Who should come?
This conference is for anyone that wants to reshape the future of politics in America. We are ALL NewFounders. This is past calling reps and resistance. We're going to directly bridge you into teams solving critical problems based on your skill set, so you can work alongside leaders as a leader to make the change we need.
Come with any background--all you need is a desire to build a better democracy!
Alex Niemczewski is CEO and co-founder of BallotReady, an award-winning nonpartisan online voter guide to every race and referendum on the ballot. Previously she founded a research consulting firm and taught coding at the Booth School of Business and The Starter League. She has a background in workforce development and is an alum of The University of Chicago.
Andrea Hailey is the Founder of Civic Engagement Fund. A recognized philanthropic and political leader, Andrea’s career spans over 40 federal and state campaigns. Her work in media strategy and fundraising garnered Pollie awards in 2008 and 2010, and she raised over a million dollars in under 60 days for the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial in 2007. A biracial millennial, she began her career in the office of Rep. Patrick Kennedy. Andrea currently sits on the board of NARAL Pro-Choice America and serves on the leadership council of the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture ambassadors program. She is also sits on the advisory board of Vote.org.
Anna Galland is Executive Director of MoveOn.org Civic Action, the grassroots progressive organization whose millions of members organize together to make this country a place where everyone can thrive.
A native of Evanston, Illinois, she has led issue advocacy and electoral campaigns at MoveOn since 2007, including working to end the Iraq War, supporting Barack Obama's presidential campaigns, helping to pass the Affordable Care Act, defending Pres. Obama's diplomatic agreement with Iran, boosting Bernie Sanders' remarkable presidential run, and working to defeat Donald Trump. Under the Trump Administration, MoveOn has emerged as a pillar of the vibrant Resistance movement.
Working closely with MoveOn Political Action's Executive Director, Ilya Sheyman, she has overseen MoveOn's growth and development since 2013 -- tripling MoveOn's budget, growing its grassroots membership and reach, and launching innovative new programs to harness technology and people-power, including an open petition platform that's supported tens of thousands of grassroots-led campaigns and a VideoLab that's driven more than 300 million views to original progressive content.
She has three young children and lives in the Chicago area.
Ayesha Qazi is a science educator at Northside College Preparatory High School and a teaching fellow for Science Education for Excellence and Equity for Chicago (Project SEEEC) supported and funded by National Science Foundation. She is a Scientific Affiliate at The Field Museum of Natural History. This past summer, she was the Green Ambassadors Coordinator at the Field Museum and helped facilitate a seven week urban youth summer program called Green Ambassadors. Ayesha completed her undergraduate and graduate study at University of Illinois at Chicago in Biological Sciences and Science Education.
A’shanti F. Gholar is the Political Director for Emerge America, the only organization dedicated to recruiting, training, and empowering Democratic women to run for public office. For 15 years, A’shanti has been a grassroots organizer and activist for women, communities of color, and progressive causes. She has experience in building coalitions, program development, and community and political engagement. Prior to coming to Emerge America, A’shanti served as the National Deputy Director of Community Engagement and Director of African American Engagement for the Democratic National Committee. A’shanti has also served as the Manager of National Partnerships for United Way Worldwide, as a political appointee in the Obama Administration at the U.S. Department of Labor, and as the Director of Public Engagement for the 2012 Democratic National Convention Committee in Charlotte, NC. A'shanti can be reached via email at email@example.com.
Betsy has deep experience with political technology. Her political career began in 2007 as an organizer on the first Obama Campaign. In 2012, she served as the National Digital Organizing Director, sitting at the intersection of field, digital, and technology. In 2013, Betsy co-founded 270 Strategies - a public engagement firm that works with political campaigns, causes, and companies all over the world. She started HGL because she is still recommending the same tools to clients now that she used as an organizer 10 years ago.
Betsy is an organizer first. She has been recognized by Business Insider as “at the forefront of political innovation" and was featured on Forbes magazine's "30 Under 30: Law & Policy" list for her work on the president's re-election campaign.
Brady happily finds herself wedged into the center bit of the Venn diagram of technology, tech policy, customer advocacy, community organizing, and democratic participation. In 2011 and 2012, she worked for the Obama for America campaign, first as a call center coordinator, and then as Director of Support, leading a team of interns and volunteers providing tech support for the myriad products put out by the campaign's Tech and Digital teams. In 2016, she organized volunteers to create Open Source tools to support progressive candidates with DevProgress. Brady lives in San Francisco with her family, which includes a dog. Maybe. Could be a gremlin. Brady is still looking into it.
Bridget Gainer brings a unique perspective to civic and business life with a foot in both the public and private sectors. Bridget is the VP, Global Public Affairs for Aon and a Commissioner on the County Board, bringing over 20 years of experience in non-profit, government and corporate sectors. Bridget began her career as a community organizer in New York City; she continued that work in Chicago where she founded a community center at Senn High School. Bridget then went to work for the City of Chicago in a variety of roles focused on public private partnerships. In 2001, she began working at Aon, a global risk management firm, beginning in finance with a focus on mergers and acquisitions and treasury. She later transitioned to manage the firm’s strategic engagement with governments around the world.
Elected to the Cook County Board in 2010, Bridget called for the creation of a Pension Committee and was appointed its first Chairman. As Chair, Ms. Gainer brought transparency to the County’s Fund and launched an open-data pension website to facilitate a real conversation for fair and sustainable pension reform.
In 2013 Commissioner Gainer completed three years of organizing and outreach with the creation of the Cook County Land Bank, the region’s most comprehensive policy to reduce the amount and impact of vacant land and abandoned buildings throughout Cook County. The land bank is governed by a 15-member board, chaired by Commissioner Gainer.
Most recently, and with the support of United States Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, Commissioner Gainer launched Off The Sidelines here in Chicago to encourage more young women to ‘take their ideas to action’ and has quickly grown the organization to over 2,600 members.
Commissioner Gainer’s policy work has been written about in the Wall Street Journal, New York Times, Crain’s and editorial boards across the region. In addition, she has been the recipient of awards from Action Now, Woodstock Institute, the AIDS Foundation of Chicago, the Urban Land Institute and Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights.
A native of Chicago, Bridget lives on the North side with her husband and their three children and sits on the boards of the Big Shoulders Fund and the 100 Club of Chicago.
Cameron Davis is an environmental policy expert and lawyer having served in Washington, D.C. and Chicago as Senior Advisor to the Administrator of the United States Environmental Protection Agency.
Carmen Perez is something of a Renaissance woman in modern-day activism. She has dedicated 20 years to advocating for many of today's important civil rights issues, including mass incarceration, gender equity, violence prevention, racial healing and community policing.
Carolyn DeWitt is the President of Rock the Vote. A passionate and lifelong champion of the democratic process in the U.S. and abroad, DeWitt has a diverse background in government, politics, international development, education and in the financial sector.
It was during her time in South Africa, meeting with parties critical to the collapse of the apartheid system and the subsequent building of a democratic state, that DeWitt witnessed the power of youth movements. Convinced of the absolute necessity of a health democracy for marginalized groups, she continued on to work in Kenya, participating on the Constitution of Kenya Review Commission during an election year. DeWitt also served as senior international advisor to a youth political movement and potential presidential candidate in Madagascar.
Back home in the U.S., on the national political stage, DeWitt coordinated satellite media booking operations at the 2012 Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, training teams of volunteers and staffs and coordinating surrogate media appearances alongside DNC and Obama for America staff. On the local government level, DeWitt has worked as chief of staff at the Office of Chicago Alderman Daniel Solis, and as deputy campaign manager and finance director for the 25th Ward Regular Democratic Organization.
Shortly after relocating to Washington, D.C., DeWitt took up the position of director of special projects for a thriving start-up that sought to leverage technology to provide global clinical services to persons with special education and development needs in less-developed countries. DeWitt has also provided infrastructure and tracking services for therapy contractors working with DC public schools.
For the 2014 election cycle, DeWitt served as chief of staff at Pivot, a political communications firm. Ms. DeWitt studied International and African Studies, Political Studies, Psychology and Women’s Studies and earned her BA from Kalamazoo College in Michigan. She sits on the board of Coworker.org.
