In her past role as Senior Fellow with the Movement Strategy Center, Ingrid supported strategic advising and capacity building for youth and inter-generational organizations.
Ingrid is a first-generation immigrant from Nicaragua, whose family moved to California in the early ’80s. She began her work in social justice as a regional organizer against an anti-affirmative action ballot initiative – Proposition 209 – and then became a youth organizer, coalition leader, facilitator, and grantmaker. In 2007, Ingrid relocated to New York City; and in 2011, began supporting social justice communities as a philanthropic and nonprofit consultant. Currently, Ingrid is the Director of the Daphne Foundation and works as a consultant with community based organizations and grantmakers.
Ingrid earned a bachelor’s degree in Political Science from the University of California at San Diego and a Masters in Public Administration in Nonprofit Management from San Francisco State University. Upon graduation, Ingrid was awarded the Barbara Jordan Student Excellence Award. In 2008–2009, Ingrid was an Association of Black Foundation Executive’s Connecting Leaders Fellow. She is a Co-Founder and Co-Chair of New York Blacks in Philanthropy.
Viveka Chen is an organizational development consultant, certified coach, facilitator and leadership trainer with a commitment to cultural competency and a strength-based approach. For twenty years she has worked with social change movements, organizations and leaders committed to social justice.
She specializes in designing and implementing capacity and movement building and leadership development initiatives, strategic visioning and planning, building multi-stakeholder collaboration, and facilitation of change processes including leadership transition. Viveka also offers coaching to organizations through coaching with individual leaders and teams, training staff in peer coaching and communication skills, and establishing learning communities. In early 2012 she and a group of certified coaches founded Coaching for Justice (C4J) to increase access to high-quality coaching for social change leaders and non-profit staff.
Prior to consulting, Viveka was Executive Director of the East Bay Conversion & Reinvestment Commission (a collaborative of 38 stakeholders planning the conversion of Alameda County military bases to community serving resources/places) and Associate Director of the environmental justice organization Urban Habitat. She enjoys a wide range of established relationships with leaders and organizations across a spectrum of sectors including community-based organizations, grassroots base-building groups, labor, coalitions, intermediaries, legal organizations, environmental organizations, government, academic institutions, and funders.
Viveka has played a key role in several regional, state, and national scale field-building initiatives in collaboration with organizations such as the Movement Strategy Center, CompassPoint Nonprofit Services, and the Annie E. Casey Foundation. She brings a depth of experience designing and facilitating convenings that bring together leaders working on common issues seeking to build networks, movement and impact.
Viveka is a Buddhist meditation teacher with a steady, open, and compassionate presence who can readily weave spirit into work with clients.
"My work is dedicated to uprooting a system that doesn’t work for us or the planet, and replacing it with our own solutions that respect people, culture and Mother Earth."
At MSC, Ellen Choy staffs the Climate Justice Alignment – a new national alliance of frontline community forces and allies unified to end extreme energy and to build local resilience and remedy the root causes of climate change.
Ellen is the daughter and granddaughter of Chinese and Korean immigrants, raised in the Los Angeles area, and transplanted to the Bay Area in 2003. Politicized by the struggle of immigrant families and the impact of environmental racism, Ellen has been working to uplift and support the leadership of low-income communities of color in the fight to address climate change and build our own solutions.
Since graduating from UC Berkeley in 2007, Ellen jumped into environmental justice organizing and national movement building as a program associate and director of the Climate Literacy Training program with the Environmental Justice & Climate Change Initiative. She was a core organizer with the Mobilization for Climate Justice West in 2009-2011, supporting the capacity of local organizations in their fight against Chevron in Richmond, California through direct action and popular education. Since 2010, she has also helped to build a national network of young people of color in the US called Youth for Climate Justice. Currently, Ellen also works part-time as staff and a collective member of Movement Generation Justice and Ecology Project – who trains and facilitates strategic planning for action among leading organizers from urban organizations working for economic and racial justice in the context of the global ecological crisis.
