Jerry Hauser – Chief Executive Officer

As the founding CEO of The Management Center, Jerry brought together his dual passions for promoting social change and creating high-performing organizations. Jerry, an alumnus of McKinsey & Company, has played leadership roles in a number of nonprofits. At Teach For America, he served as the second-in-command for seven years and helped expand the scale and impact of the organization dramatically, with applications to the program and funding both growing more than five-fold during his tenure. He also served as the CEO of the Advocacy Institute. Before graduating from Yale Law School, where he was active in legal clinics and a senior editor of the Yale Law Journal, Jerry worked as a high school math and history teacher in Compton, California. He has written and spoken extensively on nonprofit management and leadership, is the coauthor of the book Managing to Change the World, and in his spare time is a passionate, if mediocre, pick-up soccer player.

Bex Ahuja

Bex Ahuja – Partner

Bex has trained more than 4,000 people on running campaigns, community organizing, field strategy, fundraising, and management and has held leadership roles in 17 winning legislative and ballot measure campaigns around the U.S. For nine years at the National LGBTQ Task Force, Bex worked to help organizations increase their power and impact by coaching and working side-by-side with leaders on the ground. Bex also partners with social justice leaders to help improve their ability to manage with a racial equity and inclusion lens. Bex began organizing with NYPIRG in 2002 while studying Applied Statistics and Mechanical Engineering at Stony Brook University and is just too legit to quit the progressive movement. When not training, Bex can be found making and eating delicious foods with other queer and trans people of color in Brooklyn, NY.

 Viridiana Amaya

Viridiana Amaya – Training Services Manager

Viridiana began her career in personal finance – she's a numbers person! After several years working in finance, she decided to pursue something close to her heart: social justice, particularly immigrant rights. Viridiana is a native of Mexico but has called the Washington metropolitan area her home for the past 25 years. A graduate of George Mason University with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Sociology with a concentration in Global Affairs, she focused her studies on the effects of globalization on society. She enjoys spending her free time pretending to be a professional chef in her kitchen, practicing yoga, and hitting the golf course when the weather is nice. She also volunteers as an ESL teacher with the Washington English Center.

Monique Ayotte-Hoeltzel

Monique Ayotte-Hoeltzel – Partner

Monique is passionate about the intersection of leadership and social change. Her career began as a Teach For America (TFA) corps member in the Mississippi Delta, where she taught high school English and received the Lee County Legacy Fund’s Outstanding Teacher of the Year Award. Later, she joined the staff of TFA, where she served in leadership roles including vice president, admissions and executive vice president, alumni affairs. She was the chief architect of TFA’s corps member selection model, and she was a member of the first leadership team of Teach For All, where she helped to develop that organization’s first set of goals. As a member of TFA’s senior leadership team, she helped make strategy, capacity, and culture decisions impacting more than 1,000 staff members. A teacher at heart, Monique enjoys coaching and developing others, especially around managing teams to achieve maximum impact. She is the proud mother of Cassius, who has recently begun to exert his leadership and test his mother’s coaching skills. She lives with her husband and son in Brooklyn, New York.


Emily Berens – Partner

Emily is passionate about social change nationally and internationally, and about helping organizations and individuals to have the biggest impact possible. At Commongood Careers, Emily managed senior-level searches for a diverse portfolio of nonprofit clients, spanning the education, healthcare, and philanthropy sectors. As co-founder and director of Fundación En Vía, a microfinance and responsible tourism nonprofit in Mexico, Emily built an organization from start-up to a program that provides more than 200 women in three communities with interest-free micro-loans and training to start or grow their businesses. Previously, she spent eight years at the Fund for the Public Interest, where she hired, trained, and managed hundreds of organizers working on environmental and human rights issues, and managed recruitment nationally, and worked on national and international campaigns for Corporate Accountability International. She holds a degree in French and International Relations from Ohio State University.

Elizabeth Brown

Elizabeth Brown Riordan – Partner

Elizabeth has a passion for social and political justice and brings a commitment to working to make progressive organizations perform at their best. Most recently, Elizabeth worked at Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG) National as a field organizer and then as the Director of Policy and Programs. At PFLAG, she co-wrote The Guide to Being a Straight Ally and helped design and execute corporate diversity trainings that engage straight allies in the workplace for LGBT rights. She has trained for clients as diverse as the CIA, Johnson & Johnson, Mastercard, and numerous non-profit organizations. Prior to her work at PFLAG, Elizabeth was a Henry Luce Scholar working for an indigenous rights organization in Thailand, where she developed women’s capacity-building trainings, and worked as a investigator in the Civil Rights Division of the Department of Justice. Elizabeth holds a B.A. in Political Science from Vassar College.

