National Programs Committee

The National Programs Committee

Since its inception more than a decade ago, the New Leaders Council has grown from a small, but committed cohort in San Francisco to 48 chapters representing communities and states across the US.  This incredible growth has led to training nearly 4,000 progressive, political entrepreneurs.  But with our fast expansion came a need for a communication pipeline from the local chapters’ leadership teams through to the national staff. Thus, the National Programs Committee (NPC), comprised of a group of senior NLC volunteers who had each been in the trenches running chapters, institutes, recruitment, etc., was formed with the mission of providing assistance and guidance as it relates to NLC programming. 

Made up of National Programmatic Chairs, the NLC Chapter Director Board Members, and the NLC Chapter liaisons, the NPC is the primary sounding board for developing new programmatic elements, oversight of chapter activities, and ensuring smooth communications and responsiveness between NLC and all its local leadership teams.

I am proud to work such a committed cohort of individuals whose leadership and passion for the success of NLC drives their work.  We continue to strive to improve the organizations ability to meet its core mission and to provide quality services to each local NLC chapter.


Alise Roderer
Chair, NLC National Programs Committee 

Meet the National Programs Committee

Alise Roderer
NPC Chair
NLC New Jersey


Alise Roderer serves as the Chair of the New Leaders Council National Programs Committee. Since completing the NLC fellowship in New Jersey in 2011, Alise has served in volunteer positions at both the local and national level including as the NLC-NJ Institute Chair and Advisory Board Chair and as the National Curriculum Chair, the founding Chair of the NLC Women’s Caucus, as a Chapter Liaison, and as a Life Entrepreneurship Trainer.  

Alise is a Director at CN Communications International, Inc., a New Jersey-based strategic communications firm, where she is the primary point of contact to many of CN’s media and community relations accounts including programs for Fortune 500 companies, education and healthcare organizations, and legal clients. Prior to joining CN, Alise served as the Deputy Director of Communications for the New Jersey Senate Majority Office and began her career in politics on the campaign trail – working in seven states on more than a dozen campaigns.

Alise is a graduate of Ball State University, where she earned a dual degree in political science and public relations. She resides in Highland Park, New Jersey where she serves as a Democratic County Committee person.

Heather Grantham Deutsch
Chair Emeritus
NLC New York


Heather Grantham Deutsch is the Treasurer of the New Leaders Council Board of Directors and Chair Emerita of the NLC National Programs Committee. She was previously a Co-Director of NLC New York City from 2012 to 2015, NLC-NYC Finance Chair from 2015 to 2016, and a NLC-NYC Advisory Board member since 2010. By day, she works in product development and marketing for Nomura Corporate Research and Asset Management, a boutique asset management group at Nomura Securities. At Nomura, she works closely with portfolio management, credit research, sales, and business development teams to create and market high-yield fixed-income investment products for institutional investors worldwide. By night and weekend, she brainstorms ways to connect progressive leaders, build coalitions, and take NLC to the next level and beyond.

Before NLC and Nomura, Heather toiled in private equity and spent her free time posting feminist rants on facebook. At ZM Capital, she managed a comprehensive internal and external branding and communications program, including a fully re-designed visual identity and presentation suite, and business development support for several portfolio companies and two funds. Heather also has experience in communications and development consulting, where she learned to synthesize months of research into a 100-page deck that only two people would ever read.

Prior to working in finance and progressive politics, Heather attended Cornell University, where she walked uphill both ways in the snow. She majored in Government, Sociology, and Fine Arts, wrote a column for the Cornell Daily Sun, and was named one of the "Top 25 Most Influential Cornellians" for her leadership of a student-driven effort to improve Cornell's marketing and communications strategy. In addition to the above, she has served on the New York County Democratic Committee and on the Executive Board of the Ansonia Independent Democratic Club. She lives in Manhattan with one husband and three cats, which she maintains is a perfectly reasonable human to feline ratio.

