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Our team

Ted Howard

President & Co-Founder

Ted Howard is the Co-founder and President of The Democracy Collaborative. Previously, he served as the Executive Director of the National Center for Economic Alternatives.

In July 2010, Ted was appointed the Steven Minter Senior Fellow for Social Justice at The Cleveland Foundation, a position he held for four years. Working with the Foundation, he was a member of a team that developed the comprehensive job creation and wealth building strategy which resulted in the Evergreen Cooperative Initiative.

Ted lectures frequently about community wealth building, most recently at the Clinton Global Initiative-America, the Initiative for a Competitive Inner City, the National Community Reinvestment Coalition, the Co-operatives United World Conference (Manchester, England), various regional Federal Reserve Banks, as well as at universities including the University of Pennsylvania, Yale, MIT, Georgetown, Oberlin, Michigan State and the Ohio State University.

Gar Alperovitz

Co-Founder, The Democracy Collaborative and Co-Chair, Next System Project

Gar Alperovitz has had a distinguished career as a historian, political economist, activist, writer, and government official. For fifteen years, he was the Lionel R. Bauman Professor of Political Economy at the University of Maryland, and is a former Fellow of Kings College, Cambridge University; Harvard’s Institute of Politics; the Institute for Policy Studies; and a Guest Scholar at the Brookings Institution.

Gar is the author of critically acclaimed books on the atomic bomb and atomic diplomacy. As a well known policy expert, he has testified before numerous Congressional committees and lectures widely around the country.

Among his many achievements is having been the architect of the first modern steel industry attempt at worker ownership in Youngstown, Ohio.  In addition, Gar was nominated to be a member of the Council of Economic Advisers by leading national consumer, labor, and environmental organizations.

Marjorie Kelly

Executive Vice President & Senior Fellow

Marjorie Kelly is the Senior Fellow and Executive Vice President of The Democracy Collaborative (TDC) a nonprofit research organization founded in 2000. TDC is a research and development lab for a democratic economy. She is cofounder of Fifty by Fifty, a network initiative to catalyze 50 million employee owners by 2050, for which she has led research on “next-generation enterprise design.” For her research on the role of capital in taking employee ownership to scale, she was named the Robert J. Beyster Research Fellow by Rutgers University. Her other work at TDC has included working with community foundations on place-based impact investing, and leading The Learning/Action Lab for Community Wealth Building, a five-year project working with Native American organizations to build wealth in Indigenous communities. Kelly is coauthor of The Making of a Democratic Economy: Building Prosperity for the Many, Not Just the Few (July 2019, Berrett-Koehler Publishers).

Read more about Marjorie Kelly...

Ronnie Galvin

Vice President for Racial Equity and the Democratic Economy

Ronnie Galvin has committed his life’s work to community building, community organizing, and social change.  Most recently he worked at the Center for Community Change in Washington, DC where he served as Sr. Advisor on the Center’s Reinvestment Team, with a focus on building grassroots and national power that can amplify a demand for massive reinvestments in Black communities that have been traumatized by the American political economy.  Ronnie was specifically tasked with organizing Black faith leaders, theological thinkers, and spiritual practitioners to help shape moral imagination and inspire movement building energy in support of the Reinvestment Team’s work. 

Prior to his work at CCC Ronnie served as the Executive Director for Impact Silver Spring—a non-profit focused on building  neighborhood based networks that advance collective well-being and community and economic development.  Earlier in his career Ronnie also served as Senior Community Builder with the Annie E. Casey Foundation’s place-based team in Atlanta, Georgia.  In this role he worked to build mutually beneficial partnerships and capacity building projects to support family strengthening and community development efforts.

Joe Guinan

Vice President of Theory, Research, and Policy and Executive Director of The Next System Project

Joe Guinan is a Senior Fellow at The Democracy Collaborative and Executive Director of the Next System Project. Having first worked with Gar Alperovitz and The Democracy Collaborative ten years earlier, he returned in 2012 to help design, launch and implement the Collaborative’s work on alternative political-economic systems. A former journalist, he was previously a program director at the Aspen Institute and a fellow at the German Marshall Fund of the United States and has served as a consultant to the William & Flora Hewlett Foundation. Read more about Joe Guinan...

Gus Speth

Distinguished Fellow & Co-Chair, Next System Project

James Gustave "Gus" Speth joined the faculty of the Vermont Law School as Professor of Law in 2010. In addition to his position as Senior Fellow at the Democracy Collaborative, he is a Distinguished Senior Fellow at Demos and Associate Fellow at the Tellus Institute. In 2009 he completed his decade-long tenure as Dean, Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies. From 1993 to 1999, Gus was Administrator of the United Nations Development Programme and chair of the UN Development Group. Read more about Gus Speth...

