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Our Team

Our Team

Partners In Democracy consists of a small, but mighty team of Managing Partners, our Board of Directors, and our Advisory Board. Each member of this team brings a unique background and perspective to the table, while sharing the mission of Justice by Means of Democracy.

Our Staff

Danielle Allen

Danielle Allen

President

Danielle is a seasoned nonprofit leader, democracy advocate, national voice on pandemic response, distinguished author, and mom. Danielle’s work to make the world better for young people has taken her from teaching college and leading a $60 million university division to driving change at the helm of a $6 billion foundation, writing for the Washington Post, advocating for cannabis legalization, democracy reform, and civic education, and most recently, to running for governor of Massachusetts. During the height of COVID in 2020, Danielle’s leadership in rallying coalitions and building solutions resulted in the country’s first-ever Roadmap to Pandemic Resilience; her policies were adopted in federal legislation and a Biden executive order. Danielle made history as the first Black woman ever to run for statewide office in Massachusetts. She continues to advocate for democracy reform to create greater voice and access in our democracy, and drive progress towards a new social contract that delivers healthy communities, a healthy democracy, and a healthy climate for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and the country.

Kelly Chasse

Kelly Chasse

Chief of Staff

Kelly Chasse started her career in marketing consulting and discovered a deeper interest in how mission-driven organizations function and what makes a healthy working environment. She is dedicated to creating processes and policies that allow her teams to make a meaningful impact.

Previous roles: Allen for MA Operations Director, Operations Director for NYC Vaccination Campaign, Operations Director for CT Vaccination Campaign, State Operations Director for Florida -Biden/Harris 2020.

Brittany Buford

Brittany Buford

Managing Partner for Partnerships

Brittany Buford is a New England native who specializes in data-driven relational organizing, door-to-door canvassing programs and public affairs. Her teams have previously focused on progressive movement campaigns to create structures of persuasion, advocacy, accountability and issue education. She has worked in campaign management since 2008 on both coordinated campaigns and independent expenditures. Previous campaigns she has worked are Planned Parenthood, Presidential Candidate Michael Bloomberg, Gubernatorial candidate Danielle Allen, Connecticut State Senator Ted Kennedy, Congressman Joe Courtney and Senator Chris Murphy among others.

Brittany's experience in campaign management provides insight into targeting core supporters and connecting voters of varying demographics with information on key issues — an asset to PID’s education, engagement, and coalition-building work.

John Griffin

John Griffin

Managing Partner for Strategy

John Griffin is the Managing Partner for Strategy at Partners in Democracy. Before coming to PID, he spent a decade working in Massachusetts policy and politics, including as Massachusetts Policy Director at Democrats for Education Reform. He has experience advising nonprofits, campaigns, and civil society organizations on achieving their policy goals in both Massachusetts and Washington, D.C. John holds a Master in Public Policy degree from the Harvard Kennedy School and speaks French, Spanish, Italian, and Modern Greek. He lives in Walpole, where he also grew up and graduated from Walpole High School.

Braxton Campbell

Braxton Campbell

Managing Partner for Community Impact

Braxton Campbell is an educator, organizer, and leader who is politically and civically active across Massachusetts. Braxton received his bachelor's from Westfield State University and is pursuing his M.A. in Politics and Education at Teachers College-Columbia University. He began his advocacy work in high school, setting the stage for college and life. Braxton has been involved in multiple political and issue campaigns and brings those skills into this role to engage volunteers and develop our civic education programs. Outside of work Braxton is a member of Neighbor to Neighbor, a Commissioner on the MA Commission on LGBTQ Youth, a mentor to elementary/middle school students through the Academic Leadership Association, and an active member of the Theta Iota Lambda chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc.

Our Staff

Danielle Allen

Danielle Allen

President

Danielle is a seasoned nonprofit leader, democracy advocate, national voice on pandemic response, distinguished author, and mom. Danielle’s work to make the world better for young people has taken her from teaching college and leading a $60 million university division to driving change at the helm of a $6 billion foundation, writing for the Washington Post, advocating for cannabis legalization, democracy reform, and civic education, and most recently, to running for governor of Massachusetts. During the height of COVID in 2020, Danielle’s leadership in rallying coalitions and building solutions resulted in the country’s first-ever Roadmap to Pandemic Resilience; her policies were adopted in federal legislation and a Biden executive order. Danielle made history as the first Black woman ever to run for statewide office in Massachusetts. She continues to advocate for democracy reform to create greater voice and access in our democracy, and drive progress towards a new social contract that delivers healthy communities, a healthy democracy, and a healthy climate for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and the country.

Kelly Chasse

Kelly Chasse

Chief of Staff

Kelly Chasse started her career in marketing consulting and discovered a deeper interest in how mission-driven organizations function and what makes a healthy working environment. She is dedicated to creating processes and policies that allow her teams to make a meaningful impact.

Previous roles: Allen for MA Operations Director, Operations Director for NYC Vaccination Campaign, Operations Director for CT Vaccination Campaign, State Operations Director for Florida -Biden/Harris 2020.

