Board of Directors
Director, Federal Government Affairs
|Jacquelyn Litt Vice Chair
Douglass Residential College
Members Program Manager
Service Employees International Union (SEIU)
|Marianne Alexander President Emerita|
|Barbara A. Shailor Immediate Past Chair
Deputy Provost for the Arts
|Clara R. Burgert
Brodie Collins Cherel & Associates
Chair, PLEN Advancement Committee
Beyond K Street, LLC
Founder and President
William Smith College
Athena Center for Leadership Studies
Senior Vice President
Lipman Hearne Inc.
Director of Public and Government Relations
TexStar Marketing, Inc.
Former Vice President of Public Affairs for ICMA-RC
Barbara A. Shailor’s Biography
Barbara A. Shailor is the deputy provost for the arts at Yale University. As deputy provost, Shailor helps shape and implement the academic, administrative and budgetary policies of the University. She focuses her attention on the schools of art, architecture, drama, music and divinity, the Institute of Sacred Music, the departments of history of art, classics and music, and the Yale University Art Gallery and the Yale Center for British Art.
Shailor joined Yale in 2001 as the director of the Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library. Prior to that, Shailor was dean of Douglass College, professor of classics at Rutgers University from 1996-2001, and was a faculty member and administrator at Bucknell University from 1975-1996. The recipient of a Ph.D. in Classical Philology from the University of Cincinnati in 1975, Shailor has been awarded grants from the National Endowment for the Humanities, the American Council of Learned Societies and the American Philosophical Society.
She has published extensively, including five books and a series of articles on medieval and renaissance manuscripts. Her field of specialization is Latin paleography and encompasses the study of Visigothic manuscripts copied and illuminated in northern Spain in the 10th and 11th centuries. She is currently serving as treasurer of the Medieval Academy of America and as a trustee of the Samuel H. Kress Foundation.
Born in New Haven, Connecticut, Shailor attended Hamden High School before continuing her education at Wilson College and the University of Cincinnati. She is a specialist in Latin manuscript studies, the transmission of classical texts in the Middle Ages and Renaissance, and women in classical antiquity and the Middle Ages.
Ellie Shaw’s Biography
Ellie Shaw, director, federal government affairs, is responsible for the American Express Company’s political education and involvement programs. Prior to joining American Express in 2006, serving as manager of public affairs for the Chicago-headquartered electric utility, Exelon Corporation, Ellie oversaw their political action committee and grassroots activities. Prior to that, she served in government affairs with the Nuclear Energy Institute, the nuclear energy industry’s Washington, D.C.-based policy organization. Ellie serves as an advisor, speaker, facilitator and mentor and is active in the public affairs community as well as her local community. She graduated from Luther College in Decorah, Iowa with a Bachelor of Arts degree in business management. She has also completed the Public Affairs Council’s Public Affairs Institute program.
Ellie is excited to serve on the board of PLEN, because of its mission to prepare women to lead and its commitment to serve women of color and other populations historically under-represented in public policy leadership.
Marianne Alexander’s Biography
Marianne Alexander became PLEN Coordinator at Goucher College when PLEN was founded in the summer of 1978. As PLEN coordinator and assistant professor in Political Science at Goucher, she organized and ran PLEN’s first Washington program, the Women & Public Policy Seminar in 1983.
Marianne became PLEN’s first executive director in 1986, organizing the Wingspread Conference in 1987 at which member colleges agreed upon a mission statement and future direction for PLEN. She moved PLEN to Washington during the winter of 1988-89 and over the next three years initiated new Washington programs for PLEN: the internship program, the fall Women, Law and Public Policy conference, the Women & Congress Seminar and the Women and International Policy Seminar. Marianne also led two Women & Public Policy European Seminars for PLEN students and led a delegation of women students from PLEN colleges to the 4th UN Women’s Conference in Beijing. In 1998 she became president of PLEN to focus on fundraising. As president she has secured funding from Oracle for PLEN’s Women & Science/Technology Policy Seminar and from Mitsubishi for a Workplace Diversity Summer Internship Program.
