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.
Charles Chamberlain, Executive Director Charles joined Democracy for America in 2006 as Political Director, where he led campaigns for the public option and against telecom immunity for spying on Americans as well as endorsements of controversial primary candidates against Sen. Joe Lieberman, Sen. Blanche Lincoln, and Rep. Al Wynn. He also directed DFA's successful campaigns to stop the Republican War on Working Families in Wisconsin and Ohio. In January of 2012, Charles became the Executive Director of Progressive Congress, the foundation for the Congressional Progressive Caucus. Charles rejoined DFA as Executive Director in August of 2013 and leads the strategic direction of the DFA team.
Before DFA, Charles spent over a decade grassroots organizing and directing statewide campaigns in 17 states for direct democracy initiatives and referendums working with the AFL-CIO, SEIU, Americans for Medical Rights, and others in fights ranging from funding early childhood development and protecting civil liberties to defending collective bargaining rights and raising the minimum wage. He's also served on staff for Assemblymember Scott Wildman in California's 43rd as the community organizer responsible for revitalizing in-district resident associations, neighborhood watches, and PTA's.
Outside of the office, Charles likes to play disc golf, drink micro-brews, and eat Vermont cheese at the Farmhouse as well as watch too much T.V. with his wife, Alejandra and dog, Quazar. You can follow Charles on Twitter @IamCChamberlain.
Mia Moore, Chief of Staff Mia has been at Democracy for America since 2009, starting as the Finance Director. In January 2010 she became DFA’s first Chief of Staff, focusing her efforts on hiring, supporting and getting results from great staff; long-term planning and budgeting. Mia has a diverse background in organizing and fundraising -- dating all the way back to her college years at the University of Wisconsin, where she worked on campaign finance reform with WISPIRG and served on student government. She began her professional organizing career working with students at the University of California-Berkeley, and their high priority campaign succeeded in convincing 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 mobilize activists of groups like MASSPIRG and Environment North Carolina. Before her current work with DFA, Mia directed the major gifts program for Toxics Action Center, nearly doubling the income from this program within two years.
Mia lives in Vermont with her husband, James and their two sons, William and Oliver. When she's not working and parenting, she's likely reading DIY and decor blogs, watching Project Runway or trying to get outside and go running.
Amanda McKay, Director of the Office of Gov. Howard 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.
Eden James, Political Director Prior to joining DFA in 2013, Eden was U.S. Campaign Director at Change.org, where he was instrumental in building and leading a campaign team from 2011-2013 that fueled the world's largest petition platform, empowering more than 50 million people around the globe. From 2007-2010, Eden directed digital strategy and staff as Managing Director of the Courage Campaign, including leading Courage's national LGBT rights campaigns in the aftermath of Prop 8's passage. In 2006, Eden served as Online Communications Director for Jerry McNerney's congressional upset victory over Rep. Richard Pombo. Prior to 2006, Eden served as Online Marketing Manager at CREDO Action and organized in support of Gov. Dean's presidential campaign in California and Iowa. In 2003, Eden graduated from UC Berkeley with a degree in Political Science.
In his free time, Eden carries on a lifelong romance with the Bay Area, including dates with the San Francisco Giants, quality time with this wonderful partner and kid, and long walks on the beach (well, really any kind of walk on the beach).
Annie Weinberg, Electoral Director Annie Weinberg joined Democracy for America in 2014 after serving as the Chief of Staff for Progressive Congress, the foundation of the Congressional Progressive Caucus. She has served in a senior role on a variety of Congressional races from Connecticut to Minnesota to Michigan, notably managing bold progressive Ilya Sheyman's nationally watched, highly targeted race for Illinois' Tenth Congressional District. As the National Field Organizer for MoveOn from 2009-2011, she lead trainings, mobilizations, and grassroots organizing efforts on everything from the public option to campaign finance reform to clean energy. From 2007-2009, Annie worked at Food and Water Watch, building a campaign to protect public water infrastructure and challenge corporate abuse of water. She's a proud graduate of Green Corps, the Field School for Environmental Organizing, which trains the next generation of environmental leaders while making a critical impact on timely campaigns.
