Our Team

We deploy talented, unique teams to focus on impact.

Lindsay Acker, Project Director

As a Project Director at Freedman Consulting, LLC, Lindsay Acker conducts strategic planning, public policy research and advocacy, and coalition management.

Before joining Freedman in 2020, Lindsay served as Deputy Political Director for Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer, where she built a political response infrastructure ahead of the 2020 election. Prior to that, Lindsay served in multiple positions in the New York City Mayor’s Office. Most recently, as Field Director for the Office of Strategic Policy Initiatives, she directed NYC’s largest and most successful city-wide student voter registration drive. As a Project Lead in the Office of Public Engagement, she designed and implemented an innovative and effective rehousing initiative for families and veterans residing in NYC homeless shelters.

Lindsay is a Detroit native. She graduated with honors from the University of Michigan in 2012. After college, Lindsay spent time in Israel and the West Bank, working on a variety of peace-building initiatives and becoming fluent in Hebrew and Palestinian Arabic.

Mira Ahmad, Advisor

Mira Ahmad is an Advisor with Freedman Consulting, LLC, and currently serves as a Program Manager for Philanthropy for a Silicon Valley family office. Previously, Mira was a Project Manager at Freedman Consulting, LLC, where she supported the firm’s California clients with strategy, research, and communications.

Prior to joining Freedman Consulting, Mira worked as a Senior Associate at the Global Development Incubator, where she partnered with startups and entrepreneurs to design, build, and launch their social impact enterprises. Before joining the Global Development Incubator, Mira spent two and a half years at Abt Associates Inc. developing and implementing the firm’s digital strategy as well as project managing priority business development efforts. She has consulted for a number of clients on digital interventions for social impact, including the Partnership for Newborn, Maternal and Child Health, Discovery Learning Alliance, and Bloomberg Philanthropies.

Mira earned a Bachelor of Arts in History with a minor in Urban Studies from Princeton University.

Ashley Anderson, Senior Advisor

Ashley Anderson is a Senior Advisor with Freedman Consulting, LLC, and currently serves as the Managing Director of Philanthropy for a Silicon Valley family office, where she drives strategy and manages diverse grantmaking portfolios. Previously, Ashley was a Vice President at Freedman Consulting, where she led strategy development and policy research efforts for major foundations and public interest coalitions on issues including tech policy, democracy, poverty, and more.

Prior to joining Freedman Consulting, Ashley led project-based engagements abroad with MasterCard and the Millennium Challenge Corporation to further anti-poverty and financial inclusion efforts in emerging markets. She also has several years of experience in strategic communications and marketing for associations and advocacy groups.

Ashley has a Master’s degree in International Affairs from The Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University and a Bachelor of Arts in Communications and Journalism from the College of Charleston.

Jon Barrett, Editor-in-Chief, Insights Unit

Jon Barrett is Editor-in-Chief of the Bloomberg Cities Insights Unit at Freedman Consulting, LLC, and is using his decades-long experience as a journalist to uncover and tell stories about public-sector innovation in city halls around the world.

Jon previously served as Editor-in-Chief at The Advocate, Los Angeles Bureau Chief at Entertainment Weekly, Features Director at O at Home, and Senior Editor at Real Simple, Cargo, and a number of other magazines. Additionally, he has written and collaborated on a number of books, including Hero of Flight 93: Mark Bingham; Why Marriage Matters (with author Evan Wolfson), and The New York Times-bestseller The Meaning of Matthew (with author Judy Shepard).

He is a graduate of Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism and Idaho State University.

Mark Beckford, Digital Editor, Insights Unit

Mark Beckford is the Digital Editor for the Bloomberg Cities Insights Unit at Freedman Consulting, LLC, where he is part of a team that publishes and generates dynamic content on a platform dedicated to defining and elevating the rapidly growing and evolving public-sector innovation movement.

Before joining Freedman Consulting, Mark was an assistant professor of Journalism at Howard University’s Department of Media, Journalism, and Film for six years, with a focus on new and digital media. Mark was also a homepage producer at the Washington Post on the universal news desk for over eight years, where he helped to pilot and edit the homepage of the media giant. Before then, he was a web producer at Kaiser Health News. His recent research and journalism have explored media mergers in the Caribbean, Adverse Childhood Experiences in Baltimore, and criminal justice in Ghana. Mark’s roots in journalism and media started in 2006 at The Gleaner in Kingston, Jamaica, where he rose from the position of intern to become the Online Content Coordinator for several of The Gleaner’s websites until he left in 2013.

Mark graduated from the University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign with a Master of Science in journalism, where he focused on multimedia journalism and new media. For his undergraduate studies, he went to the University of the West Indies, Mona in Jamaica. There, he majored in media and communications with a minor in political science.

 

Sasha Beder-Schenker, Program Director, What Works Plus

Sasha serves as Program Director for Freedman Consulting’s What Works Plus (WW+) collaborative – a centralized hub for partnership coordination between philanthropy, experts, community organizations, and federal and local governments to promote equitable distribution and implementation of federal infrastructure funding.

Sasha brings extensive experience in cross-sectoral coordination and building innovative partnerships between communities and government. Prior to joining Freedman, Sasha served as Chief of Staff for the NYC Mayor’s Public Engagement, where she oversaw a team of 250+ staff using proactive grassroots outreach tactics, technology and a data-driven approach to connect New Yorkers to key government services across a wide range of policy areas ranging from health and housing to civic engagement and emergency response. Prior to this work, Sasha led the City of New York’s 2020 Census campaign field operations and helped design and implement outreach strategies to reduce homelessness in New York City.

Before joining City government, Sasha worked on several political campaigns including the Obama 2012 and Clinton 2016 presidential campaigns, statewide campaigns in Massachusetts and prison reform efforts in California.

Sasha is originally from Paris, France and holds a B.A. in Politics from Brandeis University.

