Staff

Team Shortcode (Staff)

Proudly Women of Color led. Meet our Executive Team:

Eveline Shen
Executive Director and Board President, Forward Together

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. In 2010 Eveline and other leaders launched the Strong Families Initiative, which now works with over 170 organizations to change the way people think, feel and act in support of families. Eveline served as Principal Investigator for two National Institutes of Health grants that explore the intersection between environmental justice and reproductive justice. Eveline is a recipient of the Gerbode Fellowship, was named one of Women’s eNews’ 21 Leaders for the 21st Century, was awarded the 2015 San Francisco Foundation Community Leadership Award, and was awarded the Lani Shaw Award for Courage and Compassion in the Pursuit of Reproductive Justice by the Funders for Reproductive Equity in 2017. She holds a Master of Public Health in Community Health Education from UC Berkeley.

Wendy Calimag
Deputy Director of Operations

As part of the Executive Team, Wendy works closely with the Executive Director and Deputy Director of Programs to forward the mission of the organization by maintaining its financial and operational health and by strengthening systems and capacity for the organization’s growth. Over the last 15 years, Wendy has been committed to uplifting the experiences of girls and women of color. Prior to coming to Forward Together, Wendy served in senior and executive roles in girl-serving organizations in the Oakland and San Francisco, developing and supporting civic engagement, reproductive health, and college and career readiness programs for middle and high school girls from under-resourced communities.  She believes in the power of collective impact and served in a number of community initiatives in the Bay Area including the Girls and Women of Color Collaborative (former Breaking the Silence Town Hall Collaborative). When she is not developing systems and thinking about operations, you can find her spending time with her family, reading, doing something creative or cuddling with her one-eyed pug.

Kara Hollingsworth
Deputy Director of Programs

Kara Hollingsworth is the Deputy Director of Programs of Forward Together. In her role,  Kara works in partnership with the Executive Director, Deputy Director of Growth  and Senior Directors to support program strategy, development and coordination.  In addition, she works to ensure effective organization-wide planning, decision-making and  staff development.

Kara brings 15 years of senior campaign leadership, program development, training and facilitation experience to the team, most recently serving as the founding Executive Director for LEAD NC. Over her career, she has managed highly contested campaigns, served as a Congressional liaison, and advised progressive candidates and organizations on strategy for effective advocacy and wining campaigns. Born and raised in Washington D.C., her mother was an activist and public school teacher for 37 years, while her father spent over three decades as a mentor and nonprofit leader working to create pathways to college for DC youth. They instilled in her a belief that the political process belongs to all of us. Their example drives her desire to build power alongside leaders who don’t just speak for, but come out of and look like, the communities they serve. When she is not at work, Kara enjoys spending time with her husband, their two incredible teenagers and working on her LEGO city at home in North Carolina.

Staff

Adowa Agyepong
Echoing Ida Program Coordinator, Chicago

Adwoa Agyepong supports the Echoing Ida program as its coordinator. A former-student-organizer, Adwoa’s goal is to support the work of all marginalized peoples in both her personal and work-life. Prior to joining Forward Together, Adwoa worked for the Environmental Justice Program at NAACP. In her free-time, Adwoa obsesses over astrology and has vegan cook clubs with friends.

Kemi Alabi
Echoing Ida Program Manager, Chicago

Kemi Alabi leads Echoing Ida and engage its growing Truth-Teller Network. A writer, editor and teaching artist, Kemi has spent the last decade amplifying Black voices. After studying political science and philosophy, they learned the power of words to conjure new worlds. Since then, they’ve worked with organizers in housing rights, the movement for Black lives, and queer and trans justice to powerfully communicate visions of liberation. Kemi’s writing and editorial work appear in The Guardian, The Washington Post, Guernica, Catapult, and The Rumpus.

