Trebor Scholz

Trebor Scholz was born and raised in East Berlin, Germany. At the Russian-language high school that he attended, he worked in the local tool and die factory over the summer. Since then, he has lived in Dresden, Weimar, London, Zurich, San Francisco, Portland, Buffalo, and Tucson. Today, Scholz is an author, educator, and Associate Professor for Culture & Media at The New School where he is chairing The Politics of Digital Culture conference series. Dr. Scholz convened eight major conferences, presented keynotes and lectures at more than 150 conferences worldwide, and held a grant from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation. His book on 21st century labor is forthcoming in 2015. Dr. Scholz has co-authored From Mobile Playgrounds to Sweatshop City (with Laura Y. Liu)He is also the editor of several collections including The Internet as Playground and Factory (Routledge, 2013). Together with his partner in life, the artist Jenny Perlin, he is raising two girls in Brooklyn.

Bridget Todd

Digital Strategist, Educator, Writer, and Community Organizer

Bridget Todd is a digital strategist, educator, writer, and community organizer. Her writing on race, politics, and culture has appeared at the Atlantic,, the Huffington Post, Jezebel, BuzzFeed, the Aerogram, Talking Points Memo, DCentric, Racialicious and several other outlets. Her work organizing digital trainings for progressive political organizers and activists has been covered by the Washington Post.

Previously, Bridget taught courses focused on the intersections of writing, new media, and social justice full time at Howard University in Washington, D.C. She has held regular contributing writer positions at Mic and Generation Progress, the millennial arm of Center for American Progress, a progressive public policy and advocacy organization. She has also discussed her experiences with racial profiling on the Daily Show.

Claire Wardle

Research Director, Columbia University’s Tow Center for Digital Journalism

Claire Wardle is the Research Director at Columbia University’s Tow Center for Digital Journalism. Prior to joining Columbia, she designed the social media training programme for the BBC in 2009 and went on to train journalists around the world on social newsgathering and verification. For two years Claire has worked with Storyful, leading news agency specializing in verification of UGC. Claire has a PhD in Communication from the Annenberg School for Communication at the University of Pennsylvania.

Craig Aaron

President and CEO, Free Press

Craig has led Free Press and the Free Press Action Fund since 2011. For more than a decade, he has been a leader in major campaigns to safeguard Net Neutrality, stop media mergers and consolidation, oppose unchecked surveillance, defend public media and sustain quality journalism. He works in Washington and speaks often to the press and the public on media and technology issues. His commentaries appear regularly in The Huffington Post, and he has written for The Daily Beast, The Guardian, The Hill, MSNBC, Politico, The Progressive, The Seattle Times, Slate and many others. Before joining Free Press, he was an investigative reporter for Public Citizen’s Congress Watch and the managing editor of In These Times magazine. He is the editor of two books, Appeal to Reason: 25 Years of In These Times and Changing Media: Public Interest Policies for the Digital Age. He is a graduate of Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism.

Ibrahim Abdul-Matin

Director of Community Affairs, NYC Department of Environmental Protection

Ibrahim has expertise in the public, private, and civic sectors focusing sustainability, technology, community engagement, sports, and new media. He has served as a sustainability policy adviser to Mayor Bloomberg and currently serves as the Director of Community Affairs at the NYC Department of Environmental Protection. In 2015 Ibrahim joined the board of the Seattle based Living Future Institute. Part environmentalist and part community organizer, he is a former Outward Bound instructor, helped found the Brooklyn Academy for Science and the Environment, and blended youth organizing and technology while at the Movement Strategy Center in Oakland, CA. Ibrahim has appeared on various media outlets including Al Jazeera, FOX News and ABC News, and his writings can be found in many publications including The Washington Post,, the Muslim Observer, Thought,, and more. His book, Green Deen: What Islam Teaches About Protecting the Planet explores how faith and environmentalism intersect. He holds numerous awards including the National Urban Fellow (2008), Green for All Fellow (2009), and most recently was named one of the 40 Under 40 Rising Stars in New York City Politics from City & State Magazine (2015). Abdul-Matin holds a BA from the University of Rhode Island and a MPA from CUNY (City University of New York) Baruch College. He lives in New York City with his wife and three sons.

Sunil Abraham

Executive Director, Centre for Internet & Society, Bangalore

Sunil (an Ashoka Fellow) is the executive director of the Centre for Internet and Society (CIS), Bangalore/New Delhi. CIS is a 7 year old policy and academic research organisation that focuses on accessibility, access to knowledge, internet governance and telecommunications. He is also the founder and director of Mahiti, a 16 year old social enterprise that aims to reduce the cost and complexity of ICTs for the voluntary sector by using free software. Starting 2004, for 3 years, Sunil also managed the International Open Source Network, a project of UNDP's APDIP, serving 42 countries in the Asia-Pacific region. Sunil currently serves on the advisory boards of OSF – Information Programme, Mahiti, Samvada and ICFOSS

Shaun Abrahamson

Founder, Urban.Us

Shaun co-founded Urban.Us to fund & serve startups that make cities better. Urban.Us currently works with 15 startups and a global network of more than 400 advisors. Startups work on problems including low energy buildings, water management, personal mobility, parking systems, social services, e-waste, paperless government and resilient connectivity.

Before Urban.Us Shaun was an active angel investor, investing in 25 firms between 2007 and 2013, including ZocDoc, Trialpay (acq Visa), Refinery29, Skycatch and Tonx (acq Blue Bottle Coffee). These firms have attracted more than $300m in funding from some of todays leading venture investors.

Crowdstorm, his first book, is a guide to working with large online crowds to find and evaluate ideas. The book is a result of his experiences running innovation challenges with clients such as Starbucks, $300 House and Life Edited. He has presented and written for organizations such as The Economist Intelligence Unit, The Huffington Post, GigaOm, NYU, Wharton and SXSW.

Shaun has an MSc from MIT, an MBA from Berlin School of Creative Leadership and BSc from University of Cape Town. He grew up in Cape Town, an accent in NYC, wiser in Berlin and now calls Miami home. He is papai to Max and Oli and number one fan of his partner and artist Andrea Nhuch. When he is not at work or with his family, you will most likely find him swimming or Onewheeling.

Masahiko Aida

Lead Survey Research Scientist, Civis Analytics

Masahiko Aida is Lead Survey Research Scientist at Civis Analytics, where he is the firm’s methodology brain, defining the methodological standard for data collection, sampling, mixed mode research, questionnaire design, sample matching and adaptive testing. He is one of the earliest member of analytic movements from the progressive communities. He has spoken at numerous conferences and wrote papers on the topic of survey methods and modeling.

Nick Allardice

Head of Campaigns,

Nick Allardice is Head of Campaigns globally for He leads a team of campaigning and communications experts across 18 countries to support's nearly 100 million users to win campaigns on issues they care about. Nick previously lead and managed's entry and growth in Australia, India, Japan, Thailand, the Philippines and Indonesia -- pioneering thinking and models for how digital activism works in developing and emerging country contexts. Nick is also the co-founder of the Live Below the Line campaign. First created in mid 2010, over 40,000 people around the world have since taken the challenge to live on the international extreme poverty line for five days, raising more than $15 million to fight poverty. An Australian native now based in New York, Nick has previously held senior roles at MAKEPOVERTYHISTORY and The Oaktree Foundation.

Kenneth Bailey

Sector Organizing and Strategy Lead, Design Studio for Social Intervention

Kenneth started his activism in the early eighties as a teenager, working in his neighborhood for tenants’ rights and decent housing, targeting the St. Louis Housing Authority. He went on to work for COOL, a national campus-based student organizing program, and then moved to Boston where he worked for the Ten Point Coalition, Interaction Institute for Social Change, and Third Sector New England, as well as being on the Board for Resource Generation.Most recently he has been a trainer and a consultant, primarily on issues of organizational development and community building. He first realized the need for a more “designerly” approach to community work while developing parts of the Boston Community Building Curriculum for The Boston Foundation. This workshop asked community activists and residents to think about creative ways to work with their community assets – existing social relationships, individual’s gifts and skills, and untapped local resources. Many community residents remained locked in conventional nonprofit approaches to working with community assets. They weren’t obliged to, they just knew no other way. He realized then that activists needed new tools to redesign approaches for community change, which led him to build a design studio for social activism.

Madeleine Bair

Program Manager, Human Rights Channel at WITNESS

Madeleine Bair is the Program Manager of the Human Rights Channel at WITNESS. Madeleine leads a team that sources, verifies, and contextualizes citizen video of human rights issues around the world. Prior to that, she traveled the world for nearly a decade as a print, radio, and multimedia reporter focusing on human rights and culture. Her stories have appeared in the Washington Post, San Francisco Chronicle, and Orion, and broadcast on PRI's The World and the public television program, POV, among other outlets.

Dante Barry

Executive Director, Million Hoodies Movement for Justice

Named in Revolt TV’s New Leaders of Social Justice, Dante Barry is a grassroots organizer, communications strategist, and the Executive Director of Million Hoodies Movement for Justice, a national racial justice network of 60,000 members founded to protect and empower young people of color from mass criminalization and gun violence. Dante ran campaigns, organizing and leadership development programs for national progressive organizations including the Center for Media Justice, the Roosevelt Institute, the Roosevelt Institute Campus Network, School Based Health Alliance, and the Political Development Group, LLC. Dante is committed to building a just society valuing the leadership and dignity of all Black people and other marginalized communities.

Dante has appeared on the Daily Show with Jon Stewart, CNN, NPR, New York Times, Al Jazeera America, MSNBC, BBC World Service, among other outlets and has written extensively on policing, racial justice, Black activism post Trayvon Martin, and citizenship for the Nation Magazine, Colorlines, Huffington Post, MTV News, Next City, and more. As a student organizer, Dante graduated from Monmouth University with a degree in Political Science, International Relations, and Communications. Dante is also a graduate of the New Organizing Institute 2011 Blackroots New Media Bootcamp. Currently, Dante sits on the Millennial Advisory Board for the Andrew Goodman Foundation.

Liz Barry

Co-founder and Director of Community Development, The Public Laboratory for Open Technology and Science

Co-founder and Director of Community Development at the Public Laboratory for Open Technology and Science (, and Co-Founder and Co-Director of TreeKIT (, Liz Barry develops tools and methods for collaborative research and advocacy. Barry holds degrees in landscape architecture and urban design, and teaches at Columbia University as well as Parsons the New School for Design. She is a 2015 GovLab Academy Citizen Science Coach, a 2012-2014 Fellow of the Design Trust’s Five Borough Farm project, and speaks internationally on the subjects of peer production and urban environmental management. Her previous work ranges from planning international new cities in the Wall Street office of Skidmore, Owings and Merrill, to coordinating youth urban agriculture enterprise at the Durham Inner-city Gardeners (DIG). Her formative experiences include traveling around the country to catalyze interaction among strangers with a “Talk To Me” sign – a project that received international press including the New York Times, AP, CNN, Oprah and NPR’s This American Life. She co-runs a hackerspace in Brooklyn and likes to play outside.

Story Bellows

Director, Mayor's Office of New Urban Mechanics City of Philadelphia

Story Bellows joined the City of Philadelphia in 2012 and serves as Director of the Mayor’s Office of New Urban Mechanics. The office is a civic idea and innovation incubator and R+D lab inside City Hall. Story is also directing the City’s efforts to engage social entrepreneurs in developing sustainable solutions to city challenges and further open government procurement to innovation through FastFWD, Philadelphia’s winning submission to the Bloomberg Philanthropies Mayors Challenge.

Prior to coming to Philadelphia, Story served as Director of the Mayors’ Institute on City Design, a leadership initiative of the National Endowment for the Arts in partnership with the American Architectural Foundation and United States Conference of Mayors. An urban designer by training, Story started the city-focused phase of her career in private design practice in Chicago, where she founded an interdisciplinary research group and worked with leaders in the public, private and non-profit sectors on urban, education, healthcare, and environmental projects and initiatives. She holds a BA from Colgate University and MSc from the London School of Economics and Political Science.

Jochai Ben-Avie

Internet Policy Manager, Mozilla

Jochai Ben-Avie is the Internet Policy Manager at Mozilla where he works on a range of global issues as diverse as the Internet. Before Mozilla, he lead the Policy Team at Access ( an international organization that defends and extends the digital rights of users at risk around the world. Jochai is a member of the Freedom Online Coalition's Working Group 1 on an Internet Open and Secure and has previously served on the steering committee of the International Principles on the Application of Human Rights to Communications Surveillance. Prior to his time at Access, he researched terrorism and reconciliation as part of Dr. Kathleen Malley-Morrison’s Personal And Institutional Rights to Aggression Study (PAIRTAS). Jochai graduated summa cum laude from Bard College at Simon’s Rock with a BA in Political Science and Social Psychology.

Ellery Roberts Biddle

Director, Global Voices Advocacy

Ellery Roberts Biddle is the director of Global Voices Advocacy, an international citizen media project promoting free speech online. She is an expert on digital culture in Cuba and a current fellow at Harvard's Berkman Center for Internet and Society.

Greg Bloom

COO, Open Referral; Civic Imagination Fellow, Civic Hall Labs

Greg Bloom is a Civic Imagination Fellow with Civic Hall Labs. He is the founder of Open Referral, which is promoting open access to resource directory data (i.e. information about the health, human, and social services available to people in need). Before Open Referral, Greg managed communications for Bread for the City, the District of Columbia’s pre-eminent anti-poverty service provider. He is a certified cooperative developer and a dedicated community organizer, with more than a decade of experience in GOTV, class-action labor lawsuits, municipal budget battles, death penalty abolition campaigns, community wireless networks, and even a backyard chicken legalization movement. His writing has been published in In These Times, Civic Quarterly, Personal Democracy Forum, and Code for America’s Beyond Transparency.

Sunita Bose

Director of Policy,

Sunita Bose established the policy team at, an Internet platform that empowers millions of people worldwide to create petitions on issues that matter to them. She has led the redevelopment of the company’s Terms of Service, Privacy Policy, Community Guidelines, and other policies to make an open, safe and empowering platform and company. Before joining, Sunita most recently led the global communications strategy for Oxfam International’s food security and climate change work. She has spent seven years supporting advocacy and fundraising efforts at Oxfam and UNICEF to encourage companies and governments to do more to address injustice and inequality in the developing world. Now based in San Francisco, Sunita is from Australia and has a Masters of Policy from the University of New South Wales.

