Debra Cleaver, Founder + CEO
Debra Cleaver has been working at the intersection of technology and democracy since 2004. She currently serves as the Founder and CEO of Vote.org, a nonpartisan nonprofit digital voting organization that aims to use digital technology to remove barriers to voting and increase voter turnout. Under Debra’s leadership, Vote.org won the prestigious Knight News Challenge in 2015, and was accepted into Y Combinator’s 2016 Summer Cohort. Her work has been featured in Forbes, Mic, The Huffington Post, and Bustle.
Raven Brooks, Chief Operating Officer
Raven spent a decade leading the growth of Netroots Nation from a volunteer-run effort to the country’s premier progressive gathering. Along the way he gained extensive experience fundraising, building and scaling a non-profit organization, and communicating and organizing in the digital age. He lives in Oakland, is a triathlete, and enjoys defying gravity through high intensity sports like skydiving.
Joey Espinosa, Chief Technology Officer
Joey taught himself how to program at age 10 and hasn’t looked back since. His first full-time coding position was in the United States Air Force, where he served as part of the Intelligence Community. He has more than a decade of experience with system administration and software engineering in multiple languages and technologies (Python – 15 yrs, Ruby – 12 yrs, Linux/Unix – 15 yrs, Postgres/MySQL – 12 yrs, Redis/Memcached/Mongo – 8 yrs, Django/Tornado/Flask – 8 yrs, ElasticSearch – 5 yrs, HTML/CSS/JS – 8 yrs). Joey has worked at large corporations such as Tribune and General Dynamics, as well as startups in the science, entertainment, and political industries. Joey has multiple IT certifications, both technical and managerial, and has taught classes and given technical presentations at numerous conferences.
Joey is a member of American Mensa, a Black Belt in Tae Kwon Do, a husband and father, a Christian, a lover of all things open source. He can also speed rap, although he refuses to upload videos of this to YouTube.
Jake Levine, Software Engineering Lead
Jake has spent the last 20 years building, launching, and managing software products. Along the way he has accrued experience in startups and large corporations, both private and public. He’s worked for 15 of those years directly in product management, defining consumer and business facing products for companies like Myspace, Live Nation, AEG, and Idealab. He spent the last 5 years doing full-stack software development with Ruby on Rails, React Native, and Swift for companies like Creatabu.com, ProjectGreenlight.com and Conconapp.com. Jake is also a listed inventor on 2 patents and has 3 other patents pending. It is rumored that Jake once juggled three rubber chickens in the desert near Area 51, but all photo evidence has been classified. He is also one of the 2010 nominees for Best Ikea Hack of the Year.
Jake graduated from University of Maryland with a BA in Journalism.
Julia Rhodes Davis, Chair
Julia Rhodes Davis is an experienced social entrepreneur and nonprofit management professional. She is the Managing Director at DataKind, a nonprofit bringing the power of data science to the service of humanity. Previously, Julia served as the Chief Development Officer for Citizen Engagement Laboratory, an incubator for tech-fueled advocacy nonprofits. In 2008, she founded Production Collective, a New York-based consulting firm that provided fundraising, organizational development, and experiential marketing services to more than 35 organizations over five years. Julia currently serves on the board of Vote.org. When Julia’s not working with amazing change makers, she’s cooking, running, or helping someone start a new project. She is currently opening a wine shop with her husband and two other partners in North Oakland, California
Ben Wikler, Treasurer
Ben is the host of The Good Fight, a top rated political podcast, and the Washington Director of MoveOn.org. Previously, Wikler held the #2 jobs at the world’s two biggest online advocacy organizations, Change.org and Avaaz.org, and worked closely with Al Franken on his 1.5-million-listener radio show and Al’s two #1 New York Times bestselling books. In high school and college, he contributed headlines and articles to The Onion. Ben graduated from Harvard and lives in Washington, DC, with his wife and son. He is the President of the LDV Board.