Felipe Barroso

Senior Associate, Healthcare Engagement

Felipe Barroso joined The Democracy Collaborative’s Healthcare Engagement team on January 2018. As a Senior Associate, Felipe helps hospitals and health systems leverage their business practices, such as hiring, purchasing, and investment, to support inclusive, sustainable communities through their participation in the Healthcare Anchor Network. The network represents $150 billion in investment assets, $50 billion in annual purchasing power, and over 1 million employees across 30+ leading health systems across the U.S.

Read more about Felipe Barroso...

Johanna Bozuwa

Co-Manager, Climate & Energy Program
Johanna joins the Democracy Collaborative as a Research Associate. Her research focuses on transitioning from the extractive, fossil fuel economy and building towards resilient and equitable communities based on energy democracy.
Read more about Johanna Bozuwa...

Dana Brown

Co-Director, Theory, Research, and Policy Division and Director, the Next System Project

Dana comes to the Democracy Collaborative with 15 years of experience in community organizing, project management and human rights advocacy. She has worked throughout the US, Latin America and the Middle East supporting communities organized in resistance to neoliberal economic reforms, imperialism and structural violence. 

She joined the Democracy Collaborative in 2015 for the launch of the Next System Teach-Ins drawing on her experience with the Democracy Teach-Ins of the 90s and other popular education efforts related to the peace and social justice movements she has participated in for the last two decades.

Read more about Dana Brown...

Rhonda Coleman

Director, HR

Joining the Democracy Collaborative in December 2011, Rhonda Coleman serves as Operations Director and Executive Assistant to Ted Howard. Before her time here, she spent 15 years in administration with the Oberlin Conservatory of Music, and more recently, two years as a health program coordinator/director with the Lorain County Urban League. Rhonda has a long history with various, local non-profit organizations including serving on the boards of the Lorain County Community Action Agency, the Oberlin Race Relations Committee, Parents for Public Schools and others. Read more about Rhonda Coleman...

John Duda

Director of Communications

John Duda started working for the Democracy Collaborative as Communications Coordinator in 2011.  He holds a B.A. in linguistics from the University of Pennsylvania, a Master's degree in Logic from the Universiteit van Amsterdam, and a PhD in Intellectual History from Johns Hopkins University, where his dissertation examined the genealogy of the idea of "self-organization" in politics and the sciences. Read more about John Duda...

Danny Fisher-Bruns

Senior Associate, Advisory Services
Danny is a facilitator, educator, and organizational change leader. As a Senior Associate for Advisory Services, he has the great pleasure of working with communities across the country to unlock solutions to challenging and deeply rooted systemic challenges. 
Prior to joining The Democracy Collaborative, Danny worked with Seattle Children's Hospital, as a Sustainability Fellow and later as a consultant, to build the foundations of inclusive, place-based pu Read more about Danny Fisher-Bruns...

Will Flagle

Research Associate

Will Flagle first worked with the Democracy Collaborative in the summer of 2015 as a Junior Research Fellow conducting research on regionalism in the United States before returning as a Research Assistant in 2016. He received a B.A. in political science from Grinnell College and a master of public affairs from the University of Texas, at Austin. Academically, Will has enjoyed researching movements for shorter hours, guaranteed annual income proposals, worker cooperatives, and the Solidarity Economy. Read more about Will Flagle...

Peter Gowan

Policy Associate

Peter Gowan joined the Democracy Collaborative in June 2018 and now works as a Policy Associate. He is a graduate of Trinity College, Dublin with a dual-major BA in History and Political Science, and recently completed an M.A. in Political Communications at Dublin City University.

Read more about Peter Gowan...

Thomas Hanna

Co-Director, Theory, Research, and Policy Division and Director of Research

Thomas M. Hanna joined The Democracy Collaborative in 2010 as a research assistant to Gar Alperovitz and became Research Director in 2015. He received his M.A. and B.A. degrees in History from Virginia Commonwealth University.

Read more about Thomas Hanna...

Erin Kesler

Senior Communications Associate

Erin Kesler works to promote the Democracy Collaborative's work as a Senior Communications Associate. Before joining our staff, she managed press outreach for the Center for Progressive Reform, a network of over 50 progressive legal scholars expert in the regulatory process. Erin worked with the scholars to educate the public about threats to environmental, public health and worker health and safety standards and edited the organization's blog. Read more about Erin Kesler...

Abby Massey

Senior Associate, Healthcare Engagement

Abby joined The Democracy Collaborative’s Healthcare Engagement team in April of 2019. Abby will provide strategic support for the Healthcare Anchor Network – a network representing 45 hospital systems across the United States who are working to make their hiring, purchasing and investing decisions more inclusive, local and community-driven. Read more about Abby Massey...

