About Us


Friendfactor activates straight people to become visible and active allies in their workplace and campus communities.

Check out more about What We Do.


Friendfactor is run by a dedicated team of staff and board members and advised by an experienced Advisory Council.



Staff and Board


Joanne Sprague, Re-Founder and CEO

Joanne headshot

Joanne re-launched Friendfactor in July 2012 on the heels of a successful pilot program she helped build to engage her fellow allies in creating a more LGBT-inclusive culture at Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business. Before the LGBT movement swept her off her feet, Joanne spent her time tackling international socioeconomic inequality. She co-founded a boutique development consultancy with IFMR in India, designed a micro-entrepreneurship training program with the Peace Corps in Kenya, and interned with social entrepreneurship accelerators Endeavor and Agora Partnerships. Joanne started her career as a marketing strategist at Digitas, and holds a BA in Mathematics from Dartmouth College in addition to her Duke MBA.


Dan Baum, Treasurer


Dan has spent his whole professional career at The Redwoods Group, a social enterprise and that uses insurance to keep kids safe. He is currently the Executive Director of The Redwoods Group Foundation, which is scaling national collaborative movements to stop child sexual abuse, prevent drownings and build the field of social entrepreneurship. He has also been facilitating conversations and experiences around diversity and allyship since college. Most recently, he served as a moderator for the Sustained Dialogue Campus Network’s inaugural PULSE Institute, which gave student leaders tools to build more inclusive college campuses. He earned both a BS in Economics and an MBA in Social Entrepreneurship from Duke University.


Jaime Garcia

Jaime Garcia

Jaime is a sales consultant in third party distribution for Delaware Investments.  Prior to that he served as an Field Artillery Officer in the 10th Mountain Division from 2004-2007, including one tour in Iraq.   After his time in the Army, Jaime continued to serve the veteran community as an Advocate for the Army Wounded Warrior Program, where he assisted the most critically wounded veterans from Iraq and Afghanistan as they transitioned out of the military.  Jaime earned his BA in English and History from Florida International University and an MBA from the Fuqua School of Business at Duke University.


Natalie Johnson

Natalie is an aspiring entrepreneur, and recently co-founded a wine club company called Bottle Bracket. In addition to Bottle Bracket, Natalie spends her time providing consulting services on topics related to diversity. Prior to her personal ventures, Natalie spent 5 years at Google focusing on diversity research, with the goal of making Google the best place to work for all employees. Natalie joined the People Analytics team at Google after receiving a Master of Arts in Organizational Psychology from Teacher’s College, Columbia University. As an undergraduate, Natalie conducted research in neuroscience and gerontology at Oregon State University, where she was also the captain of the nationally ranked Division I softball team. Post-graduation, she participated in a research exchange program in Amsterdam where she studied the impact of physical activity on depression. (What was the result? Be active! You will be happier).


Rebecca Caesar

Rebecca Caesar high res

Rebecca first became involved with Friendfactor while studying at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill – Kenan-Flagler Business School. After pioneering and leading UNC’s efforts to activate a community of allies through the MBA Ally Challenge for 2 years, she successfully passed the torch to her successors – and she has been excited to see the program flourish since. Rebecca now works at IBM in sales as a Client Executive responsible for relationships with 8 select cross-industry accounts in the Bay Area.  Prior to IBM, Rebecca honed her sales and business development skills as a Sales Manager at Morningside Translations, a 50-person, $12 million foreign language service provider based in NYC. A native of New Jersey, Rebecca is glad to now call San Francisco home. She is an avid wine enthusiast, and loves spending time outdoors. On Friendfactor’s board, she hopes to make a similar impact as she did during her tenure at UNC.


Ross Boomer

Ross Boomer

Ross has been with Southern California Edison, a large investor-owned utility based in Southern California, for over 5 years. Ross primarily focuses on marketing and strategy for new "green" customer programs and rates but previously held positions in investor relations and corporate financial planning. He also serves as president of Edison's LGBT employee resource group, Lighthouse, and he has made growing a community of active allies a central strategy for the organization. Ross graduated cum laude from Claremont McKenna College with a B.A. in International Relations and Economics. He's looking forward to joining Duke's Fuqua School of Business as an MBA in the fall.


Jessica Newfield

Jessica Newfield

Jess joined the Friendfactor board in 2015 after graduating from UNC’s Kenan-Flagler Business School, where she served as the VP of Diversity for the MBA Program’s Executive Board. She holds a BA in Journalism from UNC-Chapel Hill and most recently served as the Digital Director for a NY State election campaign. Originally from North Carolina, her career has taken her from the deep south as a part of Teach For America’s Mississippi Delta program to New York City as a graphic designer and small business professional. She comes from a family that has long supported LGBT activism and is proud that members of her family – both those who identify as LGBT and as allies – have been a part of this movement for decades.




