Meet the Team

About the Team
It doesn't matter how big or small your race may be. We want to help. The NDTC offers free, interactive online training for Democratic candidates running for office. We aim to empower any Democrat who wants to be involved in local politics with the tools needed to be successful. We believe by working with local candidates, we can accomplish three goals: improve the performance of every Democrat up and down the ticket, elect more Democrats to office, and create a deeper bench of qualified candidates for higher office.
Meet the Team2019-10-07T09:45:28-06:00

Kelly Dietrich


Kelly spent eighteen years in Democratic politics working campaigns all across the country at every level of government. His specialty is new campaign creation, strategy and fundraising. After getting his start on a congressional campaign in Kansas in 1997, Kelly went on to work and advise dozens of candidates for U.S. House, Senate, governor, mayor and more. For several years he owned a national political consulting company with four partners and offices in Chicago, Boston, Philadelphia, Washington, DC and Kansas City. Building businesses and winning campaigns are his passions. For the fun “non-work” stuff, Kelly is a poker enthusiast, die-hard Kansas Jayhawk basketball fan, and avid movie buff.

Anthony Robinson

Political Director

Anthony Robinson is the Political Director at National Democratic Training Committee (NDTC). He has over 17 years of experience leading teams across diverse public and private organizations. He is skilled in program development and implementation, team leadership, exchange facilitation, and partnership building. Anthony previously served as the Director of Training and Public Engagement with the Truman National Security Project, where he was responsible for designing, organizing, and conducting an number of progressive issue- and policy-based trainings and briefings for policymakers, military leaders, civic and political leaders, and global allied organizations on topics ranging from combatting the rise of authoritarianism and erosion of democratic institutions and norms to improving inclusion, diversity, equity, and access. Prior to Truman, he served as a White House appointee during the Obama Administration in several national security policy roles at the Department of Defense, Department of Labor and Department of Transportation. During Anthony’s time as a White House Appointee he was awarded the Secretary of Defense Medal for Outstanding Public Service. He is a veteran of the United States Marine Corps and has a bachelor’s degree from North Carolina A&T State University. Anthony is a candidate for a MA in Global Policy degree at the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies. He was recently named a Black American National Security & Foreign Policy Next Generation Leader and a 2019-2020 Marshall Memorial Fellow with the German Marshall Fund of the United States.

Ashby Fiser

Ashby Fiser

Chief Technology Officer

Ashby Fiser is a designer, writer, and technologist who has been working at the intersection of form and function since 2000. Before joining NDTC she was focused on creating  high-impact and high-value products for companies large and small including: Amazon, Google, Microsoft, Deloitte, Wells Fargo, Exxon, Kohl’s, and many more. She is the author of the ‘Pulse’ UX research methodology and is an active advocate for the advancement of women in technology. Outside of work she has dedicated herself to lifting up others and has spent hundreds of hours speaking, coaching, teaching, and mentoring. She was the chair of the World Usability Day organizing committee from 2016 to 2018 and she is currently authoring a book on gender bias in big tech. At home she has a full house with 4 kids, 3 dogs, and 2 goats. When she isn’t at her computer she can be found in the studio painting and sculpting, or in the kitchen making fresh chèvre.

Rose Clouston

Director of Online Trainings

Prior to joining NDTC, Rose was a National Coordinator at the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, where she managed the non-partisan Election Protection hotline, training and managing thousands of volunteers who answered tens of thousands of voters’ questions in the 2014 and 2016 elections. She organized state-level poll monitoring and election reform advocacy efforts in Pennsylvania, New York and Florida. Previously, Rose worked at the New Organizing Institute creating an online guide to election laws, served as deputy campaign manager on a Virginia gubernatorial primary campaign and was a regional field director on a Florida gubernatorial campaign. Rose has a Master in Public Policy from the McCourt School of Public Policy at Georgetown University and a Bachelor of Science in Public Relations from the University of Florida. She is a Chicago native and in her free time enjoys running, yoga, watching Top Chef, and trying new vegetarian recipes (and getting omnivores to try them!).

Collyn Warner

Director of Live Training

Collyn Warner has had a career spanning outreach, communications, and rhetorical instruction. Before joining NDTC, Collyn worked in higher education programming, and previously worked on event coordination, communication efforts, and office logistics at the International Monetary Fund, as well as membership development with Business Forward and organizing with political campaigns. She has over five years of experience with working in communications and outreach (including digital organizing and social media strategy) in non-profit, political, and human rights advocacy capacities for the Campaign for Southern Equality, Neighbors for Equality (a grassroots LGBTQ rights group based in rural North Carolina), Amnesty International, and higher education institutions. Additionally, she has taught composition and digital communication rhetorical strategy courses at various higher education institutions and currently works with small businesses on communication and outreach efforts. She completed her M.A. in English (Composition and Rhetoric) at The University of Alabama, where she was awarded funding to research the digital tools of community organizing within social movements.

Julio Daniel Díaz

Director of Operations

A proud son of immigrants, Julio Daniel centers his family in everything he does. Before joining NDTC, he spent the better part of a decade organizing for federal electoral candidates and issue-based campaigns across the country. It was these opportunities to learn from different communities that reinforced Julio’s commitment to a more fair and just society where everyone is valued and has the opportunity to thrive. At New Organizing Institute he learned the ropes to run great, holistic trainings that give organizers the tools to maximize their skills.

Julio Daniel grew up in Pilsen on the south side of Chicago. He’s been known to hit up karaoke spots and dance a good Cumbia. Otherwise, watching 90s reruns is his thing.

