Staff and Board Members
Ann Philbin, Executive Director
Ann was raised in Worcester, MA by working class parents who helped her and her siblings enter the middle class in part through support for their pursuit of higher education as first generation college students. She has been involved in efforts to promote social, economic and political justice for most of her adult life. She lived and worked in both Central America and East Central Europe for extended periods.
For nearly twenty years, Ann was part of the immigrant rights movement in the Boston area. She helped establish one of the first immigrant workers’ centers and subsequently co-founded an intermediary which helps immigrant-led organizations to develop community leadership in their work for justice.
Ann is very excited to join the Class Action team and hopes to help long time and more recent supporters to bring Class Action into its next stage of growth as a key force in the movement for economic equality in the region and in the country as a whole.
Rachel Rybaczuk, Program Director
Rachel Rybaczuk is a first-generation American, whose experience growing up poor, was put in stark contrast to her first-gen college experience at a predominantly white liberal arts college. This experience catalyzed her dedication to economic and racial justice organizing. Rybaczuk has been a longtime community organizer fighting for affordable housing, supporting undocumented workers’ organizing, engaging community members about social justice issues, and fundraising for grassroots efforts to stop foreclosures. After many years as a senior trainer, she served as interim executive director for Class Action and is now Program Director – one of her numerous part-time jobs including teaching and housecleaning as she slowly works toward a PhD in sociology. Her continued working class hustle inspires her vision for economic and racial justice for all people.
Chuck Collins is a senior scholar at the Institute for Policy Studies (IPS) and directs IPS’s Program on Inequality and the Common Good. He is an expert on U.S. inequality and author of several books, including “99 to 1: How Wealth Inequality is Wrecking the World and What We Can Do About It” (2012) and “Economic Apartheid in America: A Primer on Economic Inequality and Insecurity” (New Press, 2005). He coordinates a national effort to preserve the federal estate tax, our nation’s only tax on inherited wealth. He co-authored with Bill Gates Sr., Wealth and Our Commonwealth, a case for taxing inherited fortunes. In 1995, he co-founded United for a Fair Economy (UFE) to raise the profile of the inequality issue and support popular education and organizing efforts to address inequality. In 1997, he co-founded Responsible Wealth, a project of UFE to bring together business leaders and investors to publicly speak out against economic policies and corporate practices that worsen economic inequality. He was Executive Director of UFE from 1995-2001 and Program Director until 2005.
Holly Fetter, Treasurer
Holly is an MBA candidate at Harvard Business School who’s passionate about economic and racial justice. After graduating from Stanford University with a B.A. in Comparative Studies in Race and Ethnicity and an M.A. in Sociology in 2014, she worked at the Ford Foundation in a program area that funded social movement organizations. She then joined the National Domestic Workers Alliance staff as a Donor Organizer before moving to the MTV/VH1/Logo Social Impact Team at Viacom.
Holly has lived in California, Texas, Brooklyn, and Boston, and is a long-time chapter leader with Resource Generation.
Betsy Leondar-Wright, Project Director of Staffing the Mission
Betsy grew up in an upper-middle-class family in a mixed-class New Jersey suburb. Her book, “Missing Class: Strengthening Social Movement Groups by Seeing Class Cultures” (Cornell University Press, 2014), grew out of her PhD dissertation research on 25 social justice groups. She is an assistant professor of sociology at Lasell College. A long-time activist for economic justice, she was the Communications Director for nine years at United for a Fair Economy, where she co-authored “The Color of Wealth: The Story Behind the US Racial Wealth Divide” (2006). Since writing “Class Matters: Cross-Class Alliance Building for Middle-Class Activists” (2005), Betsy has led over 200 workshops all over the US on classism, cross-class alliance building, class cultures, the racial wealth divide, and economic inequality.
