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Meet our Team


Ana Maria Archila
Co-Executive Director

Ana María emigrated to the U.S. from Colombia at the age of 17 and has become a leading voice for racial justice, economic justice and immigrant rights in New York and nationally, first as co-Executive Director of Make the Road New York (MRNY), and now as co-Executive Director of the Center for Popular Democracy (CPD).
During Ana María's 13 years at MRNY and its predecessor organization, the Latin American Integration Center, Ana Maria helped build a build the organization into a powerful force for change in New York and nationally. The 16,000+ members of Make the Road New York, mostly working class Latino immigrants, have led some of the most transformative victories for low-income New Yorkers over the last decade: With their determination and strong advocacy, members of MRNY have helped put millions of dollars in the pockets of low-wage workers by winning increases to the minimum wage, paid sick days, and strong protections from wage-theft; and they have led the ambitious campaigns to win public policies that make New York City one of the leading Sanctuary Cities in the country. By organizing in neighborhoods across New York City and Long Island, MRNY members are bringing the experiences of immigrants to the forefront of the public debate and are shaping public policy on housing, education, health care, policing, civil rights and more.
In 2014, Ana María stepped into a new role as Co-Executive Director at the Center for Popular Democracy, and helped build it into one of the largest community organizing networks in the country, with 45 affiliate organizations in 32 states. CPD and its affiliates represent a powerful multi-racial alliance of immigrants, African Americans and white working class communities working to advance an agenda of racial and economic justice, and a vibrant democracy. CPD and its affiliates have played a major role in the national movement to raise the minimum wage and win family-sustaining jobs, resulting in raises for close to 11 million workers. Working with local progressive elected officials, the CPD network has helped elevate the role of cities as places for policy innovation that advances immigrant rights, workplace justice, and economic opportunity for communities of color.
In this moment of increased threats from the federal government, the organizations that are part of the CPD network are helping drive participation of people across the country to protect our communities, and advance a vision for justice and opportunity for all.

Elissa Berger
Senior Advisor

Elissa serves as Strategic Advisor to CPD, with responsibilities related to internal infrastructure and organization-wide systems to support excellent organizational functioning. 

Elissa has more than two decades of experience working at the nexus of policy, organizing, and operations. Her previous experience includes serving as the Deputy Director of Advocacy and Policy at the ACLU where she managed a team of policy counsels and political strategists. Among her other previous roles, she was the Director of Operations at the Working Families Party, where she built organizational infrastructure and supervised the administrative department.  She served as  CPD's Chief Operating Officer for two years prior to taking on the role of Senior Advisor. 

Elissa clerked on the Third Circuit Court of Appeals and was a Skadden Fellow. She graduated first in her class from Brooklyn Law School. 

Oona Chatterjee
Chief of Base-Building

Oona leads the Base-Building team at CPD, which supports our partners in becoming stronger and more effective, and engages them in building our network together.  She came to CPD after serving for 2 years as the Associate Director of New York City Organizing at the Annenberg Institute for School Reform. In that role, she worked with AISR's New York City team and partner organizations throughout the city to support parent and student organizing efforts to advance school reform. Prior to working to AISR, Oona served for fifteen years as Co-Executive Director of Make the Road New York, an organization which she co-founded and which is one of the most respected and effective organizing groups in the country. Make the Road New York is a core partner of CPD. Oona’s work at MRNY included participating in the design, creation and ongoing support of two small public schools, building vital student and parent organizing programs within the organization, and playing an important role in the founding of citywide and national youth organizing coalitions to advance school reform.

Oona was a long-time board member and former Board Chair of the North Star Fund, a progressive NYC-based foundation and has been the recipient of several fellowships and awards including the Reebok Human Rights Award, and the Brick Award.  She is a graduate of Yale University and New York University Law School.

Jennifer Epps-Addison
Network President and Co-Executive Director

Jennifer Epps-Addison serves as the President and Co-Executive Director of the Center for Popular Democracy and CPD Action's network of 49 partner organizations in 33 states. As President, Jennifer leads CPD’s racial justice campaigns, and works closely with its network of local affiliates.  

Jennifer boasts over 15 years of community organizing experience, advancing systems-change campaigns for economic and racial justice. Prior to joining CPD, Epps-Addison was the Chief Program Officer for the Liberty Hill Foundation, a social justice foundation in Los Angeles that funds grassroots community organizing campaigns for social change. A native of Milwaukee, WI, Epps-Addison helped coordinate the Fight for $15 campaign as the Executive Director of Wisconsin Jobs Now.

Epps-Addison is the recipient of the 2013 Edna Award from the Berger-Marks Foundation, which honors an outstanding young woman each year for her leadership in fueling social change. In the same year, she was named an 'Activist to Watch' by Bill Moyers. She earned her BA in Political Science and Women's Studies and her JD from the University of Wisconsin. Prior to her return to organizing, Jennifer was a trial attorney in the Wisconsin State Public Defender's Office.

Epps-Addison, a leader who has deep experience building power in communities from the ground up, joins the Center for Popular Democracy at a time when local community voices matter more than ever in creating a nation-wide movement to fight for dignity and opportunity for all people.  She brings with her a commitment to supporting and growing black-led organizations, strengthening investments in power-building efforts in communities of color, and deepening organizing strategies that build power with the white working class by addressing racism head-on and building authentic alliances based on shared interests and shared values.

Jenny Freedman
Chief Operating Officer

Jenny serves as CPD’s Chief Operating Officer, overseeing the organization’s finance, human resources, legal compliance, and operations functions, while working to build and strengthen CPD’s infrastructure and systems. She brings with her a wealth of experience in nonprofit management, fundraising, and fiscal stewardship.

Jenny comes to CPD after 16 years as the Chief of Development & Finance at CASA, the mid-Atlantic region’s largest Latino and immigrant advocacy organization, where she was responsible for overseeing the growth of CASA’s infrastructure in areas of fundraising and financial management. While at CASA, Jenny helped grow the organization from a budget of $2.5M to over $12M, expanding CASA’s footprint to three states - Maryland, Virginia, and Pennsylvania. During her tenure at CASA she helped launch and grow two additional sister organizations (a 501c4 and PAC), and she also led the organization through two major capital campaigns of $14M each. She has also been a panelist and trainer on fundraising and nonprofit financial management at various conferences and panels. 

Jenny holds a BA from Northwestern University and a Masters of Public Management from University of Maryland.

Andrew Friedman
Co-Executive Director

Andrew came to CPD after 15 years building Make the Road New York into the leading democratically-run, immigrant-led community organization in New York State. Since co-founding Make the Road in 1997, Andrew helped grow the organization from a small, volunteer-run effort to an $8 million organization with over 11,000 members, 100 staff, and four community-based centers in New York City and Long Island. Andrew helped oversee all aspects of Make the Road’s work, including the organizing, legal services, adult literacy, workforce development, operations and finance departments.

Andrew has worked with the Latino Workers’ Center, the Neighborhood Defender Service of Harlem, the Center for Urban Community Services, the Government Benefits Unit at Brooklyn Legal Services Corporation A, and MFY Legal Services Mental Health Law Project. Andrew has been awarded the Union Square Award of the Fund for the City of New York, the Cornerstone Award of the Jewish Funds for Justice, and the Community Health Leaders Award of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation for his work at MRNY. Andrew was a Skadden Public Interest Fellow, a Senior Fellow at the Drum Major Institute for Public Policy and a Wasserstein Fellow at Harvard Law School. He has worked as an adjunct professor in New York University School of Law’s Clinical Program, NYU’s Wagner School for Public Service and the New School for Social Research, and serves on the Board of Directors of Make the Road New York, and the Make the Road Action Fund. Andrew is a magna cum laude graduate of Columbia College and a cum laude graduate of the New York University School of Law.

Sarah Johnson
Executive Director, Local Progress

Sarah is Executive Director of Local Progress, the network of hundreds of progressive local elected officials across the country dedicated to shared prosperity, equal justice under law, sustainable and livable cities, and good government that serves the public interest. Local Progress supports elected officials to share best practices, improving the quality of progressive policy at the local level, and helps coordinate work across cities for impact at the state and national level.

Prior to joining CPD, Sarah served as the Managing Director at the Working Families Organization where she helped develop a senior management team to guide organizational strategy and as the Elections Director for the New York Working Families Party where she helped recruit, train and elect progressive elected officials at all levels of government and contributed to doubling the size of the Progressive Caucus of the New York City Council. Sarah got her start as a political organizer for SEIU 32BJ where she managed member-to-member political programs and supported the union's equitable development advocacy work including the passage of the a prevailing wage bill for New York City building service workers.

Sarah is a graduate of Williams College and Pratt Institute, where she received a Masters in Urban Planning.

Steve Kest
Senior Advisor

Steve serves as Senior Advisor to CPD, with responsibility for a number of projects designed to build CPD's capacity.  In addition, he is coordinating the network's "fight-back" campaign against the policies and program of the Trump administration.  Steve also serves on CPD's Senior Management Team.

Steve brings an enormous range of experience, skills, and insights to CPD as a decades-long veteran of community organizing. Most recently, Steve ran the Fight for a Fair Economy (FFE) program at Service Employees International Union (SEIU), a $30 million annual investment in community organizing. While at SEIU he also helped support the Fight for 15 campaign to organize fast food workers. Before joining SEIU, Steve was a Senior Fellow at the Center for American Progress, where he helped CAP develop its work on community organizing.

Steve's most significant experience was at ACORN, where he worked for over 35 years in a wide variety of roles, including as National Executive Director. Steve graduated from Harvard and lives in Brooklyn, NY.

Brian Kettenring
Co-Executive Director

Brian leads CPD’s Economic Justice Campaigns including Fair Work Week, Fed Up, Minimum Wage, Paid Sick Days, Childcare, and Wall Street Accountability. Additionally, Brian oversees CPD’s voter engagement portfolio, as well as CPD’s new States Initiative and the Federal Advocacy and Campaigns operation.

Brian served as Executive Director of Leadership Center for the Common Good prior to its merger with CPD in late 2013. During his tenure, Brian and his team built an organization that worked with partner organizations in 18 states and 45 cities nationally, and drove a wide array of economic and racial justice campaigns. During his 23-year organizing career, Brian has run or worked on dozens of organizing drives and issue campaigns, ranging from the campaign to stop racist predatory lending in California (1999-2002) to a minimum wage ballot initiative victory in Florida (2004), and more.

Brian’s first work in organizing came through the Midwest Academy training program in Chicago, IL. Later, Brian worked for the Rogers Park Community Action Network and the REACH project, both in Chicago. From 1995-2009, Brian worked for ACORN, initially in Chicago, and later in Oakland, Sacramento, Florida, the southern US, and in Washington, DC. Brian received a BA in African and European Intellectual History from Carleton College.

Lilah Pomerance
Chief of Campaigns and Advocacy

Lilah Pomerance is joining CPD as the Chief of Campaigns and Advocacy. Lilah comes to us from the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) where she most recently served as the Interim National Political Director. Previously, she was the Deputy Director for Government Relations and launched SEIU's state planning program, a national initiative called 2020. While at SEIU, she helped design and implement new initiatives connecting national strategies to build power with local unions and partners. 

