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New Leaders Council

2014 Fellows

Melissa Anselmo, National OpenNotes Program Director, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center

Melissa Anselmo is the National OpenNotes Program Director at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center. She works on a health policy initiative to improve patient engagement and healthcare transparency through providing patients easy access to their medical notes. She co-leads the development and dissemination of education and advocacy materials to advise health system leaders on adopting policies for sharing visit notes with patients.

Melissa previously served as Vice-President for Global Medical Knowledge, a non-profit in Cambridge, MA, dedicated to improving maternal health and medical education in developing countries. She coordinated the implementation of a maternal health grant project in rural Honduras.

Prior to living in Boston, Melissa was a Rotary International Ambassadorial Scholar in New Zealand where she studied health services research and health care inequalities. She also conducted tuberculosis (TB) research in Indonesia, investigating the barriers that keep children who are at a high risk for developing TB from receiving screening.

Before working in public health Melissa was a recipient of the US Department of Agriculture’s William Helms Fellowship and Scholarship and worked for USDA’s Custom Border Patrol training unit. She spent several months in India working for Swechha, a New Delhi based NGO, on capacity building for Swechha’s environmental education campaigns. Melissa also volunteered for Senator Obama during the 2008 presidential election in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.

Melissa is interested in participatory policy-making and hopes to continue work in healthcare policy and women’s health and development issues.

Melissa was raised on a small horse farm in Boyds, Maryland. She received her BS in Biology from Bucknell University in 2007 and her MPH from the University of Otago (New Zealand) in 2011. Melissa is an enthusiastic hiker, traveler, horseback rider, and former ski bum. She enjoys cycling and exploring her new adopted home of Boston and learning about both its political and beer brewing history.

Kelly Baker, Volunteer Coordinator, Science Club for Girls

baker.jpgKelly Baker is the Volunteer Coordinator at Science Club for Girls, a Cambridge-based non-profit that aims to empower girls by providing free after-school programs in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) and by maximizing meaningful interactions with female mentors in STEM.

Kelly is currently developing, piloting and evaluating a Mentors of Color recruitment campaign in greater Boston. In addition to recruiting and retaining a diverse cohort of mentors, she runs cultural competency trainings for Science Club for Girls volunteers and staff.

Before joining Science Club for Girls, Kelly was a Research Associate at Harvard Business School. She collaborated with professors in Marketing, Finance, and Business Law to research and write HBS case studies on corporate governance.

Kelly graduated from Skidmore College in 2010 with a B.A. in Political Science. She grew up in Boston, Massachusetts and currently resides in Allston. In her spare time, she runs a social justice book club with friends and mentors a young man through the Adoption & Foster Care Mentoring program.

Edward Byrne, Student Diversity Programs Coordinator, Cambridge Public Schools & Simmons College

byrne.jpgEdward Byrne is the coordinator of student diversity programs for grades 9-12 in the Cambridge Public Schools. In this role, he develops and supports student inclusion initiatives and multicultural programming, as well as advises school, district, and city leaders on culturally competent curriculum, instruction, and school climate practices. He is also pursuing a Master of Public Policy degree at Simmons College with a concentration in education policy and children, youth, and family policy.

He spent four years on the Massachusetts Commission on Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgender Youth, an independent state agency. While vice chair of the commission he oversaw all of its intra-government relations including liaising with the legislature on the state budget.

Previously, he worked at the communications consultancy Sametz Blackstone Associates, where he oversaw brand and visual communications projects for large cultural, academic, and life science organizations across the country. He was born and raised in Methuen, MA and currently lives in Boston. He received his bachelor’s degree in social studies from Harvard University.

Carlton J. Cosby, Civil Rights Analyst, U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, Region I

cosby.jpgCarlton Cosby brings a strong passion for social justice and community service to the 2014 NLC Institute; especially where youth development is concerned.

Carlton recently completed his matriculation through The Heller School for Social Policy and Management at Brandeis University, where he earned a Master of Public Policy degree. His focus was Children Youth and Family.

