Class Action Staff
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.
Mary Linders, Operations Manager
Mary manages the administrative and financial operations of Class Action. She is passionate about anti-classism and anti-racism, and tackling those issues through a feminist and environmentalist lens. After graduating from American University in Washington, DC, where she studied political science and finance, Mary spent five years as a management consultant, focused on operational efficiency, management strategy, and effective use of technology for state and local government agencies, nonprofits, and educational institutions. Mary loves horses, the beach, and spending time with her rescue dog, Dottie. Her favorite thing about working at Class Action is equipping changemakers with what they need to end classism!
Class Action Board Members
Betsy Leondar-Wright, Project Director of Staffing the Mission & Senior Trainer
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.
Chuck Collins, Board Member Emeritus
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.
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
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
Shane Lloyd, Senior Trainer
Shane Lloyd is a diversity and inclusion professional who is a veteran Class Action trainer and previous Class Action Board President. Shane brings extensive experience as a facilitator, trainer, strategist, and program evaluator to his dynamic and interactive workshops that equip participants with vocabulary, frameworks, and concrete action steps to advance inclusion. Shane seeks to help individuals develop class awareness and a class lens, explore the intersections of race and class, address class barriers and class privilege, help institutions and organizations become more class inclusive, and promote economic justice.
Shane’s work in the realm of diversity and inclusion started while he was a research assistant at the Rhode Island Department of Health in their Health Disparities and Access to Care Team. Shane also worked in the Brown Center for Students of Color, a hub for student-led diversity and inclusion efforts on Brown’s campus. Today, Shane works as an Inclusion and Engagement Leader for Amazon.
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 daughter 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
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
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.
Tanya O. Williams, Senior Trainer
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 2011. You can learn more about Felice’s amazing life by purchasing the DVD A Life Well Loved in the Class Action store.