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Board of Directors

The 2013 - 2015 democratic GAIN Board of Directors:

Amy Pritchard, President & Founder

Georgie Aguirre-Sacasa, Chair 

Seth Johnson, Secretary Treasurer 

Alexandra Acker-Lyons

Michael Bassik

Jeremy Bird

Matt Blizek

Brandon Davis

Alix Dejean

Julie Greene

Amy Kurtz

Mary Rickles

Courtney Sieloff

Simone Ward

Jessica Weinstein

 

 


Amy Pritchard, President & Founder

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Amy Pritchard is a Progressive Democratic Political Consultant and entrepreneur.For more than 25 years she has worked full time on political and issue advocacy campaigns on the ground in 28 states and for clients in 20 others in the US. Internationally she has work in on programs for the 

Amy Pritchard is a Progressive Democratic Political Consultant and entrepreneur.For more than 25 years she has worked full time on political and issue advocacy campaigns on the ground in 28 states and for clients in 20 others in the US. Internationally she has work in on programs for the National Democratic Institute (NDI) in Kosovo, Thailand (Burma program), Iraq, Rwanda, and most recently in Egypt where she ran a voter education program around the 2011-2012 Parliamentary Elections. Pritchard spends the majority of her time working for Mission Control,a political communications, voter contact and new media firm that works with Democratic candidates, party committees, initiative and referendum campaigns, trade associations, labor unions and public interest groups. She joined "TheMCTeam" in 2007 and opened their DC office.AP Campaigns is Pritchard's general political consulting firm for progressive non-profits and partisan organizations. She is also a partner at Digital Turf - a consulting firm that provides website development, digital strategy and online advertising for Democratic and Progressive Campaigns and Organizations. With Mission Control she provides consulting services to a diverse variety of clients like AFSCMEAFL-CIO and Working AmericaSEIU, UFCW, Change to Win, America Votes,EMILY’s List,Michigan Coalition for Progress,US Action,several ballot measure campaigns and many Democratic candidates and party organizations. Pritchard is the founder ofDemocratic GAIN. As a active board President, she volunteers with GAIN though raising money, developing program, expanding membership, training, and one on one career counseling for its members (check out her Ohours).

 


Alexandra Acker-Lyons

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Alexandra Acker-Lyons is the Director of the Youth Engagement Fund, a collaborative project of institutional and individual donors.  She is author of the book "The Political Ladder: Insider Tips on Getting a Job in Politics" and is a recognized political commentator who appears regularly on CNN and Fox News.  Alexandra also consults for Share Our Strength's No Kid Hungry campaign and trains internationally for the National Democratic Institute. 

Alexandra’s expertise in youth politics culminated during the 2008 election cycle, when she served as Executive Director of the Young Democrats of America.  She was also the National Youth Outreach Director for John Kerry’s presidential campaign.  Alexandra previously served as the Executive Director at Democratic GAIN and has also worked for the Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights, Planned Parenthood Federation of America, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, and Congresswoman Nita M. Lowey (D-NY).  

Alexandra graduated magna cum laude from the State University of New York at Binghamton and now lives in Mountain View, CA.

 


Georgie Aguirre-Sacasa, Chair

Georgie has most recently served as the Chief of Staff for America Votes. In conjunction with the President and Executive Director of America Votes she helps manage a diverse coalition of the leading national progressive organizations while coordinating independent electoral activity through each election cycle.

Prior to joining America Votes, Georgie served as the Human Rights Campaign Regional Field Director for the southwest. While at HRC she spearheaded membership mobilization in targeted Congressional and Legislative races in AZ, NM, CA and NV. During the 2008 primary season, she organized the GLBT community in the Nevada caucuses.

Georgie has also served as political and regional director for the Arizona Democratic Coordinated Campaign in 2004, helping to develop early-vote and vote-by-mail programs, as well as managing statewide political outreach on behalf of the Kerry/Edwards campaign. Before heading to Arizona, Aguirre-Sacasa was the deputy political director for Sen. John Edwards' political action committee. She also served as the director of national Hispanic/Latino outreach for the Edwards for President Campaign, where she organized grassroots Hispanic/Latino activity in Arizona, California, New Mexico, New York, Texas and Virginia.

