Since 2014, Understood has served millions of families of kids who learn and think differently. In 2012, our Workplace Initiative was created and has helped thousands of people with all types of disabilities find meaningful employment at inclusive companies.

Our programs for Families, Educators, and Young Adults focus on empowering people who learn and think differently and those who support them, offering customized, accessible resources and a compassionate community. Our Workplace Initiative helps organizations across industries create inclusive workplaces, by developing and implementing best-in-class disability inclusion programs so they can hire, advance, and retain people with disabilities.

We work with educators, healthcare professionals, researchers, and human resource professionals to provide proven, vetted information. By providing resources, support, and community, we can prevent people from being left behind and start to address systemic issues like high school dropout rates, underemployment, and the stigma surrounding disabilities.

Our Leadership

Fred Poses

Fred Poses

CEO and President of Understood

As the leader of Understood, Fred is determined to ensure that everyone who learns and thinks differently can thrive. His unique perspective was shaped through leadership roles at public companies and years of philanthropy for education causes. For 15 years, he served as the chairman of the National Center for Learning Disabilities. He is currently a trustee of the Riverview School, a school for children with special needs. Fred brings an impact- and consumer-focused mindset to Understood from his leadership roles at public companies, including chief executive officer and partner of Ascend Performance Materials, and chairman and chief executive officer of Trane Inc. (previously American Standard Companies). Prior to that, he was president and chief operating officer at Allied Signal from 1998 to 1999 where he served in various capacities over his career, beginning in 1969. Fred spent two years in Peru with the Peace Corps. He holds a bachelor’s degree in business administration from New York University.

Nancy Poses

Nancy Poses

Chair of the Board

Nancy Poses has dedicated her life to shaping the world for difference. She was instrumental in the development and launch of Understood in 2014 and was engaged in the work of the National Center for Learning Disabilities for 15 years. Nancy is also the driving force behind the Poses Family Foundation, which focuses on initiatives related to learning and thinking differences, education, literacy and assistive technology. She serves on the board of trustees at the Riverview School, where her son Max graduated, and at The Whitney Museum. She is a member of the board of directors at PASE (Partnership for After School Education) and at the Drawing Center. She holds an Ed M in counseling from Teachers College, Columbia University.

Karin Bilich

Karin Bilich

Vice President of Editorial Content

Karin leads a strong team of writers, editors, and experts who focus on those who learn and think differently. Before joining Understood, Karin spent nine years as a freelance content consultant working on websites specializing in education, health care and parenting. Her clients included: Columbia University Medical Center, Café Mom, Lawrence Woodmere Academy, Meredith Publishing, Girl Scouts, Kaboose and CBS.com. She previously served as a producer for Billboard.com, as a writer/editor/content manager at AmericanBaby.com, and as the head of website operations for Publishers Weekly magazine. Karin holds a BFA from New York University.

Maria Bridge

Maria Bridge

Chief Operating Officer

Maria oversees all organizational functions including people, fundraising, partnerships, planning, finance, and legal. She has expertise in building high-performing organizations of all sizes, from seed-stage tech companies to Fortune 500s. She joined Understood from a consultancy she founded, Topo Group, which worked with top startups to build their culture, increase their efficiency, and develop exceptional talent. Prior to launching Topo, Maria spent eight years at Bain & Company, where she led strategic growth and behavioral change programs for global organizations. After Bain, Maria held operational roles at Warby Parker, and Sweetgreen. She earned her MBA from the Stanford Graduate School of Business.

Haftan Eckholdt

Haftan Eckholdt

Chief Data Officer and Chief Science Officer

As chief data officer and chief science officer, Haftan leads the data science function (analytics and modeling) and builds new initiatives for people who learn and think differently. Haftan has a successful track record building data science teams at companies like Albertsons (Plated), Amazon (Audible), and AIG. Previously he held faculty appointments in neurology/neuroscience at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine where he directed the biometry core at the Kennedy Center for Human Development. He holds graduate degrees in biostatistics and developmental psychology from Columbia and Cornell Universities.

Nathan Friedman

Nathan Friedman

Chief Marketing Officer and Interim Families Program Lead

Nathan leads the multi-faceted brand, marketing, communications and production functions for Understood. He has extensive experience building iconic brands, crafting engaging campaigns, and leading teams through complex operational challenges. He began his career at Ogilvy where he eventually led its West Coast operation. Other roles include general manager of a mid-sized agency and president of a consultancy focused on start-ups in the impact space. He is an advisor with The Collaborative Fund and serves on the board of directors of the Point Foundation— the largest LGBT scholarship fund. He graduated from Washington University in St. Louis. Nathan and his brother both have learning and thinking differences, which makes this cause very important to him and his family.

Ryan Lombardo

Ryan Lombardo

Vice President of Engineering

Ryan oversees the development of technology and platform infrastructure for Understood. Prior to joining the team, Ryan worked at BuzzFeed where he led the engineering team responsible for feature development across owned-and-operated web properties. At BuzzFeed, he worked on improving the speed of content delivery, and building mobile-first experiences. Previously, Ryan focused on mobile development at Joule, a WPP agency.

Patricia Toledo

Patricia Toledo

Vice President of the Workplace Initiative

Patricia leads the Workplace Initiative by Understood which is transforming the field of disability inclusion. She’s an experienced leader who has built scalable end-to-end businesses from scratch. With more than 20 years of strategic planning, product innovation, digital marketing, and business management experience, she has worked across Latin American, U.S., and European markets. Her global experience includes co-founding two companies, leading large and complex teams, and product P&Ls for brands such as Santander Bank, Ogilvy, and Mondelez, among others. She earned her MBA from Fundação Dom Cabral, in Brazil.

Dan Ginsberg

Dan Ginsberg

Head of Educators Program

Dan brings a strong education industry background to his role as head of the Educators Program. He is a builder and change agent with a passion for product, education and delivering growth through innovation and customer delight. His work in the field spans more than 20 years and includes senior roles at Pearson, Education.com and Schoolnet. He started his career as a middle school science teacher at PS 51 in Hell’s Kitchen and more recently served as a charter school board member at Launch Expeditionary Learning Charter School in Brooklyn.

Featured resources

What Is Dyslexia?

Dyslexia is a learning disability in reading. Get a definition of dyslexia and learn about the dyslexic brain.

What Is Dyslexia?

Dyslexia is a learning disability in reading. Get a definition of dyslexia and learn about the dyslexic brain.

A Day in the Life of a Teen With Dyscalculia

What's it like to have dyscalculia? Get a glimpse at how dyscalculia, or a math learning disability, can affect a kid's everyday life.

A Day in the Life of a Teen With Dyscalculia

What's it like to have dyscalculia? Get a glimpse at how dyscalculia, or a math learning disability, can affect a kid's everyday life.

8 Common Myths About ADHD

Is what you know about ADHD true? Here are some common myths and misconceptions about attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder, put to rest.

8 Common Myths About ADHD

Is what you know about ADHD true? Here are some common myths and misconceptions about attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder, put to rest.

Stay informed

Sign up to receive weekly helpful resources