Adam Friedman is the founder and interim Executive Director of Rank the Vote. Previously, he founded Voter Choice Massachusetts, the nation's largest statewide movement to advance Ranked Choice Voting, where he has served as Chair of the executive board and as Executive Director. Adam has also served on the boards of MassVOTE and Common Cause MA.
In his career as a software engineer and entrepreneur, under the brand Civera, Adam created the first searchable public database of official election statistics on behalf of the Secretary of Massachusetts and four other US states. Adam lives in Somerville, MA and holds a BA in History from Boston University.
Malea Stenzel Gilligan is the Senior Development Advisor for Rank the Vote. She is an accomplished fundraiser, organization builder, manager and political operative. Her roots are cemented in the values of care for others, equity, inclusion and environmental conservation.
Recently, Malea led fundraising efforts for Bernie Sanders’ 2020 Presidential Bid. As the Development Director, she brought traditional fundraising practices to compliment online giving. The fundraising program generated a record-breaking $200M for the 14-month presidential primary campaign.
Over the past 20+ years Malea has worked on numerous start-up teams and with established organizations. She has worked with state, congressional and presidential candidates developing strategies, finance operations and coalition building.
Malea served as Senior Director of Governance to the Board of Directors of the National Wildlife Federation for over 10 years. Organizing the 501(c)3, 501(c)4 and Endowment Boards- in policy and campaign engagement, funding and connecting to the organization’s 6 million members and 51 state and territorial affiliates. Malea also led NWFs Political Action Committee (PAC) and Super-PAC providing pivotal support on conservation issues.
Understanding the power of elections, Malea is passionate about youth engagement in the political process, supporting small business and communities and ending gun violence. She serves on the Minnesota YMCA Youth in Government Board of Directors and enjoys mentoring the next class of our future leaders.
Peter Sarasohn is a Development Advisor for Rank the Vote. Peter has worked as Budget Director and consultant for numerous super-PACs, presidential and congressional candidates and political organizations. He previously worked as finance director for multiple congressional races and is a former Hill staffer.
Peter has a long track record of success, including managing multiple state house races to victory. In addition to his campaign experience, Peter has worked as a policy staffer at Feeding America and as a legislative staffer in the Oregon state legislature. Peter has a Bachelor's in Political Science from American University and a Master's of Public Affairs from UT Austin's LBJ School of Public Affairs. In the rare moments he isn't working, Peter enjoys board and card games.
Monica Burke is a National Organizer with Rank the Vote and was the Statewide Organizer for Voter Choice Massachusetts helping to organize voter contact and volunteer activities across the Commonwealth. She has served as a Campaign Manager and community organizer for candidates and various ballot questions as well as led activist groups especially ones which advocate for election reform.
In her 10 year software career, Monica worked in environmental, healthcare, security and mental health applications. She has also been a Lecturer in the Math Department at Northeastern University. Monica holds a BS in Mathematics with a minor in Physics from Northeastern University, a MS in Applied Mathematics from the University of Virginia and is published in the Journal of Elasticity. She enjoys yoga, gardening and spending time with her children.
David Green is a National Organizer with Rank the Vote. Formerly, he was a Deputy Chapter Lead at Voter Choice Massachusetts, building grassroots support and donations for the MA RCV movement. David was also a cofounder of the Massachusetts Yang Gang.
David previously worked as a Data Analyst at CareDash, a healthcare directory site, and holds a BA in Mathematics and Theater from Amherst College. He loves singing, board games, running, and getting people excited about changing our world for the better.
Celia Nolan is a National Organizer with Rank the Vote. She was Plymouth County Organizer for Voter Choice Massachusetts and has held leadership roles in civic organizations and campaigns.
Prior to her political organizing work, she had a career in project management and technical communications for IT and Operations Departments at companies such as Iron Mountain, EMMT (NRG) and Northwest Airlines. In her spare time, Celia enjoys teaching classical piano, and fiber arts. Celia holds a degree in Linguistics and Russia from Macalester College and studied Piano Pedagogy at the New England Conservatory of Music. In her spare time, she enjoys teaching classical piano, and fiber arts.
Savasti Addison is a passionate people professional, military brat, and Emerson College grad. Most recently, she joined DoSomething.org as their Senior Manager of People & Talent Acquisition tasked building new teams in support of growing Voter Registration and Civic Engagement initiatives.
As DoSomething’s resident Job Czar and one of their beloved old people, she has brought her affinity for business books, baking, and inclusive workplace practices to the largest tech company exclusively for young people and social change.
Johannes Epke has worked in election reform, serving as general counsel for American Promise in Massachusetts and grassroots organizer for Move to Amend in California and New York. Johannes is a Staff Attorney for the Conservation Law Foundation, working in transportation, environmental justice, and climate resilience.
Johannes has a J.D. and Certificate in Environmental and Natural Resource Law from Lewis & Clark Law School, and a B.A. in Environmental Studies with a Minor in Legal Studies from University of California, Santa Cruz. He previously practiced environmental law in California.
Susan Friedman is a strategy consultant for major international corporations and local nonprofits alike, with a focus on healthcare, education and training sectors. She has been active on boards including Accelerated Cure Project for MS, Boston Ballet, Celebrity Series, Jewish Family and Children’s Services, Lesley University, New England Aquarium and WGBH CAB.