James Woodson
Chapter Board Representative & National Diversity Committee Chair
NLC New Jersey


James Woodson is currently the NLC National Diversity Chair. He previously served as National Mentorship Director, and is an alum and former Executive Board member of the NLC-New Jersey Chapter. By day, James is an Organizing Coordinator with California Calls. Specifically, he co-leads the African American Civic Engagement Project, teaching, training, and supporting 12 Black-led groups around the State of California to do integrated voter engagement. James is also assisting coordination of the Million Voters Project, a partnership of six statewide partners to mobilize and turnout 1 million voters by 2018.

Previously, James served as the Director of Clubhouse and Athletic Programs for the Boys & Girls Club of Newark, NJ, where he managed youth development programs for over 300 children. James is also a licensed attorney in the states of New Jersey and New York and proud alum of the Rutgers School of Law in Newark, NJ. Prior to entering law school, James served in a variety of capacities within the Democratic National Committee, the NJ Democratic State Committee, and Obama For America. James was a lead organizer for the NJ Health Care For America Now campaign and served as co-Counsel for the New Jersey Congressional Redistricting Commission in 2012. In addition, James was the Founding Director of the Friendship Development Corporation, where he led the effort to create an outreach center that provides food, clothing, and other services to thousands of low-income families in the Baltimore metropolitan area.

James loves all things entertainment, and in his spare time, writes, produces, and directs all types of creative multimedia projects. He is the co-writer, director, and producer of the Off-Broadway stage play “Love’s Gonna Get You.”

James currently resides in the Los Angeles area with his wife and two children.


Kubs Lalchandani
Chapter Board Representative
NLC Miami


Kubs Lalchandani is co-founder and partner of Lalchandani Simon PL, a specialized law firm designed to assist both start-up and mature businesses expand operations, protect intellectual property, comply with regulations.  He counsels clients in various sectors including healthcare, technology, pharmaceuticals, and hospitality.  In addition to his legal practice, Lalchandani has helped to launch several businesses including United Drug Supply, Inc. 1Apeiron LLC, LS Title, LLC, and various other high growth companies. In the May 2014 edition of Brickell Magazine, Lalchandani was named one of Miami’s Top 20 Professionals Under 40. From 2013 to 2017, Super Lawyers Magazine has recognized Lalchandani as a “Rising Star” in the state of Florida.  Lalchandani was also nominated by his peers to receive the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation’s 40 Under 40 Outstanding Lawyers of Miami-Dade County award.  In his spare time, Lalchandani serves on the national board of the New Leaders Council, an organization designed to recruit, train and promote the progressive political entrepreneurs of tomorrow.  Lalchandani serves as an “entrepreneur-in-residence” and guest lecturer at Cornell University.  He also speaks at social media focused conferences nationwide, and is routinely contacted by the news media for his perspectives on health law and emerging legal issues in technology. Lalchandani served as an associate at the international law firms of Jones Day and White & Case, and he clerked for the Honorable Judge Patricia A. Seitz, United States District Judge, Southern District of Florida.

Mike Bare
Chapter Liaison
NLC Wisconsin


Mike Bare researches and advocates for public policies that help low-income Americans at the Community Advocates Public Policy Institute. He is an expert on the intersection of policy with politics and the legislative process. Mike teaches graduate courses in public health policy.

Mike has an extensive grassroots politics and government service background, having worked on and consulted for political campaigns at every level of government. He also served as a longtime aide to former U.S. Senator Russ Feingold in his Washington, DC office, and on his 2004 and 2010 campaigns.

Mike holds an MA in political science from American University, where he was President of the Graduate Student Council. He is a former alderman, has been a longtime volunteer for Special Olympics and other disability organizations, and currently serves on the Board of Directors for the Down Syndrome Association of Wisconsin, HealthWatch Wisconsin, and is the Chapter Director of New Leader Council-Wisconsin.


Erin Belitskus
Chapter Liaison
NLC Boston & NLC Pittsburgh


Born and raised in southwestern Pennsylvania, Erin Belitskus boomeranged home to Pittsburgh after a tour that took her through Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government, Aberystwyth University in Wales, and the Peace Corps in Romania.

A Boston 2012 fellow, Erin co-directed the Boston chapter and upon returning to Pittsburgh she co- founded and directed the Pittsburgh chapter. Erin serves on the National Programming Committee and is an LE trainer; she’s excited and proud to showcase Pittsburgh as national co-chair of NLC Retreat this year.

