top of page


Meet the people who make all of this possible!


Our Staff


Laura Bishop
Executive Director

Laura fell in love with The 418 Project through Sunday Morning Dance. First as a volunteer, then a board member, now on staff, Laura leads our large community and our programming, creating an environment where people can feel empowered, creative, and appreciated. At The 418 Project, she discovered the immense value of acceptance and is committed to providing a space where as many people as possible can discover and express more of who they are.

Laura holds an MBA in International Management from Monterey Institute of International Studies and a BS from Cornell University.


Iman Gomez
Community Development Coordinator

A Southern California native, having moved here in the fall of 2020 as an expectant new mother, Iman fell in love with the deep-rooted sense of community that is part of what makes Santa Cruz--well--SANTA CRUZ!  The 418 Project brought that notion full circle when an opening for a Donor Relations Coordinator became available; this position has allowed her to transition into our non-profit arena utilizing her love of language and maintaining our most imperative relationships. With a diverse background in small business coordination, Iman hopes to implement structure and efficiency to ensure our organization's success & sustainability in all future developments.


Aiyana Deyoung
Progamming Assistant

Bio coming soon!

Luis bio photo.jpg

Luis Alcarez

Originally from a small town in Jalisco, Mexico; Luis brings with him a lively background rooted deeply in the appreciation of Dance and Music. The intimate dynamics of creative expression is what attracts Luis to all things dance, especially the ever evolving aspect of it. He enjoys creating art via makeup applique, which is what drew Luis to the organization in the first place. An enthusiast of the female form, his ever present admiration gives rise to his dream of becoming a professional makeup artist and hair stylist in the theatre production arena.

Our Board


Mark Schneider

Mark Schneider has lived in Santa Cruz since 1993. Soon after arriving, he stumbled upon an African dance class at The 418 Project. He kept stumbling but kept dancing, and over the years traveled to Africa twice for drum and dance workshops and participated in a number of local dance performances. When he's not dancing, he works as an executive recruiter, focused on recruiting finance executives worldwide. He also is passionate about empathy and communication practices and has facilitated workshops in Non-Violent Communication (NVC) locally and at the Esalen Institute in Big Sur, California. He joined The 418 Project’s Board of Directors in 2010, serves as President and lead Chocolate Truffle Maker, and says he is grateful to give back to a place that has enriched his life beyond measure.


Charmaine Bueno DeVivo

Charmaine is a native to both Santa Cruz and San Jose, living with her father in Santa Cruz on the weekends and her school days with her mother in San Jose. As a young adult, she traveled to South Korea where she served in the U.S. Army. This was the beginning of the travel bug which further pushed her desire to experience and understand other cultures. Because of this love of diversity, Charmaine obtained a Bachelor’ Degree in Anthropology from San Diego State University. In addition to her studies, Charmaine grew up embracing dance and other forms of art. She is an avid science nerd and in her spare time, you can find her running the trails of Santa Cruz County, or working within the community. As the founder of Santa Cruz Skate Club, her passion is roller skating and nurturing the skate community. So whether it be in the streets downtown, on West Cliffs, or just about anywhere she can, she is skate-tastic!


John Hedley

John connected with The 418 Project as he began exploring emotional and spiritual healing, including meditation, shamanism, and conscious movement.  He believes in being part of a community because of the strength and resilience that comes from diverse people supporting one another in growth.  John is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist (LMFT).  He has had professional roles as a computer engineer at Google, a writer, an editor, and a lawyer.  He loves cooking, exercise, traveling, and time with friends and family.  John has a Bachelor of Science in Computer Science from Washington University in St. Louis, a Juris Doctor from Fordham University, and a Master of Arts in Counseling Psychology from Pacifica Graduate Institute.


Stan Grindstaff
President Emeritus

Stan Grindstaff is in his ninth year as Performance Coach for What Is Erotic?  With an MFA in Theatre (specializing in Directing) from UC Riverside, he brings valuable experience as a former staff member of the Oregon Shakespeare Festival and the American Conservatory Theatre (ACT) in San Francisco. He was a cofounder and one of the principal actors of the Murrieta Repertory Theatre. As The 418 Project Board President Emeritus, Stan is proud of how What Is Erotic? creates original presentations, developing skill levels in people from novice through experienced artists, inspiring confident performances for a professional caliber show.


Gregory Speed Jr
Board Member

Gregory M. Speed Sr...
Born and raised in North Carolina.
Is a poet and spoken word artist.
A former U.S. Army soldier,
And a current staff member at
The University of California at Santa Cruz A proud grandfather of grandaughters
Miss Marlo and newly born Miss Melody.
Also being a great hugger and soft-spoken
Greg enjoys riding his bike and creating art
Writing poetry/performing in virtual events.


Beverly Shen-sung Molina
Board Member

As a firefighter, writer, active community member, mentor, and embodied movement ambassador, Beverly believes strongly in serving and inspiring people in her local community and beyond. From a young age dancing with abandon felt like truth, freedom, and her wild natural state. When she found free form dance at The 418 Project, Beverly felt like she was coming home. Beverly brings multifaceted experiences from all her endeavors to inspire people to follow their dreams and to celebrate their authentic self-expression. Whether she is speaking to the community, teaching students, interacting with people on the emergency scene or on the dance floor, Beverly is grateful for all moments in which to create meaningful connection.


Abby Pistoni
Board Member

Having spent her formative years in the zany circus arts world and her high school and college careers immersed in performing arts, Abby has always had a soft spot for the arts and their community spaces. With a BA in Community Studies from UC Santa Cruz and a deep love for performing, Abby has been eagerly applying her skills and education to The 418 Project's mission of fostering community, creating spaces for personal/artistic growth, and building equity. You can also see Abby emphatically soaring through the air with her Contact Improv friends at any dance floor around town!


Taj Leahy
Board Member

Bio coming soon!

bottom of page