Having started her career with the Boston Consulting Group and then launching a spinoff of that firm, she later stepped away from formal consulting organizations, allowing her to partner closely with her clients in more creative and flexible ways. In addition, she has helped many non-profits pro bono with their strategic and operational challenges.
Susie was a community organizer before Barack Obama, and worked on several campaigns back in the day. A graduate of Brown University and Harvard Business School, she believes her clients have been the most valuable source of her education.
Joyce Hackett is a writer and activist living in the Berkshires. Her fiction and essays have been published in 17 countries, including in Harpers, The Guardian, The Independent, The Paris Review, London Magazine, Die Welt, Der Tagespiegel, and on NPR. Most recently, she served as the statewide organizer for MA’s successful Automatic Voter Registration campaign.
Her widely acclaimed novel, Disturbance of the Inner Ear, won the Janet Heidinger Kafka Prize for Fiction by an American Woman, and she’s been awarded fellowships at the American Academy Berlin, the Netherlands Institute for the Arts and Sciences, the MacDowell Colony, Ragdale, the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, and Schloss Wiepersdorf. She has taught creative writing in Germany, the UK, and at multiple universities in the U.S., including George Washington University, where she was the Jenny McKean Moore Writer-in-Residence. Her novel-in-progress, Reconstruction, explores the ways that the suffrage and abolition movements collaborated and competed, supporting and undermining each other.
Hackett is the creator of several large public education projects, including Washington Write-a-Story Day. She's also the founder of Lift+Every+Vote, which offers average activists concrete opportunities to help protect our democracy's critical infrastructure. It's focused on the basics of voting: registration, and now has close to 1100 members in 21 states. Her mission is to leave behind universal suffrage.
Billy Jackson is an Associate Professor of Mathematics at North Shore Community College where he has taught the ideas and theories behind voting methods for the past nine years and has been invited to speak on conference panels on the topic. Billy was a founding member of Voter Choice Massachusetts and took on a variety of roles as a volunteer.
At VCMA, Billy organized the “200 Coffees” legislator education campaign, which resulted in 89/200 Massachusetts legislators sponsoring or co-sponsoring RCV legislation. He also gave talks to small audiences which signed up hundreds of supporters and raised thousands of dollars in small donations. Billy holds a BA from Westfield State University and an MAT from Salem State University.
Nathan Lockwood served as the Greater Worcester Chapter Lead, a statewide speaker, and as volunteer co-lead for communications for Voter Choice Massachusetts. He was an executive board member of the Voter Choice Education Fund and a founding member of Unite America.
Nathan was elected to the Town of Lunenburg Planning Board and served from 2009 through 2015. His career in the software industry has spanned over 20 years and varied roles. He holds a BA from Yale University.
Nick Stabile is an experienced attorney who has worked on election reform and voting rights across government, political campaigns, and private practice. He served as Counsel to the New York City 2019 Charter Revision Commission, where he designed and drafted the bill to bring ranked choice voting to New York City.
He has also served in leadership roles on voter protection teams for campaigns and nonpartisan organizations. Nick holds a J.D. from the Northwestern University School of Law, where he was a member of the Law Review, and a B.A. from Emory University. He is admitted to practice law in New York.
Scotty Vercoe produced the award-winning documentary The Battle for Ranked Choice Voting, which tells the story of Maine's grassroots People’s Veto campaign and historic victory to become the first state to adopt RCV. Beginning in 2017, Scotty was a leading live outreach activist in the Massachusetts RCV movement.
As a composer, Scotty has scored films and commercials, including dozens of 48 Hour Films, winning Best Music and a premiere at the 2016 Cannes Film Festival. He studied jazz composition at Oberlin Conservatory, and received a Master’s degree from the MIT Media Lab, where he pioneered software that arranges film music based on emotion. Scotty worked as a music knowledge engineer at The Echo Nest, acquired by Spotify.
Mark Bauer is a producer, entrepreneur, day trader and former Independent candidate for Congress in Texas. Previously he spent 10 years as a legal journalist covering the legal market in Texas and regulatory issues in Washington DC.
Mark's primary interests involve using content and storytelling to help different groups of people better understand one another.
Jeanne Hopkins is Chief Revenue Officer at HappyNest, the tech-enabled laundry pickup and delivery service. Known in Boston tech for building revenue via highly customer-centric demand generation programs, Jeanne is backed with 30 years of expertise in marketing technology and data.
Her reputation for building sustainable customer and team relationships while bridging the gap between marketing and sales organizations has fostered success for her customers and companies alike. During the early days of HubSpot, Jeanne helped the company land on the number two spot on the Inc. 500 list of fastest growing companies by generating 50,000 net new leads per month. She has held the CMO title at travel management software company, Lola.com, Ipswitch (now Progress), SmartBear, and Continuum (now ConnectWise) and other executive marketing positions at Symmetricom (now Microsemi) and MarketingSherpa. Most recently, she was CRO at custom sports apparel provider, SquadLocker.