Previously, Lilah worked for U.S. Senator Chuck Schumer and in the field on two presidential campaigns (2000 and 2004). She also spent four years working abroad in the non-profit sector in Israel and Nicaragua. She earned her BA from Barnard College and completed her MBA at the Robert H. Smith School of Business. 

Lilah serves as the Board Chair for Jews United for Justice Campaign Fund. She was born and raised in the Adams Morgan neighborhood of Washington, DC, where she currently lives with her husband Dan Gordon and her three children Noa, Eyal and Asher. 

Connie Razza
Chief of Campaigns and Policy

Connie oversees CPD’s broad-ranging campaigns for economic justice and a robust, inclusive democracy, as well as the organization's research efforts. She had previously served as CPD's campaign director and research director. Prior to returning to CPD, Connie was Vice President of Policy and Research at Demos, where she directed the work of the policy team and developed a social exclusion framework to understanding the drivers of racism in the US. She has worked for economic and racial justice for nearly a quarter century, as a union activist, organizer, researcher, policy analyst, and strategist. She holds a BA from Georgetown University and an MA and PhD from the University of California at Los Angeles.

Connie has written a number of publications, including for the Economic Policy Institute about planning for the next recession, and for Demos about social exclusion and the interplay between economic disadvantage, democratic disqualification, and social deprivation.

Natalia Salgado
Chief of Civic Engagement

As Chief of Civic Engagement, Natalia supports the political, electoral and policy work of CPD/A's national network of affiliate organizations. She comes to CPD after 3 years as the Director of Advocacy for New York State Attorney General's office where she interfaced with local community groups and advocacy organizations around a wide range of policy issues and their impact on vulnerable communities. She also led the office’s work around the Special Investigations and Prosecution Unit also known as SIP, a unit dedicated to the investigation of cases where an unarmed civilian was killed by a police officer. By acting as a liaison for families of victims as well as key advocates, she worked to increase transparency and accountability within the AG's office. Before her time in government, she worked for SEIU Local 32BJ as the New York State Deputy Political Director and prior to that role, as the Pennsylvania Political Director. At the union, she developed a robust regional and local policy platform as well as managed the union's electoral program on a local, state and federal level. She began her political career in her hometown of Philadelphia as the campaign manager for the first Latina to run and win a seat on local city council.


Danielle Adams
Southern Regional Coordinator, Local Progress

Danielle is the Southern Coordinator for Local Progress, the network of 500+ progressive local elected officials across the country dedicated to shared prosperity, equal justice under law, sustainable and livable cities, and good government that serves the public interest. She works most directly with local elected officials in Southern states and leads efforts on recruitment, engagement and policy support of members across the region.

Prior to joining CPD, Danielle worked at the Institute for Southern Studies, a public interest media, research and education center aimed at drawing attention to the national importance of the South. She has previously served as the Alternative Transportation Project Manager in the Office of Sustainability at Appalachian State University, on the Board of Directors for the Upper Neuse River Association and has worked with the  International Affairs Council – Middle East Partnership Initiative of the U.S. Department of State on connecting women in local elected office globally.

Danielle serves as an ambassador to Oxfam America’s Sisters on the Planet program and is a current local elected official in Durham, NC. She is a graduate of North Carolina Central University holding BA in political science with a minor in music and studied graduate Environmental Politics and Policy Analysis at Appalachian State University.

Carolina Agan
Executive Assistant

As Executive Assistant, Carolina is the logistic and administrative lead for Brian Kettenring. Her past professional experience includes management at a startup, media archival work, and Spanish translation. Carolina holds a degree in History from Universidad Nacional de Colombia and a certificate in Legal and Medical Translation and Interpretation from Hunter College. Outside of work, she is a passionate environmentalist and an active member of her community. Carolina currently lives in Brooklyn with her family.

Marinieves Alba
Training Design Director

Marinieves Alba is the Training Design Director for the Center for Popular Democracy. She is responsible for training program development and evaluation, curriculum design, and the cultivation of learning communities which support and grow the Center for Popular Democracy’s national network. In her role, she will work as part of CPD’s Training Initiative to ensure successful design, implementation, and evaluation of all educational programming.

Marinieves is an educator, activist, cultural worker, and writer born and raised in New York City. She has worked in the international NGO and non-profit sector for two decades, specializing in issues related to racial and cultural equity in the arts, education, and social justice more broadly.  She joins CPD after eleven years in the field of community schools, where she led, learned, and trained alongside local, national, and international teams of community school practitioners, researchers, and partners in government, NGOs, and community-led organizations dedicated to advancing community schools and education justice. In her role as a Community School Director, Marinieves served as a trainer, writer, and media producer for the National Center for Community Schools.

   Marinieves is an advocate for holistic approaches to youth and community development and social justice organizing, and incorporates restorative practices, mindfulness, and non-violent communication (NVC) into her work as a community leader, coach, and consultant. She holds degrees from Wesleyan University and New York University-Wagner Graduate School of Public Service, and graduate certificates from Fordham University and the International Institute of Restorative Practices (IIRP). 

Jayleen Alvarado
Affiliate Associate

Jayleen Alvarado is joining the CPD staff as our Base Building Affiliate Associate under our Organizing and Capacity Building team. Jayleen brings experience working on several campaigns across the state of Pennsylvania under the House Democratic Campaign Committee. Jayleen worked as an intern for United States Senator Bob Casey of Pennsylvania, and conducted research for bipartisan think tank The Century Foundation. Passionate about uncovering a solution for the student loan crises and higher education, she also worked for scholarship based non-profit, The Posse Foundation. Wanting to learn more about the international economy and politics, she studied abroad in Hungary, Austria, the Czech Republic, and Poland. Jayleen holds a Bachelors degree in Political Science from Bloomsburg University of Pennsylvania.

Phil Astin
Staff Accountant

Phil is part of CPD's Finance department specializing in expense management and financial system administration. He came to CPD from the Atlanta Botanical Garden where he worked with their finance team to support ABG's mission of developing and maintaining a world-class plant collection for display, education, research, and global conservation. Prior to that, he worked in the private sector in the sub-prime loan industry which fueled his desire to switch over to the non-profit world. He received his Bachelor of Business Administration with a concentration in Accounting from Georgia State University's J. Mack Robinson College of Business and is currently working towards his CPA license.

Amanda Avalos
Canvass Operations Lead

As the first graduate of the first CPD/Membership Drive Canvass Director Boot Camp, Amanda is now the newest member of the Sustainability Initiative team as the Canvass Support Associate. She and the Sustainability team are building financially independent community organizations through small-donor and dues-paying membership field programs around the country.

Amanda is the Founder of the "Milwaukee Beautiful" movement, a photographer, and an active member of Hispanic Professionals of Greater Milwaukee and Global Shapers Milwaukee Hub, an initiative of the World Economic Forum. She has a BA in Social Welfare and Justice with a minor in Philosophy from Marquette University in Milwaukee, WI. She is currently working on her Master of Public Health in Public Health Policy & Administration at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. 

Ady Barkan
Senior Campaigner

Ady Barkan was the founding director of two major projects at the Center for Popular Democracy: Local Progress and the Fed Up campaign. Local Progress is the network of over 700 progressive local elected elected officials across the country dedicated to shared prosperity, equal justice under law, sustainable and livable cities, and good government that serves the public interest. Local Progress provides its membership with policy and governance best practices, space to build solidarity, and the opportunity to partner across cities as part of a national progressive movement.

Fed Up is a national campaign for full employment and a reformed Federal Reserve. By bringing the voices and perspectives of low and moderate-income Black and Brown Americans into debates about the Fed’s policies and governance, Fed Up has transformed the national conversation about the Federal Reserve and our economy and meaningfully improved its policies and governance.

Ady is now focused on strengthening America’s health care system and inspiring millions of Americans to take back our democracy from the racists and kleptocrats.

Before joining CPD, Ady was a law clerk to the Hon. Shira A. Scheindlin in the Southern District of New York, who found the NYPD’s stop-and-frisk program to be unconstitutional. Prior to that, Ady worked at Make the Road New York, where he represented low-wage workers seeking to recover unpaid wages, engage in collective action, and obtain safe and dignified working conditions. He helped design and draft policy proposals to enhance the quality of low-wage jobs in New York City including the right to paid sick days, regulation of major retailers, and unionization of the car wash industry. He graduated from Yale Law School and Columbia College.

Greg Basta
Director of Sustainability Initiatives

Greg directs CPD's Sustainability Initiative, our effort to build financially independent community organizations through comprehensive small donor and dues-paying membership field programs. He and the Sustainability team are working with partners to develop advanced canvass programs that will build mass membership and generate independent, lasting revenue for our partners over the next 5 years. Prior to CPD, Greg was one of the founding staff members of New York Communities for Change in 2010, serving as their Deputy Director and supervising their Canvass, Political Field, Digital, and Data Operations. Greg also served as the Statewide Canvass Director for New York ACORN for 5 years.  He has a BA in Political Science from St. Joseph’s College.

Isabel Bombaes
Operations Associate

Isabel Bombaes joins CPD as an Operations Associate.  Isabel will provide support and assistance in coordinating various events with CPD and our partner organizations, managing organization-wide payments and contracts, and supporting our Senior Leadership Team. Here she will work with a range of individuals within and outside of the organization to coordinate projects and initiatives. Prior to joining CPD, Isabel worked in the hospitality industry at JFK airport for over a decade assisting in various units and was active in numerous events and its on-site production.  There she helped in managing inventory by creating a system to accurately track, log, and organize supplies in an effective and cost-saving manner. In 2016, Isabel received the inspire Award, a recognition for her productivity, performance, and morale.

Leah Boudreaux
Director of Human Resources

Leah is Director of CPD's HR Department and has 20 years non-profit and public sector HR and finance experience, including the Institute for Policy Studies, The Management Center, the Minnesota Campaign Finance and Public Disclosure Board, the Minnesota Attorney General's Office and 6 years with TakeAction Minnesota, a CPD affiliate.  Leah is an active member of the Board of re:Power.  

Leah graduated from Lawrence University with a BA in History and a BA in Government and lives in Washington DC.  

Alisha Brooks
HR Manager

Alisha handles CPD’s HR-related projects and initiatives, while helping to maintain an engaging, people-centric workplace of high performance and passion. She came to CPD from Equal Justice USA where she managed many operational functions, including HR. Her passion lies in being able to connect with people from all different backgrounds, while staying committed to getting results in fast-paced environments like CPD's. For this reason, she is a long-standing member of the Society of Human Resource Management.
Alisha holds a BA in Corporate Communications from Baruch College and a MBA in General Management from Keller Graduate School of Business. 

Sheena Brown
Director of Partner Resource Development

Sheena works closely with CPD partners to develop their fundraising capacity in order to strengthen organizational sustainability and build resilience. Sheena brings a lot of energy and over 20 years of professional fundraising experience to fuel and inform her strategies in this work.

Prior to joining the CPD community, Sheena served as the Development Director for Color Of Change, the nation’s largest online racial justice organization, where she worked closely with the Executive Director to lead their fundraising efforts, which resulted in more than doubling their budget in two years.  Sheena also held senior development roles at the New Orleans Workers’ Center for Racial Justice, Emerging Practitioners in Philanthropy and Third Wave Foundation.

