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New Leaders Council

NLC Board of Directors


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Tim Kaine, NLC Honorary National Co-Chair; Senator, Virginia

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Tim was elected to the Senate in 2012. In the Senate, he serves on the Armed Services, Budget, Foreign Relations and Aging Committees and is Ranking Member of the Armed Services Readiness Subcommittee.

Tim is a founder and co-chair of the bipartisan Career and Technical Education (CTE) Caucus, which focuses on improving access to CTE programs to ensure that students of all ages are prepared with the skills they need for the jobs of the 21st century. Tim also supports expanding economic opportunity for all through infrastructure investment, immigration reform and smart strategies to expand affordable health care access.

Tim grew up working in his father’s ironworking shop in Kansas City. He was educated at the University of Missouri and Harvard Law School and started his public service career by taking a year off from Harvard to run a technical school founded by Jesuit missionaries in Honduras. He also began teaching part-time at the University of Richmond in 1987.

Tim was first elected to office in 1994, serving as a city councilmember and then Mayor of Richmond. He became Lieutenant Governor of Virginia in 2002 and was inaugurated as Virginia’s 70th Governor in 2006. Tim was Chair of the Southern Governors’ Association from 2008 – 2009 and Chair of the Democratic National Committee from 2009 – 2011.

Tim is married to Anne Holton, who currently serves as Virginia Secretary of Education. Tim and Anne revel in the adventures of their three grown children and live in the same Northside Richmond neighborhood where they moved as newlyweds more than 30 years ago. Tim loves reading, being outdoors and playing harmonica with bluegrass bands throughout Virginia.


Michael Blake, NLC Honorary National Co-Chair; Assemblymember, NY District 79

blake.png Michael Blake is the assemblyman of the 79th District in New York State, representing parts of Concourse Village, Morrisania, Melrose, Belmont, Claremont and East Tremont. He is passionate about urban entrepreneurship, Minority and Women Owned Business Enterprises (MWBEs), community learning, building sustainable communities and empowering young men of color. He served as the senior advisor for Operation Hope and is the founding principal of Atlas Strategy Group, which focuses on political and economic empowerment for communities of color.

Blake also serves on the My Brother's Keeper Alliance as a national advisory board member (the only state legislator in the nation); is the newly elected 2nd Vice-Chair of the NY Black, Puerto Rican, Hispanic and Asian Legislative Caucus; and is Chair of the Mitchell-Lama subcommittee and a member of the Corrections, Housing, Banks, Veterans, Election Law and Governmental Operations committees. Blake saw his first piece of legislation signed in to law this year.

In early 2007, Michael joined then Sen. Barack Obama’s campaign and served as the Iowa deputy political director and constituency outreach director for the Iowa caucuses. After serving as the Michigan deputy state director for the general election, Blake joined the White House staff as the associate director of public engagement and deputy associate director of the Office of Intergovernmental Affairs. He created the White House Urban Entrepreneurship Summit series, which sought to foster public, private and not-for-profit partnerships and provide strategic advice.

Blake left the White House to serve as the national deputy director of Operation Vote for President Obama’s 2012 re-election and helped expand the diverse electorate that later re-elected the president.

Blake was honored as one of “The Root 100” in 2012, featured in Jet magazine as one of 15 black politicos behind President Obama’s re-election and recognized by MSNBC in 2011 as one of the Top 10 Black politicians on the rise.

The Bronx, New York native is a graduate of the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University. He is also an exhorter in the African Methodist Episcopal Church and a certified lay speaker in the United Methodist Church.


Fiona Ma, NLC Honorary National Co-Chair; State Board of Equalization, Board Member, District 2

ma.jpgFiona Ma was elected in November 2014 to represent the State Board of Equalization’s Second District. Ma was previously elected to represent the residents of California's 12th Assembly District from December 2006 to November 2012 and served as the first Asian woman Assembly Speaker pro Tempore since 1850.

Ma first became interested in politics while a small business owner and a Certified Public Accountant who advocated on behalf of other small businesses. She was an elected delegate to the White House Conference on Small Business under President Bill Clinton.

In 2002, she was elected to the San Francisco Board of Supervisors, where she served for four years until 2006.

Ma received her B.S. from the Rochester Institute of Technology (NY), her M.S. in Taxation from Golden Gate University (SF), and an MBA from Pepperdine University. She has been licensed in California as a Certified Public Accountant since 1992.


Chris Kelly, NLC Board Member & Chairman, Loyal3, Director

chriskelly1.jpgChris Kelly is a Silicon Valley attorney with a long track record of representing innovative companies and making the Internet a safer place for kids and adults alike. As the first Chief Privacy Officer, General Counsel, and Head of Global Public Policy for Facebook, Chris helped the company grow from its college roots to the ubiquitous communications medium that it is today.

