Meet The Team

 Create Now’s is only made possible by its dedicated staff and amazing Board of Directors. Their continued support allows Create now to run their programs and fulfill their mission goals.




Brandon Dean Johnson

Brandon Dean Johnson


Laura Kelly

Director of Programs

Lola Kate

Program Manager

Brandon volunteered with Create Now for six years, teaching the arts and mentoring youth. He also served as the Board Chair. In 2021, he became our CEO. He studied Graphic Design and Fine Arts at Elizabeth City State University in North Carolina. Brandon lived throughout Europe where he taught visual arts programs to kids.

He worked for Zachary Levi’s Nerd HQ as the Art Director and Production Coordinator. Brandon was later hired by Pure Imagination Studios where he worked with all of the top entertainment companies. He also founded BigFooters, a production company that produces high-quality content.


Program Director Laura Kelly has developed and delivered arts programming for Create Now for over 12 years. She has developed new programs, new relationships with schools and agencies who serve youth 3-24 in the Los Angeles region, and strengthened existing programs. Laura is the face of Create Now’s relationships with Title 1 schools and youth agencies.Laura has a long history of producing performances in Los Angeles, including the Hollywood Bowl, Walt Disney Concert Hall, and The Ford Amphitheatre. She is also a Board Member of Vida Flamenca, a nonprofit committed to bringing the finest of Spanish dance and music to the Los Angeles area.
Ms. Kelly has over 40 years of experience in nonprofit programming in Los Angeles including 3 years as an AmeriCorps VISTA.

A Penn State grad, Lola previously volunteered at Create Now starting in the summer of 2019 by teaching a visual arts program at Angel’s Flight shelter called “Expressive Arts.” She also organized the volunteers at our Power of the Arts Festival. She was hired as Create Now’s Volunteer Coordinator in October 2019.

With a compassionate understanding of youths’ needs, Lola matches volunteers with the partners in our network and organizes these projects. She also serves as Create Now’s Program Manager. In addition, Lola coordinates our marketing team of volunteers. She is dedicated to expanding Create Now’s impact and operations.

We’re delighted that Taelor Barren has joined Create Now as our Cultural Journeys intern, thanks to a grant from the Los Angeles County Department of Arts and Culture. Living in Carson, she is a 19-year-old third year college student who attends El Camino College. Taelor’s dream is to become a nurse because she loves caring for others and helping them to heal. She’ll be doing a lot of that while building our Cultural Journeys program since bringing youth-in-need to concerts, plays and other cultural events assists them to heal from trauma while exposing them to the many benefits of the therapeutic power of the arts.

Some of Taelor’s favorite hobbies include tending to her garden, reading novels, catching up on her favorite K-Dramas/anime shows, and surfing the internet. She likes to think of herself as a secret artist and is inspired to take up painting during her free time. She’s also learning new languages and stepping out of the box when it comes to music in a variety of genres, even country music. Taelor is grateful and delighted to have been given this opportunity to be a part of the Create Now team, and we’re equally thrilled to have her with us.

Board of Directors

Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer at Struum

Lauren is the co-founder and Chief Executive Officer of Struum. As an award-winning senior executive in the digital media and entertainment industries, she has successfully led businesses for some of the world’s largest consumer brands including The Walt Disney Company and Microsoft. Lauren is recognized for driving innovation, including pioneering the new Direct-to-Consumer IPTV and SVOD business models that are now standard in the industry.

Backed by Michael Eisner’s venture firm, Tornante, Lauren co-founded Struum in February 2020. As CEO, Lauren  leads Struum, in their mission to help top tier aspirational streaming services and more specialized SVOD offerings optimize the reach of their programs and services, while providing an increasingly frustrated and underserved consumer base with a simple way to find programming and services they want easy access to are most likely to enjoy.

Prior to Struum, Lauren was the Head of Product at Discovery Ventures. She is an award-winning senior executive in the digital media and entertainment industries, Lauren worked for the Walt Disney Company, Discovery, Microsoft and Yahoo! With strong operational skills, and an expertise in content and product development, she launched market leading products across mobile, online and OTT platforms. Responsibilities include: P&L oversight, building and growing a deeply-engaged digital consumer audience with 60M+ app downloads over a three-year period along with spearheading a social media business with over 25M subscribers, and a top-tiered website presence.

Under Lauren’s leadership, the DATG Digital Media team delivered the highest grossing kids app in the Apple App Store for two years, and won multiple awards. As an executive at Yahoo!, she oversaw general business and the P&L of Yahoo! Kids. At Microsoft, Lauren led over 1,000 third-party National and International developers, content creators and vendors working on the Microsoft TV Foundation Edition platform to build proof of concept case for distribution reaching 5M TV subscribers.

Lauren is a member of the Producers Guild of America, the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences, and is an advisory board member to the Alliance for Women in Media.

Managing Director of Philanthropy West for UNICEF USA

Tricia Snyder  currently serves as Managing Director of Philanthropy West for UNICEF USA, where she leverages philanthropy to respond to the most critical situations impacting children globally. She has over 15 years of experience in fundraising and academic medicine, working on major and principal gifts, planned giving, and strategic and campaign planning.

Prior to her current position, she was Associate Vice President for Development at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles, supporting the fundraising efforts of the Cancer and Blood Disease Institute. Previously, she was at Cedars-Sinai where she was Principal Gifts Officer for the Smidt Heart Institute.

