Dr. Alexis Carreiro
Dr. Alexis Carreiro is a Visiting Assistant Professor at Queens University of Charlotte and the editor of the Knight School’s online Journal of Community Engagement through Digital and Media Literacy. This innovative, peer-review journal publishes research articles and creative digital projects that consider how and where digital and media literacy intersect with community engagement. The first issues launches in late 2012. Also, during her first year at Queens, she created a Digital Citizenship program as a way to help students see how to use digital technology in meaningful ways that positively impact the communities in which they work and live.
Her research and teaching examines the power, politics, and production of media and technology. Her publication “Rollergirls: Superhero Rhetoric in Post-Feminist Television” (about the TV series Rollergirls) critiques the “girl-power” concept as forms of feminist empowerment because it conflates superficial, post-feminist aesthetics with real feminist politics. She teaches students how media texts are constructed for political and ideological purposes as a way to inspire students to create their own stories—and solve—real social problems.
At Queens, she teaches Introduction to Mass Communication, Critical Approaches to Media, Modern Citizenship, and Introduction to Digital Media Production. Her professional experience includes event production (the Grammy Awards, New York City), corporate video production (various, Boston), media literacy grant research and implementation (Austin, Texas), and online publishing (Austin, Texas). She also co-directed and edited a short documentary about media literacy education. The documentary (Generation Digital) screened at film festivals in 2004 and 2008. Her practical expertise creating media texts enhances her critical ability to read and deconstruct them in the classroom.
She earned an M.A. and a Ph.D. in Communication (Radio-TV-Film) from the University of Texas-Austin.
Councilman Pete Constant
San José City Council
San José Councilmember Pete Constant represents Council District 1, the region of West San José bordering Santa Clara, Saratoga, Cupertino and Campbell. Re-elected in June 2010, he first took office in January 2007 and has since focused on public safety, economic development, open government, and regional land planning. Councilmember Constant is currently appointed to the Rules and Open Government and Public Safety, Finance, and Strategic Support Committees for the City of San José.
Prior to serving as a San José Councilmember, Constant served for 14 years as a San José Police Officer. After suffering a career-ending injury during an undercover operation, he continued his public service on the San José Appeals Hearing Board and as a neighborhood association leader. He worked full-time as a professional photographer and built a number of small businesses in West San José. During his time on the police force, Constant received numerous letters of commendation, including the Day-to-Day Excellence Award, Project Crackdown Officer of the Year, City Manager’s Award of Excellence, and Employee Suggestion Award (that saved the department approximately $65,000 per year). He was also a director for the San José Police Officers’ Association.
Constant is an adjunct professor of Leadership at St. Mary’s College, his Alma Mater, where he earned his Bachelor of Arts Degree in Management and his Master of Arts Degree in Leadership. He has also completed Leadership programs through the League of California Cities, San José State University, Santa Clara University, and San José Silicon Valley Chamber of Commerce. He is currently participating in the American Leadership Forum program of Silicon Valley. Constant has earned certifications on Pension, Benefits, Hedge Funds, Investments, and Management programs from University of Pennsylvania, Wharton School of Business and Stanford Law School.
Councilmember Constant resides in San José with his wife Julie, their two sets of twins: Alexandra and Amanda, Pete Jr. and Samantha, and their youngest daughter Sydney.
Lieutenant Governor Walter Dalton
Walter Dalton was elected to his first term as lieutenant governor in 2008, after serving 12 years in the N.C. Senate, where he was consistently ranked as one of the most effective members. During his time in elective office, he has built a solid reputation for using common sense and good judgment to bring people together to improve education and lay a foundation for the 21st century economy.
Walter Dalton is running for Governor because he understands the importance of innovation and investing in the future. He will fight for the issues that are facing our communities and our families: creating good jobs, improving our schools and providing access to quality health care.
Walter Dalton has been a tireless advocate for economic development and education, from pre-kindergarten through college. He wrote the bill that created our state’s award-winning early college high schools and has been one of the greatest champions of our community college system, the best in the nation.
Dalton is an attorney who ran a small private practice in his hometown of Rutherfordton. He has been married to Lucille Dalton for 41 years. They have two adult children.
Councilwoman Kady-Ann Davy
Fayetteville City Council
Councilwoman Kady-Ann Davy was elected as the District 2 representative to the Fayetteville City Council in November of 2009. Councilwoman Davy made Fayetteville her home in 2005 and immediately became actively engaged in City and community affairs.
Councilwoman Davy is a graduate of the University of Oregon, where she received her bachelor’s degree in psychology with a minor in business. She is currently a MBA student at Fayetteville State University.
