Team

Bridgit Antoinette Evans

EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR

Bridgit Antoinette Evans is widely recognized as one of the foremost thought leaders in the culture change strategy field. A professional artist and strategist, she has dedicated her career to the relentless investigation of the potential of artists to drive cultural change in society. Fifteen years of work at the intersection of pop culture storytelling and social change has evolved into a vision for a new, hybrid culture change field in which creative and social justice leaders work together to create and popularize stories that shape the narratives, values, beliefs and behaviors that define American culture. In 2016, Bridgit was a Nathan Cummings Foundation Fellow, piloting Culture Changes Us, a coordinated learning system designed to accelerate the social justice sectors’ understanding and use of culture change strategy. For Unbound Philanthropy and Ford Foundation, she has led multi-year culture change research and strategy design projects aimed at unearthing breakthrough narrative and engagement strategies for the immigrant rights and gender justice movements.

In 2008, Bridgit founded Fuel | We Power Change, a culture change strategy studio in New York City, as the home for her collaborations with leading social change innovators. Through this work she designed long-term culture change strategies for social movements that used transportive story experiences, often in the pop culture realm, to shift the thoughts and feelings of mass audiences. Strategy design commissions include the NYCLU/ACLU Policing Project, Make It Work campaign, National Domestic Workers Alliance’s #BeTheHelp strategy featuring Viola Davis, Octavia Spencer, Cicely Tyson, Amy Poehler and other artists; Breakthrough’s #ImHere for Immigrant Women strategy; GEMS’ Girls Are Not for Sale strategy featuring Beyonce, Demi Moore, Ashton Kutcher, Sinead O’Connor, Mary J Blige and more; and Save Darfur’s “Live for Darfur” campaign chaired by Don Cheadle and Djimon Hounsou. Drawing insights from these commissions, Bridgit has traveled by invitation to the UK, France, Austria, Croatia, Brazil, South Africa and throughout the U.S. to present talks, lectures and workshops for some of the world’s most innovative movement leaders and artists. She often points to her roots as a professional Off Broadway actor and devised theater producer as the source of her deep passion for culture change strategy. She received her MFA from Columbia University and BA from Stanford University.

Fifteen years of work at the intersection of pop culture storytelling and social change has evolved into a vision for a new, hybrid culture change field in which creative and social justice leaders work together to create and popularize stories that shape the narratives, values, beliefs and behaviors that define American culture.

Tracy Van Slyke

STRATEGY DIRECTOR

Through her work at the intersection of media and movement building for the last 17 years, Tracy has worked with a cross-sector of content producers, social justice organizers and philanthropic leaders to help them develop the profound storytelling and audiences experiences that can catalyze mass audiences for social change.

Working with Executive Director Bridgit Antoinette Evans on the Collaborative’s leadership team, Tracy co-anchors the organizational strategy development and implementation. In addition, she leads kn specific program areas including:

  • Grantmaking: Leads on artist-led pipelines, narrative infrastructure and power building, pop culture for social change field building, innovations in mass audience activation as well as specific narrative activation areas around racial justice, gender justice and for Muslim communities.
  • Communications, Learning and Evaluation: Oversees learning and community building for philanthropic peers and the broader pop culture for social change field via strategic communications, storytelling projects, and learning tools; as well as grantmaking and field evaluation programs and projects.

Previously, she was the director of the Culture Lab, which through rapid prototyping methodology, built programs and products to help social justice leaders quickly adopt and advance their ability to use pop culture strategies and storytelling to create a just and equitable world.

As a fellow at the Opportunity Agenda, she authored the groundbreaking 2014 report “Spoiler Alert: How Progressives Will Break Through With Pop Culture.” Before founding the Culture Lab, she was the co-director of the New Bottom Line, a national alignment of economic justice grassroots organizations; was director of The Media Consortium, a network of the leading independent media outlets in the country working to increase their collective impact; and publisher of In These Times, a national award winning political magazine. She is the co-author of the book Beyond The Echo Chamber (New Press, 2010) and her writing has appeared in Huffington Post, Politico, Medium and more. She has been on the boards of National People’s Action and served as president for Free Speech TV and Women, Action and the Media.

Marisol Ramos

PROGRAM ASSOCIATE

As a Program Associate at the Pop Culture Collaborative, Marisol works directly with grantees of our grantmaking program. Marisol’s extensive experience in youth organizing, movement building, philanthropy and research in immigration and higher education policy helps inform several program areas of the Collaborative.

Previously, Marisol worked at the Community College Research Center conducting research on improving educational pathways for low income, first generation and undocumented students. Before joining CCRC, Ramos worked at the Michigan Department of Education and the National Forum on Higher Education for the Public Good. Marisol has also worked as a Program Associate at the New World Foundation in New York managing the Phoenix Fund for Workers and Communities, which provides organizational and philanthropic support to grantee immigrant rights organizations in the United States and Mexico. Ramos’s advocacy work includes co-founding the national United We Dream Network and New York State Youth Leadership Council.

