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Our Hosts

Lost Debate podcast

Ravi Gupta

Before launching Lost Debate, Ravi founded Arena, where he led a team that helped elect over 75 candidates and train over 1500 political operatives. He’s the co-founder and chair of Second Chance Studios, a media company that exclusively employs the formerly incarcerated, and serves as the co-host of Majority 54, a political podcast about talking to friends and family with different political beliefs. Before Arena, he was the founder and CEO of RePublic Schools, a network of charter schools in the South. He also held a number of roles on Obama’s first campaign and first term, including as assistant to David Axelrod and Susan Rice — where he was “a slightly more substantive version of Gary from Veep.” A native of Staten Island, he graduated from Yale Law School, where, unbeknownst to the faculty, he was a pioneer in the concept of remote schooling, and Binghamton University, where he received an excellent and reasonably priced education.

Rikki Schlott

Rikki Schlott, a self-proclaimed “old person trapped in a young person’s body” is a libertarian journalist, commentator, and politically homeless member of Gen-Z. In addition to being a host at Lost Debate, Rikki is a New York Post columnist, a contributor at Reason Magazine, and a fellow at the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE). Pop culturally clueless and unable to navigate the intricacies of TikTok, Rikki much prefers books to people. If she goes missing, please check the Strand Bookstore’s rare books section prior to calling the authorities. When she isn’t studying history, politics, and philosophy as a part-time student at New York University, Rikki can be found hanging out with her best friend Pippa, a Samoyed puppy who is often confused with a cloud.

Pulso y péndulo

Fabiola Galindo

A New-York-based independent journalist, Fabiola has covered many of America's most defining moments. From the COVID-19 pandemic and the Black Lives Matter protests, to the fight over abortion and the past two presidential elections, Fabi has been an on-the-ground reporter for upwards of 15 years and has had her work shown on Univision, Fusion, NY1, WAPA TV and numerous radio and TV stations across Latin America. After securing a free community college education, Fabi transferred to CUNY Hunter College where she pursued a degree in TV & Documentary Production. As a former transportation beat reporter, Fabi is what you would consider a "transit nerd." If your train is running late, feel free to text her, she probably knows what's up. Her favorite perks about living in Queens are being close to her favorite airports, the unbeatable bagel prices, and the subway hubs (did she mention she's a transit nerd?). When she isn't waiting for the G train, you'll most likely find Fabi biking across the city or walking her cat on a leash. She's been nominated — and has lost — three regional and three national Emmy awards. But hey, seventh time's the charm!

Carlos Curbelo

Consistently ranked as one of the Congress' most bipartisan members while serving South Florida's 26th district from 2015-2019, Carlos worked tirelessly to pass laws on tax reform, immigration, climate, foreign policy, and gun reform. Prior to serving in the House, Carlos sat on the Miami-Dade County School Board where he championed school choice, increased teacher pay, and fiscal discipline. He has also completed academic fellowships at Harvard University, Columbia University, and the University of Chicago. Currently serving as the Principal and Co-Founder of Miami-based public affairs firm Vocero, Carlos can also be seen on your home television as a regular political analyst for NBC News, where he is often seen chit chatting with Chuck on Meet the Press. Despite his center-right political leanings, Carlos is an avid drinker of fine green tea.

The Citizen Stewart Show

Chris Stewart

An award-winning writer, speaker, and blogger, Chris Stewart is a relentless advocate for children and families. Based in outstate Minnesota, Chris is CEO of brightbeam, a nonprofit media group that runs campaigns to highlight policies and practices that support thriving kids. He was the founding Director of the African American Leadership Forum, was an elected member of the Minneapolis Board of Education, and founded and served as the CEO of Wayfinder Foundation. Above all, Chris is a serial parent, a Minecraft enthusiast, and an epic firestarter on Twitter, where he has antagonized the best of them on the political left and right.

Ravi Gupta

Before launching Lost Debate, Ravi founded Arena, where he led a team that helped elect over 75 candidates and train over 1500 political operatives. He’s the co-founder and chair of Second Chance Studios, a media company that exclusively employs the formerly incarcerated, and serves as the co-host of Majority 54, a political podcast about talking to friends and family with different political beliefs. Before Arena, he was the founder and CEO of RePublic Schools, a network of charter schools in the South. He also held a number of roles on Obama’s first campaign and first term, including as assistant to David Axelrod and Susan Rice — where he was “a slightly more substantive version of Gary from Veep.” A native of Staten Island, he graduated from Yale Law School, where, unbeknownst to the faculty, he was a pioneer in the concept of remote schooling, and Binghamton University, where he received an excellent and reasonably priced education.