In 2003, frustrated by an overwhelming lack of access to relevant fundraising trainings, Sheena launched a consulting practice to support community-based organizations that were led by people of color in New York City. For over 10 years, Sheena worked closely with groups who had struggled to gain traction in an intimidating and often inaccessible philanthropic environment. Her deep respect for and belief in the power of brilliant organizing grounds her in her pursuit to bring critical resources to the work happening on the front lines of justice.

Sheena hails from New England – a member of the Narragansett Tribe, the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, and Red Sox Nation. However, for the past 17 years, she has called Brooklyn, NY home and headquarters. 

Mathias Burner
Regional Canvass Lead

Mathias works as a Regional Canvass Lead within our Sustainability Initiatives. His focus is to help canvass directors improve the quality of their canvass operations, making sure the team is properly trained and that directors are achieving the goals that have been set for them by CPD's various partner organizations. Mathias has been working on Contract for the past 7 Months, assisting affiliates such as VOCAL-NY, Working Washington and LUCHA. 

Prior to coming to CPD, Mathias worked as Canvass Director and Campus Organizer within The Public Interest Network, running fundraising and electoral Canvasses. Mathias has ran and worked on  Canvass Projects in Massachusetts, Maine and Colorado, and Connecticut, representing Organizations such as Environment Maine, MASSPIRG, Planned Parenthood and the ACLU. Mathias Received a Bachelors Degree from The University of Massachusetts Amherst, with a focus on English Literature. 

Xiomara Caro Diaz
Maria Fund Project Director

Xiomara is the Project Director of the Hurricane Maria Community Relief & Recovery Fund (the Maria Fund) since November 2018. The Maria Fund was launched in September 2017 to help communities hit hardest by the storm. In the immediate aftermath, the Maria Fund distributed emergency funds to several community-based organizations, and since then has continued to mobilize resources to support community organizing initiatives fighting to guarantee and just and equitable recovery of the island. In 2016, Xiomara joined the Organizing and Capacity Building Team at CPD, providing training and infrastructure support to partner organizations across the US.

Before joining CPD, she was the Executive Director of the Youth Development Institute for 2 years, a new child and youth advocacy organization created by the leaders of Boys & Girls Clubs of Puerto Rico (BGCPR). At BGCPR she worked for 3 years leading their fundraising and government affairs, and previously at the Puerto Rico Community Foundation. She comes out of the student movement strikes at the University of Puerto Rico in 2010 and 2011, where thousands of students organized against tuition hikes and national austerity measures. She holds a Juris Doctor from the Law School of the University of Puerto Rico and a Bachelor's Degree in Public Relations from the University of Florida. She lives in San Juan, Puerto Rico. 

Melissa Carrera
Administrative Associate

Melissa joins CPD as the Administrative Associate for the Base Building team. She provides strategic management and oversight to the logistics and operations aspects of the People's Convention. Melissa came to CPD from Students First NY as an Organizer helping district parents fight for quality education. Prior to SFNY, she spent a year at CPD affiliate, Churches United For Fair Housing (CUFFH) serving as the Special Projects Coordinator, building their network of churches fighting for affordable housing. 
Melissa is a Bushwick, Brooklyn native who serves on her community board. She is an active member fighting for affordable housing and a more livable city. Melissa is also a Kings County committee member for the Brooklyn Democratic Party. She attended New York City College of Technology. 

JoEllen Chernow
Director of Special Projects

JoEllen plays a key role in driving CPDs minimum wage campaign efforts and economic justice work. She focuses on envisioning strategy, leveraging partner organizations’ impact in the field, and assisting in the implementation of dynamic campaign plans. In addition, JoEllen is developing a senior organizer pipeline training program, including generating curriculum, skill building, leadership development, and evaluation tools.

JoEllen has worked in progressive grassroots organizations and labor unions for 15 years. She has been responsible for mapping out strategies, running national programs and campaigns, and building organizational capacity for unions and community groups. Before coming to CPD, JoEllen organized a wide range of workers, including industrial laundry workers for UNITE-HERE, Registered Nurses for the California Nurses Association and public sector workers for AFSCME. She has also worked internationally for UNI Global, primarily in Colombia, Spain and Portugal. At CPD, she plays a critical role to a number of movements and campaigns for social, racial and economic justice.

Tracey Corder
Director of Federal Action and Racial Justice

Tracey serves as the Director of Federal Action and Racial Justice for CPD, building deep and close relationships with core affiliates who are focused on driving racial justice work as well as working with other CPD staff to develop effective intersectional campaigns.

She came to CPD from Oakland Rising where she worked as the Field Director for 2 years. There she was responsible for developing short and long term electoral strategy and helping to sustain intentional relationships with partner organizations, elected officials, city staff, labor, community leaders and other key stakeholders in Oakland. Prior to this, Tracey worked as the Deputy Field Director for CO Victory in the 2014 federal midterms elections and served as the Wisconsin African American Vote Director for the 2012 Obama re-election campaign.  She has strong ties to the labor movement through her organizing as the Service Area Organizer with AFL-CIO in Wisconsin.  Tracey has also worked to elect candidates on every level of government throughout the country.

Born in Milwaukee, WI and making her home in Oakland, CA, Tracey is a member of the BYP100-Bay Area Chapter and a co-host of the weekly podcast That's What She Said.  Tracey holds a BS in Sociology and Human Services from Edgewood College and spent 4 years as a Social Worker before formally entering organizing work.

Maggie Corser
Senior Research Analyst

Maggie conducts research that advances immigrant justice, Wall Street accountability, and worker's rights campaigns. Prior to CPD, she worked at Amnesty International USA and the Open Society Foundations. Maggie has a background in community-based participatory research and spent several years doing qualitative and quantitative field research on a study addressing health disparities faced by low-income families. Her published research has been cited by numerous publications including the New York Times, the Washington Post, the Wall Street Journal, Bloomberg, NPR, Forbes, Time, USA Today, Reuters, the Atlantic’s City Lab, and the Pacific Standard Magazine.

Maggie came to CPD with fifteen years of organizing experience and has worked on low-wage and farmworker rights, gender and racial justice, and labor organizing campaigns. In 2012, Maggie completed Rockwood Leadership Institute’s Art of Leadership for Women in Racial Justice and Human Rights. Maggie holds a BA in International Relations from Michigan State University and an MA in International Affairs with a Human Rights concentration from The New School. She also studied at Soochow University in China after receiving the National Critical Language Fellowship through the U.S. State Department and Council for American Overseas Research.

Tiffany Y. Cruz
National Canvass Director

Tiffany works on the CPD's Sustainability team providing support, and training to the Canvass Directors within the CPD network with the goal of building small donor and membership building operations that can lead our affiliates on the path of financial independence. Tiffany got her start in political engagement as a fellow with Organizing for America (OFA) in 2012.

Prior to CPD, she served as a Canvass Director for 3 years working to build fundraising teams for some of the country’s most progressive non-profits. She worked at ACTION United of Philadelphia to overseeing both political and issues based door to door, street and phone canvass operations to improve community engagement and build political power locally.

Hetal Dalal
Director of Legal Compliance

As a key member of CPD’s legal team, Hetal provides legal counsel and legal compliance oversight for CPD’s work.  Hetal supervises CPD and CPDA’s grant-making and fiscal sponsorship to our field partners, ensuring that grants we make are compliant with IRS requirements while also serving to support our partner organizations. Hetal oversees contracts, employment law matters, and tax compliance. She also provides strategic guidance to new organizing endeavors: during the past seven years, Hetal has worked with founding organizers to help launch at least two dozen new community organizing endeavors.

Hetal helped launch CPD’s predecessor organization, Leadership Center for the Common Good, in 2010. Prior to that, she worked for a national nonprofit organization, handling lobbying matters, campaign finance law and employment law.  Hetal has also worked in private practice, representing employers and individuals in immigration matters. Hetal worked for the international law firm, Fulbright & Jaworski, LLP, for 3 years.  She is a Magna Cum Laude graduate of the University of Minnesota School of Law. After law school she clerked on the Supreme Court for the state of Minnesota, with then Chief Justice Kathleen A. Blatz. Before law school Hetal worked as a community organizer with the National Organizers Alliance and a union organizer (short-term) with UNITE-HERE.

Claire Davis-Boulton
Director of Finance

Claire leads the finance department at CPD, with direct responsibility for cash management, budgeting, day-to-day financial management, and overseeing the audit and tax preparation process.

Claire has over 15 years of nonprofit financial management experience, most recently at WITNESS, a global human rights organization co-founded by the musician and activist, Peter Gabriel. Claire previously led the financial management of the Edward W. Hazen Foundation, which funds grassroots education reform, and at Eyebeam, a New York City-based art and technology organization.

Claire has a BA in Art History from the University of Maryland and has served as an officer on boards of several not-for-profits, as well as the Not-for-Profit Committee of the Financial Women’s Association. She currently serves on the board of the Magnum Foundation and has been actively engaged in social investing and shareholder reform since 2004.

Dominic Desmond
Development Associate

Dominic Desmond is a Development Associate at CPD. He does individual and foundation prospect research and copyedits and proofreads CPD's development materials. He came to CPD from the international advertising agency, Wunderman, where he worked as a proofreader for the agency’s health care department. Before Wunderman, Dominic was an English teacher for nearly a decade at international schools in Boston and Los Angeles. 
Dominic now lives in Queens and is active in the neighborhood there, working with community members to make the city a fairer and better place to live. He holds a B.A. in international affairs from James Madison University. 

Rachel Deutsch
Supervising Attorney for Worker Justice

Rachel supports CPD’s campaigns to enact and enforce strong workplace protections. She is a nationally recognized expert on the design and implementation of Fair Workweek policies to promote stable, predictable schedules and opportunities for full-time employment. In addition to supporting CPD partners and allies across the country to advocate for Fair Workweek legislation, Rachel leads CPD's wage theft prevention work to improve compliance with a broad array of wage & hour, health and safety, and paid leave protections, and supports CPD's work to envision new forms of worker organization and collective action.

Before joining CPD, Rachel litigated cases involving labor and employment, elections, state and local governments, and environmental protection at Strumwasser & Woocher, a public interest law firm. She represented the California Department of Insurance in a landmark enforcement action against a health insurance company for violations of consumer and provider protection laws. Rachel previously clerked for Hon. Marsha S. Berzon on the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, and before law school, organized hospital workers with the Service Employees International Union. Rachel is a graduate of Columbia Law School and Yale College, and lives in Los Angeles.

Steve Dooley
Director of Base Engagement

Steve is a national organizer with CPD, and supports CPD’s organizing and capacity building, climate justice, and national fightback teams. His organizing and capacity building work focuses on providing strategic development and campaign building support to base-building organizations and organizing alliances throughout the country. With others at CPD, Steve founded CPD’s climate justice work and he continues to help direct local, regional, and national initiatives – driven by disproportionately impacted low-income communities and communities of color – to address the climate crisis. Steve also supports CPD’s work to fightback against and advance a just society in the face of the current national right-wing agenda, coordinating the engagement and actions of organizing groups nationwide in this effort.

Steve’s organizing career started at ACORN in Washington, DC and he later directed ACORN’s offices in Dallas/Fort Worth. After ACORN, he served as outreach director for the Active Citizen Project, a national social justice effort, was Executive Director of the base-building organization Maryland Communities United, and helped to lead the development of the community organizing program of Our DC, a project of the Service Employees International Union. Prior to his current roles at CPD, Steve served as the Director of the Mid-Atlantic Region for CPD and for the Leadership Center for the Common Good, before its merger with CPD in late 2013.

