MEET
OUR TEAM

Leadership

Michael Linden

Executive Director

Angela Hanks

Deputy Executive Director

Janelle Jones

Director, Policy & Research

Our Team

J. Isaiah Bailey

Polling and Analytics Manager

Thomas Cox

Program Associate

Claire Guzdar

Associate Director of Policy Engagement

Vanessa Hsia

Program Associate

Valerie Jean-Charles

Associate Director of Communications

Rosalina Jowers

Research Manager

LaNita King

Program Manager

Sapna Mehta

Associate Director of Policy and Research

John Minor

Federal Affairs Director

Bart Rutherford

Partnerships Manager

Sam Sanders

Associate Director

Kate Taylor Mighty

Program Manager

Grace Western

Research and Policy Manager

Executive Director

Michael Linden

Michael Linden is the Executive Director of the Groundwork Collaborative.

Michael was the inaugural Managing Director of Policy and Research at the Hub Project. Prior to joining the Hub Project, he was a senior policy adviser to Senator Patty Murray on the Budget Committee and then the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee. Before serving on Senator Murray’s team, Michael was the managing director for economic policy at the Center for American Progress.

Michael earned his master’s degree in public policy from the Goldman School of Public Policy at the University of California, Berkeley, and his bachelor’s from Brown University. He lives in Washington, D.C., with his wife and three children.

Deputy Executive Director

Angela Hanks

Angela Hanks is the Deputy Executive Director of the Groundwork Collaborative, working to advance a cross-cutting economic narrative for the progressive movement.

Before joining our team in 2019, Angela served as director of the Center for Postsecondary and Economic Success at CLASP, director of workforce development policy at the Center for American Progress (CAP), and senior federal policy analyst at the National Skills Coalition. Angela began her career on Capitol Hill as a counsel on the democratic staff of the House Oversight and Government Reform committee and legislative assistant to Congressman Elijah E. Cummings.

Angela earned her bachelor’s degree in political science from George Washington University and her law degree from the University of Maryland School of Law.

Director, Policy & Research

Janelle Jones

Janelle Jones is the Policy & Research Director for the Groundwork Collaborative.

Before joining Groundwork in 2018, Janelle was an economic analyst at Economic Policy Institute working on a variety of labor market topics within EPI’s Program on Race, Ethnicity, and the Economy. Prior to that, Janelle worked as a research associate at the Center for Economic and Policy Research covering topics including racial inequality, unemployment, job quality, and unions.

Janelle served as an AmeriCorps*VISTA volunteer in Sacramento, California, where she worked for a grassroots nonprofit on community health issues. She also served as a Peace Corps volunteer in Peru in the Small Business Development Program focusing on local economic development.

Janelle is from Northeast Ohio and a very proud graduate of Spelman College. She earned her Master’s degree in applied economics from Illinois State University.

Polling and Analytics Manager

J. Isaiah Bailey

J. Isaiah Bailey is the Polling and Analytics Manager for the Groundwork Collaborative, supporting public opinion research, quantitative/qualitative analysis, and strategic data use.

Most recently, Isaiah oversaw survey research operations and assisted with strategic plan monitoring at the Tennessee Department of Education. He has also worked on a range of research projects covering education, philanthropy, and politics with various organizations including the Michigan Talent Investment Agency, Union University & Institute, and the nonpartisan Center for Michigan.

Isaiah proudly represents Portsmouth, VA, and is an alumnus of the University of Richmond (B.A.), the University of Michigan (M.A./M.P.P.), and the Bonner Program.

When he isn’t studying politics, Isaiah enjoys watching anime and college football, myth-busting, and scouting for new additions to his (fairly impressive) bourbon and whiskey collection.

Program Associate

Thomas Cox

Thomas Cox III is a Program Associate for the Groundwork Collaborative and a newcomer to Washington, D.C.

