Our Board

The current YI Board of Directors, listed below, is providing oversight and leadership for the organization as we continue to develop and work to become our own 501c3.

Ari A. Matusiak, Co-Founder and Chairman, Young Invincibles
Senior Vice President for Corporate Development and Head of New Markets, Renovate America

Ari is currently Senior Vice President for Corporate Development and Head of New Markets at Renovate America, a tech company based in California that is the fastest growing provider of energy efficiency financing in the country.  Ari oversees the company’s market expansion and strategic operations and its relationships with key partners and policy makers. Prior to joining Renovate America, Ari served for four years at the White House, where he was Special Assistant to President Obama and Director of Private Sector Engagement. There, he was the bridge between the private sector and the Administration, working to develop, promote and implement policies that spurred job creation and promoted long-term economic competitiveness.  Earlier in his career, Ari was vice president for strategy and community impact at The Rhode Island Foundation, one of the oldest and largest community foundations in the country. While there, he directed HousingWorks RI, a statewide affordable housing coalition and campaign that leveraged over $500 million in affordable housing investment and created thousands of jobs in the state.  Ari graduated magna cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa with an A.B. in political science from Brown University, and graduated cum laude from Georgetown University Law Center, where he was a Public Interest Law Scholar. Ari lives in Washington with his wife, Marissa, and their precious little girl, Gabrielle.

Matt Singer
Executive Director, The Bus Federation

Matt Singer is an organizer and small-business owner. He dropped out of college in 2005, when he received a full-time job offer shortly after making a tuition payment on his credit card (Millennials, am I right?). Several months later, he co-founded Montana is for Badasses, an apparel and glassware company celebrating his home state. He’s spent the last seven years as executive director of the Bus Federation (his current role) or of its affiliate Forward Montana, which he co-founded. In that work, he’s managing one of the strongest and fastest growing youth civic engagement organizations in the country. He first met Young Invincibles in 2009 through health care work. Blown away by the policy brains and media savvy of the Young Invincibles crew, Matt enthusiastically joined the board of directors in 2012.

Raha Wala, Secretary
Senior Counsel, Human Rights First

Raha is a Senior Counsel at Human Rights First, where he advocates for national security policies that are consistent with human rights norms. He became a huge fan of Young Invincibles in law school when some of his closest friends at Georgetown started the organization.

As the senior advocate for defense and intelligence issues at Human Rights First, Raha frequently shares his expertise with policymakers in Congress and the Executive Branch, and has appeared regularly in major print, radio, and TV outlets, including the Washington Post, Wall Street Journal, USA Today, National Journal, Reuters, Associated Press, Los Angeles Times, National Public Radio, CNN, MSNBC, and BBC. He has also authored numerous policy papers and academic articles on human rights in national security policy.

Raha has a B.B.A. in Finance and Political Science from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and helped build financial modeling tools as a corporate consultant before attending law school. In his personal time, Raha enjoys cooking, seeing live music, biking around the city, and DJing.

Julia Smith
Assistant Attorney General, Massachusetts Attorney General’s Office

Julia is a co-founder of Young Invincibles. She graduated from Swarthmore College in 2006 and New York University Law School in 2012. During college, she participated in and eventually helped lead, Swarthmore’s Living Wage and Democracy Campaign. After college, Julia worked on her mother’s campaign for State Assembly and later joined the staff of New York State Senator, now New York Attorney General, Eric T. Schneiderman. In 2008, Julia left New York to join the Obama campaign as a field organizer in Miami, Florida. She returned to New York to work for the state’s Medicaid program and then attend law school. Julia is now an Assistant Attorney General in the Massachusetts Attorney General’s Office. She lives with her husband Jacob, also a co-founder of Young Invincibles, and their puppy Arya in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Yes, they did name their puppy after the character in HBO’s Game of Thrones.

Dani Gilbert
PhD student, The George Washington University

Dani Gilbert is thrilled to be a founding board member of Young Invincibles. Dani is currently a PhD student in Political Science at the George Washington University, where she specializes in Comparative Politics and Research Methods with a regional focus on the Middle East. Prior to GW, Dani spent four years working for Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz, where she served as Senior Legislative Assistant and Appropriations Associate, focusing on foreign policy, health care, women’s issues, and economic policy. She also spent 2012 at the Democratic National Committee, where she served as the Jewish Outreach Liaison for the Obama Campaign.

Dani did her B.A. in Ethics, Politics, and Economics at Yale University, and received a Masters in Comparative Politics – Nationalism and Ethnicity at the London School of Economics in 2009.

Ngozi Nezianya
JD/MBA Candidate, Northwestern University School of Law and Kellogg School of Management

Ngozi is currently a JD/MBA candidate at the Northwestern University School of Law and the Kellogg School of Management. Before graduate school, Ngozi worked as a Senior Research Analyst at the Democracy Alliance (DA). There, he conducted due diligence on a $150 million portfolio of nonprofit organizations, and he led the creation and launch of a dynamic, database-driven website, including managing the DA’s outreach effort to almost 200 organizations. Before the DA, Ngozi served as the Acting Head of Leadership at African Leadership Academy (ALA), an elite boarding school in Johannesburg, South Africa. At ALA, Ngozi spearheaded the research, writing, and design of the Academy’s two-year leadership curriculum; taught courses in leadership and entrepreneurship; and shaped school-wide academic and disciplinary policy. Ngozi is a graduate of Yale University, where he earned a B.A. in Political Science.

Julian A. Haynes
Program Officer, The Meyer Foundation

Julian A. Haynes is a program officer at the Meyer Foundation, where he focuses on the Foundation’s grantmaking in Prince George’s and Montgomery counties in Maryland. Before joining Meyer in 2016, Julian was an associate director of programs and policy at Achieving the Dream, a national reform network dedicated to community college student success and completion. In that role, Julian oversaw the day-to-day management of the Working Student Success Network, a national initiative focused on providing comprehensive nonacademic services to low-income community college students.

Prior to his role with Achieving the Dream, Julian was a program associate on the education team at the Kresge Foundation, where for three years he helped manage a national portfolio of grants supporting efforts to increase post-secondary degree attainment for traditionally under-served students. Previously, he was a research associate at Guttman Community College in the CUNY system, and a project coordinator with the United Way of Dane County in Madison, WI. He recently joined the board of Young Invincibles in Washington DC.

Julian holds a bachelor’s degree from Morehouse, and a master’s in nonprofit management from Milano The New School for Management and Urban Policy.

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