Eveline Shen, MPH, Executive Director, Oakland
Since Eveline's leadership began in 1999, Forward Together has become widely recognized for its innovative role in the Reproductive Justice Movement—working with grassroots communities; providing thought leadership; developing effective tools and resources for evaluation, training, and documentation; and organizing for long-term systemic change. Eveline serves on the board of the Movement Strategy Center and is a member of the Bay Area Social Justice Funders Network advisory committee. She has also served as Principal Investigator for two National Institutes of Health grants that explore the intersection between environmental justice and reproductive justice. Women's eNews named Eveline one of their 21 Leaders for the 21st Century. She was a 2009 Gerbode Fellow and holds a Masters in Public Health from UC Berkeley in Community Health Education.
Kemi Alabi, Program Coordinator, Oakland
Kemi joined Forward Together in November 2014, and she's thrilled to work at the intersection of movement building, policy, field and communications strategy as Program Coordinator. Originally from Wisconsin, she earned her B.A. in Political Science & Philosophy from Boston University in 2013 as a Martin Luther King, Jr. Scholar. There, she organized with low-wage labor and LGBT rights campaigns while writing, teaching and touring as a performance poet. She moved to Oakland, CA for queer love, black liberation, weirdo writers and 60 degree winters; it's worked out quite well.
Adriann Barboa, New Mexico Field Director, New Mexico
Adriann Barboa is a Chicana, Native New Mexican born and raised in Albuquerque, where she is a single mother of two. In 2012, Forward Together launched the Strong Families New Mexico state based action site with Adriann as Field Director. As Field Director for Strong Families New Mexico, Adriann connects across; issue areas, geography, and differences in approach, to advance the work and leverage capacity for a strong network in New Mexico and in connection to the Strong Families national movement work led by Forward Together. Adriann brings 15 plus years experience in the social justice sector, working primarily on issues of gender, reproductive, anti-violence, education and youth justice in communities of color.
Moira Bowman, Deputy Director, Portland
Moira Bowman joined Forward Together in November 2007 and works primarily from Portland, Oregon. As Deputy Director, Moira builds and manages an effective staff team and plays a lead role in the strategy and implementation of the Strong Families initiative. Relying on more than 20 years of experience working with social justice nonprofits, Moira also provides technical assistance to a number of our allies. Moira has been active in the social justice movement for the last two decades on issues of economic and racial justice, LGBTQ rights, and gender justice. She brings extensive experience in movement building, organizing, political education, and technical assistance. As Director of the Gender Justice Program at Western States Center, Moira worked to build regional capacity (in Washington, Idaho, Montana, Oregon, Utah, Nevada, and Wyoming) to counter the Right's agenda and to build progressive power for low-income families, communities of color, and LGBTQ communities. She currently serves on the Board of Directors for Basic Rights Oregon.
Lisa Castellanos, Senior Policy & Organizing Manager, Oakland
Lisa joined Forward Together in February 2016, and brings over 20 years of organizing, policy and movement-building experience to her role as Senior Policy and Organizing Manager. Her life-long vocation in social justice began as a teen when she participated in the Center for Third World Organizing MAAP program. Her work spans labor issues, immigrant rights, economic justice for welfare mothers and immigrant families, and education justice for youth of color, at the local, state, national and transnational levels. Lisa also served as a Program Officer at a small family foundation where her primary focus was to support community efforts to shift state policy on criminal justice, and to raise the dignity of incarcerated and formerly incarcerated people, and their loved ones. Prior to joining Forward Together, she was the Policy and Organizing Director at a large multi-issue, multi-constituency community organization working on anti-displacement, migrant rights and transportation equity in Silicon Valley. Lisa graduated magna cum laude from UC Santa Cruz with a major in Feminist Studies, emphasizing social movements and the law. The daughter of Mejicano/Indigenous immigrant and migrant farmworkers, she identifies as both Xikana and muxerista. Born in California’s Central Valley, raised in the South Bay, and currently living in Oakland, Lisa is the proud mother of two amazing sons, dabbles in quilting, knitting and other textile arts, loves to run around Lake Merritt with her puppy, Luna, and enjoys brisk swims in the San Francisco Bay with her partner.
Jessica Lopez Collins, New Mexico Program Director, Albuquerque
Jessica joined Forward Together as the New Mexico Program Director in July 2015. She ensures that the Strong Families network in New Mexico is both vibrant and part of the broader Strong Families initiative. Prior to joining Forward Together, Jessica spent twelve years at Media Literacy Project where she led the Girl Tech program for young women of color that centered on reproductive justice, video production, and media literacy. She also designed curriculum, taught classes to middle and high school students, and trained nationally and internationally in media literacy and media justice. Jessica also brings experience in educating and organizing on media access issues. She currently serves on the Board of Directors for Young Women United. When not at work, Jessica enjoys spending time with her two sons, Luca and Micah, reading nonfiction, and hiking in the mountains.
