Angel Acosta

For the last decade, Dr. Angel Acosta has worked to bridge the fields of leadership, social justice, and mindfulness. He holds a doctorate degree in curriculum and teaching at Teachers College, Columbia University. Acosta has supported more than educational leaders and their students by facilitating leadership trainings, creating pathways to higher education, and designing dynamic learning experiences.

His dissertation explored healing-centered education as a promising framework for educational leadership development. After participating in the Mind and Life Institute’s Academy for Contemplative Leadership, Acosta began consulting and developing learning experiences that weave leadership development with conversations about inequality and healing, to support educational leaders through contemplative and restorative practices.

As a former trustee for the Center for Contemplative Mind in Society, he participated as a speaker and discussant at the Asia Pacific Forum on Holistic Education in Kyoto, Japan. He designed the Contemplating 400 Years of Inequality Experience–a contemplative journey to understand structural inequality. He’s a proud member of the 400 Years of Inequality Project, based at the New School. Lately, he has become curious about the ways in which technology can be used as a force for advancing racial equity and dismantling structural inequality.

Maria Tan
Managing Director

Maria Tan is a first generation Filipino-American, educator, facilitator and consultant committed to serving communities through healing-centered education.

She is a former Bronx high school science teacher where her direct experience of healing from teacher burnout inspired her to launch the Thriving Teacher Project in 2020, creating restorative spaces for educators during the height of the pandemic. She is now the founder of House of Thriving where she works closely with healing-centered thought leaders to help nurture their vision and bring their ideas to life.

Her expertise includes designing and delivering courses and summits, producing and hosting podcasts, creative and strategic visioning, and curriculum/program research, analysis and evaluation. Some of her training includes restorative circle facilitation, trauma-informed mindfulness and somatic healing practices. As a passion project, she collaborates with her two older brothers to create offerings centered on intergenerational healing.

Steve Saint Fleur
Creative Technologist

Steve Saint Fleur is a dynamic, innovative, and creative visionary setting the standard for digital branding and innovation. He is a proven talent with a unique ability to develop brand awareness and grow messaging through innovative digital marketing. Steve has built a proven track record for creating quality designs through beautiful aesthetics, working with a deep knowledge of design, combined with an understanding of creative software tools.

With over a decade of creative experience, Steve has worked with the top brands in the Fortune 500. He has extensive experience with Estee Lauder, Bloomberg, the NFL, MLB, Ford, AT&T, CITI, Starwood, and Unilever, among others. Through these experiences, he has built strong relationships with global creative teams, managing projects and delivering results that exceed all expectations. Steve is a graduate of Baruch College with a bachelor's degree in business marketing and has completed his Future of Interaction Design UX UI with NYU.

Drisana McDaniel
Senior Researcher & Instructor

Drisana McDaniel, a healing-centered facilitator, educator, writer, and transformation activist, operates under the banner The Alchemy of Now. Her work delves into both individual and collective experiences, examining them through the lenses of embodiment, the social self, and psychospirituality, with a vision centered on achieving transformational justice through contemplation and meaningful action.

As a co-founder of the Transformative Teaching Collective, Drisana offers guidance to organizations and communities, emphasizing generative conflict resolution, social justice education, empathy, non-violence practice, and collaboration, with the ultimate goal of radiating freedom and vitality through liberation and awakening. She curates workshops, seminars, and events exploring the potential unlocked through radical interconnectedness.

With a Bachelor of Arts in Women and Gender Studies and Sociology, a Master of Arts in Women, Gender, Social Justice, and Spirituality, and a pursuit of a Ph.D. in Philosophy and Women's Spirituality at the California Institute of Integral Studies, Drisana's expertise extends to her role as a senior researcher at the Acosta Institute.

Paola Maliza
Executive Assistant

With a robust background spanning over five years in the sports industry, Paola Maliza has established herself as a skilled and dedicated administrative assistant. Her experience encompasses a wide range of roles, working effectively with both public and private entities. Paola's expertise in administrative tasks and her deep understanding of the sports sector have made her an invaluable asset, particularly in her interactions and collaborations within diverse organizational frameworks.

Before her tenure as an Executive Assistant, Paola embarked on an ambitious project to shape the future of sports for younger generations. She developed a comprehensive business plan aimed at promoting sports as a crucial formative activity for pre-teens and teenagers. This venture, in partnership with various stakeholders in Ecuador, showcases her commitment to harnessing the power of sports for positive youth development. Paola's journey in the sports field began with a role in business administration, where she progressed from an administrative assistant to managing a swim club, and further extended her skills as an assistant in project management for large-scale sporting events. Her journey reflects a consistent dedication to excellence and a passion for contributing meaningfully to the sports community.