Diana Cerda – Finance Associate

Diana is a recent Virginia Tech graduate with a double major in International Studies and Spanish. While at Virginia Tech, Diana was heavily involved with Tech DREAMers, and served as Vice President her senior year. She was involved in presenting undergraduate research on undocumented students and higher education. Tech DREAMers was awarded the 2017 Outstanding Achievement by an Organization Award. Diana was also a part of the College Ambassador Program and the Global Ambassador program, welcoming students and international students to campus and facilitating their transition to student life. A native of Northern Virginia, Diana currently resides in the Mount Pleasant neighborhood of Washington, DC. When not exploring her neighborhood, Diana is active in animal welfare and is a Zumba enthusiast.

Jen Chau Fontán

Jen Chau Fontán – Vice President

Jen has built her career around her passion for and commitment to social justice, helping to build talent infrastructures for mission-driven organizations over the last decade. Before joining The Management Center, she served as the Senior Director of Talent at Harlem RBI | DREAM Charter School, where she led the hiring team to increase the staff from 130 to 190; overhauled the organization’s performance management system to ensure stronger accountability and opportunities for people to grow; and initiated a diversity and inclusion program for staff.  Jen also founded Swirl, a grassroots organization that builds communities of people committed to initiating and sustaining cross-racial, cross-cultural dialogue. Her perspectives on race and racism have been featured in media outlets like the New York Times, USA Today, and NPR. Jen holds a Bachelor's Degree in Women's Studies from Wellesley College and a Master's Degree in Organizational Change Management from New School University. She lives with her husband and daughter in New York City.

Andie Corso

Andie Corso - Partner

Andie most recently served as the Deputy ED for Early Childhood Teaching and Learning for the New York City Department of Education (NYC DOE). Andie's team was responsible for ensuring that NYC teachers and leaders had the resources, training and support they needed to provide high quality instruction to over 60,000 four-year olds! Prior to this role, Andie served as Senior Director for the Office of Teacher Effectiveness at the NYC DOE, where she led a team of over 70 Directors and Talent Coaches who worked directly with school leaders and network staff to implement the new teacher evaluation and development model in all New York City schools. As part of that role, Andie lead the implementation of teacher evaluation training for 10,000 teachers, principals, and assistant principals, and further developed her love of leading adult learning. Preceding her work with the NYC DOE, Andie served as a teacher and school leader for students age 10-21. She was a finalist for the Chancellor’s Trailblazer Award from the NYC DOE in 2013, and was awarded the Ellen S. Raphael Award at the Harvard Kennedy School.

Jackson Darling-Palacios

Jackson Darling-Palacios – Partner

Jackson loves coaching people to be effective leaders who create measurable social change. His passion for social justice and leadership development goes back to his days as a youth organizer in the Unitarian Universalist faith, where a core value was youth empowerment. Most recently, Jackson managed the Vote for Equality project at the Los Angeles LGBT Center, where a team of more than 800 volunteers and staff collaborated to innovate methods of voter persuasion and prejudice reduction used to help win LGBT rights campaigns across the country. Jackson has a B.A. in Art Practice from UC Berkeley and enjoys applying his creativity to flip charts and strategic problem-solving. When he is not out training managers, he is at home in Los Angeles cooking brunch with his spouse, Frankie, and their close friends and family.

Amy Faulring

Amy Faulring – Partner

Amy’s work at TMC combines her love for social justice, leadership, and winning progressive change. Before joining TMC, Amy led the grassroots organizing and field programs at for nearly six years. She has trained thousands of activists, helped organize tens of thousands of field actions, and coached organizers and managers to get the results they need for effective campaigns. She has played a key role in winning campaigns on health care reform, economic justice, and environmental policy. Amy also worked at Greenpeace, where she founded an activist training program for college students. She holds a degree in History with a concentration on social movements from Duke University and a certificate in nonprofit management and leadership from Boston University’s School of Management. When she’s not at TMC, Amy can be found chasing after her toddler, playing nerdy strategy games with her husband, and walking her two dogs, Roxy and Cinco, in her new hometown of Philadelphia.

