Meet Our Team

Reema Ahmad
Wisconsin State Advisor & Director, Muslim Voter Project

Reema Ahmad is a community organizer with experience in political, electoral, and issue-based campaigns. Reema was born and raised in a multi-ethnic and multi-religious family in Milwaukee. She credits her strong belief in civic responsibilities and community-built power with social activism growing up, as well as coming of (political) age post-9/11 in a tight-knit American Muslim community with a history of educational outreach. In her first job after college, working in government affairs, she saw firsthand the consequences of political dis-engagement on the ability of minority communities to see their concerns taken up by elected officials. Identifying a need, Reema collaborated with community leaders to found Project Mobilize, a 501(c)4 organization dedicated to increasing civic participation and representation from politically marginalized communities across Chicago. The effort increased political participation from American Muslim voters by 54 percent and saw 2 of its first-time candidates elected into local offices. Reema later joined Asian Americans Advancing Justice – Chicago, where she led the Pan-Asian Voter Empowerment [PAVE] Coalition of 13 social service community-based organizations. She directed strategic community outreach for the Jesus ‘Chuy’ Garcia mayoral campaign in Chicago, mobilizing political support, money, and votes from across Middle Eastern, Asian, Arab, and Muslim American communities. More recently, Reema was campaign manager for a state representative race in Chicago and the second most diverse district in the country for a grassroots Asian American and Muslim American candidate. Reema is passionate about creating the authentic relationships and mutual investments between diverse communities that will be essential in the next 30 years as the U.S. becomes a minority-majority country. She firmly believes this job will be rooted in community organizing and driven by young people: paving the way for future generations to keep the baton moving forward.

Lela Ali
State Partnerships Associate

Lela Ali is a proud immigrant from Egypt and a graduate of Duke University in Durham, North Carolina, where she received her Master’s in International Development Policy and Middle East Studies. Her research focuses on social network analyses of local Muslim, American-led networks in the south. Lela is the Co-founder of Muslim Women For, a grassroots organization led by Muslim women that started as a storytelling space and now works to center and advocate for Black, Brown, immigrant, and indigenous Muslim women through raising political consciousness, local organizing and collective healing, creating spaces for leadership development for Black and Brown women, and building coalitions across communities and movements in North Carolina. Lela is a vivacious community leader who brings rich experiences in community organizing and social justice advocacy, with expertise in voting rights, immigrant rights and justice, reproductive justice, and coalition building. In all of her work, Lela aspires to use research and data in social justice advocacy and direct action in order to create policy spaces that recognize the most marginalized of our communities.

Adriana Batista
Donor Organizing Deputy

Adriana is a campaign/community organizer with a focus in field strategy. After campaigning all over the east coast, she shifted her focus and efforts into working with our labor brothers and sisters and their political movements. She also has also dabbled in the technological aspect of political work by working with companies such as NGPVAN. At this point in time, she is focused on being a support (thru MVP) for other groups doing amazing work on the ground.

Lisa Beem
Senior Advisor & Donor Organizer

Lisa Beem is an organizer, facilitator, and advisor with a passion for supporting people to take action and creating a just and equitable world. As a strategist and facilitator at the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission, Lisa spent 4 years building partnerships across foundations, government, nonprofits and the private sector to increase equity in workforce development. Lisa honed in on the skills to develop relationships built on trust, shared values and respect. She supported staff to develop leadership skills and created a context of empowerment for her teams and working groups.

As a Bay Area chapter leader of Resource Generation, Lisa co-manages strategy and creates opportunities for more members to step into leadership roles. She manages the political education program and trains volunteers to lead anti-racism and anti-classism education groups. Lisa is in training with the Academy for Coaching Excellence to complete her Associate Coach Certification from the International Coach Federation. Lisa is thrilled to bring her passion for justice and skills in empowering others to Movement Voter Project.

SerahRose Bissell
Accounting, Systems, and Growth Consultant

SerahRose Bissell, owner of Aerialist Accounting, consults in Financial Management and Operations for entrepreneurs, small businesses, and non-profits. She holds a BA in Theatre Arts from Brandeis University, a Certificate of Non-Profit Leadership from Boston University, and an MSA in Forensic Accounting from Bay Path University. The intersection of her original career in the performing arts and her subsequent fascination with financial systems and management gives her a unique consulting perspective. SerahRose also co-owns Sattva Center for Archery Training with her husband and is a Level III USA Archery Coach. She lives in Greenfield, MA with her husband and two children.

