Emerge Announces New Executive Board and State Representatives

  • Feb 3, 2021
  • Emerge Staff


Allison Abney, allison@emergeamerica.org


Emerge Announces New Executive Board and State Representatives

Washington, D.C.–Emerge, the nation’s premier organization that recruits and trains Democratic women to run for office, announced the new Executive Committee of its Board of Directors today, including the organization’s first Black woman Board Chair. As the organization re-centers its work on women of the New American Majority, for the first time in the history of Emerge the board’s executive committee is 75 percent women of color and 25 percent LGBTQ+.

“Emerge is excited to welcome the Board’s new Executive Committee and we look forward to their leadership as we continue to build a more reflective democracy,” said A’shanti F. Gholar, President of Emerge. “Our organization is looking to the future and expanding our programming to ensure that more Black, Brown and Indigenous women, women of color and unmarried, young and LGBTQ+ women are elected and appointed to office. The diverse experiences and backgrounds our new Executive Committee brings to the table will be an asset as we focus our mission on empowering women of the New American Majority, repowering political structures and creating a culture of lift as you climb to pack the political pipeline all the way to the top.”

The new Executive Board includes: 

  • Board Chair: Danielle Pacifico-Cogan, communications, advocacy and community engagement strategist 
  • Vice Chair: Brenda Gadd, campaign and lobbying expert and founding Board Member of Emerge Tennessee
  • Secretary: Regina Montoya, nationally-recognized lawyer and CEO and Chairperson of Regina T. Montoya, PLLC.
  • Treasurer: Elizabeth Barajas-Román, President and CEO of the Women’s Funding Network

“I’m excited to lead the Emerge Board of Directors and am looking forward to contributing to the organization’s critical mission to change the face of politics,” said Danielle Pacifico-Cogan, Board Chair of Emerge. “As an alum of Emerge’s very first class and a Black woman, I understand the important work that this organization does to bolster Democratic women, especially women from communities that are underrepresented in our government, and create pathways for them to office. This is a pivotal time in our nation’s history when more women are desperately needed in our nation’s leadership, and I can’t wait to help the organization enhance its work and elevate their voices.” 

In addition to its new Executive Board, Emerge also announced new State Representatives on its Board of Directors. The State Representatives on Emerge’s Board are selected from staff and board members of Emerge’s state affiliates to ensure their voices are always heard at the top level of the organization. 

The new State Representatives include:

  • Atiya Boddie, Emerge Nevada Board Member and Senior Counsel with the ActOne Group
  • Kathleen Matthews, Emerge Maryland Board Member, award winning journalist and Democratic political activist
  • Melanie V. Ramil, Emerge California Executive Director
  • Susan Riordan, Emerge South Carolina Cabinet Member and community activist

Emerge has trained more than 4,000 Democratic women to run for office and is committed to training 100,000 more women of the New American Majority over the next 15 years. There are currently 27 state affiliates, and the organization has impacted a total of 45 states, Washington, D.C. and territories. In 2020, more than 400 Emerge alums won their races at all levels of government.