Brittany Buford

Brittany Buford

Managing Partner for Partnerships

Brittany Buford is a New England native who specializes in data-driven relational organizing, door-to-door canvassing programs and public affairs. Her teams have previously focused on progressive movement campaigns to create structures of persuasion, advocacy, accountability and issue education. She has worked in campaign management since 2008 on both coordinated campaigns and independent expenditures. Previous campaigns she has worked are Planned Parenthood, Presidential Candidate Michael Bloomberg, Gubernatorial candidate Danielle Allen, Connecticut State Senator Ted Kennedy, Congressman Joe Courtney and Senator Chris Murphy among others.

Brittany's experience in campaign management provides insight into targeting core supporters and connecting voters of varying demographics with information on key issues — an asset to PID’s education, engagement, and coalition-building work.

John Griffin

John Griffin

Managing Partner for Strategy

John Griffin is the Managing Partner for Strategy at Partners in Democracy. Before coming to PID, he spent a decade working in Massachusetts policy and politics, including as Massachusetts Policy Director at Democrats for Education Reform. He has experience advising nonprofits, campaigns, and civil society organizations on achieving their policy goals in both Massachusetts and Washington, D.C. John holds a Master in Public Policy degree from the Harvard Kennedy School and speaks French, Spanish, Italian, and Modern Greek. He lives in Walpole, where he also grew up and graduated from Walpole High School.

Braxton Campbell

Braxton Campbell

Managing Partner for Community Impact

Braxton Campbell is an educator, organizer, and leader who is politically and civically active across Massachusetts. Braxton received his bachelor's from Westfield State University and is pursuing his M.A. in Politics and Education at Teachers College-Columbia University. He began his advocacy work in high school, setting the stage for college and life. Braxton has been involved in multiple political and issue campaigns and brings those skills into this role to engage volunteers and develop our civic education programs. Outside of work Braxton is a member of Neighbor to Neighbor, a Commissioner on the MA Commission on LGBTQ Youth, a mentor to elementary/middle school students through the Academic Leadership Association, and an active member of the Theta Iota Lambda chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc.

Our Board

Danielle Allen

Danielle Allen

Executive Chair

Danielle is a seasoned nonprofit leader, democracy advocate, national voice on pandemic response, distinguished author, and mom. Danielle’s work to make the world better for young people has taken her from teaching college and leading a $60 million university division to driving change at the helm of a $6 billion foundation, writing for the Washington Post, advocating for cannabis legalization, democracy reform, and civic education, and most recently, to running for governor of Massachusetts. During the height of COVID in 2020, Danielle’s leadership in rallying coalitions and building solutions resulted in the country’s first-ever Roadmap to Pandemic Resilience; her policies were adopted in federal legislation and a Biden executive order. Danielle made history as the first Black woman ever to run for statewide office in Massachusetts. She continues to advocate for democracy reform to create greater voice and access in our democracy, and drive progress towards a new social contract that delivers healthy communities, a healthy democracy, and a healthy climate for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and the country.

Mal Salter

Mal Salter

Board Treasurer/Clerk

From 1967 to 2006, Malcolm Salter was a member of the Harvard Business School faculty where he also served as a Senior Associate Dean. His teaching and research has focused on issues of corporate strategy, organization, and governance. His most recent publications include a book on the origins and legacy of Enron’s collapse and a paper addressing corporate purpose in a post-pandemic world. In addition to his scholarly work, Professor Salter served as president of Mars & Co., an international strategy-consulting firm, from 1986 to 2006. He currently serves on the boards of four bioscience companies.

Carolyn Lukensmeyer

Carolyn Lukensmeyer

Board Secretary

Dr. Carolyn J. Lukensmeyer, Ph.D., is a leader in the field of deliberative democracy, a public servant and social entrepreneur. She is Founding Executive Director of The National Institute for Civil Discourse. In 1995, she founded AmericaSpeaks, a non-partisan non-profit organization that strengthens citizen voice in decision making. Carolyn was Chief of Staff to Governor Celeste of Ohio from 1986 to 1991. She was Consultant to the White House Chief of Staff for nine months during the Clinton years.

Deepika Sawhney

Board Member

Deepika Sawhney is the Vice Chair of the LPS School Committee for Lexington, MA and a Town Meeting member. She is also serving on the  Massachusetts Association of School Committees’ Legislative Committee. She is a visiting fellow with the Ash Center for Democratic Governance and Innovation at Harvard University for the 2022-2023 academic year. Her research focuses on building civic engagement in South Asian immigrant communities. Some of the tangible goals of the research project are to increase participation and representation in Massachusetts municipal elections.  In the research she will be focussed on cultural norms, perceptions around political engagement, and the community’s ability to impact municipal election outcomes and define their electoral power. 

Deepika’s past academic experience includes Masters in Education Policy Management from Harvard Graduate School of Education, Masters in Business Administration and a Masters in Management Information Systems from Boston University. Her undergraduate degree in Textile Design is from the National Institute of Design, India. She has served as Chair of The Hestia Fund and is currently on the Board of Partners in Democracy.  

