About the Team
Andrea Atkinson is the advisor to the My Job project, supporting the vision of the team to tell first-person stories and create dignified jobs. She also directs One Square World, supporting community-led processes towards equity and sustainability. She has a degree in International Relations with a focus on sustainable development in Latin America and Africa from Boston University and a graduate certificate in environmental management from Tufts University. Andrea is a Senior Fellow of the Environmental Leadership Program. Don’t miss her provocative Foreword in My Job Book 1: “Jobs: A Unique Lens into Life.”
First job: cocktail waitress in Boston.
Suzanne Skees is the editor and visionary behind MY JOB. She works in international development as director of the Skees Family Foundation, which supports innovative self-help programs in education and job-creation across the U.S. and in developing countries. Skees studied English literature at Boston College and world religions at Harvard Divinity School. She travels from schools to slums, prisons to farms, serving as a storyteller for nonprofit workers, social entrepreneurs, and their courageous clients who toil every day to end poverty and create equality. Find her stories on the Job Talk and Seeds of Hope blogs.
First job: ice cream scooper at Baskin Robbins in Dayton, Ohio.
AprilJo Murphy is a writer and editor who works with Greenleaf Book Group, helping authors discover and refine their voices so they can reach their audiences. Holding a PhD in English and Creative Writing from the University of North Texas, she’s worked for a variety of literary journals and the Encyclopaedia Britannica.
First job: dishwasher and handyman for a local Ursuline Convent.
Austin Badger is the social media coordinator for the My Job project. She’s also operations director at Evolutionary Leadership, an annual leadership development workshop that empowers social innovators. She’s also worked with Breakthrough Strategies and Solutions, which researches and funds regenerative agriculture to take soil-carbon sequestration to scale globally. Her dedication to social change and activism started at a young age when she co-founded and ran a nonprofit to support the arts programs for a local magnet school. Austin earned a B.M in Vocal Performance/Opera from the Boston Conservatory. She believes the arts hold the power to build community, evoke empathy, and encourage creative thinking.
First Job: starting a landscaping maintenance company at age 12.
Brienne Skees serves as program officer for Skees Family Foundation, where she strives to end to global poverty by researching grants for innovative nonprofits in education and job-creation. She double-majored in economics and peace and conflict studies at Guilford College. Brienne has worked with African refugee children in North Carolina, taught healthcare and environmental preservation in Malawi, and taught English in Indonesia and South Korea. She’s now based in Hanoi, Vietnam. Known for her hawk-eyed precision, Brienne served as fact checker for My Job Books 1 and 2.
First job: sales associate at a clothing shop.
Daniel Sandoval works for Greenleaf Book Group by partnering with authors to create a customized strategy for successful book launches and acting as liaison between authors and the production, distribution, and marketing teams. He holds a BFA from Carnegie Mellon University and began his career as a storyteller in theatre and film.
First job: making pizzas for Pizza Hut–a job he loved because he got to eat all his mistakes, for free.
Dan Pederson works as a project manager with Greenleaf Book Group, shepherding authors and their projects through the editorial, design, and printing process. A graduate of Ithaca College, Dan previously worked with Penguin Random House.
First job: working at a farm stand and garden nursery.
Leanne Heller is a web developer at Adaro Consulting. Recent sites include HARBORWALK, which highlights amenities and parcels along the near-continuous, 43-mile linear public park along Boston’s shoreline; an Xfinity’s LGBTQ site for LGBTQ Film & TV; and a travel site encouraging people to try new places and new experiences. When away from her computer, you can find Leanne with her family and their very large dog or playing heroically mediocre guitar.
First job: Cashier at a fruit, veggie, and nut store.
Olivia McCoy’s job is getting books into readers’ hands. She works with authors to develop marketing strategies for Greenleaf Book Group titles. Olivia earned a dual degree in English and French at the University of Georgia and completed the University of Denver’s Summer Publishing Institute.
First job: waitress at the International House of Pancakes (IHOP) at age sixteen.
Rachael Brandenburg is an award-winning book designer who creates interior and cover designs for Greenleaf Book Group. She strives to combine beauty and functionality in her marketing and branding projects. She graduated from The Art Institute of Austin with a BFA in graphic design.
First job: detailing vehicles at a carwash in Lubbock, Texas, at age fifteen.
Steven Elizalde works in distribution for Greenleaf Book Group; this means he peddles books into as many outlets as possible—from high-profile wholesalers and nontraditional retailers to indie bookstores and airports. A graduate of the McCombs School of Business at the University of Texas, he also worked for The News Group, where he made all book and magazine buying decisions for the largest grocery chain (HEB) in Texas.
First job: sales management trainee for Ernest & Julio Gallo Winery–seventy hours per week!
Wendy Ledger is principal of VoType Transcription Services; she carefully transcribes all our material into the stories for the My Job book series. She earned a dual degree in French and English from Tufts University and an M.A. in Creative Writing from San Francisco State University. Wendy considers transcripts with lots of background noise and heavy accents a welcome, creative challenge, and she blushingly admits to falling madly in love with every one of the My Job narrators through the process of relating their stories. Wendy is the author of a growing series of young-adult novels.
First job: telephone solicitor for the Boston Globe.
Chris Antonowich is a branding consultant, content creator and musician with two decades of experience in the greater creative services industry. He’s produced successful fundraising campaigns and compelling works for institutions dedicated to the greater good. Additionally, he partners with for-profit businesses to produce content that shifts paradigms and opens new possibilities. Chris is a husband, father of two and believer in our deep, spiritual connection with Mother Earth and the ever-expanding cosmos.
First job: Lifeguard at a small lake.