once upon a time...

Paul Burke was treating his niece and nephew, Marie and Mark, to spring break. The itinerary was simple: Have fun! However, when Paul actually took Marie and Mark to museums around the city, all he saw them do was take out their phones and zone out. To get them fired up about art and culture, Paul tried suggesting some of the audio tours museums offered. “Yuck! Do you know how many people put those things to their ears?” they said. That part, Paul understood. What was bothering him was seeing their eyes glued to their phone screens. It was time to put his foot down. “Look guys, you’re here. Enjoy this.” The next part, he did not expect. “We’re already enjoying it,” both teenagers said. Then they showed him their phones: they had been googling the works of art the entire time. That was when the light bulb went off. The phone wasn't a distraction, but an awesome tool for making the experience something more...

Executive Gurus

Paul Burke

Paul Burke

Chief Executive Officer

Vision & Career:

Paul is the youngest of eight kids. He is also the best-looking and funniest. His family loves him so much that, at the age of 16, they sent him on a 42-day wilderness survival expedition. His big takeaway: two sticks make fire. After talking his way into college, he spent several years trading commodities and stocks in Chicago. The movie Anchorman eventually convinced him to move to San Diego, “the greatest city in the history of mankind.” (His girlfriend, also, might have had something to do with it.) Things he loves: Chicago sports; his dog, Ari; and shoes. Apparently, Paul owns more shoes than everyone else at Guru … combined … multiplied by three. If you want to know if it’s Paul Burke walking towards you, just look down at the shoes. If they’re a color of the rainbow, it’s him.

Paul Shockley

Paul Shockley

Chief Creative Officer

Vision & Career:

Paul is one part dreamer, one part entrepreneur and one part athlete. The result? A potent cocktail of creativity, business acumen and work ethic that is equally pleasant whether shaken or stirred. Paul learned the basics of business around the same time he learned to walk, buying things from neighborhood garage sales, refurbishing them at home, and reselling them for a tidy profit at the local swap meet. After graduating from USC’s School of Cinematic Arts, he started a series of successful businesses, including an international real estate company, a video production company and a digital marketing firm. Currently, Paul is developing a new project he likes to call “cooking.”

Hilary Srole

Hilary Srole

Guru Founder

Vision & Career:

Hilary is a lifelong juggler...metaphorically speaking. Literally, she’s a terrible juggler. As a child she dabbled in gymnastics, jazz dance, karate and the flute. In college she majored in Hospitality and Tourism at San Diego State University and spent the next seven years overseeing teams of up to a hundred people in order to put on events for 600-plus guests. Currently, she applies her juggling talents (again, it’s a metaphor) managing projects and keeping the Guru team working at optimal efficiency.

Clay Shinn

Clay Shinn

Chief Technical Officer

Vision & Career:

Do you ever deposit your checks using your phone? You can thank Clay Shinn for that. On top of being a tech guru (pun intended), he is also an avid traveler. He has visited over 50 countries, and is planning on completing a 50-mile trek in New Zealand for his 50th birthday. (The number 50 is a recurring motif at this juncture in his life.) At Guru, we know him as a typical San Diego native. What does that mean? He loves shorts. Before every meeting, he texts Paul Burke, “Is this a pants meeting?” It usually is.

Alenna Gatti

Alenna Gatti

Director of Sales and Global Partnerships

Vision & Career:

Alenna Gatti is 30% bold dance moves, 30% wicked intellect, and 50% straight up entrepreneurial fire. That’s right, she’s 110% awesome. Eight years ago Alenna sold her truck and bought a one way ticket to New York City where she conquered the city as Director of Sales for content marketing firms and boutique creative agencies. With her love of food and business savvy, it’s likely she was the NYC queen pin of the secret society of food artisans known as the “Black Truffle Market”. The power of her creativity and entrepreneurial spirit has been compared to the ferocity of ten thousand honey badgers. Back on her old stomping grounds in San Diego, Alenna is looking forward to sharing her skills, expertise, and amazing snacks with the Guru team and her partners.