Roksana Borzouei
National Director of Student Power Networks

Roksana Borzouei is a community organizer with experience in directing electoral and issue-based campaigns and field programs around labor, immigration and racial justice. A writer, organizer and former social justice educator, Roksana was born in Tehran, Iran and grew up in Tampa, Florida navigating life in post-9/11 America as an Iranian-American. She is committed to supporting youth leaders in growing a strong movement. She has previously worked as an organizing fellow for the 2012 Obama for America campaign and as a policy intern for the National Iranian American Council. She designed NIAC’s youth and student engagement program that serves as their organizing model today. As a student organizer, she worked to build a coalition of Southwest Asian and North African students to receive institutional support and to begin organizing together around shared struggles. Recently, she was a research aide to Dr. Neda Maghbouleh for her book “The Limits of Whiteness: Iranian Americans and the Everyday Politics of Race.” Roksana holds an AB in International Relations from Brown University.

Eric Brakken
Florida State Advisor

Eric has been an organizer for the past 22 years, starting on campus at the University of Wisconsin.  Co-founded United Students Against Sweatshops in late 90s and organized students nationwide around international and domestic labor issues for several years.  Organizer with SEIU since 2001. Led property services organizing in Florida for 10 years including a two-month strike of University of Miami janitors and groundskeepers in 2006 to form a union and a successful organizing drive of UM’s food service workers in 2013.  Director of SEIU Florida State Council starting in 2014, working to build a statewide community union and political strategy with SEIU members and community allies. Now focused on working with labor, community, and political organizations to build progressive infrastructure across Florida toward a long-term vision of economic and governing power.

Iris Brilliant
Donor Advisor
Iris Brilliant is a money coach and philanthropic advisor for social justice-oriented donors. She supports donors to finance long-term social change, guides donors towards a life of integrity, courage and generosity, and helps transform how donors relate to money. She is based in Berkeley, CA.

As a National Organizer at Resource Generation for four years, Iris developed the skills to mentor, fundraise and organize young people with wealth who care deeply about social justice. She then started her own business to make more impactful one-on-one change for philanthropic leaders and individual donors. Iris is a certified coach (CPCC) in the Co-Active model.

Iris is excited to join the MVP team to help donors boldly fund the grassroots organizing that will help win 2020 election, and to support donors to take on political giving for the long-haul. We got this!!

Andrea Catone
Director of National Partnerships

Andrea Catone is an organizer, network analyst, and movement strategist with a passion for helping grassroots leaders build relationships and capacity. Andrea has spent more than 9 years building and studying movement networks, including co-founding networks of progressive grassroots leaders like Action Together Network (ATN). Guided by her training as a sociologist, Andrea observes and analyzes network activity to assess needs and respond with targeted resources, connections, and support. As a public scholar, writer, and doctoral candidate at Rutgers University, Andrea also devotes time and research to intervening in and breaking cycles of the effects of trauma by investigating how these consequences operate socially, epigenetically, and across generations.

Regina Clemente
Managing Director

Regina has been serving in leadership roles at social justice non-profits, electoral campaigns, and film impact companies for over 15 years. She has led political, policy, film impact, and organizing teams at organizations like Planned Parenthood, the L.A. LGBT Center, Freedom to Marry, Blue State Digital, Brave New Films, and Shella Films (UNREST, 2017). She has a speciality in persuasion messaging around divisive issues, deep canvassing, building and managing strong grassroots teams both online and offline to make concrete change, and designing and implementing issue and candidate campaigns that deal with economic, racial, health, and environmental justice. She is a Los Angeles native who has a B.A in Urban & Environmental Policy from Occidental College and currently lives in Boise, ID.

Robbie Dunning
Operations Associate & Graphic Designer

Robbie Dunning is a poet, performer, artist and educator who works with MVP to support operational work, as well as develop and maintain graphics. Born and raised in rural Virginia, Robbie believes in the power of representation, storytelling, and creative community. They prize working with writers and performers of all ages to help hone their craft and clarify their stories. Robbie holds a Bachelor of the Arts in the Study of Women and Gender from Smith College. You can find their design work woven throughout the Movement 2016 Annual report and a variety of MVP logos and presentations. More information on their poetry and performances can be found here.

