Peter Colavito | Director of Government Relations, SEIU
Peter Colavito is the Government Relations Director for the Service Employees International Union (SEIU). From 2004 through 2010, he was at 32BJ SEIU, first as Political Director and later as Chief of Staff. 32BJ represents 120,000 property service workers in New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Delaware, Virginia, Florida and the District of Columbia. Prior to that he served as Chief of Staff to Brooklyn City Councilmember Bill de Blasio. In 2003, he was Campaign Manager for Vote No on 3, the effort that defeated a ballot initiative to end party primaries in New York City. Peter was Political Director for New York ACORN from 1999 to 2001, where he oversaw successful electoral and legislative campaigns. His other previous work experience included directing a community organizing training institute, serving on Congressmember Nita Lowey’s staff and organizing environmental issue campaigns. He was raised in the Bronx, attended Yale University and now lives in Washington, DC.
Orli Cotel | Deputy Communications Director, Sierra Club
Orli Cotel is the Deputy Communications Director for the National Sierra Club, where she oversees messaging and media efforts for the Beyond Coal campaign, which has helped win the retirements of over 100 coal burning power plants around the country. Previously, she served as the Sierra Club’s publicist, where she generated national coverage in top outlets like Good Morning America, The Oprah Winfrey Show, The CBS Early Show, CNN, Time Magazine, Newsweek, and The New York Times. Since 2005 she has been the producer and host of the nationally-syndicated Sierra Club Radio, where she has conducted over 500 interviews with guests such as New York Times columnist Tom Friedman, Robert F. Kennedy Jr., EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson, Arianna Huffington, and others. Orli is an alumna of Washington University in St. Louis and a proud graduate of Green Corps, the Field School for Environmental Organizing.
Nicky Davies | Campaigns Director, Greenpeace USA
Nicky Davies has recently joined Greenpeace USA as Campaigns Director, where she oversees a team of 30 campaigners working to solve global warming, protect ancient forests, save our oceans and create a toxics free future. Prior to joining Greenpeace USA, Nicky worked with Greenpeace International for nearly 10 years, most recently as Global Energy Team Leader and Deputy Director of the Climate & Energy Program. An Australian by birth, Nicky has worked in Australia & the Pacific, Asia and Europe and is now excited about running campaigns in the United States. Nicky holds degrees in Science and Law and practiced briefly as an environmental lawyer before making her career in environmental nonprofits in Australia and then overseas. She is now based in Washington, DC.
Brandon Davis | National Political Director, SEIU
Brandon L. Davis is the National Political Director for SEIU—the nation’s fastest-growing union, representing 2.1 million workers in healthcare, public and property services. As National Political Director, Brandon leads SEIU’s political program and is tasked with mobilizing SEIU members in a national community-based movement to win key elections while building permanent political infrastructure across the country in order to create and sustain real policy change for working families. Before he became the National Political Director, Brandon served as the Deputy National Political Director for Member Engagement and worked on the fight to win historic national healthcare reform. He joined SEIU in 2007 and first served as the Political Director for SEIU’s Missouri State Council. Prior to joining SEIU, Brandon worked extensively on electoral campaigns. Among other races, he helped lead Senator Claire McCaskill’s campaign to victory as Political Director and Deputy Campaign Director, giving middle-class Missourians a strong voice in the Senate.
Molly Dorozenski | Media Director, Greenpeace USA
Molly Dorozenski received a BA in English from Yale University and an MFA in Creative Writing from UMASS-Amherst. Prior to joining Greenpeace, she worked at Scribner, publicizing a variety of political, celebrity and progressive authors including Steve Martin, Craig Unger, Lee Iacocca, Annie Proulx and others. In her years at Greenpeace, she has planned and executed media campaigns including campaigns on climate, nuclear energy, the Gulf Oil Spill, and most recently, to get IT companies like Apple, Amazon and Microsoft to stop using coal to power their data centers. She is currently Greenpeace US’s media director. She lives in Brooklyn, NY.
Jotaka Eaddy | Special Assistant to the President & CEO/Director Voting Rights Initiative, NAACP
Jotaka L. Eaddy is the Special Assistant to the President and CEO and Senior Director for Voting Rights for the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People. She directs external relations and strategic initiatives on behalf of the office of the President and CEO and leads the NAACP’s strategy to defend and expand access to the ballot box. She is a seasoned progressive policy advocate with more than 15 years experience, who has been on the forefront of some of the nation’s leading issue and electoral campaigns. She has advocated on numerous death penalty cases, coordinated national lobbying efforts, and managed grassroots campaigns in more than 45 states and 28 countries. In addition, she has lobbied within various international forums including the United Nations Human Rights Commission, the Organization of American States, Council of Europe, European Commission, African Union, and the U.N. World Conference against Racism, among others.
