Meet our new staff & board members (then join them)

Our team at the Participatory Budgeting Project (PBP) is committed to re-shaping democracy and continues to develop to deliver on this goal.

I’m honored to introduce you to seven amazing individuals who recently joined our board and staff. I’m inspired by how these new team members are showing up for a democracy that we believe in, and I bet they will inspire you too. 

I’m inviting you to become part of THIS team as a PB Amplifier. Can I count you in? 

Joan Bakiriddin, Elsevier Inc. | PBP Board Member

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.

Robert Sherman, PhD | PBP Board Member

Robert works as a consultant to foundations and nonprofits in areas of education reform, youth development and leadership, and civic engagement. Until March 2013 he served as Director of the Initiative for Social and Emotional Learning at the NoVo Foundation. Prior to NoVo, he served as Executive Director of the Action Center to End World Hunger, a division of Mercy Corps; founded and directed the national Effective Citizenry program at the Surdna Foundation; and served in the NYC government for 8 years, founding and directing a grassroots focused division of the Mayor’s office. Robert recognizes we’re in a ripe moment for elevating youth voice and activism. He’s ready to see participation in PB rapidly expand through schools.

Evan Graner, Landor | PBP Board Member

As a Director in the Brand Engagement practice at Landor, the world’s leading brand and design consultancy, Evan helps the leaders of major companies apply their brand to lead their business strategy and activate that strategy with employees. He sees PB as a similar process involving city leaders and residents, to mobilize and motivate people to improve their city. Evan joined our Advisory Board in 2016 and now our Board of Directors because he believes that now—more than ever—it is paramount for residents to make their voices heard so there can be transparency and accountability in the distribution and use of public money.

Kristina Banks, Finance & Operations Manager

Kristina makes all of the work we do at PBP possible, by running our operational and financial activities. Before joining PBP, she worked for an environmentally focused nonprofit in Washington, DC, where she managed the organization’s separation from a fiscal sponsor to become its own 501c3 entity. Kristina’s excited to enhance our internal infrastructure and take our work to the next level.

Bitsy Bentley, Product Manager myPB.community

Bitsy is leading the design and development of a Community Data Hub, to make data on community needs and public spending accessible to non-profits, advocates, and residents of communities using participatory budgeting processes. Bitsy’s position combines her love of well-informed decisions, open data, and human-centered design. She joins our team after more than a decade helping corporations use market research data to make important decisions about how to grow their business. She wants to see PB adopted as a nation-wide standard because she believes that if communities like Flint, Michigan had true power over their municipal budgets through PB, they’d be drinking clean water out of the tap right now.

Elizabeth Crews, Development Manager

Elizabeth manages PBP’s institutional fundraising. She brings over 10 years of experience in nonprofit management, research and fundraising. She started her own consulting firm, Mockingbird Strategies, where she has consulted political parties, candidates, nonprofits, and foundations on political organizing, advocacy campaigns, and community outreach strategies. Most recently, she founded and led UnifiEd, a public education advocacy organization in Chattanooga, TN focused on improving public education by expanding public participation in the school system. As a PBNYC Budget Delegate, Elizabeth has worked with community leaders to ensure public money is going to where it is most needed.  Elizabeth is excited to see teachers and students use their voice to demand changes in our schools. She believes PB can be a vital part of  that change by building more community power in schools.

Susan Kalaz, Development & Program Associate

Susan drives PBP’s work to grow a powerful base of individual supporters. Susan joins us after years of organizing at Queens College, leading the Muslim Students Association and working with the Student Organization for Democratic Alternatives (SODA) to launch participatory budgeting at her college and across the City University of New York. Her new role at PBP is the perfect balance of everything she loves to do—from on-the-ground programming, to writing and planning, and most importantly, building relationships with folks who believe in the transformative power of PB.

Look out for opportunities to work with these folks, and more of our team very soon. We’re eager to work with you, to reshape democracy together, and empower more and more people to make the decisions that impact their lives.

I’m humbled to show up for PB alongside these seven bold and brilliant folks. Will you sign up as a PB Amplifier to join us?

About Shari Davis

As PBP's Co-Executive Director, Shari oversees our advocacy work, technical assistance, and operations. She joined PBP staff after nearly 15 years of service and leadership in local government.

1 Comment

  1. Atwine Myres on May 15, 2018 at 11:04 am

    Am really glad to meet these wonderful people and their great ideas to run the PB program.