Michael Menser, Chair
City University of New York | New York City
Menser is an Assistant Professor of Philosophy at Brooklyn College and Earth and Environmental Science and Environmental Psychology at the CUNY Graduate Center, and he is the Chair of the Board of The Participatory Budgeting Project. His current research focuses on participatory democracy, urban environmentalism, food sovereignty, and the “solidarity economy.” Menser is an active member of the PSC-CUNY faculty union and has worked with a range of labor, neighborhood and direct action groups including the NYC and World Social Forum, US Solidarity Economy Network, Brooklyn Food Coalition and the Participatory Budgeting 45th District Committee in NYC.
Elsevier Inc. | New York City
Joan’s been a leader in PBNYC since its first cycle in 2011, serving as a facilitator, budget delegate, District Committee leader, and Citywide Steering Committee member. Her passion for PB stems from seeing how the process mobilizes and empowers disenfranchised folks who feel like they don’t have a voice. She’s a Business Systems Training Manager at Elsevier Inc. and a community advocate who believes in peaceful troublemaking. Joan is eager to grow and sustain PB at powerful scales, and she brings a tremendous amount of experience from leading the largest PB process in the U.S. since its inception.
A proud native of North Dakota, Evan Graner is a Director in the Brand Engagement practice at Landor, the world’s leading brand and design consultancy. At Landor, he helps the leaders of major companies devise strategic plans for applying their brand in leading their business strategy and then activating that strategy with employees; participatory budgeting is quite similar, simply replace business leaders with city leaders and employees with residents. Additionally, Evan’s has had the joy of seeing the country’s mayors in action via past work in Global Public Affairs at Citi, including work with their sponsorship of the US Conference of Mayors. He also votes in his participatory budgeting process as a resident of New York City’s third district (the west side of Manhattan from TriBeCa to Hell’s Kitchen). Evan joined the Board because he believes that now – more than ever – it is paramount for residents to make their voices heard so that there can be transparency and accountability in the distribution and use of public money.
Robert Sherman, PhD
New York City
Robert F Sherman Ph.D. has been focused on youth civic activism and social justice teaching/learning for most of his career. He works as a consultant to foundations and nonprofits in areas of education reform, youth development and leadership, civic engagement and arts education. Until March 2013 he served as Director, Initiative for Social and Emotional Learning at the NoVo Foundation where he was a major architect of a robust, 8 large district learning/teaching initiative., advancing educational experiences and practices. Prior to NoVo, Sherman served as Executive Director of the Action Center to End World Hunger, a division of Mercy Corps where he supervised the agency’s Global Citizen Corps, a youth activist and service program involving thousands of young people from 11 countries who convened in person and online in a yearlong peer-to-peer leadership, learning and service effort focused on local action-taking on global challenges around hunger, poverty, conflict, and human rights. Sherman, founded and directed the national Effective Citizenry program at the Surdna Foundation in New York City, where he served for 15 years. Sherman served in the NYC government for 8 years, founding and directing a grassroots focused division of the Mayor’s office. He graduated from Haverford College, and holds a clinicial psychology Ph.D. from the Institute of Advanced Psychological Studies at Adelphi University.
Center on Race, Poverty, and the Environment | Oakland
Chelsea joined the board of the Participatory Budgeting Project in July, 2018. She is currently also a Senior Attorney at the Center on Race, Poverty, and the Environment. In her previous role as a Staff Attorney at Public Advocates in 2017, Chelsea collaborated with PBP staff to successfully convince the Bay Area’s transportation planning agency to spend $1 million in transportation money through Participatory Budgeting.
Phoenix Union High School District | Phoenix
Cyndi Tercero-Sandoval is the Student Support Services Manager for the Phoenix Union High School District. Cyndi has been with the district for over 24 years working in student services and dropout prevention. She actively seeks partnerships that promote student achievement by eliminating barriers to learning and creating social emotional learning opportunities for students to be empowered. Cyndi is considered a resident expert in dropout prevention initiatives and student support services. She has received several awards for her work with youth and was recently recognized as a White House Champion of Change in 2016. She is very active in the community and serves on several other boards and coalitions that focus on improving youth outcomes.
Jan Weetjens is passionate about community development. During his 30 years as a leader and executive at the World Bank, he was instrumental in the development of participatory methodologies to allow communities to identify, finance, and implement their own development priorities. He designed, introduced, and supervised large scale community development programs in over 30 countries in Africa, in South East Asia, and in Latin America. Before joining the World Bank, Jan led a participatory community development program in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and, before that, in his native Belgium. Jan currently works as an Executive Leadership and Life Coach and dedicates the balance of his time among coaching, volunteer work with the homeless in Washington D.C., and studies. Jan holds an MS degree in Sociology from the Catholic University of Louvain, Belgium, and a BA degree in Social Work and Adult Education. He is currently pursuing a Ph.D. in Depth Psychology at Pacifica University, CA. Jan also achieved a Certification in Executive Leadership Coaching from Georgetown University.
Stephen Lafume is a 22 year old, Haitian American, life long resident of the city of Boston. Stephen Started doing PB work at the age of 15 with Boston's unique Youth Lead the Change PB process and continued to do so for 5 years. Stephen now works with Boston based BIPOC youth to create self sufficient communities in the Boston's predominantly Black and brown neighborhoods. You can find Stephen working on the Boston's People's Budget and organizing local artist markets and performance!