WHO WE ARE

Government should work for the people.

Our day-to-day experiences of citizenship too closely resemble bureaucratic nightmares—working with an agency can often lead to a confusing mess of paperwork. Whether a person is registering to vote, filing taxes, or starting a business, the unpleasantness of bureaucracy and poor UX design leads to demonstrably worse outcomes.

Our mission is to help policy makers find solutions that make government more efficient, accessible, and responsive to the needs of real human beings.

Our Approach

01

Effective government builds confidence

Whether its election offices, DMVs, or tax departments, a practical and efficient agency system helps promote greater confidence in government and democracy.
02

Government should use the information it has

When people let the government know information about themselves—for example, that they’ve moved, they expect the government to efficiently use that information. If one agency knows you’ve moved or that you’re eligible to register to vote, that information should be shared with other government agencies.
03

One size does not fit all

Each state, county, or city has its own distinct foundation of needs and context that we must build policy from.
04

Adequate resources are crucial

State and local election officials need money and expertise to make government more responsive, efficient, and user-friendly.
05

Innovation can be simple

Policy can radically redesign how government delivers services without a lot of retheorizing by elites—just build policies and procedures that fit existing infrastructure and work the way humans do.
06

Always prioritize effective implementation

All policy should be designed with implementation in mind. Policy only works when it is carefully crafted for the way government offices actually work.

Our Team

Composed of industry-leading experts, the Institute’s team works across disciplines to build a new approach to governance that centers efficiency, efficacy, and accessibility.

Sam Oliker-Friedland

Executive Director
Close team member bio.

Sam Oliker-Friedland

Executive Director

Sam Oliker-Friedland is the Executive Director of the Institute for Responsive Government. Previously, he was a voting rights litigator at the Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division under both the Obama and Trump administrations. Prior to that, he worked on election administration law and data in the nonprofit sector. Sam graduated from Brown University with a degree in Linguistics and has a J.D. from Yale Law School. He’s a Milwaukee native and lives in Chicago, IL.

Neal Ubriani

Policy and Research Director
Close team member bio.

Neal Ubriani

Policy and Research Director

As Policy Director, Neal helps states and local jurisdictions research, develop, and implement policy solutions to make government more efficient, accessible, and responsive. Prior to joining IRG, Neal was a voting rights litigator at the Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division under both the Obama and Trump administrations. Neal is a native of New York, and a graduate of Yale University and Columbia Law School.

Ashish Sinha

Chief of Staff
Close team member bio.

Ashish Sinha

Chief of Staff

Ashish serves as Chief of Staff with the Institute for Responsive Government. Additionally, Ashish also directs a national Implementation Working Group of technical assistance experts who assist states in the implementation of new election and voter registration policies. Previously, he worked in philanthropy for several years to strengthen philanthropic investment in civic engagement across the country. Ashish is a Maryland native and currently a MBA candidate at the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University in Illinois.

Sarah Hendrick

Legislative Policy Manager
Close team member bio.

Sarah Hendrick

Legislative Policy Manager

Sarah serves as Legislative Policy Manager with the Institute for Responsive Government. Before a brief pause to earn her J.D., Sarah spent several years at the Idaho Legislature, learning the nuances of crafting state laws, approving administrative rules, and interpreting parliamentary procedure. Sarah is a native Texan and currently resides in Seattle, WA.

Sarah Gonski

Senior Policy Advisor
Close team member bio.

Sarah Gonski

Senior Policy Advisor

As Senior Policy Advisor of the Institute for Responsive Government, Sarah helps states and local jurisdictions design and implement policy solutions to make government more efficient, accessible, and responsive. Prior to joining IRG, Sarah spent seven years as voting rights litigator in private practice. Sarah lives in Phoenix, Arizona, and is a graduate of the University of Maryland - College Park and Harvard Law School.

Michele Felski-Smith

Policy and Research Coordinator
Close team member bio.

Michele Felski-Smith

Policy and Research Coordinator

Michele serves as Policy and Research Coordinator for the Institute for Responsive Government. Previously, she spent several years as a research consultant in the voting rights world – providing research on all kinds of topics relating to election policies and assisting policy experts understand the lay of the land. Prior to that, Michele worked as a historical researcher, and as a state archivist. Michele has a degree in history from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She grew up in Milwaukee, Wisconsin and now lives in Seattle.

