Anne Moses, President & Founder, IGNITE. Anne Moses has more than 25 years' experience in social justice and political organizations across the non-profit, political, and academic sectors with a focus on women and girls. In 2010, Anne founded IGNITE, a nationally recognized 501c3 that is building a movement of women who are ready and eager to become the next generation of political leaders. IGNITE has grown rapidly to become the largest and most diverse young women’s political leadership program in the country. Anne's previous senior leadership positions as Chief Operating Officer for Emerge America and Majority Council Director for EMILY’s List informed her passion and expertise in the arena of gender parity in political leadership. Throughout her career, Anne has also worked as a consultant in the non-profit and philanthropic arenas, with clients across the environmental, veterans affairs, domestic violence, and health and human service sectors. She has served as Principal Investigator on federal, state and local evaluations regarding the impact of welfare and health care reform on low-income individuals and communities. Anne and her work have been featured on CBS, CNN, NPR, Fox News, Marie Claire, Cosmopolitan, Vox, Bustle, Refinery 29 as well as numerous international and domestic articles on women and leadership. Anne holds a Ph.D. from U.C. Berkeley, an MSW from New York University, and a B.A. from Middlebury College. You can reach Anne at anne@IGNITEnational.org.
Read about why Anne started IGNITE here.
Sara Guillermo, Executive Director. As a founding member of the IGNITE team, Sara was instrumental in growing the organization from a small high school-based program in the California Bay Area to the largest, most diverse young women’s political leadership program in the country. Via the program model that Sara co-developed with IGNITE’s Founder, in 2020 IGNITE is on track to train upwards of 10,000 young women across 30 states to own their political power. Sara's previous leadership positions at Seeking Common Ground, Aspire Public Schools and buildOn informed her passion and expertise in community service, youth leadership development, program management and capacity building. As a breast cancer survivor, Sara is deeply committed to reforming local health care policies and systems to better meet the needs of diverse communities. She currently serves on the Concord/Pleasant Hill Healthcare Community Board where she serves as a voice to advance community healthcare priorities. Sara holds an MSW from the University of Denver and a B.A. in Psychology from UC Santa Cruz. You can reach Sara at sara@IGNITEnational.org.
Amy Zucchero, Chief of Resource Development & Communications. Amy brings 15+ years of experience championing women’s rights to IGNITE. As a member of The Representation Project’s founding team, she helped raise significant funds and national attention for the organization’s efforts to challenge the media’s portrayal of women and girls. She was also instrumental in raising production funding for the organization’s documentary The Mask You Live In. Amy spent seven years with the Women’s Funding Network, a global association of foundations investing in women-led solutions. She comes to IGNITE from the SF-Marin Food Bank where she was a prominent member of the Leadership Gifts team as a Major Gifts Officer. Amy holds a BA in History from University of California Santa Barbara and a Masters in Public Administration from the University of Massachusetts Amherst. You can reach Amy at amy@IGNITEnational.org.
Kristin Hayden, Chief Partnership Officer. Kristin is an acclaimed social entrepreneur and leader with over 20 years of global experience. She has spent her career developing, empowering and investing in underrepresented youth and women leaders. Kristin has been recognized as an Ashoka Fellow, after founding OneWorld Now!, a global leadership program for underrepresented youth. In addition to her role at IGNITE, Kristin recently served as the Interim CEO of ReflectUS, a coalition of all the leading nonpartisan women’s political organizations, including IGNITE. Kristin is a high-energy public speaker and champion of vision, diversity & inclusion, women’s leadership and political representation. You can reach Kristin at kristin@IGNITEnational.org.
May Nazareno, Director of Major Gifts, Northeast. May mobilizes IGNITE's east coast community, making it possible for a new generation of young women to change the face of our democracy. As a native New Yorker, May has a long and successful track-record developing resources for a wide range of non-profits and civically minded organizations in New York City. May’s fundraising career began at Stanford University’s Medical School and then continued in the arts, education and social services in New York. May spearheaded development efforts at the National Organization for Women, New York City, and their charitable partner, Women’s Justice NOW. May increased their unrestricted funds, trained dozens of feminist activists in fundraising best practices, and raised the profile of their annual gala, gaining the attention of corporate, foundation, and political stakeholders. Prior to that, she worked with the Population Council, where she kickstarted significant support for their latest contraceptive technologies. You can reach May at may@IGNITEnational.org.
