Program Bios

2014 New Leaders Council Leadership Retreat

On Friday and Saturday, August 8 and 9, New Leaders Council will be hosting the our annual NLC National Leadership Retreat, a two day-long conference where leadership, alumni, and Fellows from our 31 chapters will gather in Sacramento, CA for panels and discussions highlighting the accomplishments of progressives in the economy, technology and entrepreneurship, and in state and local government and chart the course for NLC for the fall of 2014 and the spring Institute of 2015.

Learn more about the panelists and speaker by reading their bios below.

Return to the Retreat Registration Page


 2014 New Leaders Council Leadership Retreat 


Friday, August 8:   Sacramento Convention Center, 1400 J Street Sacramento, CA  

Welcome to Retreat

 Chris Kelly, Chairman, New Leaders Council

Chris 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.

 The Importance of Being Engaged and Building Capacity for Leadership

David Cohen, Executive Vice President, Comcast 

David L. Cohen is Executive Vice President of Comcast Corporation. David has a broad portfolio of responsibilities, including corporate communications, government and regulatory affairs, public affairs, legal affairs, corporate administration and community investment, and serves as senior counselor to the CEO. He also serves as Chief Diversity Officer for the company.  Before assuming his role at Comcast in July of 2002, David served as a partner in and Chairman of Ballard Spahr Andrews & Ingersoll, LLP, one of the 100 largest law firms in the country.

A native of New York, David graduated from Swarthmore College in 1977 with a B.A. and with a J.D. from the University of Pennsylvania Law School (summa cum laude) in 1981. From January 1992 to April 1997, David served as Chief of Staff to the Honorable Edward G. Rendell, the Mayor of the City of Philadelphia. As detailed in the book A Prayer for the City, written by Pulitzer Prize-winning author Buzz Bissinger, David played a critical coordinating role in significant budgetary and financial issues, in economic development activities, in collective bargaining negotiations, and in a wide variety of other policy and operational issues relating to the city.

David serves as Chairman of the Trustees of the University of Pennsylvania and its Executive Committee. David also serves as a member of the Trustee Board and the Executive Committee of Penn Medicine. In addition, David serves on both the Board of Directors and the Executive Committee of the Greater Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce and is a member of the CEO Council for Growth. David serves as a national trustee of City Year and is Chair of its Governance Committee and a member of the Executive Committee. He also serves on the national board of the National Urban League and is Chair of its Audit Committee and is a member of the Corporate Advisory Board of the National Council of La Raza.

David has received numerous awards for his civic and charitable activities, including the Americanism Award of the Anti-Defamation League (1993), the American Red Cross Citizen of the Year Award (1999), the National Cable Television Association Vanguard Award for Leadership and Impact in the Cable Industry (2005), the President’s Volunteer Service Award (2007), the MS Society Hope Award (2007), the Drexel University Business Leader of the Year Award (2008), the National Urban League of Philadelphia Business Leader of the Year Award (2008), The William Way Community Center Amicus in Res Award (2009), the William Penn Award from the Greater Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce (2012), the Spirit of Asian American Award (2012) and the Jewish National Fund Tree of Life Award (2012). David also was awarded an Honorary Doctor of Laws degree from Drexel University in 1997 and an Honorary Doctor of Laws degree from Rider University in 2010.
David lives in Philadelphia with his wife and their two sons.

Building a Progressive Economy

Will Marshall, President, Progressive Policy Institute
Will Marshall is president and founder of the Progressive Policy Institute (PPI), established in 1989 as a center for political innovation in Washington, D.C. In this capacity, he has been one of the chief intellectual architects of the movement to modernize progressive politics for the global age.

Called “Bill Clinton’s idea mill,” PPI’s policy analysis and proposals were the source for many of the “New Democrat” innovations that figured prominently in national politics over the past two decades. The Institute also has been integral to the spread of “Third Way” thinking to center-left parties in Europe and elsewhere. Marshall is an honorary Vice-President of Policy Network, an international think tank launched by Tony Blair to promote progressive policy ideas throughout the democratic world.

Marshall is editor or co-editor of many books, including Memos to the New President (PPI, January 2009); With All Our Might: A Progressive Strategy for Defeating Jihadism and Defending Liberty (Rowman & Littlefield, 2006); The AmeriCorps Experiment and the Future of National Service (PPI, 2005); Building the Bridge: 10 Big Ideas to Transform America (Rowman & Littlefield, 1997); and Mandate for Change (Berkley Books, 1992), PPI’s best-selling policy blueprint for President Clinton’s first term. His articles have appeared in the New York Times, Washington Post, Wall Street Journal, Los Angeles Times and many other newspapers, as well as The American Interest, The American Prospect, Democracy, and other journals. In 1985, Marshall helped to found the Democratic Leadership Council, serving as its first policydirector.

Marshall currently serves on the board of directors for the National Endowment for Democracy.
Marshall’s previous campaign and political experience includes posts as press secretary, spokesman and speechwriter for the 1984 United States Senate campaign of former North Carolina Governor Jim Hunt, speechwriter and policy analyst for the late U.S. Representative Gillis Long of Louisiana, Chairman of the House Democratic Caucus; and, spokesman and speechwriter in the 1982 U.S. Senate campaign of former Virginia Lt. Governor Dick Davis.
Before becoming involved in politics and public policy, he was a journalist in Virginia, including a stint with the Richmond Times-Dispatch.

Born in Norfolk, Virginia in 1952, Marshall is a 1975 graduate of the University of Virginia, where he received his Bachelor of Arts degree in English and History. Marshall and his wife, Katryn S. Nicolai, live in Arlington, VA. They have two children, Olivia and William.

Sally Kay, Director of Public Policy of the North American West, Uber

Sally Kay leads U.S. State Affairs for Uber Technologies, Inc. based in San Francisco, California. Ms. Kay works with Legislators, Attorneys General, and State Agencies to ensure that States enact sound frameworks surrounding the emerging world of ridesharing policy. This year, her team succeeded with the first comprehensive ridesharing legislation in the country.
Ms. Kay began working in politics for then Assemblyman Sam Blakeslee in San Luis Obispo while attending graduate school. Later, in Sacramento as Legislative Director for Assembly Minority Leader Blakeslee, Ms. Kay drafted legislation around Seismic Safety, Clean Energy, and even Crab Fishing. Before joining Uber, she led State Affairs for Del Monte Foods where she worked on Agriculture, Energy and Food issues.
Ms. Kay holds a B.A. in Philosophy and a Master's in Public Policy, both from Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo. A Georgia native, she lives in Orinda, California with her husband and three children.
Assemblymember Roger Dickinson, District 7

Roger Dickinson was elected in November 2010, and reelected in November 2012, and represents the 7th Assembly District includes the Cities of Sacramento and West Sacramento. In his first term in the Assembly, Dickinson established himself as an effective lawmaker.  In his first year, he achieved a 100% bill signing success rate – seven bills were approved by the legislature and all seven were signed into law. In the second year of his term, nine more bills were signed by the Governor. In 2013, his most successful year yet, 11 Dickinson bills were signed into law by Governor Brown. As a legislator, Dickinson has focused on issues related to environmental quality, education, health and human services for children and families, economic development, and consumer protection.