Chris’ development of the site’s safety and security policies around real world identity and deployment of a highly-trained staff for rule and law enforcement are credited as critical elements in the company’s success. At Facebook, Chris worked with Attorneys General in all 50 states to develop safeguards protecting children from sexual predators and represented the company in complex situations involving privacy and intellectual property in the digital age.

Chris left Facebook in 2009 to seek the Democratic nomination for Attorney General of California, garnering 16 percent of the vote in a seven-way race, his first run for statewide office. Since the June 2010 primary, he has become an active angel investor in companies seeking transformational improvements in technology, media, and finance. As a policy advisor for President Clinton in the early 1990s, Chris advanced critical domestic programs, including the successful initiative to put 100,000 new community police officers on America’s streets and the formation of AmeriCorps, a network of national service programs that engage Americans to improve education, public safety, health, and the environment.

As an attorney in private practice before his time at Facebook, Chris represented Netscape in the Microsoft antitrust case and Diamond Multimedia in the groundbreaking suit over the MP3 player that furthered personal use rights over digital content. Chris received his undergraduate degree from Georgetown University, a master’s degree from Yale University, and his law degree from Harvard University. Raised in Santa Ana and San Jose, he lives in Atherton with his wife Jennifer, an entrepreneur and former prosecutor, and their son Aidan and daughter August. Chris also serves on the Board of Directors for the San Francisco 49ers Academy, an alternative public middle school in East Palo Alto.


Claire Silberman, NLC Board Member & Vice Chair, Philanthropist

Claire-Silberman-Headshot.jpgClaire Silberman is a philanthropist and former lawyer who supports many progressive organizations. Claire practiced corporate litigation and banking law until 1997. She occasionally consulted in the financial compliance area of Promontory Financial Group, a consulting firm for global financial services companies, from 2002-2006.

Claire has a short attention span, so she serves on several non-profit Boards in addition to the New Leaders Council. These are: the Voter Participation Canter/Womens Voices Women Vote; The Eagle Academy for Young Men Foundation (which supports a network of boys’ schools in New York City); the Citizens Union Foundation; StreetWise Partners (which builds mentoring relationships between low-income individuals and business professionals); the Friends of the High School for Environmental Studies (NYC); and The Tank (a performing arts venue for emerging artists).

Claire is also on the Stanford Law School Board of Visitors and the Sierra Club National Advancement Council and is a member of the Women Donors Network. Claire previously served on the Board of The HOPE Program, a welfare-to-work organization in Brooklyn, New York. Her philanthropy is focused on at-risk populations, progressive organizations and environmental groups. Claire also volunteers with the Stanford University Center on Philanthropy and Civil Society.

Involved in local politics, Claire serves on the State Affairs Committee of the Citizens Union of the City of New York.

Claire holds a BA and JD from Stanford University, and has lived in Brooklyn Heights with her husband and kids since 1988. She was born and raised in Birmingham, Alabama.


The Honorable Alex Sink, NLC Board Member & Vice Chair, Founder, Florida Next

AlexSink.png Alex Sink most recently served as a Senior Advisor with Tampa, Florida-based Hyde Park Capital. The firm offers services for investment banking, mergers and acquisitions, and capital raising.

Sink served as Florida’s elected Chief Financial Officer (CFO) from 2007 to 2011. As CFO, she managed over $15 billion in state treasury funds, was responsible for accounting of the state’s $70 billion budget, risk management and implemented reforms in contracting and transparency for citizens. Sink served on the board of the Division of Bond Finance and was one of three trustees of the Florida Retirement System, a $120 billion pension fund.

Prior to elected office, Sink had a 26 year career with Bank of America. She retired as President of Florida operations in 2000, managing the state’s largest bank with $40 billion in deposits, leading 9,000 employees in over 800 branches. She led teams responsible for large corporate, commercial and small business banking. Sink was a statewide business leader, serving as chair of Leadership Florida, chair of Take Stock in Children, chair of The Nature Conservancy-Florida chapter, vice chair of Florida Taxwatch, executive board member of the Florida Council of 100, chair of the Hillsborough Education Foundation, chair of the United Way of Hillsborough County and vice chair of the board at Wake Forest University.

Her honors include induction in the Tampa Bay Business Hall of Fame, Jewish National Fund Tree of Life Award, Associated Industries of Florida Champion of Business Award, Florida Chamber of Commerce Volunteer of the Year and Wake Forest Distinguished Alumnus Award. In 2010, she was the Democratic nominee for Florida governor.

