Young Invincibles grew up in a law school cafeteria in Washington, DC, after co-founders Ari Matusiak, Aaron Smith and a few friends realized that young people’s voices were not being heard in the health care debate. We always do our work in partnership with other organizations and committed individuals across the country. If you want to partner with us on any of our work, please let us know. We would love to work with you.
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Meet the folks who make up the YI team!
Washington, DC Office
Jen Mishory, Executive Director
- Tobin Van Ostern, Advisor for Strategic Partnerships
Marcus Braxton, Senior Director of Operations & Finance
- Raychl Speigner, Development Director
- Brittany Alexander, Development Coordinator
- Andrew Tarquinio, Development Coordinator
Clarissa Unger, Director of Partnerships
- Hillary Farrow, Business Development Manger
- Michael Madoff, Director of Product Development
- Spencer Dixon, Partnerships Coordinator
- Rory O’Sullivan, Deputy Director
Aaron Smith, Senior Strategic Advisor & Co-Founder
- Jasmine Hicks, National Field Director
- Erin Hemlin, Director of Training and Consumer Education
- Christopher Nellum, Policy Director
- Tom Allison, Deputy Director of Policy & Research
- Reid Setzer, Deputy Director of Policy & Legislative Affairs
- Eve Rips, Director of Regional Strategy
Colin Seeberger, Strategic Campaigns Advisor
- Sarah Schultz, Communications Director
- Adriana Scott, Engagement & Storybank Coordinator
- Allie Aguilera, Press Secretary
Rocky Mountain Office
- Christina Postolowski, Rocky Mountain Regional Director
- Erin Steva, Midwest Director
- Elena Sakopoulos, Midwest Organizing Manager
- Kevin Stump, Northeast Regional Director
Kelly Hernandez, Policy Fellow (Washington, DC Office)
Sarah Nesbitt, Policy Fellow (Southern Office)
Mychael Vanarasdale, Organizing Fellow (Midwest Office)
Crystal Carson, Partnerships Fellow (Washington, DC Office)
Washington, DC Office
Jen Mishory, Executive Director
Jen Mishory is the Executive Director and a founding staff member of Young Invincibles. Jen has conducted extensive research and authored numerous reports on health, higher education, and economic issues facing the Millennial generation. She has testified before Congress in both the House and Senate on the issue of financial aid and student loans, and served as a member of the inaugural Consumer Advisory Board of the CFPB. She also served as the consumer advocacy negotiator for the Department of Education’s 2012 negotiated rulemaking around student loans, and previously served as a consumer representative for the National Association of Insurance Commissioners, where she worked with Insurance Commissioners around the country to ensure strong consumer protections in the health care industry for young people.
Jen has appeared in the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, CNN, NPR, and PBS, among other media outlets. Jen graduated with honors from UCLA in 2007 and received her J.D. from Georgetown University Law Center in 2010. She is admitted to the California bar. Jen hails from Los Angeles, CA, and is an avid fan of all UCLA sports teams.
Aaron Smith, Senior Strategic Advisor & Co-Founder
As the co-founder and first Executive Director of Young Invincibles (YI) in 2009, Aaron helped grow YI into one of the largest and most impactful youth organizations in the country. Aaron has met repeatedly with top lawmakers and national leaders to discuss critical youth policy issues, has conducted dozens of trainings on youth leadership development, and has launched new campaigns in partnership with the Department of Health and Human Services to educate and engage Millennials around the Affordable Care Act. Aaron currently also serves as the Co-Founder and President and Founder of YI Advisors.
Since co-founding YI, Aaron has appeared in the NY Times, Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, MSNBC, Fox News, CNN, Politico, and PBS NewsHour, among other media outlets, discussing a variety of issues impacting young Americans from the cost of college to unemployment to health care. In December 2010, he testified before the Senate Commerce Committee, and has met repeatedly with President Obama and top lawmakers around critical youth policy issues. Aaron was selected as a young Jewish leader as part of the Jeremiah Fellowship in 2011, was a Politic365 Game Changer in 2012, and is a member of the Young Entrepreneur Council. Aaron believes strongly in the power of young Americans to change the world. He also serves as the President of YI Advisors, the Millennial engagement consulting arm of Young Invincibles.
