Vice President and National Canvass Director
Wes Jones played instrumental roles in some of the most groundbreaking face-to-face canvassing and fundraising efforts in the United States. Although he tends to downplay his record, Wes helped engineer political outreach operations like the very first small donor fundraising canvass for the DNC, and the first successful street canvassing operation in the U.S.,for Greenpeace in the 1990s.
Wes first got into running canvasses right after college, when Newt Gingrich’s attack on environmental policies inspired him to take a job organizing in North Carolina. He thought he’d do it for about a year, but almost 20 years later, Wes has helped develop and fine-tune principles of small donor fundraising that many nonprofits and consultants rely upon today.
Since co-founding and building Grassroots Campaigns from scratch in 2003, his teams have raised more than $100 million for clients like the DNC, ACLU and Planned Parenthood. As the director of the canvass operation, he oversees the leadership team running 30 offices across the country, is bottom line for training and strategy, and advises on the launching of new campaigns.
Wes holds a degree from Tulane University in Political Economy. He lives with his wife and two energetic young boys in northern Florida, where they hike and paddle the local springs whenever possible. If Wes ever offers to cook for you, take him up on it (he makes an excellent Salmon Bulgogi).
Proudest Accomplishment: “Seeing our team sign up more than 750,000 new donors for the Democratic Party in just 8 months.”
Vice President and National Field Director
Jon Scarlett is one of the most experienced directors of face-to-face outreach operations in the country. In recent years, he’s led a massive GOTV operation with MoveOn.org, launched the DNC’s canvass program nationally, and before that ran the largest canvassing operation in the country for more than a decade. In his more than 30 years overseeing political canvassing and organizing, Jon has been instrumental in some of the largest and most effective outreach campaigns in recent history, setting a foundation for the model that is still used today.
Having grown up in Northern California and attended UC Berkeley, Jon has always been interested and involved in progressive politics, first canvassing for Congressman Ron Dellums in Berkeley after interning in Washington, D.C. But he really began to make his mark nationally during his 20-year career with the State PIRGs (Public Interest Research Groups), which included 10 years at the helm of the Fund for the Public Interest, running the nation’s largest canvass. During that time he supervised massive and diverse outreach efforts across the country, expanding the organization to 35 states.
Jon’s record with Grassroots Campaigns since co-founding it in 2003 has been equally impressive. After launching the DNC’s first canvass, he directed a cooperative campaign with MoveOn in 2004, helping them take their citizen outreach beyond the Internet with a volunteer-based voter contact operation, and subsequently helped MoveOn build 200 local volunteer chapters. As Vice President, he oversees many aspects of Grassroots Campaigns’ operations
Jon has a degree from UC Berkeley in Economics. He lives in Cambridge with his wife Janet and their two boys who,since entering their teenage years, have taught him a great deal of rap music lyrics.
Proudest Achievement: “Seeing Grassroots Campaigns grow from 4 people in 2003 to 104 full-time staff.”
Assistant National Canvass Director
Steve walked into one of Grassroots Campaigns’ early offices looking to canvass for the DNC in 2004, but couldn’t take the job because he had a full-time career as a political pollster. The next day, he got a call from the director asking him to quit his job and come run the office, and he took the offer. Since then, Steve has helped Grassroots Campaigns grow from its early days up to the 30 offices and 100-plus full-time staff it has today. He currently works alongside Wes Jones overseeing the firm’s extensive national canvass, supervising the regional director team that run offices of more than 700 outreach staff.
Having grown up in a political household with his father working in affordable housing for the state, he was always drawn to the field. After college, Steve first got into polling for Quinnipiac University, but as the 2004 election was heating up, he wanted to do something to actually change those polls. As one of Grassroots Campaigns’ first directors, he’s played an important role in many campaigns, including running the first full-time street canvass for the DNC to defeat George W. Bush. Over the next nine years, Steve’s been involved in most endeavors the firm has taken on. He’s led voter contact in federal elections, the first ACLU fundraising canvass, and ran national recruitment, building a particularly strong team for the 2006 MoveOn and DNC election efforts.
