Our Team

Founders

Andrew Rasiej - Civic Hall Labs Co-Founder and Founder and CEO, Civic Hall

Andrew Rasiej Andrew Rasiej is a civic and social entrepreneur. He is the founder and CEO of Civic Hall. He is also the Chairman of the NY Tech Alliance (formerly the NY Tech Meetup) a 60,000-plus member organization of technologists, venture funders, and marketers that represents start-ups and more mature companies using technology to transform themselves, New York City, and the world. He is the founder of MOUSE.org, which focuses on 21st century public education, and a senior advisor to the Sunlight Foundation, a Washington DC organization using technology to make government more transparent. Andrew lives and works in New York City, and can be followed on Twitter @rasiej.

MICAH SIFRY - Civic Hall Labs Co-Founder and Co-Founder and Executive Director, Civic Hall

Micah SifryMicah is co-founder and editorial director of Personal Democracy Media, Micah L. Sifry is a writer and community organizer. He is the co-founder and executive director of Civic Hall. In addition, he is a senior technology adviser to the Sunlight Foundation, which he helped found in 2006, and also serves on the board of Consumer Reports and the Public Laboratory for Open Technology and Science. He is the author or editor of eight books, most recently A Lever and a Place to Stand: How Civic Tech Can Move the World (PDM Books, 2015), with Jessica McKenzie; The Big Disconnect: Why the Internet Hasn't Transformed Politics (Yet) (OR Books, 2014); and Wikileaks and the Age of the Transparency (OR Books, 2011). In 2012 he taught "The Politics of the Internet" as a visiting lecturer at Harvard’s Kennedy School. Follow him on Twitter @mlsif.

Staff

ELIZABETH STEWART – FOUNDING EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR

Elizabeth StewartFor the last fifteen years, Elizabeth’s career has focused on strategy, fundraising, and cross-sector partnerships that advance social innovation. She is cofounder of Impact Hub Los Angeles, a for-profit social enterprise that offers physical space, professional and cultural programming, and community for a diverse array of Angelenos working to create positive impact. As the founding CEO, for four years she advised a variety of social and civic startups ranging from clean tech to community-oriented technology enterprises, and advanced the field of impact investing in Los Angeles. During that time she launched Civic Innovation Lab in partnership with the Los Angeles Mayor’s Office and Microsoft, a three-part lab harnessing citizen ingenuity to solve pressing civic and social issues culminating in a city accelerator program. Prior to Impact Hub LA, she founded Causemopolis, a boutique consulting firm focused on economic development and environmental sustainability in cities. She has also worked abroad in Sub-Saharan Africa and Latin America on poverty reduction and women’s empowerment programs. Elizabeth holds a BA in International Relations and an MA in Urban Planning from UCLA, where she pioneered the Graduate Leaders in Sustainability Certificate. Her board service includes Liberty Hill Foundation, Advisors in Philanthropy LA, and Concerned Capital. She is one of Fast Company’s 100 Most Creative People for 2013, and was profiled on Forbes.com as “a woman changing the LA entrepreneur landscape.” Find her @elizinmotion.

Ganesh Rishi – CTO

“GaneshGanesh Rishi joins Civic Hall Labs as Chief Technology Officer after leading numerous technical teams and vendors in developing and successfully delivering award-winning solutions for organizations in both the for-profit & non-profit sectors. At Pfizer, he was responsible for the tech delivery of patient digital marketing initiatives for some of the largest brands in the world. Solutions ranged from the development of responsive websites, chatbots, business to business applications, digital asset management systems, digital analytics, and social platforms built on open source platform & cloud architecture. As part of the Emerging Technology team, Ganesh evaluated startups and innovative products for local and global commercial markets. In the nonprofit arena, he managed technical delivery for the Natural Resources Defense Council's website redesign and led the selection of Planned Parenthood Federation of America’s enterprise content management system. As web engineer, Ganesh focused on backend development and web security. Ganesh is also passionate about cryptocurrencies, VR, 3D printing, IOT, and maintaining user rights and privacy in the digital space.

