Our Team


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.

Come meet them the folks who make up the YI team!

Washington, DC Office

Los Angeles, CA Office

San Francisco, CA Office

Chicago, IL Office

  • Sara Renn, Midwest Organizing Director
  • Rachael Bowen, Midwest Outreach Fellow

New York, NY Office

Houston, TX Office

  • Rebecca Fowler, Southern Organizing Fellow

 

Washington, DC Office

Jen Mishory, Executive Director

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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 serves 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.

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Aaron Smith, Senior Strategic Advisor and Co-Founder   

ASheadshotAaron is a native of Yonkers, New York, an honors graduate of Swarthmore College (’04), and a cum laude graduate of Georgetown University Law Center (’10). After college, Aaron interned in the office of Congressman Chris Van Hollen and then worked for Emmaus Services for the Aging, a non-profit working to keep seniors in their homes in DC. He served as campaign manager for a State Assembly race in Yonkers in 2006, and went on to become the chief legislative aide for the Yonkers City Council President. While serving the city, Aaron helped to author a local living wage law and an affordable housing ordinance, and to create the first Yonkers Green Policy Task Force to promote environmentally friendly policies for the city.

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.

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Rory O’Sullivan, Deputy Director

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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.

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Sarah Lovenheim, Communications Director

Sarah Lovenheim is the communications director for Young Invincibles. A former aide to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, Sarah helped drive press coverage and led digital strategy for Senate leadership to support policy efforts, such as providing affordable health care.

Most recently, she directed communications for local and state-based campaigns advocating issues, such as raising the minimum wage and education.

Earlier, she spent many years at The Washington Post, as a producer and online editor for the National and Opinions section.

Sarah holds a M.A. in government from Johns Hopkins University, and a B.A. in journalism from George Washington University. She serves the JHU Alumni Board of Advisors at the Center for Advanced Governmental Studies and lives with her husband in Washington.

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Jennifer Wang, Policy Director

Jen WJennifer Wang is the Policy Director at Young Invincibles, where she builds and maintains relationships with policymakers, partner groups, and other stakeholders. She also manages YI’s advocacy strategy, analyzes bills and policy proposals, and creates and refines the organization’s legislative affairs systems.

Before joining Young Invincibles, Jennifer worked on women’s health policy at NARAL Pro-Choice America, where she focused on issues relating to the Affordable Care Act and managed the annual publication of the preeminent report on choice-related federal and state laws and legislative activity in the United States. Previously, she has worked on policies relating to violence against women and gender discrimination.

Jennifer grew up in Los Angeles, California. She graduated from UCLA in 2008 (Go Bruins!) and received a J.D. from the University of Iowa College of Law in 2011 (On Iowa!).

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Marielle Costanza, Development Director

Marielle head shotMarielle manages all areas of development across YI’s five national offices. Beginning her development career in the civil rights arena at the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee, Marielle specializes in strategic marketing, donor cultivation and relationship management, campaigns, sponsorships and grant management.

In addition to her development experience, Marielle has worked in foreign policy at WINEP and FDD focusing on issues including democracy and civic engagement, human rights, nationalism and identity, women’s issues, and sectarianism. Fluent in Arabic, she spent 2009 conducting research for her MA thesis on building community among political groups in post-civil war Lebanon.

Marielle is a native of North Carolina, and graduated magna cum laude from the University of Utah with BA degrees in History, International Studies, Middle Eastern Studies and a minor in Arabic. In 2010, she graduated from Harvard University with an MA in Middle Eastern Studies. Marielle is a member of the Association of Fundraising Professionals and the National Association of Professional Women.

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Tom Allison, Policy and Research Manager

2013-06-24 15.08.35Tom is the Policy and Research Manager at Young Invincibles, producing a variety of reports, issue briefs, and fact sheets. He also develops creative ways to tell young peoples’ stories through policy analysis.

Tom cut his teeth in research at Media Matters for America, publishing over three hundred reports and columns fact checking misinformation in the media. He also has experience designing and implementing fundraising and development plans, helping raise tens of millions of dollars for nonprofits. Tom most recently worked at Bullfight Strategies, a strategic communications firm, where he implemented metric analysis and data visualization to improve his clients’ political and policy profile. Tom received a B.A. from the University of Mary Washington and will soon earn a Masters in Public Policy from the George Washington University.

