Mark Vilardi

  • Vote Run Lead Statement on the Nomination of Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson


    Vote Run Lead Statement on the Nomination of Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson

    We commend President Biden’s selection of Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson, who is nominated to serve as the sixth woman and first African American woman on the Supreme Court in the history of the United States. There has only ever been one woman of color – four women total – out of the 115 Supreme Court Justices. Building a more reflective democracy, from our statehouses to the Supreme Court, is a step closer to building the democracy we all deserve. 

    This is a watershed moment in our nation’s history as an eminently qualified Black woman has been nominated to the Supreme Court of the United States. Judge Jackson comes with distinguished credentials, a powerful personal history and a clear dedication to the law. 

    This nomination is a win for Black women, whose representation in leadership has not matched their contributions to our democracy. It is a win for women and girls to have a champion for women’s issues strengthening the Court. It is a win for all Americans, as we recognize this judicial leader for her deeply substantive and powerfully representative service. 

    We are joyfully celebrating this nomination, which is not only a campaign promise fulfilled but also a step towards fulfilling the promise of our American democracy. 

    Vote Run Lead looks forward to a fair and transparent nomination process. 

  • published Sarah Howard in Meet The Team 2022-12-14 11:44:59 -0500

    Sarah Howard | Data Associate

    Sarah is a lifelong Georgian with a deep commitment to a politically engaged South with equal representation, access, and transparency in government.

    Her political advocacy includes local campaign work and leading data for Informed Georgians for Justice - a project aimed at bringing visibility to the work and stances of county-level elected officials. Sarah holds a degree in Materials Science and Engineering from Georgia Tech and brings unique research expertise to her role, coming from five years of research/development in chemical and polymer processing methods.

    Her time in the industry has made her fiercely passionate about giving women the confidence to use their voices, and the tools and words to advocate for themselves and for others. She currently lives in the Atlanta area and spends her time outside of work caring for her plants, spending time with her partner and dog, and riding her bike very fast down mountains.

  • published RUN/51 Rundown: Endorsement Questionnaire in Resources 2021-11-29 11:31:05 -0500
  • published EUNICE NAZAR in Meet The Team 2022-12-14 11:45:17 -0500

    EUNICE NAZAR | Operations Associate

    Born in the Philippines and raised in the Bronx, Eunice Nazar, Class of 2022, is a double major in History and Peace & Justice Studies with a minor in Political Science at Manhattan College. On-campus, she serves as the Second Deputy Speaker-Elect for the Senate, the School of Liberal Arts Vice President for Student Government, Student Representative for the Board of Trustees Enrollment Management Committee, Student Representative for the Campus Life Committee, and the Diversity Council Subcommittee/Curriculum Committee. Eunice works at the Center of Academic Success as a History Fellow and Tutor. She is also one of 212 college students nationwide to be named the Newman Civic Fellow for the 2021-2022 academic year. Focused on uplift for the most marginalized communities, her professional and personal life focuses on addressing, mitigating, and dismantling the root cause of social problems, supporting social justice initiatives, and serving underrepresented communities. 

  • published MYSTI IRWIN in Meet The Team 2021-05-13 18:25:12 -0400

    MYSTI IRWIN | Director, Learning & Leadership

    Mysti has been leading impactful training programs and events and developing curriculum for over a decade. She is the previous director of Camp Wellstone, Advanced Campaign Management School, and Rootscamp for Wellstone Action (now Re:power). Mysti is committed to helping develop and center BIPOC leaders who champion progressive values and fights for as well as creates laws that affirm justice, equity and opportunities for everyone. She operates with a deep commitment to inclusive justice and being explicit about dismantling racism, sexism, corporate power, homophobia, transphobia, and all forms of oppression – while embracing that as a white person, this requires a lifetime of listening, learning and growth. Mysti graduated from Hamline University in Saint Paul, Minnesota with a degree in Political Science and Women's Studies. She is also a documentary filmmaker and is passionate about using video as a medium for storytelling, education, and change-making. Mysti is currently based in Portland, OR where she is eating all the vegan food and spending as much time as possible in the woods.

