Our Team
Bonds of Union is based in Cincinnati. We focus our efforts in the Midwest, Mid-South, and Mississippi Valley regions of the U.S. In these communities, our team aims to carry out innovative initiatives that inspire hope and create opportunity.
Executive Director | Founder

Alula has dedicated his life to renewing hope and prosperity in marginalized communities in the U.S. Prior to founding Bonds of Union, Alula served as Director of Special Initiatives and Special Assistant in the Office of Innovation & Improvement at the U.S. Department of Education. In this role, Alula helped to oversee the design and implementation of competitive programs such as the Investing in Innovation Fund (i3) and Promise Neighborhoods, and closely advised the Assistant Deputy Secretary of Innovation & Improvement on matters of policy and R&D. Previously, he was the Founder and Executive Director of the UW Dream Project, a Seattle-based college access and retention program for low-income and first-generation high school students. Alula received a B.A. in English Literature and Political Science from the University of Washington, an MPhil in Politics, Development, and Democratic Education from the University of Cambridge, and a J.D. from Yale Law School.
Advisor | Economic Opportunity
Born and raised in Lake Charles, Louisiana, Kristen grew up keenly aware of the pernicious economic repercussions of racial injustice and committed to make a contribution to empower communities. Kristen works in Perkins Coie’s Seattle office as a law associate in the firm’s venture capital and private equity practice groups. She is a graduate of Howard University and more recently, Yale Law School and the Yale School of Management, where she earned a joint JD/MBA degree. Prior to the start of her legal career, Kristen worked for Senator Mary Landrieu (former D-LA) and consulted for an energy firm in Tianjin, China.
Advisor | Criminal Justice
Reginald Dwayne Betts is the author of a memoir and two books of poetry. His memoir, A Question of Freedom: A Memoir of Learning, Survival, and Coming of Age in Prison, was awarded the 2010 NAACP Image Award for non-fiction. His books of poetry are Shahid Reads His Own Palm and Bastards of the Reagan Era. Dwayne is a 2010 Soros Justice Fellow, 2011 Radcliffe Fellow, and 2012 Ruth Lilly and Dorothy Sargent Rosenberg Poetry Fellow. In 2012, Dwayne was appointed to the Coordinating Council of the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention by President Obama. He is a graduate of Prince George’s Community College, the University of Maryland, the MFA Program at Warren Wilson College, and Yale Law School. Dwayne is a husband and father of two sons.
Director of Training & Curriculum
Jessica’s respect for educators runs deep. Her passion for adult learning developed from her desire to serve and empower teachers and leaders to create caring, rigorous classrooms. She believes in the potential of all kids and is deeply driven toward ensuring that every child receives a high-quality, fulfilling, and fruitful education. Jessica taught grades K-2 for Aspire Public Schools in Oakland, CA, before becoming Lead Instructional Coach for Aspire’s four regions. Most recently, she was the Associate Director of Programming for the Ed. Institute at Success Academies, where she worked to improve teacher training and curriculum. Jessica received her B.A. in Developmental Psychology and M.A. in Elementary Education from Stanford University.
Advisor | Education Technology
Jason is dedicated to leveraging the power of technology to drive impact and outcomes in K-12 education. Jason currently serves as Founder and Managing Director of Learning Tapestry, a firm that provides innovative technology solutions to learners and educators. Prior to Learning Tapestry, Jason led interoperable technology initiatives for the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. He has also served as an Assistant Director of Technology at the White House and as Technology Solutions Advisor at the U.S. Department of Education, where he was responsible for architecting TEACH.gov to promote and increase teachers in the workforce (now .org), leading development on Data.ED.gov (now on data.gov) to visualize open data, and developing numerous internal collaboration platforms.
Student Success Advocate
Phillip Roebuck is passionate about working to create a more just and equitable Cincinnati. As a college student, Phillip learned about generational poverty and social reproduction theory for the first time. Wrestling with these concepts led him to enter the field of education in order to join the fight for social justice and learn how and why schools struggle to help young people break the cycle of poverty. Phillip went on to receive a B.A in Biological Anthropology from Harvard University. After earning an M.Ed. at Boston College, where he was a Donovan Urban Teaching Scholar and a Science Educators for Urban Schools Scholar, Phillip worked as a math and science teacher for three years at the Community Charter School of Cambridge. He currently teaches math in Cincinnati Public Schools.
Advisor | Arts & Culture
Co-founder of Culture Of Creativity (C8), an artist collective, media producer, and creative agency, Carl truly believes in the transformative power of creativity. He defines creativity not only as the wielding of a paintbrush, but as one’s resourcefulness towards experiencing holistic fulfillment: mentally, emotionally, spiritually, and financially. As an experienced filmmaker and videographer by trade, Carl has worked with clients large and small alike to share his passion, including the U.S. Small Business Adminstration, Epic Records, BET, and Grammy award-winning singer, Ne-Yo, with whom he toured. He is a proud alumnus of the University of Michigan, where he studied film. Carl currently lives in his hometown of Detroit with his wife, Elena, and daughter, Cici.
Director of Family-Centered Initiatives
Deborah is passionate about increasing opportunity and improving quality of life in low-income communities, both in her hometown of Cincinnati and throughout disadvantaged regions of our country. She believes strongly in the power of holistic, family-centered services to empower households and uplift neighborhoods. Deborah has previously served as a family case manager and youth advocate for low-income families in permanent supportive housing, an educational advocate for youth with involvement in the juvenile justice system, and an urban policy analyst focused on community development and K-12 education. She received a B.A. in Urban Studies from Stanford University, an M.Sc. in Comparative Social Policy from Oxford University, and a J.D. from Yale Law School.
Join Our Team
Bonds of Union aspires to serve as the vehicle through which we, as a national community, join together to affirm the causes of opportunity and prosperity for all Americans. Today’s immense challenges require the sacrifice and intellectual energy of a new generation. In all that we do, Bonds of Union strives to renew our sense of civic activism and strengthen “the mystic chords of memory” that connect us to our larger, inherited purpose.
We are always looking for passionate and committed individuals to join our team.
Contact Us
Do you want to get involved, share an idea, or just learn more about our efforts? We want to hear from you!
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.