Marisol has been featured in the New York Times, Latina Magazine, Los Angeles Times, the Chronicle of Higher Education, New York Magazine, New York Daily News, PBS, El Diario/LaPrensa for her work with undocumented youth. Marisol graduated from the dual masters program in public policy and higher education at the Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy and at the School of Education at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. She also earned a BA in English literature and Women Studies with honors from Hunter College, City University of New York.

Katrina Olson

Sr. Manager of Events & Gatherings

Katrina Olson joins the Collaborative team following a decade-long career as a theater stage manager working on Broadway, Off-Broadway, International & National Tours as well as Regional Theater productions.

The idea of changing the pop culture narrative to better represent unheard voices is at the heart of much of the work Katrina has collaborated on including the world premiere productions of Tarell Alvin McCraney’s The Brothers Size and Wig Out!. Other favorite collaborations include the world premiere Soho Rep production of An Octoroon by Branden Jacobs-Jenkins, Ruined by Lynn Nottage, and Seed by Radha Blank (at the 10th Annual DC Hip-Hop Theater Festival and featuring Bridgit Antoinette Evans).

Katrina also worked on the PBS broadcast of From Mao to the Met. In this live one-man show, Metropolitan Opera basso Hao Jiang Tian weaves song and story into a compelling tale of his childhood in China, to surviving the Cultural Revolution, to finding his voice and building his life and career in the U.S.

In addition to her theater projects Katrina has worked for many years as the Ideas Program Manager for the International Festival of Arts & Ideas. The Festival’s mission is unique in that it works to bring together diverse and distinct communities through arts and ideas. The Ideas Series brings together a wide variety of speakers and thinkers that delve into pressing topics that explore the role art has in increasing diversity and examines the hot topics of America and beyond.

Katrina has a MFA in Stage Management from the Yale School of Drama and a BA from the University of North Texas. She is a proud member of Actors’ Equity Association.

DARIA SEGALINI

Special Projects Coordinator

Daria is the Special Projects Coordinator at Pop Culture Collaborative, with an emphasis on external communications projects, productions, and publications, and serves as a weaver and connector across a diverse slate of Collaborative efforts. 

Her love of pop culture was born when she moved from Italy to the United States at age seven and learned English by watching TV and reading comic books (A Different World and Archie, anyone?).

The first steps of her career started in the publishing world, where she worked at houses like Artisan, an imprint of Workman Publishing and City & Company, an independent publisher focused on books about New York. 

After a brief stint in television production, Daria moved back to Italy merging her media skills at Minimum Fax. There, she co-hosted and co-produced WRITING/NY – an internationally broadcast series of documentaries on contemporary New York writers including Colson Whitehead, Gary Shteyngart and A.M. Homes.

From 2005, she managed the US bureau of Italian newspaper La Repubblica. Most recently she worked with British news publication, The Independent, setting up their US operations, managing their NY office and as an occasional contributor. 

2020 brought her to the Collaborative full-time and she is grateful for the opportunity to immerse herself in this work at this pivotal time.

Rupa Balasubramanian

Rupa Balasubramanian 

Senior Advisor, Becoming America Fund

Rupa has spent nearly twenty years working at the intersection of philanthropy, policy advocacy and social movements. She began her career in politics and crisis management, working in the Press Secretary’s office at the White House during the Clinton Administration and then, at Hill & Knowlton, Inc., a leading international communications firm. Recognizing that in order to change systems, private funding must invest in political leadership, policy advocacy, and movement infrastructure, Rupa joined a philanthropic and political consulting firm founded by progressive activist and strategist, Margery Tabankin. At Margery Tabankin & Associates, Rupa spent a decade developing and launching innovative strategies for social change for individuals, families and organizations looking to deploy resources to address structural inequality.

In the summer of 2013, Rupa helped launch Fundamental, a boutique philanthropic consultancy, where she helped individuals in the creative and entertainment community  deploy millions of dollars to support organizations focused on education, women’s health, the environment, civic engagement, and civil rights at the local, state, and national levels. She worked with Barbra Streisand and Cedars-Sinai Medical Center to create the Women’s Heart Alliance, a national non-profit organization aimed at increasing the awareness of women’s heart disease, the number one killer of women in the United States. Since its inception in 2014, the Women’s Heart Alliance has advanced work to ensure women’s full representation in biomedical studies and clinical trials, in addition to continuing to educate policy makers and the public on the importance of sex-specific medical research.  

Rupa graduated from the University of California, Santa Barbara and earned her Masters degree in Public Administration at the University of Southern California’s School of Policy, Planning and Development. She serves on the board of directors of Vote.org, Planned Parenthood Los Angeles, and Demos, a think tank of the progressive movement.

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