Mariana Botero, Project Director
Mariana Botero is a project director at Freedman Consulting, LLC, where she advises philanthropic clients and leads projects focused on strategic planning and public private partnerships. Her career experience includes social business and entrepreneurship, social sector consulting, corporate sustainability, and capacity building.
Before joining the firm, from 2019 to 2023, she worked at Arabella Advisors where she advised institutional foundations, corporations, and high-net-worth families and individuals on how to make an impact through their funding. During this time, she built her expertise in grant strategy and operations, governance design, program design and implementation, facilitated decision-making, and trust-based philanthropy.
From 2017 to 2019, while she pursued her graduate degrees, she designed and launched a social impact consulting program in partnership with Foundation University in the Philippines, co-founded Shakti, a tech nonprofit in India to make legal information and public health resources accessible to women facing domestic violence through mobile phones, and participated in International Innovation Corp’s research fellowship in Brazil where she advised the Ministry of Environment on a reforestation strategy for the Amazon biome to preserve environmental benefits.
From 2014 to 2016, Mariana served as program officer at Nobel Laureate Muhammad Yunus’ Center at the Asian Institute of Technology in Thailand, where she worked on capacity development and ecosystem building for social business in Southeast Asia.
She holds a Master of Business Administration from Booth School of Business (MBA‘19) and a Master of Public Policy from Harris School of Public Policy at the University of Chicago (MPP’19), as well as a Bachelor of Commerce from McGill University (BCOMM’13).
Xavier (Xav) de Souza Briggs, Senior Advisor

Xav is a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution and former vice president of the Ford Foundation. He is a senior advisor to the firm and co-founder and advisor to the What Works Plus funder collaborative. Staffed by the firm and backed by leading foundations and funds, WW+ works to maximize the impact of historic national investments in infrastructure, climate action and economic development in communities across the country, with a strong focus on equity and resilience.

Known for his research, writing and leadership work on economic opportunity, racial equity and justice, and democracy as collective problem solving, Xav was a professor at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government and later MIT’s Department of Urban Studies and Planning. He started his career in local community development and then served at the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development under President Clinton. Xav was part of the 2008 Obama-Biden Transition team and then served as program associate director of the White House Office of Management and Budget under President Obama, engaging a broad array of executive and legislative branch officials, news media, and interest group leaders from criminal justice and immigration to infrastructure, finance and financial regulation, economic development and trade policy, voting rights, anti-discrimination work, housing, and environmental sustainability. In 2020, he helped lead policy committees for the Biden for President campaign and review federal agencies, policy, and personnel for the Biden-Harris Transition team. He serves on the boards of Dēmos, One Fair Wage, JUST Capital, and the Center for Advanced Study in Behavioral Sciences and is a former board member of the Global Impact Investing Network.

Bridget Brown, Program Associate

Bridget Brown is a Program Associate at Freedman Consulting, LLC, based in California where she supports public-private partnership development efforts at the state level to enhance coordination and support across sectors.

Prior to joining Freedman Consulting, Bridget worked at MIG, Inc. as a Deputy Project Manager, where she managed research, community and stakeholder engagement, and facilitation for DEI plans, strategic plans, and urban planning efforts for local government agencies across California including Los Angeles County. Previously, she was a Council Assistant for Councilmember Raúl Peralez serving San José’s greater downtown district where she managed relationships with community members and local businesses and organizations. During her time there, she played a critical role in rebranding the Councilmember’s communications, improving coordination among public safety agencies, and advancing community support for progressive policies related to housing, transportation, and mental health.

Bridget holds a B.A. in Political Science with a Minor in Public Affairs from the University of California, Los Angeles.

Sarah Cooper, Associate

Sarah Cooper is an Associate working with various client project teams on strategic planning, research, and communications issues. A DC native, Sarah has immersed herself in government policy work for years, mostly focused on the intersection of government and business. She has worked for a variety of nonprofit organizations, including the John Howard Association in Chicago, a prison watchdog group that is heavily involved in criminal justice reform. Sarah also has experience analyzing election data at the Election Assistance Commission and working with a variety of clients at a D.C.-based government advocacy firm on issues such as taxation reform and telecommunications policy.

Sarah graduated from the University of Chicago with a BA in Political Science and a BA in Economics.

Carly Cramer, Senior Associate

Carly Cramer is a Senior Associate for Freedman Consulting, LLC, where she supports project teams with strategic planning, research, and communications for clients. Prior to joining the firm in a full-time capacity, Carly was a Phillip Bevington Policy & Research college intern at Freedman Consulting in the summer of 2020, supporting the Bloomberg Cities Insights Unit with research and communications work. Previously, Carly was a Legislative Policy Intern for Berkeley City Councilmember Ben Bartlett, where she provided support with administrative tasks and policy research. Additionally, she spent time as a Communications Associate for a 2018 U.S. Congressional Campaign.

Carly graduated from the University of California, Berkeley with degrees in Spanish and Political Science, where she was a member of Kappa Alpha Pi Pre-Law Fraternity and Cal ACLU.

Eriss Donaldson, Senior Associate

Eriss Donaldson is serving Freedman Consulting LLC as a Senior Associate. In this role, she supports teams in strategic planning, research, and client communication.
Prior to joining Freedman, Eriss worked for a myriad of organizations dedicated to monitoring and ameliorating living conditions around the world. As an Intern in the Conflict and Resolution Program at the Carter Center Eriss utilized her skillset to support the Peace through Health and Independent Observer teams based in Mali. In this capacity, she conducted research, translated materials, and monitored health and security conditions as they developed. She also spent time at Hilltop Public Solutions where she contributed to the development of projects for key clients. Prior to this, she served as a Research Intern for the Foundation for Defense of Democracies. In this role, she monitored humanitarian conditions, conflict updates, and economic conditions in Syria.

Eriss holds a Master of Public Policy from the Harris School of Public Policy at the University of Chicago where she received additional certificates in Global Conflict and International Development. She received her B.A. from Georgetown University where she studied Government, French, and Theology.

Bernina Dorsey, Vice President for HR, DEIB & Operations

Bernina Dorsey is the Vice President for HR, DEIB & Operations at Freedman Consulting, LLC.

Bernina has over 20 years of experience in Human Resource Management, providing strategic leadership to senior managers in mid-sized and large companies. Bernina’s broad experience includes training and development, diversity management, talent acquisition, organizational design, career development, employee relations, benefits and compensation, payroll, and HR compliance. The industries she has worked in include healthcare, education, media, nonprofits, and manufacturing and distribution.