Peggy Flanagan

Peggy Flanagan – Partner

Peggy, a citizen of the White Earth Nation of Ojibwe, is a longtime advocate for Minnesota’s children and families. A noted community and political organizer, she was recently elected to the Minnesota House of Representatives and recently served as the executive director of Children’s Defense Fund-Minnesota, which works to level the playing field for all children in the region. Peggy co-chaired the Raise The Wage campaign, the successful fight to raise Minnesota’s minimum wage for the first time in nearly a decade, and currently co-chairs Minneapolis Mayor Betsy Hodges’ Cradle to K Cabinet to improve opportunities for children before age three. Peggy also worked for eight years at Wellstone Action, first as director and founder of the Native American Leadership Program, then as director of external affairs. As one of the original trainers of Wellstone Action’s signature program Camp Wellstone, she has trained tens of thousands of progressive activists, community and campaign organizers, future candidates, and progressive officeholders to make effective, sustainable, progressive change around the country.


Ben Goldfarb – Partner

Ben is a seasoned nonprofit executive, campaign manager, and community and political organizer, with nearly two decades of experience leading progressive state-based, national, and international organizations and campaigns. As the Executive Director of Wellstone Action, the nation’s leading political capacity-building center for progressive organizers and candidates, Ben transformed its programs to focus on long-term capacity-building partnerships, folded in two other leading progressive leadership organizations, and doubled the annual budget. Ben served as Senior Advisor to the first-ever successful campaign to defeat a state constitutional amendment limiting the freedom to marry in his home state of Minnesota, oversaw GOTV operations for U.S. Senator Al Franken’s 312-vote victory in 2008, was Campaign Manager for U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar’s first successful election, and was Executive Director of Progressive Minnesota before initiating a merger that resulted in the creation of TakeAction Minnesota. Once upon a time, Ben also co-founded and ran an independent music company, and he’s the proud partner of an amazing teacher and father of a daughter and twin boys.


Jenny Griggs – Operations Director

Jenny began her career in the progressive campaign world as a fundraising canvasser with the Fund for the Public Interest and worked with the Fund throughout and after college to run canvass offices in Washington, D.C., Pittsburgh, and Berkeley. She has worked on a variety of issues, from environmental conservation to consumer protection, and enjoys fighting on behalf of the public interest. Most recently, she ran a campaign office with Work for Progress to get out the vote for Senator Mark Udall, and before that she helped run a Community Voters Project office that registered more than 20,000 minority voters in Raleigh, N.C. She is passionate about systems, efficiency, and working to preserve democracy. Jenny has a dual degree in Spanish and Foreign Affairs from the University of Virginia.

Jakada Imani

Jakada Imani – Partner

Jakada is a spiritually-rooted consultant and coach with more than 20 years experience working in social and economic justice movements. He served for six years as executive director of the Ella Baker Center for Human Rights (EBC), taking over from the center's founder, Van Jones. In his 13 years there, he served as the lead strategist for some of the organization's most high-profile campaigns and was a lead team member in the successful efforts to stop the construction of one of the nation's largest juvenile halls -- an enormous "Super Jail for Kids." He also led two successful statewide ballot measure campaigns (No on Prop 6 in 2008 and No on Prop 23 in 2010). Over the last two decades, Jakada has worked on a range of issues, including racial and economic justice, workers' rights, tenant organizing, and green jobs. In 2013, he received a ChangeMaker Fellowship from Pacific School of Religion, where he served for two years leading a center for spiritual and social transformation. He is the father to four powerful and creative daughters.


Cindy Kang – Partner

Cindy is passionate about training and supporting leaders to create social change. She got her start as a field organizer with Green Corps, where she gained the training and inspiration for a career in social change. Over the next 12 years, she served in various leadership roles at Green Corps including Recruitment Director, Associate Director, and Executive Director. During her tenure, she trained and mentored hundreds of organizers to run and win environmental campaigns, led recruitment efforts that doubled the size of the training program, and diversified fundraising and partnerships. Most recently, Cindy served as Managing Director and then Executive Director of Citizen Engagement Lab (CEL), where she supported social change entrepreneurs in launching innovative projects and startups. She built and managed a diverse staff – technologists, campaigners, and nonprofit infrastructure professionals – that drove the rapid growth and success of the organization. Cindy holds a degree in Molecular Biology from Yale University and lives in Berkeley, California.

