• Press Release

EMILYs List Announces Jessica Mackler as VP of Federal and Gubernatorial Campaigns

May 14, 2021

For Immediate Release 

May 14, 2020


EMILYs List Announces Jessica Mackler as VP of Federal and Gubernatorial Campaigns

Jessica joins a diverse senior leadership team at EMILYs List who have been consequential in electing women up and down the ballot.

Washington, D.C. – Today, EMILYs List, the nation’s largest resource for women in politics, announced that Jessica Mackler has joined as the new vice president of federal and gubernatorial campaigns. Jessica most recently ran two high profile independent expenditure operations for the Democratic Governors Association (DGA) in 2020 and the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) in 2018. 

“We are excited to have Jessica back at EMILY's List and joining our senior leadership team,” said Emily Cain, executive director of EMILY's List. “In a variety of positions, Jessica has been critical to Democratic success for many years and we are so glad EMILYs List candidates will benefit from her extensive experience. Jessica is joining a senior leadership team that includes talented operatives who have worked for a variety of Democratic party and progressive organizations and campaigns. That team will continue to work every day to ensure Democrats hold and expand the majority in Congress, win races at every level and elect more diverse Democratic pro-choice women in 2022.”

“I'm thrilled to be joining EMILY's List at this consequential time in our democracy,” said Jessica Mackler. “Over the last decade, EMILY's List's candidates across the country have shown their strength and commitment to their communities, running and winning up and down the ballot, and fighting against archaic abortion bans and discriminatory voting laws. With more than 60,000 women ready to join their ranks, I'm excited to hit the ground running to help elect the next generation of progressive women leaders.”

Jessica Mackler joins EMILY's List as one of the country’s top political strategists. She has run numerous top-tier federal campaigns and directed more than $100 million in spending by campaigns, advocacy organizations, and independent expenditures. Politico Playbook named Jessica to its 2018 “Women to Watch Power List,” noting, “she has honed her political chops over a long career in Democratic politics.” She was the first woman to serve as the DCCC’s Independent Expenditure director. In this role, Jessica led a team of 38 and directed nearly $90 million in paid media spending across 59 congressional districts.

Jessica was previously the President of American Bridge 21st Century, the largest opposition research and rapid response organization in Democratic politics. Before joining Bridge, Jessica spent a decade working on targeted Democratic campaigns across the country. She managed the 2012 Nevada Senate race and served as a top adviser to U.S. Senator Mary Landrieu’s successful 2008 reelection campaign. Jessica began her career as a political researcher at EMILYs List and is a native of Sonoma County, California, and a graduate of UC San Diego. She lives in Bethesda, Maryland, with her husband and two sons.

EMILYs List's senior leadership team includes:

Madhur Bansal is the Vice President of Research at EMILYs List where she oversees the organization’s research department, including handling candidate research for women running up and down the ballot and fulfilling research requests for endorsed campaigns. She was previously the deputy research director at EMILY's List during the 2018 cycle. Prior to joining EMILYs List she worked at American Bridge and the DCCC, where she was the primary researcher for 14 competitive races on the committee’s independent expenditure program providing research backup on polls as well as television, digital, and radio ads. Madhur has also worked on President Obama’s 2012 reelection campaign, in the late Congressman Elijah Cummings’ Baltimore City district office doing constituent services, and for South Asian Americans Leading Together (SAALT).

Emily Cain joined EMILYs List as Executive Director in 2017, after ten years as a state legislator, two cycles as an EMILYs List endorsed candidate for Congress, and over a decade of work in higher education. In the past four years, Emily has helped lead EMILYs List at a time of record growth in the size and reach of the organization, bringing the perspective of someone who has served in office, run strong campaigns, and earned votes in tough places. First elected at age 24, Emily served in the Maine House and Senate over five terms, including as the youngest woman House Minority Leader in state history, and led the takeback of the Maine House for Democrats in 2012 by recruiting top candidates, electing women, and winning tough districts. Emily graduated from the University of Maine and Harvard University, and lives in Orono, Maine with her husband, Danny Williams and their dog, Bartlet the pug.

Angelique Cannon is the vice president of development and has worked in politics, campaigns, and fundraising for 20 years. Recently, she served as the national finance director for U.S. Senator Kamala Harris’ 2020 presidential campaign. During the 2018 election cycle, Angelique served as the national finance director for Senate Majority PAC and Majority Forward. She was the deputy national finance director for the Mid-Atlantic region for Hillary Clinton’s 2016 presidential campaign. Prior to joining the Clinton campaign, she served as the national finance director at the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee (DSCC) for four years (2011-2014).

Sarah Curmi is the Vice President of State and Local Campaigns at EMILYs List, where she oversees the team that recruits and advises women running for down-ballot statewide, state legislative, and local offices. Sarah joined EMILYs List in 2015 as a Regional Director for State and Local Campaigns. Prior to EMILYs List, she worked in the Michigan Legislature and served as the Caucus Director for the Michigan Senate Democrats. Growing up in a politically-active family, Sarah started volunteering on campaigns at an early age, and was elected to her hometown school board at just 18 years old. 

She has managed several state legislative campaigns, and worked on races up and down the ballot throughout her career. Sarah is a proud Michigander and single mom by choice. She graduated from the University of Michigan and lives in Ypsilanti, Michigan with her daughter Mia. 

