Meet the team
Co-Founder + Partner
Kristyn began her equity-focused career at a community redevelopment agency in Delray Beach FL. She quickly learned from resident leadership that systems and institutions responsible for oppressing communities were not going to offer sustainable solutions to problems communities face. Collective training received from the Racial Equity Institute (REI) on systemic and institutionalized racism; the power of community assets and capacity from the Asset-Based Community Development (ABCD) Institute; and systems change by deepening community through collective impact by the Tamarack Institute - validated this perspective, particularly for communities of color. Kristyn leaned into the power of community and community-based solutions and organized stakeholders and gatekeepers around equitable development and policies through a refacing of the community’s neighborhood redevelopment plan, prioritizing Power Principles: Civic Stewardship, Community Capacity Building, and Community Wealth Building. It was through this work and other collective impact initiatives that she met like-minded change-agents and transformational leaders, that now inspire and drive the work of Thrive.
Sara Selznick, PhD
Co-Founder + Partner
Sara is formally trained as a clinical psychologist. She graduated with a BA in Psychology from the University of Florida and received her Master's and Doctorate in Clinical Psychology from DePaul University in Chicago. Sara completed her fellowship at Harvard Medical School/Children's Hospital Boston and has provided services and developed, delivered, and evaluated programs and interventions in many settings including hospitals, schools/ after-schools, juvenile detention centers, and community mental health agencies. Before moving to Delray Beach she worked in Chicago’s Cabrini Greene Public Housing Community for 10+ years providing direct services and supervising a community outreach and advocacy team. Recognizing the impact of systemic racism and the importance of power (not just programs), Sara left the direct service world to work on community capacity and power building initiatives as co-founder of Thrive. She now focuses efforts on organizing in White and advantaged spaces to promote investment in marginalized communities, opposed to toxic charity, for mutually beneficial outcomes.
Collective Partner + Founder of Studio Barnes
Barnes’ award winning research and design practice, Studio Barnes, investigates the connection between architecture and identity, examining architecture’s social and political agency through historical research and design speculation. Mining architecture’s social and political agency, he examines how the built environment influences black domesticity.
Born in Chicago, IL Germane Barnes received a Bachelor's of Science in Architecture from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and a Master of Architecture from Woodbury University where he was awarded the Thesis Prize for his project Symbiotic Territories: Architectural Investigations of Race, Identity, and Community.
Currently he is an Assistant Professor and the Director of The Community Housing & Identity Lab (CHIL) at the University Of Miami School Of Architecture, a testing ground for the physical and theoretical investigations of architecture’s social and political resiliency. His work has been featured in international institutions most notably, The Museum of Modern Art NY, Chicago Architecture Biennial, MAS Context, San Francisco MoMA, LACMA, The Graham Foundation, The New York Times, Architect Magazine, DesignMIAMI/ Art Basel, Metropolis Magazine, Domus, Wallpaper* Magazine and The National Museum of African American History where he was identified as one of the future designers on the rise.
Collective Partner + Community Organizer
Meagan Bell is an experienced educator and community organizer, skilled in communications and civic engagement campaigns. While pursuing degrees in Psychology and History at Florida State University, she supervised a youth mentoring program in the highly segregated Tallahassee public school system, an experience that would draw her into a life of teaching and community involvement fighting harmful, racist educational policy.
Meagan has successfully created three advocacy groups and countless issue based campaigns focused on immigration rights, educational equity, COVID safety and access to healthcare. Her campaigns have been featured in major news outlets, podcasts, the HBO documentary “Q: Into the Storm” and even the Journal of Hospital Medicine.
Leveraging her experience as an organizer, Meagan creates relevant and sticky communications to promote events and facilitate understanding of complex issues. She uses skills honed as a teacher to build inclusive, forward thinking partnerships with diverse groups, grounded in mutual respect and focused on confronting systems and institutions that protect white advantage.
Collective Partner + Founder of Seeds of Change & Kindred Seedlings
LaShauna Austria is the owner and founding principal operator of Seeds of Change Consulting and Kindred Seedlings Farm. She possesses a demonstrated record of collaborating with rural communities, and both faith-based and secular organizations, to address race, food justice, land ownership, and equity issues. Building on her substantial experience in leadership, management, and administrative roles with for-profit and nonprofit organizations, she has devoted her current professional life to promoting racial equity and building better food systems locally and beyond.
LaShauna provides racial equity consulting with a focus on the food system, strategies for supporting the growth of farmers of color, organizational and leadership development, research, evaluation, feasibility studies, facilitation, and a range of services to individuals and organizations seeking to deepen and apply a racial equity analysis to their work and missions. Born and raised in rural Alamance County, LaShauna is passionate about rural life, preserving farmland and natural resources, and Southern foodways.