WeLead Alumni Spotlight

headshot of welead alum michelle meza

Michelle Meza, Master of Policy Management Candidate, Georgetown
"To any woman who feels unfit or unqualified to run for office, please apply to WeLead ... your voice and passion are needed in that room!"
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WeLead Alumni 

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Joanne Antoine, Executive Director,
Common Cause Maryland
"One WeLead speaker confirmed my instincts to focus on local elections, which have the greatest impact on everyday lives."
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headshot of welead alum dshawna bernard

D'Shawna Bernard, Senior Director, HUSTLE
Bernard's passion for public service has allowed her to work across a range of issues within the public and private sector, all of which have been rooted in equity, accessibility and justice.
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Tonia Bui

Tonia Bui, Communications Specialist, Montgomery County Public Schools
"The WeLead program truly is a space of women who empower other women. Despite our different career paths, we shared the common goal of promoting women's leadership."
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Kate Raulin Carney, Director, Corporate Social Responsibility, TIAA
"I enjoyed spending time with a group of smart, passionate, bipartisan women and seeing how everyone interacted with the legislative/government system in different ways."
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Danielle Casey, Director,
Gartner Consulting
"WeLead grounds your aspirations in reality and helps visualize the process. The program provides helpful perspective and advice for prospective public leaders."
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Keesha Ceran, Associate Director, Teaching for Change
"The most valuable thing I learned from WeLead is that although others may count me out, I should be the first one to champion myself and count me in!"
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welead alumna erin daly

Erin Daly Wilson, Communications Director & Policy Advisor, Texas Senate
"One of my WeLead mentors connected me to a campaign and another helped me place a staffer in an internship on the Hill. Staying in touch with people takes effort, but always pays off."
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Jessica Davis, Director of Federal Affairs, Emory University
"WeLead taught me the importance of bringing together all the different parts of a problem to come to a solution that is best for multiple stakeholders."
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Vanessa Deane, Director of Urban Planning, New York University
"Be bold, be audacious, and believe in your invaluable opportunity to offer up to the world what only you can give."
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Jessica DeLoach, Senior Communications Manager, Partnership for Public Service
DeLoach is a political and communications strategist who regularly provides analysis and commentary for national and international media outlets. 
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Kim Durcho, VP External Affairs, BIPAC
"I would recommend WeLead to any woman looking to run for office, run a campaign, or just develop skills to help in their career growth. This has been my most rewarding professional experience, hands down!"
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Erika Dyer, Account Supervisor, Curley Company
“WeLead is a unique experience because it brings together a bipartisan group of ladies who are just beginning their career. It was refreshing to learn that many of us shared the same experiences and had a lot in common."
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Rachael Estes

Rachael Estes, Government and Regulatory Affairs Manager, Apex Clean Energy
"I really enjoyed learning the nuts and bolts of running a campaign. It was also inspiring to be in the company of driven, talented and politically-minded young women."
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Courtney Frederico

Courtney Federico, Independent Expenditures Political Desk, DCCC 
“Take advantage of every opportunity. You worked hard to have this experience, so be thoughtful and strategic about what you want to gain from WeLead, and get after it!”
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Ashley Fox, NAACP LDF Marshall-Motley Scholar, Vanderbilt University
"I appreciate WeLead providing a bipartisan space even more as an alumna, and I credit the program with some of my strongest friendships in DC."
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Nicole Fries, Deputy General Counsel, AHCCCSA
"WeLead opened my eyes to jobs I could do and love that were beyond purely campaigns or political office."
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Jocelyn Garay, Principal, Dewey Square Group
"WeLead was an amazing experience! It was towards the beginning of my career and at a time where I really needed hope and guidance - WeLead offered just that."
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Frances Garcia Davis, Workforce Management Specialist, NIH
"It was great to see accomplished female leaders take the time to mentor and inspire a younger generation of women to follow in their footsteps."
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Antionette 'Toni' Gingerelli, MPP, Harvard Kennedy School
"We were able to have open dialogue about the challenges we face, the best ways to support each other, and systemic changes that can increase women's representation."
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Zandria HainesVice President, SBDigital
“The most valuable takeaway for me was learning about the impact that women on both sides of the aisle were having in DC and beyond."
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Audrey Henson

Audrey Henson, Founder, College to Congress
“WeLead took me out of my bubble and showed me that women on opposite sides of the aisle could not only be friends, but we could achieve common goals.”
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WeLead alumna Aly Higgins Wheeler headshot

