John is the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Skyrocket Strategies, a digital communications and branding firm. Before Skyrocket, John served as Deputy Campaign Manager for the Martin Heinrich for Senate campaign, Chief Technology Officer for NARAL Pro-Choice America (the political arm of the pro-choice movement), and Chief Technology Officer for the Wendy Davis for Governor campaign, and has been working at the intersection of communications, digital, and technology for over a decade. In the past, John has worked with a variety of progressive campaigns and organizations, including the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC), the Democratic Governors Association (DGA), NGP VAN, and Salsa Labs. John has been a Democratic National Committee (DNC), DCCC, New Leaders Council (NLC), Democracy for America (DFA) and New Organizing Institute (NOI) trainer, has served as a speaker for many conferences and panels, and his work appears in a variety of outlets around the world.
Secretary, Men4Choice Advocacy
Carly Cass received a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology and History with a minor in Gender Studies from Florida Atlantic University in 2012. During her time as an undergraduate Carly served as President of the universities gay straight alliance where she focused on bringing LGBTQ centered programming to the greater FAU community. During her time as President, Ms. Cass worked with many student organizations to place LGBTQ protections into the FAU student anti-discrimination policy. In the fall of 2013 Carly returned to Florida Atlantic where she received her Master’s in Social Work in the spring of 2015.
In the fall of 2015 Ms. Cass joined the staff at Planned Parenthood of South, East and North Florida as the Youth Organizer. Her accomplishments include developing and implementing youth centered organizing curriculum focused on data training and basic organizing skills to develop a bench of political organizers on college campuses. This program has since expanded nationwide. Ms. Cass also assisted in the expansion of LGTBQIA inclusion into sexual health education into the Palm Beach County School District’s Human Growth and Development program.
In 2017 Ms.Cass joined Nextgen America as their Florida State Director. Nextgen America is a political organization focused on engaging young people into the political process. While at Nextgen Carly was responsible for leading a robust team of organizers and volunteers through the 2018 midterm election cycle, registering over 55,000 young people to vote across 45 college campuses throughout the state of Florida.
Currently Ms. Cass resides with her partner on the north-side of Chicago, IL where she is working with the national staff at Invisible as a Senior Trainer assisting the nearly 5,000 indivisible groups across the country build power within their local communities. Carly is currently serving on the board of directors of Palm Beach County Human Rights Council, a Palm Beach based LGBTQ advocacy group. She has previously served on the Palm Beach NLC Chapters board of directors and is currently an active alumni.
In her spare time Carly enjoys cooking and snuggling with her two pugs Gus and Sadie.
Chair, Men4Choice Education
Mrinalini Chakraborty is an award-winning social justice and civil rights activist, political organizer, and movement-builder. Born and raised in Kolkata, India, she started organizing as a teenager, in the movement for sex workers rights and against human trafficking and gender-based violence. At the age of 18, she immigrated to the United States to attend Knox College, from where she received a Bachelor’s Degree in Biology and Art History. Over the past decade in this country, Mrinalini has been organizing in the movements for immigrants rights, racial justice, and women’s rights, and focuses on intersectional coalition-building, political strategy, and distributed digital organizing and mobilization strategy.
Mrinalini is most renowned for her contribution to and leadership in building the Women’s March movement and organization, since its inception in 2016. She served as the National Field and Mobilization Director for the 2017-2019 national Women’s Marches, and played a key role in making the 2017 Women’s March the largest single-day protest in US history. Over the next two years, she served as the founding National Field Director for Women’s March, Inc. and built the robust network of local chapters that form the foundation of the movement’s continued local and national impact. Mrinalini currently serves on the National Board of Women’s March, Inc. alongside 15 incredible locally and nationally renowned movement leaders. For her activism and leadership, Mrinalini has been recognized through several awards, including Glamour Magazine’s “Woman of the Year” Award and PEN America’s “Free Expression Courage” Award in 2017, ADAPT Chicago’s “Woman of the Year” Award and Personal PAC’s “Irving B. Harris Award for Leadership”, in 2018, among others. She has delivered talks and keynote addresses on her work at University of Illinois: Chicago, Johns Hopkins University, Rutgers University, and at several prestigious conferences and events, such as the United States of Women: Chicago Conference, the Pro Bono Institute’s Annual Conference, BUILD Series NYC, FWD Collective Conference, the Worthy Women Summit, New Founders Conference, Personal PAC’s and Apna Ghar’s Annual Gala, to name a few. She has also been featured in numerous local and national publications, such as Glamour, W Magazine, The Chicago Tribune, Chicago Woman, Bustle, the Journal of Feminist Studies, among others, and appeared on several local and national television networks.