Bernina is very socially active in her community, speaking and holding workshops that focus on building young girls’ confidence and helping them to feel empowered. She is a regular volunteer at homeless shelters in the Chicagoland area, helping to feed homeless adults and children. She also volunteers at domestic violence and homeless shelters as an onsite HR consultant, assisting individuals in resume writing and honing their job preparation skills. She has done several missions trips in the continent of Africa and is most proud of her work negotiating with hospital officials to gain the release of women detained for years for unpaid hospital services.

Bernina earned her Bachelor of Science from the University of Illinois at Chicago and her MBA from North Park University. She is a member of the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM). She is also a member of Jack and Jill of America, a membership organization dedicated to nurturing future African American leaders.

Karin Freedman, Founding Partner & Chief Financial Officer

Karin K. Freedman is a Founding Partner and the Chief Financial Officer of Freedman Consulting, LLC where she oversees all financial, legal, and business operations matters and advises on firm strategic direction, culture, and mission.

Karin served in the Clinton White House from 1995 to 2001 in various capacities, including as Chief of Staff and Communications Director of the Domestic Policy Council, Special Assistant to the President, and in both the Deputy Chief of Staff’s office and the President’s scheduling office. From 2001 through 2005, she served at the Democratic Leadership Council and Progressive Policy Institute in Washington, D.C. as Press Secretary, the senior officer in charge of media relations. Karin also spent time on Capitol Hill as a member of the communications staff of the United States Senate Budget Committee.

Karin graduated summa cum laude with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Communications Studies from the University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA).

Tom Freedman, President

As President of Freedman Consulting, LLC, Tom Freedman is an advisor to leading foundations, public interest causes, and nonprofit organizations.

Tom served in the Clinton Administration as Senior Advisor to the President; prior to that, he was Special Assistant to the President for Policy Planning. In the 1996 presidential campaign, Tom was Chief of Staff for Strategy, helping to create the policy and communications plan for Clinton/Gore ’96. Previously, he was Press Secretary and later Legislative Director to then Congressman Charles E. Schumer (D-NY). He co-founded the Welfare to Work Partnership, a nonprofit organization which grew to include more than 20,000 companies that hired more than 1 million Americans off of public assistance. Tom served as a member of the 2008 presidential Obama-Biden Transition Project on the Technology, Innovation, and Government Reform Policy Working Group, and was a policy consultant for President Obama’s reelection campaign in 2012, Obama for America.

Tom has been a Visiting Scholar at Resources for the Future and was awarded a traveling Watson Fellowship in 1985, through which he conducted a year-long study of the African famine. He has published opinion articles in a variety of newspapers, including The New York Times, The Christian Science Monitor, and The Washington Post. In 2009, Tom authored the chapter of recommendations for the next Domestic Policy Council in the book Change for America: A Progressive Blueprint for the 44th President (Center for American Progress) and wrote a chapter on ending child hunger in America with Joel Berg in the book Memos to the New President (Progressive Policy Institute).

Tom is an honors graduate of Carleton College and a graduate of the University of California at Berkeley, where he was Editor-in-Chief of the California Law Review. He serves on the Advisory Board for the Eli J. Segal Citizen Leadership Program.

Sandra Fuentes Hashimoto, Associate Research Director, Insights Unit

Sandra Fuentes is an Associate Research Director at Freedman Consulting, LLC, where she supports the Bloomberg Cities Insights Unit.

Prior to joining the firm, Sandra worked for C230 Consultores, a public policy consulting firm based in Mexico City that specializes in the analysis, design, evaluation, and implementation of public policies. She worked in projects related to criminal justice, crime prevention, public health, innovation, urban planning, housing, economic development, education, and social mobility. In addition, she worked at the University of Chicago Survey Lab, where she designed qualitative and quantitative tools for data collection processes related to three public health projects in order to characterize access to healthcare in the U.S. Sandra did a short-term consulting project with Tala, an international development firm that specializes in micro finance, by offering micro loans to people without credit history or access to credit in emerging countries. Her previous experience also includes internships at the Laura and John Arnold Foundation, the French Embassy in Mexico City, the Mexican Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and the Executive Office of the President in Mexico City.

Sandra earned a Bachelor’s degree in International Relations and Economics at Instituto Tecnologico Autonomo de Mexico (ITAM) and a Master’s in Public Policy at the University of Chicago, where she specialized in International Development and Program Evaluation.

Monique Garcia Rizer, Vice President

Monique Garcia Rizer is a Vice President at Freedman Consulting, LLC, where she uses her significant experience in the nonprofit space to advise clients on innovative and proven strategies for success.

Most recently, Monique was the Executive Director of Urban Alliance’s Greater D.C. region, which provides workforce readiness skill development, evidence-based programming, and rigorous work-based learning experiences to nearly 800 youth and young adults in six school districts. She previously served as executive director of the national coalition, Opportunity Nation, where the team developed and relaunched the Opportunity Index with an equity framework and secured partnerships with social science researchers and the media to tell the story of opportunity in America. She has also created and scaled an award-winning career program for military spouses and worked as a freelance writer and communications director. Monique’s lived experiences and professional work on economic opportunity have been featured in the Wall Street Journal, Black Enterprise Magazine, and the Washington Business Journal, as well as at the Harvard Kennedy School and the Biden Institute, among others.

Monique is a first-generation college graduate and an inaugural Gates Millennium Scholar. She holds a B.A. from Gonzaga University and an M.S. from Syracuse University. She is a mom to three children, and her eldest son serves as an officer in the Army National Guard.

Isabella Gelfand, Senior Associate

Isabella Gelfand is a Senior Associate at Freedman Consulting, LLC, where she supports the project teams in strategic planning, research, and communications efforts for clients.

Prior to joining Freedman Consulting, Isabella was a Research Intern at the Brookings Institution, where she helped maintain the Brookings Oversight Tracker by analyzing and classifying congressional oversight documents. She assisted in ongoing research projects on the federal reserve and voter registration strategies and she co-authored two articles for the Brookings website. Isabella also served as a Legislative Intern for the Office of Massachusetts State Representative Carmine Gentile, where her policy memo on energy neutral home building served as the blueprint for a bill filed in the MA House of Representatives. As a Finance Intern for Mikie Sherrill’s congressional campaign, she raised thousands of grassroots dollars and helped execute fundraising events. Isabella also spearheaded the Feminist Majority’s 2018 PAC research, gathering data that informed which candidates the organization would endorse. Her interest and experience in progressive data analytics led her to an undergraduate research opportunity at the MIT Election Data and Science Lab.

