Jakada Imani

Jakada Imani (he/him/his) – Chief Executive Officer

Jakada is a spiritually-rooted coach and trainer with more than 30 years of experience working in racial, social, and economic justice movements. Prior to stepping into the CEO role, Jakada was a senior coach and leadership team member at The Management Center, where he supported clients including Stacey Abrams’ Fair Fight and the California Immigrant Policy Center. He previously served for six years as Executive Director of the Ella Baker Center for Human Rights, 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 three 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 blessed to share his life with his partner Laura, and their blended family of 6 powerful and creative children.


Jessica Anderson (she/her/hers) – Managing Partner of Training

Jessica is passionate about building power and opportunity for young people and their families. She started her career as a youth developer in shelter, group home, and transitional housing spaces in San Francisco. She received her Bachelor of Arts in Criminology from the University of Florida and later moved to Atlanta, Georgia to pursue a Master of Public Administration in Nonprofit Management at Georgia State University. While in Atlanta, Jessica led special projects for hundreds of children and mothers experiencing homelessness in the Atlanta Mission network. Jessica then joined The Young Women's Project in DC as the Health Justice Director where she tripled the program size and impact to build the leadership and power of more than 300 teens in 24 DC Public and Public Charter High Schools. Jessica lives in Hyattsville, Maryland but she is a frequent flyer to her hometown of Fort Lauderdale, Florida where she enjoys Publix Subs and warm beaches.

Jamilyn Bailey

Jamilyn Bailey (she/her/hers) – Partner

Jamilyn is driven by justice, community, and the power of education. Before coming to TMC, Jamilyn 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.

Adriana Barboza (she/her/hers) – Partner, Training

Adriana Barboza is passionate about social justice, race and gender equity, and building power through organizing, training, and great management. She was most recently the Vice President of Program Strategy and Partnerships at Re:Power (formerly Wellstone). She has over 18 years of experience in community organizing, training, and providing technical support to groups working on electoral efforts and in the democracy field. Adriana has provided technical assistance to the frontline groups engaged in fighting for judicial independence, expanding democracy, protecting voting rights, and redistricting. Adriana has also provided strategic support in designing and delivering partnership-based training and programs for leading civic engagement organizations and coalitions. Adriana was born in Jalisco, Mexico and grew up on the South Side of Chicago. She holds a law degree from Depaul University and a Bachelor's from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. When she is not on the road, she loves to plan her next trip and spend quality time with her fashionable and photogenic dog Pikete.


Kevin Carty-Tolentino (he/him/his) – Training Operations Manager

Kevin Carty-Tolentino is passionate about progressive policy change and supporting the hard-working people who help to make that change happen. A 2015 graduate of Brown University, Kevin worked as a policy researcher and journalist before coming to The Management Center. He has reported on telecom and internet policy at the Federal Communications Commission, chased down legislators to grab quotes at the Capitol, and covered antitrust issues and policy at the Justice Department and Federal Trade Commission. His writing has been published in The Atlantic, The New York Post, Slate, and Washington Monthly, among other publications. Outside of work, Kevin likes to occupy his time by biking, canning, and cooking elaborate meals for his wife Claire.

Diana Cerda (she/her/hers) – Finance Director

Diana is a Virginia Tech graduate with a double major in International Studies and Spanish. While at Virginia Tech, Diana was heavily involved with Tech DREAMers and presented undergraduate research on undocumented students and higher education. Diana was also a part of the College Ambassador Program and the Global Ambassador program, welcoming local and international students to campus and facilitating their transition to student life. Originally from Northern Virginia, Diana currently resides in the Mount Pleasant neighborhood of Washington, DC. When not exploring her neighborhood, Diana enjoys traveling, trying trendy new classes, and being a self-proclaimed Zumba enthusiast.

Andie Corso

Andie Corso (she/her/hers) – 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 led 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 (he/him/his) – Partner

Jackson is driven by the power of organizing people, resources, and ideas to advance social justice. He has spent much of his career building partnerships and training leaders to build capacity with local and statewide organizations working on LGBTQ justice, reproductive justice, immigrant justice, and more. Before working at The Management Center, Jackson managed a team of more than 800 volunteers and staff at the LA LGBT Center's Leadership LAB to innovate models of deep canvassing and advance queer and trans rights around the country. The LAB’s work has since been proven to reduce transphobia and change minds on multiple social justice issues. Jackson first got into organizing and leadership development as a young, Unitarian Universalist in Southern California, and continued at UC Berkeley as a student-teacher poet and elected leader in multiple student co-ops. He is a proud queer, trans dad living with his family in Inglewood, CA.

Reilly Ellis (she/her/hers) – Partner, Finance and Data

Reilly is passionate about building people-centered databases that leverage technology to give people more time to focus on the things they excel at. Prior to joining TMC, Reilly was a Salesforce consultant managing technical and data projects for organizations working on everything from financial services to prison reform. She holds Salesforce certifications as an Administrator, Sales Cloud Consultant and Non-Profit Cloud Consultant. Reilly has a B.A. in Chinese Language from Washington University in St. Louis and was a 2013-14 Fulbright English Teaching Assistant in Taiwan. When not nerding out over data, she can be found playing Dungeons & Dragons, riding her bike, or curling up with a good book.


Valerie Evans (she/her/hers) – Managing Partner, Talent

Valerie believes that a person’s opportunities should never be limited based on skin color, zip code, bank account, or any other factors that have historically marginalized people in this country. She’s also passionate about recruiting and retaining talented and mission-aligned people into organizations that focus on deep social change. Prior to joining The Management Center, Valerie served as the first Chief Talent Officer at Achievement Prep in Southeast Washington, DC, creating and maintaining systems and structures to support the full life cycle of talent in the organization. Before her time at Achievement Prep, Valerie held several positions in education and non-profit organizations, including Education Pioneers, where she was the National Director of Curriculum Development & Training, as well as the DC Metro Area Program Director. Valerie earned a Bachelors in English from Spelman College and a Masters in Education from UC Berkeley. Valerie lives with her husband and children in Maryland and can be found on a Saturday afternoon reading a good book, reorganizing a drawer/closet, or finding yet another use for a fancy looking container.