Jeanne has served as an advisor at numerous companies. In addition to Rank the Vote, she is advising Below the Fold, USEFULL (formerly Coffee Cup Collective), and OneScreen.ai. Jeanne co-authored “Go Mobile,” a top-selling mobile marketing book on Amazon, in 2012. She loves educating the masses as a frequent speaker at industry events and is a social media powerhouse with 86,000 @jeannehopkins followers on Twitter and nearly 10,000 on LinkedIn.
Carl Pieri is a marketer and startup advisor at HubSpot. Carl is obsessed with helping organizations accelerate their growth by solving true user problems. Carl is passionate about helping to create an election system that works better for all Americans.
Dan Sally worked with digital marketing software firm, HubSpot, advising companies on how to grow their business via the web. Dan brings his passion for electoral reform, his knowledge of digital marketing to help Rank the Vote reach a wider audience online.
Dan spent 8 years pursuing a career in stand-up comedy, appearing on Comedy Central and as a finalist in the Boston Comedy Festival.
Tonina Bellante is a Managing Director with 360 Campaign Consulting. She trains and manages Project Directors working with professional organizers on a range of issues. Tonina has eight years of organizing and campaign experience and six years of staff management experience.
She has worked in Washington State, Oregon, and California on campaigns to ban plastic bags, protect clean water and wild places, push for more and better public transportation, fight for access to reproductive healthcare including abortion, and register young people to vote. Tonina is a doula, providing emotional and physical support during pregnancy and childbirth, based in the Bay Area.
Dr. Joshua Boger is the founder of Vertex Pharmaceuticals Incorporated. He retired as Vertex’s CEO in May 2009, after over 20 years with the company. He is the author of over 50 scientific publications, holds 32 issued U.S. patents in pharmaceutical discovery and development, and has delivered over 100 invited lectures, in the United States, in Europe and in Asia, on various aspects of drug discovery and development.
Prior to founding Vertex in 1989, Dr. Boger was Senior Director of Basic Chemistry at Merck, Sharp & Dohme Research Laboratories in Rahway, N.J., where he headed both the Departments of Biophysical Chemistry and Medicinal Chemistry of Immunology & Inflammation. During his ten years at Merck, Dr. Boger developed an international reputation in the application of computer modeling to the chemistry of drug design and was a pioneer in the use of structure-based rational drug design as the basis for drug discovery programs.
Dr. Boger was named in 2009 to the Biotech Hall of Fame, received in 2012 the Chemical Heritage Foundation & BIO 13th Annual Biotechnology Heritage Award, in 2018 received the Othmer Gold medal from the Science History Institute and a Doctor of Science honorary degree from Wesleyan University, in addition to numerous other professional awards.
Dr. Boger is Chair of the Board of the Celebrity Series (Boston’s premier performing arts presenter), co-founder and Vice-Chair of the Alliance for Business leadership (a Boston-based, non-partisan coalition of progressive business leaders) and Vice-Chair of the Museum of Science (Boston). He serves on several additional non-profit Boards, including the Board of Fellows of Harvard Medical School (where he is Chair Emeritus), the Science Advisory Council of WGBH (public broadcasting’s leading station, Boston), and the MIT Corporation Visiting Committees to the Institute for Medical Engineering & Science (IMES). He is a former member of the Harvard Board of Overseers, served on the boards of the Hastings Center for Bioethics and the Whitehead Institute (Cambridge, MA), was a founding Director of the Massachusetts Life Sciences Center, was a Trustee and Chair of the Board of Wesleyan University, was founding Chair of the Board of MassChallenge, and, while a member of the Board of the ACLU of Massachusetts Foundation, co-founded their ongoing Technology for Liberty and Justice for All Projects.
Dr. Boger holds a B.A. in Chemistry and Philosophy from Wesleyan University and an A.M. and Ph.D. in Chemistry from Harvard University.
Brian Cannon became the Executive Director of OneVirginia in January 2015. He brings over a decade of experience in nonprofit leadership, community building, fundraising, and bipartisan advocacy for state policy issues. In these few years, OneVirginia has grown from 3,500 supporters to over 100,000 and raised the issue of ending gerrymandering in every election and corner of Virginia.
Previously, Brian worked as a consultant with startups and high-growth companies. While in law school, Brian studied election law and was on one of the winning teams in the 2011 state-wide redistricting competition. Brian is a double William and Mary graduate (2011 JD, 2004 BA). He and his wife, Kelly, live in Richmond, Virginia with their two children.
Tara DeSisto is a strategic consultant on fundraising and event coordinating for political and non-profit operations. She currently serves as the Director of Development for the Libertarian National Committee.
Tara has worked with Ivy League educational institutions as well as a number of public and private universities in the New England area and has experience in fundraising and staffing operations for local, federal, candidate and issue-based campaigns. Tara has consulted with small businesses in the start-up tech and construction sectors assisting in developing and executing business strategies and navigating regulatory practices.
Tara holds a BA in Political Science – from the University of Massachusetts, Boston where she served as a University Trustee 2009-2010. She also received a certificate from Washington International Studies Program at Oxford University and has a Professional Grant Writing Certificate from the University of Massachusetts.
