Board

Michael Ceraso

Board President Michael Ceraso has engaged with politics for as long as he can remember. Michael went to work on President Barack Obama's first presidential run after he graduated from Citrus College, a 2-year school in Southern California. After working on several down-ballot races in the Northeast, Michael returned home to earn his Political Science and Government degree from Pitzer College. His rise through the political ranks led him to manage statewide operations for presidential hopefuls Bernie Sanders and Pete Buttigieg. In between, he worked on Capitol Hill and managed down-ballot races in the rural South. Michael founded Winning Margins in 2017, a public relations firm and organization that lowers the barrier of entry for underfunded candidates who lack the financial resources and staff talent to compete. He is a former candidate for the city council and contributing writer for the Claremont Courier. He is currently an actor at the Theatre Lab in Washington D.C. and writes and interviews up-and-coming comic book talent.

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Julia Barnes

Vice President Julia Barnes has worked in progressive politics for over a decade. She has organized for President Barack Obama, the New Hampshire Democratic Party, the Vermont Democratic Party, Organizing for America, and congressional, gubernatorial, and presidential campaigns throughout the United States. She previously served as the executive director of the Association of State Democratic Chairs and as campaign manager for Tom Perriello for Governor of Virginia. Most notably, Julia served as the National Field Director for Bernie 2016, helping to earn over 13 million votes nationally. Before this, she was the State Director for New Hampshire for Bernie, winning the heralded "First in the Nation" Primary by the most significant margin in history. Currently, Julia advises progressives running statewide and federal candidate campaigns and national organizations and advocacy groups using electoral organizing to affect positive change for criminal justice reform, climate justice, and healthcare for all. She consulted for People's Action, FairVote, Working Families Party, Real Justice PAC, and others last year.

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Linh Nguyen

Linh Nguyen comes from years in electoral politics both in Canada and the U.S. In 2016, she worked for the Bernie Sanders presidential campaign, mobilizing communities on the National Political & Constituency team, spent 2017 on two governor races in New Jersey and Virginia, and during the 2018 midterm elections, was the Special Projects Director for the Beto O'Rourke for U.S. Senate campaign. Linh specializes in building outreach strategies to reach communities of color, Asian-Americans, students, and millennial voters. Since November 2018, she managed two special elections in Houston, winning both that sent two Latina community leaders to the Texas state capitol, before jumping into the 2020 presidential primary with Sen. Cory Booker and Mike Bloomberg. Linh most recently launched a super PAC, Pac that Ass (it's a real thing!): a rapid response incubator for politics, comedy, and culture that speaks to young Black & Brown voters. Linh has recently made Houston, Texas, her home and enjoys no longer living on the road. 

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Nina Smith

Nina Smith is a battle-tested communications strategist with more than a decade of experience in political communications. Most recently, Nina served as traveling press secretary for Pete Buttigieg's campaign for president. She coordinated on-the-ground interviews, briefed the candidate daily to ensure message alignment, and advised the candidate on messaging on the road and in real-time for the campaign. Before joining the Pete for America team, Nina was managing partner at​Megaphone Strategies​-- a not-for-profit, women-owned social justice P.R. firm that launched Stacey Abrams' run for governor, helped elect Deb Haaland to Congress, trained frontline organizers with the Indigenous Environmental Network, Black Lives Matter Network and the Movement for Black Lives and launched the She The People and The Collective PAC's organizations and brands during the 2018 cycle. Smith has represented top officials locally, state, and national levels. She served as deputy press secretary in the Obama Administration at the U.S. Small Business Administration and has worked as a publicist for TheRoot.com. Nina also served as press secretary for the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Financial Services under Ranking Committee Member Congresswoman Maxine Waters (D-CA). She spent four years working in Maryland Governor Martin O'Malley's communications shop and later served as chief spokeswoman during his second term. Born and raised in the D.C. metro area, she is a proud graduate of Morgan State University.

Alan Smith

Alan Smith

Alan Smith is the Manager of Community Leadership for Consumer Reports, working with the Community and Corporate Engagement team to build consumer power by distributing leadership and investing in them as educators, organizers, storytellers and testers in their own right. He supports local leaders in building community and in building the power needed to reform marketplaces.
Before joining Consumer Reports, Alan Smith was the Associate Director of Networked Initiatives at the Roosevelt Institute, a progressive economic think tank. He also worked as a producer on WNYC’s Peabody award-winning Brian Lehrer Show, where he reported on cutting edge policy ideas from around New York City, the country and the world. Previously, Alan worked as the communications director for the Brooklyn Movement Center, and helped organize Mark Winston Griffith’s campaign for City Council. Alan graduated from Swarthmore College with a dual BA in English and African History, and has a masters in Non-Profit Leadership from the University of Pennsylvania.

Jed Leano

Jed Leano

Jed Leano is serving his second term on the Claremont City Council (November 2018 - November 2022). In October 2019, he was named Democrat of the Year for the 41st Assembly District by the LA County Democratic Party.

Mayor Leano serves as chair of the San Gabriel Valley Regional Housing Trust Board, Chair of Tri-City Mental Health Board, and Claremont’s representative to the San Gabriel Valley Council of Governments (SGV COG) Homelessness Committee. He represents the SGV COG on the Southern California Association of Governments (SCAG) Community Economic and Human Development Committee (CEHD), charged with the Regional Housing Needs Assessment (RHNA) methodology, and represents SCAG on the Mobile Source Air Pollution Reduction Review Committee (MSRC), charged with overseeing programs to reduce motor vehicle air pollution. He serves as chair of the Claremont Lincoln University MPA program Advisory Council, Vice Chair of the Filipino American Democratic Caucus of the CA Democratic Party, and on the board of the San Gabriel Valley Immigration Resource Center.

Mayor Leano works as an immigration attorney in private practice in Pasadena, CA. He obtained his J.D. from Rutgers School of Law in 2005 and B.A. from the University of Kentucky in 2001. He and his wife Liz have one son, Welles.