Shawna Vercher

President

Shawna Vercher is a leading Political Media Strategist who has worked for notable figures and brands such as Fortune 100 Companies, Award-Winning Celebrities and campaigns for President, Governor and U.S. Representative. Shawna has successfully leveraged media strategy to pass legislation at the Federal level and in multiple states in areas including juvenile justice, women’s health, religious discrimination and education.

Formerly a television political correspondent and talk show host for ABC News radio, Shawna has also become a national voice for pragmatic progressivism. She has been a columnist on Huffington Post for nearly ten years, appears regularly on nationally-syndicated programs and her work has appeared in over three hundred publications and periodicals. Her book, “A Fearless Voice”, reached Top 25 on Amazon in the area of Political Advocacy and Top 75 in the area of Human Rights.

Once inducted into the Global Data Warehouse Hall of Fame and listed as one of the top ten Social Media experts in the country, Shawna leverages her background in technology and media to develop holistic strategies that yield positive action. Harnessing a combination of targeted analytics and multi-faceted messaging, she works with existing organizations and leadership teams as a visible point person or behind the scenes based on the needs of the campaign.

Dr. April Jackson-James, Ph.D.

Outreach Strategist

April Jackson-James is considered one of America’s leading experts in evidence-based treatment programs in the mental health field. A highly-skilled licensed psychologist, April has served as a Director of Mental Health and curriculum development adviser for a number of national and regional organizations. April’s expertise is leveraged to ensure that campaign communications and issue-based discussion are both effective and sensitive to triggers and cultural differences.

April holds a Ph.D. in Counseling Psychology from Temple University, and completed her post-graduate work at the University of Miami, School of Medicine. Her decorated background and calming, holistic approach to integrating mind, body, and spirit enables Democracy Legacy to focus on the importance of activist self-care in its training and campaign implementation.

Patricia Bellasalma

Intersectional Communications Director

With more than 25 years working at the intersections of law, social science and policy, Patty Bellasalma’s advocacy and public policy analysis concentrates on identifying and eliminating systemic inequities based on status categories and their intersections, such as race, ethnicity, sex, gender, sexuality, gender identity, disability and socio-economic status.

Her work moves beyond identifying systemic inequities by providing transformative public policy and advocacy designed to remove root causes of biases and inequities.

As former President of the California Chapter National Organization for Women and Strategic Planning and Policy Director for the California NOW Foundation, Patty headed statewide public advocacy and policy organizations dedicated to institutionalizing human rights based intersectional gender equity at the state and local level. The most noteworthy achievement was drafting and shepherding historic state legislation adding race and ethnicity to California’s Equal Pay statute.

Meredith Ockman

Chief of Staff

Meredith Ockman has worked on a wide range of campaigns including successfully helping to elect Presidential, Congressional, municipal and judicial candidates. She has also organized and advocated for dozens of legislative issues and non-profit organizations. Meredith focuses on raising awareness and motivating action for causes and candidates to right injustice.

She was a teacher for nine years and was honored as the Teacher of the Year, which inspired her to be a voice for children by working with groups such as Child Welfare Services. She has been a leader for women’s causes and was awarded a Medal of Honor by the Veteran Feminists of America. A champion of human rights and equality, Meredith ensures that all candidates and issues that Democracy Legacy puts our name behind are held to the highest standards on behalf of all of the communities and citizens that will be impacted.