Ashley Spillane, Secretary
Ashley Spillane is a Millennial and voter engagement strategist whose expertise bridges the political, technology and entertainment industries. With over a decade of experience turning trends into action, Ashley has a strong record of developing and implementing successful strategies for the political, private and nonprofit sectors. As the head of organizations like Rock the Vote, The Atlas Project, and democratic GAIN, she also forged large corporate/cause marketing partnerships with companies including iHeartRadio, Microsoft, USAToday, Twitter, and Tinder. Ashley was recognized as a “Change Agent” by Marie Claire magazine in 2014 and a Campaigns + Elections “Rising Star” in 2012.
Carl Snodgrass, Board Member
Carl Gavin Tewksbury Snodgrass was a Long Distance Voter co-founder and led LDV’s research efforts for 7 years. Prior to joining Long Distance Voter, Carl was an investigator of police misconduct for New York City, where he first met Debra. Carl graduated summa cum laude from Lewis & Clark College in 2006 with a BA in philosophy and Japanese, and is a member of the Phi Beta Kappa honors society. He is a classically-trained pianist and enjoys playing and writing music, as well as building things and painting. Originally from Portland, OR, Carl currently lives in Philadelphia, PA and is earning his JD from Penn Law School.
Christopher Mann, Senior Advisor
Christopher is an Assistant Professor of political communication in the Manship School of Mass Communication and Department of Political Science at Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge. He is also the Director of the Academy of Applied Politics at LSU and holds the J. Patrick Gebhart Professorship from the Manship School of Mass Communication. Christopher’s research focuses on several aspects of elections, campaigns, and voting, with a special emphasis on voting-by-mail. He has been published in The Journal of Politics, Political Analysis, Political Behavior, Public Opinion Quarterly, and other journals.
Alexandra has worked for candidates and campaigns, party committees, and progressive organizations, with an emphasis on youth politics, over the past 15 years. Alexandra is the President and Founder of AL Advising, a philanthropic and non-profit consulting firm. She is a recognized political commentator and also travels internationally as a trainer for the National Democratic Institute. Alexandra is also the author of The Political Ladder: Insider Tips on Getting a Job in Politics, published in 2012. From 2011-2015, Alexandra served as Director of the Youth Engagement Fund at the Democracy Alliance. She also led the Young Democrats of America as Executive Director during the historic 2008 election cycle. From 2009-2010, Alexandra served as the Executive Director of Democratic GAIN, overseeing the professional organization for political operatives, having previously worked for GAIN as Training Director. She has also worked in various capacities for the John Kerry for President Campaign and the Democratic National Committee, Planned Parenthood Federation of America, the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, and Congresswoman Nita Lowey (D-NY).
Adam is a seasoned Engineering and Product executive, with over twenty years of experience in the software, consumer electronics and internet industries. Adam is Vice President of Engineering for Comcast Silicon Valley, where he directs a variety of advanced development projects in areas such as cloud-based TV and the Internet of Things. Before joining Comcast, Adam executive and senior management positions at Myspace, TuneIn, Technorati, Ofoto, Contact Networks, Excite, WebCrawler, General Magic, NeXT and Lotus. As an executive, Adam combines deep technical understanding with passion for products, and keen understanding of business. Adam has assembled and led world class development teams, and has experience bringing innovative products to market. He has supervised the operations of some of the world’s most traffic websites, and is adept balancing innovation with operational stability. Adam serves as an Advisor to several startups across, providing expertise in technology and product strategy.
Andrea is Director of Digital Organizing + Fundraising at Mozilla, an organization fighting to protect the free and open Internet. Under her leadership Mozilla built a grassroots campaign strategy that helped win net neutrality protections in the United States. Andrea blogs about how Mozilla increase global online donations five-fold to $3.6 million at fundraising.mozilla.org. Before working at Mozilla, she led Change.org’s client services team for three years, providing strategic list growth support for organizations like Credo Action, Sierra Club, Mayors Against Illegal Guns, Walk Free, ONE Campaign, and UNICEF. Prior to joining Change.org, Andrea was Senior Consultant at M+R. Way back when, she began her career in digital organizing after 13 states passed constitutional bans on same-sex marriage in 2004. She got mad, then got busy, and co-founded a state organization that to this day is still fighting for the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people and their families in Ohio.