Shane Lloyd, Board President
Shane currently works as a consultant for Cook Ross, Inc.– one of the nation’s leading management consulting firms focused on inclusion, diversity, and belonging. Prior to joining Cook Ross, Shane worked at two of the world’s leading institutions– Brown University and Yale University– partnering with administrators, faculty, staff, students and alumni to promote cross-cultural exchange and social justice programming. Shane holds board memberships with Class Action, the New England Grassroots Environment Fund, and the Associate Board of the New England Region of the Anti-Defamation League. Shane earned his MPH at Brown University and his BS in Behavioral Neuroscience from Northeastern University.
dr. becky martinez
becky is a consultant and trainer with an emphasis on social justice, leadership and organizational change. Her work focuses on engaging individuals and groups to recognize systemic dynamics of privilege and oppression to create more inclusive and equitable policies, practices, and structures. She works with diverse groups at the college level, with community-based organizations, and government agencies. She is a faculty member for the Social Justice Training Institute and a Co-Lead Facilitator for the LeaderShape Institute.
Lately, one of her greatest joys is engaging in all things related to social class identity and class(ism). It’s been a great place of healing for her with a hope she can create ripples to elevate this area of inclusion work. She recently co-authored a book titled Straddling Class in the Academy. As a first-generation college student raised working class, it was a deeply meaningful project to research and write about something so near to her spirit.
Maria is a radical communications and media strategist with a background in community organizing. In her work for restaurant workers’ rights, gender justice and environmental regulation, she has carried out strategic communications campaigns in order to advance progressive policy, shift public opinion, and build power. Maria was raised in Colorado and is from a white, working-class family. As a first generation college student with a B.A. degree in Political Science and English from Colorado State University, she’s committed to using the power of media to amplify movements led by working-class and poor communities. She is currently the Communications Director at Resource Generation which organizes young people with wealth and class privilege to support poor and working-class led anti-capitalist economic and racial justice organizations and movements.
For fun she instigates conversations with people about class, consumes feminist science/speculative fiction, checks out women-led independent horror movies, reads/watches a lot about astrophysics that she doesn’t fully understand, and visits farmed animal sanctuaries.
Tanya O. Williams
My mission is to provide and create spaces in relationships, conversations, communities for all people to feel seen and appreciated for their authentic selves. I believe that educating and working toward equity, as well as creating spaces of justice and communication all grow out of that desire. Born and raised working class in Houston, Texas, I currently live in New York City and lead Authentic Coaching and Consulting. I have over 20 years of diversity, inclusion, and social justice teaching, programming and facilitation experience in higher education including professional roles at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, Mount Holyoke College, and Union Theological Seminary in the City of New York. I hold a doctorate (Ed.D) in Social Justice Education from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, and my dissertation focused on internalized oppression and process toward liberation. I also hold an MS in Educational Administration and BA in Journalism and English from Texas A&M University.
Class Action Trainers
Nicole Brown is a Class Action trainer who first became involved in 2006 as an intern while studying at Mt. Holyoke College. She went on to work in New York City at nonprofits as a Facilitator and Adult Educator, and was involved in community organizing while at Families United for Racial and Economic Equality (FUREE) and the Working Families Party (WFP). Nicole currently resides in Washington, DC where she recently finished her Master’s in Education Policy. She is an Associate at The Democracy Collaborative, a think tank focused on reshaping the U.S. economic system to be one that is more equitable, inclusive and sustainable through promoting transformative asset-based and wealth building strategies within disinvested communities. Location: Brooklyn, NY
Chuck Collins, Associate Trainer and Board Member
