2015-2016 Cross Movement Yearlong Fellows
NICK BERNING | Communications Director and Senior Strategist, MoveOn.org
Nick Berning is Communications Director and Senior Strategist at MoveOn.org, a community of millions of Americans using the connective power of the internet to lower the barriers to participation in our democracy, build collective power, and win game-changing campaigns for progressive change. Nick leads the team responsible for MoveOn’s relations with the news media, social media presence and content strategy, message and brand strategy, advertising, and presence in Washington, DC. He is a spokesperson for MoveOn and its primary liaison with the White House, and he contributes to the development of campaign strategies and organizational direction. Nick previously directed communications at Friends of the Earth, was part of People For the American Way’s communications team, and has served as a presidential and congressional campaign spokesperson. He lives with his husband Drew and dog Renly in Washington, DC, is a proud uncle, and enjoys travel and board games.
ALICIA S. BOYKINS, PHR & SHRM-CP | Director of Human Resources, National LGBTQ Task Force
Alicia Boykins is one of the most promising individuals rising up in the Human Resources field. As National LGBTQ Task Force Director of Human Resources, she advises management on compliance with Federal and State Laws. Her responsibilities include working to improve the knowledge, understanding, and implementation of National LGBTQ TASK FORCE policies, procedures, and programs. She is a Certified Professional in Human Resources (PHR) & SHRM-CP with over 10 years of progressive experience along with an active Secret Security Clearance. Alicia has managed and possesses a solid working knowledge in strategic planning, organizational development, health and wellness initiative, compliance, compensation and benefits, recruitment and retention, employee development, performance appraisals, federal and state employment laws and has written several policies, procedures, and handbooks along with OSHA and MOSH compliance programs. Alicia is a graduate of Grambling State University with a BS in Political Science and a Masters in Public Administration-Human Resources Management.
SASHA BRUCE | Senior Vice President for Campaigns and Strategy, NARAL Pro-Choice America
Sasha Bruce joined NARAL in 2013 as Senior Vice President for Campaigns and Strategy, managing the field, policy, political, communications, and digital departments. Sasha is a highly experienced political and advocacy campaigner, and was previously National Campaign Manager for the AFL-CIO in the 2012 cycle. From 2006 to 2010, she was SEIU’s Deputy Political Director for Public Campaigns, focusing on independent expenditure candidate and issue campaigns, member outreach and capacity building. During that time, she took leave to serve as the Western States Political Director for Hillary Clinton’s 2008 presidential campaign. At the National Democratic Institute, starting in 2005, she managed the political party and women’s participation programs in Azerbaijan, in addition to working on elections in Egypt, Palestine, Rwanda, Indonesia, and Somalia. Originally from Guyana, raised in London and Barbados, she immigrated to the U.S. in 1994, working her way through college by bartending and acting as Princess Jasmine at Disney World, where she was a Teamster.
PATTI CAMPBELL | Administrative Assistant, United Auto Workers
Patti Campbell was named Administrative Assistant to Vice President Cindy Estrada in 2014. She is responsible for activities within the UAW’s Women’s Department and the Education & Training, Global Manufacturing System, and Work & Family departments of the UAW General Motors Department. Since being appointed to the UAW’s international staff in 2001 by President Steven P. Yokich, Patti has honed her experience and skill by working her way through every level of leadership within the UAW’s General Motors Department. She joined the UAW when she went to work at GM’s Rochester Products facility in Rochester, NY in 1979. Patti holds a bachelor’s degree from State University of New York at Geneseo and an MBA from Rochester Institute of Technology. She is an outdoor enthusiast and enjoys spending time with her husband Ron and their three children and grandson.
DENISE DIAZ | Executive Director, Central Florida Jobs with Justice
Denise has been the Executive Director of Central Florida Jobs With Justice since 2007, and she is also a National Jobs With Justice Executive Board Member. Originally from Puerto Rico, Denise’s parents raised her and her brother on the northwest side of Chicago. Her parents worked hard in the airline catering industry and as union members to provide a better life for their children. Denise Diaz received her BA in Political Science from the University of Illinois at Chicago. Her activism began in college mobilizing new voters and later community organizing on the South Side of Chicago. She later became a tenant rights organizer in immigrant communities outside of DC. In 2007, Denise moved to the Sunshine state to raise her children and continue community organizing on worker rights issues. From informational picketing in front of major employers to community meeting on racial profiling, you’ll find Denise and her family.
TAMARA DRAUT | Vice President, Policy and Research, Demos
As Vice President of Policy and Research, Tamara is responsible for developing and advancing the organization’s goals through research, idea generation and policy development. Tamara is a member of the Demos Executive Team helping to develop and drive the strategic direction of the organization. A member of the Demos team since 2001, Tamara developed the organization’s groundbreaking work on household indebtedness, middle class insecurity and the economic challenges facing young people. She is the author of Strapped: Why America’s 20- and 30-Somethings Can’t Get Ahead published by Doubleday in 2006, and the author of numerous Demos research reports and policy briefs. She is also writing a book on the new working class to be published in early 2016.