Vision & Career:

Paul is the youngest of eight kids. He is also the best-looking and funniest. His family loves him so much that, at the age of 16, they sent him on a 42-day wilderness survival expedition. His big takeaway: two sticks make fire. After talking his way into college, he spent several years trading commodities and stocks in Chicago. The movie Anchorman eventually convinced him to move to San Diego, “the greatest city in the history of mankind.” (His girlfriend, also, might have had something to do with it.) Things he loves: Chicago sports; his dog, Ari; and shoes. Apparently, Paul owns more shoes than everyone else at Guru … combined … multiplied by three. If you want to know if it’s Paul Burke walking towards you, just look down at the shoes. If they’re a color of the rainbow, it’s him.

Board Gurus

Nik Honeysett

Nik Honeysett

Board Guru

Vision & Career:

Board Member: Nik Honeysett is CEO of the Balboa Park Online Collaborative (www.balboapark.org/bpoc), a technology non-profit consultancy that provides support, development and strategy for the museums in Balboa Park, San Diego and beyond. Previously, he was Head of Administration for the J. Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles, California, (www.getty.edu) overseeing budget, personnel, operational and administrative services across the Getty’s two sites, in Brentwood and Malibu. Prior to this role, he lead the Getty's Web Group, responsible for all aspects of their main website, intranets and web development activities. Before moving to Los Angeles in 2000, he spent 12 years at Cogapp (www.cogapp.com), a UK-based consultancy specializing in the publication of interactive and online multimedia for the cultural sector in Europe and the USA. He is a former chair of AAM’s Media & Technology Standing Professional Committee and their Standing Professional Committee Council. He currently sits on the boards of AAM (www.aam-us.org), the Museum Computer Network (www.mcn.edu) and Guru (www.theguru.co), and teaches a course on the culture and management of museum technology through Johns Hopkins’ Museum Studies Masters Program. He holds an undergraduate degree in Physics and a postgraduate degree in Electronics. Blog: www.recoveringtechnologist.com / musematic.net/author/nhoneysett / midea.nmc.org/author/nhoneysett    

Andy Ballester

Andy Ballester

Board Guru

Vision & Career:

Andy Ballester helped change the way the world gives when he co-founded GoFundMe in 2010. Since then, GoFundMe has helped raise over $6Billion dollars for medical expenses, education, community projects, sports, emergencies, pets and more, making it the largest online fundraising platform. But that’s not all Andy’s done to make the world a better place. He’s also co-founded Crushed, a restaurant in San Diego that specializes in brunch (drool!)...and mimosas (yes!)...lots of them (eek!). Seriously, just check out its Instagram account and you’ll see what has Crushed fans swooning, not to mention lining up every morning to get in. When he’s not crushing the brunch game, Andy spends his free time with his family, experimenting with virtual reality, or fostering a passion for creating products that drive change.  Andy is as excited as we are about where Guru is heading in the AR/VR space.

Art Berliner

Art Berliner

Board Guru

Vision & Career:

What do you get when you cross a passion for finding ground-breaking industry leaders, a mastery in leading investments across nations, and a deep-rooted love of museums and art galleries? You get Guru board member, Art Berliner! Art is the founder and managing director at Walden Venture Capital where he has spent the last few decades leading several IPO and M&A exits in the US, Israel, and Asia. Art has made investments in companies encompassing a variety of industries but is renowned for his expertise in consumer, retail and e-commerce business. When he isn’t looking for emerging industry talents, Art is perusing the galleries for new and emerging artists. We guess you could say, Art loves art. Contemporary art, to be exact. In fact, a favorite from his collection is a piece from Andy Warhol’s series “Ten Famous Jews of the 20th Century”, (Art likes to think of himself as the eleventh). Art lives in Berkeley with his family and his two fantastic rescue border collies.

