Staff

Jill Gurr – Founder and CEO

Jill Gurr
Founder and CEO

Jill Gurr

Founder and CEO

Jill graduated from Boston University with a B.S. degree in Broadcasting and Film. She worked for many years in the film industry as a Script Supervisor on international productions with famous actors and directors. She’s also a screenwriter. Two of her scripts were produced (Rigged with George Kennedy and Socrates with Ed Asner) and several of her screenplays were optioned. Jill is fluent in Spanish, French and Italian.

She founded Create Now in 1996 and serves as the CEO. Jill was featured on NBC Nightly News with Brian Williams and CNN’s Anderson Cooper 360°. She was one of eight people in the U.S. selected to be in an exhibition at the Museum of Tolerance called “Everyday Heroes.” She was chosen by the British Council to participate in their Global Xchange program in South Africa and Northern Ireland in 2010, where she shared best practices with 25 other leaders from six countries. Jill gives presentations to global diplomats through adjuncts of the U.S. State Department.

She received a standing ovation after giving a TEDx Talk in Beverly Hills on October 29, 2016. Jill published a comprehensive book, Mentor Youth Now: A Guidebook for Transforming Young Lives, which is available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble and through other retailers. She’s available as a consultant, trainer and a speaker.

Email: jill@createnow.org.

Laura Kelly – Director of Programs

Laura Kelly
Director of Programs

Laura Kelly

Director of Programs

Laura Kelly began her professional career at UCLA and remained for many years as an editor, proofreader, and production coordinator, with a fervor for special events. During this period, she volunteered her professional skills toward peace in war-torn El Salvador. She worked full time at El Rescate, a Los Angeles-based nonprofit that provided legal and social services and human rights advocacy for the Central American community. She managed an award-winning youth program for the young people of the community and also produced many high-profile fundraising events.

Laura continued her career in event production for years at the Hollywood Bowl and other prestigious venues and remained committed to youth and the arts as a committee member for a youth music nonprofit. In 2010 she put her career on hold to serve in AmeriCorps as a VISTA with a mission to eliminate poverty in the United States. To her delight, she was assigned to Create Now to help in resource development. After serving a term as the VISTA Leader at the Office of the Mayor, City of Baltimore, she returned to Create Now as our Director of Programs.

Email: laura@createnow.org.

Ruby Medina – Special Projects Director and Marketing

Ruby Medina
Special Projects Director and Marketing

Ruby Medina

Special Projects Director and Marketing

Ruby’s career serving high-risk populations spans over a decade. She dedicated the first four years to Jovenes, Inc., an agency that serves homeless and emancipated youth. Taking a break to earn a Bachelor’s degree in Communications and minoring in Sociology from San Diego State University, she later returned to Los Angeles to embark on her job with Create Now.

Since 2008, Ruby has spearheaded several special programs, such as our Art Xchange program in Rwanda and the production of our Recording Studio. However, her true passion is finding opportunities and donations for our youth. Her hard work and dedication has secured thousands of tickets so that the children we serve are able to attend live events, plays, concerts, visit museums and enjoy other cultural experiences.

Ruby is a lover of all things L.A and spends her free time with her husband and their daughter, exploring the best things the city has to offer.

Email: ruby@createnow.org

Nancy Kannampuzha – Volunteer Coordinator

Nancy Kannampuzha
Volunteer Coordinator

Nancy Kannampuzha

Volunteer Coordinator

As a former foster youth, Nancy is an advocate for vulnerable children and driven by the motivation to give back to the community that helped her thrive. She attended Pepper dine University to earn her Bachelor’s Degree in Sociology & Political Science with a minor in Social Work. During college, she served as both a Jump Start Team Member and Leader, preparing children in low-income neighborhoods for school success by implementing early childhood curriculum, as well as language and literacy skills. Nancy also volunteered with many organizations working to alleviate child poverty and educational disparity. Upon graduation, she transitioned to the Bay Area and into the private sector to learn more about organizational and financial structure of running a small business. Nancy’s passion for vulnerable and at-risk youth grew and it compelled her to continue changing the lives of young people – just as many have done in her life.

Nancy is very enthusiastic about being a part of Create Now and the many ways she can be an advocate for children. She is helping to expand our existing partner relationships, as well as cultivate a positive environment for our volunteers to connect with the kids we serve. Nancy loves living in Los Angeles, finding hidden food spots in the city, and experiencing the scenery from her bike.

Email: nancy@createnow.org.

Sarah Thomas Gulden – Director of Development

Sarah Thomas Gulden
Director of Development

Sarah Thomas Gulden

Director of Development

With an MA in Arts Administration from Goucher College, Sarah Thomas Gulden has worked in fundraising for arts and youth organizations for over a dozen years. At The Washington Ballet, she was solely responsible for maintaining all institutional donor relationships and bringing in over $1 million annually (half of all contributed gifts, one quarter of total income). As a consultant, she advised the boards and wrote successful grant proposals for organizations such as America’s Promise and Ronald McDonald House Charities, as well as many smaller local arts and arts education non-profits.

A year of reviewing proposals in the contributions department of Goldman Sachs provided a unique perspective into the funding process of a major corporate giver. She also helped fulfill the development objectives of organizations like THEARC (Town Hall Education Arts and Recreation Campus), a collaboration of arts and social services organizations in Southeast DC, for which she created a case statement and a strategic plan. Sarah Thomas Gulden has a well-rounded appreciation and understanding for all the performing and visual arts and additional knowledge of social service and education issues.

Email: sarahg@createnow.org.