Category Management

Gary Calega

Gary Calega

SVP, Category Management

Gary brings over 20 years of experience in the consumer Internet and professional services industries to Sympoz. Prior to joining Sympoz, Gary was vice president of marketing at Coupons.com (Greylock-funded) and managed all of the company’s consumer marketing functions, including online and broadcast advertising, sponsorships, social media, affiliate, SEO, SEM, email and publisher partnerships. Prior to Coupons.com, Gary was president of AgilOne (Sequoia-funded), a SaaS-based marketing intelligence company that helps clients maximize the lifetime value of their customers using advanced data analysis. Prior to his role at AgilOne, Gary ran business development for SendMe, a leading mobile media company. Before SendMe, Gary held executive positions at eBay, most recently head of seller user acquisition, and prior to that, led the company’s consumer electronics business, including all marketing, business development, user acquisition and public relations initiatives. Prior to eBay, Gary worked in the Financial Assurance Practice of Ernst & Young LLP. He holds a B.S. degree from Villanova University and an M.B.A. from Wharton at the University of Pennsylvania. He is married with two daughters, and enjoys photography and skiing.

Riva Bakal

Riva Bakal

Director, Category Expansion

Riva is so excited to be part of the Craftsy team and bring other great categories onto the platform. Her 5th grade teacher (who taught her knitting) would be proud to know that she’s finally moving beyond a basic scarf with all of her newly acquired knitting skills.

Friends and family will admit that Riva has a borderline unhealthy addiction to travel. Her insatiable wanderlust has brought her to 40+ countries. She just returned from Myanmar and the Maldives, and in the photo on the left, she’s hiking Franz Josef Glacier in New Zealand’s South Island. When she’s not planning her next adventure, she’s sculpting and block printing, going to hear her favorite indie bands, or searching for the best gourmet ice cream on the planet.

Prior to Craftsy, Riva was the Product Manager and Head of Mobile for hotel search engine Room 77. She led the design, development and marketing efforts for their iOS and Android applications – building the mobile business from the ground up. Prior to that, Riva spent several years at Deutsche Bank as a technology investment banker advising and financing enterprise software, financial technology, and IT services companies.

She has a bachelor’s degree from MIT and an MBA, with High Distinction, from Harvard Business School.

Virginia Fuller

Virginia Fuller

Director of Brand Development

Originally hailing from Atlanta, Virginia headed west after college for a long stint in San Francisco before finding her way to Colorado in 2009. She’s pretty sure she’s here to stay, thanks to the mountains, lifestyle, and beautiful days. In winter, Virginia occasionally works as a snowboard instructor at Vail, and you can find her on a road bike or dabbling in triathlons when the weather gets warmer.

Virginia came to Sympoz/Craftsy from WhiteWave Foods, where she held roles in Strategy and Brand Management. Prior to WhiteWave, Virginia worked as a Consultant for Bain & Company and in Merchandise Planning roles for Gap, Inc. Virginia holds an AB in History of Art & Architecture from Harvard College and an MBA from the Stanford Graduate School of Business.

Since college, Virginia has spent more time making pretty spreadsheets than making pretty craft projects, but she’s been known to dabble in photography and letterpress classes and likes to make her own cards when she has time. Beautiful colors, patterns, and texture make her happy, so she’s excited to become immersed in this world!

Caroline Wood

Caroline Wood

New Category AE

Caroline grew up in Austin, Texas where she acquired a love of Tex-Mex cuisine, an obsession with Friday Night Lights and an affinity for being weird. She graduated from the University of Virginia with a BA in Economics and a healthy love of costume parties. While she’s happy to discuss supply and demand curves, her marginal utility increases much more quickly when she gets creative.

In June 2012, Caroline moved to Denver to join the Craftsy team. As she frequently passes time cooking, painting and tackling DIY projects, she could not miss the opportunity to work with a whole crew of Craftsy people. After almost giving up on knitting due to an impossible, white-yarn-on-white-background how-to video, she is thrilled to have found a better way to help other crafters while improving her own skills!

Eunny Jang

Eunny Jang

Sewing Acquisitions Editor

Eunny likes to make all kinds of things–she knits, sews, gardens, cans, works with wood and leather, and upholsters. She can also shuck an oyster, grind sausage meat, and troubleshoot her 1962 sewing machine. If you need an Adirondack chair, she can make it for you. Her pneumatic staple gun is her best friend.

She also likes teaching people to make things, and thinking of new ways to teach people to make things. Most recently, Eunny was the editor of Interweave Knits and knit.wear magazines and the former host of Knitting Daily TV; now she’s making sewing classes at Craftsy.com and couldn’t be more excited to step up her own sewing game.

