Karla Duarte: Founder/Executive Director
Karla is the founder of Animate A Way and has served in numerous nonprofit art and cultural organizations throughout her life. She is currently studying for an MA in Expressive Arts Therapy and is passionate about studying how natural elements reflect on the psyche. She has developed the script for several short films on social change including Sombras de Luz, Mujer Inmigrante (2010), and has assisted with all Animate A Way stop-motion productions. As a mother of two little girls, she is inspired to teach her daughters the beauty of life, nature and the universe. She believes in love and unity, wears lots of purple and eats chocolate every day.
Norma Roth: President
Born in Mexicali, Mexico and a San Diego resident since 1996, Norma attended the University of Phoenix, where she studied Business Administration. In 2003 Norma got her P&C, Life & Health Insurance Licenses. Later in 2004, she obtained her Notary Public commission and her Variable products licenses. And in 2013 she obtained her Real Estate License. She is now a Real Estate Agent and prior to becoming an agent, Norma utilized her listening skills and dedication to thrive in the insurance and banking industries, where she earned several awards. Some of these awards were directly related to her involvement with the Hispanic community in San Diego. Her commitment and dedication has identified her as a top-flight banker. Family is priority for Norma. She is a Mother to a wonderful 6 year old boy and currently involved with the PTA at her son’s school. In addition, she is part of the YMCA fundraising team for 2014. She is also a member of the Pacific Southwest Association of Realtors and a Rotarian. In her personal time, Norma enjoys spending time with her son Noah, traveling and photography.
Oriol Vicente: Vice President
Born and raised in Barcelona, Spain, ‘Ori’ graduated from the Polytechnic University of Catalonia with an MS in Mechanical Engineering. He started his professional career in Spain but soon realized that his passion was surfing, so he moved to San Diego in 2003 to learn English, surf and to complete a professional certificate in Marketing at UCSD, which helped him find a job at Wave Loch, Inc. a Leading Global supplier of engineered Wave Technology. He is now the Director of Engineering and business development for Latin America for FlowRider Inc, so he travels the world selling and installing surfing machines for waterparks, hotel resorts, cruise ships and more. Not a bad way to merge his passion for surfing with a fulfilling career. He just recently earned his MBA at the University of San Diego with emphasis in international business. When he is not busy designing wave machines he can be found surfing the beautiful beaches of San Diego, what he calls ‘R&D.’ Some of his hobbies include painting, mostly using pastel or oil, he also enjoys doing remodeling work around the house and spending time close to his wife, family and friends.
Karolina Rzadkowolska: Secretary
Karolina Rzadkowolska is a Project Coordinator at the University of San Diego, where she is also pursuing her MBA with an emphasis in social responsibility and nonprofit management. Previously she studied Art History and English at UCLA, before moving to beautiful San Diego to attain her Masters in English at San Diego State. Having spent many years in higher education and tutoring nonprofits, Karolina is happy to say that helping others is how she wants to spend her life’s work. In her free time she enjoys cooking, reading, ballet, and the company of her lovely husband.
Sylvia Sendoda Chin: Chief Financial Officer
Sylvia was born and raised in São Paulo, Brazil. She earned her BA in Business Finance from the Getulio Vargas Foundation – School of Business. In 2003 she came to San Diego to learn English and to experience the Californian lifestyle. A Few years later, she finally moved to Southern California to start her new life right next to her husband. Sylvia has been working in the Financial Services industry for over seven years. She started her career at Merrill Lynch, and now works at UBS Financial Services Inc. She loves traveling and all the experiences that come with discovering new places, people and food!
Steven Topham: Co-founder/Animation Specialist
Steven sees the world in frames-per-second and is the stop-motion mind behind Animate A Way. He is the lead classroom instructor and facilitates bringing our student’s visions to life. He studied film and film theory at UC Santa Barbara and began making films during his senior year in 2006. He soon discovered the joy of animation by luck and hasn’t looked back. Steven has always been civic minded through volunteer activities and through becoming an Eagle Scout. After several awards and over a dozen short films, he is glad to be fostering the creative abilities of our youth and helping them discover their voice. When not animating, he loves soccer, snowboarding and hanging out with his dog.