Over the years we’ve had the privilege to work with some wonderful people who have done great work with us. We honor them here. Each of these elves takes something of us with with them when they leaves. They’re also grounded in our methodology for social entrepreneurship and can put it to work and teach it to others. We put it this way: you can take an elf out of the workshop, but you can’t take the workshop out of the elf.  After all, “once an elf, always an elf!”  

Our Fab Past Interns (alphabetical order)

  • Nicole Chiu – While an intern for Elfenworks Productions, LLC, Nicole Chiu was assigned to The Elfenworks Foundation for two important projects in 2016. First, an analysis of a work from 2007 – the book Tracks of Hope– for a ten-year update, with an eye towards developing teacher tools for social studies teachers. Next, an analysis of our website, for clarification. One important outcome was our Global Glance page.
  • Alan Kane – While an intern for Elfenworks Productions, LLC in 2016, Alan Kane was assigned to work on our ECNISC project (The Elfenworks Center for Nonprofit Information Security Collaboration), which was produced by Elfenworks Productions, LLC on behalf Foundation. Alan wrote and implemented three explainer videos, including one for the self-assessment tool at the heart of the website https://ecnisc.org.
  • Caroline Sprague – While an intern here, Caroline Sprague updated our website with mouseover definitions (try them – run your mouse over the word hope in this sentence!) and updated key social entrepreneur details with current information. When she was much younger, she sang the theme song that can be heard at the end credits of our film, A Concert for Hope.
  • Tatjana Tam – Tatjana Tam’s internship was high-tech in flavor: she reorganized the database for the In Harmony with Hope awards and worked as one of our software QA testers, in the important pre-launch testing of the beta version of our ECNISC Project, dedicated to advancing cyber security practices in the nonprofit sector.
  • Blair Vorsatz– While an intern for us, Blair Vorsatz was the lead researcher and writer for the research paper “San Francisco’s Chinatown: Resilience in the Face of Poverty and Homelessness. An Analysis with Recommendations.” In 2015, this research was supplemented with in-person interviews by journalist Katherine Kam. It is now available here for your enjoyment [click for PDF]. A graduate of Georgetown and currently pursuing graduate studies at Harvard University, Blair is also currently serving as an intern on the National Security & International Policy Team for the Center for American Progress in Washington.

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2017 Intern Highlight

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  • Nathaniel Tam – Nathaniel first helped out by folding hundreds of origami cranes for one of our In Harmony with Hope events, then accompanied our management team to Jordan in 2015, where he assisted with logistics. His interest in the region piqued, Nate continued to stay involved through 2017 as he assisted us with the R&D and liaison for our nascent Seven Pillar demonstration partnership project there. 

Select Highlighted Elves Emeriti

Here are some of our fabulous elves through history, in reverse alphabetical order:

