YEM was cofounded by Ethan Ash and Michael Mazza in 2016, after inquiring with Michael’s daughters about how they could expand their driveway lemonade stand. Michael had a vision for a community event that gave young people an opportunity to explore beyond their traditional lemonade stands and be the vendors of the event. Ethan had a "like-minded" idea about educating young people about entrepreneurship and connecting them to the local resources and leaders in order to spark their own passions. These visions were combined to launch YEM in partnership with New Roots Charter School in 2017.
Ethan has worked in the online health information field as a co-founder of Vertical Health for nearly 10 years until its acquisition by Remedy Health Media in 2019. His work has been primarily focused on business development, marketing and revenue growth. In a volunteer capacity, Ethan has served on a range of non-profit boards including the Tompkins County Tourism Board, and chair of the Agritourism Task force, responsible for developing and implementing a strategic plan for agriculture and food/beverage-based tourism initiatives for the Finger Lakes Region. Ethan currently sits on multiple boards and/or development committees including State Theater of Ithaca, Groundswell Center for Local Food & Farming, and Planned Parenthood.
Michael is a 4th generation Ithacan and lifelong local enthusiast. His family immigrated to Ithaca from Italy in the early 1900’s and started several local businesses, including an Italian bakery, which we know today as the Ithaca Bakery. After 18 years in Ithaca, Michael studied business and marketing in both Vermont and California, leading to 15+ years in marketing and business development in the healthcare technology market. Michael moved his family back to Ithaca in 2009 so his wife and two daughters could experience the quality of life in the Finger Lakes. His vision for YEM is focused on helping youth discover their power to create. He is also a co-founder of the Ithaca Reggae Fest, dedicated to the protection of Cayuga Lake. Michael’s passion for community led him to New Roots Charter School, where he has been the Director of Community Engagement since 2017.