Our Team

Meet The Team

Jason Soto

Development Fellow

Gender Pronouns: they/ them

Xan West

Operations Fellow

Gender Pronouns: she/ her

Jason is a long time community organizer and budding professional in economic and leadership development.While at the University of California at San Diego they spearheaded the creation of resource centers and critical programming addressing access, retention, and graduation rates of 1st generation historically underrepresented students. Their advocacy stem from interests in: education and health disparities, mixed status and immigrant families, and cannabis equity.
Since graduating, Jason spent time building the capacity of early childhood education and family support programs with a focus on holistic approaches to family development. Now in leadership and economic development, they direct talent acquisition, training, coaching, and consulting for partner organizations and fellows aimed to address various social issues throughout the Bay Area.They seek to devote their talents and efforts to breathe life into nonprofit, accelerator, apprenticeship, and co-op programs dedicated to increase the participation of local talent of color.

Xan holds a Certificate of Spirituality & Social Change from the Pacific School of Religion.  She was a 2016 Black Theology & Leadership Institute Fellow at Princeton Theological Seminary. In 2017, she facilitated a workshop on liturgical direct action for the Millennial Leadership Program at Union Theological Seminary.  She is currently a member of the Young Leaders Cohort for the Mystic Soul Project, which is aimed at diversifying and reclaiming ancestral contemplative practice.  Xan is a RISE TOGETHER Women of Color in Ministry mentee and contributor to Resipiscence: a Lenten Devotional for Dismantling White Supremacy and Nothing to Lose But Our Chains: Black Voices on Activism, Resistance and Love.  Proud to have been born & raised in Oakland, Xan has over 20 years of experience in social justice movement work, mostly related to police accountability, queer rights and community healing.  Lately, she just spends as much time as possible with her infant son, Glory.

Lanese Martin

Co-Founder + Co-Executive Director

Gender pronouns: she/her 

Lanese spearheads the organization's political strategy, including base-building, community organizing, and policy advocacy work. Lanese began her professional career consulting small family businesses by systemizing their operations and developing growth strategies for them. While studying for an M.B.A. in Sustainable Enterprise she began to shift her professional focus from consulting to political organizing, focusing on progressive campaigns. Her work as the Field Director for an Oakland based nonprofit led to deep relationships with non-profits & Black & Brown communities not only in Oakland but across California. Alternatively, her work as the Field Director for Nancy Skinner’s successful 2016 CA State Senate race led to strong relationships with elected leaders as well as their staff across the Bay Area. Lanese attained a B.A. in Political Science & Minor in Business from Dominican University of California and later returned for a M.B.A.

In June 2017, Lanese was featured on the cover of DOPE Magazine and in November 2017, she was named to the 2017 Full Color 50 List.

Ebele Ifedigbo

Co-Founder + Co-Executive Director

Gender pronouns: they/them or Ebele

Ebele spearheads the organization’s business development and fundraising efforts. Ebele is a Yale M.B.A. graduate committed to using business to foster innovation and racial equity in cannabis. Ebele has served as an NAACP Economics Fellow, working to develop federal and state policies and programs aimed at closing the national Racial Wealth Divide. Ebele’s other professional experiences include working as a Finance Analyst at Ameriprise Financial, a Legal & Compliance summer analyst at Goldman Sachs, and an M.B.A. summer intern for worker cooperative development organization Project Equity. Ebele received a joint B.A. in Economics and Philosophy, with a minor in African Studies from Columbia University in New York City. Ebele grew up in Buffalo, NY, and is a proud graduate of Buffalo’s City Honors School.

In June 2017, Ebele was awarded the highly-competitive Echoing Green global social entrepreneurship fellowship on behalf of The Hood Incubator. In October 2017, Ebele was honored by Entrepreneur Magazine as one of 2017's Most Daring Entrepreneurs, along with Jeff Bezos, Issa Rae, Elon Musk, and other global innovators. In November 2017, Ebele was named to the 2017 Full Color 50 List and the 2018 Forbes 30 Under 30 List.

All donations to The Hood Incubator are 100% tax deductible via our fiscal sponsor, Social Good Fund     (Tax ID # 46-1323531)

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