Ellen Clarkson, Chief Operating Officer
Ellen arrived at The Citizens Campaign with extensive experience, a varied background in law and the non-profit world and a commitment to helping people play an active role in their communities. Attendance at Seton Hall Law School brought Ellen from her birthplace in New York City across the river to New Jersey. Becoming Managing Editor of the Seton Hall Law Review, followed by a clerkship with the Chief Justice of the New Jersey Supreme Court and 20 years of private practice with a boutique law firm specializing in land-use law including editing of the Land Use Volume of the New Jersey Practice Series co-authored by her law partners, has kept Ellen happily ensconced in Metuchen, New Jersey. Appreciating the opportunities for civic engagement, Ellen has served as Chair of the Metuchen Zoning Board and currently serves as Vice-Chair of the town’s Planning Board. Community involvement has always played an important role in Ellen’s life. Ellen wants to impact her world by helping others in very concrete and practical ways. She has served as a member of United Way’s Child Care Allocation Committee and is a past-President of the Jewish Family Service of Middlesex County which provides counseling, training and other vital social services to disadvantaged residents and those in need. She is currently a Trustee of the Metuchen Education Foundation and Court Appointed Special Advocates of Middlesex County (CASA) serving children in the foster care system. She has been married many, many years and has three adult children including her foster daughter. As Chief Operating Officer, Ellen oversees and manages The Citizens Campaign staff and program. Ellen arrived at The Citizens Campaign with extensive experience, a varied background in law and the non-profit world, and a commitment to helping people play an active role in their communities. As Chief Operating Officer, Ellen oversees and manages The Citizens Campaign staff and programs. Contact Ellen at firstname.lastname@example.org or 732-548-9798 ext. 6.
Amanda Kathryn Roman, Senior Director, Engagement
Amanda is an experienced non-profit marketing & fundraising executive, a well-known transpartisan political strategist and a grassroots activist leader. Roman brings her leadership to the team at The Citizens Campaign where she is helping to resurrect the standard of civic service and empowering New Jerseyans to deliver results that make government work better and cost less. She brings two decades of experience inspiring and building broad coalitions and leading teams with diverse stakeholders. Amanda’s work began in her home state of NJ, took her throughout all 50 states and led to a decade in Washington, DC. She brings this extensive on-the-ground experience to The Citizens Campaign where she is designing and implementing a comprehensive engagement strategy to catalyze the growth and advance the mission of empowering citizens by teaching them the political skills they need to bring constructive, responsible leadership in service to their communities and the nation. Roman is a founding partner with Joan Blades of LivingRoomConversations.org which empowers communities to reweave the fabric of our civil society demonstrating that respectful conversation can enrich our lives and enable us to create better solutions to all the challenges we face together. Amanda’s passion is to change the game of dependent democracy by serving as a catalyst for the creation of a new force of citizen problem solvers. Since 2000, Amanda has been deeply honored each year when her namesake ‘Amanda Hydro Award’ is presented to someone who exhibits outstanding leadership & community service by the Somerset County Youth Services Commission, of which she is a former member. She lives her life in passionate pursuit of service to others and supports those who want to do the same. Amanda lives in Readington, NJ with her husband Dave and their two children. She is a fitness enthusiast who enjoys exploring the great outdoors with her family, reading, wine tastings and hosting potluck dinners & Texas Hold ‘Em tournaments for her friends. If you are interested in supporting The Citizens Campaign with your time, talent or treasure email her at email@example.com or call 732-548-9798 ext. 4.
Heather Taylor, Senior Director, Communications
Heather is the Senior Director, Communications & Public Affairs for The Citizens Campaign. In this role, Heather loves working with a broad cross section of citizens, elected officials, non-profits and businesses with the common purpose of making our communities stronger and more resilient. Heather has successfully advocated for the adoption of several state laws and more than 100 local ordinances - using strategic communications, community building, and a smile. As part of her work with The Citizens Campaign, she put her degree in Journalism to further use in developing and overseeing a "Citizen Journalism" training program to empower people to report and publish local news. Since most daily newspapers have cut their municipal assignment desks, Heather teaches citizens traditional journalism skills as well as the keys to publish online. Heather is a graduate of Rutgers University with a double major in Political Science and Journalism & Mass Media Studies. Outside the office, Heather can often be found at a small club catching a touring band. Ever since her first concert at Trenton's legendary City Gardens, she has been avid music fan. She lives in Plainsboro, NJ with her husband David Bander. Do you have a citizen leader success story to tell? Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 732-548-9798 ext. 1.