A native of rural Orange County VA, Tom can be found piddling in the garden on his days off.

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Christina Postolowski, Senior Policy Analyst

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Christina Postolowski is a Senior Policy Analyst at Young Invincibles focusing on health care and higher education policy. Christina oversees YI’s policy advocacy related to implementation of the Affordable Care Act, creates educational materials for advocates and consumers on the law, and serves as a designated consumer representative to the National Association of Insurance Commissioners. Christina has also contributed to several policy papers on federal financial aid reform.
A native of Colorado, Christina holds a J.D. from Georgetown Law (’12) and an A.B. from Princeton University (’07). 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.

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Marcus Braxton, Director of Operations and Strategic Development

1568524Marcus is the Director of Operations and Strategic Development 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.

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Katherine Schaller, Operations Manager

headshot ksKatherine joined YI as an intern in September 2011 and now works as the Operations Manager. Katherine graduated in 2011 from the College of William and Mary where she received a B.A. in Latin American Studies. While studying at the National University of La Plata, she served an internship at the Provincial Commission for Memory, an organization that preserves an archive of intelligence files from Argentina’s last dictatorship and works to represent youth against police abuses. She also participated in a Borderlinks research trip focusing on immigration issues in Tucson, Arizona and Nogales, Mexico.

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Tobin Van Ostern, Advisor for Strategic Partnerships

Tobin 2As the Advisor for Strategic Partnerships, Tobin manages external partnerships that help advance the organization’s mission to expand opportunities for young Americans. He 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.

Prior to his work at the Center for American Progress, Tobin was the co-founder and National Director of the official student wing of the Obama for America Campaign.

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 MagazineUnivision, and others.

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Colin Seeberger, Press Secretary

DSC00356Colin Seeberger is the Press Secretary at Young Invincibles. Inspired by the privilege to share young people’s stories, he comes to Young Invincibles with a background in communications and research. Colin comes from BerlinRosen Public Affairs’ National Public Affairs practice, where he worked with clients dedicated to social, civic, and economic justice.

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.

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Erin Hemlin, Health Care Campaign Director

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Erin Hemlin, Health Care Campaign Director, 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. 

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Jasmine Hicks, Higher Education Campaign Director

DSC00110Jasmine Hicks joined the YI team as the State Outreach coordinator where she works with organizations around the country to make sure young people’s concerns are being heard. Jasmine grew up in Boston, Massachusetts, where she worked for the last 3 years as the director of the Young Civic Leaders program at MassVOTE. She organized high school students around civic engagement, and issues of election reform. In 2010, Jasmine was selected to be an Emerging Leader with the Congressional Black Caucus where she interned in the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy. Jasmine is a graduate of Northeastern University with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science and a concentration in Policy Administration.

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Cristina Calvillo-Rivera, State Outreach Coordinator

DSC00399Cristina was born and raised in El Paso, Texas. She received a B.A. in Communication Studies with a minor in Women’s Studies at the University of Texas El Paso and a M.A. in Educational and Organizational Leadership at the University of New Mexico.

Cristina’s experience in public speaking, community engagement, organizing, and educational programming has been ongoing for over nine years. She has served in leadership and activist roles in diverse communities where she has utilized her experience as an LGBTQ Diversity Trainer and storyteller as means of activism. While in New Mexico, Cristina was a Youth Program Specialist for Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) of New Mexico where she created and implemented educational programming on underage drinking and DWI prevention throughout the state of New Mexico.

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Portia Boone, Legal Fellow

portiaPortia is a legal fellow at Young Invincibles focusing on higher education and health care policy.  She has interned with a variety of non-profit and governmental organizations including La Corporación Imbaya para el Desarollo Comunitario in Otavalo, Ecuador, the U.S. Department of State, and the U.S. Department of Education.  Prior to attending law school, Portia served as a Congressional Black Caucus Foundation intern where she worked in the office of Rep. G.K. Butterfield (NC-1).  Portia continued to explore her interest in legislation and politics as a student at Georgetown University Law Center.  As a participant in the Law Center’s Federal Legislation and Administrative Clinic, she served as a lead congressional advocate for the Congressional Clerkship Coalition, a group of legal community leaders dedicated to expanding clerkship opportunities for recent law graduates in the U.S. Congress.

