• Press Release

EMILYs List Announces Eight Major Staffing Changes

May 31, 2018

For Immediate Release
May 31, 2018

EMILYs List Announces Eight Major Staffing Changes

Ahead of an election poised to break records for Democratic women in politics, EMILY's List have added two new members to their Senior Leadership Team: Denelle Robinson as Chief Administrative Officer and Callie Fines as Chief Financial Officer. Vanessa Cardenas, Julie McClain Downey, Maya Rao, and Alexandra Raposo join Patrick Brown and Geri Prado as senior directors. 

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today EMILYs List, the nation’s largest resource for women in politics, made eight major staff announcements. There are two new additions to EMILY's List's senior leadership team: Callie Fines and Denelle Robinson have been promoted to chief financial officer and chief administrative officer, respectively. Vanessa Cardenas is now the senior director of national outreach, Julie McClain Downey is now the senior director of campaign communications, Maya Rao is now the senior director of major gifts, and Alexandra Raposo is now the senior director of campaign fundraising; joining Patrick Brown, senior director of federal and gubernatorial campaigns and Geri Prado, senior director of state and local campaigns. Stephanie Schriock, president of EMILY's List, released the following statement:

“With less than six months to go until the November election, EMILY's List is kicking into high gear. We're thrilled that these eight leaders in our organization – all of whom have been champions for our work and our candidates during their time at EMILY's List – are taking on these important roles going into the final half year of an all-critical cycle.”

“I am excited to welcome Callie and Denelle to our senior leadership team. To her new role, Callie brings decades of experience at EMILY's List and a deep knowledge of campaign finance law critical in a year in which we will be working with more candidates – and more campaigns – than ever. Denelle's management of our human resources department and our diversity and inclusion program – work that has already included on-boarding dozens of new staff members and supervising a full office expansion – has been second to none, and we welcome her wisdom and insight.”

“As senior director of national outreach, Vanessa will be working to expand relationships with groups and communities across the country to help build our party's diverse pipeline of candidates, staff, and resources. As senior directors of our federal and state and local campaigns team, Patrick and Geri will continue their instrumental work in recruiting and electing a record number of EMILY's List candidates up and down the ballot this cycle. As senior director of major gifts, Maya will continue expanding our network of donors to help EMILY's List elect a wave of pro-choice Democratic women. And as senior director of campaign fundraising and senior director of campaign communications, Alex and Julie will help our record number of candidates and their campaigns share their stories, win their debates, and raise the resources necessary not only to run – but to win.”

Patrick Brown is the senior director of federal and gubernatorial campaigns. He leads the EMILYs List team working to recruit strong candidates across the country and ensure they have the resources needed to succeed. In 2016, he led the team responsible for electing four new U.S. Senators and eight new women to the U.S. House. This success included quadrupling the number of women of color in the U.S. Senate, and electing the first ever Latina to the chamber. Patrick has managed and advised races throughout the United States. In 2012, Patrick managed Bill Foster’s congressional campaign in suburban Chicago, unseating a thirteen-year Republican incumbent in one of the most high-profile House races in the country. Before joining EMILYs List, Patrick served as the Midwest Political Director at the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee.

Vanessa Cardenas is the senior director of national outreach. She joined EMILYs List as strategic communications director in 2016. She came to EMILYs List from the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) where she led Climatico, a one-of-a-kind initiative that promoted Latin American and U.S. Latino cooperation around a global climate agreement. Prior to WWF, she spent eight years at the Center for American Progress building its ethnic media engagement and founding Progress 2050. Vanessa obtained both her undergraduate and graduate degree from George Mason University. She is also a graduate of the National Hispana Leadership Institute and the Sorensen Institute for Political Leadership at the University of Virginia.

Julie McClain Downey is the senior director of campaign communications. She has been with EMILY's List since May of 2017, when she began as the national director of campaign communications, overseeing the growth of the organization's candidate services to include communications guidance. She previously served as the New Hampshire communications director for Hillary Clinton’s general election campaign. During the primary season, Julie served as the Clinton campaign’s press secretary in the New Hampshire, Vermont, and Maryland primaries. Previously, McClain Downey acted as the New Hampshire Democratic Party’s communications director and spokesperson during the successful 2014 election cycle, press secretary for Senator Brian Schatz of Hawaii in his Washington, D.C. office, deputy press secretary for Shelley Berkley’s Nevada Senate campaign in 2012, and a policy associate for Andrew Cuomo’s gubernatorial campaign in 2010. Julie is originally from New Jersey, and attended the University of Pennsylvania. 