Over the last few years, Mrinalini has advised and worked on numerous local and national advocacy campaigns and local and state-level electoral campaigns. As a coalition-builder and movement strategist, she has helped convene several movement, policy, and civic tech innovation tables, that have helped build critical infrastructure and coalitions for the 2018 elections and current legislative fights at the federal and state level. She served as a mentor and advisor for the Zero Hour March on Washington that has received worldwide recognition for its bold, intersectional youth-led advocacy on climate change. She currently serves as the Board Chair and Co-Executive Director of Men4Choice, and has helped shape the organization’s national expansion and move towards culture-shifting work in addressing misogyny and toxic masculinity that sits at the root of oppressive policies and inequities in reproductive healthcare. She also advises and consults with several national and local organizations and coalitions that work on reproductive rights and justice and the decriminalization of abortion care, helping them build digital organizing capacity and bold, visionary campaigns that expand and protect access to reproductive healthcare.
Chair, Men4Choice Advocacy
Originally from Charleston, SC, China Dickerson has almost two decades of experience working in the areas of political campaigns, community development, and the federal government. Ms. Dickerson began her career as a high school student working in her congressman’s district office. She later moved to Washington, DC to attend Howard University.
Upon graduating from Howard, Ms. Dickerson served in the US Peace Corps in El Salvador where for two years she facilitated the formation and improvement of programs that promoted development and capacity building in poverty-stricken municipalities. Her work included organizing and overseeing workshops given to women in regards to their civil rights and prevention of domestic violence; men on the topic of sexism; and youth regarding self-esteem, STD awareness, and sexual abuse.
Returning to the States from the Peace Corps, Ms. Dickerson enrolled into Howard University School of Law. While in law school, she interned at the White House, Podesta Group, and managed Brianne Nadeau’s winning campaign for DC City Council.
In addition to the several advisor and staff positions that she has held, Ms. Dickerson is former Deputy Director of Women Ready for Hillary, a constituency office at Ready for Hillary, where she organized tens of thousands of women across the country to encourage Hillary Clinton to run for President of the United States and former Manager of State Engagement and Development at EMILY’s List, the nation’s largest resource for women in politics, supporting pro-choice Democratic women candidates.
Most recently, Ms. Dickerson was Senior Advisor for Dionne Reeder, who ran for DC City Council, At Large and Campaign Manager for Lauren Underwood who recently won her race to be the youngest African American woman elected to U.S. Congress.
Currently, Ms. Dickerson is the National Political Director for Forward Majority, a political organization with the mission of flipping state house chambers to a Democrat majority.
Ms. Dickerson is also proud to be former Chair of the Young Democrats of America Women’s Caucus and to serve on the executive boards of Women Under Forty PAC and Men4Choice.