Catherine Bracy

Civic Technologist and Community Organizer

Catherine Bracy is a civic technologist and community organizer whose work focuses on the intersection of technology and political and economic inequality. She is the co-founder and Executive Director of the TechEquity Collaborative, an organization in Oakland, CA that seeks to build an inclusive and community-oriented tech ecosystem in California’s Bay Area.

She was previously Code for America’s Senior Director of Partnerships and Ecosystem where she grew Code for America’s Brigade program into a network of over 50,000 civic tech volunteers in 80+ cities across the US. She also founded Code for All, the global network of Code-for organizations with partners on six continents. Catherine built Code for America’s civic engagement focus area, creating a framework and best practices for local governments to increase public participation which has been adopted in cities across the US.

During the 2012 election cycle she was Director of Obama for America's Technology Field Office in San Francisco, the first of its kind in American political history. She was responsible for organizing technologists to volunteer their skills for the campaign’s technology and digital efforts. Prior to joining the Obama campaign, she ran the Knight Foundation’s 2011 News Challenge and before that was the administrative director at Harvard’s Berkman Center for Internet & Society. She is on the board of directors at the Citizen Engagement Lab and the Public Laboratory.

Gale A. Brewer

Manhattan Borough President

Gale A. Brewer is the 27th Manhattan Borough President. Ms. Brewer previously served on the City Council for 12 years. As Councilmember, she successfully passed legislation guaranteeing paid sick leave for most hourly employees, compelling landlords to fix repeat violations, requiring all City data to be published online, and the nation’s first law protecting domestic workers. She was the founding chair of the City Council’s Technology Committee in 2002.

Immediately prior to her election to the City Council, Brewer served as Project Manager for the NYC Nonprofits Project at CUNY’s Graduate Center, and before that worked for the Telesis Corporation, a private firm that builds affordable housing in New York City.

Dan Brillman


Dan is the founder and CEO of, a centralized technology platform connecting citizens to local coordinated services. Dan is deeply committed to his work with Military Veterans and their families, and as such, Unite US is initially focused on improving access to coordinated care for these communities. Dan started his career at Buck Consultants, where he provided strategic investment and deal structuring advice for mid-large cap clients. Dan is also a Captain and pilot in the United States Air Force Reserves, where he has earned several combat air medals and commendations during deployments in both Iraq and Afghanistan.

Dan received a BA from Yale University in 2006 and an MBA from Columbia Business School in 2012. He graduated United States Air Force Flight School at the top of his class, receiving 4 distinguished graduate awards.

Lizz Brown

Attorney, Journalist and Political Analyst

Lizz Brown is an Attorney and an award-winning journalist and political analyst. A former Special Public Defender, Lizz has always been a passionate defender of the rights of the oppressed and forgotten. Lizz believes that women and people of color must lean in and speak with a “disruptive voice”. The host of an Award-winning talk show “The Wake Up Call” for 15 years Lizz conducted 1000s of interviews with News Makers and Policy Shapers. Her shows determined the political fate for many elected officials. In St. Louis, as an activist and organizer, Lizz led 1000s of students to engage in the only successful shutdown/occupation of the Mayor’s office-an occupation that led to a student negotiated settlement. A popular columnist for the St. Louis American, Lizz holds the distinction of being the one of the few African American columnists to have a column, “Clarence Thomas….Accidental Jurist” inserted into the Congressional Record. Lizz has been the "go to" legal analyst for MSNBC, CNN and Al Jazeera. She has also been seen on NBC, ABC and Fox. After six Baltimore police were charged with various crimes in connection to the killing of Freddie Gray, CNN sought Lizz out to debate attorney Alan Dershowitz. She is also a frequent political analyst on Huff Post Live and the Winner of the Pundit’s Cup at Netroots Nation in 2015.

Hannah Calhoon

Co-founder and Director, Blue Ridge Labs at the Robin Hood Foundation

Hannah Calhoon is the co-founder and Director of Blue Ridge Labs @ Robin Hood, a program of the Robin Hood Foundation that helps social innovators build technology-enabled products and services to address the challenges faced by low-income New Yorkers. The program offers fellowships, grants, and workshops to support the identification and testing of new products and ventures through a process of deep immersion and continual collaboration with residents of New York City’s under-served communities. Prior to founding the Labs, Hannah worked as an international development consultant, supporting efforts around new product development, impact investing, and market entry.

Jonathan Capehart

Pulitzer-Prize-Winning Journalist, The Washington Post

Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Jonathan Capehart is a member of The Washington Post editorial board and writes about politics and social issues for the PostPartisan blog. He is also an MSNBC Contributor. Capehart was deputy editorial page editor of the New York Daily News from 2002 to 2004, and served on that paper's editorial board from 1993 to 2000. In 1999, his 16-month editorial campaign to save the famed Apollo Theatre earned him and the board the Pulitzer Prize for Editorial Writing. Capehart left the Daily News in July 2000 to become the national affairs columnist at Bloomberg News, and took a leave from this position in February 2001 to serve as a policy adviser to Michael Bloomberg in his first successful campaign for New York City mayor.

Andrea Chalupa

Journalist, Author, and Community Organizer

Andrea Chalupa is a journalist, author, and community organizer. Her work has appeared in TIME, The Daily Beast, and The Atlantic. Her first screenplay Man Made—the story of George Orwell struggling to publish Animal Farm, the book that made him famous—was a Sundance finalist optioned to Lars von Trier’s Academy Award-winning Zentropa Productions. In January 2014, when the mainstream media was more concerned with Justin Bieber’s arrest in Miami than covering police violence against protesters in Ukraine, Andrea launched #DigitalMaidan, a social media movement that made Ukraine trend globally within minutes and for the very first time; the movement grew into an international crowdsourcing network that fact-checks and exposes Kremlin propaganda. An expert on social media, civic activism, Ukraine and Russia, Andrea has spoken in the Council of Europe, the National Press Club in Washington, DC, and leading universities in the US and Canada. She is the author of Orwell and The Refugees: The Untold Story of Animal Farm.

Rachna Choudhry

Co-Founder, POPVOX

Rachna Choudhry is co-founder of After ten years of advocacy and lobbying for several national non-profit organizations, she realized that there is a huge disconnect between people and our lawmakers in Washington. Frustrated from not feeling heard, people bang the drum louder — or simply give up on the policy-making process entirely. In 2010, Rachna met her co-founder, a Congressional staffer who understood the frustrations of lawmakers who were getting bombarded by generic petitions to Congress or impersonal form letters — and the idea for POPVOX was born.

Rachna holds a Bachelor’s degree in Political Science from UCLA, and a Master’s in Public Policy from Georgetown University’s McCourt School of Public Policy. She is based in Washington, DC and hails from the San Francisco Bay Area.

Since launching in 2011, POPVOX won the social media category at South by Southwest, was ranked #10 on Mashable’s Major Tech Contributions From Entrepreneurial Women and was honored at the 2012 Tribeca Disruptive Innovation Awards. POPVOX has helped close to 400,000 verified constituents share their personal stories and experiences with their lawmakers in Washington. In 2014, Rachna ranked #6 in Digital Citizenship Project’s Digital Citizens of the Year.

In June 2014, the Library of Congress selected POPVOX for inclusion in the official digital archives of the United States. Now, every letter written by individuals to their Members of Congress are preserved as part of our nation’s historical record.

Malkia Cyril

Founder and Executive Director, the Center for Media Justice

Malkia Amala Cyril grew up believing that "everyone deserves a public voice".  With a mother that worked both as an editor of the Black Panther's newspaper and as a long-time educator, Cyril recognized the power of media and culture work at an early age.  Today, Cyril is founder and Executive Director of the Center for Media Justice (CMJ) and co-founder of the Media Action Grassroots Network, national network of 175 organization working to ensure media access, rights, and representation for marginalized communities.  A prolific writer and public speaker, Cyril's articles and quotes-- on issues from Net Neutrality to the communication rights of prisoners to new strategic communications approaches-- have appeared in Politico, the Huffington Post, Essence Magazine, and dozens more, including documentaries including Outfoxed, Broadcast Blues, and MissRepresentation. Cyril is Prime Movers fellow and in 2012 received the prestigious Donald H. McGannon Award for work to advance the roles of women and people of color in the media reform movement.  

Carol Davidsen

VP of Political Technology, Rentrak

Carol Davidsen is passionate about creating cutting-edge technology to help the political space identify the best places to find their audience across all screens including TV and Digital in the most cost effective manner. Carol currently leads the political technology group at comScore, working to bridge the gap between what political campaigns, super PACs and lobbyists need today, and the technology they will need in the future as TV and digital evolve. Before joining the comScore team, Carol served as the Director of Integration and Media Targeting for the 2012 Obama for America re-election campaign, where she led the development of "The Optimizer," an analytics tool that combined campaign data with set top box viewership data, and “Narwhal” the integrated campaign API platform that unified political data available to every arm of the campaign. Carol has also spent more than 18 years in the tech world, building technical CRM, billing, and set-top box audience measurement platforms for the cable, satellite, telecom, campaign, and adtech industries. Carol has been featured on Business Insiders Top 10 people in Digital Politics, Campaigns and Elections Top 10 Technology Disruptors list, and Huffington Posts 50 Women Who made the 2012 Elections. Her insights have been featured by Fox News, MSNBC, The New York Times, The Washington Post, Bloomberg Business, The Victory Lab, and Prototype Politics: Technology-Intensive campaigning and the data of democracy.

Kassia DeVorsey

Kassia DeVorsey is a data and analytics consultant based in Washington and San Francisco. She works with US and international political, nonprofit, and corporate organizations, helping develop clear and practical solutions to real world data challenges. Kass holds a physics degree from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and is an alum of BlueLabs, Obama for America, and the Democratic National Committee.

Cory Doctorow

Author and Editor, Boing Boing

Cory Doctorow ( is a science fiction author, activist, journalist and blogger -- the co-editor of Boing Boing ( and the author of the YA graphic novel IN REAL LIFE, the nonfiction business book INFORMATION DOESN'T WANT TO BE FREE, and young adult novels like HOMELAND, PIRATE CINEMA and LITTLE BROTHER and novels for adults like RAPTURE OF THE NERDS and MAKERS. He works for the Electronic Frontier Foundation and co-founded the UK Open Rights Group. Born in Toronto, Canada, he now lives in London.

Tom Dougherty

Vice-President and CTO, KnowWho

Tom Dougherty is the principal technology director for KnowWho, the preeminent provider of advocacy and government relations data and directory solutions in the US. With specialties in database design and administration, geospatial data analysis, political data analysis, digital directory application design & development and government relations application design & development, Tom oversees a product development organization that creates highly-scalable product suites that leverage technological vision and political savvy. KnowWho solutions include cloud services, directories and applications for Dynamics CRM & Salesforce, data services, directories, hosted applications and web services available in multiple levels and numerous formats. From the White House to the US Congress to state executive branches and legislatures to county and municipal governments, KnowWho’s team of more than three dozen editors maintain the data you need to contact the right people to influence the legislative process and advocate for your positions. Whether your focus is on advocacy campaigns, government relations, grassroots or lobbying, KnowWho can enhance your organization’s influence on the legislative process at all levels of government and raise the ROI on your advocacy and lobbying efforts. While rare, when Tom is not working he enjoys flyfishing, golf, photography, sailboat racing, team roping and traveling.

Demond Drummer

Organizer, Smart Chicago Collaborative

Demond Drummer is part of the Smart Chicago Collaborative, where he leads a multi-sector partnership to drive full participation in the digital economy: The Connect Chicago Challenge.

He was previously tech organizer at Teamwork Englewood. As tech organizer he facilitated digital leadership trainings with block clubs, parent leaders and business owners. His projects included Englewood Codes, a summer youth code camp, and, a community-driven effort to reclaim city-owned vacant lots.

An alumnus of Morehouse College, Demond is a founding member of the Resident Association of Greater Englewood (R.A.G.E.) and a longtime member of Chicago's open government movement. He was previously an Organizing Fellow with the New Organizing Institute and a field organizer for Barack Obama's primary campaign in South Carolina.

Haley Van Dyck

Co-founder, United States Digital Service

Haley Van Dyck is the co-founder of the United States Digital Service, a new "start-up" inside the White House building services for the American people that work better and cost less. Launched following the successful rescue effort of, USDS is bringing the country’s top technology talent into government to fix the highest impact services and reform how our government operates in the digital era.

Haley has a passion and track record of using technology to disrupt “business as usual” and democratize problem solving. She has been a key thought leader on President Obama’s technology team since the 2008 campaign, where she developed the mobile strategy for the first Presidential campaign in history to use mobile and text messaging to connect with voters. Four days after the election she moved to Washington, D.C. to serve on the Presidential Transition Team with a small group of individuals who set the course for the Administration’s technology strategy, including writing the Open Government Directive and creating the first U.S. Chief Technology Officer position.

Tiana Epps-Johnson

Founder and Executive Director, Center for Technology and Civic Life

Tiana Epps-Johnson is the Founder and Executive Director of the Center for Technology and Civic Life. She and her team provide resources and training to support local election administrators in modernizing the ways they communicate with voters. They also publish free, open-source civic datasets that have been accessed over 60 million times through some of the most powerful tools that drive civic participation. Prior to CTCL, Tiana was the New Organizing Institute's Election Administration Director. Tiana holds an MSc in Politics and Communication from the London School of Economics and a BA in Political Science from Stanford University.

Althea Erickson

Director of Policy, Etsy

Althea Erickson is director of public policy at Etsy, the marketplace for creative people to buy and sell unique goods. Althea leads Etsy’s government relations and advocacy efforts, focusing on educating and advising policymakers on the issues that micro-entrepreneurs and creative businesses face. She is also responsible for developing and advancing Etsy’s position on issues ranging from taxes and regulation, to open Internet and free trade, to IP and privacy policies.

Prior to joining Etsy, Althea was the advocacy and policy director at Freelancers Union, where she helped build the membership into a powerful political constituency, leading its successful campaign to repeal unfair tax laws. She also launched Freelancers Union’s Political Action Committee and promoted legislation to protect freelancers from unpaid wages. Previously, Althea worked at the Rockefeller Foundation, where she focused on strategies to build economic security within the U.S. workforce. She has a B.A in government and public policy from Wesleyan University.