Amy Faulring

Amy Faulring (she/her/hers) – 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 key roles 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 playing with her two young kiddos, playing nerdy strategy games with her husband, and walking her two dogs, Roxy and Cinco, in her new(ish) hometown of Philadelphia.

Cosmo Fujiyama Ghaznavi

Cosmo Fujiyama Ghaznavi (she/her/hers) – Partner

Cosmo is an educator, learning designer, and consultant with over 14 years of experience working in the education sector. Her career began in Honduras where she started a non-profit organization improving access to quality youth education. Since then, she served as Managing Director of UPenn’s Center for Social Impact Strategy where she designed and launched executive education programs in social innovation. She has worked at The Future Project, New York University, and Ashoka developing curriculum and advancing educational products that help people learn and grow. Cosmo earned her M.P.A in Non-Profit Management from New York University and a B.A. in American Studies and Women Studies from the College of William and Mary. She lives in Brooklyn, NY with her husband and invests her free time in bringing people together, testing new recipes, and learning languages.


Ben Goldfarb (he/him/his) – 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.

Marissa Graciosa

Marissa Graciosa (she/her/hers) – Partner

Marissa Graciosa is committed to social justice and has found ways to contribute to movement work as a community organizer, political strategist, and coalition builder. Now, as a coach with The Management Center, she can combine her many years of experience at the local and national levels with her great love for team building. Her most recent roles include Senior Advisor to the Building Movement Project and Director of Organizing at Planned Parenthood Federation of America. In all her work, she has been known as a mentor, innovator, and champion of racial equity transformation. Marissa is rooted in over a decade of leadership in immigrant rights—most notably at the Fair Immigration Reform Movement (FIRM) at the Center for Community Change, the Alliance for Citizenship, and the Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights. She serves on several Boards of Directors, including her local social service agency, the Howard Area Community Center, the National Asian Pacific American Women’s Forum, and Planned Parenthood Illinois Action. She is also the co-founder of her neighborhood ICE raids response network. Marissa received her BA in Sociology from the University of Chicago and her Masters in Public Administration from the Harvard Kennedy School of Government. She lives in Chicago with her beautiful blended family, including a feisty toddler, Emiliano.


Wendy Guyton (she/her/hers) – Partner, Client Support

Wendy is a passionate believer in the innate goodness and potential of all individuals and is committed to supporting folks on their journey towards their best selves.  With a career heavily rooted in direct service, she spent nearly two decades providing and managing direct service programs for folks living with extremely low incomes. She delights in listening, problem-solving, and providing creative solutions.  Wendy has a master’s degree in Social Work from Virginia Commonwealth University and a B.A. in Sociology and Women’s Studies from Longwood College.  She lives in the DC area with her wife and dog. When she’s not at work, you might find her working in the garden, watching the birds in her backyard, or dreaming about an upcoming camping/hiking adventure.

Nancy Hanks

Nancy Hanks (she/her/hers) – Senior Partner, Interim Ed Sector Head

Having gone from a life of poverty on the west side of Chicago to becoming a Harvard graduate, Nancy knows firsthand that students' futures are not predetermined by their personal circumstance. As chief of schools for elementary in the Madison Metropolitan School District, Nancy led her schools to ten-point increases in literacy and mathematics overall. In addition, 17 schools have made at least ten-point gains in literacy five years, and five schools have made over 20 point gains in literacy in the past five years. As a principal in Chicago, Nancy led the transformation of her school and successfully managed adding 90 minutes to the school day, a complex move that improved academic outcomes and created a more well-rounded school day for her students and staff. She’s been recognized on The Root 100 for her work to eliminate the school-to-prison pipeline, as one of Brava Magazine’s Women to Watch, and Madison 365’s Power 100 as one of the most influential Black leaders in Wisconsin. Nancy holds a bachelor’s degree in elementary education from Southern Illinois University and a master’s degree in school leadership from Harvard Graduate School of Education. She is a devoted daughter, sister, aunt & friend.

Megan Hanson

Megan Hanson (she/her/hers) – Senior Partner, Training

Megan’s work at TMC capitalizes on her devotion to maximizing impact and helping those with good ideas get great results. Megan was the Chief Program Officer at Street Law, Inc., a civic education organization, where she led the design, development, and implementation of a diverse set of programs to empower people with the legal skills and knowledge to be advocates for themselves and others. She trained hundreds of teachers across the U.S. to improve classroom instruction about law, democracy, and the U.S. Constitution. She also trained hundreds of lawyers and legal professionals at Fortune 500 companies and major law firms as part of a legal diversity pipeline program. She is coauthor of a major high school government textbook. Megan holds degrees in Anthropology and Archaeology, and loves to travel and taste new foods with her husband and son.

Sarah Hodgdon

Sarah Hodgdon (she/her/hers) – Partner

Based in the Washington, DC, metro area, Sarah Hodgdon brings nearly 25 years of management experience to her work as a Partner at The Management Center. Most recently, as National Program Director of the Sierra Club, she guided the development and implementation of the Beyond Coal Campaign, the Our Wild America Campaign, and the organization's first-ever Department for Equity, Justice, and Inclusion. She worked out of Sierra Club's national headquarters in Oakland, CA, and managed a department with 300+ staff, 70+ managers, and 20 units including the organization's lawyers, DC lobbyists, and a nationwide organizing team. Earlier in her career, Sarah served for seven years as the Executive Director of the Dogwood Alliance, based in Asheville, NC, which works to protect forests and communities in the Southern United States. She is Vice Chair and Treasurer of the board of directors for the Boston-based Corporate Accountability and was a member of the founding body for the Building Equity and Alignment for Impact (BEAI) Initiative, helping to build greater solidarity across the environmental movement. Sarah has a B.A. in Comparative Literature and an Environmental Studies Certificate from Indiana University (Bloomington) where she received the McKaig Leadership Award for Outstanding Student Leadership.

