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. Contact Ellen at firstname.lastname@example.org or 732-548-9798 ext. 6.
Amanda Kathryn Roman, Chief Innovation Officer
Amanda Kathryn Roman is the Chief Innovation Officer of The Citizens Campaign, a non-profit, non-partisan organization that is driving urban and civic renewal across New Jersey. An influential non-profit marketing & fundraising executive, a well-known transpartisan political strategist and a devoted grassroots activist leader, Amanda has two decades’ of hands-on experience inspiring and building broad coalitions and leading teams with diverse stakeholders to achieve their goals. Amanda’s work began in her home state of NJ, took her throughout all 50 states, including a decade in Washington, DC. She brings this extensive on-the-ground experience to The Citizens Campaign where she is designing and implementing an innovative engagement strategy to catalyze the growth and advance the mission of empowering citizens to bring constructive, responsible leadership in service to their communities and the nation. Amanda is a founding partner, with Joan Blades, of www.LivingRoomConversations.org which aims to use respectful conversation to reweave the fabric of our civil society and produce practical solutions to the challenges we face together. Her talent for empowering people, combined with her lifelong experience in politics, drives her passion to change the game of dependent democracy. As CIO at The Citizens Campaign, she is honored to be leading the team developing a new force of citizen problem solvers who are working together to identify, develop and implement evidence-based solutions that are making their government work better, cost less, and strengthen their communities. 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. Amanda is a longtime Supporting Member of the National Coalition for Dialogue and Deliberation, a Founder and member of the Living Room Conversations Advisory Council, an active member of the Civic Collaboratory, a member of the Advisory Board for Democracy Cafe, and a member of the Advisory Council for The Transpartisan Alliance. She lives in Readington, NJ with her husband Dave and their two children, Kathryn and Antonio. Amanda is a fitness enthusiast as well as a wellness and nutrition coach who enjoys exploring the great outdoors with her family, reading, wine tastings and hosting potluck dinners & Texas Hold ‘Em tournaments for her friends. Contact Amanda at email@example.com or call 732-548-9798 ext. 4.
Jorge Cruz, Chief Civic Trust Officer
Jorge Cruz is the Chief Civic Trust Officer at The Citizens Campaign. Previously he held diverse leadership roles in employing multi-faceted and multi-sector approaches to building human, economic and physical capital to further the meaningful progress of impoverished populations – ranging from target neighborhoods to broader statewide and regional approaches along with work in several developing nations. As the Director of Planning & Development for the Jewish Renaissance Foundation (JRF), a Perth Amboy, NJ-based nonprofit, Jorge was instrumental in expanding the scope of JRF’s capacity nearly threefold in his 9 years. His prior work experience also includes serving as the Chief Executive Officer of the Episcopal Community Development Corporation (ECDC), one of Jersey City’s largest affordable housing developers and social service providers. In his five years, he increased ECDC’s overall housing and service capacity threefold, including leading ECDC to serve as the lead organization for two separate, neighborhood-based redevelopment initiatives. He also served as President of The Bruno Group (TBG), a Clifton, NJ-based public/non-profit sector management consulting firm for municipal, county and state government, non-profit agencies, public school systems, and corporations. While with TBG, Jorge oversaw a wide range of professional services for over 40 active contracts in multiple states. Jorge is a frequent speaker, coach and trainer on wide range of topics in nonprofit and public sector management. He serves on several boards and commissions, including the gubernatorial appointments to the Governor’s Juvenile Justice and Prevention Advisory Council and New Jersey Policy Academy to End Homelessness. Jorge is also a Founding Board Member of the Academy for Urban Leadership, a Perth Amboy-based charter school. With an undergraduate degree from The College of New Jersey, Jorge has also completed several fellowships and continuing education in urban planning along with various facets of nonprofit & public sector management. Born and raised in Perth Amboy, Jorge currently lives in North Brunswick with his beautiful wife of 17 years, Ivonne M. Cruz, along with the pride of their life – their son, Samuel Ignacio, 13 years of age. Contact Jorge at firstname.lastname@example.org or 732-548-9798, ext. 5.
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.
Juanita Adames, Communications & Field Associate
Juanita brings her passion for community engagement and development to The Citizens Campaign as the Communications and Field Associate where she also serves as the Special Project Manager for Paterson Press. Juanita joins The Citizens Campaign after having spent two years in The Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan. Whilst abroad, she worked as the Communications and Research Manager for the Dean of the School of International Studies and Political Science at The University of Jordan. In that capacity, she researched and wrote research papers, press releases, speeches and other innovative media content. 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's years in research and development, as well as her international experience, allows her to connect with the diverse communities who call New Jersey 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 email her at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 732-548-9798 x.1; for Paterson Press inquiries please call 862-239-4480.
Angeline Dean, Trenton Civic Trust Facilitator
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 a Civic Trust Facilitator for The Citizens Campaign, 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 email@example.com or call her at 732-548-9798 ext. 7.
Erika Nava, Perth Amboy Civic Trust Facilitator
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 and holds a Masters in Public Policy with a concentration in Immigration and Education Policy from Rutgers University’s Edward J. Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy as well as a Bachelor of Arts 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 a Civic Trust Facilitator at The Citizens Campaign, 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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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 email@example.com.