Emerge America Board

Emerge America has a national Board of Directors that includes representation from a subset of our affiliates.

Board Officers

Amy is a Certified Financial Planner and founder of the independent Registered Investment Advisory firm, Acorn Financial Planning. She previously spent 20 years in senior Research and Development positions at pioneering public Silicon Valley high technology companies. Committed to making our democracy more reflective of America, empowering women economically, and electing more qualified women to public office, Amy ran Hillary Clinton’s Silicon Valley field office in 2008, was a member of the Hillary for America National Finance Council, and is a co-founder of Electing Women Silicon Valley, a Democratic donor circle supporting women running for federal office. She has been Chair of the Santa Clara County Citizens Advisory Commission on Elections, President of her local Democratic Club, a Board member of her local Planned Parenthood Advocates affiliate, a member of a local Community Foundation’s Investment Committee and the Vice Chair of her city’s Finance Commission. Amy holds a BA in Computer Science from Mills College and an MA in Computer Science from Stanford University. Active in her community, Amy and her husband Skip live in Los Altos, CA.

Gretchen Schoenstein, a co-founding Board Member of Emerge America, is the current Emerge America Board Secretary, having served as Chair 2012-2014. Gretchen served as the founding Executive Director of Emerge California for seven years, having started as a volunteer board member in 2002. Currently she is a Facilitator for Allegory Inc, a behavior change and coaching company in San Francisco. She is also the founder of The 2W Group, a consulting firm specializing in supporting the for-purpose community. The 2W Group consults and supports non-profit organization to ensure steady growth through board development, executive director cultivation, sound infrastructure and policy creation, and fundraising strategies. In addition, Gretchen is a certified life and leadership coach, with an expertise in life transitions, resilience and self-empowerment through the Finish Line Moments brand she created. She holds a B.A. in Communications and a minor in Sociology from the University of Washington. In her spare time, Gretchen is an avid runner, writer and speaker, having completed more than 43 half marathons all over North America in the last five years.

Nancy Kirshner-Rodriguez has devoted her career to expanding opportunities for women, supporting the needs of underserved communities, and improving partnerships between government and the private and nonprofit sectors. She is the Executive Director of the California Commission on the Status of Women and Girls.

 Kirshner-Rodriguez previously served as Director of Government Affairs for the City and County of San Francisco, where she had direct responsibility for implementation of a comprehensive government relations program that advanced the mission and priorities of the City at the federal, state and local level. A committed civic leader, Kirshner-Rodriguez currently serves as the President of the San Francisco Commission on the Status of Women where she champions initiatives to reduce domestic violence and human trafficking; improve gender equality and advance girls’ services. She also serves as the Board Treasurer of Emerge America, on the National Board of City Hall Fellows, National Leadership Council of Futures Without Violence, and on the San Francisco Jewish Community Relations Council.

 Kirshner-Rodriguez graduated from Mount Holyoke College with a Bachelor of Arts degree in political science. She received the Alumnae Medal of Honor in 2005 for her years of service to the college. She resides in San Francisco with her spouse Sam Rodriguez and daughter Kira Sonoma Rodriguez.

Board Members

Founder & President, Emerge America

Andrea Dew Steele is the President and Founder of Emerge America and the Co-Founder of our first affiliate, Emerge California. She is a passionate advocate for increasing the number of women in elected office at every level and is motivated by a life-long commitment to progressive politics and change.

Struck by the incredible lack of women holding elected office at the local level in San Francisco, Andrea co-founded Emerge California in 2002 to lead the fight to get more women elected to office in Northern California. Andrea worked tirelessly to develop a top notch training program and in 2005 she founded Emerge America to replicate the model in all 50 states. Emerge currently has training programs in 21 states across the country with plans to expand in the future.

While starting Emerge, Andrea served for 8+ years as Political and Philanthropic Advisor to Susie Tompkins Buell, co-founder of Esprit Clothing and Democratic activist and philanthropist. Prior to moving to the Bay Area, Andrea worked for many years in Washington D.C. as a policy analyst on Capitol Hill and fundraiser for Democratic candidates and committees. Andrea holds a B.A. in Political Science from Tufts University and a M.A. in International History from the London School of Economics.

Andrea is very active in the Democratic Party and regularly lends her expertise to women candidates for local, state and national offices. She also regularly blogs about politics at the Huffington Post and has appeared on national and local television and radio, including NPR, MSNBC and Al Jazeera America to discuss politics, campaigns and current events.


Board Member

Caroline is on the board of Experian, plc and The Computer History Museum and is a member of C-100, a Northwestern University women's leadership group. She retired from her full time tech career in 2016 after spending the past 21+ years at Intuit where she was Executive Vice President and Chief Sales and Marketing Officer. She also works with several nonprofits in the Bay area including Emerge America and She-Can.  She lives in Atherton, CA and New York City.

Caroline is passionate about women's issues, equal rights and pay for all, immigration, and gun control. She's been active in Democratic politics her whole life and loves the mission, vision and people of Emerge America. She can't wait to help Emerge expand and elect more women into office!