Elizabeth Fernandez
Communications Director

Elizabeth Fernandez is a writer, communicator, and longtime activist who has spent years supporting immigrant communities, LGBTQ rights, domestic violence survivors, the labor movement, civic engagement, and more. Born and raised in South Florida to immigrant parents, she developed a deep passion early on for creating change in her community that drove her to service. She’s worked with broad coalitions of nonprofits and community groups on voter education and GOTV campaigns, led online mobilization efforts that have garnered worldwide attention, and has helped register thousands of new voters while serving on the board of Engage Miami, a nonprofit dedicated to youth civic engagement. Through her volunteer work, she has supported a wide range of nonprofits, including Women in Distress, Code for Miami, and Big Brothers Big Sisters. Her experience includes more than a decade of working in communications, publishing, and media, including previously serving as communications manager for Florida Immigrant Coalition and FLIC Votes, communications director of SEIU Florida, and managing editor of The New Tropic. She’s also been selected for fellowships with the New Leaders Council, the Center for Community Change Action, and the ReFrame Mentorship program. Currently, she and her wife live in Orlando, Florida.

John Flajnik
Operations Director

John executes the daily operational and financial needs of Movement Voter Project and its many programs. He holds a B.A. in Business from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst where he also studied Social Thought & Political Economy. He has nearly 20 years of management experience in different industries. John is originally from Texas, but grew up in Cambridge where he first developed a love of coffee and a commitment to social and environmental justice. Outside of work John is an endurance athlete and lives with his family in Northampton, MA.

Jason Franklin
Senior Philanthropic Advisor

Dr. Franklin is the President of Ktisis Capital through which he serves as a strategic advisor to a mix of progressive individual donors, families, foundations and philanthropic collaboratives including the Movement Voter Project, Peterffy Foundation, Conflict Transformation Fund, and the Progressive Political Power Fund. He also serves as the W.K. Kellogg Community Philanthropy Chair at the Johnson Center for Philanthropy. As holder of the nation’s first endowed chair focused on community philanthropy, he engages in research, teaching, service, and thought leadership to explore and advance the field, nationally and internationally. He serves as board chair of the Proteus Fund; co-founder and chair of the Solidaire Donor Network; and on the boards of the Threshold Foundation and Michigan Civic Education Fund. He is an advisory board member of Our LGBT Fund at the Grand Rapids Community Foundation and is a member of the Smithsonian’s Philanthropy Working Group, Threshold’s High Impact Documentary Funding Circle, Democracy Alliance, West Michigan Progressive PAC, and WINGS: Worldwide Initiatives for Grantmaker Support.  Prior to his appointment as the Kellogg Chair, he served as Executive Director of Bolder Giving, an organization that inspired people to give big & take more risks with their philanthropy and was credited by Melinda Gates as an inspiration for the billionaire Giving Pledge. He received his PhD in Public Administration from New York University’s Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service where he also held an appointment for ten years as an award-winning adjunct professor teaching about philanthropy and social change.

Michael Gast
Donor Advisor

Michael Gast is a social justice donor organizer and fundraiser. Michael got his start with Resource Generation (RG) in 2002 when he attended his first Making Money Make Change Retreat. Since then, he has organized thousands of young people with wealth to use their resources and privilege in support of equity and justice, moving tens of millions of dollars towards social change causes nationally and internationally. He spent 6.5 years as a staff person with RG, first as Family Philanthropy Coordinator, organizing young people involved in their families’ funds, and then as Co-Director and Associate Director. Since leaving RG in 2014, Michael has been Interim Development Director at generative somatics (gs) and with Showing Up for Racial Justice (SURJ) as well as a development consultant with both Thousand Currents and Chinese Progressive Association. In these positions, he has led highly successful individual donor campaigns, helped build major donor programs from the ground up, and supported and trained leaders in making successful individual fundraising asks. Currently, Michael is working with Justice Funders to help East Bay Community Foundation develop a new model for progressive donor organizing inside a community foundation. Michael is a 5th generation San Franciscan, and lives in Oakland with his wife and three year old son.

Reign Hervey
Digital Communications Coordinator

Reign is a Black feminist organizer, digital communicator, and content creator from Florida. Their passion for social justice was ignited in college following the murders of Trayvon Martin and Mike Brown. While holding space for these injustices, Reign also saw the need for increased visibility of Black womxn and marginalized genders in social movements.