Cicely Horsham-Brathwaite

Cicely Horsham-Brathwaite (she/her/hers) – Partner, Coaching

Dr. Cicely Horsham-Brathwaite has over twenty years experience working in the higher education sector. She is a passionate advocate for social justice and mental health as a liberation strategy for marginalized groups. Dr. Horsham-Brathwaite has a proven track record of transforming collegiate mental health agencies to increase capacity for serving students of color, LGBTQ students, low income, and first-generation students. Prior to joining TMC, she led the counseling center at one of the largest colleges in the City University of New York (CUNY) system where she led her team to enhance programming, engage stakeholders, and reduce the stigma associated with utilizing mental health services for its 26,000 students. She is a former university professor who taught counselors in training how to practice mental health and career counseling from a culturally competent perspective. Cicely holds a B.A. in psychology from Lehigh University, M.S.Ed. in counseling and personnel services from Fordham University, and a Ph.D. in Counseling Psychology from Temple University. Cicely lives in New York with her husband and is passionate about spending time with family and friends and volunteering in community-led advocacy initiatives.


Cindy Kang (she/her/hers) – Senior 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.

Addae Kwakye

Addae Kwakye (they/them/theirs) – Operations Manager

Addae is a dynamic leader who is passionate about developing young leaders and uplifting the voices of marginalized communities. Addae began their work as a peer educator in the Connecticut foster care system, working with youth in care to advocate for equitable policies. In college, Addae continued their advocacy work—establishing their university’s first Black Student Union and teaching sexual health on campus. Addae also had the privilege of being featured as a panelist at the White House’s first and only intergenerational LGBT celebration during Pride month. Since moving to the DC metro area, Addae has worked with young people in sexual education and capacity building and hopes to pursue a Master’s in Social Work in the future. When not at work, Addae spends hours cooking Ghanaian cuisine and practicing their green thumb.


José Luis Marantes (he/him/his) – Partner

José 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 (she/her/hers) – Managing Partner, Coaching

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.


Stephen McClain (he/him/his) - Partner, Education Sector Engagements and Partnerships

Dr. Stephen McClain has devoted his entire career to improving educational outcomes in underserved communities. Most recently, Stephen served as Chief of Schools at a Chicago charter school network, supporting fourteen campuses and leading innovation, community engagement, and policy teams. Previously, Stephen was a Principal and Assistant Principal in Chicago Public Schools, elevating each school to Level 1 or Level 1+ with impressive student academic growth and substantial improvement in attainment. Dr. McClain started his career teaching middle grades reading in the KIPP Chicago network. Stephen earned a B.A in Elementary Education from Michigan State University, Ed. M in Teaching and Curriculum from Harvard Graduate School of Education, and an Ed.D in Urban School Leadership from the University of Illinois at Chicago.


Carmen McClaskey (she/her/hers) – Partner, Training

Carmen is a passionate people manager who began her career in the non-profit education sector, working to introduce new technology curriculum into the Los Angeles School District. She then moved to Washington, D.C., and spent seven years in increasingly senior roles with an organization focused on leadership development for high achieving students. She served as Director of Programs for the National Young Leaders Conference and the National Youth Leadership Forums on Law and National Security, shepherding more than 10,000 students through experiential education programming. Most recently, Carmen was the Vice President of Internal Communications for CEB (now Gartner), a research and advisory firm focused on equipping leaders with insights, advice, and tools to achieve their goals. She earned a B.A. in Psychology and B.S. in Communication Studies from the University of Texas at Austin and an M.A. in Communication from Johns Hopkins University. She lives in Arlington, Virginia where she enjoys watching movies, hosting game nights, and playing various recreational sports.

Niamoja Morgan

Niamoja Morgan (she/her/hers) – Vice President, Training Operations

Niamoja is passionate about positive peace and creating institutional change. While at university, she helped to create a number of events promoting positive peace, from exhibits on nuclear non-proliferation to conferences on interfaith dialogue. She remains dedicated to creating non-violent social change through direct action to create real world results. She enjoys spending her free time cooking, reading and visiting all the museums the DC area has to offer.


Janet H. Namkung (she/her/hers or they/them/theirs) - Manager of Client Support

Janet is an active leader who is passionate about social and restorative justice through capacity-building. Janet began their career in nonprofits advocating for the Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander community. Janet worked on national issues such as immigration, civic engagement, the census, education, and mental health. Janet previously worked with OCA-Asian Pacific American Advocates, Council of Korean Americans, and the National Endowment for the Humanities. They co-founded a creative and mental health nonprofit called Asians* in Focus, as well as a BIPOC-focused teletherapy company. Janet served as a Commissioner on Mayor Muriel Bowser’s Commission on Asian and Pacific Islander Community Development, on the Board of Directors of the Conference on Asian Pacific American Leadership, and as Chair of the DC Chapter of Service Year & AmeriCorps Alums. Janet received a B.A. in Psychology from Ramapo College of New Jersey. Janet is a proud New Yorker, lover of food vacations, and a dedicated mutual aid volunteer. Janet currently lives in D.C. with their partner, Jae, and their 3-legged hamster, Ssamjang.

Tamara Osivwemu

Tamara Osivwemu (she/her/hers) – Managing Partner of Training

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 non-profit 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. Tamara loves her other roles as wife, mom of two, and adjunct professor with Southeastern University. 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 (she/her/hers) – Senior 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. Ashley lives in Chicago and loves to get outside in any type of weather with her husband, her two kids, and their dog.


