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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. To learn more about Jill, visit www.jillgurr.com.

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.

Bianca Collins – Event Manager

Maria Guerra
Cultural Journeys Coordinator

Maria Guerra

Cultural Journeys Coordinator

Maria has focused her nonprofit career on supporting education and youth based programs dedicated to help California’s most underserved communities. Originally from the San Francisco Bay Area, Maria attended community college in San Jose and transferred to the University of California, Los Angeles, where she obtained a BA degree in Chicana and Chicano Studies. This special branch of Ethnic Studies allows for in-depth knowledge of how social, political, historical, and economic issues continue to impact Latino-American communities in the United States. Combined with a personal passion for community building, Maria excels at bridging resources to communities in need to improve their experiences and livelihood.

As a third-generation Mexican American and “Chicana”, Maria is involved in a variety of Latinx based arts and cultural movements in Los Angeles and abroad. She is especially dedicated to promoting bilingual English and Spanish literacy and promoting cultural events that celebrate Latinx narratives that have been historically absent from major social movements.

Email: maria@createnow.org

Laura Kelly – Director of Programs

Ilana MIndiola
Intern

Ilana Mindiola

Intern

Ilana is a graduate of UC San Diego with a major in International Studies/ Anthropology and a minor in Theater. She is interested in interdisciplinary theatre, the collection of memories and identities in oppressed communities, and activism and resistance through the arts. 

Email: ilana@createnow.org