David Nevins, Chairman of the Board
As one of the initial driving forces behind the Bridge Alliance and as chairman of the board, 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 Bridge Alliance, she co-founded Living Room Conversations and the National Conversation Project. Debilyn continues to bring her insight to entities seeking to grow their participation and efficacy. She serves as an advisor to many leaders and organizations.
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, Jr., VP of Partnerships and Programming
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.
Jeremy Garson, Legal Counsel and Chief of Staff
Jeremy Garson is an attorney who is licensed in Maryland, Washington, D.C., and Pennsylvania. He graduated from the University of Michigan Law School in 2014 and, prior to joining the Bridge Alliance, served as a labor / employment attorney. Jeremy has previously served as a constituent caseworker handling veterans' affairs and tax casework for a Democratic Congressman. He also worked on a Democratic presidential campaign. He is dedicated to pushing against the nation's "us vs. them" mentality and ensuring that progressives, conservatives, libertarians, and everybody in between have voices at the collective table. Jeremy is passionate about sports, and in particular Michigan Wolverines basketball and the Philadelphia Eagles and Philadelphia 76ers.
Shakira Mills, Deputy Chief of Staff
Shakira "Shay" Mills is a recent Virginia Wesleyan University graduate with a B.A in Communication, Political Science and Women/Gender Studies. Shay developed a passion for activism during her undergraduate years and is now dedicated to using her love of writing to advocate for American minority groups. Her goal is to change the perspective surrounding minority issues, resulting in collaborative change amongst all political parties, social classes, ethnicities, religious beliefs, etc. When she is not fighting for human rights, Shay is either working on her goal of becoming a professional filmmaker or curled up with a good book.
Brian Clancy, Chief Civic Engagement Officer
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.
Sara Miller, Communications Coordinator
Sara Miller graduated from The University at Buffalo with a dual degree in Political Science and Legal Studies. Her past work experiences include interning with: The United Nations Legal Affairs Department, Foote Cone & Belding Health, Neon, and the New York City Housing Court. Since she was a child, Sara has enjoyed writing letters to political leaders about relevant issues. In 2006, she even received a letter back from former President George W. Bush. After living abroad in her high school years, she is looking to take what she has learned from foreign political systems and use that knowledge domestically to discuss remedies to polarization and gridlock. She also wishes to use her prior experience as a marketing intern to effectively inform people of varying political backgrounds through social listening and key insights from research. She is primarily interested in working toward uniting political worlds by leveling the informational playing field. When she is not playing mediator you can find Sara in the kitchen making a mean coq au vin!
Caroline Klibanoff, Digital Strategy
Caroline Klibanoff is a digital strategist and a producer of multimedia content, social media communities and public programming. After graduating from Georgetown University with degrees in American Studies and Film & Media Studies, she joined the Pew Research Center's communications team. She has an M.A. in Public History from Northeastern University, and has worked for cultural institutions including the FrameWorks Institute, Big Tent Nation, the Cambridge Historical Society, and Northern Light Productions. Caroline is dedicated to listening to, engaging and supporting the voices of the American people (and those living here) in charting the country's future.
Amber Allison, Communications Associate
Amber Allison is a Senior at the California State University of Northridge, majoring in Public Sector Management. She has over twenty years' experience in the construction industry, working for general contractors. As a Facilities Services Coordinator working for LAUSD received two awards for excellence in her ten years of service. She has been a member of the National Society of Leadership and Success since 2019. She has a heart for the plight of the homeless and has been volunteering at homeless shelters, rescue missions, and food banks throughout Los Angeles since she was a teenager. After completing her bachelor's degree, she plans to pursue a Master's Degree in Communications, focusing on digital media.
Michelle Dickson, Development Associate
My name is Michelle, and I was raised in Atlanta, Georgia. I attended Louisiana State University from 2015 to 2019. I majored in Political Science with a concentration in American Government and International Relations and have a minor in American history. At LSU, I was apart of Kappa Alpha Theta, Young American Federation, and College of Republicans. After graduating, I pursued a Master's degree in Legislative Affairs at George Washington University. While working on my Master's degree, I have worked for non-profits, senatorial and congressional campaigns, and campaign consulting.
Shelli Cohen, Graduate Volunteer
Shelli Cohen is from Brooklyn, New York and a recent graduate of SUNY Binghamton. Her love for problem solving and critical thinking led her to pursue a degree in mathematics. During her 2nd year she took a Foundations of Civic Engagement course where she delved into her core values and how she wanted to engage with her community. This encouraged her to serve as an intern at the Binghamton University Food Pantry and an Ambassador for the Andrew Goodman Foundation, which works to reduce student barriers to voting. In addition, she ran a successful campaign to paint a pedestrian path from a student living complex to campus, in turn creating a safer community. These experiences helped her understand that her true passion is to "do good well". In her free time, she likes to go on long hikes, hang out on the beach and play volleyball.
A.J. Walts, Volunteer