Jordan Berg Powers

Jordan Berg Powers

Board Member

Jordan Berg Powers (He/Him) is the Executive Director at Mass Alliance. In his over a decade there, he has helped elect new progressive leaders across the state, recruited progressive champions to run, and trained hundreds of grassroots organizers. In 2015 Jordan was recognized for his exceptional work in politics as an inaugural inductee into the 40 under 40 Poly Award. Using his expertise in talking to ordinary voters about progressive policy, Jordan is active in campaigns for saving public education, environmental justice, and a more progressive tax system for the Commonwealth. He conducts trainings across the state on understanding government, advocating for your issues, grassroots campaigning, messaging and political power. In his free time, Jordan serves as a Board Member for JOIN for Justice, MassBudget, Jewish Alliance for Law and Social Action (JALSA), Committee for Social Action oversight board for the political arm of the national Union for Reform Judaism The RAC, and for the Jewish Liberation Fund; and is on the advisory committee for the RAC Massachusetts. In 2018 Jordan was lucky enough to be a part of the JewV’Nation Fellowship. The JewV’Nation Fellowship is a leadership development program for visionary Jewish leaders across North America. Jordan has a Masters in International Politics from the London School of Oriental & African Studies as well as a B.A. in International Development and a B.A. in Economics from American University.

Jerren Chang

Jerren Chang

Board Member

Jerren Chang is the co-founder & CEO of GenUnity – a nonprofit that strengthens the capacity of everyday adults to critically evaluate, navigate, and drive change on community issues, a capacity GenUnity calls ‘civic wellbeing’. GenUnity’s community leadership programs create a unique space for diverse residents and institutional leaders to come together to unpack critical issues in their communities and drive positive change. Prior to launching GenUnity, Jerren served in the Chicago Mayor’s Office focusing on economic development policy and worked as a consultant at McKinsey & Company advising public and social sector leaders. He holds an MPP and MBA from Harvard Kennedy School and Harvard Business School and a BS from Duke University.

Emily Cherniack

Board Member

Emily Cherniack is the Founder and Executive Director of New Politics and New Politics Leadership Academy. Emily has worked tirelessly to serve our country and support others who serve, from her AmeriCorps service at City Year, to being part of the founding team of Be the Change – where she led a coalition of over 200 organizations to engage 250,000 people for a Day of Action in support of the $6 billion Edward M. Kennedy Serve America Act of 2009.

Emily’s path to politics started when her boss and City Year co-founder, Alan Khazei, decided to run for the US Senate in 2009. The experience was a first look at how our system for recruiting political talent is broken, with significant barriers that prevent transformational leaders from successfully running for office.

Emily founded New Politics in 2013 to lower the barrier to entry for outstanding leaders who have served in our military and national service programs and change the political talent pipeline in this country. Since its founding, New Politics has been a driving force in bringing a new generation of servant leaders into politics and helping shape our elected leadership from Congress to city halls across the country.

In 2018, Emily was named to the Politico 50 as one of 50 people in the country whose ideas are driving politics. Emily graduated from George Washington University with a Bachelor’s Degree in Criminal Justice and Psychology and a Master’s Degree in Education Policy. She lives in Chelsea with her husband, two sons, and pitbull.

Our Board

Danielle Allen

Danielle Allen

Executive Chair

Danielle is a seasoned nonprofit leader, democracy advocate, national voice on pandemic response, distinguished author, and mom. Danielle’s work to make the world better for young people has taken her from teaching college and leading a $60 million university division to driving change at the helm of a $6 billion foundation, writing for the Washington Post, advocating for cannabis legalization, democracy reform, and civic education, and most recently, to running for governor of Massachusetts. During the height of COVID in 2020, Danielle’s leadership in rallying coalitions and building solutions resulted in the country’s first-ever Roadmap to Pandemic Resilience; her policies were adopted in federal legislation and a Biden executive order. Danielle made history as the first Black woman ever to run for statewide office in Massachusetts. She continues to advocate for democracy reform to create greater voice and access in our democracy, and drive progress towards a new social contract that delivers healthy communities, a healthy democracy, and a healthy climate for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and the country.

Mal Salter

Mal Salter

Board Treasurer/Clerk

From 1967 to 2006, Malcolm Salter was a member of the Harvard Business School faculty where he also served as a Senior Associate Dean. His teaching and research has focused on issues of corporate strategy, organization, and governance. His most recent publications include a book on the origins and legacy of Enron’s collapse and a paper addressing corporate purpose in a post-pandemic world. In addition to his scholarly work, Professor Salter served as president of Mars & Co., an international strategy-consulting firm, from 1986 to 2006. He currently serves on the boards of four bioscience companies.

Carolyn Lukensmeyer

Carolyn Lukensmeyer

Board Secretary

Dr. Carolyn J. Lukensmeyer, Ph.D., is a leader in the field of deliberative democracy, a public servant and social entrepreneur. She is Founding Executive Director of The National Institute for Civil Discourse. In 1995, she founded AmericaSpeaks, a non-partisan non-profit organization that strengthens citizen voice in decision making. Carolyn was Chief of Staff to Governor Celeste of Ohio from 1986 to 1991. She was Consultant to the White House Chief of Staff for nine months during the Clinton years.

Deepika Sawhney

Board Member

Deepika Sawhney is the Vice Chair of the LPS School Committee for Lexington, MA and a Town Meeting member. She is also serving on the Massachusetts Association of School Committees’ Legislative Committee. She is a visiting fellow with the Ash Center for Democratic Governance and Innovation at Harvard University for the 2022-2023 academic year. Her research focuses on building civic engagement in South Asian immigrant communities. Some of the tangible goals of the research project are to increase participation and representation in Massachusetts municipal elections. In the research she will be focused on cultural norms, perceptions around political engagement, and the community’s ability to impact municipal election outcomes and define the their electoral power.