Georgie and her wife reside in Denver, CO with their twin baby girl and boy, Gabriela and Joaquin, and their dog Jackson.

 


Michael Bassik

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Michael Bassik is Managing Director and U.S. Digital Practice Chair at Burson-Marsteller, a leading global public relations and communications firm. In addition to his role at Burson-Marsteller, Michael is CEO of Proof Integrated Communications, a full-service integrated marketing and advertising firm within WPP Group.

Michael is an accomplished digital strategist with more than 11 years of experience. He has built several successful online public affairs practices and has been honored for his industry-leading work by Yahoo!, the American Association of Political Consultants and POLITICO. 
 
Throughout his career, Michael has been a pioneer in the field of digital communications. He has blended digital strategy, public affairs and political communications to lead effective campaigns.  He has worked with several high-profile clients including IBM, Google, the Democratic National Committee, John Kerry for President, Hillary Clinton for President and Obama for America. 
 
Most recently, Michael was Senior Vice President at Global Strategy Group where he established and managed the full-service digital public affairs division. In this role, he developed and oversaw the execution of award-winning online marketing, reputation management and media relations programs for some of the firm’s largest and most highly visible clients, including IBM, Google, Al Jazeera English, Oprah Magazine, Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) and Dan Malloy for Governor (CT). 
 
Prior to Global Strategy Group, Michael was Chief Digital Officer for the radio network Air America Media. At Air American Media, Michael successfully led digital strategy through the worst recession in decades, growing the outlet’s online audience and revenue by over 200% – including a new, profitable website and multimillion-dollar subscription podcast business. He also created Ad Progress Network, a stand-alone advertising network representing cross-media ad inventory from Air America, The New Republic, Mother Jones, The Nation and AlterNet. 
 
Earlier in his career, he established America Online’s political advertising division, the first such division among the internet portals. As the Director of Political Advertising, he executed the first political advertisements on the internet and worked with the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB), Yahoo!, MSN and The New York Times to author industry-wide policies regarding political and issue-advocacy advertising.
 
Michael has appeared on Bloomberg Radio and NPR’s Morning and Weekend Editions. He was also featured in The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, The Los Angeles Times, The International Herald Tribune, BusinessWeek and Advertising Age.
 
Michael received his Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and Spanish from the University of Pennsylvania and his law degree from American University’s Washington College of Law. He is a member of the New York State Bar and sits on the advisory board of the Personal Democracy Forum and E-Voter Institute.

 

Jeremy Bird

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Jeremy Bird is a founding partner at 270 Strategies and a longtime grassroots organizer with broad experience across domestic and international politics, labor and policy. He helped launch 270 Strategies after serving most recently as the National Field Director for the 2012 reelection campaign of President Barack Obama, where he had primary responsibility for building a nationwide army of staff and volunteer organizers. Dubbed the campaign's "Field General" by Rolling Stone magazine, Jeremy was listed among "The Obama Campaign's Real Heroes" and has been cited as "a former Harvard divinity student who took to political organizing as though it were his higher calling." He is credited with helping establish a ground game and turnout machine that in 2012 "reproduced - through brute force, dedication and will - a turnout in the swing states that in some cases bested the campaign's remarkable performance of 4 years ago."

 


Matt Blizek

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Matt managed his first campaign at 19 while a student at the University of Iowa and has never stopped organizing. At 31 he is a nationally known progressive organizer with experience in Field, Fundraising, Training and Online Organizing for numerous campaigns and organizations including the DNC, MoveOn.org, Russ Feingold, Jon Tester, Annette Taddeo, and No on 1 (Marriage Equality in ME).

From 2007 though 2011 he served as the National Training Director & Field Director at Democracy for America -organizing 87 trainings in 37 states and mobilizing DFA's million plus members to elect progressives at all levels of office.

