Democracy Fund Announces 2018 National Advisory Committee

June 7, 2018

We are excited to announce the new cohort of the Democracy Fund National Advisory Committee. This group of leaders from across the political spectrum brings expertise in politics, academia, media, culture, and philanthropy, and are committed to helping us find achievable solutions to our nation’s biggest problems.

Three years ago, shortly after Democracy Fund became an independent foundation, we established our first National Advisory Committee to help us think big, identify gaps in our work, and dig into the tough questions facing our political system. We are deeply grateful to our first cohort for their advice, candid feedback, and partnership. We look forward to elevating the expertise and ideas of our new committee, which includes new and returning voices, in our work to support a healthy democracy.

The Democracy Fund’s 2018 National Advisory Committee includes:

Hon. Robin Carnahan, National Advisory Committee Co-Chair
The Honorable Robin Carnahan leads the State and Local Government Practice at 18F, the team of digital technology consultants housed within the General Services Administration. Carnahan was twice elected Secretary of State of Missouri and served as senior director at the global strategy firm Albright Stonebridge Group.

Brett Loper, National Advisory Committee Co-Chair
Brett Loper is Senior Vice President, Global Government Affairs, for American Express. In that role, he coordinates the Company’s engagement strategy with policy makers in the United States and countries around the globe. Before joining American Express, he held the position of Deputy Chief of Staff to U. S. House of Representatives Speaker John Boehner (R-OH).

Kristen Soltis Anderson, Member
Kristen Soltis Anderson is a researcher, pollster, and political analyst and co-founder of Echelon Insights, an innovative research and analysis data analysis firms. She is a leading expert on the millennial generation and is author of The Selfie Vote: Where Millennials are Leading America (And How Republicans Can Keep Up).

Francis Fukuyama, Member
Francis Fukuyama is Olivier Nomellini Senior Fellow at the Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies (FSI), and the Mosbacher Director of FSI’s Center on Democracy, Development, and the Rule of Law at Stanford University. He is professor (by courtesy) of political science.

Lanhee Chen, Member
Lanhee J. Chen, Ph.D. is the David and Diane Steffy Research Fellow at the Hoover Institution; Director of Domestic Policy Studies and Lecturer in the Public Policy Program at Stanford University; and Lecturer in Law at Stanford Law School. Chen served as the Policy Director of the Romney-Ryan 2012 presidential campaign.

Cherie Harder, Member
Cherie Harder serves as President of The Trinity Forum. Prior to joining the Trinity Forum in 2008, and previously served in the White House as Special Assistant to the President and Director of Policy and Projects for First Lady Laura Bush.

Lisa Leingang, Member
Lisa Leingang has worked in the media and entertainment business for over 25 years and is currently Senior Vice President of Scripted Programming at First Look Media. With senior executive roles ranging from production to development executive, she has held posts at various media companies including HBO, NBC, CBS and Viacom, discovering, nurturing and developing creative talent from all over the world.

Kierna Mayo, Member
Kierna Mayo is the Senior Vice President of Lifestyle Content + Brands at iOne Digital, Inc. A veteran culture writer/editor and brand architect, Mayo has been recognized by Folio, The Root, and the NAACP among others as a modern media trailblazer.

Hon. Mellissa Mark-Vivierito, Member
Melissa Mark-Viverito is Senior Advisory to the Latino Victory Fund (LVF) and former Speaker of the New York City Council. In her current capacity, Mark-Viverito works with LVF to identify and recruit progressive Latino candidates, expand the Political Action Committee’s fundraising and state infrastructure, and help launch state chapters in Florida, Georgia, Arizona and Nevada. Her work will focus heavily on the 2018 midterm elections.

Raju Narisetti, Member
Raju Narisetti is the new director of the Knight-Bagehot Fellowship in Economic and Business Journalism and professor of professional practice at the Columbia Journalism School. He was most recently the CEO of Gizmodo Media Group, a portfolio of digital journalism sites that included some of the web’s most beloved and authentic brands, including Gizmodo, Jezebel, Deadspin, Lifehacker, The Root. A media executive with a track record in creating, rethinking and managing major media organizations in North America, Europe and Asia, Raju was also previously Senior Vice-President of Strategy at News Corp.

Chip Sullivan, Member
Chip Sullivan serves as Executive Vice President, Communications, at NBC Entertainment where he is responsible for strategy, development and execution of public and media relations for the network and Universal Television.

Sonal Shah, Member
Sonal Shah is an economist and entrepreneur. She is the Executive Director of the Beeck Center of Social impact and Innovation at Georgetown University. She led policy innovation at the White House for President Obama and the Treasury Department for President Clinton.

Anthea Watson Strong, Member
Anthea Watson Strong designs and builds technology that supports our shared civic infrastructure as a Project Manager for News at Facebook. She leads a new program that establishes stronger ties between Facebook and the news industry. She previously lead the Civics team at Google and launched products in over 30 countries, reaching hundreds of millions of users.

Charlie Sykes, Member
Charles J. Sykes is a an author/commentator. He is a contributing editor of the Weekly Standard and a contributor to NBC/MSNBC. A former conservative talk show host, Sykes has been published in the New York Times, The Los Angeles Times, The New York Review of Books, Politico, Newsweek, and other national publications. He is the author of nine books. His most recent book, How the Right Lost Its Mind, was published in 2017; an updated paperback edition will be published in October.

Geneva Overholser, Member
Geneva Overholser, an independent journalist in New York City, is a senior fellow at USC Annenberg’s Center for Communication Leadership and Policy. She was until 2013 director of the USC Annenberg School of Journalism. She serves on the boards of the Rita Allen Foundation, the CUNY Graduate School of Journalism, the Women’s Media Center, and the Academy of American Poets.

Rev. Starsky Wilson, Member
The Reverend Starsky D. Wilson is a pastor, philanthropist and activist pursuing God’s vision of community marked by justice, peace, and love. He is pastor of Saint John’s Church (The Beloved Community), president & CEO of Deaconess Foundation and chair of the National Committee for Responsive Philanthropy.


Democracy Fund National Advisory Committee members serve for three-year terms and meet twice yearly to advise Democracy Fund on matters of organizational strategy. They play a critical role in helping the Democracy Fund develop effective strategies that ensure the American people come first in our democracy.


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