Isabella has volunteered as an Operations Coordinator at From Jersey With Love, a nonprofit organization in her home state that provides food, clothing, and programs for the local community. In this position, she conducted staff check-ins, created volunteer sign-ups, and wrote newsletters. As a Freelance Research and Data Associate for Rock the Vote, she assisted in research efforts supporting the Rock the Vote endorsement tool.

Isabella graduated cum laude from Wellesley College with a Bachelor’s degree in Political Science. While there, she served as Co-President and Campaign Outreach Director for the Wellesley College Democrats. In this role, she managed the Executive Board, led event planning, and facilitated communications with national, state, and local campaigns.

Kaden Gicker, HR & Operations Associate

Kaden Gicker is the HR & Operations Associate at Freedman Consulting, LLC, where he supports the Vice President for HR, DEIB & Operations, the Director of Talent Acquisition, and the HR & Operations Manager, with office management, technical support for staff, general administration, and scheduling.

Prior to joining Freedman Consulting, Kaden worked as an intern in the office of Congresswoman Lois Frankel of Florida, where he supported legislative and constituent services staff develop constructive policy and stay connected with the constituent community. Kaden also worked as a writer and researcher for the sister-publications Prison Legal News and Criminal Legal News, produced by the prisoner-rights organization Human Rights Defense Center. There he contributed to both publications’ monthly periodicals, researching stories of police misconduct and abuse within the prison system, and wrote monthly collections of those stories for publication. Kaden also conducted research for cover stories about major issues within the criminal justice system, such as the efficacy of forensic sciences. Before that, Kaden worked as an archival intern at the Smithsonian Institution’s Hirschhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden.

Kaden graduated summa cum laude from the Honors College at George Mason University in Fairfax, Virginia, where he earned a BA in English. During his time at university, Kaden was admitted as a member of National Society of Collegiate Scholars in recognition of his record of academic achievement.

Salma Hammouda, Finance Consultant

Salma joins Freedman Consulting, LLC as our Finance Consultant. Prior to joining Freedman, she was the Operations Associate at the State Infrastructure Fund at NEO Philanthropy where she oversaw the program’s grants management system and managed the RFP process and tracking system for over 135 voting rights and civic engagement grantees. Before her work at NEO, Salma worked on the Employment Opportunity Project, where she assisted attorneys with efforts to grant former criminals opportunities to work. Salma is passionate about civil liberties and human rights issues. She earned her B.A in International Relations at Monmouth University as well as her Master’s in Public Administration at the City College of New York.

When she is not in the office, Salma enjoys traveling and cooking new meals for her family.

Alexander Hart, Vice President

Alexander C. Hart is a Vice President with Freedman Consulting, LLC, where he manages projects in policy and strategic planning, research, communications, public opinion, evaluation, and event facilitation. His work for firm clients covers a broad portfolio of issues, including technology policy, poverty and economic opportunity, democracy, and municipal innovation. Alex has worked with major political campaigns, foundations, and nonprofit organizations including the Ford Foundation, Open Society Foundations, NetGain Partnership, President Obama’s 2012 reelection campaign, the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, and Spotlight on Poverty and Opportunity.

Alex joined the firm in 2012 as a Senior Associate. Previously, Alex covered the House of Representatives for Congressional Quarterly and was a Reporter-Researcher for The New Republic. Alex’s writing has been published in USA Today, The Chronicle of Philanthropy, The New Republic, The Los Angeles Times, The Chicago Tribune, Congressional Quarterly, CQ Weekly, The Orlando Sentinel, and ABCNews.com.

He graduated magna cum laude with a Bachelor of Science in Foreign Service degree from Georgetown University’s Walsh School of Foreign Service, majoring in International Economics.

 

Matt James, Senior Fellow

Matt James has long been a nonprofit and philanthropic leader, and is recognized as an innovator in communications initiatives for social good, both in the Bay Area and nationally. Matt’s award-winning contributions extend to strategic communications and campaigns in health, climate change, and early childhood development. He most recently was a visiting scholar at the David and Lucile Packard Foundation, where he worked to increase funding on health and climate change. Matt was co-founder and president of Next Generation and spent many years at the Kaiser Family Foundation, where he was a principal architect of Kaiser Health News and oversaw the Foundation’s media and public education work. He began his career in politics, serving as a key aide to Congressman Mo Udall as well as Senators Daniel Patrick Moynihan and Dale Bumpers. Passionate about public health, Matt currently serves on the board of the CDC Foundation, as well as advisory committees for the National Wildlife Federation and the Lucile Packard Foundation for Children’s Health.

Kathleen Kelly Janus, Senior Advisor

Kathleen Kelly Janus is an expert in social innovation and philanthropy. As a Senior Advisor at Freedman Consulting, she provides strategic guidance to charitable foundations and advances cross-sector partnerships. Kathleen is also a Stanford University lecturer where she has been  teaching international human rights and social entrepreneurship for 15 years. Most recently, she served as the Senior Advisor on Social Innovation to Governor Gavin Newsom, leading over 50 public-private partnerships totaling $4.2 billion. Kathleen is the author of “Social Startup Success: How the Best Nonprofits Launch, Scale Up and Make a Difference,” a playbook for early-stage nonprofit organizations. Her work has been featured in the Wall Street Journal, Fast Company, Huffington Post, Stanford Social Innovation Review, and the San Francisco Chronicle. Kathleen lives in San Francisco with her husband Ted and three children.

Kyra Jennings, Executive Vice President

Kyra Jennings serves as Executive Vice President of Freedman Consulting, LLC, overseeing client projects and firm operations and helping drive the strategic direction of the firm. In her decade at Freedman Consulting, Kyra has created and managed multiple philanthropic and public interest coalitions, developed and led communications and issue advocacy campaigns for policy initiatives and organizations, driven high-level events, and offered strategic planning and advising for a variety of clients focused on innovating for the greater social good.