Gabe is the Director of Business Development for Horwitz, Horwitz & Associates, a premier plaintiff’s trial law firm in Illinois. In addition, Gabe is a business development consultant for the International Occupational & Environmental Consulting Group (IOEMCG), which focuses on the global prevention and management of workplace and environmental injury, illness and disability, and the promotion of health and productivity of workers, their families, and communities. An Eagle Scout, Gabe enjoys the outdoors and camping; in addition to playing soccer, lacrosse, and skiing and snowboarding
Vice Chair, Men4Choice Advocacy
Benjamin Head is a campaign manager, community organizer, and political professional whose coalition-based organizing work has helped shape the political landscape in Illinois. Benjamin began his career as campaign manager, leading several dark horse candidates to unexpected victories. In 2016, Benjamin joined Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky’s team as Political Director. In addition to his work for Congresswoman Schakowsky, Ben manages and consults on a variety of progressive electoral and issue-based campaigns.
Benjamin also serves as Organizing Consultant to Citizen Action-Illinois, the state’s largest public interest organization, where he helps to craft community organizing strategies around social and economic issues.
As a trainer for the National Democratic Training Committee, the Illinois Democratic County Chairman’s Association, and numerous local organizations, Benjamin has personally trained thousands of volunteers and activists.
Benjamin was recently awarded the 2017 Patrick S. Botterman Leadership Award for this work and for his commitment to empowering the next generation of progressive organizers.
Vice Chair, Men4Choice Education
Oren Jacobson is a progressive civic entrepreneur and organizer whose work spans local to international engagement. He has emerged as one the most trusted young Jewish leaders in the progressive community, known for his strong, clear voice in the fight against antisemitism, the white supremacy that fuels it, and for consistently showing up and organizing as an ally. Oren also has a long history of engagement as a lay leader in the Jewish community.
He holds a Master’s in International Relations from the University of Chicago, a Master’s in Economics and Policy Analysis from DePaul University, and an MBA from Regis University. As a multi-sector consultant his professional work spans startups, Fortune 150 companies, non-profits, advocacy, and policy advising.
In 2015, Oren co-founded and now serves as the Co-Executive Director of Men4Choice, working to activate, educate, and mobilize male allies in the fight for reproductive freedom and justice.
He also is the former National Chapter Development Director for the New Leaders Council, the largest leadership development organization in the progressive movement.
Oren is a Truman National Security Project Political Partner, and serves on the board of Reform for Illinois, Personal PAC, Avodah’s Chicago Advisory Council, and the Citizens Action Illinois Policy Council.
Ali Khaleel has had the opportunity to teach and work in schools in Madison, Milwaukee, Minneapolis, and now Chicago. His current role is as the Assistant Director of the EDGE Program, a career skills program run through the Career Center at DePaul University.
For the past several years Ali has worked on issues of masculinity and manhood, specifically how we can educate young men to live a life of healthier masculinity. This work took root as a counselor at the Badger Boys State summer camp, a selective leadership camp for rising high school seniors sponsored by the American Legion, where he has volunteered since 2010. There, he co-led and wrote curriculum for a new program aimed at starting conversations on redefining masculinity for the camp’s young male participants. As an evolution of this work, Ali became interested in the role that men can play in ending sexual violence, prompting him to enter the training program in Minnesota to volunteer as a sexual assault advocate at the Sexual Violence Center. As he continues this work, Ali is excited to contribute to Men4Choice’s broadening work to end misogyny and patriarchy, both in mindset and society.
Ali grew up in southeastern Wisconsin as the proud son of immigrants and youngest of four brothers. He earned his bachelor’s degree in secondary education from the University of Wisconsin and will soon begin a master’s program in counseling at DePaul.
Zach Koutsky is the Legislative and Political Director for Local 881 United Food and Commercial Workers and previously served as Senior Advisor and Campaign Manager to State Treasurer Michael Frerichs. He has worked for nonprofits and political campaigns in nine states, most notably the 2008 and 2012 campaigns of President Obama. Koutsky earned a master’s degree in Urban Planning and Policy with a concentration in Economic Development from the University of Illinois Chicago and a bachelor’s degree from Illinois State University in Political Science and Sociology. Zach is an elected community member of his Local School Council for Water’s Elementary and has helped train hundreds of grassroots activists in organizing and coalition building throughout Illinois. He is the Chairman of the College Democrats of Illinois PAC and Advisory Council and is a founding board member of Men4Choice, a reproductive rights PAC in Illinois. He is deeply involved in progressive causes and community organizations in Illinois including the 47th Ward Democrats, Youth in Government, Chicago Scholars, and the Special Olympics. Zach and his wife, Stephanie, live in Chicago’s North Center neighborhood with their son Hudson, daughter Harper, and dog Bella.
