2021 State Manager Program
Cohort Member Portal
Ellyn Quigg serves as BLC’s Deputy Executive Director and Program Director for the 2021 Virginia program. In 2018, Ellyn helped start Blue Leadership Collaborative as an answer to the need for Democratic investment in talent. Since then, she has helped build and lead 3 iterations of the program and worked closely with 50+ talented, diverse campaign leaders to get them to the next level in their career. With Blue Leadership Collaborative, she has trained and placed campaign managers in 17 states around the country on races at all levels from US Senate and Congressional races, to critical State House races in the fight for control of state legislatures, to local school board and city council races.
Prior to BLC, Ellyn worked for several startups, including Honest Tea and as an early marketing hire at sweetgreen. At sweetgreen she helped create and formalize new capacities for the company, including community marketing, retail marketing, and consumer insights, before leading the company’s mission and social impact strategy for several years. She moved into politics full-time as a result of the 2016 presidential election.
Ellyn currently lives in South Los Angeles with her partner, dog, and foster dog. When she is not working on the latest campaign, she loves to be out for a run or at home gardening.
Lindsay grew up closer to a glacier than a grocery store in Juneau, Alaska. It was there that she developed a love for organizing rural communities and for Democratic candidates in places that traditionally go red. She spent nearly ten years in field, organizing for Jon Tester, Hillary Clinton and Pete Buttigieg among others, and is excited to take the next step into campaign management.
Cassie Ann Cook is a noteworthy leader, a passionate civil rights advocate, and experienced campaign manager in South Carolina. Previously, she has flipped red to blue and aspires to continue doing so. She also has an extensive background in law and takes pride in being a monumental factor in securing the historic Charleston AME settlement for $88m. Her passion for helping others comes from her Mother, who truly embodies what it means to be compassionate, charitable, and an ally for all.
Justin Goldsberry is an equity-minded and transformational leader with over two decades of experience serving and uplifting communities as an agent of change. His career in politics began in Newark, NJ as a community liaison for the Mayor’s Office. Justin has served on several political campaigns as a Community Organizer throughout the country and recently just graduated from National Democratic Training Committee’s Staff Academy in Fundraising. Quote: “If you want to be important—wonderful. If you want to be recognized—wonderful. If you want to be great—wonderful. But recognize that he who is greatest among you shall be your servant. That’s a new definition of greatness. By giving that definition of greatness, it means that everybody can be great because everybody can serve. You don’t have to have a college degree to serve. You don’t have to make your subject and your verb agree to serve. You don’t have to know about Plato and Aristotle to serve. You don’t have to know Einstein’s theory of relativity to serve. You don’t have to know the second theory of thermodynamics in physics to serve. You only need a heart full of grace, a soul generated by love. And you can be that servant.”- Martin Luther King Jr
Rossy began community organizing in her small town in Central Oregon when she was fifteen years old through a library book club. Her passion was ignited by the lack of proper representation in a very diverse county. Her work has been centered on uplifting and amplifying the voices of marginalized communities.
Kendra Lee is a native Memphian and proud product of Memphis City Schools from grades K-12 who graduated from Spelman College with her Bachelors in Psychology and Juris Doctorate from the University of Dayton School of Law. Throughout her law school career Kendra grew an admiration for public policy and community engagement. Her campaign experience includes Voter Protection Director, Regional and Statewide for the Tennessee Democratic Party, Community Organizer for Warren for President, and Training Manager for Jon Ossoff for U.S. Senate Runoff. Kendra now Manages Taylor Kerby for Arizona State Senate, Legislative District 16.
Bob McGarry has spent most of his life in the Philadelphia suburbs. Initially inspired to jump into political advocacy after undergoing major surgery for complications of Crohn’s Disease the day following the 2016 election, he emerged from that experience with a fervent desire to find ways to put his values into practice, protect the planet, and make the world a more just and equitable place. After a few years of volunteering, he realized that a career in campaigns was calling and worked on three successive races in stubbornly swingy Bucks County, PA. He’s now managing Rep. Jenn O’Mara’s re-election campaign in Delco’s 165th house district, enjoying his big adventure to the other side of the Philly burbs and relishing every minute spent in traffic on the Blue Route.
