Meet the Staff

John GarofoloDefy-Students-1Defy-Students-1


John Garofolo

Chief Financial Officer

John received a Bachelor’s in Business Administration from Bucknell University and an MBA from the Kellogg Graduate School of Management at Northwestern University. John has been a CPA since 1992.

For 10+ years, John worked at Ernst & Young as a Senior Accountant and Manager in the Management Consulting Practice; and at IBM, Global Services as a Senior Manager in the Global Strategy & Design Practice.

Most recently, John has served as a Senior Executive Consultant at Shepherd Partners, Inc., a turnaround and financial advisory firm. While at Shepherd, John served as an interim CFO in a variety of settings; his areas of expertise include financial transformation, turnaround/restructuring advisory, capital sourcing, and M & Advisory services.

Andrew GlazierDefy-Students-1Defy-Students-1


Andrew Glazier

President & CEO

Andrew received his Bachelor’s in International Relations from Pomona College, and his MBA from the UCLA Anderson School of Management.

Prior to joining Defy, Andrew worked at City Year Los Angeles for nearly 8 years in a variety of roles. Andrew started at City Year LA serving as their Government Relations Director, developing and managing local and statewide government relations strategy and training for 150 corps members and 28 staff. Upon promotion, additional roles included serving as City Year LA’s Chief of Staff, Managing Director Program Service and Managing Director Impact and Strategy.

Most recently, Andrew served as City Year LA’s Senior Managing Director, where he provided cross-departmental leadership, led City Year’s organizational growth strategy, oversaw the Government Relations Department, built strategic partnerships with the Los Angeles Unified School District, and sourced funds from and supported the cultivation of foundation and corporate donors.

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Sarah Binion

Director, Monitoring & Evaluation

Sarah received a Bachelor’s in Mass Communication and a Master’s in International Studies from Texas State University and is finishing her Ph.D. in International Development at Tulane University.

Sarah brings to Defy 9+ years of experience that includes qualitative & quantitative research design and analysis, curriculum design, and program implementation and management. Most recently, Sarah served as a Social Impact Evaluation & Strategy Consultant for Fathom, as Board President for Crime Prevention Institute (CPI), and as an Adjunct Professor at Austin Community College. Recent projects included supervising a diverse and global team of 10 to implement and facilitate the traveler experience onshore in the Dominican Republic and Cuba, as well as implementing the first ever formal CPI strategy planning session that resulted in a three-year strategic plan for growth and diversification.

Melissa Gelber-O’DellDefy-Students-1Defy-Students-1


Melissa Gelber-O’Dell

Vice President, Programs

Originally from New York, Melissa Gelber-O’Dell received her BA from Franklin and Marshall College in Government and Women’s Studies and a Master’s degree from New York University in Social Work and Public Policy. She spent seven years at the Center for Court Innovation working to provide new opportunities to individuals involved in the criminal justice system and increase the efficacy of the judiciary. Most recently, Melissa served as the Program Director of the Community Assessment and Services Center, a large-scale reentry resource hub, assisting clients on probation returning from incarceration. Melissa is also an adjunct lecturer in the MPA program at San Francisco State University and is the Chairwoman of the Board for NYC TOGETHER.
Julie Jackson-ForsbergDefy-Students-1Defy-Students-1


Julie Jackson-Forsberg

Vice President of Learning

Julie Jackson-Forsberg is Defy’s Vice President of Learning. With twenty years’ experience in education, specifically devoted to underdogs, Julie is dedicated to helping people maximize their potential. Her experience is concentrated in instructional program development, curriculum, and data analysis. Prior to joining the Defy team, she served as the Chief Academic Officer of the Public Preparatory Network of charter schools, the founder and Managing Director of Critical Thinking Works, an education consultancy; and the founder and Head of School for Oracle Charter School in Buffalo, New York, a college-preparatory charter high school. Julie has an Executive MBA from the Rochester Institute of Technology, Saunders School of Business; she is a past Fellow of the Peabody Professional Institute in Charter School Leadership at Vanderbilt University; she has completed coursework in Educational Leadership and Administration through George Washington University; MA work in English / Composition Studies through Northeastern University; and a BA in Creative Writing and Chemistry through Hamilton College.


Andrew Glazier

President & CEO

Andrew Glazier is the President and CEO of Defy Ventures, Inc, an entrepreneurship and career readiness program supporting currently and formerly incarcerated adults operating in six states.

He joined the organization in May 2017, serving initially as the first Executive Director for the Southern California Chapter, then as the Chief Program Officer for the national organization. In April of 2018, he was named Defy’s President and CEO.

Prior to joining Defy, Andrew served as the Senior Managing Director at City Year Los Angeles, where he oversaw the doubling in size of the City Year Los Angeles program during his tenure. Andrew received his Bachelor’s in International Relations from Pomona College, and his MBA from the UCLA Anderson School of Management.

The diverse team that powers Defy brings a variety of expertise to the organization, from entrepreneurship to technology to nonprofit program management. Defy is a lean, results-driven institution with a team who is committed to and passionate about our mission.  We work exceptionally hard, and, above all, value the heart behind the Entrepreneurs-in-Training, volunteers, and supporters who share in our mission.