Students on a Break


Our Mission

Project ECHO’s mission is to empower students with entrepreneurial and leadership skills so that they can thrive in college, their careers and in their community as change-makers.

We believe entrepreneurs are made, not born. A combination of hard work, drive, determination, empathy, making mistakes and learning from them are the ingredients that will make our students successful business and community leaders of tomorrow.

Project ECHO empowers students with entrepreneurial and leadership skills so that they can thrive in college, their careers and in their community as change-makers. We achieve this by offering programs that teach business skills and simulate the real-world entrepreneurial process of taking an idea and learning how to turn it into a business. All of our programs culminate in a showcase event where students present their start-ups to an audience, with many empowered to compete in the Teen Business Plan Competition where student teams compete for cash prizes.

Project ECHO (Entrepreneurial Concepts Hands-On) is a non-profit organization established in Los Angeles in 1996. Over the years, Project ECHO has grown and evolved from a program focused on helping at-risk students into a vibrant business academy providing opportunities to students from diverse academic and socio-economic backgrounds. Project ECHO teaches teens how to become entrepreneurs coupled with life lessons like how to work with others, learning from failure, the value of planning, believing in yourself, public speaking and much more.

“Project ECHO provides teens a solid foundation to explore college majors and future careers while in high school.  It's amazing to watch a team's full business pitch and see all of the curriculum elements come to life for each of these students. For many of our teens, this is the first time they understand how their academic strengths and personal interests will transition into a future career."


 -Diane Quast, Executive Director

Our Locations:
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Los Angeles, CA
Walnut, CA
Bellflower, CA
Arcadia, CA
Inglewood, CA
Covina, CA
Rolling Hills Estates, CA 
Pacific Palisades, CA
Los Alamitos, CA
Burlingame, CA


Project ECHO partners with schools, after school programs and other nonprofits to bring entrepreneurship to their students.  

Alamogordo, NM
Livingston, NJ
Alhambra, CA
Oakland, CA
Houston, TX
Chicago, IL
Fort Lauderdale, FL



Julie Broady

Vice Chair & Board Treasurer

Scott Fennel

Board Member

Lee Fox

Chair of the Board of Directors

Dustin Gale

Immediate-Past Board Chair

Chip Goodman


Jeff Kravitz

Board Secretary

Per Sjofors

Board Member

David Tokofsky

Board Member

Miles Warren

Board Member



Jeff Weigel

Advisory Board Member

Devan Sood

Advisory Board Member



Diane Quast, M.P.A.

Executive Director

Matilda Albano, M.Ed.

Program Director
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Kelly McDaniel Thorisson, M.A.

Instructional Director 
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Farah Vallera, Ph.D.

Senior Curriculum Developer
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Lisa Sando

Accounting Manager
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Marsha Thompson

Entrepreneurship Teacher
Virtual Programs
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Now Recruiting!

Director of Development &
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Now Recruiting!

Marketing Intern
Keyboard and Mouse

Project ECHO is Hiring!

Marketing and Communications
Fall 2023

To apply, please submit your resume and any requisite information to:

Diane Quast, Executive Director

Director of Development Communication