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.
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.
Mary Anne Mendoza
Secretary Mary Anne Mendoza is an Assistant Professor in the Political Science Department at Cal Poly Pomona. She completed her M.A. & Ph.D. at the University of California, Irvine, focusing on utilizing archival work to study colonial education & separatist rebellion in Southeast Asia. In addition, Mary Anne's pedagogical research focuses on course design. She maintains an active role in alumni relations with her undergraduate alma mater, the University of La Verne, while drawing upon her first-generation background to mentor early career Filipino/a/x-Americans.
Lizeth Hernandez is currently attending Cal State LA and studying political science, focusing on public administration. She transferred from Mt. San Antonio and Citrus College. Her interest in a political career began at 15, and she got involved with activist groups fighting for criminal justice reform. After the 2016 election, she knew she needed to be at the policy-making table to enact the change she and her activist groups wanted to see. She began organizing in the primary elections on Senator Josh Newman's campaign. She realized her true passion was connecting with the community to help those in need within her space. Lizeth is a Community Groundwork Alum, where she collaborated with students to evaluate the roadblocks and needs of her classmates. Her organizing skills, passion, and community engagement will bring a much-needed perspective into community groundwork. Lizeth hopes to one day work in policy and legislation. She wishes to work with the community and analyze needs to uplift marginalized folks in Los Angeles.
John Hill is the Co-Founder, Director, and Curriculum Designer of the CAMP Fellowship. A Dallas native, Hill returned home to become a public school teacher in Dallas ISD. Before entering education, Hill served as a fundraiser for the Harvard College Fund and a communications consultant for mayoral and city council candidates in Los Angeles. In 2019, he directly influenced the successful nomination of three new Dallas ISD Trustees simultaneously, including the youngest trustee ever elected in Dallas and the first Latina, transforming the makeup of the school board in the process. He recently designed and implemented a voter outreach and mobilization program for a U.S. Congresswoman that led to her triumphant primary victory over three opponents, avoiding a runoff election in the process. In the past seven years, Hill has been a key adviser in over 20 successful campaign operations at various levels and has worked closely with local organizations to support candidates seeking office. Hill received his B.A. in Government from Harvard University and his M.Ed. in Education Policy and Leadership from Southern Methodist University.
Joshua Levin has over a decade of experience working in nonprofits and the political world. From working with students in educational theatre to mentoring the next generation of political operatives, Josh has worked with budding talent from all walks of life to ensure their careers are based on a groundwork of reality, community, and opportunity. Josh currently serves as the Data Director for Houston in Action, a collective of over 100 nonprofit organizations, activities, and stakeholders across the Houston metropolitan area. In his day to day, Josh adds to the capacity of equity-centered entities and helps them develop strategic organizational and campaign plans. In his free time, Josh is a caretaker of many stray cats of Houston's historic Second Ward and enjoys spending time with his nerdy friends talking about groundbreaking social justice issues across the nation.
Tanner Marston is a student majoring in Political Science and Communications at Mt. San Antonio College (Mt. Sac). After high school, he entered the workforce in the sales industry, eventually becoming an Account Executive for Newegg Business. Tanner decided to return to school to pursue a career in communications. While at Mt. Sac, Tanner competed with the Speech & Debate team, earning multiple state and national awards. Currently, he lives in Rancho Cucamonga, CA, and works for Winning Margins. Tanner has completed two 2-year degrees in Political Science and Communication Studies and plans to transfer to a 4-year university in Fall 2022 to complete a degree in Political Science.
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.
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 atMegaphone 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.