Tarsi Dunlop
Policy and Programming Manager, Local Progress

Tarsi manages membership and programming for Local Progress, the network of hundreds of progressive local elected officials across the country dedicated to shared prosperity, equal justice under law, sustainable and livable cities, and good government that serves the public interest. Local Progress supports elected officials to share best practices, improving the quality of progressive policy at the local level, and helps coordinate work across cities for impact at the state and national level. Tarsi provides membership support and manages member communication, develops programming, oversees policy development and leads the school board cohort organizing work.

Prior to joining CPD, Tarsi served as the program and operations manager for the Learning First Alliance, a national coalition of education associations committed to strengthening public schools for all children where she oversaw the organization's operations and supported program efforts to raise the visibility of members and education professionals. Tarsi got her start in the nonprofit progressive organizing world with the Roosevelt Institute, where she helped build the national campus network, and served on staff as Director of Operations and Communications for two years after graduating from the network. She remains actively involved in the network as an alumni, supporting students as they develop progressive policy ideas and build their campaigns. Tarsi holds a BA in Political Science from Middlebury College and a Nonprofit Management Executive Certificate from Georgetown University.

Nafisa Elsed
Executive Assistant

Nafisa is the executive assistant to Jennifer Epps-Addison. She provides strategic planning as well as administrative and logistical support for Jennifer to advance the productivity and the efficiency of CPD.

In addition to her duties as an executive assistant, Nafisa is an active blogger and researcher, with solid background in journalism. Prior to joining CPD, Nafisa worked as an editor and reporter for Libya Herald Newspaper. She also has experience working with NGOs in the United States and North Africa. As a marketer, journalist, and executive assistant, she is part researcher, part psychologist, part listener, part analyst, and part storyteller. She wears multiple hats, depending on the task. She also pursue a passion for theological learning, peacebuilding, and women empowerment across the world. 

Nafisa is a former Libyan exile and a Fulbright scholar with a Master of Science degree in Integrated Marketing Communications from Roosevelt University in Chicago. During the Arab Uprising, Nafisa volunteered to work as anonymous correspondent in Libya, sending stirring reports about the humanitarian crisis in 2011 to international media. She was also featured in an interview with Anderson Cooper on CNN and contributed to online magazines such as Guernica, Pulse, and Huffington Post. Nafisa currently lives and works in New York City.

Dianne Enriquez
Co-Director of Community Dignity Campaigns

Dianne is oversees a section of CPD's core campaign work on Education, Housing, Health and Climate issues, and supports CPD's Immigration campaigns and team. She works with the Opportunity campaigns team to develop strategy, coordinate national efforts, and develop partnerships to build broad support on these issues.

She began her career in policy advocacy and strategic campaigns as the Director of Young Workers United in San Francisco, organizing young and immigrant workers in the city’s restaurant industry. She later worked on national policy issues as the coordinator of the National Worker Center Network at Interfaith Worker Justice. In her work, she provided technical assistance and capacity-building support to local and statewide organizations who advocated for low-wage and immigrant workers. With the National Domestic Workers Alliance, Dianne coordinated a national multi-stakeholder coalition for Caring Across Generations to develop state and federal policy solutions in a growing home healthcare industry.  Most recently, Dianne served as Deputy Director of Member Programs and Participation at SEIU 775 in Washington state, where she directed all internal organizing  and built member leadership within the organization.

Growing up the child of Mexican immigrant parents in East Los Angeles —surrounded by a strong legacy of Chicano community organizing— Dianne found her passion for organizing early.  With more than 15 years of organizing, leadership development and popular education experience, she’s been dedicated to building an intersectional and inclusive movement and shifting the balance of power to create real positive change for poor people of color in this country. She’s a graduate of the University of California, Berkeley in Ethnic Studies.  She spends her free time reading graphic novels and cooking for her friends.

Silvia Fabela
Campaigns Director, Local Progress

Silvia is the Campaigns Director on Local Progress, a network of elected officials from across the country who are dedicated to passing progressive legislation at the municipal level. She coordinates strategic multi-city campaigns on immigrant rights, civil rights, economic justice and
democracy and voting.

Silvia joined the Local Progress team after leading the AFL-CIO’s young worker program, NextUp. In that role, Silvia designed and implemented a strategic and measurable plan for NextUp, which engaged young workers on issues such as securing a stable future through good jobs, racial and gender justice, access to affordable and quality higher education. She also led several leadership institutes for young leaders, as well as trainings on common sense economics in Spanish and English.

Prior to the AFL-CIO, Silvia was senior staff on the OUR Walmart campaign at the United Food & Commercial Workers Union for eight years where she led an alliance of Walmart associates, union members and community partners in changing Walmart around solidarity actions, including Black Friday strikes. Two of her proudest accomplishments in that work included Walmart changing its pregnancy policy for women and winning 1.3 million working people a $2 raise in response to the campaign.

In addition to her community and labor organizing background, she has also done electoral work including western Illinois congressional races for Lane Evan and Phil Hare’s campaign, in addition to Barack Obama’s Illinois Senate race in 2004 and Presidential race in 2008. Most recently, Silvia also worked in Ohio to mobilize union members for Hillary Clinton.

Silvia graduated from Monmouth College in Illinois with a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and minor in Spanish. She lives in Washington, DC where she takes advantage of the free museums, and tries diligently to keep her fish and plants alive with mixed success.

Jennifer Flynn Walker
Senior Director of Mobilization and Advocacy

Jennifer directs CPD's Mobilization and Advocacy program, working closely with the Fightback and Field Initiatives Programs. Jennifer is responsible for federal healthcare, tax policy and advocacy.  At the same time she is developing new ways to mobilize our affiliates in federal campaigns, while experimenting with innovative methods for building new and broader constituencies who can join our campaigns, including building CPD's Opioid Network.

Jennifer joins CPD after serving for 10 years as a co-founder and Executive Director of CPD affiliate, VOCAL-NY.  She was the director of Health GAP, a global AIDS advocacy organization, expanding the organization to 3 countries on 2 continents. Jennifer was the first US based and focused human rights activist selected for Columbia University's Human Rights Advocates Training Fellowship, a recipient of the Union Square Award, Robert Wood Johnson Community Health Leadership Award and New York City Council Hero Award and received a NYC Council proclamation in 2016 for her leadership on LGBT issues. She was named one of the most promising AIDS activists in 2001 by Poz Magazine and most was highlighted as one of the leading 25 LGBT AIDS Activists in 25 years by HIV Plus Magazine in 2009. 

Jennifer serves on the board of directors for Met Council on Housing (MCREF), Health GAP and the North Star Fund and a is a mom to Flynn, Rock and their dog Doyle. Jennifer holds a B.A. in Political Science from Marist College and a M.S. from the New School for Social Research.

Mercedes Fulbright
Texas State Coordinator, Local Progress

Mercedes organizes Local Progress Texas. She will be working closely with partner organizations throughout the Lone Star State to bring progressive policy solutions to local elected progressives. She comes to us from Paul Quinn College, a historically Black college in Dallas, as the former Special Assistant to the President. Under her management, she assisted in launching the African American Leadership Institute, a Dallas-based think tank housed at Paul Quinn, for the study and advancement of public policy, economic development, civic engagement, and leadership development as it relates to the African American community and Black elected officials throughout the state of Texas. She previously worked for Young People For (YP4), a program of People for the American Way Foundation, in Washington, DC. While there, she developed critically conscious curriculum for strategic youth leadership development training and oversaw their national civic engagement and voter mobilization campaigns with many of her of projects in North Carolina to combat voter suppression.

She has worked with several youth leadership organizations across the country, such as the NAACP and BYP100, and is an experienced and respected voice on political strategy, racial justice advocacy, effective progressive leadership training, grassroots organizing, and public policy. Her life’s work builds at the intersections of electoral politics and social justice developing socially conscious leaders in marginalized communities to combat inequities with a global lens.

She was the former chairwoman of the National Youth Work Committee of the NAACP, former Youth Board Member on the National Board of Trustees for the NAACP, and has also served as the Dallas NAACP Youth Advisor. Mercedes received her Master’s in Public Administration from the University of Texas at Arlington and her BA in Political Science from the University of North Texas. She lives in Dallas, Texas.

Adam Gold
Director of Independent Political Organization Strategies

Adam leads efforts in CPD/A's Political Department to build independent political power in the cities and states where our partners organize. Adam supports partners to develop and implement sophisticated political plans to win elections while building long-term power for their bases. Adam also serves as liaison between CPD and the Working Families Party and other political allies and projects nationally.

Adam has 20 years of organization-building experience in the San Francisco Bay Area. He brings expertise in community organizing, developing organizational infrastructure, and civic engagement. Adam was initially trained in community organizing in Oakland and later became involved in the youth movement, co-founding C-Beyond in Concord, and later forming the Youth Empowerment Center, an umbrella organization for youth movement organizations. Adam was hired as Campaign Manager for the Just Cause Evictions campaign in Oakland in 2002, the organization's first staff position, and continued working with Just Cause (now Causa Justa :: Just Cause) for 13 years. In his time at CJJC, he helped to build up the organizing campaigns, electoral work and infrastructure, and also helped facilitate two mergers with allied organizations.

Adam holds a Bachelor's Degree in Political Economics from the University of California, Berkeley.

Katie Goldstein
Senior National Organizer

Katie will lead CPD's Housing Justice campaigns in partnership with local affiliates and to build a strong national housing justice movement.  She came to CPD from Tenants & Neighbors, a New York City based grassroots housing justice organization that did tenant organizing and city, state, and federal policy and legislative campaigns. She was at Tenants & Neighbors for 11 years and most recently was the Executive Director. She has been an organizer for over 15 years, working on housing, labor, interfaith, LGBTQ, and economic justice campaigns. She is actively involved in Jews for Racial and Economic Justice in New York. She is a graduate of Sarah Lawrence College in Global Studies. 

Jesus Gonzalez
Senior National Organizer and Strategic Partnerships Advisor

Jesus Gonzalez is a social political analyst, an organizing strategist, and Puerto Rican Activist. He is a Bushwick, Brooklyn native who recently served as the Co-Executive Director at CPD affiliate Churches United for Fair Housing (CUFFH), an organization that focuses on organizing community members to preserve and create vibrant communities in New York City. Jesus is one of the founding members of Make the Road New York where he began as a Youth Organizer, and later as Make the Road’s Political Director. Jesus continued his activism by helping to manage the political department at a labor union and has played a leading role in Citywide coalitions on Police Accountability, Youth Organizing and Housing Rights. In 2011, Jesus became the youngest person to run for the New York State Assembly. His campaign was nationally recognized with endorsements that included the New York Times, El Diario la Prensa and the New York Daily News. Recently, Jesus has worked with CPD as a consultant to raise critical support for long term organizing efforts in the United States around the Puerto Rican humanitarian crisis, and is happy to formally join CPD as a National Organizer to increase our capacity on several national campaigns and to provide critical support to our partners across the country.