Deepika’s past academic experience includes Masters in Education Policy Management from Harvard Graduate School of Education, Masters in Business Administration and a Masters in Management Information Systems from Boston University. Her undergraduate degree in Textile Design is from the National Institute of Design, India. She has served as Chair of The Hestia Fund and is currently on the Board of Partners In Democracy. 

Jerren Chang

Jerren Chang

Board Member

Jerren Chang is the co-founder & CEO of GenUnity – a nonprofit that strengthens the capacity of everyday adults to critically evaluate, navigate, and drive change on community issues, a capacity GenUnity calls ‘civic wellbeing’. GenUnity’s community leadership programs create a unique space for diverse residents and institutional leaders to come together to unpack critical issues in their communities and drive positive change. Prior to launching GenUnity, Jerren served in the Chicago Mayor’s Office focusing on economic development policy and worked as a consultant at McKinsey & Company advising public and social sector leaders. He holds an MPP and MBA from Harvard Kennedy School and Harvard Business School and a BS from Duke University.

Jordan Berg Powers

Jordan Berg Powers

Board Member

Jordan Berg Powers (He/Him) is the Executive Director at Mass Alliance. In his over a decade there, he has helped elect new progressive leaders across the state, recruited progressive champions to run, and trained hundreds of grassroots organizers. In 2015 Jordan was recognized for his exceptional work in politics as an inaugural inductee into the 40 under 40 Poly Award. Using his expertise in talking to ordinary voters about progressive policy, Jordan is active in campaigns for saving public education, environmental justice, and a more progressive tax system for the Commonwealth. He conducts trainings across the state on understanding government, advocating for your issues, grassroots campaigning, messaging and political power. In his free time, Jordan serves as a Board Member for JOIN for Justice, MassBudget, Jewish Alliance for Law and Social Action (JALSA), Committee for Social Action oversight board for the political arm of the national Union for Reform Judaism The RAC, and for the Jewish Liberation Fund; and is on the advisory committee for the RAC Massachusetts. In 2018 Jordan was lucky enough to be a part of the JewV’Nation Fellowship. The JewV’Nation Fellowship is a leadership development program for visionary Jewish leaders across North America. Jordan has a Masters in International Politics from the London School of Oriental & African Studies as well as a B.A. in International Development and a B.A. in Economics from American University.

Emily Cherniack

Board Member

Emily Cherniack is the Founder and Executive Director of New Politics and New Politics Leadership Academy. Emily has worked tirelessly to serve our country and support others who serve, from her AmeriCorps service at City Year, to being part of the founding team of Be the Change – where she led a coalition of over 200 organizations to engage 250,000 people for a Day of Action in support of the $6 billion Edward M. Kennedy Serve America Act of 2009.

Emily’s path to politics started when her boss and City Year co-founder, Alan Khazei, decided to run for the US Senate in 2009. The experience was a first look at how our system for recruiting political talent is broken, with significant barriers that prevent transformational leaders from successfully running for office.

Emily founded New Politics in 2013 to lower the barrier to entry for outstanding leaders who have served in our military and national service programs and change the political talent pipeline in this country. Since its founding, New Politics has been a driving force in bringing a new generation of servant leaders into politics and helping shape our elected leadership from Congress to city halls across the country.

In 2018, Emily was named to the Politico 50 as one of 50 people in the country whose ideas are driving politics. Emily graduated from George Washington University with a Bachelor’s Degree in Criminal Justice and Psychology and a Master’s Degree in Education Policy. She lives in Chelsea with her husband, two sons, and pitbull.

Our Advisory Board

Ben Downing

Ben Downing

Ben Downing is a lifelong public servant who has dedicated his career to combatting climate change – in the State Senate, as a clean energy business leader and, most recently, as a candidate for Governor. Ben represented the state’s largest Senate district while serving as State Senator for 52 communities in Western Massachusetts including his hometown of Pittsfield. During his decade-long tenure, he was the leading voice in the legislature on clean energy and climate issues, along with being an advocate for tackling poverty, revitalizing Gateway Cities and expanding civil rights. In 2016, he kept to his self-imposed term limits pledge and left the Senate to join Nexamp, a veteran founded, Boston based clean energy company. For more than 4 years, he lead Nexamp’s strategic development efforts across growing geographies and the firm’s entry into the exciting energy storage market. Ben graduated in 2003 from Providence College with a B.A. in Political Science. In 2008, he received an M.A. from Tufts University. Ben is married to Micaelah B. Morrill and together they are the proud parents of Malcolm & Eamon (who together will soon eat them out of house & home).