Callie Fines serves as the chief financial officer. In this role, she ensures the financial well-being of the organization and its compliance with election laws and regulations. Her span of responsibility encompasses all accounting, auditing, financial, budgeting, and federal and state compliance and election reporting activities. Callie joined EMILYs List nearly 20 years ago. Additional roles over her tenure at EMILYs List have included director of finance and compliance, and compliance coordinator. Her progression through the ranks has afforded her the opportunity to understand every aspect of her functional area from a hands-on perspective. This includes preparing monthly FEC reports for EMILYs List, conducting research and filing reports in all states where EMILYs List was active as a non-federal entity, and working closely with all EMILYs List-recommended campaigns. Before joining EMILYs List, Callie oversaw accounting and compliance for the PAC of a large trade association. Callie earned her B.A. in political science from Dickinson College in Carlisle, Pennsylvania. 

Geri Prado is the senior director of state and local campaigns. She has been a political operative and advocacy strategist for over 15 years. In her current role, she oversees the strategic expansion of EMILYs List’s work to elect the next generation of women leaders to state and local offices across the country. Before joining EMILY's List, Geri consulted on voter registration programs around the country and helped start an organization focused on economic inequality with Mayor Bill de Blasio of New York. Previously, Geri was a director at the AFL-CIO. She worked on the presidential campaigns of John Kerry, Hillary Clinton and America Coming Together, managed multiple U.S. Senate campaigns and voter contact operations, and served as the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee’s deputy political director during the historic 2006 cycle. A Colorado native, Geri is a graduate of the University of Colorado at Boulder with a degree in Political Science.

Maya Rao is the senior director of major gifts. She began her fundraising career working for Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick of Arizona as her Finance Director in the 2008 and 2010 cycles. In 2011, Maya joined the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) where she oversaw the mid-level fundraising efforts across much of the country and spearheaded their national political fundraising program. In 2013, Maya joined the Major Gifts team at HRC where she worked closely with over 300 major donor households, raising over $5 million annually. She joined EMILY's List in 2015, where she helped the organization raise a historic $90 million during the 2016 election cycle. A graduate of George Washington University, she lives in Washington, D.C.

Alexandra Raposo is the senior director of campaign fundraising. Alex joined EMILY's List as a finance advisor in 2017 after serving on Jason Kander's 2016 campaign for U.S. Senate. Prior to the 2016 cycle, she served as the finance director for Andrew Romanoff's 2014 House race and as state party victory fund manager for the DNC. A California native, Alex is a proud graduate of the University of Puget Sound.

Denelle Robinson is the chief administrative officer at EMILYs List, overseeing all operations and human resource functions as well as leading the organization’s diversity and inclusion efforts. She most recently served as the human resources director where she was responsible for the human resource function as well as overseeing the internship program. Prior to joining EMILYs List, Denelle served as HR manager for a variety of clients at Raffa, P.C., a consulting firm in Washington, DC. Prior to that, Denelle worked for the Center for American Progress as the HR director, where she oversaw the payroll, benefits and human resources function from 2007 through 2014. Denelle holds a BBA degree from Georgia Southern University, is certified as a professional in Human Resources through the HR Certification Institute as well as the Society for HR Management.

EMILYs List, the nation’s largest resource for women in politics, has raised over $500 million to support pro-choice Democratic women candidates – making them one of the most successful political organizations ever. Our grassroots community of over five million members helps Democratic women wage competitive campaigns – and win. We recruit and train candidates, support strong campaigns, research the issues that impact women and families, and turn out women voters. Since our founding in 1985, we have helped elect 116 women to the House, 23 to the Senate, 12 governors, and over 800 to state and local office. Forty percent of the candidates EMILYs List has helped elect to Congress have been women of color. Since the 2016 election, thousands of women and counting have reached out to us about running for office. To harness this energy, EMILYs List has launched Run to Win, an unprecedented effort to get more women to run at the local, state, and national levels.