Our nation feels more divided every day.
People are shouting instead of listening, and a whole lot of fighting means very little progress.
We need kinder, more respectful ways to talk about what matters.
GALvanize brings women together to learn, share ideas, and support each other to stand up for what matters to us. Our community honors respect and civility as we talk about solutions that work for all families – white, black, and brown.
“I am always a little more bold and brave when someone has my back. I imagine we all are. We can choose to be that person for each other.”
Jackie Payne, our Executive Director, was raised in Illinois and has fond memories of piling in the car for long road trips to Wisconsin with her sister and brothers before ipads and seatbelts were a thing. She went to college at U of I and law school at U of M (Go Blue!) Growing up in the Midwest taught her that you always bring a plate of brownies over when new folks move in and you never leave a dinner party until the last dish is dried. Jackie is heavily influenced by the gals in her family, who are teachers, nurses, nuns, and stay-at-home moms. She has spent her career working to create the conditions that allow girls and women to reach their full potential. She lives with her husband, Jonah, and their two kids, Desmond and Fiona. She cannot wait until they are old enough to play euchre.
“You may not be able to control what happens around you but you can control how you react to it and what you do in response. Your actions are what determines the future.”
Katy Butler, our Digital Campaign Manager, has a background in education, advocacy, social media, and digital campaign work. Growing up in Michigan, her mom was her biggest role model as a hands-on parent and a career woman. As a teenager, Katy had the opportunity to explore diversity in her community and since then has loved helping other people start conversations and create change in their own communities. When’s she’s not facilitating dialogues or learning the latest social media tools Katy is either playing rugby, listening to Disney songs or going on mini adventures with her wife, 1-year-old daughter Maeve and dog Millie.
“Sometimes when you feel like you have something to lose, you actually have everything to gain.”
Emily Cavanaugh heads up operations work at GALvanize USA. She was born in Chicago, IL on a winning day for the Cubs – an auspicious start. Her early years were full of playing violin, dance, very good dogs, excellent math teachers, and an insatiable appetite for books in the northern suburbs of Chicago. With her career, she has focused on women’s issues and dreams of a world in balance, where everyone has what they need to thrive. Currently located in California after a long stint in Washington, DC, she’s looking forward to moving back to the midwest soon. When she’s not behind a spreadsheet, you can find her on a bike, at a dance class, reading in a cozy chair, or exploring the natural world with her husband and toddler.
“If you get, give. If you learn, teach.” Maya Angelou
Naomi Rose Caywood, our Data and Digital Support Associate, comes with an eclectic set of career experiences. With a background in global policy and anthropology, Naomi has held many different positions from Christmas wreath maker and waitress, to youth program coordinator and career counselor. She was raised by her mother in a very small-town in Maine and grew up growing her own food, heating with wood, and braving the snowy weather. She has since traveled and worked throughout the world. Naomi has a passion for youth development, research, and improving access to education for disadvantaged populations. She loves hearing individual’s stories and helping youth overcome barriers to live out their dreams. Naomi lives with her husband and stepdaughter in Maine where she enjoys hiking, paddling, and time in her large flower and veggie gardens.
“Everyday we decide who we will be and how we will use our space in this world. I decide to use my space to support and empower those around me, as they’ve done for me.”
Rachel Cowell, our Director of Organizing, comes from a background in electoral and issue organizing work throughout the country. She is from Waterloo, IA but spent her formative years in a small, rural town in Wisconsin. Throughout her career, she has focused on campus organizing, women’s empowerment, and the fight against climate change. Rachel lives in Chicago, IL and when she’s not organizing, she can be found enjoying live music, hanging out on patios, and watching movies directed by women.
“We all believe in something better for ourselves and our communities. What’s important is finding your hope and then helping others to realize theirs.”
Hannah Curtis, our Program and Research Manager, has a background in public health, community-engaged programming, policy analysis, wedding planning, and theater. She grew up in Michigan where her favorite memories are of family camping trips, Disney sing-alongs in the car with her sister, and tubing on Lake Michigan with her girlfriends. Hannah loves working collaboratively with other women to give back to her community, a value instilled in her by her mother and grandmother. When she is not hiking, baking, or re-reading Harry Potter, Hannah is organizing volunteer events for her friends. She lives with her husband and two cats, “Oscar” and “Gracie Anne.”
“We belong to one another.”
Sara is our Director of External Affairs. When she was 5 years old, Sara’s kindergarten teacher told her mother that Sara was “very concerned about justice” — she had never met a child who so often described something as “not fair.” As an adult, Sara has indeed spent much of her career trying to make the world a better, more equitable place, working on issues like access to quality, affordable healthcare and preventing gun violence. In her free time, Sara loves to experiment with new recipes, go for a jog, and dream about traveling the world. She lives in St. Louis, Missouri with her husband, their 13 year old daughter, and their pets Wilma (cat) and Yoru (dog).
“If it doesn’t challenge you, it doesn’t change you.”
Kathleen has a background in content creation, editing, and gender equality advocacy. Whether in her hometown of Richmond, Virginia, southern Tennessee, the mountains of Spain, or the coast of Morocco, she is constantly seeking out the tough conversations that challenge us to reflect on ourselves and learn from others. She came to Galvanize out of this very passion for the growth that happens when we come together with open minds and hearts, ready to listen and share. Kathleen speaks Spanish, French, and Moroccan Arabic and spends nearly all her free time trying to train her very stubborn puppy, Crush.
“In order to reach solutions for our communities, we need to take a step back and remind ourselves to listen to each other. By listening and finding common ground, then we will be able to move forward together.”
Lydia Lippold-Gelb, our Associate, has a background in community organizing, youth engagement, and advocacy. She also loves working with kids, thanks to many years going to camp and as a camp counselor. Lydia is from Washington but considers Minnesota her second home, having lived in St. Paul for college (Go Mac!) and making trips annually for her family reunion. She has a dream of opening a deep-fried cookie dough stand at the Minnesota State Fair one day! Lydia believes in speaking up and being engaged in the community, a lesson she learned from one of her role models, her mother. Outside of work, Lydia enjoys spending time with friends, discovering new recipes, and keeping up with the latest book for her book club.
“If we can combine a bold, long-term vision while giving attention to personal transformation, we can achieve social change that is far more powerful than the sum of its parts.”
Kristin Wheeler, our Campaign Director, has a background in grassroots organizing, wilderness guiding, campaigning, and strategic communications. Originally from the San Francisco Bay Area, Kristin has spent her life fighting for causes she cares about. As the late Senator Paul Wellstone said, Kristin believes “we all do better when we all do better.” When she isn’t mapping out campaign strategies, Kristin can be found paddling on the nearest body of water or searching for new cheeses to try. Kristin lives in Western Washington with her partner and their cats Gus and Pepper.
Do you find yourself avoiding politics because of all the division and negativity?
GALvanize brings women together online and in person to learn, share ideas, and support each other to stand up for what matters to us.
Nobody knows it all. But together we can figure it out. Join us.