Staff & Primary Consultants
Founder & CEO
Greg Victor worked as a journalist for 35 years, as publications director and U.N. Correspondents Association liaison for the Committee to Protect Journalists, and as East Asia representative for the American Friends Service Committee before founding IFEP in 2016. He mentored foreign journalists for 20 years through the Alfred Friendly Press Partnership and sits on the partnership’s advisory board. Victor also curated the poetry side of a 2016 art-poetry gallery exhibition and book titled “Verse Envisioned.”
Director of Operations
Carly Otte is an artist and nonprofit consultant. Born, raised and educated in Pittsburgh, she received her BFA from Point Park University. As an actor and writer, Carly spent the first decade of her career in New York City working in the Film and Television industry. More recently, she has focused her skills on local activism, working for and consulting with Pittsburgh-based nonprofits. She is thrilled to be a part of the IFEP leadership team, bringing her experience in operations and passion for storytelling.
Marketplace Creative Lead
Olga Pogoda is COO of KEF Robotics, which develops state-of-the-art software to fly pilotless aircraft. She has worked on on high-tech initiatives with cities, states, counties and national organizations, including NASA, the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy and the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency. Olga is also an Entrepreneur-in-Residence at Carnegie Mellon University and is on the board of two nonprofit organizations working towards building equity and equality in the tech industry.
Art Programs Consultant
Morgan Overton is an artist and consultant leading the development of IFEP’s art programs. In 2021 Morgan contributed a piece for IFEP’s “There is Black Art in the Future” installation in downtown Pittsburgh. Her work is rooted in reclaiming visual narratives by illustrating the humanity that exists at the intersection of race and gender. She presently serves as the Workforce Director for CREATE PA, an initiative of the Pittsburgh Public Theater and Pittsburgh Film Office.
Digital Media Constultant
Natalie Bencivenga is an award-winning journalist, media personality and entrepreneur who uses her platforms to promote a more equitable society. Her articles appear in various publications, and she writes the nationally syndicated "Ask Natalie" advice column for Universal Press Syndicate. Her YouTube show “Heating Up” explores the intersection between plant-based recipes, social justice and climate change. Since 2016, she has provided digital media consultation to clients across the U.S.
Cynthia Croot is director whose practice-based research explores diverse modalities of immersive theatre, social justice activation through the arts, and intercultural performance. Croot has collaborated on a range of international projects in the UK, South Africa, Argentina, Syria, Palestine, and Israel. She’s worked at dozens of US venues, including Joe’s Pub, Symphony Space, the Stonington Opera House, the Smithsonian American History Museum, the Kennedy Center, and the Guggenheim Museum.
Real Estate Maestro
Shawn Amsler has more than 20 years of experience in real estate development, investment and construction management in the United States, Latin America, the Caribbean and Europe. His work has included financial feasibility analysis, preconstruction oversight and strategic advisory services. His projects have included the Pickford Center for Motion Picture Study in Hollywood, Calif. and the Castello di Casole in Tuscany, Italy, which was recognized in 2017 by Travel+Leisure as the Best Resort Hotel in Europe.
Marketplace Artist & Studio Advisor
Alex Bandar is an engineer, materials scientist, founder of Columbus Idea Foundry in Ohio, and international evangelist for the Maker Movement. He describes the Foundry makerspace as “a machine shop with a maitre d' ... a place where people can feel warm and welcome to learn how to use novel equipment to explore new hobbies or businesses.” He previously worked for a software company as a "computational metallurgist" writing computer programs that simulate manufacturing processes.
Marketplace Development Consultant
Amir Zwickel is co-founder of and chief real estate officer for SHOWFIELDS, an immersive retail experience with locations in New York and Miami. Like the proposed Marketplace of Ideas, Showfields combines mission-driven retail, pop-up shops, art exhibitions, theatrical experiences, food and drink, community and charitable events and robust online sales. Showfields is an expression of Zwickel’s concept of "C" Commerce, which encompasses Convenience, Curation, Content, Community and Connection.
Exhibit Curation & Design
Juliandra Jones is an artist, muralist and proprietor of PBJ Customs, which “creates custom art for custom people.” She is a self-taught artist and began to explore social justice through her artwork after moving to Pittsburgh. Her pieces have been exhibited in prominent local venues such as the Canvas of Words series. Jones also paints live while interacting with audiences, participating in performances such as The Black Student Unions’ Sip & Paint (Binghamton, NY).
Social Media Consultant
Jorie Meil is a rising public relations and marketing professional from Pittsburgh, PA. She is pursuing a BA in communications and and MA in strategic communications from Chatham University. She has a particular interest in journalism and content marketing, and is currently the digital and social media editor for the Communiqué, Chatham’s independent student media outlet. She also serves as the VP of community relations and social responsibility for Chatham Marketing Association and has won awards for her work in the organization.