A native of North Carolina, Portia holds a J.D. from Georgetown Law (‘13) and a B.A. from Duke University (‘10) where she majored in Political Science, minored in African and African American Studies, and received a certificate in Markets and Management Studies.  Portia thoroughly enjoys taking in the political and cultural happenings in DC and never fails to make time for a good book.

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Reid Setzer, Legal Fellow

photoReid is a Legal Fellow at Young Invincibles. Reid graduated magna cum laude from the University of Pittsburgh in 2010, with a B.A. in history and political science. After graduation, he moved to Washington D.C. to study at Georgetown University Law Center. While enrolled at Georgetown Law, Reid interned for the Restaurant Opportunities Center, a non-profit that advocates for the rights of restaurant workers, and did legal research and writing at the Center for American Progress. 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.

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Tristan Wilkerson, State Outreach Coordinator

Tristan WilkersonWith a background in politics, advocacy and organizing, Tristan Wilkerson joins Young Invincibles from Capitol Hill, leading their efforts in DC and parts of the Southern region.

Prior to joining Young Invincibles, Tristan worked as an aide and project manager for District of Columbia Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton. In this capacity, Tristan managed a portfolio that included juvenile justice, drug policy, health care and higher education. Under Norton, he led the development of the first Congressional Caucus on Black Men and Boys and coordinated its nationally televised initial event. He is also member of the DC Chapter of the New Leaders Council.

Tristan is a native of Little Rock, Arkansas. He earned his bachelors in Political Science and Rhetoric in Communication and a minor in Africana Studies from the University of Memphis. He has also studied at the University of Ghana in Accra.

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Konrad Mugglestone, Policy Fellow

konradKonrad is the Policy Fellow at Young Invincibles, responsible for writing policy reports and conducting statistical analyses. Raised in South Carolina, he grew up in a family of educators and environmental advocates who instilled in him a passion for political affairs. He completed his undergraduate work in Political Science and History at Furman University, and earned a masters degree in Government and Politics from the University of Maryland, College Park. In addition to his responsibilities at Young Invincibles, Konrad is currently pursuing a doctorate at the University of Maryland in American politics and public policy. During his spare time, he enjoys a good game of flag-football, plays his guitar, or watches the West Wing all over again.

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Kaissa Denis, DC/Virginia Navigator and State Outreach Coordinator

kaissaKaissa Denis is an DC/Virginia Navigator and State Outreach Coordinator at Young Invincibles. She was born and raised in the Washington, DC Metropolitan Area. Recently, Kaissa has worked with African and Latino Diaspora communities to mobilize them on both domestic and international social and economic policies. Kaissa has completed several domestic and international internships, most notably with the Ministry of Trade and Industry in Rwanda during which she completed a comparative policy report on Rwanda and Singapore’s economic growth strategies. During her time at ActionAid, Kaissa assisted in building Global Platform USA, which linked US youth to trainings and campaigns in the Global South. She was responsible for student outreach and social media.

Kaissa completed her Masters in Public Policy with a double concentration in Economics and International Relations in 2012 at Pepperdine University. Kaissa graduated with a Bachelors of Art in Political Science from Clark Atlanta University, cum laude in 2010.

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Justin Yeater, State Outreach Coordinator

justinJustin joined the Young Invincibles team in August 2013 as an Organizing Fellow. Justin grew up in Joplin, Missouri and received a BS in Biological Sciences from the University of Missouri in 2011.

While in college, Justin worked in Jefferson City, Missouri advocating for college students around the issues of state financial aid and appropriations to public universities. After graduating, he joined Teach For America as a 2011 corps member and taught high school science in Denver, Colorado. An avid Mizzou Tiger fan, Justin can be found rooting for his team during football and basketball games.