Assemblymember Dickinson serves as Chair of the Assembly Banking and Finance Committee. He also serves on the Assembly Budget Committee, the Assembly Budget Subcommittee #1 on Health and Human Services, the Assembly Judiciary Committee, and the Assembly Business, Professions and Consumer Protection Committee. Among other committees, he serves as Chair of the Assembly Select Committee on Delinquency Prevention and Youth Development.
Prior to his election to the Assembly, Dickinson served on the Sacramento County Board of Supervisors beginning in a special election in January 1994, and was subsequently re-elected to four four-year terms, serving through 2010.
As a member of the Sacramento County Board of Supervisors, Dickinson played key roles on issues such as health care, welfare reform, economic development, clean air, improved transportation, and smart growth.  He was instrumental in the building of Raley Field, home of the Sacramento River Cats; the transition of McClellan Air Force Base into a thriving economic center; the construction of a new primary health care center for Sacramento County; the conversion of the county vehicle fleet to clean fuels; the creation of Birth and Beyond, a home visitation program for at-risk families; the creation of the Dry Creek Parkway; and the turnaround of the Grant Joint Union School District; among other things.
Prior to his election to the Board of Supervisors, Dickinson participated in numerous community organizations. He spent 20 years as a member of the Regional Transit Board of Directors and was chairman of the board four times. He also served on the Sacramento Housing and Redevelopment Commission, the Sacramento County Air Pollution Control Advisory Board, and the North Sacramento Community Plan Citizens Advisory Committee. In addition, Dickinson served on the board and as President of the American Lung Association of Sacramento, and chaired the Sacramento Transportation Coalition. He is the former President of the Friends of Light Rail and board member of the Sacramento Tree Foundation.
Assemblymember Dickinson received his undergraduate degree from the University of California at Berkeley where he lettered in varsity basketball and afterward earned a law degree at UCLA in 1976. He spent seven and a half years with the California Department of Consumer Affairs where he oversaw a statewide project to improve small claims court. In private practice, he helped to form the firm of Kemnitzer, Dickinson, Anderson & Barron emphasizing automobile warranty law and sales misrepresentation cases. He has litigated cases up to the California Supreme Court.
Dickinson lives with his wife, Marj, in the Woodlake neighborhood where they have owned a home for more than 30 years.
Councilmember Steve Hansen, District 4

Councilmember Hansen represents Sacramento’s 4th Council District since 2012, including our historic mid-town and downtown neighborhoods, Land Park, and River Oaks communities. For the last decade, Steve Hansen has lived in and cared deeply for Sacramento. He’s worked as an advocate for neighborhoods, civil rights, and responsive government. As a resident of Alkali Flat, he is active in the local neighborhood association.
Prior to being elected, Steve was appointed as the neighborhood representative for the Downtown Sacramento Partnership Board of Directors – a non-profit public-private organization focused on improving the downtown community. As a member of the board, Steve led an effort to create the Downtown Sacramento Foundation. The Foundation supports arts and cultural activities while working to reduce homelessness.

Steve was one of fifteen city residents selected in 2011 to serve on the Sacramento Redistricting Citizens Advisory Committee where he worked tirelessly to ensure neighborhoods and communities of interest stayed together in their council district representation. In 2010, the Sacramento Business Journal honored Steve for his community service and business accomplishments, naming him one of Sacramento’s “Top 40 under 40.”

Steve also worked for Equality California, a statewide advocacy group for the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) Californians. During his two years as Legislative Director, California made tremendous progress in recognizing the LGBT movement as a civil rights issue.

Steve is a graduate of University of the Pacific McGeorge School of Law and has a Bachelor’s Degree in International Relations from Gonzaga University.

Keynote: The Future of California

Hon. Robert Hertzberg, Former California Speaker of the House (CA)

Whether as a lawyer, businessman or community leader, Robert M. Hertzberg has demonstrated a commitment to bringing people together and solving complex problems. As Speaker of the California State Assembly, twice Democrats and Republicans unanimously elected him from 2000-2002. In a recent editorial, the Los Angeles Times said this about Robert Hertzberg: "He is a high-velocity wonk; he loves BIG ideas, and will flesh out every one of them for you if you give him the time." The Daily News has said: Hertzberg "has relentless dedication and indefatigable energy...he has a reputation for integrity and perseverance."
Mr. Hertzberg's most avid passion has been to fight for education. As a Regent of the University of California, he was critical in expanding admission opportunities for all students. As Speaker, he made California community colleges one of his top priorities. Terming them the "Classrooms for the New Economy," he expanded funding and capital programs for community colleges. To this day, he continues to raise private funds to support community colleges, including a library in his name at Los Angeles Valley College, because he wants to attract private funds to support community colleges. With respect to K-12 education, he led a bipartisan coalition that broke a decade-long deadlock on school funding and resulted in the approval of a $9.2 billion construction bond by California voters. He also authored two other funding bonds that provided an additional $35.5 billion dollars, which made it the largest school construction program in the United States.

Appearing on Nightline, CNN and other national news shows, Robert Hertzberg took tough positions on the California energy crisis, transportation, government infrastructure, and public safety, among other issues. In fact, Los Angeles County District Attorney Steve Cooley called one of his public safety programs "the most successful gang prevention program in California history." For these efforts and others, Mr. Hertzberg was honored by the California Journal as a legislator representing, "a pattern of conduct, an outlook and demeanor that exemplifies the best kind of public service."