Sarah McKinley

Director of European Programs and Next System Project European Representative

Sarah McKinley is the Director for European Programs for The Democracy Collaborative and the European Representative for the Next System Project, working out of her home-office in Brussels, Belgium. Read more about Sarah McKinley...

Lauren Nixon

Healthcare Engagement Manager

Lauren Nixon is a facilitator, trainer, educator, speaker, and curriculum designer who has worked across the realms of environmental equity, food equity, and food policy.  Lauren has fifteen years of experience facilitating space and designing programs for innovative organizations and initiatives.  Prior to joining The Democracy Collaborative as the Manager of Healthcare Engagement,  Lauren developed curriculum and worked as a trainer with FoodCorps, developed curriculum and worked as a facilitator with Get HYPE! Read more about Lauren Nixon...

Katie Parker

Senior Research Associate

Katie Parker joined The Democracy Collaborative in 2014 and works as a Senior Research Associate. Her work focuses on advancing strategies that build community wealth and democratize ownership and control. A primary area of focus has been on how anchor institutions can leverage their business practices, such as procurement, hiring and investment, to support inclusive economic development. Read more about Katie Parker...

Bich Ha Pham

Manager, Communications and Policy, Healthcare Anchor Network

Bich Ha Pham is a policy, advocacy, and communications professional with experience in developing and executing strategic advocacy and communications plans that generated significant press coverage, awareness, and policy change for lower-income individuals and communities.

Bich Ha is a Manager, Communications and Policy, Healthcare Anchor Network with the Democracy Collaborative, where she works on communications and advocacy for various initiatives including the Healthcare Anchor Network. Bich Ha previously worked on a number of exciting projects, including the path-breaking campaign that resulted in New York City support for worker cooperatives, as well as the community wealth building policy work at the NYC Public Advocate's office as Director of Policy. Bich Ha’s previous roles also included being the Executive Director of the Hunger Action Network of NYS and the Policy Director at FPWA. 

Isaiah J. Poole

Editorial Manager, The Next System Project

Isaiah J. Poole joined the Democracy Collaborative in 2018 as editorial manager for The Next System Project. He was previously communications director for People’s Action and for the Campaign for America’s Future, where his responsibilities included serving as editor for the organization’s website and blog,

Justine Porter

Director, Advisory Services

Justine Porter is a social enterprise operations professional with experience in creating and implementing social programs and a passion for finding systems-level solutions to inequality through community building and resident engagement. Read more about Justine Porter...

Jessica Rose

Chief Financial Officer & Director, Employee Ownership Programs

Jessica Rose is a national employee ownership business strategist, who focuses on the unique role of capital to drive scale. She advises cities, grant-makers, and investors on cutting-edge models to expand economic opportunity through employee ownership and is deeply involved in the research and development of innovative, on-the ground employee-owned business development and financing models.   Read more about Jessica Rose...

Sonia Sarkar

Consultant, Healthcare Engagement Team

Sonia Sarkar joined the Democracy Collaborative as Consultant to the Healthcare Engagement Team in May 2018. She most recently served as Chief Policy and Engagement Officer for the Baltimore City Health Department, overseeing multi-stakeholder community engagement, strategic planning, policy activities, and population health initiatives to address health inequity throughout the City. Previously, she was Director of Provider Solutions at AVIA, a health system-led innovation accelerator, where she worked directly with hospital executive leadership to identify and incentivize innovations in patient care. 

Carla Skandier

Co-Manager, Climate & Energy Program

Carla Skandier joined The Democracy Collaborative as a Research Associate with the Next System Project in October 2015 having completed a LLM (Master of Laws)'s degree in Energy from Vermont Law School in 2015. She has a background in international environmental law, climate change, renewable energy and sustainable development, particularly in developing countries as Brazil and China. Read more about Carla Skandier...

Nate Stephens

Manager, Anchor Collaborative Network (ACN)
Nate joined the Democracy Collaborative as manager for the Anchor Collaborative Network (ACN) in June, 2019. As manager of ACN, Nate's work aims to develop and grow a nation-wide learning network of anchor institutions, collaboratives, and communities working to create inclusive and equitable local economies. Read more about Nate Stephens...

Lauren Worth

Senior Associate, Healthcare Engagement

Lauren Worth joined the Democracy Collaborative in May of 2017 as Program Associate, Healthcare Engagement team, where she works with hospitals and health systems to improve community well-being by building inclusive and sustainable local economies. Read more about Lauren Worth...

David Zuckerman

Director, Healthcare Engagement

David Zuckerman joined The Democracy Collaborative team in 2012 and serves as Director for Healthcare Engagement. David leads the coordination of the Healthcare Anchor Network—a health system-led collaboration focused on improving community health and well-being by building inclusive and sustainable local economies. The Network includes more than 40 health systems to date. Read more about David Zuckerman...