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Jessica Adair, Digital Strategy Manager

jessicaAs Digital Strategy Manager, Jessica manages Young Invincibles’ digital media outreach, as well as works to strengthen strategic engagements with governmental, non-profit, and private sector partners.
Prior to joining Young Invincibles, Jessica worked for the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Education and the Workforce. She also has multiple cycles of campaign experience in Texas and Colorado. While on President Obama’s re-election campaign in Colorado, Jessica focused on outreach to Educators, African Americans, and Veterans.
Jessica is an honors graduate with a B.A. in Political Science from Rhodes College in Memphis, TN. She received her J.D. from Texas Tech University School of Law and is a member of the Texas bar. She was inducted into the Order of the Coif and Order of the Barrister for her academic and advocacy achievements.  Born and raised near Fort Worth, Texas, Jessica follows Dallas Cowboys football with a nearly religious fervor.
Julian Aldana, Digital Media Coordinator

 

julianJulian graduated from the University of Maryland, College Park in 2009, where he studied English and journalism. Shortly thereafter he worked at Excelencia in Education, where he was the Special Assistant and liaison to the organization’s 65 national partners. It was at Excelencia in Education where Julian became interested in social media as a tool to reach constituents and engage with a broader audience.

For the past year Julian has consulted with small businesses, specifically implementing social media strategies, and assisting with web and graphic design. He has also written for various local blogs, including Brightest Young Things and the Prince of Petworth.

When he’s not keeping up with memes online, Julian is often eating.

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Rachel Reeves, Partnerships Coordinator

Rachel Reeves

Rachel joined Young Invincibles in June 2014 as a Partnerships Coordinator. Prior to joining YI, Rachel worked as an analyst at The Advisory Board Company, where she conducted best practices research on strategies for hospital and health system business development, innovation, and telehealth implementation. Her research specifically examined how mobile and digital technology can be used as a tool for education and engagement.

A native Washingtonian, Rachel graduated magna cum laude and with honors from Brown University with an A.B. in Urban Studies and a focus on urban sociology. While at Brown, Rachel was an appointed student representative for university disciplinary hearings, served as a peer academic advisor for incoming freshmen, and wrote features for the Brown Daily Herald’s arts and culture magazine. She received a university fellowship to research her thesis that used early 20th-century urban public health history to contextualize current anti-obesity policies and communications in New York City.

In her spare time, Rachel enjoys watching Boardwalk Empire and reading for the book clubs she’s joined since moving back to DC.

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Healey Whitsett, Policy Fellow

Healey WhHealeyitsett is a Policy Fellow at Young Invincibles, where her research focuses on issues pertaining to student loan debt and higher education finance. She has co-authored two white papers with YI on these subjects.

She is a second-year doctoral student at the Harvard Graduate School of Education where she concentrates in Quantitative Policy Analysis, an interdisciplinary mix of statistics, sociology, and higher education.

Prior to joining YI, Healey received her M.S. in Quantitative Methods from the University of Pennsylvania Graduate School of Education (’11). She also worked for many years at NERA Economic Consulting, where she conducted litigation research involving surveys, sampling, and demographic analyses.

A native of Pennsylvania, Healey graduated Summa Cum Laude and with Honors from Temple University (Philadelphia, PA) in 2007.

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Kalleigh Landstra, Operations and Development Fellow

kalleigh headshotKalleigh joined Young Invincibles in July 2014 as the Operations and Development Fellow. Previous to joining YI, she worked as a digital literacy instructor at a community based organization in DC, with the aim of bridging the digital divide through adult education. In addition to teaching classes, Kalleigh worked on connecting community members to resources online allowing then to apply to jobs, earn a GED or High School diploma, and use social media for the first time.

Kalleigh grew up in Grand Rapids, Michigan. She received a Bachelors of Arts in Media Arts & Technology from Michigan State University in 2012. While in college, she worked with many different organizations focusing on issues including LGBT and women’s rights, racial justice, youth advocacy, and environmental/food justice.

In her spare time, Kalleigh can often be found in her kitchen trying a new vegetarian recipe while watching far too many documentaries on Netflix.

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Eric VanDreason, Communications Fellow

eric headshotEric is a Communications Fellow at Young Invincibles. Prior to joining Young Invincibles, Eric spent the past year as an AmeriCorps volunteer working in classrooms around the District with underemployed DC residents teaching computer and job readiness skills. Previously, he created communications and programming materials for Peace First, a non-profit specializing in teaching essential social and emotional skills to public school youth. Eric also spent time as a Legislative Intern for the Office of Massachusetts State Representative Timothy R. Madden and as a Policy Intern with PFLAG (Parents, Families, and Friends of Lesbians and Gays) where he advocated for law enforcement sensitivity training in relation to the Matthew Shepherd and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act.