Aly Higgins Wheeler, Founder, Wheelerhouse, LLC
"While I love a good plan, the most growth I've seen in my career has been when I deviated from 'the plan' and jumped at a new challenge."
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Keren Johnson, Founder and Principal Consultant, The Everstone Group
"WeLead allowed me to find my voice. I became confident and learned that what I had to say added value in every setting. WeLead and the trainers in the program changed my career trajectory by empowering me to speak up."
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Adriianna Lagorio, Sr. Director of Government Affairs, Center Road Solutions
"WeLead is a great foundation for women who want to be in politics. No one gives us a road map, but WeLead helps us get there and builds a community of other very supportive women."
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Ellen Kamei, Mountain View, California City Council
On leading during the double threat in 2020 of COVID and wildfires, Kamei said that “government can move quickly during a crisis” and gave an example of the City Council passing a rental relief bill in her town in just 10 days.
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Hannah Malvin, Consultant
Malvin is a coach and consultant with more than a decade of experience working in progressive politics in Congress, nonprofits, community organizing, and consulting.
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Michelle Meza, Master of Policy Management Candidate, Georgetown
"To any woman who feels unfit or unqualified to run for office, please apply to WeLead ... your voice and passion are needed in that room!"
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Kate Miceli, Economic Justice Policy Analyst, Futures Without Violence
"WeLead helped me consider the practical aspects related to running for office that many people tend to ignore, such as fundraising, time off work, family support, and personal savings."
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Zainab Mohsini, Legal Coordinator, National Abortion Federation
"To achieve a better society, we need leaders who will bring about progressive changes by fighting for bold solutions to our complex problems."
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Ana Monzon, Foreign Service Officer, USAID
Monzon has combined years of academic, professional, and research experience in agriculture and international development to focus on disrupting socio-economic inequities and environmental degradation in the Global South.
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Liz Murphy

Elizabeth 'Liz' Murphy, National Policy Director, Sandy Hook Promise
"WeLead opened my eyes to the multitude of ways I could lead in the political/policy world – including, but not limited to, running for office."
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Rachel Nitsche Mairella, Financial Clerk, U.S. Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee
"Take that leap, and apply to WeLead. If selected, you will have one of the most valualbe experiences of your professional life."
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Simone Peloquin, Program Manager,
impl. project
"I am so proud of what we have all accomplished in the years since we graduated, and to be part of this community."
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Laura Ransone, Senior Associate, Community Engagement, Capital One
"WeLead does an amazing job bringing together a diverse group of talented and driven women. I can't wait to see a woman from my class running for office."
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Carla Reed

Carla Reed, Director of Human Resources, The Raben Group
“I really enjoyed the professional development sessions. As an HR professional, I valued having the opportunity to practice presentation and communication skills during mock interviews with women who were well established in their careers."
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Beth Roberts

Beth Roberts, Senior Program Officer, Finance, Investment and Trade at Millennium Challenge Corporation
"I learned so much from simply interacting with WeLead colleagues, sharing stories and exploring new possibilities. At an early stage of my career, this was invaluable."
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Carissa Smith

Carissa Smith, Vice President of Government Relations, Fox Corporation
"WeLead was such a transformative and insightful curriculum. I thoroughly enjoyed meeting and learning from the best of the best in politics. I walked away with a rolodex of contacts in the field of government relations and politics." 
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Tria Stallings, Office of Communications & Outreach,
U.S. Department of Education
"Regardless of their political party or ideals, your WeLead cohort will become life-long friends. Remember, you are stronger together!"
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Lilia Stone, Manager of Strategic Initiatives, BSA | The Software Alliance
"For any type of leadership opportunity, WeLead instills you with the fundamentals to create change in your community."
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Melissa Sullivan, Press Officer, EPA
Sullivan has dedicated herself to the service of others through her work at the EPA, AmeriCorps, and on the Hill. She also volunteers with veterans and military families.
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Melody Tan, Senior Policy Advisor, U.S. House of Representatives
Tan got her start in local politics and tried a variety of activities that pushed her out of her comfort zone. When the next election drew near, she 
volunteered for a Congressional candidate whose values resonated with her own.
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Nicole Tardif, President, Sisu Public Affairs
"I made a dramatic career shift from Capitol Hill to campaign communications during WeLead. I would have never taken that leap without the advice of panelists and fellow participants in the program."
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Lauren Underwood

Lauren Underwood, U.S. House of Representatives (IL-14)
Underwood was elected to Congress in 2018 to represent her hometown, Naperville, IL. Underwood credits WeLead with "providing me with the tools, leadership training, and confidence to run for office."
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Brittney Vevaina, MPP Candidate,
Harvard Kennedy School
"The fundraising portion of the program really resonated with me as we were tuly supporting the next generation of participants with our contributions."
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Alexandra 'Ali' Weinroth, Communications Director, U.S. House of Representatives
"Thanks to my recent participation in WeLead, I had the confidence, training, and support network to say 'yes!' when asked to manage the campaigns of two women running for local office in my hometown."
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Patrice Winston, Corporate Communications, Capital One
"WeLead taught me how to ask for what I want and how to be strong in who I am."
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Phylicia Woods, Executive Director, Cancer Policy Institute at the Cancer Support Community
"There's nothing like having a strong group of women to inspire, support, and motivate you to be your extraordinary self."
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Meron Yohannes, Policy Advisor,
U.S. Department of Commerce
"I bonded with my classmates
and the speakers over the shared challenges and worries that women feel about running for office."
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headshot of welead alum melody imoh zimmerman

Melody Zimmerman, Director of External Affairs, JEVS Human Services
"Be a sponge! You can apply everything you learned from the program at any stage of your career."
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