Prior to working for PLEN, Marianne gained experience in state government and politics as a legislative analyst for the Senate Finance Committee of the Maryland General Assembly, the internship coordinator and staff member of the Women’s Caucus of the Maryland General Assembly, and an appointed member of the Legislative Compensation Commission for the Maryland General Assembly. She also served on the research staff of the Governor’s Commission on Executive Reorganization in 1968 and the Maryland Constitutional Convention, 1967-68.
Marianne currently serves as a member of the Penn State Board of Trustees. As a volunteer, Marianne completed nine years on the National Board of Directors, Girl Scouts of the USA and begins a two-year term July 1, 2003 as president of the Penn State Alumni Association. She continues to serve on the World Foundation Board for Girl Guides and Girl Scouts and the Foundation Board of Historic St. Mary’s City. She was the founding president of the Penn State Professional Women’s Network in Washington, DC and past president of Women Administrators in Higher Education (WAHE).
Born and raised in Washington, DC, Marianne received her B.A. in History from Penn State, and her M.A. and Ph.D. in American Studies from the University of Maryland.
Clara R. Burgert’s Biography
Clara R. Burgert, MPH, is a Senior Associate, Geographic Information Systems coordinator in the International Health Division at ICF Macro. Prior to joining ICF Macro, Burgert a research analyst at Blue Raster a mapping and web application consulting firm in Arlington, VA where she worked on the US Agency for International Development (USAID) funded MEASURE-DHS (Demographic and Health Survey) project. Her role involved preparing maps of demographic and health indicators to be used for reports, presentations, and documents intended to assist policymakers in developing countries and in the U.S. to make informed decisions about health policy and funding.
She facilitated trainings in using GIS for better decision making in various countries around the world including Philippines and Ghana. Additionally, she assisted in analyzing malaria data to assist an international malaria working group to determine how to best track malaria prevention goals across agencies and projects. She was seconded to UNICEF-Haiti to assist in the post-earthquake relief effort. In Haiti, she worked with the Child Protection team to assess the needs of interim care facilities and orphanages.
Before joining Blue Raster, Burgert was living in Senegal working as an International Development Fellow for Catholic Relief Services. Burgert has a master in public health from Emory University Rollins School of Public Health. Prior to graduate school she worked in Washington, DC, at various international health policy related jobs including working at Abt Associates on the Partners for Health Reformplus project where she worked on a team that assisted West African countries to improve their health funding policy and strengthen their health systems. She was also an assistant to Congresswoman Betty McCollum (MN-4) focusing on international health and development issues. Burgert is a graduate of the St. Catherine University in St. Paul, MN. She is an alumna of PLEN’s Women in Science and Technology Policy seminar and summer internship program.
Carrie Collins’ Biography
Carrie Collins draws on twenty-eight years of experience in public relations, the media, and public affairs to direct the firm’s branding and marketing initiatives for its non-profit clients.
Carrie works with groups’ stakeholders to guide them through a messaging process that defines the core identity of their brand and creates a unique position for that brand in their audiences’ minds. She then designs and implements communications strategies that promote the brand and help these organizations achieve their programmatic and fundraising goals, educate and mobilize their constituencies, and market products and services. Her plans employ multi-channeled, highly leveraged tools and tactics, including the media, which energize donors and supporters.
Carrie has served as a Vice President for the international public relations firm of Ruder Finn where she managed communications and media campaigns for such clients as Denver Airport, Electricite de France, Phyffes of London, Goodwill, Citicorps, Medical Education for South African Blacks, the AIDS Quilt, International Women’s Media Foundation, Xerox Realty Corporation, Newschannel 8, The Glaxo Institute, Marshall Heights Community Development Organization, and the American Farmland Trust.