Dan Meuse

Fellow
Close team member bio.

Dan Meuse

Fellow

Dan is the Founding Partner at Olden Street Advisors. Dan spent more than a decade in Rhode Island government, managing elections, developing policy, and navigating state leadership through the health care debates and the implementation of the Affordable Care Act. He then joined the faculty at Princeton University where he serves as a Lecturer in Public Affairs and expert on health care policy. Dan has a passion for open, accessible government that works for everyday people. Dan received his BA from Brown University and his MBA from Providence College with highest honors.

Sonya Schwartz

Fellow
Close team member bio.

Sonya Schwartz

Fellow

Sonya has spent more than twenty years advocating to improve access to health care and reduce poverty. As part of her current work as a public policy consultant, Sonya collaborates with organizations working to improve access to public benefit programs; protect children and immigrants’ rights; and modernize voter registration systems. Sonya leads issue advocacy campaigns; develops and implements advocacy strategy; organizes diverse stakeholders and finds areas of agreement; and builds coalitions and facilitates partnerships. Sonya also advises clients on approach to policy and program changes, analyzes federal and state laws and policies; identifies experts; scans and evaluates policy environments; and conducts qualitative policy research. Sonya holds strong relationships in the progressive advocacy community and government at the federal and state level. Sonya’s clients have included the National Immigration Law Center, Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, The Children’s Partnership, Children’s Defense Fund-NY, Kaiser Family Foundation, Center for Secure and Modern Elections, Colorado Center for Health Progress, and California Planned Parenthood Education Fund. Sonya most recently worked as Co-Chair of the Protecting Immigrant Families Campaign, and as a Senior Policy Attorney at the National Immigration Law Center. Sonya has served as a Research Fellow and Faculty Member at Georgetown University’s McCourt School of Public Policy; a Program Director at the National Academy for State Health Policy (NASHP); and worked at Families USA and the Food Research &; Action Center early in her career. Sonya holds a JD from the UCLA School of Law Program in Public Interest Law and Policy, and a BA in political science and Italian from Middlebury College.

John Lindback

Fellow
Close team member bio.

John Lindback

Fellow

John Lindback first entered the field of elections administration in 1995 and has made it his personal goal for the past 27 years to make voter registration and voting work better for both voters and elections officials. John served from 2014 to 2017 as the Executive Director of the Electronic Registration Information Center (ERIC), the consortium of states using state-of-the-art technology to improve the accuracy of their voter registration rolls and improve access to voter registration for US citizens Prior to joining ERIC, he served as a Senior Officer for Election Initiatives at the Pew Charitable Trusts, providing key leadership on Pew’s portfolio of work in election administration, including a Pew project that assisted with the creation of ERIC. Prior to joining Pew, Lindback worked for 14 years in state elections administration. He served for eight years as Director of Elections in the Oregon Secretary of State’s Office. During his tenure with the Oregon Secretary of State he was elected president in 2008 of the National Association of State Elections Directors. He was also elected to serve on the executive board of the U.S. Elections Assistance Commission’s Standards Advisory Board. Prior to his work in Oregon, John worked as chief of staff to the lieutenant governor of Alaska for six years, which included administrative oversight of the Alaska Division of Elections. In addition, he served on a National Academy of Sciences panel that studied state voter registration databases. John volunteered as an advisor to Design for Democracy, an organization that assisted elections officials with designing voter-friendly ballots and other elections materials. He has also served as a volunteer international elections observer for the US State Department. He observed elections in Azerbaijan, Bosnia-Herzogovina, Kyrgyzstan, and the Republic of Georgia. Lindback holds a B.A. degree in journalism (1976) from the University of Arizona.

Whitney May

Fellow
Close team member bio.

Whitney May

Fellow

Whitney May is Director of Government Services with the Center for Tech and Civic Life. She leads a team that’s making US elections more inclusive and secure by delivering tools, training, and best practices to America’s election officials. Prior to CTCL, Whitney served the Durham County Board of Elections in North Carolina from 2007 to 2012 then joined the New Organizing Institute to work on the Voting Information Project in Washington, D.C. Whitney is the recipient of the 2020 Skoll Award for Social Entrepreneurship.

