Staff Bios

Justine Sarver

Executive Director

Justine Sarver has more than twenty years of experience working on political campaigns and in building movements that promote social justice. In her seven years at BISC, she has helped incubate campaigns to defeat anti-union and anti-choice ballot measures, as well as lead the nationwide shift to use ballot measures as tools for proactive, progressive change. Thanks to her leadership, progressives now find themselves playing offense in ballot-measure races, far more often then defense. While leading BISC, Sarver partnered with Wellstone Action to create the only ballot-measure training curriculum in the country. She also founded Victory 2020, a national group working toward a cohesive, collaborative ballot measure strategy for progressives.

Justine first became intensely involved with ballot-initiative campaigns in California in 1996. For twelve years Sarver worked on candidate and ballot measure campaigns at the San Diego Labor Council, AFL-CIO, Planned Parenthood Affiliates of California, The ACLU of Northern California, serving as a political organizer, strategist, movement builder and leader. She led two campaigns against California’s parental notification measures, Proposition 73 and 85.

Before joining BISC as the Executive Director in 2010, she worked for President Obama’s election and transition team. As the Southwest Regional Director at the Obama for America campaign headquarters, Sarver oversaw campaign activities for many states including Colorado, New Mexico, Arizona, Maine, Washington and Oregon. Then she served as Deputy Chief of Staff in the office of Secretary Kathleen Sebelius at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

Justine is a proud native of the Detroit area and a graduate of the Ferndale public schools. She received a bachelor’s in history from the University of Michigan-Ann Arbor, where she was the captain of the women’s water polo team.

Alison Schwartz

Managing Director

Alison is the Managing Director at BISC, working in our D.C. office and making sure the trains run on time. Prior to coming to BISC, Alison served in the Obama administration in a number of roles, including White House Liaison at DHS and Western Political Director at the White House, covering 14 states west of the Mississippi. Alison has also served in leadership positions on coordinated campaigns, with state parties, and presidential campaigns, as well as issue advocacy organizations and campaigns.

Alison’s passion for progressive politics and grassroots organizing was instilled at a very young age in her home state of Minnesota, accompanying her parents to DFL caucuses and knocking doors for her dad’s school board campaigns.

Alison holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Missouri-Columbia (MIZ-ZOU!) and lives in Washington, DC with her husband and children on Capitol Hill. When not at BISC, Alison toils in her garden in an effort to someday boast the neighborhood title of “Yard of the Month.”

Ansley Tuten

Development Coordinator

Ansley Tuten, BISC’s Development Coordinator, has been working in progressive politics for nearly a decade. Ansley was bitten by the political bug early in life after her first grade letter to President Bill Clinton was promptly answered with a nice note and collectable Bill Clinton baseball card, which she still has. In college, Ansley turned her love of politics into action, joining the Young Democrats and worked on campaigns at the local, state, and federal level.
 
After graduation, Ansley was hired to be the Democratic Party of Georgia’s County Affairs Director, making her one of the youngest senior staff members in the history of the Party. While development had always been a key component of her work on campaigns, Ansley truly began her development career when she was Finance Director for Congressman John Barrow’s re-election campaign in 2013. Before coming to BISC, Ansley worked for ProGeorgia, the Georgia State Voices affiliate, as the organization’s Deputy Director.

A fifth generation Georgian, Ansley is a graduate of two SEC schools- the University of Georgia (AB 2010) and the University of Florida (MA 2015).  While her partner would love for her to Chomp, she will always bleed red and black.

Cristina Uribe

California State Director

Cristina Uribe, a veteran political strategist and manager, serves as the BISC California State Director. In that role, Cristina works to strengthen progressive ballot-measure collaboration in California.

Prior to joining BISC, Cristina served as the Special Assistant to the Executive Director and Senior Advisor for Strategic Initiatives at the National Education Association (NEA).

Cristina has nearly 20 years of experience in every aspect of the civic engagement field. Prior to joining NEA in 2009, Cristina spent over a decade working at senior management levels for some of the most successful organizations and political campaigns – from Defend Oregon to EMILY’s List to the AFL-CIO. Throughout that decade she oversaw the passage of an innovative living wage ordinance and groundbreaking children’s health initiative, led successful campaigns to defeat regressive ballot initiatives, and expanded the pipeline of women running for local, state and federal office.

Cristina lives in Oakland, CA and is a proud Bay Area native and avid A’s fan. When not working, she can be found running Lake Merritt or at the Coliseum rooting on her beloved green and gold.

Dana Laurent

Director of Strategic Initiatives

Dana Laurent heads up BISC’s Victory 2020 program—a group of over 30 state and national leaders who are creating a coordinated multi-cycle, multi-state strategy to move progressive ballot measures. In addition, Dana also leads BISC’s innovative research efforts on ballot measures and works to cultivate new tactics and technologies that will enhance organizing efforts in the states on ballot measures.

Prior to joining BISC, Dana served as the Executive Director of Win/Win—Washington’s backbone organization and hub for the progressive and labor community. As a former Political Director for Planned Parenthood in Alaska, Washington and Idaho, Dana managed a tri-state team and led a variety of civic engagement and political campaigns on the state and federal level.

