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.”
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-Director & Board Secretary
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.
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 in 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 national 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.
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.