Whitney Quesenbery

Fellow
Close team member bio.

Whitney Quesenbery

Fellow

Whitney Quesenbery is the director of the Center for Civic Design, solving democracy as a design problem and creating a voter experience that invites everyone to participate. The Center’s work to modernize voter registration and design usable mail ballot envelopes, accessible ranked choice voting, and better voter guides has made it easier for people across the country to vote. Center for Civic Design is proud to be a partner in the U.S. Alliance for Election Excellence. Whitney’s 3 books — A Web for Everyone: Designing accessible user experiences, Storytelling for User Experience, and Global UX — center users in the creative process.

Jackie Wu

Fellow
Close team member bio.

Jackie Wu

Fellow

Jackie Wu is an experienced consultant who specializes in nonprofit advocacy, civic engagement, communications, and grant writing. She has been featured on NPR, Los Angeles Times, and CalMatters and has provided presentations and workshops on voting and the election process to numerous local and statewide organizations. Prior to starting J Wu Consulting, Jackie worked as the Community Outreach Manager for the Orange County Registrar of Voters where she oversaw the translation of election materials in 9 languages, election worker training, pop-up voting, social media, media, legislation, and outreach to approximately 2 million voters in the fifth largest voting jurisdiction in the United States. Following the highly controversial and scrutinized 2020 General Election, Jackie felt deeply impacted by the false accusations of voting and election fraud that sought to undermine voting rights. She experienced an epiphany after the January 6, 2021 Capitol insurrection, which Jackie felt called to utilize her experiences and knowledge to play a more direct role in empowering historically excluded communities to realize their political power and potential. Jackie's past work experiences include working for the City of Palos Verdes Estates, Orange County Asian & Pacific Islander Community Alliance (OCAPICA), and the California State Senate. Having worked in nonprofit advocacy and government agencies of differing levels enables her to develop innovative and resourceful solutions with multiple perspectives. Jackie is a graduate of UC Irvine with a bachelor’s degree in Political Science and holds a certificate in Advanced Public Engagement for Local Government from Pepperdine University and in Applied Compassion from Stanford University.

Kathleen Sebelius

Advisory Board Member
Close team member bio.

Kathleen Sebelius

Advisory Board Member

Kathleen Sebelius is one of America’s foremost experts on national and global health issues, human services, and executive leadership. As CEO of Sebelius Resources LLC, she providesstrategic advice to companies, investors, and non-profit organizations. Sebelius chairs the board of Humacyte and serves on the boards of directors of Devoted Health, Exact Sciences, Included Health, and the Kaiser Family Foundation. She co-chairs the Aspen Institute Health Strategy Group and serves on advisory boards for the Dole Institute of Politics, Solera Health, Out Leadership, the Estée Lauder Foundation, Protect Our Care, the University of Kansas College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, and Zipline. Sebelius is honorary co-chair and an advisor to the National Cannabis Roundtable. From April 2009 through June 2014, Sebelius served in President Barack Obama’s Cabinet as the 21st Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services, where she worked to pass and implement the Affordable Care Act. At HHS, Sebelius managed 11 operating agencies, 90,000 employees in 50 countries around the world, and a $1 trillion budget. Forbes named Sebelius one of the 100 most powerful women in the world. Having served as Governor of Kansas from 2003 to 2009, Sebelius is the only daughter of a governor to be elected governor in American history; her late father, John Gilligan, was Governor of Ohio. Time magazine named her one of America’s Top Five Governors. Previous elected offices include two terms as the Kansas insurance commissioner and four terms in the Kansas Legislature. Sebelius earned a master of public administration degree from the University of Kansas and a bachelor of arts degree from Trinity Washington University. She is married to Gary Sebelius, a retired federal magistrate judge. They have two married sons, Ned and John, and four grandchildren.

Steve Bullock

Advisory Board Member
Close team member bio.

