The Leadership of The Partnership and the Affiliates
Lauren Jacobs is the Partnership's Executive Director. She has been an organizer for 20 years. She began organizing factories with UNITE in the south and later joined SEIU. During her 17 years at SEIU she served in a number of roles, from organizer to 1st Vice President. Over the course of those years, she organized thousands of previously non-union janitors and security officers in three major metropolitan areas. She led contract campaigns for tens of thousands of workers in Boston and the Bay Area, which resulted in breakthroughs in wages, healthcare and other benefits. Lauren's most recent work was with the Restaurant Opportunities Centers United (ROC) as the organization's National Organizing Director. She led the organization's Dignity at Darden Campaign which challenged the world's largest restaurant company to raise wages and improve conditions for its 150,000 direct employees. Lauren also has a long history with Partnership for Working Families' affiliates. She served as a board member of Community Labor United in Boston and worked in coalition with affiliates across California and in Pittsburg and New York. Lauren is a proud native New Yorker, a daughter of Harlem, a fair-weather crocheter, and a pokey runner.
Jeff Barrera is the Communications Director for PowerSwitch Action, telling the stories of our network and shaping narratives that advance multiracial feminist democracy. Prior to joining PowerSwitch, Jeff spent 5 years at Silicon Valley affiliate Working Partnerships USA, building their communications team and using data and digital tools to amplify the power of organizing. At WPUSA, he developed communications strategies that won better jobs for service workers on tech campuses, stronger renter protections, and over 2,000 affordable homes and a $150 million community-governed fund as part of Google’s San Jose mega-campus. Jeff has also worked for San Diego affiliate the Center on Policy Initiatives, the Center for American Progress, and on the first-in-the-nation Opportunity to Work ballot initiative. He holds a BA in Urban Studies and an MA in Journalism, both from Stanford University. When not behind a screen, Jeff can usually be found swimming laps, attempting to surf, or practicing the martial arts of Aikido and Eskrima.
Dieynabou Barry (she/her/hers) is a Climate Justice Lead with the Partnership. She supports affiliates to develop strategies and campaigns that build toward a Clean Energy Economy that sustains workers, communities, and the planet. Prior to joining the Partnership, Dieynabou led the Diverse and Inclusive Community for the Environment at Duke University where she contributed to the Nicholas School’s Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion strategy and programming. In addition, while at Duke, she supported environmental justice communities in North Carolina who were overburdened by unregulated Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations by conducting scientific analyses and policy research. Dieynabou also has an international development background in energy access and international education with a specific focus in West Africa. In her work, she has built community coalitions in India, worked with teachers from over 30 countries, and traveled frequently to West Africa. Dieynabou Barry holds a Master’s degree in Environmental Management and Certificate in International Development Policy from Duke University and a Bachelor’s Degree in Geography and Sociology from Dartmouth College. Dieynabou lives in the Bronx, NY, her hometown, and enjoys spending time outdoors, meeting people from different walks of life, and watching cooking videos.
Ben Beach is the Partnership’s Legal Director. He works with organizations and local governments in cities across the country in their efforts to transform local economies. This work includes advising and representing campaigns for community benefits and affordable housing and for high road approaches to critical local sectors like construction, waste and recycling, energy efficiency, and goods movement. Ben brings over a decade’s worth of experience as an advisor to community organizations and community-based campaigns for economic justice. He received his J.D. from NYU School of Law, where he was a Root-Tilden-Kern public interest scholar. Ben lives in the Bay Area with his family and loves exploring the outdoors with his daughter.
Edgar Beltrán is a Senior Campaign Lead with the Partnership. He works with affiliates across the country to develop and advance campaigns through capacity building, leadership development, and direct support. After spending a decade working with labor and community groups to design and execute innovative strategies and tactics, Edgar is excited to support leaders building powerful, governing coalitions that advance just, sustainable, and democratic cities. Before joining the Partnership, Edgar was the Policy and Campaign Development Manager at California Calls where he helped anchor offensive and defensive policy fights focused on revenue generation and criminal justice. Prior to that, he was a Strategic Researcher for SEIU 32BJ where he assisted organizing drives in New Jersey and Pennsylvania. Edgar holds a Master's degree in Urban Planning from UCLA and a Bachelor’s degree in Sociology and Latin American and Latino Studies from U.C. Santa Cruz. Edgar lives in L.A. and loves to play basketball, travel, and spend time with friends and family, especially his awe-inspiring partner Ashley.