Michael Murphy

Michael Murphy

Michael Murphy, Int FRIBA, is a Founding Principal and Executive Director of MASS Design Group, a collective of architecture and design advocates dedicated to the construction of dignity. Murphy is the Thomas W. Ventulett III Distinguished Chair in Architectural Design at Georgia Institute of Technology and Baumer Visiting Professor at The Ohio State University’s Knowlton School. His 2016 TED talk has reached over 1.7 million views. Most recently, MASS was featured on CBS’ 60 minutes and recognized as the winner of the AIA 2022 Architecture Firm of the Year, AIA 2021 Collaborative Achievement Award, Wall Street Journal’s 2020 Architecture Innovator. Michael co-authored The Architecture of Health: Hospital Design and the Construction of Dignity published by Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum. The book complements an exhibition at the Cooper Hewitt, “Design and Healing: Creative Responses to Epidemics,” open until Feb. 20, 2023.

Vandinika Shukla

Vandinika Shukla is a policymaker, civic technologist and educator activating youth to bridge divides and solve our biggest challenges together. She has spent the last decade building civic engagement products and partnerships at MIT Media Lab, designing national gender policies and advocacy campaigns at the United Nations, and founding organizations to amplify unheard stories for stronger democracies. She teaches Community Organizing and democratic leadership at Harvard’s Center for Public Leadership. For her work she has been recognized as a young leader by the G20, European Commission, and Fora Network for Change. Vandinika holds a Master in Public Policy from the Harvard Kennedy School and an MSc in International Relations from the London School of Economics. She graduated with a B.A. (Hons) in History from Lady Shri Ram College, Delhi University. 

rob watson

Rob Watson

Rob is the Director for Partnerships and Community Impact at the Education Redesign Lab at the Harvard Graduate School of Education. His work has focused on themes of civic engagement, community development and educational equity in the US, Latin America and Africa. Prior to joining EdRedesign, Rob served as a consultant and advisor to organizations that include the World Bank, the Inter-American Development Bank, Harvard College, Tufts University, The Social Impact Studio, FUSE Corps, The Foundation for Louisiana, The Institute of Politics at Harvard Kennedy School, Harlem Children’s Zone and The Obama Foundation. A former Peace Corps Volunteer, Rob has co-founded five civil society organizations in Paraguay, including, Teach for Paraguay, member of the global Teach For All Network and the Paraguayan Government’s first national youth service program. Additionally, he’s partnered with the Mayor, Superintendent of Schools and community stakeholders from his hometown of Poughkeepsie, New York to co-found the Poughkeepsie Children’s Cabinet, a collective impact organization that convenes leaders across sectors to develop a citywide cradle-to-career agenda for children, youth and families. Rob is also a co-founder of Lead for Poughkeepsie, a new AmeriCorps-sponsored public service Fellowship program affiliated with Lead for America that aims to attract and retain homegrown talent to pursue social impact careers in the Hudson Valley region of New York State. Rob is a World Economic Forum Global Shaper and former Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation Millennium Scholar. He holds a B.A. from Harvard College, an Ed.M in Education Policy and Management from the Harvard Graduate School of Education and a Mid-Career Master’s in Public Administration from Harvard Kennedy School.

Ben Lewis

Ben Lewis is a Vice President at Purpose Built Communities, a national nonprofit that harnesses the power of deep, cross-sector collaborations and strong investments in education, health and wellness, housing, and economic vitality to make neighborhoods into places where all residents can prosper.

Starting his career in Philadelphia, Ben led summer and after-school programs, before becoming a high school humanities teacher. In this role, he crafted a senior research curriculum, and as the 12th-grade team leader, he supported 92% of seniors in earning an acceptance to college. Ben also served as an assistant principal in Philadelphia, driving a school culture plan that led to a 60% reduction in class cuts. He then became a high school principal in Denver, where he led his school to improve two tiers out of four on the state’s school assessment system. In this role, Ben became even more deeply aware of the systemic challenges his students faced outside school—lack of safe housing, limited healthy food options, and insufficient job opportunities for their parents. Recognizing these challenges led him to Harvard, where he earned a Doctorate in Education Leadership and collaborated with organizations like Purpose Built Communities, The Harlem Children’s Zone and the Ed Redesign Lab to make sure that children have what they need to thrive in and outside of school. Ben also holds both a Masters and B.A. from the University of Pennsylvania. He lives in Albuquerque, NM where he enjoys spending time outdoors with his wife and two daughters.

Darshan Goux

Darshan Goux

Darshan Goux works at the intersection of policy making and the lived experiences of the people impacted by those policies. An experienced strategist with expertise in public opinion, research, and strategy development on some of the most pressing issues of the twenty-first century, she has served as a team and project leader for nonprofit, corporate, and political organizations around the globe. She is the director for American Institutions, Society, and the Public Good program at the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, where she currently oversees projects to reinvent the nation’s democratic, economic, and justice systems. Under her leadership, the program is spearheading major, multiyear projects comprising diverse, bipartisan, and interdisciplinary groups of the nation’s leading scholars, philanthropists, advocates, and practitioners. Darshan has held positions at IBM, Partners HealthCare, UC Berkeley, and the University of British Columbia and has advised the campaigns of regional and national candidates and parties in the U.S. and overseas. She holds a Ph.D. in political science from the University of California, Berkeley, and a B.A. from Yale University.