Before attending Brandeis, Carlton was a Senior Relationship Manger for the United Negro College Fund’s Institute for Capacity Building. There, Carlton and a colleague ran the Institutional Advancement Program; an endeavor funded by an $18 million grant from The Kresge Foundation to increase the ability of UNCF network schools to raise unrestricted funding through alumni and trustees toward the end of increased college completion. Carlton’s role at the institute consisted of: coaching fundraising executives; managing consultants; overseeing the execution of national capacity building conferences; and contributing to the production and dissemination of best and promising practices.

Prior to his tenure at UNCF, Carlton was a Sr. District Executive for the Boy Scouts of America where he directed the Scout Outreach program – providing scouting to underserved youth in Orlando, Florida and Atlanta Georgia. Before joining the Boy Scouts team, and during the 2004 election cycle, Carlton was a community organizer for U.S. Action/Michigan Citizens Education Fund, where he built Get Out The Vote campaigns in Flint/Kalamazoo/Detroit, Michigan. Carlton also coordinated the placement of volunteers for the American Federation of State Federal and Municipal Employees’ (A.F.S.C.M.E.) voter protection efforts.

While still in undergraduate school at Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University, where he graduated in the fall of 2003, Carlton was recruited to be the Volunteer and Canvassing Director for a campaign to elect Orlando Florida’s first African American State Senator. History was made in 2002 when Carlton’s candidate won by 53 percent of the vote.

In 2008, Carlton served as a Young Ambassador for the Kasim Reed for Mayor Campaign, a key group of young professionals who worked toward the election of Atlanta’s latest mayor. He is also a member of the Eta Gamma Lambda Chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Incorporated; and is involved in a host of other community and professional activities.

Matthew Filipowicz, Host and producer, The Matthew Filipowicz Show

filipowicz.jpgMatthew Filipowicz is a comedian, cartoonist, satirist and host of the Matthew Filipowicz Show.

Before starting his own talk show, Matthew was a regular contributor and sometimes guest host for Ring of Fire Radio with Mike Papantonio and Robert Kennedy, Jr.. For close to three years he created a daily, satirical political cartoon for the website

His work has been featured on CNN, NPR, PBS, HBO, BBC, Ain’t It Cool News, the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, the Atlantic, the Nation, the London Times, the Thom Hartman Show, RT TV and countless sites in the progressive blogosphere including Crooks and Liars, Daily Kos, the Huffington Post, and many more.

He has created videos for, the Nation Magazine, Mother Jones, the Center For Media and Democracy, the Young Turks, the ACLU-SC, Netroots Nation, Vote Vets, the National Conference for Media Reform, NYSUT, and many other progressive organizations.

He has given a keynote address at Yale University and has spoken at many national conferences including Netroots Nation and the National Conference For Media Reform.

Matthew is the national coordinator for Laughing Liberally, a progressive political comedy show, as well as the head of Laughing Liberally Boston.

Jessica Green, Program Manager, Pathways to Wellness

green.jpgJessica Green is the Program Manager at Pathways to Wellness, a non-profit holistic healthcare center in the South End, which works to provide access to holistic options for the Greater Boston community.

In this role, Jessica oversees and works to grow Pathways’ AIDS Care Project, Satellite Clinics, and Homecare Programs, all of which provide acupuncture and massage services free of cost to people living with HIV and AIDS, people with cancer, people with disabilities, and elderly clients.

Previously, Jessica was an entrepreneur and business owner as the owner/operator of the Boston area’s first franchise of the Pita Pit restaurant. In this role, she also served on the Board of Directors of the Brookline Chamber of Commerce for three years, including two years as the JFK Shopping Area Vice President and one year as the Senior Vice President and Program Director.

For the past seven years, Jessica has been a volunteer with The Network/La Red, a Boston-based anti-oppression and social justice organization that works to end partner abuse in LGBTQ communities. Her work has included direct service as well as serving on the Event Committee and the Solidarity Organizing and Anti-Oppression Committee.

Before living in Boston, Jessica served in AmeriCorps VISTA at Common Ground Outdoor Adventures in Logan, Utah and spent three years in rural North Carolina working at year-round wilderness camps with youth.

