Meet the people of NDTC! Our multitalented, highly skilled team members each bring something unique to the table, from campaign strategy to educational expertise to digital design and development. We value our differences, but also treasure the one thing we have in common: a passion for connecting with Democrats across the country who find themselves ready to get involved in their democracy. Learn more about our team below.

Kelly Dietrich

Founder

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 has over 17 years of experience leading teams across diverse public and private organizations. He’s 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 Truman National Security Project, where he was responsible for designing, organizing, and conducting a number of progressive issues and policy-based trainings and briefings for policymakers, military leaders, civic and political leaders. Prior to Truman, he served as a White House appointee during the Obama Administration in several national security policy roles. Anthony is a veteran of the United States Marine Corps and has a bachelor’s degree from North Carolina A&T State University. Additionally, he is a candidate for an MA in Global Policy degree at the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies and a 2019-2020 Marshall Memorial Fellow.

Allyson Raines

Chief of Staff and Operations

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, Emmett, and Elliot and their loving pup Reggie.

Julio Daniel Díaz

Director of Operations

A proud son of immigrants, Julio 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.

Collyn Warner

Director of Live Training

Since 2008, Collyn Warner has spent most of her time working on political and issue-based campaigns, community organizing, and training. She started her work in these areas in red (and primarily rural) areas in the regional South. In addition to these efforts, Collyn previously worked on event coordination, communication efforts, and logistics at the International Monetary Fund, as well as membership development with Business Forward. She has worked in communications and outreach for the Campaign for Southern Equality, Neighbors for Equality (a grassroots LGBTQ rights group), Amnesty International, and higher education institutions.

Collyn 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 across LGBTQ advocacy efforts in North Carolina, and she has presented on activist literacy, digital organizing, and grassroots initiatives at national conferences.

Zach Webb

Director of Product & Technology

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

Associate Political Director

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 Cubs' century of losing while enjoying their recent success.

Dale Dorlin

Content Manager

Dale spent twelve years in the cultural service sector working for nonprofits across the country to build community and usher in new eras of organizational growth and change. He thrives in designing patron experiences and strategic communications. Upon graduating from NDTC’s inaugural Staff Academy Cohort in 2019, Dale went on to work in advance operations for Pete for America in the 2020 Presidential Election Cycle. His passion lies in storytelling and providing access and opportunity for historically oppressed and marginalized communities. Born and raised on the eastside of Detroit, Dale holds an MFA in Management from Wayne State University, is an Americorps service alumni, and an avid runner.

Allie McRaith

Trainer Engagement Manager

Allie McRaith (she/her/hers) is the Trainer Engagement Manager who manages, mentors, and grows our talented trainer pool. She previously served as a campaign manager for a state assembly race and worked on a statewide race in Illinois. She was born and raised in Chicago and studied International Affairs at Lewis & Clark College in Portland, OR. She long thought she would pursue a career in the foreign service until 2016 when she was working on an Italian olive oil farm and realized she wanted to play a more active role in making the changes she believed in and wanted for her own hometown and country. She is thrilled to be using her skillset to organize and empower people within their communities and to change-makers for our country. When she isn’t working, you can find her drinking iced coffee year-round, watching Bon Appétit test kitchen videos, and an adamant user of Oxford commas in all instances.

Allison Senanayake

Staff Academy Operations Manager

Allison is the Staff Academy Operations Manager 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 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.

Jan Gaetjens

Instructional Designer

Jan Gaetjens is a curriculum worker who joined the NDTC team after several years working in K-12 and higher education as a teacher, social-emotional support specialist, and program manager. As a first-generation American, born to Haitian and Guyanese parents, Jan has an unwavering belief in the potential of the American experiment and the transformative power of education. A proud DC native, Jan credits his love of teaching and learning to the faculty and monks of St. Anselm’s Abbey in the city’s Michigan Park neighborhood.

Jan holds a BA in Sociology from Georgetown University and an MA in School Counseling from DePaul University, where he is currently pursuing his PhD in Curriculum Studies.

When he’s not training the next generation of Democratic officeholders and staffers, Jan spends his time training Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and listening to the kind of hip-hop you turn down when your grandma comes in the room.

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.

Donald Riddle

Associate Instructional Designer

Donald is an Instructional Designer on NDTC’s curriculum team. Donald began as an intern in summer 2019. After contracting with the organization the following winter, Donald was thrilled to transition to the team full-time in 2020.

