With deep roots in both advocacy and the corporate world, our leadership team has been the steady hand behind all stripes of campaigns, stories, brands, and movements.

Charlie Cardillo

President & Creative Director

Charlie is Underground’s founder, employing over 20 years of experience crafting creative strategy and campaigns for the broadest possible array of nonprofits, foundations and government agencies. Charlie has led creative development for some of the most memorable and effective campaigns in the nonprofit world. His deep experience in the advocacy space underpins Underground’s work and culture, serving clients from Earthjustice and the Union of Concerned Scientists to San Francisco Public Schools and the Silicon Valley Community Foundation. The campaigns he’s developed have helped to propel a number of campaigns into the media, placing issues on the political and social radar. Charlie holds a degree in English from SUNY Geneseo, and can be found birdwatching throughout Northern California on weekends.

Laura Saponara

Senior Strategist

Laura Saponara has 20 years experience fomenting strategic communications for ambitious, effective nonprofits and philanthropies. She has worked with the leaders in their fields, including the Ford Foundation, Public Health Institute, Kaiser Permanente, and the California Opioid Safety Network. Laura is also former Communications Director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Northern California, where she oversaw a team of strategists who use storytelling and media of all kinds to defend fundamental rights and end abuses of power. She holds a master’s degree in Mass Communication from the University of Texas, Austin, where she wrote about the belief systems at work among religious conservative activists. Laura has taught media studies at UC Davis, serves as an advisor  to The Op-Ed Project, and continues to hone her sub-specialty in reaching Spanish speaking audiences in California through earned media, paid advertising and social media campaigns.

Eliana Sur

Vice President

Eliana makes things happen, in the best possible ways. She brings over a decade of experience marketing and managing global brands, spanning a breadth of industries. Partners include Samsung, Nike, Audi, Intel, and Autodesk. Eliana is insight-driven, data-responsive, and insatiably curious about people and the world. All of which means she knows how to dig deep to understand what makes your organization tick, and how to best tell your story. She has deep experience in brand marketing, content marketing, digital & social media marketing, account management, channel strategy, campaign development and management, strategic partnerships, events, payments, research and analytics. Yes— she does a lot.