Matt is proudly serving his second term as a Board Member at Democratic GAIN, the premier organization for connecting talented staff to campaigns and organizations in need.

A recent transplant to the Chicago area, he most recently worked as the Field Director for Ilya Sheyman for Congress in IL-10. He is currently the National Campaigns Manager at Rebuild the Dream. 

 


Brandon Davis

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Brandon L. Davis is the National Political Director for the Service Employees International Union (SEIU), the nation’s fastest growing union with 2.1 million members in the healthcare field, the public sector and property services. In this capacity, Brandon leads one of the nation’s largest political programs dedicated to winning for working families, and is tasked with developing and implementing a national member focused and member driven campaign to win key 2012 elections while building permanent political infrastructure in the field that will lead to real policy change for working families in 2013 and beyond.

SEIU’s political and electoral program is focused on advancing the major issue areas of a winning agenda for working families and the 99%: good jobs; tax fairness; an end cuts to essential services like Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security; and comprehensive immigration reform.

Before becoming the National Political Director, Brandon was the Deputy National Political Director for Member Engagement at SEIU and worked diligently on SEIU’s fight to win historic national healthcare reform.

Brandon joined SEIU in 2007 as the Political Director for SEIU’s Missouri State Council. Prior to joining SEIU, Brandon worked extensively on electoral campaigns, including Senator Claire McCaskill’s 2006 campaign, where he served as Political Director and Deputy Campaign Director.

Brandon lives the DC area with his wife Brandi and their daughter Bella.

 


Alix Dejean

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In 2010, Alix Dejean, an accomplished political and fundraising strategist, joined Dewey Square Group’s state and local affairs practice. Dejean provides strategic guidance to clients which build upon deep relationships with mayors, Congressional members, governors and other elected and community leaders across the country.

Prior to joining DSG, Dejean served as a principal consultant with the Dejean Group working with an array of non-profit, political, corporate and issue advocacy clients. From 2007 to 2009, Dejean served as the finance director for the African American Leadership Council (AALC). During his tenure, the AALC exceeded its fundraising goals as a result of Dejean’s oversight and strengthened ties to prominent African-American business and political leaders. He also served as the group’s liaison to the Congressional Black Caucus.

In 2005, Dejean joined the Democratic National Committee (DNC) as Southern Deputy Finance Director with a focus on developing a strong grassroots fundraising apparatus. Shortly thereafter he became the Northern Deputy Finance Director to help grow and develop donor relationships with the major donors in the region.

While with the DNC, Dejean cultivated and grew the party’s network of donors and built deep relationships with the political staff to U.S. Congressional Members and Senators. Previously, Dejean worked for the presidential campaign of Sen. John Kerry in Florida as a liaison to local-elected officials and a local director of the state’s get-out-the-vote effort.

Alix Dejean is a graduate of the College of Holy Cross in Worcester, Massachusetts, where he majored in Political Science with a minor in French and Africana studies. In addition, a board member of the Episcopal High School EHS The Promise Campaign, and the Jessie Banks Scholarship Foundation (NJ)

 

Julie Greene

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Julie Greene is the Deputy Director for the AFL-CIO Political Department, which mobilizes and empowers working families with opportunities to make their voices heard in the political arena, educates voters about candidates’ positions on core economic issues and conducts voter registration and get-out-the-vote activities. As Deputy Director, Greene works with leaders and staff to develop, execute and align programs across multiple departments, campaigns and affiliates, including Working America, nonpartisan voter registration, voter mobilization, member organizing, and political community organizing. As Deputy Director, Greene is also responsible for coordinating the AFL-CIO’s voter rights program which includes both voter registration and protection.

Prior to her appointment as Deputy Director, Greene served as Assistant Director for the Political Department and before that, AFL-CIO Campaign Operations Analyst. As the Campaign Operations Analyst she was responsible for the full scope of national and local level political communication outreach to members, including the development of strategic outreach programs for direct mail, telemarketing and targeting.