Catherine Vaughan is Flippable's CEO and Co-Founder. She has focused her career on driving effectiveness in the social sector. After graduating from Harvard College, she started her career in nonprofit consulting at the Bridgespan Group. She then led strategy teams at Partners in Health in Rwanda, Teach for America, and the Ethiopian Agricultural Transformation Agency. While earning her an MBA at Stanford, Catherine worked with Jeff Raikes, the former CEO of the Gates Foundation, to develop a business plan for a data-driven philanthropy platform.
In 2016, she left her management consulting job at McKinsey to join the Hillary Clinton campaign in Ohio. Having caught the political bug, Catherine resolved to apply her skills in data-driven philanthropy to the progressive movement. She and her teammates from the campaign launched flippable.org, an organization aiming to flip state legislature seats by driving grassroots dollars and volunteer time to the most competitive races. Flippable's content reaches 10M people per month and the organization has raised over half a million dollars in grassroots donations for Democratic candidates.
Cindy Sui joined Clarity Campaign Labs as a Junior Analyst in the spring of 2015, was promoted to Analyst in 2016 supporting our DCCC and Gubernatorial modeling work. Previously, Cindy worked with global health nonprofits to halt the epidemic of drug-resistant tuberculosis in Peru. She became interested in politics when she volunteered with field operations in Iowa during the 2014 midterm elections. Cindy holds a B.A. in Biology from the University of Chicago.
Multi-faceted, solutions-driven, and highly focused project management professional with an impeccable 10+-year track record of strategically focused experience in the design, implementation, and management of business, project, and IT related projects. Hands-on experience leading all stages of system development efforts combined with the desire to drive for effective and efficient work while applying both reactive and preventive leadership to achieve quality results. Critical thinker and adept negotiator, expert in managing people, technology, and processes. Outstanding program leader with the demonstrated ability to coordinate and direct all phases of project-based efforts while managing, motivating, and guiding teams.
Cortney Tunis is the Executive Director of Pantsuit Nation, an online community of 4 million people that puts the power of storytelling at the heart of politics. Members come together to listen, to build trust and resilience in the face of hate and fear, and to share resources to effectively resist the current administration. Pantsuit Nation amplifies the voices of those who are under threat in order to increase awareness, spark action, and drive social change. Before joining the Pantsuit Nation team, Cortney worked in nonprofit executive search, student affairs and library systems in higher ed, and in museum education at history and contemporary art museums. She has a B.A. from Williams College, an M.A. from the University of Chicago, and an M.B.A. from Boston University.
Dan Wagner served as Chief Analytics Officer on Barack Obama's 2012 election campaign and is the founder of Civis Analytics.
Previous to Civis Analytics, Wagner worked in Chicago under David Axelrod on Obama's reelection campaign. The campaign was numbers and data driven. Wagner used big data in an innovative hub composed of 54 statisticians, engineers, data scientists, and organizers from all over the world. Their numbers helped them drive every decision they made about TV, working in the field, raising money, and their communication strategy. They took big data from their disparate sources of data, and put it into one place to drive decision making, on TV, communication, fundraising, digital etc. His department’s work was credited with “reinventing how national campaigns are done” and has been highlighted in Time Magazine, MIT Technology Review, The Wall Street Journal, Bloomberg, The Los Angeles Times, and Harper’s.
Eric Schmidt approached Wagner after the election regarding his algorithms and the two discussed options regarding Wagner's future and Wagner's desire to start a company that would keep together the analytics team they had built. Wagner was simultaneously being approached by non profit organizations with big data and that wanted to make better decisions with their data. Schmidt then became a thoughtful investor and adviser to Wagner.
Deborah Barron is an attorney, the founder of the New Left Accelerator, and a board member of Women Lawyers on Guard. Before becoming an attorney, Ms. Barron worked for nearly eight years for Democratic political campaigns and as a consultant providing strategic planning and communications services to political candidates, nonprofits, and foundations. After the 2016 election, she worked with Women Lawyers On Guard to rapidly deploy pro-bono firm-quality legal services to groups on the new left, including Indivisible, the Women’s March, among others. Soon, she was relying on her former strategic-planning experience to provide many of those same organizations with capacity building support well beyond legal services. After conversations with founders of new organizations she worked with and her network of political and strategic experts and partners, she was encouraged to provide more structured and formal capacity-building support to new progressive groups. Ms. Barron left her law firm in July of 2017 to work full-time on New Left Accelerator and now focuses on providing capacity-building resources and educational opportunities to new advocacy and social justice organizations. She is also the proud mom of Ryder Jane (3 years old) and Hudson (18 months).
Deepak is a Silicon Valley veteran with over 15 years Business Development experience at Oracle, Netscape, VMware and numerous startups. He has over ten years hands-on experience in negotiating business development agreements and has a deep understanding of the sales, product design, pricing and licensing issues involved. For the last three years, Deepak has been helping architect and bring to market Internet of Things (IoT) solutions using technologies and services from Intel, ARM, Cisco, Amazon, Azure, Splunk, Samsara and Salesforce.com.
Donnie Fowler is an American entrepreneur and political activist. He has worked in the technology, telecommunications, and political world for more than 25 years (including time in the Clinton White House, at the Federal Communications Commission, as vice president at Silicon Valley’s TechNet, and as a founder of two companies that cross the technology and public spaces).
Doug leads and advises project teams to create research-based strategies, content and campaigns. He is passionate about adapting insights and innovations from the social sciences to enhance the power of strategic communications. He has nearly three decades of experience working with high-profile leaders in politics, government, business, nonprofits and philanthropy. He worked closely with leaders such as Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Vice President Al Gore, Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle, and successful candidates for the U.S. House, Senate and governor. He was Gore’s spokesman for the 2000 presidential campaign and Florida recount, which was called the “political story of the century.” He has traveled to dozens of countries to work with government leaders, political parties and nonprofit organizations in the Middle East, Africa, Latin America and Europe. Early in his career, he worked as a press secretary to a senior member of Congress and as a freelance foreign correspondent in South America, the Caribbean and Europe. He earned a bachelor's degree in journalism from Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism and a master's degree in English from Florida State University. For fun, he hangs out with his two awesome sons, barbecues almost anything that’s edible, and enjoys open-water swimming, mountain biking, adventure travel and other hazardous pursuits.
Drew is the Director and Chief Scientist of Civiqs, a nationally representative online survey panel for scientific, real-time public opinion research. Drew is a survey statistician and former Professor of Political Science at Emory University. His research on polling and elections has appeared in the Journal of the American Statistical Association, American Political Science Review, International Journal of Forecasting, Political Analysis, Political Science Research and Methods, Journal of Politics, and the Journal of Statistical Software. Since 2012, Drew has run the election forecasting site votamatic.org.
Emily has been on all sides of the funding conversation -- as a company founder, a coach to startups, and now a funder herself as Managing Director of Reboot Democracy. In the wake of the 2016 election, Reboot Democracy was created to bring innovators in technology and politics together to spur the development of tools that will revolutionize our democratic system. Emily served as a design thinking and lean coach/mentor for the Citrix Innovators Program at the Citrix Startup Accelerator, and holds degrees in Neuroscience and Musical Theatre from USC. She graduated from The MMM Program at Northwestern University in 2013 with a Masters of Engineering from the McCormick School of Engineering, an MBA from The Kellogg School of Management, and a certificate in Design Thinking & Innovation from the Segal Design Institute. Emily is also CEO and founder of Keyrious, a successful luxury wearable tech startup, but put that life on hold in order to focus full-time on the challenges of the current political moment.
Emma Pope is an improvisor, actor, and writer who was born and raised in Washington D.C., and has been living in Chicago since 2011. She has studied at multiple theaters around the city, and is a recent alum of the Second City Touring Company. You can find her performing regularly live at CIC Theater, iO, and The Second City, as well as in her film and TV work. Emma is also a teacher and coach, and offers workshops and classes to spread her love of performance and collaboration. You can find more information about her at www.emmapope.com. Emma is represented by Paonessa Talent.