Our Advisory Board

Ben Downing

Ben Downing

Ben Downing is a lifelong public servant who has dedicated his career to combatting climate change – in the State Senate, as a clean energy business leader and, most recently, as a candidate for Governor. Ben represented the state’s largest Senate district while serving as State Senator for 52 communities in Western Massachusetts including his hometown of Pittsfield. During his decade-long tenure, he was the leading voice in the legislature on clean energy and climate issues, along with being an advocate for tackling poverty, revitalizing Gateway Cities and expanding civil rights. In 2016, he kept to his self-imposed term limits pledge and left the Senate to join Nexamp, a veteran founded, Boston based clean energy company. For more than 4 years, he lead Nexamp’s strategic development efforts across growing geographies and the firm’s entry into the exciting energy storage market. Ben graduated in 2003 from Providence College with a B.A. in Political Science. In 2008, he received an M.A. from Tufts University. Ben is married to Micaelah B. Morrill and together they are the proud parents of Malcolm & Eamon (who together will soon eat them out of house & home).

Michael Murphy

Michael Murphy

Michael Murphy, Int FRIBA, is a Founding Principal and Executive Director of MASS Design Group, a collective of architecture and design advocates dedicated to the construction of dignity. Murphy is the Thomas W. Ventulett III Distinguished Chair in Architectural Design at Georgia Institute of Technology and Baumer Visiting Professor at The Ohio State University’s Knowlton School. His 2016 TED talk has reached over 1.7 million views. Most recently, MASS was featured on CBS’ 60 minutes and recognized as the winner of the AIA 2022 Architecture Firm of the Year, AIA 2021 Collaborative Achievement Award, Wall Street Journal’s 2020 Architecture Innovator. Michael co-authored The Architecture of Health: Hospital Design and the Construction of Dignity published by Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum. The book complements an exhibition at the Cooper Hewitt, “Design and Healing: Creative Responses to Epidemics,” open until Feb. 20, 2023.

Vandinika Shukla

Vandinika Shukla is a policymaker, civic technologist and educator activating youth to bridge divides and solve our biggest challenges together. She has spent the last decade building civic engagement products and partnerships at MIT Media Lab, designing national gender policies and advocacy campaigns at the United Nations, and founding organizations to amplify unheard stories for stronger democracies. She teaches Community Organizing and democratic leadership at Harvard’s Center for Public Leadership. For her work she has been recognized as a young leader by the G20, European Commission, and Fora Network for Change. Vandinika holds a Master in Public Policy from the Harvard Kennedy School and an MSc in International Relations from the London School of Economics. She graduated with a B.A. (Hons) in History from Lady Shri Ram College, Delhi University. 

rob watson

Rob Watson

Rob is the Director for Partnerships and Community Impact at the Education Redesign Lab at the Harvard Graduate School of Education. His work has focused on themes of civic engagement, community development and educational equity in the US, Latin America and Africa. Prior to joining EdRedesign, Rob served as a consultant and advisor to organizations that include the World Bank, the Inter-American Development Bank, Harvard College, Tufts University, The Social Impact Studio, FUSE Corps, The Foundation for Louisiana, The Institute of Politics at Harvard Kennedy School, Harlem Children’s Zone and The Obama Foundation. A former Peace Corps Volunteer, Rob has co-founded five civil society organizations in Paraguay, including, Teach for Paraguay, member of the global Teach For All Network and the Paraguayan Government’s first national youth service program. Additionally, he’s partnered with the Mayor, Superintendent of Schools and community stakeholders from his hometown of Poughkeepsie, New York to co-found the Poughkeepsie Children’s Cabinet, a collective impact organization that convenes leaders across sectors to develop a citywide cradle-to-career agenda for children, youth and families. Rob is also a co-founder of Lead for Poughkeepsie, a new AmeriCorps-sponsored public service Fellowship program affiliated with Lead for America that aims to attract and retain homegrown talent to pursue social impact careers in the Hudson Valley region of New York State. Rob is a World Economic Forum Global Shaper and former Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation Millennium Scholar. He holds a B.A. from Harvard College, an Ed.M in Education Policy and Management from the Harvard Graduate School of Education and a Mid-Career Master’s in Public Administration from Harvard Kennedy School.

Ben Lewis

Ben Lewis is a Vice President at Purpose Built Communities, a national nonprofit that harnesses the power of deep, cross-sector collaborations and strong investments in education, health and wellness, housing, and economic vitality to make neighborhoods into places where all residents can prosper.

Starting his career in Philadelphia, Ben led summer and after-school programs, before becoming a high school humanities teacher. In this role, he crafted a senior research curriculum, and as the 12th-grade team leader, he supported 92% of seniors in earning an acceptance to college. Ben also served as an assistant principal in Philadelphia, driving a school culture plan that led to a 60% reduction in class cuts. He then became a high school principal in Denver, where he led his school to improve two tiers out of four on the state’s school assessment system. In this role, Ben became even more deeply aware of the systemic challenges his students faced outside school—lack of safe housing, limited healthy food options, and insufficient job opportunities for their parents. Recognizing these challenges led him to Harvard, where he earned a Doctorate in Education Leadership and collaborated with organizations like Purpose Built Communities, The Harlem Children’s Zone and the Ed Redesign Lab to make sure that children have what they need to thrive in and outside of school. Ben also holds both a Masters and B.A. from the University of Pennsylvania. He lives in Albuquerque, NM where he enjoys spending time outdoors with his wife and two daughters.