Steve Bullock

Advisory Board Member

Born in Missoula, Montana, and raised in Helena blocks away from the State Capitol, Steve Bullock is a product of public schools, graduating from Helena High. He received his undergraduate degree from Claremont McKenna College and law degree from Columbia University School of Law. Bullock served as Montana’s attorney general from 2009-2013. As attorney general, Bullock defended Montana’s hundred year ban on corporate campaign spending, gaining national prominence for leading the challenge to the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision. Bullock was elected Montana’s 24th Governor, serving from 2013-2021. He worked with a Republican-majority legislature to improve access to health care, kick dark money out of state elections, make record investments in education, protect access to public lands, invest in infrastructure, and strengthen Montana’s economy. Bullock brought diverse interests together to address challenging issues, from sage grouse and forest management to the Main Street Montana Project. By executive action, he led the nation in preserving net neutrality and combating dark money. Nationally, Bullock was elected Chair of the National Governors Association, Western Governors Association and Democratic Governors Association. Since leaving public office, he served as an Institute of Politics Fellow at Harvard Kennedy School, is serving as the court appointed Independent Monitor over Purdue Pharma, and is serving on various corporate, political and nonprofit boards and committees. Prior to serving in elected office, Bullock’s jobs included Montana Assistant Attorney General, attorney in private practice, adjunct instructor at George Washington University Law School, and Tour Boat Captain on the Missouri River. Bullock enjoys all things outdoors – hiking, fishing, hunting and running. His most important position is always husband to Lisa and father to Caroline (20), Alexandria (17), and Cameron (15).

Trey Grayson

Advisory Board Member
Close team member bio.

Trey Grayson

Advisory Board Member

Trey Grayson is a member of the Florence, Kentucky office of the law firm Frost Brown Todd and managing director of the firm’s government relations affiliate, CivicPoint. Trey served as a two-term Secretary of State for the Commonwealth of Kentucky. The youngest secretary of state in the country at the time of his election, he served as President of the National Association of Secretaries of State and the Chair of the Republican Association of Secretaries of State. Trey continues to be recognized as a national leader in election modernization, including serving on the bipartisan Presidential Commission on Election Administration following the 2012 election. He currently serves as a board member of Unite America and the Center for Election Innovation and Research and works with several additional groups and organizations to secure and modernize our elections, including Democracy Works, the Secure Elections Project, the National Task Force on Election Crises, and National Council on Election Integrity. He also serves as a member of the advisory committees for States United Democracy Center, Issue One, the Election Official Legal Defense Network, and the National Institute for Civil Discourse. After leaving the Secretary of State's office, Trey returned to his alma mater to serve as the Director of Harvard University’s Institute of Politics from 2011-2014, before returning home to become President & CEO of the Northern Kentucky Chamber of Commerce. He resides in Boone County, Kentucky, with his wife, Nancy, and daughters, Alex and Kate. He received an A.B. with honors from Harvard College in 1994 and a JD/MBA from the University of Kentucky in 1998.

Kathy Boockvar

Advisory Board Member
Close team member bio.

