Doug Edwards was the first marketing director at Google, where he oversaw consumer marketing and brand management from 1999 to 2005. Prior to that, he managed marketing communications for the San Jose Mercury News, directed communications for KQED FM in San Francisco, and was the Novosibirsk correspondent for the public radio program “Marketplace.” He holds an honors degree in English from Brown University and was a Rotary Fellow at Nanzan Daigaku in Nagoya, Japan.
Melanie Sloan is among the leadership at Summer Strategies, a firm specializing in public affairs and crisis communications, spokesperson services, and consulting for educational institutions. Formerly the executive director of Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, she is a nationally recognized expert on congressional ethics. Prior to starting CREW, she served as an Assistant United States Attorney in the District of Columbia. Melanie received her B.A. and J.D. from the University of Chicago and has published in publications including The Yale Law and Policy Review. She has appeared on shows including NPR’s “All Things Considered” and CNN’s “The Situation Room,” and has been profiled in publications including Ms. Magazine, Time Magazine, and Mother Jones. Melanie has also been named one of Washington, D.C.’s Top Grassroots Lobbyists by The Hill for three years running and was profiled in the September 2009 issue of O Magazine as part of the O Power List.
Jim Heerwagen is an adviser and entrepreneur with 25 years of hands-on experience in executive, investor, and adviser roles for early stage technology companies and nonprofits, specializing in customer and market development, team-building, and fundraising. Jim serves on the Board of Trustees of The Health Trust and the Duke Engineering Board of Visitors. He was most recently the proponent of the Voters Right to Know ballot initiative in California. Previously, Jim was the co-founder and CEO of IQVine, President and CEO of Sunvolt Nanosystems, and President and CEO of NtechRA. Prior to that, he founded and ran Bridge Partners, which specialized in investing in and advising early stage electronics and software companies. He has also held senior positions at V-One, Telogy Networks, Bell Atlantic, Tymnet, and Infonet. Jim received his BSE from Duke University and his MBA from Harvard Business School. He also served as an officer in the Civil Engineer Corps of the US Navy.
Shel Kaphan is President of the Kaphan Foundation and was formerly Vice President and CTO of Amazon.com, where he did much of the original software design and programming. Prior to joining Amazon.com, he held senior engineering positions at Kaleida Labs, Frox, and Lucid, designing hardware and software systems and services. Shel holds a B.A. in Mathematics, cum laude, from the University of California at Santa Cruz.
Paul is a Principal and Operations Director at Optimist, a collective of freelance content marketing professionals serving software-as-a-service companies with content strategy and execution.
Paul is a social sector leader with experience serving as a teacher, school leader, nonprofit executive, and social impact strategist. In 2017, Paul ran in the Democratic primary for Pennsylvania’s 7th District (prior to the 2018 redistricting)–the community in which he was raised. His experiences as a candidate have led him to pursue avenues for democracy reform with a focus on systemic solutions and empowering a new generation of leaders.