Leah Jesse is a servant leader dedicated to providing a brighter future for her children. Her passion for progressive politics began in 2016 when she feared what would happen if Trump were elected. Since then, she has been serving in a variety of leadership roles within the Iowa Democratic Party. In 2020, Leah decided to leave her career in retail to help support the candidates she believes in. She has professional experience in Finance, Field, Advance, and Research. She is very excited to put all of her experiences and knowledge together to lead a successful campaign.
Christodia is a daughter of Ghanaian parents whose hard work ethic juggling multiple jobs funded a dream of providing a better life where service, respect, and intergrity were the foundation in shaping her future. She serves in her local community in Philadelphia through several fellowship organizations and advocates daily for disenfranchised communities locally, and in Africa. Christodia is passionate about getting good folks elected to do good work is her driving force in making a positive impact in the world. She will be managing Sara Agerton’s race in PA’s HD-88th district.
Native Texan, Mars Rodriguez (They/Them) is a passionate progressive activist and community organizer in Austin, Texas. A proud member of United Professional Organizers, Mars is dedicated to promoting living wages to workers in all sectors, especially politics. Growing up in a working-class home, Mars came to politics understanding that in order for people’s lives improve, we must organize to make it happen. Despite all its difficulties, Mars remains in the field of political organizing to ensure that campaigns and policies alike make consistent, genuine efforts to stay centered around inclusivity, equity, and personhood.
Andrea Cervone is an Atlanta-based organizer with more than a decade of experience working on campaigns and in the policy and advoacy space.
Rafiq Rao-Ruiz is from Orlando, Florida. Born in Puerto Rico to a Colombian mother and a Pakistani father, he understands the importance of diversity in civic engagement and issue advocacy. He has organized in Central Florida for multiple cycles and served as an aide to the District 4 County Commissioner in Orange County, Florida.
Jindalae is a community organizer and leader whose success comes from bringing overlooked and unrepresented voices into the fold. A child of a single parent who saw her mother continually fail to get ahead no matter how hard she worked, Jindalae decided to fight on behalf of families like hers by working to elect proponents of policies that protect the most basic of human rights. She has dedicated her career to building lasting Democratic infrastructure at all levels, from presidential to municipal, and is currently running the top targeted state house race in Pennsylvania in the 151st district.
Zoë has worked on a range of progressive campaigns throughout her career, most recently serving as the West Digital Director at the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC). Before that, she was a member of the Board of Directors for California Women’s List and worked on a spate of successful races as manager and communications director. Zoë graduated with highest honors from University of California, Berkeley with degrees in Economics and English Literature, and is passionate about working to advance an economic vision that delivers meaningful opportunity and prosperity for all.
Fun fact – “My first summer job was working in my seaside hometown as an ocean kayak tour guide.
During college, I lived in an old hotel that was converted in a student housing cooperative — and every Tuesday, my friends and I attempted to cook dinner for the 150 people who lived there. I still love to cook!”
Stephanie is a queer non-binary Latinx from the Midwest who believes strongly in the power of community organizing. They began as a rural organizer in Illinois and have worked across the country to elect Democrats, and most recently, worked as a regional political director for Elizabeth Warren’s presidential campaign and as Director of Spanish Language Engagement at the Progressive Turnout Project. Stephanie is currently the campaign manager for Del. Danica Roem (VA HD-13), who made history in 2017 as the first out-and-sitting trans legislator in the country.
Fun fact – “I cage-dived into shark-infested waters off the western coast of South Africa and I have owned many pets in my lifetime, including a chicken, several rats, crabs, and cats!”
