During her five years in the Air Force, Lapedra worked as a combat and base photographer. Upon leaving the Air Force, Lapedra began her career as a Visual Information Specialist at several federal agencies in Washington, DC. Using her unique background and education, she founded Friends From The City, a digital services company unlike any other in Civic Tech. Lapedra is a music lover and self-proclaimed foodie who enjoys traveling the world to experience other cultures through their cuisine.
Tamara Boyd Tolson, Co-Founder of Friends From The City, is a Denver, CO native and graduate of Oglethorpe University (Atlanta, GA) and Kingston University (London, England). Her experience in Corporate Communications, and Creative Project Management in the federal government, led her to reimagine how customer-focused technology could improve the public sector. Off the clock, Tamara enjoys hiking, building miniature replicas, and exploring new cuisines.
Allison is an experienced front-end engineer who has previously worked at UCLA and is passionate about building with a purpose. She is constantly reimagining the future of technology.
Charlotte Cesana is a Senior UX Researcher with a global perspective, motivated by human centered solutions to human problems. Her speciality is in mental health and behavior change. She is an advocate of holistic and participatory approaches to design and research for the greatest and most ethical impact. Charlotte is inspired by people who share their stories for research and design to improve products and experiences for the betterment of their communities. Most recently, she helped lead the development of a product feature highlighting diverse voices and co-created with people in recovery. She is honored to be on the Friends From The City team, and excited by the opportunity to make an impact in the transformative space of civic technology.
Joann Agnitti is a Senior UX Researcher with over a decade of experience in the field. She has worked in EdTech, Digital Health Tech, and is excited to make an impact in the world of Civic Tech. Joann is a graduate of Columbia University’s Teachers College and holds a Masters of Education in Counseling Psychology. She strives to connect with people authentically and compassionately. She also has a shameless love for all forms of wordplay, and yes that includes puns and dad jokes.
Joseph Lee is a Senior Product Designer who is passionate about using design and code to make a positive impact. With an extensive background in creating user-friendly experiences in the non-profit sector, he values human-centered design and believes that good design must be equitable, inclusive, and beautiful. He is excited about the opportunity to transition to Civic Tech to help design products that make interactions with the government more intuitive and enjoyable.
Paulina is a Senior UX Researcher who believes everyone deserves an intuitive, simple, and delightful digital experience, no matter the platform or task at hand. In the past, she has worked on a wide array of projects ranging from designing diapers for NICU nurses, improving HR platforms for small businesses, and innovating the creation experience on social media. She is excited to be moving into civic technology, doing work that will focus on inclusivity and functionality in a meaningful space.
Christine is a Senior Frontend Developer with experience in healthcare, online communities, security, and affordable housing sectors. As a passionate maker at heart, she enjoys creating projects in both the digital and physical realms. Driven by diversity, inclusion, and impact, Christine thrives on making a difference through her work.
Raven possesses a diverse range of experiences. She obtained her BA in Sociology with a minor in Human Development, and subsequently worked for several years as an early childhood education teacher. Additionally, she engaged as a freelance artist, collaborating with local social justice movements in the DC area. Over time, Raven has accumulated extensive design expertise, having worked in both in-house and agency settings, catering to various clients and digital product ventures. Her life experiences have profoundly shaped her identity as a designer who places utmost importance on problem-solving, striving to develop the most intuitive and inclusive experiences imaginable, be it on screen or in person. During her leisure time away from designing, you will likely find Raven on a delightful family outing, indulging in a show marathon, immersing herself in a captivating book, or engrossed in sketching while savoring a delightful Chai latte.
Jane Xiong is a Senior Product Manager with a decade of experience improving government technologies and services for citizens. As a first generation immigrant, she’s passionate about creating processes and spaces that are diverse, equitable, inclusive, and accessible. Growing up in the Great Lakes area, she loves being out on the water on a kayak, canoe, or paddle board.
Evelyn Hilbrich Davis (she/her) is a Chicago-based Sr. User Researcher committed to creating accessible experiences for all people. She believes engaging curiosity is essential to building understanding across differences; before Friends, Evelyn worked as a museum media producer, consultant, and educator. Evelyn earned her B.A. in Religious Studies from Yale University.
With a career spanning over a decade in project and product management, Marcia Ortiz is a seasoned Senior Product Manager driven by a profound commitment to making a positive impact. Her professional journey is marked by an insatiable curiosity that propels her to explore innovative solutions and elevate project outcomes. Marcia's passion for mission-driven work is evident in her proactive approach, actively seeking opportunities to contribute to initiatives that enhance the lives of end-users. Stepping outside the confines of Zoom meetings and conference rooms, Marcia proudly carries the title of a Virginia Tech alumna. Off-duty, she embraces the discipline of Muay Thai.