Meet Our Team

Reema Ahmad
Wisconsin State Advisor & Muslim Voter Fund Director

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.

Caleb Arring
Legal Compliance and Training Manager

Caleb Arring (he/him) is an attorney and advocate with a passion for social justice. Caleb has spent much of his life working with and supporting the LGBTQ Community. Prior to joining MVP Caleb worked as an immigration attorney, working primarily with LGBTQ and HIV+ immigrants seeking asylum in the United States. In addition, Caleb has worked with the transgender community, providing legal information to folks to help them advocate for their rights. Caleb has also volunteered his time organizing and canvassing for political campaigns.

Caleb has a Bachelor’s degree in Political Science from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, and a Juris Doctorate from Golden Gate University, School of Law. His breadth of legal experience includes direct client advocacy, litigation, arguing at the Ninth Circuit, and providing large-scale general legal information.

Caleb is a queer trans man who enjoys life with his husband and their cats. When Caleb and his husband aren’t at home with their cats, they enjoy going out to drag shows, vegan restaurants, and finding whatever adventures life has to offer.

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.

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.

Zoe Braunstein
Foundation Relations Manager

Zoe Braunstein (she/her) comes to MVP after years of supporting grantmaking work at Tides Foundation. Outside of work, she is a DIY-er with a soft spot for all things fiber arts. Originally from Maryland, she now lives in Brooklyn with her rescue dog.

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.

Regina Clemente
Director, Western Rural and Plains States Project

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.

Shakira Ferrell
Development Operations Manager

Shakira Ferrell is a social entrepreneur and veteran strategist dedicated to expanding ecosystems of support and committed partnerships for impact-driven domestic and international organizations focused on veritable systems change. Her work centers on building responsive, agile fundraising infrastructure, and creating near and long-term strategic plans that help lead organizations from an early growth stage to maturity and sustainability.

Shakira serves as an advisory board member to Open Architecture Collaborative, a global network of local chapters inspiring ownership and civic engagement in traditionally marginalized communities and reimagining place-based solutions by facilitating participatory community design and delivering small build services in partnership with the local communities.

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.

Rachel Gordon
Special Deputy to the Executive Director

Rachel is an organizer, activist, political nerd, and systems thinker who is passionate about shifting power and resources to the grassroots. Her professional experience spans a number of fields; most recently, she was Co-Executive Director at a sexual and domestic violence crisis center, and has worked in nonprofit management and operations, political campaign management, social science research, experiential education, and risk and crisis management. Rachel has also co-founded several local social and racial justice groups, and serves on the boards of Asylum Access, an international refugee rights organization, and the Public Health Institute of Western Massachusetts. She holds a B.A. in history and gender studies from Macalester College and M.A.s in urban planning and international affairs from Tufts University and its Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy. Originally from central Illinois, she now lives in Greenfield, Massachusetts with her pit bull, Lionel Richie.

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
Senior Manager, Systems & Data

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.

Jodi Jacobson
Senior Director of Foundation Relations & Philanthropic Advisor

Jodi is a former non-profit founder and executive director, advocate, lobbyist, policy analyst, journalist, and fundraiser. Jacobson was the first Director of Advocacy at American Jewish World Service; a senior researcher at the Worldwatch Institute; senior policy analyst for energy and environment at the National Governors Association; the founder and executive director for 13 years of the Center for Health and Gender Equity (focused on global human rights reproductive and sexual rights, and public health); leader of an 80-organization coalition on global HIV and AIDS; and for ten years the president and editor-in-chief of Rewire.News, which she built from a readership of fewer than 50,000 readers annually to more than 8,000,000 readers per year. She has helped shape U.S. and United Nations policies on reproductive health, HIV and AIDS, immigration and refugees, and violence against women, and consulted for numerous organizations, including the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, the Ford Foundation, and the Population Council. Jodi has been quoted in the Lancet, BMJ, and The Economist and national daily news media including the New York Times, the Washington Post, and the Wall Street Journal. She has written numerous articles and papers and is the co-author of several books.

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.

Aditi Juneja
Chief of Staff

Aditi is an organizer, lawyer and writer. She most recently worked at Protect Democracy leading a new team to reform our political culture in 2021, building the National Taskforce on Election Crises in 2020, and building the communications team prior to that. While at Protect Democracy, she served on the senior leadership team, led hiring and onboarding, and helped the org scale with various staffing and team models. Before joining Protect Democracy, Aditi co-founded and led the Resistance Manual and In that role, she worked to help democratize policy information for organizers who were looking to engage in the fight for a more equitable and just America. She was named to Forbes 30 Under 30 for Law and Policy in 2018 for that work. She has previously written for NPR, Vox, Bustle, The Root, and Talking Points Memo. She holds a B.A. in Economics from Connecticut College and a J.D. from New York University School of Law. She is also currently on the advisory board for Headcount and is on the board of the Disability Rights Fund.

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.  
Jane Lerner
Donor Advisor

Jane is a writer, editor, and political organizer who lives in Brooklyn, New York. Originally from Chicago, she attended the University of California, Santa Cruz, and has called NYC home for almost 20 years. In her writing career, Jane has produced content for major entities, agencies, and events such as Rockefeller Center, Red Bull, YouTube, the Guggenheim, Coachella, the Brooklyn Flea, and the City of New York; as a journalist she has been published by NPR, NY Post, Time Out, New York Magazine, and dozens more. Her concentration has always been on social justice issues, art and culture, and food and travel. Jane is also the organizer of BK Swappers, a Brooklyn-based larder swap and food-community gathering. The 2016 election galvanized her as a philanthropist and organizer, inspiring her to both be more generous in her own political giving and motivate others to do the same. Jane joined the team at Movement Voter Project in early 2019, and works with donors and volunteers in NYC and across the country.

