Our team at Global Sleepover believes in the unequivocal and transformational power of education and the critical importance of multi-culturalism. Our diverse team consists of socially conscious and energized educators, thinkers, entrepreneurs, designers, developers, technologists, and creatives.
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. 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 more accessible to children who have least access. Geeta enjoys cooking, traveling, dancing, anything that involves the imagination of children and, of course, Sleepovers!
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.
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.
Senior Digital Advisor
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.
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.
Senior Education and Social, Emotional Learning Advisor
As a senior consultant in Global Education, Kevin promotes global partnerships with schools, libraries and individuals working in international education and education reform. 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 Technology Product Advisor
Wendy is an innovative, results-oriented education and education product technology executive with more than 20 years of success in leading e-learning and enterprise technology businesses, scaling high-volume digital delivery and bringing compelling products to global markets. Her expertise is in areas of strategic leadership, customer centricity and entrepreneurial agility, building and scaling educational products and services in a wide variety of organizations, from startup through large merged public companies. Wendy has a keen ability to adapt to market conditions and set a vision while also focusing teams, improving outcomes, leading and inspiring change, building organizational muscle, and propelling breakthrough performance. Wendy has served and serves as Unit Vice President, Global Product Management, Innovation & Development at Laureate Education, Chief Marketing & Product Officer at Carnegie Innovations, and Senior Vice President, Innovation & New Product Development at Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.
Dr. Sahil K. Warsi
Head of Research Design and Evaluation
Sahil brings 15 years of experience in international development and senior-level expertise in applied anthropology to Global Sleepover. Possessing an expertise in qualitative research methods and monitoring and evaluation, Sahil 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
Research and Development
An experienced assessor, evaluator and researcher with a demonstrated history of working in the civic & social organization industry, Nadja brings global and community-based experience to Global Sleepover. Nadja has experience with international agencies such as United Nations Development Programme in Bosnia and Herzegovina and the World Wildlife Fund(WWF) in communicating and organizing with stakeholders, collecting data, providing strategic analysis, providing data for high-level reports and organizing focus groups and feedback loops at the community level. Nadja holds a Master’s and Bachelor’s Degree in Forestry from the University of Sarajevo in Bosnia and Herzegovina and has a working proficiency in English, German and Italian.
Research and Development
An analytical and curious mind, Melina brings education experience and strong communication and organization skills to her work at Global Sleepover. An apt communicator with keen research skills, Melina is passionate about peace education, human rights, environment and youth activism. With experience as an English Language Teacher at the primary school Osman Nakaš in Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Melina holds a MA in English language and literature and BA in English Language and Literature from University of Sarajevo in Bosnia and Herzegovina. She has a working proficiency in English and proficient in German, French, Spanish and Portuguese.
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.