Charlie Riebeling (they/them/theirs) — Data Director

Charlie's passion is creating database systems focused on people and outcomes, not just data. They believe that data can be a powerful tool to inform policy advocacy for progressive change. Before joining TMC, they worked in the adult education sector in Washington, DC helping schools create data systems to deliver accurate, actionable, and timely insights. When they're not thinking about data, Charlie can be found practicing their woodworking skills, reading a book, or cooking up a tasty dinner. Charlie lives near Washington, DC with their wife & three dogs.

Court Ruark

Court Ruark (she/her/hers) – Chief of Staff

Court is passionate about problem solving and capacity building. A citizen of the Cherokee Nation, before she came to TMC she 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 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 children, Ox and Birdie, dogs, Niles and Skittles, and snake, Selu (which was a pandemic compromise gift to her son). When she’s not at work, she’s on her Peloton, baking, or reading contemporary fiction. (Please ask her for a book rec!) Court has a B.A. in Political Science from the University of Oklahoma.

 Viridiana Safty

Viridiana Safty (she/her/hers) – Vice President, Client Support

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 and 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.

Jasmeet Saini

Jasmeet Saini (she/her/hers) – Training Operations Coordinator

Jasmeet is driven to help people and advance their learning experiences to create a lasting impact in social justice. She holds a finance degree from Virginia Tech and started her career in the consulting world supporting organizations, including nonprofits, in streamlining their operations and creating processes to better achieve their goals. Jasmeet has always been passionate about supporting nonprofit organizations, with a special focus on early education initiatives. In her day-to-day work, she enjoys problem-solving and has the ability to organize just about anything. She lives in the Shaw neighborhood of DC, and outside of work she enjoys trying new restaurants, traveling, and dabbling in crochet.

Alyssa Schuren

Alyssa Schuren (she/her/hers) – Partner

Alyssa Schuren is a goal-driven leader and manager with nearly twenty years of government and non-profit experience. As a partner with The Management Center, she leads the organization’s public practice – coaching and training elected and appointed government leaders, non-profit executives, and their managers to build and run more effective teams and organizations to achieve results. Alyssa serves clients at the local, state and national levels, working on efforts like improving access to healthcare, mitigating the worst impacts of climate change, reforming the criminal justice system, and addressing the opioid crisis. Her clients have ranged from the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services to Fair and Just Prosecution to the Seattle Mayor’s Office of Sustainability & Environment. Before joining The Management Center, Alyssa served as Commissioner and Deputy Commissioner of the Vermont Department of Environmental Conservation, and as Senior Advisor to the Vermont State Treasurer. Earlier in her career, she worked in various non-profit leadership positions, including as executive director, organizing director, and development director. In her spare time, Alyssa enjoys live music and good food with friends, making pottery, and exploring new places with her husband and son.

Emma Shaver

Emma Shaver (she/her/hers) – Training Operations Coordinator

Emma holds a Bachelor's degree from Indiana University of Pennsylvania, with a concentration in directing. She has spent most of her career in the customer service industry, with her longest position as the general manager at a successful bakery in DC. Emma’s work at TMC combines her love of improving client experiences and the ability to create social change. Through opening her own baking business and being promoted to management without training, Emma has seen the challenges of managing without a support system and organizational structure behind you. She is passionate about helping others navigate through that. You can find Emma cooking and baking for friends and family, cozied up with a book, or around her fire pit making a s’more.


Deborah Sherman (she/her/hers) – Director of Operations & HR

Deborah Sherman began her career in youth nonprofits and schools in DC. Most recently, Deb worked as the Volunteer Coordinator for the Homeless Children’s Playtime Project, a nonprofit providing trauma-informed, youth play programming at DC’s family homeless shelters. At Playtime Project, Deb grew and diversified the volunteer base, and increased volunteers’ capacity to serve children by building an in-service training program. Before Playtime Project, Deb served as an Americorps member through Avodah: the Jewish Service Corps in DC. During her time with Avodah, Deb worked in the programs department of a law-themed high school, supporting after-school and enrichment programs — including advising the school’s Connections Club for LGTBQIA* students and allies.  She continues to volunteer as a mentor at the school. In addition to volunteering, outside of work Deb is committed to building radical and vibrant Jewish communities. She spends her time organizing and training with anti-occupation groups, cooking for potlucks, doing yoga, and biking around DC on her bumper sticker-covered bike.


Amy Sonnie (she/her/hers) – Vice President of Content and Communications

Amy is passionate about storytelling and design that amplifies movements for dignity and freedom. She is the author of two acclaimed books on social justice movements: Revolutionary Voices, which introduced a rising generation of LGBTQ youth activism in the United States, and Hillbilly Nationalists, Urban Race Rebels and Black Power, which explores interracial solidarity and organizing among poor white communities in the 1960s. For more than 20 years, Amy has worked at the intersection of media activism, education equity, and organizational development. As co-founder of the Center for Media Justice with Malkia Cyril and Jen Soriano, Amy helped build a national network to advance media rights among marginalized communities. For the past decade, Amy served as a librarian leading award-winning youth and family programs, while supporting libraries to operationalize racial equity. She earned her MLIS from San Jose State University, and a Dual B.A. in Journalism and Women’s Studies from Syracuse University. She lives in the Bay Area among beloved community, where you can find her dancing, hosting Zoom karaoke, and reading (of course).