During college he volunteered with 826 Boston and with The Eliot School, where he assistant taught arts classes in public schools. After studying graphic design at Pratt Institute he graduated from Emerson College in Boston, Massachusetts with a B.S. in Political Communication in 2011. Eric will never be able to commit to watching a television series in its entirety again because he watched the last season of Lost. He now enjoys books.

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Los Angeles, CA Office

Gustavo Herrera, West Coast Director

gustavo-herrera-mbaGustavo 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).

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Joshua Bloom, California Organizing Director

josh1Joshua joins Young Invincibles as the California Organizing Director. Joshua received his Bachelors in Sociology from the University of California, Santa Cruz, where he became involved as a student-activist.

He was the Organizing Director for a key campaign to obtain more funding for student initiated outreach efforts to low income students of color in California. The campaign was successful, and gave birth to rich programming and more opportunities for organizing through alliance. After college, he began working with young people in Oakland, San Francisco and Los Angeles in the areas of workforce development, academic counseling, and organizing.

Joshua is a San Francisco native and takes a lot of pride in his experience with the diverse communities of the entire Bay Area. He has a vision of inspiring young people to become soldiers in the face of inequality by coaching them to love, be critical, and to never become adjusted to injustice.

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Maria Beltran, California Outreach & Spanish Media Coordinator 

IMG_2801Maria Beltran joined Young Invincibles as a Communications and Organizing Fellow and now serves as an Outreach Coordinator for the state of California. Maria is excited to help YI grow not only in the state of CA but nationwide.

Prior to her nonprofit and campaign experience in Los Angeles, Maria was an Educational Advising Intern at the US Embassy in Mexico’s Benjamin Franklin Library, where she worked closely with the Public Affairs department in order to advance programs related to youth, education, engagement and advocacy. Maria was also selected as one of seven Youth Ambassadors nationwide to represent the United States at the past G20 Los Cabos Summit, in which delegations from over 24 countries negotiated a final communiqué that expressed the economic and political concerns and recommendations of the millennial generation.

As a bilingual University of California, Santa Barbara (UCSB) graduate with a Bachelor of Arts in Global & International Studies, Maria is the first in her family to graduate from high school and college. Through UCSB, she underwent two study abroad programs: a summer at the University of Sussex located in Brighton, UK and a year at the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM) located in Mexico City, Mexico. A member of the Los Angeles Jr. Chamber of Commerce and Riordan Leadership Institute, Maria is a strong believer in the power that the millennial generation across the world has to enact a positive change in the world.

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Riana King, California Communications Coordinator

Riana picRiana recently received her B.A. from Occidental College where she graduated Cum Laude with a degree in Sociology and received the W.E.B. Dubois Spirit of Sociology Award. She is passionate about issues that affect her generation, and would like to measure her success in the workforce by being a part of the solution to some of these complex problems. Her personal experience with the health care system makes her particularly invested in the Affordable Care Act and its future. She is excited for work with Young Invincibles and for the opportunity this provides to make sure that the voices of her generation are heard in the important debates taking place across America.

Throughout college, Riana spent her summers and many semesters working in PR, marketing, public outreach and strategic communications positions. She is also a passionate blogger and twitter addict, habits that were established while studying and living abroad in Spain.

Riana joins Young Invincibles as a Communications Fellow at the California office. She will be assisting the Communications team in all aspects, but especially loves working on social media and strategic communications.

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Irving Pineda, California Outreach Coordinator

Irving picIrving was born in Zihuatanejo, Mexico and came to the United States when he was six years old. Driven by a desire to emulate his parent’s commitment to education, Irving attended Santa Clara University for his first two years of undergraduate studies, and then graduated from the University of California, Merced in 2010 with a BA in Political Science and a minor in Philosophy. At UC Merced, he was elected Campus Organization Director for UCM’s External Office under the Student Government. In this position he oversaw student campaigns for DREAM Act, Cal Grants, Pell Grants, and lobby efforts to raise money for higher education. He also helped organize student conferences, rallies, protests, and sit-ins, and facilitated numerous workshops at different conferences and college campuses. In 2009 Irving was also nominated Vice Chair of the Campus Action Committee for the executive board of UCSA, a student advocacy organization that spans across all UC campuses.

