Shari Davis, Co-Executive Director
Kristina Banks, Co-Executive Director
Kristania De Leon, Co-Executive Director
Elizabeth Crews, Director, Democracy Beyond Elections
Antonnet Johnson, Director of Research and Design
Ingrid Haftel Manager, Democracy Beyond Election
Isabel Luciano, Director, People's Fellowship
Rahel Mekdim Teka, Communications Manager
Kayla Knight, Program Associate
Michael Cusack, Technical Assistance Project Manager
Keyan Bliss, Advocacy Manager
Shari Davis, Co-Executive Director

Shari Davis, Co-Executive Director
Oakland | shari@participatorybudgeting.org | @shari_davis1

Shari joined PBP staff after nearly 15 years of service and leadership in local government. As Director of Youth Engagement and Employment for the City of Boston she launched Youth Lead the Change, the first youth participatory budgeting process in the US, which won the US Conference of Mayors’ City Livability Award. Shari first got involved in city government in high school, serving as the Citywide Neighborhood Safety Coordinator on the Boston Mayor’s Youth Council and working at the Mayor’s Youthline. Shari is a graduate of Boston University’s Sargent College for Health and Rehabilitation Sciences and holds a master’s degree in anatomy and physiology.

Kristina Banks, Co-Executive Director

Kristina Banks, Co-Executive Director
Brooklyn | kristina@participatorybugeting.org

Kristina ensures the smooth running and continuous improvement of PBP's operational and financial activities, providing the infrastructure necessary to make our programmatic work successful. Prior to joining PBP, Kristina 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. During this experience, she gained valuable insight on how to create systems and processes that work not only for the organization, but for the team members as well. Kristina is looking forward to creating new—and enhancing current—internal controls to steward PBP to the next level organizationally.

Kristania_DeLeon

Kristania De Leon, Co-Executive Director
Oakland | kristania@participatorybudgeting.org

Kristania oversees PBP's network building, advocacy, and technical assistance work to increase the demand, visibility and impact of PB efforts across North America. She brings over a decade of non-profit experience having worked with domestic and international teams committed to improving human rights, social determinants of health, justice, equity and diversity. Her work has focused on public policy and advocacy, community-driven programming and engagement, cross-sector capacity building, networked movement building, and social justice. She obtained her BA in International Relations from the University of British Columbia and her MA in Social Innovation from the University of San Diego’s Kroc Institute of Peace and Justice.

Elizabeth Crews, Director, Democracy Beyond Elections

Elizabeth Crews, Director, Democracy Beyond Elections
Brooklyn | elizabeth@participatorybudgeting.org

Elizabeth leads Democracy Beyond Elections, PBP’s national collaborative campaign. Elizabeth brings over 10 years 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, from the classroom to the board of education.

Antonnet Johnson, Director of Research and Design

Antonnet Johnson, Director of Research and Design
Brooklyn | antonnet@participatorybudgeting.org

Antonnet develops, tests, and supports implementation of design solutions with the goal of improving PBP's services and processes. Her work facilitates the growth of participatory democracy and advancement of equity, diversity, and inclusion by using design to enhance the ease of use and accessibility of PBP services and processes. To do this, she draws from nearly a decade of experience developing and analyzing the connections among audience, purpose, and contexts of communication. She earned her PhD in Rhetoric, Composition, and the Teaching of English at the University of Arizona, where she taught a variety of writing courses, co-founded a Usability and Play Testing Lab, and worked as a Writing Program Administrator for two years. Prior to being named a Mellon/ACLS Public Fellow and joining PBP, she taught classes in Professional Writing at Purdue University. Outside of work, Antonnet loves traveling, spending time with her partner and their dogs, playing games (computer and tabletop/board), and baking.

