About Us


How We Were Started

Founders and Executive Directors Divya Ganesan and Eliza Goler first began thinking about “Real Talk” as middle school debate partners.


As a public forum duo, they recognized the value of the critical thinking skills and diverse perspectives represented in debate, but often absent from other settings.


In the face of increased political polarization on the national scale, they noticed a growing need to create opportunities for peers to engage in political discourse. In 2019, they started Real Talk to address these national trends in their local community and beyond.


Board Of Directors

Stacey Kertsman

Dean of Equity Education and Social Impact

Castilleja School

Mary Speiser

Chair of the Board

Castilleja School

Peter Minowitz

Professor of Political Science

Santa Clara University 



Ayanna Gandhi

Director of Chapters

Michael Ma

Director of Events

Lauren Lin

Director of Marketing and Publications

Emily Chan

Director of Finance

Max Talwar

Co-Director of Curriculum

Jackson Deutch

Co-Director of Curriculum

Hannah Onderdonk

Social Media Lead

Josie O'Hara

Blog Lead

Gilli Nieh

Website and Graphic Design Lead