In a former life, Dana was a producer and art director for companies such as Getty Images and Nintendo, and even worked for the International Olympic Committee.

Dana is based in Seattle, Washington, and serves on the board of One America Votes, Washington’s largest immigrant and refugee rights organization, and FUSE, Washington’s Progress Now affiliate.

When Dana is not working with the progressive community to move a national ballot measure strategy, you can usually find her reading obscure French literature, making bread, playing her banjo or listening to records (yes, actual records).

Julia Cusick

Communications Manager

Julia is the Communications Manager at BISC, where she oversees BISC’s internal and external communications efforts.
 
Before coming to BISC, Julia helped lead the press outreach around the launch of the Affordable Care Act in Pennsylvania, first as the Pennsylvania State Lead for Protect Your Care/Know Your Care and then as Enroll America’s Pennsylvania Communications Director. She also worked as an organizer for the 2012 Obama Campaign in her hometown of Lancaster, Pennsylvania.
 
Julia began her career as a Peace Corps Volunteer, living and working for two years in the small, rural community of San Joaquin de Abangares, Costa Rica. She holds a master’s degree from the Georgetown School of Foreign Service and a bachelor’s degree from the University of Pittsburgh.
 

Kellie Dupree

Director of Partnerships and Training

Kellie Dupree is the Director of Partnerships and Training at the Ballot Initiative Strategy Center where she provides strategic assistance to national and in-state partners, as well as oversees several programs including training, ballot integrity and communications.

Before coming to BISC, Kellie worked for Planned Parenthood as VP of Public Policy & Communications for Planned Parenthood of Southwest and Central Florida, and before that as the Southern Regional Field Manager for Planned Parenthood Federation of America. Kellie has made a career advocating for a variety of progressive causes, having also worked for USAID, the Democratic National Committee, Unity ‘09 and EMILY’s List. She also serves as an adjunct trainer for Wellstone Action.

Kellie graduated from Wake Forest University, where she studied Political Science, German and International Studies. A fan of good food, Kellie is known to plan her days (and her vacations) around what restaurants she wants to try.

Born in Louisiana and raised in Northern Virginia, Kellie is excited to be back in the DC area where her political career started in 5th grade when she acted as Bill Clinton’s campaign manager in her school’s mock presidential election. He won by a landslide.

Kevin Seymore

Staff Assistant

Kevin Seymore is the Staff Assistant at BISC, working out of the Washington DC office. In this role he provides support to the staff by carrying out many of the administrative and logistics-driven tasks.

A small town Tennessee native, Kevin holds two bachelor’s degrees, one in English and another in Political Science, from the University of Tennessee (Go VOLS!). He is committed to causes that promote social mobility and civility specifically surrounding the African American population.

The late New-York based political strategist Bill Lynch, New Jersey Senator Cory Booker, Georgia House Minority Leader Stacy Abrams, and political analyst Donna Brazile are Kevin’s career inspirations. Like them, he wants to pursue a career championing progressive causes through sound policy, effective campaign strategies, and advocating to preserve the essence of democracy.

Kevin also prides himself on being singer Brandy’s biggest fan, and his spare time is dedicated to listening to her music or reading the latest news about her. He also enjoys writing pieces about the current political landscape, studying race relations, and volunteering in various capacities that help under-served communities.

Liz Miyashiro

Special Assistant to the Executive Director

Liz Miyashiro is the Special Assistant to the Executive Director. Liz supports the Executive Director with scheduling and project management.

Prior to joining BISC, Liz has worked for various non-profits, including Working America AFL-CIO, Clean Water Action and the Center for Global Policy Solutions. Liz has expertise in building administrative infrastructure, office management, and event planning. Most recently she worked as a consultant to manage logistics for a large-scale policy convening on Capitol Hill.
Liz is deeply committed to advancing social and economic justice. She resides in Baltimore, MD with her family.

Mandy Vlasz

Director of Operations & Administration

Mandy serves as BISC’s Director of Operations & Administration. Her primary responsibilities are to manage the organization’s operations – including finance and fundraising, as well as providing strategic assistance to the Executive Director and the Managing Director.

Before joining BISC, Mandy worked in a variety of campaign and political consulting environments, beginning with the 2000 Gore/Lieberman campaign, for which she worked in the finance department of the national headquarters. She has also worked for Democratic polling firm Lake Research Partners and on the U.S. Senate campaign of Gery Chico of Illinois in 2004. Most recently, she served as Director of Operations for Media Matters for America.

Mandy is an Illinois native and holds a bachelor's degree in political science from Bradley University.  She lives in Alexandria with her husband Jonathan and their two boys James and Sawyer.

Marsha Donat

Political and Research Coordinator

Marsha Donat is BISC’s Political and Research Coordinator, focusing on BISC’s Proactive ballot initiative work. In this role, Marsha supports our in-state partners' proactive campaigns.

Before joining the DC office, Marsha was the Grassroots Manager for the Planned Parenthood Northern California Action Fund in San Francisco, CA, where she implemented strategic field campaigns that helped make California a leader in reproductive health care access.

Marsha graduated from the University of California, Santa Barbara with a B.A. in Sociology. She lives in DC with her partner and is adjusting to the concept of seasons.