In the most recent mayoral election for the city of Los Angeles, Robert Hertzberg came within a few thousand votes of edging incumbent James Hahn out of the run off election. As a testament to his public spirit and civic commitment, he served as chairman of the transition team for Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa. He also served as a member of Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger's transition team and continues to serve as an informal advisor to Governor Schwarzenegger on matters important to the state. Prior to his legislative career, Mr. Hertzberg was a successful lawyer and businessman. He returned to his practice after his years of public service, joining the 6th largest law firm in the United States. The office of Mayer, Brown, Rowe & Maw LLP and with offices worldwide. He also was the founding Chairman of the Board of Solar Integrated Technologies, a company that recently won The Wall Street Journal's 2005 Innovative Technology Company of the year award. The Company is listed on London's Alternative Investment Exchange. He now is a principal in Renewable Capital, an investment firm focusing on all aspects of renewable energy, including wind power, wave technology and electric vehicles, as well as the next generation of solar technology.

Robert Hertzberg still devotes a tremendous effort to civic affairs. He is a member of the Counsel on Foreign Affairs; co-chaired the Pre-School Initiative in Los Angeles County with Nancy Daley Riordan; chaired the Los Angeles County Economic Development Corporation, and is a member of the Southern California Leadership Council. He is a member of the Board of Trustees of the California Historical Society, as well as a member of the Boards of MALDEF, Town Hall Los Angeles, Century Housing, as well as other civic engagements.

Finally, Mr. Hertzberg remains keenly interested in public policy, serving on the Board of Counselors for the USC School of Public Policy, and a Keston Fellow at the Keston Institute for Infrastructure at USC; the Board of Visitors for Pepperdine School of Public Policy; and as an advisor to the Robert M. Hertzberg Capitol Institute in the California State Assembly, an institute he created to train Assembly staff and new members.

Robert Hertzberg was born in Los Angeles, received his J.D. from the University of California Hastings College of the Law in 1979, and graduated magna cum laude from the University of Redlands in 1976. He lives in Sherman Oaks with his wife, Dr. Cynthia Telles, a faculty member at the UCLA School of Medicine. Together they have three children.

Building Your NLC Strategic Plan

Justin Braz, Director, New Leaders Council New Jersey
Rachel Hoge, New Leaders Council Board Member
Rachel Hoge serves as Development Director for Free Spirit Media, an organization whose mission is to cultivate diverse youth voices to transform media and society. In her role, Rachel brings a passion for advancing opportunities for underserved populations. As part of the leadership team, she works closely with key stakeholders and partners to raise Free Spirit Media’s fundraising efforts and exposure in the community. Prior to joining Free Spirit Media, Rachel worked with United Way of Metropolitan Chicago and in the media industry.
As Chapter Representative on the New Leaders Council National Board of Directors, as well as a board member of the local Chicago chapter, Rachel is committed to NLC’s growth and success. She also volunteers with United Way’s Young Leaders Society as a mentor to Chicago youth. Rachel is a member of the Association of Fundraising Professionals and the She100 LGBTQ giving group. A graduate of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, she received a B.S. in Advertising and an Interdisciplinary Minor in Gender & Women’s Studies. Rachel currently resides in the Chicago neighborhood of Wicker Park.

Joe Benesh, President and CEO, Ingenuity Company

Joe Benesh is the President and CEO of the Ingenuity Company (Twitter : @ingenuitycmpny), a strategic planning, design thinking, and diagramming firm located in Des Moines, Iowa. Joe has worked with numerous organizations, helping them define their mission and vision and helping them with tactical and organizational level implementation strategies. Joe currently serves as the President of the Downtown Des Moines Chamber of Commerce, where he has also lead strategic planning efforts, which have led to explosive growth and success within that organization.

A Senior Architect with Shive-Hattery Architects + Engineers, Joe also has a passion for transforming thought into built form. He is also President of the Central Iowa Architects Council, Communications + Marketing Co-Chair of the West Des Moines Leadership Academy, a member of Rotary International, and Founder and Co-Chair of the Emerging Leaders Collaborative + NGO, a part of the Capital Crossroads regional strategic plan for greater Des Moines. He also writes a bi-weekly blog on Strategic Planning for the Des Moines Business Record.

 Building Your Progressive Political Infrastructure

Damian Perez, Expansion Director, New Leaders Council

Damian Perez loves the entrepreneurial space. Whether it’s helping new companies grow and flourish or more than a decade of experience in the political and advocacy space. He started as an organizer for PIRG and has worked for multiple organizations that look at advocacy, engagement, and investment in new ideas from innovative perspectives. He has run campaigns at the federal, state, and local levels, worked for local government, and is currently the Expansion Director for New Leaders Council.
In his current role Damian started 11 new chapters in 2013 and is currently working with several strategic cities/states to continuing growing New Leaders Council footprint nationally.
Sara El-Amine, National Organizing Director, Organizing for America

Sara El-Amine is the National Grassroots Organizing Director at Organizing for Action, President Obama’s grassroots 20 million person strong organizing movement. At OFA, Sara oversees the people-centered, metrics-driven grassroots organizing for President Obama’s agenda across all 50 states, five national issue campaigns, and a budding number of state legislative level campaigns.

She’s spent the last 6 years in the Obama movement, working at every level of the field hierarchy, and has been at the center of crafting OFA’s new Chapter model that OFA’s thousands of state-based volunteers are using to make the transition into issue organizing. Before joining the Obama family she worked in international organizing with a focus on conflict resolution. El-Amine is passionate about professionalizing the left, management theory, Chicago, training, foreign languages and long-distance running.

