Staff

Most of the superhero talent is out in the states, but some of us get to run the Alliance HQ.

Whitney Celestin

Grants Manager

She/Her/Hers

▼ In the Office
  • Prepare grant reports and proposals
  • Research and prospect new foundation funders based on Alliance network priorities
  • Support development staffers across Alliance network organizations
▼ Out of the Office
  • Eating donuts
  • Covered in paint doing DIY projects
  • Trying to convince everyone Layla (her Shitzu) is her child and definitely not a dog

Rudy Garrett

Vice President of Capacity Building

She/Her/Hers

▼ In the Office
  • Supporting the most powerful network of youth-led, grassroots organizations in the country. 
  • Working with the Alliance program, data, and advocacy teams to provide top-of-the-line services and support to our network. 
  • Connecting all Alliance departments to the capacity building team.
▼ Out of the office
  • Cheering on the Chicago Sky.
  • Perfecting her brownie recipe. 
  • Watching any show produced by the CW.

Chris Gonzalez

Senior Finance Manager

He/Him/His

▼ In the Office
  • Point Guard for the Finance Department
  • Supporting the organization in developing, and enhancing financial processes
  • Managing our external bookkeepers to ensure the monthly financial reporting process runs smoothly
▼ Out of the office
  • Yelling “Kobe!” from the sidelines of a pickup basketball game
  • Lifting heavy stuff and putting them back down 6 times a week
  • Watching the greatest team of all time, the Boston Celtics

Dakota Hall

Executive Director

He/Him/His

▼ In the Office
  • Hypes our incredible network of local youth-led organizations to fight for change
  • Fights for the issues that young people care about the most
  • Builds youth power nationally at this pivotal time in our country’s history
▼ Out of the office
  • Hiking and visiting national parks
  • Long road trips with his lonely Cancer spirit
  • Engaging in the Marvel cinematic universe

Billy Koontz

Vice President of Finance

He/Him/His

▼ In the Office
  • Monitors and maintains organization-wide financial management systems to ensure financial reporting, analysis, and planning are on lock
  • Develops internal financial systems, processes, and controls to keep the auditors happy
  • Manages and tracks documentation, grant and contract agreements, and all the fun stuff to ensure the organization is ready to rock at all times
▼ Out of the Office
  • Sings for 90 minutes during Newcastle United matches
  • Always trying to find the best live music
  • Could eat BBQ for every meal

Amit Mistry

Chief Impact Officer

He/Him/His

▼ In the Office
  • Manages the Program and Data department heads, leading the coordination and completion of projects across departments
  • Coordinates regular engagement and collaborative work between the network and the Alliance national team
  • Works with network orgs to get them the right tools and systems to do their work more efficiently
▼ Out of the Office
  • Figuring out how he can cheaply fly international business class anywhere
  • Watching all of the Fast and the Furious movies to get over how Game of Thrones ended (still)
  • Loudly proclaiming that Maryland is the greatest state

Kenny Myers

Director of Network Capacity

He/Him/His

▼ In the Office
  • Serves as a liaison between our network and the rest of the Alliance staff
  • Supports Alliance affiliates developing badass programs that deliver real wins and results for our generation
  • Facilitates collaboration among the network for sharing best practices and lessons learned
▼ Out of the Office
  • Will derail his travel path to ensure he can say hello to random dogs
  • Obsesses over his National Parks passport stamps
  • Avid nerd and board gamer

John Serpas

Senior Operations Director

He/Him/His

▼ In the Office
  • Leads the Operations department to develop and maintain well functioning internal systems.
  • Leverages our Operations to elevate our mission, values, and create a work environment focused on equity, diversity, and inclusion.
  • Works with network organizations to identify operational challenges and create lasting solutions.
▼ Out of the Office
  • A gamer aficionado. Mario Kart, Rocket League, you name it, I’m there.
  • Overly critical of chefs on Food Network shows like Chopped, but get nervous when I have two stove tops going at the same time.
  • An NBA fanatic even though the Boston Celtics have continued to let me down since their 2008 championship.

Marisa Slifka

Operations Director

She/Her/Hers

▼ In the Office
  • Manage seamless logistics to ensure everyone can get down to business at meetings
  • Keeps internal systems tidy for a smooth day to day work environment
  • Works to cultivate an inclusive and productive workspace for the whole team
▼ Out of the Office
  • Emotionally invests in adult recreational soccer far too much
  • Identifies with Buddy the Elf’s relationship to coffee and then falls asleep. Literally everywhere
  • Peaked when compared to Park and Rec’s Jenn Barkley by a former student

Jordan Swanson

Operations Coordinator

She/They

▼ In the Office
  • Supporting internal operations systems including the onboarding of new operations systems to ensure a smooth deployment. 
  • Supporting the Staff Professional Development program including identifying and promoting staff development opportunities.
  • Collaborating in annual goals and budget for the Operations Department.
▼ Out of the Office
  • Buying video games and forgetting to actually play them
  • Putting stickers on as many things as humanly possible
  • Making sure that everyone knows I’m a Virgo

Robyn Swirling

Chief of Staff

She/Her/Hers

▼ In the Office
  • Overseeing big organization-wide projects and initiatives
  • Leading all things internal management, performance and leadership development, and org culture
  • Organizing the ideas, projects, people, time, and resources to keep the Alliance moving forward
▼ Out of the Office
  • Cooking elaborate meals from her out of control cookbook collection
  • Watching her pup run around their second home, the dog park
  • Funding abortions and coordinating clinic escort volunteers

Kate Travis

Data Manager

She/They

▼ In the Office
  • Support and foster organizations to build data capacity and carry out voter & community outreach
  • Facilitate network-wide collaboration on data use and best practices
  • Ensure the metrics and data are correct and in the right place
▼ Out of the Office
  • Brainstorming ways to visit all of their friends in all of their far-flung places
  • Entertaining / befriending / bending to the will of their household (and other) cats
  • Experiencing more of their home state of Colorado each season whether by ski, hike, drive, or camp

Board

The Alliance for Youth Action / Alliance for Youth Organizing have some awesomely brilliant and strategic advisors behind us. Our board[s] of directors are the kind of activists who’ve been getting it done for years — and they make sure the raucous and riotous Alliance stays on track and on mission. The arc toward justice is bent a lot farther because of their work.

The Board of Directors of the Alliance for Youth Action

Affiliates listed for identification purposes only.

Alexandra Acker-Lyons
President, AL Advising

Tracey Corder
Campaign Coordinator, Action Center on Race and the Economy (ACRE)

Juan Escalante
Digital Campaigns Manager, FWD.us

Colleen Loper
Senior Director of Political Strategy, Way to Win

Aaron Merkin, Treasurer
Sr. Confidential Specialist, National Education Association

Kunoor Ojha

Jonathan Paik, Chair
Executive Director, Orange County Civic Engagement Table

Paola Ramos
VICE Host/Correspondent and NBC/Telemundo Contributor

Kim Rogers, Vice Chair

Natalia Salgado
Director of Federal Affairs, Working Families Party

Chris Sloan
Director of Government Affairs, International Union of Painters and Allied Trades

Resha Thomas, Secretary
Statewide Political Director, Service Employees International Union (SEIU) of Texas

Ben Wessel
State and Local Politics Director, Emerson Collective

Click here to see the Alliance for Youth Organizing board members

For inquiries, please reach out to info@allianceforyouthaction.org