  • published ALTHEA CAVANAUGH in Meet The Team 2021-05-13 18:09:41 -0400

    ALTHEA CAVANAUGH | Director, Data

    As Vote Run Lead’s first Data Director, Althea Cavanaugh maintains the organization’s database and uses data and analytics to promote efficiency and effectiveness. She brings her technical expertise from six years in academic neuroscience, combined with experiences in field organizing and political technology on Presidential and Congressional campaigns in the 2020 election cycle. Having worked on the campaigns of Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren and Minnesota U.S. Representative Angie Craig, Althea is passionate about electing women to public office up and down the ballot. She holds bachelors and masters degrees in neuroscience from Bowdoin College and University of California Berkeley. She resides in Somerville, Massachusetts, where she spends her free time on her pandemic hobbies of yoga, knitting, and spending as much time outside as possible.

  • published BETH PETERSON in Meet The Team 2021-05-13 18:02:23 -0400

    BETH PETERSON | Senior State Director, MN

    Beth Peterson is passionate about reducing poverty in rural, Northeast Minnesota. She has successfully advocated for policy changes that directly affect the ability of women and girls to move to self-sufficiency, from early childhood education and access to non-traditional career pathways. Beth has run numerous political campaigns and she served one-term as City Councilor in Eveleth, Minnesota. She holds a bachelor’s degree in applied psychology from the University of Minnesota--Duluth and is a founding Board member of Rural and American Indigenous Leadership (RAIL). Beth also sits on the Apple Tree Learning Center Board and the Aurora Food Shelf Board and is a former member of the Minnesota Council of Nonprofits Northeast Advisory Team. As a wife and mother to three, Beth enjoys volunteering in the community with her family. Her children provide her daily occasions to learn about the human condition.

  • published JESSICA BARNES in Meet The Team 2022-12-14 11:45:35 -0500

    JESSICA BARNES | Operations Project Manager

    Jessica Barnes grew up in New Orleans, Louisiana, but in 2005 Hurricane Katrina forced her to move from New Orleans to Alpharetta, Georgia. She dedicated her free time to playing volleyball, which eventually earned her a scholarship to play volleyball at Delaware State University. After earning her Bachelors of Science in Hospitality and Tourism Management, she moved to Baltimore, Maryland to start her career at the Baltimore Marriott Waterfront Hotel where she was a Banquet Supervisor and later joined the hotel sales team. In 2016, Jessica relocated to Boston, Massachusetts to pursue her Masters of Science in Leadership and Administration with a concentration in Executive Leadership and Organizational Development while planning events in Corporate Citizenship at Boston College’s Center for Corporate Citizenship. Jessica spends her free time working on her e-commerce store and gifting for those suffering from pet  and human grief. In 2020, she relocated to St. Petersburg, Florida to support her partner who relocated there due to COVID-19 negatively impacting hospitality jobs in Boston.

  • published ERICA PINES in Meet The Team 2022-12-14 12:04:54 -0500

    Erica Pines | Head of Georgia State Strategy

    Erica is a long time activist and fighter for democratic reform. She served as the Chair for the Fulton County Democratic Party, as well as the President of the Castleberry Hill Neighborhood Association and Vice-Chair of Neighborhood Planning Unit-M. Erica has also served on the City of Atlanta's powerful Zoning Review Board and worked on many Georgia political campaigns. Erica received her Bachelor of Science and Master of Public Administration degrees from Georgia State University and she is a proud graduate of the Community Foundation of Greater Atlanta’s Neighborhood Leadership Institute. Georgia born and bred, Erica is fiercely loyal to the Atlanta Falcons.

  • Solidarity Statement with Representative Park Cannon and Representative Leslie Herod

    Solidarity Statement with Representative Park Cannon and Representative Leslie Herod 

    Vote Run Lead rises in solidarity with Colorado State Representative Leslie Herod (CO-8) and Georgia State Representative Park Cannon (GA-58) who yesterday were threatened and arrested, respectively, for doing their jobs. We will not stand idly by as the power of two Black LGBTQIA women are undermined. Representative Herod and Representative Cannon are Vote Run Lead alumnae, trainers, and mentors.

    For Vote Run Lead, this is personal. 

    It was reported yesterday that the Sheriff of Weld County in Colorado, Steven Reams, called Representative Herod a “terrorist” simply  because she led a bipartisan effort last year to pass Senate Bill 217, a law enforcement accountability and reform bill that passed the Colorado state legislature with almost unanimous support. At the time, the bill was hailed as a healing balm for the state and an effort towards building more trust between the community and law enforcement officers. Ironically, Sheriff Reams slandered Representative Herod while speaking to a roomful of people who have “repeatedly said they wanted to take the law into their own hands” and have argued that they can reject or ignore laws they disagree with.   

