Leadership

Michael Cesar - Co-Founder and CEO

Founding Team Member - London, UK

Michael's strong interest in coaching and helping small teams come together to create social change led to his co-founding of and consistency in leading Duet.

Michael graduated from USC in 2019 with a degree in Business and International Relations. On campus, he was President of his Fraternity, Captain of the USC Men’s Rugby Team, Cochair of the USC Sexual and Personal Misconduct Committee, and a Warren Bennis Scholar. He also represented USC at the Association of Pacific Rim Universities program on world challenges in Vladivostok, Russia. Professionally, he gained experience as the head of sales for a small tech startup, interning at UBS in private wealth management, and as Interim Director of Fellows at Helena, a non-profit in downtown LA. Michael is from London, England.

His favorite song is Drift Away by Dobie Gray or Don’t Stop The Music by Rihanna

Rhys Richmond - Co-Founder and COO

Founding Team Member - Portland, OR

Rhys brings her passion for bringing multiple disciplines and fields to the right tables to create innovation and change to lead operations and growth at Duet.

From Portland, Oregon, Rhys is in her senior year at USC majoring in Biomedical Engineering and minoring in Health Policy. She works with LA nonprofits as Director of Projects for the student-run pro-bono consulting group Los Angeles Community Impact (LACI). As part of the Armani Research Group at USC Viterbi, Rhys researches optical and chemical methods for detecting malaria and building low-cost disinfection systems. In her free time, she loves dancing with USC Xpressions Dance Company, volunteering at local nonprofits, and spending time exploring the vibrant neighborhoods of LA.

Her favorite flavor of ice cream is Salt N Straw's Olive Oil... we agree, we think she's pretty strange.

LinkedIn

Lucas Hu - CTO

Founding Team Member - Palo Alto, CA

Lucas champions his interest in using technology to make the world a more equitable place at Duet.

Lucas graduated USC in 2020 with a B.S. in Computer Science and an M.S. in Electrical Engineering. While at USC, he founded the nation's first undergraduate student organization dedicated to using AI for social good, and now co-leads engineering at Duet. He currently works as a Data Scientist at Palo Alto Networks and also calls Palo Alto home.

His alternative dream career is being a private chef for a famous basketball player - we can attest, his cooking is quite excellent.

Stephanie Van Sickel - Head of Business Development

Founding Team Member - Mexico City, MX

Stephanie's focus on creating authentic connections between causes, individuals, and organizations helps Duet to exponentially increase our ability to positively impact the world.

Along with being the Head of Business Development for Duet, Stephanie is the Director of Development at the USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism where she raises and manages funds to support high-priority strategic funding needs. Before coming to USC, Stephanie had built a career in development for both non-profit health organizations and political campaigns, where she developed expertise in leading capital campaigns, building and transforming fundraising operations, strategic planning, resource development, board management, public relations, donor identification, stewardship and solicitation of major gifts. She is a recent USC Marshall MBA graduate, specialized in Social Impact and Sustainability in Business, a Brittingham Social Enterprise Lab MBA Society and Business Fellow, a former Keck Digital Health Fellow, and a former Vice President of Philanthropy for the Marshall Graduate Student Association. She attended UC Santa Barbara where she majored in Political Science with an emphasis in International Relations and a minor in Italian.

In addition to her other accolades, she is both a classically-trained violinist and a game-show winner. She truly can do it all.

Spence Blood - Head of Design

Founding Team Member - Austin, TX

At Duet, Spence aims to use human-centered design to innovate services that deliver agency to those lacking it.

Spence is a USC senior from Austin, Texas studying Business Administration and Designing for Experiences. He leads initiatives for Spark SC, a student entrepreneurship organization that empowers all students to begin making something new.

Spence was a state champion cup stacker at 11-years-old. Enough said.

Pearl Keane - Head of Partnerships

Founding Team Member - Miami, FL

At Duet, Pearl uses strategic partnerships and empathy to build a stronger and efficient social sector.  