Anna Galland | Executive Director, MoveOn.org Civic Action
Anna Galland is Executive Director of MoveOn.org Civic Action, a progressive organization that uses innovative online tools to empower grassroots activists and spread progressive ideas. She led the launch of SignOn.org, MoveOn’s open petition tool, which has connected millions of people to local and national campaigns for change since 2011. Previously at MoveOn, she directed an advocacy campaign on clean energy, led MoveOn’s national network of local Councils, and ran a volunteer phone program that generated 2 million phone calls and recruited over 90,000 volunteers for the 2008 Obama campaign. Before coming to MoveOn in 2007, Anna started and directed civic engagement and community organizing projects for the Oregon Bus Project and the American Friends Service Committee, and served as a trainer for Wellstone Action. Originally from Evanston, IL, Anna graduated from Brown University and is now based in Michigan. She is the mother of twin girls born in 2012.
Gabe Gonzalez | Campaign Director, Center for Community Change
Gabe Gonzalez is the national campaign director for the Center for Community Change. In his twenty plus years of social change work he has worked in a number of capacities, including community organizer, electoral organizer, and grassroots lobbyist. Issues he has worked on include housing, immigration reform, education and most recently economic justice. Gabe is particularly interested in how we can push the bounds of traditional organizing to take advantage of the moment we are in.
Cathy Grantham | Vice President, Human Resources, NAACP
Cathy Grantham is the Vice President of Human Resources for the NAACP. She has 20+ years of human resource experience. She has an SPHR certification, an MS in Human Resources Management from American University, and an MBA from University of Maryland University College. Her experience prior to joining NAACP in 2011 includes Director, Human Resources at Hillwood Estate, Museum & Gardens; independent human resources consultant to several non-profit organizations including B’nai B’rith International, a Jewish humanitarian, human rights, and advocacy organization and NeighborWorks® Capital, a Community Development Financial Institute. She was instrumental in the start-up and close-out phases of Fannie Mae Foundation during her eleven years of employment as its Managing Director of Human Resources. Her career in the human resources field began with The Southland Corporation, followed by Council on Foundations.
CJ Grimes | National Organizing Director, SEIU
CJ Grimes is the National Organizing Director for the Service Employees International Union. She has been a union organizer for over a decade, working for both SEIU locals and for the international union. Last year she worked on building and coordinating SEIU’s Fight for a Fair Economy (the SEIU campaign to create an environment where Americans can count on good jobs, no cuts to vital services, a path to a union, and immigrant justice). This year she has been building on the Fight for a Fair Economy successes in making income inequality a more public issue, and is focusing on SEIU’s organizing program in low-wage, private sector industries. She is blessed with having an amazing, inspiring 5-year-old daughter (who already wants to know when she gets to have a union and have half the say at home).
Tate Hausman | Director of Management, MoveOn.org Political Action
Tate Hausman is the Director of Management and Special Projects at MoveOn.org. His personal mission is to build a long-term progressive majority that advances a just, fair agenda for all Americans. Before MoveOn, Tate directed national political operations like Vote Today Ohio, a voter mobilization effort that helped swing Ohio to Barack Obama; and Slam Bush, a hip-hop voter registration drive. He has worked for two Congressional campaigns, one gubernatorial, and multiple state, municipal and issue campaigns. And he has consulted for high-impact organizations CREDO, Common Ground, Iraq and Afghanistan Vets of America, and the Working Families Party. He spent two years as Director of Strategy at Free Range Studios, where he wrote, produced and marketed viral video hits like The Meatrix and Store Wars. Tate graduated from Brown University with an honors degree in Education.
Alan Lee | Deputy Regional Director, Western Region, AFSCME
Alan Lee is the Deputy Regional Director for AFSCME International in the Western Region. Prior to being appointed, Alan worked as an International Union Representative and an Area Field Services Director. Alan started with AFSCME as a rank-and-file member and ultimately served as president of Local 1117 for 10 years. Alan has been tapped to lead and coordinate some of AFSCME’s most critical programs. Alan is a founding member of the African-American Community and Labor Leaders’ Alliance and previously served as the President of the Los Angeles NAACP Youth & College Division. Recognizing his commitment to youth, Alan was appointed to the Los Angeles County Commission on Youth. Alan also served as a key advisor to Congresswoman Maxine Waters and former California State Controller, Steve Westly.
