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

    Director of Finance and Operations

    As Director of Finance and Operations, Patrick (Pat) Braddick oversees the finances of The Opportunity Agenda. This includes budgeting, forecasting, revenue activity and payroll planning.

    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

    Istou Diallo

    Executive Assistant, Programs

    As Executive Assistant for Programs, Istou Diallo brings her justice-based intersectional background to The Opportunity Agenda where she supports both the Director of Program Management and Impact and the Vice President for Program Strategy and Impact.

    Get to know Istou

    Brian Erickson

    Digital Communications and Multimedia Manager

    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 Digital Communications and Multimedia Manager, 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.

    Get to know Jamela

    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, Office of the President

    As the Executive Assistant in the Office of the President, 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

    David Kwang

    Operations Manager

    An experienced accounting and operations professional, David Kwang increases organizational efficiency at The Opportunity Agenda by managing systems, processes, and the overall functionality of business operations. This includes but is not limited to contracts management and related payments, facilities management, information technology, office administration, and organizational credit card management.

    Get to know David

    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

    Rahwa Mengisteab

    Executive Assistant for the Chief Operations Officer and Director of Finance

    As Executive Assistant for the Chief Operations Officer and Director of Finance, Rahwa Mengisteab ensures that the daily operations of the COO and Director of Finance are seamless, providing consulting on administrative issues, interdepartmental coordination, internal/external communications, project coordination, logistics/schedule management, bookkeeping, and minor accounting.

    Get to know Rahwa

    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

    Sunee Kate Quirante

    Social Media Strategist

    Sunee Kate Quirante brings experience in community organizing and digital media production to her role as Social Media Strategist. In this role, Sunee Kate publicizes The Opportunity Agenda’s vision and values by developing content and managing accounts that speak to the organization’s worldview.

    Get to know Sunee Kate

    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

    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.

    Get to know Chrystian

    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.

    Get to know Erin

    Christian Tejada

    Database Associate

    As Database Associate, Chris Tejada works closely with the Advancement Team in overseeing data integrity, database maintenance, internal reporting, and prospect management within Raiser’s Edge/NXT. He also works cross departmentally with all programmatic teams to support a variety of database needs. 

    Get to know Chris

    Haydee Villanueva

    Administrative Coordinator

    As Administrative Coordinator, Haydee Villanueva coordinates all aspects of the organization’s HR and operations functions including office services, finance, human resources, and information technology. 

    Get to know Haydee

    Britney Vongdara

    Research Coordinator

    As Research Coordinator, Britney Vongdara manages the operations of the Narrative Research Lab and their monthly webinar series, assists in research evaluation efforts, and contributes to additional research and narrative team projects.

    Get to know Britney

    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

    Jade Wilenchik (she/her) is the Movement Capacity Coordinator at the Opportunity Agenda. In this role, she develops and implements capacity-building models, trainings, and tools for our network.

    Get to know Jade

    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 2022 Internship program on hold

Communications Institute Fellows

In this difficult time, when we continue to find ourselves pulled toward the call to action, yet face the constant challenges of navigating virtual spaces, we recognize the essential need to provide advocates, activists, and cultural strategists with an online learning and convening space where they can be trained in the latest communication and narrative practices. That is why in 2021 the Communications Institute stepped up to the challenge to Go Beyond by going remote.