Loranne Ausley, Founder and Chair of The Florida Project

Loranne Ausley is the Founder and Chair of The Florida Project, the only organization of its kind in Florida, dedicated to producing, disseminating and applying polling and research data across the progressive infrastructure. She is Vice Chair of the Southern Progress Fund, “of counsel’ to the Hollimon PA Law firm, and owns and manages her own consulting firm. Ausley is an attorney who served as an elected Member of the Florida House of Representatives for 8 years. In 2010, she ran as the Democratic nominee for Chief Financial Officer of Florida, one of Florida’s four statewide elected Cabinet positions.
Ausley is a 6th-generation Floridian who has held senior positions in the Clinton Administration and in state government, working closely with some of Florida’s most respected leaders including Bob Graham, Lawton Chiles and Buddy MacKay. As a Democratic leader in the State House, Loranne established herself as an independent-minded leader unafraid to take on tough problems and find real solutions. Ausley developed a policy expertise in health care as the ranking Democrat on the House Health Care Council, and in 2008 was selected to oversee Florida’s $300 million child health insurance program. She retired from the Florida House in 2008 due to term limits, and served as Chair of the Florida Healthy Kids Corporation until 2011.
In addition to her legislative and appointed service, Ausley is active in a number of local, state and national organizations. She was instrumental in creating Whole Child Leon, a community based initiative focused on young children and their families, and she continues to serve as Founding Chair. She is a member of Leadership Florida’s Class XX, serves on the Board of The New Deal, and on the Advisory Council of the local chapter of the National Leaders Council. Past service includes board membership of numerous organizations including The United Way of the Big Bend, the Tallahassee Urban League, Washington and Lee University Law Council, the George Washington Society, and various volunteer positions with Leadership Florida.
Loranne graduated from Randolph-Macon Woman’s College with a degree in Economics and earned her J.D. from the Washington & Lee University School of Law in Lexington, Virginia. She lives in Tallahassee with her husband Bill Hollimon and son, Will, age 10. Loranne is an avid marathon runner and triathlete, and an Ironman finisher (Florida 2007).
Bryan Blum, Political Director, California Labor Federation
Bryan Blum is the Political Director of the California Labor Federation. The California Labor Federation is the largest state labor federation in the nation, representing over 2 million members of 1,200 manufacturing, transportation, construction, service and public sector unions.
As Political Director Blum is responsible for devising and implementing strategies that help labor achieve electoral victories and build ongoing capacity and power for labor in California. During Blum’s tenure labor has won significant statewide ballot measure campaigns, helped elect labor allies to every statewide office in California, increased the number of elected labor allies to Congress from California and helped elect 2/3 super-majorities in both chambers of the California Legislature. He has served as Political Director since 2004.
Prior to that Blum spent 15 years as a campaign consultant and campaign manager for gubernatorial, congressional and legislative campaigns in Ohio, Virginia, Florida, Iowa and Illinois, as well as California.

In addition to his job with the California Labor Federation Blum also serves on the Board of Directors of the California League of Conservation Voters.
Alissa Ko, Deputy Director, Ready For Hillary
Alissa Ko has over a decade experience in national Democratic politics and currently serves as the Deputy Director at Ready for Hillary.  There, she oversees the day-to-day operations and manages the field, constituency, data and digital departments.
Ko’s career has spanned fundraising, community organizing, youth organizing and political and electoral work. She previously served on the 2012 Obama for America campaign as the National Asian American and Pacific Islander Vote Director, where she spearheaded a program to increase the AAPI vote by 11 percent. She also was one of seven team members who rebuilt the political program for SEIU Local 1000 to include campaign, legislative, and community outreach.
Ko also served as President of California Young Democrats and as a member of the Rules Committee for the California Democratic Party. She has served on various boards, including the National Women’s Political Caucus-Capitol Chapter, Sacramento County Young Democrats and the Taiwanese American Citizens League Internship Program.  Ko graduated from University of California, Los Angeles with a degree in business economics and minor in public policy.


Lesley Chilcott, Producer, An Inconvenient Truth

Lesley Chilcott was a producer of the 2006 Academy Award winning documentary AN INCONVENIENT TRUTH, the documentary feature IT MIGHT GET LOUD (2009), the Barack Obama biographic film for the Democratic National Convention A MOTHER’S PROMISE (2008), and WAITING FOR SUPERMAN (2010) on which she also served as the 2nd unit director.  Lesley has won numerous accolades such as the PGA Award for Outstanding Producer of Documentary Theatrical Motion Pictures as well as the Critic’s Choice Movie Awards, the Humanitas Prize, and the National Board of Review for Best Documentary, among others.  Other credits include feature documentary GAHAN WILSON: BORN DEAD, STILL WEIRD, the animated short IT WAS A DARK AND SILLY NIGHT and other shorts including festival winner ED I HIDE.   Lesley’s directorial debut, viral film CodeStars, for garnered over 20 million views online and was the number one video on youtube for two days.   Her latest documentary A SMALL SECTION OF THE WORLD (2014) will be released later this year.

Lesley has her own production company and she directs both documentaries and directs commercial projects through Rabbit Content.  Lesley is the Chair of the West Coast PGA (Producer's Guild of America) Non-Fiction documentary committee and hosts monthly screenings at her newly launched series, The Doc Club, here in Los Angeles.

Saturday, August 9: Citizen Hotel, 926 J Street Sacramento, CA

  A Progressive Leader in Red America

Jim Webb, Former U.S. Senator VA

Jim Webb, former Senator from Virginia, has been a combat Marine, a counsel in the Congress, an assistant secretary of defense and Secretary of the Navy, an Emmy-award winning journalist, a film-maker, and the author of ten books.
Mr. Webb is descended principally from the Scots-Irish settlers who came to this country from Northern Ireland in the 18th century and became pioneers in the Virginia mountains. Through the 1800′s and early 1900′s, Mr. Webb’s ancestors moved steadily west and south from Virginia, most often to settlements in North Carolina, Tennessee, Kentucky, Arkansas and Missouri. In the mid-1900′s many members of the family joined the westward migration to California, and the family is now scattered throughout the continental United States.

Both sides of Mr. Webb’s family have a strong citizen-soldier military tradition that predates the Revolutionary War. Mr. Webb’s father was a career Air Force officer who flew B-17s and B-29s during World War Two, cargo planes during the Berlin Airlift, and was a pioneer in the United States missile program. Colonel Webb, who was the first family member to finish high school and who graduated from the University of Omaha in 1962 after 26 years of night school, put the first Atlas missile into place for the Air Force in the late 1950′s, and held an unsurpassed success-rate record as commander of an Atlas, Thor, and Scout Junior missile squadron during the early 1960′s. During the Vietnam war he served at Air Force Systems command on sensitive satellite link programs and as a legislative affairs officer in the Pentagon, leading him to become a vocal critic of Defense Secretary McNamara’s leadership methods and causing him eventually to retire from the Air Force, partially in protest of the manner in which the Vietnam War was being micromanaged by the political process.

While in the Senate, Mr. Webb was selected to deliver the response to the President’s State of the Union address in 2007, and served on the Foreign Relations, Armed Services, Veterans Affairs, and the Joint Economic Committees.  He wrote, introduced, and guided to passage the Post-9.11 GI Bill, the most significant veterans legislation since World War II, and co-authored legislation which exposed 60 billion dollars of waste, fraud and abuse in Iraq and Afghanistan wartime-support contracts. A long-time advocate of fixing America’s broken criminal justice system, Mr. Webb was spotlighted in The Atlantic Magazine as one of the world’s “Brave Thinkers” for tackling prison reform and possessing “two things vanishingly rare in Congress: a conscience and a spine.”