Tori O’Neal-McElrath | Director of Institutional Advancement, Center for Community Change
As the Director of Institutional Advancement at the Center for Community Change, Tori O’Neal-McElrath leads the organization’s efforts to diversify its revenue, manage CCC’s national fellowship program, and tackle special projects. She joined CCC in 2009 as the Director of Development. Prior to joining CCC, Tori was the principal of O’Neal Consulting, a full-service organizational development practice focused on enhancing the effectiveness of philanthropic institutions and community-based organizations. She specialized in funder collaborations, women’s funds, and direct service organizations primarily focused on women and girls. Prior to launching her consulting practice, Tori was the Vice President of Development for Planned Parenthood Los Angeles. She was a contributing author to Darian Rodriguez Heyman’s book, Nonprofit Management 101: A Complete and Practical Guide for Leaders and Professionals (Jossey-Bass), and co-author of Winning Grants, Step-by-Step: Third Edition (The Jossey Bass Nonprofit Guidebook Series).
Lenore Palladino | Organizing Director, MoveOn.org Political Action
Lenore Palladino is the Organizing Director of MoveOn.org Political Action, leading MoveOn’s national campaigns. She joined MoveOn in 2007 and built MoveOn’s in-house field organizing program. Previously she was a Lead Organizer with CSEA (Civil Service Employees Association, a New York State Affiliate of AFSCME); a Senior Organizer with Northwest Bronx Community and Clergy Coalition; and National Co-Director of United Students Against Sweatshops (USAS). In her other life, she is a Ph.D. Candidate in Economics at the New School for Social Research and a student at Fordham Law School. A graduate of the University of Chicago, she lives in Brooklyn with her husband Billy Wimsatt, and is passionate about flamenco, street photography and Italian food.
Delisa Saunders | Deputy Director, Human Rights and Community Relations Department, American Federation of Teachers
Delisa Saunders is the Deputy Director of the Human Rights and Community Relations department at the American Federation of Teachers where she provides expertise for local, state and regional affiliates in a variety of areas, including community outreach and coalition building. Before joining the AFT, Delisa was the senior deputy field director and the former communications director at People For the American Way where she managed public education campaigns, mobilized communities, organized religious leaders and helped develop the nation’s first Election Protection program. Delisa was born and raised in Richmond, Virginia. After graduating from John Marshall High School, she earned her Bachelor’s degree from Brown University, her Master’s degree from Cornell University and her Doctorate from Howard University. She currently lives in Washington, D.C.
Hilary O. Shelton | Director, Washington Bureau and Senior Vice President, Advocacy and Policy, NAACP
Hilary O. Shelton presently serves as Director to the NAACP’s Washington Bureau. The Washington Bureau is the Federal legislative and national public policy division of the NAACP. In this capacity, Hilary is responsible for advocating the federal public policy issue agenda of the oldest, largest, and most widely recognized civil rights organization in the United States to the U.S. Government. Hilary’s government affairs portfolio includes crucial issues such as affirmative action, equal employment protection, access to quality education, stopping gun violence, ending racial profiling, abolition of the death penalty, access to comprehensive healthcare, voting rights protection, federal sentencing reform and a host of civil rights enforcement, expansion and protection issues. Born in St. Louis, Missouri, to a family of six brothers and sisters, Hilary holds degrees in political science, communications, and legal studies from Howard University in Washington, D.C., the University of Missouri in St. Louis, and Northeastern University in Boston, Massachusetts, respectively.
Julia Silbergeld | Human Resources Director, Greenpeace USA
Julia Silbergeld is the US HR Director for Greenpeace, the largest independent direct-action environmental organization in the world. During her tenure as HR Director, Julia has moved HR from a strictly operational department to a strategic driver for the organization. In addition to operational HR functions, her team focuses on staff development and diversity. In 2006, Julia started at Greenpeace recruiting students for a semester training program and then moved into the role of Operations Manager for Greenpeace’s fundraising canvass, where she helped transform and grow the department from its infancy into a robust program that raises over half the income for the organization. She previously worked at Democracy for America as the Deputy Field Director. Julia originally hails from Southern California, studied film at Wesleyan University, and has a certificate in Nonprofit Executive Management from Georgetown University. An internship on Howard Dean’s Presidential campaign led her to abandon her artistic path and commit her life to progressive activism.
Jesse Simons | Director, Climate Recovery Partnership, Sierra Club
Jesse has a BA in Political Science from University of Oregon. Prior to Sierra Club, Jesse was President of NonStopNet, raising $30 million and ramping up the company to over 200 employees. Jesse joined Sierra Club in 2002 as Advancement Director, Midwest Region. In 2006, he returned to the Bay Area as Senior Advancement Director, Western Region. Jesse became Director of the Climate Recovery Partnership in 2011, responsible for the strategy and funding of the Club’s major climate campaigns and all Business Development functions, focusing on partnerships with businesses that share the Club’s vision for a clean energy future. In 2009 Jesse won the Larry Mehlhaff Award for Excellence for the Beyond Coal Campaign and in 2011 the Mike McCloskey Award for outstanding and consistent work supporting the purpose and mission of Sierra Club. Jesse is an avid mountain biker, snowboarder, and outdoor enthusiast.