Emily Gordon
Director of Strategic Research

Emily Gordon leads the strategic research work across all of CPD’s campaigns and program areas. Immediately prior to coming to CPD, Emily was the Research Director at the California Federation of Teachers, representing 120,000 educators in 135 local unions across California. Emily has over 15 years of experience providing strategic research and campaign support to labor unions and nonprofit organizations. She has developed and led research and campaign strategy for new organizing campaigns, policy and electoral campaigns, and contract campaigns in both the public and private sector.

In addition to her experience in healthcare and education unions, Emily has worked in the nonprofit sector doing research and policy analysis on topics including community development, workforce development, and the creation of equitable green jobs. Emily has a Bachelor’s degree in Urban Studies and American History from Macalester College in St. Paul, Minnesota and a Master of Science in Social Policy and Planning from the London School of Economics and Political Science in London. She currently serves on the board of the California Budget and Policy Center and lives in Oakland, CA.

Darius Gordon
National Field Organizer

Darius Khalil Gordon is the new National Field Organizer for the Center for Popular Democracy. Part of the Fight Back initiative, Darius plans on bringing his energy and years of experience as a lead organizer for Citizen Action of New York and National Organizer for the Gathering for Justice to the table. Darius first came to New York to serve as African American and Youth director for a State Assembly campaign. When the campaign ended, he began work with the Working Families Canvassing and Fundraising team where he expanded his knowledge and practical skills for electoral and social justice work. In early 2014, Darius started as a community organizer for Citizen Action of New York, working on and winning campaigns such as Fight for $15, paid sick leave, and paid family leave .He has also has victories in the  criminal justice field being a member of the Justice League NYC, where they helped get Raise the Age legislation passed in New York state, making now illegal to house 16 and 17 year olds in adult jail and prison facilities.He is a Washington D.C native who studied African and African American studies at Penn State University.

Emma Greenman
Director of Voting Rights and Democracy

Emma directs CPD’s national Voting Rights and Democracy program, working with state partners and national allies to protect and increase access to the ballot and strengthen the voice of the New American Majority in the electoral process. Emma manages strategy, policy development, legal and strategic research and issue campaigns to drive CPD’s work on voting rights and elections, money in politics, redistricting and other democracy reforms.

Emma has over 15 years of experience working on democracy and election law issues as an attorney, a policy expert and a political advocate. Before joining CPD, Emma practiced law as a public defender and as a civil litigator at Maslon LLP where she also served as pro bono counsel to the ACLU-Minnesota on voting rights litigation and the Minnesota Land Trust on conservation litigation. While in law school, Emma worked on appellate campaign finance litigation at the Brennan Center for Justice, interned at the Department of Justice Civil Rights Division, and directed a national youth voting rights institute.

Emma also has extensive experience working with elected officials, candidates, labor unions and national non-profit organizations to run advocacy campaigns that advance economic security, voting rights, education and budget issues. She developed and managed SEIU Our Future Minnesota program to generate support for investing in Minnesota kids and communities. She worked to elect progressive candidates including serving as deputy campaign manager for Margaret Anderson Kelliher’s 2010 Minnesota gubernatorial run, field director for Chris Coleman’s 2005 St. Paul mayoral run and cutting her teeth as a field organizer for Paul Wellstone’s 2002 Senate campaign. As a Wellstone Action trainer for over 10 years, Emma has trained thousands of candidates and activists and worked in collaboration with Justice at Stake to advance campaign finance and disclosure reforms in states with elected judiciaries. During the 2004 presidential election, Emma pioneered new ways to reach and persuade young voters as the director of 21st Century Democrats' Young Voter Project in Minnesota.

Emma received her J.D. from the University of California, Berkeley School of Law; a  M.P.A. from Harvard Kennedy School of Government, where she was awarded the Kennedy School Public Service Fellowship; and her bachelor's degree, summa cum laude, from The George Washington University. She serves on the board of the American Constitution Society - Minneapolis-St. Paul Lawyer Chapter and as a member of the Minnesota Campaign Finance and Public Disclosure Board.

Jenny Griggs
Network Manager

Jenny is the Network Manager here at CPD.  In her role, she works to build OCB's infrastructure, coordinate communication and outreach to affiliates that helps build strong and dynamic relationships, and facilitate joint action across our partner network and among our array of staff teams. She will also lend her expertise in HR, finance and operations to partners through our Operations Learning Community and assist with training and other program offerings. As her job gets started, she will help learn her way around the organization by helping to create systems to help us all pull off an amazing People's Convention!
Jenny's background is in administration and community organizing. Prior to coming to CPD, Jenny worked as the Operations Director at The Management Center, where she oversaw human resources, operations, and day-to-day financial systems during a period of rapid organizational growth. Much of her work there involved creating new and scale-able systems to maintain the organization's financial integrity while doing the absolute most to support the team and The Management Center's programmatic work. Additionally, Jenny has also worked as canvass director on multiple environmental, public health, and electoral campaigns.
Jenny is a graduate from the University of Virginia with a dual degree in Spanish and Foreign Affairs.

Gaby Guilmart
Development Manager

Gaby is responsible for managing CPD's foundation fundraising efforts by working closely with the Director of Development to support strategic fundraising to meet CPD's institutional goals and fund mission-critical work. She plays a key role coordinating high-quality proposals and reports with CPD fundraising staff, primarily to institutional donors. Gaby started her career at the Working Families Party over seven years ago, as an Organizer and Canvass Director where she ran successful field programs for a number of issue-based and electoral campaigns. Gaby spent the last four years at Working Families as a Development Associate, supporting national and local foundation and high donor programs. In 2017, she joined the Eric Gonzalez for Brooklyn DA campaign as Field Director, and helped lead the way to a landslide win in crowded primary race.

Tina Habib
Managing Director of Bailey Farms

Tina is a co-founder of the Center for Popular Democracy, and currently serves as the Managing Director of CPD’s retreat center, Bailey Farms. As Managing Director, Tina is anchoring a major redevelopment of Bailey Farms, including a $6 million upgrade to the property, to build it to be a vibrant space where social justice activists and community organizers gather to reflect, plan and find sanctuary. Prior to assuming the Bailey Farms role full time in 2019, Tina built and rapidly scaled up all aspects of CPD's infrastructure since its founding in 2012, as its first Director of Operations, HR, & Finance. 

Before CPD, Tina worked for nine years at the International Education Resource Network (iEARN-USA), where she held various positions, including Co-Executive Director.  In her time there, she designed and implemented pioneer public diplomacy initiatives through the State Department, developed for North American students and their peers throughout the Middle East, North Africa, and South Asia following 9/11. In this capacity, she provided intensive training and technical assistance to establish and sustain operations in over 40 countries. Tina is a graduate of New York University’s Wagner School of Public Service and Rutgers University.

Kate Hamaji
Research Analyst

Kate produces research to support a broad range of CPD’s economic and racial justice campaigns. She came to CPD from the New York City Office of Financial Empowerment, where she coordinated programmatic and policy initiatives to build wealth in low-income communities and to hold financial institutions accountable to New Yorkers and their families. Prior to her work in the city, Kate worked with one of CPD's network members, Make the Road New York, where she helped to connect under and unemployed immigrant New Yorkers to quality training programs and sustainable jobs. She also coordinated Make the Road’s Citizenship Education Program to help members pass the exam to obtain U.S. citizenship. Kate holds a BA from the University of California at Los Angeles and an MPA from the NYU Wagner School of Public Service.

Colin Hicks
Senior Political Manager

Colin Hicks manages CPD/A's political team including overseeing political strategy, donor relations, and program management. Based in Oakland, CA, Colin immediately comes to CPD/A from freelance consulting with resistance organizations like Indivisible - where he helped craft their electoral strategy in Virginia and Alabama in 2017 - and working on justice issues around cannabis legalization.

Colin worked on both of President Obama's presidential campaigns in 2008 & 2012, doing community organizing in NV, TX, NC, PA, and WI. He went on to wok for Rock the Vote in 2010 as State Director for Pennsylvania, worked on Governor McAuliffe's campaign in Virginia in 2013, and helped lead NextGen Climate's national political programs in 2016. Colin serves on the board of the Hood Incubator, and hold a BS in Politics & Government from Illinois State University.

Dmitri Holtzman
Director of Education Justice Campaigns

Dmitri is leading our education justice strategy. He works with our partner organizations and coalitions to organize for a high quality, equitable and accessible public education system in the United States. 

Before joining CPD, he was the founding executive director of the Equal Education Law Centre (EELC) in South Africa. The EELC is the sister organization to and primary litigation partner of the youth-led social movement, Equal Education (EE). Both organizations build nation-wide campaigns to improve South Africa’s public education system, harness youth leadership and advance the constitutional right to basic education. Prior to his position at the EELC he was Equal Education’s parliamentary liaison officer, researcher and media spokesperson. He was also a founding member of the Students for Law and Social Justice (SLSJ) and a PILnet (Public Interest Law Network) International Human Rights Law Fellow.

He holds a Bachelor of Arts (BA) degree from the University of Cape Town and a Bachelor of Laws (LLB) from the University of the Western Cape.

Corinna Kalogeropulou
Finance Associate

Corinna is part of CPD's Finance department supporting expense management and budget reporting. She also assists with the audit and tax preparation process. 
Corinna came to CPD from NextGen America where she worked on the finance team to support NextGen's mission of acting politically to prevent climate disaster, promote prosperity, and protect the fundamental rights of every American.
Corinna is fluent in conversational Greek and Spanish. She holds a BS in Financial Mathematics and Statistics from University of California, Santa Barbara. 

Michele Kilpatrick
Senior Research Analyst

Michele is a research analyst at CPD focusing on education, housing, health, economic and racial justice, and civic engagement. She comes to CPD with 8 years experience as a researcher supporting political and labor campaigns. She most recently served as a researcher for 1199SEIU, one of the most dynamic and politically potent unions in the country, providing corporate and policy research to support organizing campaigns and policy advocacy.

Prior to working at 1199SEIU, Michele worked as a research consultant for state and federal candidates across the country and was Research Director on Ohio Lt. Governor Lee Fisher's US Senate campaign. Michele graduated with a BA from the University of Southern California and a JD from the Benjamin N Cardozo School of Law. She is currently pursuing a Masters in Urban Studies at the City University of New York.

Katherine Lemus
Affiliate Associate, Base-Building

Katherine Lemus is the affiliate associate of the base building team for the Center for Popular Democracy (CPD). In her role, she coordinates communications, builds relationships, and facilitates joint action across CPD’s partner network to build strength and capacity driving ambitious grassroots campaigns. Prior to this, Katherine served as the field assistant at The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, supporting the strategic field engagement of campaigns for judicial nominations, immigration, and policing. In addition, she brings experience from direct services nonprofits serving youth, the elderly community, and the immigrant community. Her passion and commitment to social justice was sparked in her local community of South Central, Los Angeles where she saw needs in advocacy to address injustices that marginalized groups, primarily people of color, face. Katherine earned her Bachelors in International Studies and Social Policy and Public Service from the University of California, Irvine.

Julio Lopez
Co-Director of Community Dignity Campaigns

Julio is the Co-Director of Community Dignity campaigns. In this role, he helps support partners in the United States build campaigns that organize the growing Puerto Rican community to advocate for a just recovery for the island and create policies that support the community in the US, while holding corporate players accountable for the actions the have taken on the island.