Desi crime podcast

Aryaan misra

Half “Joe-Rogan-listening-gym-bro” and half “Rupert-Brooke-reading-romantic,” Aryaan Misra’s name means “destined to do something great.” So naturally, he embarked on the noble path of creating a true-crime podcast. Although Aryaan was compelled to choose between the noble professions of engineering or medicine while growing up in India after much thought and contemplation (and to his mother’s disappointment) he majored in philosophy. As any good philosopher would do, he wrote a campus-wide memo on the importance of protecting free speech, which unsurprisingly didn’t get the most positive reception from his fellow students. His free speech shenanigans led him to work with filmmaker Ted Balaker on “The Coddling of The American Mind” documentary, announce that he’s a liberal on Fox and Friends, and serendipitously meet his boss, Ravi. Aryaan has served as a mentor to aspiring podcasters for Spotify and he’s hitchhiked across Africa and Asia. He’d be happy to tell you all about the adventure many, many, many, many, many times.

Aishwarya singh

Originally born in India, Aishwarya Singh is a world traveler. Having lived in 20 different cities spanning four countries and four continents, she finally decided to settle down in the good ole’ USA in 2019. When Aishwarya isn’t getting her weekly dose of adrenaline by turning off the lights and tuning into the “Crime Junkie” podcast alone at night, she is thinking about those pesky nuclear weapons running amok all around the world. Aishwarya has previously interned under Shelton Williams, an advisor to the United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission, and was a special assistant to Madeleine Albright. When she isn’t working on her own podcast or thinking about the thermodynamic stability of the atomic nucleus, Aishwarya can be found buried under a pile of LSAT books, volunteering with Mothers Against Drunk Driving, or hunting on Zillow for real estate beyond her reach.

our Team

Ravi Gupta

Founder & CEO

Before launching Lost Debate, Ravi founded Arena, where he led a team that helped elect over 75 candidates and train over 1500 political operatives. He’s the co-founder and chair of Second Chance Studios, a media company that exclusively employs the formerly incarcerated, and serves as the co-host of Majority 54, a political podcast about talking to friends and family with different political beliefs. Before Arena, he was the founder and CEO of RePublic Schools, a network of charter schools in the South. He also held a number of roles on Obama’s first campaign and first term, including as assistant to David Axelrod and Susan Rice — where he was “a slightly more substantive version of Gary from Veep.” A native of Staten Island, he graduated from Yale Law School, where, unbeknownst to the faculty, he was a pioneer in the concept of remote schooling, and Binghamton University, where he received an excellent and reasonably priced education.

Kate Malekoff

Chief of Staff

Kate’s work has spanned from strengthening youth development programs and charter schools in New York to fighting domestic violence in the Orthodox Jewish community and addressing the school-to-prison-pipeline in metro Detroit. She graduated from the University of Pittsburgh, where she majored in saying "yinz" as often as possible, and the University of Michigan School of Social Work, which is a fancy way of saying she’s excellent at talking about feelings. She volunteers with young people navigating the foster care system as a Court Appointed Special Advocate and can usually be found searching for the nearest bookstore or pickup game. Kate got her start in civic engagement as a 10-year-old in Ohio protesting outside of her local shopping center. She gave up after an hour, which might explain why the word that caused her to lose the Wayne County spelling bee was “endurance.”

Michael Hendricks

Senior Writer & Reporter

Michael comes to Lost Debate after spending roughly 7 years at CNN between both the international and domestic networks. After growing up in St. Louis, he left the Midwest and has since been getting progressively less young and restless. He has not, however, been able to shake involuntarily saying "ope" when nearly colliding with slow walkers. He came up north for college at Colgate University and later went a bit further north — plus a healthy spot of east — for a master's at the London School of Economics. Somewhere in there he acquired and deservedly lost the nickname "Hollywood."

Micky Ayoub

Director of Talent
& Special Projects

Born in Brazil with a short and muggy stint in Florida, Micky found his home in New York City at 18. After making it big in the modeling industry, he decided to give up all the traveling and partying when Donald Trump was elected president. In his search to join the fight against Trump, he joined the political community at Arena where he met his new boss at Lost Debate Ravi Gupta — Staten Island's Shah Rukh Khan. Micky took part in many historic progressive wins in New York State, working with Alessandra Biaggi, Mathylde Frontus and Marjorie Velazquez. He brings big energy and positive vibes at all times just like the rest of his family, though amazingly he’s the more chilled one out of the bunch.