Ben Dotson is the vice president of digital at EMILYs List where he oversees digital fundraising, communications, and organizing efforts for the organization, including the email, social media, text messaging, and creative programs. Prior to joining EMILYs List, Ben was a senior digital strategist at the Smoot Tewes Group, where he managed email, social media, and advertising campaigns for clients in the energy, environment, conservation, and electoral sectors. From 2011 to 2014, Ben served in the Obama administration in the U.S. Department of Energy, where he managed the agency’s digital reform program. Ben started his career in LGBT and youth organizing and worked on a number of state and local campaigns in Michigan.

A native of Tennessee, Ben is a graduate of Central Michigan University with a bachelor of arts in political science and music and George Washington University with a masters in political management.

Louisa Farley is the deputy executive director at EMILYs List where she oversees the organization's development and operational goals. From 2012 through 2019, Louisa served as the major gifts director and then as the vice president of development at EMILYs List. Prior to joining EMILYs List, Louisa worked with Australian political organizations including the Chifley Research Centre and New South Wales Labor Party. For the 2009-2010 cycle, Louisa served as national finance director for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC). 

Louisa has also amassed a successful track record of raising resources for candidates, including Senator Jeanne Shaheen, Governor Dan Malloy, Senator Chris Dodd, and Governor Mike Easley. Louisa is a South Carolina native. She is a graduate of the University of South Carolina with a BS in Business Administration and the University of Newcastle, Australia with a MBA. She currently resides in Washington, D.C. with her husband and three children.

Callie Fines serves as the CFO for EMILYs List where she ensures the financial wellbeing 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 over 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. 

Callie earned her B.A. in political science from Dickinson College in Carlisle,Pennsylvania. She is a native Washingtonian and now lives in Virginia with her husband, two children, and golden retriever.

Christina Reynolds joined EMILY's List as the Vice President of Communications, after nearly two decades of experience in communications and research. Christina spent most of her career in campaigns and politics, serving as deputy communications director at Hillary for America, White House Director of Media Affairs and Special Assistant to President Obama, director of rapid response at Obama for America, research & policy director at the DCCC during the 2006 midterms, senior roles in several presidential and Senate campaigns, and deputy research director at the DNC. She also worked in strategic communications and public affairs at the Global Strategy Group and the Glover Park Group. 

A proud Tar Heel and Marine brat, Christina studied journalism and political science at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She is the co-author, with EMILYs List former President Stephanie Schriock, of Run to Win: Lessons in Leadership for Women Changing the World.

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. Prior to joining EMILYs List, Denelle served as HR Director for a variety of clients with responsibilities of recruitment, payroll processing, benefits administration, employment law and relations, and many other tasks, at Raffa, P.C., a consulting firm in Washington, DC. Prior to that, Denelle worked for the Center for American Progress, a think tank in Washington, DC, 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.

Mike Sager is the Chief Technology Officer (CTO) and Chief Information Security Officer (CISO) for EMILYs List, overseeing cybersecurity, technology infrastructure, and data and software development. Mike joined EMILYs List in 2017 as CTO, adding the CISO role in 2020. As one of the leading cybersecurity advocates in the political space, Mike was a contributing author of the 2020 Google Digital Security & U.S. Political Campaigns Expert Roundtable, and has spoken to national publications including Time about cybersecurity issues. Prior to EMILYs List, Mike led analytics software development at Burson-Marsteller, was the Political Technology Director at the AFL-CIO during the 2012 cycle, designed digital products at NGPVAN, and was the administrator of the national voter file at the DNC in 2008. 

Mike lives in Northern Virginia with his wife, daughters, and dog. Mike is an amateur chef, jangle pop guitarist, and a diehard fan of both the Washington Nationals and the band The National.

Johanna Silva Waki  is the Vice President for Training and Community Engagement where she oversees partnership, community engagement and training programs which help to expand and diversify the pipeline of women running for public office. Most recently, Johanna served as the Programs and West Coast Director for State and Local Campaigns at EMILY’s past two election cycles. She helped increase the number of Democratic pro-choice women in both chambers of California’s state legislature. 

In 2016, she led the effort to flip New Mexico’s House and Nevada’s state Assembly and Senate and increased the majority and number of women in Colorado’s State House.In 2002, Johanna founded Hope Road Consulting, one of only a few women-of-color lead full-service political consulting and public relations firms in California. An immigrant of Nicaragua, Johanna lives in San Francisco with her family. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and La Raza Studies from San Francisco State University.

Melissa Williams is the Executive Director of Women Vote, running the EMILYs List independent expenditure arm – one of the largest outside spenders on the Democratic side. In this role, she oversees the organization’s efforts to research, persuade, and mobilize women voters; and works to strengthen partnerships with progressive allies Nationally. Williams also serves as the Executive Director of American Women, an affiliated organization of EMILYs List. American Women works to amplify women’s voices across the country. In this role, she leads the organization's strategic vision, research, and outreach with allies and partners.

This is her second stint at EMILYs List, first joining staff in the 2012 cycle to run the House and Gubernatorial IEs. Prior to joining EMILYs List, Melissa was the National Political Director for the Sierra Club. While at the Sierra Club, she oversaw the electoral program, running independent expenditures, membership communications, and coordinated campaigns nationwide. She holds degrees in Government and Women’s Studies from Harvard. She also holds an M.S. in International Political Economics.

EMILYs List, the nation’s largest resource for women in politics, has raised over $700 million to elect Democratic pro-choice 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.