Julio received his undergraduate degree and Juris Doctor at the University of Puerto Rico. He later received his LLM on International and Comparative Law at Tulane Law School and received training in arbitration and conflict resolution at Humboldt University in Berlin. After law school, he served as a law clerk for the Orleans Public Defenders and as a project officer for the New Orleans Independent Police Monitor to create a mediation program between citizens and the police. In 2012, he moved to Connecticut where he became a union organizer with SEIU NE 1199.

In Connecticut, Julio the founding organizer of Make the Road CT and helped the organization go from monthly meetings to a thriving organizing hub with 9 active campaigns and a growing membership base with regular weekly meetings where 30-40 members eat, share and plan the next steps of their campaigns. During this time, Julio also became involved in the Hedge Clipper Puerto Rico campaign that has held accountable corporate players that have hurt Puerto Rico and has pushed pension funds to divest billions of dollars from these companies.

Ivan Luevanos-Elms
Organizing Director, Local Progress

Ivan is the Organizing Director for Local Progress, the network of hundreds of progressive local elected officials across the country dedicated to shared prosperity, equal justice under law, sustainable and livable cities, and good government that serves the public interest. He will be working closely with our state and regional coordinators to help build our organizing, membership and chapter models. In addition, he will be working to advance new state and regional organizing projects with CPD partners and allies.

Prior to joining CPD, Ivan served as Director of the Community Engagement Division of the New York City Council. In his 4 years at the Council, Ivan directly worked in the development of IDNYC, which give all New Yorkers access to a municipal ID card, expansion of the New York Immigrant Family Unity Project, creation of the Unaccompanied Minors Initiative and expanding New York City Council’s Participatory Budgeting Process to all five boroughs.

Prior to the New York City Council, Ivan worked at Make the Road New York as their LGBTQ Justice Organizer, working at the intersections of immigrant and LGBTQ Rights. In between, he's run and worked on electoral campaigns at the Working Families Party, including managing Carlos Menchaca's City Council race in 2013, which successfully unseated a multi-term incumbent.

Ivan graduated from Loyola Marymount University with B.A. in Political Science and Spanish, and from New York University with M.A. in Politics.

Kayla Marquez
Infrastructure Team Associate

Kayla Marquez will be joining the CPD staff as our Infrastructure Team Associate under HR and Operations. As a Texas native she previously worked on the Beto O'Rourke senate campaign as a Field Manager and on the Florida recount during this past midterm election. As a Field Manager, she organized throughout South Texas to engage voter turnout and the campaigns canvassing operations. She brings with her experience in working at several law firms and is hoping to combine her office experience and her desire to contribute to grassroots movements. Having lived in Spain and Jordan, is conversational in Arabic and Spanish. Holds a BA in Global Studies from St. Edward's University.  

Noel Marrero
Technology Coordinator

Noel B. Marrero is the Technology Coordinator for CPD.  Prior to CPD, Noel worked at Atrius Health in Massachusetts as a Clinical Patient Safety and Risk Management Specialist and System Administrator for the organizations Safety Event Reporting System.  In those positions, he investigated adverse events involving patients and staff, and managed the daily operations of the reporting system which received 14,000 safety reports annually.  Prior to his time in Massachusetts, Noel worked as a School Based Health Educator at Morris Heights Health Center and Health Educator at the Bronx Health Link educating on topics focused on Maternal/Infant Health, Nutrition, Breastfeeding, Reproductive Health and Asthma.   

Born and Raised in the Bronx, Noel became one of only 2 male certified Breastfeeding instructors in the Bronx in 2012.  He hopes to use his experience as an Health Educator and in IT to help further develop CPD's IT systems.  Noel received his BS in Health Sciences from CUNY Hunter College.

Vonne Martin
Deputy Director of Education Justice Campaigns

Vonne supports CPD partners working on education justice campaigns. They provide organizing and campaign-building support to CPD's affiliates and allies. 

Vonne comes to CPD after helping to build Californians for Justice's youth led education equity work for over 15 years. They bring an expansive amount of experience leading grassroots organizing as well as youth & staff development. As a youth leader, Lead Organizer and Director of Organizing Vonne gained experience winning education justice campaigns around college access, tackling the school-to-prison pipeline and the implementation of restorative justice practices. They coordinated 4 regions across the state of California in surpassing Base Building and Youth Leadership & Development goals, they helped build a statewide network of over 70 youth led organizations, and secured significant investments & policy wins focused on school culture and climate. With deep rooted values in transforming the material conditions for Black, Brown, Immigrant, LGBTQ and all marginalized communities, Vonne is committed to working across coalitions and partnerships to achieve education equity.

While spending 11 years in Fresno's conservative climate, California Vonne co-founded and led several grassroots action spaces including a Black Lives Matter affiliate and a Queer Trans People of Color Healing Circle. They hold a B.A. in Sociology from CSU Fresno and is a graduate from Black Organizing for Leadership and Dignity's (BOLD) Directors and Lead Organizers 2016 cohort.

David McCullouch
Finance Coordinator

David is part of CPD's Finance department supporting expense and invoice management, as well as providing financial system administration across the organization. His previous experience includes the Children’s Law Center giving voice to children in legal proceedings, Beth Morrison Projects providing avant-garde dance, theater, and opera and BAM (Brooklyn Academy of Music) the home for adventurous artists, audiences, and ideas where he worked on their HR and finance teams. He received his Bachelor of Arts with a theatre concentration from Purdue University.

Annie McGrath
Executive Assistant

Annie McGrath acts as the Executive Assistant for Andrew Friedman. Annie is a graduate of Hunter’s Silberman School of Social Work where she focused on community organizing and political advocacy. While there, she interned with Make the Road at the Bushwick School for Social Justice. Originally from Boston, she now lives in Brooklyn and is an active member of her community. In the ten years she’s lived in New York, she’s worked for organizations including the Ali Forney Center and the Family Justice Center in Brooklyn.

James Meares
Public Affairs and Strategic Communications Associate

Kendell James Meares is a writer, producer, and educator born and raised in Brooklyn New York. At the age of thirteen, the state of New York removed him and his three younger siblings from his parent's custody due to his parents being victims of drug abuse. At the age of 17, his aunts relocated them to South Florida. It was there that a High School teacher noticed his gift in writing and encouraged him to take writing seriously. In these last few years living in Miami, James has created training curriculum based on the principles and elements of Hip Hop and creative writing. He had committed himself to strategically organizing the Black and Brown community to focus on three things; investing in our economic market, educating our youth on the avenues of artistic expression, and celebrating Black-American culture. He cares deeply about creating spaces for artists to bridge their talents to civic engagement. 

Inarú Melendez
Public Affairs and Strategic Communications Associate

Inarú supports the Public Affairs and Strategic Communications team’s media relations work across various social and economic issues on a local and national level. Prior to joining the Center for Popular Democracy, she worked at Megaphone Strategies, a progressive communications firm based in Washington, D.C., to uplift the voices of marginalized communities through storytelling and strategic communications. She led spanish-language media outreach and centered on intersectional issues ranging from environmental justice, gender rights, LGBTQ rights, paid family leave, indigenous rights, and racial justice, among others.

Hailing from the resilient Puerto Rican community of Springfield, Massachusetts, Inarú continues to give back in supporting diaspora-driven nonprofits with communications strategy, including Friends of Puerto Rico and Proyecto 85.

Inarú graduated from the University of Puerto Rico, Rio Piedras with a Bachelor of Arts in Public Relations and Advertising, specializing in Political Science. She currently resides in Washington, D.C. where she spends her time petting other people’s dogs and supporting her local farmers markets.

Dean Mendolera
Regional Canvass Lead

Dean works as the Regional Canvass Lead within the Sustainability Department at CPD.  His focus is to help canvass directors where needed to improve the quality of their canvass operations, making sure the team is properly trained and that directors are achieving the goals that have been set for them by CPD's various partner organizations. Prior to coming to CPD, Dean worked as a canvass director in Sacramento, CA, working on behalf of organizations including the ACLU, SPLC, MSF, and Lambda Legal.

Before becoming canvass director, Dean worked for about 4 years with other organizations in Los Angeles, Cleveland, and Sacramento as a field manager and canvasser. These organizations include The Sierra Club, CALPIRG, Environment California, Greenpeace USA, Ohio Citizen Action, Human Rights Campaign, and Amnesty International. Dean earned a BA in Political Science from The University of Akron.

Francesca Menes
Florida State Coordinator, Local Progress

Francesca Menes is the Florida State Coordinator for Local Progress, a network of hundreds of progressive local elected officials across the country dedicated to shared prosperity, equal justice under law, sustainable and livable cities, and good government that serves the public interest. She works closely with partner organizations throughout the Sunshine State to bring progressive policy solutions to our local elected officials.

Prior to joining CPD, Francesca served as the Director of Policy and Advocacy for the Florida Immigrant Coalition (FLIC) and Political Director for FLIC Votes, where she led the development and implementation of strategic legislative, policy and voter engagement campaigns locally and statewide. She co-coordinated the Florida Wage Theft Task Force, which led the passage of ordinances in several counties throughout the state. She coordinated a national network campaigning for Temporary Protected Status for Haitians. In 2014, she successfully led the statewide campaign “We Are Florida’s Future” to pass in-state tuition for undocumented students and led the campaign to establish the Office of New Americans of Miami-Dade County, establishing a public-private partnership to promote naturalization. 

Additionally, during the 2016 and 2017 legislative session, Francesca successfully coordinated the statewide campaign "We Are Florida's Families," which led to the defeat of 9 anti-immigrant and anti-refugee bills which sought to criminalize immigrants and remove from office local elected officials who support and vote on policies to protect immigrants regardless of their status. In 2017, she also led the passage of several Welcoming Cities and School District resolutions.

She is a co-founder of the Black Immigration Network, serves on the Miami-Dade County Community Action Agency Executive Board appointed by past-Chairman Jean Monestime and serves on several organizational boards, including the Florida Center for Fiscal and Economic Policy. 

Francesca graduated from Florida International University, earning her BA in Political Science and Women's Studies and her Master's in Public Administration, with a certificate in Community Development. She was born and raised in Miami’s Little Haiti community.

Amit Mistry
Data Director for Civic Engagement

Amit Mistry is the Data Director for Civic Engagement for CPD/A, working across the network to ensure we utilize our data resources to run the most efficient and effective programs we can. Immediately before joining CPD/A, he was the Data and Analytics Director at NextGen America for the 2018 cycle. He oversaw data needs for the largest youth organizing effort in the nation, which registered over 250,000 new voters, and ballot measures programs across multiple states that sought to have half of electricity be produced from renewable sources by 2030. Prior to that, Amit spent three years as the Data and Analytics Director at the League of Conservation Voters supporting both national organizing programs and state leagues, with a heavy focus on implementing field experiments, including one that earned the Analyst Institute's Experiment of the Year award in 2016. Amit has nearly a decade of experience and is a proud graduate of the University of Maryland, College Park.

Rebecca Neuwirth
Director of Development

Rebecca is Director of Development at the Center for Popular Democracy, leading a team focused on foundation and individual giving as well as building deep donor engagement through effective communications and education.