Ellen also has a deep passion for youth organizing, and has worked at various youth organizations in the Bay Area. She started as an afterschool program manager at Life Academy High School in East Oakland in 2009. She has also worked with the SAFIRE youth program at Forward Together (formerly Asian Communities for Reproductive Justice), and most recently, was the Youth Program Coordinator for Mandela Marketplace, working with youth in West Oakland to increase access to healthy food in their community.
In addition, Ellen is an active member of HOBAK (Hella Organized Bay Area Koreans), a group of young ant-imperialist Koreans building community, learning history and organizing together. She is a community radio producer on APEX Express (KPFA) – an Asian and Pacific Islander political radio show, and is also a hiphop/soul/funk DJ.
Ellen is the recipient of the 2011 Redford Center Arts in Activism Award and the 2012 Mario Savio Young Activist Award. She earned a bachelor’s degree in Conservation and Resource Studies from the University of California at Berkeley.
"Let your first act of resistance be one of self love. Let your second be accountability for your privilege."
Cole is a leadership development powerhouse. She holds an MSc from the London School of Economics and has worked as a community facilitator and strategist for more than 15 years. At 21 she landed a job in the White House, directing leadership development programming for the Harry S. Truman Foundation. Drawing on her experience as a consultant, Cole launched the Brown Boi Project in 2010. The Brown Boi Project is a groundbreaking program that bridges gender and racial dialogues—the first of its kind to bring queer and straight people of color across the masculine spectrum to do transformative leadership development work.
As an activist and author, Cole introduced the term masculine of center (MoC), which challenges historical understandings of queer female masculinity and its intersections with race. Her most recent piece can be found in the 2011 anthology Persistence: All Ways Butch and Femme. Cole also edited Freeing Ourselves, an LGBT health guide which is now being used to forward understanding of the incredible breadth of health needs for MoC LGBT people of color.
Cole’s background crosses multiple sectors but as a young queer consultant of color working in the fields of finance, policy advocacy, leadership development, and social enterprise, she is often uniquely positioned to bring together groups across divides. Through this work she brings an approach to strategic planning and curriculum development that centralizes operational systems, resourcing, and finance while aligning with an organization’s values and vision. A graduate of Mills College and Rotary Ambassadorial Scholar, Cole has worked across the US and internationally on issues of leadership development. She lives in Oakland and New York with her wife Aisha and their niece Kyla.
Carmen Iñiguez is a certified professional coach, non-profit consultant, apprentice curandera and bilingual/bicultural Mental Health Clinician.
She enjoys supporting the development and transformation of individuals and organizations through her private practice -- Colibri Coaching & Consulting.
Carmen was trained as a community organizer at the age of 14 in her hometown of Wilmington, California by the Labor/Community Strategy Center. Since then she has worked and volunteered in a number of non-profit organizations throughout the state that have focused on environmental justice, youth organizing, education reform, immigrant and labor rights.
She earned a B.A. in Communication Studies and Spanish Literature from UCLA in 2001 and completed a Masters in Counseling Psychology from the California Institute of Integral Studies (CIIS) with a focus on Community Mental Health in 2011.
Janelle brings ten years of professional experience organizing youth and parents to advance racial justice through public education reform with statewide Californians for Justice. She began as a volunteer and joined the staff in 2001, serving as an Organizer, a Lead Organizer, and most recently, as Organizing Director. She supervised staff and led campaign strategy, base-building, leadership development, alliance building, staff development, as well as both grassroots and foundation fundraising. On the Management Team, Janelle helped to guide the organization through leadership transitions, strategic planning, and organizational assessments to build an organization that was sustainable, effective, and accountable to its values and constituents.
Janelle has served on the boards of the Gay-Straight Alliance Network and the California Fund for Youth Organizing and as a founding member of Liberation Ink, a worker-owned silk-screening collective whose profits go to social justice organizations. She earned her bachelor’s degrees from Stanford University in Feminist Studies and Comparative Studies in Race and Ethnicity.
