About Us

Meet the Team!

We are a team that believes in being nice, working hard and having fun. We are deeply committed to fostering the creative talents of every child, everywhere.


Mike McGalliard

President & Executive Director

For the last 22 years I’ve enjoyed starting up a few successful organizations in the education space, including LA’s Promise, which was awarded more than $15 million in grants to help turnaround schools in the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD). I also co-founded Metro Charter, a new public elementary school in the burgeoning core of Downtown LA. I studied literature at Reed College and did some graduate work in Religion and Philosophy. I love to cook, drink good wine and my favorite thing in life is being a Dad.

Favorite book: Murakami’s ‘Wind Up Bird Chronicle’
Favorite album: Tribe Called Quest’s ‘Low End Theory’
What I wanted to be when I grew up: a spy

mike@imagination.is  |  @mcgalliard


Smeeta Singh

Director of Operations

I’ve spent the last 9 years working for inspiring causes in education all around Los Angeles. My passion for education became a reality while studying Sociology in college. Soon after, I joined LA’s Promise, a nonprofit that strives to reform public schools in South LA, where I helped with corporate partnerships and fundraising. As a part of team Imagination, I run point on operations and develop meaningful corporate partnerships that allow us to grow our programs. Some of my favorite things to do involve cooking, enjoying long meals, and traveling (near or far) with my husband, any chance I get.

My car radio is currently tuned to:  NPR
What I wanted to be when I grew up:  A firefighter
What I Google in my free time:  New recipes & restaurants

smeeta@imagination.is  |  @smeetaimagines


Vanessa Vartabedian

Senior Education Specialist

My journey to education started with my own passion for theatre and film, which played right into my never-ending curiosity about people and their stories. I created and taught the Media Technology Program at Cambridge Public Schools in Massachusetts, taught high school in Boston, and coordinated and led many after-school and summer youth media programs. In 2010, I moved to Los Angeles to work with Professor Henry Jenkins at the USC Annenberg Innovation Lab where we developed a new pedagogical model called PLAY! (participatory learning and you), a framework for teaching and learning centered around creative play. Subsequently, I joined the USC Shoah Foundation as an Education Specialist designing online curriculum for the IWitness learning website using the Foundation’s rich archive of testimony. Currently, I enjoy my work as Adjunct Faculty in the Digital Filmmaking Program at Lesley University’s College of Art and Design, and as a Trainer for SMALLab Learning. My current passion projects include producing The Mosquito Story Slam, a live storytelling series and podcast, and making films when I have the chance. I see my new journey with Imagination as an opportunity to support learning that is not only transformative, but fun! I look forward to hearing your stories, and offering expertise and support to Chapters around the globe.

Favorite Film: ‘Dog Day Afternoon’ and all documentaries
Favorite Albums: Thievery Corporation’s ‘Radio Retaliation’ and Moby’s ‘Play’
Things I want to learn: guitar, scuba diving and Arabic