Kyra utilizes her previous experience directing communications for political campaigns and elected officials to advise leading foundations, nonprofit organizations, and new coalitions and partnerships. She has conceptualized, launched, and worked to grow nascent collaborative efforts, including the Criminal Justice Funders Forum, Next Century Cities, the Democracy Funders Collaborative, the Global Alliance for Genomics and Health, and Skills for America’s Future. She also has deep experience building issue awareness, providing landscaping analyses, and crafting actionable strategic plans for clients including the Ford Foundation, Media Democracy Fund, the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, and Obama for America 2012.

Kyra previously led communications efforts for Alex Sink’s 2010 gubernatorial campaign in Florida and served as Communications Director for Chief Financial Officer Sink in her statewide elected office. She was the Southern Regional Press Secretary for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee during their historically successful 2008 election cycle. Kyra also was Communications Director for Congresswoman Zoe Lofgren (D-CA) and the California Democratic Congressional Delegation, and for former Congressman Chris Carney’s (D-PA) insurgent 2006 campaign.

Kyra graduated with distinction from Duke University.

Talya Karr, Vice President

Talya Karr is a Vice President with Freedman Consulting, LLC, where she leads a portfolio of public-private partnership efforts at the state and federal levels, including What Works Plus, a philanthropic collaborative to support effective and equitable implementation of federal funding for climate, economic development, and infrastructure programs. Alongside cross-sectoral coordination, she also leads strategic planning, public policy, research, and advising projects for a variety of philanthropic clients. Prior to joining Freedman, Talya worked at Deloitte Consulting, where she developed and implemented strategies to improve delivery of public sector programs for clients including the Department of State, Library of Congress, and World Bank. Previously, she supported global public health programs at the U.S. Agency for International Development, focusing on policy and implementation of HIV/AIDS and gender equity initiatives. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in Spanish from the University of Washington and a Master of Science in Public Policy and Management from Carnegie Mellon University.

Jacqueline Kincaid, Contracts Manager

Jacqueline Kincaid is the Contracts Manager at Freedman Consulting, LLC, where she supports the firm’s Vice President of Finance & Contracts in managing the agreement lifecycle. Prior to her role at Freedman Consulting, Jacqueline served as a consultant at Ki Global Health within the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, where she handled business affairs, data science sharing agreements, and project management. Jacqueline brings a wealth of experience in production and contract management, having worked on philanthropic nominated and award-winning documentaries such as “Summer of Soul,” “Hunger Ward,” and “Youth v Gov.”

She graduated magna cum laude from Emerson College in Boston, Massachusetts, with a Bachelor of Arts in Production Management, Visual Media Arts, and Business Affairs.

Mira Kline, Director of Talent Acquisition

Mira Kline is the Director of Talent Acquisition for Freedman Consulting, LLC, where she is responsible for driving hiring processes and working with senior staff to develop talent strategies that support the ongoing needs of the firm.

Prior to joining Freedman, Mira spent over six years working with executive search firms supporting leading national and international nonprofit organizations, philanthropic institutions, and think tanks in their hiring and talent needs. Mira has worked with organizations across a range of policy and issue areas spanning veterans affairs, internet freedom, technology and human rights, and health and human services, among others. Previously, she served as Consular Associate at the U.S. Embassy Branch Office Tel Aviv and as a Program Analyst within the Center for Public Health Policy at the American Public Health Association.

Mira holds a Bachelor of Arts in American Studies from Brandeis University and a Master of Public Administration from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Rachel Lau, Senior Associate

Rachel Lau is a Senior Associate at Freedman Consulting, LLC, where she supports the project teams in strategic planning, research, and communications efforts for clients. Prior to joining the Freedman team full-time, Rachel was a Phillip Bevington Policy & Research intern in the spring and summer 2021 cohorts. Previously, Rachel worked and volunteered in a wide range of issue areas and organizations. She was a virtual field coordinator for Activate America during the 2020 Senate elections and the 2021 Georgia Senate run-off races, served her home district as an intern for Congressman Adam Smith (WA-09), provided translation services in Mandarin Chinese, Cantonese, and Spanish for patients at Pomona Valley Hospital Medical Center, and served as Youth President of the Washington State Association of Youth Courts in high school, sparking a passion for criminal justice reform and transformative/restorative justice strategies. Rachel graduated magna cum laude from Pomona College with a B.A. in Politics, where she was awarded the John A. Vieg Prize as the top overall politics major in her graduating class. In her spare time, Rachel loves to rock climb, ballroom dance, and cook

Russell Leibowitz, Chief of Staff, Insights Unit

Russell Leibowitz is the Chief of Staff of the Bloomberg Cities Insights Unit at Freedman Consulting, LLC.

Prior to joining Freedman, Russell served the City of New York for nearly seven years in a variety of capacities including as the Deputy Chief of Strategic Operations for NYC Cyber Command, the Campaign Director for the NYC Vaccine Command Center, and Senior Advisor and Field Director for the NYC Mayor’s Public Engagement Unit. Prior to his work with the City of New York, Russell built and ran field programs for local, state, and federal political campaigns.

Russell has a B.A. in Politics from Brandeis University.

Gwen Litvak, Director of Policy Impact

Gwen Litvak is the Director of Policy Impact for Freedman Consulting where she works at the intersection of policy, strategy, communications, and politics, to advance innovations for the greater social good.

Prior to joining Freedman, Gwen worked on transportation issues in the Bay Area, in various positions in Offices of Mayor Bloomberg and Mayor de Blasio in New York City, and for the US Senate Budget Committee. She has several years of experience designing and implementing policy at the local, state, and federal level.

Gwen has a Master’s Degree in Urban Planning from New York University and Bachelor of Arts in Ethics, Social Constructions, and Public Policy from UCLA.

Conor McKay, Vice President

Conor McKay is a Vice President with Freedman Consulting, LLC, where he leads projects focused on research, policy development, strategic planning, and issue advocacy.