Since 1994, Jeremy Lahoud has worked for grassroots organizations focused on youth organizing for racial and social justice. Prior to moving to California, he spent a decade organizing for racial and educational justice with African American, Latino, and Arab American youth at the Southwest Youth Collaborative in Chicago. In 2004, he joined the staff of Californians for Justice as Long Beach Lead Organizer and subsequently served as Organizing Co-Director and most recently as Executive Director from 2009 through 2012. Starting in January 2013, Jeremy is serving as a part-time Senior Associate with Movement Strategy Center, as well as providing independent consulting, focused on strategically supporting youth, community, and policy organizations to advance racial and social justice.
Jeremy has a Bachelor’s Degree in African and African American Studies from Earlham College and completed the coursework for a Masters in Teaching of History at the University of Illinois - Chicago. He has received formal training from the Center for Third World Organizing, the Grassroots Institute for Fundraising Training (GIFT)--including the Fundraising Action Training and the joint Training for Trainers program, the School of Unity and Liberation, and the Rockwood Institute’s Fellowship for California Leaders of Color. He served on the Coordinating Committee of the statewide Campaign for Quality Education alliance and as a founding member of the Strategy Team for the national Alliance for Educational Justice (AEJ).
Jeremy lives in South Los Angeles with his partner, Maria, a high school Social Studies teacher, their six-year old daughter, Adila, and two-year old son, Tecún. In his spare time, he enjoys cooking the traditional Lebanese food he grew up with and playing capoeira with his adopted Los Angeles family--Familia Omulu Guanabara capoeira group.
"We are alliance therapists. Building alliances takes a lot of personal and emotional work. It’s like dating: you need to spend time getting to know each other. You may decide it’s not the right fit and call it quits or you may decide to work at it and grow something much bigger than yourself."
Kimi Lee has been organizing and working with social justice organizations for the past 20 years, starting as a teenager in San Francisco. Her first generation family immigrated from Burma (a country under military dictatorship) in 1971. Her mother was a garment worker and her father worked as an auto mechanic, restaurant worker, and taxi driver. The issues faced by her parents and family led to her social activism and personal connection to the rights of immigrant workers.
Kimi is currently the Lead Organizer of the United Workers Congress, a new strategic alliance to build power for excluded workers and their national independent worker alliances (sectors include: domestic, day laborers, guest workers, farmworkers, restaurant, welfare, taxi, and formerly incarcerated).
Her MSC work has also included serving as the National Coordinator for the Alliance for Educational Justice, a new organization that she helped to build and shape.
Prior to MSC, Kimi was the Executive Director of the Garment Worker Center, a worker center organizing Latino and Chinese garment workers in Los Angeles. With the GWC, she helped to coordinate a national boycott against a young women’s clothing chain (Forever 21) and organized many actions in solidarity with other workers in LA and around the world. While in Los Angeles, she also helped to build MIWON, the Multi-Ethnic Immigrant Workers Organizing Network which brought together five different worker centers and helped to connect workers from different sectors and ethnicities. While organizing Chinese garment workers in Los Angeles, she also saw the need to create a space for other Chinese organizers to work in the Chinese immigrant community. She helped to start a new Chinese organizing group to provide a space for progressive Chinese Americans and which hopes to eventually organize low wage Chinese workers.
Kimi’s past experience includes working as the Field Director for the ACLU of Southern California where she focused on criminal justice issues such as police brutality, prisons and harsh drug laws. While at the ACLU, she coordinated the No on Prop 21 campaign and helped to start Southern Californians for Youth, a youth organizing network in LA. Before moving to Los Angeles, she organized students with the University of California Student Association and organized students of color to fight for affirmative action, register student voters and to stop fee hikes during the 1990s.