Preceding Cedars-Sinai, Tricia oversaw foundation relations and facilitated major gifts for Saint John’s Health Center Foundation and John Wayne Cancer Institute. Tricia has additional experience in corporate finance, accounting, government and law.

Tricia holds a master’s degree in Public Administration from California State University, Dominguez Hills, certificate in Diversity and Inclusion from Cornell University, and a bachelor’s degree in Politics from Willamette University. Tricia is first-generation Vietnamese-American. She grew up in Portland, Oregon, and now lives in Los Angeles with her husband and two children.


CEO, ATC Group North America

ATC Management has been at the forefront of innovative artist management for over two decades and is one of the most respected management companies in the world.

ATC prides themselves on representing best-in-class career artists across a broad range of genres and disciplines – from recording artists and composers to record producers, songwriters, and film-makers. With a dedicated team of over 50 managers and staff globally, ATC operates out of offices in Los Angeles, New York City, London and Copenhagen.

Prior to working as the CEO of ATC Group North America, Jonny spent several years as a national radio presenter in the UK before co-founding & directing an award-winning marketing & events agency called Full Fat Events. Jonny has also served as a consultant for several topflight music and tech companies including The MMF, Spotify, Intel, SoundExchange, and Kobalt.

Jonny has also lectured Music Business Masters degree modules at Berklee College of Music in Valencia. Jonny has co-founded and oversees several companies in his role as CEO of ATC Group North America, spanning across artist management, music licensing, marketing and promotions, recorded music, brand partnerships and creative technology. Jonny also has a background as a professional drummer. Jonny started working with Create Now in 2022, launching a music business course for young adults called ‘How the Music Industry Works.’ Jonny continues to teach this course at LA-based schools and organizations working with transitional youth.


John Hansbrough is an employee benefits consultant with the LBL Group and Acrisure, where he leverages his experience with insurance, finance, healthcare, mental health, and technology to help his clients build and retain successful teams.

John has served in other organizations such as his professional organization NAIFA LA, but he is most proud to have helped lead the relaunch of the Los Angeles chapter of the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. The LA chapter is now one of the largest in the AFSP network and holds events with over 5,000 attendees each year, raising hundreds of thousands of dollars for mental health and suicide prevention research in the process.

John was born in San Diego and moved to Los Angeles to attend Occidental College. He played football all four years and earned a degree majoring in Economics and minoring in Mathematics. Since leaving Eagle Rock, John has lived all over Los Angeles and seen the range of opportunities available to Los Angeles youth. He now lives in Playa Vista with his fiancee Liza and his dog Archer, where you can regularly find him outside on the weekends playing sports, reading, or buying flowers and pupusas at his local farmers market.

Natalie Brill retired from the City of Los Angeles in November 2020 after 33 years, where she was the Debt Manager for over 20 years. Ms. Brill managed a $6 billion debt portfolio, completing 108 transactions. Many of these programs included innovative re-financings producing millions of dollars in savings to the City’s taxpayers. Ms. Brill diversified the City’s pool of vendors, which created opportunities for women-owned and minority-owned firms and benefited the City through the opening of offices in Los Angeles. 

Ms. Brill received the California Public Service Association “Award in Excellence” for her work in public finance. The National Women in Public Finance awarded her the “She’s My Hero Award” for her ability to balance her professional and private lives. Ms. Brill was a finalist for the Los Angeles Business Journal Women Summit Award, recognizing her work as the City’s Debt Manager in saving taxpayers millions of dollars. In 2019, she received the Social Bond Award for the 2018 Housing Bond from Environmental Finance, and the Excellence in Disclosure award from the National Federation of Municipal Analysts. 

Ms. Brill has a Bachelor of Arts degree in Government from Pomona College and a Master of Arts Degree in Humanities from the University of Chicago. Ms. Brill lives in the City of Los Angeles with her husband and has two grown children.

In addition to Create Now, Natalie is currently serving on several non-profit boards, such as Women in Public Finance as National Secretary and National Chair of the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee, on the Los Angeles Chapter Board as National Board Liaison, and on the Latino in Public Finance Board as Treasurer.

CEO & Co-Founder at The Canvas

Christopher uses the cutting-edge of technology combined with immersive storytelling to create impact. He’s a Vision Realization Officer whose mission is to empower a world of freedom, abundance, and love through the blend of art, business, science, and personal development. Using emerging realities (V/A/MR) technology. He is a world traveler, designer, thinker, cinematographer, photographer, and complex problem solver.

After receiving a B.A. in Economics from Occidental College, Christopher knew that he wanted to integrate his ability to understand systems with his love for creativity. That’s when he found the dual Masters in Design at The Institute of Design (IIT) and an M.B.A. at the Stuart School of Business (IIT) and knew it was the perfect fit for what he wanted to learn and ultimately create in the world.

After completing his studies, Christopher traveled around the world for 15 months. He created a project (“The Priti Life”) to document how different cultures celebrated around the world as he traveled through 26 countries and 100+ cities. While in South Africa, he started “Footprints,” which is the first global VR show that tells powerful stories with beautiful visuals in a compelling and relatable way. Upon returning to the United States, Christopher established the Sights and Sounds Media House with some of his fellow creatives, and has since evolved into The Canvas where he uses his expertise to empower a future we want to live into.