Houman Haghighi

Houman Haghighi

Board Guru

Vision & Career:

A junkie for adventure, a pioneer of world-changing tech, and an out of the box thinker, Houman Haghighi brings his business savvy and passion for innovation to the Guru board. Houman has led the way in multiple roles at Qualcomm in engineering, product development and in business. Houman is always looking to develop or support technology that changes the way we look at the world and redefines the way we interact with everyday things. As an example, Houman’s early work on Amazon Kindle’s original book delivery system, WhisperNet, redefined how we receive and read books! When he’s not challenging the bounds of technology, or investing in the next big idea, Houman is challenging the limits of the human mind and body. A former pro skier, a certified dive master, and a polyglot, Houman loves to push himself to do astonishing things. His latest challenge? Maneuvering his two vivacious daughters, (one two-year-old and one six-month-old) to bed at night! It looks like Houman’s daughters inherited his vim and vigor and he can’t wait to take them on their own adventures!

Grady Burnett

Grady Burnett

Board Guru

Vision & Career:

Grady Burnett’s favorite letters of the alphabet are A, B, C, O, M, P, and V. Oh whoops, we got that wrong. Those aren’t his favorite letters, they’re acronym milestones of his career! He has been the VP of Global Marketing Solutions at Facebook as well as of Agency Sales for DoubleClick. He was COO of Flurry, bought by Yahoo and has an MBA from Harvard. Those are definitely some impressive letters. Right now he is the co-founder of Bow Capital, using his experience and expertise to fuel the dreams of aspiring entrepreneurs. Grady isn’t a big fan of love...in tennis terms that is! Grady was a pro tennis player for three years! He is an ace addition to the Guru team and we are looking forward to seeing the insights he’ll be serving up on our board of directors.

Vision & Career:

Board Member: Nik Honeysett is CEO of the Balboa Park Online Collaborative (www.balboapark.org/bpoc), a technology non-profit consultancy that provides support, development and strategy for the museums in Balboa Park, San Diego and beyond. Previously, he was Head of Administration for the J. Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles, California, (www.getty.edu) overseeing budget, personnel, operational and administrative services across the Getty’s two sites, in Brentwood and Malibu. Prior to this role, he lead the Getty's Web Group, responsible for all aspects of their main website, intranets and web development activities. Before moving to Los Angeles in 2000, he spent 12 years at Cogapp (www.cogapp.com), a UK-based consultancy specializing in the publication of interactive and online multimedia for the cultural sector in Europe and the USA. He is a former chair of AAM’s Media & Technology Standing Professional Committee and their Standing Professional Committee Council. He currently sits on the boards of AAM (www.aam-us.org), the Museum Computer Network (www.mcn.edu) and Guru (www.theguru.co), and teaches a course on the culture and management of museum technology through Johns Hopkins’ Museum Studies Masters Program. He holds an undergraduate degree in Physics and a postgraduate degree in Electronics. Blog: www.recoveringtechnologist.com / musematic.net/author/nhoneysett / midea.nmc.org/author/nhoneysett    

Creative Gurus

Dana Duran

Dana Duran

Director of Content

Vision & Career:

Dana can basically do anything. Play for a division one softball team? Check. Write compelling copy for B12 vitamins? Double check. Get a master’s in English? Jackpot! Dana loves anything to do with literature and writing. She even got engaged at Jane Austen’s house. (If you haven’t been there, you must go...now.) Also, if you want to learn the optimal way to experience Comic-Con, talk to Dana. Some of her other skills include digital marketing and teaching college English classes.

Chelsea Peters

Chelsea Peters

Operations Manager

Vision & Career:

Chelsea hates the sunshine, but also refuses to live anywhere without “beach” in the name (she’s from Newport, and currently resides in Pacific Beach). She counts shopping and walking from bar to bar as exercise: the only sports she likes are classical ballet and hockey, which she thinks is a pretty accurate assessment of her personality. She double majored in Television, Film, and New Media, & English at San Diego State University... because she realized that she was going to graduate a year early and wanted to stay! She’s obsessed with movies and TV, and believes in the artistic merit of everything from Tarkovsky’s “Stalker”, to Jackass. She spends her spare time programming for a film festival, petting fuzzy animals, and yelling out wrong answers for jeopardy.

