Board & Advisors

Board of Directors

Marianne Manilov

Founder Prior to co-founding The Engage Network, Manilov’s 20-plus year career as a grassroots organizer, political and media strategist and writer included running campaigns and programs for groups such as Amnesty International and Greenpeace International. She is the co-founder and former Executive Director of The Center for Commercial-Free Public Education, home of the UNPLUG campaign against Channel One.. read more…

Taj James

Taj is the Executive Director of Movement Strategy Center, a group known for its work in building widespread coalitions and developing long-term movement strategies. Before starting the Movement Strategy Center, Taj was the Director of Youth Policy and Development at Coleman Advocates for Children and Youth.  Taj also worked as the Western Regional Field Organizer for the Black Student Leadership Network, a project of the Children’s Defense Fund. Taj has served on numerous advisory boards, including that of LISTEN Inc., We Interrupt This Message, The Praxis Project, Youth United for Community Action, the Gay-Straight Alliance Network, and the California Fund for Youth Organizing. He has published numerous articles on youth organizing and empowerment. Taj was the recipient of a Next Generation Leadership fellowship from the Rockefeller Foundation and was named a “Local Hero” by the San Francisco Bay Guardian.

Rob McKay

Rob is the Chairman of the Democracy Alliance, a donor collective of major progressive political donors working to increase grassroots participation in progressive issues and to create a long-term progressive voter base. Founded in the spring of 2005, Democracy Alliance’s long-term objective is to raise $200 million to develop a funding clearinghouse for progressive groups. Rob is also President of the McKay Family Foundation, which supports community-based organizations working for long-term social, political, and economic progress. He started the foundation with his brother and parents in January 1992.

In 2002, Rob sponsored and coordinated a statewide ballot initiative to allow Election Day voter registration. This effort, which allows people to register and vote the same day, has been seen as having a major impact on allowing those from low-income, immigrant, and communities of color to expand their electoral participation.  Rob is committed to and continues to seek public policy solutions that will allow people to become greater stakeholders in their neighborhoods and communities. Last year, he served as Chair of the California Secretary of State’s Advisory Committee on the development of the state plan for the Help America Vote Act (HAVA).

Rob is also the managing partner for the McKay Investment Group, which provides venture capital for early-stage technology and consumer product companies. He serves on a number of corporate and non-profit boards, including the Ms. Foundation for Women, the San Francisco Art Institute, Salon Media Group, Foodfit.com, Vanguard Public Foundation, and Mother Jones magazine where he is co-chair. He also writes a blog for the Huffington Post.

Advisors

Ori Brafman

Ori is the co-author of The Starfish and the Spider: the Unstoppable Power of Leaderless Organizations (Portfolio, 2006).  Ori holds a BA in Peace and Conflict Studies from UC Berkeley and an MBA from Stanford University. As an alumnus, Ori has facilitated an MBA course on interpersonal dynamics at the Stanford Business School. When he was in college, he co-founded Vegan Action, which launched a network with 36 global chapters. He brought vegan foods into college dining halls. Since then, Ori has led marketing campaigns for UC Berkeley’s Young Musicians Program, prevented fast food companies from advertising in schools, led marketing efforts for a healthy fast food company, and been a founding member of Courtroom Connect, a courtroom technology company. Together with Rod Beckstrom, Ori co-founded Global Peace Networks, which catalyzed a network of CEOs working on conflict resolution and economic development in Africa and the Middle East.

Seane Corn

Seane Corn is an internationally celebrated yoga teacher known for her impassioned activism, unique self-expression, and inspirational style of teaching. She has been featured in numerous articles, news programs, and has appeared on the cover of over a dozen magazines. As a strong and articulate voice for social change she was named the National Yoga Ambassador for YouthAIDS, and shares their mission to raise funds, provide service, and spread national awareness about the global emergency of HIV/AIDS. Seane has spent time in India, Cambodia and Africa working with impoverished prostitutes and street children, teaching yoga, providing support and aid, and educating them about HIV/AIDS prevention. She participates on the board of the Cambodian Children’s Fund. Seane also created the yoga program for Children of the Night, a shelter near Los Angeles dedicated to providing education and services for adolescent prostitutes. In 2005 Seane was honored with the “Conscious Humanitarian” award for her outreach efforts. Her award winning DVD “Vinyasa Flow Yoga” is available through Gaiam International, her “Yoga From the Heart” DVD can be found through Yoga Journal, and most recent DVD “Detox Flow Yoga” from Sounds True.

Allen Gunn

Allen is the Executive Director of Aspiration Technology and an executive with over twenty years of software development and capacity building expertise. He has shepherded large software projects from inception, design, development and testing to deployment, support and marketing.  His expertise spans the range of start-ups, large corporations and nonprofits. Drawing on engineering, senior management, and volunteer experiences, Allen is a skilled communicator, trainer and facilitator in both the nonprofit and corporate sectors.  He is passionate about helping nonprofits and NGOs make better use of software technology. He has been closely involved with the US and international technology activist communities, the Silicon Valley engineering and VC world, environmental organizations, and academic communities. He is a firm believer in melding hard work with a joy for life.

Julia Butterfly Hill

Julia Butterfly Hill brought international attention to the plight of the world’s last remaining ancient forests when, in 1997, she climbed 180 feet up a 1000 year-old Redwood tree and refused to come down. Her historic 738-day protest of the environmental destruction caused by clear-cutting ancient redwoods culminated with a negotiated agreement that provided permanent protection for the tree (“Luna”) and a nearly 3 acre buffer-zone. She is author of the national best seller The Legacy of Luna and One Makes The Difference, both published by HarperSanFrancisco. For the past 7 years, Julia has toured the world giving presentations at universities, conferences, concerts and community events on each person’s power and responsibility to change the world. Today, Julia is passionate about her work as a life coach, and continues to enjoy joyful vegan cooking and making visual art.

Van Jones

Van Jones is a globally recognized, award-winning pioneer in human rights and the clean-energy economy. Van is a co-founder of three successful non-profit organizations: the Ella Baker Center for Human Rights, Color of Change and Green For All. He is the best-selling author of the definitive book on green jobs, The Green-Collar Economy. He served as the green jobs advisor in the Obama White House in 2009.  Van is currently a senior fellow at the Center For American Progress. Additionally, he is a senior policy advisor at Green For All.  Van also holds a joint appointment at Princeton University, as a distinguished visiting fellow in both the Center for African American Studies and in the Program in Science, Technology and Environmental Policy at the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs.

Nadine Weil

Nadine is the founder of Heart of Green, a San Francisco-based green practice that enables and supports modern sustainability through business consulting, event design, and a website featuring her writing on green culture and technology.  Prior to founding Heart of Green in 2004, Nadine was the head of marketing for OpenTable.com and the co-founder and CFO of Pathway Ventures, a venture consulting firm in Silicon Valley. Previously, Nadine performed M&A advisory services at LEK in Milan, London and Los Angeles, and she won an award for her work on the EV1 Electric Vehicle at General Motors in Detroit in 1996.  Currently, Nadine serves on the ForestEthics Board of Directors, co-chairs the Global Green San Francisco Committee, is a founding member of the Full Circle Fund’s Environment & Energy Circle, and appears on ABC7′s View from the Bay TV show as an eco-expert.  In 2007, Breathe California awarded Heart of Green the California Clean Air Award in public awareness.  Nadine has an MBA from the Harvard Business School and a B.S. in Industrial Engineering from Stanford University.