Ted Mason is currently Chief of Staff for Cook County Commissioner Kevin Morrison. In the past, he was the Director of Outreach for Congressman Raja Krishnamoorthi and as Chief of Staff for State Senator Toi Hutchinson, as well as numerous campaigns.
Ted is the elected Elk Grove Township Democratic Committeeman, working to build the Democratic Party and elect Democrats at all levels throughout Elk Grove Township.
Nathaniel Meadow is a physician at Loyola University with an interest in public health alongside hospital medicine. Throughout medical school he was a part of the Urban Medicine Program at UIC focusing on underserved populations, specifically working with El Rescate, a LGTBQ transitional living home in Humboldt Park. During residency the focus remains on those with fewer resources as his clinic patient population is those without insurance who are supported by the Access to Care program. His public health work lead him to be a part of the founding of Men4Choice, and this year he joined the board of the Illinois State Medical Society Resident and Fellow Section. He plans to continue practicing medicine in Chicago and hopes to continue fighting for medical care for all, making Men4Choice a natural fit and personal passion.
Jaylin D. McClinton is a first-year law student at the Illinois Institute of Technology (IIT) Chicago-Kent College of Law. Formerly, Jaylin served as a Community Organizer at the Obama Foundation and before that as the District Manager for then-Illinois State Representative Juliana Stratton, now Lieutenant Governor of Illinois. In addition to his studies, Jaylin is actively involved with organizations including the Young Democrats of Illinois (YDI), Men For Choice (M4C), Organizing For Action (OFA), Personal PAC’s Future Voices Council, G-PAC Illinois, mentoring through the Champaign-Urbana One-to-One Mentoring Program, and Chicago Votes. Jaylin is an alumnus of Saint Sabina Academy, Curie Metropolitan High School, where he was enrolled in the International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme, and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign where he majored in African-American Studies and Political Science with a Pre-Law Concentration obtaining a Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) in Liberal Arts & Sciences (LAS). In high school, Jaylin served as an election judge through Mikva Challenge and in 2013 while in college, Jaylin served as an intern in the office of then-State Senator Michael Frerichs, who would later run for Illinois State Treasurer in 2014. These early experiences would propel Jaylin into the world of politics and government resulting in his involvement with several political campaigns at the local, state, and federal levels and serving as a delegate candidate for Hillary Clinton to the 2016 Democratic National Convention (DNC). In addition, Jaylin served as a White House intern in the last class under President Barack Obama’s administration and is a former member of the University of Illinois Board of Trustees. Jaylin is a proud life-long Chicagoan and still resides in his childhood home in the Roseland neighborhood.
Treasurer, Men4Choice Advocacy
Markus Pitchford leads public policy efforts for the Mayor of Waukegan, Illinois. His policy experience is robust and covers economic development, infrastructure, climate change and sustainability.
He has held a multitude of executive leadership roles in Illinois to state-wide campaigns including Kwame Raoul for Attorney General and Illinois Senate Democratic Caucus. Markus was the youngest elected delegate in the 2012 Democratic National Convention of Illinois.
Markus chairs the Board of Directors for Campus Pride; an organization working to create a safer college environment for LGBTQ students. He also sits on Congresswoman Robin Kelly’s LGBTQ Task Force. Most recently chosen by Windy City Times 30 under 30 for substantial contribution to the Chicagoland LGBTQ community in the field of politics.
Jen Ramos is born and raised from Laredo, Texas.
