John Katt

John is a techie who works with passionate innovators looking to create change, by providing product development and management skills to organizations and young startup teams. John believes in the power of working alongside those facing today’s problems, empowering them to innovate powerful and meaningful solutions that work for them. The power of building solutions with and not for has given John the opportunity to create impactful and real solutions. John has worked with government agencies, small businesses and young startups to discover how technology and innovation can further their mission. Working on projects such as the New York City Public Advocates Worst Landlord Watchlist, which uses data to identify the worst acting landlords in NYC. Designing, organizing and launching, as the CTO, betterment technology hackathons with Illicit Mind Inc. Bringing together the community to create solutions to the biggest problems faced today in the areas of finance, education, immigration etc. John is an experienced engineer, working on projects spanning software/hardware and information technology infrastructure. John holds a Bachelors in Electrical and Computer Engineering Technology from New York Institute of Technology.

Led Black

Led is a writer, blogger, social media expert and widely respected influencer. Led Black is the founder of, which has established itself as the voice of Uptown Manhattan online. Since taking Professor Sree Sreenivasan’s Social Media course at Columbia University in 2010, Led Black has shrewdly used social media to make Uptown Collective a highly esteemed and indispensable resource. The Uptown Collective is one of a few very select blogs that was featured in the blogroll of the non-defunct City Rooms section of the NY Times. Led Black was selected to the 2013 Class of Latino Trailblazers by DigiBunch, one of the nation’s most influential Hispanic communities online. In 2014, Led Black was chosen as a founding member of the Ford Millennials team. Ford Millennials is an important initiative from Ford en Español that selects young and emerging Latino influencers from across the country and helps to nurture their growth and development. In 2015, Led was named the Upstanding Person of the Year by the Up Theater Company. Besides overseeing the various social media platforms of the Uptown Collective, Led Black has lent his social media expertise to several film projects as well as local businesses and organizations. Led Black is currently the Social Media Manager for the Manhattan Times, the Bronx Free Press and the New York Latino Film Festival. His work has been featured on CNN, Huffington Post, Remezcla and Being Latino among many other outlets.

Maria Elisa Geraldo

Maria was born in the beautiful city of Santiago Dominican Republic and immigrated to the U.S.A. She is a versatile skilled administrator and is currently the Director and COO for a Landscaping company in New Jersey. Maria also worked as Office Manager for Dr. Raphael Vazquez, MD Ophthalmologist located in Washington Heights where she quickly became familiar with the needs of the Dominican Community. Maria attended law school at a top university in Santiago Dominican Republic, Universidad Catolica Madre y Maestra where she obtained a Bachelor degree in civil law. After graduation she began to practice law while employed as an attorney by the “Centro Juridico” in Santiago where she developed her career by litigating on behalf of her clients. She quickly became partner in a Family established Law Firm, Batista, Belliard & Asociados, D.R. One of Maria’s most memorable life experiences was her work as the Director of the Missionette’s program at the Englewood Assembly of God church located in Englewood, NJ. She finds that her time with these young women, gave her the opportunity to make a difference in their lives and in the process recognize her true calling, serving others while enriching and mentoring them.

Yolanny Rodríguez

Actress and theater director, known for theater works done with women. Founded Teatro Las Tablas in 2006 to present theater in Spanish in Washington Heights and other interested communities with emerging and professional artists of all Latin America. Wrote “12,” “The Displacement Monologues,” “Íta Madre,” “Las vueltas que la vida” (co-written with Dinorah Coronado), Adapted the fables “Cuco, the boogieman,” and “This Fable of the Jungle” to children’s theater and also wrote 2 short films, “La Bombilla” and “Aflixión.” Yolanny loves the rhythms of language, her most outstanding diction, and accent work is in Light of Ashes by Marco Antonio Rodríguez and At the Time of the Butterflies, Caridad Svich’s adaptation of Julia Alvarez novel. Has directed over a dozen plays. Mayor Bloomberg distinguished her with NY Immigrant Visionary Award for her work with other able youth. She Holds a B.A. in Sociology from Marymount Manhattan College.