While obtaining her B.A. in Sociology and M.A. in Communications, Reign dedicated her research to interrogating the role of social and traditional media in shaping public narratives about violence against Black womxn. Through volunteer and paid work, Reign has combined theory and praxis to facilitate decolonization and diversity and inclusion processes for nonprofits to create support for marginalized groups. In her free time, Reign grounds herself by cooking, traveling, blogging, and spending time outside.

Korina Iribe
Arizona State Advisor

Korina is a graduate from Arizona State University with a BS in Human Communications and a minor in Political Science. She often shares her personal story of navigating the education system as an undocumented/DACA student because her journey to finish college led her to the world of community activism and organizing. It was in the tight knit community of social justice organizing in Arizona that she found her calling as a community organizer and where she found her new chosen family. Korina served as Campaign Manager for the Instate for DACA and the Let Dreamers Drive efforts,  two important advocacy campaigns in her state to help move the rights of immigrant youth forward.Her passion for education equity led her to co found Undocumented Students for Education Equity and to mentor undocumented college students on the power of organizing. In 2016 she was part of the historic BAZTA Arpaio movement which helped successful end the reign of the infamous sheriff. Her most recent endeavors have included working on state wide and city electoral campaigns as a Field Director and Advisor. She enjoys writing during her downtime and is published by several online publications and most recently in a collective of social justice resistance essays.  “Doing work with a sense of purpose is important to me, and I am fortunate to have the privilege to pursue this type of work that fills my soul everyday” – Korina Iribe

Shelby Jackson
Special Deputy & Native Vote Fund Advisor

Shelby is passionate about operationalizing strategies that build grassroots progressive power. Shelby comes from project management at Movement Strategy Center and has nearly a decade of experience building operational infrastructure and systems for emerging social justice organizations. Shelby values radical collaboration and operational integrity and actively explores how movement infrastructure can be nimble, responsive and people-centered. Shelby believes the centralization of indigenous people and wisdom is critical to environmental and social justice movement building and is continuously inspired through her work cultivating power with Native organizers. Shelby holds a B.A. in Anthropology from Dartmouth College and is Board Treasurer of Native Youth Leadership Alliance. A member of the Cherokee Nation, Shelby is originally from Broken Arrow, Oklahoma and currently resides in Austin, Texas with her best friend Nebula, a beautiful mutt rescue from Taiwan.

Jillian Johnson
North Carolina State Advisor

Jillian is the current Mayor Pro Tempore of the City of Durham, a long-time community organizer and activist, and a mother of two. Jillian is a co-founder of Durham for All, an organization working to build a multi-racial, cross-class, political vehicle in Durham. She is also on the national board of Local Progress, a network of progressive local elected officials, and co-chair our state chapter. Jillian is also active in the labor movement and was one of nearly 1,000 people arrested in 2013 as part of North Carolina’s Moral Monday movement.

Jackie Kaplan-Perkins
Senior Philanthropic Advisor
Jackie Kaplan-Perkins has been a leader in Chicago’s non-profit, philanthropic and political communities for nearly three decades. Jackie has served as Finance Director for Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky, and held senior staff positions at the Chicago Foundation for Women, the Shriver Center for Poverty Law, and Human Rights Watch.  In addition, Jackie had been recognized with fellowships in the Rockefeller Foundation’s Next Generations Leadership Program, Leadership Greater Chicago, and American Jewish World Service Justice Program.    Jackie’s community involvement has included serving on the Finance Committee for Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s campaign, as co-chair for (then) Senator Barack Obama’s LGBT Outreach Committee as well as on the board of directors of numerous organizations including Community Media Workshop, Horizon Community Center (now the Center on Halsted), Public Allies, The Chicago Reporter, The Peace Museum and is on the Braintrust of Chicago Ideas Week.   A lifelong Chicagoan and daughter of immigrants, Jackie grew up on the north side in the late 70s where she spent her time watching the Cubs, listening to Styx, reading socialist Cuban newspapers with her father and pitching pennies in the basement of Congregation Ezra Israel.  Jackie lives in Chicago with her wife, son and a menagerie of pets.  
Zakiya Lord
Senior Philanthropic Advisor

Zakiya proudly hails from the tiny island of Bermuda. She identifies as a Black, lesbian, immigrant parent. Over her 19-year career, Zakiya has led teams of individuals and projects in the nonprofit sector; for private institutions; local governments; as well as for quasi-non-governmental organizations across Alabama, Chicago, Bermuda and New York City. Guided by her training, and experiences as a clinical therapist, her work in recent years has centered around the the mobilization of resources to advance LGBTQI rights, through the lens of race and gender, and has included the Astraea Lesbian Foundation for Justice, and Lambda Legal Defense and Education Fund. Zakiya is a founding board member of OUTBermuda, and currently serves as their Deputy Director. She also serves on BYP100’s inaugural C3 board of directors. Zakiya and her wife live in Brooklyn, where they are raising their 6-year old son—who is Black boy joy, and magic.