Chuck Collins is a senior scholar at the Institute for Policy Studies (IPS) and directs IPS’s Program on Inequality and the Common Good. He is an expert on U.S. inequality and author of several books, including “99 to 1: How Wealth Inequality is Wrecking the World and What We Can Do About It” (2012) and “Economic Apartheid in America: A Primer on Economic Inequality and Insecurity” (New Press, 2005). He coordinates a national effort to preserve the federal estate tax, our nations only tax on inherited wealth. He co-authored with Bill Gates Sr., Wealth and Our Commonwealth, a case for taxing inherited fortunes. In 1995, he co-founded United for a Fair Economy (UFE) to raise the profile of the inequality issue and support popular education and organizing efforts to address inequality. In 1997, he co-founded Responsible Wealth, a project of UFE to bring together business leaders and investors to publicly speak out against economic policies and corporate practices that worsen economic inequality. He was Executive Director of UFE from 1995-2001 and Program Director until 2005. Location: Boston, MA
Theo Yang Copley is a blogger, facilitator and fundraising consultant. She has worked with many social justice organizations including the Astraea Foundation, Asians and Pacific Islanders in Philanthropy, Grassroots Institute for Fundraising Training and the Sylvia Rivera Law Project. She has done trainings on social justice philanthropy, the wealth divide, philanthropy in communities of color and the racial wealth divide. Theo is a longtime member of Resource Generation and a member of their Alumni Organizing Committee. She attended St. Paul’s School and Oberlin College. Locations: New York, NY & San Francisco Bay Area
Yarrow Durbin, Associate Trainer
After nearly 50 years as a social justice activist and 20 years as a high school teacher and professional developer in schools , Yarrow has been teaching and leading learning experiences for adults and youth for over 30 years in a wide variety of settings. She work with individuals, small and large groups who are committed to making a positive difference for children, families and our community, whether it be in education, human services, not-for-profits, government or socially oriented businesses. She has a Masters Degree from the University of Washington in Curriculum and Instruction, as well as certification as a Courage & Renewal® facilitator, Integral®Coach, Certified Polarity Management® trainer, Immunity to Change® consultant and coach, and is certified to administer several powerful feedback instruments ( EQ in Action® – emotional intelligence in the workplace)® and the Leadership Circle Profile.She is also a student and teacher-in-training in the Diamond Approach, a spiritual school founded in principles of modern psychology. She is the founder of her business – Courage Work. Location: Seattle, WA
Pamela Freeman, Curriculum Developer and Associate Trainer
Pamela Freeman, co-author of Created Equal, is a long time social activist. She has spent the last 30 years working on issues of social justice, nationally and internationally in variety of settings. She is the founder of the Philadelphia Black Women’s Health Project which advocates round health issues for Black women. She is a graduate of the School of Playback Theater, and the co-founder of Playback for Change a local improves company that focus on diversity issues. She also was a consultant/trainer for Spirit in Action, an organization that provides training around diversity and class issues for social activists. She is a social worker by training and has taught cultural diversity at Bryn Mawr College School of Social Work and Social Research. Pamela also works as a therapist. Location: Philadelphia, PA
Anita Garcia Morales, Senior Trainer
Anita Garcia Morales grew up in a migrant farmworker family. She received her BA and Teaching Degree from the University of Washington. She taught in Seattle Public Schools for over 20 years and is currently an Instructional Services Coach for Social Studies and Race & Equity. Anita is also a Courage & Renewal Facilitator and a Positive Discipline Associate reaching out to mostly immigrant Latino families. The common thread that runs through all that Anita does is her focus on social justice and equity. She has co-facilitated many class and classism workshops for varied organizations in the Seattle area. Location: Seattle, WA
Diana González, Associate Trainer
Diana González, M.A., is an educational trainer, consultant, and coach. She creates powerful learning environments and assists others in designing inclusive learning environments and experiences for social change. She has worked in restorative justice, mediation centers, and public and private schools. Whether the topic is about creating inclusive teams, how to unionize, exploring class/classism, gender beyond the binary, or how to have a rocking meeting, she brings seriousness and dedication to it all. Location: Burlington, VT
Annie joined the Class Action team in 2015 and worked in multiple capacities including administration, fundraising and training. She is currently completing a dual degree in Clinical Social Work and Public Health at Boston University. Before starting grad school, Annie worked at non-profits and is helping create a more just world by building alternatives to capitalism. Annie is a queer white woman who grew up in a working-class home in Atlanta before moving to Boston to attend Wellesley College. Location: Boston, MA
Jennifer Ladd, Co-Founder and Senior Trainer
