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 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. She is an internationally-known trainer, leader, and practitioner of organization and coalition building, campaign initiating and implementing, and training in the intersection of organizing, advocating, and communicating for social justice. Ellen's career has been focused on building effective and inclusive teams and partnerships for progress toward racial and gender equity. Her work has centered mainly on issue areas including but not limited to criminal justice reform, immigration and immigrant human rights, and voting rights and access to democracy; and she has developed training curricula for advocates on the state, national and international levels on not only issues such as these but also on the skills needed for effective organizing, communicating and advocating for social change. Her expertise and vision is in building campaign and organizational structures to build power, and she is trained in outreach, leadership development, organizing and social work for change.

    Get to know Ellen

    Will Coley

    Communications Coordinator

    Will 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.

    Get to know Will

    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.

    Get to know Julie

    Rachel Grow

    Executive Coordinator

    As the Executive Coordinator, Rachel plays a significant role in supporting smooth and efficient operations for the Executive Director, as well as working 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.

    Get to know Rachel

    Michael Paul Jackson

    Media Strategist

    As Media Strategist, Michael is responsible for building and implementing traditional and online media outreach and placement systems at the local, state, and national levels, with a focus on pitching both The Opportunity Agenda staff and key partners. His work includes developing and implementing strategic communications plans for organization-wide programs and project-specific media outreach.

    Get to know Michael

    Tanesha Jackson

    Administrative Assistant

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

    Get to know Tanesha

    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.

    Get to know Tad

    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.

    Get to know Eva-Marie

    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

    Public Opinion Research Associate

    Porshéa Patterson 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. 

    Get to know Sughey Ramirez

    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.

    Get to know Betsy

    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.

    Get to know Erin

    Janelle Treibitz

    Creative Engagement Coordinator

    Janelle Treibitz is a cultural strategist, political organizer, and puppeteer. In her role as Creative Engagement Coordinator, she organizes The Opportunity Agenda's Creative Change events, convenings, and collaborations. She oversees The Opportunity Agenda’s 500+ network of artist activists and helps design and implement long-term cultural strategies for narrative and cultural change.

    Get to know Janelle

    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

    Bridget Whelan

    Manager of Training and Engagement

    Bridget Whelan brings journalism, media relations, training, and nonprofit capacity-building experience to her role as training and engagement coordinator at The Opportunity Agenda. She previously worked as communications director for the North Carolina Conservation Network, coordinating messaging, strategy, and communications efforts for nearly 100 environmental groups in the state. She is an Emmy Award-winning journalist who worked on television and digital news platforms at Capitol Broadcasting Company in Raleigh, NC before leaving news to advocate for a more equitable and just world. Bridget holds a degree in Journalism from Ohio University, and she volunteers at the Durham Literacy Center, teaching English to non-native speakers.

    Get to know Bridget

    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.

    Get to know Erika


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.