Kimi currently serves on the Board of the Chinese Progressive Association San Francisco. She is a mother of a two little girls and recently moved back to the Bay Area to help take care of her parents.
sujin helps groups and individuals be strategic and innovative while building strong relationships and vibrant leadership. Through her coaching and consulting, sujin helps social justice organizations and alliances reach clarity on their strategic priorities while building collective power and using collaborative decision-making to support their goals. sujin uses team coaching to help groups build trust, increase their effectiveness, realize their collective vision for change, and cultivate shared leadership. In executive coaching, she uses her strong intuition and non-judgmental approach to help individuals connect to their values, passion, and creativity.
sujin has experience working with service, organizing, and policy advocacy organizations in various fields, including education, environmental justice, economic justice, domestic violence, reproductive health and justice, LGBTQ organizing, gender justice, youth organizing, and civic engagement. For almost 20 years, sujin has worked for social justice and healthy communities as an organizer, facilitator and program director in Los Angeles, Oakland, and internationally. As a former Community Fellow at Tides Foundation, she coordinated economic and reproductive justice funding initiatives. She is currently a Board member of the Asian Pacific Environmental Network (APEN) and smartMeme Strategy and Training project.
More information about sujin can be found on her website.
Vera Miao was the Executive Director of the Funders’ Collaborative on Youth Organizing, a collective of national, regional, and local grantmakers and youth organizing practitioners dedicated to advancing youth organizing as a strategy for youth development and social justice. Over her six years as the Executive Director, the FCYO grew to include 33 foundations and practitioner organizations, raised almost $7 million dollars, and distributed approximately $4 million to youth organizing groups and intermediaries. In addition to grantmaking and capacity building programs, Vera’s work focused on strategic funder outreach and education, communication and development of field building and intellectual capital for youth organizing.
Vera has also been providing consulting services to philanthropic institutions, including the Open Society Institute, Ford Foundation, and the Surdna Foundation. Vera also worked with community-based New York City organizations at Community Resource Exchange, providing nonprofit management consulting services with a special focus on strategic and operational planning, fundraising, and board development.
Sheryl is an Associate Consultant and former Senior Fellow with MSC. She has worked in educational and organizational improvement for the past 17 years. She has been a change management consultant, high school teacher, mentor, and advisor to nonprofits, schools, districts, universities, and foundations. She has also been an executive director, program manager, and framework, tool, and curriculum developer.
She was most recently Executive Director of California Tomorrow, a research, advocacy, and training non-profit specializing in strategies that fostered equity and inclusion across the pre-Kindergarten-to-community college (pre K-14) spectrum. She has co-designed and facilitated trainings and planning processes with consultants and hundreds of practitioners around the country.
Sheryl’s current work focuses on reducing fragmentation in the education field and promoting a cohesive approach to democratic education and seeks to align the efforts of equity-minded practitioners, technical assistance providers, organizers, leadership development entities, policy advocates, researchers, educator preparation institutions and universities, curriculum developers, funders and social justice media toward synchronized equity-driven approaches. This work is based on The New Frontier: An Integrated Framework for Equity & Transformative Improvement in Education.
She holds a B.A. in Mathematics, an M.A. in Systematic & Philosophical Theology, and an Ed.D. in Educational Leadership & Change. Her passions include equity-driven change process facilitation, strategic visioning and analysis, coaching, and cultivating resources for everyone to unleash our most vibrant, creative selves and improve our collective life.
"Those of us in social justice need to do a better job of reaching people who would agree with us if they knew about us. My job is to make sure they know we are here."
Lisa has been building social justice programs, initiatives and organizations since 1995, when she founded a program at Global Exchange to engage youth and adults around immigration, trade and labor in California’s agricultural regions and at the US/Mexico border.
During the dot-com boom, she provided intensive capacity building and technical assistance to groups fighting to preserve affordability in San Francisco’s low-income neighborhoods, specifically Bayview Hunters Point and South of Market, where she helped establish and stabilize several organizations that continue to serve residents and organize on local issues. She also wrote a paper for PolicyLink about the possibilities of using GIS mapping and data to support community organizing.
She then spent a decade as Associate Director of the Movement Strategy Center. In that role, she built MSC’s infrastructure and managed the growing staff while providing consulting, training, strategic planning and capacity building to local, statewide and national groups engaged in racial justice work. In addition to organizations and alliances, Lisa worked with several foundations to facilitate learning groups and networks of practitioners.
