David Nevins, Chairman of the Board
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, President and CEO
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.
Rev. Dr. F. Willis Johnson, VP of Partnerships and Programs
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.
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.
Francis Johnson, Board Member
Francis Johnson is the President and Board Chairman of Take Back Our Republic, a 501c3 organization that advocates for conservative solutions to campaign finance reform, Instant Runoff, and gerrymandering.
He is a founding partner of Communications Resources LLC, a public affairs, public relations and political consultancy specializing in government and media relations, corporate communications and crisis communications initiatives, developed policy issues for political candidates, and grassroots engagement efforts.
He has worked at all levels in national political campaigns, serving various positions in the McCain/Palin 2008, Bush/Cheney 20002004 and Bush/Quayle ‘92. He also served on the gubernatorial campaigns of Gilmore for Governor ‘97, and the Williams for Governor ‘93 campaigns. Throughout his career, Johnson has also served as a strategist and consultant on various public affairs initiatives addressing a host of issues, including, defense, energy, agriculture, IT, and healthcare. He also led governmental relations efforts for the Coal Industries Alliance, and the Social Security Foundation.
Francis also served as political director/strategist for the Senate Action Committee, and the Conservative Action Alliance.
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.
Manu Meel, Board Member
Manu Meel is passionate about empowering young people and advocating for civic engagement. Having recently graduated from UC Berkeley, Manu serves as the CEO of BridgeUSA, a national organization that is investing in the future of democracy. Through his work, Manu has contributed to several news outlets, advanced pro-democracy efforts nationally, and led the policy operation for a Baltimore mayoral candidate. In the past, Manu worked as an associate at the venture capital firm Amplo and at the Department of State as a political analyst in counterterrorism. His work has been featured in The New York Times, The Washington Post, and other media platforms.
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.
Maria Yuan, Board Member
Maria Yuan is passionate about fixing significant, systemic problems by leveraging creativity and determination to achieve world-changing results and impact. As the Founder of IssueVoter, our mission is to give everyone a voice in our representative democracy. Individuals from all 435 Congressional Districts already use IssueVoter and we have sent over two million alerts to individuals and opinions back to Congress. IssueVoter has motivated Americans to vote, stay informed, and make their voices heard between elections, when the real work that affects our lives gets done. IssueVoter also collaborates with organizations to engage and activate their communities in impactful ways.
Maria's interviews and writing have appeared in Real Clear Politics, The Hill, PBS, MTV, Fast Company, and more, and she has spoken at conferences, companies, and universities across the U.S. on civic engagement, technology, and democracy. Maria earned degrees from The Wharton School at The University of Pennsylvania and The University of Texas at Austin.