Jennifer Ladd, Ed.D. of Jennifer Ladd Consulting, is a philanthropic advisor as well as fundraising coach and group facilitator. She co- founded Class Action with Felice Yeskel. In her consulting work, she is dedicated to creating resilient community by helping resources move where they are most needed. She uses theater and play, as well as traditional tools and practices to help organizations and individuals achieve their goals. See www.jenniferladd.net for more information. Location: Western MA
Betsy Leondar-Wright, Senior Trainer, Board Member and Project Director of Staffing the Mission
Betsy grew up in an upper-middle-class family in a mixed-class New Jersey suburb. She is assistant professor of sociology at Lasell College. Her new book, “Missing Class: Strengthening Social Movement Groups by Seeing Class Cultures” (Cornell University Press, 2014), grew out of her PhD dissertation research on 25 social justice groups. A long-time activist for economic justice, she was the Communications Director for nine years at United for a Fair Economy,where she co-authored “The Color of Wealth: The Story Behind the US Racial Wealth Divide” (2006). Since writing “Class Matters: Cross-Class Alliance Building for Middle-Class Activists” (2005), Betsy has led over 200 workshops all over the US on classism, cross-class alliance building, class cultures, the racial wealth divide, and economic inequality. Location: Boston, MA
Steve Lew, Associate Trainer
Steve is a Senior Project Director for CompassPoint Nonprofit Services and works with organizations in creating strategic plans, fund development plans and board development plans. At CompassPoint, he co-created and manages the Fundraising Academy for Communities of Color, an 8 month training and coaching series offered in collaboration with the Grassroots Fundraising Journal. He brings 15 years of training and consulting experience to each of his projects, along with a decade of hands-on experience in managing nonprofits. Steve also raises money as a board member of the Grassroots Institute for Fundraising Training and as a volunteer with the Chinese Progressive Association in San Francisco. Location: San Francisco Bay Area
Shane Lloyd, Senior Trainer and Board Member
Shane Lloyd currently works as the Assistant Director of Yale University’s historic Afro-American Cultural Center. In the role, Shane provides culturally-affirming programming and intercultural education for Yale’s campus with a particular focus on the experiences and histories of the Black community. Prior to Yale, Shane worked as the Assistant Director for First Year and Sophomore Programs at Brown University’s Brown Center for Students of Color. Shane coordinated programming for prospective, first and second-year students of color to have a positive impact on their matriculation, transition to college, retention, and academic and co-curricular success. In addition to being a senior trainer, he also serves as the board vice president for Class Action. Shane also serves on the boards of the Center for Mediation and Collaboration – Rhode Island and the New England Grassroots Environment Fund. Shane earned his MPH at Brown University and his BS in Behavioral Neuroscience from Northeastern University. Location: Maryland
Adj was the first person in her family to attend and graduate from college, earning her B.A. while supporting her brothers’ pursuits of their associate degrees. Her experience of growing up as a member of a chronically poor, and often homeless, single-parent family contributed immensely to her work as a service-learning educator and advocate for educational socioeconomic justice. Adj has piloted college success initiatives for low-income first-generation students with College Visions and Class Action. Her graduate studies at Brown University focused on the role of arts in social-justice change-making movements and education. Check out her Classism Exposed blog piece here. Location: Boston, MA
Melody Martinez, Associate Trainer
Melody is an Oregon based community organizer, facilitator, and equity professional. She is the first-generation dauther of immigrants from the Dominican Republic and grew up in a working-class family in a predominantly white, upper-middle class outside of Boston. A career change led her to Portland, where she has primarily worked with statewide non-profits to oversee programmatic work and organizational development focused on creating meaningful, just outcomes for historically underserved communities. In her current role as Oregon Program Manager at Social Justice Fund NW, she organizes and trains community members to understand power and privilege and fundraise for social change. She is also an On-call Facilitator at Resolutions Northwest where she leads interactive popular education workshops that inspire participants to take action to end classism and racism. Location: Portland, OR