Democratic Activist

Pamela Eakes combines a successful career in advertising and marketing with nonprofit executive leadership and organizational development, and a commitment to community and civic service. For over a dozen years, Eakes served as Founder & CEO of Mothers Against Violence in America (MAVIA), a national nonprofit organization dedicated to preventing violence by and against children.  She has served as the Executive Director of the Women’s Leadership Forum and the Deputy Director of the American Majority Partnership of the Democratic National Committee.  Eakes was a Co-chair of Ready for Hillary and served on the Hillary for American National Finance Committee and was a national delegate to the National DNC for Hillary in 2016 and 2008.

Executive Director, AFT Colorado

Sarah Hamilton is the Executive Director of AFT Colorado and also serves on the board of Emerge Colorado on the Program Committee. She joined the Emerge America Board as a state affiliate representative in February 2016.

Addison County Deputy State's Attorney, Vermont

Ashley Hill of Montpelier works as a Deputy State's Attorney in Addison County. She is a faculty member at CCV's Montpelier center and also serves on the statewide Social Sciences Curriculum Committee for CCV. She is currently serving as the Statewide Coordinator for CCV's Community of Student Representatives, the College's student governance organization and will be co-presenting a workshop on media and mindfulness in women's leadership at the 2015 VT Women in Higher Education Leadership Conference. Ashley joined the Emerge America Board as a state affiliate representative in February 2016.

Democratic Organizer and Strategist

LaToia A. Jones is the Director of Strategic Partnerships and Community Engagement at Hustle. She previously served as Associate Director for the Human Rights and Community Relations Department at the American Federation of Teachers where she coordinated, trained and connected members on community engagement, political, and civic engagement.

Partner, Grossman and Moore Attorneys

Jennifer A. Moore represents individuals and families who have been injured as a result of harmful drugs, products and medical devices, medical negligence, nursing home neglect and abuse, and automobile and truck wrecks. She is a founding partner of Grossman & Moore, PLLC in Louisville, Kentucky. In addition to her law practice, Ms. Moore is the founder and board chair of Emerge Kentucky, a nonprofit focused on training women to run for elected office. Ms. Moore also served as the Chair of the Kentucky Democratic Party from 2007 to 2009. She is currently on the boards of Emerge Kentucky (Founder and Chair), Emerge America, Kentucky Democratic Party State Central Executive Committee (General Counsel), KJA, and Kentucky Council for Interstate Adult Offender Supervision, and is a member of the Kentucky Supreme Court Rules Committee.

Democratic Strategist

Amanda was recently named the Chief of Operations for the California Department of Justice. She is part of the executive team for California's new Attorney General, Xavier Becerra. Under her direction, she oversees an annual budget of $850 million and manages a team of about 1,000 public servants. Amanda has had a unique and diverse career starting out in the financial industry, moving to education as a teacher in her small hometown community, and finally spending the majority of her career in public service. Amanda began her government service at the local level in the City of San Jose and spent close to a decade in the United States Senate. During her Senate tenure, Amanda worked closely on the Affordable Care Act, the Farm Bill and the reorganization of the Auto Industry. She was named one of the top 50 most influential staffers and became the first Latina Chief of Staff in the U.S. Senate. In 2014, she returned to her hometown and was a candidate for U.S. Congress in California’s 21st District, where she was chosen as the Democratic Party’s nominee. In 2016, Amanda served as the National Political Director for Secretary Clinton’s presidential run. Amanda oversaw the campaign’s political strategy with elected officials and key constituency groups. Her team conducted a wide range of outreach and engagement programs at the local, state and federal levels. Amanda often served as a surrogate and campaign spokesperson on all media platforms, including CNN, MSNBC, FOX, NPR, Univision and Telemundo and their state and local affiliates. She was featured in several publications including Allure, Buzzfeed, Cosmo, Elle, McClatchy, Politico, and Sports Illustrated. Amanda’s experience has given her a unique perspective on all aspects of the political arena from engaging with political institutions at the highest level to understating small town organizing across multiple states. Her experience at the local, state and federal level has also exposed her to some of the best practices around the country. She is a proud daughter of parents who began as farmworkers in the rural Central Valley of California, a graduate of Stanford University and Harvard Business School and a mom of two young energetic sons.

Founder, Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America

Shannon Watts is a 43-year-old mother of five children (two step-daughters, 25 and 20; two daughters, 18 and 17; and a 14-year-old son). Prior to founding Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America, Ms. Watts was a stay-at-home mom in a suburb of Indianapolis, Indiana. She had a 15-year career as a communications executive for both public relations agencies and Fortune 500 corporations.

Community Activist

Rashmi Yadav Marya earned her Bachelor's of Science degree from the University of Idaho in Psychology with a minor in Biological Sciences and went on to receive a Fulbright Scholarship to pursue work in Neuroscience Research at the University of Cambridge in the United Kingdom.

Why She Runs

Have you thought about putting your name on the ballot? Learn about the Emerge program and why you should run!

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