Lisa also co-founded and led a network of organization development practitioners who support social change organizations, and co-authored a paper about the unique challenges and opportunities of supporting social justice organizations to create and sustain internal change. The network, ODSC, has been in existence since 2004.
Beginning in 2010, Lisa supported Strong Families, a national initiative to secure the rights, recognition and resources that all families need to thrive. Lisa led the development of their communications and digital strategies which included creating multiple platforms, leading online campaigns, training and engaging partners, managing large consultant teams, and creating a highly successful Mama’s Day campaign which has become a cornerstone of Strong Families’ work.
Lisa Russ is now working as an independent consultant providing organizational strategy, capacity and communications support for a range of organizations. She supports groups by providing pathways for information gathering, direct conversations and clear decision-making. As a process queen who loves measureable results, Lisa helps organizations navigate critical change moments by providing structure, tools and resources to support clear thinking and solid implementation. Lisa is driven by a deep curiosity about change at every scale.
"I believe that people and communities have tremendous amounts of untapped beauty and wisdom. The best part of my work is creating space for that beauty and wisdom to unfold in their lives and be unleashed in the world."
Brenda is committed to the role of culture, relationship and community wisdom in strengthening social justice efforts.
Brenda was born and raised in the San Francisco Bay Area, and comes from a Nicaraguan family. She credits her parents and ancestors with instilling the cultural and spiritual values that led her to social justice work. She has 12 years of experience in the nonprofit sector, in the areas of youth and community organizing, environmental health and justice, gender justice, and health equity.
Brenda’s work at MSC has included a field scan on youth organizing and engagement for The California Endowment’s Building Healthy Communities work and providing facilitation, trainings, and planning support for regional and statewide youth convenings. She also works with the Foundation’s Boys and Men of Color Alliance, providing support in strategy development, planning, alliance building, youth and community engagement, and program integration and collaboration.
Brenda supports MSC’s Transformative Movement Building research and writing, focusing on how movement builders are integrating creative, body-centered and contemplative practice into their work. She is interested in the role of indigenous practices in movement building, and enjoys incorporating circle work, culture and ceremony into meeting design. She has provided speeches and trainings on the role of indigenous history, spirituality, and healing on leadership and social justice efforts.
Prior to joining MSC, Brenda served as the Program Manager at Breast Cancer Action where she was responsible for campaigns, legislative and policy work, writing, and speaking with the media. She has also served as the Associate Director at Literacy for Environmental Justice, a youth organization focused on environmental justice.
Brenda received BA degrees in Biology and Developmental Psychology, and holds a MS degree in Animal Behavior. She has served on the Board of KIDS for the BAY and her local neighborhood association. Prior to her nonprofit work Brenda studied howler monkeys, directed field research, and developed conservation education and community programs in Central America.
“Our world requires of us a re-education of our minds and our hearts, so we can re-imagine our communities and systems and create the change we need, together.”
At MSC, Levana developed strategic methodology, curriculum and training projects to support movement building. She is also the founder of Practicing Freedom, which uses participatory action research, popular education and creative action to generate collaborative community-led change. Over the last 17 years she has trained and facilitated thousands of children, youth and adults.
As a youth activist, she served as the North American Advisor to the United Nations Environment Programme, co-founded the Indigenous and Non-Indigenous Youth Alliance and facilitated international gatherings with Youth for Environmental Sanity. Later (as an adult) she taught Ecopedagogy, an arts-based form of popular education for ecological justice at the University of São Paulo in Brazil and helped organize the World Education Forum while working with the Paulo Freire Institute. At Rainforest Action Network, she developed a national climate education program for children and youth. She currently blogs and facilitates anti-racism trainings and dialogues with the White Noise Collective.
"I believe in having fun because if we don’t enjoy our work, how can we sustain it?"