Allyson Raines

Staff Academy Program Manager
Allyson Raines (she/her/hers) is the Staff Academy Program Manager at the National Democratic Training Committee (NDTC). Allyson joined NDTC in 2019 after eight years with the Planned Parenthood Action Fund. In her most recent role as a Regional Campaign Director, she transformed the PPAF electoral model to drastically expand the role of grassroots members by deeply training and coaching operatives to cultivate leaders in every aspect of campaigns. She believes that organizing and electoral campaigns are transformational experiences and focuses her work on developing staff who center that approach. Allyson has managed electoral campaigns on a county and statewide level in North Carolina, Virginia, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, and Ohio. She started her career as a professional organizer in Detroit, MI with the Harriet Tubman Center for Community Organizing. Allyson holds a BA in Sociology focused on Gender and Sexuality and Civic Engagement from the University of Michigan. She lives in Chicago with her family Michael and Emmett and their loving pup Reggie.

Zach Webb

Product Design Manager

A designer and web developer for the past ten years, Zach joined NDTC with a desire to do meaningful work for a noble cause. A self-taught designer and developer, Zach holds a BA from Western Michigan University in creative writing and media studies. In his free time he can be found playing board games, Dungeons & Dragons, playing music, watching the Detroit Tigers, and hanging out with his wife and child.

Jocelyn Hunt

Assistant Director of Live Training

Jocelyn Hunt is the Assistant Director of Live Training. Prior to joining the NDTC team, Jocelyn worked on campaigns for municipal, state, and federal candidates. Most recently she was the Coordinated Field Director for the 2018 Indiana Senate Race. Growing up in a military family, Jocelyn has lived all over the country and in the United Kingdom. She attended Appalachian State University where she discovered her passion for politics and campaigns. In her free time, Jocelyn enjoys exploring Chicago’s different neighborhoods, traveling the country, and spending time with her family.

Jacob Vurpillat

Manager of Political Communications

Jacob is the Manager of Political Communications for NDTC. Jacob was initially an intern for NDTC in 2016 before moving on to work for both a Chicago Alderman and an Illinois State Representative. After working in Parliament in the Republic of Ireland, Jacob joined NDTC in April of 2018. Jacob is a graduate of DePaul University with a degree in Political Science. Outside of politics, Jacob tries to forget the Chicago Cub’s century of losing while enjoying their recent success.

Johnaé Strong

Instructional Designer
Johnaé is an educator and organizer who has been working at the intersection of politics and education for over a decade. Prior to joining NDTC, Johnaé was the coordinator for Grassroots Education Movement, an alliance between Chicago based organizations and the Chicago Teachers Union for education justice. Previously, Johnaé served three terms as local co-chair and two terms as member to the action board for BYP100, a political organization for Black people 18-35 working for liberation for all Black people. During this time Johnaé worked on campaigns to decriminalize marijuana and hold elected officials accountable within the city of Chicago. Johnaé joined NDTC to further her goal of securing a true democracy for folks on the margins. A former candidate herself, Johnaé brings a lens of authenticity and equity to her work to support nontraditional candidates and staff in breaking up the old boys’ club. Johnaé holds a Bachelor of Arts in International Studies and a Master of Arts in Education from the University of Chicago. When she isn’t building tools for democracy, Johnaé can be found making music, losing dance battles to her two children: Akeim and Jari, or in her hometown of Cleveland.

April Pegg

Instructional Designer

April is an Instructional Designer based in Chicago. She spent six years creating training for corporate clients on topics from building an electric power plant to managing a fried chicken restaurant before her frustration with the political landscape spurred her to action. She now uses the transformative power of learning to help elect the next blue wave in politics. April holds a BA from Columbia College in Theater design, and still loves finding creative solutions to challenging problems. In her free time, April enjoys tabletop games, trying new food and wine, and playing in the park with her husband and child.

Chris Pearcey

Program Associate
Chris Pearcey is a program associate for the Fundraising track of NDTC’s Staff Academy. Prior to joining the NDTC team, Chris worked as a field organizer for Democratic candidates at the municipal, state, and federal levels. A Florida native, Chris attended Wake Forest University, where he double majored in History and Economics, was a student athlete, wrote opinion pieces for the school paper, and held various student leadership roles. In his free time, Chris enjoys exploring Chicago’s exciting food scene, watching every sport imaginable, and reading analyses of classic and current films.

Allison Senanayake

Operations Associate

Allison is the Operations Associate for the Staff Academy and Live Training teams at NDTC, and she led the operational and logistical efforts for the inaugural Staff Academy cohort through the recruitment, training, and placement phases. She continues to build and scale these efforts in order to expand the NDTC’s Staff Academy’s impact within the political ecosystem. A recent graduate from DePaul University, Allison holds a BA in Political Science with a concentration in International Politics and a minor in Arabic. Prior to NDTC, she was heavily involved in local Chicago non-profits as a student organizer spanning community service efforts. She served for four years and was a senior member of the DePaul Community Service Association Executive Board, in which she served as a primary liaison between DePaul University and nonprofits across Chicago. When she is out of the office, Allison visits her family overseas, bakes anything and everything, learns new languages, and roams Montrose Beach.

Jaime Swank

Program Associate
Jaime Swank is a Program Associate who works with NDTC’s Staff Academy cohort to help them succeed and break into the political world. After graduating from Washington University in St. Louis with a degree in Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies and Korean Language and Culture, Jaime was a digital organizer on the Missouri Democratic Coordinated Campaign, as well as a canvasser for state legislative candidates and reproductive rights in St. Louis. Because of these experiences, Jaime knows how important it is to make campaigns more inclusive to people who have been marginalized. Originally from Bucks County, Pennsylvania, Jaime enjoys singing karaoke, reading books about LGBTQ issues, trying new recipes, and taking walks in nature.