With a career rooted in progressive politics, Greene has served in many different political capacities including as Field Director for Bill Green for Philadelphia City Council At-Large and as an Account Executive with MSHC Partners, Inc., coordinating and executing political direct mail programs for other Democratic candidates. Greene is a graduate of American University in Washington, D.C., and a founder of The Next Step, a non-profit bipartisan professional development program focused on the professional development of the next generation of young female political leaders. Greene has been recognized as one of Campaigns & Elections Politics’ Magazines’ "Rising Stars” of 2009 for overall management and work done on behalf of the AFL-CIO’s member contact program during the 2008 presidential cycle. In addition, she was recently awarded the Women’s Information Network "Young Woman of Achievement” award in the category of Labor and Community Organizing for 2012.

  


Seth Johnson, Secretary Treasurer

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Seth Johnson currently serves the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) as an Assistant Director of Political Action, overseeing the department’s political communications, research, financial and compliance functions and running the unions Independent Expenditure programs.  In the 2010 cycle, Seth ran the day-to-day operations of AFSCME’s IE.  In the 2008 cycle, Seth was loaned to America Votes, where he served as the progressive coalition’s National Field Director.  Since joining AFSCME’s political shop in 1999, Seth has run campaigns for the union in more than a dozen states, and spent two years managing the International Union’s political and legislative program in Maryland.  In his younger days, Seth worked as a budget, tax and intergovernmental finance analyst in AFSCME’s Public Policy Department, for the Texas State Comptroller of Public Accounts, at the U.S. House Committee on the Budget and for Federal Funds Information for States (a joint project of the NGA and NCSL).  Seth holds a master’s degree in public policy from the University of Michigan and a bachelor’s degree in government from Cornell University.  He lives in Washington, DC with his wife Kate and their dog Nessie.

 


Amy Kurtz

Amy has more than 20 years of experiencing managing electoral campaigns across the country – both within and outside of advocacy organizations. Amy currently manages the independent expenditures and political partnerships at the National Education Association overseeing the state and federal public candidate campaigns for the 3.2 million member union. Her primary responsibility at NEA is working with national staff and state affiliates and on gubernatorial and legislative election strategies across the country.

Prior to joining the NEA Amy worked in the conservation community managing independent expenditure and ballot campaigns across the country. At the League of Conservation Voters, Amy managed independent campaigns in more than a dozen congressional races in 2004. Amy also helped LCV play in the 2004 presidential and organized LCV’s June Presidential Debate on the Environment that cycle. Prior to joining the League of Conservation Voters Amy worked as a senior advisor for The Nature Conservancy helping secure more than 300 million dollars at the ballot in statewide and local conservation campaigns across the country. Additionally, Amy has extensive candidate campaign experience and has worked in New Jersey, Kentucky and Washington State on several winning races.

Amy is a 1991 graduate of George Washington University with a BA in political communication. She and her husband Joe have two, great, funny kids and live in DC.

 


Mary Rickles

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Mary Rickles is the Communications Director of Netroots Nation. She has a unique background in both traditional and new media, having worked as a reporter and with agencies, non-profits and corporate companies on projects ranging from brand development to community outreach.

She previously was communications director for Democracy for America and, in 2009, was named one of the New Leaders Council’s Top 40 Under 40 Emerging Leaders. Mary grew up in Alabama and now lives in San Francisco.

 


Courtney Sieloff

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Courtney Sieloff is an organizer, political strategist and connector. She is the Senior Vice President at Revolution Messaging, a mobile communications and digital strategy political consulting firm in Washington, D.C.

Previously, Courtney was the executive director of the V3 Campaign, a nonprofit that aimed to teach other nonprofits how to be politically active. She worked for the National Association of Letter Carriers (AFL-CIO), as a regional field director for 10 states.  Courtney also worked for The Harbour Group, where she developed social media strategies for associations and nonprofit organizations. She has also been a PAC director for a nonprofit organization and for a Las Vegas gaming corporation, and has worked on a number of candidate and issue campaigns.

