Get to know the leadership
David Nevins, President & Co-Director
As one of the initial driving forces behind the Bridge Alliance and as president and co-director, David Nevins brings business acumen, vision and a tireless this-must-and-can-be-done zeal to the burgeoning movement to bridge divides to transform the political process. As a business leader, Nevins excels at building bridges between people and organizations from the right, left and center for civilized conversation and then action.
He co-founded the Bridge Alliance because, as he says, “No matter how well managed and how well funded any one organization is, significant political reform will not happen without an alliance to further collaborative interactions. Together we can and will raise the collective impact of all.”
In addition to his roles with Bridge Alliance, he also currently serves as President of Nevins Real Estate Management.
He is a member of the Aspen Institute Society of Fellows, with a focus on the Aspen Rodel Fellowship in Public Leadership which supports leaders committed to the vision of a political system based on thoughtful and civil bipartisan dialogue.
Nevins established and continues to work with The Nevins Democracy Leaders program, a signature initiative within The McCourtney Institute for Democracy at Penn State University providing education and training in transpartisan leadership skills. The program exposes participants to a variety of philosophies, viewpoints, and strategies; teaches the tools of critical thinking, deliberation, and dialogue; and places students in unique internship opportunities in democratic and civic renewal.
Nevins also created the Nevins Diversity Scholarship Fund at the Smeal College of Business at Penn State with the goal of promoting the diversity of the Smeal College student body in 2012.
Nevins graduated with honors in economics from Penn State in 1969 and received an M.B.A. in finance from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania in 1971.
Debilyn Molineaux, Co-Director & Board Secretary
Debilyn Molineaux brings a passion to her work that is contagious to all around her. Her current work is at the intersection of politics, executive coaching, marketing and consulting. Molineaux works with staff, board members and other leaders inside their organizations to build “game changing” movements that shift the underlying dynamics of power, politics, and participation in our country. Molineaux is especially adept at the use of “quiet power” which brings out hidden talents of volunteers and staff who become valuable assets to the organization. She co-founded Bridge Alliance to become a backbone organization serving and publicizing the exponentially growing field of cross-partisan organizations and entrepreneurs, connecting good ideas, people, and resources.
Other projects include development and management of Living Room Conversations, serving as President of Coffee Party USA. Local Oregon work is with Ingenuity Innovation Center, a whole-systems approach and new paradigm for living.
John Steiner, Board Member
John Steiner is a networker, mesh weaver, catalyst, organizer and creative consultant with his wife and partner, Margo King. He has long been inspired by a Gregory Bateson phrase, “the pattern that connects” – bringing together people, projects, ideas, money and spirit around common themes. They support solutions to the great political, economic, social and spiritual challenges of our era, often from the vantage of the nondual. For many years he has been passionate about bridging the divides in our country -- country/people/issues before party!
He works with the Washington DC-based Convergence Center for Policy Resolution to bring multi-stakeholder, collaborative problem-solving tools to the national level. He was a founding member and early leader of the Threshold Foundation (aka Donuts) and a founding member of the Social Venture Network. He was a founding board member of Search for Common Ground and a former board chair of CDR Associates.
Working with Mediators Foundation, he is deeply engaged in helping to bring the transpartisan dynamic to scale.
John also works closely with Dr. Robert Fuller regarding rankism (racism, sexism, ageism, etc. – are subsets of rankism), its antidote a dignitarian society and the self-enforcement of the golden rule.
Bill Shireman, Board Member
Called a “master of environmental entrepreneurism,” Shireman brings together forces that love to hate and demonize each other: Republicans and Democrats, Rush Limbaugh conservatives and Michael Moore progressives, and above all, giant global corporations and the activists that distrust and demonize them. Shireman united Coors, Safeway and the Sierra Club to design and pass California’s “bottle bill” recycling law, the lowest-cost and most effective in the nation. He united Mitsubishi and Rainforest Action Network (RAN) to work together to save rainforests from North America to Malaysia. He brought together Coca-Cola and Genocide Intervention Network to help promote peace in the Sudan.