Darshan Goux

Darshan Goux

Darshan Goux works at the intersection of policy making and the lived experiences of the people impacted by those policies. An experienced strategist with expertise in public opinion, research, and strategy development on some of the most pressing issues of the twenty-first century, she has served as a team and project leader for nonprofit, corporate, and political organizations around the globe. She is the director for American Institutions, Society, and the Public Good program at the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, where she currently oversees projects to reinvent the nation’s democratic, economic, and justice systems. Under her leadership, the program is spearheading major, multiyear projects comprising diverse, bipartisan, and interdisciplinary groups of the nation’s leading scholars, philanthropists, advocates, and practitioners. Darshan has held positions at IBM, Partners HealthCare, UC Berkeley, and the University of British Columbia and has advised the campaigns of regional and national candidates and parties in the U.S. and overseas. She holds a Ph.D. in political science from the University of California, Berkeley, and a B.A. from Yale University. 

Our Technology Board

Eli Pariser

Eli Pariser wants to help technology and media serve democracy. At 23 years old, he was named Executive Director of MoveOn.org, where he led the organization’s opposition to the Iraq war, raised over $120 million from small donors, and helped pioneer the practice of online citizen engagement. In 2006 he confounded Avaaz, now the world’s largest citizen’s organization with over 40 million members in 190 countries. He has a BA from Bard College at Simon’s Rock and an honorary doctorate from Dominican University, and sits on the US Programs Board of the Open Society Foundation and the Information and Democracy Commission. He is currently co-director of the Civic Signals project at the National Conference on Citizenship.

Ethan Zuckerman

Ethan Zuckerman is a professor at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, where he teaches Public Policy, Communication and Information. He is starting a new research center called the Institute for Digital Public Infrastructure. Over the years, he has been a tech startup guy (with Tripod.com), a non-profit founder (Geekcorps.org) and co-founder (Globalvoices.org), and throughout it all, a blogger.

Glen Weyl

Glen Weyl

Glen Weyl is the world’s leading expert on how to harness Web 3 and other emerging technologies to empower new forms of democracy. As the primary intellectual collaborator of Vitalik Buterin (Founder of Ethereum) and Audrey Tang (Digital Minister of Taiwan), Glen has helped shape the world’s most vibrant digital decentralized ecosystem and national democracy respectively. As co-author of Radical Markets, Glen invented social technologies like Quadratic Voting that have become the gold standard for democratic innovation. As an advisor on geopolitics and macroeconomics to Microsoft’s senior leaders, Glen has helped companies navigate the intersection of an unsettled world with exponential technical progress. As Founder of RadicalxChange and technical co-lead of the Committee for Pandemic Testing, Glen has built a global social movement across civil, academic, public and private sectors to tackle the most pressing and enduring social challenges.

Divya Siddarth

Divya Siddarth’s work covers a broad range of research and applications in the space of democratized technology, decentralized governance, and online and offline collective participative processes. Her current focus is around promoting and preserving the digital commons, building the technology and policy infrastructure for data collaboratives, and devising frameworks for collectively-focused, rather than centrally concentrated, AI.

Joshua Simons

Joshua Simons

Josh Simons is a Postdoctoral Fellow in Technology and Democracy the Edmond J. Safra Center for Ethics and the Carr Center for Human Rights Policy, Harvard University. Josh’s first book, Citizen Rule: Democracy in the Age of Machine Learning, is due in Summer 2022, based on his PhD dissertation in political theory, which received the American Political Science Association (APSA) prize for the best dissertation in Information Technology and Politics. Josh has worked as a Visiting Research Scientist in AI at Facebook, helping to develop processes and frameworks for building machine learning systems responsibly; a Research Fellow at the Leverhulme Centre for the Future of Intelligence, Cambridge University, and the Institute for the Future of Work in the UK; a US-India Technology Policy Fellow at New America; and as a candidate for the Labour Party and policy advisor in the UK Parliament.

matthew victor

Matthew Victor

Matthew Victor is a Boston-based lawyer, policy analyst and civic technologist. Matthew founded and helps lead the development of the Massachusetts Platform for Legislative Engagement (MAPLE), a new digital public space centered on pending state legislation and constituent testimony. He is a former technology consultant and has worked in the life sciences, non-profit research and web3 industries. Matthew graduated from Boston College Law School, and is currently an associate in the corporate practice of Choate Hall & Stewart LLP.

Russell Mindich

Russell Mindich

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Duis tristique sollicitudin nibh sit amet commodo. Lectus sit amet est placerat. Quisque sagittis purus sit amet volutpat consequat mauris nunc congue. Egestas sed tempus urna et pharetra pharetra. Purus viverra accumsan in nisl nisi scelerisque eu ultrices. Fusce ut placerat orci nulla pellentesque dignissim. Facilisis gravida neque convallis a cras semper. Viverra orci sagittis eu volutpat odio facilisis mauris. Id leo in vitae turpis massa. Cras fermentum odio eu feugiat. Fermentum posuere urna nec tincidunt praesent semper feugiat nibh sed. Commodo ullamcorper a lacus vestibulum sed arcu non odio. Enim facilisis gravida neque convallis a. Proin sed libero enim sed faucibus turpis. Sem nulla pharetra diam sit amet. Duis convallis convallis tellus id interdum. Mi proin sed libero enim sed faucibus turpis in.