Bridgit Antoinette Evans

President and Founder, Fuel Change

Bridgit Antoinette Evans is a leading voice in the culture change strategy field, collaborating with social change and pop culture leaders to design and implement long-term strategies that shift how mass audiences think, feel and relate to big ideas, values, personal sentiments and cultural narratives. Prior strategy commissions include the National Domestic Workers Alliance #BeTheHelp Oscar campaign; Breakthrough’s #ImHere campaign for immigrant women; GEMS' Girls Are Not for Sale campaign to re-shape perceptions of American sex trafficking survivors; and Don Cheadle’s “Live for Darfur” campaign. Currently, Bridgit designs culture change strategy for Caring Across Generations, Make It Work, Family Values at Work and the Nobel Women's Initiative; consult on Next Gen audience research methodologies for Ford Foundation; and has traveled by invitation to the UK, France, Austria, Croatia, Brazil, South Africa and throughout the U.S. to present lectures, courses and workshops for some of the world's most innovative movement leaders and artists. She is also a professional actor trained in performance and devised theater at Stanford University and Columbia University.

John Paul Farmer

Director of Technology & Civic Innovation, Microsoft

John Paul Farmer serves as Director of Microsoft’s Technology & Civic Innovation group based in New York City. Previously, John was the Senior Advisor for Innovation in the White House Office of Science & Technology Policy, where he co-founded and led the Presidential Innovation Fellows program, which brings top innovators and entrepreneurs from the private sector for tours of duty in government, in order to make game-changing progress on projects of national importance. He also served in the Administration as Senior Advisor for Healthcare, working on healthcare information technology such as Blue Button, delivery system reform and economic analyses. Previously, John worked in the investment industry for Credit Suisse and Lehman Brothers. He played professional baseball as a shortstop in the Los Angeles Dodgers and Atlanta Braves minor league systems. John holds an MBA with honors from the Graduate School of Business at Columbia University and a BA with honors from Harvard University.

Harold Feld

Senior Vice President, Public Knowledge

Harold is Public Knowledge's Senior Vice President. Before becoming Senior Vice President at Public Knowledge, Harold worked as Senior Vice President of Media Access Project, advocating for the public interest in media, telecommunications and technology policy for almost 10 years. Prior to joining MAP, Harold was an associate at Covington & Burling, worked on Freedom of Information Act, Privacy Act, and accountability issues at the Department of Energy, and clerked for the D.C. Court of Appeals. He received his B.A. from Princeton University, and his J.D. from Boston University Law School. Harold also writes Tales of the Sausage Factory, a progressive blog on media and telecom policy. In 2007, Illinois Senator Dick Durbin praised him and his blog for "[doing] a lot of great work helping people understand how FCC decisions affect people and communities on the ground."

Allison Fine

Author, "Matterness: Fearless Leadership for a Social World"

Allison Fine is among the nation’s pre-eminent thinkers and strategists on networked leadership. Over the past ten years, she has written three books, keynoted conferences around the world, and coached hundreds of organizations. Her particular expertise is in developing efforts that combine the power of personal relationships with the scale of social media to enable efforts to grow exponentially. She is the author of Matterness: Fearless Leadership for a Social World, the award-winning Momentum: Igniting Social Change in the Connected Age, and co-author of the bestselling The Networked Nonprofit. She writes an advice column for the Chronicle of Philanthropy and serves on the boards of the Sunlight Foundation, NARAL, and Civic Hall.

Brian Forde

Senior Advisor on Mobile and Data Innovation, The White House Office of Science and Technology Policy

Brian Forde has spent more than a decade at the nexus of technology, entrepreneurship, and public policy. He is currently the Director of Digital Currency at the MIT Media Lab where he leads efforts to mainstream digital currencies like Bitcoin through research, and incubation of high-impact applications of the emerging technology. Most recently he was the Senior Advisor for Mobile and Data Innovation at the White House where he spearheaded efforts to leverage emerging technologies to address the President’s most critical national priorities. Prior to his work at the White House, Brian founded one of the largest phone companies in Nicaragua after serving as a business and technology volunteer in the Peace Corps. In recognition of his work, Brian was named a Young Global Leader by the World Economic Forum.

Chris Frommann

Founder, Analytics Media Group

Chris is a founder of AMG and serves as VP of Engineering, leading the development of AMG's media optimization platform with a cross disciplinary team of 40 engineers, analysts, and media experts. In addition to candidates for Senate, Governor, and mayor, AMG has worked with Fortune 500 companies in entertainment (e.g. NBC, HBO, New Regency, MSG), hospitality (e.g. Choice Hotels), retail, and elsewhere and will optimize more than $60 million in media placements in 2015.

Previously, he led the design and development of the Democratic Party's state-of-the-art application for the reporting and visualization of media spending, polling, field and other critical campaign data for Obama for America, each of the party committees and other federal campaigns.

He also worked as a Fellow at the Social Security Administration, redesigning SSA architecture and software using modern technologies in an attempt to increase efficiency and save hundreds of millions of dollars a year. Chris has a Master of Engineering in Computer Science and a BA in Computer Science and Political Science from Cornell University.

Chris Gates

President, Sunlight Foundation

Chris Gates is president of the Sunlight Foundation, an international organization based in Washington, DC that uses the tools of open data, civic tech, policy analysis and original reporting to promote transparency and accountability in both government and politics. Gates previously served as the executive director of PACE, Philanthropy for Active Civic Engagement, an affinity group of the Council on Foundations that serves as a learning collaborative for funders doing work in the fields of civic engagement and democratic practice. Prior to his role at PACE Gates served for over a decade as the president of the National Civic League, the nation's oldest good government organization, founded by Teddy Roosevelt in 1894. Gates sits on the board of Public Agenda, a New York based research organization, and is an elected Fellow of the National Academy of Public Administration. He received his Master of Public Administration degree from Harvard's John F. Kennedy School of Government.

Jim Gilliam

Founder and CEO, NationBuilder

Jim Gilliam is the founder and CEO of NationBuilder, the essential toolkit for leaders.

Previously, he co-founded Robert Greenwald's Brave New Films, building a non-profit grassroots media powerhouse of a million members. In the late 90's, he launched as its Chief Technology Officer, and worked at Lycos, one of the first internet search engines. Gilliam has produced four documentaries, and was honored in 2008 with Take Back America’s second annual Maria Leavey Tribute Award.

His speech at the Personal Democracy Forum in June 2011, The Internet is My Religion, has been viewed over 500,000 times and called "the best video on the internet."

Andrew Golis

Founder and CEO, This.

Andrew Golis is the founder and CEO of This., a home for the best of the web where users can share just 1 link a day. Previously, Andrew was Entrepreneur-in-Residence at The Atlantic, the Director of Digital and a Senior Editor at FRONTLINE, and an editor at Yahoo! News and TalkingPointsMemo.

Andrew has led teams to 3 Online Journalism Awards, a half dozen Webby honors, 2 Emmy nominations and an Overseas Press Club Award. He lives in Brooklyn with his wife, feminist writer and activist Jessica Valenti, and their daughter and dog.

Erhardt Graeff

PhD Researcher, MIT Center for Civic Media

Erhardt Graeff is a sociologist, designer, and entrepreneur. His work explores creative uses of media and technology for civic engagement and learning. His has written about youth digital activism, civic drone design, bots and information privacy, and political memes. He regularly leads workshops on civic media and participatory design for students, teachers, and social entrepreneurs.

As a PhD student in the Center for Civic Media at the MIT Media Lab and an affiliate at Harvard's Berkman Center for Internet & Society, Erhardt has contributed to Media Cloud, studying the impact of media activism around the death of Trayvon Martin, and designed Action Path, a location-based app for civic engagement. Recently, Erhardt has worked with Facebook's Civic Engagement team as a researcher. He is also a founding trustee of The Awesome Foundation, which gives small grants to innovative and promising projects.

Jennifer Green

Director of Research, Civis Analytics

Jennifer is the Director of Research at Civis Analytics, a leading data science firm that helps organizations understand and act on their data to target resources.

Before joining Civis, Jennifer was the Executive Director of the Analyst Institute where she ran an applied lab of social scientists engaged in the design and execution of the largest political research portfolio of randomized controlled field experiments in existence. During her tenure at AI she has been credited with turning experimentation from a esoteric and fringe concept to a mainstream practice in politics.

Building research into programs to evaluate and optimize efforts has been a nonstop obsession. In graduate school, she conducted large-scale field experiments in India that sought to increase voting among marginalized groups and build a stronger citizenry by educating rural villagers on policy and the electoral process. Before attending graduate school to specialize in experimental methodology, Jennifer worked at the Carter Center to design the evaluation protocols for United Nations human rights missions and to safeguard elections in West Africa. She has also served as a fellow in the Science and Technology Directorate of Homeland Security, where she has worked on protocols to evaluate response policies for emergencies and natural disasters.

Evan Greer

Campaign Director, Fight for the Future

Evan Greer is the Campaign Director of Fight for the Future, the viral digital rights nonprofit best known for organizing massive online protests including the recent Internet Slowdown for net neutrality. She's been a Boston-area activist since high school working on issues ranging from LGBTQ empowerment to freedom for Arab and Muslim political prisoners. Before becoming Fight for the Future's Campaign Director, Evan toured internationally as a singer/songwriter and workshop facilitator, sharing stages with greats like Pete Seeger, The Coup, and Billy Bragg. Late historian Howard Zinn called her "an eloquent and energetic writer," and she has had articles published in The Guardian, The Hill, and Huffington Post. Evan identifies as genderqueer, is the proud parent of a four year old, and lives in Jamaica Plain.

Tristan Harris

Design Ethics, Product Philosopher

Tristan Harris is a design thinker, philosopher and entrepreneur – most recently focused on Design Ethics.

Tristan is rated #16 in Inc Magazine's Top 30 Entrepreneurs Under 30, a former Mayfield Fellow in Stanford’s Technology Venture Program in Entrepreneurship, and graduated with a B.S. in Computer Science from Stanford University.

Currently he’s developing a framework at Google to help product designers facilitate conscious choices for users. Before this, he was co-founder and CEO of Apture, an instant explanation engine that enabled millions of users to get on-the-fly explanations about any topic without leaving their place on the web. Google acquired Apture in 2011.

Mark Headd

Developer Evangelist, Accela, Inc.

Mark Headd is the former Chief Data Officer for the City of Philadelphia, serving as one of the first municipal chief data officers in the United States, and was also Director of Government Relations at Code for America. He currently works with civic technologists and open data advocates as a Developer Evangelist for Accela, Inc. A coder and civic hacking veteran, he has worked as both a hands-on technologist and as a high-level policy advisor. Self-taught in programming, he holds a master’s degree in Public Administration from the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs at Syracuse University, and is a former adjunct instructor at the University of Delaware’s Institute for Public Administration, where he taught a course in electronic government.

Sandy Heierbacher

National Coalition for Dialogue and Deliberation

Sandy Heierbacher co-founded the National Coalition for Dialogue & Deliberation (NCDD) in 2002 with the support and involvement of 60 volunteers and 50 organizations. NCDD now represents more than 2,200 organizational and individual members and more than 34,000 subscribers. Under Sandy's leadership, NCDD has grown into a respected hub, resource clearinghouse, convenor, and facilitative leader for an ever-growing community of practice centered around the practices of dialogue and deliberation. Our extraordinary members bring people together, both face-to-face and online, to discuss contentious issues across political and ethnic divides and move to agreement and action when possible. Sandy has an M.A. in Intercultural and International Management from SIT Graduate Institute, and serves as a Research Deputy with the Kettering Foundation in addition to running NCDD.

Ted Henderson

Capitol Bells, Inc.

Ted Henderson is the creator of the congressional social network Cloakroom and the popular Hill voting app Capitol Bells. In 2011 Ted moved to Washington, D.C. to apply his background in engineering and climate change as a legislative aide on Capitol Hill. As a staffer for Rep. Dale Kildee (D-MI), he experienced the dysfunction in Congress from the inside. Recognizing the need for radical institutional reform, Ted left the House in 2013 to found Capitol Bells, Inc. with a Congress-first approach for bridging the growing disconnect between legislators and constituents.

Sabrina Hersi Issa

CEO, Be Bold Media

Sabrina Hersi Issa is an award-winning technologist focused on global advocacy and media innovation. She is the CEO of Be Bold Media, a digital agency focused on global advocacy that produces Relief Hack, a hackathon series to build and improve technology tools for humanitarian relief and Vanguard, a global donor engagement program. Sabrina is the co-founder of End Famine, a campaign to develop and invest in sustainable solutions to hunger, food security and humanitarian assistance. She co-directs New/s Disruptors, a project working to re-frame the narrative of digital disruption in journalism to champion the experiences and contributions of diverse voices. Sabrina also organizes Rights + Tech, a gathering for technologists and activists and runs Survivor Fund, a political fund dedicated to supporting the rights of survivors of sexualized violence. Previously, Sabrina was a fellow at the Roosevelt Institute where she worked on issues related to technology, human rights and humanitarian disasters. She has worked for Afghans for Civil Society, Oxfam America, NBC News and National Public Radio stations.

Sabrina sits on the board of directors of Exhale Pro-Voice, NARAL Pro-Choice America, Web of Change and the Project on Middle East Democracy.

Emily Jacobi

Founder & Executive Director, Digital Democracy

Emily Jacobi is Founder and Executive Director of Digital Democracy, a non-profit dedicated to empowering marginalized communities to use technology to defend their rights. Since beginning her career as a youth journalist reporting from Cuba at age 13, for almost two decades Emily has worked to leverage media & technology to connect people across persistent divides. Under her leadership, Digital Democracy has grown from a start-up non-profit to a leader in the technology for human rights space, training grassroots leaders in more than 20 countries, building open source tools with local partners, and recognized by Secretary Hillary Clinton for co-creating the first rape response & women’s health hotline in Haiti. She has presented on the intersection of technology, civic engagement and human rights to US Congress, the State Department, the United Nations, and numerous universities and technology conferences. Emily is a passionate advocate for leveraging technology to achieve a more equitable & democratic future, and putting marginalized communities at the center of the design process.

