Staff and Leadership | Playworks

Playworks for every kid

Staff and Leadership

Jennifer Oxley
Executive Director

Jennifer brings enthusiasm, innovation, and performance to every endeavor she pursues. Her career spans over 20 years in nonprofit leadership, revenue generation, partnerships, and membership. Jennifer most recently served as Executive Director of the Fulbright Association, where she launched new mission-driven programs, accelerated global advocacy, and expanded member and staff capacity. In addition, she has served on numerous boards, including Compass, DC American Marketing Association, DC Scores, UMASS Alumni Club, Communikids School, and YMCA National Capital, and has been a coach and mentor for dozens of athletes and employees. Jennifer is happiest when she’s mentoring others and helping nonprofits thrive. A 20-year resident deeply committed to DC, she lives with her husband Elvis and son Max in the Washington DC area.

Miles Makdisi
Development Manager

Miles is a proud native of Berkeley, CA and a passionate advocate for organized play and sports as a tool for social change. Prior to joining Playworks, Miles founded “Sports for Development” in Colombia, modeling the mission and approach partially on Playworks. Miles also led the creation of the Colombia Lacrosse Association, directed an international service corps for athletes, and consulted with youth development organizations on fundraising and impact measurement. A former multi-sport athlete, Miles enjoys most athletic contests, hiking, making amazing sandwiches, and pulling for his beloved Golden State Warriors.

Kanya Shabazz
Program Director

Kanya comes to Playworks with many years of non-profit management and youth development experience. Before joining Playworks, Kanya served as Manager of Health Innovations at Children’s National Health System, administering projects addressing pediatric disparities in asthma, obesity, and diabetes. She directed programming at Harlem RBI, an award-winning youth development organization, and also worked with several child-serving non-profits in Northern California. She earned her Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology and Child Development from Tufts University. Kanya hails from the US Virgin Islands and is the proud mother of two sons.

Christopher "Topher" Anuzis
Program Manager

Topher's passion for play and working with kids stems from his days as "vaditaj" - or counselor - at the Latvian Heritage Camp he attended in his youth. There he learned the value of teaching children and the joy that comes from connecting with students. He's continued to fuel that passion over the past four years with Playworks, where our students call him Coach LV (note his heritage above). After two years as an AmeriCorps Coach and two more as our program associate, Topher is excited to step into the role of program manager. Coach LV brings an energetic attitude to our office and can often be found leading fun activities like trivia and "Olympics" for our team.

Sarah Ash
Engagement Specialist

Sarah is excited to bring her background in recreation leadership to her new role at Playworks DC. Originally from Long Island, New York, Sarah's previous youth development experience comes from working as a camp and retreat center program director and leadership intern. She enjoys facilitating games and finding new ways to stay organized. When she's not working, she can be found admiring art at the National Gallery or cheering on her Washington Capitals.

Eugene Easter
Lower Mid-Atlantic Account Manager

After 15 years of professional experience in the IT sector, Gene read a copy of "What Color is Your Parachute?" by Richard Bolles. This book caused Gene to have an epiphany, and changed the course of his career forever. With a newly found fervor, and a new direction plotted for his life, Gene began a career in Education Sales. He has served in the roles of account executive, regional sales manager and regional sales director for such notable companies as Scholastic, Pearson, and McGraw-Hill Education. Gene is passionate about children having all the resources they need to get a quality education, including safe and healthy recess! He loves spending quality time at home with his wife, young adult children, and his Australian Miniature Labradoodle. His favorite game as a child: dodgeball, without a doubt!

Lakia Meriwether
Site Coordinator

After serving three years as an AmeriCorps coach, Lakia is excited for her role as site coordinator for Playworks DC. Lakia earned her Bachelor's degree in Exercise Science from Trinity University. She applied her studies while coaching girls basketball at Drew Freeman Middle School, supporting middle and JV volleyball and softball programs at the National Cathedral School, and teaching tennis with the DC Department of Parks and Recreation. Outside of work, Lakia is found making music on her cello, going to the movies, and visiting DC's museums. She also loves jumping around at the trampoline park.