Over a period of seven years, Carrie worked on Capitol Hill as both a legislative assistant in the House of Representatives and press secretary in the Senate. As a legislative assistant, she specialized in policy analysis in the areas of health and environment, advising Members of the House on Superfund, the Clean Air Act, the Clean Water Act, the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act, the Safe Drinking Water Act, and many other legislative proposals. As a press secretary for Sen. David Durenberger (R-MN), Carrie managed national and statewide outreach and media opportunities, developing strategies to build his national image in his areas of expertise: health and environment.
With nine years in broadcast television, Carrie brings to her work with the firm’s clients an understanding of how the media functions. As Executive Producer and Director of Programming at C-SPAN, she orchestrated the network’s coverage of major political events and helped to build the network’s reputation, viewership, and influence in Washington and around the country. Carrie was a host of the three-times daily live national call-in program, conducting numerous on-camera interviews over the years with Members of Congress, White House officials, Cabinet members, journalists and other public policy experts.
Prior to co-founding BCC, Carrie launched Collins Communications, providing public relations, media, community outreach and marketing counsel for a large variety of companies and organizations, including the U.S. Forest Service, Global One Telecommunications, Norman Data Defense Systems, and Trigon Blue Cross Blue Shield.
Carrie also served as Director of Strategic Communications for American Rivers, a national conservation organization. In this role, she developed and implemented a five-year communications strategy and oversaw a rebranding initiative that helped the group raise its national profile, increase public understanding of its cause, and strengthen and diversify its constituencies.
Carrie sits on the Board of Directors of Potomac Riverkeeper. Carrie graduated from Mount Holyoke College with a bachelor’s degree in political science.
Anne Darconte’s Biography
Anne DeSeta Darconte is a Principal at Beyond K Street, LLC, a public affairs consultancy helping clients use communications and outreach to enhance their direct advocacy efforts. She has more than 20 years of public affairs, strategic communications, and federal, state and local government relations experience, ten of which are in the chemicals, petrochemicals, and refining industries of the manufacturing sector. Anne has developed and managed grassroots, grass tops and Get Out The Vote programs for corporations and associations as well as for clients of her prior venture, The DeSeta Group, LLC. Many of these issue campaigns have focused on ensuring that the U.S. has a sustainable supply of the critical resources needed to protect our nation’s energy security, economic well-being, and industrial production capabilities.
Anne’s successful programs have been recognized for excellence and recommended as models of best practices, and she is often called upon to speak at industry conferences, and as a guest speaker before undergraduate and graduate students as a Bryce Harlow Foundation faculty. Anne also serves on the Board of Directors of Women In Government Relations (WGR), co-chairing WGR’s Personal and Professional Development Committee. She is a political science graduate of Goucher College, one of PLEN’s founding member institutions.
Kristin Haffert’s Biography
Kristin Haffert is the founder and president of a firm that advises government, business, non-profits and foundations on how to develop, fund and implement initiatives that aim to achieve gender equality. Prior to opening Haffert Global, she successfully lobbied for, launched and directed the first department for women’s programs at the National Democratic Institute for International Affairs (NDI). From 2002-2009 she served as senior management and provided strategic advice to NDI field offices and political leaders in more than 60 countries throughout Latin America and the Caribbean, Asia, Africa, the Middle East, Central and Eastern Europe and Eurasia on how to promote women’s leadership in legislatures, political parties and electoral processes.
She has developed and delivered political and leadership training for women at the national and grassroots level; raised public and private sector funds; managed high-profile events with global leaders; and identified and executed innovative programs such as iKNOW Politics, the premier online portal for women in politics. In addition to these country-based efforts, Ms. Haffert spearheaded a series of global initiatives led by former US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright that successfully raised awareness and mobilized resources for women’s political participation.