Dr. Mark Glickman, a Fellow of the American Statistical Association, is Senior Lecturer on Statistics at the Harvard University Department of Statistics, and Senior Statistician at the Center for Healthcare Organization and Implementation Research, a Veterans Administration Center of Innovation.
Dr. Glickman is known for having invented the Glicko and Glicko-2 rating systems for head-to-head competition, both of which have been adopted by many gaming organizations internationally. Dr. Glickman has served as a member of the US Chess Ratings Committee since 1985, and has been the Chair of the Committee over most of that period. He co-founded and co-organizes the New England Symposium on Statistics in Sports, a bi-annual conference on the research and practice of applying statistical methods in sports. He is Associate Editor for the Journal of Quantitative Analysis in Sports and was Editor-in-Chief 2015-2017. At Harvard, he is the founding head of the Lab for Sports Analytics.
Avi Green is the former Executive Director of the Scholars Strategy Network, a nationwide group of university-based scholars working to improve public policy and enhance democracy. From 2006 to 2012, Avi was Executive Director of MassVOTE, an organization that works to reduce racial and economic disparities in voting and civic engagement in Massachusetts.
Appointed by Governor Deval Patrick, Avi has also served on the Massachusetts State Ballot Law Commission and the Local Election District Review Commission.
Ben Gubits is vice president of business development and client strategy at the Erikson Group, a full-service communications firm dedicated to driving progressive social change. Ben has expertise and experience ranging from business development and organizational development to campaign management, field strategy, comms, organizing, public policy, government affairs and grassroots engagement.
Previously, Ben served as Co-founder and National Political Director for American Promise, a national cross-partisan organization working to overturn Citizens United vs. FEC. Ben is a native of Colorado where he also graduated from Fort Lewis College.
William Herlong has had a broad career in the courtroom, business, and beyond. He is widely respected as a litigator in South Carolina, having tried more than 100 cases across a variety of topics including business litigation, computer law, corporate law, and many more.
He spent the first part of his career with large firms including Covington & Burling in D.C. and Wyche Burgess and then Nelson Mullins in South Carolina. Since 2004 when he started his own practice, he has achieved approximately $100 million in verdicts and settlements and has won the coveted Litigator Award given to the top 1% of lawyers, lawyers known for “bet the company” cases.
William is also deeply committed to public education and from 1998-2006 served on the Greenville County (SC) School Board. The district even then had over 70,000 students, 5,000 teachers, and budgets approaching half a billion dollars a year. During William’s tenure and substantially as a result of his leadership, the District entered into a unique public-private partnership that enabled the construction of over 70 schools in four years at a savings of over $1 billion, all without increasing taxes, giving the district facilities among the best in the nation. William has also served on the South Carolina Educational Television Commission [PBS] and the board of the South Carolina Children’s Theater.
William’s mantra is: “Decency matters. Treat people with respect and dignity, because integrity counts. Be a living example. Work like hell. Never give up. But don’t be afraid to have fun along the way.” In 2018, William was a candidate for the Republican nomination for South Carolina Attorney General on an anti-corruption platform.
Segun Idowu is a Boston-based grassroots organizer and civic leader. He currently serves as the Executive Director for the Black Economic Council of Massachusetts (BECMA). Segun was elected 1st Vice President for the Boston chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) in 2018.
At the NAACP, Segun managed the research and production of the Equity, Access, and Opportunity Report Card, a comprehensive, 175-page assessment of the city’s efforts and results in addressing systemic racial disparities.
In August 2014, Segun organized the Boston Police Camera Action Team (BPCAT) with his colleague, Shekia Scott. BPACT’s mission was to further accountability and safety in Boston through the mandatory use of police body-worn cameras. As a result of their efforts, Boston began a body-worn camera pilot program and policy in September 2016. In 2018, Boston Mayor Marty Walsh announced a $2 million investment in a permanent citywide body-worn camera program.
Following his graduation from Boston Latin Academy, Segun earned his Bachelor of Arts in History at Morehouse College.
David Jacoby, President of Boston Strategies International, is an energy industry economist, M&A adviser, and trade policy expert. He has been improving corporate strategy and performance for over 30 years, especially in the oil, gas, and power industries.
He has written five books on energy industry economics and global trade. In addition, he has contributed 250 speeches, articles and webcasts to publications such as Oil and Gas Journal, Supply Chain Management Review, Energy Tribune, and Supply Chain Quarterly.
Formerly, he taught Operations Management at Boston University's graduate school of business, served as a contributing editor at the Economist Intelligence Unit, and consulted to the World Bank. While based in Brazil, Hong Kong and France, he consulted on strategic sourcing, purchasing and outsourcing, shipping, and capital investments.
He holds an MBA from the Wharton School, a Masters in International Business from The Lauder Institute, a Bachelor of Science in Finance and Economics from the University of Pennsylvania, and several industry certifications. At the International Supply Chain Education Alliance (ISCEA), he is a member of its Ptak Prize Selection Committee. Mr. Jacoby is a member of the Society of Petroleum Engineers.
Kevin Johnson is the founder and Executive Director of Election Reformers Network, a nonpartisan organization leveraging its members’ international election expertise in support of reform in the United States.
