Meet the DFA Staff
Jim Dean, Chair As the chair of Democracy for America, Jim Dean is committed to carrying on the legacy of his brother, Governor Howard Dean. As DFA's key spokesperson and fundraiser, Jim keeps DFA in the national spotlight. Jim brings DFA's mission to all 50 states. He meets with candidates, organizers, party leaders and activists, inspiring everyone to get involved and take back our country. Jim has been involved with DFA since our founding in 2004.
Before joining DFA, Jim worked on Howard Dean’s presidential campaign, beginning in early 2002. Jim has been responsible for a variety of campaign functions including fundraising, political organizing and supporting several additional DFA state organizations. Jim’s background is in marketing research, business development and sales. He has worked at both Yankelovich Partners Inc. and Greenfield Online Inc.
Jim and his family live in CT.
Governor Howard Dean, Founder Governor Howard Dean founded Democracy for America in 2004 to build on the grassroots momentum that his bid for the presidency sparked. The movement propelled DFA into a successful national organization committed to the "50 State Strategy."
In early 2005, DFA ran a people-powered campaign to elect Governor Dean to chair the Democratic National Committee. Democrats nationwide badly wanted reform and found the answer in Governor Dean. From 2005 – 2009, Governor Dean spearheaded the DNC’s 50 State Strategy to support the base of the Democratic Party, setting Democrats up to take back Congress in 2006 and win the White House in 2008. Upon leaving the DNC in early 2009, Governor Dean has returned to DFA as a senior adviser.
Arshad Hasan, Executive Director Arshad joined Democracy for America in early 2005 to develop and direct the DFA training programs, and became the Executive Director in October 2007. Although based at DFA Headquarters in Burlington, Vermont, he spends much of his time traveling the country to all 50 states working with DFA’s members, supporters, and candidates. Prior to working for DFA, Arshad had worked with national PACs, state and national environmental groups, and grassroots fundraising campaigns. Whenever possible, he likes to take leave from DFA and work on campaigns DFA supports. Arshad was born and raised in Grand Forks, North Dakota and went to college at the University of Pennsylvania.
Outside of the office, Arshad volunteers at a local queer youth center. In his free time he likes to practice Bikram yoga and visit Burlington hot spots.
Mia Moore, Chief of Staff Mia has been at Democracy for America since 2009. She joined the organization as the Finance Director and in January 2010 she became DFA’s first Chief of Staff. Mia has a diverse background in organizing and fundraising -- dating all the way back to her college years at the University of Wisconsin. She began her professional organizing career working with students at the University of California-Berkeley, where she worked on the successful campaign calling on the state of California to get 20% of its energy from renewable sources by 2017. Mia has also directed telephone outreach offices to raise money and connect such non-profit groups as MASSPIRG and Environment North Carolina with their membership. Before her current work with DFA, Mia directed the major gifts program for Toxics Action Center, increasing the gross income from this program by nearly 100% in two years.
When she's not working, you can find Mia biking, cross-country skiing, cooking up a storm with her husband, James, or playing with their new son William.
Amanda McKay, Executive Assistant to Governor Dean Amanda found her way to DFA in 2011 after working in Oregon on a statewide ballot measure. Prior to working in Oregon, she also worked with the founders of Ben & Jerry's, Business Leaders for Sensible Priorities and TrueMajority. She found her calling after first campaign experience where she worked tirelessly trying to defeat George W. Bush in 2004. After that, she traveled the country working to elect progressive Democrats - including Dan Maffei and Ted Deutch.
Amanda graduated from St. Lawrence in New York with a degree in Biology, quickly realizing she didn’t want to make a career of science.
When not working, Amanda enjoys anything that will get her outside and moving; skiing, running, hiking, swimming and playing with her dog Jake. She also enjoys traveling around the country with her camera.
Michael Langenmayr, Political Director Michael began as a communications intern with Democracy for America in 2007. The following summer, after a stint training dogs, he returned to DFA as a Field Fellow. He was hired as a Field Organizer when his fellowship ended in 2008 and was hired as the Deputy Political Director in 2009.