Born into a lower middle class family, Denise Moorehead was raised in Western Massachusetts as an only child for 11 years. Her parents, both “strivers” increased their educational and earning power in conjunction with opportunities previously unavailable to African-Americans thanks to the civil rights movement. They were able to offer Denise dance and instrument lessons, summer camp, French camp and more. As a young child, she was often in the company of upper middle class children in these settings and working class and lower middle children in her neighborhood. Her parents prepared her to fit in with all groups. Today, Denise is a marketing, communications and training strategist working with nonprofits and small businesses as the principal of Moorehead Creative Solutions. She recently cofounded UU Class Conversations, which provides training and organizing support to Unitarian Universalist congregations and organizations working to make the denomination more class-inclusive. Location: Boston, MA
Lizzy was raised in a professional middle class family in a small town in upstate New York. Their interest in social justice and activism began in 1999 when their anarchist reading group became an activist organization for high school students. Since then, organized primarily with low-income and working class people around various justice issues, including counter recruitment in Syracuse City Schools with the Military Alternatives Education Project and Syracuse Peace Council in Syracuse, NY. Liz is committed to combating racism and classism on an institutional level. In addition with her work with Class Action, Lizzy is co-founder of Deep Abiding Love, a collective dedicated to providing training and resources for activists, organizers, rabble rousers, and trouble makers of all kinds. Location: Minneapolis, MN
Joanie grew up in Pittsburgh, the hometown of her parents, with a father who was raised owning class and a mother raised working class. Throughout her life, she was always trying to figure out why some people were left out and others weren’t in society. She decided to become an elementary school teacher to provide an environment where children could feel good about themselves. From there she was trained as a machine operator and worked in a factory for 10 years and was very involved with her union. Over the past 30 years, she has worked in the labor movement and has been actively involved in work to end racism. Currently, she is working within the intersection of labor and the environmental justice movements focusing on issues around “Just Transition” where issues of class and classism are key. She is also committed to working with individuals and groups on the effects of our class backgrounds and how we can actively work to end classism. Location: Boston, MA
Anne Phillips, Associate Trainer
Anne was raised in a modest working and middle-class neighborhood outside of the Twin Cities. She and her siblings were all first generation college students, as her parents – whom each earned two year associate degrees -made a pact that all 3 of their kids would get more education than they did. She was initially inspired to work for social change by Paul Wellstone, who ran his first grassroots senatorial campaign during her high school years. College brought Anne to the University of Texas, where she earned a B.S. in Communication Studies. It was also at UT where Anne became an activist, influenced by some great lefty professors. She became involved with fair pay for campus service staff, anti-sweatshop, and anti-globalization movements of the late 90s. Anne went on to become a community organizer and then fundraiser on behalf of many different causes including the environment, reproductive rights, worker rights and healthcare. Location: Los Angeles, CA
Alan Preston, grew up with the advantages of class, race, and gender and is committed to using his privilege to work for social justice. Alan has extensive experience in nonprofit leadership and most recently worked as the Director of Programs and Equity for Real Change Homeless Empowerment Project. Before joining Real Change in the Fall of 2009, Alan served as the Northwest Organizer for an initiative called Wealth for the Common Good, mobilizing high-income earners in support of progressive tax policies. Alan has also designed and facilitated programs around class, wealth and leadership for progressive foundations, giving circles, churches and nonprofit organizations. Alan holds an MBA from the J.L. Kellogg Graduate School of Management and a B.A. in political science from Haverford College. Location: Seattle, WA
Rachel Rybaczuk, Senior Trainer
Rachel Rybaczuk is a first-generation American, whose experience growing up (urban) poor, was put in stark contrast to her first-gen college experience at a predominantly white liberal arts college. There she realized race and class are the guiding forces of inequality. This experience catalyzed her dedication to economic and racial justice organizing. Rybaczuk has been a longtime community organizer fighting for affordable housing, supporting undocumented workers, engaging community members about social justice issues, and fundraising for a grassroots organization stopping foreclosures. After many years as a senior trainer, she became interim executive director for Class Action – one of her numerous part-time jobs including teaching and housecleaning as she slowly works toward a PhD in sociology. Her continued working class hustle inspires her vision for economic and racial justice for all people.