Sarah Storm

Sarah Storm (she/her/hers) – Director of Client Support, Educational Equity

Sarah is an Inupiaq educator with a passion for supporting teachers, school leaders, and communities in providing a rigorous education and welcoming environment to all K-12 students. Before joining the Management Center, she spent three years with DC Public Schools’ Central Office, managing school-based personnel evaluation systems and working with teachers, instructional coaches, and school leaders on setting student achievement goals. Sarah’s education career began in the classroom as a high school mathematics teacher in Southeast Arkansas, before moving to Washington DC to work with Teach for America managing operations and finances while also earning her M.Ed in Curriculum, Instruction, Policy, and Leadership from American University. Originally from Seattle, Sarah now lives in DC with her two dogs, Stella and Charlie, and enjoys spending time working with animal rescues and going to intertribal celebrations.

Mattie Weiss

Mattie Weiss (she/her/hers) – Vice President

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 started writing and training with the League of Pissed Off Voters, where she co-authored How to Get Stupid White Men Out of Office. She served as the Director of Training Programs at Wellstone Action, and the National Director of Organizing and Training at Educators for Excellence. Mattie has lived and traveled all over the world and is trilingual (English, Portuguese and Spanish). Mattie lives in Minneapolis with her partner and two sons. She loves to paint, and is part of Poligraphix, a crew of political graphic artists in the Twin Cities.

Monna Wong (she/her/hers) – Chief Content Officer

Monna is an organizer and facilitator who loves to synthesize, problem-solve, and build kick-ass team culture. She 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. She is currently on the Advisory Council of the Asian Prisoners Support Committee. Monna loves dance, experimentation, and talking about money.

Breanna Wright

Breanna Wright (she/her/hers) – Director of Talent

Breanna Wright loves woo-ing talent to serve for organizations that advance social change and works tirelessly to ensure an organization's staff reflect the diversity of the US. She kicked off her career as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Ethiopia and for the past nine years, Breanna Wright has supported international and domestic development programs in a number of roles. Her experience includes recruiting future global leaders as a Recruiter at the Peace Corps headquarters and searching for the right talent for US government programs at several nonprofit organizations. Originally from Oakland/Bay Area, Breanna holds her BS in Business Administration from the University of California, Riverside and her MS in Development Management from American University. When she’s not working hard, she enjoys singing her heart out in front of the mirror with a brush as her microphone ("Can We Talk" by Tevin Campbell is her song of choice).

Justine Xu

Justine Xu (they/them/theirs or she/her/hers) – Content Manager

Justine embraces grassroots organizing, coalition building, intergenerational relationship-building, and community healing. Justine has years of political organizing, facilitation, fundraising, and philanthropy experience, particularly with APIENC and the Red Envelope Giving Circle, two queer and trans API (QTAPI) community organizations in the San Francisco Bay Area. Aside from QTAPI movement-building, Justine has worked with feminist nonprofits in Boston and Hong Kong, organized on campus with Asian American and queer and trans people of color communities, and collaborated with activists across issue areas in Taiwan. As a graduate of Yale University, Justine majored in Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies with a concentration in race and ethnicity. Most recently, Justine is interested in exploring environmental justice, the intersection of art and activism, and transnational solidarity across the Asian diaspora.

in residence

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

Bex Ahuja

Bex Ahuja (they/them/theirs)

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.

Monique Ayotte-Hoeltzel

Monique Ayotte-Hoeltzel (she/her/hers)

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 lives with her husband, son, and daughter in Brooklyn, New York.

Cheyenne E. Batista

Cheyenne E. Batista (she/her/hers)

Cheyenne is the Founder & CEO of Firefly Worldwide Inc., a global education consulting practice that supports leaders in the education, non-profit, and corporate sectors. She previously served as Founding Superintendent, Managing Director of a Pre-K to 12th grade community-based school network called East Harlem Scholars Academies in New York City. She initially served as Founding School Principal and later oversaw the network’s expansion while managing the growing team of principals and central staff serving more than 1000 students. She previously taught in the New York City public school system and at the American School of Campinas in São Paulo, Brazil. She led as a Program Manager at Teach For America and later managed complex product deliveries at Grow Network/McGraw-Hill, an assessment data reporting company. Cheyenne is currently pursuing an EdD in Education Policy and Leadership at American University School of Education. She has a B.A. in Communication Studies from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and an Ed.M in Education Policy and Management from Harvard Graduate School of Education. Cheyenne is a trilingual dog lover and foodie who loves chasing sunsets worldwide on a dirt bike or motorcycle whenever she can.

Emily Bauer

Emily Bauer (she/her/hers)

Emily is passionate about building structures that keep active nonprofits organized and functioning smoothly. She is committed to supporting organizations that advance equity by providing a decade of experience in financial review and services. She has worked nationally and internationally connecting global populations with local advocates. In her free time she likes painting, cinema, and visual arts.

Megan Bellamy

Megan Bellamy (she/her/hers)

Megan is a political strategist, attorney, and voting rights advocate with a passion for helping teams overcome barriers to success. She has served in various leadership roles with municipal, state, and federal campaigns, specializing in political compliance, coalition building, community affairs, and building infrastructure for remote teams. Megan currently serves as Senior Director, Elected Leadership for Leadership for Educational Equity where she manages a team of political professionals supporting the leadership and campaign development of current and former educators. She previously served as Director of National Programs for Verified Voting where she supported the work of computer scientists, election officials, and local advocates to protect voting rights by promoting the responsible use of technology in elections. Megan earned a BA in English from the University of Florida and a JD from Howard University School of Law. She lives in North Carolina with her husband and two children.

Emily Berens

Emily Berens (she/her/hers)

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. She has also worked on national and international campaigns for Corporate Accountability International. She holds a degree in French and International Relations from Ohio State University.