Since launching in 2017, Election Reformers Network has provided financial and strategic support to initiatives such as ranked choice voting in Maine and Massachusetts, redistricting reform in Missouri and Utah, and secretary of state reform in New Mexico. Mr. Johnson co-authored Guardrails for the Guardians, focused on secretary of state partisanship, along with more than 20 opinion pieces on a wide range of reform topics.
He served on the Board of Common Cause Massachusetts from 2008 to 2018, where he was active in campaigns to improve redistricting, reduce money in elections, and support a national popular vote for president. Mr. Johnson’s interest in elections stems initially from several years spent directing democratization programs overseas for the National Democratic Institute. Mr. Johnson has an MBA from Wharton and a BA in English from Yale University.
Scott Kallgren served as the first statewide Director of Volunteer Coordination and as volunteer co-lead for communications and social media for Voter Choice Massachusetts. Scott was instrumental in development of the organization’s volunteer capacity, establishing operational and grassroots mobilization procedures, and building a substantial social media presence on Facebook and Twitter.
Scott is a Bioinformatics Scientist at Moderna Therapeutics where he analyzes next generation sequencing data. Scott holds a PhD in Biological Sciences from Columbia University and M.M.Sc. from Harvard Medical School. He enjoys running and cycling and is an accomplished triathlete.
Rachel Kemp is a Vice President at Pickwick Capital Partners with six years of investment banking experience and over twenty years of managerial and financial experience. In addition to her other activities, Ms. Kemp specializes in Opportunity Zone Investment initiatives, alternative asset financing and family office investments.
Prior to joining Pickwick, Ms. Kemp was the CEO at Arcova Technologies, Inc., a consumer focused predictive analytics company. She is a recognized economic development expert and co-developer of a Gross State Product (GSP) analytics tool for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. Earlier in her career, Ms. Kemp served as the Assistant Secretary of Economic Affairs for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.
Jeanne Kempthorne is a former civil litigator, federal and state prosecutor, and criminal defense attorney. She has strong interests in public integrity, having served as chief of the Public Corruption Unit at the US Attorney’s Office in Boston and on the State Ethics Commission.
She was a long-time member and vice-chair of the board of Common Cause Massachusetts, focusing her efforts on open and accountable government, redistricting reform, and election modernization. She currently serves on the leadership team of Progressive Democrats of Massachusetts, focusing on endorsements of candidates to state legislative offices and on criminal justice reform. She is a member of the new Berkshire (MA) chapter of the League of Women Voters.
Ihssane Leckey is a progressive champion and former candidate for the U.S. Congress in Massachusetts’ 4th district where she organized for racial, social and economic justice for all.
An immigrant from Morocco and a survivor, Ihssane devoted her life to public service. She worked to eliminate food deserts, save states and municipalities from bankruptcy, and battled the biggest, most corrupt wall street players as Wall Street regulator at the Federal Reserve, where she led federal inter-agency task forces to protect working families from national and global threats to our economy.
Ihssane is currently organizing to elect working class women of color into public office, and serving as Honorary Co-Chair of the Massachusetts’ Yes-on-2 campaign for Ranked Choice Voting.
Eric Maskin is a Nobel prize-winning economist and the Adams University Professor at Harvard University. From 2000-2011, he was the Albert O. Hirschman Professor of Social Science at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton.
Maskin has worked in diverse areas of economic theory, such as game theory, the economics of incentives, and contract theory. His current research projects include comparing different electoral rules, examining the causes of inequality, and studying coalition formation. He is a member of the National Academy of Sciences, a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, Econometric Society, and the European Economic Association, and a Corresponding Fellow of the British Academy. He was president of the Econometric Society in 2003.
Mercedeh Momeni is a Washington-based attorney who has been working to promote the rule of law and social justice since 1988. She is the recipient of multiple U.S. Departments of Justice and Housing and Development awards.
She began her career at Amnesty International USA in its Boston and New York offices, and went on to work at the U.N. Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia and later for the Vice President of the U.N. Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda, as an Associate Legal Officer. She successfully oversaw the implementation of democracy and governance programs, including elections-related missions, as the Deputy Director for Southern and East Africa at the National Democratic Institute.
Mercedeh has been a litigator for more than 20 years. As a New Jersey Deputy Attorney General, an Assistant United States Attorney and Senior Litigation Counsel at the U.S. Department of Justice, she litigated approximately two hundred cases on wide-range of issues, including the enforcement of the False Claims Act. More recently, as a managing attorney at other government agencies, she has focused on combating fraud, waste and abuse.
Mercedeh’s pro bono work includes leading advocacy and rule of law workshops for women lawyers and activists in East and West Africa as well as the Near East, and advising various women’s rights groups at home and abroad, as a board member. She has investigated allegations of atrocities committed in Darfur, Sudan, and represented the U.S. Department of State at the International Criminal Court Review conference in 2010. Mercedeh is the author of several rights-related articles and a book chapter. Mercedeh is a graduate of Howard University School of Law and lives with her husband and daughter in Vienna, VA, USA.
Walter Olson is a senior fellow at the Cato Institute’s Robert A. Levy Center for Constitutional Studies and is known for his writing on law, public policy, and regulation. His first book, The Litigation Explosion, was one of the most widely discussed general‐audience books on law of its time.