Erin is a Pittsburgh-based director of the international philanthropic consulting firm Changing Our World, Inc. where she works with the world’s leading nonprofit organizations, corporations, private foundations, and philanthropists to provide expertise and individualized solutions, helping nonprofits create strong relationships with donors and enabling grant makers and corporations to invest their resources wisely.

In her free time, Erin can be found cheering on her Steelers and Buccos and helping progressive women candidates get elected. Erin earned a BA in Behavioral Science from Green Mountain College and an MScEcon in Terrorism and International Relations from Aberystwyth University. It’s almost 100% certain she’s the only person ever to serve as vice-chair of the Cambridge Democratic City Committee and as a committeewoman for the Allegheny County Democratic Committee.


Justin Braz
Chapter Liaison
NLC-New Jersey


Justin Braz is currently the Chief of Staff for New Jersey State Assembly Budget Committee Chairman Gary S. Schaer. His strong interest in local, state, and national politics has augmented a lifelong passion towards fomenting significant social change for working class men and women.

Justin has cultivated an impressive resume of policy and political experience. Before joining Schaer’s office, Justin served in numerous capacities including as the Political Coordinator for 1199 Service Employees International Union, representing thousands of healthcare workers throughout New Jersey and as Chief of Staff to Assembly Homeland Security and State Preparedness Chairwoman Annette Quijano.

Justin previously served as the Chapter Director and a founding member of the state chapter of the New Leader's Council, a national leadership training institute for progressive political entrepreneurs throughout the state, winning National Chapter of the Year in 2013 and 2014. In his free time, Justin is an avid reader, a racquetball enthusiast and a volunteer for Habitat for Humanity. A sports lover as well, depending on the season he can be found following his New York Yankees, Giants or Penn State.


Ryan Evans
Senior LE Trainer & Chapter Liaison
NLC Washington, D.C.


A native of Upstate New York, Ryan James Evans is a seasoned political and higher education professional in Washington, DC.  Ryan has spent time strategizing, fundraising, and in the field for municipal, congressional, and senatorial campaigns across the country, and as a military legislative assistant on Capitol Hill. Taking a spin in the private sector, Ryan currently serves as the Director of Business Development for DSPolitical, a technology company that works to persuade and turnout voters for progressive candidates, causes, and issues with the most efficient digital advertising campaigns in politics. He is most proud of being a part of teams that successfully won a ballot measure to cap interest rates for pay-day loans in South Dakota, and infrastructure investments for public transit in the Bay Area. Prior to joining DSPolitical, Ryan was the Special Assistant to the Chair of the Board of Trustees of George Washington University, where he managed a two-year campaign to strengthen faculty governance at his alma mater. Ryan holds a Bachelors of Arts in International Affairs and Latin American Studies, and a Master of Arts in Security Policy Studies from the Elliott School of International Affairs at GW. Residing in Logan Circle, Ryan still calls Niskayuna, NY home and is an avid supporter of all things Big Blue, pinstripes, and ORANGE.



Ashlyn S. Martin
Policy Director & Chapter Liaison
NLC Atlanta


Ashlyn S. Martin is a Policy Director with New Leaders Council and a cofounder and partner with Abbott Martin LP, a boutique marketing and event production firm. As the Executive Director of the National Council on Youth Sports Safety (NCYSS), a nonprofit chaired by former U.S. Surgeon General Dr. David Satcher, Martin planned a national conference and listening tour and managed an advisory council of experts in youth and professional sports, public policy, medicine, science and the media. Martin has worked as a Legislative and Operations Director for former Georgia House Representative Alisha Thomas Morgan and as an aide to Georgia State Senator and Democratic Leader Steve Henson. While in law school, Martin clerked in the Office of General Counsel for Illinois Governor Pat Quinn and the U.S. Attorney’s Office, Northern District of Illinois. She currently serves as a member of the inaugural Families First Young Professional Board and as the Political Action Chair for the Georgia Association of Black Women Attorneys.  She joined New Leaders Council in 2013 and is a former Curriculum Chair and Co-Director with the Atlanta chapter. A 2016 Georgia Trend 40 Under 40 award recipient, Martin is a graduate of The George Washington University and Loyola University Chicago School of Law. She enjoys traveling and watching baseball and resides in Atlanta with her husband and sons, Caleb and Joshua.