Meredith Bliss

Meredith Bliss (she/her/hers)

Meredith has spent nearly two decades working to build capacity in education and nonprofit settings. She began her career as a classroom teacher, and has since worked in various nonprofit settings as a team leader, manager, and coach. Meredith spent ten years on staff at Teach For America in various program and human capital roles on both national and regional teams. Most recently, as Vice President of People, Leadership & Learning, she focused on talent recruitment and hiring, onboarding, performance management, coaching, and professional development for staff. She previously worked at New Leaders, helping to 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. After a decade in San Francisco, Meredith and her family moved north to the woods of Oregon, where she’s an active member of her small-town community. Meredith sits on several nonprofit boards ranging from the farmers market to her local Boys & Girls Club, and she recently ran for and won a seat on the county Education Service District board. You can usually find her chasing her three small children, cooking, and listening to John Denver or Broadway musicals.

Etienne Bowie

Etienne Bowie (he/him/his)

Etienne has worked in for-profit and nonprofit sectors as an accountant, analyst, and business operations manager. From working with startups to consulting and accounting firms to think tanks, he's developed an understanding of several different business models and industries. Etienne has a master's in international business and trade from the University of California, Hastings, and a bachelor's in business economics and finance from California State University, East Bay. Etienne is currently working on developing his skills in data analytics and business intelligence while further developing his accounting experience. He loves to cook, go on walks, and spend time with his family.

Jen Chau Fontán

Jen Chau Fontán (she/her/hers)

Jen Chau Fontán is a coach with 20 years of experience in management and building talent functions from the ground up at various nonprofits. Jen has created systems for equitable practices in recruitment, hiring, performance management and staff development. She has also built healthy and engaging organizational cultures and internal programs around equity and inclusion. Jen continues to focus on building capacity in individuals through her independent coaching and talent consulting practice at JCF Coaching as well as serving as a coach in residence to leaders in the progressive sector at The Management Center. Jen received her BA in Women’s Studies at Wellesley College and her MS in Organizational Change Management from Milano, The New School for Management and Urban Policy. She lives in New York City with her husband and daughter.

Aquiles Damirón

Aquiles Damirón (he/him/his)

Aquiles is obsessed with understanding how, where, and why adults learn. He has spent the last decade helping organizations imagine engaging learning experiences that help committed staff and volunteers meet strategic goals and become better leaders. Aquiles currently leads process development and management for the U.S. Programs at the Center for Reproductive Rights. Prior to joining CRR, he worked on Democratic presidential campaigns and political issue advocacy, managing hundreds of volunteers and staff and training thousands more. He also has consulted for the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, Arena, the City of Philadelphia, and Stand for Children, and interned with the global training team at the United Nations Population Fund. Aquiles holds a BA in Politics from the University of Virginia and a Masters in Adult Learning and Leadership from Columbia University. He lives in Brooklyn, NY.

Carrie Ellis

Carrie Ellis (she/her/hers)

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 (she/her/hers)

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.

Brandy Fluker-Oakley

Brandy Fluker-Oakley (she/her/hers)

Brandy has a long-standing passion for social justice and organized her first protest in the third grade. Never one to accept the status quo, Brandy has dedicated her career to advocacy and education equity. Brandy loves managing and developing thriving teams to ensure each individual reaches their highest potential and achieves maximum impact. She most recently served as the Executive Director of Educators for Excellence Boston, which brings the voices of educators to the policy table. Brandy holds a social work degree and a degree in policy from the Maxwell School at Syracuse University, a graduate degree in education from Johns Hopkins University, and a law degree from Emory University. She is the founder and president of Delighting in God Ministries (D.I.G.), active in her community, a faithful member of her church, a practicing attorney, and an active member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated. Brandy is also an enthusiastic foodie and traveler!


Alison Green (she/her/hers)

Alison is the co-author of Managing to Change the World and runs the popular Ask a Manager website, where she dispenses advice on workplace and management issues. She is also an advice columnist for Slate, New York Magazine, Vice, and Inc, and is a regular commentator for the BBC and Marketplace. As the Chief of Staff of the Marijuana Policy Project, Alison oversaw day-to-day staff management. Before that, 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 taught students how to work with the media and organize on campuses. Her writings have been published in The Washington Post, The New York Times, Fast Company, and numerous other publications. Her newest book is Ask a Manager: How to Navigate Clueless Colleagues, Lunch-Stealing Bosses, and the Rest of Your Life at Work (Ballantine Books).

Michelle Hallerdin

Michelle Hallerdin (she/her/hers)

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 everyday to help mission-driven organizations increase their impact.

Jerry Hauser (he/him/his)

As the founding CEO of The Management Center, Jerry brought together his dual passions for advancing social change and creating effective organizations that deliver on what they set out to accomplish. Over 15 years, Jerry grew The Management Center from a donor-funded, two-person start-up that reached ten clients in its first year to a go-to resource serving 400 organizations and more than 15,000 individuals a year, with a multi-racial team of 50 and a diversified revenue base of over $10 million. Prior to his time at The Management Center, Jerry, an alumnus of McKinsey & Company, 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. Before graduating from Yale Law School, where he was active in legal clinics and a senior editor of the Yale Law Journal, Jerry taught high school math and U.S. history 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.

Emily Hicks-Rotella

Emily Hicks-Rotella (they/them/theirs)

Emily is the founder of Make Tech Work For You, a data and technology consulting firm for nonprofits and mission-driven organizations. Emily has over a decade of experience working with organizations of all shapes and sizes to support their data and technology culture and strategy. As part of this work, Emily supports staff members to learn, use, and love their data and technology, adds capacity to teams and organizations that need additional technical knowledge and skill, and uses a uniquely human and non-technical approach to develop and support a culture that sets up staff and organizations for success using data and technology for their missions and impact. Emily lives in the Bronx, New York with their wife and two young children, and when they aren't being a total data and tech nerd, they are either singing outside, snowboarding, reading, or getting more tattoos.

Eliza Leighton

Eliza Leighton (she/her/hers)

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.