Adriann Barboa
New Mexico Field Director, Albuquerque

Adriann Barboa is the Field Director for the Strong Families New Mexico program. Adriann works with families and communities across the state of New Mexico to bring about culture shift strategies that recognize the many kinds of families across her home state, and create new policies centered in the lived experiences of everyday New Mexicans. Adriann is a connector, an organizer, a trainer and loves to spend her time with families and communities working together toward building the world we all want to live in. She brings together a strong network of organizations and individuals in New Mexico that are modeling how to leverage their people power for the greater good. Adriann brings 15 plus years experience in the direct service and social justice sectors, working primarily on issues of gender, reproductive, anti-violence, education and youth and criminal justice in indigenous and communities of color. She is a proud mother of two loving young adults that bring her so much joy and keep her grounded.

Micah Bazant
Artist-in-Residence, Oakland

Micah Bazant is Forward Together’s Artist-in-Residence. They bring more than 10 years experience making art in collaboration with social justice movements. Prior to coming on staff, Micah worked as a freelance graphic designer, artist and art director. In 2014 they worked with Forward Together and trans justice organizations across the country on the Trans Day of Resilience Art Project. In 2016, Micah initiated the Trans Life and Liberation Art Series, celebrating the existence and resistance of trans activists and artists of color across the U.S. They love drawing, growing and eating food, animal-related adventures, and speculative fiction.

Vivek G. Bharathan
Information Technology Manager, Oakland

Vivek is the Information Technology Manager at Forward Together and supports us as we use technology in our work, maintaining our current resources and finding new ways for us to fulfill our mission across our various locations. He came from roles in web development, web strategy and IT at Race Forward, Diablo Valley College, the University of Pennsylvania and Brooklyn Law School. When he’s not crawling under desks or talking his colleagues’ ears off about digital security, Vivek plays tenor sax with the Laney College Jazz Orchestra. He is an immigrant from India and grew up in Tucson, AZ. If you’d like to send Vivek a PGP-encrypted email, you can find his public key at https://keybase.io/vbharathan/key.asc (fingerprint: BE1E 57B9 3818 3451 0C61 55E5 218A C601 5924 9436).

Bianca Campbell
Movement Building Manager, Atlanta

Bianca Campbell is the Movement Building Manager at Forward Together. She started as, and continues to be, a participant of our Echoing Ida program for Black women and gender non-conforming content creators. She has worked in reproductive justice work since 2011 with organizations like SPARK Reproductive Justice Now! and the National Network of Abortion Funds. She has also been a doula for births, abortions and personal transformations.  Now, she helps members of our Strong Families Network connect with one another and explore holistic strategies that move us all forward together. She also shares her commitment to holistic mind and body wellness through the Instagram page Carib Healing Collective, managed by fellow Echoing Ida members.

Kara Carmosino
Civic Engagement Manager, Minneapolis

As Civic Engagement Manager, Kara works with partners in multiple states to support year-round civic participation in elections and policy advocacy. Previously, Kara served as Director of Programs for the Asian Pacific American Network of Oregon, overseeing a range of efforts to build power and develop leaders in Oregon’s Asian and Pacific Islander communities. During that time, she grew the organization’s political analysis, strategic direction and commitment to reproductive justice, including work to pass Oregon’s landmark Reproductive Health Equity Act. She has worked on systems change in education, consulted on curriculum and training for multiple organizations and recently served on the Board of Directors for the Coalition of Communities of Color. Outside of work, Kara enjoys reading, making jam, seeking out the nearest body of water and going on adventures with her chosen family.

Jessica Lopez Collins
New Mexico Program Director, Albuquerque

As the New Mexico Program Director at Forward Together, Jessica ensures that the Strong Families network in New Mexico is vibrant and connected while moving policy and culture shift work that meets the needs of all New Mexico families. 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 and video production. She also designed curriculum, taught classes to middle and high school students, and trained nationally and internationally in media literacy and media justice. Jessica brings experience in educating and organizing on media access issues, program planning and evaluation, and creating beautiful resources that are accessible to New Mexico communities. She recently served on the Board of Directors for Young Women United for six years. When not at work, Jessica enjoys spending time with her two sons, Luca and Micah, reading nonfiction, and hiking in the mountains.