Sink earned a bachelor’s degree in Mathematics, magna cum laude, from Wake Forest University. She resides in St. Petersburg, Florida. She and her husband, Bill McBride (now deceased), have two children – Bert and Lexi, who are both pursuing post graduate degree programs at the University of Florida, in Gainesville.


Mark Riddle, NLC Board Member & President 


Mark_Riddle.jpg Mark Riddle is the President of the New Leaders Council, the nation’s premier progressive leadership training organization for next generation political and business entrepreneurs.

Under Mark Riddle’s leadership NLC has grown across the country from 14 chapters to 45 chapters now training over 800 fellows and 3,000 alumni.

Mark Riddle currently serves on the Board of Directors for NDN and also serves on the Advisory Boards for Loyal3 and Organizer.

As CEO of Wildcat Digital, a full-service branding and strategy firm, Mark is the strategist for numerous political leaders, non-profits, and represents several Fortune 500 companies.

Previously, Mark Riddle was a partner at a major Democratic media firm where he wrote, directed and produced winning television and radio ads in some of America’s most competitive campaigns. Clients included Members of Congress, the Democratic Governors Association, State Party organizations, and dozens of state and local elected officials. Mark was named a “Rising Star” by Campaigns and Elections Magazine.

A native of Maine, Mark Riddle is a graduate of the University of Kentucky. He currently resides in Kentucky and has offices in Washington, DC and Miami.


Adam Borelli, NLC Board Member, Vice President of Product, Shuddle Inc., Founder of NLC and Former Executive Director

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Adam Borelli is the VP of Product at Shuddle, Inc., a start-up focused on helping busy families thrive by delivering safe, reliable, and familiar rides. Prior to joining Shuddle, Adam was a Senior Product Manager at Amazon, working on Echo's productivity, audiobook, Kindle eBook, support, and other features.

Before joining Amazon, Adam was the Managing Director of the MIT $100K Entrepreneurship Competition, the largest student-run entrepreneurship competition in the U.S., if not the world. He served in this role while completing his MBA at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology's Sloan School of Business. Prior to enrolling in Sloan, Adam was the Founder and Executive Director of New Leaders Council (NLC). At NLC Adam took the organization from founding to 19 chapters and over $800k budget in just six years.

Before that Adam worked on the Investments Team at Google.org as the Investments Researcher on renewable energy investments and grants. In his work at Google.org, Adam managed the Driving Experiment, a project that was highlighted in national and international media and highlighted at prominent electric vehicle and energy conferences. This project, for the first time, proved that plug-in hybrid and electric vehicles reduce greenhouse gas emissions by over 50%. In terms of investments, Adam participated in over $6m of early stage investment deals in clean technologies. He previously worked as a Research Manager for Tiburon Strategic Advisors, a research-based strategy consulting firm to financial institutions. Before that, Adam worked for We the People, Inc., a 501(c)4 organization, served as the California State Coordinator for Generation Dean, and the National Committeeman for the California Young Democrats.

In 2011 Adam received the Gerbode Fellowship, a prestigious award given to the top five nonprofit leaders. Adam received his Bachelor of Arts from the University of California at Berkeley and his MBA from MIT Sloan where he was an Anderson Fellow.


Michael Moschella, NLC Board Member & Secretary, Vice President, Organizing at NationBuilder


moschella-headshot.jpgMichael Moschella currently serves as National Political Director for the Truman National Security Project, leading efforts to build a strong political infrastructure for progressive security and foreign policy leaders across America. With the Truman Project, Michael has worked with hundreds of candidates at all levels to master tough fear-in-politics communications and to improve organizing efforts in veterans and military families communities.

Michael has been at the forefront of progressive leadership development efforts for the last decade. He is a founder of the New Leaders Council and helps guide curriculum for NLC’s 20 Institutes. Michael serves as Treasurer of the Board of Directors of the Netroots Foundation, the parent organization of Netroots Nation. And Michael is a board member of two major political action committees that support candidates with progressive foreign policy credentials: VETPAC and America’s Impact.

Michael’s early career focused on campaign management and political media. He has led Congressional campaign efforts in FL and MA, State government races in CA and MA, and a Gubernatorial effort in MA.
Before managing campaigns, Michael worked with the New Democrat Network on a variety of projects including the NDN PAC, building the New Politics Institute, the NDN Hispanic Project which funded Spanish-language media efforts, and the Restoring America’s Promise campaign to better brand the Democratic Party in “red” states.

Michael is a graduate of Cornell University’s School of Industrial and Labor Relations and Boston College High School. He is a Boston native and an ardent Boston sports fan.