Jidan is a second generation Chinese American, born and raised in the San Francisco Bay Area. As an artist, organizer, and community builder for the past 20 years, she brings commitment to building grassroots power, love for creativity, and conviction that short term reforms can serve radical change. She is particularly passionate about centralizing spirit in movement building, networked organizing, and motherhood as warrior training. Since January of 2014, Jidan has been the Deputy Director for Mobilize the Immigrant Vote, California. MIV builds the capacity of partner organizations to activate and engage low propensity New American voters to transform the political and policy landscape of California towards social and economic justice.
Jidan's field experience encompasses grassroots organizing, service provision, and institutional reform in low-income people of color communities. As a service provider, she founded mentoring and enrichment programs for under-represented youth through Reach!, the East Bay Asian Youth Center, and Stiles Hall. Through Youth Together, she launched a multi-service youth center in Oakland that engaged the school community in education reform campaigns and had over 20,000 service contacts per year. An avid proponent of inside-outside organizing strategies, Jidan has also held positions in public institutions as the Special Assistant to the Superintendent in Oakland Public Schools and consultant to its Meaningful Student Engagement Initiative.
Over the course of seven years as a consultant, Jidan has provided curriculum, strategy, planning, and organizational development support to dozens of organizations and alliances including Alliance of Californians for Community Empowerment, California Fund for Youth Organizing, Young People For, San Francisco Immigrant Legal & Education Network, and the Climate Justice Alliance. As a former Senior Fellow at the Movement Strategy Center, Jidan focused on movement building through providing alliance building support, facilitation, and training.
Jidan has a BA in Political Science and a minor in Education from the University of California at Berkeley and a Masters of Public Policy with a certificate in Urban and Regional Planning from the Woodrow Wilson School at Princeton University.
As an artist, producer, facilitator, strategist and activist-organizer, Anasa Troutman continues to develop her personal mission to generate a culture of love and human connection. As director of Art Is Change (a project fiscally sponsored by MSC) and CEO/Creative Director of the production company, Lion and Butterfly, Anasa balances her work between the theory and practice of leveraging transformative art, culture and creativity for social and political change.
Anasa has a 15-year history of working with popular culture artists, community based artists, national, regional, and local social justice organizations to bridge the worlds of creativity and social transformation.
No matter what her work, Anasa’s belief in the power of personal inquiry and dedication to the power of art, culture, and creativity are guiding forces in her efforts to contribute to justice, equity, and compassion for all people.
As a Movement Strategy Center Senior Fellow, Billy Wimsatt co-founded and now serves as Strategic Partnerships and Political Director for Rebuild the Dream, and Rebuild the Dream Innovation Fund, which was incubated and is fiscally sponsored by Movement Strategy Center. In 2010, he conducted a series of experiments under the framework of Field 3.0, a community dialogue and documentation project on the future of field organizing, which led to the development of the Rebuild the Dream project.
With background in social entrepreneurship, philanthropic consulting, journalism, hip-hop arts, and political organizing, Wimsatt founded and for five years ran the League of Young Voters which organized 3000+ youth to create 300+ voter guides and impacted 29 state and local elections or pieces of legislation. In 2005, he co-founded Generational Alliance and in 2010 co-founded the Coffee Party. Over his career as a funder and fundraiser he has helped move more than eight million dollars to social change. Before coming to Movement Strategy Center, Wimsatt worked for Green For All, and consulted for Rock The Vote, MoveOn.org, Hull Family Foundation, The DC Project, The Funders’ Collaborative on Youth Organizing. He also completed Rockwood’s year-long course for executive leaders.
In 2008, he created and ran the Ohio Youth Corps program for the Ohio Democratic Party / Obama For America, which trained and deployed 50 staff throughout Ohio. He has written for the Washington Post, The Nation, the Chicago Tribune and Vibe magazine and published six books with 100,000+ in print including No More Prisons, winner of the 1999 Firecracker Book Award for Political Non-Fiction. His latest book is Please Don’t Bomb The Suburbs: A mid-term report on my generation and the future of our Super-movement (Akashic Books). He has spoken at Harvard Kennedy School of Government, MIT Graduate School in Urban Planning, MIT, Stanford, and was named by Utne Magazine as “Utne Visionary” and in The Source Magazine’s “Power 30”.