Steve attended American University in D.C. He recently moved from Boston to North Carolina. He’s a big history buff who currently employs his talents for bar trivia, but someday would love to be a tour guide on the Freedom Trail in Boston.
National Recruitment DirectorIncreasingly frustrated during the Bush Administration and Iraq War, Christina Colaizzo first found her way to a job at Grassroots Campaigns after an inspiring conversation with an 18-year-old canvasser. Now she gets to repay the favor to the hundreds of staff she invites to work on electoral and progressive campaigns as recruitment director. Christina learned first-hand while running voter outreach campaigns that enough motivated people can make a difference, and she now focuses on getting those people in the door and putting them to work.
Since starting with Grassroots Campaigns in 2008, she’s run canvass offices for charitable nonprofits like Save the Children, and overseen voter outreach, registration and persuasion in 2008, 2010 and 2012. Christina was regional director in Southern California when she developed her knack for spotting talented young organizers and getting them into leadership roles. Now she focuses on recruiting people across the country to join the team of directors.
Christina holds a degree from The George Washington University in International Relations and Affairs. She lives in Boston, and when not hunting for talent she’s usually at the gym, although she confesses to relaxing in the spa far more than working out.
Proudest Moment: “In 2010, I was called in to Seattle right before the election in Washington to re-elect Patty Murray. The race was so close we didn’t get results until a few days after the election. It was exciting to help re-elect such a great progressive Senator.”
David Hackman started working for Grassroots Campaigns as a canvasser right out of college, and since then has worked in most aspects of the operation, including overseeing offices, regions of offices, and now dealing directly with clients. He’s worked on issues ranging from civil liberties to the environment, and has played a key role in the development and testing of campaigns and field tactics for new clients.
As an account manager, David currently works directly with organizations that hire Grassroots Campaigns to run their face-to-face outreach. He also meets with potential clients to discuss services, and works with the rest of the team to implement a broader strategy for the firm’s nationwide campaigns. David brings to such discussions an impressive amount of experience running offices and knocking on doors himself, including being the first canvasser to test the DNC’s 2008 outreach for the presidential campaign.
David holds a degree from Kalamazoo College. He currently lives in New York City, where he has an unhealthy obsession with playing pool, and a much healthier obsession with cooking tofu.
Proudest Achievement: “I pretty much lived in St. Louis for a month testing different methods of generating letters and video testimonials to Senator McCaskill for the Repower America clean jobs campaign. It was a blast.”
Regional Director, Great PlainsBill Baker was seriously considering going to law school as he approached college graduation in 2009. But watching the energy of the first Obama campaign while he was in school—along with one really good class on political organizing in his senior year—sent him in a different direction, and he’s never looked back. A great professor taught him that politics can be far more tangible and empowering than it often seems, and inspired him to take that lesson out of the classroom.
Since taking a job at Grassroots Campaigns, he’s overseen a successful campaign in Montana to reelect progressive Senator Jon Tester by organizing veterans and families of veterans to talk to 46,000 voters in the state. He’s also run small donor offices for Oxfam America and Planned Parenthood in Massachusetts and Connecticut, signing up thousands of new members for the organizations.
Bill holds a degree from Lehigh University in Political Science and has no plans to go to law school. He does, however, aspire to hike the entire Appalachian Trail.
Proudest Achievement: “Having the chance to run a campaign in my home state of Connecticut was pretty great.
Regional Director, Upper Northeast
Like a lot of people in his generation, Dan Doubet was driven to political activism by the assault on progressive values by the Bush Administration during the 2000s. But few of his peers have reached the level of success and impact Dan has had since he first started canvassing in 2004. Since then he’s run record-breaking outreach offices, and trained up a number of current staff within Grassroots Campaigns, the greater progressive movement, and even the White House.
As regional director, Dan oversees and trains teams of directors to make sure they run successful outreach operations, building the largest and most effective teams of canvassers possible. He first cut his teeth knocking on doors for electoral campaigns in 2004 and 2008, but made a real name for himself while running one of the largest canvass offices in history, raising more than a million dollars in four months in New York City.