Robert J. Abernethy, NLC Board Member, President of American Standard Development Company and Self Storage Management Company and Managing Director of Metropolitan Investments, LLC

abernethy.jpgRobert J. Abernethy is Chairman of American Standard Development Company and Managing Director of Metropolitan Investments, LLC. Robert received a B.A. from Johns Hopkins University, an M.B.A. from Harvard Business School, certificates in Real Estate and Construction Management from UCLA and was formerly employed by Hughes Aircraft Company.

Robert is a member of the Advisory Council of the School of Advanced International Studies in Washington and Bologna as well as a Trustee of John Hopkins University. He serves as a Vice-Chairman of the Atlantic Council of the United States and is on the executive committee of the Pacific Council on International Policy. He is also a member of the Chairman’s Forum of the Council on Foreign Relations and the US Department of State Advisory Committee on International Economic Policy. Robert is a member of the Board of Trustees for the Brookings Institution and serves on the Boards of Directors of the RAND Center for Global Risk & Security and the New Leaders Council. He is also a member of the Advisory Board for The Truman National Security Project.

Previously, Robert served as Commissioner of the California Transportation Commission, the Los Angeles Telecommunications Commission, and the Los Angeles Planning & Zoning Commission and was Director of the Los Angeles Metropolitan Transportation Authority and Metropolitan Water District. He was a Member of the California State Board of Education and of the California Arts Council. He resides in Manhattan Beach.


Alexandra Acker-Lyons, NLC Board Member, Director of the Youth Engagement Fund at the Democracy Alliance

acker-lyons.jpgAlexandra Acker-Lyons is the Director of the Youth Engagement Fund at the Democracy Alliance. She is author of the book, The Political Ladder: Insider Tips on Getting a Job in Politics, and is a recognized political analyst on cable news. Alexandra also consults for Share Our Strength and the National Democratic Institute.

Alexandra’s expertise in youth politics culminated during the 2008 election cycle, when she served as Executive Director of the Young Democrats of America. She was also the National Youth Outreach Director for John Kerry’s presidential campaign. Alexandra previously served as the Executive Director at Democratic GAIN and has also worked for the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights, Planned Parenthood Federation of America, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, and Congresswoman Nita M. Lowey (D-NY).

Alexandra graduated magna cum laude from the State University of New York at Binghamton and lives in Mountain View, CA.


Leslie Barkemeyer, NLC Board Member, Assistant General Counsel, US Department of Justice, Federal Prison Industries

leslie-headshot.jpgLeslie Barkemeyer is the Deputy General Counsel at Sol Systems, a solar finance firm, where she supports the project finance team during project negotiations, deal structuring, and transaction closings.  Prior to joining Sol Systems, Ms. Barkemeyer served as an Assistant General Counsel for a component of the Department of Justice, where she was the lead negotiator on long term energy contracts for the provisioning of large-scale renewable projects on behalf of the various federal agencies and components of the Department of Defense. Dedicated to the Renewable Energy Initiative, she led negotiations on behalf of the federal government and pioneered innovative federal contracting vehicles. In addition to her transactional practice, Ms. Barkemeyer is an experienced litigator having served as an Assistant District Attorney in Nassau County, New York and a trial attorney at a boutique civil litigation firm in Chicago. 

Ms. Barkemeyer received a BA in medieval history from Cornell University and a JD from Temple University, where she was a Public Interest Scholar and served on moot court and trial team. She currently serves as the Chair of the Renewables Committee of the Energy Bar Association and the Washington, D.C. Board of the Women’s Energy Network. 


Justin Braz, NLC Board Member, Chief of Staff, Assemblyman Gary S. Schaer

Justin BrazJustin 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.

Additionally, he is also 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.


Hardie Davis, Jr., NLC Board Member, Mayor of Augusta, GA

Davis.png Hardie Davis’ rise to the mayorship of Augusta is a unique story rooted in an abiding faith.

Born to Hardie and Delois Davis, Hardie grew up in Forsyth, Georgia and relocated to Augusta in 1985. His parents instilled within him the values of hard work, respect for his fellow man and service to others.

Hardie holds a Bachelor of Electrical Engineering Degree from Georgia Tech and a Doctor of Ministry Degree from the Christian Life School of Theology in Columbus. In college, he began teaching bible study which prepared him to be founder and senior pastor of Abundant Life in Augusta, Georgia.

While a senior in high school, he met Evett Plather of Valdosta. Married 20 years, Hardie and Evett are the proud parents of Benjamin Joshua Davis.