Naomi Long

Naomi Long (she/her/hers)

Naomi is a Partner at Three Point Strategies, an electoral justice firm that harnesses the intersections between electoral strategy, social justice, and community organizing. She is one of the premier facilitation and leadership coaches in the country. She has two decades of experience that spans some of the most pivotal justice issues facing Black people in the United States including prison abolition, ending the War on Drugs, and building Black independent political power. She served in leadership positions at the Justice Policy Institute, Drug Policy Alliance, Campaign 2 End AIDS, Wellstone Action, and most recently as Partner at The Management Center, where she designed the highly sought after Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) Cohort training to empower nonprofit staff. Naomi also designs curriculum and mentors the next generation of BIPOC organizers as a Core Trainer at Training for Change. She is a master at coaching all types of people—those who see no obstacle too big and others who are burned out and fed up. Naomi's secret to success is balancing playfulness and power building. She is a highly intuitive teacher with the unique ability to invite complexity, welcome conflict, and stay grounded amidst chaos.


JK Nelson (he/him/his)

JK Nelson has wide and deep experience as a manager in various arenas, ranging from electoral (Field Director for over two dozen state legislative and congressional campaigns and New York State Deputy Finance Director for a Presidential candidate), VP at high performing nonprofits, labor organizing, and educational advocacy spaces. JK has helped mobilize over 5 million people over the course of his organizing career. His management practice is undergoing ongoing refinement in the crucible of many past, present, and—most assuredly—future mistakes. JK's managerial experience runs the spectrum including building teams from scratch, inheriting teams, managing complex organizational change, managing through layers of management, managing toward ambitious/inspiring goals, and managing major organizational cultural shifts. Additionally, JK has managed in diverse organizational structures including both hierarchical and matrixed formulations and everything in between. JK's trainings are marked by high energy, transparency and a sincere attempt at humor. Ever practical, he is deeply committed to equipping participants with managerial best practices that they learn in the early morning and could implement in the late morning (had they not been in a training with JK). JK is deeply committed to seeing every manager reach their full leadership potential. JK earned his undergraduate degree at Vanderbilt University and a M.Div at Harvard Divinity School.

Kimberly Osagie

Kimberly Osagie (she/her/hers)

Dr. Kimberly E. Osagie—a Nigerian woman with Louisiana kindness and a New York edge—is currently Vice President of Programs at Echoing Green. In this role, she manages the fellowship experience from selections through alumni engagement, supporting 1,000+ social impact startups across the globe. Kimberly previously served as founding Partner for Diverse, Inclusive, and Equitable Talent Strategy at Promise54, a national talent consulting and executive search firm for mission-driven organizations. In this role, Kimberly managed business development and matrixed consulting teams to support a $1M portfolio of organizations in the strategy, design, and implementation of more inclusive systems. Kimberly started her career in Harlem as a secondary English teacher, and joined the founding team of Democracy Prep Charter High School before turning to adult learning. After five years working with students and families directly, Kimberly joined the founding team of Relay Graduate School of Education, building and tripling the organization’s partnership with the NYC Teaching Fellows as a founding Associate Dean, Assistant Professor of Practice, and Director of Teaching & Learning. Kimberly left Relay to pursue doctoral study, turning her equity lens toward philanthropy. She joined the Walton Family Foundation’s K-12 Education team, proposing more equitable internal talent systems, and supporting grants for leaders of color and intentionally diverse schools. Kimberly took her learnings from this role into her work as Vice President for Educator Success at Curriculum Associates, designing the organization’s first-ever inclusion strategy for 800+ staff. Kimberly has a Doctorate in Education Leadership from Harvard, a Master of Science in Teaching from Pace University, and undergraduate degrees in English and Political Social Thought from the University of Virginia. She was selected as a Pahara Fellow for education leadership in 2014, earned a Derek Bok Center for Teaching Excellence award at Harvard in 2017, and was granted an Equity Lab Seeding Disruption fellowship for her interest in place-based approaches to disrupting inequity in 2020. After a decade in Harlem, Kimberly now lives in Washington, DC with a pandemic-inspired, ever-growing collection of houseplants.


Maria Peña (she/her/hers)

Over the past two decades, Maria has established herself as a proven leader in both the corporate and non-profit sectors. Most recently, Maria served as the President of LIFT, a national anti-poverty non-profit where she drove innovation and alignment across all aspects of LIFT’s work. Prior to LIFT, Maria served as the Global Head of Economic Development at Vital Voices, an international NGO founded by Hillary Clinton and Madeleine Albright to invest in women leaders around the world. Maria began her career as a management consultant to Fortune 500 companies at PwC Consulting and IBM, eventually serving as Americas Leader of Entrepreneurship at Ernst & Young, where she directed the firm’s corporate responsibility efforts to accelerate the growth of businesses across North, Central, and South America. Maria graduated from the University of Pennsylvania with a degree in economics and lives in Washington, D.C. with her husband and son.

Jordan Pina

Jordan Pina (she/her/hers)

Jordan believes deeply in the need for a more just society. She began her career at The Management Center as the organization’s first Training Operations Associate and Data Manager. Over the course of two years at TMC, she built out the training operations and data systems to scale as the organization tripled in size and supported the creation of our Black, Indigenous, and People of Color Cohorts. After moving back to her home state, Jordan joined KIPP Massachusetts as Executive Assistant to the Leadership Team and affirmed her passion for amplifying the power of marginalized youth. In addition to her current role at TMC supporting the Data and Training Operations Teams, she serves as Chief of Staff of a Boston-based charter high school, where she oversees Board administration, state compliance, development, manages the Office of the Chief Executive Officer, and leads their diversity and inclusion initiatives. Jordan holds a B.A. in Linguistics with a minor in Women’s, Gender and Sexuality Studies from Boston University. When not on her many email accounts, Jordan can be found reading true crime novels, discussing astrology, or decorating for the next holiday.