Kirsten Rogers, Communications Director. Kirsten’s passion is cultivating thriving communities through online engagement and digital communications. Fostering authentic connections is one of Kirsten’s core values, something she has been doing for over 12 years in both the public and private sectors, specializing in international education, social and human services and health. Kirsten earned her Masters in Public Administration from the University of Washington Daniel J. Evans School of Public Affairs and served two years in Morocco with the Peace Corps’ Small Business Development program. She speaks Moroccan Arabic and hopes to master French and Spanish one day. Through her consulting practice as a Social Communications Strategist, Kirsten guided startups to successful launches and small businesses to build loyal and engaged customer communities. In her spare time, Kirsten appreciates travel, getting lost in bookstores, playing with her dogs, and volunteering. You can reach Kirsten at firstname.lastname@example.org and on Twitter as @KirstenLeah.
Tierra Stewart, Fellowship Program Director. Tierra has more than nine years of experience in community organizing, youth development, and non-profit work. Before joining IGNITE Tierra served as a Program Manager at After-School All-Stars, overseeing the expansion of comprehensive after-school programs in Washington, DC’s Ward 8 community. Tierra received her B.S in Political Science from Ohio State University. During that time, Tierra orchestrated numerous community events to raise awareness and resources for homeless youth in Columbus, Ohio. For this work, Representative Anne Gonzales of the Ohio state legislature recognized Tierra as one of Ohio’s most exceptional young citizens and future leaders. More recently, Tierra received the 40 under 40 Honoree 2019 award for her excellence in leadership and contributions to the Great Washington D.C communities. Tierra is passionate about being a part of the solution in closing the achievement gap by helping to provide innovative models that prepare future leaders to thrive. You can reach Tierra at email@example.com.
Michelle Burgess, Southeast Program Director. Michelle Burgess joins IGNITE with over 11 years in education and nonprofit experience. As a native Houstonian, Michelle is excited to support work both locally and across the Southeast Region specifically in empowering young women. Prior to joining the IGNITE team, Michelle most recently led the Talent Acquisition Team at YES Prep Public Schools and oversaw all recruiting and hiring for a charter management organization serving over 12,000 students. Additionally, Michelle has worked for Education Pioneers leading programming across the Southern Region and working with high school students in a college access program called Genesys Works. Michelle graduated from Texas A&M University with a degree in English and lives in Houston with her adorable pup, Millie, and crazy cat, Chloe. You can reach Michelle at michelle@IGNITEnational.org.
Whitney Thomas, Director of Major Giving. Whitney Thomas is a passionate advocate for women in Texas politics. Whitney is a graduate of Southern Methodist University and Texas Woman's University and has served in countless leadership roles, including as the North Texas Regional Director of Texas College Democrats and founding Executive Director of Elect Her on the SMU campus. Whitney is also a Phi Theta Kappa honor society member, graduate of New Leadership Texas, Falk Scholar, Maynard Scholar and recipient of the SMU Betty Jeanette Maynard Award for Excellence in Women’s and Gender Studies. Whitney is committed to public service and currently serves as an appointed official on two boards for the City of Farmers Branch, and as an elected precinct chair. You can reach Whitney at whitney@IGNITEnational.org.
