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About Us

Finding a career that you love and are great at often takes longer than you think. It can be hard to connect your interests and strengths with professional pursuits. Or maybe you haven’t had the opportunities—or encouragement—to 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.

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.

Finding your life’s work is a lot like finding a life partner. For a lucky few, the stars magically align. For most of us, it feels more like staring at a far-away galaxy. Figuring it out doesn’t have to be rocket science (unless that’s what you’re into), but it does take vision, self-awareness, opportunities, connections, and trial and error.

Hats & Ladders uses up-to-date occupational data, game mechanics, and youth-driven design thinking to motivate the next generation of career thinkers and doers. Our mission is simple: empower teens and young adults with career-building experiences, skills, and opportunities so they can take small steps now that lead to big leaps later.

Our team has years of experience developing transformative, award-winning interactive training and learning games and software for youth and adults. Our work is rooted in foundational and ongoing user research to gather insights into learners goals and challenges.

We are a diverse group of people who are passionate about making learning fun and reimagining career education. We believe that good youth tech becomes great when subject matter experts, researchers, engineers, and designers listen to and learn from one another.

Team

Scott Brewster

Director of Partnerships & Co-Founder

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.

Kristen Budd

Lead Instructional Designer

Kristen leads content and instruction at Hats & Ladders. She is motivated by the power of learning something new and seeks ways to make that experience accessible and fun for everyone.

Aubry Dreikosen

Technology Generalist

Aubry is a student at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill studying computer science and statistics. She assists on technical projects and works on automating processes for Hats & Ladders.

Jaclyn Elcock

Data Analyst & Storyteller

Jaclyn is a content producing, organizational powerhouse. A graduating information science professional and published writer, they are a divergent thinker with a fervor for community-driven, social justice initiatives.

Benjamin Galynker

Lead Fixer
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.

Johann George

Implementation and Curriculum Manager

Johann is a passionate educator and relationship builder. In addition to writing curriculum and leading trainings, what he loves most is sharing Hats & Ladders with educators and youth.

Ivonne Karamoy

Lead UX & Visual Designer
Ivonne is the talent behind Hats & Ladders’ vivid and impactful visual design. A systems thinker, she brings a holistic, user-centered design approach to engage our users and bring our programs to life.

David Langendoen

CFO & Co-Founder
David is an award-winning game developer recognized around the world for conceiving and developing fun, smart learning products. He currently serves as CFO.

Leah Potter

CEO & Co-Founder

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 contagious.

Heather Weston

COO & Director of 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.

Collaborators

Ellen Baxt
Pro-Skills Curriculum Development

Doretha Dawkins
Curriculum Development

Bob Hartlaub
Data Reporting

Tom O’Connell
Pro-Skills Curriculum Development Lead

Dan Ramalho
Front End Engineering

Heather Reingold
Pro-Skills Curriculum Development

Robert Sorkin
Lead Engineer

Kimberly Testa
Pro-Skills Curriculum Development

Advisors

Jeff Schon
Commercialization Advisor
CEO & Co-Founder of Akili Network Inc.

Kim Reykdal
Career Education Advisor
Experienced educator and 2016 National School Counselor of the Year Finalist.

Michelle King
Educator
Master educator and designer of equitable and empathetic learning opportunities.

Jordan Ephron
Technical Advisor
Software developer and technologist.

Matt Wallaert
Strategic Advisor
Author & Head of Behavioral Science of frog.

Dr. Midian Kurland
Product Advisor
Influential Edtech leader with over 35 years experience.

Juliette Adams
Strategic Advisor
Experienced visionary and strategist.

How We Won the Reach Higher App Challenge

Core Team: 7 Makers

Mentorship: 6 Mentors

Testing: Youth testers & co-developers

Duration: 400 hours

1 REACH HIGHER GRAND PRIZE!

Partnerships & Collaborators

GRT
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DYCD Workforce NYC logo
US Department of Education
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Smartypants_Logo

Awards