Co-Chair of the Board
Allen has lived in the greater DC area nearly all his life. As a young man, he was greatly influenced by the civil rights movement of the 60’s. This helped shape his insights about politics, justice, and social action. In the 70’s he spent six years as a jazz musician and truck driver before realizing that a college education could be of great use. After receiving a B.S. from the University of Maryland, he worked 30+ years as a technology and process consultant for large private and public sector organizations. Allen and his wife have two sons: one is a musician and college student; the other is a local police officer.
Allen is currently semi-retired and plans to focus his retirement on nurturing his soul and his community. Allen gardens, travels, reads, brews beer, leads a school scholarship fund, and is busy catching up on all those house projects that he promised to get around to. Being on the Carpe Diem Arts board fulfills many aspirations for him and he looks forward to using his skills to the impact of Carpe Diem Arts.
Co-Chair of the Board
Nanette is the former Director of Leadership and Organizational Effectiveness at EnCompass Consulting. She has over 30 years experience in OD, program management and training in Africa. She has worked with international NGOs in designing effective community development strategies and training approaches, consulted with international and regional organizations in management and leadership development, and founded and managed a successful Africa-based company focusing on developing relevant and practical management and technical skills for professionals and students. Nanette holds an MA from Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies with a focus on social change and development. She is also serves on the board of Impact Silver Spring and is bilingual in English and French.
Nelson is the Senior Finance and Budget Specialist at EnCompass Consulting. He has over 20 years of experience in the nonprofit, government, academic, and private sectors. His expertise is in the financial management of grants and contracts, including international and domestic financial compliance, budgeting, and financial reporting. Prior to joining EnCompass, he worked in the Middle East, Asia, and Europe at several universities and organizations, including King Abdullah University of Science and Technology, The George Washington University, National Geographic Society, and the National Academies of Science.
Megan is a senior research associate at the Urban Institute, where she seeks to inform policymakers and practitioners about the complex relationship between schools and their surrounding neighborhoods. Her research focuses on efforts to improve housing and educational opportunities for children in low-income families. She studies how housing and neighborhood revitalization efforts affect schools and how schools and education policies influence the trajectories of neighborhoods.
Megan designs and manages complex research projects and collects and analyzes data from surveys, administrative databases, in-depth interviews, and focus groups. She is currently developing a pilot demonstration in DC to improve low-income parents' access to information about their children’s educational opportunities, providing technical support for local education initiatives, and analyzing the characteristics of students and communities affected by school moves, closures, and openings.
She has an MPP in Public Policy Analysis from Georgetown University and a BA in Sociology and Social Welfare from the University of Wisconsin – Madison. She lives in Takoma Park with her husband and two children.
Sebastian Johnson is a senior associate at Freedman Consulting, LLC, where he assists nonprofit organizations in strategy, communications, and policy. A graduate of Blair High School, he went on to earn his bachelor's degree in economics and government from Georgetown University and later received his master's degree in public policy at Harvard University's Kennedy School of Government. After working as an elementary school teacher, he served former Governor Martin O’Malley as an education policy fellow, and also worked as a transportation policy aide to Montgomery County Councilmember George Leventhal. Sebastian ran a strong campaign for at-large representative of the Montgomery County Board of Education in the 2016 primary and received endorsements from many prominent community and government leaders. He has always appreciated the power of the arts in education and its role in building stronger, inclusive communities -- and looks forward to working with Carpe Diem Arts to fulfill its important mission.
Paula is the communications manager at the National Association of Enrolled Agents and managing editor of the Association’s EA Journal. She has previously worked in various capacities at the World Bank, for several NGOs, and in academia. Paula holds a policy BA from Duke University, an ecology MS from the University of Florida, and a PhD in planning from the University of Liverpool. After taking a recent Carpe Diem Arts "Ukes on the Move" ukulele course, Paula learned of and started attending Carpe Diem Arts events. She witnessed time and again how Carpe Diem was making joyful arts experiences accessible to people from all walks of life while building arts appreciation and sense of community. Carpe Diem Arts programming in early learning centers, correctional facilities, public venues, and among young and retired populations is often seen by participants as transformative. Paula and her family are participants, advocates, and beneficiaries of the wonderful music and arts experiences Busy Graham and Carpe Diem Arts bring to the community. Paula is honored to serve on Carpe Diem Arts' board of directors.
Bijal Parikh hails from New York City where she spent over 10 years in advertising and direct marketing before graduating from Columbia University with a masters in social work. Her career as a social worker ranged from advocating for immigrant women who were victims of domestic violence, building transition plans for hard-to-place foster children who were aging out of the system, implementing programming for female inmates to bond and build on their relationships with their children, and developing programs to support DC based teenagers’ goals to stay in school and go to college. Currently, she spends her days as a mom to her three children, teaching an energetic pre-K class at Silver Spring Day School, planning events with the PTA, and as a volunteer with A Wider Circle and Free Minds Book Club and Writing Workshop. She looks forward to serving on the Carpe Diem Arts board of directors.
Jo Rasi is the Marketing and Programs Director at Washington Revels. She has served as an arts consultant and event planner for non-profits and federal and local government agencies for over 20 years. Previous clients include The American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress, The National Council for the Traditional Arts, The Blair Auditorium Renovation Project, The Grateful Dead, the North American Folk Alliance, Class Acts Arts (now Artivate), the International Council of Air Shows, and the Town of Herndon. Jo studied at Georgetown University (Executive Nonprofit Management), The Université Laval (French), American University (MA in Performing Arts Studies), Gettysburg College (BA in English/Art History), Wesleyan University (Ethnomusicology), The George Washington University (Human Sciences), Brown University (Oral History), and The Peddie School. She served on the board of directors for the National Council for the Traditional Arts, and has previously served on boards for Slow Food DC, Emerson Landing Artist Retreat Center, and the Institute of Musical Traditions. Jo has been awarded fellowships from The Library of Congress, Wesleyan University, The Virginia Association of Female Executives, and was selected as a University Fellow at George Washington University.