Kimberly Vanderhoef, Esq., Director, Law & Policy
Kimberly brings her passion for public service to the Citizens Campaign as Director, Law & Policy. With a background in psychology, Kimberly has always been devoted to helping others, and this interest is what motivated her to pursue a law degree at Seton Hall Law School. While at Seton Hall Law School, Kimberly focused her education and extracurricular activities on pro bono and public interest work through her efforts at Seton Hall’s Center for Social Justice, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Essex County, and various civil rights projects. Her enthusiasm for creating positive social change and giving back to the community earned her the Lexis Nexis Public Interest Award upon her graduation. She has done extensive policy research for non-profit organizations such as Amnesty International and has worked on several human rights reports, one of which took her to Haiti in 2012 to perform on the ground investigation of human rights abuses by the government. Kimberly currently lives in Bayonne, NJ and is also an aspiring novelist. She spends much of her free time working on two fiction novels that she is currently writing. She also enjoys travelling all over the world and exploring different cultures, which has included a seven week study abroad program in Cairo, Egypt. At The Citizens Campaign, Kimberly is excited to continue pursuing her interests by empowering New Jersey citizens to serve their communities and shape the future of a revitalized democracy. If you have any ideas about practices or solutions that would benefit New Jersey, email Kimberly at email@example.com or call 732-548-9798 ext. 2.
Amanda Conley Ayers, Strategic Research Analyst
Amanda Conley Ayers joins The Citizens Campaign with a diverse background founded on positive psychology and the impact of emotional skills, engagement, resilience, and leadership on individual and organizational excellence. A co-editor of the Oxford University Press’s The Oxford Handbook of Happiness, Amanda possesses a comprehensive understanding of the psychology of happiness and its many applications, including politics and government. In addition, she brings more than a decade of evidence-based research, writing, and practical experience in organizational effectiveness. Amanda is deeply interested in the role that emotions play in party politics, and seeks to engage and empower individuals at the local level, where citizens are more likely to apply government according to their needs, not their party. Amanda holds a Master’s Degree in Applied Positive Psychology from the University of Pennsylvania and a Bachelors degree in English from Boston University. Amanda enjoys horseback riding; DIY home improvement projects; fantasizing about writing the next great American novel; and above all, spending time with her family. She lives in Westfield, NJ with her husband and their two children. Contact Amanda Conley at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 732-548-9798 ext. 9.
Shoubert Polynice, Esq. Legal and Field Associate
Shoubert is the Legal and Field Associate for The Citizens Campaign. Shoubert obtained his Juris Doctorate from William Mitchell College of Law and his Bachelor’s degree in Psychology and Sociology from Gustavus Adolphus College. Shoubert’s Haitian heritage and Orlando inner-city roots play an important role in his life. As a law student he clerked for Mid-Minnesota Legal Aid Society, Minneapolis Department of Civil Rights and the Ramsey County Public Defender’s Office. In each of these roles, he observed first-hand the systemic issues that affected individuals in low-income communities. As a member of The Citizens Campaign team, he aims to use his legal education and passion for social justice to empower New Jersey citizens with the necessary education and tools to enrich their communities. Shoubert, who self-proclaims himself as a “film aficionado” and “the most interesting man in the world,” spends most of his free time reading, watching movies, playing poker and basketball. To get involved in Newark, contact Shoubert at email@example.com or call 732-548-9798 ext. 8.
Angeline Dean, Trenton Coordinator
Angeline Dean has developed a sharp eye for how operations get bloated with cross-purposes and miscommunication, and how they can retool for a sleeker, smoother, strategically focused organization from her two decades of managerial and operational experience. She is an entrepreneur who is not afraid to take risks, and possesses a keen sense of recognizing and responding to the call for the empowerment and education of the underprivileged and underrepresented populations. Angeline’s for profit consulting business, Dynasty, was launched in 2010 and her first children’s book was released in March 2012. Her book Not Just A Slave was an answer to her fourteen-year-old cousins question as well as so many other minority children-- “Am I just a slave?” Her book was submitted for the Coretta Scott King award 2013. As a partner in an Education company, ‘In Black & White’- she helps to educate in the field of cultural diversity, and recently was selected as a cultural diversity trainer for Subaru Corp. of America. She obtained her Master’s Degree from the John Watson School of Public Policy at Thomas Edison where she studied Community/Economic Development in her bid to continue to be effective and innovative. Ms. Dean served as the liaison to the faith-based community in her quest to bring White House aid to the City of Trenton. Angeline is an educator and has been ministering in the federal prison system for twelve years. As The Citizens Campaign’s Trenton Coordinator, Angeline is embracing the opportunity to serve the residents of Trenton to become more empowered and make systemic changes in their City. In her free time, she enjoys reading, writing and traveling. If you want to become involved in Trenton, email Angeline at firstname.lastname@example.org or call her at 732-548-9798 ext. 7.