Rory O’Sullivan, Deputy Director
Rory is the Deputy Director at Young Invincibles where he directs the organization’s policy and advocacy strategy. He is an expert in a variety of issues related to young adults including federal financial aid, skills acquisition, youth employment, health insurance coverage, and consumer information.
Rory serves on the Board of Directors for the Campaign for College Opportunity. He was also the student negotiator for the Department of Education’s 2013 negotiated rulemaking on the gainful employment regulations.
His work has appeared in the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, NPR, MSNBC, Reuters, Business Week, and the LA Times among others. He graduated from Pomona College in 2006 with a B.A. in Philosophy, Politics, and Economics, and completed a joint J.D./M.P.P. in 2011 at Georgetown University.
Tom Allison, Deputy Director of Policy & Research
Tom Allison is the Deputy Policy & Research Director at Young Invincibles, responsible for the organization’s research and data analysis, products ranging from major econometric reports to monthly data pulls and fact sheets about young adults in the economy, health care, and education. His specialties include federal education statistics, state higher education budgets, survey design and implementation, focus groups, temporal analyses, and demographic comparison research.
Tom brings a communications acumen to his work as well, understanding that even the best research will fall short of its goals without a concerted communications strategy. He’s appeared live on MSNBC, and been quoted in the Washington Post, Wall Street Journal, The Atlantic, Vox, Forbes, and others.
Tom earned his bachelor’s degree from the University of Mary Washington and his Master of Public Policy from the Trachtenberg School of Public Policy at George Washington University.
Marcus Braxton, Senior Director of Operations & Finance
Marcus is the Senior Director of Operations and Finance at Young Invincibles and oversees the organization’s finances and general operations. Marcus has over eight years of experience in the nonprofit sector and is an expert in nonprofit governance, compliance and operations.
Marcus has previously worked for organizations in the social sector such as Arabella Advisors, a philanthropic consulting firm where he managed approximately $25 million in various philanthropic initiatives, and the Pew Charitable Trusts where he supported the organization’s fundraising efforts.
Marcus is a graduate of Rhodes College and is currently pursing his MBA from Johns Hopkins University. He is originally from Tennessee and enjoys spending free time relaxing at home and catching up with friends.
Tobin Van Ostern, Advisor for Strategic Partnerships
As the Advisor for Strategic Partnerships, Tobin manages external partnerships that help advance the organization’s mission to expand opportunities for young Americans. Tobin brings his significant expertise in online and offline young adult organizing, policy solutions, and government relations to Young Invincibles. Tobin previously was the Deputy Director of Campus Progress, a project of the Center for American Progress. There he focused on overseeing the development of policy recommendations that help young adults and the coordination of the government affairs work that leads to their enactment. Tobin also currently serves as the Vice President of YI Advisors.
He is a graduate of The George Washington University where he received a B.A. in International Affairs and specialized in conflict and security studies. He has been interviewed or written about by ABC News, Associated Press, CBS News, CNN, C-SPAN, Fox News, Inside Higher Ed, NPR, PBS, Politico, RealClearPolitics, techPresident, The Hill, The Nation, The Washington Post, TIME Magazine, Univision, and others. Tobin also serves as the Vice President of YI Advisors, the Millennial engagement consulting arm of Young Invincibles.
Eve Rips, Director of Regional Strategy
Eve Rips is the Director of Regional Strategy for Young Invincibles, where she is responsible for leading YI’s regional teams, coordinating regional work with national YI teams, and running multi-state campaigns to advance YI priorities.