DEEDEE FITZPATRICK | Deputy Chief of Staff, SEIU
Deedee Fitzpatrick is the Deputy Chief of Staff for the Service Employees International Union in Washington, DC. Deedee has been a practicing labor lawyer in Washington DC. for more than 17 years and has been with SEIU for nearly a decade. She has served as counsel to several national organizing campaigns, representing janitors in Houston, public sector workers in California, and multi-service workers globally; in addition, Deedee has developed a special focus on organizational governance. Following her years with SEIU’s Legal Department, Deedee joined SEIU’s Executive Office as the assistant to the International Secretary-Treasurer. Before she was a lawyer, Deedee was an adjunct professor of anthropology, taught remedial writing, and where she became involved in the labor movement in the fight to organize a union. Deedee lives with her husband, two children, and her mother-in-law in Silver Spring, Maryland.
RONNIE GALVIN | Senior Advisor, Center for Community Change
Ronnie Galvin is a career community builder who has committed his life’s work to community organizing and social change. At the Center for Community Change, he serves as the Senior Advisor on the organization’s economic justice team. In this work, he is helping to deploy a new strategy to engage high profile public leaders in the fight to confront poverty in America. This strategy to connect opinion makers to families struggling to make ends meet in America is taking shape within the context of a big and bold initiative called “Putting Families First: Good Jobs for All Campaign.” Ronnie earned a BS in Business Administration from the Citadel Military College of South Carolina and a M.Div. from the Candler School of Theology at Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia. Most importantly, Ronnie is in life partnership with Dr. Yanique Redwood and they are raising two beautiful young people Alana, 18 and Darren, 17.
DEEPA ISAC | Chief of Staff, Greenpeace USA
Deepa Isac is the Chief of Staff of Greenpeace USA. Her work primarily entails leading strategic development and planning within Greenpeace USA along with Greenpeace International. Deepa joined Greenpeace in 2004 as legal counsel. As Deputy General Counsel, her responsibilities included managing a large array of legal issues, including criminal cases to support Greenpeace activists engaged in civil disobedience, proactive environmental suits and legal risk management, stemming from issues of cross liability, contracts, employment, immigration, speech, intellectual property, and non-profit governance. Prior to her tenure with Greenpeace, Deepa served as an Assistant Public Defender, where she represented indigent defendants accused of crimes. As an Assistant Attorney General for Massachusetts, she handled civil litigation for violations of consumer protection and antitrust laws.
VICTORIA KAPLAN | Organizing Director, MoveOn.org
Victoria Kaplan is the Lead Campaign Director at MoveOn.org, where she has led campaigns with MoveOn’s 8 million members to re-elect President Obama, win net neutrality, expand Medicaid, end fracking, and stop a war with Iran. In 2015 she served as field director for MoveOn’s Run Warren Run campaign. She started organizing with Students Against Sweatshops at Duke University where she studied cultural anthropology, and she has received training with Green Corps and the New Organizing Institute. She has a degree in international economic policy from the Latin American School for Social Sciences in Quito, Ecuador. She lives in Los Angeles with her husband David, and she loves training, direct action, one-on-ones, and strategizing – along with biking, swimming, and running.
DAVID KIMBALL | National Field Director, Center for Community Change
David Kimball joined the staff of the Center for Community Change in 2006 where he now serves as National Field Director. David’s organizing at CCC has focused on winning comprehensive immigration reform, leading major public actions such as the Rally for America with Senator Harry Reid, and most recently working with a team to launch an economic justice campaign called Putting Families First. David’s organizing has roots in his days as a student activist in the peace, anti-nuclear, and environmental movements of the 1980s and early 1990s. David has worked as a community organizer on city and state-wide affordable housing, education, minimum wage, and job training campaigns in Chicago, Tucson, the Rio Grande Valley, and Los Angeles. In 1998, David worked with community leaders in Los Angeles to found People Organized for Westside Renewal (POWER). David lives with his wife Julie and seven-year-old daughter Serene in Berkeley, CA.
AMY LOASCHING | Administrative Assistant, United Automobile Workers
Amy Loasching is an international representative of the United Automobile, Aerospace and Agricultural Implement Workers of America (UAW). Currently assigned to the President’s office, she has also worked in the Secretary-Treasurer’s office and Education Department. Amy joined the UAW in 1986, working on the assembly line at General Motors in Janesville, Wisconsin, where she spent 22 years. During that time she was elected and appointed to several different positions, representing her local, including Financial Secretary and Health & Safety Trainer. Throughout her life she has been an advocate for those less fortunate. Her passion to give back to her community started with volunteering and led to serving on boards with agencies that empower women and assist the homeless. She has been recognized for her efforts by the YWCA, United Way, and Habitat for Humanity. Her career with the UAW moved her to Detroit in 2010 where she resides and works today.
