Board of Directors

Board of Directors

Melissa Anelli | President

Melissa Anelli is a New York Times bestselling author and the co-executive director of Mischief Management, which runs GeekyCon, LeakyCon, and BroadwayCon, and specializes in the creation of real-world spaces in which geeks can fully enjoy the things they love. She started on this path by joining the Harry Potter fandom in 2000, becoming the webmistress of The Leaky Cauldron and writing the bestselling Harry, A History, which features a foreword from J.K. Rowling. Melissa spent several years as a reporter in New York City and lives in Brooklyn, where she devours as many books, TV series, and stage shows as possible. She serves on the advisory board of NaNoWriMo and is a founding member of The HP Alliance’s board of directors. Her cat, Moochka, is the most fearsome beast alive.

Paul DeGeorge | Clerk

Paul co-founded the Harry Potter Alliance with Andrew Slack in 2005 and served as its Executive Director from 2013-2014. In 2002, Paul and his brother Joe started the band Harry and the Potters, now cited as the founders of Wizard Rock, a genre of music based on Harry Potter. The band was profiled in the 2008 documentary We Are Wizards and they have spent much of the last decade touring the world. Paul is also the creator of theWizard Rock EP of the Month ClubNerds for Obamathe Secret Order of the Black Diamond and he writes and produces The Cephalopodcast, a fiction podcast from the perspective of a giant squid. He lives in Lawrence, KS where he and his wife run Wonder Fair, an art gallery focused on community engagement projects and adventure.

Seth Soulstein | Treasurer

Seth Soulstein is a co-founder and founding member of the HPA and its board of directors. Having spent from 2002-2009 traveling the US and making viral videos with Andrew Slack in a sketch comedy troupe, the Late Night Players, he has since focused his attentions on playwriting and academia. He is currently working towards a PhD in the Department of Performing and Media Arts at Cornell University in Ithaca, NY, where he studies comedy, superheroes, and the past and present of participatory culture and fan activism. His Master’s thesis, written at the University of British Columbia and titled “Macbeth as Avatar: Fandom in British Romantic Theatre Audiences,” outlines eighteenth-century British fan culture, and poses a 67-day riot as a precursor to modern-day fan activism. He is deeply committed to human rights and environmental causes, and grows a lot of garlic, with which he makes a mean kimchi.

Samantha Ender

Samantha Ender is a Vice President and Program Officer at J.P. Morgan in New York City. Prior to joining J.P. Morgan, Sam was the Senior Development Officer at Partners In Health (PIH), a global health nonprofit partnering with the public sector in ten countries around the world to ensure that all people have access to quality health care. It was during her time at PIH that Sam first encountered the HPA, after the HPA community joined forces with other fandoms for Helping Haiti Heal, an effort that raised over $120,000 to send five planes of desperately needed cargo to earthquake-ravaged Haiti in January 2010. Sam holds a Masters degree in Public Health from Boston University and a Bachelor’s degree in Anthropology from Amherst College; she lives in Brooklyn, NY with a small gang of very hardy houseplants.

Lillian Karabaic

Community organizing is Lillian’s favorite discipline of magic. By day, she works as a fundraiser and bicycling advocate at the Community Cycling Center and as a nonprofit database consultant. She’s known for creating a library cataloging marathon game,Raiders of the Lost Archives as the Zine Librarian at the Independent Publishing Resource Center. You can also find her flipping pancakes for bike commuters on Portland’s bridges, producing the Bike Portland podcast, dressing up as David Bowie on cross-country speaking tours or while leading the Bowie Vs Prince bike dance party. She’s previously worked for Bitch Media, Oregon Walks, Go By Bike, and the Bicycle Transportation Alliance. She’s still waiting for her Firebolt, but for now she rides her yellow Ahearne bicycle everywhere.

Taekia Blackwell

Taekia Blackwell is the Chief Operating Officer of Mischief Management, which fosters fandom and celebrates community through unique fan experiences and awesome events like LeakyConBroadwayCon, and Con of Thrones. She is also a long-time member of the HPA community.  Taekia began volunteering with the Harry Potter Alliance in 2009, before taking on a full time role with the organization from 2011-2012. She also worked with the HPA to bring to life the first annual Granger Leadership Academy. Taekia graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Film Studies from the University of Pittsburgh and has a Masters in Business Administration from the Drucker School of Management. She is a proud Ravenclaw, NYC resident, and is always willing to talk television, film, and fandom with anyone who will listen.

Alan Mygatt-Tauber

Alan Mygatt-Tauber is an attorney in Washington State.  His love of fantasy was sparked when he first read the Hobbit when he was four, and his love of activism was sparked in high school and college when he participated in speech and debate.  He enjoys spending time with his family, practicing his hobby of photography, and running his podcast "Summary Judgment."  After getting his Bachelors in Political Science from the University of Oregon, he earned his J.D. from the George Washington University and in addition, he holds a Masters in Political Science from the University of South Carolina, where he also spent five years teaching.  Unsurprisingly, he is a Ravenclaw.

Clint Carney

Clint Carney is a CPA working for an online targeting and data management company in Massachusetts. For years, Clint was a Harry Potter skeptic until a college assignment required him to read The Prisoner of Azkaban and he has been a fan ever since. Clint has a Masters Degree in Taxation from Bentley University and a Bachelors Degree in Accounting from the University of Massachusetts Lowell, where he also teaches night classes. He enjoys spending time with his wife, two daughters and his dog, Yager.