Gina McKinna

Gina McKinna

Designer

Vision & Career:

Gina’s fascination for graphic design began in the early computer days, playing Oregon Trail. After she had shot her ration of bison and the thought of another bout of dysentery was just too much to bear, she took her love of graphic art with her to the Art Institute of California in San Diego. She has designed for big companies like Jack in the Box—where she got paid to taste-test Jack’s crispy chicken strips—as well as some of our nation’s finest museums, aquaria, and historical venues. Currently, Gina resides in Denver. When she’s not creating on-screen, you can find her sculpting play-doh masterpieces with her toddler son and reminiscing about her hound dog Elvis’s short-lived Petco supermodel days.

Lexie Sharabianlou

Lexie Sharabianlou

Storyteller

Vision & Career:

Lexie Sharabianlou once rescued a pelican tangled in fishing wire armed only with a kayak and some toenail clippers. She has been trained in fire safety by the Scottish Fire Brigade and can make mac and cheese taste like what first love feels like. After earning her masters in literature, Lexie became a high school English teacher. She was known for turning vocab quizzes into scavenger hunts and always keeping her students educated, entertained, and slightly alarmed. Lexie loves comics, writing, books, and food. She also wants to know if you have a dog and if she can pet her.

 

Paige Potter

Paige Potter

Customer Success Associate

Vision & Career:

Although her last name makes you think she would totally be a Gryffindor, Paige Potter was sorted into the noble house of Ravenclaw. She earned her Masters in Managing Archaeological Sites from University College London’s Institute of Archaeology--and yes, she does have an Indiana Jones fedora. While Paige could have easily chosen to spend her life hunting down horcruxes or running away from boulders, Paige loves working with museums and cultural centers. In her work both in the UK and in her native California, Paige finds engaging and innovative techniques to connect with visitors of all ages and manages projects that inspire communities. Rumor has it she is the inspiration for an upcoming modern Disney princess movie entailing a hunt for magic relics, dancing horses, spaceships, and a talking chipmunk.

 

Kevin Lindmark

Kevin Lindmark

AR/VR Guru

Vision & Career:

Kevin is an expert at magic and future stuff. It is the only way we can explain his ability to create enthralling and transportative augmented and virtual reality experiences. Kevin takes our craziest ideas and makes dreams come true. Everything Kevin does is unfathomably complicated but that’s what he loves about his work. He is also Guru’s in-house chef (we wish!). Kevin has roasted a whole pig in a pizza oven, concocted a delectable lamb liver pate, and boiled 40 pounds of live crawfish in a legendary crawfish feast. The ghost of King Henry VIII has been known to follow Kevin around his kitchen, salivating.

Jeff Domitrz

Jeff Domitrz

A/V Guru

Vision & Career:

Jeff is a professional candy maker. That is to say he makes candy for the eyes and the ears! Jeff got started as an animator and a visual designer at an early age, making stop-motion movies in the garage.  Ever since then he's been in a creative flurry, feverishly producing videos, music, animations, games and VR experiences: he just can't stop! When Jeff's not making insanely cool things, he enjoys spending time with his family, pondering the nature of the cosmos, and taking short walks on the beach.

Vision & Career:

Dana can basically do anything. Play for a division one softball team? Check. Write compelling copy for B12 vitamins? Double check. Get a master’s in English? Jackpot! Dana loves anything to do with literature and writing. She even got engaged at Jane Austen’s house. (If you haven’t been there, you must go...now.) Also, if you want to learn the optimal way to experience Comic-Con, talk to Dana. Some of her other skills include digital marketing and teaching college English classes.

Tech Gurus

Anna Wawszczak

Anna Wawszczak

Team Lead/iOS/PhoneGap dev Guru

Vision & Career:

If Guru’s iOS team is a circus, then Anna is the ringleader––top hat, whip, and redcoat included. As a little girl, she used to sneak up behind her brother and watch him furiously type coded letters to his girlfriend...or at least that’s what Anna thought he was doing. It took some time, but eventually Anna learned that what her brother was really dabbing in was the obscure art of programming. She became an iOS developer before anyone in Poland even knew what the word “iPhone” meant. Today, she runs the backend of Guru’s apps.

