PBP_Team Member Spotlight

Last year, the team at the Participatory Budgeting Project dove deep and took time to examine how we live into the values that guide our work, internally and externally. We tapped into our experiences and practice of participatory budgeting and led with the strongly held belief that we can do more, get further, and build stronger relationships when we work together.

As a community, we strive to bring people together across differences and support them in learning from each other, forging new bonds, and working together to achieve shared goals. In this spirit, we're kicking off a Staff Spotlight Series to celebrate each member of our team, our undeniable interconnectedness, and our collective goal to reimagine democracy.

This Spotlight Series is an opportunity to celebrate each member of our team, our undeniable interconnectedness, and our collective goal to reimagine democracy. Next up are Rahel, Kristania, Shari, and Isabel. Keep reading to find out what brings them to the work they do, what brings them joy, and what they envision for a better world!

PBP_Team Member Spotlight (1)

Rahel Mekdim Teka - She/They  
Communications Manager

What brings you joy?

Sharing laughter, food, and new experiences with people I love.

What is your why? What brings you to PBP or the work that you do?

I am rooted by the principle of self-determination and a belief that when community-members have a chance to dream and collaborate to make real change, solutions that are more innovative and impactful arise.

PBP_Team Member Spotlight (2)

Kristania De Leon - She/Her 
Co-Executive Director

Who are your people?

My people are compassionate disrupters, abolitionists, community caregivers, and nerds who love expanding our understanding of how we relate to the earth, people, and the world around us.

What is your vision for the world you want to live in?

I want to live in a world that is rooted in genuine care and connection - where we all experience abundance, have our needs met, and experience spaces that affirm that we are all integral to our collective wellbeing

PBP_Team Member Spotlight (4)

Shari Davis - They/She/Shari 
Co-Executive Director

What is your vision for the world you want to live in?

A world with space - where people can experience curiosity, nurturing, and safety is what I dream of. A world where Black bodies matter and everyone can stand in their expansiveness without repercussion. I want to live in a place that is free to evolve, change and adapt with a growing and changing people. I want to live in a world where justice does not equal punishment but instead means cultivating community care in a way that is whole vs disposable. I envision a world where people are not only free to imagine but fueled by turning ideas into action and working solutions - where people are the engineers of communities that reflect their culture, values and needs. I also want to live on a planet.... that isn't dying. I want to live in a world where people get to live.

How do you embody leadership?

By changing and listening. There is always something to learn from a group and there are so many roles that each of us can play. Leaders that I admire and strive to channel are those that see leadership as expansive and something shared.

PBP_Team Member Spotlight (5)

Isabel Luciano - She/Her 
The People's Fellowship Director

What is your why? What brings you to PBP or the work that you do?

A deep seeded desire to open up government and bring it closer to the people. A conviction (brought on by a lifetime of witnessing governments leaving behind their people) that bringing those that can't usually vote to the table will uncover more knowledge and innovation than our electeds working alone any day of the week. Seeing the innovation and magic that take place when we plan, budget, and design with young people. And real action. I hope to practice participatory democracy with government and young people daily, so that when it becomes status quo, our young people can show government the best ways to design policy & budget with people.

What brings you joy?

Walking without a destination. Finding places you haven't seen before. Exploring other people's way of life. Learning together. A sunny day.