New Left Accelerator empowers progressive leaders to transform their ideas into impact. We accomplish this by running an accelerator program and serving as a resource clearinghouse for emerging, progressive organizations.
Deborah Barron founded the New Left Accelerator in the wake of the 2016 election. As a founding member of Women Lawyers On Guard, she spent all her post-election free time working to meet the legal needs of a host of innovative, new, progressive advocacy groups. Soon, however, she was relying on her former political consulting and strategic-planning skills to help new founders identify, prioritize, and meet their capacity-building needs. With a little encouragement and seed funding from Open Society Foundation, she decided to leave her job at a law firm in order to create an organization dedicated to providing capacity-building resources to emerging progressive leaders. She has been humbled and awed by the amazing founders, activists, and team that she has had the opportunity to work with since founding the New Left Accelerator.
These are the things NLA believes in. The things we strive to stand for. Not only do these values guide our own work, but we also look for these same priorities in the organizations we choose to work with.
Respect: We honor the fundamental value and dignity of all individuals. We treat everyone we encounter - especially those we disagree with or differ from - with respect. We strive to bring kindness, compassion and humility to our work and relationships, and pledge to create and maintain an inclusive and equitable environment that respects diverse perspectives, backgrounds, and experiences.
Integrity: We value the trust placed in us by those who support and fund our work and the leaders who open up their organizations to us. We are committed to being a trustworthy, reliable, and credible capacity-building resource for the progressive community.
Learning: We are a learning organization. We value smart risk-taking and commit to being brutally honest with ourselves and others about what’s working and what’s not. When we make a mistake -and if are truly working on the edge of innovation, we will make mistakes- we will take ownership of what went wrong, evaluate, share what we learned, and then use that knowledge to do better. Repeat. Every day.
Empowerment: We are committed to helping leaders become visionary, inspirational, transformative stewards of their missions and values. We strive to be brave, bold, and inclusive - both within our own organization and as a force for the progressive movement.
Deborah is an attorney who led a prior life as a political junkie and consultant for Democratic political candidates, not-for-profit and advocacy organizations, and foundations. She started her career in politics as the Field Director for Congresswoman Lynn Wolsey and eventually served as the Communications Director for Chellie Pingree's 2002 U.S. Senate Campaign. In between, she worked at numerous political-consulting firms and advocacy organizations, including Staton Hughes & Shafer, Spitfire Strategies, and Americans for Gun Safety. She then became an attorney. After practicing law for nearly ten years, she left her law firm in September of 2016 to work on the New Left Accelerator full time.
Deborah has a law degree from U.C. Berkeley School of Law, a Masters in Journalism from Northwestern University, and a M.A. in Political Science from U.C. Berkeley. She currently serves on the board of Women Lawyers On Guard, lives in San Francisco, and is the proud and tired mom of Ryder Jane (almost 4) and Hudson Townes (almost 2).
Nijmie is a movement strategist and institution builder with 20 years of experience founding and running social justice organizations. She is a co-founder of the Media Mobilizing Project and Put People First! PA and and former Executive Director of the Philadelphia Student Union. Nijmie has been consulting on strategy, leadership development, communications and racial equity with local, regional and national organizations and alliances for six years. Some of her clients include the Center for Community Change and the Funders Collaborative on Youth Organizing. She is a member of RoadMap consulting.
Jen developed a passion for process, planning, and systems through her time working for political and grassroots campaigns including the Obama Campaign and Organizing for America. She honed her skills in the nonprofit world as the Director of Acceleration Services at Citizen Engagement Lab (CEL). There she oversaw a fiscal sponsorship program that provided organizational development and fundraising services to social change start-ups, including Vote.org, 18MillionRising, and MPowerChange. Jen has extensive experience in building effective grassroots organizations, running organizational systems, and nonprofit infrastructure. Jen lives in Oakland, California with her husband and dog Stanley.
Barbara has a successful track record of more than 25 years experience as a coach and consultant, working with the leadership of emerging and established for profit and nonprofit organizations to achieve growth, scale, and impact. In addition to having her own consulting firm Barbara was a co-founder of UpStart, a nonprofit accelerator providing ongoing business strategy development and fostering innovation for social entrepreneurs. During her tenure at UpStart, she worked with over 50 social entrepreneurs giving them the tools to develop and execute on their organizational strategies and goals. Barbara holds undergraduate and graduate degrees from UC Berkeley. She serves on a number of boards, including the Board of the Northern California Association of Strategic Planning and Facing History and Ourselves (SF region). Barbara enjoys hiking, bicycling, and skiing, and treasures her time with her husband and sons.
Originally from Puerto Rico, Dariana moved to Florida when she was 14 years old. She has a Bachelor's in Health Administration and a Master's in Psychology from Keiser University and a passion for Greco-Roman & Egyptian History. Dariana has experience in office administration and joined NLA in 2018. She is a proud U.S. Air Force spouse and lives in the Bay area with her husband, 5-year-old daughter, and 2-year-old son.
