Commission Senior Fellows
Yetunde A. Odugbesan-Omede is a Professor of Global Affairs and Political Science at Adelphi University and Farmingdale State College where teaches courses on Women in Comparative Political Development and Global Issues. In her role at United Nations Population Fund, Yetunde worked to promote legal and policy reforms and gender-sensitive data collection and advocated for governments around the world to support initiatives that improve youth political leadership and participation, women’s sexual health and reproductive rights and the promotion of gender equality. She also founded Young Woman’s Guide, an organization that provides leadership training for young women from all backgrounds. She has trained young women in Nigeria, South Africa and throughout the United States in leadership and advocacy. She is the author of Young Woman’s Guide, a book that provides leadership and personal development strategies for young women. She has worked with politicians, institutions of education, heads of states, philanthropic and civic initiatives that focus on array of issues such as ending sex trafficking, increasing access to quality education for young girls in developing countries and increasing the number of women in political office. She is a member of United Way of Essex and West Hudson Women's Leadership Council and was appointed to serve as the Chair of Humanitarian Affairs and Social Advocacy for City of Newark African Commission under Mayor Cory Booker. Yetunde received her Doctorate of Philosophy in Global Affairs and Master of Science in Global Affairs from Rutgers University. She received a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism and Media Studies and has certificates in international relations and applied political leadership. She was a New Leaders Council Fellow, Rutgers Emerging Leaders Scholar, Ronald E. McNair Scholar, Minority Academic Careers Fellow, Eagleton Institute of Politics Fellow and graduate of the United Nations Worldview Institute.
Yetunde A. Odugbesan-Omede, Ph.D
Founder, Young Woman's Guide
(New Jersey '12)
Throughout her professional and academic career, Rebecca has pursued numerous opportunities to advocate for gender equity. She brings research and policy experience at both the state and federal level, in addition to a passionate personal commitment to these efforts. Rebecca currently works for U.S. Senator Maggie Hassan (D-NH) as a Constituent Services Coordinator. Previously, she spent four years working at the Massachusetts State House, most recently as Staff Director to State Representative Timothy Madden, where she was responsible for policy development and analysis. She also worked for State Representative Alice K. Wolf, a champion of equal pay and comparable work legislation. In May 2016, Rebecca completed the Gender, Leadership and Public Policy program at UMass Boston. Her capstone project addressed female representation on Boards of Directors with a particular focus on theories of critical mass and tokenism. During the program, she was a graduate intern with Emerge Massachusetts, an organization that prepares Democratic women to run for office. Rebecca is a 2017 graduate of the New Leaders Council NH Institute. She now serves as a Co-Director of the chapter, whose efforts are externally focused on Board and Institute recruitment, as well as maintaining and enhancing external engagement and strategic partnerships. She is also a member of the NLC Women’s Caucus. Additionally, Rebecca is a former board member of Equality Health Center, a non-profit healthcare facility serving women, men and gender non-conforming individuals throughout New England. Rebecca holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science from Simmons College and was a Barbara Lee Foundation Fellow.
Constituent Services Coordinator, U.S. Senator Maggie Hassan
(New Hampshire '17)
Amanda R. Matos has devoted her career to racial and gender justice through capacity building, political education, and civic engagement in communities of color. Most recently, Amanda worked with New York City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito and Girls for Gender Equity in creating the Young Women's Initiative, a participatory governance model for young women of color to innovate policy solutions for their communities, and helped garner a $20 million commitment from City Council and local foundations to fund this public-private partnership. Previously, Amanda served as Manager of Community Organizing at Planned Parenthood of New York City, where she led advocacy campaigns and mobilized thousands of New Yorkers to advocate for increased access to affordable, safe, and compassionate sexual and reproductive healthcare. Amanda is co-founder of the WomanHOOD Project, which is a youth-led after-school mentorship program for girls of color in her hometown of the Bronx. Her dedication to racial and gender justice has been recognized by the New York Women’s Foundation, Peace First, and the United Nations. Recently, she was featured in the Si Se Puede Women Activist Exhibit at Casita Maria Center for Arts & Education. To learn more about her feminist agenda, read Amanda’s weekly column on Feministing.com, which is an online community run by and for young feminists. Amanda received her BA in Ethnicity & Race Studies from Columbia University, and is currently a Master in Public Policy candidate and Sheila C. Johnson Fellow at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government.