Naomi Long

Naomi Long – Vice President

Naomi has almost two decades experience as a community organizer, youth mentor, and teacher. She began as a faith-based community organizer with the Gamaliel Foundation and organized successful statewide grassroots campaigns around the DREAM Act, education funding policy, and prison reform. From there, her passion for intersectional organizing brought her to D.C. as the Metro Director for the Drug Policy Alliance, where she helped lead a winning drug policy reform campaign. She served as Senior Principal at Wellstone Action for six years, where she built a national network of youth organizers and trained hundreds of progressive organizers and candidates. As the proud owner of her family’s nine-acre farm in Texas Hill Country, Naomi hopes to continue the legacy of black-owned farms and community-based entrepreneurship.


Jose Luis Marantes – Partner

Jose Luis is a community organizer, trainer, and social entrepreneur who brings a passion for unlocking people’s full potential and getting leaders unstuck and on mission. As a co-founder of the United We Dream Network, he helped establish the internal structures that took a small movement-building startup to an established national organization with more than 50 affiliates and dozens of staff leading the fight for immigrant justice. He co-developed the Education Not Deportation Campaign, which won deferred action from deportation for over two million immigrant youth in 2012 and set a new precedent in relief from deportation. As a state director for Mi Familia Vota in Florida, he led a team of 60+ staff to motivate 40,000 voters to go to the polls. He has led campaigns and managed teams for the PICO Network, Center for Community Change, and the Florida Immigrant Coalition, and was selected as an Emerging Innovator by Ashoka Changemakers for his work in bringing communities together in Orlando across language differences. He holds a Masters in Entrepreneurship from the University of Florida and a B.A. in Sociology from Wesleyan University.

Stacy McAuliffe

Stacy McAuliffe – Partner

Stacy’s work at TMC brings together two passions that have driven her career: creating positive social change and helping organizations and teams perform at their best. Before joining TMC, Stacy was the Chief Operating Officer at the Illinois Network of Charter Schools, where she helped lead the organization through a growth period that doubled the organization’s size, established partner political entities, and increased the organization’s capabilities in legislative engagement, data and transparency, and school support. As a Principal at the Boston Consulting Group in Chicago, she led strategy projects with both business and education clients, including districts, charter management organizations, and nonprofits, and served as a member of the organization’s Career Development Council. Stacy began her career in Boston, working to increase job growth and small business development in low-income urban areas. She graduated from Princeton University with degrees in Public and International Affairs and African Studies and has an MBA from Northwestern’s Kellogg School of Management. She lives in Chicago with her husband Brian and twin daughters, Lila and Elise.

Michelle Ngwafon

Michelle Ngwafon – Training Operations Associate

A D.C. area native, Michelle came to The Management Center looking for a progressive environment outside of the day-to-day political atmosphere. After working on multiple national and local campaigns, Michelle focuses her activism on immigrant rights, millennial causes, women's equality, and intersectionality. She currently serves as Vice President of her local Young Dems organization while finishing a double degree from University of Maryland in Political Science and Philosophy with minors in Ancient Mediterranean Studies and Classical Voice. In her free time, Michelle loves to travel, read, and coach softball.

Tamara Osivwemu

Tamara Osivwemu – Vice President

Tamara recognized her passion for social justice and educational equity through her early work with foster youth. After leading school-based programs in Oakland, her drive to effectively serve youth and families strengthened her passion for helping others realize their individual and collective impact. Tamara has led results-oriented teams in a variety of roles at Citizen Schools, a nonprofit engaging more than 5,000 students in apprenticeship learning. Most recently she served as the Director of Diversity and Inclusion, where she led training institutes for new managers and a national working group focused on ensuring equitable practices for all staff. Outside of work, Tamara stays busy as a wife, a mom of two, and a board member at the Village Community Resource Center in Brentwood, Ca. She holds a B.A. in Psychology and African-American Studies from the University of California, Davis and an M.S. in Educational Leadership from California State University, East Bay.

