Silicon Valley, the Beltway, and the Heartland

The dedicated team that makes POPVOX possible spans time zones and stereotypes, working from downtown San Francisco to the halls of the U.S. Capitol in D.C. to “theCO” in Jackson, TN.

Team D.C.

Rachna Choudhry (Cofounder and CMO) and Whitney Wyszynski (Digital Strategy Manager, Government Relations) represent POPVOX in D.C., staying on top of what's happening in Congress and touching base with organizations and advocates based in the district or passing through on lawmaker visits. Student contributors Maddie Burton, Hannah Gourdie, and Hollie Stokes assist with content and legislative research.

Team CA

Marci Harris (Cofounder and CEO) and Rebecca Sheldon (Engineer / Product Manager) work from San Francisco and Silicon Valley. State team contributor, Alex Deas, is helping prepare for the launch of POPVOX/States.

Team TN

Bryan Dease (Senior Developer) makes the magic happen from his home base in Franklin, Tennessee, while Ben Harris (COO) and William Donnell (Lead Designtist) are based in Jackson at theCO. William's design team at Sodium Halogen includes Chance Smith and Shane Aday.


 

Marci Harris

Marci Harris

Chief Executive Officer

A former Congressional staffer and lawyer, Marci says that her “first startup was a town,” as she led Jackson, TN’s rebuilding efforts following a 2004 tornado. She received a B.A. in International Relations from Franklin College in Lugano, Switzerland and attended law school at the University of Memphis (J.D.) and the American University Washington College of Law (LL.M). From 2007-2010, she worked in the U.S. House of Representatives covering tax, trade, and health for a senior Ways and Means member.

Marci serves on the board of LaunchTN and CityInnovate, the advisory boards of VoteRunLead and Citizinvestor, and is a mentor at theCO in Jackson, Tennessee. She was named one of Fast Company magazine's Top 100 Most Creative People in Business (2012), received a Tribeca Film Festival Award for Creative Disruption (2012), and was listed as one of DC's “Tech Titans” by Washingtonian magazine (2013), a 2013 "FastCase 50,” and a 2014 “Digital Citizen of the Year.” She was an inaugural Technology and Democracy Fellow at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government’s Ash Center and is currently a New America California fellow.


Rachna Choudhry

Rachna Choudhry

Chief Marketing Officer

After ten years of advocacy and lobbying for several national non-profit organizations, Rachna was frustrated with the disconnect between people and our lawmakers in Washington. Rachna leads POPVOX outreach to advocacy organizations and trade associations, content and community for individual users and relationships with Congressional staff.

She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Political Science from UCLA, and a Master’s in Public Policy from Georgetown University’s McCourt School of Public Policy. She is based in Washington, D.C. and hails from the San Francisco Bay Area.

Since launching in 2011, POPVOX won the social media category at South by Southwest, was ranked #10 on Mashable’s Major Tech Contributions From Entrepreneurial Women and was honored at the 2012 Tribeca Disruptive Innovation Awards. In 2014, Rachna ranked #6 in Digital Citizenship Project’s Digital Citizens of the Year.


 

Ben Harris

Ben Harris

Chief Financial & Operations Officer

Ben graduated from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in 2001 where he earned a BS in Aviation Technology. He is an FAA Certified mechanic and commercial pilot. Ben owned and operated a restaurant, catering and bakery business that he sold in 2011 to focus full-time on POPVOX, after helping informally with accounting and technology since the company’s founding.

Ben is a “CO:founder” of theCO in Jackson, TN, a state-funded co-work, makerspace and code academy created by a local team of entrepreneurs to bring cutting edge technology and education to rural West Tennessee.

Ben is a 2005 graduate of the Jackson Chamber of Congress’ Leadership Jackson program, a leader with his son’s Cub Scout pack. He has completed the Wood Badge leadership program and will be Cubmaster for the pack beginning January 2015.


 

Bryan Dease

Bryan Dease

Senior Engineer

Bryan has a strong passion for all areas of web technology from coding and deploying websites to maintaining servers and working on mobile platform solutions. In his own words his goal is to “support great design with solid code under the hood”. His main areas of expertise are PHP (Laravel), MySQL, Javascript, HTML5 and CSS. Bryan has worked with interactive studios based both in St. Louis and Tennessee. Most recently, with Anode in Nashville, he built interactive exhibits for the Country Music Hall of Fame. In his spare time he enjoys playing guitar, traveling and attending Nashville Predators games.


 

Rebecca Sheldon

Rebecca Sheldon

Engineer / Product Manager

Rebecca is a product enthusiast with experience in software engineering and digital marketing. Rebecca managed online ad and social campaigns for Royal Caribbean International, LifeLock, Jenga, and others, before moving into tech and completing a 10 week coding program. She has since gone on to work as a developer and product manager with Bay Area startups. Rebecca leads a popular Ruby study group with Women Who Code in San Francisco.