Hardie’s career includes 18 years of systems, automation and controls engineering. His public service spans 3 years as state Representative and 5 years as state Senator. A respected leader and public servant, he served as Chairman of the Interstate Cooperation Committee and active member of the Economic Development, Ethics, Finance, and Higher Education Senate Committees.

A distinguished lawmaker while in the state legislature, Hardie has been recognized by numerous organizations and constituent groups, including Georgia Bio, which named him 2010 Legislator of the Year for his work to promote the life sciences industry throughout the state of Georgia. The Georgia Chamber also named him its Business Champion, as listed in the January/February 2013 edition of Profile. After the 2014 legislative session he was named the Policy Maker of the Year by the Georgia Association for Career and Technical Education. He was selected to receive this award because of his strong support of and commitment to improving high school graduation rates by focusing on CTAE programs to keep students in school so they can develop the necessary skills to better succeed in life.

On March 6, 2014, he qualified to run for mayor. He was elected on May 20, 2014 as the 84th Mayor of Augusta, Georgia. As the peoples mayor, he is a statesman, spiritual leader, and community builder.


The Honorable Manny Diaz, NLC Board Member, Former Mayor of Miami & Senior Partner at Lydecker Diaz

Mayor-Manny-Diaz-150x150.jpgA force in local, state, and national politics for nearly three decades, the Honorable Manny Diaz was first elected mayor of Miami in 2001, having never before held elected office. He was re-elected to a second term in 2005 and was chosen to lead the United States Conference of Mayors as its president in 2008.
Diaz came to public prominence as the lawyer representing the Florida-based relatives of Elián González, who in 2000 was at the center of a custody battle between his aunts and his Cuban father.

As mayor, Diaz developed a vision for Miami as an international city that embodies diversity, economic opportunity, effective customer service, and a highly rated quality of life. To achieve this goal, he re-engineered Miami’s government from top to bottom.

During his two-term tenure, Diaz was recognized for completely transforming Miami and for launching many innovative programs in the areas of urban design, sustainability and green initiatives, education, infrastructure investment, affordable housing, law enforcement, poverty and homelessness, and art and culture.

He chronicles his work transforming the city in his acclaimed book, Miami Transformed: Rebuilding America One Neighborhood, One City at a Time.

Mayor Diaz has received almost 100 awards and recognitions for his work, including recognition as one of America’s Best Leaders by US News and World Report and The Center for Public Leadership at the Kennedy School of Government, the Americans for the Arts National Award for Local Arts Leadership, the American Architectural Foundation Keystone Award, the AIA (Miami Chapter) Governmental Leadership Award, the Congress for the New Urbanism Groves Award, the Miami-Dade Chamber of Commerce Power Leader of the Year and Green Visionary Award, the Hispanic Magazine Government Award, and many others.

Mayor Manny Diaz served as a resident fellow at Harvard’s Institute of Politics and has resumed his successful corporate and real estate law practice as a senior partner at Lydecker Diaz in Miami. 


Mitchell Draizin, President of Longview Capital Advisors

Mitch-Draizin-Photo-150x150.jpgMitchell Draizin is the Founder and President of Longview Capital Advisors. LVCA serves as an investment and mortgage advisor and banker to New York Metro area based middle market real estate builders and developers. The focus is on “market rate” projects in underserved markets and property types.

Mr. Draizin is actively involved in national, state and local Democratic politics, primarily through fund raising and offering strategic advice for certain elected officials, candidates, the DNC and DCCC (Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee).

Additionally, Mitch is active with the National Leadership Council at Lambda Legal, the Board of Directors of The Point Foundation, as a Trustee and Advisory Board member of the Truman National Security Project /CNP, as a NY/NJ member of the Board of Directors of Playworks, on the Board of Directors of Thalia Theater of NYC, with the Congressional Award Board, and as a National Advisory Board member with New Leaders Council.

Partnered for almost 4 decades with Philippe Brugere-Trelat, they were married in NYC in 2011.


Caroline Fayard, Attorney, Fayard Law Firm

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Caroline's practice is primarily focused on litigation. She is honored to represent individuals, families, and businesses injured by the wrongdoing and/or negligence of others. Caroline is licensed to practice in Louisiana and New York.

Her legal background includes clerking for U.S. District Court Judge Stanwood R. Duval Jr. of the Eastern District of Louisiana, working at the prestigious Washington, DC law firm of Williams & Connolly and being appointed a faculty member of College of Law at Loyola University New Orleans.

In 2010, Caroline ran for the special election for Lieutenant Governor of Louisiana, a race in which she finished second out of eight candidates. The Livingston Parish News editorialized in their endorsement of Caroline, “Imagine a world where the best and brightest step forward into public service to become leaders and problem solvers.”