Conor has worked as a political and policy advisor in and out of government, in the public, private, and non-profit sectors, and at both the federal and local levels. Before joining the firm in 2019, he was an Aspen Institute Fellow and inaugural director of the Institute’s Future of Work Initiative, investigating the ways in which technology and globalization are reshaping work in the 21st century and developing bipartisan policy solutions to protect and restore economic opportunity. Conor led and authored policy white papers on reimagining capitalism, reinventing workplace benefits and protections, reforming the social safety net, and preparing the workforce for automation. Prior to his work at Aspen, he was a Special Assistant on Vice President Joe Biden’s staff at the White House. He also served as Chief of Staff for the bipartisan Simpson-Bowles debt reduction commission, and he provided key policy development and data analysis for Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan’s efforts to revitalize basic city services.

Conor holds a Master’s degree in Public Policy from the University of Michigan and a Bachelor’s degree in English from the College of William and Mary.

Martha Mendoza, Project Director

Martha Mendoza is a Project Director at Freedman Consulting, LLC based in California. She supports project teams in strategic planning, partnership development, and communications for clients.

Prior to joining Freedman Consulting, Martha worked at Oakland Promise as a Development Manager, where she managed a large portfolio of philanthropic partnerships. Previously, she was the founding External Affairs Manager at Braven, a national college-to-career nonprofit, where she managed relationships and projects across multiple sectors and functional areas including strategic partnerships, fundraising, communications, and special events. During her time there, she played a critical role in the development of equity-centered programs and Braven’s organizational growth.

Martha holds a B.A. in Cognitive Science from the University of California, Berkeley and a Master of Science in Cognitive Neuroscience of Language from the University of the Basque Country.

Manisha Mirchandani, Research Director, Insights Unit

Manisha Mirchandani is the Research Director for the Bloomberg Cities Insights Unit at Freedman Consulting, LLC, where she leads research initiatives to advance the mission of unleashing public-sector innovation in cities around the world.

Prior to this, Manisha led strategy and research engagements for the creative consultancy founded by The Atlantic. She was previously at the Economist Intelligence Unit and FTI Consulting, where she designed bespoke research programs and tracked policy, economic, business, political, and technology trends to inform and advise stakeholders. Manisha has also conducted research and authored publications for The Economist Group and the Centre for Asian Philanthropy and Society. She was a lead researcher and writer for the United Nations Development Program’s (UNDP) local governance research initiative in Myanmar, where she travelled through cities and townships to interview over 200 public-sector officials and civil society leaders in 2013-2014.

Manisha holds degrees from the London School of Economics, the University of Liverpool, and the University of Hong Kong.

 

Bill Nichols, Senior Advisor

Bill Nichols is a Senior Advisor at Freedman Consulting, LLC, where he uses his significant experience in journalism to advise clients on innovative and proven strategies for success.

Bill joined the firm after a 35-year career in journalism, most recently as the founding Managing Editor of POLITICO. He brings decades of experience in covering Washington and national politics and a successful track record guiding two innovative media startups: the launch of POLITICO in 2007 and POLITICO Europe in 2015. Before joining POLITICO, where he served as Managing Editor from 2007-2012 and Editor-At-Large from 2012-2015, Bill spent more than 20 years at USA Today. He covered the Clinton White House from 1993-1999, the State Department from 1999-2004, and was a senior correspondent in the newspaper’s Washington bureau. He is a former national reporting jury chair for the Pulitzer Prizes and past secretary/treasurer of the Reporter’s Committee for Freedom of the Press.

Bill earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in English and Journalism from Indiana University. In 2019, he was a fellow in the Media Transformation Challenge at Harvard University.

Shreeya Pandey, HR & Operations Manager

Shreeya Pandey is the HR & Operations Manager at Freedman Consulting, LLC, where she is responsible for all people and firm administration, employee benefits, special events planning and works closely with the Firm’s operational team to ensure organizational effectiveness. Prior to joining Freedman, Shreeya worked for a commercial real estate company, where she managed the regional office operations and special projects and supported the executive team in making company-wide decisions. Shreeya’s past work experiences include coordinating the implementation efforts to integrate researched products into the various transportation agencies and an internship with an architecture firm where she performed market research to prepare client consultations.
In spare time, Shreeya loves traveling, event planning (for her friends and family), and designing.

Kennedy Patlan, Project Manager

Kennedy Patlan is a Project Manager at Freedman Consulting, LLC. She brings expertise in strategic communications, project management, and research across the non-profit and philanthropic sectors.

Before joining Freedman, Kennedy served as the USA Venture & Fellowship Manager for Ashoka, where she developed annual strategies, communications, and programmatic opportunities for constituent engagement. Previously, at the Ad Council, she facilitated end-to-end strategic and creative lifecycles for non-profit and governmental social issue campaigns across TV, Radio, Digital and Print/Outdoor verticals.

Kennedy has also taken active roles in organizational Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion efforts, serving on various DEI Taskforces and ERG groups. She graduated magna cum laude from Syracuse University, where she received a BA in Advertising, Civic Engagement and Women’s & Gender Studies.

Clare Raccuia, Administrative Associate

Clare Raccuia is an Administrative Associate at Freedman Consulting, LLC. She provides executive support for the firm’s President and Executive Vice President and supports overall firm operational and HR needs.

Before joining Freedman, Clare worked in the nonprofit space. At her previous role as a community partner at the Federation of Southern Cooperatives, Clare researched the FDA’s climate smart loans program and how it could serve farmers at the Federation. She also taught classes at The Washington English Center and served as a campus ambassador to help strengthen and recruit teachers for The Washington English Center. Clare is passionate about global development, women’s empowerment, and the environment.

Clare graduated with a B.A. from American University earning a degree in International Studies with a focus in the Global Economy and Environment.

Marcus Ransom, Project Manager

Marcus Ransom is a Project Manager at Freedman Consulting, LLC. As a Senior Associate, he supports project teams in strategic planning, research, and communications for clients.