Her interest in politics was first sparked in college when she was elected senator of the student body. She is an active participant in her district’s community watch meetings, as well as other community groups.
Kady-Ann attends and ushers at Lewis Chapel Missionary Baptist Church. She is also a member of the Fayetteville Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Incorporated; United Order of Tents, and Order of the Eastern Star. Kady-Ann is the daughter of Helmeta and Roy Davy of Portland, Ore. She is the youngest of three children; she has one brother, Tony Davy, and one sister, Terry-Ann Davy.
Former Commissioner Officer Phillip Gilfus
Cumberland County Commission
Phillip Gilfus, 31, a native of Fayetteville, N.C, is an attorney and a former Cumberland County commissioner. Appointed to fill a vacancy on the Board of Commissioners in 2009, he served as Cumberland County’s youngest ever county commissioner at the age of 29. Phillip is an active-duty combat veteran of the U.S. Army and Operation Iraqi Freedom. He currently serves in the U.S. Army Reserves as a JAG officer and is slated to deploy to Afghanistan in 2013. Phillip has served in Democratic Party positions at the county, district, and state level. Phillip will begin a teaching career this fall at Fayetteville Technical Community College, instructing in Constitutional Law and criminal justice. He has a B.A. from East Carolina University, a J.D. from Campbell University, and a MPA from Golden Gate University.
Janessa Goldbeck believes that the most basic human right, freedom from fear, begins with security. To focus national attention on how international development keeps America safe, Janessarecently completed a 4,200-mile solo cross-country bicycle ride, appearing in the media, holding events and meeting with elected officials along the way.
She began her career in global human rights advocacy, directing national field strategy for the Save Darfur Coalition, Genocide Intervention Network and STAND. An experienced trainer, Janessa has designed and led online organizing, advocacy and communications workshops for community organizers, non-profit professionals and students around the world at the New Organizing Institute, Echoing Green Foundation, National Student Partnerships, National Service Communicators Institute, Alliance for Youth Movements and AmeriCorps.
Janessa is a Senior Fellow with the Alliance for Youth Movements, a Truman Project Partner, and a recipient of the George C. Marshall Award for Foreign Policy Advocacy.
In October, Janessa will attend Officer Candidates School with the United States Marine Corps.
Decker Ngongang, is a Senior Associate in Fellow Programs with Echoing Green. Decker provides day-to-day management of the search, selection, and support processes for the Black Male Achievement Fellowship Program. In 2011, Echoing Green and the Open Society Foundations launched an innovative new fellowship program to support game-changing social entrepreneurs in the field of Black Male Achievement. BMA Fellows live and work in their home region, working to launch their innovative new organization.
Prior to joining Echoing Green, Decker worked at Mobilize.org as VP of Programs. Decker is also a Charlotte, NC native.
Blair Primis is a marketing professional with 16 years of experience, having worked both agency-side and client-side, both big and small. He is the Director of Marketing & Public Relations at OrthoCarolina; a group of highly trained physician staff, comprised of orthopedic surgeons, physiatrists, and physician assistants who work toward their mission for excellence in care and service, one patient at a time.
As a Board member of two non-profit organizations in Charlotte, Primis is committed to serving the community he has lived in for 5 years. In addition, he has been a North Carolinian for 14 years and currently resides in Charlotte with his three kids and a yellow lab.
Representative Bakari Sellers
South Carolina House of Representatives
Elected in 2006 to the South Carolina House of Representatives at the age of 22, Bakari Sellers is an attorney, one of the youngest State Representatives, and the youngest black elected official in the United States. Viewing himself not as a politician, but a public servant, Sellers is a passionate about civil rights, equality, education, and faith.
Education has always been a top priority for Sellers. He graduated from the South Carolina public school system and then proceeded to Morehouse College, where he earned a Bachelor of Arts degree. While at Morehouse College, Sellers was elected Student Government Association President and, by virtue of his position, served on the College’s Board of Trustees. He earned his juris doctorate from the University Of South Carolina School Of Law and soon entered politics, working for United States Congressman James Clyburn, Atlanta Mayor Shirley Franklin, and the Southeastern Regional Director of the NAACP.
There is no doubt that Sellers’s passion for both education and activism have been instilled through his family lineage. His mother, Gwendolyn Sellers, has worked in higher education for over 20 years, while his father, Dr. Cleveland Sellers, has been a champion for civil rights in South Carolina and served as the Director of African American Studies at the University of South Carolina. He is now the President of Voorhees College, in Denmark, South Carolina.