Caroline currently serves as President of Louisiana Appleseed, a non-profit organization that promotes access to justice. She is in-house counsel to the Junior League of New Orleans and former chapter president of Delta Delta Delta, Gamma Gamma chapter. Caroline is a current board member of both Evacuteer.org and the Louisiana Children’s Museum.

Caroline's additional public service includes working at the White House, Office of the Social Secretary under President Clinton and in Congress as a congressional page. She also worked in financial services sector for Goldman Sachs investment firm.

Raised in Denham Springs, Louisiana Caroline she was Class Valedictorian and a member of the Navy Junior ROTC at Episcopal High School in Baton Rouge. Caroline graduated with honors from both Dartmouth College and the University of Michigan Law School. At Michigan Law, Caroline administered a public interest legal fellowship program on behalf of the law school and won awards for excellence in Torts and Clinical litigation.

Caroline currently resides in New Orleans and attends Holy Name of Jesus Catholic Church.


Heather Grantham, NLC Board Member & Treasurer, Chair Emerita of NLC National Programs Committee, Product Development Analyst at Nomura Corporate Research and Asset Management Inc

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Heather Grantham 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 partner and three cats, which she maintains is a perfectly reasonable human to feline ratio.


Cynthia Guerrero, NLC Board Member, Principal, California Strategies LLC

CynthiaGuerrero.pngDrawing on 20 years of experience, Guerrero is an indefatigable advocate who has navigated complex public-policy issues as they pertain to the ever evolving world of California’s technology sector. As a registered State and Federal Lobbyist, she will bring a broad and diverse range of expertise to CS&A clients, including the telecommunications, technology, education, energy and transportation.

“California Strategies and California Strategies & Advocacy rise to the challenges set forth by our clients and often deliver remarkable results,” said California Strategies Founder and Chairman Bob White. “Cynthia Guerrero is an excellent addition to our team and our clients are sure to realize the full impact of her advocacy services and networking abilities here in Sacramento and in Washington DC.”

Cynthia Guerrero brings the highest caliber of expertise to California Strategies’ clients with unmatched advocacy experience specifically relating to the technology sector. She provides clients with policy and political strategy guidance and works collaboratively with them to achieve goals and overcome any crisis.

“Cynthia Guerrero has proven time and again that it’s not just dedication or hard work that leads to her client’s success,” noted Robert Hoffman, Corporate Vice President of Government Affairs at Motorola Solutions. “Cynthia delivers a high standard of advocacy excellence for her clients because of her vision, integrity and ability to frame the debate in a nuanced way.

Congratulations to Bob White and the growing team of experts at California Strategies who will surely benefit from the addition of Cynthia.”

Guerrero, over the years, has strengthened her working relationships with California’s Congressional Delegation and often advocates on behalf of client interests in Washington, D.C. This same level of service is demonstrated for clients looking for legislative solutions on the state and local level.

She works tirelessly in Silicon Valley advising world-renowned companies on how to navigate the state and federal government’s legislative and regulatory process which often trails innovation. Additionally, Guerrero provides valuable strategic counsel for Tech Startup companies looking to compete in California’s competitive technology sector.

Guerrero’s political acumen also includes a deep understanding of the banking, finance and investment securities industries making her uniquely qualified to provide clients with keen insight on legislative or regulatory challenges that directly affect the corporate bottom line.

Previously, Guerrero founded CG Consulting Group, Inc., in 2003. There, she dedicated her time ensuring client success by strategically navigating the legislative process and overcoming regulatory hurdles at the federal or state level. Primarily focusing on the technology sector, her 20-year experience in tech policy and finance has distinguished her as one of well-known advisors in the industry.

Prior to returning to her private practice, Guerrero served as the California Director for TechNet, the leading bipartisan political network of CEOs that promotes growth of the innovation economy. Guerrero nurtured long-term relationships between technology leaders and policymakers both on the state and federal levels and on both sides of the aisle promoting advancements in technology.

Before joining TechNet, Cynthia worked with various state legislators, public officials, Members of Congress and the U.S. Senate providing political strategy and campaign services. Her understanding of politics at the different levels of government is one respected by elected officials and colleagues in both Sacramento and on Capitol Hill.

Cynthia worked at the Rand Corporation and in the investment securities industry for top firms such as Credit Suisse First Boston Technology Group, Barclays Global Investors, and Merrill Lynch.

She serves on the Board of Visitors for Pepperdine University, School of Public Policy, and on the Board of Directors for New Leaders Council and Zero Divide.

“It’s a privilege to work among my peers at California Strategies & Advocacy. The level of talent and expertise is rare to find in any singular organization. This is a further testament of how California Strategies Chair, Bob White is such a skilled architect of crafting the best teams out of the best people.”

