Meet The Team That Keeps Current Flowing

Current is a collaborative organization by design: a dot connector, bridge builder, and network weaver. Our power comes from our partnerships with leaders from industry, academia, the public and civic sectors, and the investment and entrepreneurship community with a shared investment in water. At the center of that powerful and growing network is a small team with a shared ability to see and fill strategic gaps in the water innovation ecosystems we want to build.

Team Current has three full-time employees: Svetlana Taylor, George Brigandi and Alaina Harkness, and two part-time interns, Ryan Henderson and Karyn DeFranco. Many of you have seen our small but mighty team in action. You know that together, we know how to identify innovative technologies; coordinate large, complex events; fund-raise with nothing more than an idea and a couple flyers; build a demonstration project from the ground up. It’s also obvious that we share a love of water, the environment, and problem solving. But did you know that almost half our team originates from outside the U.S.? Or that there are two former college athletes among us? Current is people powered, so enjoy these fun personal facts about the individuals who keep us innovating.

Did you know – Svetlana:

…has a family of musicians? Three of her four family members, including her, play musical instruments and they used to have a group called The Taylor Trio.

…when she was pregnant with her first child, she attended Bill Clinton’s rally and was placed in the front row in a secure area, which allowed her to shake the former president’s hand?

…there is a character with her exact (maiden) name in Star Trek?! You’ll have to ask her about the backstory on this one.

Did you know – George:

…won a national poetry contest in the 5th grade with a poem about his pet red albino corn snake, Scorch?

…has been a vegan for four years, loves to garden and composts all of his carbon-based waste in his backyard worm farm composter (weather permitting)?

…spoke French as a first language before English? Until he was 11, he attended

The Lycée Français de Chicago, where he only had one hour of English each day. Although it’s been several years since his last French class, his ear is still pretty strong but his speaking has admittedly become rusty.

Did you know – Ryan:

…is originally from New Zealand, a country completely surrounded by water. New Zealanders are also known as “Kiwis,” a nickname derived from one of their native (flightless) birds.

… recently enjoyed the book Thinking, Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman? It’s about improving decision-making by understanding the flaws in our intuition and cognitive biases. (Yes, Millennials still read books.)

…his girlfriend took him to the Willis Tower Skydeck when he first moved to Chicago, not knowing that he’s an acrophobe? At least he can check it off his Chicago bucket list…

Did you know – Alaina:

…played the oboe in the Chicago Youth Symphony Orchestra and studied briefly at the Eastman School of Music?

…has cats named for two Chicago-area rivers, Calumet (Cali) and Des Plaines (Desi)?

…is on a mission to visit all 50 States and all 62 National Parks? She has 34 parks to go, but just one state: North Dakota. (Who’s up for a road trip to Theodore Roosevelt NP?)

Did you know – Karyn:

…is a certified scuba diver? (We all love water, but at different depths!)

…has summited over 10 volcanoes? That’s more than the rest of our team combined.

…plays the cello? (We are a musical bunch!)

We hope this gave you a little more insight into who we are as individuals, and as a team. We value the diversity of personal experiences we bring to this work and the deep connections we build through our work. Team Current looks forward to building our relationships with you all in 2020. Thanks for reading!

Photo at Top of Blog – Clockwise From Top Left: Karyn DeFranco, Ryan Henderson, Svetlana Taylor, Alaina Harkness & George Brigandi.