Gwen Emmons, MSW, Digital Strategist, Philadelphia
Gwen joined Forward Together in August 2015 as the Digital Strategist. Prior to working at Forward Together, she organized for reproductive rights at Planned Parenthood and sent a TON of email on behalf of progressive clients at M+R Strategic Services in DC. A Masters in Social Work at the University of Pennsylvania's School of Social Policy and Practice brought her to Philly, but she fell in love with long runs along the Schuylkill and Philly's delicious restaurant scene and never left. She serves on the board of directors at Young Involved Philadelphia and will talk to you for hours about her pug, Frankie, if you let her.
Kelly Francisco, New Mexico Program Assistant, Albuquerque
In August 2013, Kelly joined Forward Together in a temporary Administrative Assistant position and now is the New Mexico Program Assistant. Born and raised in North Eastern Arizona, Kelly is Diné (Navajo) of the Red House Clan and born for the Mexican People Clan. She is fortunate to have been raised in strong Diné teachings and practices by her parents, grandparents, and extended families; Kelly proudly represents herself as a Diné woman. She currently resides in Albuquerque, where she completed her BA in Psychology at the University of New Mexico. During her time at UNM, she was very active in student organizations and community organizing.
Leslie Griep, Director of Finance and Operations, Oakland
Leslie joined the Forward Together team in October 2014 as the Director of Finance and Operations. Throughout her career, she has worked in a variety of not-for-profit organizations in accounting, administrative, and program positions. Her activist interests include affordable housing, economic & racial justice, LGBTQ rights, and anti-violence work. When not in front of multiple spreadsheets, Leslie bikes, runs, eats, and watches movies (with a particular soft spot for sing-along musicals).
Kalpana Krishnamurthy, Senior Policy Director, Portland
Kalpana joined the Forward Together team in March 2013 as the Policy Director. Working from Portland, Oregon, Kalpana will be helping to develop and implement Forward Together's policy shift and civic engagement strategies. Most recently, Kalpana spent eight years as a field director at Western States Center focusing on building the racial justice and gender justice programs at the Center. She served as the primary author of the Oregon and Nevada legislative report cards on racial equity. She helped to develop and lead the Uniting Communities work, which works to help organizations of color meaningfully engage their own LGBT constituents of color. Prior to Western States, Kalpana worked in philanthropy at both the Third Wave Foundation and the Ms. Foundation for Women. She remains active in philanthropy and currently serves on the Advisory Board for the Philanthropic Initiative for Racial Equity. She is the mother of two fabulous boys, Sachin and Kavi.
Erin Malone, Communications Director, Brooklyn, NY
Erin joined Forward Together in April 2016 as the Communications Director working from Brooklyn, New York. As the Communications Director, Erin develops strategies to spread Forward Together's message of empowering families with the rights, recognition and resources they need to thrive. She oversees all aspects of the organizations communications and is the first point of contact for media inquiries.
Erin comes to Forward Together from the labor movement where she worked as a communicator for 1199SEIU. As a seasoned communications strategist, she has lead communications campaigns to win paid sick days and living wage legislation, secure affordable housing, keep hospitals open, secure strong union contracts, and provide medical relief in Haiti. Erin has previous experience as an organizer working to building union/community coalitions in the Bronx and Newark, organizing tenants at the University of California-San Diego and as an educator fighting for access to higher education and the retention of underrepresented students. She is also a communications trainer with degrees in advertising and communications and several years of teaching experience.
When not nerding out on the latest trends in communications strategy, you can find her on the dance floor or roaming the streets of New York with her camera.
Maria Nakae, MPH, Development Director, Oakland
Maria joined Forward Together in 2006 as a New Voices Fellow and Alliance Building Coordinator. After three and a half years of supporting Forward Together's national movement building work to build the power and infrastructure of the reproductive justice movement, she joined the development team in 2010. As Development Director she has led a team that has aggressively grown the organization's fundraising efforts to nearly triple its revenue from foundation grants and individual contributions; shifted the organizational culture and practice of fundraising from one of isolation toward integration into programmatic goals and strategies; institutionalized the participation of the Board of Directors in fundraising efforts; and established the organization's first major donor program. Prior to Forward Together, Maria worked in community-based research, outreach, and program development on a wide range of issues including reproductive health, domestic violence prevention, parenting and child development, and mental health. She holds a BA in Psychology from New York University and an MPH from UC Berkeley. She is a proud mama of two girls and an amateur drummer.
Rosa Yadira Ortiz, Grants Manager, Chicago
Rosa joined the Forward Together team in April 2016 as the Grants Manager working from the Portland office. As the Grants Manager, Rosa helps to develop, implement and administrate institutional fundraising strategies for Forward Together and its programs. Most recently, she served as the Development and Communications Director at the Illinois Caucus for Adolescent Health where she implemented new strategies and systems to secure necessary resources to sustain programming and developed an organizational approach to grassroots fundraising. During her time at ICAH, Rosa served on the leadership team of the organization where she nurtured a supportive, inventive, and dynamic team with an equal focus on the big and small picture, grounded in the organization’s mission and values. Prior to ICAH, Rosa served as the Development and Communications Manager at Western States Center where she focused on grants management and social media communication. Rosa is committed to volunteering in philanthropy and has been part of the grant making committee of McKenzie River Gathering (MRG) Foundation and the pilot Giving Project of the Crossroads Foundation. She holds a double BA in Latin American and Latina/o Studies and Spanish from DePaul University and a MA in Ethnic Studies from San Francisco State University. Rosa is a twin Mama, enjoys power lifting, and Virgen de Guadalupe iconography.