Kathy Boockvar

Advisory Board Member

Kathy Boockvar is Vice President of Election Operations for the Center for Internet Security (CIS), leading its election security initiatives. CIS is a national cybersecurity nonprofit organization working closely with federal, state, and local government to provide the highest standards of election security and cybersecurity practices and systems, and is home to the Election Infrastructure Information Sharing and Analysis Center (EI-ISAC) and the Multi-State Information Sharing and Analysis Center (MS-ISAC). Ms. Boockvar previously served as Pennsylvania Secretary of State and chief election official, leading the Department of State to implement secure and resilient elections, protect the health and safety of the public through professional licensure, and support economic development. Prior to serving as Secretary, Ms. Boockvar was Senior Advisor to the Governor on Election Modernization, where she also worked closely with local, state, and federal officials to strengthen election security and technology. During her tenure as Secretary of State, Ms. Boockvar co-chaired Pennsylvania’s Inter-Agency Election Security and Preparedness Workgroup, strengthened election security measures across the state, implemented the most sweeping election law reforms in over 80 years, and oversaw secure and accessible elections amidst a global pandemic, marked by unparalleled transparency and voter participation. Ms. Boockvar also served as co-chair of the National Association of Secretaries of State (NASS) Business Services Committee from 2020-2021, and as co-chair of the NASS Elections Committee from 2019-2020. She also served as NASS Representative on the Election Infrastructure Subsector Government Coordinating Council (EIS-GCC), a collaboration among federal, state, and local officials to secure elections and ensure that election officials across the country receive timely threat information, support, and resources. Prior to joining the Department of State, Ms. Boockvar was Executive Director of Lifecycle WomanCare, one of the oldest continually-operating birth centers in the United States. She also previously served as Chief Counsel for the Pennsylvania Auditor General. In prior years, Ms. Boockvar served as a poll worker and as a voting-rights attorney. She also worked for over a decade as a private practice attorney with a focus on employment law, and began her career as a nonprofit Legal Services attorney, representing low-income, disabled, and senior clients, and victims of domestic violence. Ms. Boockvar is a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania (B.A. 1990) and the American University, Washington College of Law (J.D. 1993). She received a Performance Leadership Certificate from Cornell University in 2014, and is a member of the Bar of the U.S. Supreme Court, Third Circuit Court of Appeals, U.S. District Courts, and Pennsylvania, New York, and Washington, D.C. courts. In 2017, Ms. Boockvar received a SmartCEO Brava Award that recognizes high-impact female business leaders. She has been a volunteer attorney with Wills for Heroes since 2012, providing essential legal documents free of charge to first responders.

Tiana Epps-Johnson

Advisory Board Member
Close team member bio.

Tiana Epps-Johnson

Advisory Board Member

Tiana Epps-Johnson is Founder and Executive Director with the Center for Tech and Civic Life. She is leading a team that is doing groundbreaking work to make US elections more inclusive and secure. Prior to CTCL, she was the New Organizing Institute’s Election Administration Director from 2012 to 2015. She previously worked on the Voting Rights Project for the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights. Tiana is a 2022 University of Chicago Center for Effective Government Senior Practitioner Fellow, a 2021 Emerson Collective Dial Fellow, a recipient of the 2020 Skoll Award for Social Entrepreneurship, and was selected to join the inaugural cohorts of Obama Foundation Fellows (2018) and Harvard Ash Center Technology and Democracy Fellows (2015). Tiana earned a MSc in Politics and Communication from the London School of Economics and a BA in Political Science from Stanford University.

Jessica Barba Brown

Advisory Board Member
Close team member bio.

Jessica Barba Brown

Advisory Board Member

Jessica Barba Brown is Senior Advisor for the Healthy Democracy Healthy People Initiative. In 2020, she launched and directed We Can Vote, a nonpartisan coalition working to ensure the elections were safe, secure, and successful in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic. We Can Vote partnered with leading public health associations to create and promote Healthy Voting Guides for all 50 states and voting jurisdictions. Prior to helping launch We Can Vote, Jessica was the CEO of the Voter Participation Center, the nation’s largest mail program for voter registration and mobilization of underrepresented communities She previously served as Managing Director for the advocacy division at Planned Parenthood Federation of America during the organization’s largest “defunding” battle in its 100-year history. She also served as National Director of Communications and Organizational Development at Enroll America, the nation’s foremost health care enrollment coalition, during the launch of the Health Care Marketplaces.

Katrina Gamble, PhD

Advisory Board Member
Close team member bio.

Katrina Gamble, PhD

Advisory Board Member

Katrina Gamble, PhD is the founder and president of Sojourn Strategies a social impact consulting firm that works with progressive organizations to build innovative programs and campaigns. Katrina is a researcher, educator, and political strategist that brings more than fifteen years of experience working at the intersection of social justice policy, advocacy campaigns and electoral politics. Katrina has deep and extensive relationships with grassroots organizations across the country – she has combined that network with her campaign experience to support successful pro-democracy campaigns across the country. Prior to founding Sojourn Strategies, Katrina was the national political director at the Center for Popular Democracy (CPD). During her time at CPD she launched the organization’s Voting Rights & Democracy program and provided direct support to more than a dozen state organizations that drove political and GOTV programs that contacted more than 1 million voters across the country. Before moving into the social advocacy space, Katrina was an assistant professor of Political Science at Brown University where she taught and conducted research on race, gender, and identity politics in the United States. Her work on race and political representation can be found in top-peer reviewed journals. In 2009 -10 she was an American Political Science Association Congressional Fellow where she served as a policy adviser in the Office of the Majority Whip for James E. Clyburn (D-SC). Katrina holds a Ph.D. and M.A. in Political Science from Emory University and a B.A. in Government from Smith College.

