For Immediate Release
January 15, 2021
EMILYs List Announces Four New Members and Two New Officers to Join Board of Directors
WASHINGTON, D.C. — Today, EMILYs List announced that Yvette Nicole Brown, Maya Harris, Jennifer Lin, and Deborah Simon have been added as new members to its Board of Directors. Additionally, Paul Bernon has been named vice chair and Yolanda Caraway has been named secretary treasurer. Stephanie Schriock, president of EMILYs List, the nation’s largest resource for women in politics, released the following statement:
“I’m thrilled to welcome Deborah, Jennifer, Maya, and Yvette to our Board of Directors. These women are each powerhouses in their fields bringing decades of knowledge, experience, and management in government relations, issue advocacy, political strategy, and the TV and music industries. Their insight, creativity, and expertise will fuel our efforts to elect more pro-choice Democratic women and women of color as EMILYs List continues to expand and reach new communities. I’m also proud to congratulate Paul for being named vice chair and Yolanda for being named secretary treasurer. They both have contributed immensely to our Board and we look forward to continuing our work together.”
Yvette Nicole Brown is an actress and host best known for her series-regular and recurring roles on television comedies. Yvette starred in the critically acclaimed and NAACP Image Award winning six-hour BET miniseries The New Edition Story and appeared on Unsolved: The Murders of Tupac and The Notorious B.I.G for USA network. She is also a 2020 NAACP Image Award nominated writer for Always A Bridesmaid that is currently streaming on Netflix.
Her extensive voiceover career includes series regular roles on Elena of Avalor, DC Super Hero Girls, Lego Star Wars: The Freemaker Adventures, and Okoye in Lego Black Panther. She has also served as host and moderator for The Walking Dead’s season six premiere at Madison Square Garden.
Yvette is a guest and guest co-host on: The View, The Talk, The Chew, The Real, and The Talking Dead. In addition to past appearances in films such as Dreamgirls, Tropic Thunder, and Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters, she is continuing her partnership with Disney+ in 2020 as the host of the kid’s game show The Big Fib and the new dramedy starring John Stamos titled Big Shot.
In response to being asked to join the board, Brown said, “I have always been a staunch supporter of women and have believed that when it comes to leadership, we are needed and excel. As a proud member of the EMILYs List Creative Council, I proudly used my voice and platform to champion everything EMILYs List does to prepare and equip women to run for office and win. I was humbled to be asked to expand my support of this wonderful organization by joining the National Board. I am overjoyed to lend all that I am, have, and know to expand the good work that they do, and I look forward to learning even more about our government by working alongside all the wise, principled people in the EMILYs List family. That I get to do it as my sorority sister Kamala Harris takes her well-earned seat as vice president of the United States is just wonderful icing on an already amazing cake!”
Maya Harris has been an influential voice at the intersection of politics, public policy, and civil rights for over two decades. A lawyer, policy advocate, and writer, Maya served as a senior advisor to two historic U.S. presidential candidates (Clinton 2016, Harris 2020), directed the global Democracy Rights & Justice program of the Ford Foundation, and led the largest ACLU affiliate in the nation.
While a visiting scholar at Harvard Law School and a senior fellow at the Center for American Progress, Maya authored the groundbreaking report, Women of Color: A Growing Force in the American Electorate, documenting the prominence of women of color, especially Black women, in influencing political outcomes.
She was an on-air political and legal analyst for MSNBC, has published commentary in numerous media outlets, and been profiled in The New Yorker, Washington Post, and O The Oprah Magazine, among other publications. Maya is a graduate of the University of California at Berkeley and received her law degree with honors from Stanford Law School.
In response to being asked to join the board, Harris said, “EMILY's List has been a powerhouse for women in the political arena—recruiting, supporting and helping to elect record-breaking numbers of women into the highest levels of office. I am thrilled to join the Board of EMILY's List to help build on these successes, chart bold new milestones, and realize a vision of diverse women’s leadership across local, state, and national offices that reflects, represents and serves all Americans.”
Jennifer Lin is the managing partner at Gonring Lin Spahn. She specializes in public affairs, with extensive experience in federal, state, and local government relations, community outreach, and fundraising. An expert in managing issue advocacy campaigns, Jennifer provides counsel to Fortune 100 corporations, private companies, prominent individuals, philanthropic foundations, and nonprofit organizations seeking to build coalitions and achieve their policy goals. She also leads political fundraising, amassing tens of millions of dollars for Democratic candidates each cycle.
Jennifer was appointed by Governor Jerry Brown to the Exposition Park and California Science Center Board, where she currently serves as vice chair. She is also a member of the Getty House Foundation Board of Directors. Born in Taipei, Taiwan, she was raised in South Pasadena, California and is a graduate of the University of Southern California, where she received bachelor of arts degrees in political science and English.
In response to being asked to join the board, Lin said, “This year, our country made history — Kamala Harris is the first woman ever elected vice president of the United States. For decades, EMILYs List has done amazing work supporting strong, talented women, like VP-elect Harris, at all levels of government. But that work isn’t done; it’s only just begun. I’m thrilled to be joining the board, and look forward to helping EMILYs List make new history, as a driving force of positive change in the U.S.”