Having widely traveled in Asia for decades, as Chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee’s Asia – Pacific Subcommittee Mr. Webb was a leading voice in calling for the United States to re-engage in East Asia, meeting frequently with key national leaders throughout the region.  In 2009, he led an historic visit to Burma, becoming the first American leader to visit that country in ten years, and opening up the dialogue that resulted in the re-establishment of relations between our two countries.    
Mr. Webb graduated from the Naval Academy in 1968, receiving a special commendation for his leadership contributions.  First in his class of 243 at the Marine Corps Officer’s Basic School, he served as a rifle platoon and company commander in Vietnam and was awarded the Navy Cross, the Silver Star Medal, two Bronze Star Medals, and two Purple Hearts.  He graduated from the Georgetown University Law Center in 1975.

Mr. Webb served in Congress as counsel to the House Committee on Veterans Affairs from 1977 to 1981.  In 1982 he led the fight to include an African American soldier in the Vietnam Veterans memorial on the National Mall.  In 1984 he was appointed Assistant Secretary of Defense for Reserve Affairs, and in 1987 became Secretary of the Navy.
He was a Fall 1992 Fellow at Harvard’s Institute of Politics.
In addition to his public service, Mr. Webb has enjoyed a varied career as a writer.  He taught literature at the Naval Academy.  Traveling widely as a journalist, he received an Emmy Award for his PBS coverage of the U.S. Marines in Beirut in 1983, and in 2004 was embedded with the U.S. military in Afghanistan.  A screenwriter and producer, his original story “Rules of Engagement” held the top slot in U.S. box offices for two weeks in April 2000. Mr. Webb has written ten books, including “Born Fighting,” a sweeping history of the Scots – Irish culture, and “Fields of Fire,” widely recognized as the classic novel of the Vietnam War.
Mr. Webb has six children and lives in Northern Virginia with his wife, Hong Le Webb. He speaks Vietnamese and has done extensive pro bono work with the Vietnamese community dating from the late 1970s.
Progressive Polling Projects
Alexandra Acker-Lyons, NLC Board Member, Director of the Youth Engagement Fund at the Democracy Alliance
Alexandra 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.
Margie Omero, Managing Director, Purple Insights

Margie is a managing director of Purple Insights, the research division of Purple Strategies. She manages all facets of qualitative and quantitative research for Purple’s clients, including methodological design and strategic analysis. At Purple, one of Margie’s specialties is studying moms. She led the development of Purple Moms—an ongoing exploration of the moms who spend the most time researching and discussing their purchases. She’s also led a bipartisan team studying Walmart Moms—a proven swing voting bloc covered by news outlets around the country.

Before joining Purple, Margie founded and ran Momentum Analysis, a Democratic public opinion research firm in Washington, DC. Margie’s clients have included the DNC, DCCC, Mayors Against Illegal Guns, EMILY’s List, Members of Congress, non-profits and hundreds of campaigns around the country.

A frequent writer, commentator, and speaker, Margie has appeared on CNN’s Crossfire, MSNBC’s Hardball, Fox News Channel’s The O’Reilly Factor, NPR’s Diane Rehm Show, and many others. She has also appeared in The New York Times, The Washington Post, and USA Today, and blogs regularly for the Pollster section of The Huffington Post. Margie has spoken before students, lawmakers, corporate marketers, and journalists, and at American University, Harvard, and Yale. She has been named both a “Mover and Shaker” by Campaigns & Elections magazine, and a “Politico to Watch” by Politico. Margie graduated from the University of Texas at Austin with High Honors, and lives in Takoma Park, Maryland.  

Jill Hanauer, President and CEO, Project New America

Jill is the co-founder and President of Project New America. She has over 25 years experience in state and national politics, non-profit management and civic engagement activities. She was the co-founder and Executive Director of The Interfaith Alliance which was established to provide a mainstream faith-based voice in civic and political discourse. She has worked for United States Senators Gary Hart of Colorado, Tom Harkin of Iowa and Barbara Boxer of California.

Jill served as Vice President of the Center for National Policy, a national think tank based in Washington, DC and worked for the Democratic National Committee under Chairman Paul Kirk and Ron Brown managing the DNC's State Party Fundraising Program. Jill moved back to Colorado with her family in 2000 from Washington, D.C. She has been active in state and local community affairs and politics. She launched Project New West in 2007.


Christine Pelosi, Partner, Democracy Partners

Attorney, author, and activist Christine Pelosi has a lifetime of grassroots organizing and public policy experience. Christine has been volunteering in politics since the stroller, and currently conducts leadership boot camps based on her books Campaign Boot Camp: Basic Training for Future Leaders and Campaign Boot Camp 2.0. Christine’s books emerged from her years of volunteering literally from the stroller and service with the AFSCME PEOPLE Congressional Candidates Boot Camp, which worked with approximately 120 challengers from 2006 to 2012, 32 of whom were elected to Congress. Arianna Huffington praised Campaign Boot Camp as “apassionate call to public service—and a practical guide for making that service more productive. Christine Pelosi is a sharp and knowledgeable drill sergeant looking to whip our democratic process back into shape.”Christine’s trainings with candidates, volunteers, and NGO leaders span over thirty states and three countries.

Christine holds a JD from UC Hastings and a BSFS from Georgetown. She has served as a prosecutor in San Francisco, a special counsel in the Clinton-Gore administration, and a chief of staff on Capitol Hill. Currently serving as California Democratic Party Women’s Caucus Chair, she is a former executive director of the state party, led its Platform Committee for thirteen years, and has been elected 5 times to the Democratic National Committee, where she cofounded the DNC Veterans and Military Families Council.  She served as an Obama Delegate to the 2008 and 2012 Democratic National Conventions. She appears frequently on national television and blogs regularly for The Huffington Post on current events, social media in politics, legal affairs, and unique challenges for women leaders.

Christine lives within walking distance of her beloved World Champion San Francisco Giants and serves on the Giants Community Fund board of directors. She is married to Emmy-nominated filmmaker Peter Kaufman; their daughter Isabella was born in 2009, and has traveled with mom to 21 states and 3 foreign countries as Christine organizes for Democrats and democracy.
Remarks (do not add title to memos, talking points, etc)


Simon Rosenberg, Founder and President, NDN
Simon Rosenberg is President and founder of NDN, a leading, center-left think tank in Washington, DC. Rosenberg, a veteran of two presidential campaigns, including the 1992 Clinton War Room, got his start as a writer and producer in network television. He is a leading political thinker and commentator with a unique ability to identify important trends and decipher changes transforming American politics well before others.

