Michael (he/him) serves as Co-Chair of YNPNdc, and his days are spent as a Program Officer with the Center for Community Progress where he works on land use policy and equitable development initiatives around the country. He is a Chicago native and proud graduate of Whitney Young Magnet High School, and has lived in DC for 5 years. Michael holds a Master’s in Urban and Environmental Planning from Arizona State University, where his graduate thesis focused on the spatial mismatch theory and equitable, sustainable land uses. He also holds bachelor’s degrees in political science and Urban Planning, respectively, from ASU. Ask him about international travels (pre-pandemic, of course), bartending, and his other full-time job as a cat-dad.
Laura Fagen (she/her) serves as Co-Chair of YNPNdc, and she is the Senior Digital Communications Manager at the Land Trust Alliance, the national leader for land trusts in policy, standards, education and training. Laura joined YNPNdc in October 2020 as the Director of Communications. In addition, she is a co-organizer of the DC Transplants, Newbies and Explorers: 20s and 30s Meetup, and volunteers with N Street Village. A native Kansan and proud Jayhawk, she holds a Masters of Digital Content Strategy, and bachelors degrees in strategic communications and theatre, respectively, from the University of Kansas. In her free time, Laura enjoys live theatre, cooking and baking, reading, kayaking, travel and spending time with her cats.
Laura Beth Hooper
Laura Beth Hooper (she/her) joined the YNPNdc Board of Directors as Treasurer in July 2021. She currently serves as the Finance and Operations Associate for the Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition (GAIN), an international foundation with the mission of advancing nutrition outcomes by improving the consumption of nutritious and safe food for all people. In her free time, Laura Beth enjoys backpacking and exploring the Appalachian mountains.
Rylan (they/them) joined the YNPNdc Board of Directors as Secretary in July 2022. They are currently an Associate Consultant with La Piana Consulting, a national firm working with nonprofits and foundations to advance the social sector. Rylan has a bachelor’s degree in nonprofit leadership and management from Arizona State University. Outside of volunteering, Rylan enjoys spending time with their dog, Amy, as well as cooking, baking, and exploring the food and coffee scene in DC.
Director of Communications
Luke Waldron is a Washington, DC area local, growing up in Northern Virginia and attending school in Maryland. He has worked in communications and marketing in the non-profit/association space for the past 7 years, and is currently a Senior Media Manager with the American Psychiatric Association. When he’s not working, he is spending time going on hikes with his two dogs (Roscoe and Kaine).
Director of Membership
Claire Pandaleon (she/her) joined the YNPNdc Board of Directors as Director of Membership in 2022 and currently serves as Assistant Manager of Donor Communications and Stewardship at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. Presenting over 2,200 artistic programs and events each year, the Kennedy Center is the nation’s vibrant cultural center and presidential memorial to John F. Kennedy. Claire grew up in the northern suburbs of Chicago and moved to Washington, DC in 2018 after graduating from Colgate University with a BA in Art History and Museum Studies. In her free time, Claire volunteers with City Dogs & City Kitties Rescue and also creates custom graphite portraits through Pandaleon Portraits, her Instagram-based art shop. On the weekends, you can find Claire exploring the city with her dog Humphrey, enjoying the delicious DC food scene, hosting events with friends, or strolling through a museum.
Co-Director of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion
Ron Thomas (he/him) joined the YNPNdc Board of Directors as Co-Director of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) in July 2021. As Co-Director of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, Ron Thomas will help develop YNPNdc’s DEI vision for a nonprofit community where diversity and equity are embraced. He has an uncompromising commitment to increasing both justice and integrity in the workplace. Ron currently serves as Director of Technology at Rare a global leader of behavior change in conservation. In this role Ron developed and currently spearheads an initiative called Rare Technology which strives to support the organization’s overall mission through excellence in information resources and technologies. Ron enjoys volunteering for Alive! which is the oldest and largest public safety net in the City of Alexandria, which helps people faced with emergency situations or long-term needs tackle food insecurity. Ron is a Cleveland native and outside of work can be found exercising, grilling and woodworking. He is also a travel enthusiast and foodie who seeks adventure through new experiences.
Co-Director of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion
Belle Chiu (she/her)joined the YNPNdc Board of Directors as Co-Director of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) in July 2021. She currently works as the Human Resources Program Manager for the Land Trust Alliance, a national land conservation organization that is the national leader for land trusts in policy, standards, education, and training. She also works as a group fitness instructor for SweatBox and coach for BOOMBOX Boxing Club. Belle volunteers for Girls on the Run, DC and serves as an advisor for the George Washington University chapter of the Chi Omega Fraternity. Belle enjoys working out, spending time with friends, traveling, and trying new things.
Co-Director of Programming
Whitney (she/her) serves as the Co-Director of Programming of YNPNdc. She is the current Assistant Director of Communications at Martha’s Table and has previously held positions at Meals on Wheels America, Leadership Greater Washington, and Girl Scouts of the Nation’s Capital. Whitney is a proud member of the Junior League of Washington and has previously held Board positions with AmeriCorps Alums DC. A DMV resident for 10 years — she enjoys exploring the ever-changing city landscape, tasting her way through the local restaurant scene, and family walks with her 95-pound dog named Mark.
Co-Director of Programming
Madison (she/her) serves as the Co-Director of Programming at YNPNdc and is the as the Development Associate and Special Assistant to the President/CEO at the Center for Community Progress. Madison is a proud New Jersey native, and received her Master’s degree in Public Policy from Temple University with a concentration in nonprofit management and equity in education. Her graduate thesis focused on restructuring, reorganizing, and revamping the largest adult education program and literacy agency in Philadelphia, PA. In her free time, Madison enjoys cooking and baking, reading, kayaking, travel and spending time with her cats. Madison is a proud New York Rangers fan.
Director of Fundraising and Advancement
Emily Patnode (she/her) joined the YNPNdc Board of Directors as Director of Fundraising & Advancement in August 2022. She currently works as the Manager of Stewardship and Engagement for the CFP Board Center for Financial Planning. An Alexandria native, Emily recently returned to the DC area after spending six years in New Orleans. Emily has a Master’s of Nonprofit Administration from LSU Shreveport and a Bachelor’s degree in Biology and Environmental Sustainability from the University of Mary Washington. In her free time, Emily enjoys spending time outdoors and can often be found hiking or camping on the weekends. She also enjoys spending time with her pets, reading, crocheting, and trying new plant-based recipes.