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 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 oversees PBP's Program's teams, including Campaigns and Advocacy, Technical Assistance, and the Participation Lab. With the team, she works to increase the demand, visibility and impact of PB efforts across North America. Kristania 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 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.
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 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 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 serves as a project manager 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 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.
Jane manages institutional and individual giving for PBP. She brings more than 10 years of experience in grant writing and management, tracking and evaluation, and communicating impacts for a range of government and non-profit organizations. She is a graduate of Swarthmore College and holds masters degrees in communication studies and urban planning and policy. Jane lives in St. Louis, MO, where she is a leader in STL Mutual Aid. She likes to be outside in all seasons, and after work you can usually find her on her front porch with a glass of wine and a couple of kids.
Alexis works to support the holistic internal and external operations of PBP. Originally hailing from the Midwest, they began their professional life in Chicago’s storefront theater scene and for the last several years have been working happily and diligently at the intersection of operations, art, and community building. They specialize in systems infrastructure, building organizational capacity, and prioritizing people power and wellbeing. You can catch them dashing around Brooklyn on their trusty single-speed, coaxing life from any available patch of dirt in their community garden, or working on issue areas related to food justice and TGNCNB+ rights.
Petula is responsible for supporting the coordination and management of the Democracy Beyond Elections coalition. This includes building relationships with national, state and local partners to build the coalition and foster engagement of member organizations in order to increase the visibility and impact of participatory democracy across the United States. Petula has over a decade of experience in building strategic relationships with advocacy groups, community partners and elected officials. Petula has managed political campaigns and organized communities in Central Brooklyn around affordable senior housing, quality education and social justice initiatives. Prior to joining PBP she served as Chief of Staff for the 56th District NYS Assembly.
She volunteers her time and expertise by taking leadership roles in organizations such as local Community Councils, East Brooklyn Congregations, and Repair the World (Brooklyn) - Crown Heights Leadership Cohort.
Robbie is an educator, facilitator, and eco-social justice organizer based in Oakland, CA. As the Communications Associate on the Participatory Budgeting Project team, he weaves and bridges stories of participatory democracy in action, advances equitable public decision-making that shifts health, wealth, and power to communities, and connects with folks from across geographies and neighborhoods about the issues that impact their lives. He brings to this practice a wealth of experience as a youth educator, local government public servant, and climate justice advocate. In his spare time, you will find him relaxing in nature, nose deep in a good book, engaged in good conversation, or dancing like nobody's watching.
Anita currently serves as the Advocacy Manager at PBP. She works with government agencies, schools, and community-based organizations to develop strategies for implementing participatory budgeting in their contexts. Prior to this role, she was an advocate for affordable housing and tenants' rights, providing holistic services to housing-insecure families and training partners to provide the same quality of care.
Drawing on her community engagement work, Anita works to center and amplify community voice as the starting point for transformation within our democracy. She holds a bachelor’s degree in Latin American Studies from Queens College and is currently pursuing a master’s degree in Social Work at Fordham University. She is a lifelong resident of 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 clinical psychology Ph.D. from the Institute of Advanced Psychological Studies at Adelphi University.
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, lifelong 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 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 performances!!
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