Ian Magruder
Chapter Liaison
NLC San Francisco


Ian Magruder is NLC's California Chapter Liaison, following two years as Co-Director of the San Francisco Chapter. Professionally, Ian is Director of Partnerships at Landed, a San Francisco-based startup helping teachers buy homes through community-based equity financing. Prior to Landed, Ian helped build Organizer, a political technology and grassroots engagement company working with many of the top Democratic state parties, labor unions, and advocacy organizations nationally - including DCCC, SEIU, and NextGen Climate. Ian also served as President of the California College Democrats and as Co-Founder of the California Progress Fund, an organization that supports young diverse candidates running for local office in California. He is a graduate of UC Berkeley and was a Public Policy and International Affairs Fellow at Princeton University.






Oren Jacobson
Chapter Development Director
NLC Chicago


Oren is 2014 New Leaders Council Fellow and now serves as a National Chapter Development Director for the organization. In that role he works directly with volunteer leaders across the country to support the advancement of local NLC chapters.

Oren serves on the board of the Illinois Campaign For Political Reform, sits on the American Jewish Committee’s Chicago ACCESS Board, and is the 2017 Global Co-Chair for AJC’s Global Forum ACCESS track. He also serves on the Personal PAC board and the Avodah Advisory Council in Illinois. He is also a Truman National Security Project Political Partner.

Oren is the co-founder and Executive Director of Men4Choice, an organization focused on engaging, educating, and activating men into the fight to protect and expand reproductive rights in Illinois. Oren has also served as an economic advisor for state and federal candidates and elected officials and serves on the Board of Directors for a healthcare media company called TinyDocs

He holds an MBA with an emphasis in strategic management, will complete his Master's in Economics and Policy Analysis in June, and was recently accepted to University of Chicago’s prestigious Committee on International Relations master's program cohort starting in the fall of 2017.


Jourdan Sorrell
National Budget Chair
NLC Chicago


Jourdan Sorrell is a lifelong Chicagoan with a passion for improving conditions for all. Due to his strong ties to the city, Jourdan has devoted his intellectual and professional career as Chief Executive Officer of The Sorrell Group LLC that helps corporations and nonprofits meet their strategic and business goals and objectives.

Jourdan serves as Co-Director for the New Leaders Council Chicago, National Budget Chair of the New Leaders Council National Programs Committee and on the board of Black Tech Mecca. He holds a BA in Anthropology from the University of Notre Dame and currently is a candidate for his AM at the University of Chicago School of Social Service Administration.




Stathis Theodoropoulos
Alumni Initiatives
NLC New Jersey


Stathis is currently the  Principal and Founder of Firefly Lighting LLC, a lighting procurement company. Founded in 2014, the company's focus is to help create beautiful lighting designs and the procurement of the lighting equipment for residential, commercial and hospitality projects. Prior to pursuing his own venture, Stathis worked in the lighting industry for 3 years, working with client such as Ralph Lauren, Intermix, the Plaza Hotel and many other global brands.

Stathis currently serves on the NPC working on alumni initiatives and serves as the Innovation Chair for the NLC-NJ Chapter

Additionally, Stathis over the past 10 years has served in various leadership roles in organizations focused on grassroots and local community issues. Stathis is very active on advocating Greek American issues, dealing with issues of Human Rights, Religious Freedom and Foreign Affairs. He currently serve on the Board of Directors for the Federation of Cypriot American Organizations and a Council Member with the Hellenic American Leadership Council.

Stathis Theodoropoulos is a first generation Greek & Cypriot American, born in NYC and raised in the Kearny, New Jersey. Stathis attended Rutgers University where he earned a BS in Environmental Business Economics.

National Staff

Courtney Madden, Executive Director,
Sean Kolaskar, Programs Director,
Brett Seifried, General Counsel,
Oren Jacobson, Chapter Development Director,
Ashlyn Shockley Martin, Policy Director,