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.
Join Our Community
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.
Meet Our Team
“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.
“Vulnerability is not winning or losing; it’s having the courage to show up and be seen when we have no control over the outcome. Vulnerability is not weakness; it’s our greatest measure of courage.” – Brene Brown
Casey Accardi, our Organizing Manager, comes from a background in organizing, women’s empowerment, and education. She was born in Pewaukee, WI and has been learning about women in leadership since she was old enough to talk with her mom, a mechanical engineer who got her start working at a steel mill in Butler, PA. When she’s not working, you can find her trying a new homemade ice cream recipe, planning a day trip, wandering a local bookstore, or getting a group of friends together to try something new.
“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 Program Associate, 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, 2-year-old daughter Maeve and dog.
“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. After long stints in California and Washington, DC, she returned to the midwest in 2020. 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 Program Evaluation 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 is pursuing an PhD in Educational Foundations through the University of Hawaii and spends time between her home in New Mexico, visiting her step-daughter in Pennsylvania, and the island of O’ahu.
“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 Evaluation 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 reading historical fiction, Hannah is organizing volunteer events for her friends. She lives with her husband, new baby Thea, and two cats, “Oscar” and “Gracie Anne.”
“We thrive when we have a positive goal to move toward, not just a negative state we’re trying to move away from.” – Emily & Amelia Nagoski
Kristen serves as the Database Manager at GALvanize USA, where she strives to find elegant solutions to everyday data dilemmas. Before becoming a self-proclaimed data nerd, Kristen worked as a field organizer on political campaigns and spent several years in a direct service role at a non-profit. Kristen was born, raised, and is currently based in Raleigh, NC. When she’s not clicking away on her keyboard, she enjoys hiking with her pup Rufus, whipping up tasty concoctions in the kitchen, and listening to far too many podcasts.
“Exercising self-compassion is the first step of social change. To provide meaningful care for others you must first care for yourself. But once you care for yourself, it’s important to extend that care to others!”
Deanna Hobbs, our Digital Community Organizer, is passionate about advocacy, positive social change, and initiating important community conversations. She has found purpose within the realms of environmentalism, youth voter engagement, healthcare access, and food justice. Throughout her life she has lived in Alaska, Washington, and Idaho, and now resides right outside of Washington DC. Deanna loves being immersed in nature, and also enjoys yoga, dessert shops, curating Spotify playlists, and finding new vegetarian recipes.
“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 is our content strategist and 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.
“When I dare to be powerful, to use my strength in the service of my vision, then it becomes less and less important whether I am afraid.” ― Audre Lorde
Maggie Kennedy, our Executive Communications Coordinator, comes from a background in both campaign and issue-based organizing focused on sexual, gender-based, and relationship violence awareness and prevention. Born and raised outside of Philadelphia, PA, Maggie grew up loving soccer, basketball, the outdoors, and all things musical theatre. While at the University of Pittsburgh, Maggie deepened her passion for civic and political engagement. These days, Maggie is living in New York City and can most often be found running along Hudson River Park, sampling the city’s best takeout, or watching cheesy rom coms with her roommates.
“We have the entire universe in common Let’s not let our differences Set us apart.” -M. Banks
Jillian Laux, our Development Director, has over ten years of experience managing fundraising activities for nonprofit organizations. A passionate human rights advocate, Jillian is driven by the belief that all beings are innately entitled to a life of dignity and respect. An avid lover of the written word, Jillian spends her free time reading and is working on a collection of poetry. She also enjoys running, hiking, and yoga. Jillian currently lives in San Diego with her partner and their many animals.
“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.
“Each time a woman stands up for herself, without knowing it possibly, without claiming it, she stands up for all women”
Madeline is an organizer for GALvanize and has a background in field organizing on political campaigns. She is currently living in New York City and attending classes at Fordham University. She is passionate about working for women’s empowerment, and is eager to utilize this at GALvanize. Her passion stems from the inspiration of her favorite feminist leaders including Maya Angelou, Oprah Winfrey, and Ruth Bader Ginsburg. She has decided to take time off of school halfway through her college career to work toward supporting women candidates and women voters during this election year. When she is not being politically active she can be found reading the best nonfiction books, cooking vegan meals for her friends and family, or discussing this year’s Oscar and Tony winners.
“We all do better when we all do better.“
Kristin Wheeler, our Chief of Staff, has a background in community organizing, public affairs, and campaigning. Kristin brings over fifteen years of experience in the nonprofit and government sector to her role. When she isn’t developing strategic plans, Kristin can be found paddling on the nearest body of water or meandering around the forests near her home. Kristin lives in rural Washington state with her wife Mer and their cats Gus and Pepper.
“You will learn a lot about yourself if you stretch in the direction of goodness, of bigness, of kindness, of forgiveness, of emotional bravery. Be a warrior for love.” – Cheryl Strayed
Emma Wyma, one of our Organizers comes from a background in economics, global development, accounting, and organizing. She has a passion for women and girls empowerment, and has spent time in Seattle working with domestic violence support and refugee resettlement organizations. Emma’s background has led to experiences around the world, and plans on pursuing policy development to make a world that works better for everyone. She believes in finding creative ways to bring power back to disadvantaged populations, and the use of story-telling as a beautiful way to make that happen! Emma currently lives in Seattle, WA where she lives with her cat, Beau, and spends her time playing soccer, hiking, climbing, and finding the best new beer on tap!