Ms. Haffert was an associate at The Lew Edwards Group, a political consulting firm specializing in grassroots organizing based in California, where she managed field campaigns for several successful candidate and issue campaigns, including AT&T, the Presidio Trust and public entities such as schools, libraries and fire departments. She led get-out-the-vote initiatives for the Kerry and Obama Presidential campaigns and played leadership roles on campaigns at the state and local level. Ms. Haffert was a fundraiser for the successful statewide re-election campaign of California State Superintendent of Public Instruction Delaine Eastin.
Ms. Haffert founded a local chapter and served on the state board of the National Women’s Political Caucus in the US, and has received an award from the Center for American Women and Politics for working to increase women’s political participation. She serves on the Board of Two Steps Forward which promotes education for African refugee foster children. In 2010 she was the first recipient of the Public Leadership Education Network’s Alumna Leadership Award. Ms. Haffert received her B.A. in Political Science and a minor in Women’s Studies from Douglass College, Rutgers University where she was an undergraduate associate at the Eagleton Institute of Politics.
Lisa Kaenzig’s Biography
Lisa Kaenzig is the Associate Dean at William Smith College at Hobart and William Smith Colleges in Geneva, New York. Lisa has over 20 years of administrative experience, including several years working in politics in Washington, D. C. Lisa served as the Executive Director of the Women’s Information Network (WIN), a non-profit organization dedicated to providing career support to women interested in politics and public service. She also worked on the staffs of the National Governors Association and the Women’s Campaign Fund in communications, advocacy and development roles. She has been a Project Coordinator at the Center for Gifted Education at the College of William and Mary, Director of a Montessori school in North Carolina, and Principal for a career consulting firm. Lisa is a passionate advocate for the arts, serving as the president of the Music Boosters of Geneva and on the board of the Geneva Theatre Guild.
Lisa earned her B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University, her M.A. in Human Resource Development from George Washington University and her Ph.D. in Educational Policy, Planning and Leadership from the College of William and Mary.
Kathryn Kolbert’s Biography
Kathryn Kolbert is the Constance Hess Williams Director of the Athena Center for Leadership Studies at Barnard College. A public-interest attorney, journalist, and visionary in the not-for-profit world, Kathryn brings to Barnard an extraordinary depth of experience in collaborative leadership, educational programming, and civil-rights advocacy. She has been recognized by The National Law Journal as one of the “100 Most Influential Lawyers in America,” and by The American Lawyer as one of 45 public- interest lawyers “whose vision and commitment are changing lives.” In 1992, Kathryn argued the landmark case of Planned Parenthood v. Casey before the U.S. Supreme Court and has been credited with saving Roe v. Wade with what Jeffrey Toobin has called “one of the most audacious litigation strategies in Supreme Court history.”
Before joining Barnard, Kathryn was the President and CEO of People for the American Way and People for the American Way Foundation, two of the nation’s premier civil rights organizations. During her tenure, People For the American Way’s Political Action Committee was cited by the National Journal as the most successful advocacy group of the 2008 election cycle.
Kathryn graduated cum laude from Temple University School of Law, and received her undergraduate degree from Cornell University’s School of Arts and Sciences. She has lectured at colleges and universities across the nation and is a frequent commentator on constitutional and women’s rights issues in the national media.
Karen Lebovich’s Biography
Check back soon!
Jacquelyn Litt’s Biography
Jacquelyn Litt is Dean of Douglass Residential College and Douglass Campus and Professor of Women’s and Gender Studies at Rutgers University, New Brunswick. She is currently writing a book, Women of Katrina: Crossing Borders, Weaving Networks, and Taking Care, which documents the strategies of survival women took to disaster recovery in the Katrina Diaspora.
Her primary research has been on motherhood, carework, and inequality, and she has many articles and two books on the topic: Medicalized Motherhood: Perspectives from the Lives of African American and Jewish Mothers (Rutgers University Press 2000), which was cited by ASA for outstanding scholarship in race, class, and gender, and Global Perspectives on Gender and Carework, with Mary Zimmerman and Christine Bose (Stanford University Press 2006).