Deborah Simon’s career has spanned three decades and two industries. First, as senior vice president of Simon Property Group, and later in the motion picture industry as a music coordinator and music producer. Deborah started as a leasing agent for Simon Property Group and rose in the organization to a senior vice president having success in opening and leasing the Forum Shops among other shopping centers across the United States. After the company went public, she decided to pursue her dreams of philanthropy being one of the founders of the Simon Youth Foundation, which helps at-risk youth obtain their high school diplomas and continues to chair the foundation.
She is also on the Board of Directors for The Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island Foundation, the Juilliard Board of Trustees, the Board of Directors of the Planned Parenthood Foundation, and serves as a centennial chair for the ACLU. She graduated from Mercersburg Academy and attended the University of Southern California.
In response to being asked to join the board, Simon said, “”I am pleased and honored to join the Board of one of the premier groups that considers its main goal to elect qualified women to political office. It’s true most women have a different philosophy of how to get things done and act with compassion and honesty. Promoting women in all areas of life has been one of my goals in life and this is an excellent way to do so.”
Paul Bernon is co-chair of EMILY's List Creative Council and a managing partner at Rubicon Real Estate, LLC, which owns and manages investment properties across the United States. He is a co-founder and partner at Burn Later Productions, a Los Angeles-based film finance and production company. Paul is also a co-founder and served as fundraising chair of the Next Generation Developers Task Force, which provides patient family housing for Boston Children’s Hospital.
Paul is a member of the Boston College Chief Executives Club and he is a former director of the Massachusetts Housing Finance Authority, a quasi-public agency that has provided over $17 billion in financing for affordable housing. He is also a Board member at the Jewish Community Relations Council, the Alliance for Business Leadership, and a past overseer at Boston Children’s Hospital.
Paul served as finance co-chair for the campaigns of former Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick and former Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley. He provided the seed capital to launch Jess McIntosh and Zerlina Maxwell’s activist newsletter, “Signal Boost,”on Sirius XM Radio. Paul has lectured at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government, the University of Southern California, and Boston University about politics, film production, and entrepreneurship. He is also a past recipient of the Visionary Leadership Award from the Jewish Community Relations Council.
In response to being asked to serve as vice chair, Bernon said, “We had historic levels of turnout in 2020 but we need to continue to reach and turn out new young voters in the upcoming midterms and beyond. The stakes couldn't be higher, and I'm honored to serve as Vice Chair as we continue to break down barriers and work to elect more pro-choice Democratic women to office across the country.”
Yolanda Caraway has over thirty years of policy-making, project management and national and international political experience. Yolanda has played a major role in shaping the goals and objectives of the national Democratic Party and has been called upon throughout her career to coordinate various party efforts. In late 1985, she joined the National Rainbow Coalition as chief of staff to what became Jesse Jackson’s historic second bid for president. In 1988, she was appointed an at-large DNC member and served in that capacity until 2009.
In 1989, she played a pivotal role in the historic election of the late Secretary of Commerce Ron Brown to chair the Democratic National Committee. She later became Chairman Brown’s senior advisor at Party Headquarters and managed the site selection process for the 1992 Democratic National Convention. Since 2008, Yolanda has managed the backstage and podium operations for the Democratic National Convention.
She founded The Caraway Group in 1987, and has since led her team in counseling a number of well-known Fortune 500 companies, nonprofit organizations, government agencies, and high-profile individuals in every aspect of communications strategy. Yolanda has worked with major U.S. companies such as Apple, Microsoft, Google, Airbnb, AT&T, and more. She has also counseled government and nonprofit agencies such as the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation, the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute, the U.S. Department of Commerce, the Center for American Progress, the NATO 50th Anniversary Summit, and the Martin Luther King Jr. National Memorial Foundation Project.
In response to being asked to serve as secretary treasurer, Caraway said, “With over 1,300 wins and 60,000 women reaching out to run for office, EMILYs List is the go-to organization for women who want to run or want to become activists. I am honored and excited to serve as Secretary Treasurer at this very critical time for women in our country. I’ve seen the remarkable growth and success in training and electing a progressive diverse group of women to office at every level and know there is still a lot of work ahead.”
EMILYs List, the nation’s largest resource for women in politics, has raised over $700 million to elect pro-choice Democratic women candidates. With a grassroots community of over five million members, EMILY's List helps Democratic women win competitive campaigns – across the country and up and down the ballot – by recruiting and training candidates, supporting and helping build strong campaigns, researching the issues that impact women and families, running nearly $50 million in independent expenditures in the last cycle alone, and turning out women voters and voters of color to the polls. Since our founding in 1985, we have helped elect the country's first woman as vice president, 157 women to the House, 26 to the Senate, 16 governors, and more than 1,300 women to state and local office. More than 40 percent of the candidates EMILYs List has helped elect to Congress have been women of color. After the 2016 election, more than 60,000 women reached out to EMILY's List about running for office laying the groundwork for the next decade of candidates for local, state, and national offices. In our effort to elect more women in offices across the country, we have created our Run to Win program, expanded our training program, including a Training Center online, and trained thousands of women.