Jocelyn Yow, Policy Manager. Jocelyn has over five years of experience in politics and has worked at all levels of government. She won her election for Eastvale City Council in Riverside County with a 40 point margin in November 2018, at the age of 23, and she went on to be the first woman of color serving on the city council. Prior to joining IGNITE, Jocelyn worked for Congressman Gil Cisneros and Speaker Nancy Pelosi. As the daughter of a Chinese-Malaysian immigrant and a Vietnamese refugee, she has deep empathy for immigrants and is committed to uplifting her community. In recognition of her community service, she has received the Rising Star Award from the California Democratic Party, Asian Pacific Islander Caucus and was recognized by Norco College as the Alumnus of the Year, in addition to being featured in the Inland Empire Magazine. Jocelyn is an alumna of Norco College and the University of California, Berkeley, and is currently pursuing her master’s degree in government at Harvard Extension. You can reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Cydnei Drake, Southeast Region Program Manager. Cydnei is a passionate advocate for social justice and equality, as well as a mental health and self-care enthusiast. She is an alumna of The University of Texas at Austin and the University of Texas at Arlington, earning a Bachelor and Master of Social Work, respectively. Cydnei has substantial experience in program management and curriculum development and design. She loves relationship building and empowering our young women to achieve their political goals. As the Southeast Program Manager, Cydnei oversees IGNITE's high school and college programming in Texas. She enjoys giving back to her community and currently serves on several committees for Carrollton-Farmers Branch ISD. She is proud to be a member of The Junior League of Dallas as well.You can reach Cydnei at email@example.com
Esmeralda Cortez Rosales, West Coast Program Manager. Esmeralda Cortez is passionate about making sure everyone has a seat at the table. Before joining IGNITE as the West Coast Program Manager, Esmeralda was a legislative intern for Congresswoman Barbara Lee in Washington D.C. and also served as an intern in Congresswoman Lee's Oakland campaign office. During her time at UC Berkeley, Esmeralda worked for IGNITE as a High School facilitator in East Oakland, managed Mya Whitaker’s campaign for Oakland City Council in 2018, and was sworn-in as an Oakland Youth Commissioner. In these roles Esmeralda emboldened her community to get involved in politics, gave recommendations and resolutions to Oakland City Council and helped transfer political power to underserved communities. Esmeralda is also an alumnus of our high school programming and was awarded the IGNITE 2013 Fems with Fervor award. Esmeralda is excited to continue to build a nation where young women own their political power and pursue meaningful change. You can reach Esmeralda at firstname.lastname@example.org
Raie Gessesse - Midwest Program Manager. Raie is a passionate advocate for racial and gender equity through blending her interests in culture, policy, and community organizing. During her undergraduate tenure, she has successfully engaged in numerous opportunities ranging from the non-profit, government, and philanthropy sectors. In recognition of her community advocacy, she was appointed by former Governor Mark Dayton to serve as a cabinet member on the first-ever Young Women's Cabinet. In this role she thoughtfully elevated the voices of young women across the state in impacting policy at the local, state and national level. She has also had the opportunity to speak to young women across the US, and internationally on the power of cultivating purpose into social impact. As the Midwest Program Manager, Raie oversees IGNITE’s high school and college programming as well as political engagement trainings for young women across the region.
Elizabeth Castañón, Operations Manager. Born and raised in Oakland, Elizabeth is an advocate for empowering women and minority communities. She enjoys working as part of a team to improve her community. While studying at the University of San Francisco, she was President of Latinas Unidas; a culturally focused organization and helped create opportunity for social and academic success. She is excited to join the IGNITE team as Operations Manager and looks forward to applying her passions for social justice. In her spare time she enjoys arts and crafts, running and cheering on her hometown sports teams. You can reach Elizabeth at elizabeth@IGNITEnational.org
Cecilia E. Ruesta, Central Valley Program Coordinator. Cecilia is a passionate advocate of a variety of social issues such as gender equity, racial justice, mental health, and immigrant, queer, trans and non-binary rights. In the Women’s Studies program, she helped organized campus-wide campaigns to end gender discrimination, racism, and violence against womxn, non-binary folks, and children. She recently graduated with a Master’s in Family, Marriage, and Children counseling from California State University - Fresno. In her past two years as an IGNITE fellow, Cecilia engaged in a variety of events that she supported and organized with driven student leaders from campuses such as CSU - Fresno, UC Merced, and Fresno City College. She also built and fostered relationships with community leaders from the Central Valley in order to create spaces where womxn can share their stories, provide resources and tools to prepare young womxn to run for office and to empower the next generation of powerful leaders. In her role as IGNITE’s Central Valley Program Coordinator, Cecilia hopes to bring IGNITE into her community to continue to mobilize, motivate, and encourage womxn to strengthen their leadership skills and find their inner power. You can reach Cecilia at email@example.com.
Deshani Semaan, Communications Coordinator. Deshani has over three years of experience in the marketing field. She has worked primarily at nonprofit organizations, ranging from public charities to educational institutions and more. Deshani graduated from the University of Central Florida, where she focused her studies on the intersection of communications and sociology. With a passion for serving underrepresented communities, Deshani hopes to help increase visibility for marginalized groups in politics and beyond. In her spare time, she enjoys editing videos, spending time in nature, and exploring new places. You can reach Deshani at firstname.lastname@example.org.