I’m a health care advocate, on-air commentator and show host, event emcee and spokesperson, small business owner, non-profit founder, and award-winning progressive digital and communications strategist and consultant in Alexandria, Virginia. Born in California and raised all over the world, I’m a Michigander at heart (proud University of Michigan graduate #GoBlue). A former campaign staffer, I lived and worked across the country.
In the spring of 2017, I was diagnosed with cancer (stage 4 Hodgkin’s Lymphoma). After a grueling 6 months of chemotherapy and a month of radiation treatment, I am in remission.
The Affordable Care Act saved my life. But while I was fighting cancer, I had to fight my own U.S. Senator and President to keep my health insurance. The day after my first chemotherapy session, the Republican-controlled House voted to dismantle the ACA. The “skinny repeal” of Obamacare was voted down in the Senate by one vote a couple days before my 7th chemo session. I was blocked by (former!) President Trump on Twitter (later unblocked via Knight First Amendment Institute‘s efforts) that fall while he was backing yet another bill in the Senate to strip away my care. And the day after my 15th radiation session, I was thrown out of my (former!) Senator Dean Heller’s public forum for asking him about his health care record.
Now in remission, I’ve done five national health care-focused bus tours with Protect Our Care, traveled across Colorado on the Cardboard Cory bus tour and to NYC in search of my missing (former!) Senator Cory Gardner, spoke with future President Joe Biden in primetime at the Democratic National Convention, introduced President Barack Obama at the ACA 11th anniversary event online, was blocked on Twitter by Colorado’s embarrassment Congresswoman Lauren Boebert, emceed a nationwide bus tour with Courage for America on the default crisis and protecting our benefits, and reached tens of millions of people across the country with my story while fighting to protect our health care.
In 2018 I founded a c3 non-profit called Health Care Voices to organize adults with serious medical conditions to tell our stories, and the c4 non-profit Voices of Health Care Action. We’ve held several large free trainings to help people with health care stories become stronger and more effective public advocates (archived trainings available on our website).
I am the executive director of Health Care Voter as of August 2021, a national campaign to hold elected officials accountable for their votes on health care, and support those who fight to protect our care. I ran Get America Covered, a project focused on open enrollment awareness and outreach for the Affordable Care Act health insurance exchanges through healthcare.gov. I serve on the advisory board of Unrig Our Economy, the advisory council of ACA Consumer Advocacy, another ACA non-profit outreach organization, and volunteer with the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, and the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network.
I host a weekly consumer-focused show Mondays at 4:30pm ET on act.tv called “Care Talk”, where we answer viewers’ questions on health insurance and our health care system in America (available on act.tv’s social media channels, and streaming via their Roku, Apple TV and Fire TV channels too). Care Talk is now a podcast also! Feel free to pitch me future show ideas and guests.
I’m a small business owner of PowerThru Consulting, my boutique digital consulting firm for progressive non-profits and advocacy organizations. At PowerThru we work with select clients to spread their message and organize and activate their supporters online, to create change offline. We work on progressive national, state and local issues.
I’ve staffed and consulted with small to large progressive non-profits and Democratic campaigns from city council to President across the country over the past decade+. I also serve on the board of Blue Digital Exchange, a trade association for left-leaning digital professionals. I’m an advisor to SpeechifAI, a tech startup working to make content social sharing easier and more effective.
My digital solo and group work has won 9 Reed awards and 4 Pollies to date, including best online video for our health care digital work in 2020, best online fundraising program (Democratic), innovation in fundraising, and most daring & successful tactic as a part of the Be A Hero PAC group effort to organize a crowdfunding accountability campaign on Susan Collins for her Kavanaugh vote, best digital independent expenditure for the Chicago mayoral race in 2019 and best use of targeting for a U.S. Senate IE campaign via social media in 2018 for LPAC.
A graduate of Women’s Media Center Progressive Women’s Voices and Michigan Political Leadership Program fellowships, I’ve appeared on MSNBC (including a couple hours after my 11th chemo session), local TV & network chain news programs (Nexstar, Scripps, Cox etc.), local & NPR radio programs, online shows, and podcasts. I’ve spoken at United State of Women and other forums including the Democratic National Convention, testified to the Nevada and Colorado state legislatures and also the Democratic National Convention platform committee, and my op eds and personal story have been featured in publications from USA Today to US News & World Report, NBC News, Newsweek and People. My personal videos for NowThis have been viewed over 20 million times.
I’ve been an expert source on digital campaigning or been written about in publications from Ad Age to The Observer, from Mashable to MSNBC, from NBC News to the New York Times, from Washington Post to Wired. I’m also an occasional contributor to Campaigns & Elections magazine.
I love my work at the intersection of digital technology and advocacy, and I also love to teach and help others use technology to effectively accomplish their organizational mission. I often share digital and storytelling best practices at national and regional conferences such as AAPC, CampaignTech, NTC, Netroots Nation, Organizing 2.0, and RootsCamp, and webinars and trainings in-person for small groups around the country. I have also been a guest lecturer at George Washington University’s M.P.S. in Political Management program.
I’ve worked with and trained at non-profits and campaigns in several states over the years, covering storytelling and messaging, online strategy development, organizing and outreach, fundraising, advertising, and social media. I’m also writing a book on digital organizing for progressives.