Sheila C. Johnson Fellow, Harvard Kennedy School
(New York City '16)
Colleen Lowry is a seasoned campaign professional focused on getting more women elected at every level of government. A native of Youngstown, Ohio, Colleen graduated with a degree in Sociology and Political Science from Saint Mary's College in South Bend, Indiana. After graduating college, she returned to Ohio and worked a couple of campaign cycles before moving to Washington, D.C. to work as the Cabinet Secretary Coordinator for the National Day of Service during the 57th Presidential Inaugural Committee and then in the Energy Security and Climate Initiative at The Brookings Institution. After seeing women's reproductive rights rolled back at an exponential rate in states across the country, Colleen joined the Wendy Davis campaign to do women's and constituency outreach and then worked for the Hillary Clinton campaign before returning home to Ohio to run the Ohio Democratic Women's Caucus. In her spare time, Colleen sits on the Planned Parenthood Young Professionals board, the American Heart Association Young Professionals board, the Saint Mary's College Columbus Alumnae board, and helped launch the New Leaders Council Columbus chapter.
Engagement Director, Ohio Democratic Party
Kate Landon is a philanthropic and nonprofit leader with fifteen years of experience both internationally and domestically, with a focus on the rights of women, LGBTQ and immigrant communities, workforce development, youth development, and capacity building for community-based organizations. She currently serves as a Director of Programs at The New York Women's Foundation, where she coordinates operations for grantmaking of over $8 million annually to nonprofit organizations in NYC working with low-income women and families across issue areas of economic security, health, reproductive justice, and anti-violence. Previous positions include Executive Director of the New Haven/León Sister City Project, a bi–national, social justice organization implementing community development projects in rural Nicaragua, as well as AmeriCorps Program Director at LEAP, Inc., a city–wide provider of afterschool, summer and youth development programming for youth ages 7 – 23 in New Haven. In addition, she has served on board of directors, advisory boards and steering committees for a number of organizations including the NYC Chapters of New Leaders Council and Emerging Practitioners in Philanthropy, the Society for Community Research and Action, the Virginia Gildersleeve International Fund, and the Association for Higher Education in Prison. She lives in the Bronx and holds a B. A. in Sociology from Rutgers College and an M. P. A. in Public and Nonprofit Management and Policy from the Robert F. Wagner School of Public Service at NYU.
Programs Director, The New York Women's Foundation
(New York City '09)
Eloise D. Bahrmasel is an Engagement Strategist and Entrepreneur, helping individuals and organizations utilize the principles of human centered design and systems thinking to solve problems and create impact driven solutions. Ellie has leveraged this skill set to advance collaborative initiatives in the private, public and nonprofit sectors with partners domestically and abroad. Her work includes projects with The Kennedy Forum, Comcast, and Mayor Rahm Emanuel. Ellie’s current vehicle for change is her consulting practice, Pragati Strategy Group, where she works with clients to design strategies, narratives, and experiences for impact. Previously, Ellie co-founded New Founders, a PAC that organized over 300 emerging grassroots organizations to coordinate efforts with established organizations, like Planned Parenthood, the Democratic National Committee, and Center for American Progress. She facilitated the build and launch of the EveryElection app for New Founders, which connects contact information to election dates, allowing individuals to mobilize their personal networks to vote in local elections. Ellie is a fierce advocate for women’s rights and a champion and civic engagement. Ellie is building DAWN PAC, a political action committee designed to resource women running for office in down ballot races in key battleground states. She authored the Illinois Say No More letter and co-organized the eponymous community that led to sweeping legislative reform on sexual harassment in Illinois. She recently joined the BMW Herbert Quandt Responsible Leaders Network, a global community of leaders striving to solve the world’s most pressing challenges. She has previously held local elected office. A lifelong Chicagoan, she resides in the city’s Albany Park neighborhood with her husband, Matt Altstiel and her rescue dog, Ozzy.
Founder, DAWN PAC (Chicago '15)
Commission Senior Advisors
As Executive Director of the Barbara Lee Family Foundation, Nicole leads the Foundation’s nonpartisan efforts to advance women’s political equality and increase women’s representation in the field of contemporary art. With experience on a broad range of national and local campaigns, Nicole brings years of strategic insight to the Foundation’s work, including seven years on Barbara Lee’s senior leadership team. As Program Director, Nicole managed strategic nonpartisan grant-making initiatives that expanded women’s participation in American politics and contributed to the Foundation’s nonpartisan research. Nicole came to the Barbara Lee Family Foundation from the Family Equality Council, the national organization working to ensure equality for LGBT-headed families. There, she managed the organization’s grant seeking and donor communications, designed and implemented resources and programming for LGBT parents and their children, and advanced issue advocacy campaigns such as California’s marriage equality initiative (Prop 8) and overturning Florida’s LGBT adoption ban. In her earlier career, Nicole worked at the Joseph M. Smith Community Health Center, where she served as a human resources coordinator, and later raised critical funds for patient-centered, community-focused healthcare. Nicole is a 2013 Fellow of the New Leaders Council, a national progressive political entrepreneurship training program for young professionals. Nicole graduated magna cum laude from Tufts University with a Bachelor’s degree in psychology and drama.
