Staff Bios

Chris Melody Fields Figueredo

Executive Director

Chris joined BISC as Executive Director in June 2018, bringing with her over 15 years of experience in advocacy, fostering collaboration, movement building, and leading large-scale programs. Chris has devoted her career to social justice and is deeply committed to racial equity and ensuring our democracy works for “We the People.” She is focused on innovative and collaborative progressive ballot strategies, strengthening and cultivating new partnerships, and supporting current and future movement leaders.

Prior to joining BISC, she served as the Associate Director for Voting Rights at ReThink Media where she developed and supported effective communications and capacity-building strategies for partner organizations, including shared messaging and training.

A seasoned strategist, she has worked in numerous roles for progressive political and issue-based campaigns across the country. For years she led programs to expand and protect the right to vote at the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law on the local, state, and national level. She also led state and federal campaigns to getting big money out of politics at Common Cause and fought for DC’s children and families to have access to a quality education at DC ParentSmart.

Chris is Venezuelan-American, raised in Texas where she received her degree at Austin College in Texas. She lives in Washington, D.C. where she is a proud foster parent. Chris loves photographing our nation’s capital and whipping up delicious treats in the kitchen. Follow her on Twitter at @Fieldsy.

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.”

Dana Laurent

Director of Strategic Initiatives

Dana Laurent serves as Director of Strategic Initiatives, leading BISC's proactive ballot measure work through Victory 2020, a group of over 35 state and national leaders, working to pass proactive ballot measures that increase access and engagement in our democracy and reduce economic inequality-in eleven states over multiple cycles. Dana also leads BISC's innovative research efforts on ballot measures and works to cultivate new tactics and technologies that will enhance organizing efforts on ballot measures.

Dana has directed statewide organizations and coalitions, raised and managed multi-million dollar budgets, and played pivotal roles in many of Washington State's critical candidate elections and ballot measures.

Dana previously served as the Executive Director of Win/Win-Washington's backbone organization for the progressive and labor community. As a former Political Director for Planned Parenthood Votes Northwest, 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 worked for the International Olympic Committee. She currently lives with her husband, and one scaredy cat, in the beautiful Finger Lakes region of New York.

Donna De La Cruz

Director of Communications

Donna De La Cruz is the Communications Director for BISC. Most recently, Donna served as the Deputy Communications Director at the Center for Community Change where she led media strategy on issue campaigns including immigration reform, affordable childcare, protecting the safety net and clean energy. Donna also worked in communications for the International Brotherhood of Teamsters and Fight Crime: Invest in Kids.

Prior to her work in nonprofit communications, Donna was a reporter for The Associated Press. She spent most of her 16-year career in the New York City bureau covering the NYPD and City Hall and in Washington covering Congress. Donna is the proud mom of a 16-year-old son and has a “second job” as his travel soccer team’s manager.

Jane Norman

Director of Programs

Jane brings over 20 years of experience getting results and leading change to her role as BISC’s Director of Programs.

Most recently, Jane served as Chief of Staff and Senior Advisor for the Employee Benefits Security Administration at the U.S. Department of Labor. Before joining the Obama Administration, she held leadership roles in organizations working to advance social and economic justice locally, nationally, and globally.

Jane graduated from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill a very long time ago and is happy to call Washington, DC home after moves from South Korea, England, and Arkansas.

Jaspreet Chowdhary

State Legislative Manager

Jaspreet Chowdhary is the State Legislative Manager at the Ballot Initiative Strategy Center where she focuses on protecting the integrity of the ballot measure process. Her professional experience includes uplifting the voices of women living with HIV as the Senior Policy Specialist at the 30 for 30 Campaign and working for the equitable implementation of the affordable care act as a state advocacy manager at Community Catalyst. She was part of the inaugural class of the If/When/How Reproductive Justice Fellowship program and was placed with the National Asian Pacific American Women’s Forum. She has conducted public health research at Duke University and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Jaspreet received a B.A. in English and Women’s Studies from Goucher College, an M.P.H. with a concentration in Epidemiology from Tulane University School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine, and a J.D. from Seattle University School of Law. She is licensed by the State Bar of Maryland. After living in Georgia, Louisiana, North Carolina, Washington, and Massachusetts, she is excited to return the DC area. She currently resides in Maryland and enjoys doing her favorite social justice work-- raising two amazing humans with her incredible partner.

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.

Marsha Donat

Proactive Program and Research Manager

Marsha Donat is BISC’s Proactive Program and Research Manager. She works with state and national partners to advance BISC’s national, coordinated proactive ballot measure strategy, the Roadmap to 2020. 

Before joining BISC, Marsha was the Grassroots Manager for the Planned Parenthood Northern California Action Fund in San Francisco, CA. There, she implemented strategic field campaigns to 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 can often be found binge watching 20-year old hit TV shows on Netflix.