Manuela Delnevo
Development Coordinator, Oakland

As the Development Coordinator at Forward Together, Manuela manages the donor database, leads donor stewardship programs, and works closely with the Development team to build and implement a people-centered fundraising vision grounded in our organizational values. Prior to working at Forward Together, Manuela completed her Master’s degree in Women and Gender Studies at San Francisco State University. As a graduate student, her research focused on the colonial underpinnings of global development initiatives, particularly those centered on women and girls’ empowerment in the global South. She previously worked as an English and Spanish teacher in Vietnam, the UK and Gabon, learning with and from students of all ages and backgrounds.

Manuela is Colombian and Italian, but grew up in many different places around the world. When she is not crafting thank-you letters, she loves to dance, sing, Skype her family and friends, and eat delicious food with her partner.

Kelly Francisco
New Mexico Administrative Coordinator, Albuquerque

Kelly is the New Mexico Administrative Coordinator at Forward Together. She passionately works to increase visibility of the Strong Families New Mexico program by strengthening and documenting efficient information systems, relationship building, and event planning to amplify staff capacity and partner networks.

Kelly proudly represents herself as a Diné Woman, residing from northeastern Arizona, she is Kinłichíi’nii (Red House Clan) and born for Naakaii Dine’é (Mexican People Clan). She presently lives in Albuquerque, where she completed her BA in Psychology from the University of New Mexico (UNM). While at UNM, she was very active in various capacities with several student organizations and in community organizing. Kelly currently serves as an active board member of the Native American Voters Alliance Education Project and is a co-author of Native Americans and the University of New Mexico. Outside of work, she enjoys being outdoors, playing volleyball and softball, and watching the sunrise.

Jeana Frazzini
Director of Philanthropic Partnerships, Portland

Jeana is the Director of Philanthropic Partnerships at Forward Together and works primarily from Portland, Oregon. As the Director of Philanthropic Partnerships, Jeana is passionate about building relationships to mobilize financial resources that power the work of Forward Together and our movement. Most recently, Jeana served as Executive Director of Basic Rights Oregon, where she successfully built the organization into a nationally recognized LGBTQ powerhouse, known for innovation, intersectionality and bold policy wins. During her tenure, Jeana led a transformative process to integrate racial and transgender justice into the organization’s culture and priorities. She positioned the organization to play an essential role in the national strategy to win the freedom to marry and worked statewide to advance transgender health access, immigrant rights and economic justice campaigns. Jeana built relationships across the LGBTQ and allied movements, channeling the influence, resources and energy of partners toward education and policy campaigns that profoundly shifted the landscape for LGBTQ people, couples and families. Outside of work, Jeana enjoys 80s dancing and pinball with her husbian, Collin, and adventures with their two amazing sons, Emmett and Griffin.

Selinda Guerrero
Community Organizer, Albuquerque

Selinda Guerrero is the Community Organizer at Forward Together. Selinda as an organizer says her main work is to “give voice to the voiceless” as a grassroots human rights activist and organizer. She is the National Action Coordinator for Save the Kids, a national all-volunteer organization building a movement to end the school-to-prison pipeline. She leads Millions for Prisoners, the New Mexico chapter, a national movement to abolish the loophole in the 13th amendment that allows for the continuation of slavery through the criminal justice system. As an organizer for Justice for Jaquise Lewis (“Albuquerque’s Trayvon Martin”), she is continuing our fight for justice. All of her work is intersectional with focus on issues concerning police violence, injustices within the Prison Industrial Complex while addressing underlying issues of generational poverty, access to housing, education, employment, and healthcare. She is a single mother of 6 with deep roots in New Mexico. She became active and motivated to work for change by building networks of community alliances over the last 24 years. She is always in the community and when not intentionally organizing she can be found at the dominoes table and spending time laughing with her children.

Raj Hajela
Director of Finance, Oakland

As part of the Operations Team, Raj works closely with the Deputy Director of Operations to further the mission of the organization by positioning the financial health of the organization for future growth. His lifelong belief that true diversity is natural and critical to the success of humanity and communities, and that equality and inclusiveness are rights that belong to everyone, regardless of their ethnicity, sexual orientation or preferences, have brought him to Forward Together. He enjoys working with people and teams to find creative, cost-effective solutions aimed at growth and continuous improvement and believes that his experiences in operations, development and finance in the for-profit and non-profit sectors have positioned him ideally to fulfill his role here.

