Meet the Team

Start: Empowerment lives within each member of our team as we come from all manners of being but are bonded by our support of the principles of social and environmental justice, abolition and transformative justice, mutual aid, decolonization, and healing. 


Our goal is to use education as a tool to build healthy communities and fight for social and environmental justice and liberation for all. 



 Our start was the result of our two co-founders visions to empower youth today in order to become the change agents of tomorrow.


Alexia Leclercq (She/They) is one of the Co-Founders of Start:Empowerment (S:E).

They handle S:E's internal affairs and program operations: our curriculum management, grant program, and communications with all current school and community partners. 

A graduate of NYU's Gallatin School of Individualized Studies ('20), their concentration, titled 'The Politics and Economics of Inequality' combines the traditional fields of politics, environmental studies, and economics to understand the lasting effects of colonialism and perpetuation of structural oppression.


Because of their personal experience of the climate crisis, and through their time working at PODER, environmental justice non-profit in Austin, they were inspired to take action and create a better world through politics, community organizing, and improving education systems. 

When they aren't working with PODER, they are most likely focusing on fostering kittens (, helping out and riding at their local therapeutic riding center, spamming our Slack channel with cute animal pics, drawing sunrises and sunsets, or tree climbing.


 Kier (use name) is one of the Co-founders of Start:Empowerment (S:E).

They handle S:E's external affairs and administration: our representation on the Climate & Resilience Education Task Force (CRETF) headed by the National Wildlife Foundation (NWF); the management of written, digital, and social media production; and the establishment of new community partnerships.


A graduate of International Nonprofit Organizational Management & Development (NYU '20) they are now pursuing an MSc in Environmental Policy and Sustainability with a focus in Environmental Justice at The New School. Their studies are influenced by the work they did supporting multiple organizational sustainability, human rights advocacy, and educational policy projects and initiatives across five countries and on three separate continents.


 Because of their love of public service and social-environmental resiliency, they were a 2020-21 NYC Urban Fellow and contributed to the welfare of historically marginalized peoples for the city of NY.  Nowadays, they work for the charitable arm of the same department working to champion equitable opportunities for NYC's cherished elders.






 Our work is a part of a team effort. 

We are fueled by a collective of  5 individuals who help us execute our mission day-in and day-out.

Scroll over their pictures for their bios!
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Shae Lifson


S:E Executive Assistant

Williamstown, WV

Current thought..

How do I make my cells self aware enough to unionize?

I enjoy...

being a doting plant and bird parent. 

My bird's name is Kiwi!


Alysha Berry



New Delhi, India

"There is a war that makes us adore our conquerors and despise ourselves."

- Arundhati Roy

I am trying to...

bake and cook my way through the recipes on Smitten Kitchen.


Kwaku Aurelien


S:E Community Relations & Communications Manager 

New Fairfield, CT

Me quoting myself:

"If there's one thing I don't lack, it's confidence."

My advice to you...

Ghanaian cuisine and Ghanaian and Nigerian Highlife (Afrobeats) are undefeated. Don't make the mistake of missing out ;)

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Joshua Joel Anthony


S:E Media Design Lead & Videographer

New Delhi, India

"Soil creates things / Art births change / This is the honey / & doesn't it taste like a promise?"

- "This is Honey," Mahogany L. Browne

I love...

watching romantic movies, listening to podcasts, and eating pizza!

  • Instagram

Dax Craig



Pittsburgh, PA

Advice to share...

"Don't let the bridges you cross become the bridges you burn."

I love to...

read for pleasure, learn to solve a Rubik's Cub, and mentor my fellow collegiate underclassmen. 



 Our board is very helpful in terms of steering our strategy. We look for people who bring expertise to the outlook of Start:Empowerment.

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Osbourne Blake

Board Member

(Osbourne Blake serves on the founding board with Alexia and Kier.)


He graduated from Brown University with a Bachelors of Science in Biomedical engineering class of 1991 and from USC school of Medicine in 1995. Currently, he has been practicing internal medicine since graduating from USC until the present with a special interest in Sickle Cell Disease. Osbourne has been practicing at Kaiser Permanent since 1998 where he currently is the Director of the Sickle Disease care program. As a resident of Los Angeles, he has been striving to empower people to live the best and healthiest life possible with the goal of using the least amount of medicine possible.


"I feel that our environment plays a major role in our health outcomes and contributes to the health disparities that we see every day. Changing the environment where everyone can thrive will be the best thing for society in the long run."

"Grassroots groups challenge the 'business-as-usual" environmentalism that is generally practiced by the more privileged wildlife- and conservation-oriented groups. The focus of activists of color and their constituents reflects their life experiences of social, economic, and political disenfranchisement"

-Robert Bullard-