Cheryl Teare | Director, Union Leadership Institute, American Federation of Teachers
Cheryl Teare leads the American Federation of Teachers’ Union Leadership Institute. Working with others throughout the AFT and other organizations, she develops delivers a full range of training to enhance the skills of elected leaders, members and staff in this labor union with 1.5 million members. Her work includes dispute resolution, strategic planning, training and education in running a local, managing staff, fostering and sustaining labor management initiatives, working with executive boards to build, support and expand the influence of members through the union. She gets to help make a difference in the success of AFT’s people. Also incorporated into her work are her efforts and membership in the United Association of Labor Educators, the NAACP, the Labor Project for Working Families, her neighborhood association, her church and several other organizations. She is a graduate of Tufts University and Rutgers Law School. She is becoming an avid weekend cyclist.
Chris Thomas | Director of Digital Strategies, Sierra Club
Chris Thomas is Director of Digital Strategies at the Sierra Club. His main focus is on engaging the Club’s current and future members and supporters through technology, and on how interactive virtual environments enable real-world change. Before this, he ran the Digital Products Program at Greenpeace International in Amsterdam. A dual American/French national, Chris has extensive experience in technology and media strategy and production in both the United States and in Europe. Follow him @cxthom.
Marla Ucelli-Kashyap | Assistant to the President for Educational Issues, American Federation of Teachers
Marla Ucelli-Kashyap is Assistant to the President for Educational Issues at the American Federation of Teachers, where she leads a team of professionals working on key areas of policy, practice and professional development aimed at helping teachers and their unions improve education quality and their profession. Previously, she was Director of District Redesign and Leadership at the Annenberg Institute for School Reform at Brown University and a senior program officer at the Rockefeller Foundation. Marla has also been an independent consultant in education policy, a political press secretary, and a reporter. She holds a B.A. from New York University and an M.P.A. from Rutgers. Among her professional service activities, Marla is chair of the board of Editorial Projects in Education, Inc. (publisher of Education Week).
Jessica Weinstein | Assistant to the President, AFSCME
Jessica Weinstein serves as Assistant to President Lee A. Saunders of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME), the largest union in the AFL-CIO. Jessica oversees the union’s Communications, Information Services, Retiree Programs and Conference and Travel Services departments; national independent expenditure campaigns; state issues “battleground” campaign in New York; and Next Wave program that promotes activism and leadership among younger AFSCME members. Jessica holds a bachelor’s degree in political science from Millersville University in Pennsylvania. A native of Upper Darby, PA, she now resides in Washington, D.C. where she still cheers for the Phillies.
Ann Widger | Consultant, AFSCME
Ann Widger recently rejoined AFSCME as a consultant working on projects for the executive team including coordinating communications for the international convention, developing strategies for working with the administration, coordinating officer events for GOTV and implementing a political program for AFSCME’s retirees. Ann originally started with AFSCME in 2003 as a retiree coordinator where she organized new retiree groups across the country and worked with retirees on political and legislative campaigns. During her hiatus from AFSCME Ann served as the National Senior Vote Director for the 2008 Obama campaign then went on the serve as an Associate Director for Public Engagement at the White House working with the aging and health care communities. She also served as the Director of External Affairs at Department of Health and Human Services. As of January 1, 2013, Ann will be the Director of AFSCME’s Retiree Department.
Ryan Young | Director of Operations and Finance, Center for Community Change
In his capacity as the Director of Operations and Finance at the Center for Community Change, Ryan leads the organization’s strategic financial management efforts, facilitates infrastructural operations, and oversees a number of other special projects. Ryan oversees the Human Resources, Information Technology, Administration, and Finance departments to ensure that they effectively support the programmatic functions of the organization. Ryan has experience in a wide range of financial and operational areas, but has a particular interest in the exploration of long-term sustainability planning. His career has focused on providing strong strategic leadership to organizations promoting positive change for national and international social justice issues. His expertise and experience includes strategic financial management, governance, regulatory compliance, and innovative technology initiatives. He has served in a number of capacities in domestic and international nonprofit organizations as well as having provided consulting services to organizations around development of strong internal control environments. Outside of his work with the Center, Ryan currently serves as the Board Chair for a Washington, D.C. based adult education and workforce development center.