Tony Mack
Maine & New Hampshire State Advisor

Since 2006, Tony Mack has consulted to grassroots organizations, providing strategic support around what is now called integrated voter engagement — electoral organizing, policy advocacy and grassroots base-building. Since early 2017, he has also been advising progressive donors around 501(c)(3) and 501(c)(4) funding strategies. From May – November of 2016, Tony ran a coordinated campaign of New Hampshire’s c3 and c4 base-building organizations to increase turnout among the lowest turnout voters in the state’s urban communities. From 2012 to 2016, Tony served as Director of the Massachusetts’ State Voices affiliate, the MA Voter Table, a network of community-based c3’s doing civic engagement organizing in low-income communities and communities of color. From 1998-2005, Tony worked for Neighbor to Neighbor Massachusetts, first as an organizer and then regional director, organizing residents of low-income communities and progressive coalitions around economic justice issues and elections. Previously, he spent five years working in international development, as a consultant and program officer collaborating with non-governmental organizations in Latin America. He has a master’s degree in Urban and Environmental Policy from Tufts University.

Noah Maier
Donor Organizing Manager

Noah became politically active after he was kicked out of high school for being gay. Since that time, he has exacted his revenge on the bad guys by raising millions of dollars for progressive politicians and causes around the United States. He took a brief break from the campaign trail to work for the ACLU and to head up marketing for one of the top innovation consulting firms in Silicon Valley. Noah is so wonky about fundraising that his license plate says “CALLTIME.” He’s a loving husband to Kayden, caretaker to a very spoiled cat, a published culinary and fine art photographer, and a table tennis enthusiast.

Jamila Martin
Michigan State Advisor

Jamila Martin is a founding Co-Director of 482Forward, an education organizing network in Detroit. She was born and raised in Boston, MA, and graduated from Harvard with a BA in Government. After organizing in college with United Students Against Sweatshops, she became a union organizer for the Service Employees International Union (SEIU). Jamila spent the next decade organizing parents, students, educators, and community members in Detroit to win strong and equitable public education.  Jamila loves dogs, pizza, and home renovation shows.

Alex Melman
Design & Technology Manager

Alex is an engineer and designer based in Madison, WI. He has built sites and web tools for progressive organizations across the country. Before Alex started focusing on pixels, code, and data, he worked as an organizer, researcher, writer, and cook. He holds a B.A. in Economics and Environmental Studies from Brandeis University. When Alex isn’t in front of a computer screen, you might find him singing songs, baking treats for his friends and family, walking in the woods, or watering his 70 houseplants.

Tom Mendelsohn
Senior Consultant, Local Donor Organizing

Tom is a long-time progressive whose work has focused on the not-for-profit sector for more than 30 years. He works with executives, boards, and other leaders to plan more effectively and build strong management systems and habits. He also has experience in the technical aspects of management including information systems, financial management, and business process re-engineering.

Since September 2018, Tom has focused a majority of his time supporting MVP as a part-time consultant and full-time volunteer. He co-leads the Eastern MA MVP local team with Tony Mack. Tom and a team of MVP volunteers innovate around house parties and other efforts to help spread the word about MVP and organize networks in order to fund the local groups organizing across the country. He also helps develop tools and systems for use across MVP.

Tom received his Masters in Management from the Heller School at Brandeis University in 1989, and earned an undergraduate degree at the University of Michigan in Environmental Education in 1984.

Yulissa Arce Mendez
Climate Vote Fund Director

Yulissa (She/Her/Ella) is a fierce advocate for the environmental & climate justice social movements in the United States and Puerto Rico. Her experience is rooted in community organizing, movement building, and dismantling systems of oppression. Yulissa seeks to support social movements through accompaniment and looks to continue shifting traditional philanthropy’s ways to one that recognizes, centers, and trusts indigenous, afro-descendant, queer, and frontline experience and knowledge.

