JON LISS, CO-EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
Jon has organized for racial and social justice in Virginia for the last 30 years. Between 1979-1981, he organized for the creation of an African American Studies department as a student at the University of Virginia where he graduated with a B.A. in History, then went on to organize for U.S. divestment in the South African Apartheid regime. From 1983-1984, he served as an elected leader of a taxi drivers association. In 1986, Jon co-founded Tenants and Workers United (TWU), a low-income racial and gender justice organization based in the Arlandria-Chirilagua neighborhood. Jon served as the Executive Director of TWU until 2011. In 2007 he co-founded New Virginia Majority and currently serves as both a board member and as the organization’s Co-Executive Director.
TRAM NGUYEN, CO-EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
Tram joined New Virginia Majority in 2008. Following the September 11th attacks on the World Trade Center, she helped fight for federal funding for a health treatment program to address the unmet physical and mental needs of rescue and recovery workers at Ground Zero. In 2005, Tram traveled to the Gulf Coast to organize the 30,000+ Vietnamese immigrants whose lives were devastated by Hurricane Katrina. For over 2 years, she directed a recovery program that assisted over 3,000 families by providing cultural and language-appropriate services, and she advocated for the sustainable redevelopment of immigrant communities and businesses in New Orleans, LA; Biloxi, MS; and Bayou La Batre, AL. Tram is an alumna of Barnard College, Columbia University and was a 2010 Lead the Way Fellow at the NYU Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service.
THOMAS ASSEFA, ORGANIZING DIRECTOR
Thomas Assefa is the Organizing Director for New Virginia Majority. He’s been working in the social justice movement for over 15 years, mostly as a community organizer in mass based movement organizations, along with short stints as a labor and electoral organizer across the US. Most recently, Thomas was the Organizing Director at the Northwest Bronx Community & Clergy Coalition, and a full-time trainer and program coordinator at Black Organizing for Leadership & Dignity (BOLD), a project to revitalize social justice infrastructure in the Black community and re-center Black leadership in the social justice movement. Thomas has worked at the intersections of environmental, economic, racial justice and personal transformation. He is driven by his commitment to end poverty and all forms of systemic oppression. Thomas just recently relocated to the Northern Virginia area and is very happy to reconnect with his Ethiopian roots in the region.
MAYA CASTILLO, POLITICAL DIRECTOR
Maya Castillo is the Political Director for New Virginia Majority, where she uses her experience in policy, elections, and organized labor in order to ensure that everyone has a role in building democracy. Maya oversees voter outreach efforts, and oversaw New Virginia Majority's field campaign in the 2019 cycle which was key to flipping Virginia's General Assembly. Maya believes in the power of working families, and the power of women of color, and served as SEIU Arizona President and with the Immigrant Justice Campaign with SEIU. She currently serves on the board of the Library of Virginia. Prior to her work in elections and organized labor, she served working families through work in public libraries, as an arts advocate, and an advocate for clean water in Latinx communities.
DEBRA FREEMAN, COMMUNICATIONS DIRECTOR
KENNETH GILLIAM, POLICY DIRECTOR
Kenneth Gilliam is a proud native Virginian who is deeply committed to advancing public policies that create opportunities and improve the lives of working-class communities of color. Prior to joining New Virginia Majority, he served as the Campaign Engagement Manager for The Commonwealth Institute for Fiscal Analysis (TCI). He was a key contributor to TCI’s work to advance opportunity and reduce inequity through changes in education and health care policy. Most notably, he helped lead the successful Medicaid Expansion campaign for the Healthcare for All Virginians Coalition-- a statewide coalition of more than 110 organizations. Additionally, he served on a national advisory committee for two years with the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities to provide training, support, and technical assistance for outreach and campaign staff in the State Priorities Partnership. Before joining the Institute, Kenneth worked as a higher education professional at Old Dominion University and served as a Southern Education Leadership Initiative fellow with the Georgia Budget and Policy Institute in Atlanta, Georgia. He has a master’s degree in higher education from Indiana University Bloomington, and a B.A. from James Madison University.
JENNIFER GRANADO, DIRECTOR OF ADMINISTRATION
As Director of Administration she manages the daily office operations, including office management, human resources, day to day logistics, contracts, and technology. As the Director of Administration she works to improve process and policies. Jennifer began with Tenants and Workers United at the age of 14 when she started in the Youth program United Teens. Jennifer actively worked on a program called Personalized Education Action Plan (PEAP) in which she helped design and implement a Memorandum of Understanding into the Alexandria Public City School system in 2009. Jennifer joined New Virginia Majority in 2008 as a canvasser in which she later became a lead canvasser for the 2008 Election. Jennifer helped mobilize thousands of community member get out to vote. In 2013 she graduated from Virginia Commonwealth University with a B.A. in Political Science and Homeland Security. She graduated with a Master of Public Administration with a concentration in Human Resource Management from George Mason University in 2015.
ARUNA JAIN, DIGITAL DIRECTOR
CAROLINE SOBERANIS, DEVELOPMENT DIRECTOR
Caroline is passionate when it comes to elevating communities and individuals who are so often overlooked in our country. Exposed to the world of philanthropy and donor engagement, she worked with nonprofit organizations during her time with the Strategy & Planning team at the Democracy Alliance, where she collaborated with donors, funds, and foundations to support and expand progressive infrastructure across the country. Caroline has also spent time at national organizations, such as Enroll America, the nation’s leading healthcare enrollment coalition, and the National Immigration Forum, advocating for the value of immigrants and immigration. Managing team priorities, communications and strategic initiatives, Caroline believes in the advancement of critical social issues through philanthropy. An Arizona native, she holds a B.A. in Political Science from Arizona State University.