Cory Bradford

Content Producer

Born in the deeply southern post-industrial town of Anniston, Alabama, Cory is best known for his colorful, satirical videos about American history and politics on TikTok, where he has garnered an audience of more than half a million followers. After graduating from high school, Cory spent time in the San Francisco Bay Area where he attended film school and earned a two-year technical degree in filmmaking and screenwriting. Cory later earned his BA in Communication from Southern New Hampshire University and has worked in talk radio and political organizing, serving as a project manager for several statewide campaigns during the 2018 midterms and the 2020 General Election. Cory doesn’t lean conservative or liberal and offers up a unique and compelling perspective on the inner workings of American politics, society and culture.

Moyo Adeolu

Producer

A multi-platform journalist and videographer, Moyo is a first-generation Nigerian-American and Chicago native. After receiving her master's in Public Affairs Reporting, Moyo pursued one of her life goals and relocated to New York City. She previously served as an on-air correspondent and videographer for the Illinois State Senate where she covered local and state government. When she’s not reporting, she’s either traveling overseas or working toward another lifelong goal. Whether in front or behind the camera, Moyo is a storyteller at heart who strives to produce news that amplifies diverse voices.

Sam Ball

Senior Graphic Designer

Sam was born and raised in West Virginia. No, not western Virginia, yes West Virginia is a real state. If you say APPA•LAY•SHA he will throw an APPLE•AT•CHA. He spent his early 20’s in the Army as a Mortarman for the 10th Mountain Division in upstate New York. After leaving the Army, he used his G.I. Bill to attend Marshall University, where he graduated with a BFA in Graphic Design. He spent 3 years working at one of the largest Democratic Super-PACs in the country, Priorities USA. Sam’s retirement plan is to leave everything behind and become a mall Santa Claus, once his beard fully turns white.

Joe Engelbrekt

Senior Podcast Producer

Joe Engelbrekt is an audio wizard hailing from St. Paul, Minnesota. He moved to New York for an internship in the summer of 2012 and only planned on living in the city for three months, but loved it so much he’s been here ever since. Now a full-fledged podcaster and audio engineer, you could say podcasting struck a chord with him. Some of his strengths include, but are not limited to: talking feedback, making sound decisions, staying level headed and having a dynamic personality. When he’s not running recording sessions, you can find him partaking in one of the “Big Cs” as he calls it — concerts, comedy and croissants. His parents almost named him Mic.

Nick Perrone

Senior Video Producer

Nick is a video producer who dabbles in lots of multimedia journalistic forms to tell fun, engaging and compelling stories. Having worked as a small town newspaper reporter for a local weekly, Nick would be more than happy to attend your local school or planning board meetings, as long as you're certain there will be interesting people speaking during public comment. Before working at Lost Debate, Nick had stints at Dateline NBC (yes, he met Lester Holt), and at one point sold his soul to work in marketing (he promises it was brief). When he isn't editing, shooting, interviewing, or producing, Nick can be found at his local climbing gym, drinking a nice cuppa tea, or watching a Spike Jonze joint.

Mónica Espitia

Podcast Producer

Mónica is a Colombian-born multilingual journalist with more than five years of experience as a political journalist, having worked for Univision, Democracy Now! and most recently the political unit at NY1. She made her way to North Carolina at 17 to play tennis at the college level and pursue a career in media. Once she graduated, she made the best decision of her life and moved to New York City for a master’s program at the CUNY J-School. During her free time, you can find her reading, biking, running or doing yoga. She’s also happy to share her many opinions with her friends, even though they’re not always happy to listen.

Alexis McDonell

Social Media Manager and Content Creator

Although Alexis grew up in the conservative bubble that is Cincinnati, OH, she’s now a wandering New Yorker that defies all political labels. Since graduating from Syracuse University with a degree in Journalism, she’s spent the last six years doing just about anything you could imagine in the fields of content and marketing. But there’s more to to life than selling stuff to people that they don’t need, so she started advocating for workers’ rights, climate policy, and corporate transparency on social media. Now she brings that same gusto to Lost Debate to try and get people to listen to each other. While she does manage social media, yes, she does put her phone down, and you can often find her enjoying life’s simple pleasures: books, cheese, and ice cream.

Joe Garvey

Associate Writer & Researcher

Before joining Lost Debate, Joe was busy helping candidates get elected to public office ranging from local school boards to the US Senate. He discovered his passion for politics shortly after arriving at Boston University in November of 2016 (can you guess what inspired him?). Joe swallowed his pride at BU, a lifelong Yankees fan, where dirty Red Sox fans constantly surrounded him. Nevertheless, he reveled in his studies of philosophy and economics, often contemplating what Plato would have thought of the 1987 stock market crash. However, Joe spent most of his time outside of the classroom, managing political campaigns and launching the non-profit Bluebonnet Data, which has recruited and trained more than a thousand young people in STEM to join the political arena. Although he is now devoted to the fight against polarization and misinformation, Joe’s lifelong passion is to open up an Italian deli, which is convenient since the Lost Debate office is located in Little Italy.