In 2016, Jen was appointed as Deputy Communications Director for the Texas Young Democrats and was promoted in 2017. Currently, Jen serves as the Texas Young Democrats Communications Director, Texas National Committeewoman for the Young Democrats of America, and on the State Democratic Executive Committee for the Texas Democratic Party. She works as a communications professional, specializing in intersectional messaging and bilingual outreach.
She now resides in Austin, Texas with her chihuahua Roscoe and devotes her time to advocacy and political organizing.
Secretary, Men4Choice Education
Nils serves as the Communications and Operations Director for Democratic Municipal Officials, the DNC association that advocates for mayors, council members, and other local elected individuals who identify with the values of the Democratic Party. He has a background in community field organizing, having supported campaigns in Illinois, Wisconsin, and North Carolina. Nils spends his Saturdays knocking doors for pro-choice candidates and clinic escorting in a bright pink vest. He is proud to be an alumni and former board member of the New Leaders Council.
Oliver spent nearly a decade helping progressive candidates and causes refine and share their messages. Always hungry for new challenges, he is currently in his third year at Northwestern University – Pritzker School of Law.
Heidi L. Sieck is an award-winning, C-level civic entrepreneur with a lifetime commitment to political organizing and foundational systems intervention – particularly elevating women to positions of leadership. She is the Co-founder/Chief Empowerment Officer (CEO) of #VOTEPROCHOICE, a national political engagement project of Democrats.com LLC that provides the largest, progressive prochoice voter guide available. Professionally, Heidi was the founding Chief Operating Officer of Civic Hall and Democracy.com in New York City and interim Chief Operating Officer of Rock the Vote in Washington, D.C. She serves on the Board of Men4Choice, CTZNWELL and the NYC 21 in 21 Project. She previously served as Chair of the Board of Directors of the National Institute for Reproductive Health (NARAL New York). She is an Advisory Board Member of MarchOn Sister March Network, VoteRunLead and EmergeNY. Heidi is also a member of the Women’s March, Inc. Steering Committee where she served on the original Policy Table responsible for writing the intersectional Unity Principles and Women’s Agenda for the Women’s March on Washington 2017. Heidi established herself as a civic technologist and government transformer when she led Mayor Gavin Newsom’s award-winning 311 Customer Service Center project, a $20 million construction, technology and transformational government service establishing the foundation of the open government movement in the U.S. She also had a career in disaster response and recovery and founded one of the nation’s first post-disaster resilience projects.
When she is not creating a company, mentoring a young woman or giving a speech about political transformation, you will find Heidi playing in the sandbox of democracy. Heidi has worked on seven presidential campaigns and countless state and local races from New York City to Nebraska. She served as President of the nonpartisan San Francisco Women’s Political Committee, the largest women’s organization in the City. She also co-founded the San Francisco Women’s Policy Summit and created the San Francisco Women’s Collaborative.
She holds a Bachelor of Arts in Communications from the University of Nebraska and a Masters in Public Administration from the Harvard Kennedy School where she was awarded the Holly Taylor Sargent Award for Advancement of Women in Leadership.
Wallace served in the Illinois House of Representatives July 30, 2014 to January 2019; she is the first Black Woman to represent the 67th District in the Illinois General Assembly. Wallace earned a reputation as an adept policy-maker able to lead fellow legislators to support causes she believes in. Her legislative accomplishments include developing and chairing the Illinois House of Representatives’ Economic Justice and Equity Committee, leading charge for the restoration of child care assistance in the state of Illinois, passing the Youth In Care Bill of Rights, and the Learning with Dignity Act which requires school districts to provide feminine hygiene products in student restrooms.
She began her career as a therapist, working with children and adults experiencing mental health issues as well as child abuse victims, families in crisis, and people with histories of substance abuse. After completing her master’s degree and doctorate at Northern Illinois University, Wallace worked as an adjunct professor at NIU and at the University of Wisconsin Whitewater. Wallace recently came in second for Lieutenant Governor in the most expensive gubernatorial primary in the country (Illinois). Wallace is mother to Isaiah and MJ.