Angela is an online engagement specialist working at the intersection of technology, advocacy, and storytelling. She is the former managing director of HeadCount, where she led innovative initiatives in voter registration and civic engagement. Angela works with eBay’s Content Marketing division and is the co-founder and president of Donation Club, an early-stage progressive non-profit. She is a member of the New York County Democratic Committee, and works with progressive Democrat Paul Newell’s State Assembly campaign to drive voter engagement. She was a part of MoveOn.org’s Creative Team during the 2012 election cycle, supporting dozens of progressive campaigns with award-winning original content. Previously, Angela worked on Universal Music Group’s Global Digital team during the music industry’s transition from physical to digital products. She has worked with Ready for Warren, Bill de Blasio’s New York mayoral campaign, Occupy Sandy, Environment California, and United Students Against Sweatshops. She also volunteers with ACE New York and DataKind, and has provided fundraising support to City of Hope and The Grammy Foundation. Born in Tennessee, raised in Los Angeles, Angela has been a proud New Yorker for the last four years.
Bryan Whitaker serves as the Chief Innovation Officer of TargetSmart Communications, overseeing the company’s efforts to help make Democratic and Progressive organizations become more efficient and effective with data-driven strategies. Prior to joining TargetSmart, Bryan was Chief Operating Officer of NGP VAN, the nation’s leading software provider to Obama for America and thousands of Democratic and progressive campaigns and organizations in the United States and around the globe. In the 2012 cycle, Bryan was chief of technology for the Democratic National Committee and worked closely with Obama for America, State Democratic Parties, and other Democratic committees on their national technology and data infrastructure. He previously served as founding Director of Field Information Services at the Service Employees International Union in Washington, DC working with union affiliates and national progressive partners on technology, data, micro-targeting and analytics. Before going to SEIU, Bryan was an organizer for the Sierra Club in the Southern Appalachian Mountains and an aide to John Kerry in the 2004 elections in Iowa, Michigan, and Ohio.
Eric Maland has spent more than two decades writing software, designing scalable systems, and building engineering teams at early-stage startups such as Amazon.com, Google, and Twitter. In 2014 he turned his focus to civic service and moved to the White House to help stabilize several systems across several federal agencies, including healthcare.gov and the visa system.
Today, Eric is focused on understanding the role technology can play in having a positive impact on elections through the coming years.
Liba Wenig Rubenstein
Liba works at the intersection of mass and social media, cause marketing, civic innovation, sustainability, public policy, and digital activism. At Tumblr she leads partnerships, programming, and outreach for social impact and policy. Liba ran environmental sustainability at the old News Corporation, including a strategy to achieve carbon neutrality across the organization’s global operations of 100 companies on five continents. Before that, she founded Myspace’s Impact Channel for social and civic engagement and managed its Public Affairs team, launching first-of-their-kind initiatives around climate change, Darfur, social fundraising, and the 2008 US Presidential election.
Matthew “Mudcat” Arnold
Matthew “Mudcat” Arnold was the campaign manager for the CREDO SuperPAC. Mudcat is a veteran of over a dozen campaigns for state and federal office, and is a national field trainer for Democracy for America. He’s run campaigns for progressive champions like Lloyd Doggett and was the field director for Mary Jo Kilroy and Darcy Burner. Mudcat has designed sophisticated voter outreach operations for MoveOn.org and the Sierra Club, and in 2009, he helped launch the Progressive Change Campaign Committee. He’s originally from Booneville, Mississippi.