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.

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.

Tracy Olson
Data Coordinator
Tracy lives in Boise, ID with her husband, two children and dog. She grew up in rural Massachusetts and made her way out West in her early twenties in search of adventure.  She holds a Bachelor of Science in Resource Management from the University of Rhode Island and a Bachelor of Science in Nursing from the University of Colorado Health Sciences Center. Her previous work before landing at MVP included being a research nurse, school nurse and real estate professional. Tracy is a volunteer leader for Reclaim Idaho, the grassroots organization that got Medicaid Expansion on the ballot and won. She is passionate about bringing more political balance to her home state of Idaho.
Myrna Orozco
Senior Director of Grantmaking and Philanthropic Strategy

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.

Causten Rodriguez-Wollerman
Vice President of Programs

Causten E. Rodriguez-Wollerman is passionate about strategy and people. With his nearly 20 years of social change work, he has experience at the local, state, and national level. He has led campaigns and managed capacity building and leadership development programs. Most recently he was Deputy Director of Campaigns for the American Civil Liberties Union, focusing on immigration and racial justice advocacy. In 2017, Causten was Director of Partnerships for Demos, where he led national coalitions, supported a network of people of color leaders reforming democracy, and led the dissemination of the Race Class Narrative. Causten has trained hundreds of organizers across the country with Re:Power (formerly Wellstone Action), supported dozens of campaigns across the country with the LGBTQ Task Force, and ran leadership development programs specifically with leaders from marginalized communities. His career began as a racial justice organizer in Denver CO, where he led campaigns that attempted to stop the building of a jail and address the overrepresentation of youth of color in the criminal justice system. Causten is passionate about finding strategic solutions to our biggest problems that build power and change people’s everyday lives for the better. He is dedicated to supporting new leaders. Causten currently lives in Brooklyn with his toddler, partner, pandemic puppy, and two cats. 

Jacqueline Saavedra
Legal Compliance and Training Manager

Jacqueline Saavedra is a community organizer and legal advocate. She is passionate about helping all people understand, navigate and change the legal systems that impact our daily and aspirational lives.

Jacqueline is the daughter of Mexican immigrants and a first-generation college graduate. She holds a Juris Doctorate degree with a focus on International/Global Studies from the University of Missouri—Kansas City. She graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Political Science and Spanish from Rockhurst University.

She is a member of the Missouri Bar, a board member of the Latino Texas PAC and in her spare time volunteers as the president of the Prospanica Houston Chapter, a professional association for Hispanic professionals.

Jacqueline lives in Houston, TX with her partner and two fur children, Dally and Bruno.  

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.

Zo Tobi
Director of Donor Organizing

Zo Tobi (he/him) leads our efforts to empower our donors to fundraise for MVP in their communities and spheres of influence. Zo is an organizer, songwriter, & leadership coach, whose passion is helping people play their authentic part in fulfilling MLK’s dream of Beloved Community.

Why MVP? In Zo’s words: “When my daughter was born, I vowed to do all I could to leave her a livable climate, a culture healed from racism and colonialism, and a thriving society with no one left out. Progressive political power is the key to this, and the best way I know to create it is through MVP, supporting the grassroots groups doing the year-round organizing and Get-Out-The-Vote work in the elections that decide the balance of power.”

Zo has studied with organizer Marshall Ganz, and helped envision & execute a campaign of 50+ organizations turning out hundreds of thousands of climate voters in 2008. As a coach since 2010, he has supported hundreds of leaders at every level, from organizers to managers, directors, executives, founders, funders, fundraisers, & board chairs, in organizations including ACLU, Carolina Federation, Sunrise Movement, Sierra Club,, Avaaz, & Greenpeace. Zo lives in New Hampshire with his wife Kelly & daughter Ayla.

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.

Billy Wimsatt
Founder & Executive Director

Billy has more than 25 years of experience in journalism, philanthropy, organizing, and social entrepreneurship, and has advised hundreds of donors to strategically invest tens of millions of dollars in hundreds of organizations and initiatives in 48 states, often with crucial seed funding to start, to scale, to launch c4s and PACs, and to voterize their work. He prides himself on talent scouting, offering nurturing support and coaching, and facilitating a spirit of strategic collaboration. Over the years his work, in partnership with many others, has helped to swing hundreds of close local, state and Federal elections and to pass hundreds of progressive policies. Founding and building Movement Voter Project (and its c3 counterpart, Movement Voter Fund) has been the culmination of decades of work to support movements and progressive electoral and social change.

Before MVP, Billy co-founded several efforts, including Gamechanger Networks, League of Young Voters, Generational Alliance, Ready for Warren, Solidaire Network, Coffee Party, VOTE MOB, Student Power, and Rebuild the Dream. He has consulted with numerous organizations including the 2008 Obama Campaign,, Rock the Vote, the Ohio Democratic Party, and Green For All. He is the author or editor of six books on social change and his writing has appeared in the Chicago Tribune, Washington Post, The Nation, and Vibe. He has been invited to speak widely, including at Stanford, Yale, Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government, and MIT’s Graduate School of Architecture and Planning. His work has received numerous honors, including a Firecracker Book Award for “Best Political Book of the Year,” “Best Feature Story” from the National Association of Professional Journalists’ Chicago Headline Club, The Source Magazine’s “Power 30”, Utne Magazine’s “Utne Visionary”, Finalist for “Organizer of the Year” with the New Organizing Institute, and a “21st Century Innovator” award from Midwest Academy. Originally from Chicago, Billy lives in Western Massachusetts with his family and two children (who out-organize him on a daily basis).