Jessica is committed to anti-oppression work and social justice and is involved in queer, femme, Jewish, and food communities in Boston. She also spends her time cooking for and with friends, throwing parties, and swimming outside as much as possible.
Jessica grew up in New Jersey and has been a Jamaica Plain resident for the past eight years. She earned her bachelor’s degree from the University of Maryland College Park in Women’s Studies with a concentration in Women’s Health, where she was also a member of the College Park Scholars program.

Nate Hinchey, Special Projects Assistant, Harvard Graduate School of Education

hinchey.jpgNate Hinchey is currently the Special Projects Assistant in the Dean’s Office of the Harvard Graduate School of Education, where he works on a variety of initiatives aimed at preparing transformative leaders and ensuring that every child has access to a high-quality education. Nate is also pursuing his master’s degree in education policy and management part-time at Harvard, with a particular interest in addressing the inequalities in wealth and income at the root of the academic achievement gap.

In 2013, Nate was elected as a member of the Brookline Town Meeting, the town’s legislative body. He also serves as a member of the Governing Board of Common Cause Massachusetts, a campaign finance reform and good government advocacy group.

Prior to joining HGSE, Nate worked at Prize4Life, a non-profit organization that raises funds for ALS research, and the Hyde Square Task Force, a community organization focused on developing young leaders in Jamaica Plain and Roxbury. Nate holds a B.A. in Political Science from Boston College.

In his spare time, Nate lives and dies with the Patriots and wishes his apartment building would let him put a grill on his balcony.

Jesse Kanson-Benanav, Regional Project Associate, The Community Builders, Inc.

kanson-benanav.jpgJesse Kanson-Benanav is a trained urban planner and community development professional who has worked for more than a decade to expand affordable housing opportunities for low- and moderate-income residents throughout New England. As Regional Project Associate at The Community Builders, Inc., Jesse helps grow business opportunities for one of the largest and most accomplished affordable housing developers in the United States. Jesse’s prior work in the affordable housing industry has included stints as a public housing management consultant, affordable housing market researcher, and four years as a community organizer at the Somerville Community Corporation where he worked with local residents to strengthen municipal affordable housing policies.

In addition to his professional commitments, Jesse is a leader in community activism and politics in Cambridge where he lives. In 2012 Jesse founded A Better Cambridge, a citywide group of residents working to promote sustainable and equitable urban growth in the city. He also devotes much of his free time to progressive politics and currently serves as Chairman of the Cambridge Democratic City Committee. Jesse has also served in leadership roles on numerous local and state political campaigns, and in the past worked as field staff on campaigns in Minnesota, Ohio, and Pennsylvania.

Originally hailing from St. Paul, Minnesota, Jesse has lived in Cambridge for the past 10 years. He has a Master in City Planning degree from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and a Bachelor’s Degree from Oberlin College.

Sarah Kennedy, Campaign Scheduler, Suffolk Downs

kennedy.jpgSarah is part of the campaign team for the casino ballot referendum at Suffolk Downs in Revere, Massachusetts. She is the liaison between internal management, various consultant teams and campaign field staff. She manages campaign schedules for the team, coordinates community presentations and assists in field operations.

Sarah previously served as Director of Constituent Services and Community Initiatives for Cambridge’s Mayor Maher from 2010-2011. In this role she managed ongoing communication with and implemented strategic solutions for residents, non-profit agencies, local businesses and educational institutions. She was a key advisor on policy issues, including affordable housing and zoning initiatives as well as the Innovation Agenda, the educational reform that migrated 11 K-8 elementary schools to a modern middle and upper school system.

Sarah is a graduate of Fairfield University where she was the President of the College Democrats. For the past three years she has been a member of the Board of Directors for Cambridge Economic Opportunity Committee (CEOC), Cambridge’s designated community action anti-poverty agency. Sarah serves as Vice Chair of their Public Policy and Advocacy committee, leading legislative efforts of the agency and developing interactive City Council forums.

Originally from Cambridge, she now lives in Medford. Sarah is an avid runner working up to her second marathon, and is an unashamed foodie and wine connoisseur.