Paul Rivera is a Democratic activist and strategist from New York, with more than 20 years of experience in government, elections, and public advocacy. Paul got his start in politics at the 1992 Democratic Convention held in New York City, and served in the Clinton White House from 1994 through 2000, before moving back to New York. Paul is a veteran of four presidential elections (1992-2004), six national party conventions, two gubernatorial elections in New York (2002 and 2006), and five election cycles for the New York State Senate Democratic Conference (2008-2016). As an independent consultant since 2013, Paul has worked on impactful campaigns and independent expenditure efforts across the United States. Paul also served as Communications Director and Senior Advisor to the New York Senate Democratic Conference from 2009-2012, helping close record budget deficits and working to pass critical progressive and reform legislation.
Toby is a nonprofit consultant with a focus on executive leadership coaching for startup non-profit executives and leaders of innovative program initiatives. She is also the Founder of UpStart, an accelerator for early stage nonprofits. During her 10 year tenure as CEO, she built a team of leaders that brought UpStart from an idea to start-up to a high-impact, paradigm-shifting national organization. Prior to founding UpStart, Toby spent 7 years at the BJE-San Francisco filling a variety of roles, including an executive leadership role. Toby holds an undergraduate degree in Political Sociology from UC-Santa Barbara and a J.D. from the University of San Diego. She currently lives in Marin County to feed her hiking habit, and enjoys nature with husband, Robert Rubin, and visits from their three amazing young adult daughters.
Alicin has spent her career finding new and better ways to lift up the voices that haven’t yet been heard. As the head of Raben’s NYC office, she draws on her diverse experience conceiving and managing large-scale initiatives in government affairs, media strategy, employee engagement, brand reputation, and communications. Prior to joining Raben, Alicin served as a Senior VP at MTV Networks and Viacom where she created the company’s Corporate Responsibility and Public Affairs Department, oversaw Employee Engagement and worked closely with the Office of Global Inclusion to increase company visibility in diverse communities and aid diversity recruitment efforts. Alicin lives in Washington, D.C.
Mera Granberg is a serial social entrepreneur with experience in the for-profit and non-profit sectors. She was the founding executive director of the San Francisco General Hospital Foundation, bringing philanthropic support to public health. She went on to lead a national sales program for Endymion Systems, Inc. Mera is currently a strategic advisor to The Sustainable Preservation Initiative and sits on the board of The Weekend to Be Named Later and Rag Tag. A San Francisco native, Mera lives in her hometown.
Cameron is an attorney specializing in tax, corporate, and regulatory law as applicable to nonprofit and tax-exempt organizations. Prior to opening her practice, Cameron worked as an attorney-adviser for the U.S Department of State, serving as counsel to the Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons. She served as a Peace Corps volunteer in the Republic of Georgia and worked against trafficking in persons in Poland. Cameron formerly served as Vice-Chair of Programs on the California Bar Association’s Nonprofit Committee and graduated Berkeley School of Law in 2007. She live in Alameda, California with her husband and three children.
Rob is the National Politics Director at Brigade, a civic tech startup focused on building the first voter social network. Rob currently leads Brigade’s efforts to deepen its presence among progressive voters, activists, policymakers, and the media. Prior to joining Brigade, Rob worked at The Raben Group where he helped lead their Diversity and Inclusion practice. As part of his client portfolio, Rob managed the groundbreaking environmental diversity initiative, Green 2.0, and advised corporations, foundations, and advocacy organizations on developing and implementing holistic diversity and inclusion strategies. Previously, Rob worked at FWD.us, the Center for American Progress, and President Obama’s reelection campaign.
Brigette Rouson, co-founder of the Insight-Incite consulting collective, brings over 25 years’ experience building nonprofit effectiveness toward a just society. She serves on RoadMap Consulting’s Operations and Racial Justice Action Teams and has designed and led numerous capacity-building initiatives. Former roles include Program Director of Alliance for Nonprofit Management, consultant on staff with Management Assistance Group, Mosaica, and Maryland Nonprofits. As a senior program officer at Ms. Foundation for Women she directed a $4 million girls/young women’s leadership initiative.
Brigette is part of communities of practice such as The Art of Transformational Consulting, Standards for Excellence Licensed Consultants, Gestalt Center for Organization Systems Development, and Shannon Leadership Institute. Community work includes co-founder of a social justice grassroots grantmaker, the Diverse City Fund; resource organizer and member of community organizing groups; and elected member of her congregation’s Board of Social Action. Brigette is a graduate of Howard University (B.A.), Georgetown (J.D.), and University of Pennsylvania (M.A.) She is a member of the DC Bar since 1983.
Will Jenkins has more than a decade of communications and policy experience at the Obama White House, the Department of Health and Human Services, Congress and international nonprofit organizations. During his time in the federal government, Will served as a spokesperson to news outlets on a wide range of issues, including criminal justice reform, drug policy, immigration, public health, national security and education. He has trained or advised hundreds of filmmakers and other media makers on social and policy impact strategies through the Sundance Institute, South by Southwest, the Tribeca Film Institute and other organizations. He developed the American Film Institute's first Political Bootcamp for Filmmakers and is co-author of a report series on films and policymaking published through American University. He founded the Democratic Communicators Network, which has organized training and mentoring for hundreds of political staffers, and created the White House Public Affairs Leadership Workshop, a five-month leadership development program for appointees from federal agencies.