LUCY MAYO | Senior Vice President, Operations, Demos
Lucy comes to Demos with over 17 years of experience in the non-profit and government sectors. Lucy has worked in local and state government and at national and community-based organizations. She has experience in a number of issue areas including economic justice, voting rights, education, and health and human services. Prior to coming to Demos, she was Vice President of Development for Teach For America in New York City. Lucy was also Policy Director for New York City Council Speaker Christine C. Quinn, served her first stint at Demos as Associate Director of the Democracy Program, and served as the first legislative director to then Council Member Christine Quinn. Lucy also worked for New York State Senator Thomas Duane as a legislative aide and the Women’s Housing and Economic Development Corporation as a program associate. Lucy lives in Brooklyn with her husband, son and dog.
REV. RODNEY MCKENZIE, JR. | Director, Academy for Leadership and Action, National LGBTQ Task Force
Rodney McKenzie, Jr. is an out person of faith, community organizer, and a reverend. Over the last thirteen years, he has worked for organizations building grassroots political power in marginalized communities. From being a field organizer at the Task Force in 2002 to being the Spiritual Director and Co-Creator of Expansion Church in 2012, to his current role as the Director of the Academy for Leadership and Action at the National LGBTQ Task Force, his work focuses on the intersection of community organizing and radical faith work in the public square. As the Director for the Academy for Leadership and Action, Rodney oversees the community organizing, faith and the electoral work of the Task Force. Rodney is originally from Dallas, Texas and currently resides in New York City.
MARY NEMEROV | Chief Advancemenet Officer, Sierra Club
Mary Nemerov has worked in board development and fundraising for environmental organizations for nearly twenty years. A San Francisco native, Mary is a graduate of U.C. Berkeley and the University of Michigan. She has led major fundraising efforts in both the Northeast and California in her work for the Trust for Public Land and the Sierra Club. As of June 2014, she took on the leadership of the Office of Advancement, managing the Sierra Club’s membership and direct marketing, planned giving, business partnerships, and major gifts efforts. She continues to play an engaged role in the Club’s relationships with some of the organizations most generous donors.
LINDA NGUYEN | Director of Talent Acquisition & Development, Center for Community Change
Linda Nguyen is the Director of Talent Acquisition & Development at the Center for Community Change. In this role at CCC, Linda leads efforts to recruit, train, and develop top-quality staff; and is responsible for executing a full cycle talent strategy. Prior, Linda served as the Director of Civic Engagement for the Alliance for Children and Families where she built and managed a national initiative to infuse activism and advocacy into the work of social service organizations. Her volunteer endeavors have included work with the YWCA and the Young Nonprofit Professionals Network. She currently serves on the U.S. board for Keystone Accountability. Originally from the Bay Area, Linda earned a Bachelor’s in Social Welfare from UC Berkeley and a Master’s in Public Policy from the University of Michigan. She resides in the Washington DC metro area with her partner and two children.
LILAH POMERANCE | Director, 2020 Program, SEIU
Lilah Pomerance has been at SEIU since 2008 and is the Director for the 2020 Program, a new program focused on building power in states. She built her career on political and policy campaigns, working for the Democratic Coordinated Campaign in 2000, and later overseeing campaign efforts in several states for the 2004 Jon Edwards presidential bid. For the 2004 general election, she ran a national young voter campaign. Between campaigns, she advised Senator Charles Schumer as part of his Judiciary Committee staff. Lilah spent 2005 in Nicaragua where she consulted for the Central American Women’s Fund through the American Jewish World Service Corps program. After earning her MBA from the Robert H. School of Business, she joined SEIU. Lilah is a Washington, DC native and lives there with her husband and three children. She is active in her Jewish community, is broken hearted by her home hockey team, the Capitals, and loves hiking in the mountains.
BETH RAYFIELD, PHD | Director of Development, Coalition for Human Immigrant Rights of Los Angeles
Beth Rayfield has served as the Director of Development at the Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights of Los Angeles (CHIRLA) since 2008. She participated in the 2014 Cohort of the Course in Exponential Fundraising at the Hauser Institute at Harvard University. CHIRLA’s individual donor development model as developed by Beth has been selected as a “Bright Spot” in social change fundraising, and is a case study in a national research project conducted by CompassPoint. Beth has a doctorate from the University of California, Irvine, where she was recognized for her scholarship and teaching in Women’s and Visual Studies. She is a former labor organizer and was the first president of UAW 2865, an 11,000 member statewide union of academic employees at the University of California. Beth lives in Long Beach, CA, where she volunteers for Pathways Hospice and is the former Board Chair of the Sexual Assault Crisis Agency.