It led the Washington Post to dub him an “intellectual guru of tort reform.” His books since then have stirred discussion on topics ranging from workplace law to mass litigation to the state of the law schools. He is known as founder and principal writer of the longest‐running blog on law, Overlawyered, which ran from 1999 to 2020.
He has advised many public officials from town councils to the White House and is active in civic affairs in his home state of Maryland, having been named by Gov. Larry Hogan as co‐chair of commissions aimed at ending the practice of gerrymandering. He is often interviewed for his expertise on elections and redistricting law.
John E. Palmer sits on the board of the National Association of Nonpartisan Reformers (NANR), an umbrella organization for democracy reform and has actively supported a number of democracy reform organizations, including American Promise, Fairvote, the Independent Voter Project, RepresentUS, and UniteAmerica.
Professionally, John is co-founder and Principal of Hanover Partners, a San Francisco private equity firm that has been active investing in small middle-market manufacturing companies in the U.S. since 1994. John serves or has served as a director on the board of twelve of Hanover’s portfolio companies, including serving as Chairman for five companies.
John is a long-time electoral reform advocate supportive of a more level playing field for electing independent and third-party candidates. John and his wife Mary were significant financial supporters of The Committee for Ranked Choice Voting, the Maine-based organization that led the passage of the first statewide use of this instant-runoff system. They live in San Francisco with three children, and they spend significant time in Maine during the summer. John actively volunteers locally including periodically serving on nonprofit boards.
Active on social media with a significant following (for the democracy reform universe), John’s Twitter effort can be found at @ElectBetterUSA. John has written several articles on the topic of electoral reform for the Independent Voter Network.
Bobbie Ragsdale is an Army veteran of 18 years, with combat deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan. He is a recipient of the Bronze Star Medal and was the 2013 and 2014 recipient of the Draper Armor Leadership Award.
While on Active Duty, Bobbie served principally as a Cavalry Officer and Paratrooper, but transitioned to the Army Reserve as a Civil Affairs officer in 2018. Since leaving Active Duty, Bobbie has devoted his full efforts to development and consulting on a wide variety of operations, including security, negotiations, real estate, public policy, and political campaigns. In 2009, he founded Ragsdale Holdings, LCC, through which he acquired over twelve years of real estate development and investment experience.
Bobbie graduated from the United States Military Academy at West Point in 2007 with a BS in American Politics w/ Thesis, and a Systems Engineering Track. He was later selected by the Army to pursue a postgraduate degree, graduating from the Harvard Kennedy School of Government with a Master in Public Administration in 2016. He has additionally studied System Dynamics at MIT and Constitutional Law at Harvard Law School. He serves on the boards of the Fisher House of Louisiana, The NOLA Gold Rugby Foundation, Global Leadership University, The Harvard Club of Louisiana, and the Isidore Newman Alumni Board, and is the President of the West Point Class of 2007. He resides in Metairie, Louisiana, a suburb of New Orleans with his wife, Meghan, and four children.
Diane Russell served eight years in the Maine House of Representatives where she built a progressive-libertarian coalition of lawmakers to advance civil liberties legislation, including passing a law requiring law enforcement to procure warrants before using drones for surveillance. The Nation Magazine named her the most valuable State Representative in their 2011 Progressive Honor Roll.
When her efforts to reform the election system and end cannabis prohibition failed in the Legislature, Diane led a bipartisan coalition of advocates and leaders to take both Ranked Choice Voting and marijuana legalization to ballot in 2016 - and win.
During the last presidential cycle, Diane led the national fight to reform the Superdelegate system within the Democratic Party, succeeding in reducing the number by ⅔ and binding remaining superdelegates to the popular vote of their state. Her speech at the DNC — hailed as a “coming out speech” — earned her 4th place in Politico’s 11 top quotes of the day.
Diane has been published in the New York Times, Roll Call, The Boston Globe, The Hill blog, and she is a blogger in the Huffington Post. Additionally, she has been widely quoted in High Times, The Hill, The Huffington Post, The Intercept, The Nation, Politico, and the Washington Post, even making the cover of Reddit and doing two wildly successful AMA’s.
Nimit Sawhney Nimit Sawhney is the Co-Founder, CEO of Voatz, Inc., an elections platform that uses remote identity proofing, biometrics, and blockchain technology to enable end-to-end verifiable and accessible remote voting via smartphones and tablets. Voatz has run more than 74 elections in partnership with both major political parties at the state level.
Voatz has also conducted elections with state/county governments, towns, cities, universities, professional organizations including the country’s first mobile voting project with the State of West Virginia in 2018.
Nimit is a winner of multiple coding/security hackathon competitions including the SXSW ‘Hack to the Future’ Hackathon in 2014 and the Vantiv Challenge at the Money2020 Hackathon in 2016. Nimit’s background is in mobile security and software development, previously serving as Director of R&D at Oberthur Technologies (now IDEMIA), and prior to that, as Director of R&D at MoreMagic Solutions.
Nimit holds a graduate degree from Carnegie Mellon University in Computer Science, Electrical Engineering and Business Management and is an alumnus of the Harvard Business School’s YALP (Young American Leaders Program) Class of 2019. In his spare time, Nimit actively participates in the development of security tools to help detect and prevent human trafficking.