ERIN SIMPSON – DIRECTOR OF PROGRAMS

Erin SimpsonErin Simpson joins Civic Hall Labs from a Fellowship on Microsoft’s Civic Team, where she ran community organizing efforts around open data and digital equity in the Chicagoland area. Prior to Microsoft, Erin founded and directed a volunteer-run digital strategy and web development consultancy for Chicagoland nonprofits and local government. Her past work includes civic innovation with the Clinton Foundation and the University of Chicago Institute of Politics, and policy interning for the White House Domestic Policy Council. Erin has advised on the execution of hackathons and venture challenges for Microsoft, the Chicago Innovation Exchange, the New York City Economic Development Council, and the Center for Neighborhood Technology. Her award-winning thesis on digital inequality investigated user experience in public computer centers in Chicago libraries and community centers. Erin is a Truman Scholar and has a Bachelor's Degree in Public Policy with an emphasis on issues of inequality from the University of Chicago, where she graduated with top honors. Find her @esmpsn.

KACIE LYN KOCHER - DIRECTOR OF ORGANIZATIONAL DESIGN & STAKEHOLDER ENGAGEMENT

Kacie Lyn KocherKacie Lyn Kocher has worked in six countries to improve access to resources through technology, economic development and community building. While living in Turkey she worked as a strategist and telecoms ICT analyst for Turk Telekom, serving over 40 million Turkish residents. This work informed her MSc on internet infrastructure at the London School of Economics. In addition, Kacie founded and served as the Executive Director of Canimiz Sokakta, a Turkish NGO which marshals Hollaback’s crowdsourcing platform to address gender-based violence. Profiled as one of Istanbul’s leading women for Women’s History Month by Time Out in 2012, she created Turkey’s first campus safety program at eight universities which included bilingual curricula and events on issues of street harassment, workplace discrimination, and unique challenges for young women and LGBTQ individuals. Kacie continued her career in civic engagement as a corporate strategist and operations manager at Accela and PublicStuff, two leading companies offering 311 software to over 150 cities across the nation. As an independent consultant, Kacie has advised startups and NGOs in the US, UK, France, and Turkey. Kacie graduated with honors from Wellesley College focusing on comparative economic development in the Middle East and India. Find her @kacielynkocher.

ERIKA STRONG - HEALTH LAB DIRECTOR

“ErikaOver the past ten years, Erika's work in community-based project planning, development, and management has centered on addressing the links between community health inequities and systemic racism and poverty. Throughout her time working in both the government and justice-based nonprofits (including Color Of Change and the Vera Institute of Justice), she witnessed the growing gap between the technology needed for effective social change and the individuals accessing and designing those products. In the Health Lab, Erika works in partnership with community health practitioners, city stakeholders, and civic technologists to design, develop, and launch projects and pilots working to improve the civic determinants of health in NYC. Erika is an experienced anti-racism trainer and organizer, and an enrolled member of the Iowa Tribe of Kansas and Nebraska. She holds a Masters of Public Health in Community-Oriented Public Health Practice from the University of Washington School of Public Health.

MEL PETERSON - PROGRAM MANAGER

“MelMel Peterson is passionate about working collaboratively across sectors with diverse groups, individuals and organizations, to tackle the many issues that arise with today’s rapid social change and technological innovation. Mel comes to Civic Hall Labs from New York Cares, New York City’s largest volunteer management organization, which mobilizes more than 63,000 New Yorkers in service each year. At New York Cares, she managed its Community Partner base of over 1,300 nonprofits, schools and government agencies. Prior to New York Cares, Mel attended Columbia University where she majored in psychology and co-founded the Alternative Break Program, which seeks to foster student leadership development and commitment to civic engagement by supporting student-driven, solution-based civic engagement projects on academic breaks.

