2017 Organizers In Residence

Ivelyse Andino

Radical Health

Ivelyse Andino founded Radical Health with the desire to leverage the innate connections within underserved communities and innovative partnerships with community based organizations to address health disparities. Ivelyse is a Puerto Rican community organizer & digital health strategist born and raised in the Bronx. She combines a meteoric rise in corporate health care with a relentless passion for community health to bring health technology into underserved neighborhoods.

Justin C. Cohen

Wayfinder Foundation

Justin currently serves as the chief operating officer of Wayfinder Foundation, an activist-driven grantmaker that invests in people who build power and change their communities. Until 2015 he was president of Boston-based education nonprofit Mass Insight Education, where they helped cities and states around the country rethink serving their most vulnerable children and communities. Before that, he worked in the District of Columbia Public Schools as a senior advisor to the chancellor and was on the education policy committee for President Barack

Obama's 2008 campaign.

Marya Stark

Emerge NY

Marya has co-founded and led Emerge America as its founding Executive Director, and subsequently as its Board Chair and served as principal spokesperson. 

Virginia "Vigie" Ramos Rios

Code for Queens

Vigie is a member Board of Directors of Code for Queens, a community focused on developing a community of coders and technology folks who are looking to learn and teach while developing tech that will help the civic Queens community. She is a trained energy healer who uses those skills, plus her marketing, project management, and people skills to support civic involvement with a special note on supporting civic technology groups.

Jackson Bird


Jackson Bird is a media creator and organizer working to amplify the voices of queer and transgender people of today through his YouTube videos, online community, and podcast, Transmission. A 2017 TED Resident, Jackson combines storytelling and new media to bridge gaps and unlock compassion for LGBTQ+ individuals.

Rachel Dougherty


Rachel Dougherty is a member of the Rhize team, a global network that supports social justice movements as they scale and sustain their impact. Rachel has over six years of community organizing experience—working on issues ranging from racial justice to advocacy for survivors of sexual assault—which drives their belief that community-driven collective action is the key to our liberation.

Adam Barbanel-Fried

Changing The Conversation Together

Changing the Conversation Together is led by Adam Barbanel-Fried, a professional organizer with 18 years of union, community and political organizing experience in multiple cities and regions. His work has resulted in the building of good schools, development of affordable housing, and expansion of health care to thousands of low income and marginalized people. As part of his work, Adam has trained hundreds of leaders in relational organizing, organizational and leadership development, and deep canvassing.

Kerri Kelly


Kerri is recognized for her work to bridge personal practice with social change and politics. She’s been instrumental in translating the tools of well-being into practical application and social action in the public sector, working in collaboration with community organizers, spiritual leaders and policy makers. She is the founder of CTZNWELL, a movement to democratize well-being that is actively organizing around issues of economic justice (Fight for 15), food system reform (Plate of the Union), civic engagement (voteWELL) and more.

Aneta Molenda

United for Respect

Aneta is a digital campaigner with Organization United for Respect (OUR), an organization that works to improve the quality of jobs by elevating the voices of workers and mounting pressure on the country’s largest low-wage retail corporations. Building on the success of OUR Walmart, Aneta is helping to develop an online-to-offline organizing pipeline to expand the base of workers across major retail employers in campaigns that call for higher wages, fair scheduling, earned sick time, and paid family leave. 


Mohammed Naeem


Mohammed Naeem is Co-director of GroundShift, an initiative to foster a base of progressive thinkers who share a common language and systemic analysis, recognize their common ground, and trust each other as allies and collaborators -- first in a weekend setting, then in an ongoing lab. Previously, he played a leadership role in several national mobilizations, including the March from Charlottesville to Washington DC and the Tax March. Outside of GroundShift, Mohammed is a Strategist for More in Common and a Fellows Leader for Organizing for Action.

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Samantha Johnson

Million Hoodies

Samantha’s passion is that she takes pride in community, youth development, and social justice and feels that there are no limits to what a person should have access to. She is an active member of the NYC Chapter of Million Hoodies for Justice, NAACP and has partnered with SOS (Save our Streets).  Ms. Johnson is an active member of Brooklyn Community Board No. 2, Youth Education and Cultural arts Committee and a proud graduate of The New School University.