She was also Principal Investigator (2007-2010) of “Mizzou ADVANCE,” an NSF PAID/ADVANCE award to promote the status of women faculty in STEM. From this project she has published numerous articles on mentoring tenured faculty and established new mentoring programs at University of Missouri and Rutgers University. She currently serves as a project partner on Oklahoma State University’s PAID/ADVANCE grant and as an external advisor to Iowa State University’s ADVANCE grant.
Marta Mattox’s Biography
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Jen Stange’s Biography
Jen Stange is the acting Nurse Alliance Coordinator within the healthcare division of SEIU, where she coordinates nurse-related work across the division and centers the work of the Nurse Alliance. Previously, Jen worked on member education and engagement for the Affordable Care Campaign within the healthcare division. Prior to the Affordable Care Campaign, Jen was Scheduler to the President at SEIU.
Before joining SEIU, Jen worked in the International Division of Planned Parenthood Federation of America (PPFA), including serving as Program Officer for Affiliate Outreach. As a Program Officer, Jen was the primary national office resource to over 100 affiliates on federal legislative issues and advocacy opportunities related to global sexual and reproductive health and rights.
Jen got her start in DC at PLEN, the Public Leadership Education Network—the only national organization solely dedicated to preparing women for public leadership. She planned and executed public policy seminars for hundreds of college students each year and continues to be involved with PLEN as a board member.
Lisa Maatz’s Biography
Lisa Maatz has served as the Director of Public Policy and Government Relations at the American Association of University Women since 2003. During that time, she also spent 16 months serving concurrently as the Interim Director of the AAUW Legal Advocacy Fund. Since1881, AAUW has been the nation’s leading voice promoting equity and education for all women and girls.
As AAUW’s top policy adviser, Maatz works to advance AAUW’s priority issues on Capitol Hill, through the executive branch, and in coalition with other organizations. Maatz is a sought-after speaker across the nation and on Capitol Hill, and provides leadership to several coalitions working to advance opportunities for women and girls. Recently featured in the book, Secrets of Powerful Women, Maatz has developed a reputation for her strategic approach to legislation and advocacy. She has done similar work for the NOW Legal Defense and Education Fund and the Older Women’s League, and was a legislative aide to U.S. Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney (D-NY). Her grassroots advocacy career began when she was the Executive Director of Turning Point, a battered women’s program recognized for excellence by the Ohio Supreme Court.
Maatz is a Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Ohio University, has two Master’s degrees from Ohio State, and holds an adjunct appointment with the Women and Politics Institute at American University. Honors include the Women’s Information Network’s Young Woman of Achievement Award (she now serves on that organization’s Advisory Council), and the Mentor Award from the Public Leadership Education Network. Maatz has also received a mayoral appointment to the Washington, DC Commission on Women.
Milly Stange’s Biography
Milly Crawford Stanges specialized in corporate tax, finance, and retirement laws and regulations, and advocated those issues on Capitol Hill throughout her 32-year career. In 2010, she retired from her most recent role as Vice President of Public Affairs for ICMA-RC in Washington, DC – a retirement corporation serving state and local governments.
Her other positions have included Vice President of Government Relations for TIAA-CREF; Senior Managing Director for Hill & Knowlton; Vice President, Tax Legislation, Public Securities Association, Director of Legislative Issues, Van Ness Feldman, Washington Representative for Unocal and Coopers & Lybrand, and a Republican staff member of the Ways & Means and Education and Labor Committees. Memberships include founding member, board member and Private Sector Chair of the Tax Coalition, a representative to the Catalyst organization, and an original member of PLEN’s Advancement Committee.
Ms. Stanges has authored articles on tax and retirement policy for industry trade publications, written tax policy newsletters and congressional testimony, and prepared senior executives for media interviews and Congressional testimony. She has been a frequent contributor and speaker at association and tax policy conferences, including the National Association of Government Defined Contribution Administrators.
She holds a BS in Communications from the University of Maryland, UC. Ms. Stanges is married and has two grown children.