Elysian McNiff

Elysian McNiff

Photo Acquisitions Editor

Elysian is eager to contribute to the Craftsy community; she is passionate about making creative outlets accessible to the public and is an avid maker herself. She attributes her desire to foster artistic expression to her family of artists and art educators – thanks guys!

Elysian grew up in Gloucester (pr. Glah-STAHH), MA yet, surprisingly, has only fished once. She stuck to sailing despite her propensity for seasickness. She graduated from Middlebury College in 2008 (the land of smaller mountains) and has a MA in Public Humanities from Brown University (the land of no mountains).

Before driving 1,967 miles from Boston to Denver in her beloved Suburu, Lois, Elysian ran the public art program for New England Foundation for the Arts, curated Brown’s Granoff Center for the Creative Arts, and wrote for publications such as Art New England and Public Art Review.

Elysian loves being active. Challenge her to a sport and she’ll play it. She also values the art of relaxation, which includes traveling, cheering for her New England sports teams from a comfy couch or bar stool, experimenting with gluten-free recipes, playing MarioKart, and sipping on bourbon.

Gabe Cohen

Gabe Cohen

Senior Manager of Customer Loyalty

As someone who believes that self-fulfillment is best found through pursuing a lifetime of learning, Gabe is excited to help Craftsy provide those opportunities to others.

Gabe is returning to CO (for the third and hopefully last time) for the mountains, family, and—after eight years on the waiting list—his recently acquired Broncos season tickets. He comes to Craftsy from the most natural of career paths: politics. First in Colorado and then for President Obama, Gabe has directed public opinion research, managed numerous political campaigns, and even written a TV commercial or two. Following President Obama’s election, where Gabe served as the Pennsylvania General Election Director, he moved to DC to be the Deputy Director of the White House Fellows.

Seeking a new challenge after politics, Gabe earned his MBA at UC Berkeley’s Haas School of Business where he focused on product development, analytical marketing, and entrepreneurship.

He also has a BS from University of Maryland, a Masters of Public Policy from Carnegie Mellon, listens to old soul records on vinyl, bikes, loves photography, and is addicted to NPR and sports podcasts.

Nicole Askari

Nicole Askari

Creative Director

Nicole is the product of a San Francisco flower child and an Iranian immigrant fashionisto who looks just like the Dos Equis guy. She moved to Colorado in the mid 90s and came to the conclusion that Colorado is pretty freaking awesome. It took a failed attempt at pre-med and some dabbling in Interior Design to realize her true calling – getting paid to design pretty things all day long. She graduated from The Art Institute of Colorado with a BA in Graphic Design, picked up skiing, got married and together they adopted their cat Buttercup and dog Tokio, a Parti-Pomeranian.

Megan Mitzel

Megan Mitzel

Senior Marketing Copywriter

Megan grew up in Baltimore (yes, she likes The Wire) and escaped to sunny North Carolina, attending UNC Chapel Hill’s Kenan-Flagler Business School. After graduating, she’s worked for startups with a focus on copywriting, marketing, and product management. Eventually her siberian husky declared her distaste for the southern humidity and insisted they move to Denver. Upon arrival, Megan learned she’s a terrible skiier but an excellent hot chocolate mixer. Megan is crazy excited to be at Sympoz helping creative makers earn a living doing what they love.

Inspired at an early age to craft, Megan grew up sewing imitation Beanie Babies with her grandmother’s guidance. Though, these days, she dabbles more in doodles, photos, and glass-cutting than thread.

In addition to her most recent freelancing endeavors, Nicole has spent the past 6 years as an award-winning Designer and Art Director for some of Denver’s most well-known companies and is absolutely giddy to now be part of the Sympoz/Craftsy team.

Nicole has a passion for music and would be happy to make you a mix tape of her current favorites. She also has an unhealthy obsession with Depeche Mode that started sometime around 1st grade. She loves fashion (thanks Dad!), shopping and everything Swedish. In her spare time, Nicole designs and creates modern, fused glass pendants.

Linda Permann

Linda Permann

Home Decorating/Embroidery Acquisitions Editor

Linda is craft lover, crochet designer, and author of three pattern books, Crochet Adorned, Little Crochet, and Sugar and Spice. She was one of Craftsy’s first teachers and now helps instructors prepare and translate their classes for video. She has spent several years working in craft publishing and is excited to continue working with awesome crafty people.

Linda loves crocheting best of all, but also sews, knits and quilts when she has a chance. She enjoys spending time with her husband Paul and spoiling their little chihuahua, Freddie.

Stefanie Japel

Stefanie Japel

Knitting Acquisitions Editor

Stefanie holds a B.S. in geology from SUNY Stony Brook and a Ph.D. in Earth and Planetary Sciences from Johns Hopkins University. Stefanie wrote two knitting books (Fitted Knits and Glam knits) during her postdoctoral research days at the Max-Planck Institute for Chemistry, and turned her love of knitting into a career when her oldest daughter was on the way.