With the strong moral and ethical grounding of his grandparents, the never-ending thirst for education of his mother, and the undying passion for equal opportunity of his father, Sellers has returned to South Carolina. He hopes to continue the Sellers’ legacy of walking in faith, while creating change that benefits all persons – no matter race, color, or creed.
North Carolina Budget and Tax Center
Alexandra Forter Sirota joined the N.C. Budget and Tax Center as a Public Policy Analyst in April 2010. In this role, she conducts research on workforce development, income inequality and low-wage work, economic development and job creation as well as other issues related to state fiscal policy. Before joining N.C. Justice Center, Alexandra coordinated research on child well-being and policy analysis on family economic security at Action for Children North Carolina. Alexandra has a broad range of experience at non-profit organizations and government agencies both in the United States and abroad in the areas of human rights, community development and anti-poverty programs and asset building policy. Alexandra received a bachelor’s degree from Haverford College and a joint master’s degree from the University of Chicago.
Maya Enista Smith
Maya Enista Smith joined the Mobilize.org team in July 2005 as Chief Operating Officer. Today, she is the Chief Executive Officer of a growing and innovative Millennial organization whose mission is to improve democracy by investing in Millennial-driven solutions.
At 28 years old, Maya is a veteran in the public service sector, beginning her non-profit career 8 years ago. Maya has been active in public service since she was an undergraduate at Rutgers University, focusing mainly on voter empowerment and youth civic engagement. She began her career as the East Coast Coordinator for Rock The Vote at age 17, a position in which she registered over 30,000 young people. Through her work with Rock The Vote, Maya was awarded the first ever Rock The Vote “Rockin’ The Street’s” Award.
She continued her voter registration work when she accepted the position of National Field Director for the Hip Hop Civic Engagement Project, a project that grew out of the successful National Hip Hop Political Convention in Newark, NJ. Maya organized a 13 state campaign that registered over 300,000 new voters in the “hip hop generation.”
In addition to her work with Mobilize.org, Maya serves on the Advisory Board for CIRCLE, the Working Group for the Civic Health Index of the National Conference on Citizenship, and the Board of Directors for BoardSource. For her leadership, Maya has been awarded a YouthActionNet Fellowship, the Independent Sector NGEN American Express Fellowship, Utne Reader’s 50 Visionaries Changing Your World Award, WIN’s Young Women of Achievement Award and Gelman, Rosenberg + Freedman 20011 EXCEL Award for Excellence in Non-Profit Management. Maya has served on the host committee for the 2010 National Conference on Volunteering and Service in New York City, NY and as a grant reviewer for competitive grant programs at the Case Foundation and the Knight Foundation. Most recently, Maya was awarded the competitive Prime Movers Fellowship of the Hunt Alternatives Fund.
Maya, very proud of her Jersey roots, grew up in Maplewood, New Jersey and attended Columbia High School in Maplewood, NJ and Rutgers University in New Brunswick, NJ. She currently resides in San Francisco, CA with her husband, David and her two black labs, Hudson and Zinny.
John-Paul Smith was born in Winston-Salem, raised in Maryland, groomed in Charlotte and inspired at Elon University (2009, B.A. in History). He learned about his blessings in “La Tierra de la Primavera Eterna” and about human brokenness on a campaign trail in South Carolina. His goal is to help cultivate an environment in which people recognize their value and that in others.
For the past two years he worked as Bull City Forward’s Replication and Scaling Manager, working within Durham and across communities to nurture entrepreneurial ecosystems for social innovators and entrepreneurs. In his role, he helped launch Queen City Forward in Charlotte, NC, hiring its Executive Director and working alongside him to develop initial programming and membership base. He currently contributes to the North Carolina Fourth Sector Cluster Initiative, serves on the Planning Committee for the North Carolina Entrepreneurship Summit, and is developing a program to help twentysomethings adapt and persist as they transition from school and strive to lead their lives, their communities, and our world.
Democratic National Convention Committee
Tori Taylor is a member of the Public Engagement Team for the Democratic National Convention Committee, specifically doing youth outreach and engagement. She also serves as National Council Chair for College Democrats of America and the South At-Large Female Representative on the DNC Youth Council.
A recent graduate of the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, Tori has been involved in local, state, and national Democratic politics for several years. After getting her start as an intern on Hillary Clinton’s 2008 presidential campaign, Tori moved on to work on numerous campaigns in positions ranging from field management, steering committees, constituency outreach, and fundraising. She served in several leadership roles within the North Carolina Democratic Party, including College Democrats of North Carolina President and sitting on the state party State Executive Council for a year. Under her leadership, the College Democrats of North Carolina organized the first ever Historically Black College and University Leadership Conference, implemented a successful statewide field plan for the 2010 midterm elections, and was recognized as the 2011 College Democrats of America State Federation of the Year. She went on to serve College Democrats of America in several roles, including 2010 National Convention Chair, Southern Regional Director, and National Events Coordinator before being elected as National Council Chair last summer. In April 2011, Tori was appointed as the Executive Director of the Mecklenburg County Democratic Party, making her the youngest person in recent history to manage the largest country party in North Carolina.