In his spare time, Raj enjoys the outdoors where you can find him hiking, biking or kayaking. He also plays the electric bass in an Argentine rock band.

Kalpana Krishnamurthy
National Field and Policy Director, Portland

As the National Field and Policy Director at Forward Together, Kalpana directs our state-based organizing and civic engagement program, in addition to our national policy work. From 2005 to 2012, Kalpana directed the racial justice and gender justice programs at Western States Center, including developing two state-based report cards and a program to support LGBTQ people of color. Kalpana has been a youth organizer and reproductive rights organizer and 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 a knitter, cook and avid reader. She is the mother of two fabulous boys, Sachin and Kavi.

Alanna Kwoka
Individual Giving Manager, Oakland

Alanna is the Individual Giving Manager at Forward Together. She is excited to inspire and thank people who invest in grassroots organizing and community-led change. Most recently, she stewarded donor-advised fund holders at the San Francisco Foundation and worked with them to give locally. Previously, Alanna worked at The Boston Women’s Fund, which makes grants to grassroots social justice organizations led by women of color. She earned a BA in Gender and Sexuality Studies at Brown University. Alanna can often be found going on lunchtime walks or curled up with a fantasy novel. She would like you to consider making a donation to Forward Together today.

Janet Leung
Staff Account, Oakland, CA

As Staff Accountant at Forward together, Janet works closely with the accounting team to ensure the accuracy of the organization’s financial documents.  Prior to joining Forward Together, Janet worked in the for-profit world in administrative and accounting positions. She earned her BA in Feminist Studies and Psychology from the University of California, Santa Cruz.   She is the second-generation of immigrant parents and is excited to contribute to an organization that advocates for the community. In her free time, you can find her with her family, at the farmers market or hiking as she has recently completed a thru-hike from Mexico to Canada on the Pacific Crest Trail.

Diana Lugo-Martinez
Movement Building Director, Yonkers, New York

Diana is the Movement Building Director of Forward Together, working from Yonkers, New York. As the Movement Building Director, Diana advances efforts to build, expand and engage in effective, collaborative movements, including working with over 200 organizations in the Strong Families network. Diana brings 15 years of experience in civic engagement, politics, academia and leadership development on a variety of social justice areas. Prior to joining Forward Together, Diana was the Senior Director of Community Engagement Programs at the National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health (NLIRH), where she managed the Community Mobilization department. She previously served as an administrator at New York University, and has also served as an adjunct at the school’s Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service, teaching service-learning courses on civic engagement and women’s movements on sexual and reproductive health in the Caribbean and Latin America. Diana holds an MPA in Health Policy and Management and an MS in Global Affairs.

When not building with movement folks, you can find Diana reading about reproductive justice, race and class while drinking café, or hanging out with her familia, also while drinking café.

Erin Malone
Communications Director, New York City

Erin joined Forward Together 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 organization’s 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 build union and community coalitions in the Bronx and Newark, organize 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.

Emma Martinez
Oregon Field Organizer, Portland

Emma is the Oregon Field Organizer at Forward Together, where she works to build power with queer and trans folx of color in Portland. Emma is excited to learn how people want to see change in the world, and how she can support folx in their journey to make those changes. 

Before joining the Forward Together team, Emma worked alongside organizers at Freedom to Thrive to organize a healing and empowerment program, and herself found healing at a Queer & Trans #AbolishICE gathering hosted by Familia TQLM, Black LGBTQ Migrant Project, and other comrades. She is always down to learn and try new tools for centering and grounding, and how to take care of one another in the movement. 

When she is not organizing with fellow QTPOC/migrant/1st gen. community, Emma can be found at home in her studio apartment cuddling with her 3-legged chihuahua, Xena, and attempting to bake new recipes (usually things that include chocolate & peanut butter). 

Rosa Yadira Ortiz
Senior Grants Manager, Portland

Rosa joined the Forward Together team 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 an MA in Ethnic Studies from San Francisco State University. Rosa is a Mami of twins and enjoys powerlifting and Virgen de Guadalupe iconography.