Jenny Lau, Foundation/ Political Assistant, Barbara Lee Family Foundation/ Political Office

lau.jpgOriginally from New York City, Jenny Lau has made Boston her home and has a diverse background in community engagement and grassroots organizing. Jenny currently works at the Barbara Lee Family Foundation, which advances women’s equality in American politics through unique nonpartisan research and strategic partnerships.

Previously, Jenny was the Civic Action and Worker Center Organizer at the Chinese Progressive Association, a grassroots community organization in Boston’s Chinatown, where she organized Chinese immigrants and engaged in citywide coalition work around workplace issues and targeted electoral campaigns like redistricting. Additionally, Jenny held positions at the Asian American Resource Workshop, where she was the 2011 Activist Fellow and a Core Committee member of the 2010 Boston Asian American Film Festival, and at the Institute for Asian American Studies at the University of Massachusetts Boston. Jenny was an inaugural Massachusetts State House Fellow for the Asian American Women’s Political Initiative and is now an active member of the Alumni Board.

Jenny is a Core Planner and Trainer for the Activist Training Institute, a leadership development and training program for Asian American activists, and presently serves on the board of the Chinese Progressive Political Action and the Harry H. Dow Memorial Fund.

Jenny is a 2012-2013 Community Fellow at Boston University’s Institute for Nonprofit Management and Leadership. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in American Studies and Community Health from Tufts University.

Mashael Majid, Community Planner, Somerville Community Corporation

majid.jpgMashael Majid is a community planner who facilitates participatory initiatives around civic engagement and design/planning processes. With the help of a grassroots advisory team that engaged over 1000 people to create and prioritize community principles for the Green Line Corridor, she is developing the Link Somerville Equity Standards _ a set of community-generated metrics centered on good development in Somerville with relation to local jobs, open space, mobility, affordable housing, and land use.

The most rewarding part of her work is watching residents from diverse socio-economic-cultural backgrounds _ especially new immigrants, working class residents, and communities of color _ recognize their agency to activate change. Originally from sunny Los Angeles, she is a graduate of UCLA and holds a Master of Urban Planning degree from the University of Illinois, with a focus on community development, sustainability and social justice.

Sarah Musiker, Chief of Staff, DEKA Research & Development

musiker.jpgSarah Musiker currently serves as Chief of Staff at DEKA Research & Development in Manchester, NH. She brings to her position more than two years of policy, consulting and communications experience for governmental and non-profit organizations in California and Washington, DC. She has wide-ranging elections, environmental and education policy expertise gained while working as a Capitol Fellow for the California Secretary of State and Delta Conservancy in Sacramento, California. Before that, she served as an External Relations Aide at The Education Trust-West in Oakland, California.

At DEKA Research & Development, Sarah assists in managing inventor and entrepreneur Dean Kamen in a range of activities including business development, communications, event requests and public relations. She also acts as a liaison for Kamen at FIRST, his nonprofit focusing on STEM education _ including helping to coordinate over 40 regional events, a national Championship and world-wide outreach opportunities. She also travels with Kamen and participate in a range of events and meetings with senior leadership of businesses, NGOs, and government.

Sarah holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Government from Smith College and eventually plans to pursue a dual degree in Business Administration and Public Policy. In her spare time, she enjoys cooking, baking, traveling, playing soccer and marathoning The West Wing. A native of Northern California, she has never quite gotten used to the brutal New England winters or humid summers.

Linda Naval, Director of Public Policy and Legislative Affairs, Scholars Strategy Network

naval.jpgLinda Naval is the Director of Public Policy and Legislative Affairs for the Scholars Strategy Network. She works to connect scholars to policymakers in Washington, DC and state governments to help improve public policy. She provides policy and legislative expertise and manages communication strategies for the organizations member scholars. Linda has helped scholars with Opeds that have been featured in the Washington Post and Los Angeles Times.

Before coming to the Scholars Strategy Network, Naval worked for almost seven years on Capitol Hill. Most recently she served as a Legislative Assistant for U.S. Senator Christopher Murphy of Connecticut and staffed him as a member of the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee. Previously, she worked in the U.S. House of Representatives for then-Representative Christopher Murphy and Representative Carolyn Maloney of New York.