Michael is from Ogdensburg, New York, a small town on the Canadian border. He came to Vermont in 2003, to study Journalism and Mass Communication at Saint Michael's College. He entered politics in 2006 as an intern on the Welch for Congress campaign.
He spends time outside the office with his dogs. He's a longtime comic book fan and isn't afraid to embrace his inner geek.
Nick Passanante, Director, Independent Expenditures Nick began his career at DFA in March of 2010 when he was hired on as the Deputy National Field Director. He got his start in electoral politics in 2006, when he was inspired to join the campaign to elect former Colorado Governor Bill Ritter. In 2007, Nick went on to proudly serve as a personal aide to President Bill Clinton, before joining Hillary Clinton's presidential campaign as a Regional Director and Youth Voter Outreach Coordinator in eight different states during the 2008 primary.
Since joining the team in 2010, Nick has led many of DFA's largest campaigns across the country -- including the innovative Call Out The Vote program (now called DFA Dialer), and both Wisconsin recall campaign efforts. In 2011, Nick transitioned to become Deputy Political Director and subsequently directed all electoral programs for the 2011/2012 cycle, inclusive of the Dean Dozen -- DFA's highest tier of federal endorsement. In 2013 he became Director of Independent Expenditures.
When not mobilizing progressive activists, you can find Nick playing with his awesome dog, Maya, or at a local bluegrass concert. Nick is a very proud graduate of the University of Colorado Boulder and serves on their Alumni Board of Directors -- Go Buffs!
Kristina Powell, Finance Director Kristina started her career at DFA as Governor Dean’s Executive Assistant and helped raise over one million dollars for progressive candidates and causes. Before joining DFA, she served as the Executive Director of the Vermont Democratic Party. Kristina spent a year coordinating youth outreach for President Obama’s New Hampshire Primary campaign and went on to aid get-out-the-vote efforts in six subsequent primary states.
She comes to DFA with nearly a decade of professional experience in Democratic politics, fundraising and strategic planning.
Kristina graduated magna cum laude from Bradley University with a bachelor’s degree in Political Science and Women’s Studies. Kristina resides in Rochester, New York with her husband, Jason, their new son, Braiden, and two dogs.Neil Sroka, Communications Director Prior to joining DFA, Neil was the Press Secretary for the Progressive Change Campaign Committee and Communications Director for Ann McLane Kuster's 2010 campaign in New Hampshire's Second Congressional District. He has also served in the Obama administration as the Director of New Media at the U.S. Department of Commerce, ran social media projects for MoveOn.org, and managed new media for Barack Obama's primary campaigns in South Carolina & Ohio. Neil graduated from George Washington University and studied politics and philosophy at Pembroke College, Oxford. Neil currently lives in Washington, DC, enjoys climbing tall buildings many times over via his gym’s stairmill, and recalling his “good ol' days” as a teenage Mac guru.
Ruby Reid, Data & Analytics Director Ruby started at DFA in the fall of 2011 as the Online Training Organizer. Prior to joining our staff she was the Field Director for two California ballot initiatives, the California Field Manager for The Courage Campaign and a Regional Field Director for Organizing for America. Ruby has worked on political and legislative campaigns in both staff and volunteer roles. In 2013 she took on the role of Data & Analytics Director.
Outside of her work with DFA, Ruby has a full-time life. She is a professional social worker and is pursuing a Ph.D. in Social Welfare at the University of California - Berkeley. She serves as the Training Director for the California Young Democrats and as Political Director for the East Bay Young Democrats. When she's not organizing grassroots campaigns, she enjoys reading, knitting, playing in the great outdoors, and fostering orphaned kittens.
Julielyn Gibbons, Chief Engagement Officer Julielyn has been involved with Democracy for America since 2010 when she began training organizers and candidates at Campaign Academies across the country. She joined the training department full-time in December 2011 as the Training Director and then became the Chief Engagement Officer in 2013. She has over a decade of experience as both a nationally recognized trainer and new media strategist. She's worn many hats working with progressive organizations and campaigns all over the country, including labor groups, equality organizations, civil rights, and health care initiatives.