Previously, Rebecca worked as Director of Strategic Engagement & Senior Development Officer at JDC (American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee), the largest Jewish humanitarian organization, and as a member of the senior staff of AJC, where she founded and directed ACCESS, the new generation program focused on global bridge building, advocacy and civil discourse. Rebecca served as Executive Director of Thanks To Scandinavia from 2001 to 2012, a scholarship fund founded by performer Victor Borge and Richard Netter. Rebecca is on the Board of Penn South Social Services and created the Chess Club and Chelsea Community Dinners in an effort to build local, diverse and multi-generation community. She is on the Advisory Board of the Sandy Kahn Wasserman Jewish Studies Center at Baruch College and previously helped found and then served on the Board of High 5 Tickets to the Arts, now part of Arts Connection, which makes the arts accessible to all NYC students.  She was a Convener for JCPA’s inaugural Resetting the Table project in 2014 around Israel dialogue.

Rebecca grew up in New York and graduated from Stuyvesant High School. She has a BA magna cum laude from Yale University and an MA from the Free University in Berlin, in the fields of education and political science. While in Germany, she translated a book on educational history by the father of modern systems theory, Niklas Luhmann. 

Elizabeth Nicolas
Staff Attorney for Worker Justice

Liz supports CPD’s Worker Justice Team and CPD’s partners and allies on low wage worker protections, organizing and collective action. Before joining CPD, Liz litigated wage theft, discrimination and harassment cases on behalf of low-wage workers. She also provided legal support to the Rochester Worker Center and local community groups. Liz previously worked on complex commercial litigation in Philadelphia. Liz is a graduate of the Drexel University School of Law and the University of Pennsylvania. She is also a board member of the NYCLU. Liz lives in Rochester, NY.

Sochie Nnaemeka
Director of Emerging Organizing

Sochie Nnaemeka provides strategic, policy, legal, and organizing support to executive directors and leaders of new and emerging grassroots organizations across the country. Her work is focused on helping these organizations to develop their capacity to lead bold campaigns for social justice and be agents of change locally and nationally. 

Sochie is an experienced labor, electoral and community organizer. She organized hospitality workers in South Florida with Unite Here Local 355. She has worked on electoral campaigns ranging in scale from citywide slates of progressive candidates at the municipal level, to mayoral, senatorial, and presidential elections. As a political and community organizer in Connecticut and a founder of New Haven Rising, a community-based membership organization, Sochie trained organizers, helped champions for social change win elected office, and organized hundreds of students, clergy, workers, elected officials and the unemployed around issues of racial, social and economic justice. 

Sochie is also trained in legal advocacy, in particular around issues of workers’ rights and community benefits. While in law school, she worked with the AFL-CIO General Counsel’s Office, DC Councilmember-at-Large Elissa Silverman, The Flint Water Class Action, Young Invincibles, The Los Angeles Black Worker Center, and the Center for Popular Democracy.

She is a graduate of Yale College and received her J.D. as a Public Interest Law Scholar at Georgetown Law.

Kelsea Norris
Individual & Major Gifts Manager

Based in Brooklyn, Kelsea works to organize and engage CPD’s major and individual donor activists. She joined CPD after several years at The Nation, where she spearheaded the magazine’s leadership and foundation giving. Before moving to New York, she spent seven years organizing for environmental and climate justice in the South. She served as the executive director of the Southern Energy Network (SEN), mobilizing young people to fight dirty energy and win just climate solutions. Prior to leading SEN, she managed the organization’s Tennessee field program, coordinated their development efforts, and as a student, helped lead their Georgia campaigns.

A proud Southerner and native of Atlanta, Kelsea has almost ten years of experience organizing, building capacity, and raising money for progressive work. She studied English and Women’s Studies at the University of Georgia.

Bennie Patterson Jr.
Director of Digital Strategies

Serving as the Director of Digital Strategies, Bennie is responsible for leading a team of digital organizers that implement all aspects of digital strategy, such as: branding, list building, social media engagement, website and digital content creation, online fundraising, and digital organizing. Through people-centered, affiliate-focused tactics, his department amplifies the efforts of CPD/A’s local base while strengthening the organization’s collective capacity to achieve an inclusive, equitable society.

He comes to CPD/A after spending several years as the Owner & Chief Strategist of an independent, cause-based consultant agency that provides organizational development, branding services, and strategic initiative development. Prior to this, Bennie developed and managed youth activism efforts for the award winning, national tobacco control entity, Truth Initiative, that positioned media/technology, guerrilla marketing, and grassroots organizing as key strategies. These, among other community-based roles - spanning youth development, grassroots organizing, education reform, food justice, and technical assistance - details his 15+ year career of weaving innovation and systematic thinking into the fight for better lives, families, and communities.

A self-proclaimed member of “Generation Flux”, Bennie understands “the most important skill is the ability to acquire new skills”. Originally a native of Milwaukee, WI, he now resides in Oakland, CA.

Tony Perlstein
Director of Field Innovations and Organizing

Tony coordinates CPD’s organizing and campaign support on economic justice and workers’ rights initiatives, collaborating closely with community-based organizations and helping to foster coalitions within the labor movement. He is currently helping lead corporate accountability fieldwork as part of CPD’s broader fight back efforts.

Tony comes to CPD after 16 years of organizing in the labor movement with strawberry pickers, restaurant workers, lumberyard workers and meatpackers. For 10 of those years, Tony worked as an equipment operator on the New Jersey docks, where he helped galvanize a national reform effort within the International Longshoremen’s Association (“ILA”). In 2007, Tony was elected secretary-treasurer of his local as part of a reform slate, a position he held while continuing work as a crane operator. Tony holds a BA from Brown University.

Julia Peter
Director of Innovation Management

Julia joined CPD shortly after it was founded and has been with the organization through its merger and rapid growth.  As Director of Innovations Management, Julia is responsible for creating and managing the systems that comprise CPD’s innovative organizing program that brings individuals into high impact direct action, large marquee campaigns and connects them with affiliates. She is the staff lead for Birddog Nation, a shared project with Housing Works, which is comprised of thousands of individual activists who come together to make direct requests of candidates and elected officials in-person and in-public. Julia was previously, Deputy Director of Operations at CPD.
Prior to CPD, Julia worked at various start-ups and non-profits focusing on systems, business operations, and event production.

She received her MA in International Affairs from The New School, and her BA in Political Science from the University of North Carolina, Wilmington.

Chad Radock
New York State Coordinator, Local Progress

Chad organizes Local Progress New York (LPNY), a chapter of the Local Progress network of progressive elected officials nationwide.  He will be working closely with partner organizations throughout the Empire State to bring progressive policy solutions to our local elected progressives. Chad comes to us from the Alliance for Quality Education where he served as Statewide Campaign Coordinator, working  with small cities and poor rural areas to ensure adequate school funding regardless of zip code. Chad graduated with a Bachelor Degree in Politics from Assumption College in Worcester, MA.

Kumar Rao
Director, Justice Transformation

Kumar Rao directs CPD's justice policy and campaign work, including supporting partner organizations and elected officials in the fight for racial equity and criminal justice transformation at the local, state, and federal levels. He presently also serves as a Lecturer-in-Law at Columbia Law School, an appointee to the American Bar Association's Standing Committee on Lawyer Referral and Information Service, and a Scholar with the Institute for Social Policy & Understanding, for whom he led a major study into the disparate legal and media treatment that suspects of ideological violence receive based on their perceived racial and religious identity, .  A former litigator and public defender, he has represented thousands of clients in state and federal court, in both criminal and civil matters, and has counseled offices on the delivery of legal services and effective client representation practices. Kumar holds a J.D. cum laude from New York University School of Law and a B.B.A with honors from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. You can follow him on Twitter @KumarRaoNYC.

Samantha Rivera
Associate Grants Manager

Samantha works within the Development Department, assisting the Senior Grants Manager in administrative duties, and helps in ensuring, capturing, allocating, and tracking all sources of revenue from major institutional and individual donors at CPD/A.
Prior to joining CPD, Samantha spent the last two years in retail, and also interned with Rescuing Leftover Cuisine, growing its food donor partnerships and volunteer base. 
Samantha is Bushwick, Brooklyn native, who attended CUNY-Brooklyn College, and graduated with a BA in Communications.

Jay Rodriguez
Senior Accounting Manager

Jay oversees the accounting and reporting functions of CPD and supports the development team on financial reporting on grants applications and reporting. Jay has over 15 years of accounting experience in private and non-for profit companies, working recently with a fortune 500 company and CPA firms PricewaterhouseCoopers, RSM and BDO Seidman. Areas of expertise includes Compliance Reporting,  Financial Analysis & Reporting, and Auditing.  He is a Certified Public Accountant registered in NY State. a CGMA (Chartered Global Management Accountant) and a member of the AICPA (The American Institute of CPAs). Jay holds a BBA from the University of Puerto Rico.

Shannon Salzman
Operations Associate

Shannon Salzman joins CPD as an Operations Associate. Shannon will primarily provide support and operations oversight for CPD's DC office. Originally from Richmond, Virginia Shannon moved to Washington, DC in 2016 after graduating with BAs in History and Political Science from Salem College. Shannon most recently held a position at a non-profit think tank where she managed the operational needs of the office, provided support for projects, and coordinated all organizational events. Some of her favorite time is the time she spends facilitating meetings of the Next Chapter Book Club. A book club program designed for adolescents and adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities whose local chapter is run by RCM of Washington.


Ari Schwartz
Program and Communications Manager, Local Progress

Ari is the Program and Communications Manager for Local Progress, a network of elected officials from across the country who are dedicated to passing progressive legislation at the municipal level. He works to deepen the engagement and leadership of Local Progress members on issues related to immigrant rights, police reform, and housing, while leading Local Progress's work on economic justice and economic development. Ari also manages internal and external communications for the Local Progress network. 

Before joining Local Progress, Ari was lead organizer at DC Jobs With Justice, where he steered a community-labor coalition and led strategic campaigns. In that role, Ari developed and coordinated the "DC Just Hours" campaign to win full-time work opportunities and stable schedules in service sector industries. In 2013, he co-coordinated the final coalition push that won both a raise to D.C.'s minimum wage and an expansion of paid sick leave. At DC Jobs With Justice, Ari also led efforts to pass D.C.'s strong oversight laws to combat wage theft and student loan fraud, as well as helped workers recover tens of thousands of dollars in stolen wages. Ari graduated from Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee and lives in Washington, D.C. 

Rafael Shimunov
Director of Creative and Social Media Strategy

Rafael Shimunov serves as the Director of Creative and Social Media Strategy of the Center for Popular Democracy and CPD Action’s network of 53 partners organizations in 34 states. Rafael helps teams unearth, develop and ignite powerful, action-inspiring visual and experiential strategies to help turn moves into movements online, on streets and through halls of power.

Prior to joining CPD/A, Rafael directed creative for the National Working Families Party and its 12 state organizations to replace corporate Democrats with progressive Democrats in hundreds of local elections, with millions of political mailers and creative products that helped transform WFP’s brand, multiply audience engagement, and serve as a secret weapon for progressive victories across the country, including $15 minimum wage, paid sick leave, universal pre-k and labor union victories across the US.

With Center For Constitutional Rights (CCR), Rafael led digital and creative on the case against Stop and Frisk in NYC, on behalf of LGBTQ in Uganda, for survivors of abuse taking on the Vatican at the International Criminal Court and the UN, and in challenging Guantanamo Bay, militarization of police and drone warfare.

While Associate Director for Communications at PolicyLink, a national think tank that worked closely with the Obama administration, Rafael helped lead digital campaigns and policymaking communities that pushed legislation to adopt research and local grassroots victories towards building just and fair inclusion for communities of color using state and federal policy.

