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 anyone 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.”
He is a member of the Aspen Institute Society of Fellows, with a focus on the Aspen Rodel Fellowship in Public Leadership, he established and continues to work with The Nevins Democracy Leaders program at Penn State University. 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. He continues as President of Nevins Real Estate Management.
Debilyn Molineaux, Co-Founder & Co-Director
Debilyn Molineaux co-founded the Bridge Alliance to harness the exponentially growing field of organizations into a “game changing” movement that shifts the underlying dynamics of power, politics, and participation in our country. She works with the staff, board members and other leaders of Bridge Alliance members in advancing the common mission of all 80+ organizations. Debilyn brings a passion to her work that is contagious to all around her.
Hailing from a conservative, agricultural community, Debilyn started her career as a small business owner, working with community businesses to promote and grow their own operations through advertising and marketing. After engaging other women business leaders, Debilyn was inspired to become more active in the political process.
Her own personal experiences -- as a small business owner, a local candidate for office, and an elected president of a national organization -- have given her enormous insight into the challenges facing citizens who want to get involved and organizations that want to scale their impact.
In addition to her Bridge Alliance work, Debilyn continues to bring her insight to entities seeking to grow their participation and efficacy. She developed and serves as managing partner of Living Room Conversations, as an Advisor to Allsides.com and to the Oregon-based Ingenuity Innovation Center. She was elected as president of Coffee Party USA, a nonpartisan movement working to restore the principles and spirit of American representative democracy.
Debilyn is an ontologically trained coach and is especially adept at guiding organizations in new ways to bring out hidden talents of volunteers and staff who become valuable assets.
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.
Brian Clancy, Investor and Strategic Advisor
Brian is Founder and CEO of Big Tent Nation. Among other career adventures he led the team that launched Fidelity.com and was responsible for systems planning and analysis at the world’s largest investment management organization. He also has a strong social entrepreneurship track record that includes co-founding the Center for Financial Inclusion. The Center has become a global thought leader in microfinance and has partners and funders that include the Gates Foundation, McKinsey, Harvard Business School and the World Bank. He also has experience in the rough and tumble world of city and state politics through his tenure as President of the Boston Public Library Foundation.
Rev. F. Willis Johnson, D. Min., Senior Fellow
A third-generation educator, Rev. Dr. F. Willis Johnson is a spiritual entrepreneur, Senior Minister of Living Tree Church and adjunct faculty at Methodist Theological School of Ohio. Johnson formerly served as senior minister of Wellspring Church in Ferguson, Missouri, a predominately African-American intergenerational urban parachute church plant.
Rev. Dr. Johnson is respected for his leadership and strategies around social and racial justice issues. Recognized as a scholar-practitioner, Johnson authored Holding Up Your Corner: Talking About Race in Your Community, and is a sought after thought-leader who empowers individuals and communities towards prophetic response—healing, justice and reconciliation. With some 19 years of professional ministry experience in Indiana, North Carolina, and Missouri, Johnson’s skills extend far beyond the pulpit. Trained in education and nonprofit management, he has served in volunteer and paid leadership positions for multiple nonprofit organizations. He counsels bishops, General Board agencies, annual conferences, and local churches across the country. Johnson in 2017 was the Vosburgh Visiting Professor of Ministry and Social Engagement at Drew University’s Theological School.
At a time when our nation is experiencing great upheaval on matters of race, policing, violence, ecclesial and communal fragmentation, Johnson continues to prepare prophetic leaders who promote healing, justice and transformation through his leadership of The Center for Social Empowerment -- a hub for theologically informed reflection, investigation, and education on social and racial justice issues.
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.
Doug Nickle, Director of Development
Doug Nickle is a political reformer and a dedicated proponent of citizen accountability. He seeks to end America’s addiction to the negative influence of partisan, media cycle politics.
Following a professional baseball career as a pitcher, Doug worked in the California wine industry, while also serving on the boards of two non-profits. Always politically active, he founded Make California Count- an Electoral College reform organization- in 2013. He participated in the development of biotech and technology start ups, and worked as a volunteer for a veterans workforce integration non-profit. Most recently, Nickle was founder and Executive Director of Dare To Be United- a nonprofit reform organization focused on creating a more responsive government through citizen engagement. Doug is the author of the book The Point of the Gun, a guide to choosing firearms for responsible personal defense.
Doug was born in California while Ronald Reagan was still Governor of the Golden State. He received his Bachelor’s degree in Political Science from the University of California, Berkeley. After Cal, he was drafted to play professional baseball, and pitched in the Major Leagues for the Philadelphia Phillies and San Diego Padres. He currently lives in Arizona with his wife and daughter and four-legged children.
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.
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 Steiner, Board Member
John Steiner is a networker, 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 and consults with Convergence Center for Policy Resolution, was a founding member of Threshold Foundation, Social Venture Network and Search for Common Ground. He is a board member for Mediators Foundation, deeply engaged in helping to bring the transpartisan dynamic to scale.