When she's not traveling the country training progressives, Julielyn can be found dazzling others with her culinary skills, spouting off random trivia about her amazing, mitten-shaped home state of Michigan, or organizing some other form of merrymaking.
Monique Teal, Training Deputy Monique began organizing while attending college- working on a number of city and statewide issues and for progressive candidates ranging from former Ashland City Councilor, Cat Hartzell to Oregon's Secretary of State, Kate Brown. Monique first joined DFA after two years as the National Field Director for the US Student Association (USSA). While with USSA, she worked to hold state and national leaders accountable on key progressive issues, such as education, healthcare, immigration reform and labor rights by mobilizing college & university campuses. For the 2010 election, she organized voter registration, education and get-out-the-vote efforts on over 100 campuses resulting in over 70,000 registered voters. Once the 111th Congressional session wrapped, Monique moved to DFA as a National Field Organizer and Campaign Academy Organizer. Throughout 2011 she trained, recruited and developed activists, organizers and candidates in grassroots tactics and strategy. In 2012, Monique moved to MN-08 to direct CREDO SuperPAC's campaign to defeat the worst tea-party members of Congress. After a successful campaign, Monique happily returned to DFA to continue recruiting, training and developing the progressive bench in all 50 states.
Kaili Lambe, PAC Deputy Kaili began her career at DFA in 2011 as a Political Campaign Manager, and then became the PAC Deputy in 2013. Before DFA, Kaili worked for Paul Hodes in 2006 and then as a volunteer in the 2008 Presidential Primaries. Her interest in politics was sparked by her high school AP Government course in Hawaii. Feeling far away from the action, she decided to trade in the tropics for New England winters so that she could attend Dartmouth College in New Hampshire.
She also became heavily involved with campus sustainability efforts and upon graduation began working for Repower America as a New Hampshire Field Organizer. Kaili brings her expertise in issue advocacy, volunteer coordination and online organizing to DFA.
Kaili is an avid environmentalist and loves spending time outdoors. She enjoys the changing seasons, and trying different yoga classes.
Jay Henderson, Field Deputy Jay joined DFA in 2009 with a background in student organizing and electoral work. As a DFA Field Organizer, Jay arranged Campaign Academies across the country and helped develop the new Action Summit program. He joined the No on 1 Campaign in Maine as part of their canvassing effort and worked as GOTV Director for the Beth Krom for Congress campaign. As a Political Campaign Manager, Jay ran DFA's advocacy campaigns and field programs. Jay became the Field Deputy in 2013.
Jay graduated with a BA from Oberlin College. Outside of the office he enjoys hiking, reading and live music.
Sam Levor, Finance Deputy Sam came to DFA in 2013 fresh off President Obama's re-election campaign, where he wrote and sent all those lovely (and record-setting) emails you may have received. Prior to that, Sam managed and worked on a number of campaigns for progressive candidates in Connecticut and Massachusetts, and spent two years organizing New England communities to protect them from toxic pollution threats with Toxics Action Center.
Originally from Los Angeles, Sam received B.A.s in Politics and History from Brandeis University, and currently resides in Chicago. Outside of DFA, Sam remains a political junkie, but also enjoys theater, sport, singing, biking, and long walks on the beach.
Tim Nicholas, Western Regional Field Organizer Tim joined Democracy for America in 2012. Before joining DFA, he was working in the non-profit sector focusing on education and social services, where he organized and mobilized volunteers to take action for low-income and refugee families. His background in environmental and social justice work fuels him. Tim graduated from the University of Vermont with a B.S. in Environmental Studies.
Tim currently lives in Portland, OR and when he's not working you can find him riding bikes, playing on his snowboard, or just generally enjoying the beautiful outdoors.
