Meet Our Advisory Board

Danielle Allen

Prof. Danielle is a seasoned nonprofit leader, democracy advocate, national voice on pandemic response, distinguished author, and mom. Danielle’s work to make the world better for young people has taken her from teaching college and leading a $60 million university division to driving change at the helm of a $6 billion foundation, writing for the Washington Post, advocating for cannabis legalization, democracy reform, and civic education, and most recently, to running for governor of Massachusetts. During the height of COVID in 2020, Danielle’s leadership in rallying coalitions and building solutions resulted in the country’s first-ever Roadmap to Pandemic Resilience; her policies were adopted in federal legislation and a Biden executive order. Danielle made history as the first Black woman ever to run for statewide office in Massachusetts. She continues to advocate for democracy reform to create greater voice and access in our democracy, and drive progress towards a new social contract that delivers healthy communities, a healthy democracy, and a healthy climate for our country and our Commonwealth.

Rebecca Chavez-Houck

Rebecca Chavez-Houck holds a B.A. in Journalism and Mass Communication and a Master of Public Administration (MPA), both from the University of Utah (U of U). She represented Salt Lake City’s downtown area in the Utah House of Representatives from 2008-18, focusing on public policy related to health and human services as well as voter engagement and access. Her leadership appointments included: House Minority Whip (2014-16) and House Minority Assistant Whip (2012-14). She now provides leadership coaching and community engagement consulting through her public affairs firm, Aspira Public Affairs, LLC. Legislative appointments that influenced her policy agenda include service on former Governor Jon Huntsman’s 2009 Commission to Strengthen Utah’s Democracy. Rebecca successfully sponsored bills establishing Election Day Voter Registration, Election Day Voting Centers, and policies for emergency voting in case of natural disasters, among other election reforms. Her 2017 Ranked Choice Voting bill was a precursor to Utah’s 2018 RCV municipal pilot law. She is a 2012 Council of State Governments (CSG) Toll Fellows Graduate and served as Latino Voting and Elections Task Force Chair for the National Hispanic Caucus of State Legislators until her retirement. Rebecca was a public affairs staffer for a number of local Utah nonprofits from 1985 to 2007 and cultivated a parallel “career” as a volunteer for myriad local and national nonprofits. She has been honored extensively for her efforts. Rebecca teaches non-profit administration classes as adjunct faculty for the U of U’s MPA program.

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Sangita Sigdyal

Sangita Sigdyal is former President and CEO of Verified Voting, the leading national organization on election security. A seasoned executive with twenty-plus years in the U.S. democracy and international development spaces, Sigdyal has expertise in U.S. electoral reform, organizational strategy development and implementation, fundraising and business management.

 

She served as Executive VP at FairVote, a nonpartisan election reform organization. In this role, she was a key architect of FairVote’s four-year strategic planning process, program development, board governance, fiscal management and fundraising strategy.

 

Prior to joining FairVote, Sigdyal was Director of Operations and Interim COO at the Open Government Partnership (OGP), a 75-country multilateral initiative that promotes government transparency through citizen engagement. She has held a variety of executive positions, including at the World Bank, the Results Educational Fund and the Association for Conflict Resolution. Sigdyal also holds a Master’s Degree in Public Administration (MPA) from Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs.

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Michelle C. Whittaker

As a messaging and political strategist, Michelle Whittaker has over 15 years of experience in communications, advocacy outreach, and grassroots mobilization. She is the principal at MCW Creative, a grassroots-focused strategic consulting & communications firm for nonprofits and political campaigns. She is the statewide coordinator for Ranked Choice Voting Maryland, a volunteer-led coalition working to adopt RCV for local and statewide elections. Her expertise is in campaign strategy, storytelling, constituency engagement, organizing, and media outreach. Michelle is a seasoned campaign manager and financial administrator, running successful fundraising, outreach, and election programs for local races in Montgomery County, Maryland and the District of Columbia. 

 

Her past leadership roles include serving as the Director of Communications at FairVote, the Director of Communications for the Democracy Initiative, and the Communications and New Media Director for the United Methodist General Board of Church and Society. She has facilitated numerous workshops on campaign strategy, web development, social media strategy, messaging, and electoral reform along with contributing to academic and advocacy related publications. She organizes the revolution from her home office with her 8-year-old daughter, London, and husband, Doogie.