Vote Run Lead, the nation’s largest and most diverse training program for women to run for office and win, announced today that it will be expanding its advisory board with the addition of seven new board members. With wide-ranging expertise and impressive pedigrees, these women bring an incredible collection of experience to Vote Run Lead. As a member of the advisory board, they will be instrumental in providing guidance and expertise on all of Vote Run Lead’s programs and efforts to motivate and train women to run for office. 

The seven new members are: 

  • Alejandra Castillo, CEO of YWCA – Ms. Alejandra Y. Castillo serves as the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the YWCA-USA. As CEO, Alejandra leads the iconic 160 year old YWCA-USA representing 210 associations in 46 states and the District of Columbia. YWCA is on a mission to eliminate racism and empower women.
  • Jordan Brooks, Executive Director of United State of Women – Jordan Brooks is the Executive Director of The United State of Women (USoW). USoW is an initiative dedicated to being the megaphone for the women’s equality movement. 
  • Susan Molinari, Former Vice President of Public Policy for the Americas at Google; Former United States Congresswoman – Susan Molinari, member of APCO Worldwide’s International Advisory Council, has a wide-ranging background resulting from her multi-disciplinary service in the leadership of the United States Congress and as Google’s vice president of public policy for the Americas. 
  • Cheryl Contee, CEO & Co-founder of Do Big Things – Cheryl Contee is the award-winning CEO and co-founder of Do Big Things, a digital agency that creates new narrative and new tech for a new era focused on causes and campaigns. She is the author of the Amazon bestseller Mechanical Bull: How You Can Achieve Startup Success. Cheryl is also the co-founder of Fission which helped the world’s leading non-profits & foundations design digital ecosystems that create change globally. Cheryl was a co-founder of social marketing software at Blackbaud, the first tech startup with a black female founder on board in history to be acquired by a NASDAQ-traded company. 
  • Penny Abeywardena, Commissioner for International Affairs in NYC – Penny Abeywardena is a government leader and women’s rights advocate. In her current role as NYC’s ambassador to the global community, she leads the agency serving the largest diplomatic corps in the world.   
  • Lauren Bonner, Partner at One Zero Capital – Lauren Bonner is an investor in and advisor to early-stage fintech companies. She focuses on catalyzing growth and enhancing talent identification, including through the use of analytics that reduce biases and promote greater diversity of experience and thought.
  • LaTosha Brown, Co-Founder at the Black Voters Matter Fund – LaTosha Brown is an award-winning organizer, philanthropic consultant, political strategist and jazz singer with over twenty years of experience working in the non-profit and philanthropy sectors on a wide variety of issues related to political empowerment, social justice, economic development, leadership development, wealth creation and civil rights. She is the co-founder of Black Voters Matter Fund, a power building southern based civic engagement organization that played an instrumental role in the 2017 Alabama U.S. Senate race. 

“We are honored to welcome these incredible women to our board,” said Erin Vilardi, Co-Founder and CEO of Vote Run Lead. “We have no doubt that their diverse backgrounds and success within their respective careers will be an incredible asset to the work of Vote Run Lead.”  

“I am thrilled to be a member of the Advisory board of Vote Run Lead. Our democracy becomes stronger when our elected leaders reflect the diversity of their constituency. Vote Run Lead helps to level the playing field for women who have something to say, and more importantly, something important to do,” says Susan Molinari, former Vice President of Public Policy for the Americas at Google and former United States Congresswoman. 

“It’s an honor to support the groundbreaking work of the Vote Run Lead team. The caliber of new female leaders that VRL is uplifting continues to astonish me and I know for certain that together, we will change the future of this nation for the better. Onward!” says Cheryl Contee, CEO & Co-founder of Do Big Things.

“It is exciting to join this amazing group of women who will bring their ideas, creativity and movement-building energy to create change and opportunities for women running for office,” says Alejandra Castillo, CEO of YWCA. 

Vote Run Lead’s current advisory board includes Erika Alexander, Stephanie Berger, Nathalie Molina-Niño, Heidi Sieck, Sophie Kim Goldmacher, Piper Perabo, and Marie Wilson, among others. You can learn more about the new and current board members here:

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