Board of Directors

Emerge America Board

Emerge America has a national Board of Directors that includes representation from a subset of our affiliates.

Board Officers

Amanda  recently stepped down as the Chief of Operations for the California Department of Justice where she managed an annual budget of $850 million and a division of 1,000 public servants. In 2016, Amanda served as the National Political Director for Secretary Clinton’s presidential run.


Rashmi Yadav Marya earned her Bachelor’s of Science degree from the University of Idaho in Psychology with a minor in Biological Sciences and went on to receive a Fulbright Scholarship to pursue work in Neuroscience Research at the University of Cambridge in the United Kingdom.


Caroline Donahue, Treasurer

Caroline is on the board of Experian, plc and The Computer History Museum and is a member of C-100, a Northwestern University women’s leadership group. She retired from her full time tech career in 2016 after spending the past 21+ years at Intuit where she was Executive Vice President and Chief Sales and Marketing Officer.


Danielle Pacifico-Cogan, Secretary

Danielle Pacifico-Cogan is the Director of Communications for Oregon’s leading early childhood advocacy organization. She is also an alumna of the first Emerge California class. Danielle is dedicated to creating a future where ethnicity, disability and socioeconomic status will not dictate access to opportunity or influence a person’s quality of life.

Board Members

Andrea Dew Steele
Founder & President, Emerge America

Andrea Dew Steele is the President and Founder of Emerge America and the Co-Founder of our first affiliate, Emerge California. She is a passionate advocate for increasing the number of women in elected office at every level and is motivated by a life-long commitment to progressive politics and change.


Pamela Eakes
Democratic Strategist

Pamela Eakes combines a successful career in advertising and marketing with nonprofit executive leadership and organizational development, and a commitment to community and civic service. For over a dozen years, Eakes served as Founder & CEO of Mothers Against Violence in America (MAVIA), a national nonprofit organization dedicated to preventing violence by and against children.


Ann Miller
Director of Political/Legislative Affairs, International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers

Ann Miller is the Director of the Political/Legislative Affairs Department for the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, a political operation that has become one of the most influential labor voices on Capitol Hill. She leads a seasoned staff of grassroots organizers, issue advocates and analysts with the expertise and the relationships to get IBEW members heard.


Jennifer Moore
Partner, Grossman and Moore Attorneys

Jennifer A. Moore represents individuals and families who have been injured as a result of harmful drugs, products and medical devices, medical negligence, nursing home neglect and abuse, and automobile and truck wrecks. She is a founding partner of Grossman & Moore, PLLC in Louisville, Kentucky.


Amy is a Certified Financial Planner and founder of the Independent Registered Investment Advisory firm, Acorn Financial Planning. She previously spent 20 years in senior Research and Development positions at pioneering public Silicon Valley high technology companies.


Elizabeth Barajas-Román
Chief Executive Officer, Solidago Foundation

Elizabeth has been a leader in progressive movements for more than 20 years, including advocating at the national level for the health and rights of immigrant women and their families. Most recently, she was the CEO of the Women’s Fund of Western Massachusetts, a public foundation that fuels progress toward gender equity through collaborative, multi-year, grantmaking and leadership development.

Gretchen Schoenstein, Emeritus Board Member

Gretchen is a co-founding Board Member of Emerge America and is currently an emeritus board member, having served as Chair from 2012-2014. Gretchen served as the founding Executive Director of Emerge California for seven years, having started as a volunteer board member in 2002. Currently she is a Facilitator for Allegory Inc, a behavior change and coaching company in San Francisco. She is also the founder of The 2W Group, a consulting firm specializing in supporting the for-purpose community.

State Affiliate Representatives

Brenda Gadd
Partner, ‎Hancock & Gadd Public Strategies

Brenda is a founding board member of Emerge Tennessee. Brenda has more than 15 years of experience in Tennessee politics and governmental affairs ranging from chief of staff and research analyst in the Tennessee senate to serving as legislative liaison in Governor Bredesen’s administration.


Melissa N. Watson
Executive Director, Emerge South Carolina

Melissa is the founding Executive Director of Emerge South Carolina. She is a South Carolina native and a veteran of the United States Army Reserves. Prior to Emerge South Carolina, Melissa served as the Director of Programs and Operations and the Director of Training for a statewide nonprofit focused on reducing poverty.