Emma Ruby-Sachs is a writer, lawyer and the Deputy Director of Avaaz, a global civic movement with 43 million members worldwide. She is the author of The Waterman’s Daughter, a literary novel set in South Africa, released in 2011 and her writing has been published in The Guardian, The Nation, Huffington Post and other international outlets. She previously practiced constitutional appellate law and administrative law and worked on issues of wrongful arrest and wrongful conviction in Canada. She is a graduate of Wesleyan University and University of Toronto Faculty of Law and currently lives in Chicago, IL with her partner, Jane Saks and their daughter.
Erin Loos Cutraro is the Founder and CEO of She Should Run, a leading non-partisan organization working to increase the number of women running for office in the United States. Since its founding in 2011, nearly 40,000 women have been encouraged to run for office through She Should Run’s efforts, and over 11,000 women have indicated they are preparing for a future through She Should Run’s flagship program, the Incubator. It's Erin's two young daughters who motivate her to champion the systematic and cultural change needed to see gender equity for women and girls in our lifetime. Born and raised in Missouri, Erin now resides just outside of New York City.
Erin Mazursky is the Founder and Executive Director of Rhize, a new venture that is re-designing and the function and experience of democracy towards more participatory, just and flourishing communities through the innovation of collective action. Erin brings over a decade of experience in movement-building, technology, human rights and advocacy to her work, having worked with social and political movements around the world, including in Turkey, India, and Albania.
Before starting Rhize, Erin worked at Purpose, a social enterprise that incubates and launches global social movements. There, Erin helped to lead some of Purpose’s biggest projects, most notably with the American Civil Liberties Union and CARE International, which integrated movement-building, technology and citizen advocacy to increase the social impact. Prior to this, Erin worked for President Obama’s 2008 election campaign and went on to serve as the Youth Advisor at the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), where she helped author the first global policy on youth development and made youth a central part of the Agency’s broader development efforts.
Erin began her career as a youth advocate herself as the Co-Founder and Executive Director of STAND, a leading organization in the anti-genocide advocacy movement that became one of the largest student organizations in the country, with over 800 high school and college chapters nationwide, and continued her anti-genocide work as the Coalition Manager and Board Member of the Save Darfur Coalition. Erin served on the 2008 Presidential Inaugural Committee after having worked on President Obama’s general election campaign in Florida. Erin is a graduate of Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service, a 2010 Fellow at the New Leaders Council, an Aspen Ideas Festival Fellow, a fellow at the Impact Center’s Women’s Executive Leadership Program and a Security Fellow at the Truman National Security Project.
Erin Vilardi is the Founder and Director of VoteRunLead, a national organization leveraging technology and training to accelerate the number of women in civic and political leadership. She first launched VRL as Vice President of Program and Communications at The White House Project, establishing the largest national political training program readying women for public office and civic life, training over 15,000 women. She has served as a Leadership Development Consultant for a range of clients, including the Yahoo! Business and Human Rights division and Athena Center for Leadership Studies at Barnard College, Columbia University, where she developed the Athena CORE10© – an innovative set of leadership competencies for 21st century women leaders based on the latest research and gender analysis. She has worked with a diverse range of clients including Fortune 100 companies, global girls’ initiatives and the U.S. Department of State, reaching women leaders in a dozen international cities. Vilardi serves on the Advisory Boards of Girl Meets World, the New American Leaders Project, and Democracy.com and is on the Leadership Teams of Vision2020 and Political Parity. She is an Executive Producer of Ann Richards’ Texas, a documentary about the late pioneering governor. She has appeared on CNN, BBC, and Fox News and her work was featured in O, The Oprah Magazine as well as numerous international and domestic articles on women and leadership. Get in touch: firstname.lastname@example.org
Genevieve Thiers is an entrepreneur in the Chicago area. Her first company, Sittercity.com, is America's first company to take caregiving services online. Sittercity.com now has millions of users nationwide, and serves clients like the U.S. Department of Defense, Avon, Mastercard, Monster WW, and many others. With new locations in the UK and Canada, it is an international success.
Genevieve was recognized by President Bush at the White House as the Small Business Administration Young Entrepreneur Champion of the Year for 2006, her companies have won over 18 major awards, including the CEC Momentum Award, the WBDC Rising Start Award, a CNN Young Heroes feature, the UPS Out of the Box Award, the INC 500 list, and more. Genevieve has been featured thousands of times in the press for her work, by the TODAY show, Ellen, the View, the CBS Early Show, CNN, Live & Style, The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, Redbook, Parents, Parenting, Marie Clare, TIME, Better Homes and Gardens, Working Mother and more. She has lectured or spoken at the CEO Conference, Microsoft, Harvard business school, Kellogg, Columbia, Babson, Boston College, U Chicago, and for hundreds of other entrepreneurial groups around the country. She is the author of the book Love at First Sit, and frequently writes for Crain’s Chicago, NBC.com, and the Huffington Post.
Genevieve has mentored hundreds of entrepreneurs throughout her career. She is on the board of the CEC, which has created 1871, a co-working space in Chicago. Genevieve teaches classes at 1871, is on the acceptance committee, and is a frequent mentor within the space. She is also an investor in TechStars and the Firestarter fund. When not mentoring, she can be found singing opera in the Chicago area, or playing with her two-year-old twins.
Gentry Lane is the CEO of Societas Analytics, a civic behavior/political data strategy and analysis firm. She is also the founder of the Rebel Action Network, a national network of first-time grassroot activists. A serial social-impact entrepreneur Lane has been recognized for her business acumen here and in her adoptive home of Paris, France.
Advocate and political strategist Glynda C. Carr is recognized for her innovative leadership style, commitment to expanding the civic participation of communities of color and advancing progressive public policies that build sustainable communities.
Carr is the Co-Founder of Higher Heights for America a national organization building the collective political power and leadership of Black women from the voting booth to elected office.
Carr is the former Executive Director of Education Voters of New York, a leading independent voice for school reform in the state. She joined Education Voters in 2008 where she became New York’s youngest African-American woman to run a statewide advocacy organization.
Prior to Education Voters, Carr was Chief of Staff to New York State Senator Kevin Parker (Brooklyn), and managed the Senator’s key initiatives and shaped policy around youth development and economic development for the then newly created 21st senatorial district. She also served as campaign manager for two of his successful re-election campaigns.
Carr has held senior management positions with key national organizations including: the Thurgood Marshall Scholarship Fund and Big Brothers Big Sisters of America.
A sought after speaker and trainer, Carr’s writing has also appeared on TheRoot.com, BET.com, Ebony.com and Feminist.com. She is a contributor on The SPIN: All Women’s Media Panel and has appeared on Fox News Live, MSNBC and several other media outlets. She was named a “Rising Star” in The Capitol’s 2009 40 under 40 edition.
Award-winning, transformational C-Level civic entrepreneur with lifetime commitment to political organizing and foundational systems intervention - particularly elevating women to positions of leadership.
Innovative creator of companies, organizations and social movements using digital communication and technology.
Inspirational keynote speaker presenting on women in leadership, civic technology and political innovation.
Twenty-five years of experience in organizing, working with federal, state, and local elected and appointed officials in government and private-sector technology organizations.
Certified PMP with successful portfolio of multi-million dollar technology and facility projects.
National Incident Management System (NIMS) trained Section Chief and certified Incident Command System (ICS) and Continuity of Operations/Continuity of Government (COOP/COG) trainer.
Howard A. Learner is an experienced public interest environmental and energy litigation attorney serving as the Executive Director of the Environmental Law & Policy Center – the Midwest's leading environmental legal advocacy and eco-business innovation organization. Mr. Learner is responsible for the overall strategic leadership and program direction for ELPC's successful work to promote clean energy development solutions to climate change challenges, advance innovative transportation technologies and infrastructure improvements, and preserve the Midwest’s valued natural resources and heritage. One of ELPC’s core premises is that environmental progress and economic development can be achieved together. ELPC’s clean energy and clean transportation development programs put that sustainable development policy principle into action.
Mr. Learner founded the ELPC in 1993 as an entrepreneurial start-up following his work as the General Counsel for Business and Professional People for the Public Interest, which specializes in policy advocacy and complex environmental, energy, economic development and civil rights litigation in federal and state courts.