Advisory Council


Brian Elliot, Friendfactor Founder and Board Chair Emeritus

Brian Headshot

Brian is a Principal at Elliot Strategy, where he helps foundations, nonprofits, and socially responsible companies design high-impact strategies and develop and launch new innovative new programs and products. He founded Friendfactor in 2009 and now serves as the Board Chair. Previously, Brian served as the Director of Entrepreneur Services at Endeavor Global, an international development venture philanthropy firm. His other prior experience spans multiple sectors, having worked at Bain & Company, The Bridgespan Group, and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Brian holds an MBA from Harvard Business School, an MPA from Harvard Kennedy School, and a BA in Public Policy from Stanford University. Brian is a winner of the SXSW 2012 Dewey Winburne Community Service Award, the 2010 Harvard Business School Social Entrepreneurship Fellowship, and Splashlife’s 30 Under 30: Civic Leaders Award.


Jenn T. Grace, Gay Business & Marketing

jenn t grace headshot

Jenn has over ten years experience in marketing specifically in the area of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) diversity. Jenn first sought out marketing opportunities within the niche area of LGBT travel initiatives. Within those endeavors she became involved with the International Gay and Lesbian Travel Association (IGLTA) and the National Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce (NGLCC), which led her to her more notable work on the local level with the Connecticut's LGBT Chamber of Commerce (CTGLC), where she currently serves as Vice President of the board. A self-proclaimed “Professional Lesbian,” Jenn’s mission is to teach businesses everything they need to know about doing business with and marketing themselves to the LGBT community. As a blogger, podcaster, consultant, speaker, and author she aims to be a one-stop LGBT-business-and-marketing shop. Jenn is based near Hartford, Connecticut and can be found here on Twitter and LinkedIn.


Jamison Green, CA Institute of Integral Studies and Jamison Green & Associates


Jamison Green is Professor of Transgender Studies at the California Institute of Integral Studies in San Francisco, and Principal at Jamison Green & Associates, a consulting firm specializing in transgender education and policy advising for business, education, and government. He is also an author and public speaker, a legal scholar, and a mentor and inspirational figure for thousands of transgender and transsexual people around the world. He is currently serving a 2-year term as President of the World Professional Association for Transgender Health, and he’s served on the boards of directors and advisory boards of many important organizations in the US transgender community. He enjoyed a 30-year career in corporate business, writing and managing publications groups within companies like Cooper Medical, Cooper LaserSonics, North Star Computers, Sun Microsystems, and Visa. He earned his BA and MFA in English at the University of Oregon, and his PhD in Law at Manchester Metropolitan University, England.


Mary Gentile, Giving Voice to Values


Mary C. Gentile, PhD, is Director of Giving Voice to Values (GVV), Senior Research Scholar at Babson College, Senior Advisor at Aspen Institute Business & Society Program, and an independent consultant on management education and leadership development.

Giving Voice to Values (www.GivingVoiceToValues.org), a pioneering business curriculum for values-driven leadership, has been featured in  Financial Times, Harvard Business Review, Stanford Social Innovation Review, McKinsey Quarterly, etc. and piloted in over 650 business schools and organizations globally. The award-winning book  is Giving Voice To Values: How To Speak Your Mind When You Know What's Right  (Yale University Press (www.MaryGentile.com). The latest edited volume is Educating for Values-Driven Leadership: Giving Voice To Values Across the Curriculum (Business Expert Press, 2013) which includes chapters by a dozen faculty from different functional areas who describe how they use GVV.

From 1985-95, Gentile was faculty member and manager of case  research at Harvard Business School. Gentile was one of  the principal architects of HBS’s Leadership, Ethics and Corporate Responsibility curriculum.  She co-authored Can  Ethics Be Taught? Perspectives, Challenges, and Approaches at Harvard  Business School and was Content Expert for the award-winning interactive CD-ROM, Managing Across Differences (Harvard Business School Publishing).

Other publications include Differences That Work: Organizational Excellence through Diversity; Managing Diversity: Making Differences WorkManagerial Excellence Through Diversity: Text and Cases, as well as numerous articles, cases, and book reviews in publications such as Academy of Management Learning and Education, Harvard Business Review, Stanford Social Innovation Review, Risk Management, CFO, The Journal of Human Values, BizEd, Strategy+Business, etc.

Gentile earned her bachelor’s degree from The College of William and Mary and her MA and PhD from State University of New York at Buffalo.


Laila Mohib, Democratic National Committee


Over the last decade, Laila has worked with elected officials, candidates, and organizations to develop skills in training, messaging, polling and outreach.  She is in charge of outreach and engagement towards Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders for the Democratic National Committee. Prior to that Laila worked as Policy and Program Director at APAICS working with the Asian and Pacific Islander Members of Congress.  She has previously worked with the Communication Workers of America’s campaigns and spent two election cycles with EMILY’s List in the Political Department. She also worked in Congress, in Candidate Recruitment at Progressive Majority, and with the Democratic National Committee’s Office of Independent Expenditures.  Laila received her undergraduate degree from Sarah Lawrence College and holds a Masters in Arts in Art History, Connoisseurship and the History of the Art Market from Christie’s Education.  Laila is a devoted fan of the Mets, the Jets and pie.