The Working America Education Fund Board Members:
Rev. James Sessions, President
East Tennessee Workers Rights Board and Interfaith Committee for Worker Justice
Rev. Jim Sessions is a United Methodist minister who has lived and worked in Southern Appalachia for over thirty years. During that time, he served as executive director of several social and economic justice organizations: Southern Appalachian Ministry, Southerners for Economic Justice, the Commission on Religion in Appalachia, the Highlander Research and Education Center, and the Union Community Fund of the AFL-CIO. Currently he is president of the Working America Education Fund Board.
Ellen Bravo, Treasurer and Secretary
Professor of Women’s Studies, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee;
Director, Family Values @ Work Consortium
Ellen Bravo, treasurer and secretary of the Fund Board, is a long-time activist for working women. She began working for 9to5, National Association of Working Women in 1982, when she helped found the Milwaukee chapter, and served until 2004 as its national director. Ellen currently serves as director of the Family Values @ Work Consortium and teaches Women’s Studies at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, including masters level classes on Family-Friendly Workplaces and on Sexual Harassment. She remains a consultant to 9to5. She is a member of several boards and committees, including the Work-Life Law Advisory Committee, the Ms. Foundation for Women Advisory Committee, and the Grants Advisory Committee of the Milwaukee Women’s Fund.
Rob “Biko” Baker
Executive Director, The League of Young Voters
The Executive Director of the League of Young Voters Education, Rob "Biko" Baker is a nationally recognized young leader. In his home community of Milwaukee, he has organized town hall meetings and used the power and agency of art to inform, mobilize, and motivate young people to participate in civic life. Biko has served as the deputy publicity coordinator and young voter organizer for the Brown and Black Presidential Forum. He has appeared on C-SPAN, Fox News and CNN, has interviewed Cornell West, Russell Simmons, and Howard Dean, and has been on panels with many of the nation's strongest progressive voices.
President, The Bauman Foundation
Patricia Bauman is President and Co-Director of the Bauman Foundation. In recent years, the Foundation has supported civic participation through general support of organizations engaged in voter registration and outreach and election protection. She is also a real estate investor, and is active as a donor to Democratic candidates. Patricia is a Vice-Chair of the Natural Resources Defense Council and also serves of the boards of Montefiore Medical Center in New York, and the Trust for America 's Health.
Heather Booth has been an organizer for over forty years starting in the civil rights and women's movements. She is one of the country’s leading strategists about the development of progressive issue campaigns and the integration of issue and civic engagement efforts. Most recently, Heather was the founding director of Americans for Financial Reform, fighting to regulate the financial industry. She is currently consulting with a variety of organizations and working to promote voter registration.
Director of Public Advocacy and Partnerships, Sierra Club
Cathy Duvall is currently the Director of Public Advocacy and Partnerships of the Sierra Club and formerly served as the National Political Director. Cathy has led the organization in its most extensive and victorious political programs, expanding the work at both the national and state levels. She is a recognized leader in the DC progressive political community and was recently named "one of the top 100 most influential people in Washington DC” by Washington Life Magazine.
President, American Bridge 21st Century
Rodell Mollineau, President of American Bridge 21st Century, brings more than a decade of experience developing national message campaigns and leading high-level communications operations. At American Bridge, Rodell leads the overall efforts of the Super PAC and its companion 501(c)(4) foundation, overseeing the premier research and communications operation that will serve as a permanent progressive counterweight to the outside Republican groups that took hold of the electoral process in 2010. Rodell grew up in New York and New Jersey and is a graduate of the University of Dayton in Ohio.
Director, National Domestic Workers Alliance
Ai-jen Poo, Director of the National Domestic Workers Alliance, has been organizing immigrant women workers since 1996. In 2000 she helped start Domestic Workers United, the New York based organization that spearheaded the successful passage of the state’s historic Domestic Workers Bill of Rights in 2010. In 2007, DWU helped organize the first national domestic workers convening, out of which the National Domestic Workers Alliance was formed. Ai-jen also serves on the Board of Directors of Momsrising.org, National Jobs with Justice, and the National Committee for Responsive Philanthropy.
President and Executive Director, Applied Research Center
Rinku Sen is the President and Executive Director of the Applied Research Center (ARC) and the publisher of Colorlines.com. A leading figure in the racial justice movement, Rinku has positioned ARC as a national home for media, research and activism on these issues. Rinku is the Chair of the Media Consortium, the Vice Chair of the Schott Foundation for Public Education, and a board member of the Philanthropic Initiative for Racial Equity and the Restaurant Opportunities Centers United.
Director, Center for Latin American Studies, University of California-Berkeley
Harley Shaiken is a professor of social and cultural studies at the Graduate School of Education, director of the Center for Latin American Studies and a member of the Department of Geography at UC Berkeley, where he specializes on issues of work, technology and global production. Harley is an adviser on trade and labor issues to public and private organizations and leading members of the U.S. Congress. He is also a member of the advisory boards of the Center for American Progress, and the Latin American Program of the Open Society Institute.
Barbara Ellen Smith
Director of Women’s and Gender Studies/Professor of Sociology, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University
Barbara Ellen Smith is director of Women’s and Gender Studies and a professor in the Department of Sociology at Virginia Tech. For the past thirty years, she has been an activist-scholar in Appalachia and the U.S. South. Her primary areas of research include race, labor and immigration; flexible labor practices; and social justice activism in the U.S. South. Among her current research interests is the growth of right-wing populism among white working-class women and men in the U.S. South.
President Emeritus, AFL-CIO
John J. Sweeney became president emeritus of the AFL-CIO at the federation’s constitutional convention in September 2009, stepping down after five terms as president. At the time of his election in 1995, he was serving as president of the Service Employees International Union, which grew from 625,000 to 1.1 million members during the 15 years of his leadership. He was also vice president of the AFL-CIO and chair of the AFL-CIO Executive Council committees on Health Care and Organizing and Field Services, and was elected president of SEIU in 1980.
Principal, Westen Strategies;
Professor of Psychology, Emory University
Drew Westen is a clinical, personality, and political psychologist and neuroscientist, and Professor in the Departments of Psychology and Psychiatry at Emory University and founder of Westen Strategies, a political and corporate consulting firm. Drew frequently comments on political and psychological issues on radio, tv, and in print, including appearances on AC360, The Situation Room, Hardball, Good Morning America, the Charlie Rose Show, and articles in the Washington Post, Adweek, The New Republic, and the Huffington Post. He has advised and consulted a range of candidates and organizations, from presidential and congressional campaigns to major nonprofit organizations, the House Senate Democratic Caucuses, and the AFL-CIO.