Mr. Learner is a Professor (Adjunct) at the University of Michigan Law School and the Northwestern University School of Law, teaching advanced seminars on energy law and climate change policy, environmental constitutionalism, and on environmental law and sustainable development. Mr. Learner received his law degree from Harvard Law School (1980), and his B.A. from the University of Michigan (1976).
Ilana is the co-founder of Prolog, an organization that matches campaigns with professionals around the country willing to donate their badass skills to win seats for the Democratic party. A novelist and essayist, Ilana has also spent the last decade writing brand and marketing copy for corporations. Clients include multi-national engineering firms, mobile companies, insurance, real estate, food and restaurant groups and utility companies. Her desire to use her expertise to help Democrats stymie the current administration started a conversation that led to the founding of Prolog on November 9, 2016.
Author of Doreen, a YA Novel published by Running Press Kids in 2016, her essays have been published in Cosmopolitan, Real Simple Magazine, Blunderbuss and elsewhere.
Ilana Manaster, Co-founder
Jack works with our volunteer leaders and staff to set priorities, hold our elected officials accountable, reach out to build new alliances, and make sure we have the financial and other resources we need to protect the Prairie State for future generations.
Jill Wine-Banks is a United States lawyer who was one of the prosecutors during the Watergate scandal, and who served as General Counsel of the Army from 1977 to 1980. She was the executive director of the American Bar Association, the first woman to hold that position.
Jonathan Zucker, founder of It Starts Today, is a progressive campaign finance attorney and political technology entrepreneur who has been at the heart of some of the most innovative campaign finance initiatives of the last fifteen years.
Jonathan was the first employee of ActBlue, where he served as the first COO and second CEO between 2005 and 2008. During his tenure, ActBlue grew from $870k in total donations to over $85 million. Before joining ActBlue, Jonathan was the national director of operations for finance at the Democratic National Committee, overseeing the infrastructure of the DNC’s record-breaking $100-million major donor program during the 2004 election.
After leaving ActBlue, Jonathan founded Democracy Engine: a donation-processing platform that's all about executing complex political contributions (in compliance, of course, with applicable laws and regulations). In 2011, he joined Ruck.us as co-founder and COO, since 2013 he’s been serving as senior strategist and counsel to Crowdpac, and in 2014, he co-founded if.then.fund and progressive.fund.
Before getting into political technology, Jonathan took on the roles of field organizer, fundraiser, administrator, and attorney for a variety of progressive organizations, including the Interfaith Alliance, Human Rights Campaign, Color of Change, Genderpac, Democratic Leadership Council, and the Gill Foundation.
Jonathan has authored, commissioned, and/or consulted on several groundbreaking Advisory Opinions from the Federal Election Commission. He holds a J.D. from Georgetown University and a B.A. from Yale University.
Jon Carson is the CEO and Founder of Trajectory Energy, a solar development company founded in 2017 that focuses on landscape-integrated, community supported utility scale solar. Prior to founding Trajectory, Jon spent 2 years at SolarCity, serving a year each as Senior Director on the Policy and Electric Markets team and as the Senior Director of the Solar Ambassador program.
Prior to joining SolarCity in December 2014, Jon was the Executive Director of Organizing for Action, a grassroots advocacy movement built by millions of volunteers and focused on building local capacity and training the next generation of progressive organizers. Carson was previously the Director of the White House Office of Public Engagement and Deputy Assistant to the President from January 2011 through January 2013. Before leading OPE, he served as the Chief of Staff at the White House Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) from 2009-2010. Prior to joining the Administration, Carson was the National Field Director for President Barack Obama's campaign in 2008 and worked on the Obama-Biden Presidential Transition team. Prior to the Obama campaign, Jon worked on political campaigns across the country.
Carson served in the Peace Corps in southern Honduras for two years, building water systems for rural villages and teaching land surveying. He graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Platteville with a B.S. in Civil and Environmental Engineering and received a Master’s Degree in Geography from the University of California-Los Angeles. He lives in Highland Park, IL, with his wife Rebecca and their three children.
Josh Nerpel is a senior Democratic strategist with more than a decade of non-profit and for-profit management and campaign experience. Current clients include Shareblue Media, a progressive digital media company, where Josh serves as Director of Outreach, and to which he was the founding COO. Josh is also currently the Director of Operations for Graphicacy, a data visualization and web development firm. Past experience includes the PeaceWorks Foundation and OneVoice, a multi-national non-profit where Josh served Executive Director and COO and Securing America’s Future Energy and the Electrification Coalition, where he served as Director of Operations. Political campaign experience includes national advance and overseeing visual communications for Hillary Clinton as a Presidential candidate, Bill Clinton, Barack Obama in Presidential and candidate capacities, Joe Biden in Vice-Presidential and candidate capacities, and Joe Lieberman in Senatorial and candidate capacities.
Josh Silver is the co-founder and director of Represent.Us, the nation's largest grassroots anti-corruption campaign, bringing together conservatives, progressives, and everyone in between to fix our broken political system. In just five years, Represent.Us has grown to more than half a million members – and passed dozens of Anti-Corruption Acts and Resolutions around the country, including the nation’s first statewide Anti-Corruption Act in South Dakota. A veteran election and media reform executive, he was the campaign manager for the successful 1998 Arizona Clean Elections ballot initiative, and the co-founder and former CEO of Free Press, a leading media and technology reform advocacy organization.
Silver has been profiled in the Wall Street Journal and featured in outlets including the New York Times, Washington Post, USA Today, Newsweek, NPR, and CBS SundayMorning.
Julie Menter is a Principal at New Media Ventures, a national network of early stage investors supporting startups that create progressive political change.
Throughout her career, Julie has searched for opportunities to make a positive impact on the world around her. As a strategy consultant, first with the Boston Consulting Group and then with Blu Skye Sustainability Consulting, she has worked with large companies and non-profit organizations to redefine what good business means.
Julie is also a co-founder of the GreenerMind Summit: a 3-day retreat for change makers in the San Francisco Bay Area.
She is originally from France where she received her MBA.
Kate is the senior research associate at Hattaway Communications. Kate has extensive experience conducting both U.S. and international audience research, with expertise in advanced research methodologies including in-depth elite interviews, segmentation analysis, message testing and psychological profiling. Prior to joining Hattaway, Kate was a Senior Political Analyst at Penn Schoen Berland, where she developed data-driven campaign solutions for corporate, government and political clients. She has also managed message research and development, voter targeting, positioning and campaign strategy for high-profile government and political clients. Kate has a B.S. in Policy Analysis and Management from Cornell University and M.A. in International Affairs with a concentration in Middle East Studies from George Washington University. With a passion for lifelong learning, she spends most of her free time reading nonfiction, watching documentaries and dabbling in various hobbies. She also jumps at any chance to add more stamps to her passport.
Recently Kathryn has produced multi-camera interactive live-streams for brands that include LG, Amazon, BMW, Apple and Kickstarter and for music events including Alicia Keys live from the Apollo, The Dresden Dolls live from the Coney Island Amphitheater, and the David Bowie Tribute live from City Winery.
A leader and innovator in the live-streamed performing arts since the first platforms launched in 2007, Kathryn conceived of and produced the first live-streamed web series, the first live-streamed interactive play, the first live-streamed performing arts festival, the first live-streamed webathon, and the first professional play live-streamed to select New York City schools. In addition, as CEO of VirtualArtsTV, Kathryn built the first platform and first mobile app dedicated to the live-streamed performing arts.
Kathryn has also produced and directed several activist live-streams including the global live-stream of the Women’s March Sister Marches, Women Respond to Palin and The Reproductive Freedom Festival.
Previously Kathryn served as Vice-President of Business Development for online video start-up For Your Imagination, working with brands such as Panasonic and Dice.com and has spoken about online video and social media at conferences and meet-ups throughout the United States.
Campaign Greenhouse founder Kathryn is an award-winning political consultant who has spent more than fifteen years working on campaigns of all shapes and sizes. Most recently she was the Director of Political Strategy at the Analyst Institute, helping the progressive community share, understand and take advantage of evidence from field research in campaigning. In 2016 Kathryn (also known as KP) was recognized as one of the American Association of Political Consultants' top 40 under 40. political professionals.