She initially joined YI as Midwest Director, where she launched the Chicago-based office and built out YI’s presence in the region. Before starting with Young Invincibles, Eve was a legal fellow and attorney with the Chicago Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, where her work focused primarily on issues of educational equity in Chicago, and included components of impact litigation, direct representation, and policy work.
She received her juris doctorate from the University of Chicago Law School in 2012 and her BA from Stanford University in philosophy with honors in ethics in society.
Raychl Speigner, Development Director
Raychl is the Development Director for Young Invincibles, where she is responsible for leading and managing the foundation relations efforts to reach fundraising targets.
Prior to working at Young Invincibles, Raychl worked for the nonprofit KaBOOM! as the Coordinator of Foundation Relations. She was very dedicated to ensuring that all kids get the childhood they deserve through play. In this role, Raychl wrote grant proposals, letters of inquiry, cultivated new foundation partnerships, developed and managed program budgets, and worked with individual donors. Raychl also has experience working in Community Relations for the Cleveland Cavaliers, Cleveland Browns and National Basketball Association. Raychl has a M.S. in Sport Management from California University of Pennsylvania and a B.S. in Sports & Leisure Humanities from The Ohio State University.
Raychl is a Cleveland native and a diehard sports fan. She spends her time watching Cleveland sports, Ohio State football, shopping, traveling to beauty tradeshows and learning how to cook.
Colin Seeberger, Strategic Campaigns Advisor
Colin Seeberger is Young Invincibles’ Strategic Campaigns Advisor, leading public education and outreach efforts around higher education reform and the 2016 elections. Colin formerly served as Young Invincibles’ Press Secretary where he led the daily execution of the organization’s media outreach strategy. Colin came to Young Invincibles from BerlinRosen Public Affairs’ National Public Affairs practice, where he worked with clients dedicated to social and economic justice. He also worked with Grindstone Research during the 2012 and 2014 campaign cycles.
Colin studied Political Management with a concentration in Strategic Communications at George Washington University’s Graduate School of Political Management and graduated summa cum laude from Pace University’s Pforzheimer Honors College in New York City. He is a native of Dallas, Texas, the home of his beloved Dallas Cowboys, and enjoys cycling.
Erin Hemlin, Director of Training and Consumer Education
Erin Hemlin, Director of Training and Consumer Education, grew up in Sugar Land, Texas just outside of Houston. She has a B.A. in Political Science from St. Edward’s University (‘08), and a M.A. in Political Science with a focus in American Politics and Government from George Mason University (’12).
After moving to the Washington, DC area, Erin interned for the Congressional Research Service where she contributed to CRS reports in government operations, such as reports on the demographics of Members of Congress, rules and authorities of committees, committee expenditures, and other areas of congressional administration. She later worked as a legislative research intern for The Sheridan Group, a DC-based advocacy and government relations firm dedicated to social change. At The Sheridan Group, Erin focused on federal education policy, technology-based economic development, poverty, and other domestic social issues.
In her position as Health Care Campaign Director, Erin manages the outreach strategy for YI’s Healthy Young America campaign, as well as the on-the-ground organizing work across the nation. She also contributes research, analytical, and writing skills to the policy team on public policy questions affecting young adults.
Jasmine Hicks, National Field Director
Reid Setzer, Deputy Director of Policy & Legislative Affairs
Reid is the Deputy Director of Policy and Legislative Affairs at Young Invincibles. In his capacity at YI, Reid is responsible for maintaining relationships with Hill staff, partners, the Administration, and other stakeholders in the context of YI’s health care, young parents, higher education and youth jobs advocacy strategies, as well as conducting policy research and writing about those topics.
Reid graduated magna cum laude from the University of Pittsburgh and moved to Washington D.C. to study at Georgetown University Law Center in 2010. While enrolled at Georgetown Law, Reid did legal research and writing at the Center for American Progress and interned for the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee. He also had the pleasure of working at Young Invincibles as a Legal Intern in the summer of 2012, and graduated from Georgetown Law with his Juris Doctorate in 2013. Reid is originally from Northern New Jersey, and enjoys reading and going to baseball games.