Rosenberg designed new programs for Democrats to communicate effectively in the digital age and was one of the first major political operatives to understand and embrace new technologies and media. He devised strategies to make Democrats more competitive in states with rapidly growing Hispanic populations and has helped map a smart path forward on immigration reform. He saw how the strident ideological politics of the Baby Boomers are yielding to a Millennial Generation – the largest and most progressive U.S. generation ever. He understood that together, these changes are creating a new electoral map that has given forward-thinking Democrats a chance at historic political realignment.

Rosenberg has built NDN into one of Washington’s most forward-thinking policy shops. Together with Dr. Rob Shapiro, President Clinton’s Under Secretary of Commerce for Economic Affairs and Chair of NDN’s Globalization Initiative, he has fashioned a unique set of messages and policies around focusing on the economic well-being of everyday people based on Shapiro’s early analysis that even as GDP and productivity rose during the Bush years, wages stagnated and incomes declined.

Rosenberg is a member of the Aspen Institute’s 2001 Class of Henry Crown Fellows, and the Advisory Board of the Jonathan M. Tisch College of Citizenship and Public Service at Tufts University.  He won the national election prediction contest held by the Hill Newspaper in both 2012 and 2008.  In 2007, he was named one of the 50 most powerful people in DC by GQ Magazine.

Rosenberg and his wife, Caitlin Durkovich, an Assistant Secretary at the Department of Homeland Security, live in Washington, DC with their three children and Tug, a spirited bulldog.

The State of NLC

Mark Riddle, Executive Director, New Leaders Council

Mark Riddle is the managing partner of Aristides, a full service branding and communications firm specializing in marketing, advertising, crisis management, and strategy.

In addition to his position at Aristides, Mark serves as the Executive Director of New Leaders Council, the nation’s premier progressive leadership training organization for young political and business entrepreneurs.

Mark also serves on the Board of Advisers for Loyal3 and Organizer.

Previously a partner with the media firm Fletcher Rowley Riddle, Inc., Mark wrote, directed and produced award-winning television and radio ads in some of America’s most competitive campaigns in 45 states.

Clients include Members of Congress, the Democratic Governors Association, State Party organizations, and dozens of state and local elected officials, including Kentucky Attorney General Jack Conway. As President of Wildcat Digital, Mark has represented numerous Fortune 500 companies and has run numerous campaigns for companies such as Anheuser-Busch, Century Aluminum and CoventryCares of Kentucky.

Additionally Mark was previously the Executive Director of the Kentucky Democratic Party and is the past Political Director and Press Secretary of NDN. Mark served as General Wesley Clark’s Arizona State Director in the 2004 presidential campaign and was named a “Rising Star” by Campaigns and Elections Magazine in 2006.

A native of Maine, Mark is a graduate of the University of Kentucky. He resides in Simpsonville, Kentucky.

Chapter Fundraising and Finance

Matt Bailey, Communications Co-Director, New Leaders Council Louisiana

Matt Bailey began working with NLC in 2008 as a founding board member and selections co-chair for the Washington, DC, chapter. In 2009, upon moving back home to Louisiana, he led the development of the first statewide chapter, and NLC-Louisiana just completed its fifth Institute. He has also served as a Life Entrepreneurs facilitator for five years and on a variety of other NLC committees and project teams.

In addition to NLC, Matt is serving or has served as: chairman of the board of the Louisiana Budget Project; board member of Louisiana Progress with which he founded the Louisiana Progress Journal; board member for his undergraduate alumni association board; fellow with the Truman National Security Project; soldier in the Army National Guard; and a member of the 2014 class of Leadership Louisiana.

Professionally, Matt recently accepted the role of Chief Operating Officer at the Cowen Institute at Tulane University in New Orleans where he will start in September. His prior experience includes service in higher education, local economic development, and federal legislative work with Senator Mary Landrieu. He has a political science degree from Northwestern State University and a law degree from the George Washington University Law School. He is married, and his son Jack will turn four in September.
Heather Grantham, New Leaders Council Board Member, Co-Director New Leaders Council NYC

Heather Grantham is Co-Director of New Leaders Council New York City since 2012, and an 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. She co-leads NYC's Advisory Board, helps drive NLC's mission to train and promote the next generation of progressive political entrepreneurs, and sends way too many emails.

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 serves on the New York County Democratic Committee and on the Executive Board of the Ansonia Independent Democratic Club. She lives in Manhattan with two cats and one boyfriend, because more than that would just be weird.
Robert P. Orthman, Sr. Adviser, New Leaders Council Boston

Rob serves as the National Curriculum Co-Director for New Leaders Council, overseeing over thirty NLC institutes and working with chapter leaders across the country.   He is a senior advisory board member for the NLC Boston chapter and a former director of the chapter and its institute.  Rob is an alumnus of the inaugural NLC Boston class of 2009.

By day, Rob is an attorney in the office of the general counsel for the Boston Water and Sewer Commission, the municipal agency providing water and sewer services for the residents and businesses of Boston.  He formerly worked as an associate with a small law firm and in city government before law school.  Rob is a life-long Bostonian and active in his local community and its always interesting politics.  He is a graduate of Boston College and Suffolk University Law School.

Rob and his wife Jessica live in the city’s Roslindale neighborhood with their newborn son Jack, their dogs Teddy and Bobby, and their cats Maeby and Misty.  As a diehard Boston sports fan, Rob has seen three World Series wins, three Super Bowl victories, a Stanley Cup, and an NBA championship in his adult life and believes Tom Brady is the second coming of every deity worshipped by the various segments of the human race.

 NLC Fundamentals

Brett A. Seifried, General Counsel, New Leaders Council
Brett serves as General Counsel to New Leaders Council. In that capacity, he manages the legal affairs of NLC across the country. He regularly advises the Board of Directors on issues of corporate governance, political and lobbying law, intellectual property issues, and state and federal fundraising law. He works in close concert with the Executive Director and executive staff on both legal and strategic issues related to organizational growth, employee and volunteer management, and programmatic development.
In addition to his legal work Brett also serves as the Director of the NLC Legal Institute, a first of its kind practical skills training program for progressive attorneys. In its first year, the Legal Institute operated in California with the sponsorship of the Consumer Attorneys of California. The program will expand into new markets in the coming years.