Kelly is the founder of the National Democratic Training Committee, The NDTC PAC provides any Democrat running for office free access to online campaign training. There is no litmus test and the NDTC does not make endorsements. We just want to train as many good Democratic candidates as possible. Trainings are all available 24/7 and available online. While they can be used for any level of campaign, we are focused on helping smaller, local campaigns who cannot afford access to professional staff and consultants.
Laura Quinn currently manages and helped found Catalist. Previously, Ms. Quinn served as a Deputy Chief of Staff for Vice President Al Gore at the White House, as Director of the Democratic Technology and Communications Committee for Democratic Majority Leader Tom Daschle, and in communications and economic policy positions for Jay Rockefeller and Joe Biden, in the U.S. Senate. She was also a founder of private technology ventures: QRS Newmedia and Copernicus Analytics. Prior to her work in business and government, Ms. Quinn served in senior management and consulting roles for several progressive not-for-profits, and national and statewide political and advocacy campaigns.
Lauren Underwood is a registered nurse, with hands-on experience in America’s healthcare industry. Lauren was appointed by President Obama to serve as a Senior Advisor at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). During her time in the administration, Lauren helped communities across the country prevent, prepare for, and respond to disasters, bioterror threats and public health emergencies. As a career public servant at HHS, Lauren helped implement the Affordable Care Act — broadening access for those on Medicare, improving healthcare quality and reforming private insurance. Every day, Lauren works with clinical staff to ensure the plan provides high-quality, cost-efficient care. Lauren is also a teacher, preparing future nurse practitioners through Georgetown University’s online master’s program.Lauren is a graduate of the University of Michigan and Johns Hopkins University.
In 2016, Leslie Danks Burke took on a long-time
incumbent Republican State Senator in the vast,
rural, conservative, 58th district of New York, where
only 32% of voters are registered Democratic. She
garnered 45% of the vote. While not enough to win,
pulling 13 points over the base registration against a
sitting incumbent happened few places in a tough
year for Democrats. Leslie and her team credit this
outcome to their "Front Porch Politics," a relentless
outreach to voters in all corners.
Leslie and her team promptly founded Trailblazers PAC to rechannel the momentum from this groundbreaking campaign to benefit 2017 localoffice candidates across New York State and Pennsylvania. With a strict focus on races at the county level and below, Trailblazers PAC has already trained over 450 candidates and supporters this year, and is winning races where none were contested before. To qualify for the nonpartisan PAC’s innovative matching funds program, candidates must develop a hyper-local base of support and demonstrably work toward clean government.
A 2002 graduate of the University of Chicago Law School, Leslie was born and raised in Denver Colorado, where her parents have farmed corn and wheat for the past 25 years. She has been active with scores of local and national political campaigns, always with Tip O'Neill's admonition that "all politics is local." She is a past Planned Parenthood board member, and in 2013 founded a Democratic Women network for candidates and their supporters across rural NY.
Leslie is a proud hockey mom and Girl Scouts leader. Her favorite activity is spending time outdoors with her family.
Liz Jaff is a Progressive Strategist, working at the intersection of politics and technology and has helped hundreds of candidates and organizations raise millions of dollars through donations and pledges in crowdfunding. Formerly VP of Business Development for Crowdpac.Inc, Jaff is the now a Founding Partner of 44Renegades, LLC - a strategy firm for political candidates, organizations and campaigns. She is an Advisor and Co-Founder of Lab736 - a beta testing non-profit that helps rebuild technology stacks for state parties- and is currently working closely with the DNC CTO and tech team. Jaff is a Veteran Organizer of the Obama '07, '08 and '12 campaigns and ran John Delaney (MD-06) re-election in 2014. Jaff worked at the White House, Department of Commerce and U.S. Agency for International Development and sits on the board of Netroots Foundation and serves as an appointee on the DNC Transition Team after her run for DNC Vice Chair.
Mark Hanis is a serial social entrepreneur. He is a Research Fellow with Stanford University's Handa Center for Human Rights and International Justice.
Previously, Mark has helped found several social impact organizations: the Beeck Center for Social Impact & Innovation at Georgetown University to engage global leaders to drive social change at scale; the Organ Alliance (now Organize) to address the unnecessary deaths due to a shortage of transplantable organs; and United to End Genocide (formerly Genocide Intervention Network and Save Darfur Coalition), an organization created with the mission to empower citizens and communities with the tools to prevent and stop genocide.
Mark served as a White House Fellow working in the Office of Vice President Biden as the National Security Affairs Special Advisor for South America, Africa, and Human Rights.
Hanis graduated from Swarthmore College with a degree in Political Science and a minor in Public Policy. He is the grandchild of four Holocaust survivors and was raised in Quito, Ecuador.
From February - August 2003, Hanis worked for the Office of the Prosecutor at the Special Court for Sierra Leone. He was a 2006 Draper Richards Kaplan fellow, a 2006 Echoing Green fellow, a 2008 Ashoka fellow, and a 2009 Prime Mover fellow. Mark was named a Young Global Leader by the World Economic Forum.
Marya Bangee is passionate about helping build communities. She started her journey as a community organizer in the Muslim-American community, including leading a national advocacy campaign for the the protection of free speech on college campuses. Through her organizing, she has often represented the Muslim-American voice in national media like the New York Times and NPR. After completing her baccalaureate degrees in English and Sociology at UC Irvine, she served as a Project Director at UCLA, working to increase access to higher education in impoverished areas of the city. Seeing the need for communal solutions to the challenges posed by poverty, she completed a six-month residency with the Industrial Areas Foundation. There, Marya studied the works of Saul Alinsky and Marshall Ganz while helping organize a mayoral town hall with a thousand Angelenos and carrying out a series of mobile enrollment clinics for the Affordable Care Act with low-income communities. Marya was selected for the prestigious Coro Fellowship in Public Affairs, where she worked on a national senate campaign, staffed California's Speaker of the Assembly, and helped develop part of the ten-year strategic plan for the California Community Foundation. Marya graduated as a Dean’s Merit Scholar from the University of Southern California (USC) with her Masters in Public Administration in 2015, specializing in nonprofit management and public policy. In 2017, she was selected by the Ford Foundation as a Public Voices Fellow, which aims to dramatically increase the impact of spokespeople from underrepresented communities. campaigns, members have clothed over half of America's teens in homeless shelters, cleaned up 3.7 million cigarette butts around the world, and created Happy Ramadan cards to send to every single mosque in America.
Matt’s extensive career includes sitting on all sides of the table; as a client, a vendor and a data consultant. His ability to understand the unique needs of each vantage point translate into superior customer relationships and a well-executed workflow for our clients.
Matt has more than a decade of experience in political campaigns and advocacy. His early involvement included working the floor during a contentious Massachusetts state Democratic convention for gubernatorial candidate Warren Tolman. His knack for building trusted relationships in a fast-paced political environment led him to make Washington, D.C. his permanent home.
Once in Washington, he began working with advocacy groups, associations and think tanks like the National Association of Attorney Generals and the Brookings Institution. He went on to work as a consultant with the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee while at the data startup Spotlight Analysis. And later worked with Grossman Marketing Group, directly under Steve Grossman, the former Democratic National Committee (DNC) chairman.
Since coming on board with TargetSmart he has successfully managed relationships, and optimized campaigns for some of our most prestigious clients including; the DNC, Center for American Progress, Ready for Hillary, Everytown for Gun Safety, and Americans for Responsible Solutions.
Matt graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in Government from The College of William & Mary and did postgraduate work at The George Washington University Graduate School of Political Management.
He currently lives in Alexandria, Va. with his wife and son.
Melissa Widen is Chair of the Board of Directors of Personal PAC, a nonpartisan Illinois political action committee that raises money to elect pro-choice candidates to state and local office. Personal PAC works to recruit and elect pro-choice public officials at all levels of government in Illinois who will protect a woman’s right to make her own decisions about her body. Since 1978, Personal PAC has been giving financial and volunteer support to pro-choice candidates throughout Illinois. Melissa is also a volunteer attorney with the ACLU’s Judicial Bypass Coordination Project and a Trustee of the Jewish Women’s Foundation. In March, Melissa received the Chicago Foundation for Women’s 2016 Impact Award for her work on behalf of women and girls in Illinois.