Kim Anglin Anderson

Advisory Board Member
Close team member bio.

Kim Anglin Anderson

Advisory Board Member

Kim A. Anderson is the Executive Director of the National Education Association (NEA), America’s largest union, representing more than 3 million educators. Anderson's lifelong commitment to breaking down barriers for others has never wavered, and with this appointment, she breaks down one of her own: she will be the first woman and first person of color to serve as NEA executive director. She previously worked at the National Education Association for more than 15 years, leading some of NEA’s most innovative and successful national campaigns. Anderson oversaw NEA’s seminal campaign to pass the Every Student Succeeds Act, the culmination of a 12-year effort to replace the test-and-punish regime of No Child Left Behind. As NEA’s senior director of the Center for Advocacy & Outreach, she led several departments, including: Campaigns and Elections, Collective Bargaining and Member Advocacy, Government Relations, Human and Civil Rights, and Minority Community Organizing and Partnerships. One of her proudest achievements was assisting NEA affiliates to align student-centered advocacy and labor-community partnerships and organizing to enhance public education for students and respect for educators’ expertise. Prior to her role as senior director, Anderson’s work ethic and deep policy expertise, made its mark on a wide variety of legislative issues as she led NEA’s Government Relations division. Here, she led countless federal legislative efforts that positively impacted NEA members and students, including the $10 billion Education Jobs Bill which helped restore dignity to nearly 200,000 educators at the height of the last recession. Before becoming NEA’s Executive Director, Anderson brought her political prowess to bear, serving as the Executive Vice President of the Democracy Alliance (DA) where she managed the DA’s programs, staff, and budget. In this role, she built deep partnerships and coalitions with national and global leaders to develop investment strategies to address numerous democratic concerns - everything from civic empowerment, voting rights and expansion of the electorate, winning state and local elections, progressive leadership development, climate justice, and empowering New American Majority communities. Before joining NEA, she served as deputy legislative director and legal counsel to Sen. Charles Robb of Virginia, where she co-authored legislation on behalf of African-American farmers who had experienced decades of discrimination by USDA officials. The legislation paved the way for one of the largest civil rights settlements in American history at that time. She was an associate at the law firm of Covington and Burling, and is a former member of the Central Committee of the Democratic Party of Virginia. Through decades volunteering for those in need, whether as part of her church community, or serving on the boards of the New American Majority Fund, Voices for Progress, Public Campaign, Every Voice, Learning First Alliance, and Progress Now, Anderson has kept service in support of others as a hallmark of her career and life. Anderson received her undergraduate degree from the College of William and Mary in Williamsburg, Virginia, and received her law degree from The George Washington University where she was a member of the George Washington University Law Review, the Moot Court Board, and was the first African-American woman to serve as president of the Student Bar Association. She and her husband Patrick live in Alexandria, VA and have two children.

Jennifer Morrell

Advisory Board Member
Close team member bio.

Jennifer Morrell

Advisory Board Member

Jennifer Morrell is a partner at The Elections Group, where she creates professional resources for elections officials and consults on election administration and auditing. A nationally recognized expert on election audits – specifically, Risk-Limiting Audits (RLA) – Morrell has successfully overseen RLA pilot programs in several states and authored a series on election audits, titled “Knowing It’s Right.” She serves as a subject matter expert for the U.S. Department of Homeland Security's Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) and is a member of the National Task Force on Election Crises. Since co-founding The Elections Group in 2020, she has focused her work on providing direct support to elections jurisdictions and states. She has consulted and provided guidance on all aspects of elections administration, including mail/absentee ballot processing, ballot drop box implementation, and polling place health and safety considerations. Morrell, who is a veteran of the U.S. Air Force, was an elections official in Utah and Colorado. She is an adjunct faculty member at the University of Minnesota’s Hubert H. Humphrey School of Public Affairs and completed a Master of Arts in Management at Webster University.

