Deborah is an attorney who led a prior life as a political junkie and consultant for Democratic political candidates, not-for-profit and advocacy organizations, and foundations. She started her career in politics as the Field Director for Congresswoman Lynn Wolsey and eventually served as the Communications Director for Chellie Pingree's 2002 U.S. Senate Campaign. In between, she worked at numerous political-consulting firms and advocacy organizations, including Staton Hughes & Shafer, Spitfire Strategies, and Americans for Gun Safety. She then became an attorney. After practicing law for nearly ten years, she left her law firm in September of 2016 to work on the New Left Accelerator full time.
Deborah has a law degree from U.C. Berkeley School of Law, a Masters in Journalism from Northwestern University, and a M.A. in Political Science from U.C. Berkeley. She currently serves on the board of Women Lawyers On Guard, lives in San Francisco, and is the proud and tired mom of Ryder Jane (almost 4) and Hudson Townes (almost 2).
JEN CHEYNE, DIRECTOR OF OPERATIONS
Jen developed a passion for process, planning, and systems through her time working for political and grassroots campaigns including the Obama Campaign and Organizing for America. She honed her skills in the nonprofit world as the Director of Acceleration Services at Citizen Engagement Lab (CEL). There she oversaw a fiscal sponsorship program that provided organizational development and fundraising services to social change start-ups, including Vote.org, 18MillionRising, and MPowerChange. Jen has extensive experience in building effective grassroots organizations, running organizational systems, and nonprofit infrastructure. Jen lives in Oakland, California with her husband and dog Stanley.
BARBARA REISS, STRATEGIC INITIATIVES & PROGRAMS
Barbara has a successful track record of more than 25 years experience as a coach and consultant, working with the leadership of emerging and established for profit and nonprofit organizations to achieve growth, scale, and impact. In addition to having her own consulting firm Barbara was a co-founder of UpStart, a nonprofit accelerator providing ongoing business strategy development and fostering innovation for social entrepreneurs. During her tenure at UpStart, she worked with over 50 social entrepreneurs giving them the tools to develop and execute on their organizational strategies and goals. Barbara holds undergraduate and graduate degrees from UC Berkeley. She serves on a number of boards, including the Board of the Northern California Association of Strategic Planning and Facing History and Ourselves (SF region). Barbara enjoys hiking, bicycling, and skiing, and treasures her time with her husband and sons.