  • Jennifer Thomas -For many years, if you called in, chances are you would hear Ms. Thomas’ voice. A San Francisco native who joined us with over a decade of experience in office management, including for Supervisor Malia Cohen of District 10 of San Francisco, Ms. Thomas managed our front office, social media, event planning, and HR. A singer/songwriter and recording artist with a deep love of R&B and gospel music, Ms. Thomas recorded songs for the Breathing Butterfly project, eventually rising to Project Manager.  While with us, Jennifer returned to college, completing a degree in HR Administration at Golden Gate University and was hired away into a large corporation into an important HR position.
  • Kelly Jane Smith-Fatten – Ms. Smith-Fatten joined the team in 2009 as an Executive Assistant. Employing her background in art to projects and campaigns, she soon became Elfenworks’ first Social Media Manager. As part of a campaign to raise awareness about poverty, Ms. Smith-Fatten marched down San Pablo Avenue in Oakland carrying a sign that read, “Is it a crime to be poor?” then repeated this in San Francisco, documenting the effort with photographs. Currently, she is an administrator at a school that provides one-to-one teaching and mentoring for students for whom the traditional school model does not work, due to unique challenges and gifts. She credits us for providing the experiences that shaped her ongoing passion to make a difference in the world, professionally and personally.
  • Vivian Kane – A graduate of California Institute of the Arts with an MFA in Acting and San Francisco State University, with a BA in Theater and Women’s Studies, Kane served as a trustee from 2004-2007, bringing her unique perspective on communication that we found useful in raising hope in new and creative ways.
  • Tina Shetaya – A native San Franciscan with a Bachelors degree from San Francisco State University in International Relations, In 2015, she jumped right in to a very big task: coordinate and manage the move from our old headquarters to our current location. She accomplished this with aplomb, while also coordinating our Breathing Butterfly project. What a pro!
  • Grace Ryu, who formerly managed our Breathing Butterfly project, also had a successful run as Executive Assistant at Elfenworks Productions, LLC. Grace moved to the Silicon Valley from South Korea, then pursued a Master’s degree in Human Resources Management at Golden Gate University. Ms. Ryu, who strongly believes that a small group of compassionate people can change the world,  intends to take what she has learned here and apply it to international consulting work, empowering and mentoring others. 
  • Ming-Ju Meade, who managed accounting for us through August of 2016, also raised and nurtured some actual butterflies, documented in 2015 as part of our Breathing Butterfly project (seen here). With patience and a great sense of humor, Ms. Meade coached our CEO in Chinese language basics in preparation for our trip to Beijing to announce an Elfenworks scholarship at Capital University of Economics and Business. As if that weren’t enough, she provided the cues at our In Harmony with Hope Awards as well.

We also hope these stories will inspire other managers to invest in their teams. Remember, it’s transformed people who can transform the world, and they don’t need to do so from within the boundaries of your organization. Think globally, and invest in the person right in front of your nose.  Never underestimate the ripples that will follow when you’re an organization with the motto, “come, grow with us!”

In Memoriam

  • Christopher Speeth (1939 – 2017)  – Film Consultant
    The late filmmaker Christopher Speeth was always generous with his time and expertise – and even his historic footage – on behalf of our many projects. He was particularly fond of the annual judging process for the Campus Moviefest Student Films. Please visit Elfenworks Productions, LLC for full bio.  

Some Favorite Consultants 

Here are some of the many fabulous consultants with whom we’ve had the distinct pleasure to work over the years. We love them so much, we consider them Honorary Elves.

  • Cristina Parvu – PR Consultant
    Ms. Parvu, Founder of Parvu PR, “public relations for the music conscience,” was the publicist for the Elfenworks Foundation’s A Concert For Hope event in 2007, launching The Stanford Center on Poverty and Inequality. She also represented us brilliantly, speaking to student filmmakers at Campus Moviefest, as shown in the photo. A graduate of Syracuse University, Cristina gained her early experience working for PR legend Joe Dera at DRC, and then branched out with her own firm. She has exclusively handled national tour press for a diverse set of Grammy-winning acts too numerous to list. Her depth of experience continues to grow, especially at the intersection of social media and the arts, and we still call on her for advice. She believes in supporting the “music conscience” and hopes to align with those that recognize that music by nature is a shared art and communal experience, and in this way must always give back, and writes, “In today’s ever-changing music industry, what remains the same is the power music can have, and its ability to unify musicians and their fans.”
  • Josh Workman – Music Consultant
    Josh Workman is an internationally traveled guitarist, composer, educator, journalist, and audio editor who teaches at Musicians Institute in Hollywood, CA. He began playing guitar at age 10, was already out performing three years later, in the smoke-filled bars of North Beach before attending Berklee School of Music in Boston and New School for Jazz and Contemporary Music in New York.  He was an integral part of the Elfenworks team for many years before relocating to Los Angeles. His own website, www.joshworkman.com, includes sound clips and details about his many accomplishments.

Check back for updates from our elves emeriti who are keeping in touch, because they’re making great ripples.  If you once worked with us and would like your story shared, get in touch… no promises, but you may just find yourself highlighted here!