Emerge America Staff

Andrea Dew Steele, Founder and President

Andrea is the Founder of Emerge America. She is also a co-founder of our first affiliate, Emerge California. Andrea is passionate about electing Democratic women to office at every level and is motivated by a life-long commitment to progressive politics and change. She believes strongly that electing more women is a critical part of the progressive solution. Andrea served for 8+ years as Political and Philanthropic Advisor to Susie Tompkins Buell, co-founder of Esprit Clothing and Democratic activist and philanthropist. Prior to moving to the Bay Area, Andrea worked for many years in Washington D.C. as a policy analyst on Capitol Hill and fundraiser for Democratic candidates and committees. Andrea holds a B.A. in Political Science from Tufts University and a M.A. in International History from the London School of Economics. 

Andrea can be reached via email at asteele@emergeamerica.org

Alisha Woodward Burleson, Operations Director

Alisha Woodward came to Emerge America in March 2010 and is currently Emerge America's National Director. 

Alisha started her political career as the Training Assistant for EMILY's List during the 2008 election cycle. While at EMILY''s List she helped manage their job bank and coordinated their endorsement logistics for 284 candidates in the Political Opportunity Program (POP) which helps pro-choice Democratic women run for and win state and local office. Before coming to Emerge, she was on the finance team for a U.S. Senate campaign where she managed the call time and low dollar fundraising program. 

Alisha graduated from the University of San Diego in 2002 with a B.A in Political Science and has a deep seated passion for politics and getting more women elected to all levels of office. She lives in Martinez with her husband and new daughter. 

Alisha can be reached via email at alisha@emergeamerica.org.

Judy Pineda Neufeld, Senior Advisor

Judy Pineda Neufeld began her tenure as Senior Advisor in November 2014, and is an alumna of the Emerge Massachusetts Class of 2009. Prior to her current role, Judy served as the Executive Director of Emerge Massachusetts for three years and Vice President of Emerge America for a year and a half. As Executive Director, Judy increased the size and diversity of the program members in the Emerge Massachusetts’s classes and successfully designed and implemented a pilot candidate training bootcamp program in May 2012. Before starting as the Executive Director of Emerge Massachusetts, she was the Manager of Recruitment and Community Partnerships at Big Sister Association of Greater Boston, the largest and oldest mentoring organization in Greater Boston exclusively serving girls.  While at Big Sister, Judy managed all volunteer and child recruitment for the agency, developed a Diversity Council to recruit more women of color, and created a thriving Alumnae Association. Judy Neufeld worked on numerous political campaigns during her time in Massachusetts. She is the former Co-President for the Massachusetts Chapter of the National Organization for Women and chaired their Political Action Committee in 2010. Judy graduated from Tufts University.

Judy can be reached via email at judy@emergeamerica.org.

Karen Hartshorn Hilton, Senior Advisor

Karen Hartshorn Hilton is currently Senior Advisor for Emerge America. Karen is managing the successful launch of Emerge Pennsylvania, one of the newest states to join the Emerge network. Karen was previously Executive Director of Emerge New Jersey. Under Karen’s leadership, Emerge NJ began, and she successfully led all aspects of Board, Fundraising and Program Development, and managed two successful classes of candidates. (www.emergenj.org)

Karen has worked for and around State agencies and non-profit social service agencies for over 25 years. Throughout her career, Karen has served as a consultant for many nonprofit organizations – in both volunteer and paid positions. Early in her career, Karen was a counselor for Planned Parenthood in Denver, Colorado and in Philadelphia, PA. Karen began her career as a Ranger for the U.S. Park Service in Rocky Mountain National Park, CO.

Upon relocation to New Jersey in the mid-1990’s, Karen became a leading volunteer with Junior Leagues, the South Orange and Maplewood Public Schools, and the Girl Scouts. She is past Board President of the South Orange Public Library. Karen received her B.A. from William Smith College and her Masters Degree in Public Administration from the University of Massachusetts. Along with her husband, Jim, Karen’s most rewarding work is raising four children in South Orange, New Jersey.

Karen can be reached via email at karen@emergeamerica.org.

Maya Fegan, Project Coordinator

Maya recently relocated to the Bay Area to join Emerge America as a Project Coordinator in August 2014. Originally from Honolulu, HI, Maya graduated this past May from Columbia University in New York City with a B.A. in Sociology and a concentration in Human Rights. She has previously worked at a variety of legal advocacy and non-profit organizations, including the Center for Constitutional Rights, the American Civil Liberties Union, and the Legal Aid Society of Hawaii. Most recently she worked as a Development intern for America Needs You—a non-profit providing career mentorship to low-income first-generation college students. She is passionate about social justice, particularly around racial and gender equity, and believes Emerge America’s model can create a direct political impact on these issues by developing and supporting progressive female leaders.

Maya can be reached via email at maya@emergeamerica.org.

Jenny Ma, Development Associate

Jenny joined Emerge America in April 2015 as a Development Associate. Jenny graduated from UC Berkeley in December 2014, where she majored in Political Science and minored in Gender and Women’s Studies. She has previously interned at UC Berkeley’s Gender Equity Resource Center as a Program Assistant, and at the U.S. General Services Administration in San Francisco as a Summer Fellow, where she gained valuable public service experience and helped conduct outreach to key stakeholders and businesses in the Bay Area. Most recently, she worked as a research assistant at UC Berkeley, helping to analyze the path to elected office for women and people of color. She believes that the empowerment of women and people of color is absolutely critical to promoting progressive change, and she is excited to support Emerge America’s work in that endeavor.

Jenny can be reached via email at jenny@emergeamerica.org

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