Matt is an organizer, a writer, a small business owner, and a three-time college dropout. He is executive director of the Bus Federation, a grassroots network that is a building a political movement of young people, by young people, and for all people. His writing and/or exploits have made their way into the pages of The New Republic, In These Times, and The Washington Post. Matt is a serial social entrepreneur, having founded or co-founded Forward Montana, the Bus Federation, and National Voter Registration Day, as well as several other ventures. He serves on the advisory boards of Vote.org, Revolutions Per Minute, and Oregon Climate.
Michael Moschella is Vice President at NationBuilder. In this capacity, he has worked with hundreds of leading political campaigns, nonprofits and major brands to create effective, modern organizing efforts. He has been at the forefront of the leadership development and civic engagement community for over a decade, and was recently named one of the 50 top campaign strategy influencers in America by Campaigns and Elections Magazine. Prior to joining the team at NationBuilder, Michael served as Chief Organizer and Political Director for the Truman National Security Project and the Center for National Policy. At Truman-CNP, Michael managed nationwide efforts to bring political, policy, and veteran leaders together around a shared vision for America’s role in the 21st century world. In addition to his work at Truman, Michael is a founder and current Secretary of the Board of Directors of New Leaders Council, which runs 30 highly selective civic leadership training institutes across the country.
Sarah is a leading figure in the Ruby software development community and a strong advocate for diversity in programming. She founded RailsBridge and Bridge Foundry, where her pioneering work lowered the barrier to entry to programming and moved us closer to a world where the people making technology reflect the diversity of the people using it. Her technical career spans companies as large as Microsoft and as small as a two-person startup. In addition to coding, she writes and speaks on a wide range of related topics, including programming techniques, hiring, and team dynamics. In 2015, she was awarded the Jim Weirich Fellowship and received the Ruby Hero Award for her work. She lives in San Francisco and enjoys obscure Japanese iPhone games.
Whitney is the Co-Founder and Co-Director of the the Center for Civic Design. Their project list is amazing. Whitney’s work in civic design began with her appointment to the EAC Federal advisory committee writing the Voluntary Voting System Guidelines (VVSG), including the first usability requirements for voting systems. She brings her expertise in research methods, accessibility and plain language, and a passion for understanding the story behind the data to her work. She’s the author of three books: A Web for Everyone: Designing Accessible User Experience andStorytelling in User Experience (Rosenfeld Media, 2014 and 2011), Global UX: Design and Research in a Connected World (Morgan Kauffman, 2012). Her Masters of Social Research Methods from the Open University focused on how and why young people vote. She teaches UX research at Rutgers University.
Yobie Benjamin, Senior Advisor
Yobie is a Co-founder/COO, CTO, Advisor, Angel Investor, Entrepreneur, Conservation/ Environmental Activist, Coder and Biohacker, recently honored as a 2015 Technology Pioneer by the World Economic Forum (commonly known as the Davos Conference). Yobie currently works at the forefront of next-generation wearable device technology, as co-founder and COO of Avegant, and senior advisor to Skully. Both company’s signature products received the prestigious CNN Top 10 Technology Products award in 2014.
When not working on wearable devices, Yobie is a volunteer civilian advisor for NASA AMES Collaboration Labs and is a partner at Innovation Arts, a specialty innovation and technology consulting firm. Previously, Yobie was Global Chief Technology Officer at Citigroup ICG/GTS and Chairman of GTS Research Development Innovation & Learning Centres at Citigroup | Institutional Clients Group / Global Transaction Services, with a focus on projects such as Citi Commerce Server, the backend to Google Wallet and Apple Pay. Yobie was also the Founder & CEO and coder of a progressive e-commerce company, GoodStorm.com and served as GoodStorm Brand President and SVP of Business Development at Zazzle.com. Yobie was Partner of Ernst & Young LLP and Chief Knowledge Officer and Director of Enterprise Security Services at Cambridge Technology Partners’ Management Labs. In addition to advising Long Distance Voter, Yobie serves as an investor and advisory to a wide array of tech-startups, including: Avegant, Skully, Nixie, Skyport, Zen Payroll, Steath IoT Security Company, Indie Bio, Wearable World, Wildlife Works.