Meet the Board
Brandi Collins-Dexter is a visiting fellow at the Shorenstein Center and consultant and former senior campaign director at Color Of Change, where she oversaw the media, culture, and economic justice team. She has led several successful and highly visible campaigns for corporate and government accountability including getting Fox’s The O’Reilly Factor taken off the air; winning Net neutrality protections, and pressuring financial companies to pull funding from hate groups. Brandi is a regular commentator in the media on racial justice. The Hill named her a 2017 “person to watch.” Brandi holds a bachelor’s degree from Agnes Scott College and a law degree from the University of Wisconsin-Madison Law School.
Doug Edwards was the first marketing director at Google, where he oversaw consumer marketing and brand management from 1999 to 2005. His book about that experience, “I’m Feeling Lucky: The Confessions of Google Employee Number 59” was published by Houghton Mifflin in 2011. Prior to that, he managed marketing for the San Jose Mercury News, directed communications for KQED FM in San Francisco, and was the Novosibirsk correspondent for the public radio program “Marketplace.” He holds an honors degree in English from Brown University, an MFA from the Academy of Art University, and was a Rotary Fellow at Nanzan Daigaku in Nagoya, Japan.
Lisa Gilbert is the Executive Vice President of Public Citizen. She advocates for government transparency and integrity, financial reform, civil justice, and consumer protections.
Gilbert has testified before Congress, and been quoted in publications such as the New York Times, the Associated Press, the Wall Street Journal, USA Today, the Washington Post and NPR. She was also a featured contributor to the National Journal’s “Expert Blog” on lobbying and ethics, and writes frequently for USA Today, Yahoo Finance, and The Hill.
Jim Heerwagen is an adviser and entrepreneur with 25 years of hands-on experience in executive, investor, and adviser roles for early stage technology companies and nonprofits, specializing in customer and market development, team-building, and fundraising. Jim serves on the Board of Trustees of The Health Trust and the Duke Engineering Board of Visitors. He was most recently the proponent of the Voters Right to Know ballot initiative in California.
Previously, Jim was the co-founder and CEO of IQVine, President and CEO of Sunvolt Nanosystems, and President and CEO of NtechRA. Prior to that, he founded and ran Bridge Partners, which specialized in investing in and advising early stage electronics and software companies. He has also held senior positions at V-One, Telogy Networks, Bell Atlantic, Tymnet, and Infonet. Jim received his BSE from Duke University and his MBA from Harvard Business School. He also served as an officer in the Civil Engineer Corps of the US Navy.
Shel Kaphan is President of the Kaphan Foundation and was formerly Vice President and CTO of Amazon.com, where he did much of the original software design and programming. Prior to joining Amazon.com, he held senior engineering positions at Kaleida Labs, Frox, and Lucid, designing hardware and software systems and services. Shel holds a B.A. in Mathematics, cum laude, from the University of California at Santa Cruz.
Melanie Sloan is among the leadership at Summer Strategies, a firm specializing in public affairs and crisis communications, spokesperson services, and consulting for educational institutions. Formerly the executive director of Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, she is a nationally recognized expert on congressional ethics. Prior to starting CREW, she served as an Assistant United States Attorney in the District of Columbia.
Melanie received her B.A. and J.D. from the University of Chicago and has published in publications including The Yale Law and Policy Review. She has appeared on shows including NPR’s “All Things Considered” and CNN’s “The Situation Room,” and has been profiled in publications including Ms. Magazine, Time Magazine, and Mother Jones. Melanie has also been named one of Washington, D.C.’s Top Grassroots Lobbyists by The Hill for three years running and was profiled in the September 2009 issue of O Magazine as part of the O Power List.
Hamsini is a doctoral student at the USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism, where she studies tech policy and governance. She was previously the program director at MapLight, where she advanced policy efforts related to campaign finance reform and digital disinformation through research and analysis, coalition building, and public communication. She holds an MPA from the USC Price School of Public Policy, where she focused on digital media policy, as well as an MA in Anthropology from Columbia University. Her undergraduate degree is in Anthropology and International Studies from the University of Chicago.