Headquarters: San Francisco, CA
Steve Phillips, Chair
Steve Phillips is the Board Chair and Co-Founder of PowerPAC.org. Over the past twenty years, Steve has worked as an education reformer, attorney, investor, and elected official.
Steve grew up in Cleveland, Ohio, where his mother was a public school teacher and his father was a physician. He attended Stanford University, where he majored in English and Afro-American Studies and was active in the student government, the Black Student Union, and the Free South Africa Movement. Steve helped build a coalition of students, faculty and staff that pushed Stanford to make major changes in innovations in multi-cultural curriculum and student services for students of color.
Steve continued his public service after graduating from college, devoting his early professional and political life to the issue of education. For four years he worked for the public interest law firm Public Advocates, Inc. as the coordinator of an education reform project that linked low-performing schools with business and local community groups. In 1992, at the age of 28, Steve successfully ran for a seat on the San Francisco Board of Education, and he became the youngest elected official in the history of San Francisco, and went on to serve as President of the Board.
Steve’s work with non-profit organizations includes founding Justice Matters, an education reform and leadership development organization, and serving on the Board of Directors of Progressive Majority, the Democracy Alliance, and the American Conservatory Theater.
Andrew Wong, President
Andy Wong, co-founder of PowerPAC and Vote Hope, has been running political campaigns since the mid-1980s. His career began by winning a series of student government elections at San Francisco State University, UC Berkeley, UCLA and Stanford. Over the next decade he went on to run city and county campaigns in the San Francisco Bay Area, electing people of color and gay community activists to Community College Board, BART Board, School Board and the Board of Supervisors. His background in applied mathematics and computer data systems has enabled him to support numerous campaign infrastructures, including for Prop 54, targeting voters for effective campaigning by using a myriad of techniques for empowering niche constituencies.
Andy also began AJWI, a software company focused on the government and non-profit sectors, in 1998 in San Francisco. This 10-year old company has served over 50 counties in California, state agencies, foundations such as Hewlett, Haas Jr. and Packard, and supported projects in health, economic development, education, early childhood development and criminal justice. Providing software in an Application Service Provider model has helped move government and foundations into the 21st century creating new avenues for cross-agency collaboration and leveraging existing resources for better and more effective strategies. AJWI’s work is also helping standardize work in these fields that have previously demanded customized systems opening the door for greater improvements in government productivity.
Lisa Le, Controller
Lisa Le’s desire to make a difference helped foster the foundation for PowerPAC. Her parents’ experiences leaving war-torn Vietnam influenced her interests and understanding of the civil rights and women’s suffrage movement. As an activist, Lisa brings her organizational and certified public accounting skills to create an environment where younger generations can organize and movement-build. Having travelled throughout many parts of the world, it is no surprise to a Francophile that Lisa’s favorite travel destination remains Paris, France.
Shirley Burke, Office Manager
Shirley Burke remembers her first encounter with politics—the “Freedom Riders” organizing in her neighborhood during the time of Dr. Martin Luther Kings’ boycotts and sit-ins. Now at PowerPAC, Shirley continues to support social justice as operations manager at PowerPAC.
Shirley has over 20 years of administrative customer service and event production experience having worked with Apple Computer, Zelerate and in the real estate industry. At PowerPAC, Shirley assists the Chairman and President and works closely with the Controller to ensure logistics are operating smoothly in each office location.
Shirley attended Southern University in Louisiana, and later went on to obtain her Real Estate and Notary Public license. For over 14 years, she served as secretary on the Board of Directors for the Antioch Christian Center and Maranatha Christian Center Church. During her spare time, Shirley enjoys decorating and writing prose and poetry.
Los Angeles, CA Office
Sandra Perez, Political Director
As the daughter of Mexican immigrants, Sandra Pérez is dedicated to social justice for underserved communities through civic engagement and community building. Besides working on Field and Latino Outreach for Amnesty International USA (AIUSA) West and as the Western Regional Director for the Southwest Voter Registration Education Project (SVREP), Sandra has previously served on local, statewide, and national political and non-partisan electoral campaigns.
Sandra attended the University of La Verne majoring in Political Science and Public Administration.
Washington, DC Office
Julie Martínez Ortega, Washington Director/ & Vice President of Policy and Advocacy
Before joining PowerPAC.org, Julie served as Research Director for American Rights at Work, the nation’s leading workers’ rights advocacy and research organization, where she developed and led the policy research program and served as a member of the senior management team. She held this position since the organization’s founding in 2004. She led staff, outside partners, and consultants to provide analysis and technical assistance on a wide variety of legislative, legal, and research matters relating to workers’ rights. Previously, Dr. Martínez Ortega was a Kerr White Visiting Scholar in the Center for Finance, Cost, and Access at the U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services, where her research focused on cost and finance issues related to health insurance for low-income families, Latinos, and children. Dr. Martínez Ortega has taught undergraduate and graduate level courses at College of the Holy Cross and Clark University. As an associate with the Los Angeles civil rights litigation firm Hadsell & Stormer, Inc., she served as co-counsel on a number of high profile civil rights cases, including the El Monte, CA garment workers’ sweatshop case, the appeal of a groundbreaking $17.7 million sex discrimination suit against Texaco, and the Riverside County, CA chase and subsequent beatings of suspected immigrants by members of the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department. Before attending law school, Julie worked on Capitol Hill as a Special Assistant to Senator Alan Cranston.
Dr. Martínez Ortega is an editorial board member of the Labor Studies Journal, and has served as a board member of the National Labor and Employment Relations Association and President of its DC Chapter. She is an Independent Labor Rights Expert on the Workers’ Rights Consortium Advisory Council, United Association of Labor Educators, the American Public Health Association, and the Kellogg Foundation Fellows Leadership Alliance. Dr. Martínez Ortega serves as a member of the Board of Directors at Mary’s Center, the leading social service agency and federally qualified health center serving the DC immigrant population, and serves on the board of Progressive Majority. Dr. Martínez Ortega is a graduate of Stanford University, the University of California-Los Angeles School of Law, and earned her Ph.D. at the Heller School for Social Policy and Management at Brandeis University. She is a member of the California Bar.
Edil De Los Reyes, Deputy Political Director
Born and raised by first-generation Filipino immigrants, Southern California native Edil De Los Reyes is the Deputy Political Director for PowerPAC.
In 2010, Edil served as the New Media Organizer for the One Nation Working Together campaign helping to organize tens of thousands of activists, community members, and unionists to march in DC for jobs, justice, and education. Prior to joining PowerPAC, Edil ran the California Democratic Party campaign operations in San Bernardino County. As one of the country’s fastest growing counties, Edil took on a rapidly growing area that had been overlooked and developed civic engagement training modules, implemented innovated new media strategies, and attracted and deployed a volunteer team of youth that contacted close to 1000 voters per night. Her work helped turn San Bernardino County “blue” for the first time in modern history.
Edil also has significant private sector experience having run a business where she was responsible for marketing, sales, data collection and analysis. A self-described data-geek, Edil works with PowerPAC’s Dr. Julie Martinez Ortega crunching and analyzing numbers about electoral patterns and trends and their interrelationship with country’s demographic changes.
She is a proud alumna of American University, holding a BA from the School of Public Affairs. Also a graduate of American University’s training institutes - Campaign Management Institute and Women and Politics Institute. In her spare time, Edil loves to snowboard, bake copious amounts of cookies, and tweet. Follow her on Twitter @mari_delosreyes.