Robert J. Shiller is Sterling Professor of Economics, Department of Economics and Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, Yale University, and Professor of Finance and Fellow at the International Center for Finance, Yale School of Management. He was awarded the Nobel Prize in Economic Sciences jointly with Eugene Fama and Lars Peter Hansen in 2013.
Professor Shiller is a New York Times bestselling author who has written on financial markets, financial innovation, behavioral economics, macroeconomics, real estate, statistical methods, and on public attitudes, opinions, and moral judgments regarding markets. His many books include Irrational Exuberance, an analysis and explication of speculative bubbles, with special reference to the stock market and real estate, and most recently in 2019, Narrative Economics, “an account of how stories help drive economic events—and why financial panics can spread like epidemic viruses”.
He was co-founder of Case Shiller Weiss, Inc. in 1991, whose repeat-sales home price indices, developed originally with Karl E. Case, are now produced by CoreLogic and published as the S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price Indices. The Chicago Mercantile Exchange now maintains futures markets based on the S&P/Case-Shiller Indices. He was cofounder of MacroMarkets, LLC in 1999, which launched Macroshares based on oil at the American Stock Exchange 2006-9, and on the S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price Indices at the New York Stock Exchange 2009-2010.
Professor Shiller has been research associate, National Bureau of Economic Research since 1980, and has been co-organizer of NBER workshops: on behavioral finance with Richard Thaler 1991-2015, and on macroeconomics and individual decision making (behavioral macroeconomics) with George Akerlof 1994-2007.
He writes a regular column "Finance in the 21st Century" for Project Syndicate, which publishes around the world, and "Economic View for The New York Times.
Sam Squailia is an at large City Councilor and activist in Fitchburg, where she grew up and lives with her husband and daughter. Sam hosts a cable television series Discussing Fitchburg Now and manages a series of social media accounts with weekly engagement of tens of thousands of followers.
Sam’s distinct model of serving and informing Fitchburg and surrounding areas, incorporating front-line volunteering and advocacy, rich multi-channel media, and continuous constituent service and accessibility, has achieved remarkable results fostering civic engagement and pride, and produced tangible improvements to the city that residents now enjoy.
Sam has been on the ground leading local initiatives such as the creation of the new Fitchburg dog park, keeping Fitchburg’s roads and parks clean with weekly organized cleanups, city wide yard sales, and initiatives with the Fitchburg Greenway Committee. Sam was appointed by Governor Baker to the Massachusetts Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Board, is President of the 501c3 Fitchburg Friends of DOGS, Inc., a board member of the Longsjo Classic / Art Longsjo Foundation, Fitchburg Pride, and the newly formed Friends of Fitchburg Abolitionist Park.
Professionally, Sam is an Architectural Building Engineer & Project Manager with a LEED AP in Building Design and Construction who for over 20 years has worked on large Commercial & Industrial building design & construction projects to local commercial renovations.
Joseph E. Stiglitz is an American economist and a professor at Columbia University. A recipient of the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences (2001) and the John Bates Clark Medal (1979), he is a former senior vice president and chief economist of the World Bank and a former member and chairman of the (US president's) Council of Economic Advisers.
He is also the co-chair of the High-Level Expert Group on the Measurement of Economic Performance and Social Progress at the OECD, and the Chief Economist of the Roosevelt Institute.
In 2000, Stiglitz founded the Initiative for Policy Dialogue, a think tank on international development based at Columbia University. He has been a member of the Columbia faculty since 2001 and received that university's highest academic rank (university professor) in 2003. In 2011 Stiglitz was named by Time magazine as one of the 100 most influential people in the world. Known for his pioneering work on asymmetric information, Stiglitz's work focuses on income distribution, risk, corporate governance, public policy, macroeconomics and globalization. He is the author of numerous books, and several bestsellers. His most recent titles are People, Power, and Profits, Rewriting the Rules of the European Economy, Globalization and Its Discontents Revisited, The Euro and Rewriting the Rules of the American Economy.
Maresa Strano is a policy analyst for the Political Reform program at New America, where she focuses on state and local government and alternative voting methods. Maresa organized a national convening of ranked-choice voting stakeholders in 2019 and is currently coordinating a program initiative that organizes emerging research into the effects of ranked-choice voting and other reforms.
Before joining New America, Maresa cut her teeth in the US politics space as a long-time staff writer on the State Desk at Ballotpedia. She's lived in Italy and the UK, where she completed her graduate studies and, most recently, worked as an editor for a London media company. Maresa has written for outlets such as Vox, Washington Monthly, Democracy Journal, and Inside Philanthropy. She holds an MS in international relations from the University of Surrey and a BS in economics from the University of Pittsburgh.
Claire Uhar is Director of Strategic Partnerships at Protocol, where she builds and manages external relationships with clients across business, technology, and policy. Prior to joining Protocol, Claire managed strategic partnerships for EVERFI, a social impact technology company.
Prior to EVERFI, Claire founded and lead growth and strategy for a range of social platforms in Silicon Valley product studios. Claire serves as an advisor for multiple organizations in the technology, film & arts space, as well as the Vinetta Project where she advises, evaluates, and invests in female-founded companies.