Kathryn Cai is a Mellon/ACLS Public Fellow and Public Goods Policy Strategist at the Partnership. She works to develop and test policy strategies that expand democratic practices and access to public goods. She also helps to craft narratives that tell stories about these practices and the communities they come from. Prior to joining the Partnership, Kathryn worked to expand educational support for underserved youth, on projects to broaden narratives about disability and environmental change and taught classes on racial and gender disparities in environmental harm and health. Her research has examined shifting narratives of racialized and gendered forms of labor (such as factory, domestic, and emotional labor) in transnational contexts and new connections between people and contexts that emerge as these forms of work take shape. Kathryn has a dual B.S. and B.A. in Biology and English from the University of Maryland, College Park and received her Ph.D. in English from the University of California, Los Angeles in 2019. She lives in Oakland, CA with her husband and loves to spend time with the trees and water and reading cookbooks.
Barbara Finnin is the Partnership's Finance and Operations Director. She has two decades of experience working with a range of nonprofits, from fiscal sponsorship to health to environment to economic development. After six years of being the Executive Director of City Slicker Farms, a nonprofit that supports low-income communities to meet the basic need for healthy food through urban agriculture, she moved to specializing in nonprofit administration. She worked as a consultant with startup and growing organizations to strengthen all aspects of organizational and financial management. In addition, she provided technical advice and consulting for urban agriculture and food programming and policies. She holds a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Anthropology and Sociology from the University of Maryland. She lives in Oakland, CA with her husband, Wil, and a backyard full of eight chickens, nine rabbits, two dogs and fruits and vegetables.
Felicia is the Partnership’s Deputy Director. She is responsible for strengthening and expanding the network's membership, supporting the leadership development of network staff and affiliates, developing emerging programs, campaigns and strategies that ensure that our local campaigns and organizing add up to building state power. Prior to joining the Partnership, Felicia was the Executive Director of our Colorado affiliate, United for a New Economy. Since 2002, Felicia has worked with labor and community partners on many campaigns, including increasing Colorado’s state minimum wage, increasing Medicaid enrollment for 80,000 children in New Mexico, passing statewide wage theft protection legislation in Colorado and increasing local funding for affordable housing ($150 million) in Denver, Colorado. She has a deep commitment to racial justice, and all the work she does has a goal of reducing disparities for low-income workers and communities of color. Felicia lives in San Antonio, Texas and enjoys spending her free time traveling with her husband and five children (three girls and two boys).
David (he/him) is PowerSwitch Action's 2021 Fall Legal Extern. He is excited to help PowerSwitch Action's local organizations support vulnerable workers in their fight against novel forms of exploitation. David also intends to use his nascent legal skills to contribute to the expansion of cooperatives, public banks, participatory budgeting, and other forms of deep democratic economic engagement. David is third-year law student at UC Hastings, where he is the outgoing co-chair of the Hastings NLG chapter. He hopes to spend his years after graduation contributing to the struggles for a just, beautiful, and kind world for all beings.
Hunter Herrera-McFarland is PowerSwitch Action's Operations and Executive Assistant, providing essential finance, administrative, event, human resources and technology support. She is an unrecognized citizen of the Navajo Nation and Mescalero Apache Tribe. She grew up in a rural town in Southern Idaho. Prior to joining our team, Hunter was an intern at PolicyLink and a debate coach at UC Berkeley and The Harker School in San Jose. She has a Master’s degree in Communication from the University of Wyoming where she also received her Bachelor’s degree in Political Science and American Indian Studies. Hunter has a background in student diversity advocacy and community organizing. Most notably, she was instrumental in the adoption of Wyoming’s first ever local ordinance prohibiting discrimination on the basis of one’s gender identity and sexuality. Outside of work, Hunter loves hiking with her rottweiler mix, Diya, going to drag shows, and watching horror movies with her partner.
Kathy began organizing hotel workers in NYC with UNITE HERE, where she served as a labor representative and organizer of internal and new organizing campaigns for 7 years. She then became the Director of Restaurant Opportunities Center of Los Angeles (ROC) for 5 years before serving as the ROC United National Chapter Director. While working with ROC, she helped to win LA's $15 minimum wage, paid sick days, and wage enforcement policy through mobilizing and training worker leaders, organizing workplace and community actions, and diverse coalition-building. Kathy has worked as a coach and trainer for RHIZE where she led popular education on organizing and social movements, and has also served as an AFL-CIO Organizing Institute Training Fellow. Kathy volunteers with the Asian Pacific American Labor Alliance, AFL-CIO, and enjoys spending time with her child and learning about CA native plants.