Donald graduated from Brown University with a B.A. in Political Science and Sociology. A queer, first-generation college student, the dual degree sort of just made sense, as Donald was committed to marry his studies with his passion for social justice and political advocacy. And through his roles as a Social Justice Peer Educator, president of his fraternity, and a board member of one of Brown's longest running student theatre groups, Donald's extracurricular hobbies also doubled as opportunities for meaningful and systemic change in the way of equality and justice.

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.

Jaime Swank

Program Associate

Jaime Swank is a Program Associate who works with NDTC’s Staff Academy cohort to help them succeed in the program and in their job searches. 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 of color, women, and trans and non-binary folks.

Originally from Bucks County, Pennsylvania, Jaime enjoys singing karaoke, trying new recipes, and volunteering with cats at animal shelters.

Kathleen Siegmund

Program Associate

Kathleen is a Program Associate with the Staff Academy team at NDTC. She works with members of the communications cohort to help them learn the tools needed to work on Democratic campaigns. A graduate from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign with a degree in political science, Kathleen worked for the Missouri Democratic Party in her hometown of St. Louis during the 2018 coordinated campaign as a member of the operations team.

Outside the office, Kathleen likes to spend her time following WTA and ATP tennis, listening to Chicago Cubs games on the radio, and watching every movie she can get her hands on.

Roda Musmar

Live Training Operations Associate

As a first-generation immigrant, politics has always played a huge role in Roda's upbringing, which is why she has always made sure to be politically active and conscious. From volunteering in various local races, being a leader in different organizations such as UIC’s student government, Roda has always been a committed member of her community, and she currently leads logistics and programmatic initiatives with the Live Training Team at NDTC.

A recent graduate from the University of Illinois at Chicago, Roda holds a BA in Biological Sciences with a minor in African American Studies. When she is not in the office, Roda loves to travel, eat at various restaurants, and spend some quality time with her dog.

Jaco Chandra

Data Analyst

As someone who has always been interested in both politics and statistics, Jaco Chandra combines the two as NDTC’s Data Analyst. Whether it’s determining which candidates have used NDTC’s resources, compiling statistics on NDTC’s courses, or creating data reports, Jaco assists NDTC’s departments with their data-related needs.

Jaco recently graduated from the University of Illinois (Urbana-Champaign) with a degree in Political Science. During his time there, he gained political experience as a fellow on JB Pritzker’s 2018 gubernatorial campaign.

When he’s not crunching numbers for work, there’s a good chance he’s still crunching numbers. In his free time, Jaco enjoys over-analyzing political polls and election forecasts, rereading Harry Potter, and watching Mitch Trubisky attempt to be an NFL quarterback.

Laura Escobar

Product Designer

As a designer, Laura aims to create digital products that impact people’s lives. She discovered design out of a personal frustration with non-functional furniture. She looked at what didn’t work and how she could improve it. In many ways, that’s how she still likes to approach design — identifying problems and creating functional solutions.

She holds a BFA in Acting from the Chicago College of Performing Arts at Roosevelt University and after spending 10 years as an actress, she yearned for the type work that made a greater social impact. In UX Design she found the bridge that combined her curiosity of human emotion and behavior with her passion for problem solving.

In her spare time you can find her exploring new places, perfecting sourdough bread, or (along with her husband) trying to find ways to get her cat to like her.

Sarah McClenahan

User Experience Designer

As a User Experience (UX) Designer, Sarah thoughtfully crafts digital experiences on NDTC’s Product & Technology team.

After graduating from Vanderbilt University with a degree in Sociology, Sarah worked as a Litigation Coordinator for a law firm representing workers involved in wage and overtime pay disputes, employees who suffered discrimination, and whistleblowers who uncovered Medicare and Medicaid fraud. She pivoted into tech after realizing the power of design as a problem solving tool.

Sarah is a mentor to young women in tech and is an avid soccer player. She loves good coffee, interior design, and is probably daydreaming about traveling once we’re no longer in a global pandemic.

Denny Shimkoski

Lead Software Development Engineer

Denny has been interested in programming computers since he was just a wee lad with crooked bangs and a well worn "Born To Be Radical" t-shirt, studying BASIC behind the keyboard of his trusty Commodore 64.

Rumor has it that one day as he was pondering tail call optimization and swilling Mountain Dew, the sky opened up and a thunderous bolt of lightning struck him directly in his pineal gland, sending him deep into a psychedelic trance, whereupon he was gifted with power over the digital realm by none other than Lord Hackerman himself.

Now a software engineer with more than 20 years of experience, he joined NDTC to help shift the bits of democracy into a brighter future for all. When he's not clickety-clackin' on the keyboard, he likes to spend time with his wife and 4 daughters.