Michaela Bethune is Head of Campaigns at DoSomething.org – the largest tech company exclusively for young people and social change. DoSomething activates over 5.5 million young people to make positive change, online and off, in every US area code and in over 131 countries. Michaela leads the department responsible for the creation, execution and evaluation of over 300 cause campaigns, tackling issues ranging from climate change to the school to prison pipeline. Through these campaigns, members have clothed over half of America's teens in homeless shelters, cleaned up 3.7 million cigarette butts around the world, and created Happy Ramadan cards to send to every single mosque in America.
Michael Breen is President and CEO of Truman Center and Truman National Security Project, a nationwide community of diverse leaders inspired to serve in the aftermath of 9/11 and committed to shaping and advocating for tough, smart national security solutions. Mike and his team serve and support more than 1,700 veterans, frontline civilians, policy experts, and political leaders across more than 40 states who are united in the belief that America is strongest when we stand with our allies to lead, support, and defend a growing global community of free people and just societies.
Previously, Mike led soldiers in combat in Iraq and Afghanistan as a U.S. Army officer. After leaving the military, he attended Yale Law School, served in the Office of White House Counsel, and co-founded the International Refugee Assistance Project, working with refugees at high risk in Syria, Lebanon, and Jordan. Mike is a recognized leader at the intersection of national security, energy, and climate change, and was one of the original members of Operation Free. A proud New Hampshire native, Dartmouth graduate, and former ice climbing instructor, he now spends most of his time just trying to keep up with his amazing daughter.
Michael started Ish Entertainment in spring 2008 after six years at VH1, the last four of them running programming. During that time, ratings more than doubled and revenues more than tripled. Before that, he was a web entrepreneur (“inside.com” http://www.inside.com) and magazine editor (Spin, New York, Esquire).
He also writes for the Atlantic Monthly, where he is a contributing editor, New York Magazine and the New York Times, among other publications, about technology and its impact on culture and society.
Michael Slaby currently runs the Chicago-based startup he founded, Timshel, which developed the platform known as The Groundwork.
Slaby was the Chief Technology Officer of Obama for America in 2008. In 2012, he rejoined the campaign as Chief Integration and Innovation Officer. When the campaign finished he began work on social impact organizations that leverage technology to create social movements.
Hillary Clinton also used the technologies developed by Slaby and his team in her presidential campaign.
Slaby is the former chief technology strategist for TomorrowVentures, which is an angel investment fund for Eric Schmidt.
Stark is the executive producer at Songfinch. Michael’s passions for service and connecting coalesced in 2014 when he founded The Chicago Leadership Alliance (CLA). The CLA is an action driven coalition of nearly 100 of Chicago’s most successful, benevolent, ambitious, and well-connected young leaders. The CLA serves as a platform for members to share ideas, cultivate relationships, and focus their collective efforts on building a better future for the City of Chicago.
Michael is passionate about community building and using the power of story to bring people together. He is an angel investor and is very involved in the Chicago startup community. Michael serves as a connecter and facilitator, in that he works to bring together the right people, skill sets, mentorship, and funding to help new ventures succeed. Michael first got involved with Songfinch as an investor, prior to joining the team.
Michelle Carr joined The Nature Conservancy in 2013 after 16 years as an advisor at Goldman Sachs. In keeping with the Conservancy’s global mission “to conserve the lands and water on which all life depends,” Michelle leads strategic efforts to advance the most critical conservation work of our time in Illinois and throughout the region. Her civic and professional experience helps the Conservancy bridge the gap between conservation and economic decisions to protect important places and change the way people and institutions use nature.
The Conservancy’s key conservation efforts in Illinois include improving the quality of fresh water resources in the Great Lakes and Upper Mississippi River basin, protecting and restoring prairie, and collaborating with partners and local communities on urban conservation efforts. Since 1957, the Conservancy in Illinois has protected more than 80,000 acres of critical habitat, and its science-driven and partnership-based approach has fueled breakthroughs that support conservation work across the globe.
Through Michelle’s leadership, the chapter has successfully piloted innovative approaches to water quality improvements through the implementation of wetland restoration sites along the Illinois River, by working with agricultural partners to develop sustainable farming practices that reduce harmful runoff, and controlling and preventing the spread of aquatic invasive species. Prairie conservation is also central to the Conservancy’s work in Illinois, where only one-tenth of one percent of these iconic landscapes re¬main. Conservancy scientists are executing a strategic plan that is restoring thousands of acres of Illinois land to this original natural habitat. In doing so, the Conservancy is providing essential habi¬tat for wildlife, helping mitigate the effects of climate change, and providing spaces where people can connect with nature. Additionally, Michelle’s team is working closely with local partners and communities to advance urban conservation in the City of Chicago, ensuring that nature-based solutions are taken into consideration as the population grows. All of these efforts are influencing conservation at a global scale.
Michelle graduated from St. Louis University with a B.A. in history and economics, Phi Beta Kappa, and holds a MBA from Vanderbilt University. She currently serves on the board of Chicago Wilderness, the executive committee of Millennium Reserve, the board of the Institute for Sustainability and Energy at Northwestern and is a member of the Economic Club of Chicago. Michelle formerly served on the board of Links Hall, chairing the finance committee; on the board of The National Museum for Health and Medicine as finance chair; and on President Obama’s National Finance Committee through his first and second elections. Michelle lives in Chicago with her husband Dane and three children.
Miguel Cervantes is a Broadway and screen actor from Dallas, TX, currently performing as Alexander Hamilton in #HamiltonCHI Miguel is also partnering with Citizens United for Research in Epilepsy (CURE) to raise funds to support epilepsy research in honor of his 1-year-old daughter who is suffering from epilepsy.
Nate Lerner is the co-founder of the Democratic Coalition & creator of the Boycott Trump and FireHannity apps. He believes strongly in tangible action & bringing new tech/ideas to progressive campaigns. This can be seen in his work to develop bulk texting and remote phonebanking platforms and the billboards the Democratic Coalition has put up nationwide.
Nathan is Managing Director and co-founder of Town Hall Project, a citizen-powered research and organizing project dedicated to holding lawmakers accountable via town hall meetings and other in-person engagement. Together with national partner organizations, hundreds of local grassroots groups, and tens of thousands of empowered citizens, Town Hall Project helped organize efforts to stop Republican attempts to repeal the Affordable Care Act. Nathan was a Regional Field Director for the Obama campaign in 2008 and has brought that organizing experience to numerous campaigns and causes in the years since. Nathan is also an independent filmmaker whose work has played at festivals worldwide. He makes his home in Oregon, the state with the highest rate of town halls held by members of Congress.
Nathaniel G. Pearlman is has been thinking about politics, data, technology, analytic design and entrepreneurship since 1987. He is currently the host the Great Battlefield podcast, where he interviews progressive leaders. It is located here. He majored in computer science at Yale and finished all but his dissertation in MIT’s political science doctoral program. Nathaniel founded NGP Software, Inc. in 1997 (now NGP VAN, Inc.) to join his interests in politics and technology and grew that company into a market leader. Nathaniel served as Chief Technology Officer for the Hillary Clinton for President campaign in 2007-8. In 2009, Nathaniel founded the information graphic products company Timeplots and expanded it to provide services in information graphics and data visualization for mission organizations under the name Graphicacy. He lives in DC with his wife and two daughters.
Neal Sales-Griffin is the CEO of CodeNow, a Y Combinator-backed nonprofit that hosts coding workshops for students from low-income backgrounds in six cities across the US. Before heading CodeNow, Sales-Griffin was the CEO of The Starter League, an institution determined "to teach everyone to code," with an innovative cirriculum and strong alumni connections. He also serves as a coordinator to the non-profit International Game Developers Association (IGDA®). Sales-Griffin lends his mentorship to the Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship.
Sales-Griffin earned his B.S. in Education and Social Policy (with a concentration in Learning and Organizational Change), and his Minor in Business Institutions from Northwestern University in 2009.