Courtney is a founder of WIPT (Women in Political Technology) and is also the founder of JobsthatareLEFT.  She is a two-time nominee for WIN’s Young Women of Achievement Award. Courtney has a B.A in Political Science from the University of Wisconsin – Madison, and a Master’s degree in Public Policy and Women’s Studies from The George Washington University.  She lives in Washington, D.C. with her husband Luke Peterson, son Teddy Peterloff, and her very spoiled dog, Juno.

 


Simone Ward

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In 2007, Simone Ward joined the political department at EMILY’s List (EL). EMILY’s List is the largest political action committee in the country and works to elect pro-choice democratic women to office. Simone serves as a Senior Political Tracker working to identify, assess, and support federal races, works with the EMILY’s List Democratic National Convention Committee advisory team and investing in building diverse relationship for the organization.

Most recently, Ms. Ward served the Democratic National Committee (DNC) as the Deputy Executive Director for the American Majority Partnership (AMP). The AMP is a new department in Chairman’s Dean’s Administration which services our core constituencies groups including but not limited to African Americans, Women, Hispanics, and Asian Americans by researching and organizing around issue prioritized by those communities. Prior to that, Simone served as the Executive Director for Democratic GAIN, a national grassroots training and political placement program building infrastructure for the progressive community through political opportunities.

She served as the National Executive Director for the Young Democrats of America (YDA) and continues to be very committed to the inclusion of young people in the political process while finding innovative new ways to encourage participation. Formally, she served as the Democratic National Committee’s (DNC) youth coordinator and an adviser to the DNC Chairman for the Young Democrats of America. Additionally, Simone has served in the Finance Department for the Women’s Leadership Forum and a Special Assistant in the Office of Presidential Personnel at The White House under the Clinton Administration.

She has also served as an acting Board of Directors member for the Summer Time Area Reading Together (START) local literacy program, for underrepresented youth in Washington, DC she is able to provide mentoring relationships with underprivileged middle school students. Ms. Ward has been a guest speaker and is frequently asked to represent young African-American women by speaking on CNN, various radio programs, sitting on guest political panels, as well as visiting various community organizations. Ms. Ward received a B.A. in Political Science from the Oklahoma City University and is a candidate for the Master’s of Public Administration at American University. She was raised in Kansas City, Missouri. 

 

Jessica Weinstein

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Jessica Weinstein serves as Assistant to President Lee A. Saunders of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME), the largest union in the AFL-CIO. Jessica oversees AFSCME’s Public Affairs, Retirees, Information Services and Conference and Travel Services departments. Currently, she is managing the union’s battleground campaign in New York State, helping our members fight to protect public services in a challenging fiscal environment. Jessica is also heading up AFSCME’s Next Wave program to promote activism and leadership among younger members of the union.

During the 2008 Presidential election, Jessica took a leave of absence to serve as Labor Director for Hillary Clinton in Pennsylvania and Indiana. During the General Election, she acted as Barack Obama’s Labor Vote Director at Pennsylvania for Change.

In 2007, Jessica served as the national union’s political and legislative director in Pennsylvania. In 2005, Jessica served as a Legislation and Field Specialist advocating for AFSCME members on a wide range of issues on Capitol Hill. She began her career at AFSCME as the Deputy Political and Legislative Director for AFSCME NY where she lobbied on behalf of 420,000 members. She conducted hundreds of trainings and voter registration drives.

Prior to her work with AFSCME, she served as the statewide labor director for McCall for Governor. Jessica worked for the NYC District Council of Carpenters as their Assistant Political Director. Jessica started her career in politics with EMILY’s List. Jessica was the recipient in 2007 of the Women’s Information Network’s (WIN) Young Woman of Achievement Award.

Jessica holds a bachelor’s degree in political science from Millersville University in Pennsylvania. A native of Upper Darby, PA, she now resides in Washington, D.C. where she still cheers for the Philadelphia Phillies.

 

 

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