LIkes: Volleyball, Design, Apple

Karol

Karol

iOS developer Guru

Vision & Career:

If you think Karol’s athletic build and rippling arm muscles are impressive, wait until he flexes his iOS developing skills. An avid weightlifter and crossfitter, Karol takes pride in both his physique and his work and can often be found writing lines of code right after volleyball training while sporting his ever-present post-workout woolen socks—yes, even in the summer. A fan of Apple since childhood, becoming an iOS developer has been a dream come true.
Likes: volleyball, gym, photography, chess

Paweł Krakowiak

Paweł Krakowiak

iOS developer Guru

Vision & Career:

Look up the word ‘lonewolf’ in the dictionary, and you’ll find a picture of Pawel next to it. ‘Teamwork’ is not in his vocabulary. Instead, he steps into the office, crawls to his desk, and immediately gets to work without so much as a ‘hello’ or ‘good morning.’ Whatever social skills Pawel lacks, he makes up for it in speed and efficiency. Give him an hour to do a project and he’ll finish it in fifteen minutes. But wait! Don’t you go giving him more stuff to do. Between tasks, Pawel likes to decompress by one of two ways: playing his guitar or taking a stroll through a forest. On his spare time, your best guess on where to find Pawel would be somewhere at the local national forest feeding squirrels and bathing with the birds by a stream. In short, he’s a freak of nature.

Likes: motorbike, playing guitar, walking with dog

Krzysztof Podlejski

Krzysztof Podlejski

iOS/PhoneGap dev Guru

Vision & Career:

Did you ever dream of being a royal English knight in the days of yore? To sit in King Arthur’s round table with 20 other rowdy lads as you all reminisce about slaying dragons and orcs over pints of beer? Never had that dream? Well, our iOS developer, Krzysztof Podlejski, daydreams about this every day. In fact, he even owns a full set of armor. Whether the piece is authentic, his co-workers couldn’t say. But they can attest to Krzysztof sporting his armor in preparation of slaying some orcs in the multiverse of Warhammer 40k. Yes, that is a video game, which means he doesn’t actually slay real life beasts. To be fair, it’s the closest Krzysztof gets to living out his dream. After all, his day job as an iOS developer can only get so exciting.

Likes: challenges, order, checkered shirts

Juliusz Mikoda

Juliusz Mikoda

Android developer Guru

Vision & Career:

Julius likes to KISS: Keep It Stupid Simple. His nickname is Max, he's a developer, and he likes fixing phones. That's all you need to know about him.

Likes: electronics, ski, diving, fishing

Kacper Markowski

Kacper Markowski

Android developer Guru

Vision & Career:

Kacper shares no similarities with his American namesake, Casper the Friendly Ghost. For one, you can’t miss him. (He’s freakishly big and tall.) And two, his arms won’t go through you whenever he goes for an old-fashioned warm hug. That’s right, having Kacper around the office is less like having a ghost and more like having a big snuggly bear giving out hugs for free. He’s the friendliest of the bunch. He’s also apparently the most beautiful. He denies it, but the rest of his coworkers believe he moonlights as a model.

Likes: Cycling, swimming, fantasy books.

Piotr Stefani

Piotr Stefani

Android dev/tester Guru

Vision & Career:

Are you a coffee person? If you are, you already have 78.3 percent in common with Piotr. His office mantra is, “No coffee. No talkee.” (That may even be emblazoned on his mug.) Day and night, Piotr drinks, smells, and even sweats coffee. After coffee, his other loves in life are cooking, reading, developing apps, and even drinking the occasional glass of wine. (He failed to mention whether he’s a white or red person.)

Likes: Coffee, cooking, books, wine

Adrian Jeż

Adrian Jeż

iOS/Android dev Guru

Vision & Career:

Adrian is a Polish ninja turtle. He can only be pressed to do things if offered pizza. He’s not particularly fond of vegetables. He had his first carrot while working for Guru. (He said he liked it, but maybe not as a substitute for pizza.) He’s also not fond of the word ‘impossible.’ Give him a super challenging task, like debugging an app or picking trash, and he’ll get the job done.