Steve Jacobs

Digital Communications Director, City of New York

Steve Jacobs is the Digital Communications Director for NYC Digital, where he oversees outbound digital communications from City Hall and for the city government at large. Prior to joining the City, he spent five years working for Blue State Digital, overseeing digital communications strategy for all the agency's clients. During those five years he took a brief, but not at all restful, three-month vacation to help lead the email fundraising team for the final push of President Obama's reelection campaign. In his free time, he tweets about bicycles, tie clips, and standing desks.

Lauren Brown Jarvis

Writer and Producer Lauren Brown Jarvis attended Spelman College and is the visionary mind behind The Best Coast Tech Conference and Digital Doyennes: Wisdom from Women who Lead in Social Media and Digital Innovation. Lauren is also a startup founder and Chief Digital Officer for #prettysocial.

Lauren blogs about politics, millennials, women and tech at Digital Doyennes, writes regularly for and, and is a regular contributor The Young Turks, Huffington Post, and Huff Post Live. Lauren has written and produced digital content for The Weather Channel, Georgia Public Broadcasting, Upscale Magazine, Clutch, Magazine and more. Combing her love for media, the written word and technology, Lauren's passion now lies in helping executives, entrepreneurs, educators and non profits find paths to meaningful online engagement via social networking.

Her uncanny ability to make any event "social" has allowed her to produce live social media events with Jack and Jill National Visionary Leadership Project, Black Women's Film Network, Alliance for Women in Media, Women in Film and Television-Atlanta, Spelman College, Urban League of Young Professionals Greater Atlanta, New Leaders Council, Schools that Can, Power Brunch LA and the NAACP. Lauren has previously served as National Communications Director for New Leaders Council and as Community Director Fellow for She also spent a brief time on the campaign trail as the Political Director for Martin Skelly for Congress.

Lauren has been named a New Media Institute Fellow by the National Black Programming Consortium, is an alumni ambassador for New Leaders Council Fellow and is an alumni of New Organizing Institute's New Media Bootcamp.

Birgitta Jónsdóttir

MP, Iceland's Pirate Party

Birgitta is a politician (poetician) and an activist member of the Althing, the Icelandic parliament, formerly representing the Citizens' Movement which she co-founded in the wake of the Icelandic financial crisis and The Movement, but now representing the Pirate Party. Her district was the Reykjavik Constituency South for the Civic Movement, but the South West for the Pirate Party. She was elected to the Icelandic parliament in April 2009 on behalf of a movement aiming for democratic reform beyond party politics of left and right. Birgitta has been an activist and a spokesperson for various groups, such as WikiLeaks, Saving Iceland and Friends of Tibet in Iceland. She also co-founded International Modern Media Institute with a group of 21st legislative transformation enthusiasts and experts, and she currently serves as the chairman of its board.

Ben Kallos

New York City Council Member

New York City Council Member Ben Kallos was praised by the New York Times for his “fresh ideas” and elected in 2013 to represent the Upper East Side, Midtown East, Roosevelt Island and East Harlem along with all 8.4 million New Yorkers in the New York City Council. As an attorney and free and open source software developer he serves as Chair of the Governmental Operations Committee where he has sought to root out patronage, eliminate billions in waste, and to use technology to improve access to government. He has become a leading advocate for education, affordable housing, public health, sustainable development and transportation as well as Universal Broadband, Open Data, and Digital Democracy. He is also the founding co-chair of the Free Law Founders, a national coalition of leaders in and around government to set the law and legislative process free. His office is open and transparent, with constituents invited to decide on how to spend one million dollars on local projects in the district as well as to join him in a conversation at First Fridays each month.

Kerri Kelly


Kerri is the founder of CTZNWELL, a movement to mobilize the wellbeing community into a powerful force for change. She spent seven years as Executive Director of the non-profit Off the Mat, Into the World and currently serves as strategic advisor. She is relentless in her commitment to elevating leaders, groups and projects to next-level social change makers through her work with The Catalyst Collective, an innovative consultancy designed for mission-based individuals, groups, and organizations that want to be successful and make a difference in the world. Kerri was on the fast track in the marketing world until 9/11 hit, when she lost her stepdad, a NYC fireman. That was the wake up call that got Kerri off the “should” path and into purpose. To her surprise, yoga was the most powerful source of healing and transformation during that time. She took the leap and became a renowned yoga teacher who has been on a crusade ever since to elevate wellbeing and help others discover their greatest potential.

Michael Khoo

Senior Vice President and Director of Digital Strategies, Spitfire

Michael Khoo brings in-depth experience in strategic communication for organizations focused on technology and democracy, women’s issues, health and the environment. He specializes in digital strategy, campaign and communications planning, and media relations. His clients at Spitfire have included the Ford Foundation, Media Democracy Foundation, Mozilla, Center for Employment Opportunities, Polaris Project, UN Foundation, Open Society Foundation, and Running Strong for American Indian Youth. He has blogged on Mobilization Lab, E-Politics, Frogloop and Role-Reboot, and has produced two award-winning documentary films, Weathering Change and Empty-Handed.

Sally Kohn

Contributor, CNN

Sally Kohn is one of the leading progressive voices in America. She is currently a CNN contributor and columnist for the Daily Beast. Sally was previously a Fox News contributor, the motivation for her widely-seen TED talk, as well as a regular guest on MSNBC. Sally’s writing has appeared in the Washington Post, New York Times, New York Magazine, More Magazine, Reuters, USA Today, Salon, Politico, Time and many other outlets. Her work has been highlighted by outlets from the Colbert Report to the New York Times to the National Review. In 2014, Mediaite listed Sally as one of the top 9 rising stars in cable news and The Advocate ranked Sally as the 35th most influential gay person in the media.

Sally also works as a communications consultant, providing media training and public speaking coaching to political candidates, corporate executives and non-profit leaders.

Previously, Sally was Senior Campaign Strategist with the Center for Community Change, a 45-year-old hub of grassroots organizations nationwide. Sally served as co-director of ideas and innovation for the Center, helping lead the pioneering Campaign for Community Values, producing a nationally televised Presidential candidate forum in 2008, developing a new media organizing project on health care reform in rural communities and spearheading several other initiatives.

Before that, Sally held a program fellowship at the Ford Foundation, helping to manage more than $15 million in annual grants to social justice organizations nationwide. She was also strategic advisor to the Social Justice Infrastructure Funders, a private network of 25 top program staff from some of the nation’s most prominent foundations, working to identify a shared strategy and coordinate grantmaking. Before that, Sally served as Executive Director of the Third Wave Foundation, the leading young women’s organization in the country. She was also a distinguished Vaid Fellow at the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force Policy Institute, where she published a groundbreaking guidebook for organizing campaigns to win domestic partnership benefits. Sally also worked as a consultant with the Urban Justice Center, publishing a report on the experiences of gay youth in the New York juvenile justice system.

Sally received a joint degree in law and public administration from New York University and was a Root Tilden public service scholar at the New York University School of Law. She received her undergraduate degree from George Washington University in D.C. Originally from Allentown, Pennsylvania, Sally now resides in Brooklyn, New York, with her partner Sarah Hansen and their daughter Willa.

Josh Koster

Managing Partner, Chong and Koster

Josh Koster is the Managing Partner of Chong and Koster, a DC based digital advertising agency that works with progressive clients and responsible brands. He was one of the early pioneers of online voter persuasion, publishing some of the first case studies and winning the first statewide election using online advertising as the primary form of voter persuasion. He also has deep direct-response experience having driven millions of email opt ins, millions of social media opt-ins, millions of dollars in purchase and donation revenue. He has coordinated dozens of PR stunt buys and has experience with traditional media as well as non-paid digital strategies.

Seamus Kraft

Executive Director, OpenGov Foundation

Seamus Kraft is a communicator and civic activist building new means for successful democracy in the digital age. Since February 2013, he has built The OpenGov Foundation into a dedicated four-person team producing cutting-edge civic software used by elected officials and citizens in governments across the US. Seamus is also a co-creator of the Free Law Founders, a coalition of leaders from New York, San Francisco, Boston, Chicago, and Washington, DC working to open the processes and information of government to access and innovation for all. Prior to creating The OpenGov Foundation, Seamus served as Digital Director and Press Secretary for The US House Oversight Committee, where he built one the most successful digital communications operations in government from the ground up. Seamus’s work both in and outside of government has been viewed by millions of people worldwide; in 2012 TechCrunch named him among its list of the “20 Most Innovative People of 2012”. A native of Marblehead, MA, he received his undergraduate degree in classical political philosophy from Georgetown University in 2007.

Kate Krontiris

Civic Researcher and Strategist

Kate Krontiris is a social scientist, strategist, and facilitator working to transform civic life in America. In pursuit of a society where more people assert greater ownership over the decisions that govern their lives, she uses ethnographic tools to design products, policies, and services that enable a more democratic future. As a consulting user researcher for the United States Digital Service, Kate is currently exploring improvements to the experience of applying for an immigrant visa to the United States. She is has just completed an embedded ethnographic investigation of what motivates everyday Americans to take civic actions, and what holds them back, in collaboration with Google. For the 2014-2015 academic year, she holds a fellowship at the Berkman Center for Internet and Society, at Harvard University.

Raina Kumra

Co-Founder, Mavin

Raina is a co-founder of Mavin, a recently launched startup focused on creating a platform for increasing mobile data access in emerging markets. She previously served with Robert Bole as Co-Directors of Innovation at the BBG, the world's largest international media organization. The new leadership team advanced the BBG’s mission to reach global audiences and brought in agile development, public-private partnerships and innovation under the Obama Administration. Prior to that she was the Senior New Media Advisor in the State Department's Office of eDiplomacy, Diplomatic Innovation Division.  She also founded and advised several non-proftis focused on international development. Previously, Raina led the conversion of Wieden+Kennedy New York to a full-service digital agency in her role as Director of Digital Strategies and spent a decade in digital advertising. Raina has consulted with The Knight Foundation, Microsoft, Burberry, Nike, Nokia, Levi's, Unilever, Nestle, Avaya, IBM, Intel, Cantor Fitzgerald, Johnnie Walker, The Walt Disney Company,, ING Direct,, Mentos, JWT, ABC Family, EA, ESPN, Brand Jordan, and several other organizations.

Jess Kutch

Co-Founder and Co-Director,

Jess Kutch is a workers' rights organizer and digital strategist. She is the co-founder of, a digital platform for people to win change in the workplace. Jess leads in catalyzing the growth and impact of independent, employee-led networks inside some of the worlds largest companies.

Previously, Jess served as Organizing Director at, where she led a team of campaigners in providing strategic support to campaigns on the platform. Her work raised's profile around the world, and helped inspire thousands of people to launch and lead their own petitions. Prior to joining, Jess managed online campaigns for the Service Employees International Union, where she pioneered digital strategies for the labor movement. Her campaigns have been profiled by media outlets around the world, including ABC World News, the BBC, and the New York Times. Jess has presented at numerous conferences, most recently as a featured speaker at the Progress 2013 conference in Melbourne, Australia. She is a former Senior Fellow for the New Organizing Institute and a 2014 Echoing Green Global Fellow.

Bret Leece

Chief Data Officer, Initiative

Bret Leece serves as Chief Data Officer for Initiative, one of the Interpublic Group’s (NYSE: IPG) three worldwide media networks and part of the company’s IPG Mediabrands unit. In his role, Bret is responsible for all of the agency’s research, analytics tools, data platforms and intelligence units including global partnerships with external data providers. Additionally, he oversees the continued development of Initiative’s tools including Matrix, Real Lives and its industry leading Connections Panel.

Prior to this role, Bret acted as the Chief Analytics Officer for Initiative in the United States. Within this role he was responsible for growing the agency’s U.S. analytics practice – a capability using state-of-the art analytic and tracking tools to align marketing communication to client business results. Prior to Initiative, Bret served as Senior Vice President, Managing Director International for MarketShare Partners based in London where his responsibilities included sales and delivery of marketing and budget optimization analytics software for accounts in Europe, the Middle East and Asia-Pacific. He also held the title of Vice President, Strategic Director with responsibility for business development, analytic design and data specifications for western U.S. accounts. Prior to MediaShare Partners, Bret was Vice President, Strategic Marketing Services for Anschutz Entertainment Group (AEG) – one of the world’s leading sports and entertainment venue operators working in both the firm’s London and Los Angeles offices. While in London, he led the implementation of the CRM and interactive ticketing systems for The O2 a $650 million live entertainment and real estate development property.

Leece has also held positions with House of Blues Entertainment serving as their Director of Database Marketing and with the Walt Disney Internet Group – serving as the Senior Manager of the CRM. He began his career with Sprint working in several systems and analytics positions in both their local and long distance divisions.

Bret received his Masters of Business Administration from the University of Southern California’s Marshall School of Business and his Bachelors of Arts in Economics from Pepperdine University. He makes his home with his family in Los Angeles.

Xavier Leonard

Public Technology and Data Strategist, City of San Diego’s Civic Innovation Lab

Xavier Leonard is a designer, researcher and advocate of technologies that make communities more resilient. A graduate of Columbia University, he has been the Public Technology and Data Strategist for the City of San Diego’s Civic Innovation Lab, Media and Communications Specialist with the Center on Policy Initiatives and a Senior Fellow in Emerging Technology at the SDSU Visualization Center. He was the founding director of Heads on Fire and the Heads on Fire Fab Lab. That program was selected as a national model in the United States for teaching technology in out-of-school settings.

Leonard has been honored as a Z-Fellow of the Zero Divide Foundation, an Ideas Institute Fellow of the MIT Media Lab, and a TEC Champion by the United States Congress. His design projects have been presented at the Institute of Contemporary Art, Philadelphia; the Institute of Contemporary Art,London; The Henry Art Gallery, Seattle; the Biennial Soundwave Festival, San Francisco; Franklin Furnace, NYC; The Knitting Factory, NYC; and the Centre International Francais, Ouagadougo, Burkina Faso, among other venues. His work has been supported by the Western States Arts Federation; the San Diego Foundation; the Pennsylvania Council of the Arts; the Institute of International Education; the Pew Fellowship in the Arts, New American Radio and the Jacobs Center for Neighborhood Innovation.