Before joining New Leaders Council, Brett held a number of public-interest law positions. He served as a law clerk for the Department of Justice’s Public Integrity Section assisting federal prosecutors in criminal public corruption cases, including federal elections and campaign finance crimes. He also worked with the Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights Under Law as a clinical attorney in their Community Development Project, counseling various Gulf Coast 501(c)(3) and (c)(4) organizations on political advocacy, economic development, and programmatic efforts in the wake of Hurricane Katrina’s lingering impact on the region.
Outside of NLC, Brett also advises private clients on legal issues related to business formation, political and media consulting, and capital campaign management.

A proud Kentucky native, Brett lives and works in Washington, D.C. He received his law degree, magna cum laude, from American University, where he edited the Administrative Law Review. He also received his B.A., cum laude, from American University’s School of International Service in United States Foreign Policy. Brett recently received his commission as a Kentucky Colonel.

Matti Miranda, National Programs Director, New Leaders Council
Matti Miranda is the Programs Director at New Leaders Council (NLC), a 501(c)(3) charity with the mission to recruit, train, and promote the next generation of progressive leaders. As the first Programs Director of the national 501(c)(3) charity, Matti has created many of the current processes by which the organization runs, including the application process, which has seen over 5,000 nomination and applications for the 2014 NLC Institute.

Prior to becoming Programs Director at NLC, Matti worked as a Scientist at NanoImaging Services in La Jolla, CA, where she designed experiments in order to analyze electron microscopy data for NIS clients. She spent five years in Dr. Raymond Goldstein’s laboratory at the University of Arizona studying the characterization of bacterial response to laminar fluid flow. Matti also worked as a research technician at the Atomic Mass Spectrometry Laboratory at U of A.

Matti has served on the board of the San Diego County Young Democrats for five years, in various roles and is proud of holding the honor of being a Kentucky Colonel. Matti enjoys each time she speaks with members of the NLC community, especially through her work as a Life Entrepreneurship Trainer, across the country, watching the Yankees, and anything that can be explained through differential equations. Matti now resides in Washington D.C. after her time as a resident of San Diego, California.
Alise Roderer, New Leaders Council National Curriculum Director, New Leaders Council New Jersey Institute Co-Director

Alise Roderer is a public relations and political professional who currently serves as a Deputy Director of Communications for the New Jersey Senate Democratic Majority Office.  Previously, Alise worked as a campaign operative in seven states on nearly a dozen races – from the local to national level. Most recently, Alise, while on leave from the Senate Majority office, served as the campaign manager for a highly-competitive State Senate race in New Jersey where she was recognized by the state’s largest newspaper as a “winner” of the election cycle by writing: “the Senate Majority staffer parachuted into the 18th District race midway through the cycle and turned a disorganized campaign into a big winner...”

Alise currently serves as a National Curriculum Director for New Leaders Council, a nonprofit professional development program that works to train and promote progressive political entrepreneurs. Additionally, Alise has served for the past three years as an Institute Director for her local chapter, coordinating logistics and speakers for New Leaders Council New Jersey.  Starting next month, she will be transitioning into the Advisory Board Liaison for NLC NJ.

Born and raised in Dayton, Ohio, Alise is a graduate of Ball State University, where she earned a duel degree in political science and public relations. She currently resides in Highland Park, New Jersey.
Dan Siegel, Outreach Co-Director, New Leaders Council Philadelphia

Dan Siegel is an award winning political strategist with experience at all levels of electoral politics, from legislative races in New Jersey to the Presidential election in Pennsylvania. Dan has served at every level of campaigns, giving him comprehensive insight and experience at the inner workings of strategy and implementation.

Dan got his start as an organizer for Ned Lamont’s gubernatorial campaign where he learned the daily rigors of face-to-face messaging. Following the primary, he took his experience to Delaware, as a regional field director for Chris Coons as part of a team that secured one of the few Democratic victories in 2010.

As a Regional Field Director for President Obama, Dan devised and implemented strategy for the Philadelphia suburbs, which Politico described as “the nation’s bellwether” and earned him a spot on PoliticsPa’s “30 under 30” list. Following his success, Dan managed a citywide race in Philadelphia and the only targeted legislative district in New Jersey before setting up his own General Consulting firm, Themis Strategies, specializing in legislative races and data consulting.

A graduate of the University of Rochester, Dan was part of the 2013 fellows of the New Leaders Council and now serves as a the Chairman of the Board of the Philadelphia Chapter, his hometown, where he currently resides.

NLC Selections and Recruitment

Lucas Botello, National Selections Director, New Leaders Council

Lucas Botello has been the National Selections Director since 2011 ensuring consistency in the selections process across all of NLC's chapters. He has had a variety of professional experiences working for political campaigns, government entities and nonprofit organizations.

Lucas participated in the Coro Fellowship in Public Affairs from 2007 to 2008. As a Coro Fellow he provided consulting services to clients from a variety of sectors including the President of Oakland City Council, McKesson's Corporate Strategy and Business Development Division, San Francisco Building and Construction Trades Council, the Port of Oakland and the 2008 Proposition G Campaign to redevelop San Francisco's Bayview-Hunter's Point area. Lucas was a field organizer on the 2008 Obama campaign in New Mexico, where he doubled the turnout of voters in his district from the previous 2004 presidential election. In 2009, he assisted Emanuel Pleitez’s Congressional campaign in the development and implementation of strategies for political fundraising, campaign messaging, volunteer recruitment, community organizing and voter contact. In 2010 and 2011, Lucas served as a political appointee in the Department of Justice's Office of Legislative Affairs. In 2011, he left the Obama administration to start The I-4 Group, a consulting company serving political campaigns and nonprofit organizations.

Lucas graduated from Stanford University with a B.A. in Public Policy and is currently a J.D. candidate at USC's Gould School of Law, where he has focused on criminal law, civil rights and mental health policy. His legal internship placements include the Orleans Public Defender's Office, the Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office, the ACLU of Southern California and California's Office of Legislative Counsel.
Jeffrey Guillot, Selections Director, New Leaders Council New York City

Jeff Guillot is a partner at Millennial Strategies, a political consulting firm with offices in Manhattan and Long Island. His prior campaign experience includes working as Finance Director for Congressman Gary Ackerman and City Councilman James Gennaro. Additionally, he has served as Legislative Director for Assemblyman Richard Brodsky during his tenure as the Chairman of the Assembly Committee on Corporations, Authorities and Commissions.