    Yesterday, Representative Cannon was arrested and is now facing two felony charges for knocking  on the door of  Georgia Governor Brian Kemp’s office and allegedly delaying the signing of Senate Bill 202, which will drastically disenfranchise Black, Indigenous and people of color voters in Georgia. The new law “limits absentee ballots and early voting, restricts ballot drop boxes and imposes tough new voter ID requirements. It also allows the state, currently controlled by Republicans, to take over county election boards that the state deems problematic.” One of the most egregious features of the new law is that it now makes it a crime to approach voters in line and provide them with food or water. 

    As women, and especially women of color, rise to power, we have seen traditional sources of power strike back. From name calling, to intimidation, to outright arrest and confinement, white supremacy and its cousin the patriarchy will not give up without a struggle.  And make no mistake, this is about power and who gets access to it and who gets to wield it in our democracy. 

    At Vote Run Lead, we believe a better democracy is possible. We affirm our commitment to orient our work towards dismantling white supremacy and the patriarchy and replacing them with shared humanity and the strength of a connected, caring national community. We affirm our commitment to using the full weight of our organizational resources to embolden and empower intersectional, anti-racist, reform-minded women like Representative Herod and Representative Cannon to amplify their leadership, and to put more women like them in positions of power. As we rise up, as we run as we are and win, and as the voters continue to elect more of us, we will wield our power. We will not be intimidated. We know we are the ones we've been waiting for, and we will lead America forward and make good on its promise of liberty and justice for all.

  • Solidarity Statement After the Killing of Eight People in Atlanta, Georgia

    Vote Run Lead stands in solidarity with the residents of Cherokee County and Atlanta, Georgia (GA) and in particular, with the Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) community across the United States. We are outraged and heartbroken by the senseless killing of Xiaojie Tan, Daoyou Feng, Delaina Ashley Yaun Gonzalez, Paul Andre Michels, and four other women of Korean descent that occurred on Tuesday, March 16, 2021. Elcias R. Hernadez-Ortiz was also shot and is in intensive care. To these victims, the survivors and bystanders, their families and friends and all who have been harmed: we see you and we are holding you with love and hope.

    Tuesday night’s killings leave us grieving and deeply examining a number of questions:

    • Why did the police advance the killer’s version of what happened, that it was lust and not misogyny, which resulted in the killing of seven women?  
    • Why did the media hesitate to call the killings anti-Asian even after six of the eight victims were identified as Asian Americans and Asian-owned businesses were targeted?
    • Why are the reputations and occupations of the dead Asian American women called into question but not the character of the white, religiously devout killer? 
    • Why is the killer quickly humanized and allowed to “have a bad day,” but four of the Asian American victims still faceless and nameless? 
    • Why has it taken 30 years for there to be a congressional hearing on anti-Asian discrimination, even after the past year has witnessed thousands of Asian Americans harassed, stalked, or killed due to the political rhetoric of this country’s highest leaders? 
    • And why, just two days after the killings in Georgia, why did Representative Chip Roy (TX-21) lambast China and reference lynching at a congressional hearing about discrimination against Asian Americans in the United States? 

    The answers to these questions privilege the experiences and opinions of white men over everyone else, and that in of itself, is the very epitome of white supremacy and its incestuous entanglement with misogyny, racism and violence.

    Vote Run Lead is committed to building a world where each human being is valued. We train women, especially women from marginalized and disenfranchised backgrounds, to run for public office and to win, because we believe a better democracy is possible. We will not allow Asian American women’s voices and stories to be eviscerated or silenced. We will not be gaslighted to doubt what we see, hear, and know to be true. We will not accept the status quo. In fact, we reaffirm our commitment to orient our work towards dismantling white supremacy and the patriarchy and replacing them with shared humanity and the strength of a connected, caring national community. We reaffirm our commitment to using the full weight of our organizational resources to embolden and empower intersectional, anti-racist, reform-minded women, to amplify their leadership, and to put more women like them in positions of power to lead us all into a better future.

    And lastly, we stand alongside and united with the National Asian Pacific American Women’s ForumAAPI Women LeadAPIA Vote,  APAICS and our friends in Georgia including Asian American Advancing Justice Atlanta and 9to5.
    In solidarity-- Vote Run Lead

Events & Operations Manager at VoteRunLead & Internship Coordinator at VoteRunLead