Ashley Pinedo-Carlson

Ashley Pinedo-Carlson – Partner

Ashley combines coaching and training with her leadership and organizing experience to help others unlock their potential to change the world. Before joining The Management Center, Ashley spent eight years training, managing, and organizing in support of President Obama. Starting as a volunteer organizer, she rose through the ranks to serve in various state and national leadership roles. Most recently as National Training Director at Organizing for Action, Ashley built and managed a staff who led national training programs in grassroots and digital organizing, issue advocacy, and other campaign skills — resulting in more than 12,000 organizers trained during her tenure, from seasoned professionals to brand new organizers previously not involved in the progressive movement. She lives in Chicago, where she also teaches a course on Issue Advocacy and Community Organizing at the University of Chicago Harris School of Public Policy. She enjoys biking, hiking, and any other opportunities to get outside with her husband Erik and their dog Steve.

Andrea headshot

Andrea Pursley – Partner

Andrea’s passion is building the leadership capacity to deliver on promises to children and families, whether in classrooms, schools, or nonprofits. As a sixth-grade teacher in Phoenix, Arizona, she was inspired by her students’ courage to dream and their extraordinary persistence in the face of challenges. Since then, she has served in multiple senior leadership roles at Teach For America locally and nationally, including executive director, vice president of regional operations, and executive vice president of alumni affairs. Most recently, she led the team running Teach For America’s 15,000-person 25th Anniversary Summit event. Andrea, her husband Brian, and their children, Eddie, Ruby, and John, live in the Rocky Mountains west of Denver, where they enjoy family outdoor adventures, sports, and lots of children’s literature.

Court Ruark-Thompson

Court Ruark-Thompson – Chief of Staff

Court is passionate about problem solving and capacity building. A citizen of the Cherokee Nation, she recently worked for her tribe and its business arm as the director of government relations. While there, she managed a team of 10 whose work supported more than 9,000 employees and 320,000 citizens. Her leadership resulted in expanded health care access in Indian Country, fully paid maternity leave for Cherokee Nation employees, and the tribe engaging at the international level for the first time. Prior to that work, she was the director of the Native American Leadership Program for Wellstone Action and worked on Capitol Hill as a legislative assistant for Congresswoman Betty McCollum. Court serves as an Americans for Indian Opportunity Ambassador and was recently named as one of 40 under 40 Native Americans by the National Center for American Indian Enterprise Development. She lives in Chevy Chase with her husband, Grant, and children, Ox and Birdie. When she’s not at work, she’s baking or reading contemporary fiction. Court has a B.A. in Political Science from the University of Oklahoma.

Alyssa Schuren

Alyssa Schuren – Partner

Alyssa is a goal-driven leader with more than 15 years of government and nonprofit experience. Before joining The Management Center, she served as the Vermont Department of Environmental Conservation Commissioner, directing a $100 million department of more than 300 employees. She led the implementation of a major Lake Champlain cleanup plan, spearheaded a nationally-recognized response to chemical contamination impacting drinking water wells, increased recycling, decreased disposal rates, and increased food donations to the Vermont Food Bank by 40%. While senior advisor with the Vermont State Treasurer, she scoped and advanced a $25 million 20-year clean water funding and financing plan. Alyssa also worked as Environment America’s Development Director and as Executive Director at Toxics Action Center. She has a B.A. from the University of Colorado, Boulder, in Environmental Studies, with a minor in Political Science, and is a graduate of Green Corps. She lives in Montpelier, Vermont with her husband and son.

Nellie Sires

Nellie Sires – Vice President

Nellie is a political organizing professional with expertise in grassroots team building, people management, and coalition building. Before joining TMC, Nellie trained and managed thousands of campaign volunteers, field staff, and canvassers as part of her work on advocacy and electoral campaigns, including marriage equality and immigration reform, as well as congressional, gubernatorial, and presidential races. Nellie has held director and consultant positions at the PIRGs, Obama for America, USAction, and Organizing for Action, among others. Most recently, she was the Great Lakes Region Field Director at the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, overseeing the field programs in six states.  She volunteers her time with D.C.'s Queer Resistance and as a manager with the Obama for America Fellows program. Nellie holds a BA from Loyola University Chicago in Political Science, Communication, and Film with a minor in International Studies and is a New Leaders Council Fellow, Chicago class of 2015. When she isn’t volunteering or training, she’s spending time with her partner rock climbing, brewing beer with friends, or on the dance floor at queer dance parties.