Our Technology Board

Eli Pariser

Eli Pariser wants to help technology and media serve democracy. At 23 years old, he was named Executive Director of MoveOn.org, where he led the organization’s opposition to the Iraq war, raised over $120 million from small donors, and helped pioneer the practice of online citizen engagement. In 2006 he confounded Avaaz, now the world’s largest citizen’s organization with over 40 million members in 190 countries. He has a BA from Bard College at Simon’s Rock and an honorary doctorate from Dominican University, and sits on the US Programs Board of the Open Society Foundation and the Information and Democracy Commission. He is currently co-director of the Civic Signals project at the National Conference on Citizenship.

Ethan Zuckerman

Ethan Zuckerman is a professor at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, where he teaches Public Policy, Communication and Information. He is starting a new research center called the Institute for Digital Public Infrastructure. Over the years, he has been a tech startup guy (with Tripod.com), a non-profit founder (Geekcorps.org) and co-founder (Globalvoices.org), and throughout it all, a blogger.

Glen Weyl

Glen Weyl

Glen Weyl is the world’s leading expert on how to harness Web 3 and other emerging technologies to empower new forms of democracy. As the primary intellectual collaborator of Vitalik Buterin (Founder of Ethereum) and Audrey Tang (Digital Minister of Taiwan), Glen has helped shape the world’s most vibrant digital decentralized ecosystem and national democracy respectively. As co-author of Radical Markets, Glen invented social technologies like Quadratic Voting that have become the gold standard for democratic innovation. As an advisor on geopolitics and macroeconomics to Microsoft’s senior leaders, Glen has helped companies navigate the intersection of an unsettled world with exponential technical progress. As Founder of RadicalxChange and technical co-lead of the Committee for Pandemic Testing, Glen has built a global social movement across civil, academic, public and private sectors to tackle the most pressing and enduring social challenges.

Divya Siddarth

Divya Siddarth’s work covers a broad range of research and applications in the space of democratized technology, decentralized governance, and online and offline collective participative processes. Her current focus is around promoting and preserving the digital commons, building the technology and policy infrastructure for data collaboratives, and devising frameworks for collectively-focused, rather than centrally concentrated, AI.

Joshua Simons

Joshua Simons

Josh Simons is a Postdoctoral Fellow in Technology and Democracy the Edmond J. Safra Center for Ethics and the Carr Center for Human Rights Policy, Harvard University. Josh’s first book, Citizen Rule: Democracy in the Age of Machine Learning, is due in Summer 2022, based on his PhD dissertation in political theory, which received the American Political Science Association (APSA) prize for the best dissertation in Information Technology and Politics. Josh has worked as a Visiting Research Scientist in AI at Facebook, helping to develop processes and frameworks for building machine learning systems responsibly; a Research Fellow at the Leverhulme Centre for the Future of Intelligence, Cambridge University, and the Institute for the Future of Work in the UK; a US-India Technology Policy Fellow at New America; and as a candidate for the Labour Party and policy advisor in the UK Parliament.

matthew victor

Matthew Victor

Matthew Victor is a Boston-based lawyer, policy analyst and civic technologist. Matthew founded and helps lead the development of the Massachusetts Platform for Legislative Engagement (MAPLE), a new digital public space centered on pending state legislation and constituent testimony. He is a former technology consultant and has worked in the life sciences, non-profit research and web3 industries. Matthew graduated from Boston College Law School, and is currently an associate in the corporate practice of Choate Hall & Stewart LLP.

Russell Mindich

Russell Mindich

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Duis tristique sollicitudin nibh sit amet commodo. Lectus sit amet est placerat. Quisque sagittis purus sit amet volutpat consequat mauris nunc congue. Egestas sed tempus urna et pharetra pharetra. Purus viverra accumsan in nisl nisi scelerisque eu ultrices. Fusce ut placerat orci nulla pellentesque dignissim. Facilisis gravida neque convallis a cras semper. Viverra orci sagittis eu volutpat odio facilisis mauris. Id leo in vitae turpis massa. Cras fermentum odio eu feugiat. Fermentum posuere urna nec tincidunt praesent semper feugiat nibh sed. Commodo ullamcorper a lacus vestibulum sed arcu non odio. Enim facilisis gravida neque convallis a. Proin sed libero enim sed faucibus turpis. Sem nulla pharetra diam sit amet. Duis convallis convallis tellus id interdum. Mi proin sed libero enim sed faucibus turpis in.

Join Our Team

Partners In Democracy is a people-first organization. We are committed to creating a healthy, safe, and welcoming work environment where everyone is able to contribute their best work towards building a healthier democracy.

Benefits:

  • Flexible Work
  • 401K
  • Fully paid health, vision, and dental insurance
  • WFH stipends
  • Professional development stipends

Current Openings:

Please check back here for more openings.

Join Our Team

Partners In Democracy is a people-first organization. We are committed to creating a healthy, safe, and welcoming work environment where everyone is able to contribute their best work towards building a healthier democracy.

Benefits:

  • Flexible Work
  • 401K
  • Fully paid health, vision, and dental insurance
  • WFH stipends
  • Professional development stipends

Current Openings:

Please check back here for more openings.

Get in Touch

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