Who We Are
Gianna Biaggi founded Magnolia Project through a High Tech High New School Creation Fellowship in 2021. She is a social entrepreneur, former teacher and administrator. Gianna has previously held roles at Sunflower Trust Kenya, Abaarso School and High Tech High. She has a B.A. from Kenyon College, an M.Ed. from the High Tech High Graduate School of Education, and a CTE Credential in Education in Education, Child Development and Family Services.
Vanessa Luna Shannon
Dean of Enrollment and Instruction
Santa Rosa Junior College
Vanessa Luna Shannon is a second generation Mexican-American who was born and raised in the Napa Valley and East Bay, and has been serving and supporting marginalized students for over 20 years. She is committed to preparing historically underrepresented students to complete their college education and advance into positions of leadership in the community. With an education in Clinical Psychology and training in mental health care, she has experience working in several community based organizations and schools as a substance abuse counselor, youth case manager, and multi-disciplinary program manager for families affected by the criminal justice system. In March of 2013, Vanessa was hired by Santa Rosa Junior College (SRJC) to be the Director of the Gateway to College Academy, a Petaluma City Schools charter high school located at SRJC Petaluma. The Gateway to College Academy sunsetted in spring 2020 and since then, SRJC has committed to grow early college credit pathways, including dual enrollment, and placed Vanessa at the helm. In 2023 In addition to her work at SRJC, Vanessa is a board member for Petaluma Health Center, a committee member on the City of Petaluma Transit Advisory Committee, and contributes to equity initiatives for vulnerable communities. As a mother of three, everyday she strives to raise compassionate, courageous, and socially conscious agents of change.
Dr. Audra Grady Verrier
Associate Provost of Career and Professional Development Loyola Marymount University
Dr. Audra Verrier became the Associate Vice Provost of Career and Professional Development at Loyola Marymount University in January 2023. She has been a leader in higher education for the past 20 years. She has managed departments and teams that focus on career preparation, leadership development, experiential learning, and community engagement for Sonoma State University, California Institute of Integral Studies, Brandeis University, and University of Maine. She has coached and advised 1,000’s of students and professionals to pursue their passions, create careers they love, and complete degree programs while developing themselves as active citizens and engaged leaders.
Verrier is a facilitator and educator on topics such as strategic planning and organizational development in the non-proﬁt sector, the psychology of leadership, ecopsychology and systems thinking, professional development, and entrepreneurial skills for leaders in education. She is passionate about equity and inclusion advocating for programs and services that provide access for all with a focus on antiracist program development and ﬁrst-generation students. Dr. Verrier also supports women and professionals to develop a deeper connection to nature as a means of strengthening resilience and moving beyond self-preservation.
Verrier holds a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology, Master of Science in Organizational Management, and a Doctorate in Psychology. Her research focuses on women and BIPOC communities overcoming bias and adversity, career and leadership development, and ﬁrst generation students. She is married to Rick Verrier and they have three children, Julia (3) and twins Logan and Layla (7 months).