Tasia Smith

Tasia Smith – Training Business & Operations Director

Tasia discovered a passion for campaign and advocacy work through organizing with President Obama’s re-election campaign in Philadelphia. Since then, she has helped build progressive infrastructure in South Carolina with Elizabeth Colbert-Busch for Congress, supported a team of new organizers with Cory Booker for Senate in New Jersey, and was part of a canvass management team that rapidly scaled a Planned Parenthood healthcare enrollment program targeting underserved Atlanta residents. She also provided research and writing support for Hate Crimes in the Heartland, a feature documentary and civic engagement project that explores the consequences of lasting racial inequality through the lens of two hate crimes that took place in Tulsa, OK. Tasia delights in optimizing systems and solving problems flexibly; between campaigns, she has worked at a software start-up and as a computer repair technician, so she loves a good troubleshooting session. She is deeply committed to forging a more efficient, effective, and inclusive social justice movement. Tasia holds a B.A. from Yale University, where she completed majors in Ethnicity, Race & Migration and East Asian Studies.

Shawna Wells

Shawna Wells – Partner

Shawna is a passionate advocate for educational equity and is fiercely committed to equipping school leadership teams to craft and execute ambitious goals to improve outcomes in K-12 education. Shawna's career began as a Teach For America corps member in Las Vegas, Nevada, where she taught seventh grade reading.  After teaching, she joined the team at KIPP Philadelphia Schools, where she served in a number of leadership roles including Managing Director of Development and Miles Family Fellow.  She later founded and led KIPP West Philadelphia Prep, where she led her team and students to achieve led to 90% proficiency in math and 65% proficiency in reading on their state assessments. Having deeply benefited from the coaching and expertise of others, she began coaching school leaders and executive directors with KIPP and Building Excellent Schools. As a member of the senior leadership at Building Excellent Schools, she set the vision and strategy for The BES Network. Shawna enjoys life and cooking in the great city of Las Vegas with her husband and stepson.

Monna Wong – Vice President, Special Projects

Monna is an organizer and facilitator who loves to synthesize, problem-solve, and build kick-ass team culture. Monna's work experience is primarily in LGBTQ electoral campaigns and organizations, facilitating dialogue and decision-making and coaching leaders. Originally from NYC, Monna got her start in activism in Manhattan's Chinatown. Since then, Monna has led teams in Ohio, Maryland, and Maine to win LGBTQ non-discrimination and same-sex marriage, most notably as the Portland Regional Field Director of the Mainers United for Marriage campaign. She also served as the Executive Director of APIENC (API Equality - Northern California), where she developed programs to train and mentor LGBTQ Asian and Pacific Islander organizers and exponentially grew the organization's grassroots donor base. Most recently, Monna supported leaders of API social justice organizations in fundraising, strategic planning, and program management as the coordinator of the Asian Americans for Civil Rights and Equality network. Monna loves dance, experimentation, and talking about money.

in residence

In addition to lending us their talents, our “in residence” team members also have professional lives outside of The Management Center.

Jamilyn Bailey

Jamilyn Bailey

Jamilyn is driven by justice, the power of education, and community. For the past four years, she has led KIPP Through College’s national effort to increase college completion as the Director of Program Development and Training. In her role, she strengthened regional leaders and staff through training, professional development, and program design. Prior to that, she served as program director for The Posse Foundation, Inc., a national college access and leadership development program that provides full-tuition scholarships and support for urban public school students so that they can graduate from top colleges and become leaders in the workforce. When she’s not training with The Management Center, she’s busy translating her management experience to the world of hospitality as a consultant for a local Orlando restaurant. Jamilyn earned a B.S. in Public Relations from the University of Florida and a M.Ed. in Curriculum and Instruction from Arizona State University. In her spare time, she enjoys building connections and ritual through community dinners, traveling, live music, and yoga.

