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


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


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.


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.

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.

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.

Heather Weston

Business Development

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.

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.

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.

Alfredo Gutierrez

Content & Data Intern

Alfredo recently graduated from NYU with a passion for writing and accessible education for all. He is helping Hats & Ladders, Inc., with content, and has authored a series of blog posts on mentorship.

Theodora Boo

Strategy & Marketing Intern

A driven college student from Singapore seeking to gain new experiences and learn about New York’s startup scene, Theodora is helping Hats & Ladders with business development and marketing activities.

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 and interests.

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

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