Will Wooten, Mountain West and Great Plains Regional Field Organizer Will started organizing back in 2007 with the Barack Obama primary campaign in several states around the country. After the Obama presidential campaign and finishing a degree in journalism at the University of North Texas in 2008, Will began organizing in the climate justice movement with the Alliance for Climate Protection and later spearheaded the fight against the Keystone XL in Texas in 2012. Will's work also includes state and federal electoral campaigns in California, Georgia and Texas.
Will is currently based out of Denton, TX. When he's not organizing he'll be checking out the fantastic music scene in Denton, watching the Cowboys stay mediocre and spending some time in the great outdoors.
Karli Wallace, Midwestern Field Organizer Karli jumped into political organizing with both feet in early 2008, when what started as a volunteer opportunity supporting Barack Obama in the Minnesota Super Tuesday primary quickly turned into a full time (and then some) position doing field work for OFA in the critical state of Ohio. Since then, she has organized around a wide variety of progressive candidates and issues in a number of Midwestern states. She is most proud of the work she has done in her home state of Wisconsin - first, working for former Sen. Russ Feingold; then organizing protests, petitioning and recall campaign activities for SEIU, MoveOn PAC and DFA in the wake of the passage of Scott Walker's union-busting legislation.
Karli is currently based out of Eau Claire, WI. When she's not busy organizing you can find her outside hiking, poking around the farmers' market, cooking up something delicious, or watching her beloved Green Bay Packers, of which she is one of many owners.
Ljubica Sarafov, Mid-Atlantic Regional Field Organizer Ljubica began as a political intern at DFA in the winter of 2012. In April of 2012 she transitioned from intern to full-time staff, as the Campaign Academy Organizer, focusing on working with the volunteers who organize our campaign academies on the ground. In 2013 she became the Mid-Atlantic Regional Field Organizer. Prior to her work with DFA, she worked at the Energy Justice Network, where she organized in her college town against the world's largest proposed tire incinerator and worked with Energy Action Coalition to plan Power Shift 2011. Ljubica studied Political Science and Women's Studies at Allegheny College in Meadville, PA.
When not working, Ljubica enjoys painting and playing many hard-fought games of tug of war with her two pups, Alfie and Ella. She can be quite competitive.
Franco Caliz, Southern Regional Field Organizer Beginning his political activism at the age of 14 during John Kerry's campaign for President, he was heavily involved in progressive politics through his founding of the Coral Park High School Democrats. He graduated with honors from FIU with a degree in Political Science and a certificate in Latin American and Caribbean Studies in April 2010.
Franco began his DFA career as a field and political intern in the summer of 2007. Following that, he was President of DFA Miami-Dade group in Southern Florida. Prior to becoming the Southern Regional Field Organizer for DFA, he taught middle school in Arizona and Colorado for Teach for America, interned at Media Matters, and organized for Organizing for America.
When he's not working, Franco is usually cheering on his beloved Manchester United or watching one of his other sports teams, playing with his dog or coaching a youth soccer team.
Max Stahl, Northeastern Regional Field Organizer Max started his career at DFA in March of 2012 when he joined the political department as our Regional Field Organizer. He got his start at 19 as the youngest paid Field Organizer on the Obama campaign in October 2007, and has worked for political campaigns in 12 states in organizing, management, and other capacities.
Max graduated with a degree in Political Science from Brandeis University in Waltham, MA.
Connor Stewart, Development Associate Connor began his career at DFA as a political intern and made the transition to Development Associate in August 2011. He graduated with Bachelor of the Arts Degrees in Political Science and French from Saint Michael's College. He spent the summer of 2010 in the Middle East researching refugee issues and water scarcity in Jordan and Palestine.
Originally from Fairfield, CT, Connor now calls the Green Mountain State home. Connor's passion for politics comes from a melting pot of issues, but he describes himself as a political animal with a thirst for social justice.
In his free time, Connor enjoys playing basketball, hiking, and swimming with friends in Lake Champlain.
Ben Hudson, Development Associate Ben joined the finance team at Democracy for America in 2012. He began his career in fundraising in Oregon for numerous groups such as the Oregon State Public Interest Research Group, the Human Rights Campaign and Save Our Wild Salmon. After 2 years, he moved back to Burlington, VT and worked with TrueMajority.org as an Operations and Special Projects Manager.