As the daughter of two US Air Force veterans, Shannon grew up moving all over the country, but considers San Antonio, Texas home. Over the course of her political career, she has organized in South and West Texas for Gina Ortiz Jones in 2018, built digital fundraising programs for large Democratic PACs, and served as the Deputy Digital Director for US Senator Tina Smith’s successful re-election campaign in 2020. Shannon is passionate about building political power in under-served communities — particularly in the South — and looks forward to beginning an exciting career managing Democratic campaigns for candidates who prioritize the needs of working and middle class families like her own.
Fun Fact – I’ve been to 46 US states an am on a quest to travel to all 50 states before the end of this year.
I can juggle and sing the alphabet backwards at the same time.
Mark Hatton currently is the Campaign Manager for Del. Nancy Guy in Virginia’s 83rd District. Mark has worked on campaigns at the legislative, Congressional, Senatorial and Presidential level and has extensive nonprofit experience, particularly focused on youth engagement. Mark is originally from Orlando, FL.
Justin Myers is the Executive Director of Blue Leadership Collaborative where he has led the effort to develop the group’s 2021 program to place high-level and diverse leaders on Virginia legislative campaigns to maintain majorities there and build a talent pipeline that will benefit Democratic campaigns throughout the country. Justin is committed to building the bench of the next generation of diverse and talented campaign managers to boost Democratic majorities, and build more equity across the Democratic Party’s leadership.
Justin was most recently the CEO of For Our Future and For Our Future Action Fund, one of the largest, permanent progressive organizing programs across Florida, Michigan, Nevada, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and Wisconsin. During his tenure, Justin oversaw the organization’s contribution to sweeping electoral progress, securing progressive victories up and down the ballot. Under his direction, For Our Future helped bring Joe Biden and Kamala Harris to the White House, secure the pickup of 5 gubernatorial seats and 1 U.S. Senate seat, flip numerous congressional and state legislative seats, and enact a string of ballot measures to advance voting rights, environmental protections, and fair wages.
Prior to working at For Our Future, Justin managed races at various levels of the ballot and served as the Executive Director of the New Jersey State Democratic Committee. He also served as DCCC’s Northeast Political Director where he helped flip two seats.
Justin grew up as the son of a minister and two long-time union members in Philadelphia. After graduating from Colgate University, he taught history at a Title I high school, while attending Fordham University for graduate school. His career in politics began in Harlem where Justin became a community organizer and City Council liaison. He has been featured in national and local media outlets including, NBC News, POLITICO, AP, ABC News, C-SPAN, The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, Marketwatch, and New York Magazine.
Justin resides in Washington, D.C. with his wife and two children.
Betsy comes with an over two decade track record in electoral and advocacy politics, serving or running campaigns across the nation. Most recently, she served as executive director to a civic engagement non-profit, working with partner organizations across eleven states, building an expanded organizational footprint and deepening financial and political support among a broad range of stakeholders.
She started out in Washington state, helping to develop and support the first coordinated work to identify voters in the state’s voter file, worked to organize health care workers in southern California as part of SEIU’s historic organizing campaign, ran the Alliance for a Better California campaign in Orange County, CA and served as field director for Senator Akaka’s re-election in Hawaii in 2006.
Her work in Washington DC started in 2007 as a deputy political director for the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, helping to directly elect Senators Kay Hagan, Mark Udall, Tom Udall and Mark Warner in the 2008 cycle.
She served on Capitol Hill as senior policy advisor for Senator Byron Dorgan through 2010, managing his appropriations portfolio. After Senator Dorgan’s retirement, she became chief of staff to Senator Mazie Hirono of Hawaii, running her historic 2012 campaign to elect the first Asian American woman to serve in the U.S. Senate.
Betsy served as Senator Hirono’s top advisor for nearly seven years, building her senate operation between Washington DC and Hawaii in to a professional staff of 46, and managing the politics on Capitol Hill and in state.