Most recently, Tori spent a year doing political research and fundraising for consulting firms in Washington, D.C. and Raleigh, N.C. She is the recipient of the 2011 Mecklenburg County Young Democrat of the Year Award and 2012 North Carolina Outstanding Young Democrat Award.
Queen City Forward
Charles Thomas is the Executive Director of Queen City Forward, a non-profit focused on enabling and growing social entrepreneurs and businesses in Charlotte, NC.
Charles is an artist-photographer, educator and entrepreneur. He comes to Queen City Forward from The Light Factory Contemporary Museum of Photography and Film where he served as Director of Education since 2003. During his tenure, he expanded the Museum’s community outreach program, increasing impact and earned revenue. Charles recently co-published a book of photography and stories with author Valaida Fullwood called GIVING BACK: A Tribute to Generations of African American Philanthropists. Giving Back was recently awarded the 2012 McAdam Book Award naming the book “the nation’s most inspirational and useful new book for the nonprofit sector.” Charles owns Sankofa Photography (www.sankofaphotography.com).
Charles graduated from Duke University with a degree in Economics. He started his career as a consultant for Andersen Consulting (Accenture). He is active in the community and currently serves on the steering committee for TEDxCharlotte and is a former board member of the Community Charter School.
Charles enjoys traveling internationally. His travels include: India, South Africa, Europe, Mexico, Puerto Rico and most recently China. Charles is married to Micaila Milburn and is the proud father of 3 beautiful boys ages 3, 5, and 12. In his free time, Charles likes to draw, practice origami, fly airplanes (paper airplanes) and drum with his family.
Anne Tillema has more than 10 years of experience running organizations and managing fundraising efforts. Prior to joining Mobilize.org, Tillema spent six years as a direct marketing fundraiser for consulting firms that provided fundraising and communication services to leading political and non-profit organizations. She created and managed the direct marketing fundraising programs for more than 20 different organizations, including Amnesty International, the Democratic National Committee, Earthjustice, the League of Conservation Voters and NARAL Pro-Choice America.
Prior to working in direct marketing fundraising, Tillema was the Executive Director of Democrats Abroad, the official Democratic State Party for more than six million Americans living outside the United States. Tillema presided over official committees in 49 countries.
Tillema’s first job out of college, from 1999 to 2002, was as the Executive Director of the International Federation of Liberal Youth (IFLRY) in Brussels, Belgium. IFLRY is a coalition of over 75 political youth organizations in 55 countries, encompassing 3 million individuals, established in 1979 to help promote freedom, democracy and human rights.
Tillema represented youth towards international bodies including the European Union, the Council of Europe and the United Nations and participated in the youth movement in Europe.
Tillema graduated magna cum laude from Grinnell College in 1999. She currently lives in Washington, D.C.
Jose Antonio Vargas
Jose Antonio Vargas is the founder of Define American, a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization dedicated to elevating and reframing the immigration conversation. A Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist, Vargas, in a June 2012 cover story for TIME magazine titled “WE ARE AMERICANS* (*Just not legally),” popularized the term “undocumented Americans” in describing the country’s population of 11.5 million undocumented immigrants. Jose has been a journalist for over a decade, writing for some of the most prestigious news organizations in the country, including the New Yorker, Rolling Stone, the Huffington Post and the Washington Post, where he was part of the team that won a Pulitzer Prize for covering the 2007 massacre at Virginia Tech.
Vargas has broken new ground in his coverage of various issues, from technology’s impact in politics to the HIV/AIDS epidemic in the nation’s capital. His 2006 series on AIDS in Washington, D.C. inspired a feature-length documentary – The Other City – which he co-produced and wrote. It world premiered at the 2010 Tribeca Film Festival and aired on Showtime.
Stunning the media and political circles and attracting world-wide coverage, Vargas then told the biggest journalistic story of his career: himself. In the landmark essay for the New York Times Magazine titled ”My Life as an Undocumented Immigrant,” published in June 2011, he revealed his undocumented status for the first time publicly and declared his mission to shed light to the universal truth about immigration in America in the 21st century. A very proud alumnus of Mountain View High School and San Francisco State University, he lives in New York City but calls the Bay Area home.