Linda’s accomplishments include helping to advance and enact key legislation on juvenile justice, the school-to-prison-pipeline, women’s health research, affordable housing, appropriations, and missing persons. Linda studied at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst (BA Political Science) and is from Brockton, Massachusetts.

Christy Paul , Math Teacher and Director of Co-Curricular Programs , Beacon Academy

paul.jpgOver the past ten years, Christy’s interests have included education, public policy, entrepreneurship, and community engagement. Christy came to Boston from California, where she recently earned a Master’s Degree in Policy, Organization, and Leadership Studies from Stanford University’s Graduate School of Education. Prior to her time at Stanford, she worked as a School Leadership Intern at Pacific Collegiate School in Santa Cruz, California and taught mathematics at Scotts Valley High (an International Baccalaureate School). During that time Christy also founded and ran an educational toy store that was focused on providing stimulating, high-quality toys to the community, a goal that was motivated by her experience teaching.

Christy began her career in education as a Teach for America Corps member at Lincoln High School, a performing arts magnet school in San Jose, California. While at Lincoln, Christy greatly increased the involvement of LHS students in community service, including starting a annual New Orleans service trip to volunteer with Habitat for Humanity. She earned her B.S. from Cornell University, where she was a member of the varsity cross country and track teams and graduated with honors with a degree in Policy Analysis and Management.

Christy grew up in Hood River, Oregon. And, while the state continues to hold a special place in her heart, she loves exploring new places, both within the US and abroad.

Dave Rini , Lawyer

Dave Rini is a progressive speaker, activist and lawyer. He received his J.D. from Northeastern University School of law, where he worked for civil rights organizations like the ACLU and the university’s Civil Rights and Restorative Justice Project. He serves as the co-chair of the National Lawyers Guild’s NextGen caucus, looking to bring new members of the legal field and new ideas to the guild. In his non-legal life, Dave is a peer supervisor for the community awareness and prevention team at the Boston Area Rape Crisis Center, and serves as the vice-president of legislation for the Massachusetts Chapter for NOW.

Kathryn Rodgers , Research Assistant , Silent Spring Institute

rodgers.jpgKathryn is a Research Assistant at Silent Spring Institute, where she researches the links between the environment and women’s health, with a focus on breast cancer prevention. She is passionate about advancing our understanding of our everyday environment’s impact on public health. She contributes to studies that provide information about exposures to harmful chemicals from indoor air and dust and water, and their sources, with the goal to promote policy changes to protect public health. Kathryn also enjoys communicating the results from Silent Spring Institute’s scientific studies to media, breast cancer activists, concerned citizens, and elected officials.

Kathryn graduated from Boston University School of Public Health with a Masters in Public Health in environmental health as a merit scholar. As a student, she worked with scientists at Boston University on an EPA-funded study to assess cumulative effects of interactions between chemical and non-chemical stressors in an environmental justice community. Working with Massachusetts General Hospital, she also developed spatial representations of food availability using GIS for a proposed intervention project to bring more healthy foods into an environmental justice neighborhood.

Kathryn’s previous research experience includes research on antioxidant mediation of MPTP-induced Parkinsonism as a Howard Hughes Medical Institute Scholar. She also developed and taught a science curriculum for young children. Kathryn received her BS in Neuroscience with a minor in Marine Studies from Trinity College in Hartford, CT.

Victor Sanchez , National Community Engagement Development Coordinator, Northeast Region , AFL-CIO

sanchez.jpgVictor Sanchez is currently the National Community Engagement Development Coordinator, for the Northeast Region with the AFL-CIO. His current responsibilities focus on building and deepening relationships with community groups, that lead to collaboration and collective action around a shared agenda that includes but is not limited too good jobs, access to quality health care, quality public education, affordable housing, racial justice, immigrants’ rights, environmental stewardship and other social justice concerns.