Whitney Wyszynski

Whitney Wyszynski

Digital Strategy Manager, Government Relations

Whitney is an “I am woman, hear me roar” kind of gal interested in all things tech, media, and government. She leverages digital tools to make the legislative process easier to understand. Whitney leads Congressional Relations for POPVOX — listening to staffers’ pain points, writing legislative explainers, and creating tools to support staffers. You’ve probably seen her in congressional hearings and markups…or her office, the Rayburn cafeteria.

Whitney became a web entrepreneur in college as a sorority leader, when frustration with the organization’s voting system led her to create Vox Virtual Voting Systems, later adopted by greek organizations across the Southeast. She recently received a B.A. in Political Science and an A.B.J. in Journalism – Public Affairs from The University of Georgia. While at UGA, Whitney studied abroad in Prague, planned and executed a national award-winning communications plan, served as a student judge for the Peabody Awards, and cofounded the Online News Association/Society of Professional Journalists student group.


William Donnell

 

 

 

 

 

William Donnell

Lead Designtist

William is founder and lead “designtist” of experience design firm Sodium Halogen. Over the past 12 years, William’s distributed team has worked remotely with startups from San Francisco to DC, as well as with established companies such as Chick-fil-A and Mars Pets, to create amazing brand experiences for the web and mobile with their “Designtific Method.”

William has a degree in Agriculture from the University of Tennessee at Martin and is passionate about teamwork and the technology that allows people to work together, even when they are are apart. He leads workshops and speaks about remote collaboration and lean UX practices. William is also CO:founder of theCO (co-working/maker space) and CO:de Academy (initiative to teach local high school students how to learn computer programming).

 


Shane Aday

 Shane Aday

Design Alchemist

 

 

chance-smith-popvox

Chance Smith

WordPress Wrangler

 

 

 


alex-deas-popvox

Alexandra Deas

POPVOX State Team

Alexandra Deas is finishing up her Bachelor’s Degree from California Polytechnic State University. With her focus on U.S. history and International Relations, she plans to pursue a Masters Degree in Public Policy after she graduates. During her time at CalPoly she interned at the San Luis Obispo County District’s Attorney Office, where she gained an understanding of state laws and criminal procedure. She is a native of the Bay Area and will be interning with the POPVOX/California team.

 


Hannah Gourdie

Hannah Gourdie

Contributor, Legislative Affairs

Hannah researches state legislatures — comparing and contrasting institutions, policies, and legislation. She is a junior at the College of William & Mary, double majoring in Government and French/Francophone Studies. 


Holly Stokes

Holly Stokes

Contributor, Government Relations

Growing up in D.C., Holly had the opportunity to cultivate an appreciation for government by working for district judges and state senators. Holly has pursued her interest in the intersection between policy and social justice at Franklin University Switzerland, where she studies International Banking and Finance and International Economics with an emphasis in Political Economy. She is thrilled to join the POPVOX team and help people communicate clearly and efficiently with their government.


Maddie Burton

Maddie Burton

Contributor, Government and New Media

Maddie loves talking politics and surfing the web, so she was pretty psyched to realize she could combine those interests and work on government and new media at the same time.  She is a senior at the College of William & Mary where she studies political science and public health.  She spent Fall 2015 abroad in Copenhagen, Denmark, but couldn't stay away from American politics and has enjoyed the opportunity to experience the legislative process from a nonpartisan perspective. Maddie is thrilled to work with POPVOX and figure out how new media can shape the way the government and its constituents interact with each other.  


POPVOX intern Isabela Karibjanian

Isabela Karibjanian

Intern


Isabela is a sophomore at Brown University concentrating in International Relations, with a focus on issues of security and society. Isabela interned with her local congresswoman last summer and is eager to approach Congress from a nonpartisan perspective. She is excited to be joining the POPVOX team, helping constituents communicate with their government and making the legislative process as transparent and easy to understand as possible. 


Christian Hanway

Intern

Christian is a current freshman at Brown University, where he plans to double major in Econ and Political Science. Growing up in the D.C. area, he had no shortage of exposure to government operations, but only truly became interested in policy after attending the School for Public Service summer program. Christian is passionate about improving communication between lawmakers and constituents and co-founded and manages Briefsman.com, a website designed to summarize legislation in easy-to-understand terms.


Sarah Campbell Tucker POPVOX

Sarah Campbell Tucker

Intern

Sarah Campbell Tucker is a sophomore at Brown University studying public policy. She is from North Carolina and is excited to spend two weeks in DC with POPVOX.