Amy Retureta

Amy Retureta

Graphic Designer

After getting her Associates in Photography from the Art Institute of Colorado and shooting anything and everything, Amy decided to return to school from which she recently graduated with a BFA in Graphic Design from Rocky Mountain College of Art + Design. She is super excited to be joining the Sympoz/Craftsy team where she’s sure to find plenty of inspiration for her future creative endeavors!

Amy’s passion is to seek out new experiences and incorporate many different art forms and interests into her daily life. The most exciting part of design for her, is allowing the project to inform the process and seeing an idea come to life on the page. Executing a project with a high level of craft and bringing a sense of playfulness to each design is her goal. The end product of a design is not simply an artifact. It has the ability to create community, solve problems and inspire feeling in its viewers and participants.

In her spare time, Amy can be seen knitting, sewing, drawing, singing, working in the theater or out playing in the forest with her family!

Nick Linkow

Nick Linkow

Junior Copywriter

A native of Massachusetts, Nick moved to Colorado in 2007 to attend The University of Denver and hang out with his grandma. In 2009, Nick was lucky enough to spend a semester abroad in Cape Town, South Africa, where he came face-to-face with Great White sharks, Chacma baboons, and his healthy infatuation with Rooibos tea. Nick graduated from D.U in 2011 with a B.A in English.

A lifelong lover of all things literary, Nick is still waiting to wake up from the lucid dream he’s having: the one where he gets to write for a living, at a company with an awesome product, fantastic customers, and spectacular employees. Don’t you dare pinch him.

Karen Kelty

Karen Kelty

Online Editor

Karen is a grammar enthusiast from Philadelphia whose love of crafting came at an early age when her incredibly talented mom made her a princess dress that won the coveted “Prettiest Costume” prize in the big kindergarten Halloween parade.

She holds a BA in English and an MS in Publishing, the latter of which she earned through Pace University’s online master’s program. She’s a big advocate for online learning and believes Craftsy is a wonderful platform for crafters around the world to teach, learn, connect, and share.

Looking to escape East Coast traffic and humidity, Karen relocated to Denver in May 2013. Outside of work, her passions include music, cooking, baking, reading, and traveling. And while hiking, skiing, and camping were not among her favorite ways to pass the time in Philadelphia, she now happily embraces all of the outdoorsy goodness beautiful Colorado has to offer.

Grace Baumgartner

Grace Baumgartner

Category Manager

Grace “Grammar Hammer” Baumgartner was born with her nose in a book. She studied French history and literature at Harvard College then went straight to work in the publishing world, confirming her status as a shameless nerd. A welcome new chapter in life, working at Craftsy has allowed Grace to stick her nose in cake for a change, which is both messier and more delicious than it sounds.

Amelia Aaron

Amelia Aaron

Junior Copywriter

By way of Boston, Maryland, Ireland and a whole lot of experimental cake baking, Amelia finally found her calling at Craftsy. When not spray-painting her fireplace fuchsia and aggressively glittering everything in sight, she stays busy being the sweatiest person at kickboxing, eating frosting, and being counterproductive.

Since graduating with a degree in Political Science from The Colorado College, Amelia’s spent her time writing grants, web content and a twenty-page love letter to Anthony Bourdain, and doing nothing political nor science-y. She has literally never been so excited to do anything as to join the Craftsy team, except for the time she got to see Bon Jovi in concert and he complimented her dance moves (didn’t happen).

Anna Ghublikian

Anna Ghublikian

New Category AE

As a child, Anna spent a lot of time building spaceships out of Legos and forts in the trees behind her house. After completing her BA in Art History at Swarthmore College, she used her hands to make music and mischief in Philadelphia until returning to graduate school at Brown University. Though her primary focus was curating exhibits, there was always time for cooking and composing. She lives for the moments when some of her varied interests collide and can be shared with others. Her boundless curiosity and sense of adventure has often led Anna to new places, people, and passions. She is excited to join the Craftsy team and bring her creative approaches to learning and sharing.

Tricia Waddell

Tricia Waddell

Director Category Management

Tricia Waddell’s first love is making things. Her second love is helping others make things. With over 15 years of craft book and magazine publishing experience, plus an English literature degree in one hand and a fashion design degree from the Fashion Institute of Technology in the other, she pursues both passions with equal intensity. Prior to landing at Craftsy she held a variety of positions including founder and editor-in-chief of Stitch sewing magazine and online editor for sewdaily.com, Editorial Director of Books at Interweave Press, and Editorial Director of Craft and Design books at F+W Media. Before joining the Category Management team, she freelanced for Craftsy as the Sewing Acquisitions Editor. When she’s not working,she’s designing, sewing, knitting, weaving, drawing, and making stuff. Makers rule!.