Clarissa Unger is the Partnerships Manager for Young Invincibles. In this capacity, she leads the Students Learn Students Vote Coalition, which promotes nonpartisan civic engagement on college campuses. She also serves as the Director of Partnerships for the organization’s consulting arm,YI Advisors, where she leads strategy on how clients can best reach, engage and support young adults. Clarissa has a background in advocacy, communications, fundraising, and political campaigns and has worked on strategic campaigns both nationally and internationally. Prior to joining YI, Clarissa served as the Development Coordinator for the Robert. J. Dole Institute of Politics at the University of Kansas where she helped to promote civic engagement on campus.
Hillary Farrow, Program Manager
As Program Manager, Hillary helps to manage YI’s programs designed to mobilize young adults around health care, education, and jobs and to engage Millennials on key social impact issues. She previously interned at Cornerstone Government Affairs and 1-2-1 Strategies and Government Relations where she tracked legislative activity, synthesized research on various policy issues, and organized Hill days for clients. Hillary also developed the Kids Farmer’s Market Program at FOOD Share, Inc. Hillary also serves as the Business Development Manager for YI Advisors.
Michael Madoff, Technology Development Manager
Michael is the Technology Development Manager at Young Invincibles, where he supports YI’s mobile application development offerings and technology projects. He also consults YI Advisors’ partners and clients on technology strategy. Michael is a former research associate at the Moffett Group and worked as a consultant for Citrix Public Sector where he managed software implementations and technology strategy for Fortune 500 and government clients. Michael graduated cum laude from Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service. Michael is also the Director of Product Development for YI Advisors.
Spencer Dixon, Partnerships Coordinator
As partnerships coordinator, Spencer is responsible for building and growing strategic partnerships with individuals and organizations that collaborate with Young Invincibles to empower and foster positive change for young adults. He also supports project execution and implementation for Young Invincibles. After working with YI Advisors and Young Invincibles in 2015, Spencer spent 17 months working on the organizing team for Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign in Iowa, Washington, and Ohio. He is thrilled to be back at the organization as he helps clients connect with and amplify the voices of his generation. Spencer is also a Senior Strategist for YI Advisors.
Sarah Schultz, Communications Director
Sarah Schultz is Young Invincibles’ Communications Director. She joined the organization after spending several years working at a New York City based public relations agency. During her time there, Sarah worked on developing and implementing strategic communications campaigns for clients across a number of industries with a special focus on nonprofit organizations in the healthcare space. At Young Invincibles, she oversees media relations and press inquiries.
Allie Aguilera, Press Secretary
Allie Aguilera is Young Invincibles’ Press Secretary, a role in which she works to elevate YI’s mission and the voices of young people around the country. Allie joins YI from the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration, where she worked on long term strategic planning and led a team of external communications and intergovernmental affairs professionals as the agency underwent an organizational modernization, two congressional reauthorizations, and various regulatory expansions to transportation safety. Prior to this, Allie worked on intersectional issues surrounding women’s and girls’ economic and social rights, equity in economic and educational opportunity, bridging the digital divide, and more as a policy analyst for New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio. Allie has worked on several successful campaigns and elections, providing operations leadership for Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe’s 2013 campaign and overseeing operations for Organizing for America in NY, CA, and TX through the 2012 presidential election. Allie began her career supporting national operations at the Democratic National Committee.
A proud Virginian, Allie is a graduate of the University of Virginia with a B.A. in Political Philosophy, Policy, and Law.
Gustavo Herrera, West Coast Director
Gustavo is the West Coast Director for Young Invincibles, where he is responsible for leading YI’s California offices in Los Angeles and San Francisco, including its West Coast expansion. As director, he sets strategic direction and advances YI’s policy priorities on health care, higher education and jobs for the region.