She is a first generation diaspora Boricua who grew up in Orlando, FL. She holds a Bachelors of Arts in Interdisciplinary Studies with concentrations in Behavioral Sciences and Art History and a minor in Religious Studies from the University of Central Florida. When not working she enjoys quiet walks among the trees, foraging and making herbal medicines, and dancing to all kinds of Caribbean music.

Mary Kate Mueller
Deputy of Internal Operations & Data Systems

Mary Kate Mueller is passionate about building data systems and operations that accelerate organizational success and promote internal and external collaboration. Mary Kate received her B.A. in Global Studies with a minor in International Relations from LIU Global College, where she studied languages and decolonial frameworks and perspectives on global issues such as forced migration and interreligious conflict in twelve countries on five continents. Mary Kate comes with over seven years of experience in supporting local grassroots organizations across the globe with behind the scenes operational support. Creating art, playing violin, and drinking coffee are the fuel to her fire.

Jodeen Olguin-Tayler
Senior Advisor

Jodeen has nearly two decades of experience leading movement and field building initiatives that center gender and racial equity. Whether it be through building national field infrastructure, running national civic engagement programs, or organizing and advocacy, Jodeen is recognized by the field for leading innovative projects that build cross-sector strategic partnerships and advance values-based campaigns. Her past experience includes Program Officer at the Wellspring Philanthropic Fund where she led work funding voter participation, civic engagement and state-based strategies. She previously served as the Vice President of Campaigns & Partnerships at Demos, Campaigns Director for the National Domestic Workers’ Alliance, and Deputy-Field Director for She also serves on several boards, including as the Board Chair for the Movement Strategy Center.

As a SouthWest born Chicana from a family of sheep ranchers, Jodeen brings a strong movement building orientation to her work, and is a practitioner of social change strategies that integrate normative and cultural change work with systems change and structural transformation. In 2017 she and her partner launched a major new collaboration called Baby Alé. They are parenting from Brooklyn, NY but as frequently as possible they escape to her natural mountain habitat in Colorado and New Mexico.

Myrna Orozco
Director of State Partnerships

Originally from Ciudad Juarez, in Chihuahua, Mexico, Myrna Orozco immigrated to the United States with her family at the age of 4. She has been organizing locally and nationally for over a decade and has joined MVP as Director of State Partnerships. Before joining MVP she worked as the Sanctuary Communications and Organizing Associate for Church World Service (CWS), where she helped coordinate the National Sanctuary Movement. In this capacity Myrna worked with coalitions across the country and provided training and technical assistance for those engaging in Sanctuary work. She also began a leadership development program for people directly impacted and continues to carry on some of that support in her current role at MVP. Myrna has also served in various capacities with immigrant rights organizations, serving as the Associate Director for the United We Dream Network (UWD) and as board president for the Immigrant Justice Advocacy Movement (IJAM). IJAM is the only immigrant-led, interfaith, community organization that is solely focused on immigration issues in the Kansas City metro area. She is a recipient of various awards including the prestigious Ohtli Award presented by the Mexican Embassy as well as the First Annual John Backer Award from Church World Service for outstanding advocacy for immigrants’ and refugees’ rights. Myrna currently resides in Houston, TX.

JP Peralta
Capacity-Building Program Coordinator

JPP (they/them/theirs) is a non-binary queer fat Colombian/Latinx organizer and movement builder who dreams of finding new ways of loving, organizing, and building each other in a world that hurts a lot. JPP has been educating and organizing around issues of gender, sexuality, class, reproductive justice, prison justice, racial justice, and disability justice for over 17 years. JPP served as Director of Outreach & Community Engagement and co-director of the Movement Building Team at the Sylvia Rivera Project from 2014-2018 and as a collective member from 2014-2019. Most recently JPP was in the role of Director of Economic Justice Initiatives at the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Community Center in New York City and Program Lead for Gender Conference*NYC 2020. JPP is an avid home cook, novice sewer, and an abolitionist.

