The Team


Karen S. Young

Founder and Executive Director

Karen is a cultural artist, community organizer, and social entrepreneur who lives in Boston, MA. She is one of seven Boston Artists in Residence selected in 2018 by the Mayor's Office of Arts and Culture. She is also the Founding Director of The Genki Spark, and a key force behind Women and Taiko. Prior to pursuing her artistic projects full time Karen has been part of many grass roots and start up initiatives most notably having served as the founding director of the well respected youth advocacy organization Youth on Board.

Kenneth D. Bailey


Kenneth started his activism in the early eighties as a teenager, working in his neighborhood for tenants’ rights and decent housing, targeting the St. Louis Housing Authority. He went on to work for COOL, a national campus-based student organizing program, and then moved to Boston where he worked for the Ten Point Coalition, Interaction Institute for Social Change, and Third Sector New England, as well as being on the Board for Resource Generation. Most recently he has been a trainer and a consultant, primarily on issues of organizational development and community building.

He first realized the need for a more “designerly” approach to community work while developing parts of the Boston Community Building Curriculum for The Boston Foundation. This workshop asked community activists and residents to think about creative ways to work with their community assets – existing social relationships, individual’s gifts and skills, and untapped local resources. Many community residents remained locked in conventional nonprofit approaches to working with community assets. They weren’t obliged to, they just knew no other way. He realized then that activists needed new tools to redesign approaches for community change, which led him to build the Design Studio for Social Intervention

Ben Jen


Ben is a serial entrepreneur and has been involved in over 18 startups in the capacity of a co-founder/founder, executive, strategist, investor, and mentor with his company Ben Jen Holdings LLC. Ben is always searching for the next big challenge and have tons of energy and passion to invest. Ben's excited about working with great teams, exciting technologies and projects, and also getting things done with little resources. 
- Forbes Finance Council 2018 Member
- Startupalooza Judge | Boston, NYC, Stamford CT
- MassChallenge, LaunchX, Empire State Development: Mentor

Kenneth D. Hirakawa


Ken is a Quality Executive in the medical device, and life science industries.  He holds a B.S in Physics (Solid State emphasis) from the University of California, and has over 30 years’ experience as a quality professional for global companies having substantial presence in the United States, Latin America, Asia, and Europe.

Ken is a 3rd generation Japanese-American, and is a member of the New England Chapter of the Japanese American Citizen’s League. Ken is an loyal supporter of The Genki Spark, the Japanese American National Museum in Los Angeles, the annual New England Oshogatsu celebration, and the annual Brookline Cherry Blossom Festival. He also served as an organizer for the 2016 Tule Lake Pilgrimage serving 400 elders and their families impacted by the Japanese internment in California.