Meredith Bliss

Meredith Bliss

Meredith considers herself a teacher at heart and began her career teaching second graders outside Boston; since leaving the classroom, she’s worked in various settings as a team leader, manager, coach. She is currently serving as Acting Executive Director of a school in her rural Oregon town. Meredith worked at Teach For America for nearly ten years in several program and human capital roles on both national and regional teams. Most recently, as Vice President of People, Leadership & Learning, her work focused on talent recruitment and hiring, onboarding, performance management, coaching and professional development for staff. She previously worked at New Leaders for New Schools, helping ensure first-rate training for urban school leaders. Meredith holds an A.B. from Dartmouth College and a master’s degree in Policy, Organization and Leadership Studies from Stanford University’s Graduate School of Education. After 10 years in San Francisco, Meredith and her family made the move north to the woods of Oregon, where they’ve spread out and slowed down. You can usually find her chasing her three small children, cooking, and listening to Taylor Swift or John Denver.

Carrie Ellis

Carrie Ellis

As the principal consultant of Celestial Consulting, LLC, Carrie uses her over 20 years of experience to aid managers, teams, and organizations as they navigate workplace complexities. She knows first-hand the challenging work of leading; formerly the Vice President of People Development at Teach For America, she and her team advised senior managers in management and leadership, staff culture, and diversity and inclusion. Additionally, Carrie led the Project Management team at KaBOOM! for seven years, where she and her team were responsible for the completion of 1,400 community-built playspaces impacting over 750,000 children. Carrie graduated with honors from Spelman College and the University of Southern California. As an alumna of the American Express Leadership Academy, she was selected as one of 50 participants in the 2015 Global Alumni Summit. She served on the board of Teaching for Change for over 10 years and is an Aspen Institute Fellow. She loves a good cup of tea and learning about herself and others through travel, reading, and dance.

Rebecca Epstein

Rebecca Epstein

Rebecca is a nonprofit leader and organizational development expert with extensive experience designing and implementing practical management and strategy solutions. Her passion to combine social, racial, and economic justice with effective organizational practices has led her from community organizing on the west side of Chicago to conducting research and policy analysis on social safety net issues to coaching leaders and bringing best management practices to dozens of progressive organizations for The Management Center, which she helped start with Jerry Hauser in 2006. Since 2012, Rebecca has worked at Planned Parenthood Federation of America, first managing day-to-day operations of its largest programmatic division and then leading strategic planning and implementation as Vice President of Strategic Planning and Evaluation. Rebecca received an M.P.A. from NYU Wagner, a B.A. in Anthropology from Amherst College, and has served on multiple boards, including CASA de Maryland. She loves being in nature, organizing just about anything, and spending time in her Capitol Hill neighborhood with her family and friends.


Alison Green

Alison, the co-author of Managing to Change the World, manages much of our hiring and runs our management hotline. Outside of her work for The Management Center, she writes the popular Ask a Manager website, where she dispenses advice on workplace and management issues, and writes weekly columns on workplace issues for New York Magazine, U.S. News & World Report, Money, and Inc. As the chief of staff of the Marijuana Policy Project, Alison oversaw day-to-day staff management. Before joining MPP, Alison worked in communications for several nonprofit organizations, including six years as a staff writer and campaign coordinator for People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), where she made headlines for an effort that resulted in Procter & Gamble placing a moratorium on animal testing, taught students how to work with the media and organize on campuses, and authored a guide to campus activism. Her writings have been published in The Washington Post, The New York Times, Fast Company, Business Insider, and numerous other publications.

Michelle Hallerdin

Michelle Hallerdin

Michelle founded Elpis Consulting out of her belief that when strong leadership, great people practices, and clear strategy come together, organizations can achieve amazing results. Prior to founding Elpis (which means “hope” in Greek!), Michelle served as Chief Talent Officer at New Leaders, and has held a number of executive positions throughout her career, including time spent as Vice President of Organizational Effectiveness and Vice President Strategic Planning and Finance at a Fortune 200 company. All told, Michelle has over 20 years of experience in consulting, strategy, planning, and finance, and she now works every day to help mission-driven organizations increase their impact.

Eliza Leighton

Eliza Leighton

Eliza is a social entrepreneur with extensive management, strategic planning, and fundraising experience and a strong track record of designing, executing, and sustaining effective and creative programs, most recently as the CEO and cofounder of The Family Room, an app to connect children and their loved ones when separated by distance. Prior to founding The Family Room, she worked at CASA de Maryland in a number of capacities, including as the Director of the Langley Park Promise Neighborhood and the Director of Strategic Initiatives, and was the cofounder and former Deputy Director of Stand for Children. She received a J.D. from Yale Law School and a B.A. from Wesleyan University.