ROLF SKAR | Forest Campaign Director, Greenpeace USA
Rolf Skar is the Greenpeace USA Forest Campaign Director. He has fought for forests in many forums for more than 15 years – from tree-sits in old-growth forests of the Pacific Northwest, to the halls of the United Nations. Since 2007, Rolf has contributed to award-winning Greenpeace campaigns to conserve forests in Indonesia, the Brazilian Amazon, the Congo Basin, and Canada. He has appeared in leading news programs on MSNBC, NPR, FOX News, Al Jazeera, as well as the pages of the New York Times, Rolling Stone, the Washington Post, and Los Angeles Times, among others. Rolf has a life beyond work that includes things like backpacking, mushroom hunting and performing stand-up comedy.
AMY SMOUCHA | Managing Director, Jobs With Justice
Amy Smoucha brings more than 20 years of experience in nonprofit management, community organizing, policy advocacy and coalition building to her role as Managing Director of Jobs With Justice. Amy joined the movement as a grassroots leader in a campaign to keep a hospital and four community clinics open in St. Louis. She progressed from a leader to a staff member of a welfare rights organization led by people living in poverty. Subsequently, she spent more than a decade leading popular education and advocacy campaigns relating to the rights of workers and families and access to health care and legal services. Amy also spent six years as a statewide organizer with Missouri Jobs With Justice. She serves as a lead trainer in the Building Jobs With Justice leadership training. She is an avid gardener, gradually replacing her lawn just outside of DC with raised beds. She and her partner of 16 years have three sleepy cats.
MITCHELL STILLE | National Field Director, NARAL Pro-Choice America
Mitchell Stille became National Field Director for NARAL Pro-Choice America in 2014. He grew up in a labor household where both his father and grandfather were union carpenters. Mitchell’s first job was as a union court clerk in Illinois and he was an active member of AFSCME Local 799 and took part in a successful strike over a two-tier wage system. He moved to Iowa in 2006 and took a position as a ‘Take Back America’ organizer for AFSCME Council 61 and eventually became Deputy Political Director. In 2011, Mitchell jumped right into the Walker Recall in Wisconsin taking on the role of Senior Field Representative for the AFL-CIO. Soon, he became Deputy Field Director for the AFL-CIO covering Ohio to California. In his limited spare time, you will find him hanging out with his partner Dominique and their two dogs, Ada and Ruby.
JODIE VAN HORN | Director, Strategic Relations, Sierra Club
Jodie Van Horn is the Director of Strategic Relations at the Sierra Club. She leads the Sierra Club’s READY FOR 100 campaign to accelerate a just and equitable transition to 100% clean, renewable energy in the U.S. Jodie has worked for over a decade at the intersection of technology and sustainability, building partnerships across sectors to address the threat of climate disruption and drive widespread adoption of clean energy solutions. She has previously held positions at Rainforest Action Network, Greenpeace International, and GoodGuide. She also serves on the board of Black Rock Solar, an organization that promotes economic development and energy independence for not-for-profits, tribes, and under-served communities by providing access to clean energy, education, and job training. Jodie is bilingual in Spanish and English.
BRENDA WRIGHT | Vice President, Policy and Legal Strategies, Demos
Brenda Wright is Vice President of Policy and Legal Strategies at Demos, where she serves as a member of the executive team and oversees development of the organization’s legal strategies and policy work. She has led many progressive legal and policy initiatives on voting rights, campaign finance reform, redistricting, and other democracy issues. She has written extensively on democracy and voting rights issues in both popular and scholarly publications, and appears frequently in print and other media. Her legal work includes two arguments before the U.S. Supreme Court. Before joining Demos in 2007, Brenda served as Managing Attorney at the National Voting Rights Institute in Boston, and as Director of the Voting Rights Project at the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights in Washington, D.C. She is a member of the Board of Trustees of the Lawyers’ Committee, the Board of Directors of Common Cause Massachusetts, and the Advisory Board of the Prison Policy Initiative.
ZERIHOUN YILMA | Associate Director, Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights of Los Angeles
Zerihoun Yilma has over 20 years of experience in both for-profit and non-profit management. His experience in the private sector has shaped his unique expertise for the non-profit sector. Zerihoun joined the Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights of Los Angeles (CHIRLA) in 2001 and currently serves as the Associate Director. He has helped the organization secure financial stability and maintain strong internal systems. Before coming to CHIRLA, Zerihoun worked in the financial services industries in Los Angeles and in Africa, and managed and oversaw small-scale manufacturing plants and service industries. Zerihoun is a community leader and has provided technical assistance to several small non-profit organizations in Los Angeles. He is a co-founder of the charter school Academia Moderna, the African Public Health Coalition, and the Californians for Humane Immigrant Rights Leadership Action Fund, a C4 organization that promotes and advocates for immigrant rights.