Executive Director, Barbara Lee Family Foundation
Edda Collins Coleman is Director of Strategic Partnerships at the CSpence Group (CSG) where she works with companies/organizations on creating alignment between business strategy, internal culture and external brand. In this role, Edda also fosters relationships with elected officials, NGOs, Fortune 500 companies and community leaders, creating and implementing strategy to achieve CSG’s client partnership and third party outreach goals. Edda is also co-founder of the All In Together Campaign, a non-partisan women’s organization committed to closing the gaps in politics, delivering cross-sector, innovative solutions to advance the progress of women’s political, civic and professional leadership in the United States. Edda has extensive political and strategic communications backgrounds, having worked on presidential campaigns, within state and local government and created advocacy strategies for health care and tech Fortune 500 companies, both domestically and internationally. In addition to keynote presentations at James Madison University, American University, the Mom2.0 Summit, and the Virginia Women’s Conference, her work and insights have been featured in Forbes, Refinery29, OZY, The Hill and The DailyWorth. Edda also served as a gubernatorial appointee to the Virginia Foundation for Healthy Youth, where she was appointed by Governors Mark Warner (D), Tim Kaine (D) and Bob McDonnell (R), respectively. She currently serves on the Facing History Advisory Board in San Francisco, CA and is a graduate of Hampton University, Georgetown University and the University of Virginia.
Edda Collins Coleman
Co-Founder, The All in Together Campaign
A’shanti F. Gholar serves as Emerge America's political director, focusing on strengthening national partnerships and working closely with state affiliates to strategically recruit for key seats, as well as directing the organization's overall political strategy. For 15 years, A’shanti has been a grassroots organizer and activist for women, communities of color, and progressive causes. A native Nevadan, A’shanti holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science and a Master’s of Science Degree in Industrial and Organizational Psychology with an emphasis on leadership development and women in leadership. A’shanti was featured as a political influencer in CQ Roll Call Magazine, named a top woman of color in policy by Walker’s Legacy, and named a “Changemaker” by African American Women in Business Careers. In addition to her role at Emerge America, she is a partner at Democracy Partners, serves as an Advisory Board Member for First Ask, an Expert Advisor for Forward Majority Action, and a Sisters on the Planet Ambassador for OxFam America.
A'shanti F. Gholar
National Political Director, Emerge America
Dawn Huckelbridge has professional and academic expertise in progressive policy, as well as broad experience recruiting, training, and supporting candidates and elected officials. She currently serves as the Senior Director of the Women's Rights Initiative at American Bridge. During the 2016 election cycle, she served as Coordinated Program Director for the Community Outreach Group at Planned Parenthood, where she recruited and managed a campaign team to implement the largest coordinated campaign programs in key battleground states to date. Previously, she served as Senior Advisor, Managing Director, and Policy Director for the Young Elected Officials Network at People For the American Way Foundation. Dawn also consulted for the Center for Women Policy Studies and served as Deputy Director of the Barbara Lee Family Foundation and Political Office, supporting women’s political leadership and the contemporary arts. She also has worked in political and issue communications with GMMB and has consulted on a number of international political and public interest projects, from human trafficking in the UK to women’s political representation in Armenia. She has served on the boards of Emerge Massachusetts, Square One Politics, and Bonaria Tate. She graduated from the London School of Economics and Political Science with a master’s degree in gender and social policy. She earned her bachelor’s degree from Northwestern University, where she studied communications and political science.
Senior Director, Women's Rights Initiative,
Helen Rosenthal represents the Upper West Side in the New York City Council. Helen is a leading voice on issues such as accessibility, gender equity and civic engagement, affordable housing, education equity, and adequate funding for social service providers. Re-elected to a second term in 2017, Helen’s vote total in the general election was the highest of any candidate running for a seat on the New York City Council. For the 2018-2021 session, Helen is Chair of the Council’s Committee on Women, co-chair of its Manhattan Delegation, and a member of its Budget Negotiating Team (BNT). Helen also serves on the following Council Committees: Civil and Human Rights; Contracts; Economic Development; Finance; Housing and Buildings; and the Capital Budget Sub Committee. Helen received a B.A. from Michigan State University and a Master’s in Public Health from Yale University. She lives with her husband on the Upper West Side, and they have two daughters. In good weather Helen bikes to work 2-3 times a week.