Prior to joining the team, Thomas was an Associate Engagement Manager at Moody’s Analytics in New York City. In this role, he helped oversee the strategy and implementation of marketing initiatives and sales campaigns for Moody’s content. A Morehouse College graduate and Atlanta native, Thomas is a fitness and yoga enthusiast and runs his own pop-up fitness events brand.

In his free time, he loves traveling and exploring new restaurants that he reviews on Yelp first.

Associate Director of Policy Engagement

Claire Guzdar

Claire Guzdar is the Associate Director of Policy Engagement, working to advance a cross-cutting economic narrative for the progressive movement.

Prior to joining Groundwork in 2019, Claire was Associate Director of the Faith and Progressive Policy Initiative at the Center for American Progress, where she designed and executed advocacy and communications strategies to ensure progressive victories on economic justice, healthcare, religious liberty, and other issues. Previously, Claire was Field Associate and minimum wage lobbyist at NETWORK Lobby for Catholic Social Justice.

Before discovering a passion for progressive public policy, Claire was a high school teacher and college campus minister. She earned degrees in Theology from Boston College and Catholic Theological Union, where she was a Bernardin Scholar.

Program Associate

Vanessa Hsia

Vanessa is a Program Associate of Groundwork Collaborative.

Prior to joining the Groundwork Collaborative, Vanessa worked as a part of the leadership development and executive education team at the Center for Strategic and International Studies. In the past, she has conducted research projects and fieldwork abroad on women’s economic opportunities in Costa Rica, as well as the role of gender in the Israel-Palestine conflict.

Though she’s lived in a few different cities, Vanessa considers herself a SoCal native and is a proud graduate of UC Irvine, where she studied French and International Studies. She is a fan of cats, dogs, indoor house plants, bookstores, warm weather, and coffee.

Associate Director of Communications

Valerie Jean-Charles

Valerie Jean-Charles is the Associate Director of Communications for the Groundwork Collaborative.

Prior to joining the Groundwork Collaborative, Valerie served as a Surrogate Relationship Manager for Everytown for Gun Safety and Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America, where she developed both national and regional messengers for the organization. Prior to that, Valerie also worked as a Deputy Press Secretary for Everytown, overseeing national communications strategies and planning for National Gun Violence Awareness Day and the Wear Orange Campaign.

Originally from New York, Valerie graduated from Fordham University with a Bachelor’s in Political Science. As a woman of Haitian descent, she spends her free time researching Caribbean history and how it impacts the region today.

Research Manager

Rosalina Jowers

Rosalina is a Research Manager at the Groundwork Collaborative.

Prior to joining the Groundwork Collaborative, Rosalina worked in communications as an Associate at Weber Shandwick, where she supported a variety of social impact, corporate and public affairs campaigns through research, integrated media efforts and project management. She started her career at the Department of Labor’s Regional Office of Public Affairs in Philadelphia, where she supported internal communications and stakeholder engagement for the agency.

Rosalina is a proud Philadelphian and Villanova University graduate. She earned her Master’s degrees in international and public relations at Syracuse University.

Program Manager

LaNita King

LaNita King is the Program Manager for the Groundwork Collaborative.

Prior to joining, LaNita served as the Development Manager at The Voter Participation Center (VPC), and was responsible for managing and cultivating VPC’s fundraising program. She has also served as the State Party Victory Fund Coordinator for the Democratic National Committee (DNC) where she managed a direct-mail based fundraising program for all 50 state parties.

She is a native of California and moved to Washington D.C. after earning her degree at California State University, Northridge. LaNita is an avid Premier League soccer fan and faithfully supports Manchester United.

Associate Director of Policy and Research

Sapna Mehta

Sapna Mehta is the Associate Director of Policy and Research of the Groundwork Collaborative, working to advance a coherent economic narrative across the progressive movement, and helping to manage the policy and research staff.

Prior to joining Groundwork in 2019, Sapna was the Legislative and Policy Director at Main Street Alliance, where she helped build momentum for the first ever House of Representatives hearing on paid family and medical leave.