The Reverend Vernon K. Walker has appeared in several different newspapers such as: Boston Globe, Boston Herald, Bay State Banner, Commonwealth Magazine, and other newspapers for his work related to social justice. Rev. Walker has also made TV appearances on Fox 25, New England Cable News, Boston Neighborhood Network, CBS Boston, and NBC 10 Boston.
Reverend Walker was born and raised on the west side of Philadelphia. Rev. Walker attended Penn State University for college where he earned a Bachelor’s of Science degree with a major in Organizational Leadership and a minor in Psychology in 2012.
During his time in college, Rev. Walker was also elected to become the President of the Abington Christian Fellowship at Penn State Abington’s campus, which is the campus Christian Organization.
After graduating from Penn State University, Rev. Walker attended Boston University's School of Theology and earned a Master's Degree in Theological Studies (M.T.S.) in 2016. During this time, Rev. Walker also crossed-registered to take courses at Harvard University' Divinity School on non-profit leadership. Rev. Walker also took classes at the School of Social Work at Boston University that focused on social justice and macro social work practices.
During his graduate studies at Boston University, Rev. Walker had the opportunity intern at Mass Alliance of HUD Tenants, where he helped the organization preserve and improve at-risk HUD buildings as permanently affordable housing with a maximum of resident participation, ownership and control.
Rev. Walker also interned at the Massachusetts Communities Action Network, where he had an opportunity to engage more deeply in racial and economic justice work. For the last several years, Rev. Walker has been affiliated with the Berachah Church located in Dorchester where he helped to develop the social action and outreach department.
Rev. Walker supports Ranked Choice Voting (RCV) and believes that this reform is needed to empower voters and increase voter participation in local, state, and federal elections.
Andrew Weiss is Emeritus Professor of Economics at Boston University. Weiss has lectured at numerous major universities and international organizations and is the author of over 45 articles published in professional journals. His academic research has included markets with imperfect information, macro-economics, development economics, and labor economics.
He ranks in the top 5% of published economists by citations, and his co-authored paper “Credit Rationing in Markets with Imperfect Information” with Joseph Stiglitz was prominently featured in the Nobel Prize committee statement for Stiglitz’s 2001 Nobel Prize Award.
After receiving his PhD from Stanford, Weiss began his career at Columbia University and as a Research Economist in the Mathematics Center at Bell Laboratories, concurrently. He was elected a fellow of the Econometric Society in 1989.
Weiss is the founder and CEO of Weiss Asset Management (“WAM”). He and WAM’s strategies have been featured in articles in Forbes, Time, and Outstanding Investor Digest, as well as newspaper articles in the U.S. and Europe.
Weiss serves on the Advisory Boards of the University of California Center for Effective Global Action, Last Mile Health, the University for Global Health Equity (Rwanda). He is a senior fellow at the Niskanen Center and is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations. Weiss co-founded Child Relief International, a foundation dedicated to fighting poverty in less developed countries. The Weiss Family Fund supports research in development economics at ten leading universities.
Mike Zarren is the Celtics’ Assistant General Manager and Team Counsel, and widely recognized as one of the leaders in the field of advanced statistical analysis of basketball players and teams. He is the Celtics' salary cap expert and lead in-house counsel, and is also responsible for the development of new technologies for team use, including the team’s best-in-class statistical database and video archive/delivery system.
A graduate of Harvard Law School (where he served as editor-in-chief of the Harvard Journal of Law and Technology) and of the University of Chicago (where he worked with Freakonomics author Steve Levitt), Mike previously served as a law clerk on the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit. He also worked as a management consultant for Fortune 500 firms across a wide variety of industries, and is currently a member of the Board of Trustees of The Waring School.
Jen Zhu is a proven young leader in the private, government, and non-profit sectors, earning a federal government Special Achievement Award and recognition as one of Forbes 30 Under 30. Jen leads strategy and operations at philanthropy tech startup Humanitas.ai, helping nonprofits, donors, governments, the private sector, and civilians best leverage their resources for society's benefit.
Jen has served both major parties at the highest levels around policy research, development, communication, and oversight. Working as a nonpartisan career civil servant for the Trump White House in the Office of Management and Budget, her work included making annual apportionments of over a billion dollars and managing budget accounts of several agencies. In Congress as Professional Staff for the Democratic controlled U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Ways and Means Majority, Jen wrote legislation, advised the Chairman and Congresspeople, and provided messaging research and support. As a policy lead at the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation she designed and tested major healthcare reforms.
Outside of the federal government, Jen has spearheaded policy and advocacy efforts for a global anti-violence and social justice nonprofit and served the United Nations in East Africa, where she worked to reach the UN Millennium Development Goals and address gender-based violence for the UN Refugee Agency.
Jen’s convictions about the benefits of ranked choice voting come from close personal experience -- she ran for office and won in RCV elections at her alma mater, Harvard University, where she was elected Class President and part of only the third all-female student body presidential team in the school’s history. In her free time, Jen organizes hundreds of young changemakers in anti-violence and pro-democratic efforts at the local, state, national, and global level.