July 13, 2016      

Democratic National Convention Committee Announces Another Round of Staff Hires

Diverse Experts To Bolster Convention’s Production, Accessibility, Communications and Logistical Operations

PHILADELPHIA – The Democratic National Convention Committee (DNCC) announced today the latest group of senior staff hires, bringing in a diverse group of talent to expand the Convention’s production, accessibility and logistical operations.

“With just a few short weeks to go, this diverse group of experts will help launch our nominee on the path to the White House,” said Rev. Leah D. Daughtry, CEO of the DNCC. “These additional staff reflect our continued commitment to making the 2016 Democratic National Convention the most inclusive and engaging in history.”

The new Senior and Director-level hires are as follows:                                                                

Angelo S. Carusone, Deputy CEO for Finance and Administration
Angelo S. Carusone is Deputy CEO for Finance & Administration of the 2016 Democratic National Convention Committee. He is currently on a temporary leave of absence from Media Matters for America where he serves as Executive Vice President. Carusone received a bachelor’s degree in American Studies from Fordham University in and a J.D. from the University of Wisconsin Law School.

Carusone is an accomplished organizer. While a law student, Carusone founded the StopBeck effort in July 2009 and also organized the StopRush effort, which has convinced thousands of advertisers refuse to sponsor Limbaugh’s program.

Carusone launched the viral DumpTrump campaign in 2012 that was responsible for convincing many of Donald Trump’s business partners to sever their relationships with Donald Trump.

He lives with his partner of 13 years, Brett Abrams, and their Doberman, Keyo.

Sujata Tejwani, Deputy Chief of Staff
Sujata Tejwani, Founder and President of Sujata Strategies, is a well-known veteran of the progressive movement working with all aspects of the movement – from the Democratic party and candidates across the country, to progressive issue advocacy organizations, to donors and foundations.  Sujata has been working in the movement for 20 years and helping clients for 15 years.

Among her many roles, she notably served as the Director of the Political Leadership Project for Wellstone Action, as a Campaign Advisor for EMILY’s List in the 2012 and 2013 campaign cycles, was Senior Election Advisor for the Ohio Democratic Party during 2010 and 2008 Get Out The Vote efforts, managed the Unity ’09 coalition in the first two years of the Obama Administration, worked for the Congressional Independent Expenditure campaign in 2010, managed battleground state direct mail and phones for Kerry-Edwards 2004, was Deputy Campaign Manager in Sen. Max Cleland’s 2002 campaign, and even conducted self- and opposition research for Sen. Paul Wellstone’s campaign and the Democratic National Committee in the early part of her career.  She has also served as a donor advisor to funders of progressive causes including the Atlantic Philanthropies and Corridor Partners.

She is widely known as a leading facilitator and trainer of progressive candidates, campaign staff, and organizers in the country (and the world!) She has trained more than 10,000 candidates, staff and organizational leaders in the last decade.

Liz Hart, Director of Studio 2016
Liz Hart, Biden staff alum and owner of Liz Hart Event Consulting & Design, will direct the DNCC’s in-house media studio operations and content. For over 10 years, Liz has worked in the event world for clients including televised or live-streamed major events, top entertainment companies, high-profile charitable organizations, and event production companies.

In 2014, Liz was Director of Message Events in the Vice President’s communications office at the White House, crafting events and press logistics around administration policy. An advance veteran, her international work spans 20+ countries and Obama for America and Hillary for America campaigns, and she has managed events for the Clinton Foundation, Mayor Bloomberg, and worked for RK Productions on the 2013 Inaugural Balls.  Other credits include the Olympics, Fashion and Auto Week, Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade, TV specials (Nickelodeon, Comedy Central, Film Independent, HBO, ABC, E!, Travel Channel); and high-profile live streams, including four years of producing the official online show for the Times Square New Year’s Eve Ball Drop. 

Dana Vickers Shelley, Senior Advisor for Communications & Platform Spokesperson
Dana’s role in 2016 marks her eighth Democratic National Convention, including serving as a delegate in 2008. Her career includes developing and delivering strategic messages via multiple mediums; building and maintaining national brands; and achieving programmatic goals for nonprofits, businesses, government agencies and foundations.

Currently on the faculty of Morgan State University’s School of Global Journalism and Communication, Dana’s leadership of dynamic teams was integral to: raising awareness for the Annie E. Casey Foundation’s campaign on grade-level reading; mobilizing youth and families to lobby state legislators on juvenile justice reform for the Southern Poverty Law Center; and, at Edelman, changing perceptions of Nike by creating and promoting a global social responsibility program. As a senior appointee in the Clinton Administration, Dana directed on-site outreach efforts for business missions led by Commerce Secretary Ronald H. Brown to Africa, Asia, Europe, South America and the Middle East. A skilled public speaker, Dana has presented on civil rights, policy advocacy, and leadership to Fulbright International Scholars Program, Independent Sector, and Yale Law School's Arthur Liman Public Interest Program.