Cynthia has her Bachelor of Arts in Political Science with an emphasis in Pre-Law and a minor in English Literature from Mount St. Mary’s University in Los Angeles. She graduated with a Master’s degree in Public Policy specializing in Economics and International Relations from Pepperdine University.


Kubs Lalchandani, Co-founder and Partner, Lalchandani Simon PL

Lalchandani_Headshot.pngKubs Lalchandani is co-founder and partner of Lalchandani Simon PL, a specialized law firm designed to assist both mature and start-up businesses protect their intellectual property, raise capital, expand operations, and engage in any necessary litigation. He counsels clients in various industries including healthcare, technology, finance, law, pharmaceuticals, hospitality, marketing and advertising. In the May 2014 edition of Brickell Magazine, Lalchandani was named one of Miami’s Top 20 Professionals Under 40. He also received the New Leaders Council’s 2014 Rising Star award at the Florida Statewide Convention in May 2014. From 2013 to 2015, Super Lawyers Magazine has recognized Lalchandani as a “Rising Star” in the state of Florida. He was also nominated by his peers to receive the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation’s 40 Under 40 Outstanding Lawyers of Miami-Dade County award. As a successful entrepreneur, counsel for high-tech firms and former international litigator, Lalchandani brings to the practice a wealth of knowledge that enables him to deliver successful outcomes for his clients.

After graduating from Cornell University in 1999, Lalchandani spent the early part of his career as a financial analyst and consultant in the technology sector for MicroStrategy, a premier business intelligence software company. In 2004, he earned a juris doctor from Cornell Law School, where he specialized in international legal affairs. As a trial attorney at the international law firm of Jones Day, he defended a top-tier bank in class-action lawsuits arising from the massive Enron litigation.

In 2006, Lalchandani became a law clerk for the Honorable Patricia A. Seitz, Federal District Court Judge, Southern District of Florida – a prestigious and highly competitive appointment. Upon completion of his clerkship, he returned to trial practice at the Miami office of White & Case, a New York-based international law firm, where he focused on appeals, banking litigation and international commercial arbitration.

Lalchandani currently serves on the advisory boards of several technology companies, including WedWu, Inc., a wedding services bidding platform, ZoomRadar.com, a high-tech weather reporting technology provider, and Razient, LLC, a global incident management and supply chain risk assessment company. Lalchandani also serves as an officer for Operation Eagle, a non-profit group that supports active US servicemen abroad, and as pro bono legal counsel to several technology start-up companies. Finally, in 2014-15, Lalchandani served as Co-Director of New Leaders Council Miami, an organization designed to promote political entrepreneurship.

Lalchandani is a guest lecturer at Cornell University, speaks at conferences nationwide, and is routinely contacted by the news media for his perspectives on cyber law, health law and emerging legal issues and trends. Lalchandani may be reached at kubs@lslawpl.com.


Sherry Merfish, Philanthropist

Merfish.jpgSherry Matusoff Merfish brings to NLC experience gained over a long career in advocacy and fundraising. From 1993-2009, she served as a Majority Council Director for EMILY’s List, conceiving, planning, and implementing the Major Donor program in range of states, including her native Texas.

Prior to her time at EMILY’s List, Sherry worked as an advocate within the Jewish community by engaging in speaking tours concerning the pernicious Jewish American Princess stereotype, an effort that resulted in widespread press attention and brought about a significant cultural shift. The work of culture change is at the heart of Sherry’s efforts, as exemplified by her co-founding with her daughters of NotAlone.us, an organization that asks women to join the conversation around reproductive justice by disclosing their abortion histories. NotAlone.us was inspired by Sherry’s own brave disclosure of her abortion in a 2013 New York Times op-ed.

Sherry holds a BA from the University of Texas at Austin, a MA in American Studies from the University of Southern California, and a JD from the University of Houston Law Center. She has volunteered her time as a board member and leader of a number of organizations advancing progressive values, including the Center for the Study of Women, Gender, and Sexuality at Rice University, the American Jewish Committee, the Houston Area Women’s Center, Planned Parenthood, and Annie’s List (of which she was a founding board member).

Sherry lives in Houston, Texas, despite an extreme dislike of both mosquitoes and heat. She and her husband, Gerald Merfish, are the proud parents of two daughters, Brett and Beth.


David Pepper, Chairman, Ohio Democratic Party

David Pepper was unanimously elected Chairman of the Ohio Democratic Party on December 17, 2014 and began his term on January 1, 2015.