Carolina Ramirez
Deputy Director of State Partnerships

Carolina is originally from Coahuila, Mexico and at the age of 4 migrated with her family to Southeast Texas. She began organizing in her rural town to create solidarity between marginalized communities and has organized nationally and locally for 10 years. Before joining MVP, she served as the Education Equity Manager for the United We Dream Network (UWDN) where she led national and local campaigns to increase access to higher education for undocumented immigrant youth. Prior to that, she served as the Own the Dream Coordinator and led national DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) programs in Texas, New Mexico, Missouri, and Arizona. In 2013, she co-founded the Houston site and chapter United We Dream Houston to serve, empower and organize families beyond DACA. Due to immense curiosity and commitment to her community, she has worn many hats in the movement including trainer and data manager. She graduated from Lamar University with a B.A. in Political Science and Spanish and lives in Houston, Texas.

Montague Simmons
Local Justice Director

Montague Simmons, is a community organizer and human rights activist. As MVP’s Local Justice Director, he supports and connects local justice alliances, as well as local criminal justice related electoral and advocacy campaigns (ie. district attorneys, sheriffs, judges, closing jails, and passing state and local policies). A native of St. Louis, Montague has worked to build movements locally and nationally that are rooted in building Black political power and self-determination, advancing the leadership of oppressed nationalities and gender identities and centering the most marginalized. During the Ferguson Uprisings, Montague was a co-convener of the Don’t Shoot Coalition and at the time led the Organization for Black Struggle.  Since leaving OBS he has continued to work to build just economy, confront police violence and to build alternative structures to advance participatory and protagonist democracy.

Montague is also a leader in the campaign to Close the Workhouse, which aims to close the horrific medium security facility in St. Louis, end the city’s unconstitutional pre-trial detention practices, and shift public safety resources toward a focus on Community Wellness.  He continues to be a part of the growing ecosystem of organizations that are the Movement for Black Lives (M4BL). With its beginnings in the Ferguson Uprisings the M4BL has engaged some of the most brilliant and visionary Black thinkers and organizers of our day and through cooperation and coordination has now taken the mantle to continue our generations long fight for liberation.

Kati Sipp
Pennsylvania State Advisor

Kati Sipp is the Principal of New Working Majority, a consulting firm. She is also the editor of the blog Hack the Union, which focuses on the intersections of work, organizing and technology. Prior to her work with NWM, she served as the Managing Director for the National Guestworkers Alliance. She founded the Pennsylvania affiliate of the Working Families Party, and spent nine years working for SEIU Healthcare Pennsylvania, serving as the statewide Political Director and Executive Vice President of the local.

Kati began working with SEIU in California in 1997, where she was an internal organizer, working with classified school employees. She left California in 1999 to move back to the East Coast, and worked for the Philadelphia Unemployment Project, where she organized mothers who were affected by changes in the state’s welfare policy. After leaving PUP, she spent time as the director of the Jobs with Justice affiliate in Philadelphia, before going back to SEIU.

Kati is the proud mother of Alina and Isaac. She holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from Mason Gross School of the Arts, Rutgers University.

Eugenio “Owen” K. Smith
Capacity-Building Director

Eugenio Smith, a Wisconsin-born social justice advocate, brings over 14 years of community and political organizing, social justice education, training and facilitation, leadership development and organizational coaching experience to their consulting work. Eugenio, who uses they/them pronouns, currently supports leaders and social justice organizations to create engaging educational and political campaigns that forge results by lifting up intersectional frameworks with high-impact skills building. Eugenio served the reproductive justice movement as Capacity Building Manager for Western States Center where they worked with organizations to be more inclusive for all and to become reproductive, LGBTQ, immigrant and racial justice champions. Prior to Western States, Eugenio was Program Director at Equality Utah, where they worked to advance LGBTQ nondiscrimination policy. Before moving west, Eugenio worked for Equality Maryland, focusing on coalition building, leadership management, community education, and organizing for transgender inclusive nondiscrimination policy, the DREAM Act, and marriage equality in the legislature and at the ballot box.

Naomi Sobel
Senior Philanthropic Advisor

Naomi Sobel has ten years of experience in the donor organizing and social change sectors. A writer, organizer, fundraising coach, and queer Jewish femme, she grew up in New York and now lives in Boston. Most recently, Naomi spent five years on staff at Astraea Lesbian Foundation for Justice, raising funds from individual donors to advance LGBTQI human rights around the globe. Naomi serves on the board of a family foundation, the Tikkun Olam Foundation, and on the steering committee of Nehar Shalom Community Synagogue; she also spent two years on the planning committee for Making Money Make Change, an annual gathering where approximately 100 young people explore issues related to wealth, privilege, philanthropy, and participation in grassroots movements for justice and equality. Naomi holds an AB in Gender Studies and Jewish Studies from the University of Chicago and an MA in American Studies from Columbia University.