Dana holds an M.P.A. from American University and a B.A. in Journalism and Mass Communications from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. The wife of a Vietnam War Purple Heart recipient, Dana volunteers with Disabled American Veterans Auxiliary and Veterati mentoring network for transitioning veterans.

Ted Jackson, Office of Public Engagement ADA & Community Engagement Specialist
Ted is helping to create an accessible environment for people with disabilities and folks who need an accommodation at the 2016 Democratic National Convention.  Most recently he served as the Community Organizing Director for California Foundation for Independent Living Centers and the Disability Organizing Network (DOnetwork). During Ted’s time the DOnetwork celebrated advocacy success which include: California’s Online Voter Registration System – the first completely ADA compliant system of its kind in the nation; increasing access to voter education material in alternate formats; and the accessible redesign of the Bay Area Rapid Transit’s new train cars. Prior to working in the disability community he was a LGBTQ advocate, working nationally on marriage equality campaigns. In 2004, Ted was the field director for the successful campaign to repeal Article XII in Cincinnati, OH. Ted is a member of the National Council on Independent Living and appointed by California Secretary of State Alex Padilla to the Voter Accessibility Advisory Committee.

Lisa Geers, Executive in Charge of Production
Lisa has been producing major live events and TV specials for over twenty years.  She began working with Ricky Kirshner in 2000 serving as Associate Producer on the Democratic National Convention in Los Angeles.  Since then Lisa has gone on to work with Ricky on ten Super Bowls, four previous Democratic National Conventions, four Teamsters Conventions, and numerous other television, political and major sporting events.  

Lisa began her career at UCLA in the Department of Special Events & Protocol, specializing in major donor, entertainment and dignitary events. In 1987 she made the leap into TV production working with Ken Ehrlich on Motown Live, a music variety series and continued working on the staff of Ken Ehrlich Productions until 2008. During her tenure at KEP she worked on over 50 music shows including network specials for Celine Dion, U2, Prince, the Eagles, Elton John, and many more, and award shows such as the Blockbuster Awards, and the Primetime Emmy Awards.  

In 2009, Lisa served as Executive in Charge of Production for Televised Events surrounding the historic first Inauguration of President Barack Obama. Those events included the “We Are One” Lincoln Memorial Inaugural Concert, “The Kids Inaugural” and “The Neighborhood Ball.”   In 2013 she oversaw the production of the “Kids Inaugural” for First Lady Michelle Obama, and the entertainment for all of the official 2013 Inaugural Balls.

Symone Sanders, Surrogate Communications Advisor
Described by Fusion as one of the top black women in presidential politics, Symone Sanders is a self-described agent of change.  Symone is the former national press secretary for U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders' presidential campaign where she served as a primary spokesperson. Prior to joining the Sanders campaign, Symone lad the press operation for Public Citizen's Global Trade Watch and managed the organization's local, national and international media campaigns. 

A communicator with a passion for policy and juvenile justice reform, Symone is the immediate past chair of the Coalition for Juvenile Justice’s National Youth Committee and former member of the Federal Advisory Committee on Juvenile Justice. Through her involvement with CJJ and the FACJJ, Symone worked to raise the profile of young voices in the fight for juvenile justice reform and bring millennial perspectives to policy conversations.

Nick Swett, Senior Advisor to Deputy CEO of Convention Complex
Nick is the co-founder of >AMBIT and domino. Prior to that, he previously served in leadership positions at the White House, the Biennial of the Americas, and the 2008 Democratic National Convention Committee. As Director of Operations for the 2008 Democratic Convention he coordinated five departments (security, credentials, transportation, hotels, and the Convention Center) and helped produce the largest nominating convention in U.S. history.  Nick has also successfully led numerous political campaigns, nonprofits and special events. He holds a MSc in Management and Governance from the London School of Economics and a BA in Sociology and International Studies from the University of Denver.

Paige Damiano, Senior Advisor; Xfinity Live Operations & Management
Paige started her career in the political world working as a fundraiser and campaign manager for various city campaigns and initiatives. In 2008, she joined the Democratic National Convention Committee where she worked directly alongside the Deputy CEO of Hall Operations. Making an entrepreneurial mark, Paige has since founded an event firm, a consultancy firm as well as ventured into the restaurant world.  Her family, including two sons, reside in Denver, CO. Currently a co-founder of >AMBIT, she focuses on creating unique and powerful experiences, leading projects and supporting thoughtful growth in a thriving marketplace.

Shelly Loos, Director of Floor Operations
As a veteran campaign and political event organizer, Shelly Loos has worked on campaigns since 1984.  After organizing in several states during the 1992 presidential primary, she got her first taste of the Democratic National Convention’s visibility operation.  In 1996, Shelly managed the DNCC visibility operation and has done so in every convention since. She was the Midwest Political Director for Vice President Gore’s leadership PAC, Leadership ’98 and the Illinois State Director for the Gore/Lieberman campaign in 2000.  Shelly has worked in three different state legislatures: Rhode Island, Nebraska and Florida. Originally from Nebraska, Shelly currently lives in Hollywood, Florida and is VP of Marketing for software solutions company, SRG Technology.