Yana Calou


Yana Calou (they/them) is the Engagement & Training Manager for Coworker.org, where they provide people with the support, skills, and infrastructure they need to have their voices heard in their workplaces. Prior to joining Coworker.org, they directed programming for CLAGS Center for LGBTQ Studies and coordinated the LGBTQ Leadership Program at the City University of New York, directed communications for the Retail Action Project, GLAAD, and the Women's Media Center. Yana has served as advisor for the Queer Survival Economies Initiative at the Barnard Center for Research on Women, and on the board of the MIX Queer Experimental Film Festival. They live in Brooklyn and have been a fellow at Lambda Literary, VONA, and Civic Hall. 

Kei Williams

Black Lives Matter NYC

Kei Williams is a trans masculine of center identified organizer, who prioritizes the lives of those most marginalized – trans/queer/gnc folkx and persons living with mental illness. They are a member of #BlackLivesMatter NYC Chapter. Kei currently works as Program Coordinator with Movement Netlab and is the U.S. Northeast Regional Coach with Rhize. 





Progressive Hacknight

Ralph “Rapi” Castillo is a coder/tech organizer from Forest Hills, Queens. He is the founder of ProgCode, a co-founder of Progressive Hacknight, and co-producer of ActionBlitz. All three organizations aim to facilitate, advocate and build open-source technologies in engaging, mobilizing, and reaching out to communities about important issues.

Kathryn Jones

Collective Agency

Kathryn Jones is the co-leader of the Resistance Media Collective. Founded in November 2016, the RMC is a collective of more than 200 professional creatives dedicated to using their media skills to amplify the voice of the resistance. To date RMC has created videos, live-streams, animations, graphics, social campaigns and micro-sites for small grass roots campaigns as well as national organizations like Indivisible and The Women's March. Prior to founding RMC, Kathryn spent more than a decade working in digital media both for performing arts clients and for major brands. The RMC is a co-founder of Action Blitz.

Josh Nussbaum

The Movement Cooperative

Josh has spent the last decade working in political campaigns and movement building. His current work is focused on building infrastructure to increase the power of the resistance movement, including a data and technology collective to facilitate opposition groups cost-sharing technologies like a national voter file and The Dialogue Project, an effort to develop, validate, and scale new and more impactful grassroots electoral tactics.

Kristen Rouse

NYC Veterans Alliance

Kristen L. Rouse is the Founding Director of the NYC Veterans Alliance, a member-driven, grassroots policy advocacy and empowerment organization serving veterans, service members, and families in the New York City metropolitan area. She served three tours of duty in Afghanistan and has worked as a civilian disaster logistics planner and consultant. She holds degrees in English from Loyola University New Orleans and Florida State University, has taught college composition and literature courses, and her work has been published in The New York Times, New York Post, The Daily Beast, Tampa Bay Times, and others .

Olivia Meier

NYC Veterans Alliance

Olivia Meier is the Director of Operations and Development of the NYC Veterans Alliance, a grassroots advocacy and empowerment organization serving veterans, servicemembers, and families in the New York City metropolitan area. She holds a degree in political science from Bryn Mawr College, as well as a Juris Doctorate and Certificate in International Law from Brooklyn Law School. She is an attorney and member of the New York State Bar, her past experience includes work on litigation and policy writing at women's rights organizations, the United Nations, and the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.

Sanda Balaban


Sanda is passionate about helping young people connect their interests and beliefs with how they can make a difference, at and beyond the ballot box.  In response to the complex times we're living in, the vulnerability of democracy being demonstrated, and the desire to support young people in being on the front lines of change, she has founded YVote and is serving as Program Director for Civics Unplugged.  Through these ventures, she hopes to broaden youth civic engagement and to help equip the leaders of tomorrow for their roles and responsibilities as citizens shaping a more just world.

Sherry Hakimi


Sherry is the cofounder of GenEquality, a nonprofit organization that activates gender equality for and with everyone. Prior to cofounding GenEquality, her career spanned the private, public, and nonprofit sectors. Raised between New England and Iran, Sherry is a graduate of the University of Massachusetts Amherst and Harvard Kennedy School.






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