David Nevins, Chairman of the Board
As one of the initial driving forces behind the Bridge Alliance and as president and co-director, David Nevins brings business acumen, vision and a tireless this-must-and-can-be-done zeal to the burgeoning movement to bridge divides to transform the political process. As a business leader, Nevins excels at building bridges between people and organizations from the right, left and center for civilized conversation and then action.
He co-founded the Bridge Alliance because, as he says, “No matter how well managed and how well funded anyone organization is, significant political reform will not happen without an alliance to further collaborative interactions. Together we can and will raise the collective impact of all.”He is a member of the Aspen Institute Society of Fellows, with a focus on the Aspen Rodel Fellowship in Public Leadership, he established and continues to work with The Nevins Democracy Leaders program at Penn State University. Nevins graduated with honors in economics from Penn State in 1969 and received an M.B.A. in finance from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania in 1971. He continues as President of Nevins Real Estate Management.
Debilyn Molineaux, President and CEO
Debilyn Molineaux co-founded the Bridge Alliance to harness the exponentially growing field of organizations into a “game changing” movement that shifts the underlying dynamics of power, politics, and participation in our country. She works with the staff, board members and other leaders of Bridge Alliance members in advancing the common mission of all 80+ organizations. Debilyn brings a passion to her work that is contagious to all around her.
Hailing from a conservative, agricultural community, Debilyn started her career as a small business owner, working with community businesses to promote and grow their own operations through advertising and marketing. After engaging other women business leaders, Debilyn was inspired to become more active in the political process.Her own personal experiences -- as a small business owner, a local candidate for office, and an elected president of a national organization -- have given her enormous insight into the challenges facing citizens who want to get involved and organizations that want to scale their impact.
In addition to her Bridge Alliance work, Debilyn continues to bring her insight to entities seeking to grow their participation and efficacy. She developed and serves as managing partner of Living Room Conversations, as an Advisor to Allsides.com and to the Oregon-based Ingenuity Innovation Center. She was elected as president of Coffee Party USA, a nonpartisan movement working to restore the principles and spirit of American representative democracy.
Debilyn is an ontologically trained coach and is especially adept at guiding organizations in new ways to bring out hidden talents of volunteers and staff who become valuable assets.
Rev. Dr. F. Willis Johnson, VP of Partnerships and Programs
A third-generation educator, Rev. Dr. F. Willis Johnson is a spiritual entrepreneur, Senior Minister of Living Tree Church and adjunct faculty at Methodist Theological School of Ohio. Johnson formerly served as senior minister of Wellspring Church in Ferguson, Missouri, a predominately African-American intergenerational urban parachute church plant.
Rev. Dr. Johnson is respected for his leadership and strategies around social and racial justice issues. Recognized as a scholar-practitioner, Johnson authored Holding Up Your Corner: Talking About Race in Your Community, and is a sought after thought-leader who empowers individuals and communities towards prophetic response—healing, justice and reconciliation. With some 19 years of professional ministry experience in Indiana, North Carolina, and Missouri, Johnson’s skills extend far beyond the pulpit. Trained in education and nonprofit management, he has served in volunteer and paid leadership positions for multiple nonprofit organizations. He counsels bishops, General Board agencies, annual conferences, and local churches across the country. Johnson in 2017 was the Vosburgh Visiting Professor of Ministry and Social Engagement at Drew University’s Theological School.
At a time when our nation is experiencing great upheaval on matters of race, policing, violence, ecclesial and communal fragmentation, Johnson continues to prepare prophetic leaders who promote healing, justice and transformation through his leadership of The Center for Social Empowerment -- a hub for theologically informed reflection, investigation, and education on social and racial justice issues.
Joan Blades, Board Member
Joan Blades is Founding Partner of Living Room Conversations and Co-Founder of MomsRising.org and MoveOn.org. She is the co-author of The Motherhood Manifesto and The Custom-Fit Workplace: Choose When, Where and How to Work and Boost the Bottom Line. Trained as an attorney/mediator with ten years experience as a software entrepreneur, Joan is also an artist, mother and true believer in the power of citizens and the need to rebuild respectful civil discourse and embrace our core shared values.
Zaneeta Daver, Board Member
Zaneeta Daver is an enthusiastic leader with more than 15 years of experience in post-secondary education. She has worked with diverse college students in a variety of institutional types, as well as for higher education non-profit organizations in Washington, DC. Zaneeta has extensive experience in non-profit administration, project management, and program development. She strives in an entrepreneurial work environment, has a knack for developing relationships at all levels, and possesses strong organizational, analytical and problem solving skills.
Her areas of expertise include
+ college student development
+ college student learning outcomes assessment
+ program evaluation
+ grant writing and management
+ board governance
Dedicated to ensuring success for all students, Zaneeta is committed to educating the whole student, inside and outside the classroom. She is passionate about intercultural competency, social justice, community engagement, and philanthropy.
John Gable, Board Member
John Gable offers a unique combination of technology and politics. He served on the original teams for Microsoft Office, Mozilla at Netscape and ZoneAlarm at Check Point Software, and cofounded Kavi Corp (web-based collaboration and services). John was previously a Republican operative, working for three senate majority leaders (Howard Baker, Trent Lott and Mitch McConnell), the Republican National Committee and George H.W. Bush.
Jacob Z. Hess Ph.D, Board Member
Jacob Hess is a mindfulness teacher and writer focused on exploring long-term, sustainable healing from depression. He is on the board of the National Coalition of Dialogue & Deliberation and co-author of “You’re Not as Crazy as I Thought, But You’re Still Wrong” – with a passion for preserving space for people to disagree sharply, while still loving and respecting each other. His forthcoming book with Carrie Skarda, Kyle Anderson and Ty Mansfield explores a Latter-day Saint approach to mindfulness practice. Most importantly, Jacob is a happy husband and father of four boys.
Carolyn J. Lukensmeyer, Board Member
Dr. Carolyn J. Lukensmeyer was the first Executive Director of the National Institute for Civil Discourse, an organization that works to reduce political dysfunction and incivility in our political system. As a leader in the field of deliberative democracy, she works to restore our democracy to reflect the intended vision of our founding fathers.
Dr. Lukensmeyer previously served as Founder and President of AmericaSpeaks, an award-winning nonprofit organization that promoted nonpartisan initiatives to engage citizens and leaders through the development of innovative public policy tools and strategies. During her tenure, AmericaSpeaks engaged more than 200,000 people and hosted events across all 50 states and throughout the world. Dr. Lukensmeyer formerly served as Consultant to the White House Chief of Staff from 1993-94 and on the National Performance Review where she steered internal management and oversaw government-wide reforms. She was the Chief of Staff to Ohio Governor Richard F. Celeste from 1986-91, becoming the first woman to serve in this capacity. She earned her PhD in Organizational Behavior from Case Western Reserve University and has completed postgraduate training at the Gestalt Institute of Cleveland.