Jeff holds a BA from Sacred Heart University and an MA in American Government from LIU Post. He currently serves as a member of the adjunct political science faculty at SUNY Farmingdale, is the Founder of the Suburban Millennial Institute- a think tank studying Long Island's "brain drain" issue, and he also serves on the boards of the New Leaders Council NYC Chapter, Destination Long Island, and the National Association of Mothers Centers.
Amy Ritter, Director, New Leaders Council Orlando

NLC Alumni Engagement

Matti Miranda, National Programs Director, New Leaders Council
Matti Miranda is the Programs Director at New Leaders Council (NLC), a 501(c)(3) charity with the mission to recruit, train, and promote the next generation of progressive leaders. As the first Programs Director of the national 501(c)(3) charity, Matti has created many of the current processes by which the organization runs, including the application process, which has seen over 5,000 nomination and applications for the 2014 NLC Institute.

Prior to becoming Programs Director at NLC, Matti worked as a Scientist at NanoImaging Services in La Jolla, CA, where she designed experiments in order to analyze electron microscopy data for NIS clients. She spent five years in Dr. Raymond Goldstein’s laboratory at the University of Arizona studying the characterization of bacterial response to laminar fluid flow. Matti also worked as a research technician at the Atomic Mass Spectrometry Laboratory at U of A.

Matti has served on the board of the San Diego County Young Democrats for five years, in various roles and is proud of holding the honor of being a Kentucky Colonel. Matti enjoys each time she speaks with members of the NLC community, especially through her work as a Life Entrepreneurship Trainer, across the country, watching the Yankees, and anything that can be explained through differential equations. Matti now resides in Washington D.C. after seven years spent living near the beautiful beaches of San Diego, California.
Michael Moschella, New Leaders Council Board member

Michael Moschella is the Vice President of Organizing, Politics & Advocacy at NationBuilder. He has been at the forefront of the leadership development and civic engagement community for over a decade.

Prior to joining the team at NationBuilder, Michael served as Chief Organizer and Political Director for the Truman National Security Project and the Center for National Policy. At Truman CNP, Michael managed nationwide efforts to bring political, policy, and veteran leaders together around a shared vision for America's role in the 21st century world. He also helped launch multiple award-winning advocacy efforts, including the Operation Free clean energy and national security campaign that was named "Public Affairs Campaign of the Year" in 2010 by Campaigns and Elections magazine.

In addition to his work at Truman, Michael is a founder and current Secretary of the Board of Directors of New Leaders Council, which runs 25 highly selective civic leadership training institutes across the country. Michael spent his early career building field organizing, media and communications, voter targeting and management expertise through multiple Congressional, Gubernatorial, independent expenditure and state and local political campaign efforts.

Michael is a native Bostonian, a graduate of Cornell University School of Industrial and Labor Relations and Boston College High School, and is a huge Boston sports fan.
Ana Colls, Co-Director, New Leaders Council Miami

Ana J. Colls is Assistant Director of the Village of Key Biscayne’s Parks and Recreation Department.  Her primary role is to manage the Key Biscayne Community Center, a recreation, cultural, wellness and civic facility that serves more than 12,000 residents. Ana previously served as Parks and Recreation Services Manager for the City of Coachella, California where she worked to improve public parks and recreation opportunities.

Ana cares about local government, civic leadership and community engagement.  Since 2011 she has helped organize and implement the New Leaders Council’s Miami chapter and will be serving as Co-Director for 2014-2015.  She also serves as Director of Operations for Women’s Movement Now (a chapter of the AAUW Younger Women’s Task Force) and as a Regional Commissioner for Allegany Franciscan Ministries.  Ana discovered her passion for public service while pursuing a graduate degree in Public

Administration at City University of New York as a National Urban Fellow.  She holds an undergraduate degree in Economics from Florida International University.

Building your NLC Communications Plan

Peter Allen, Communications Director, New Leaders Council Silicon Valley

Peter was born and raised in Silicon Valley and has lived in San José for most of his life. He owns a consulting practice specializing in online content management, press relations, and local political campaigns. When he's not busy with his day job, Peter volunteers his time as Managing Director of Teatro Visión, a Latino/Chicano theater company celebrating its 30th year nurturing arts and opportunity in underserved San José communities. Peter currently serves as Vice Chair of the City of San José Arts Commission. He also sits on the Advisory Board of the New Leaders Council - Silicon Valley and the Board of Directors for the Rotary Club of Campbell  and the Willow Glen Neighborhood Association.

Peter graduated from Bellarmine College Preparatory in San José and received a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Filmic Writing (screenwriting) from the University of Southern California. He can occasionally be seen performing with San José-based rock band Usurper Vong as a bassist and vocalist. He is a San Francisco Giants season ticket holder and the proud son of a public school teacher.
Naomi Rothwell, Digital Strategist, Veracity Media

Naomi Rothwell joins Veracity Media after having founded and built Greater NYC for Change - an organization that is now a force to be reckoned within New York politics. At Veracity, a social-impact digital strategy firm, Naomi specializes in political campaigns and non-profit advocacy.
Fluent in Japanese and German, Naomi started her career in HarperCollins’ teen fiction division, before working in mergers and acquisitions at an international legal recruiting firm.

As the president of a community organization, Greater NYC for Change, Naomi created successful campaigns in support of health care equity and voter rights. She coordinated press conferences, fundraisers, field operations, and, under her leadership, grew the organization to 7,000 supporters. In 2013, she was a key leader in the "Get Covered New York" campaign, which provided volunteer outreach to hundreds of uninsured New Yorkers.

From 2007 to 2014, Naomi was the executive director at a legal recruiting firm, where she served as the firm-wide manager of human resources, operations and communications. Prior to this, she worked at HarperCollins in its teen fiction division. Fluent in Japanese and German, Naomi graduated summa cum laude from Cornell University.  Originally from Atlanta, she now calls Washington, D.C. her home.
Kristin Hunziker, Selections Director, New Leaders Council San Francisco

Kristin Hunziker is a 1L at Berkeley Law School. She is specializing in healthcare law, including quality of patient experience, reducing costs, Affordable Care Act implementation, and expanding access to health insurance.

Kristin serves on the board of NLC San Francisco as Tech Director and formerly as Selections Chair. She envisioned and developed, which was NLC's first ever chapter-specific website. Our blog gets about 4,000 hits per month, which allows us to vastly expand our recruitment for Institute candidates.

In her free time, Kristin likes to snowboard, swim, read science fiction, eat spicy food, and play the piano.