Staff


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.

Staff

    Ellen Buchman

    President

    Ellen Buchman was appointed President of The Opportunity Agenda in August 2019, after having served as Vice President for Program Strategy and Impact for the organization. Ellen brings a breadth of knowledge, expertise, experience, and relationships having worked as an organizer, advocate and communicator among leaders at local, state, national, and international levels for more than 25 years. Ellen’s focus is to bring strategies of collaboration and inclusion to any organization, project or body of work that she is involved in leading or being part of.

    Get to know Ellen

    Patrick Braddick

    Finance Director

    As Finance Director, Patrick (Pat) Braddick assists to oversee the funding of The Opportunity Agenda. This includes budgeting, forecasting, revenue activity and payroll planning. In this role, he hopes to bring clarity to TOA’s present funding and income as well as assisting in guiding investments strategy – in resources and funding.

    Get to know Pat

    Arnell Calderon

    Development Associate for Institutional Giving

    As the Development Associate for Institutional Giving, Arnell Calderon supports the Institutional Advancement team in foundation research, drafting and submitting grant reports and proposals, record keeping, and database management. Prior to joining TOA, she has professional and academic experience in education, publishing, academic libraries, writing, and transformative justice work.

    Get to know Arnell

    Brian Erickson

    Multimedia and Communications Strategist

    Brian Erickson brings a firm belief in the power of story to drive narrative change and create political leverage for social change. In his role as the Multimedia and Communications Strategist, Brian combines traditional media advocacy tactics and messaging best practices with documentary film and emerging media trends to produce multimedia stories grounded in community-led campaigns for a more equitable and just future. 

    Get to know Brian

    Julie Fisher-Rowe

    Director of Narrative and Engagement

    Julie Fisher-Rowe 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

    Jamela Irvin

    Human Resources Manager

    As HR Manager, Jamela Irvin is responsible for the overall administration, coordination, and evaluation of the human resources function, and oversees organizational HR systems and the entire employee life cycle.

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    Elizabeth Johnsen

    Director of Program Management and Impact

    A seasoned narrative and communications professional, Elizabeth is responsible for overseeing implementation of The Opportunity Agenda's ambitious programmatic vision. With extensive experience in project and staff management, Elizabeth works with the VP of Program Strategy and Impact to develop the organization's plan of action, design effective workflow systems, and oversee cross-team collaboration to achieve programmatic goals.

     

    Get to know Elizabeth

    Zeynep Kilik

    Executive Assistant

    As Executive Assistant, Zeynep Kilik supports smooth and efficient operations and communications for the President, and works closely with The Opportunity Agenda’s Board of Directors, staff, contractors, and partners.

    Get to know Zeynep

    Tad Kroll

    Development Manager, Institutional Giving

    As the Development Manager for Institutional Giving, Tad Kroll 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

    Adam Luna

    Vice President for Program Strategy and Impact

    Adam Luna serves as the Vice President for Program Strategy and Impact at The Opportunity Agenda where he oversees all aspects of the organization’s programmatic mission work. Adam brings over 20 years of experience in issue campaign management, overseeing strategic communications, policy & legislative work, coalition building, and project management across a wide range of long term systemic challenges such as retirement security and immigration.

    Get to know Adam

    Porshéa Patterson-Hurst

    Research Manager

    Porshéa Patterson-Hurst is experienced in the contextualization and communication of technical and complex research data into readily accessible language. In her position as the Research Manager at The Opportunity Agenda, she is responsible for envisioning and managing major research initiatives from start to finish. She uses insights from colleagues and partners within The Opportunity Agenda network to identify opportunities and strategies for groundbreaking research, having it disseminated, interpreted, and uplifted.

    Get to know Porshéa

    Sughey Ramirez

    Cultural Network Strategist

    Sughey Ramirez brings extensive experience translating language and culture for social change to her Cultural Strategies role at The Opportunity Agenda. Over the years, through positions in research and strategy, development, and community outreach, she has worked with public and private sector leaders to advance issues such as health equity, affordable housing, immigrant rights, and racial justice.

    Get to know Sughey Ramirez

    J. Rachel Reyes

    Director of Strategic Communications and Network Engagement

    As the Director of Strategic Communications and Network Engagement, J. Rachel Reyes oversees The Opportunity Agenda's external communications efforts to expand the organization's reach, raise its profile and visibility, increase constituent engagement, and deepen relationships across multiple communities. An attorney by training, Rachel brings significant experience in communicating law and policy, particularly for digital spaces.

    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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    Chrystian Rodriguez

    Training and Partner Engagement Manager

    As the Training and Partner Engagement Manager, Chrystian Rodriguez is responsible for advancing The Opportunity Agenda’s mission to provide quality training, systems, and support to aid our partners in designing effective media communications strategies. Chrystian also manages collaborations and coordination of The Opportunity Agenda’s organizational partnerships around the country.

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    Charlie Sherman

    Narrative Strategist

    Charlie Sherman brings experience at the intersection of social science research and strategic communications to his role as Narrative Strategist. In this role, Charlie works closely with colleagues to create and coordinate our suite of narrative strategy and messaging tools, develop ways for those tools to be accessible to intended audiences, and assess their efficacy. Charlie helps advise staff and partners on how research and narrative insights can shape their projects, as well as collecting and synthesizing findings from the growing narrative change field for both internal learnings and external projects. Additionally, Charlie assists in the evaluation processes to track organizational metrics as well as the success of narrative change concepts and findings at large. 

    Get to know Charlie

    Erin Strek

    Donor and Constituent Relations Strategist

    As Donor and Constituent Relations Strategist, Erin Strek works to expand and deepen relationships with individual donors, collaborates with the communications team on strengthening constituent relations and network engagement strategies, and oversees the creation and coordination of the organization’s outreach emails and email program.

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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

    Jade Wilenchik

    Movement Capacity Coordinator

    As Movement Capacity Coordinator, Jade Wilenchik works to support and enhance The Opportunity Agenda's training, media, and partner engagement strategies. Much of her academic and professional experience has been rooted in worker’s rights and economic justice, having held leadership roles in Emerson Progressives and Radicals in Defense of Employees (USAS Local 196), sat on the Executive Committee of the Newsguild of New York, and worked in the offices of Jobs with Justice MA. Prior to joining The Opportunity Agenda, she was the Network Policy Manager at the Roosevelt Institute, an organization committed to rewriting the rules that define our social and economic realities. 

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    Erika Williams

    Chief Operations Officer

    As Chief Operations Officer, Erika Williams 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

Interns

Summer 2021 Abrielle De Veaux, Social Media 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.