Irving went on to work with Educators for Fair Consideration (E4FC) after graduating from UCM. He became E4FC’s Deportation Defense Coordinator. He worked with the American Immigration Lawyers Association, and the DREAM Defenders Project to match undocumented immigrant youth in deportation proceedings with pro bono immigration attorneys to help them remain in the country. He then went on to work for the International Institute of the Bay Area (IIBA) as an Outreach Coordinator. He launched the IIBA’s Outreach Team and an Advisory Committee comprised of Deferred Action- approved individuals, and was later bumped up to Project Coordinator where he oversaw the project goals for the ten county Bay Area DACA Collaborative. Irving’s top two irrational fears are Zombies and Velociraptors; but he enjoys films, music, and books that involve either of these entities.

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San Francisco, CA Office


Linda Leu
, California Research and Policy Director
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Linda Leu is the California Research and Policy Director, located in the Bay Area Office, and responsible for all policy and research work for Young Invincibles’ California office. She drives YI’s California legislative agenda, and provides state-specific policy analysis and research.

Linda most recently worked at Health Access California, the state consumer advocacy organization pivotal in the implementation of Affordable Care Act in California. She has health policy experience on the state and local government and has worked on advocacy issues related to adolescent reproductive rights and language rights for limited English proficient communities. Linda’s experience as an organizer makes her passionate about community driven policy change.

She holds a Masters of Public Health from Columbia University, and a BS in Health Promotion and Disease Prevention from the University of Southern California. Additionally, Linda is a certified yoga instructor who spends her free time teaching yoga to incarcerated youth and other underserved communities.

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Brian Burrell, California Policy and Organizing Manager

DSC00084Brian works in the recently opened Chicago office as the Midwest Regional Manager, where he oversees Young Invincibles’ work in Illinois as well as the surrounding states. He previously worked as a State Outreach and Policy Coordinator out of the DC office coordinating outreach events and researching and writing policy briefs and papers including A Fight for the Future.

Brian grew up in Maryland and attended the University of Maryland where he worked for three years with Maryland PIRG to make college more affordable and ensure that students were registered to vote.  In addition to his work with Maryland PIRG, he served as student liaison to the City of College Park City Council, voicing student opinions on city policies.

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Jerrel Peterson , California Policy Analyst

jerrel head shotJerrel has a Bachelor’s degree in Human Development from Cornell University and a Master’s degree in Social Work from the University of Maryland, Baltimore. He has multiple years of effective engagement and strategic support for various underserved populations and is invested in ensuring that public policy is informed by both research and practice.

While finishing his Master’s degree, Jerrel grew his passion for policy as a Graduate Student Policy Analyst with the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy where he used his analytical skills and clinical expertise to impact nation-wide social policies and programs. He plans to continue to employ his policy background and expertise in individual engagement to impact policies affecting 18-34 year-olds.

In his spare time, Jerrel enjoys salsa dancing and portrait drawing.

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Chicago, IL Office

Eve Rips, Midwest Director

EREve Rips is the Midwest Director for Young Invincibles, where she is responsible for the development of all programs in Chicago, Illinois, and the Midwest, as well as for overseeing the Midwest office on a day-to-day basis.

Before starting with Young Invincibles, Eve was a legal fellow and attorney with the Chicago Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law.  Her work there focused primarily on issues of educational equity in Chicago and the surrounding suburbs, and included components of impact litigation, direct representation, policy work, and community organizing.

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.  She is a Chicago native and loves the city, even in January.

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Sara Renn, Midwest Organizing Director

sara head shotSara Renn is originally from Louisville, KY, and joins Young Invincibles as the Midwest Organizing Director. Sara first became involved in student and youth activism as a leader in a DC-based grassroots student organization, Global Justice. She served as National Grassroots Action Coordinator and National Organizer for the Student Global AIDS Campaign – working to mobilize students and youth to take direct action on HIV/AIDS, trade, and global debt.