Nick O’Neill is a cofounder of 5calls, a civic action tool. Post the last election, Nick wanted an easy way to register dissent on a regular basis once Trump began trying to put various elements of his platform into effect. With about two months’ worth of help from his wife, Rebecca Kaufman, and several friends, O’Neill created 5 Calls, a website aimed at making complaints to members of Congress as easy as possible. Users type in their Zip codes and indicate which decisions or policy moves they oppose—a Trump cabinet pick, his Supreme Court nominee, the Jan. 27 ban on immigrants from seven mostly Muslim countries—and the site returns the local representative’s phone number and a script for the call, written by Kaufman.
Nicole Johnson is a Chicago native, born and raised, and current
resident of the Southside's Englewood neighborhood. Nicole's
interests and professional commitments address an intersection of
education, youth development, policy, and civic engagement.
Currently she serves as the Data & Communications Manager with Teamwork Englewood. Teamwork is a nonprofit organization, located in the Englewood neighborhood, intended to connect residents to resources, build capacity among community based organizations, and manage the oversight of the Englewood Quality of Life Plan. Nicole is developing a community driven zoning advisory council, and evaluates the progress of the organization's outreach programs. She is also on the Host Committee of the United State of Women, birthed from the White House Council on Women.
Prior to this role, Nicole served as the Policy & Program Manager for Chicago Votes. During her successful run at Chicago Votes, she drove the organizations’ last leg of voter registration, facilitated election season “Get Out The Vote” townhalls throughout the city, and helped plan and execute the “Parade to the Polls” with Chance the Rapper, Social Works, Prime Fortune, TurboVote, Ballot Ready, and Boost Your Voice. Nicole is also a former 3rd grade Chicago Public Schools Mathematics teacher.
Nicole completed her graduate work at the University of Pennsylvania, and National Louis University, and undergraduate at the University of Michigan.
Oren Jacobson is an experienced multi-sector consultant, civic entrepreneur, and organizer, whose work spans startups, Fortune 150 companies, non-profits, political advocacy, and policy advising. His civic engagement spans all levels from local to international.
Oren Jacobson is the National Chapter Development Director for the New Leaders Council, the nation’s largest progressive leadership organization with chapters in 48 cities and more than 5,000 alumni. He also is the co-founder and Executive Director of Men4Choice, an organization focused on engaging, educating, and activating men into the fight to protect and expand reproductive rights in Illinois.
Oren serves on the board of the Illinois Campaign For Political Reform, Personal PAC, the American Jewish Committee’s Chicago ACCESS Board, and Avodah’s Chicago Advisory Council. He is also a Truman National Security Project Partner. He holds an MBA with an emphasis in strategic management, a Master's in Economics and Policy Analysis, and is currently working on his master’s in International Relations at the University of Chicago. Oren also serves as an economic and foreign policy advisor for current state and federal candidates and elected officials.
Peter Hanna is an accomplished privacy, data protection, and intellectual property lawyer, and has broad and extensive experience advising clients on the most complicated issues at the intersection of technology and law. He has testified before lawmakers and presented on significant data privacy and security trends, issues, and implications throughout the United States and abroad. Combining a background in electrical engineering with broad experience counseling clients across different industries and practice areas, clients seek Mr. Hanna’s expertise and leadership to help navigate some of the most challenging legal issues arising in the technology sector today.
In addition to his private practice, Peter is actively involved in the community, serving as the President of the ACLU of Illinois Next Generation Society, and is a founding director of the Digital Privacy Alliance.
Technology is more and more integrated with our political process every day. It is a major force in our democracy. My goal at Twitter was to make our infrastructure rock solid so that engineers could focus on the user. At the DNC, I want to do the same — I want us to be a resource for our state parties so they can focus on their voters. You can reach me at email@example.com.
I'm the former Director of the Uber Advanced Technologies Center, and was responsible for the first ever launch of Self-Driving Ubers. We first deployed the self driving fleet on September 14, 2016 in Pittsburgh, PA. You can see some of my work here, here, and here.
I'm also formerly the VP of Engineering - Platform at Twitter. Platform was in charge of reliability and efficiency: we built everything from the custom storage engines, to the compute / scheduling engines that ran in the datacenters, the core business logic of Twitter (the Tweet service, User service, Timeline service), to the APIs that power the third party ecosystem as well as the Twitter clients. During the World Cup of 2010, Twitter was down repeatedly due to load - during the World Cup of 2014, Twitter survived record traffic with nearly five 9s of uptime.
Previously, I was a co-founder in WattzOn.com (which was named by Business Week as the "Best Idea" in 2008), I was the Author of "TiVo Hacks" (published by O'Reilly in 2003), and used to teach at NYU's Interactive Telecommunications Program.
Rita is the founder and visionary behind Sister District, and she oversees all aspects of the Project. This is her debut into political activism, and she is committed to restoring control of the government to the majority of Americans, where it belongs. Rita holds a B.A. from University of California, Davis, and a J.D. from Stanford Law School. She is a public interest attorney in San Jose.
Ross Morales Rocketto is the co-founder of Run for Something, an emergent piece of progressive movement infrastructure designed to recruit and support the next generation of young, diverse, and progressive political leaders. To date, Run for Something has worked with over 11,000 individuals who are interested in running for office. Before starting Run for Something, Ross spent 15 years in electoral politics having worked for candidates from school board to President. He was previously a Principal at the Smoot Tewes Group where he helped spearhead initial grassroots efforts to protect the ACA. In 2016, Ross was an advisor with For Our Future, a multi-million dollar SuperPAC that did field and organizing work in swing states. Ross lives in Brooklyn with his wife Jess, his dog Nacho, and his two cats (Mister President and Baby Kitty).
Ryan Blitstein is Director of Renewable Energy at Uptake, where he helped create the Energy business unit and now leads strategy and operations in wind power. Previously, he was an investigative reporter for publications including The New York Times, Fast Company, and BusinessWeek. Ryan has also served in leadership roles in the education technology and civic sectors. He holds degrees from Stanford University and Columbia University.
Sam Frank comes from a history of progressive organizers. His grandfather, Angelo Geocaris, stood side-by-side with Chicago titans Harold Washington, Abner Mikva, and Newton Minow to fight the political patronage problems that plagued Chicago in the late 20th century. Today, Sam fuses technology with time tested organizing practices to help movements leverage digital tools to engage and drive action from their audiences. Inspired by the successful digital organizing efforts of the Bernie Sanders Campaign, Sam joined the Progressive Coders network, a group of tech volunteers who built much of the campaign's digital infrastructure. His technology nonprofit, Blue Boost, builds tools and advises progressive organizations on how to interact with the vast landscape of internet to bring about positive change in the world. Currently, Sam is working with Lawyer's for Good Government, organizing thousands of lawyers across the country to fight for civil, voting, and personal rights in our current era of growing authoritarianism.
Sam is the co-founder of Deskpass. By the age of five, he was most likely to be found behind his Mac trying to get all those ideas out of his head and into the world.
Born and raised in Chicago, he's spent the better part of the last decade starting businesses all centered around people and design. Formally trained as a designer, these days he spends more time at the business end of things. He prides himself on a keen ability to connect great people with lovely ideas, spaces and other great people all with the goal of making meaningful work and hopefully making the world a better place along the way.
Sangeeth is the CEO and co-founder of VoterCircle. An investment manager in his former life, he has spent the majority of his time devoted to public service since 2012. He is on multiple education related boards (Beyond12, Boys and Girls Clubs of the Peninsula, Principal’s Exchange and Think Together). In 2014 Sangeeth ran for his local school board and was elected to the LASD Board of Trustees. In his spare time, he is a fitness fanatic and competed on American Ninja Warrior 6. (Check out his video here)
Sarah Dohl previously worked as Vice President of Communications and Brand at Junior Achievement, leading a major overhaul of the nonprofit’s brand and marketing efforts, including a comprehensive digital campaign that resulted in millions of philanthropic commitments to the organization. She has worked as Communications Director for Congressman Lloyd Doggett (D-TX) and as Chief Speechwriter in the for Senator Maria Cantwell (D-WA). She holds a bachelor’s degree from American University.
Sebastian is the Director of Content at BallotReady. Even before joining BallotReady, Sebastian was used to driving around with political yard signs and clipboards in his backseat. Having worked on campaigns and served in government at both the state and local levels, Sebastian is BallotReady’s foremost expert on irregular political districts, unusual ballots and lesser-known elected positions.
