The National Advisory Council Class of 2020
Meet the new representatives of Code for America’s Brigade regions
The elections for our National Advisory Council (NAC) are now over, and we want to thank all the candidates who ran and everyone who voted to represent this vast network. These Brigade leaders will fill five at-large seats and serve a two-year term starting in April. They will bring their valuable experience, bold ideas, and passion for civic tech to the helm of our Network.
Do you have a question or comment for the NAC? You can email all members (both regional and at-large reps) at email@example.com or contact reps directly on Slack.
Please join me in congratulating our newest NAC members!
Thad Kerosky, Code for Boston (@thadk on Slack)
Northwest Regional Representative
“ Me, neuroatypical fellow from rural NE Ohio who has worked in international development & technology for a decade (in East & West Africa, the Northeast USA) & has seen 1000s of projects both succeed & struggle at doing good for people. Brigades aptly collide connection & craft.
“As an aspiring more-than-political-hobbyism person, I was lucky to get a taste of advocacy on Capitol Hill in 2019 with the risk-friendly office of Congressman Seth Moulton (MA-06). A caseworker of theirs collaborated with my Code for Boston product team each week on a Social Security intervention project (ssacalculator.org) getting to the bottom of bureaucratic oddity-turned-bad for millions of retirees like your and my parents who may’ve worked in state or local government. The SSA has misinformed retirees and now a better experience is available.”
Tyrek Shepard, Code for Atlanta (@Tyrek Shepard)
Southern Regional Representative
“Hello Network friends! I am Tyrek Shepard, a co-organizer of Code for Atlanta. I am not a technologist by education, trade, or hobby, but I do believe in better government. Years ago I learned first-hand via my local government that everyone has a voice, & I’d like to hear yours.”
“Since joining Code for Atlanta as a volunteer and in becoming a member of the local leadership team, I have recognized that my value to our organization is entirely based on non-technical contributions. I do not code or design. There isn’t an explicit effort to recruit volunteers without ‘technical’ skills. There are many talented individuals who have the potential to be amazing within our Brigades, but they need to see themselves represented and they need to know how they can be an asset. NAC and the Network team can support an inclusive environment by continuing to educate our Brigade Network regarding the value and important of working with policy experts, project managers, government workers, politicos, etc. In my personal efforts to recruit new volunteers or ease the insecurities of those who are non-technical, I am able to use my personal experience of how I found a space for myself, but broader messaging and support in that narrative is needed on a larger scale.”
Janet Michaelis, Code for Dayton (@janmic)
Central Regional Representative
“Lifelong technophile & organizer w/eclectic experience: entrepreneur (SF Pet Hospital) emergency med/disaster researcher, house rehabber, Scout leader, patients’ rights activist & Open Data advocate. Brigade Cpt. & Midwest NAC rep. Work as RN in urban ER. Also, a Boomer - OK? "
Janet sees a a key problem that the NAC should help the Network solve in the next year is, “COMMUNICATION! There’s a lot of it going on, but we constantly get feedback from Brigades and from each other that we’ve missed some important information. We’ve got a scattered array of platforms and wide range of personal communication preferences, some of which require dev-level technical understanding to use. As a “tech organization,” it’s natural to make assumptions about the ubiquity and ease of use of some platforms (e.g. GitHub) but that has inadvertently excluded some “otherly-savvy” members. This is far from a unique problem, yet we’ve not made enough headway in solving it. It might be time for outside professional help - maybe a Brigade + NAC + Network Team workshop session at Summit with a communications consultant? We can do better.”
Bonnie Wolfe, Hack for LA (@Bonnie Wolfe)
Western Regional Representative
“I joined Hack for LA in 2018, and became co-captain in 2019. I use my experience as a successful serial Tech Entrepreneur, Software/Process Engineer, Technical PM, Turnaround/M&A Consultant, Educator and Social Impact Organizer every day as brigade captain and am still learning.”
“At my first Summit, I co-led an unconference on cross-brigade collaboration. While there, we formed a twice monthly cross brigade working group called Project Index. We have been meeting for almost a year. After becoming co-captain at my brigade (2 months ago), I actually increased the amount of cross brigade collaboration I do. I co-hosted an Ask Me Anything, where I recruited MB from Boston to share with us the Census Building Tool: Fist-to-5 , and hosted two CodeforAll peer Learning sessions where I shared how using the kanban project boards on Github has transformed our project management and software production speed.”
The Regional Representatives are also joined by five at-large members who will begin their second year on the NAC.
Sabrah N’haRaven, Code for Ashville (@Sabrah)
At Large Member
Sabrah N’haRaven is also joining us as a member of the National Advisory Council during this NAC class. Sabrah is filling the vacancy left by the passing of Open Savannah founder Carl Lewis.
Sabrah has been a member of Code for Asheville since 2017 and a local civic advocate since 2012, focusing on issues of low-income equity, especially around public transit and homelessness. In her former life, she was a scientific and technical copyeditor for government and nonprofit clients She identifies as pagan, queer, and neurodivergent.
Em Burnett, Open Maine (@em_maine)
At Large Member
“I am a community organizer and civic technology evangelist with a focus and passion on small-town digital innovation and service delivery. I am a digital engagement consultant who works with political campaigns and nonprofits. I am also the cofounder of OpenMaine.
A key thing that I think the NAC should work on is member engagement. The Code for America Network team is going to be working a lot on this problem in the coming year, and the NAC can help by understanding the needs of organizers and brigade leaders and making sure that’s reflected in Network plans and resources.
We have strength and long-term stability within our Network that can help fledgling, small, or under-resourced groups better organize members, grow partnerships, and ultimately create a lasting organization model.”
Nina Kin, Hack for LA (@ninakin)
At Large Member
“I have been co-captain of Hack for LA for 3 years and a Systems Analyst at LA County for 11 years. I’m passionate about improving the way government does tech—it’s what I do inside government AND outside as a volunteer. I look forward to continuing the past year’s work of connecting Brigades and strengthening our Network!
The civic tech community is growing up, and I’ll help it continue to mature by growing and reinforcing cross-Brigade relationships. This will make us stronger and more sustainable by providing moral support, active knowledge sharing, and the chance to expand our impact.”
Melanie Mazanec, Code for Asheville (@Melanie)
At Large Member
“I’m currently working as a developer for the City of Asheville and volunteering with Code for Asheville. Previously I worked in cyber security in Chicago and frequented Chi Hack Night. Before that I got my MPA in Cleveland and started a code learning group with Open Cleveland.
What I’m most looking forward to in my time on the NAC is learning from other NAC members and Brigades. Everyone implements their own variation of the Brigade model given their local assets and challenges. I’m hoping to get a glimpse of the different ways that Brigade members serve their communities.”
Benjamin Trevino, Code for Hawaii (@Ben)
At Large Member
“I am a sustainability planner working for the city of Honolulu with a focus on fairness and equity, a degree in computer science, and a passion for film and the arts. I’m a recent Code for America Community Fellow, I launched our city’s bikeshare system and taught a bootcamp on data.
A key problem that the NAC should help the Network solve is making civic tech a movement that makes more people feel like they belong. Most people who could be a part of this movement — government partners, community organizers, concerned citizens, probably have a hard time recognizing this as a place for them. Onboarding and creating pathways for new civic tech recruits is something that I think the NAC could address effectively at the Network level.”
We also want to take a moment to say thanks to everyone who participated in the NAC election. These conversations have helped important opportunities for us to work through together as well as showcasing the tremendous leadership bench that this network brings. Please join us in thanking all those who had the courage to run!