Staff & Board


Eric Thut

Interim Executive Director

Karen Thomas Kolber

Development Director

Melissa Foley

Director of Training and Mentoring

Mary Rickles

Communications Director

Carolyn Dulchinos

Deputy Development Director

Tanya Tarr

Senior Mentor

Board of Directors

Arshad Hasan, Chair

Arshad has held positions of leadership all over the progressive movement. After having served as the Executive Director first for Democracy For America (2007-2013) and then for Progress Now (2013-2015), Arshad started working to support the growth and capacity of a wide range of organizations ranging from established groups like Greenpeace to startups like #Movement2016/2017. Arshad came to the first Netroots Nation (then called YearlyKos) when he was the Training Director at Democracy for America in 2005. He’s been hooked ever since. When he’s not rousing the rabble, Arshad prefers baking, practicing baking, or having a night on the town. He lives with his husband and adorable tiny poodle in Burlington, Vermont.

Adam Bonin, Secretary

Adam is a solo legal practitioner in Philadelphia. His practice includes representing candidates, unions, nonprofits and other entities in political law compliance matters. Adam has been extensively involved in efforts on behalf of the rights of online speakers, and has been a featured writer on the Daily Kos front page on legal and regulatory matters for over a decade. Adam served as Chairman of the Board of Netroots Nation from 2008-14, during which time he learned the name of the only country which borders both India and Thailand.

Cheryl Contee

Cheryl is one of America’s leading social entrepreneurs. Her tech startup is the first with a black female founder on board to be acquired by a NASDAQ company, Blackbaud. She is also the cofounder of YesWeCode and is the CEO of Fission Strategy, which helps leading nonprofits and foundations to create dynamic digital ecosystems that make a difference.

Gina Cooper 

Gina is the founder and lead strategist for Cooper Strategies. She is also the founder of Netroots Nation. Gina has deep roots in the startup community as Mentor at Runway SF; Public Policy Advisor for LeanStudio; and Advisor to Qeyno Labs, Startup Policy Lab, Global EIR Coalition and CivicMakers.

Jackie Mahendra 

Jackie is Executive Director of Citizen Engagement Lab. She has worked at the intersection of innovation, technology, and social change for the last decade, after cutting her teeth in the immigrant rights movement. Before taking the helm as Executive Director, Jackie started the first Innovation Department at CEL and then served as Founding Director of a CEL-housed network initiative called OPEN-US, which helps the country’s leading tech-savvy organizing groups connect, strategize, and overcome obstacles to impact.