Talla Rittenhouse

Talla Rittenhouse

Talla promotes social justice through developing progressive leaders and improving educational opportunities for historically marginalized communities. When she’s not training with The Management Center, she serves Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools as the Executive Director of Strategy Management. In this role, she and her team work to improve the effectiveness of the district by serving as internal strategy consultants, providing project management on key district initiatives, and building the capacity of others to lead work. Prior to this, Talla served in several management roles with Teach For America focused on expanding the impact of organization through finding and attracting the strongest leaders in the country to work with them and ensuring the organization had the best systems and technology in place to support their efforts. Talla started her professional career as a high school math teacher at Strawberry Mansion High School in Philadelphia.

Melanie Duppins

Melanie Rivera-Duppins

Melanie is passionate about building teams and organizations that produce exceptional results. She currently serves as the Vice President of Human Capital for, an education nonprofit that was recently ranked the #1 mid-sized nonprofit to work for by the Nonprofit Times. Before that, she worked as the Principal-in-Residence at Excel Academy, an all-girls public charter school in Washington, D.C. Melanie earned her professional certificate in Organizational Consulting and Change Management from Georgetown University and a Masters of Science in Organization Development from American University.

Kelley Robinson

Kelley Robinson

Kelley has organized and pursued social justice initiatives throughout her career, with special attention to protecting the rights of young people and communities of color. She currently serves as the Deputy National Organizing Director at Planned Parenthood Federation of America (PPFA), where she drives the strategy around movement building and leadership development for the organization. Before that, Kelley was the Assistant Director for Youth Organizing at PPFA, leading the national youth and campus organizing program. She also worked on President Obama’s 2008 campaign, as a researcher in the area of disaster studies, for Planned Parenthood of the Heartland, and as a reproductive justice advocate and national organizer for URGE: Unite for Reproductive & Gender Equity (formerly Choice USA). She also serves as the Board Chair of SisterSong, the largest national women of color reproductive justice collective and on the board of the Bus Federation Action Fund. Kelley received her bachelors degree in Sociology and Women’s & Gender Studies from the University of Missouri.

Sujata Tejwani

Sujata Tejwani

Sujata, founder and president of Sujata Strategies, is a well-known veteran of the progressive movement. She has served as Deputy Chief of Staff for the 2016 Democratic National Convention, Director of the Political Leadership Project for Wellstone Action, Campaign Advisor for EMILY’s List, and Senior Election Advisor for the Ohio Democratic Party; managed the Unity ’09 coalition in the first two years of the Obama administration; and in the early part of her career conducted self- and opposition research for Sen. Paul Wellstone’s campaign and the Democratic National Committee. She has also served as a donor advisor to funders of progressive advocacy, including the Open Society Foundations, Atlantic Philanthropies and Corridor Partners. Sujata has trained more than 10,000 candidates, staff, and leaders, and she advises and mentors rising progressive stars as they grow into leadership roles, paying special attention to those coming from and working in communities of color.

Mattie Weiss

Mattie Weiss

Mattie is a veteran trainer and movement builder from the world of progressive politics, with roles ranging from union organizer to racial justice researcher and writer, ballot initiative campaign director to community muralist, campaign strategist to author. She worked for six years at Wellstone Action, initially leading its youth and student training program and ultimately serving as Director of Training Programs. She now works as Training Manager at Educators for Excellence, which brings the voices of teachers into education policy conversations. Mattie lives in Minneapolis with her partner and son, and loves to paint.


Peter B. Lewis

Peter B. Lewis served as Progressive Corporation’s CEO from 1965 to 2000 and its non-executive Chairman from 2000 until his death in 2013. As CEO, Mr. Lewis grew Progressive from a small, specialized insurance company with $6 million in revenues and 100 employees into the nation’s fourth largest auto insurer, with 27,000 employees and annual sales of $17 billion. Through his philanthropy, Lewis invested in people with purposes he shared and the management ability to achieve those purposes. Lewis served on the Board of his alma mater, Princeton University and was its largest-ever contributor. He believed deeply in the value of individual freedom and worked to foster governmental and social change. He supported the American Civil Liberties Union and helped finance the beginnings of The Management Center, America Coming Together,, Media Matters and the Center for American Progress. Lewis was the father of three and grandfather of five.