A proponent and producer of Open Source software and hardware projects, Leonard has spoken on the benefits of Open Knowledge, Open Data and Open Government at the Open Knowledge Festival in Helsinki and Berlin; the United Nations’ World Summit on the Information Society in Tunis, Tunisia; the Air Jaldi Summit on Wireless Technologies in Dharamsala, India; the International Summit for Community Wireless Networks; the Nonprofit Technology Network Conference; the Community Technology Center Network Conference; the signature Maker Faires in San Mateo and NYC, TEDx America's Finest City and the Global Fab Lab Conference. Most recently, he was Innovator-in-Residence at San Fransisco's Children's Creativity Museum.

Annie Levene

Partner, Rising Tide Interactive

Annie Levene manages and executes digital fundraising and advertising programs for national non-profits, Democratic committees, and top-tier candidates. In 2014, she served as chief digital strategist on the DGA’s winning Independent Expenditure in Connecticut on behalf of Governor Dan Malloy and was the lead digital strategist behind the highest earning digital program by a non-incumbent Democratic challenger. During her time at Rising Tide Interactive, Annie has provided strategic direction and generated unprecedented return on investment for clients such as the Democratic Governors Association, Senator Chris Coons, Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, and Senator Tim Kaine. Annie also executed all fundraising and persuasion advertising for Heidi Heitkamp’s winning U.S. Senate race. Annie holds a BA in English from the University of Michigan.

Annmarie Levins

General Manager of Technology & Civic Engagement, Microsoft

Annmarie Levins is the General Manager for Microsoft’s Technology & Civic Engagement Group. Her team works with the civic tech community, government leaders, and other community stakeholders to bring creative approaches and technology to address society’s most pressing challenges. She founded the Innovation & Policy Center at Microsoft’s New England Research & Development Center (NERD) in Cambridge, which focuses on technology, law, and policy, and serves on the boards of numerous tech-related organizations. Her teams are based in Boston, Chicago, New York, Seattle, and the San Francisco Bay Area. Annmarie received a BA from Brown University and a PhD in politics from Princeton University.

Josh Levy

Advocacy Director, Access

Josh Levy is Advocacy Director at Access. He's worked for years at the intersections of technology, politics and activism. He was previously Campaign Director at Free Press, the U.S.-based nonprofit, where he fought to protect the open internet and stop government surveillance. He was also Managing Editor of, the global petition platform, and Associate Editor at Personal Democracy Media. He holds a BA in English and Religion from the University of Vermont and an MFA in Integrated Media Arts from Hunter College in New York. He lives with his family in Northampton, Massachusetts.

Eric Liu

Founder and CEO, Citizen University

Eric Liu is the founder and CEO of Citizen University, a national nonprofit that promotes and teaches the art of powerful citizenship ( He is also the founding director of the Aspen Institute’s Citizenship & American Identity Program. Liu’s books include the national bestsellers The Gardens of Democracy, and The True Patriot, both co-authored with Nick Hanauer, and his most recent, A Chinaman’s Chance: One Family’s Journey and the Chinese American Dream. Liu served as a White House speechwriter for President Bill Clinton and later as the President's deputy domestic policy adviser. He and his family live in Seattle, where he serves on numerous civic and nonprofit boards and teaches courses on civic leadership at the University of Washington. A columnist for and a correspondent for

Luciana Lopez

Luciana Lopez covers economic policy across the 2016 presidential campaigns for Reuters. Previously she covered Brazil’s economy and markets from Sao Paulo for Reuters. She studied biology as an undergraduate at the University of Virginia and received her master’s degree in journalism from the University of Maryland, College Park.

Nancy Lublin


As CEO of, the largest organization for teens and social change in the world, Nancy Lublin is able to name all 5 members of One Direction without a smidge of sarcasm. An expert on youth, social media, and pop culture, brands like Pepsi and Chase and several tech start-ups have sought her advice and Fast Company has named her to their Most Creative People list. In 2013, while still CEO of, Lublin turned her popular TED talk into her third company, Crisis Text Line (CTL). CTL is the first 24/7, free, nationwide text line for teens. Prior to leading and CTL, Nancy turned a $5,000 inheritance into Dress for Success, which helps women transition from welfare to work in more than 125 cities in 15 countries. Before leading two of the most popular charity brands in America, she was a bookworm. She studied politics at Brown University, political theory at Oxford University (as a Marshall Scholar), and has a law degree from New York University. She is the author of the best-selling business book Zilch: The Power of Zero in Business and is one of the top 50 Influencers on LinkedIN. Nancy was recently named Fortune’s “World’s 50 Greatest Leaders” alongside the Pope and Dalai Lama (We know, she thinks it’s funny too!). Nancy is a Young Global Leader of the World Economic Forum (attending Davos multiple times), was named Social Entrepreneur of the Year in 2014 and has been named in the NonProfit Times Power and Influence Top 50 3 times. She is married to Jason Diaz and has two children who have never tasted Chicken McNuggets.

Jackie Mahendra

Director of Strategic Collaboration, Citizen Engagement Laboratory

Jackie Mahendra, spearheads a network initiative at CEL to strengthen the ecosystem of tech-savvy groups pushing for progressive change. Jackie recently served as Director of Organizing and then Director of Storytelling at Prior to that, she led online strategy for the immigration reform advocacy group America's Voice, where she fought tooth and nail for the federal DREAM Act. As a board member of Netroots Nation, Jackie has given dozens of talks on new media strategy, immigration, and online storytelling – and spearheaded programs to promote diversity and innovation. When not building things at CEL, Jackie enjoys writing, practicing yoga, and running a fair-trade, ethical fashion startup, @ishivest.

Katherine Maher

Chief Communications Officer, Wikimedia Foundation

Katherine is the Chief Communications Officer for the Wikimedia Foundation, the organization behind Wikipedia, the largest free knowledge project in human history and one of the world's most popular websites. She is an expert on the intersection of technology, human rights, democracy, and international development.

Prior to joining Wikimedia, Katherine was Advocacy Director for the international digital rights organization Access. She has worked with the World Bank, National Democratic Institute, and UNICEF on technology and programmatic innovation, and has extensive programmatic and policy experience in the United States, Europe, Middle East, Sub-Saharan Africa, Caribbean, Central America, and South East Asia.

Katherine is a member of the Advisory Council at the Open Technology Fund, and the board of the Youth for Technology Foundation, an organization dedicated to improving youth access to technology in the developing world. She is on the board of the London-based Project for the 21st Century (PS21), and a Security Fellow with the Truman National Security Project.

Dr. Anthony W. Marx

President, the New York Public Library

Since 2011, Anthony W. Marx has led The New York Public Library, the nation’s largest public library system with 18 million visits per year. At NYPL, he has expanded the Library’s role as an education provider, creating new after-school programs for children and teens, expanding English language, citizenship, computer and coding classes, partnering with Coursera, and improving programming for all ages at NYPL’s 88 neighborhood branches. Under his leadership, the Library has increased access to e-books, partnered with the City's public schools to enable millions of books to circulate directly to teachers and students, and launched a pilot to provide internet access in low income homes to redress the digital divide. From 2003 to 2011, Marx served as president of Amherst College in Massachusetts, where low-income student enrollment more than tripled during his tenure. Before Amherst, Marx was a political science professor and director of undergraduate studies at Columbia University, and had worked on education in South Africa in the 1980s. Marx has a BA from Yale, an MPA from the Woodrow Wilson School at Princeton University, and a PhD, also from Princeton.

Dr. Amen Ra Mashariki

Chief Analytics Officer, NYC Mayor's Office of Data Analytics

Dr. Amen Ra Mashariki is the City of New York's Chief Analytics Officer and leads the Mayor's Office of Data Analytics (MODA). Amen Ra Mashariki is navigating the unchartered space of leveraging the city of New York’s data to substantially improve city initiatives such as assisting small business entrepreneurs to gain access to market research based on NYC Open data and doing targeted outreach to ensure NYC students can get enrolled in the Universal Pre-K program. Dr. Mashariki is an accomplished leader within government, private sector and academia with experience in bringing Big Data processing and analytics for large and complex data management efforts. He started his professional careers as a software engineer at Motorola working on over-the-air data transmission projects and led a team of user-interface developers to build components of security features for handheld devices. Most recently, Dr. Mashariki served as Chief Technology Officer at the U.S. Office of Personnel Management. Dr. Mashariki holds a Doctor of Engineering from Morgan State University, a Master of Science in Computer Science from Howard University, and a Bachelor of Science in Computer Science from Lincoln University. Amen is a Brooklyn native and attended Brooklyn Tech High School.

Mike Mathieu

Chairman, Front Seat

Mike Mathieu is an entrepreneur focused on using the power of technology to advance the common good. He serves as an active founder, investor, or advisor to dozens of civic, political, and for-profit tech startups. He is Chairman of Front Seat, a founding board member of New Media Ventures (a national network of political-tech investors), a long-time partner in Social Venture Partners, and an investor in Impact Hub Seattle, Fledge, and SVP Fast Pitch. Mike is also co-founder and former chair of Walk Score and founder and former CEO of All Star Directories, an INC 500-listed online marketing company serving the higher education market, and spent a decade at Microsoft where he was general manager of

Laurenellen McCann

Fellow, Open Technology Institute, New America

Laurenellen McCann is an organizer, artist, and tech policy expert dedicated to equitable stewardship and activation of public commons.

Currently, she works to refocus the innovation sector on the “civic” in “civic tech” as a fellow at the Open Technology Institute at New America and a consultant with the Smart Chicago Collaborative. Laurenellen writes and speaks often on public engagement strategies and co-design, including best practices for building social impact tools “with, not for” the communities they’re intended to serve. She also sits on the Advisory Board of the DC Funk Parade and runs offbeat experiments in public participation (sometimes with dinosaurs) through her culture lab, The Curious Citizens Project.

In a past life, Laurenellen was the founding National Policy Manager of the Sunlight Foundation. In addition to leading Sunlight’s work on state and local issues, she co-authored Sunlight’s open data policy platform, helped dozens of cities, counties, and states write their first open data policies, and directed the one of the largest annual #opengov community gatherings in the world, TransparencyCamp. She cut her teeth as a journalist and producer with NPR and affiliate stations and as a youth member of her hometown school board. At the end of 2013, TIME Magazine named her one of 30 People Under 30 Changing the World.

Julie Menter

Manager of Investor Relations, New Media Ventures

Julie Menter is the Manager of Investor Relations for New Media Ventures, a national network of early stage investors supporting startups that create progressive political change.

Throughout her career, Julie has searched for opportunities to make a positive impact on the world around her. As a strategy consultant, first with the Boston Consulting Group and then with Blu Skye Sustainability Consulting, she has worked with large companies and non-profit organizations to redefine what good business means.

Julie is also a co-founder of the GreenerMind Summit: a 3-day retreat for change makers in the San Francisco Bay Area. She is originally from France where she received her MBA.

Jeff Merritt

Director of Innovation, NYC Mayor's Office of Tech and Innovation

Jeff Merritt is an expert in the design and implementation of innovative civic engagement and good government programs with more than 15 years of on-the-ground leadership in the US and abroad. Jeff began his career working with U.S. State Department-sponsored democracy programs in Croatia, Macedonia, Albania, Serbia and Montenegro. Upon returning to the U.S., he served as Executive Director for the Center for Civic Responsibility and in 2005 founded Grassroots Initiative, the nation’s first not-for-profit election consulting firm. At Grassroots Initiative, Jeff helped organize the first entirely online public election in U.S. history as part of a 2009 contract with the New York City Department of Education.

In 2010, he joined New York City government as a Senior Advisor to Public Advocate Bill de Blasio and in 2012 was named one of City & State’s “New York City Rising Stars: 40 Under 40″. At the Public Advocate’s office, Jeff helped develop the City’s first open-source technology tools and led national coalitions on issues of corporate political spending and gun divestment. In 2014, he helped to establish the Mayor’s Office of Technology and Innovation, where he has led a range of technology efforts including the launch of the .nyc top-level domain and announcement of LinkNYC, New York City’s plan to build the largest and fastest municipal Wi-Fi network in the world.

An Xiao Mina

Creative Technologist and Writer

An Xiao Mina is a research affiliate at the Berkman Klein Center for Internet and Society, and was a 2016 Knight Visiting Fellow at the Nieman Foundation for Journalism. She was a contributing editor for Ai Weiwei: Spatial Matters.

Andrés Monroy-Hernández

Microsoft Research

Andrés Monroy-Hernández is a researcher at Microsoft Research, and an affiliate faculty at the University of Washington. His work focuses on the design and study of social computing systems. Andrés was named one of the TR35 Innovators by the MIT Technology Review in Spanish, and one of CNET's influential Latinos in Tech. His research has received best paper awards at several computing conferences, recognized at Ars Electronica, and featured in The New York Times, The Guardian, NPR, and Wired. Andrés holds a Ph.D. from the MIT Media Lab, where he created the Scratch Online Community.

David Moore

Executive Director, the Participatory Politics Foundation

David Moore is the Executive Director of the Participatory Politics Foundation (PPF), a non-profit organization with a mission to increase civic engagement. At PdF 2015, PPF is announcing its new project: NYC Councilmatic, a free & open-source engagement platform for city government legislation and local issues. From 2006 through 2013, PPF created & operated, including the first-of-its-kind Contact-Congress feature set. In 2014, PPF launched, a free questions-and-answers platform for every U.S. elected official and any verified Twitter account, with over 80 participating elected officials nationwide. David is interested in the potential of more-digital legislatures to rehabilitate public trust in government. He's based at Civic Hall. Contact him anytime for more info on how to bring Councilmatic to your city - email:

Emma Mulqueeny

Founder, Rewired State

Emma is the founder of Rewired State and Young Rewired State, and a Commissioner for the Speaker’s Commission on Digital Democracy. She has recently been included in Who’s Who, voted onto the Wired 100 list, Tech City 100, BIMA Hot 100, has been voted one of the top ten women in technology by The Guardian, into the top ten Tech Heroes for Good by NESTA, named as one of the 25 most influential women in IT by Computer Weekly and one of 2014’s 50 most incredible women in STEM.

Emma writes regularly for the British Press, speaks on radio and on television, is best known for her campaign: ‘Year 8 is too Late’ (encouraging girls into technology subjects) and insights into the social digital generation: the 97ers.