On the board of Jews for Racial and Economic Justice, Rafael helped expand JFREJ’s 30 years of organizing into electoral power by co-founding The Jewish Vote, a sister org that campaigns for progressive candidates in NY by mobilizing Jewish voters, and helped win campaigns that flip NY state into a powerful, Democratic majority.

Rafael is a member of the Bend The Arc Selah Fellowship for Jews of Color, a team recipient of a Cannes international and Golden Pencil awards for digital. He has contributed to the early growth of IfNotNow’s digital and creative. As a Queens resident, Rafael helped start the successful No Amazon NYC coalition, and using his story as a child refugee from Uzbekistan, helped to ignite the national airport movement against Trump’s Muslim Ban with a livestream that reached 16 million viewers from his phone.


Leah Silver
Marketing Manager

Leah manages CPD’s marketing initiatives including the organization's digital and social media presence, print and publication materials, and content creation for the website, blog, and e-newsletters. She came to CPD from the New York Restoration Project (NYRP) where she led all marketing and communications efforts to further their mission of providing access to high-quality public spaces in New York City's poorest neighborhoods. Prior to NYRP, Leah spent two years with Repair the World, first in Philadelphia and then in New York City, mobilizing people to volunteer and think critically about the social justice issues prevalent to their communities.

A proud member of the Brooklyn community, Leah serves on the Advisory Board of Repair the World NYC supporting the organization with ongoing thought leadership that ensures all programs are aligned with community needs and interests. Further, Leah is an active alumna of the AVODAH Jewish Service Fellowship, a mentoring and leadership development program for early-career professionals working on domestic social and economic issues in New York City. Leah holds a BA in American Studies from Dickinson College.

Beth Slade
Coordinator, Fundraising Events and Partnerships

Beth manages all aspects CPD’s fundraising events, including program development, partnership cultivation, marketing, budgeting, and production and logistics.  She came to CPD from Transportation Alternatives (TransAlt), where she led their events program, including the Vision Zero for Cities Conference, TransAlt's National Bike Month activities, and the NYC Century Bike Tour, the only all-urban century ride in the US.
Born in West Virginia and raised there and in Florida, Beth has lived in New York City for 19 years and is a proud New Yorker.  She's a member of the executive committee of the Brooklyn Voters Alliance, whose mission is to make sure that all New Yorkers have fair and convenient access to their right to vote by working to change New York State's retrograde voting laws. Beth holds a BA in Anthropology from the University of Florida and a MA in Medical Anthropology from the University of Connecticut.

Kathleen Stephan
Operations Manager

Kathleen serves as the Operations Manager for CPD/A. She believes in the importance of strong institutional infrastructure for the health and sustainability of progressive non-profits. Before coming to CPD, Kathleen spent 7 years at a direct services non-profit in Washington D.C where she developed a special interest in operations and risk management. She is a graduate of Stonehill College.   

Rabia Syed
Director of Systems and Administration

As CPD's Director of Systems and Administration, Rabia is a project manager, systems thinker, and technology trainer. She came to CPD from Transportation Alternatives, where she led data management and marketing automation in support of their mission to make New York City streets safer for cyclists and pedestrians. Prior to TransAlt, she was a CRM Consultant for Build Consulting, where she helped nonprofits better leverage technology to increase public engagement. Rabia's nonprofit career started at Big Brothers Big Sisters of America. In addition to her decade of experience at the intersection of tech and social change work, Rabia is also a proud former board member of the South Asian American Digital Archive. Rabia is a graduate of Temple University.

Trisa Taro
Communications Manager

Trisa manages media relations and strategic communications work for CPD's racial justice, base-building, education justice, and federal response campaignsAs part of the Public Affairs and Strategic Communications team, she helps to build CPD's thought leadership and elevate the voices of CPD affiliates across the country.

She came to CPD from the global health sector, where she supported advocacy for universal HIV treatment access through branding and creative communications. Trisa holds a MS in Human Nutrition from Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons’ Institute of Human Nutrition and a MPH from the University of Southern California. She currently resides in New York City where she fosters dogs as much as possible and feeds her creativity through writing and digital storytelling.

Kate Terenzi
Staff Attorney, Education Justice Campaigns

Kate focuses on CPDs work to disrupt the school-to-prison pipeline, particularly for students of color and those with mental health needs in New York City public schools. She partners with youth directed community organizations to reform harsh policing and discipline policies and represents students in long term suspension hearings. Kate joins CPD as a Staff Attorney, Education Justice Campaigns.  

Previously, Kate worked at New York Lawyers for the Public Interest (NYLPI) as a Taconic Policy Fellow in the Disability, Environmental, and Health Justice teams. During her years with NYLPI, in coalition with community organizations, she successfully led campaigns to increase the rights of millions of New Yorkers, including women of color with disabilities, immigrants, students, and low income communities. Most recently, in law school, Kate worked with the Civil Rights and Restorative Justice Project, Urban Justice Center, Advancement Project, and NYC Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs. She also served on the Board of Directors for Community Change, Inc. Kate is a graduate of Northeastern University School of Law and Boston College.

Londell Thomas
Senior Organizing Manager, States Initiative

Londell is the Senior Manager of Organizing for the State's Initiative where he helps develop and support CPD/A partners' state power-building organizing strategies. He comes to CPD from SEIU as the Political Director for the Michigan State Council. His career spans 18 years in community service, legislative affairs, and field campaigns.  

Among some of this careers accomplishments are State Field Director for Tammy Duckworth’s successful U.S. Senate primary bid.  In 2014, he served as Deputy Director of the Michigan Democratic Coordinated Campaign, which helped elect U.S. Senator Gary Peters. Equally notable was Londell’s work in 2013 as Field Director for Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan’s 10-point write-in campaign victory. 

Londell’s experience goes beyond political campaigns. He has been a community organizer for Good Jobs Now, the Neighborhood Services Organization, Warren Conner Development Coalition, and Mack Alive on Detroit’s east side.  He has also served in city government as a Legislative Assistant to the Detroit City Council and Executive Assistant to the Mayor.  The Michigan Chronicle in 2014 honored Londell as one of their "40 Under 40" leaders.

Kimihel Tseggai
Senior Grants Manager

Kimihel works within the Development Department to support CPD’s grant management, compliance functions, and coordinate CPD’s sub-granting program that drives significant resources to our partners in the field. He also works on fundraising research and reporting.

Prior to CPD, Kimihel worked for 10 years in program management and administration with various non-profits in Atlanta, GA, Washington, DC and New York, NY, including work in Saudi Arabia with the King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST).

An Eritrean immigrant, Kimihel holds a BA in Political Science from the University of Georgia and an MPA from Clark-Atlanta University.

Eli Vitulli
Strategic Research Associate and Mellon/ACLS Public Fellow

Eli Vitulli conducts research to support a wide range of CPD campaigns. He comes to CPD as a 2-year Mellon/ACLS Public Fellow after spending the previous four years working as faculty in Gender, Women's, and Sexuality Studies and American Studies departments at Grinnell College, Mount Holyoke College, University of Massachusetts at Amherst, and DePaul University. His academic research examines social justice movements and the impact of state institutions and violence--especially the US criminal legal system--on marginalized communities, with an emphasis on queer and trans people, disabled people, and people of color. He is also currently working on a book about the history of US prison and jail practices regarding the management of gender nonconforming and trans people from the early twentieth century to the present. Eli also has been involved in grassroots organizing and nonprofit work for the past 15 years. His work with the Transformative Justice Law Project of Illinois (TJLP), the CeCe McDonald support committee, the Sylvia Rivera Law Project, the National LGBTQ Task Force, and Not In Our Name included conducting research, developing communication materials for the community and media, organizing community and fundraising events, helping develop organizational infrastructure, and providing support for community-based campaigns. Eli earned a BA from the University of Illinois at Chicago, a MA from New York University, and a Ph.D. in American Studies, with a minor in Feminist and Critical Sexuality Studies, from the University of Minnesota. 

Lia Weintraub
Senior Communications Manager

As Senior Communications Manager, Lia manages local and national strategic communications campaigns focused on economic and social justice. Lia comes to the Center for Popular Democracy after having devised communications strategy on issues ranging from voting rights to antitrust enforcement and public transportation while working as a national communications consultant. Her efforts helped raise anti-monopoly policy as a core component of the Democratic platform and achieved numerous voting rights policy wins on the state level. Lia graduated with a BA from Tufts University and currently resides in Washington, D.C. 

Brandon West
Campaign Manager, Voting Rights and Democracy

Brandon serves as campaign manager for CPD’s national Voting Rights and Democracy program's campaign, working to protect and increase access to the ballot and strengthen the political voice of historically disadvantaged communities in the electoral process. Brandon works with state partners and national allies to develop and drive state, local and national voting rights and democracy campaigns and policy reform on voting rights and elections, money in politics, redistricting, and other democracy issues.

Brandon has over 8 years of experience working with communities, organizations and local government to advance progressive policy reform and budget issues. He has worked with elected officials, non-profits and community groups to craft and pass progressive policy reform. Brandon comes to CPD most recently from the government budgeting world, and serving as a Senior Legislative Financial Analyst for the New York City Council, and the Office of Management and Budget in the New York City Mayor's Office.

Brandon has extensive experience working on election and democracy reform. He directed an election oversight program in Philadelphia, and has worked to make government more transparent and accountable to the public from inside and outside City Hall. Brandon has experience leading campaigns and building coalitions to engage and empower local residents to advance political reform and bring new people into the process.
A devoted resident of Brooklyn, Brandon volunteers with local political organizations and the National Lawyers Guild's Parole Preparation Project. Brandon holds a MPA from NYU Wagner School of Public Service, and a BA from Haverford College.

Stephanie Yazgi
Director of Training & Network Capacity

Stephanie Yazgi is the Director of Training and Network Development for the Center for Popular Democracy. In her role, she supervises CPD’s growing team of capacity building and training staff in building out a program that deeply engages our partners in exploring and implementing innovations in our field. 

Stephanie is an experienced organizer, political strategist, and coalition-builder. With a track record of winning issue and electoral campaigns, she has nearly 20 years of experience in the progressive movement. She most recently served as a Senior Advisor at the NYC Mayor's Office, where she coordinated mayors across the country to share best practices in municipal policy and programs, and engaged them in national advocacy on policy and budget fights.

She has worked as a consultant in the private and not-for-profit sectors on a variety of large-scale public engagement and issue campaigns.  She acted as the Field Director on the UPKNYC campaign to obtain state funding for Universal Pre-K for all 4-year-olds in New York City.  Prior to that, she led the NYC Making Change at Walmart campaign in NYC for the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union, managing a coalition that successfully defeated the corporation’s efforts to enter NYC. 

Almost half of Stephanie’s tenure in the field has been spent in electoral campaigns. Her electoral work was central in helping to tip the balance of power for Democrats in the New York State Senate for the first time in 43 years.

Throughout her career, she has authored and facilitated numerous trainings on community, political and electoral organizing, and is currently an adjunct professor in at the Silberman School of Social Work at Hunter College.

Stephanie earned her B.A. from Boston University where she majored in Sociology. She then obtained her Masters of Science in Social Work with a minor in Law from Columbia University School of Social Work.