Noah Praetz

Advisory Board Member
Close team member bio.

Noah Praetz

Advisory Board Member

Noah is a founding partner of The Elections Group. Formerly he ran elections in Cook County Illinois where he was responsible for management of one of the largest jurisdictions in the country. He consults on election security and administration with local, state and federal agencies. Noah is also an adjunct law professor at DePaul University College of Law and is on the advisory board of the University of Chicago Cyber Policy Institute. He started in elections as a minimum wage temporary worker hired to do data entry prior to the 2000 presidential election. Bush v. Gore had him hooked. Since then he has dedicated his professional life to institutionalizing the trustworthy administration of democracy. In his free time Noah loves to run for hours on the trails and roads of America.

Tom Lopach

Advisory Board Member
Close team member bio.

Tom Lopach

Advisory Board Member

Tom Lopach is President and CEO of the nonprofit and nonpartisan Voter Participation Center (VPC) and the Center for Voter Information (CVI). He leads a team of exceptional staff who use data-driven methods of direct mail and digital engagement to register to vote and turn out to vote members of the New American Majority--people of color, unmarried women, and young people. In 2020, VPC and CVI helped 1.6 million people register to vote and generated more than 4.6 million vote-by-mail ballot applications in key states. Prior to serving at VPC and CVI, Lopach was the Acting Commissioner of Labor and Industry for the State of Montana, a senior adviser to Steve Bullock for President, and Chief of Staff to Montana Governor Steve Bullock. Lopach joined Bullock’s office in August 2017. Previously Lopach served as the Executive Director of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee (DSCC) during the 2015-2016 election cycle under the chairmanship of Senator Jon Tester of Montana. From 2010-2014, Lopach served as Chief of Staff to U.S. Senator Tester. Beginning in 2009, Lopach served as Vice President of Congressional and Intergovernmental Affairs for the Export Import Bank of the United States. In this position, Lopach worked with Chairman Fred Hochberg to develop stronger relationships on Capitol Hill, to increase awareness of Bank support by state and Congressional District, and to create training workshops around the country supporting small businesses accessing export markets. From 2007-2008, Lopach led the fundraising effort at the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee as the National Finance Director. During that cycle the DSCC set fundraising records. From 1999-2006, Lopach worked for Senator Edward M. Kennedy in various capacities with his 2000 and 2006 reelection campaigns, with Kennedy’s leadership PAC, and with Kennedy’s official Senate office overseeing the vetting of President Bush’s cabinet and subcabinet nominees. In 1996, Lopach started his professional career as a field representative for Congressman Pat Williams (Montana) in Helena, Montana. Lopach is a graduate of Gonzaga University and a native of Helena, Montana. He lives and works today in Washington, DC.

Dakota Hall

Advisory Board Member
Close team member bio.

Dakota Hall

Advisory Board Member

Dakota Hall (he/him) is the Executive Director of the Alliance for Youth Action and Alliance for Youth Organizing, the nation’s largest youth grassroots organizing network in the country. An organization that is “of young people, by young people, for all people,” the Alliance works to build political power with young people across the United States. Dakota is a Black and Indigenous (Oneida Nation and Lac Courte Oreilles Tribe) organizer. He was born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin - the state with the best coast, which is the fresh coast! Dakota comes to this work with the experience he gained during his time as a student organizer and Vice President with the United Council of UW Students back in 2012. Additionally, he was able to hone his organizing skills during his time at Milwaukee Inner-city Congregations Allied for Hope (MICAH) as the 53206 Youth Organizer. As the founding Executive Director of Leaders Igniting Transformation (LIT) in Wisconsin, he built the idea of a powerhouse Black and Brown organizing group into reality by growing LIT from a city-based organization into a statewide organization with 18 full-time staff and 20+ part-time staff members. Since its inception, LIT has tackled issues of school to prison/deportation pipeline, student debt, and racial equity issues across Wisconsin. Dakota graduated from the University of Wisconsin Milwaukee with a degree in Finance and a certificate in American Indian Studies. In his free time, you’ll find Dakota on the lake by the freshest coast in the world, hiking across the country, or on a long bike ride looking for the best custard in Wisconsin.