Bart Myers

Founder and CEO, Countable

Bart is one of the founders of Countable. Countable is an iPhone app, Android app and website where users can learn about issues, influence their representatives in government, and rally their community and friends around those issues. Prior to starting Countable Bart worked for IBM Global Services and then helped to build several consumer internet companies including which was acquired by ROVI Corp. in 2011.

Ed Niles

Lead Media Strategist, Bluelabs

Ed Niles is the Lead Media Strategist for Bluelabs. He is focused on using BlueLabs’ expertise in predictive modeling and data-driven targeting to optimize media spending and messaging for partner groups. Ed was the Data and Analytics Director for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee's 2014 Independent Expenditure, where he developed and tested new methods to maximize the IE’s paid media resources. His political career spans from Senator John Edward’s Presidential Campaign, to the Voter Activation Network (the VAN), the Atlas Project, and Manan Trivedi’s first bid for Congress in Pennsylvania. Ed started his career as a data analyst for a major telecom carrier.

Danny O'Brien

Danny O'Brien has been an activist for online free speech and privacy for over 15 years. In his home country of the UK, he fought against repressive anti-encryption law, and helped make the UK Parliament more transparent with FaxYourMP. He was EFF's activist from 2005 to 2007, and its international outreach coordinator from 2007-2009. After three years working to protect at-risk online reporters with the Committee to Protect Journalists, he returned to EFF in 2013 to supervise EFF's global strategy. He is also the co-founder of the Open Rights Group, Britain's own digital civil liberties organization.

In a previous life, Danny wrote and performed the only one-man show about Usenet to have a successful run in London's West End. His geek gossip zine, Need To Know, won a special commendation for services to newsgathering at the first Interactive BAFTAs. He also coined the term "life hack"; it has been nearly a decade since he was first commissioned to write a book on combating procrastination.

Daniel X. O'neil

Executive Director, the Smart Chicago Collaborative

Daniel X. O’Neil is Executive Director of the Smart Chicago Collaborative, a civic organization devoted to making lives better in Chicago through technology. Prior to Smart Chicago, O’Neil was a co-founder of EveryBlock, where he was responsible for uncovering new data sets through online research and working with local governments. He has worked in the open government/ open data movement since 2004, creating technology, advocating for and writing policy, and working to improve how communities use data to make decisions and improve conditions. O’Neil is also a member of the board of directors at Voqal and The Sunlight Foundation. He’s written three books of poetry and has published 40,000 Creative Commons-licensed photos on Flickr. More here: 

Damola Ogundipe

Founder and CEO, Civic Eagle

Damola is the founder and CEO of Civic Eagle, a civic technology start-up based out of St. Paul, MN. In the capacity of CEO, he oversees Civic Eagle’s EAGLE and Eagle Eye products. He founded Civic Eagle in 2014 and quickly put together a dedicated and dynamic team of co-founders with the vision and mission to increase civic participation by utilizing technology solutions. As a dual Nigerian/American citizen, he brings a unique perspective to the civic participation crisis in the United States.

In addition to Civic Eagle, Damola owns a real-estate holdings company in the Twin Cities, co-owns a commercial music studio in Los Angeles, and serves as a mentor/advisor to Mayo Clinic Ventures. Prior to starting Civic Eagle, he worked as a successful independent consultant in the healthcare informatics industry and led numerous voter participation initiatives in the Twin Cities.

Taylor Owen

Assistant Professor of Digital Media and Global Affairs, University of British Columbia

Taylor Owen is Assistant Professor of Digital Media and Global Affairs at the University of British Columbia and a Senior Fellow at the Columbia Journalism School. He was previously the Research Director of the Tow Center for Digital Journalism at Columbia University where he designed and led a program studying the impact of digital technology on the practice of journalism. He is the founder and Editor of, an award-winning international affairs website and the Director of the International Relations and Digital Technology Projects, an international research project exploring the intersection of information technology and international affairs. He has previously held positions at Yale University, the London School of Economics and the International Peace Research Institute, Oslo. His PhD is from the University of Oxford, where he was a Trudeau Scholar. He is the author of Disruptive Power: The Crisis of the State in the Digital Age (OUP, 2015).

Cathy O’Neil

Author and Data Scientist

Cathy O’Neil earned a Ph.D. in math from Harvard, was a postdoc at the MIT math department, and a professor at Barnard College where she published a number of research papers in arithmetic algebraic geometry. She then switched over to the private sector, working as a quant for the hedge fund D.E. Shaw in the middle of the credit crisis, and then for RiskMetrics, a risk software company that assesses risk for the holdings of hedge funds and banks. She left finance in 2011 and started working as a data scientist in the New York start-up scene, building models that predicted people's purchases and clicks. She wrote the book Doing Data Science and started the Lede Program in Data Journalism at Columbia. She is a weekly guest on the Slate Money podcast and is currently writing a book about the dark side of big data.

Crystal Patterson

Government & Politics Outreach Manager, Facebook

Crystal Patterson is a Government & Politics Outreach Manager for Facebook. She has more than a decade of experience in digital strategy and communications. With a background working on Capitol Hill, campaigns and in both the private and non-profit sectors, Crystal now works with elected officials, government agencies, non-profits and political organizations to optimize their Facebook experience and results. A graduate of Northwestern University, Crystal is originally from northeast Ohio and currently resides in Washington, DC.

Kimberly C. Ellis, Ph.D.

Scholar, Artist, Activist

Affectionately known as “Dr. Goddess,” Kimberly C. Ellis, Ph.D. is a Scholar of American and Africana Studies, an Artist, Activist and Entrepreneur. She is an international thought leader on culture, gender, social technology and the digital humanities; and has been named one of the top "People of Color Impacting the Social Web," one of the "Top Ten Women in Social Media" and one of the "Most Influential Black Women on Twitter.” Thus, she is a staple at conferences such as Netroots Nation, the Personal Democracy Forum, Blogging While Brown, Blogalicious, Black Thought 2.0 (Duke University), BlogHer and South by Southwest (SXSW); and presented stellar, featured panels at #SXSW including, "#SCANDAL: How Television's Hottest Show is Fueled by Social Media,” “The Bombastic Brilliance of Black Twitter 2.0” and “A Conversation with Gina Prince-Bythewood” (Love and Basketball, The Secret Life of Bees, Beyond The Lights). She is also the creator of the tweetchat, “The Color of #GameofThrones,” which opens and closes every season of the show under the popular hashtag, #DemThrones.

A published author, speaker and producer, Dr. Goddess has successful campaigns under her belt and engages in digital strategy, civic tech and social media training, as well as consults on Social TV under “Fierce Star Media.” Her writings and appearances can be found across the internet, from Ebony, Essence and BlackEnterprise, to HuffPostLive, Alternet, Al Jazeera America and radio programs on Sirius/XM, NPR, BBC_WHYS, Voices of Russia and MomsRising as well as in the Women’s Media Center’s “SheSource” Directory. Dr. Goddess served as the Digital Director of the National Black Theatre Festival, the co-founder of #AskaSista, the founder of the civic tech project, #BlackPoliticsMatter, the author of the upcoming book, “The Bombastic Brilliance of Black Twitter (2009-2016)," and the producer of “You’re Beautiful to Me” (#YBTM), a feature documentary film about the journey with her Mother’s dementia.

As an artist and world traveler, Dr. Goddess has lectured and/or performed on Martha's Vineyard, at the Virginia Center for the Arts, at the Banff International Center in Canada and in Jamaica, China and Dubai. Recently, she served as the closing, plenary panel speaker on “Black Twitter, the Digital Humanities and #Charleston,” at the Association for the Study of the World African Diaspora Conference (ASWAD) in Charleston, South Carolina. And most recently, she returned from South Africa, wherein she bore witness and participated in the #FeesMustFall Movement. In March 2016, she gave an IGNITE talk on "The Bombastic Brilliance of Black Twitter" at SXSW in Austin and in June 2016, she will give a keynote faculty address on "Black Twitter" for the National Endowment of the Humanities, Digital Humanities Institute at Purdue University.

Rufus Pollock

Founder and President, Open Knowledge

Dr Rufus Pollock is Founder and President of Open Knowledge, an international non-profit using advocacy, technology and training to unlock information and turn it into insight and change. He was formerly a Shuttleworth Foundation Fellow and a Mead Fellow in Economics at Emmanuel College, University of Cambridge and is currently an adviser on open data to several governments. He has worked extensively as a scholar, activist and technologist on the social, legal and technical challenges around the creation and sharing of knowledge.

Andrew Rasiej

Co-Founder, Civic Hall

Andrew Rasiej is a civic and social entrepreneur, technology strategist, and the founder of Personal Democracy Media focusing on the intersection of technology, politics, and government. In addition to co-founding Civic Hall earlier this year, he is the Chairman of the NY Tech Meetup, a 40,000+-member organization of technologists, venture funders, marketers, representing start up and more mature companies using technology to transform themselves, New York City, and the world. He is the founder of which focuses on 21st century public education and senior advisor to the Sunlight Foundation a Washington DC organization using technology to make government more transparent. Andrew lives and works in New York City.

Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers

U.S. Representative (WA-05)

Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers is Eastern Washington’s chief advocate in Congress and one of the rising stars in American politics. Since first being elected to the House in 2004, she has earned the trust of her constituents and praise on Capitol Hill for her hard work, conservative principles, bipartisan outreach, and leadership. She is currently serving as the Chair of the House Republican Conference, a position making her the fourth highest-ranking Republican, and the highest ranking female Republican in the House of Representatives. As someone who grew up on a family farm, worked at a small business, and later became a wife and mom, Cathy McMorris Rodgers has lived the American Dream, and she sees her chief goal in Congress as rebuilding that Dream for our children and grandchildren.

Ethan Roeder

Ethan was Data Director for the Obama presidential campaigns in 2008 and 2012, pioneering the use of a large-scale data operation to support individualized, relationship-based organizing. His experience also includes local and federal political campaigns as well as pro-labor and gay rights advocacy. Ethan has also done extensive work in Election Administration including managing the Voting Information Project in partnership with Pew and Google in 2010. Ethan is currently the Executive Director of the New Organizing Institute.

Carmen Rojas

CEO, The Workers Lab

Carmen Rojas is the CEO of The Workers Lab, an innovation lab that invests in entrepreneurs, community organizers, and technologists to create replicable and revenue generating solutions that improve conditions for low-wage workers. The Workers Lab invests capital, offers an accelerator program focused on business and leadership development, and connects ventures to a broad network of supporters to support their continued development and success.

Prior to assuming this position, she was the Acting Director of Collective Impact at Living Cities. In this capacity, she played a pivotal role supporting the work of Living Cities’ member institutions, which represented 22 of the largest foundations and financial institutions in the world. Her work focused on improving economic opportunity for low-income people by supporting projects in the fields of economic & workforce development, energy efficiency, and asset building.

Carmen has also worked at the Mitchell Kapor Foundation, the San Francisco Redevelopment Agency’s Taskforce on African American Out-Migration, and the Social Equity Caucus, a program of Urban Habitat.

Carmen holds a Ph.D. in City and Regional Planning from the University of California, Berkeley and was a Fulbright Scholar in 2007.

Alec Ross

Senior Fellow, Columbia University’s School of International & Public Affairs

Alec Ross is one of America’s leading experts on innovation. He is currently a Senior Fellow at Columbia University’s School of International & Public Affairs and writing a book entitled The Industries of the Future to be published by Simon & Schuster. He serves as an advisor to investors, corporations and government leaders to help them understand the implication of factors emerging at the intersection of geopolitics, markets and increasingly disruptive network technologies. He currently sits on the board of directors or advisors for companies in the fields of technology, media, telecommunications, education, health care and cybersecurity.

Alec Ross recently served for four year as Senior Advisor for Innovation to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, a role created for him by Secretary Clinton to maximize the potential of technology and innovation in service of America’s diplomatic goals and stewarding the Secretary of State 21st Century Statecraft agenda. In this role, Alec acted as the diplomatic lead on a range of issues including cybersecurity, Internet Freedom, disaster response and the use of network technologies in conflict zones.

Ben Rowswell

Canadian Ambassador to Venezuela

A diplomat for more than twenty years, Ben has spent the last five exploring the use of civic tech in global affairs. During a year as Visiting Scholar with the Liberation Technology program of Stanford University in 2010/11, Ben led a project to connect Egyptian democracy activists with Silicon Valley technology expertise, a project known as Cloud to Street. Returning to Ottawa he served as Director for Innovation at Canada’s foreign ministry and subsequently launched the “Direct Diplomacy” campaign that reached millions of Iranians online after Canada’s closed its physical embassy in Tehran. These activities are on pause while he serves as Canada’s Ambassador to Venezuela, but he continues to lead research at the University of Toronto and the Montreal Centre for International Relations (CERIUM) to understand how citizen movements are transforming global affairs.

Tracy Russo

Founder, Russo Strategies

Tracy Russo is the founder of Russo Strategies, LLC, a political consulting firm that specializes in communications and advocacy for political, nonprofit and government clients. She is also currently a Senior Fellow at the New Organizing Institute. Russo previously served as part of the Obama Administration as a spokesperson and the Director of New Media at the United States Department of Justice. She specialized in department-wide open government policy and initiatives. She is the founder of WIPT, Women in Politics and Technology, an all women, member-driven organization that seeks to connect women working at the crossroads of politics and technology, provide support and resources to women in these industries and, encourage more women, especially young women, to enter the fields of politics and technology.

Nanjira Sambuli

iHub Nairobi

Nanjira Sambuli is a Research Manager at iHub, Nairobi, where she leads the Governance & Technology research pillar. Nanjira is trained as a mathematician with experience as a new media strategist for organizations such as UNEP, UN HABITAT, Africans Act 4 Africa, Global Power Shift, on their pan-African and international campaigns. With iHub Research, Nanjira has developed a framework for assessing the Viability, Verification, and Validity of Crowdsourcing, an online dangerous speech monitoring project, Umati, currently running in Kenya and Nigeria, and a publication on ICT and Governance (Civic Tech Landscape) in East Africa . Nanjira is also the editor of Innovative Africa: The new face of Africa, a series of essays on the emerging African tech landscape. Nanjira also sits on the Advisory Board (Africa) for Sum of Us, and is also a board member at Kenya's Media Policy Research Centre, with whom she has published a working paper on the changing media landscape in the country as impacted by social media. Nanjira is also a recent addition to the Networked News Lab, that brings together journalists, researchers and thought leaders in Kenya to support research,dialogue and innovation in news media.