Erika Nava, Perth Amboy Coordinator
Erika J. Nava comes to The Citizens Campaign with a multi-disciplinary perspective, proven experience in nonprofit leadership, data-driven decision making, policy research, and advocacy. She is (almost) a lifelong resident of Perth Amboy, her family having immigrated from Mexico City to Perth Amboy when she was 5 years old. Erika is a national McNair Scholar. Erika holds a MPP with a concentration in Immigration and Education Policy from Rutgers University’s Edward J. Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy, and holds a BA degree in Political Science and Latino Studies from Douglass College at Rutgers University. As a trained policy analyst Erika has authored several reports on the positive impact of immigration to the Garden State that has helped make the case for progressive policy change. As The Citizens Campaign’s Perth Amboy Coordinator, Erika is embracing the opportunity to serve the residents of her hometown, Perth Amboy to empower them to make changes without waiting for elected officials to act. In her free time Erika enjoys watching sports and cooking shows, trying new restaurants, listening to music in Spanish, and trying new hobbies. If you want to get involved in Perth Amboy, email Erika at email@example.com or call 732-548-9798 ext. 3.
Joe Malinconico, Editor, Paterson Press
Joe Malinconico is a Bayonne-born “Jersey Guy” whose 20-year journalism career took him from being a copy boy at the New York Times to one of the State’s top investigative reporters at the Star-Ledger. During his 13-year tenure at the Star-Ledger, Joe’s stories were credited with providing insight that led to reforms in transportation policy and the E-ZPass system. Joe won the 1999 Dee Murphy Award and the NJPA’s Robert P. Kelly Award in 2007. In 2012, with funding from The Rita Allen Foundation, Joe wrote a how-to guide for online investigative journalism called “Shining Light in Dark Spaces: A Hyperlocal Reporter’s Guide to Covering Municipal Government in New Jersey.” Contact Joe at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Juanita Adames, Project Manager, Paterson Press
Juanita brings her passion for community engagement and development to The Citizens Campaign as the Project Manager for Paterson Press. Juanita joins the Campaign after having spent two years in The Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan. Whilst abroad, she worked as a researcher for the Dean of the School of International Studies and Political Science at The University of Jordan. In that capacity, she analyzed the socio-political structures and cultural identities of the Middle East and Northern Africa. Juanita also contributed to the creation of The Leonel Fernández Center for Latin American Studies at The University of Jordan, the first such academic center in the Arab World. Juanita believes her years in research and development as well as her international experience will allow her to connect with the diverse communities who call Paterson home. She has a B.A. in International Relations from Marymount Manhattan College, where she focused on socio-political identities in Latin America and the Middle East. An aspiring poly-got, fluent in Spanish with an advanced proficiency in Arabic, she prides herself on being non-partisan and respectful of global communities. To contact Juanita about Paterson Press email her at email@example.com or call 862-239-4480.
Grace Shackney, Assistant to the Chairman
Grace was previously Director of Artistic Administration at the McCarter Theatre Center in Princeton, NJ, a position she held for 19 years. Her responsibilities at McCarter included contracting, artist cultivation, community relations, board development, meeting and production coordination, staff development and the direction of the theater-wide internship program. Grace was assistant to the Broadway producer Richard Frankel at Richard Frankel Productions in New York City. She also served as Producing Associate for the Twilight Performing Arts Festival on the campus of the Bucks County Community College in Bucks County, PA. In the late 1960’s, she was a founding member of the Theatre Six Theatre Company in Metuchen, NJ. In addition to her theater work, Grace served on the boards of several local chapters of The League of Women Voters in Rockland County, New York; Bucks County, Pennsylvania; and in Metuchen, New Jersey. It was during her work with the League in Metuchen that she met Harry and Caroline Pozycki, founders of The Citizens Campaign. She was a Citizens Campaign volunteer teacher and coach for many years before joining the staff. She previously served as Chair of the Metuchen Development Commission and is currently Chair of the Metuchen Arts Council. Grace also is Vice President of the Board of Trustees of Crossroads Theatre in New Brunswick. She has B.A. degree in Theater Administration from Rutgers University and lives in Metuchen, NJ, where she raised her two sons and happily entertains her five grandsons. In her spare time, Grace loves producing live music performances and arts events in Metuchen. Contact Grace at firstname.lastname@example.org or call (732) 548-9798 ext. 5.