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Jill Gurr – Founder and CEO

Jill Gurr, Founder and CEO of Create Now, has devoted the last twenty-three years of her life to mentoring more than fifty at-risk and high-risk youth. Through Create Now, she has matched hundreds of mentors with thousands of vulnerable children in the Southern California and Orlando regions. 

She published a comprehensive book called, Mentor Youth Now: A Guidebook for Transforming Young Lives based on these experiences that is available on Amazon, along with two other books. She graduated with a B.S. degree in Broadcasting and Film from Boston University, attended the City of London Polytechnic and received a Professional Producer’s Certificate from UCLA. She spent several years traveling and living around the world, including throughout Latin America and Europe. She is fluent in Spanish, French and Italian.

Jill is a produced screenwriter, having adapted the book Hit and Run by James Hadley Chase into the screenplay Rigged, which stars George Kennedy. This film was distributed internationally by Kodiak Films. She wrote Socrates, a PBS pilot for “The Immortals” series that stars Ed Asner. Several of her original screenplays have been optioned. She also has extensive experience (over 25 years) working with top celebrities on award-winning film and TV productions all around the world as a Script Supervisor. 

Jill was featured on NBC Nightly News with Brian Williams in 2005, CNN’s Anderson Cooper 360° in 2007, locally on KTLA's "Heroes at Home," in 2010, plus NBC-TV, Fox11 News and ABC-TV in 2008, as well as in the Los Angeles Times. In addition, Jill was one of eight people in the country honored by the Simon Wiesenthal Center to be part of a permanent exhibit at the Museum of Tolerance in Los Angeles called “Everyday Heroes.” 

Jill was one of the first four Americans ever selected by the British Council to be part of a six-
week Global Xchange program in Belfast, Northern Ireland and Durban, South Africa in 2010, with 25 representatives of youth organizations from six different countries. She currently gives presentations to international diplomats through the International Visitors Council and the U.S. State Department, and training seminars to youth agency professionals. Email: jill@createnow.org. Check out Jill's TEDx Talk in Beverly Hills on October 29, 2016. Email: jill@createnow.org.

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 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.

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Nancy Kannampuzha – Volunteer Coordinator and Cultural Journeys

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 Pepperdine University to earn her Bachelor's Degree in Sociology & Political Science with a minor in Social Work. During college, she served as both a JumpStart 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

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.