Melissa Sandgren

Manager, Yahoo

Melissa is a Manager at Yahoo focused on diversity and social impact programs. She holds a Master in Public Policy from the Harvard Kennedy School of Government where she studied policy interventions around health, governance and gender. She is passionate about using technology to foster social change and has previously worked for Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi, UN Women, the World Health Organization and The Global Fund for Women.

Nancy Scola

Reporter and Writer, Politico

Nancy Scola is a reporter and writer whose work focuses on the intersections of technology, politics, and government. She is a reporter for Politico, and for nearly a decade, her coverage of everything from how tech is changing the art of political campaigning to the ongoing policy debate over net neutrality has appeared in the Atlantic, the Washington Post, Reuters, Washingtonian, the American Prospect, Next City, and many other publications. She has also served as a tech policy reporter for the Washington Post, a contributing writer at the American Prospect, a columnist at Next City, a tech and politics correspondent for the Atlantic, and editor of the daily newsletter techPresident. In a previous life, she worked in the U.S. House of Representatives."

David Seawright

Director of Analytics and Product Innovation, Deep Root Analytics

David Seawright is the Director of Analytics and Product Innovation for Deep Root Analytics, a predictive media analytics firm located in Arlington, VA, where he leverages media analytics to surface hidden data insights and provide greater efficiency, effectiveness and accountability for media buying decisions. The Deep Root team accomplishes this by matching first-party target data to its proprietary blended set of large-linked, multi-sourced media consumption datasets.

In 2014, David managed media analytics for multiple statewide political campaigns, including those for now-Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Texas Governor Greg Abbott.

Before joining Deep Root, David was a consultant on the advertising team for Mitt Romney’s 2012 presidential campaign and several congressional campaigns around the country. He also spent time working on Capitol Hill. A native of San Diego, he has a master’s degree from Georgetown University and a bachelor’s degree from the University of California, Berkeley.

David Segal

Executive Director, Demand Progress

David Segal is a former Democratic Rhode Island State Representative, and served on the Providence City Council as a member of the Green Party. During his eight years as an elected official he oversaw the passage of legislation promoting economic justice, renewable energy and open space, banking reform, affordable housing, LGBT rights, criminal justice reform, and a variety of other progressive causes. He recently ran in the Democratic primary for Rhode Island’s first Congressional seat, supported by much of the netroots and organized labor. His opinion pieces have appeared in the New York Times, Boston Globe, and other newspapers, and in a variety of online publications. He has a degree in mathematics from Columbia University.

Palak Shah

Social Innovations Director, National Domestic Workers Alliance

Palak Shah is the Social Innovations Director of the National Domestic Workers Alliance (NDWA). NDWA is the leading organization working to build power, respect, and fair labor standards for the 2.5 million nannies, housekeepers and senior caregivers in the U.S.

She is also the Founding Director of Fair Care Labs, the innovation arm of the domestic worker movement. Fair Care Labs experiments with entrepreneurial, market-based, and private sector strategies to improve working conditions, services and employment opportunities for domestic workers.

Palak has a diverse career spanning the private, public and social movement sectors. Most recently, Palak served as a leader at Wellmont Health System, an eight hospital health system in Northeast Tennessee and Southwest Virginia. Palak developed the health care system's strategic responses to the Affordable Care Act and the rapidly changing healthcare environment. Palak was previously a member of Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick’s Administration, serving as a member of the governor's budget team and then as the Commonwealth’s Deputy Director of Performance Management. Palak previously worked in the private sector as a management consultant at Accenture’s strategy practice.

Palak is a graduate of the well-known organizing academy at the Bus Riders Union in Los Angeles. She has worked at Political Research Associates, Oakland Rising, and Generation Five. In 1996, Palak co-founded VISIONS Worldwide, an internationally-recognized NGO focused on the HIV/AIDS crisis in India. Palak received a dual degree in Political Science and Broadcast Journalism from Northwestern University. She received a Masters in Public Policy from the Harvard Kennedy School, where she was awarded the prestigious Public Service Fellowship and Presidential Scholarship.

Heidi Sieck

Chief Operating Officer, Civic Hall

Heidi Sieck is the founding Chief Operating Officer of Civic Hall, the new community center for civic technology launched in New York Flatiron District in February 2015. Heidi has a 25+ year career in political action and civic technology, devoting her career to implementing foundational solutions to transform society. Before joining the Civic Hall team, Heidi was the Chief Operating Officer of, a political technology platform she founded with classmates from the Harvard Kennedy School. She has led many complex projects including the award winning San Francisco 311 Customer Service Center establishing the foundation of the open government movement and ResilientSF, one of the first post-disaster recovery programs in the U.S. An innovator of political action and devoted to elevating women to positions of leadership, Heidi worked on five presidential campaigns and dozens of state and local races. She serves on the Boards of Directors of NARAL Pro-Choice New York and the Center for Partnership Studies, a research institute focused on economic and political systems. She serves on the Advisory Board of VoteRunLead and pm the founding leadership team of CTZNWELL, a new values-based well being movement. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in Communications from the University of Nebraska and a Masters in Public Administration from the Harvard Kennedy School where she was awarded the prestigious Holly Taylor Sargent Award for Advancement of Women in Leadership.

Micah L. Sifry

Co-Founder, Civic Hall

Micah L. Sifry is a writer, editor and democracy activist. Since 2004, he has been the co-founder and editorial director of Personal Democracy Media. In addition to co-founding Civic Hall last year, he is also a senior adviser to the Sunlight Foundation and serves on the boards of Consumer Reports and the Public Laboratory for Open Technology and Science. He is the author or editor of eight books, most recently A Lever and a Place to Stand: How Civic Tech Can Move the World (Personal Democracy Media, 2015) and The Big Disconnect: Why the Internet Hasn’t Changed Politics (Yet) (OR Books, 2014), and in the spring of 2012 taught “The Politics of the Internet” at Harvard’s Kennedy School. He lives with his family in Hastings-on-Hudson, NY.

Jessica Singleton

Chief Digital Officer, City of New York

Jessica Singleton is the Chief Digital Officer for the City of New York, where she is working to support the city's thriving tech ecosystem and ensure that every New Yorker is just a click or swipe away from the information and services they need. Prior to her role in City Hall, Jessica was the Digital Director for Bill de Blasio's campaign for mayor of New York City. Jessica has worked on the digital team for President Obama’s campaign, advocated for LGBT equality at the Human Rights Campaign, studied the intersection of technology and politics at the think tank NDN/NPI, and co-founded the Roosevelt Institute Campus Network. An East Tennessee native, Jessica is a graduate of Middlebury College. She lives in Brooklyn.

Santiago Siri

Founder and President, DemocracyOS

Founder and president of DemocracyOS, a Y Combinator backed non-profit doing the largest global effort to deliver an open source solution to online voting. Founding peer of Partido de la Red (The Net Party), a political party that aims to improve representation with candidates committed to citizens requests online. An advocate for Bitcoin since 2011 helping startups, e-commerce sites and nonprofits to adopt it and a partner of, the largest Bitcoin exchange in Latin America. In 2007 founded Popego, a pioneering big data research lab acquired by Brazilian boo-box in 2011. Co-founded the Argentine Game Developers Association in 2001. Elected as Global Shaper by the World Economic Forum. Contributes in radio and television evangelizing about the virtues of technology. His first book will be published in 2015 by Random House.

Andrew Slack

Civic Imagination Fellow at Civic Hall

Andrew Slack is the Civic Imagination Fellow at Civic Hall, and also an Ashoka Fellow. He is a practitioner of cultural acupuncture and the founder of Imagine Better, where he has directed campaigns around Star Wars and money in politics, Back to the Future and imagination, Superman and immigration, the Hunger Games and economic inequality, and begun to remix holidays with projects like #TeachMeYouDid and assisting in Esther Day.

He started his work on Imagine Better in creating the Harry Potter Alliance (HPA) where he served as Executive Director, Movement Director, and Board of Directors president for 10 years. While at the HPA, he helped direct campaigns that have sent five cargo planes to Haiti, allowed all Harry Potter chocolate to be either Utz or Fair Trade certified, and started a chapters program that now boasts close to 300 chapters in over 30 countries on six continents.

Anne-Marie Slaughter

President and CEO, New America

Anne-Marie Slaughter is the President and CEO of New America and the Bert G. Kerstetter ’66 University Professor Emerita of Politics and International Affairs at Princeton University. From 2009-2011 she served as the director of Policy Planning for the United States Department of State, the first woman to hold that position. Prior to her government service, Dr. Slaughter was the Dean of Princeton’s Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs from 2002–2009 and the J. Sinclair Armstrong Professor of International, Foreign, and Comparative Law at Harvard Law School from 1994-2002. She has written or edited six books, including “A New World Order” and “The Idea That Is America: Keeping Faith with Our Values in a Dangerous World”, and is a frequent contributor to a number of publications, including The Atlantic and Project Syndicate. In 2012, she published “Why Women Still Can’t Have It All,” in The Atlantic, which quickly became the most read article in the history of the magazine and helped spark a renewed national debate on the continued obstacles to genuine full male-female equality. She is married to Professor Andrew Moravcsik; they live in Princeton with their two sons.

Tracy Van Slyke

Director of The Culture Lab, Citizen Engagement Lab

Tracy Van Slyke is the director of the The Culture Lab at Citizen Engagement Lab. The Culture Lab links together strategy, knowledge and technology-based services to help changemakers use culture to advance social progress. As an Opportunity Agenda fellow in 2014, she wrote the report, “Spoiler Alert: How Progressives Will Break Through with Pop Culture.” From 2011-2013, Van Slyke was the co-director of the New Bottom Line, an alignment of leading grassroots organizations that came together to build a fair economy. Previously, she was the director of The Media Consortium, where she worked with the country’s leading progressive independent media outlets to increase their impact. Van Slyke is the former publisher of In These Times magazine. In 2010, she co-authored the book Beyond The Echo Chamber: How a Networked Progressive Media Can Reshape American Politics (New Press).

Marc Smith

Director, Social Media Research Foundation

Marc Smith is a sociologist specializing in the social organization of online communities and computer mediated interaction. Smith leads the Connected Action consulting group and lives and works in Silicon Valley, California.  Smith co-founded and directs the Social Media Research Foundation (, a non-profit devoted to open tools, data, and scholarship related to social media research.

Smith is the co-editor with Peter Kollock of Communities in Cyberspace (Routledge), a collection of essays exploring the ways identity; interaction and social order develop in online groups. Along with Derek Hansen and Ben Shneiderman, he is the co-author and editor of Analyzing Social Media Networks with NodeXL: Insights from a connected world, from Morgan-Kaufmann which is a guide to mapping connections created through computer-mediated interactions.

Jonathan Sotsky

Director of Strategy and Assessment, the Knight Foundation

Jonathan Sotsky serves as the director of strategy and assessment at the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation where he manages research and evaluation initiatives across the foundation’s work in civic innovation, journalism and media, and the arts. Jon has led the production of pioneering field-building research publications, including reports analyzing the growing civic tech movement and a benchmarking study of business model metrics and innovative practices among startup nonprofit news ventures. He previously consulted with Mission Measurement where he partnered with social sector organizations to develop performance measurement systems and data-driven approaches to managing their programs. Before that, he was a financial management consultant in the media practice at IBM. Jon serves on the boards of DataKind and Media Impact Funders. He graduated magna cum laude from Cornell University with a bachelor’s degree in applied economics.

Josh Stearns

Director of Journalism & Sustainability, Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation

Josh Stearns is a journalist and organizer working to build stronger journalism through creativity, community and civic engagement. Stearns is currently the director of Journalism & Sustainability at the Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation. Prior to joining the Dodge staff, Josh served as Press Freedom Director at Free Press where he spent 7 years running national advocacy campaigns in support of digital rights, freedom of expression and media diversity. He is a founding board member of the Freedom of the Press Foundation and his articles have appeared online at the Columbia Journalism Review, PBS MediaShift, Orion Magazine and Boing Boing.

Taren Stinebrickner-Kauffman

Executive Director and Founder,

Taren is the Executive Director and Founder of She is a dual Australian-American citizen and has experience with online organizing on four continents and at the global level, including at,, and the AFL-CIO. She was born in Australia, currently lives in San Francisco and enjoys reading science fiction and playing ultimate frisbee for fun.

Minerva Tantoco

Chief Technology Officer, New York City

Minerva Tantoco is New York City’s first-ever Chief Technology Officer (CTO). As CTO, Tantoco directs the Mayor’s Office of Technology and Innovation with responsibility for the development and implementation of a coordinated citywide strategy on technology and innovation and encouraging collaboration across agencies and with the wider New York City technology ecosystem.; For more than 25 years – from launching her own start-up to directing technology and innovation for large enterprises – Tantoco has worked to affect business transformation across a range of industries from advertising to finance. With her appointment to the administration of New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, she brings this wealth of experience in technology-enabled transformation to government; .

Raised in Flushing, Queens, Tantoco is a product of New York City public schools. She attended Bronx Science High School and while still in college, moved to Silicon Valley where she co-founded technology startup, Manageware Inc, which was successfully sold five years later. Since then, Ms. Tantoco has led emerging technology initiatives including artificial intelligence, e-commerce, virtualization, online marketing and mobile applications.

Ms. Tantoco holds four US patents on intelligent workflow and is a speaker and author on mobile, security, big data, and innovation. As Senior Product Manager at Palm, Tantoco pioneered mobile enterprise solutions in the early 2000s which helped pave the path in mobile technology, developing and deploying some of the world’s earliest mobile applications. As Chief Architect at Bank of America Merrill Lynch, Tantoco led the re-design and implementation of the company’s Investment Banking data warehouse, a project that mirrors many of the City’s big data and analytics initiatives. Ms. Tantoco most recently served as UBS APAC CTO for client-facing technology and innovation, with regional responsibility for the Asia Pacific region.