During his academic career, Victor’s involvement and organizing around access and affordability in higher education led him to be elected as the President of the University of California Student Association, a statewide student organization representing the more than 225,000 students attending the University of California’s ten universities. During his time there, he helped lead the development and implementation of organizing campaigns around the California Grant-Aid Program, AB 656 – Oil & Gas Severance Tax, AB 462 – College Affordability Act and the California DREAM Act.

Upon graduation, his growing passion towards greater empowerment for marginalized communities led him to Washington D.C., where he was elected to Vice President and then President of the United States Student Association. There, he managed and implemented grassroots organizing campaigns around issues of educational access and diversity for low income students on the national level like the Federal DREAM Act, Student Debt, and the protection of Federal access and financial aid programs for low income students such as the Pell Grant and TRIO. Emboldened by his experience as a young executive director, organizer, and advocate for social justice, Victor went on to become a Campaign Coordinator for the AFL-CIO’s Immigration Campaign.

Born and raised in Los Angeles, Victor is the son of immigrant parents from Costa Rica and Mexico. A proud first generation Chicano/Latino, he attended the University of California, Santa Cruz where he graduated with a double major in Sociology & Latin American and Latino Studies. Victor currently resides in Cambridge, where he can be found exploring and enjoying the greater Boston area with his partner.

Laura Sidla, Leadership Gifts Coordinator, Partners In Health

sidla.jpgLaura currently serves as the Leadership Gifts Coordinator at Partners In Health where she focuses on written donor communication and planned giving. She is passionate about poverty alleviation and has served several nonprofits including Plan International USA and Catholic Charities.

She was recognized by the Association of Fundraising Professionals for demonstrating philanthropic spirit and has since served on the association’s Conference and Scholarship Committees. She is also a member of the Planned Giving Group of New England. Laura has completed leadership initiatives ranging from fundraising institutes to the AmericCorps Student Leaders in Service program.

Laura discovered her interest in service and social justice through the Taiz and Episcopal communities. She’s volunteered relentlessly to help others discover their own voice and contribute meaningfully to their own communities. Laura is passionate about the power of creativity, faith, and mentorship and enjoys spending her free time hiking, making art, and sending snail mail.

Katherine Trujillo

trujillo.jpgKat Trujillo is currently working towards her MA in Human Security and Gender Issues at The Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy. A native of South Central Los Angeles, she obtained her BA in Interdisciplinary Studies from UC Berkeley where she worked her way through school, often holding three jobs. She was the President and Outreach Chair of Berkeley’s chapter of the Hispanic Scholarship Fund, which provides scholarships and academic support services to Latino students throughout the United States. She oversaw a 60-member student group and an 8-member executive board for two years and was directly responsible for professional workshops, outreach events for Bay Area K-12 students, community service projects, a fundraiser and an alumni event. During her term, membership doubled and she expanded partnerships with local businesses. She also served as translator and volunteer for the East Bay Sanctuary Covenant, where she worked with refugees seeking asylum.

A volunteer for Global Brigades, she worked in Honduras helping a rural community improve sanitation. In Washington, D.C., Kat served as a financial literacy teacher for victims of domestic violence at the Calvary Women’s Shelter, a Communications and Advocacy Associate for the National Head Start Association, and an Education Policy Specialist for the Thurgood Marshall College Fund. Kat plans to be involved in peace-building initiatives and immigration issues. Wanting to examine the role of racial and ethnic identity in impacting nationalist and conflict resolution disputes on an international level, Kat will study human rights law at the University of Ulster, Belfast.

Jose Valenzuela , Teacher , Boston Public Schools

valenzuela.jpgJose Valenzuela is celebrating his fifth year at TechBoston Academy and is teaching 8th grade History this year. Mr. Valenzuela was raised in Boston and Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic and he is an alum of Boston Public Schools. Mr. Valenzuela has a B.A. in History from Williams College and a Masters in Education from University of Massachusetts at Boston. In addition to teaching, Mr. Valenzuela is the Executive Director of Boston Youth Wrestling and he coaches the Dorchester Bears wrestling team. Mr. Valenzuela is also a certified scuba diver who loves to travel and has visited seventeen countries.

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