Board of Directors

Andrew Rasiej - Civic Hall Labs Co-Founder and Founder and CEO, Civic Hall

Andrew Rasiej Andrew Rasiej is a civic and social entrepreneur. He is the founder and CEO of Civic Hall. He is also the Chairman of the NY Tech Alliance (formerly the NY Tech Meetup) a 60,000-plus member organization of technologists, venture funders, and marketers that represents start-ups and more mature companies using technology to transform themselves, New York City, and the world. He is the founder of MOUSE.org, which focuses on 21st century public education, and a senior advisor to the Sunlight Foundation, a Washington DC organization using technology to make government more transparent. Andrew lives and works in New York City, and can be followed on Twitter @rasiej.

MICAH SIFRY - Civic Hall Labs Co-Founder and Co-Founder and Executive Director, Civic Hall

Micah SifryMicah is co-founder and editorial director of Personal Democracy Media, Micah L. Sifry is a writer and community organizer. He is the co-founder and executive director of Civic Hall. In addition, he is a senior technology adviser to the Sunlight Foundation, which he helped found in 2006, and also serves on the board of Consumer Reports and the Public Laboratory for Open Technology and Science. He is the author or editor of eight books, most recently A Lever and a Place to Stand: How Civic Tech Can Move the World (PDM Books, 2015), with Jessica McKenzie; The Big Disconnect: Why the Internet Hasn't Transformed Politics (Yet) (OR Books, 2014); and Wikileaks and the Age of the Transparency (OR Books, 2011). In 2012 he taught "The Politics of the Internet" as a visiting lecturer at Harvard’s Kennedy School. Follow him on Twitter @mlsif.

ALLISON FINE, BOARD SECRETARY

Allison Fine is among the nation’s pre-eminent thinkers and strategists on networked leadership. Over the past ten years, she has written three books, keynoted conferences around the world, and coached hundreds of organizations. Her particular expertise is in developing efforts that combine the power of personal relationships with the scale of social media to enable efforts to grow exponentially. She is the author of Matterness: Fearless Leadership for a Social World, the award-winning Momentum: Igniting Social Change in the Connected Age, and co-author of the bestselling The Networked Nonprofit. She serves on the boards of the Sunlight Foundation, NARAL, and Civic Hall.

YVETTE ALBERDINGK-THIJM

Yvette Alberdingk-Thijm Yvette is a human rights activist who envisions a world in which millions of people have the skills and the tools to, safely and effectively, participate in the fight for human rights. She serves as the Executive Director of WITNESS.org, a global team that enables activists using video and participatory technologies to fight effectively against injustice and realize rights for their communities. Linking on the ground needs to systems changes, WITNESS also advocates for scalable solutions that optimize human rights uses of consumer technologies and online platforms. YAT is an advisor/board member of FoundationCenter.org, Accessnow.org, Majal.org, and is a co-initiator of BK@24FPS.

MICHAEL BASSIK, BOARD TREASURER

Michael BassikMichael A. Bassik is a leading digital strategist, agency executive and political entrepreneur. He is managing director and president of Global Digital Operations at MDC Partners, a fast-growing, influential marketing and communications network, where he supports the growth and development of the network's strategic communications, media, and digital agencies. Michael is also co-founder of DSPlitical, a leading political technology and advertising network, and co-founder of The Dutch Sprinkle Company, an innovative food company based on New York City’s Lower East Side. Michael was named an Advertising Age “40 Under 40,” PRWeek “40 Under 40,” POLITICO "Player to Watch" and Campaign Magazine "Rising Star." He is the recipient of the AAPC's Award for Excellence in Digital Media Digital and Yahoo's Purple Chair. His work has been featured in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, NPR and other leading outlets. His testimony before the Federal Election Commission helped bring about free speech protections for political blogs and digital publications. He is a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania and American University’s Washington College of Law.