Ingrid Haftel, Manager, Democracy Beyond Elections

Ingrid Haftel, Manager, Democracy Beyond Elections
Brooklyn | ingrid@participatorybudgeting.org

Ingrid manages Democracy Beyond Elections, PBP's collaborative campaign to win structural democracy reforms that deepen participatory democracy and civic engagement, beyond and between elections. She is especially excited to work with the PBP team and partners to explore and expand participatory democracy as a tool for equity, inclusion, and justice. Ingrid has been working at the intersection of civic engagement, popular education, and design for nearly ten years. Before joining the Democracy Beyond Elections Team, she oversaw Community Education programs at the Center for Urban Pedagogy and directed cultural organizing campaigns at Peoples Climate Movement. Her other past lives include being a curator at an architecture foundation, a mender and shelver of library books, and a pizza slinger. Ingrid earned her B.A. in English and Comparative History of Ideas at the University of Washington, and her M.A. in Humanities at the University of Chicago.

Isabel Luciano, Director, People's Fellowship

Isabel Luciano, The People's Fellowship Director

isabel@participatorybudgeting.org

Isabel started her participatory democracy career at PBP in 2014 where she helped city staff and residents in North America implement participatory budgeting processes. She left the organization in 2017 and spent some time designing engagement processes that gathered community input for urban planning projects. Having seen first hand how much innovation can take place when we bring decision-making processes to those that are typically left out of them, Isabel has focused her career on designing PB and community engagement processes alongside young people. Isabel is excited to grow this effort by working with the People's Fellows to actualize their vision of community-led decision-making through the People's Fellowship - a new partnership between Pipeline to Power, PBP and the Civic Engagement Commission that immerses young people across New York City in the best practices of participatory democracy.

Rahel Mekdim Teka, Communications Manager

Rahel Mekdim Teka, Communications Manager
rahel@participatorybudgeting.org

Rahel is an organizer, facilitator, and writer based in Oakland, CA. She is passionate about building power, storytelling, and Ethiopian food. A member of BYP100 (Black Youth Project 100), Rahel strives to bring a Black Queer Feminist lens to all aspects of her life. She is the Communications Manager at the Participatory Budgeting Project, a national organization that creates and supports opportunities for communities to decide how public money is spent. In her spare time you can find Rahel watching movies, reading, and exploring new cities. If you ever need to buy her favor, books by Black women authors and tequila based cocktails are the way - don't worry, she'll drop hints.

Kayla Knight, Program Associate

Kayla Knight, Program Associate
kayla@participatorybudgeting.org

Kayla serves as a program associate on PBP’s technical assistance team. She is responsible for supporting the delivery of training, consulting, and capacity building services for government and schools. As a high school student, Kayla helped implement the first youth-led participatory budgeting process in Boston. Since then, Kayla has been dedicated to improving economic development in Black and Brown communities and making government more accessible to immigrants and refugees. Prior to joining PBP, she spent time at nonprofit organizations Bowdoin Geneva Main Streets and Yellow House Kuala Lumpur. Outside of work, you can find Kayla reading, hiking, and learning Spanish.

Michael Cusack, Technical Assistance Project Manager

Michael Cusack, Technical Assistance Project Manager michaelcusack@participatorybudgeting.org

Michael provides support and guidance for local governments, community organizations, and educational institutions implementing models of participatory budgeting as a project manager on PBP’s technical assistance team. Michael’s participatory and learner-centered approach to facilitation and capacity building is informed by his background as a labor organizer and adult educator. He earned his EdM in Adult Learning and Leadership at Teachers College, Columbia University. Off the clock you are likely to find Michael with a book, on his bike, or at a picket line.

Keyan Bliss, Advocacy Manager

Keyan Bliss, Advocacy Manager keyan@participatorybudgeting.org

Keyan Bliss serves as the Advocacy Manager at PBP leading the organization’s efforts in strengthening Participatory Democracy and Justice. A graduate of Indiana University with a B.A. in political science, Keyan is a community organizer and democracy advocate with over 8 years experience in grassroots organizing and movement-building. Prior to joining PBP, Keyan served as grassroots director for Move to Amend to coordinate and support local and state advocacy for a constitutional amendment to make clear corporations are not people and money is not speech. Alongside his democracy movement work, Keyan is passionately engaged in the racial justice movement within his local Sacramento community, working with several local groups pursuing decarceration, crisis response alternatives, and participatory budgeting. He is excited to help connect PB with other social justice movements seeking lasting systemic change, with the long-term goal of creating real participatory democracy that includes democratizing local economies in a way that prioritizes people and the environment over property and profit.