She hails from Pittsburgh, PA, by way of Chicago, Minneapolis, and DC, and has lots of hometown pride. Annie graduated Sarah Lawrence College, where she studied dance and environmental policy. Her first job after college was teaching the dance moves from Michael Jackson videos in Times Square; she still remembers almost all of it, and will be happy to teach you.
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, Organizing Manager Ruby started at DFA in the fall of 2011. 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.
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.
Robert Cruickshank, Senior Campaign Manager Robert Cruickshank was born and raised in Orange County, California and educated at UC Berkeley. In 2004 he was active in the Howard Dean campaign while a graduate student in Seattle. After moving back to California in 2007, he got involved in statewide politics. He wrote at Calitics, providing opinion leadership at the state’s leading progressive blog, and that same year started working at the Courage Campaign as an online organizer. By 2009 he had become Public Policy Director at the Courage Campaign, organizing Californians around a progressive agenda to fix the state’s numerous budget and governance problems and helping build coalitions to win ballot initiative campaigns. In 2011 he and his wife returned to Seattle where he began working as a Senior Communications Advisor to Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn, a position he held until the mayor’s term of office ended in December 2013.
Robert has been a longtime member of the Netroots, from the early years of Daily Kos to starting his own blog focused on the California High Speed Rail Project. He has held several positions within the Democratic Party, including vice-chair of the Monterey County Democrats and a member of the California Democratic Party executive board. He’s still active in local politics in Seattle, particularly around transit issues, and continues to advise local elected officials and candidates on communications and political strategy.
Robert and his wife Rose welcomed their first child, a boy named Ian, into the world on December 31, 2013, and they are very excited to raise a new progressive. Robert may live in the Northwest but he remains a Californian at heart, cheering on the SF Giants and hoping that someday the Raiders return to respectability. Stranger things have happened.
Franco Caliz, Electoral Campaigns Manager 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, taught middle school in Arizona and Colorado for Teach for America, and organized for Organizing for America. After working for SEIU, Franco returned to DFA in 2012 as the Southern Regional Field Organizer before becoming the Electoral Campaigns Manager in 2013.
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.
Jay Henderson, Campaign Manager 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 Campaign Manager, Jay works with DFA members across the country to bring positive change to their communities.
Jay graduated with a BA from Oberlin College. Outside of the office he enjoys playing with his dog, reading and live music.
Karli Wallace Thompson, Campaign Manager 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.
Andy Kelley, Digital Programs Manager Andy got his start in organizing while in college working on higher education access and affordability issues, where he served as a board member of the University of California Students Association. Later he got involved in local legislative campaigns working to elect progressive candidates.
Andy went on to join the staff of the Courage Campaign where he helped win the successful repeal of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" and worked to overturn DOMA and Proposition 8. After leaving Courage, Andy joined the California League of Conservation Voters, to help win the successful ban on BPA in baby bottles and sippy cups. Andy joins the DFA team having most recently served as the National New Media Director for CREDO SuperPAC.
When Andy's not working he enjoys creating new recipes, questing for the perfect cup of coffee, and discovering the joys of life as a proud uncle. Andy graduated from UC Berkeley with a BA in Political Economics and minor in Public Policy from the Goldman School.
Alex Showerman, Social 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.
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.
Jase Roberts, Data Director 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.
Miles Kurland, Lead Web Developer Prior to DFA, Miles ran a one-man web design and development shop building online tools and websites for progressive organizations and candidates including the Courage Campaign, the California Labor Federation, and the Daily Kos.
With a degree in Fine Art, Miles developed one of the first paint systems for a PC, Time Arts Lumena. He went on to become Senior Software Architect at Macromedia for the multimedia authoring system, Director. His earliest gig was as the first programmer for the platform that became America On-Line.
Miles lives in Sonoma County, California with his family, which includes a couple of sighthounds and a cat. He's done grassroots organizing as president of his local DFA chapter, as well as having been a member of both his state and county Democratic central committees.
Aaron Lipman, Junior Web Developer Aaron joined DFA staff after interning with the web development team in 2013. A human rights activist and native Vermonter, Aaron believes in empowering communities through grassroots activism and open source technology.
Previously a mechanic by trade, Aaron's interests include vintage motorcycle restoration and independent radio.
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, local food and beer, the changing of the seasons, baking cupcakes, crazy dance moves, and (despite her better judgment) reality TV.
Laurie Childers, Accounting Manager 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, Accountant 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.