Pearl is also a Charity Success Manager at Tiltify where she manages hundreds of nonprofit organizations focusing on strategically improving their fundraising. Pearl is a recent USC graduate in International Relations and Global Business with a minor in Social Entrepreneurship. During her time at USC she was heavily involved with the department of social entrepreneurship. She planned the first-ever Make a Choice Summit for Peace over Violence - a LA-based nonprofit focused on sexual, domestic, and interpersonal violence. She entered her proposal for the summit to a grant competition and won $10,000 on behalf of Peace over Violence. On campus, she was a student-athlete on the three time NCAA National Championship winning Division 1 Beach Volleyball team.

While at USC, Pearl took a semester off and moved to rural Guatemala with just a backpack and found a job at a hostel for 7 months.

The Team

Our permanent staff volunteers donate their time to furthering Duet's mission of doing good, better.

Raghav Maheshwari - Tech Lead

Founding Team Member - Zurich, CH

Raghav is a 2020 USC graduate in computer science and is passionate about the intersection of human-centered design, entrepreneurship, and technology. At USC, Raghav was involved in several social-good student-run organizations, working on initiatives such as an all Women’s Makeathon, creating a coalition of student leaders on campus to encourage collaboration, and helping serve as a founding e-board member of the Center for AI in Society Student Branch (CAIS++). Professionally, Raghav has multiple software engineering internship experiences in the e-commerce and FinTech space at Honey and Square and currently serves as a Software Engineer at Square. 

He can speak 4 languages - and can code in far more!

Charles Liu - Business Development

Cebu, Phillipines

Charles is a USC Junior studying Business Administration. He calls Palos Verdes, CA and Cebu in the Phillippines home. He currently works as a Supply Chain Intern at Tesla, has interned at Visa, and is an incoming Management Consulting Intern at PwC. Other than helping Duet grow to serve more populations across the world and minimizing donation waste, his professional goals include opening restaurants all over the world.

He'll make sure that all of those restaurants serve Matcha Green Tea ice-cream - his favorite flavor!

Ibrahim Mokhtar - Operations and Beneficiary Communication

Chicago, IL

Ibrahim is a current USC Junior studying Health and Human Sciences. On campus he is involved with Troy Camp mentoring local LA youth, Los Angeles Community Impact advising local LA non-profits, Black Student Assembly, and Muslim Student Assembly. At Duet, Ibrahim leverages his fluency in Arabic to communicate with refugee families and ensure beneficiary satisfaction. He also works with our local store owners to ensure that every item donated is smoothly handed off to families.

His future career goal is to become a pediatrician and his favorite food is a Sudanese staple called Gorasa - a bread bowl dish!

Cayman Silliman - Marketing (Blog) Coordinator

Alamo, CA

Cayman is a senior at USC studying International Relations and Global Business with a minor in Economics. She has a passion for sustainability and the future of our planet and strives to implement these passions through her work examining Duet's values, initiatives, and partnerships.

Her favorite sports team is the USC Trojans, but she won't turn down an opportunity to watch a Warriors game or a Red Sox matchup.

McKenzi Redohl - Development Events Coordinator

St. Louis, MO

McKenzi graduated from USC in 2019 with a B.A. in Communications and is currently employed as a Development Coordinator at the American Lung Association. In her free time, McKenzi loves playing the drums, running, and enjoying good books outside. At Duet, she is drawn to creating lasting impact and generating genuine human connection across borders.

Her favorite non-profit is Duet, but we think she might be a little biased.

Dylan Storm - Partnership Coordinator

Albuquerque, NM

Dylan is a marketing and partnerships professional who believes in the positive impacts collegiate and professional sports have on the community. He holds a B.A. in English from UC Santa Barbara and a Masters in Sports Management from the University of New Mexico. As the Marketing and Promotions Manager for the Albuquerque Isotopes, Dylan is well-versed in game-day entertainment strategies, corporate partnership, and multi-media marketing efforts. At Duet, Dylan is drawn to conveying this excitement throughout engagements with like-minded nonprofits and socially-minded organizations.

He loves Green Chile Cheese Enchiladas - hopefully we can expect a cooking class teaching the Duet Community how to make this dish soon!


Our interns are instrumental in helping us do good, better. Read all about our current interns here and view open positions here.