Aryaan misra

Producer

Half “Joe-Rogan-listening-gym-bro” and half “Rupert-Brooke-reading-romantic,” Aryaan Misra’s name means “destined to do something great.” So naturally, he embarked on the noble path of creating a true-crime podcast. Although Aryaan was compelled to choose between the noble professions of engineering or medicine while growing up in India after much thought and contemplation (and to his mother’s disappointment) he majored in philosophy. As any good philosopher would do, he wrote a campus-wide memo on the importance of protecting free speech, which unsurprisingly didn’t get the most positive reception from his fellow students. His free speech shenanigans led him to work with filmmaker Ted Balaker on “The Coddling of The American Mind” documentary, announce that he’s a liberal on Fox and Friends, and serendipitously meet his boss, Ravi. Aryaan has served as a mentor to aspiring podcasters for Spotify and he’s hitchhiked across Africa and Asia. He’d be happy to tell you all about the adventure many, many, many, many, many times.

Elyuz lukes

Office Manager

Despite being born in Nashville, TN, Elyuz does not consider himself a Southern boy. And yet, the lack of sweet tea in New York concerns him greatly. He can only be in denial for so long. Currently he’s taking online courses at Middle Tennessee State University as a junior, where he majors in middle school English education in the hopes of becoming an inevitably underpaid educator. He caught wind of Lost Debate from Ravi and didn’t think twice before jumping at the opportunity to work with his former principal, whose disappointing stares are emotionally burned in his memory. He’s determined not to be called to Ravi’s office as much as he was in middle school.

Board of Directors

Artboard 1

Coss Marte

Coss Marte was sent to jail as the ringleader of a multi-million dollar marijuana operation. He was also grossly overweight and warned by his physician that his current lifestyle if left unchecked, would likely kill him. 

Faced with this grim prognosis, Coss started to get in shape using the tools he had —his prison cell and his own body weight. Within six months he lost 70 pounds and replicated his successful formula of body weight exercises with 20 other inmates. Then he launched CONBODY, a prison style bootcamp that has gained over 50,000+ clients and hires formerly incarcerated individuals to teach fitness classes. Since the launch of his company he’s been featured in over 200 major media outlets such as NBC, CNN, The New York Times, 3 time TED talk speaker, and Men’s Fitness. He’s also won major pitch competitions such as Defy Ventures, Pitch for Good by TOM’s shoes, the YPO shark tank competition.

Artboard d3

Stacey Shells Harvey

Stacey Shells Harvey is the co-founder and chief executive officer of ReGeneration Schools, a non-profit charter school management organization that’s dedicated to creating and revitalizing schools through a college prep and character mission. Stacey currently manages a network of three campuses and six schools in Chicago, IL. ReGeneration Schools opened their first Cincinnati, Ohio campus in the Fall of 2019.

Before founding ReGeneration Schools, Stacey was the managing director for Victory Education Partners in Chicago, where she moved the schools from the bottom 17% of the state to outperforming 64% of the state. Prior to moving to Chicago, she was a principal with Uncommon Schools, where she opened two charter schools in Rochester, NY, where her founding cohort of students at Rochester Prep ranked sixth in the state of NY for English Language Arts in 2008. Stacey’s work in urban education has been featured in the book Teach Like a Champion, by Doug Lemov, and Leverage Leadership, by Paul Bambrick.

Stacey graduated from Hampton University with a bachelor’s degree in Psychology. After undergrad, Stacey joined Teach For America in 1999, where she taught in Baltimore, Maryland and earned a master’s degree from Johns Hopkins in teaching. She went on to earn a second master’s degree in administration from Pace University

ArS

Shomik Dutta

Shomik Dutta is a co-founder and partner at Higher Ground Labs, a venture fund for technology companies that protect and strengthen democracy. Shomik co-founded Higher Ground Labs in the wake of the 2016 election and has since invested $40 million into technology start-ups that support over 10,000 progressive campaigns, causes, and labor unions.

Shomik began his career in Democratic politics and worked as a longtime political aide to President Obama. In 2008, Shomik served as Mid-Atlantic Finance Director to Obama for America and later served as a special assistant in the White House and as an aide on the Obama Biden re-election campaign. He also served as an Advisor to the Chairman of the Federal Communication Commission. Shomik later worked in renewable energy, overseeing the development, planning, and financing of utility-scale solar projects in Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa. Shomik earned his BA from Williams

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