Leah Gage

Leah has over a decade of experience in the non-profit sector working in a variety of causes, from international microfinance to coordinating youth programming to grantmaking to support animal rights activism. What connects her varied experience is a commitment to community development while amplifying and learning from underrepresented groups. Leah holds a B.A. from Oberlin College and an MSW from Catholic University. Though she spent most of her youth in Indiana, Leah was born in DC and is proud to have called the city home for over 12 years. She is thrilled to join the HumanitiesDC team to combine her grantmaking experience and commitment to community empowerment with her passion for using art and creativity to convey the human experience. Outside of work, you may find Leah playing drums for different DC bands or out sampling the city’s vegan dining options.

Nicole Schenkman

Growing up between a small family farm in New Jersey and her mother’s art studios in New York City, Nicole developed a passion for place-based learning from a young age. Since moving to DC in 2016, Nicole has focused her career on creating engaging and accessible community-centered celebrations and programming opportunities for residents of all ages to connect. Before joining HumanitiesDC, she worked as a Volunteer Coordinator and, most recently, a Communications and Outreach Manager for a DC-based nonprofit, City Blossoms. Schenkman received a BA in Individualized Studies from New York University, where she led her senior colloquium on Narrating the Cultural Politics of Social Spaces. In her free time, Nicole enjoys knitting, practicing cello, experimenting in the kitchen, and spending time with her senior corgi, Larcey.

Hillary Steen

Hillary co-manages HumanitiesDC’s grants portfolio supporting cultural and educational programming and projects. A DC resident since 2014, Hillary has worked at RespectAbility, the Association of Public Health Laboratories, and the Greater Washington Community Foundation. Her roles have primarily focused on fundraising and federal grants management, and she is excited to apply these key experiences to grantmaking. With an understanding of the importance of intersectionality and collaboration in the nonprofit sector, Hillary looks forward to strengthening partnerships with DC organizations. Hillary holds a Master of Public Management with a specialization in nonprofit management and leadership from the University of Maryland, as well as a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology from New York University. In her free time, Hillary enjoys reading, watching movies, playing tennis, and experiencing everything related to music and theater.

Gabriella Jones

Gabriella has been active in the nonprofit world since 2013. She has communication and leadership experience working with the Hugh O’Brian Youth Leadership Program, CISV international youth camps, and local churches. Before starting with HumanitiesDC, she worked as a 5th grade math teacher and filmmaker, helping produce a 2021 Tribeca film festival official selection. As a native Washingtonian, Gabriella has a passion for the city and her local community and is excited to work on the communications team of HumanitiesDC. Gabriella holds a B.A. in Communications and Chinese from the University of Maryland, and, outside of work, she loves reading, writing, and producing short films. Her favorite TV show is currently Money Heist.

George Kevin Jordan

George Kevin Jordan is an artist and writer based out of Washington, DC. Over the past several months he has partnered with HumanitiesDC in a few capacities. He provided an illustration to accompany an article in the organization’s annual report. He also served as a facilitator in the Community Journalism Program’s inaugural workshop. George has over 30-years’ experience in media, having written for several publications including Ebony.com, SOULE.LGBT, The Body, Industry Dive, and Streetsblog. As an emerging visual artist and illustrator, he is currently a Long Table Mentorship Fellow, a 2024 Digital Fellow for The Nicholson Project, and Kweli Sing the Truth! Mentorship Program recipient and participated in several art exhibits throughout the District. George is excited to see the many ways the Humanities connect with our daily lives during his current communications fellowship.

Jimmy Watkins

Jimmy was born and raised in Washington DC’s Ward 8 and has spent the past eight years working for and supporting local nonprofits. A graduate of Bates College, Jimmy obtained his bachelor’s degree in English before completing a Certificate in Nonprofit Management from Georgetown University. Most recently, Jimmy served on the Board of Directors for Words Beats & Life, taught playwriting at the Young Playwright’s Theater, and joined the Black Swan Academy as their administrative assistant. Outside of work, Jimmy can be found writing a screenplay, quoting lines from his favorite TV shows (What? There’s no blook club?!) and raising his cat, Ghost, who he secretly thinks is his direwolf.

Rebecca Joseph

Rebecca believes that strong public humanities collaborations are essential to addressing our biggest questions as we navigate the complexities of living in an interconnected, rapidly changing world. A relationship builder and resource mobilizer, she leads development growth in individual and institutional giving, as well as public funding, drawing on more than three decades of experience as an applied ethnographer, non-profit professional, grant maker, and consultant. Becky listens deeply. Her natural curiosity often wonders, “What else can this be?” She holds a PhD in Anthropology from the University of California – San Diego, a BA from Swarthmore College, and has been a post-doctoral research fellow at UC – Berkeley and a Fulbright scholar. She finds special joy experiencing the city through the senses of her young grandson, a DC native, studying ancient texts in their original languages, and hacking recipes old and new in kitchens of all sizes.

Karen Oliver

Karen believes that numbers help tell stories and that solid systems can allow HumanitiesDC’s community to thrive and grow. As Director of Operations her responsibilities include finance and accounting, human resources, operations and administration, and supporting a strategy to build a stable internal structure to support the growth of our programs. Karen’s diverse experience includes more than 10 years in nonprofit management, as well as a short stints in local politics, education board service, management consulting, and technical marketing. She holds a Master of Business Administration with a concentration in Finance from UCLA and a Bachelor of Science in Engineering from Swarthmore College. You can spot her out and about around DC in the many great public libraries or playing soccer in local rec leagues.

Lois Nembhard

Lois brings twenty+ years of experience in the nonprofit and government sectors including management positions with AmeriCorps and the Social Innovation Fund. Her expertise includes program design and implementation, program operations, nonprofit capacity building and all phases of grantmaking. Most recently she has been a nonprofit consultant, providing capacity building support. She looks forward to being part of HumanitiesDC’s efforts to document, strengthen and amplify DC’s history, culture and arts through its residents. You might find Lois listening to reggae or a random assortment of podcasts, procrastinating about gardening, and plotting when to next visit Jamaica.

Rebecca Lemos Otero

Rebecca is a native Washingtonian who has served her community as an executive leader in the non-profit sector for more than two decades. Rebecca grounds her work in social justice and community driven programming. Before starting at HumanitiesDC in 2021, Rebecca co-founded and served as Executive Director for City Blossoms an organization dedicated to fostering community well-being through providing safe, accessible kid-driven green spaces. Lemos Otero is a graduate of Fordham University, received an M.F.A from the Maryland Institute College of Arts and holds a certificate in Nonprofit Management from Georgetown University. Whenever she gets a chance, Rebecca can be found trekking somewhere new in the world while listening to her endless list of history podcasts.