Knowing that the strength of the Ohio Democratic Party has a direct impact on the outcome of national, state, and local elections, David is committed to creating the most robust party infrastructure possible, supporting and implementing policies that improve Ohioans’ lives, and recruiting and assisting the next generation of public servants as they run for office at all levels and helping them make a difference once they get there.

Born and raised in Cincinnati, David is a fifth-generation Cincinnatian. David was first elected to public office in 2001 when he served on the Cincinnati City Council, finishing first out of a field of 26 candidates, and was reelected for a second term in 2003, again leading the pack in votes. David came to the Cincinnati City Council as riots, a severe crime wave and a public safety crisis rocked the city.

Amid this turmoil, David’s leadership was key in the successful push to improve police-community relations, and he ultimately served as the Chairman of the Law and Public Safety Committee. David played an instrumental role in negotiating a historic collaborative agreement between the police, the community, and City Hall, which healed long simmering tensions while setting the stage for improved safety. David also played leadership roles in economic reforms, new investments, and progressive policy changes that helped spark a decade-long renaissance that continues in Cincinnati to this day.

In 2006, David was elected to the three-member Hamilton County Commission. He served as the Commission President from 2009-2010. During David’s tenure at the County, Hamilton County won 19 National Association of County Awards for outstanding management practices, more than all other Ohio counties combined. David focused particularly on cleaning up the very poorly managed government that he inherited: adding much-needed transparency, championing greater disclosure and higher ethics, eliminating wasteful spending, and rebuilding the County’s reserve fund. Independent ratings agencies praised the County’s fiscally responsible policies.

David was nominated by Ohio Democrats to run in statewide elections twice. In 2010, David ran for the office of Ohio Auditor campaigning on a platform of increasing efficiency and transparency in government while ending the gerrymandering that has poisoned politics in Columbus and Washington. His platform gained him the endorsements of virtually every major Ohio newspaper. And, in 2014, David ran an intense campaign to unseat the incumbent Attorney General, calling for greatly improved transparency and integrity in that office. Although both years proved to be wave years against Ohio Democrats, David set records (for a non-incumbent) in fundraising for both offices and received praise for running aggressive, substantive campaigns.

David earned his B.A. magna cum laude from Yale University, where he was Phi Beta Kappa, and later earned his J.D. from Yale Law School. In 1999, David clerked for the Honorable Nathaniel Jones of the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit. Since 2000, David has also worked in the Cincinnati offices of major law firms Squire Sanders and Blank Rome, focusing his practice on commercial and business litigation, and appellate litigation. David also teaches election and voting rights law as an Adjunct Professor at the University of Cincinnati College of Law.

David is married to Alana (Swartz) Pepper. Alana grew up in Adams County, graduated from the University of Cincinnati, and earned her Master’s Degree in Public Administration at Northern Kentucky University. Alana has spent her career helping those faced with mental illness.

Last May, David and Alana welcomed their first child, Jacob “Jack” Hamilton Pepper, into their family.


Bret Perkins, Vice President of External and Governmental Affairs, Comcast

Bret_Perkins.jpgBret Perkins is Vice President of External and Government Affairs for Comcast Corporation. In this role, he is responsible for the company’s strategic partnerships with national policy advocacy organizations as well as implementing the company’s regulatory and legislative initiatives with local governments, managing relationships with state and local intergovernmental associations, and grassroots communications.

Bret joined Comcast in 2001 and has managed local government affairs while the Company grew from operating in 2,500 communities to over 6,000 communities.

Prior to joining Comcast, he served as Vice President of System Services and Assistant to the President at Mercy Health System in Pennsylvania and worked in legislative affairs at Keystone Mercy/AmeriHealth Mercy Health Plan and with the North Philadelphia Health System.

In 2008, Bret received the National Cable & Telecommunications Association’s Vanguard Award for Young Leadership, one of the cable industry’s highest honors for its next generation of leaders.

Bret is a member of the Temple University Board of Trustees and currently serves on the Boards of The Committee of Seventy, the Philadelphia non-partisan political watchdog organization, the Family Online Safety Institute, Older Adult Technology Services (OATS), and the Philadelphia International Airport Advisory Board.

He received a Bachelor of Business Administration from Temple University and resides in Philadelphia with his wife and two children.


James Woodson, NLC National Diversity Chair

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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.


NLC Financial Statements: 2009 990, 2010 990, 2011 990, 2012 990, 2014 990.

 
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New Leaders Council is a 501 (c) (3) public charity dedicated to educating a new generation of leaders and to providing those leaders with the tools they need to succeed. NLC does not engage in political or legislative activities of any kind, does not support or oppose any candidate for public office, and serves only as an educational leadership training ground.


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