John Pudner, Board Member
John Pudner is currently the Executive Director of Take Back Our Republic. John jump-started the campaign of Dave Brat, who would ultimately unseat U.S. Majority Leader Eric Cantor in one of the most unprecedented upsets in political history. Later in the general election of the same year, he helped defeat a 32-year incumbent state senator in Alabama’s general election. He has managed campaigns for almost three decades winning 13 of 17 races in Virginia in 1990s. John spent three years in the corporate arena and rose to VP of Operations of InteliData producing a set of manuals called the best in the business by a major bank president and later served Sr. VP at consulting arm of a major law firm (McGuireWoods 2001-2005). John lives with his wife Kalynne and nine children in Auburn Alabama.
Joan Blades, Board Member
Joan is Founding Partner of Living Room Conversations and Co-Founder of MomsRising.org and MoveOn.org. She is the co-author of The Motherhood Manifesto and The Custom-Fit Workplace: Choose When, Where and How to Work and Boost the Bottom Line. Trained as an attorney/mediator with ten years experience as a software entrepreneur, Joan is also an artist, mother and true believer in the power of citizens and the need to rebuild respectful civil discourse and embrace our core shared values.
Kahlil Byrd, Board Member
Kahlil is a political entrepreneur and expert at building and managing large, disruptive, technology-based advocacy and political organizations. For the past decade, Kahlil has specialized on building long-term strategy, securing substantial investments and achieving reform at state and national levels. He founded and is CEO of Forward Progress in Politics (FPPCO LLC), a research and product development company focused on impact and public policy investors and their efforts to make significant change in Political Reform.
Kahlil formerly served as president of StudentsFirst, a multi-million dollar national reform effort focused on changing the nation’s legislative and policy landscape for public education. Working with the senior team and the board, Kahlil was responsible for StudentsFirst’s long-term strategy, operations, budget, and effort to develop an optimal culture focused on growth.
Carolyn Lukensmeyer, Board Member
Dr. Carolyn J. Lukensmeyer is the Executive Director of the National Institute for Civil Discourse, an organization that works to reduce political dysfunction and incivility in our political system. As a leader in the field of deliberative democracy, she works to restore our democracy to reflect the intended vision of our founding fathers.
Dr. Lukensmeyer previously served as Founder and President of AmericaSpeaks, an award-winning nonprofit organization that promoted nonpartisan initiatives to engage citizens and leaders through the development of innovative public policy tools and strategies. During her tenure, AmericaSpeaks engaged more than 165,000 people and hosted events across all 50 states and throughout the world. Dr. Lukensmeyer formerly served as Consultant to the White House Chief of Staff from 1993-94 and on the National Performance Review where she steered internal management and oversaw government-wide reforms. She was the Chief of Staff to Ohio Governor Richard F. Celeste from 1986-91, becoming the first woman to serve in this capacity. She earned her a PhD in Organizational Behavior from Case Western Reserve University and has completed postgraduate training at the Gestalt Institute of Cleveland.
Jelmarie (Juno) Maldonado, Social Media Director
Jelmarie, commonly known as Juno, is a recent graduate of University College London, where she obtained a Masters in Human Rights. Currently, she is the founder and CEO of her own social media marketing agency. Staying true to her interests in social justice, Jelmarie specializes in non-profits and in creating awareness for their causes. As for her future aspirations, Jelmarie hopes to one day work directly with policymakers in the area of international or domestic politics. For now, she continues to travel the world and build-up her company so that it will become the leading digital marketing agency for nonprofits worldwide.
Katie Page, Executive Administrative Partner
Katie is a recent Sociology graduate of the University of Colorado at Boulder living in Denver, CO. She is the Executive Administrative Partner at Living Room Conversations, a contributing Radical Generosity Team Member within the Bridge Alliance, and assistant to Debilyn Molineaux. Katie interned for a Colorado State Representative helping mold public perception about the legalization of marijuana and being a top contributor on multiple education bills. She is dedicated to spreading meaningful and trust-building communities around the world. She loves spending her free time with her dog and friends and is passionate about helping improve society.