Sapna also managed strategy development in the Ford Foundation’s Future of Workers unit to build power for working people through grassroots organizing and policy change.  Her work included updating, creating and enforcing robust labor standards and modernizing social insurance programs to meet the needs of 21st century workplaces and families, and strengthening institutions that build worker voice and power

As the Research and Liaison Manager with the Office of the New York City Comptroller, Sapna worked with advocates to move statewide policy campaigns and advance local ordinances to improve outcomes for working people.  She was also previously a Strategic Campaigns Researcher with SEIU, where she won union contracts for janitors, security officers and window washers across the Midwest and Texas.

Sapna was born and raised in Cleveland, Ohio and has a bachelor’s degree in economics from The Ohio State University.

Federal Affairs Director

John Minor

John is the Federal Affairs Director for the Groundwork Collaborative.

Before joining our team, John was lead policy manager at the American Sustainable Business Council, where he helped to advocate for responsible public policies that focused on all economic stakeholders, not just the largest corporations. Prior to that he was a Congressional Liaison at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. John also spent several years in the U.S.Senate working for North Carolina Senator Kay Hagan as a Legislative Aide.

Originally from Chicago, John has spent nearly half his life on the East Coast, but is still a South Sider at heart. He is a proud graduate of Howard University and Fordham University School of Law.

Partnerships Manager

Bart Rutherford

Bart Rutherford is the Partnerships Manager for the Groundwork Collaborative, where he works to build coalitions that amplify the progressive narrative.

Prior to joining the team, Bart used his skills as a grassroots organizer to manage and coordinate efforts on Presidential campaigns: In 2012, he organized on the successful Obama for America campaign in Florida; in 2016, he was Regional Organizing Director for the Hillary for America in Columbus. Bart has also served as the Interim Executive Director of the Miami-Dade Democratic Party helping candidates at all levels get elected.

Although he now considers himself more of a nomad, Bart originally hails from New Jersey and is now settling into Washington, D.C. When he isn’t lost exploring the city, Bart enjoys playing video games and planning his next travel destination.

Associate Director

Sam Sanders

Sam Sanders is the Associate Director of the Groundwork Collaborative.

Prior to joining the team in 2018, Sam managed congressional affairs at the Economic Policy Institute, advancing research on labor and workers’ rights, the federal budget, taxes, trade, and economic inequality. Prior to that, Sam served as a policy advisor in the U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division, working on issues including labor standards regulations and the future of work.

Sam hails from Southern Maryland, and attended Yale University, where she focused on Chinese language/cultural studies.

Outside of work, she can be found rehearsing with SongRise or the 18th Street Singers, trying to pet other people’s dogs on the sidewalk, or leaving a DC library with an impractical number of books.

Program Manager

Kate Taylor Mighty

Kate Taylor Mighty is a Program Manager for the Groundwork Collaborative.

Before joining our team, Kate worked in a rotational program at a software company called HubSpot, cycling through different marketing roles in Cambridge, Massachusetts and Dublin, Ireland. Previously, Kate helped develop communication strategies to encourage state policymakers to implement clean energy policy, and worked as a marketing intern at a DC-area edtech company called 2U.

Originally from Boston, Kate attended Yale University and majored in political science. Outside of work, Kate’s passions include live music, arguing about TV, and exploring the great indoors.

Research and Policy Manager

Grace Western

Grace Western is a Research and Policy Manager at the Groundwork Collaborative, where she provides policy analysis and research support for various issue advocacy campaigns, namely on health care and economic issues.

Previously, Grace was a Special Assistant to the Managing Directors at The Hub Project. She also worked in the Office of Senator Kirsten E. Gillibrand and on Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign.

Grace has a B.A. in Political Science and Women’s Studies from Colgate University. Originally from Syracuse, New York, Grace is a lover of reading nooks and dancing to live music in the park.

Want to Get Involved?

We are always looking for new partners as we work to build and advance real prosperity and opportunity for all. Contact us if you’re interested in learning more.