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.


    Alan Jenkins

    President, Co-Founder

    Alan Jenkins is President and Co-Founder of The Opportunity Agenda, a social justice communication lab dedicated to the idea that our nation can and should be a place where everyone enjoys full and equal opportunity. Before joining The Opportunity Agenda, Alan was Director of Human Rights at the Ford Foundation, managing grantmaking in the United States and eleven overseas regions. His prior positions include Assistant to the Solicitor General at the U.S. Department of Justice, where he represented the United States government in constitutional and other litigation before the U.S. Supreme Court, and Associate Counsel to the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, where he defended the rights of low-income communities facing exploitation and discrimination.

    Get to know Alan

    Ellen Buchman

    Vice President, Strategy and Program Impact

    Ellen brings to The Opportunity Agenda a remarkable breadth of expertise, knowledge, experience, and relationships among leaders at the local, state, national and international levels. She comes to the organization from The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights and The Leadership Conference Education Fund, the nation's oldest and largest civil and human rights coalition, where she has served as Executive Vice President for Field and Communications and in other key positions since 2003. Ellen started the organization's field and organizing program, and has a range of expertise from serving previously in state and national institutions and campaigns.

    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

    Jennice Colón

    Operations Associate

    Jen brings over 28 years of experience in bookkeeping and office administration in the non-profit and private sectors to her new role as Operations Associate at The Opportunity Agenda. She spent 14 years as Office Manager/IT Administrator at Big Apple Greeter, Inc., before transitioning to serve as Finance and Operations Manager at Educational Video Center, Inc.

    Get to know Jen

    Julie Fisher-Rowe

    Director of Narrative, Training, and Journalism

    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

    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

    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

    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

    Manager of Research and Evaluation

    As the Manager of Research and Evaluation, Lucy oversees the design, planning, and implementation of original public opinion, media, and social media research across our issues areas. In her role, Lucy works to identify new methodologies, content sources, and analytical techniques for tracking both news and entertainment media discourse, and public sentiment overtime. Working closely with our partners in the field, she also works to synthesize existing research, and identify gaps in the literature and field research needs. 

    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

    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 political organizer, facilitator, and puppeteer who builds cultural strategies for social movements. In her role as Creative Engagement Coordinator, she helps coordinate events, convenings, and collaborations which build artist-activist networks and develop new strategic creative projects.

    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

    Training and Engagement Coordinator

    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

    Office and Human Resources Manager

    As the Office and Human Resources Manager, Erika oversees the administration of policies, employee compensation and benefits, onboarding and professional development guidance. She manages contracts and vendor relationships and ensures the accuracy and timeliness of accounts payable and receivable activities.

    Get to know Erika


Spring 2019 Rhiannon Connor, Development Intern Wesley Huang, Research Intern

Communications Institute Fellows

As part of a six-month residency program, our 2017 Communications Institute Fellows are available to speak to local and national media about criminal justice and immigration reform.