Prior to moving to Chicago, Sara worked for seven years in Louisville’s immigrant and refugee community. She was a data and advocacy specialist at the KY Office for Refugees and a Youth Programs Staff member at Americana Community Center.  She has also served as an AmeriCorps VISTA at the Center for Nonprofit Excellence doing research for Louisville’s nonprofit sector.

Sara received a B.A. in Political Science from the University of Louisville with a minor in Classical Languages. She continues to cheer for UofL sports (GO CARDS!) any chance she gets and enjoys good food… all the time.

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Daniel Jean Jr., Midwest Organizing Fellow

Daniel head shotDaniel Jean Jr. is originally from Chicago, IL, and joins Young Invincibles as the Midwest Outreach Fellow. Daniel is responsible for leading organizing by young people for young people around economic issues including health care, higher education and employment.

Prior to joining Young Invincibles, Daniel worked as an Organizer for the Workers Organizing Committee of Chicago Fight for 15 campaign in Chicago. In this role, Daniel organized fast food workers and other low wage workers to speak out together for good jobs and higher pay. Daniel has six years of involvement in community engagement, organizing, and programming. Daniel is a second generation Haitian who is deeply involved in his Chicago Haitian Community. He serves on the committee South Side Chicago branch of HOHAYE (Hope for Haitian American Youth and the Elderly).

Daniel received a Bachelors in Criminal Justice from the University of Illinois at Chicago. He is a huge Chicago sports fan (Go Bulls, Bears, Cubs, and Blackhawks). Daniel hopes to spark young voices in Chicago to be vehicles of change in ways they never imagined and let them know their voices are powerful.

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New York Office

Natalia Diaz, New York Navigator and Organizing Manager

A native New Yorker, Natalia has been raised and groomed to fit in to a double-sided New York life; a lifestyle that fits the suburban outskirts of NYC better known as the Hudson Valley and a lifestyle in the city that never sleeps. As the NY Navigator and Organizing Manager, Natalia uses her double-sided life to help young people enroll in the NY State of Health Marketplace and bring knowledge about the ACA along with the YI message to her home turf. Natalia obtained a BS in Business Administration from the College of Mount Saint Vincent and was inducted in to the National Society for Public Administrators as she completed a Masters of Public Administration at Pace University.

Natalia is passionate about making sure others receive the tools they need to succeed. After learning the power of volunteerism at The Volunteer Center of United Way in Tarrytown, NY, she joined a young professionals committee at a local nonprofit.

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Amber Wilson, New York Navigator and Organizing Fellow

Amber head shotAmber Wilson was born and raised in Oakland, California. While she loves the sunny California weather, she is a Southern Belle at heart. At seventeen she moved to the Big Easy to attend Dillard University where she obtained her BA in Mass Communications. She graduated from Dillard University with a BA in Mass Communications, and then from The University of New Orleans with a Master’s in Public Administration with a focus on non-profit management. Her work with various non-profit agencies and organizations dedicated to young people brought her to New York in 2011.

Amber joined the YI team as a NY Navigator from the Westchester Department of Health where she also served as a Navigator. Her knowledge about access to healthcare and coverage did not begin there. Previously, she worked as a Facilitated Enroller and a Community Health Advocate. When her passion for lipstick and live music isn’t calling her name, her dedication to enhancing the lives of young adults is at the forefront.

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Houston Office

Jose Sanchez, Southern Regional Organizing Director

bio picJosé Eduardo Sánchez is the Southern Regional Organizing Director for Young Invincibles, where he is currently responsible for advancing the organization’s work in the state of Texas. He comes from a small town in Guanajuato, Mexico, but has called Houston home for the past 17 years. Throughout his professional experience, he’s been committed to fighting for social change through innovative, community-based policy and research initiatives. His organizing and campaign work has led to legislative victories on the state and municipal level improving conditions for low-wage and immigrant workers – including the passage of the first-ever Houston Anti-Wage Theft Ordinance and Texas Wage Theft Law. In 2011, he co-founded the YO Collective, a capacity building organization for young organizers in the Houston area. He’s also worked directly with students of color to improve higher education opportunities at the MIT Office of Engineering Outreach Programs and in various public health projects targeting young people with the UT School of Public Health. He’s currently a Greensboro Justice Fund Fellow at the Highlander Center. José Eduardo attended Rice University and the University of Houston-Downtown, where he received his degree in political science.

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