The staff of The Opportunity Agenda is composed of a diverse group of professionals who, together, bring experience and expertise in the areas of communications, research, policy, advocacy, law, fundraising, and administration.


    Ellen Buchman


    Ellen Buchman brings to The Opportunity Agenda a breadth of knowledge, expertise, experience, and relationships having worked among leaders at local, state, national, and international levels for more than 25 years. Prior to joining The Opportunity Agenda in 2018, she served as Executive Vice President for Field and Communications at The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, where she piloted the organization's field and organizing program, and developed and oversaw the vision for the integrated field, communications, and policy work at the center of the organization; led and put into place dozens of successful campaigns; spearheaded mobilization, training and support to national, state, and local coalitions; and created innovative organizing and communications training models for advocacy around the country and at the international level.

    Get to know Ellen

    Will Coley

    Communications Coordinator

    Will Coley comes to this work after many years of producing media, digital strategy, and outreach campaigns for organizations working on immigration reform and human rights. He has created digital storytelling for nonprofit organizations working for social change such as the CultureStrike, Women's Refugee Commission, Detention Watch Network, and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees. 

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    Julie Fisher-Rowe

    Director of Narrative and Engagement

    Julie oversees the organization’s strategic framing work, translating communications research and theory into practical messaging strategies for advocates and activists. In this role, she works with groups across the country to identify opportunities to build public support for social justice issues and policies. Through a mix of trainings, workshops, tool development and individual discussions, Julie helps social justice groups hone in on the right messages for their goals, audiences, and other organizational needs.

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    Rachel Grow

    Program Coordinator

    As Program Coordinator, Rachel works across departments with the Program Directors, serving as the primary contact for all internal and external requests. Aside from relationship management, she maintains oversight and organization of materials, while strategizing solutions and conducting research on relevant topics to present to the appropriate staff. Looking closely at existing organizational structures, she is developing and implementing improved systems and protocols.

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    Tanesha Jackson

    Executive Assistant

    As Administrative Assistant at the Opportunity Agenda, Tanesha Jackson provides invaluable logistical support in implementing the work of the organization.

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    Elizabeth Johnsen

    Outreach and Editorial Director

    As the Outreach and Editorial Director, Elizabeth oversees the organization's outward-facing platforms and content, including the website, digital programming, and printed and electronic publications. She manages the review and distribution process for the organization's distinctive editorial and messaging material, while actively growing The Opportunity Agenda's national network of partners and stakeholders.


    Get to know Elizabeth

    Tad Kroll

    Development Coordinator

    As the Development Coordinator, Tad is responsible for researching and writing proposals, updates, reports, and other materials to funders. He works to help create and cultivate mutually satisfying relationships with foundation and individual funders through well-crafted and engaging materials and events. He also works with program staff to help improve tracking and evaluation systems to provide the best information to improve programming and demonstrate effectiveness to funders.

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    Eva-Marie Malone

    Director for Research and Learning

    As the Director for Research and Learning, Eva-Marie develops a comprehensive and strategically sequenced set of tools and resources to promote The Opportunity Agenda’s internal and external capacity building. Utilizing skills and expertise in organizational development, strategic communications, and technology, Eva-Marie creates innovative training programs.

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    Lucy Odigie-Turley

    Director of Research

    As the Director of Research, Lucy leads the organization’s communications research strategy and activities, including the assessment of public opinion, news media coverage, online media discourse, and popular culture as it relates to our initiatives and mission. In her role, Lucy works to identify new methodologies, content sources, and analytical techniques for tracking media discourse and public sentiment. Working closely with our partners in the field, she also works to synthesize existing research and identify field research needs. Her research has been featured in Forbes, The Hollywood Reporter, The Guardian, LA Weekly, and The Daily Show with Trevor Noah.

    Get to know Lucy

    Porshéa Patterson-Hurst

    Public Opinion Research Associate

    Porshéa Patterson-Hurst brings experience in the translation and communication of technical and complex research data into readily accessible language to her position as the Public Opinion Research Associate for the Immigration Research Hub at The Opportunity Agenda. In this role, she consults with allies in the field to identify and obtain pertinent research and field needs, utilizes quantitative methods to perform exploratory data analysis on digital discourse related to immigration, and curates and shares public opinion research with partners in The Opportunity Agenda network.

    Get to know Porshéa

    Sughey Ramirez

    Training & Communications Associate

    Sughey brings extensive experience translating language and culture for diverse audiences to her role as The Opportunity Agenda’s Training and Communications Associate. Over the years, through positions in research and strategy, development, and community outreach, she has collaborated with public and private sector leaders focused on advancing issues such as health equity, affordable housing, immigrant rights, and racial justice. 

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    J. Rachel Reyes

    Digital Communications Manager

    As the digital communications manager, Rachel leads the creation, development and implementation of dynamic digital strategies across all of The Opportunity Agenda’s online platforms and social media networks. Prior to this role, she served as the director of communications for the Center for Migration Studies of New York (CMS), a think tank and educational institute devoted to the study of international migration and public policies that safeguard the dignity and rights of migrants, refugees and newcomers. With a little over seven years at CMS, Rachel, an attorney by training, brings significant experience in law and policy to her position at The Opportunity Agenda.

    Get to know Rachel

    Betsy Theobald Richards

    Director of Cultural Strategies

    Betsy Theobald Richards leads the organization’s Creative Change efforts with artists, influencers, and advocates to shift narrative, culture, and policy towards greater and more equal opportunity for all. Betsy brings over two decades of experience in philanthropy, performing arts, Indigenous cultures, museums, arts education, media, and community advocacy to her role.

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    Erin Strek

    Development Assistant

    As Development Assistant, Erin plays a crucial role in supporting the Advancement Team, including resource development, database management, donor relations and event coordination. Prior to joining the Opportunity Agenda, Erin spent time developing her fundraising skills at Culver Place Strategies, a fully LGBT owned, New York City and State based, political consulting firm. Additionally, Erin spent over two years as Search Manager at Hedley May, a global boutique executive search firm.

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    Leslie Weber, CFRE

    Vice President for Institutional Advancement

    Leslie Weber brings to The Opportunity Agenda a broad range of non-profit executive and development experience. She has been instrumental in expanding revenue for organizations as diverse as The American Place Theatre, The National Council for Research on Women, and the Prospect Park Alliance, where she served as Vice President of Development and played a key role in the Park’s $74 million Lakeside Campaign.


    Get to know Leslie

    Erika Williams

    Director of Human Resources and Operations

    As Director of Human Resources and Operations, Erika oversees functions which include: the administration of organizational policies/procedures, employee performance management, employee satisfaction/engagement, training/development, legal compliance, contract engagement, vendor relationships and organizational accounting/finance, among other activities.

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Fall 2019 Charles Sherman, Research Intern

Communications Institute Fellows

The 2019 Communications Institute will focus on The Power of Voice in a time when social justice leaders are being actively silenced. The Opportunity Agenda is proud to launch these voices into the discourse to reframe the debate for social justice in the United States.