Dan attended Marymount Manhattan College. He currently is based in New York, where he enjoys the theatre. He can also play the tuba.
Proudest Achievement: “I ran one of the largest offices in history, but at the end of the day, it has to be the people I’ve worked with and seeing them go on to do reach their potential.”
Amanda Van Kessel
Regional Director, Eastern SeaboardAmanda Van Kessel has crisscrossed the country running canvasses for Grassroots Campaigns since 2007. She started by helping to turn New Mexico blue in 2008, fought for same-sex marriage rights on the West Coast, and then worked her way back to the East Coast, where she now oversees that region’s outreach offices. She’s been fortunate enough to work on two winning presidential campaigns, and in the meantime gain ground on issues like reproductive rights and GLBT equality.
Amanda started working for Grassroots Campaigns when, disappointed after 2004, she vowed to take an active role in future elections. Within four months of starting, she was running outreach for the DNC in Albuquerque and has gone wherever the campaign has needed her since. Aside from her job overseeing her region, Amanda has had a strong impact on the organization by hiring several staff, first as canvassers, who have since gone on to become leaders at Grassroots Campaigns.
Amanda holds a degree from University of Wisconsin-Madison in International Studies and Spanish. Today she’s happy, and a little star struck, to call New York City home. Her secret dream is to one day run into Willem Dafoe while canvassing.
Proudest Achievement: “My favorite part of the job is getting the opportunity to identify someone with potential and help them see what they can achieve. I’ve trained some great leaders that are making a big impact on the progressive movement.”
Regional Director, Northern Californina
Will Cirocco first got involved in political activism in the fallout of the Proposition 8 initiative that denied same-sex couples the right to marriage in California. He learned while canvassing that he could directly take on such injustices, and after attending college to study theatre, he found himself compelled to keep working on progressive campaigns. Will has since continued to work on marriage rights and other important issues, as well as training organizers who would go on to tip the scales of some razor-thin 2012 elections.
Will oversees offices in San Francisco, Berkeley, Sacramento and Santa Cruz, and before that ran successful outreach operations throughout the region. In addition to his work to overturn Prop 8, he’s also activated more than 20,000 people to support groups like the ACLU and Planned Parenthood. Civil rights continues to be an important issue to Will, and he ran the most successful outreach campaign to date for the Southern Poverty Law Center.
Will studied at Kenyon College, and currently lives in San Francisco. While he works on a different sort of stage these days, he’s still a huge theatre and film buff. He has an impressive home library, and has seen almost every best picture Oscar winner (there are 85 of them).
Proudest Achievement: “Running a successful campaign for the Southern Poverty Law Center. It’s an important group that fills a civil rights niche that no other organization does. I’m very proud to have expanded their base of support and name recognition.”
Regional Director, Midwest
Matt has gained a reputation as an organizer who does whatever it takes to get the job done, no matter how unusual or challenging that job may be. That’s meant running canvass offices from Indiana to Arkansas, sometimes through hurricanes or out of hotel rooms, Starbucks and McDonald’s dining areas. His teams have knocked on hundreds of thousands of doors, for both voter outreach and fundraising behind issues like stopping animal cruelty.
Matt currently oversees offices in the Midwest, and specializes within the regional director team on non-fundraising and elections projects. He ran a tough-as-nails 2010 campaign in Kansas City that knocked on nearly 200,000 doors in two months, and most recently was deputy state director of an independent campaign in Massachusetts to elect Elizabeth Warren to the Senate. He also holds the distinction of running the first-ever Grassroots Campaigns office in Indianapolis, on a highly successful test campaign with the ASPCA to combat dog fighting in the South and Midwest.
Matt currently lives in Chicago with his cat Bernice. He plays the banjo, but mostly listens to hip-hop. He is allergic to beer.
Proudest Achievement: “Having opened up both our Kansas City and Portland offices. They’re both running successfully today, and I was the first guy on the ground for both of them.”