Prior to joining Freedman Consulting, Ransom served as a Legislative and Public Policy Summer Clerk for Arnold & Porter Kaye Scholer, LLP. In this capacity, Marcus worked closely with a diverse team of attorneys, policy advisors, and policy specialists within the issue-areas of education, international trade, and healthcare policy, among others. Marcus supported the practice group by conducting legislative research and analysis, drafting reports for clients, covering Congressional hearings, researching regulatory grants, and preparing daily policy briefings. He also participated in multiple visits to Capitol Hill to advocate for the public policy interests of various clients. Before joining Arnold & Porter Kaye Scholer, LLP, Marcus worked as a Business Development Intern for the Tampa Hillsborough Economic Development Corporation and as a Legislative Intern for the Office of Congresswoman Kathy Castor (FL-14). As a Business Development Intern, Marcus worked closely with the Business Development team, in conjunction with CareerSource Tampa Bay, to recruit companies for programs to promote the career development of young professionals. As a Legislative Intern, Marcus drafted reports on multiple Congressional Briefings related to domestic commerce, international affairs, immigration, and sustainable environmental policy, researched legislation in order to appropriately respond to daily constituent concerns, and facilitated multiple constituent tours of the Capitol building.

Marcus graduated from Emory University with a Bachelor of Arts in Economics and a minor in Political Science.

Joey Rauch, Associate

Joey Rauch is an Associate at Freedman Consulting, LLC, where he supports the project teams in strategic planning, research, and communications efforts for clients.

Prior to joining Freedman, Joey worked in nonprofits strengthening the social sector. At MDC, Joey supported the Rural Forward and Family Economic Mobility programs, helping with facilitation, strategic planning, and professional coaching for Southern leaders. At the North Carolina Leadership Forum, Joey supported government, business, and nonprofit leaders to discuss issues pertinent to both certain regions and the broader state.

Joey graduated from Duke University with a B.A. in Public Policy Studies and a B.A. in Dance.

Sheridan Ruiz, Senior Associate

Sheridan Ruiz is a Senior Associate at Freedman Consulting, LLC, where she supports the project teams in strategic planning, research, and communications efforts for clients.

Before becoming a part of the Freedman team, Sheridan played a leading role in fundraising at the Aspen Institute’s Religion & Society Program. Additionally, she served as the co-chair of the Emerging Leaders, an affinity group within the Institute that focuses on fostering professional development and building relationships for individuals who are in the early stages of their careers or are new to the Institute. During her tenure at the Institute, Sheridan worked to enhance institutional philanthropy’s comfort level with faith-inspired grantees and equipped them with tools to address any hesitations they might have.

Sheridan previously worked as a consultant for Friends of the British Council. In this capacity, she cultivated philanthropic partnerships, conducted prospect research, and provided support for programming initiatives. She began her career working at the intersection of religion and public life at Public Religion Research Institute (PRRI) while earning her Masters in Ethics, Peace, and Global Affairs from American University in Washington, DC.

Sheridan is a graduate of the University of South Carolina and a native Texan. Outside of work hours can often be found at the local flea market, reading, or searching for her next favorite restaurant.

Gabby Salko, Digital Content Associate, Insights Unit

Gabrielle Salko is the Digital Content Associate for the Bloomberg Cities Insights Unit at Freedman Consulting, LLC, where she supports the development and management of the Bloomberg Cities social media channels. Prior to joining Freedman, Gabby worked at NextGen America, where she oversaw social media platforms’ operations and coordinated partnerships for content collaboration. Gabby also served as Digital Platforms Senior Associate at SKDK, where she was the day-to-day manager and content creator for multiple corporate, healthcare, philanthropic, and political clients.

Gabby completed her Bachelor of Arts at Marist College in Poughkeepsie, N.Y., with a major in political science and a double minor in pre-law and gender studies. She is based in New York City.

Laura Schiller, Senior Advisor

Laura Schiller is a senior advisor at Freedman Consulting, drawing on her decades of leadership experience in public service and her expertise in strategy, policy, communications, politics and management.  

Throughout her career, Laura has served as a top advisor to some of our nation’s most prominent government officials, most recently as chief of staff to Secretary Pete Buttigieg at the U.S. Department of Transportation, where, from the first month of the Biden-Administration she helped lead the 55,000-employee agency during a time of historic investments in modernizing America’s infrastructure. She served for more than a decade as the chief of staff to California’s now-retired U.S. Senator Barbara Boxer, who was Chair of the Senate’s Environment and Public Works Committee and the Ethics Committee. She was also the staff director of the U.S. Senate Democratic Steering and Outreach Committee and the interim chief of staff to U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota. Earlier in her career, Laura served in the Clinton Administration, including at the White House as a special assistant to the president and senior speechwriter for First Lady Hillary Clinton and as director of speechwriting for U.S. Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Donna Shalala.  

Laura has held key positions in national campaigns and presidential transitions, including leading the confirmation team for the HHS Secretary during the Biden-Harris Transition; serving as the director of congressional affairs for Hillary Clinton’s 2016 campaign; and serving as the political director and field director on Barbara Boxer’s historic first Senate campaign.  

Laura has also been a strategic and communications consultant to non-profits, foundations, and elected officials and, from 2011-2017, co-created and co-owned Unum, a popular neighborhood restaurant in Washington, DC. She graduated magna cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa from the University of California at Los Angeles.  

Max Shipman, Program Manager, What Works Plus

Max is a Program Manager on the What Works + team. He supports all aspects of What Works +, with a focus on partnership development and learning events.

Prior to joining Freedman, Max was a Program Manager at the Just Transition Fund, where he helped coal-impacted communities access federal funds, developed locally informed policy recommendations, and evaluated economic and workforce development models. Before that, he was an Analyst at the Virginia Economic Development Partnership, supporting strategic initiatives to increase the state’s economic competitiveness.

Max received his Bachelor of Arts from the College of William & Mary.

Eliza Steffen, Senior Associate

Eliza Steffen is a Senior Associate at Freedman Consulting. Previously, she worked on the Civic Engagement and Government team at the Ford Foundation as a Tom Ford Fellow in Philanthropy, where she worked on projects on faith and polarization, grant-making to academic institutions, and a pooled fund on the 2020-2022 redistricting cycle. She also served as an associate at RockCreek, where she handled communications, policy, and special projects in the office of CEO & former World Bank Treasurer Afsaneh Beschloss.

Eliza graduated from Stanford University with honors in political science, where she wrote an honors thesis on religious advocacy and federal criminal justice reform and delivered the departmental commencement speech. During her time at Stanford, she served as president of the Stanford Democrats and led a range of initiatives on combating political polarization and pluralism, including an alternative spring break course and trip to Washington on the intersection of religion and American democracy. She also interned for the independent expenditures arm of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee during the 2018 midterms, the elections & redistricting team at the National Conference of State Legislatures, the European Centre for Electoral Support, and the Heritage division of Italian fashion brand Emilio Pucci. Eliza is a proud Buckeye from Columbus, Ohio.