Ben graduated from the University of Vermont in 2003 with a degree in Environmental Studies and focused his thesis research on land conservation in a remote area of Costa Rica.
When he's not working, he devotes himself to his other passion -- photography. He has traveled to Vietnam, Loas, Thailand, New Zealand, and throughout Europe with his wife, Alex.
Alex Showerman, New Media Manager Alex joined Democracy for America in the summer of 2012, after serving as the Deputy Director of Digital Media for the Tim Kaine Campaign in Virginia. Previously, he worked in Chicago as an organizer for Congresswoman Schakowsky’s campaign and found inspiration in the influence of grassroots organizing on elections. After the congresswoman’s win, he moved to Washington, DC where he spent a year and a half on Capitol Hill running the constituent correspondence program and conducting legislative research.
Alex is originally from Thetford, Vermont and attended St. Lawrence University in upstate New York. When he is not at work, you can find Alex in the outdoors – he loves to swim, snowboard, hike, backpack, bike and run.
Jase Roberts, Web Developer Jase joined DFA in 2010. Prior to DFA, he took a one-week vacation to Vermont in 2003, rented an apartment, and then returned home to begin packing to relocate here permanently. When he isn't neck-deep in HTML, CSS, MySQL, and other acronyms, he spends his time gardening, mountain biking, skiing/snowboarding, playing bike polo, in-line skating, building stuff, and raising worms.
Jase's academic background is in Conservation Biology, but he's been developing since 1997. Jase lives in Bolton with his wife, son Finn, and fluffy dog.
Dan Ancona, Web Developer Technologist and political organizer Dan Ancona builds and evangelizes online tools that connect people and strengthen democracy. He has helped create and build interest in numerous products in fifteen years at several startups and in academia (with a research focus on visualization), and since 2006 has been accelerating the shift from top-down, broadcast style politics to a more networked, person-to-person, diversity-positive and inclusive democratic system with clients including TargetSmart Communications, Citizen Engagement Lab, and the Agenda Project, and as the founder of California VoterConnect and Democracy Dashboard. His other interests include urban design, economics, strategic communications, DJing and sailing. He lives in San Francisco with his wife and fellow organizer Jenifer Fernandez Ancona, their son Marco, and their extraordinarily large and friendly cat, Oscar.
Emma Interlandi, Operations Manager Emma joined DFA in 2011, becoming our fantastically organized Operations Manager. Emma first became active in politics in 2003, when she canvassed for Governor Howard Dean during his presidential campaign.
Born and raised in Vermont, Emma grew up on the Champlain Islands. She spent a year in Germany before attending the University of Mary Washington, where she double-majored in Political Science and German, and then received a Master’s Degree at University College London in the U.K.
She enjoys traveling, hiking, local food, going for walks, crazy dance moves, the Muppets, and (despite her better judgment) reality TV.
Laurie Childers, Accountant Laurie arrived at DFA in June of 2010. Prior to keeping the books for DFA, she had a wide range of experiences from international opportunities to local accounting firms and mid-sized small businesses. In addition to financial reporting and management, she has an income tax background and many years working in employee benefits.
Born in New York State, Laurie moved to Vermont in 1988. She graduated with a B.A. in Accounting from the University of St. Thomas in Houston, Texas.
Laurie lives with her four children in Addison, VT.
Veronica Greiner, Accounting Assistant Veronica joined the DFA team in 2012. She graduated from the University of Cincinnati in 2002 with a degree in Business Administration and went on to earn her CPA license in 2007.
She was born and raised in Cincinnati, Ohio. After a brief vacation to Burlington, Vermont – her husband, Jason, decided that Vermont was the place they needed to call home. Within 8 months, they had sold their house in Ohio, found jobs, and bought a house near Burlington.
When she’s not immersed in numbers, Veronica enjoys hiking, biking, golfing, and any other outdoor activity. She has two crazy, short-legged, Jack Russell terriers, aptly named Paige and Keco.