Astra Taylor

Author, "The People's Platform"

Astra Taylor is a writer, documentary filmmaker, and activist. Her films include Zizek!, a feature documentary about the world’s most outrageous philosopher, and Examined Life, a series of excursions with contemporary thinkers including Slavoj Zizek, Judith Butler, Cornel West, Peter Singer and others. Both movies premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival. Taylor’s writing has appeared in The Nation, the London Review of Books, n+1, The Baffler, and other publications. She is the editor of Examined Life, a companion volume to the film, and coeditor of Occupy!: Scenes from Occupied America. She also helped launch the Occupy offshoot Strike Debt and its Rolling Jubilee campaign. Most recently she is the author of the book The People’s Platform: Taking Back Power and Culture in the Digital Age.

Zephyr Teachout

Professor of Law, Fordham University

Zephyr R. Teachout is an Associate Law Professor at Fordham. She is the former Director of Online Organizing for Howard Dean's Campaign, National Director of the Sunlight Foundation, and Co-Founding Executive Director of the Fair Trial Initiative. Her research about corruption has been cited by the United States Supreme Court and the Montana Supreme Court. She is an internationally recognized expert on the impact of the Internet on electoral politics and government, and has appeared on Bill Moyers, PBS News Hour, and UP with Chris Hayes. Her innovative internet organizing efforts were featured on NPR and CNN, and in The Washington Examiner, The Washington Post, the Wall Street Journal, PC World, and The New York Times. She serves on the Board of the Public Campaign Action Fund and Fight for the Future.

Jessy Tolkan

President, Tolkan & Co.

Jessy Tolkan is the President of Tolkan & Co., a progressive strategy firm specializing in large-scale advocacy campaigns that disrupt politics, culture, and polluting industries. With clients ranging from the Working Families Party to the Renault-Nissan Corporation, Jessy creates and executes innovative campaigns with an eye towards transformative change.

Jessy has spent most of her career working to build power in the Progressive moment, with an expertise on mobilizing the millennial generation. In 2004, as state director for the New Voters Project, Tolkan helped to register more than 130,000 young voters and produced one of the highest youth turnout rates in the country. This cutting edge research and campaigning provided the foundation for the historic youth strategies employed in the 2008 Presidential Election.

Jessy Tolkan received her B.A. from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in Political Science, and is nearing completion of a joint MBA and JD at Georgetown University. In 2008, Rolling Stone Magazine named her one of the 100 agents of change in America.

Jenn Topper

Communications Manager, the Sunlight Foundation

Jenn Topper is the communications manager for the Sunlight Foundation, helping journalists and news outlets use Sunlight's tools and data to tell their stories. She has more than 8 years of experience communication, specializing in advocacy and policy. Previously, she managed the media relations for Free Press and the Campaign for America's Future. Before coming to DC, she worked at Rubenstein Communications in New York City.

Alex Torpey

Founder, Veracity Media

Alex Torpey, founder and managing partner of the strategy consulting firm Veracity Media, was dubbed ‘the Social Media Mayor’ by Inc. Magazine. A recognized leader in the areas of governance, transparency, internet advocacy and leadership, Alex became one of the youngest mayors in the United States at age 23 in 2011, and led his hometown through four years of measurable fiscal responsibility and debt reduction, economic investment & revitalization, crime reduction, transparency and community engagement. Alex’s passion for his office, engaging his peers and ideas on post-partisan collaborative governance has been recognized and profiled, for example in the New York Times, Inc. Magazine, Mashable, Next City and the Star-Ledger, and he lectures and often speaks on these topics, for example at Social Media Week, the Personal Democracy Forum, the National Constitution Center, Belfast Technology Conference and POLITICO. In the fall of 2014, Alex was appointed an Adjunct Faculty of governance and technology at Seton Hall University co-teaching transparency and open government concepts to graduate students. Alex also serves on the Advisory Board of New Jersey’s New Leaders Council and is a 2014 James Madison Fellow at the Millennial Action Project.

Joseph Torres

Senior External Affairs Director, Free Press

Joseph advocates in Washington to ensure that our nation’s media policies serve the public interest and builds coalitions to broaden the media reform movement's base. Joseph writes frequently on media and Internet issues and is the co-author of the New York Times bestseller News for All the People: The Epic Story of Race and the American Media. Joseph also serves on the board of directors of the Center for Media Justice and the National Association of Latino Independent Producers. Before joining Free Press, Joseph worked as deputy director of the National Association of Hispanic Journalists and was a journalist for several years. He earned a degree in communications from the College of Staten Island.

Scott Tranter

Founder, Øptimus

Scott Tranter is one of the three founders of Øptimus a data and technology consultancy based in Washington D.C. Tranter and his team work as information architects, with a portfolio of work that includes TV targeting platforms, producing agile vote modeling processes and conducting in-cycle experiment informed programs. Tranter and his firm advise political campaigns, non-profits and businesses by managing and analyzing diverse data streams to yield actionable insight.

Tranter holds a degree in Finance from American University and a M.A. in National Security and Strategic Studies from the U.S. Naval War College.

Scott currently resides in Washington, D.C.

Lila Tretikov

Executive Director, Wikimedia Foundation

Lila Tretikov is the new executive director of the Wikimedia Foundation, the nonprofit organization that operates Wikipedia and supports its volunteer corps. Her new role includes overseeing the fifth most popular site on the web and a community of 80,000 active Wikimedians and a mission to make the sum of all human knowledge freely available to all. Top of her agenda is to lead the community's struggle to increase diversity: 87% of Wikipedia contributors are men, according to the site. The widely respected Moscow-born Tretikov is a Bay Area technology leader and an active member of the open-source community for the past 15 years.

Tom Trewinnard

Checkdesk Product Lead, Meedan

Tom Trewinnard is the Checkdesk Product Lead at Meedan, a social technology nonprofit working on the Checkdesk project to develop collaborative verification tools online. Tom has worked extensively with journalists in some of the Middle East's leading newsrooms, as well as with citizen journalists from across the region, to research the role of citizen journalism in the mainstream coverage of breaking events. Tom curates the verification and viral debunk newsletter The Checklist.

Dave Troy

CEO and Product Architect, 410 Labs

Dave Troy is a serial entrepreneur and community activist in Baltimore, Maryland. He is currently CEO and product architect at 410 Labs, maker of the popular e-mail management tool He has been acknowledged by the founding team at Twitter as the first developer to utilize the Twitter API, with his project “Twittervision,” which was featured in the 2008 MoMA exhibition “Design and the Elastic Mind,” curated by Paola Antonelli. His new crowdsourced project uses social network data to map cities. He is also organizer of TEDxMidAtlantic and is passionate about data, cities, and entrepreneurship. He lives in Baltimore with his wife and two children. His TED Talk (October 2014) has over 1 Million views.

Erin Vilardi

Founder and Director, VoteRunLead

Erin Vilardi is the Founder and Director of VoteRunLead, leveraging technology and training to accelerate the number of women in civic and political leadership. She first launched VRL as Vice President of Program and Communications at The White House Project, establishing the largest national political training program readying women for public office, training over 15,000. Erin has served as leadership development consultant for a diverse range of clients including Fortune 100 companies, global girls’ initiatives, the U.S. Department of State, and the Athena Center for Leadership Studies at Barnard College, Columbia University. At Barnard, she co-authored the Athena CORE10©, an innovative set of 21st century leadership competencies based on the latest research and gender analysis. Erin serves on the Advisory Boards of Girl Meets World, the New American Leaders Project, and Vision2020. She is an Executive Producer of Ann Richards’ Texas, a documentary about the late pioneering governor. She has appeared on CNN, BBC, and Fox News, and her work was featured in O, The Oprah Magazine as well as numerous international and domestic publications.

John Webb

User Experience Researcher, Google

John Webb is a user experience researcher at Google based out of the New York office. He conducts investigative and tactical research to inform design and product strategy for Google's Social Impact team with a particular focus on developing civic engagement experiences.

Rachel Weidinger

Founder, Upwell

Rachel Weidinger is an artist and community organizer, who makes to illustrate what is possible. Her medium is social forms. Significant past works include Upwell (2011-2015), We Are Very Hungry (2010-2012), Scrap Eden (2006-2008) and Scrap House (2005).

In 2011, Rachel founded Upwell. Over the 3.5 years of Upwell's existence, she went on to become it's Executive Director of this nonprofit PR firm. Upwell's clients were movements. The ocean was our first client. Rachel led the development and evolution of Upwell's innovative big listening practices, coupling this big data approach with the resiliency-increasing tactic of campaigning across a distributed network. The project worked on a daily basis to both massively aggregate power for movements, and immediately redistribute that power through networks. Upwell's work was grounded in both offline community organizing and online community management. We developed and tested models to measurably increase online attention to issues. In the Spring of 2014, Upwell began a test to track issues in our U.S. democracy, and undertook research to baseline the African elephant conversation. Upwell concluded operations in March 2015.

Previously, Rachel was at TechSoup Global where she provided marketing leadership for TechSoup Global, and their earned-revenue-driven, tech-capacity-building Global Network of partners in 36 countries. She has also worked with social enterprises including the Nonprofit Technology Network, Common Knowledge, the Black Rock Arts Foundation, SF Environment, Copia, and the Xtracycle Foundation.

Rachel will enter the MFA program at the California College of the Arts, in the Social Practice Workshop, in the fall of 2015. She rather likes learning, and has a B.Phil. in Interdisciplinary Studies from Miami University's Western College Program, and completed the coursework for a masters in Arts Policy and Administration at Ohio State University. The latter she often describes as an MBA for people who run cultural organizations, and she focused on earned revenue to weather funding challenges. Completing the Renaissance Entrepreneurship Center's 14 week Business Planning Intensive upped her biz plan writing skills immeasurably.

Rachel paints words, and does not fear complexity.

Paul Westcott

Director of Marketing and Communications, L2

Paul Westcott is L2’s Director of Marketing and Communications. Prior to joining L2 Paul worked for NBC News, Fox News Channel and most recently Clear Channel Media and Entertainment. At Clear Channel Paul started as a Senior Digital Editor creating and managing editorial content on over 850 radio station websites. While in his digital role Paul created and hosted a daily talk show and podcast covering news and politics for the burgeoning iHeartRadio platform. Prior to Clear Channel Paul was an Assignment Editor for NBC News working on the national, international and political desks covering all of the network’s news properties. Paul attended Fordham University and has both a BA and MA in Political Science.

Derek Willis

contributor, The Upshot

Derek Willis writes about congressional behavior, campaign finance and other topics for The Upshot, a Times politics and policy site. From 2007-13, he was a member of The Times’s Interactive News desk, where he built and maintained political databases used in web applications on and in Times articles. Previously, he worked at The Washington Post, the Center for Public Integrity, Congressional Quarterly and The Palm Beach Post, specializing in using data to find and tell stories. He lives in Silver Spring, Maryland, with his wife and daughter, and lives online at

Benoit Wirz

Director of Venture Investments, Knight Foundation

Benoit Wirz is Director of Venture Investments at the John S. & James L. Knight Foundation where he manages the Knight Enterprise Fund, a venture fund that invests in early-stage startups that improve access to quality, useful information.

Prior to Knight, Wirz was a founder of U.S. Global, where he helped take tech, energy & manufacturing from startup to profitability. He also served as vice president of strategic planning for a manufacturing company, FLT Glass, and as vice president of business development for U.S. Global Synfuel, which invested in and developed energy companies and synthetic fuel projects. Prior to that, Wirz was an investment banker with Jefferies & Company and a reporter with Asahi Shimbun.

Wirz completed his MBA at INSEAD in Fontainebleau, France, and received a MA and a BA from Stanford University. He speaks French, Spanish and, on good days, Russian.

Tim Wu

Director, Poliak Center for the Study of First Amendment Issues

Tim Wu is an author, policy advocate, and professor at Columbia Law School, and director of the Poliak Center for the study of First Amendment Issues at Columbia Journalism School.  Wu's best known work is the development of Net Neutrality theory, but he also writes about private power, free speech, copyright, and antitrust.  His book The Master Switch has won wide recognition and various awards.

Wu worked at the Federal Trade Commission during the first term of the Obama administration, and has also worked as Chair of Media reform group Free Press, as a fellow at Google, and worked for Riverstone Networks in the telecommunications industry. He was a law clerk for Judge Richard Posner and Justice Stephen Breyer. He graduated from McGill University (B.Sc.), and Harvard Law School.

Wu is a contributing writer at and a former contributing editor at The New Republic.  He has been won awards from Scientific American magazine, National Law Journal, 02138 Magazine, and the World Economic Forum, and has twice won the Lowell Thomas Award for travel writing.

Deanna Zandt

Co-Founder, Lux Digital

Deanna Zandt is an award-winning media technologist, the co-founder of and partner at Lux Digital, and the author of Share This! How You Will Change the World with Social Networking (Berrett-Koehler 2010). She is a consultant to key media and advocacy organizations, and her clients have included The Ford Foundation, Deutsche Telekom, Planned Parenthood, and Jim Hightower’s Hightower Lowdown. Zandt has advised the White House on digital strategy and public engagement; she has been a regular contributor to, as well as NPR’s flagship news program, “All Things Considered.” Zandt specializes in emerging media, is a leading expert in women and technology, and is a frequent guest on MSNBC, CNN International, BBC Radio, Fox News and more.

Zandt works with groups to create and implement effective web strategies toward organizational goals of civic engagement and cultural agency, and uses her background in linguistics, advertising, telecommunications and finance to complement her technical expertise. She has spoken at a number of conferences, including TEDxBerlin, SXSW Interactive, Tribeca Film Festival, re:publica, Personal Democracy Forum, Ignite (NYC), Netroots Nation, the National Conference on Media Reform, Facing Race, Web 2.0 Expo, Bioneers, Women Action & The Media, and provides beginner and advanced workshops both online and in person.

In 2012, the Planned Parenthood Federation of America awarded Deanna their first-ever social media Maggie Award for Media Excellence for her work on the Planned Parenthood Saved Me Tumblr blog during the Susan G Komen crisis. Deanna was a fellow at American University’s Center for Social Media (2010-2011), and at the Progressive Women’s Voices program at the Women’s Media Center (2009). She is on the board of the Applied Research Center, a racial justice think tank and home for media and activism, and Women Action & The Media, the activism home of gender justice in the media. Deanna also serves as an advisor to Social Media Week NYC, and the Media Ideation Fellowship.

In addition to her technology work, Deanna writes and illustrates graphic stories and comics, and volunteers with dog rescue organization Rat Terrier ResQ.
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