Before starting at Young Invincibles, Gustavo was the Chief Operating Officer (COO) of L.A. Plaza de Cultura y Artes (LAPCA), overseeing the day-to-day operation of a county museum. He managed senior-level staff in administration, fundraising and external affairs, and was responsible for strategic planning and government relations.
From 2010-2012, Herrera led the Maestro Foundation, a classical music and performance arts foundation, as the Director of Organizational Development. Between 2007-2010, he assessed and recommended business growth strategies in the US marketplace for the global Fortune 500 Company, American Honda Motors, Co.
Herrera holds a Master of Business Administration (MBA) degree from American Jewish University, formerly the University of Judaism, and a dual Bachelor of Arts in Global Studies with an emphasis in socio-politics and economics and Art History from the University of California Santa Barbara. Herrera served on the Board of Directors of the Create:Fixate Arts Organization (2006-2010).
Kristin McGuire, CA Director of Partnerships & Organizing
Kristin grew up in Wentzville, MO and Palmetto, AL. Growing up in very small towns, Kristin realized early on that her voice stood out and often differed from public opinion. This still holds true today.
Kristin built her career advancing social justice movements. She has worked for various organizations advocating for disenfranchised communities, from paroled young adults to those without access to quality heath care. Kristin has played a large role in shaping and implementing some of the most progressive tobacco policy in Southern California, namely smoke-free housing, parks, and outdoor areas in Compton. Prior to joining YI, Kristin spent the last three years operating her own campaign consulting business in Los Angeles.
Kristin received her B.S. in Public Administration from CSU Dominguez Hills. When she isn’t trying to change the world, Kristin is a PTA mom, blogger, and member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Inc. — the best sorority in the world.
Denver, CO Office
Christina Postolowski, Rocky Mountain Regional Director
Christina Postolowski serves as YI’s Rocky Mountain Regional Director. She is also a member of the national policy team, leading the organization’s work on health care and on Millennial parents. While at YI, Christina has engaged in federal and state policy research, writing and advocacy on issues ranging from federal financial aid reform to the health needs of Millennial parents.
A native of Colorado, Christina holds a J.D. from Georgetown Law and an A.B. from Princeton University. Prior to attending law school, Christina worked for the Colorado Division of Real Estate and Division of Insurance, where she helped to create and administer regulatory programs to protect consumers. Christina also has legal and policy experience in the fields of immigration and women’s rights.
Chicago, IL Office
Elena Sakopoulos, Midwest Organizing Manager
Elena is a Northern California native who moved out to Chicago in 2011. As a political science and human rights student at the University of Chicago, she developed a passion for community organizing and youth civic engagement. Before arriving at Young Invincibles, she interned at Chicago Votes, where she registered young Chicagoans to vote and engaged them on state and local policy issues. She now chairs Chicago Votes’ alumni engagement committee. Elena also worked as a field organizer on a city council race in Chicago, and interned with Democracy for America’s electoral campaigns department. She is excited to work with Young Invincibles to continue elevating young voices on crucial policy issues.
New York Office
Kevin Stump, Northeast Regional Director
Prior to joining Young Invincibles, Kevin served as a board member and later interim Executive Director of an immigrant and labor rights organization in New York City and Long Island. Before then, he was part of the Roosevelt Institute where he worked with young adults across the country to address local challenges by research, writing, and advocating for progressive policy solutions.
Kevin spent four years at the New York Public Interest Research Group where he was responsible for leading its higher education policy work. This included budgetary and policy issues involving SUNY and CUNY, opportunity programs, community colleges, student loan debt, and more. During his time at NYPIRG, Kevin started and led the Coalition to Reform the NY Tuition Assistance Program that had two statewide legislative victories in its first year.