Aliza Dichter has worked with social justice, nonprofit, and community groups for more than twenty years. She brings the stories, examples, ideas, and tools she’s learned into collaborations with leaders and groups to help them produce strategic plans, partnerships, and materials. Liza has developed particular experience working with social justice startup groups, coalitions, and projects, particularly over six years as Co-Founder and Co-Director of CIMA: Center for International Media Action, which cultivated coalitions, networks and alliances; five years as a Senior Strategist with the incubation and acceleration program at Citizen Engagement Lab; and as an independent consultant providing coaching, research, technical assistance, and hands-on collaboration to leaders and small teams navigating the nonprofit system. Aliza has helped to build national and international networks and movements for communications rights and media justice and has produced publications and workshops on the intersection of media, technology and social progress. She has been a Rockwood Leadership Fellow, a delegate to the World Social Forum and the UN World Summit on the Information Society, and a “Visionary In Residence” at Dartmouth's Center for Women and Gender.
Jill is a nationally recognized strategist and consultant with a track-record of winning at the highest level of politics and advocacy. Formerly the Political Director and Coordinated Campaign Director of the Democratic National Committee, Jill has worked with campaigns in all 50 states. A veteran of 7 presidential races, Jill has served as a national electoral strategist for Bill Clinton, Hillary Clinton, John Kerry, and Al Gore. Though she continues to travel throughout the country, Jill is based out of suburban Detroit, where she’s worked on all but one winning campaigns in Michigan over 29 years, serving as a Senior Strategist for leaders like Mayor Dave Bing, Governor Jennifer Granholm and Senator Carl Levin and numerous presidential campaigns; for independent committees to elect candidates like Mayor Mike Duggan; and, on ballot initiatives for stem cell research and to save the Detroit Institute of Arts. As an award winning consultant for strategy and advertising, Jill specializes in building expert teams and strategies for her clients. The American Association of Political Consultants honored her work for Jennifer Granholm as “Campaign Manager of the Year, a recognition often given to presidential campaign managers and seldom given to women.
Eve is the principal of Fox Strategies, a one-woman campaigns consultancy that helps progressive nonprofit organizations harness the power of the internet to advance their missions, recruit supporters and raise money. After working in women’s reproductive health and environmental advocacy, Eve joined M+R Strategic Services in 2002. In her 12 years on staff, she helped to grow the firm’s digital division from a fledgling offering with three staff to a leader in the field of online fundraising and advocacy with a staff of 60 talented individuals across the country. While at M+R, Eve helped leading national nonprofits including the Clinton Foundation, Oxfam America, the American Diabetes Association, Defenders of Wildlife, Consumers Union, the U.N. Foundation, the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, the Save Darfur Coalition, and many more raise tens of millions of dollars online and recruit millions of supporters to their causes.
Donnie Fowler has over twenty years experience in Silicon Valley, the public sector and national politics. He has a perfect 3-0 record leading battleground states for Bill Clinton, John Kerry, and Barack Obama. Donnie has worked on-the-ground in seventeen states and for eight presidential campaigns. He has served in the Clinton White House as a congressional liaison, at Silicon Valley’s TechNet, and as a presidential appointee and lawyer at the Federal Communications Commission. Since 2016, he has led Tech4America, a bridge between Silicon Valley and public leaders that includes a partnership with the National League of Cities. He is co-founder of Democracy Labs, a workshop for techies, creatives, and politicos to put better tools in the hands of groups and candidates. DemLabs has sparked groundbreaking work on voting machine hacking and social media monitoring, among other things. Donnie also teaches at the University of San Francisco and is a founding member of the Silicon Valley Blockchain Society.
Cayden is Executive Director at 18MillionRising.org, a digital civic engagement hub for Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (AAPIs). As part of 18MR.org's founding staff, they were an integral part of developing the organization's vision, voice, analysis, and playbook. In their previous role as Chief Technology Officer, they were the driving force and product manager behind community-centered design for civic tech project VoterVOX, a community-designed matching tool to help find personalized volunteer translation assistance for limited English proficient voters. Their organizing history also includes cofounding grassroots media startups (youngist.org), cofounding a statewide student organizing network (New York Students Rising), serving as a union officer and staff organizer (CWA 1104, Education Division), and contributing to organizing the Allied Media Conference in Detroit, MI.
With over 30 years’ experience helping leaders address pressing business and organizational challenges, Joel is known for his ability to help leaders dramatically improve performance by leveraging the human side of the enterprise. With start-ups, where founders and leaders need to take smart action under highly complex and uncertain conditions, his work focuses on building the capacity for rapid learning and improvement – particularly when dealing with high conflict/high-stakes situations. Joel has served on a number of corporate and non-profit Boards. Recent director roles have included The African Food and Peace Foundation, CorStone, and Upstart.