Lisa Tracy
Senior Donor Advisor, Northern California

Lisa is a lifelong activist who started out at age 16 as a rural youth organizer for Young Democrats of Oregon. She is known for her outstanding contributions to the environmental movement in Russia, where her 30th birthday was celebrated on national TV.

As Principal of Philanthropy Vision – a consultancy for family foundations and individual donors – since 2002, Lisa is focused on the question of “gaps,” where a little bit of money, strategically applied (to a group you’ve probably never heard of!) can swing everything. Lisa has been giving workshops on political giving for progressive donors since 2016.

Lisa has also advised larger philanthropies such as Hewlett Foundation, John and Wauna Harman Foundation, Global Greengrants Fund, Changemakers, and Women’s Funding Network. She is part-time Executive Director at Callison Foundation, which funds educational equity and senior services in the Bay Area. A Chartered Advisor in Philanthropy and a Certified Coach, Lisa holds a B.A. from Amherst College.

Lisa brings passion, irreverence, and an adventurous perspective to her work. A fan of the path rarely taken, each summer she designs and attempts a unique, solo off-trail backpacking route across the Sierra and back. She lives in Oakland, California.

Joshua Vincent
Senior Organizer

Joshua Vincent is a musician and a community organizer. He previously served as a lead organizer and African American outreach coordinator for the 2008 Obama for America campaign (Obama 1.0) and as the State Coordinator & Political Director for the NC NAACP in 2012. In 2014 Josh was the Field Director for Ignite NC and currently works for the Movement Voter Project. As a musician, Joshua has worked with Grammy award winning poets, vocalists and producers such as J. Ivy, Tarrey Torrae, and Buckwild and 9th Wonder. Joshua is also one half of the musical production/hip hop duo Beatnam Vets. They have opened for artists such as Erykah Badu and Lupe Fiasco. Josh and his brother co-wrote part of the score for the second season of Arron McGruder’s The Boondocks on Cartoon Network. Recently, the twin scored the first documentary on the uprising in Ferguson called “Ferguson a Report from an Occupied Territory”, featured on the Fusion Network.

Billy Wimsatt
Founder & Executive Director

Billy has 20 years of experience in journalism (published in Chicago Tribune, Washington Post, etc), social entrepreneurship (co-founded several organizations including the League of Young Voters, Ready for Warren, Solidaire, and Rebuild the Dream), philanthropy (co-founded Solidaire and consults for individual donors and family foundations), and consulting (Obama Campaign,, Rock the Vote, Ohio Democratic Party, Green For All).

Syd Yang
Senior Donor Advisor - West Coast
Syd Yang is a mixed race/Taiwanese American queer healer, writer and social justice warrior who weaves together magic, possibility and intention as an energy healer + intuitive counselor in the world. Syd has been working with individuals and small groups for close to 20 years to support liberation and healing in life-affirming ways, rooting deep into their cultural, ancestral and indigenous practices. Syd works with individuals as well as regularly leads workshops, community healing circles and has been a group facilitator for over two decades, with a specific focus on grief, healing ancestral trauma (specifically around race and class), sexuality + spirituality, body liberation and eating disorder recovery. 

The core of their work focuses on the lived and inherited experiences of women of color and queer + trans people. Over the years, Syd has worked extensively with young women, queer folks + emerging artists as a counselor and coach, as well as a philanthropic advisor and giving coach to families + young inheritors working to align their resources and power with social justice values. They are the author of several books and curriculum on philanthropy and healing justice, such as: The World Belongs to Us: Young Women, Leadership + Philanthropy (2003), Legacy + Innovation (values based giving in families) (2007), and Release: A Bulimia Story (2018). In the early 2000s, Syd served as a Senior Program Officer at the Women’s Foundation of California then later joined Changemakers as their Program Director. Syd also was on the board of Resource Generation for several years and was an early contributor to the racial justice and donor of color organizing work with RG.

In all areas of their work, Syd supports individuals and communities in balancing the energies of their bodies that are rooted in trauma, limiting beliefs and negative emotions that may be creating internal resistance to a sense of wholeness, spiritual well-being and liberation.