Andrea headshot

Andrea Pursley (she/her/hers)

Andrea has trained thousands of school leaders, systems leaders, and other education equity managers. She began her career as a sixth-grade teacher in Phoenix, where she was inspired by her students’ courage to dream and their extraordinary persistence in the face of challenges. Since then, Andrea has led and managed large and diverse teams to results in several senior roles. At Teach For America, she more than tripled the scale of the Phoenix region as executive director and went on to manage executive directors across Texas and Florida. In 2010, Andrea served as founding executive director of The Sanford Education Project, an innovative partnership embedded in Arizona State University’s education school. In 2016, she led the team running Teach For America’s 15,000-person 25th Anniversary Summit event. Today, Andrea continues to invest in leaders by training with The Management Center and coaching independently. She lives in the Rocky Mountains with her husband Brian, their three children Eddie, Ruby, and Johnny, and several chickens.

Elizabeth Brown

Elizabeth Brown Riordan (she/her/hers)

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.

Kelley Robinson

Kelley Robinson (she/her/hers)

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.

Ebony Ross

Ebony Ross (she/her/hers)

Ebony Ross is a capacity builder who partners with social justice leaders, organizers, and movement builders to provide thought partnership, leadership development, and organizational development strategies that connect heart, vision, and strategy. She has spent two decades working collaboratively to support and build beloved communities that address gender and racial inequities and health disparities, while also creating and facilitating communities of practice, fellowships, and cohorts that provide learning resources, strategies for resilience, love, and connection. As an experienced coach, consultant, results-driven leader, trainer and organizational strategist; Ebony has extensive experience with facilitating and leading large-scale human capital initiatives, creating and implementing year-long fellowships and cohorts, and leading collective impact and community mobilization initiatives in birth and reproductive justice. Ebony developed her love for leadership development and capacity building while serving as the Senior Program Strategist with Rockwood Leadership Institute; Director of Human Resources with Higher Achievement; Associate Director of Adolescent Sexual Health with Advocates for Youth; and Capacity Building Associate with Fair Chance. Ebony has a master's degree in psychology from North Carolina Central University and a bachelor's degree in psychology from Hampton University. She brings warmth and a decisive nature to her work of creating a world of equity and opportunity for everyone, loves to cook delicious food for the people that she loves, secretly thinks that she should be a backup dancer for Janet Jackson and loves to go on hikes with her two dogs.

Melinda Spooner

Melinda Spooner (she/her/hers)

Melinda has spent the majority of her career working to improve educational opportunities for underserved students across the country. She began her career running tutoring centers in Atlanta and has served in leadership roles at Chicago Public Schools and The Achievement Network (ANet). Melinda briefly left the education sector to earn an MBA from The Kellogg School of Management and to work as a management consultant at McKinsey & Co. For the last ten years, Melinda has been marrying her professional passions for organizational management and educational equity, most recently as the Chief Talent and Equity Officer at ANet. At ANet, her team implemented an aggressive anti-racism learning agenda and anti-racist organizational policies to transform the experiences of staff of color and improve programmatic offerings for students of color. Melinda is currently launching a business to provide adventure travel services for women of color.

Sujata Tejwani

Sujata Tejwani (she/her/hers)

Sujata, founder and president of Sujata Strategies, is a well-known leader in the progressive movement. Sujata has trained more than 10,000 candidates, staff, and leaders, and she advises and mentors rising progressives as they grow into leadership roles, paying special attention to those coming from and working in communities of color. She focuses her consulting practice on supporting organizations and leaders who center racial justice and equity in their work through strategic advising, training, coaching, and program implementation. She served as Runoff Campaign Director for the New Georgia Project in 2021, the Coordinated Campaign Director for Stacey Abrams in 2018, Deputy Chief of Staff for the 2016 Democratic National Convention, Director of the Political Leadership Project for Wellstone Action (now re:power), Campaign Advisor for EMILY’s List, and Senior Election Advisor for the Ohio Democratic Party. She has served as a donor advisor to funders of progressive advocacy, including the Open Society Foundations, Atlantic Philanthropies, and Corridor Partners.


Evelyn Thornton (she/her/hers)

Evelyn is a management and strategy coach to a diverse array of mission-driven leaders. Previously, she was the Chief Executive Officer of Inclusive Security, a Washington-based non-profit organization that increases women’s influence in preventing and ending violent conflict. During her tenure, she established an innovative shared leadership structure and dramatically expanded Inclusive Security’s impact through programs in seven conflict zones, a network of partners in 45 countries, and strategic communications and advocacy campaigns that influenced thousands. Evelyn also spent several formative years working in India for His Holiness, The Dalai Lama’s Foundation for Universal Responsibility. She holds a master’s degree in conflict resolution from Georgetown University and a B.A. from Virginia Tech. Evelyn lives in Washington, DC with her husband and their two vivacious young daughters, and frequently returns to the Blue Ridge farm where she was raised.

Shawna Wells

Shawna Wells (she/her/hers)

Shawna is a passionate advocate for educational equity and is fiercely committed to equipping school leadership teams to execute on their ambitious goals in order 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 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 family.

Shannon Wheatley

Shannon Wheatley (he/him/his)

Shannon is passionate about cultivating leaders and teams working to make the world a more equitable and just place. He is the Chief Academic Officer at Lighthouse Community Public Schools, an Expeditionary Learning School in Deep East Oakland. Before joining Lighthouse, Shannon served as the Chief of Schools of a charter network in Sacramento and as the Vice President of Collaborative Teaching and Innovation for Teach For America’s national team. He was a founding principal of a college preparatory high school in Houston and started his career in education as a Teach For America Corps Member in the Rio Grande Valley. Wheatley holds a B.A. from The University of Tennessee and earned an M.Ed. in Education Leadership from National Louis University. Shannon loves jazz, USA Track & Field, and walking around Lake Merritt with his partner and two children.


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.