He has testified before the New York State Legislature, Board of Regents, and the New York City Council and has written several issue reports and policy briefs. Kevin has appeared in the Gotham Gazette, Next New Deal, Truthout, Daily News, New York Post, Newsday, and others. He has also appeared on the Regional News Network and CBS Evening News as well as NPR. He received a B.S. from SUNY Plattsburgh in Community Organization & Advocacy and is half way through his MPA at the School of Public Affairs at Baruch College. Follow him at @KevinStump.
Maggie Jo Buchanan, Southern Director
Maggie Jo Buchanan is Young Invincibles’s Southern Director. In this role she oversees all advocacy, research, and organizing work being done by the organization throughout the region. Previously, she was an Associate Director at the Center for American Progress, served as a senior legislative aide to U.S. Congressman Lloyd Doggett, and has held numerous other policy and political positions. During her time with Congressman Doggett, he was recognized for passing the most laws out of any House Democrat—all falling within her issue portfolio. Her other work on Capitol Hill included leading Congressional outreach to the White House on FAFSA simplification and serving as the lead staffer on the House Democratic Prescription Drug Caucus. She has been published on topics that include Title IX, Medicaid billing practices, and intimate partner violence. In addition, her research on health care services in Texas county jails was presented as part of a University of Chicago School of Law report to the United Nations. She has been quoted or had her work featured in publications that include the Washington Post, Politico, the Guardian, Vox, and Houston Public Radio. A University of Texas School of Law graduate, she lives in Austin with her husband, dog, and cat while enjoying her frequent travels to Houston and throughout the state.
Marianela Acuña Arreaza, Southern Organizing Director
Marianela Acuña Arreaza is the Southern Organizing Director, where she is currently responsible for building networks of young adults who have the power to make changes in the region.
Marianela was born and raised in Venezuela, and she accidentally migrated to the U.S. She started organizing through the United Students Against Sweatshops and the Student Farmworker Alliance while studying sociology and arts at the University of Houston. Meanwhile, she lead quantitative research on day laborers and the issue of wage theft and volunteered at the local Interfaith Workers Justice Center.
After graduating with honors, Marianela worked on several participatory research projects: first, volunteering with the Food Chain Worker Alliance, then she coordinated local initiatives with the National Domestic Worker Alliance and with Houston United, a coalition for migrants’ rights.
Voting rights and civic engagement have also driven Marianela’s career. She has led educational and GOTV campaigns, as well as voter protection programs, with national non-profit organizations in the region, such as Mi Familia Vota, Texas Civic Engagement Table, VoteRiders, and Common Cause.
Her deep passion for facilitating collective learning and democratic decision-making has kept her consistently involved in movement building since 2008 outside of work as well. In 2014, Marianela coordinated a grassroots and intergenerational community organizing training series for people of color in Houston. In the same year, she was a recipient of the Houston Peacemaker Award, a Greensboro Justice Fund Fellow at the Highlander Center, and co-founded of a social justice school in the Houston Area.
Aurora Haris, Southern Partnerships Manager
Aurora Harris is the Partnerships Manager for Young Invincibles’ Southern Office, where she acts as the main liaison between grasstops partners and organizing work and strategy—ensuring that young people’s voices and experiences are represented within local and statewide discussions related to policy change and service provision.
Aurora is an influential leader with a wealth of experience in community outreach and project management. Prior to working at Young Invincibles, Aurora served as Executive Director of the Lesbian Health Initiative (LHI). During her tenure, she formalized collaborative partnerships and increased the diversity of board leadership, volunteers, and clients served while simultaneously solidifying LHI’s sustainability for years to come. Aurora also served as Community Outreach Manager for the Preservation Society of Charleston, where she convened the City’s first focus group of African American preservationist and established the City of Charleston’s Modern Civil Rights Era Historic Marker Trail.
Aurora is part of New Leaders Council Class of 2017 and she currently sits on the City of Houston’s first ever Mayoral LGBTQ Advisory board. Aurora received her B.A. in English and African-American Studies from the College of Charleston. She has roots in the Gullah Geechee culture of the Southeast and enjoys reading, volunteering, and cooking.