Matt Taylor, Senior Writer and Editor, Insights Unit
Matt Taylor is the Senior Writer and Editor for the Bloomberg Cities Insights Unit at Freedman Consulting, LLC. 
A seasoned journalist, Matt previously served as features editor at The New Republic, national editor at The Daily Beast, and in a variety of editorial roles at VICE Media, as well as staff reporter at his hometown newspaper, The East Hampton Star. Several projects he worked on over his decade-plus career in journalism won or were finalists for major accolades like the Sidney Hillman and National Magazine Awards. He has also written and reported his own stories on national politics for a wide range of publications like Tablet, Slate, The Atlantic, and POLITICO Magazine, and served as a lead researcher on George Packer’s National Book Award-winning The Unwinding.
A 2010 Phi Beta Kappa graduate of the University of Michigan with a major in political science, Matt is based in Brooklyn.
J.J. Tolentino, Associate

J.J. Tolentino is an Associate for Freedman Consulting, LLC, where he supports the project teams in strategic planning, research, and communications efforts for clients. J.J. is passionate about public service and leveraging cross-sector collaboration to improve the public good.

Prior to joining the Freedman team, J.J. received his Master of Public Policy from the University of North Carolina with a field concentration in science and technology policy and a graduate certificate in innovation for the public good. While completing his MPP, J.J. worked as a Graduate Research Assistant with the UNC Center on Technology Policy monitoring state-level online child safety and privacy policy. Previously, J.J. interned with GMMB, and on Capitol Hill as a legislative intern with the Office of Congressman David Price (NC-04) primarily focusing on foreign affairs and national security issues.

J.J. graduated with highest honors from the University of North Carolina with a B.A. in Political Science and Public Policy and a minor in Social and Economic Justice.

 

Ania Ty, Associate

Ania is an Associate at Freedman Consulting, LLC. She is highly passionate about the intersections between economic mobility, environmental and climate justice, race, gender, and migration due to her own family’s experiences with climate disasters. Prior to joining Freedman Consulting, Ania was an Analyst at Bell Creek Consulting where she cultivated upward economic mobility in localities by supporting the adoption of job quality frameworks, researching ways local leaders could use new federal grants to advance environmental justice and build green economies, and more. She has also interned at climate and environment-focused organizations and identified the disparities in pollution burdens among low-income communities of color, advocated for the passage of critical state-level legislation alongside other youth organizers, and researched and co-authored a report on environmental justice efforts from US Climate Alliance states.

Throughout college Ania was highly involved in the Asian and Pacific Islander community at the local and national level. At her university, she served as the president of her campus Filipino American student association; while interning for OCA Asian Pacific American Advocates, she created a permanent part of the organization’s youth curriculum that aims to train college and university students in equitable and effective leadership.

Ania graduated summa cum laude from Oregon State University through their dual degree program, earning a Bachelor’s in Political Science and a Bachelor’s in Public Policy (environmental and energy policy) with minors in Public Health and Ethnic Studies.

Pia Ulrich, Vice President, Finance and Contracts

Pia Ulrich is a Vice President, Finance & Contracts at Freedman Consulting, LLC, where she works closely with the firm’s administrative team and the CFO in handling the firm’s operational, contracting, finance, and benefits needs.

Prior to joining Freedman Consulting, she worked at the Federation of American Scientists, first as a Policy Analyst, and later in the Operations and Finance Executive Team. Pia’s previous work experiences include a research internship at the Partnership for Global Security and four years as a Researcher at the European Legal Studies Institute in Germany.

Pia has a Master’s degree in Security Policy Studies from The George Washington University and a law degree from the University of Osnabrueck, Germany.

 

Amanda Vallillee, Senior Associate

Amanda Vallillee is a Senior Associate at Freedman Consulting, LLC, where she supports project teams with strategic planning, research, and communications for clients.

Amanda’s background is in nonprofit advocacy, campaigning, and philanthropy. Prior to joining Freedman Consulting, LLC, Amanda advanced efforts to promote international gender equality as a Gender Policy & Advocacy Fellow with Save the Children US. In this role, she assisted in nonprofit coalition building, conducted cross-cutting investigation and analysis of intersecting human rights and gender issues, and drove research to identify gaps and strengthen advocacy strategies. Amanda also engaged in policymaker convenings and attended the 65th United Nations Commission on the Status of Women. Previously, Amanda worked as a Field Organizer with the Michigan Democratic Party, mobilizing a diverse team of volunteers to achieve key voter outreach targets. In this role, she facilitated volunteer recruitment, engagement, and training, contributing to key wins at the regional, state, and national level. Recently, she also served as a volunteer for the American Friends Service Committee, advancing decarceration advocacy in the state of Michigan, and as a counselor for Michigan Girls State, guiding young women through simulated policymaking processes and providing mentorship and advising.

Amanda graduated with distinction from the University of Michigan with a Bachelor of Arts in Public Policy with a focus in law and human rights from the Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy and minors in Sociology (Law, Justice, and Social Change) and Spanish Language. During her time as a student, she served as a leader for Dance Marathon at the University of Michigan, where she fostered long-term organizational growth and generated philanthropic giving.

Emily Van Dusen, Senior Manager, Deliverable Development

Emily Van Dusen is a Senior Manager, Deliverable Development at Freedman Consulting, LLC where she conducts strategic planning, in-depth policy research, and issue advocacy for foundations and nonprofit clients.

Prior to joining the firm in 2016 as a Research Associate, Emily worked for the Clerk of the House of Representatives as a Public Information Specialist, where she assisted congressional staff with disclosure documentation. Her previous experience also includes helping to manage donor relations as a Development and Communications Assistant at the University of Michigan’s Center for the Education of Women, along with internships at the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, the U.S. Department of Education, and the office of Congressman John Dingell (MI-12).

Emily holds a Master’s degree in Policy Management from Georgetown University, and a Bachelor’s degree in Public Policy (with a focus area of Civil Rights and Social Justice) from the Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy at the University of Michigan.

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