Vanessa Williamson

Advisory Board Member
Close team member bio.

Vanessa Williamson

Advisory Board Member

Vanessa Williamson is a Senior Fellow in Governance Studies at Brookings, and a Senior Fellow at the Urban-Brookings Tax Policy Center. She studies taxation, redistribution, and political participation. She is the author of Read My Lips: Why Americans Are Proud to Pay Taxes, which brings together national survey data with in-depth interviews to explore why Americans view taxpaying as a civic responsibility and moral obligation. She is also the author, with Harvard professor Theda Skocpol, of The Tea Party and the Remaking of Republican Conservatism, which examines how the Tea Party pushed the Republican Party farther to the right. The book was named one of the ten best political books of the year in the New Yorker. Her current book project, Taxation for Representation, traces the role of tax policy in the advances and reversals of American democracy. She has written on school segregation, tax opinion and tax politics in the Washington Post; about the Tea Party, anti-union legislation and voter registration at income tax filing in the New York Times; about taxpayer citizenship in the Atlantic; about philanthropy and austerity and white supremacy in Dissent; and about democracy and organizing for Teen Vogue. She has discussed her research on NPR’s “Marketplace,” CSPAN’s “Washington Journal,” CNN's "Fareed Zakaria GPS," CNBC’s “Squawk Box,” and MSNBC’s “The Rachel Maddow Show.” She received her Ph.D. in Social Policy from Harvard University.

Cristóbal Alex

Advisory Board Member
Close team member bio.

Cristóbal Alex

Advisory Board Member

Cristóbal Alex is a senior government, political and advocacy leader. He serves as head of Tusk Strategies’ DC office and plays a leadership role with Tusk Philanthropies. He is also a Political Analyst on MSNBC. Cristóbal previously served as the White House Deputy Cabinet Secretary linking the White House and Cabinet, supporting agency coordination on a portfolio of President Biden’s top priorities, including the historic American Rescue Plan, Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, and a whole-of-government approach to promote equity. Among Biden for President’s first hires, Cristóbal served as a Senior Advisor to Joe Biden where he helped develop and implement state and national strategy, including the primary campaign’s political and coalition efforts, and served on the Biden-Sanders Unity Taskforce, and later on the Presidential Transition Team. Prior to that, Cristóbal was the founding President of the Latino Victory Fund helping elect more than 70 candidates to office, from the school board to the U.S. Senate. After successfully building the organization, Cristóbal served as Hillary for America’s National Deputy Director of Voter Outreach and Mobilization. Before his transition into politics, Cristóbal spent five years working with George Soros’ Open Society Foundations and the Ford Foundation where he managed more than $75M in grants to strengthen and protect our democracy. Cristóbal started his career as a civil rights lawyer with MacDonald Hoague & Bayless and led the National Campaign to Restore Civil Rights. A native of El Paso, Texas, Cristóbal lives with his wife Taí and two brilliant daughters ages four and one.

Kiki McLean

Advisory Board Member
Close team member bio.

Kiki McLean

Advisory Board Member

Catherine “Kiki” McLean is a leading public affairs and political strategist. McLean is recognized for her record of building successful teams and organizations and developing impactful strategies. She established the Walton Family Political and Communications office which she led for over five years and prior to that was the managing director of Porter Novelli’s Washington DC office, led its global public affairs practice and served on the company’s executive committee. Kiki’s expertise is in strategic communications and public affairs. A veteran of six presidential campaigns, including the historic 1992 Clinton-Gore campaign, she has more than 25 years of experience leading high profile, complicated initiatives in the political and business sectors. She served as senior advisor to the Hillary Clinton for President Campaign in 2008 and has served as spokesperson and led communications for Vice President Al Gore, Senator Joe Lieberman, the Democratic National Committee, and others. Kiki McLean is a native of San Antonio, Texas, and received her Bachelor of Liberal Arts degree in Communications from Austin College in Sherman, Texas and currently serves as a member of its Board of Trustees. She is the treasurer of the Democratic Governors’ Association and is a member of the New Deal Advisory Council. Previous board service includes Polaris and Planned Parenthood Action Fund.