Michele Ruffin
Oregon Advocacy Manager, Portland

Michele Ruffin is the Oregon Advocacy Manager at Forward Together. Based out of Portland, she leads the Oregon state-based program toward policy wins and effective culture shift campaigns. In 2018, Michele led Forward Together’s canvass team to defeat an anti-abortion measure at the ballot by building relationships with voters of color and having long-form conversations about abortion access. The measure was fiercely rejected with one of highest voter turnouts in Oregon’s history.

Prior to joining Forward Together, Michele spent over two years on Governor Kate Brown’s team managing campaign schedules, cultivating relationships with organizational leaders, and assisting policy development. She comes from a strong campaign organizing background in both issue advocacy and state elections, but her heart has only one mission, to build political power for queer and trans Oregonians of color and their families. Michele is a coffee drinking, phone banking, campaign nerd who enjoys time spent with her wife, Rachel, and chosen family.

Prerna Sampat
Digital Strategist, New York City

Prerna Sampat is the Digital Strategist at Forward Together and she is based in Brooklyn, New York. Over the past decade, she had previously helped shape a number of campaigns for economic justice, racial justice, immigrant rights, worker rights and trans liberation. Working at the global LGBTQ rights organization All Out, Prerna led a culture shift campaign to make digital spaces more inclusive for TGNC people, resulting in the expansion of Facebook’s gender categories from two to more than seventy. At ALIGN, Prerna led digital communications for a pivotal campaign that mobilized thousands of workers and community leaders, successfully driving Walmart out of New York City. In 2015, Prerna joined The Worker Institute at Cornell University, where she developed digital strategies to boost enrollment, taught workshops on digital organizing and authored pieces interrogating the labor movement’s role in the immigrant rights movement. Prerna was among the founding members of the Trans Women of Color Collective (TWOCC) and Trikone Chicago. She has previously served on the Movement Building Team at the Sylvia Rivera Law Project and the Catalyst Action Committee of New York Transgender Advocacy Group (NYTAG).

Maria A. Santos
Administrative Coordinator, Oakland

Maria is the Administrative Coordinator at Forward Together. 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 the Bay Area in high school.  Maria earned both her Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Asian American Studies at San Francisco State University’s College of Ethnic Studies. Prior to joining Forward Together, Maria worked with multiple community-based organizations in San Francisco providing support and facilitation of services ranging from after school programs to workforce development training. At Forward Together, Maria’s role includes not only ensuring that administrative systems run smoothly, but also providing programmatic support to staff and directors. Maria is passionate about Filipino food, cold brew coffee and baked treats. She can spend hours wandering around bookstores and craft stores.

ChaKiara Tucker
Media Strategist, San Diego

As the Media Strategist at Forward Together, ChaKiara amplifies Forward Together’s programmatic work through the implementation of strategic media efforts. As a Black femme woman who is also a member of the LGBTQ community, ChaKiara is committed to empowering communities of color to collaborate and mobilize.

Prior to joining the Forward Together team, ChaKiara was the communications coordinator at Alliance San Diego, a social justice non-profit. During her tenure there, ChaKiara provided communications support for multiple non-profit entities to help bring the gap between minority communities and governmental bodies. She holds a bachelors degree from Florida A&M University and a Masters Degree in Public Administration from National University.

When she is not creating spreadsheets of media contacts or working on new angles for op-eds, ChaKiara can be found hiking and spending time with her partner and their 8-year-old son.

Cecy Velasco
New Mexico Field Manager, Albuquerque

As the New Mexico Field Manager, Cecy engages and builds with members across the state through events and workshops and digitally through email, text and social media. She also helps grow and support the Strong Families New Mexico statewide network. Cecy earned her BA in Psychology and Family Studies from the University of New Mexico (UNM). While at UNM, she organized on campus for immigrant rights and education access, mentored freshmen students, and interned for the Strong Families New Mexico program. Cecy is the proud daughter of hard-working Mexican immigrants. After growing up and living all over the Southwest, she is happy to call Albuquerque home as it holds a special place in her heart. Outside of work, she enjoys spending time with her orange tabby cat named Chubby, taking long naps and binge-watching shows on Netflix.