Likes: sleeping, watching tv, music, books

Jan Królikowski

Jan Królikowski

Android developer Guru

Vision & Career:

Jan is a true outdoorsman. When not in the office, squashing any droid bugs the development team might be dealing with, he enjoys being outside. Jan is an avid archer, and goes by the nickname of Robin Hood. When not shooting arrows, he loves to fish, leaving few carp uncaught from his local river.

Likes: fishing, archery

Mateusz Kupczyk

Mateusz Kupczyk

Web developer Guru

Vision & Career:

Mateusz excelled while at school.. at driving his teachers crazy! He now serves as a developer on the Guru team as an expert at making everyone’s lives easier through his dissection of the backend. While not working on making everyone’s lives a bit easier, he is either catching up on the latest movies or TV series, making himself a hero of note smashing (Guitar Hero) or aiming to be the hero of civilization crushing (Age of Empires II). Seriously, with Mateusz, it’s all about the awesome.

Likes: Playing pool, volleyball, Age of Empires II, Guitar Hero.

Michał Michalak

Michał Michalak

Web developer Guru

Vision & Career:

When he was a kid, Michal wanted above all things to be a mind-reader. The closest thing he’s gotten to this dream is being able to callout bluffers during weekly poker nights. Besides being an expert web-developer for Guru, Michal is also a thrill-seeking maniac. The wildest thing he’s done is outrun an avalanche on his snowboard. He also loves playing tennis. This guy is just bouncing with energy.

Likes: tv series, snowboard, tennis, poker, programming

Dominik Mrugalski

Dominik Mrugalski

Web developer Guru

Vision & Career:

Give him some craft materials and a little free time and our youngest backend developer will create colorful and miraculous artful works. Dominik's love for DYI helps with his incredible patience while maneuvering through the Django jungle and learning new things every day. Recently, he aspired to discover the Angular JS side of things. After spending restless hours at work, he grabs his guitar to soothe himself with merry tunes, preferably within circle of his friends (and his girlfriend, especially).

Likes: sports, meet friends, relaxing, honesty

Krzysztof Jabłoński

Krzysztof Jabłoński

iOS developer Guru

Vision & Career:

Krzysztof is known for two things. His everyday outfit combo of a white robe and straw hat, and his skills at iOS development. He speaks the complicated language of Objective-C and is known for creating difficult pictogram puzzles for his co-workers to decipher. He used to say that he is a guru of rainbow and giraffes. Why? You should not even try to guess.

Likes: tabletop games, a good book, loads of tea, bike

Asia Wasilewska

Asia Wasilewska

QA Testing Guru

Vision & Career:

Asia likes making sure everything's in order and works as it should when it comes to apps...and her travels! A day off? Let's fly somewhere! Wanna make people jealous? Let's take a funky picture with a monkey climbing on our heads! All the while, Asia continues to make Guru apps better by testing functionality and keeping developers (and unsuspecting monkeys) on their toes!

Sylwia Terka

Sylwia Terka

QA Testing Guru

Vision & Career:

If you combined an outdoor roller rink, bookstore, and movie theater into one multiplex of amazingness, you would probably find Sylwia there all the time! When she’s not keeping Guru apps in tip-top shape, Slywia spends her time outside rollerblading and cycling. When it’s cloudy and gray, Sylwia curls up inside with a good book, TV show, or movie.

Vision & Career:

If Guru’s iOS team is a circus, then Anna is the ringleader––top hat, whip, and redcoat included. As a little girl, she used to sneak up behind her brother and watch him furiously type coded letters to his girlfriend...or at least that’s what Anna thought he was doing. It took some time, but eventually Anna learned that what her brother was really dabbing in was the obscure art of programming. She became an iOS developer before anyone in Poland even knew what the word “iPhone” meant. Today, she runs the backend of Guru’s apps.

LIkes: Volleyball, Design, Apple