community development. She is currently president of Mingus Communications and has worked with such well known entities as Black Entertainment Television (BET), the Children’s Defense Fund, Howard University and the Democratic National Committee. Throughout her career, she has combined her communications expertise with her commitment to community empowerment and has ushered in initiatives that expand opportunities in education, business development and politics. Michelle’s most recent work includes co-founding and developing a visibility campaign for the Prince George’s Gateway Arts District–Art Lives Here. The project has brought attention to the more than 300 artists in the community, funded numerous local art projects, and harnessed more than a half a million dollars from the National Endowment for the Arts, ArtPlace America and other regional funders.
She has served as liaison to many high-profile figures in politics, media, business and entertainment that helped to build the solid foundation and reputation on which she operates her business today. Michelle holds a B.S. in political science from Hampton University.
Dr. Sonny Kirkley
Senior Advisor, Education and Technology
Sonny Kirkley, Ph.D. holds the positions of chief executive officer and senior research scientist at WisdomTools Enterprises, Inc., and is an adjunct professor in the School of Informatics at Indiana University, Bloomington. For 20 years, he has developed simulation- and Internet-based education and training environments for corporations, K-12 projects, higher education, National Institutes of Health, National Science Foundation, and the U.S. military.
He has published and presented extensively in the fields of serious game design, augmented/mixed reality technologies, embedded training, problem-based learning, human-computer interaction, adventure learning, and utilizing new technologies in various learning settings, and have managed over $13 million in research grant and contracts. Before starting WisdomTools, he served as Assistant Director of Research and Development in Teaching and Learning at the Indiana University Center for Excellence in Education.
Dr. Sahil K. Warsi
Head of Research Design and Evaluation
Sahil has over 15 years of experience in international development and senior-level expertise in applied anthropology. With an expertise in qualitative research methods, monitoring and evaluation, he is an experienced project manager who uses an inclusive approach in research, training, and project design.
Beyond building robust research frameworks, a key strength Sahil brings to Global Sleepover’s team is in translating research into impact. His holistic approach to development interventions focuses on participatory methods and drawing together qualitative and quantitative methods to transform field-based research and data into insightful recommendations that are implementable and deliver sustainable change.
Sahil has field research experience in the areas of migration, gender and civil society building, anti-corruption and rule of law, behavior change and public health, education, and business performance, and has implemented and evaluated projects across Asia (Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, Bangladesh, China, India, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Nepal, Pakistan, Uzbekistan), Middle East and North Africa (Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, Oman), the US (Texas, Washington DC), and the UK (Birmingham, Bradford, London, Leeds, Manchester).
He has collaborated on projects with the European Union (EU), United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), World Health Organization (WHO), US Agency for International Development (USAID), Department for International Development (DFID), national governments, and local businesses and civil society organizations.
Qualifications: PhD and MPhil in Social Anthropology, 2015 (SOAS, University of London); MSc Law, Anthropology, & Society, 2008 (LSE, University of London) BSFS International Politics, 2004 (Georgetown University)
Languages: English, Urdu/Hindi, French, German, Dari/Persian, Turkish, Azerbaijani, Arabic, Spanish, Portuguese, Bengali
David grew up in Northern Virginia and spent a lot of time going on “out of the ordinary” Sleepovers at the White House! Between swimming in the White House pool, bowling in the White House bowling alley, and watching movies in the White House movie theater, there wasn’t much time for sleep…but that’s the best part about Sleepovers! Although it’s been a long time since those summers at the White House, David shared his experiences for the book “Sleepover at the White House.”
David is a Senior Partner at Mantford Ventures LLC, a private equity investment partnership and global business consultancy based in Salt Lake City, Utah. Previously, David served as a White House Appointee with the United States Agency for International Development in Washington, D.C -and studied International Law and Diplomacy at Brigham Young University. He has a passion for the great outdoors, traveling abroad, and most of all… Sleepovers. Feel free to contact David at email@example.com.
Senior Digital Marketing
Pete is the Founder & Managing Director at Understand Digital Limited in London, UK, a gig data and marketing analytic company. As a seasoned expert in online marketing and data analytics, Pete has assisted numerous business in collecting marketing and buying path information and transforming into revenue. Pete was a Lecturer at Imperial College, London
and holds a BA (hons) in Business Studies with Finance from the University of Plymouth in the UK.
Senior International Education Advisor
As a senior consultant in Global Education, Kevin promotes global partnerships with schools, libraries and individuals working in international education. Kevin runs KDSL Global, a boutique education consultancy promoting education leadership, teacher involvement and student growth through international partnerships. Originally from Flint Michigan Kevin has been in the education field since 1998. He has taught, consulted and/or collaborated in parochial, public, charter, and international schools located in the states (Arizona, Florida, New Mexico, California, Massachusetts, Ohio, Minnesota, Washington, D.C., Michigan, Maryland, Virginia, Rhode Island), Laos, Dominica, Venezuela, Thailand, Bahrain, Qatar, Dubai, Kuwait, China, Colombia, South Africa, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Honduras, Jordan, Italy, Nigeria, and Lebanon. Simpson has also served as a countywide elementary social studies curriculum teacher, preschool to twelfth grade curriculum coordinator, and school-based elementary math specialist. He was a National Consultant with the U.S. Department of Education’s Teacher-to-Teacher Initiative, which provided effective, research-based practices to educators across the country. Kevin has both a Bachelor’s degree in education and a Master’s degree in Curriculum and Instruction from Michigan State University.
Senior Education and Social Emotional Learning Advisor
Anna is the Founder and Executive Director of Chance Academy, an educational program focused on the whole child, arts-integration, communal support and restorative justice. Born in Rome, Italy, Mrs. Bernanke’s parents emigrated to the United States when she was a baby, settling in Denver, Colorado. When she was in the first grade, Anna decided that she wanted to be a teacher when she grew up. Anna has been an educator for over 20 years, working in private and public institutions both as a teacher and as an administrator. She is fluent in Spanish.
She is deeply committed to the benefits of an arts-integrated and experiential approach to learning. She believes that deep learning occurs when there is an emotional and real-world connection to content. There is no better way to create emotional connections than through the arts and no better way to discover real-world meaning than through experience.
Lead Illustrator and Creative Design Team Member
Alison is one Global Sleepover’s lead illustrators and also works on story creation and art direction. She graduated from Rochester Institute of Technology with a degree in Film and Animation and is currently pursuing a Masters at Johns Hopkins in Baltimore, MD in Creative Writing.
Alison is an avid writer with a passion for sketching, character design, and illustration. She hopes to inspire children through her works the same way books and drawings inspired her as a child. She holds a minor in history with a focus on the Middle Ages, and has a strong desire and interest to travel and learn about different cultures of the world.
Creative Design Team Member
Dameli Sabitayeva is from Kazakhstan and one of our newest illustrators! She illustrates The Drat Series. Dameli holds a M.A. in Painting from Kazakh Tansykbaev Art College and currently works as an Illustrator for one of the few Kazakh publishing houses in Kazakhstan.