Davey Shlasko is a consultant, facilitator and educator who helps professionals, community members and students build their skills and understanding around topics like class & classism, class culture, cross-class communication, trans*/gender issues and more. Davey earned an M.Ed. in Social Justice Education from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. Davey has published writing on queer pedagogy, classism, trans movement building, and how to be a trans ally. Recent pieces include this Classism Exposed blog piece on trans people and socioeconomic class, and the Trans* Ally Workbook. Davey has been writing and teaching about social justice issues since 2000. For more information visit thinkagaintraining.com.Location: Boston, MA
Aba Taylor, Associate Trainer
Aba Taylor has been involved in social justice work for over 15 years supporting immigrants, people affected by HIV/AIDS, LGBTQI advocacy, women’s rights, and racial and economic justice movements. Having worked for the United Nations, African Services Committee, Lambda Legal, Liberty Hill Foundation, ACT-UP and a host of other civil rights, social justice and cultural organizations committed to uplifting myriad communities. Taylor has also worked as a consultant for multiple community-based organizations, as a freelance writer for several cultural magazines and served on a number of boards. Prior to joining WMCN, Taylor was the deputy director of the Astraea Foundation.Taylor has lived, worked and traveled in South and East Asia, the Caribbean, Africa, Europe, Central America, and North America. In addition to her career as a nonprofit professional, she is an avid supporter and participant of engaging arts, culture and creative expression as a means for social change. Taylor received her Bachelor’s degree from Columbia University in New York City, a Master’s degree in Intercultural Service and Nonprofit Management from the School of International Training and is a Rockwood Leadership Institute Alumni.
Sarah Tran, Associate Trainer
Sarah Tran was born and raised in Seattle, Washington, by Vietnamese parents who came to the United States as refugees. During her earliest years, the family was solidly working-class as her parents worked hard to support their children while sponsoring relatives from Vietnam to come to the US. By the time she was four, there were ten people living in their little house. When her parents advanced in their careers, they were able to move out into a larger home, becoming the only family of color in a predominantly white neighborhood. Sarah grew up experiencing racism and sexism throughout grade school and struggled with becoming a class “straddler” as her family’s socioeconomic status changed. These experiences ground and guide Sarah’s work today as the Executive Director of the Nonprofit Assistance Center – an organization dedicated to building capacity, resources, and leadership in communities of color and other marginalized communities. Location: Seattle, WA
Tanya O. Williams, Senior Trainer and Board Member
My mission is to provide and create spaces in relationships, conversations, communities for all people to feel seen and appreciated for their authentic selves. I believe that educating and working toward equity, as well as creating spaces of justice and communication all grow out of that desire. Born and raised working class in Houston, Texas, I currently live in New York City and lead Authentic Coaching and Consulting. I have over 20 years of diversity, inclusion, and social justice teaching, programming and facilitation experience in higher education including professional roles at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, Mount Holyoke College, and Union Theological Seminary in the City of New York. I hold a doctorate (Ed.D) in Social Justice Education from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, and my dissertation focused on internalized oppression and process toward liberation. I also hold an MS in Educational Administration and BA in Journalism and English from Texas A&M University. Location: New York, NY
Class Action was co-founded by the late, great Felice Yeskel.
Sadly, Felice passed away in January of 2011.
You can learn more about Felice’s amazing life by purchasing the DVD A Life Well Loved in the Class Action store.