Our Story

Finding a career that you love and that you are great at often takes longer than you think it will. It can be hard to connect your interests and strengths with professional pursuits. Or maybe you haven’t had the opportunitiesor encouragementto discover what those interests are in the first place.

At Hats & Ladders, our own career paths have been full of twists and unexpected turns. Lucky for us, it’s worked out: our early interests in music, history, and games gradually led to rewarding careers in technology and education. But it wasn’t always easy, and more support along the way would have helped a lot.

We started Hats & Ladders in 2015 to help reimagine career education. Building off twenty years of developing award-winning educational games and interactive experiences, we created a mobile platform designed to motivate youth to explore, experiment with, and prepare for a wide range of career pathways.

Instead of trying to “match” individuals to a single career or cluster, we want to empower youth as career thinkers, capable of making their own connections between who they are, who they want to be, and how to get there.

Our Team & Advisors

Our team has years of experience developing transformative, award-winning interactive training and learning games and software for youth and adults. We believe that good youth tech gets great when subject matter experts, reserachers, programmers, and designers listen to and learn from one another.

Leah Potter

CEO / Curriculum & Instruction

Leah is a social entrepreneur and educator, with deep expertise in creating interactive experiences that engage learners of all ages. Her passion for helping youth with career readiness is highly contagious.

Juliette Adams

Product & Strategy

Juliette is an opportunity spotter and problem solver. She manages Hats & Ladders, Inc.’s long-term vision and provides direction regarding priorities and opportunities.

Scott Brewster, Ph.D.

Services & Partnerships

Scott, an expert in evidence-based game design and development, is a results-driven jack-of-all trades and ace communicator. He leads partnership development efforts at Hats & Ladders, Inc.

Heather Weston

Operations & Bus. Dev.

Heather’s life mission is to improve lives, particularly for those for whom opportunities and justice are not a given. She directs business development and strategy for Hats & Ladders, Inc.  

David Langendoen


David is an award-winning game developer recognized around the world for conceiving and developing fun, smart learning products. He currently serves as VP of Product Development.

Benjamin Galynker


Ben manages all content development for Hats & Ladders, Inc. A former lawyer, he is an information mastermind and Hats & Ladders, Inc.’s in-house occupational data wizard.

Ivonne Karamoy


Ivonne is the talent behind Hats & Ladders’ vivid and impactful visual design. She also creates avatars, badges, scenery, and all the other amazing visual assets that bring our programs to life.

Ahmad Choudhry

Data & Research

Ahmad is a student at the Macaulay Honors College who is infatuated with programming and design. He is currently developing automated data reports to aid in understanding the behaviors of H&L users.

Stefan Winz


Stefan Winz is a net-centric technologist with extensive experience in the systems and architecture surrounding enterprise class Websites and all aspects of technology related system deployment.

Bob Hartlaub


Bob Hartlaub is a hands on, down to earth technology leader who has amassed a wealth of experience across the architecture and development of  education technology and commerce based systems.

Jarret Rackoff


Jarret Rackoff maintains an impressive reputation as a technical strategist, executive level project manager and implementation leader throughout the education technology community.

Jordan Ephron


Jordan Ephron, our in-house swiss army knife, single-handedly programmed the first Hats & Ladders prototype and has been instrumental to our program’s development ever since.

Tamika Guishard

Implementation Specialist

Tamika’s been called the “doula of cinema and pedagogy”. With the mind of a Ranger, heart of a teacher and soul of a dancer, she partners with schools in her hometown through SYEP.

Claudia Franke


Claudia is a senior at New York University, studying politics and American literature. She is passionate about writing and works on the creation of content for the H&L app and other related projects.

Siena Delaney

Social Media

Siena is a Syracuse University student with an interest in design and communication. She is committed to finding inspiring, witty and meaningful content for our social media campaigns.

Chantal Hermetz

Social Media

Chantal is a Media & Digital Communications student with a knack for starting conversations on social media and creating compelling content that gets people excited about Hats & Ladders.

Michelle King


Michelle is our Hats & Ladders master educator whose creativity and genius has been instrumental in inspiring our engaging, youth-centric activities and implementation models.

Jeff Schon

Commercialization Advisor

Jeff is CEO & Co-Founder of Akili Network Inc., distributing the world’s best educational entertainment to the 18 million children of Kenya on digital television, mobile, tablets, and computers.

Kim Reykdal

Career Education Advisor

As an experienced educator and 2016 National School Counselor of the Year Finalist, Kim contributes valuable insights about students’ needs, interests, and overall mindset.

Matt Wallaert

Strategic Advisor

Matt, a valuable advisor since Hats & Ladders’ inception, specializes in translating what we know about the psychology of human behavior into creating products that change those behaviors.

Dr. Midian Kurland

Product Advisor

Hats & Ladders is lucky to have Dr. Kurland as an advisor. He is a highly influential Edtech leader with over 35 years’ experience in publishing, product development and educational research.

How We Won the Reach Higher App Challenge

Hats & Ladders Screenshot

Core Team: 7 makers

Mentorship: 6 mentors

Testing:  youth testers & co-developers

Duration: 400 hours

1 Reach Higher Grand Prize

Partnerships & Collaborators

Reach Higher Challenge
Community of Unity Logo
Larta Institute
Quest to Learn
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