Maria A. Santos, Administrative
Maria joined Forward Together in January 2016 taking on the role of Administrative Coordinator. Born in the Philippines, Maria immigrated to the United States when she was seven years old settling with her family in Arizona and eventually moving to San Francisco in high school where she has lived for almost fifteen years. A product of San Francisco State University’s College of Ethnic Studies, Maria received both her Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Asian American Studies. As a graduate student, her research explored the impact of teaching Ethnic Studies to Filipina/o American elementary school students focusing on the students she taught in Pin@y Educational Partnerships. Prior to Forward Together, Maria had also worked with multiple community-based organizations in San Francisco providing support and facilitation of services ranging from after school programs to workforce development training. Having had the opportunity to engage her community in scholarly and direct service work, Maria is looking forward to also adding (and strengthening) her administrative experience.
Jainan Singh, Senior Accountant, Oakland
Jainan joined Forward Together in August 2014. He gained his professional experience in Business and Accounting with diversified businesses including nonprofits in the San Francisco Bay Area. Jainan is highly efficient, detail oriented and passionate about business and accounting. He is also used to producing high quality work in a time sensitive environment. Jainan received his Bachelors of Accounting and Economics at University of the South Pacific in Fiji where he gained most of his professional experience. He is excited to learn, grow his skill set and provide quality service to the organization. His favorite recreational activities include cycling, golf and movies.
Alicia Walters, Movement Building Director, Oakland
Alicia joined Forward Together in 2014 after serving as a consultant with the organization. In her role at Forward Together, Alicia builds authentic alliances across movements for more effective social change, including working with the 150+ organizations in the Strong Families network. In 2012, she worked with Forward Together to launch Echoing Ida: a program to raise the visibility of Black women's expertise in the media and our social justice movements. A trained organizer, facilitator, and speaker, Alicia is an expert in the ways society attempts to make Black women invisible as well as the impacts and strategies to address the rampant criminalization of communities of color. Over her 10-year career, Alicia has led coalitions and movement building efforts that center the experiences of women and families of color, authored legislation to prohibit the shackling of pregnant women in California jails and prisons, and co-led and authored the Who Pays research project and report on the family impacts of incarceration. She has been featured on television, radio, and print including CNN, BBC, CBS, NPR, The Washington Post, The Guardian, and EBONY.com, among others. She is a new mama who lives and believes in her community of Oakland, California.
Jonathan Wong, Executive Assistant, Oakland
Jon joined the Forward Together family in August 2013 as the New Mexico Organizer and Program Assistant for Strong Families New Mexico. Born and raised in Southern California, Jon graduated with a BA in Political Science from the University of California, Irvine. Wanting to spread his wings in political advocacy, he spent a couple years in Washington, DC where he worked with an environmental justice organization and developed his knack for database management at a progressive fundraising firm. In 2012 he moved to the Land of Enchantment and fell in love with the state of New Mexico as a fundraiser and field organizer for Congresswoman Michelle Lujan Grisham's campaign. In his free time you can see Jon eating at different Asian restaurants for his blog and exploring the scenic beauty of the Southwest.
Dalia Rubiano Yedidia, Movement Building Manager, Oakland
Dalia Rubiano Yedidia joined Forward Together as the Movement Building Manager in February 2015. Born and raised in San Francisco, Dalia’s organizing roots are in the domestic worker movement, where she organized nannies, housecleaners, and caregivers to seniors and people with disabilities in New York, Chicago, and the Bay Area. She worked on the New York and California Domestic Worker Bill of Rights campaigns, and, alongside thousands of immigrant women of color, fought and won these groundbreaking statewide policies. As a mixed Colombian Jew still living in the city she grew up in, Dalia maintains an unwavering belief – and over eight years of experience to know deeply – that organizing works. Outside of work, she enjoys attempting to write creatively, knitting estilo colombiano the way her abuelita taught her, and relishing the exceedingly beautiful Bay Area views on hikes with her partner.
Janna A. Zinzi, Echoing Ida Manager, Los Angeles
Janna A. Zinzi joined Forward Together as the Digital Organizer in September 2014. She began working with the organization as part of the Mamas Day 2013 press team, and again to support the Mamas Day 2014 online campaign. Now as the Digital Organizer, she is responsible for coordinating online campaigns and engaging our audiences to take action, particularly through e-mail and social media. She has an extensive background in strategic communications including public relations, social media strategy, and promotional writing. Since 2007, Janna has been doing communications work for reproductive health and justice organizations including the Guttmacher Institute, California Latinas for Reproductive Justice and National Advocates for Pregnant Women. She also has contributed to a variety of progressive and feminist blogs including AlterNet, Feministing, Racialicious and RH Reality Check. When she’s not on the internet, you can find Janna dancing or traveling or both.