Shawn Riegsecker is a founding board member of The Centrist Project, America’s first “Unparty” which aims to strategically elect independent candidates who can break though political gridlock and serve as a voice for all those in the sensible center. His passion area is education and since 2013, he has been an advisor for Connecting Learning Assures Successful Students (C.L.A.S.S.), an Indianapolis-based non-profit that uses the intersections of research-based disciplines like neuroscience, cognitive psychology, technology and physics to design curriculum and instruction. He is the founder and CEO of Centro, a provider of enterprise-class software for digital advertising organizations and the record holder for most consecutive times voted as the #1 Best Place to Work in Chicago by Crain’s. Shawn is also a startup angel investor and a frequent speaker on the importance of progressive company culture as the key to building happy and financially strong organizations.
Originally from the Chicago area, Steven Marciniak graduated from the University of Illinois in Fall 2011 with a bachelor's degree in Management-Entrepreneurship. Shortly after graduation, he was introduced to a lobbyist at the Illinois Chamber of Commerce who was in need of a better solution for tracking legislation. Steven instantly recognized not only the business potential, but also the significance of government transparency and involvement, and founded TrackBill. The following year was an uphill battle where he found himself on food stamps, sleeping on a friend's couch, and selling his plasma to get the company off the ground.
In February 2013, TrackBill moved to St. Louis as one of five startups, out of 120, to gain acceptance into the Capital Innovators accelerator program. After successfully completing the three-month curriculum, TrackBill caught the attention of Arch Grants and became one of 20 companies, out of 707, to receive funding from the global startup competition. Cultivation Capital and Serra Ventures then swooped in with additional capital, bringing the total amount raised to over $1.4 million.
Currently, TrackBill serves over 250 organizations nationwide, from Fortune 50 companies to small non-profits. This year, the team expects revenues in excess of $500,000.
Since Stephanie took charge in 2010, EMILY’s List has seen unprecedented growth, helped elect record numbers of women to the House and Senate, and recruited and trained hundreds of pro-choice Democratic women to run for office, including Senator Elizabeth Warren, who Stephanie personally recruited to run. Of the more than $500 million the organization has raised to support women candidates since its founding in 1985, more than half has been raised under Stephanie’s leadership — and EMILY’s List is now more than five million members strong (and counting).
Originally hailing from the mining town of Butte, Montana, Stephanie has now been fighting to elect Democrats for more than 20 years. In 2004, she served as the national finance director for Howard Dean’s 2004 presidential campaign, where she was at the center of the team that created the online fundraising model that ushered in the era of digital fundraising, laying the groundwork for President Barack Obama’s and Secretary Hillary Clinton’s future presidential campaigns.
In 2006, Stephanie returned to her home state of Montana to serve as Senator Jon Tester’s campaign manager, and after helping Democrats take back the Senate, served as his chief of staff. In 2008, she joined Al Franken’s historic Senate campaign as his campaign manager, leading the campaign to Election Day and then solidifying her reputation as a major force in Democratic politics by successfully managing the eight-month recount and legal fight that followed. Today, in addition to serving as president of EMILY’s List, Stephanie is also the president of American Women, a research organization affiliated with EMILY’s List which seeks to increase public awareness of the issues impacting women and families, and she regularly appears on MSNBC. Called “one of the absolute stars of American politics now,” Stephanie was named by ELLE Magazine to its “10 Most Powerful Women in Washington” list, alongside Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, in 2015.
Stephanie is a Cicero Product Manager on the Data Analytics Team.
She graduated from Lehigh University with a B.A. in English with Honors, Creative Writing, Health Medicine and Society. Stephanie spent the past three years working for a non-profit organization supporting people with intellectual and developmental disabilities to become integrated into their communities. Focused on compliance with regulatory standards, Stephanie conducted internal audits, tracked utilization data, and interpreted new state regulations into usable internal systems.
Born in Rhode Island, Stephanie considers herself a Hearty New Englander. She has been referred to as “bookish” in the past, but has chosen to accept that as a compliment. In her spare time you may find her hiking South American Volcanoes, simmering her famous Italian gravy, or mentally composing the next Great American Novel, which looks a lot like talking to herself.
Symone D. Sanders is a strategist who rose to prominence during her tenure as the national press secretary for U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders presidential campaign. At 25, Symone demonstrated an uncanny command of the issues earning her a place in history as the youngest presidential press secretary on record and a spot on Rolling Stone Magazine’s list of 16 young Americans shaping the 2016 election.
However, Symone was not new to presidential politics. When she was 16, she introduced former President Bill Clinton at a luncheon in Omaha, Nebraska. Following her remarks, President Clinton said, “Symone spoke so well I really hate to follow her.” President Clinton went on to write about Symone in his book, Giving: How Each of Us Can Change the World.
A communicator with a passion for juvenile justice, Symone is the former chair of the Coalition of Juvenile Justice Emerging Leaders Committee and former member of the Federal Advisory Committee on Juvenile Justice. While serving on the committees, Symone worked to bring millennial perspectives to policy conversations.
Now, Symone draws from her experience on the national stage to provide perceptive analysis and results-oriented problem solving on political and social issues. Through her work, Symone challenges the conventional wisdom that strong communities are only defined by what we have in common. Instead, she outlines the way our differences contribute to effective social movements and impactful media narratives.
Tamar is the founder of MASK (Mothers/Men Against Senseless Killings), which was established in 2015 as a way to put eyes on the streets, interrupt violence and crime, and teach children to grow up as friends rather than enemies. A group of caring individuals in the community began to simply hang out on the block, cook food, and emanate love.
Their presence was felt. People began to notice neighbors were watching out for each other, and it was contagious. Now this method of injecting good vibes in troubled areas is catching on in more communities.
Toby Fallsgraff is the digital director at Organizing for Action. As Obama for America's email director for the 2012 campaign, he led the campaign's email messaging, fundraising, and optimization strategy. Prior to the campaign, Toby served as an email fundraising strategist with Organizing for America at the DNC following several years working as a consultant at M+R Strategic Services, working with organizations like the Human Rights Campaign, AARP, and the Save Darfur Coalition. A proud Cleveland native and beleagured sports fan, Toby got his start in local Ohio campaigns and managed a congressional race in Northeast Ohio in 2008. He graduated from Ohio University's Scripps School of Journalism and received a Master's degree in political management from George Washington University. Toby also moonlights as the frontman of an indie rock band called Daddy's Gonna Kill Ralphie.
Founder, President & Executive Director of Lawyers for Good Government (L4GG) and the Lawyers for Good Government Foundation. Organizer, Rise Above Conference 2017. Working to mobilize lawyers, law students, and legal activists in defense of the individuals, communities, and democratic principles under threat since the November 2016 election.
Yasyf is a Master's student at MIT, and leads the engineering team at Hi From The Other Side. In addition to finding ways he can use technology to bridge divides and connect people, his academic interests are focused on exploring how software can make venture capital more efficient. Yasyf has spent time as an engineer at Square and Facebook, and as Chief Software Architect at Foxtrot ("a 21st century approach to last mile logistics”). He also spent a year Managing Partner of the Boston Dorm Room Fund team, a student-run venture fund backed by First Round Capital. Hailing from Vancouver, he’s spent the past few years exploring new technologies and bringing together his academic and real-world engineering experiences to form a passion for entrepreneurship and technology startups.
Complex challenges require innovative solutions, and the next wave of leadership is rising to the challenge.
NewFounders is powering the inaugural NewFounders Conference, hosted in the center of the country - Chicago, Illinois - on October 18.
This is not your ordinary conference.
For the first time, innovators and trailblazers on the cutting edge of UX, technology, design, data and electoral politics will converge to discuss and promote critical infrastructure that can vastly transform politics as we know it.
We will be examining how to build on innovations, rather than throwing them out every political cycle, how to challenge the idea of top-down organization, how to help activists build change, how to re-connect people and politics with simple tools, how to use and share data among races, and how to enable new leaders to run the best campaigns they can and win. We will also be showcasing game-changing tools and testing in the areas of Activism, Voting, Elections and Campaigns.
Don’t miss a visionary look at the future, from the builders of the future.