Elly Matsumura is California Director, working with these seven affiliates and state allies to take statewide power-building to the next level of strategy and impact. She spent 13 years with Silicon Valley affiliate Working Partnerships USA, most recently as Managing Director, leading policy, research, and civic engagement projects; leadership development for elected officials and coalition allies; and the fundraising, communications, and operations team. Elly spearheaded the coalition campaign to pass the nation’s most comprehensive living wage policy, created leadership and governance training programs replicated in over a dozen regions across the country, and provided strategic advising to sister organizations on campaigns for equity in jobs and income, transportation, health, education, and formerly incarcerated workers. As an independent consultant for the County of Santa Clara, she developed the Census 2020 Strategic Plan, which has been recognized as a model for the state. Elly lives in downtown San Jose with her partner, two growing, powerful kids, and a hamster named Pumpkin.
Mariah Montgomery co-leads the Partnership’s national campaign for just and equitable infrastructure and leads its initiatives to propel the future of work towards worker power and equity, with a focus on nonstandard employment and the way technology is changing work and organizing. Before joining the Partnership, Mariah was the deputy campaign director for retail initiatives at the Change to Win (CtW) labor federation, where she led innovative campaigns in retail and telecommunications with an emphasis on corporate strategy, regulation and public policy. At CtW Mariah designed field and online investigations that generated actionable data for stakeholders and regulators. Prior to her work at CtW, Mariah spent five years working with SEIU in Southern California where she developed research and strategy for campaigns to organize subcontracted service workers.
Jahmese Myres (she/they) serves as the Leadership Development Director at the Partnership. She supports the Partnership’s national staff and local affiliates to increase their individual and collective resilience, strengthen relationships, sharpen their effectiveness, and build a leaderful movement.
Prior to joining the Partnership, Jahmese served as the Political Director for 2020 California ballot initiative, Prop 15: Schools & Communities First. She also spent nearly 9 years at East Bay Alliance for a Sustainable Economy (EBASE) leading community benefit campaigns, civic engagement and ballot measures, and organizational management. Her work with powerful community and labor coalitions has resulted in groundbreaking wins for economic justice including job access for the formerly incarcerated, local hire requirements, minimum and living wage increases, tenants’ rights, and protections for women on the job. Jahmese also served on the City of Oakland Planning Commission from 2014-2020 fighting for equity during one of the city’s biggest development booms.
Jahmese holds a Bachelors of Science in Economics from Saint Mary’s College of California and a Masters in Urban and Regional Planning from University of California, Irvine. She identifies as a proud Black queer woman, third generation Californian, and health & wellness enthusiast. She can ordinarily be found walking 10k steps a day around the neighborhood with her partner and their dog, Frida.
Aboubacar "Asn" Ndiaye is the California Housing and Climate Campaign Manager, working to develop campaigns and policies to advance climate equity and housing justice in California. Previously, he was the Partnership for the Bay’s Future Challenge Grant Fellow working with the City of San Jose and Somos Mayfair to address displacement. Prior to the fellowship, he served as policy manager for Working Partnerships USA, a community/labor organization bringing together the power of grassroots organizing and public policy innovation to drive the movement for a just economy. Before Working Partnerships, he worked as a strategic researcher for SEIU Local 1, responsible for planning and developing organizing campaigns for building services workers in the Midwest. Aboubacar holds a bachelor's degree in government from the University of Texas at Austin. Outside of work, Aboubacar enjoys traveling, labor history, and watching period dramas.
Christina Rosales works with affiliates to build and grow housing and land justice campaigns and strategies that advance housing as a human right and promote public land for public good. Christina was deputy director of Texas Housers, a statewide housing justice advocacy group that supports community leaders to become effective housing advocates and hold public officials accountable to invest in community-centered housing solutions. She supervised teams of staff focused on pandemic recovery, legislative advocacy for tenant protections, San Antonio tenant rights, equitable development, and communications and messaging. Christina was previously a newspaper reporter in Dallas. She holds a master’s degree in social work from the University of Chicago and a bachelor’s degree in journalism from Northwestern University. Born in the Rio Grande Valley and raised in Laredo, Christina speaks the distinct Tex-Mex dialect of Spanglish. Based in Austin, TX, she’s enjoying watching her young son grow and become his own person. In her spare time, she takes long walks with her dog and watches baseball with her husband. Christina is also sewing her way to a handmade wardrobe.