Betsy was born the daughter of immigrants and raised in Washington state. When she’s not on the campaign trail, you can find her in search of the perfect wave.
Kevin Harris is a public affairs strategist who has spent over a decade advising corporations, non-profits and political leaders, including more than 50 campaigns for federal, state and local office and various ballot initiatives focused on criminal justice reform, education funding and civil rights. He has held senior positions on the past four presidential campaigns and served in the Obama Administration helping to direct outreach to state and local governments, steer passage of major legislative packages in domestic and foreign policy, and guide strategic communications for the Peace Corps and First Lady Michelle Obama’s Let Girls Learn Initiative.
In Congress, Harris previously served as Executive Director of the Congressional Black Caucus, Senior Adviser to the Bi-partisan Congressional Caucus on Foster Youth and Director of Communications and Policy to Congresswoman Karen Bass.
In local government, Harris served as Deputy Mayor for Public Affairs for former Baltimore City Mayor Stephanie Rawlings Blake and Communications Director for Washington DC Mayor Muriel Bowser.
He received his B.A. in Journalism and Political Science from Howard University, a M.A in Government from Johns Hopkins University and programs in policy and business at the Wharton School of Business at the University of Pennsylvania, Columbia University School of Social Work, Yale University School of Management and the London School of Economics and Political Science. Kevin is a native of Birmingham Alabama.
For over two decades, Matt Burgess has served at the most senior levels in campaigns, at the nation’s leading progressive organizations, and managed winning campaigns for United States Senate and Governor.
With an extensive background in communications and developing winning messages, Matt is a strategic partner and advisor to candidates, elected officials, and advocacy organizations across the country.
Matt managed now-U.S. Senator Maggie Hassan’s 2012 campaign for governor of New Hampshire resulting in a 12-point victory for the first-time statewide candidate.
In 2014, a terrible year for Democrats, Matt managed U.S. Senator Al Franken’s reelection in Minnesota directing the team that brought Franken a 10-point victory from a 312-vote margin in 2008. Meet the Press host Chuck Todd named the Franken campaign “the best of 2014.”
Matt has also served in senior communications roles on dozens of campaigns on the ground in Florida, Rhode Island, Michigan, Indiana, North Carolina, and New Hampshire, and during his time at EMILY’s List where he recruited and helped candidates for U.S. Senate, House, and Governor. At EMILY’s List, he helped candidates and campaign managers create campaign plans including budgets,
fundraising, earned and paid media, digital, research and polling, targeting, and get-out-the-vote programs.
Matt has broad experience working with advocacy organizations to implement political and communications strategies, having served as Senior Political Strategist for Planned Parenthood Action Fund, Political Director for Everytown for Gun Safety, Executive Vice President at End Citizens United, and consulted with NARAL Pro-Choice America, Communications Workers of America and others.
During the 2006 election cycle, Matt worked with Will Robinson and Tierney Hunt on the media team to elect Ohio Governor Ted Strickland, Wyoming Governor Dave Freudenthal, as well as multiple independent expenditures.
A New Hampshire native, Burgess cut his political teeth on Bill Bradley’s 2000 presidential campaign. He lives in Washington, DC with his husband Cole and their dog Chester.
Rebecca Pearcey is one of the most accomplished Black political operatives in the country. She most recently served as Political Director and Senior Advisor for Senator Elizabeth Warren’s presidential campaign, overseeing political strategy in all 57 states and territories, and managing staff in over 30 states.
During her 20-year career, Rebecca has steered hundreds of campaigns across the country, including statewide campaigns in Ohio (Strickland for U.S. Senate) and Indiana (Gregg for Governor). In 2018 she directed the national independent expenditure campaign for the Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee, a cycle in which Democrats flipped over 400 legislative seats and 8 chambers. She has served as a Senior Advisor for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. Based in D.C., Pearcey has guest lectured at Harvard, Georgetown and George Mason universities.