Progressive Leadership Summit


Friday, January 15-Monday, January 18, 2016

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Welcome to YDA


The Young Democrats of America is the largest youth-led, partisan political organization in the nation.

Meet our Team

About Us


The mission of the Young Democrats of America is to elect Democrats, advocate for progressive issues, and train the next generation of progressive leaders. Founded in 1932, YDA is the largest partisan, youth-led political organization in America.

Elect

It starts with electing Democrats. This is the core mission of the Young Democrats of America.

Train

YDA offers interactive, cutting-edge trainings focused on developing the next generation of Democratic elected leaders, organizers and campaign strategists.

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YDA the vanguard of our Party and we are working to create a generation of strong advocate for progressive Democratic values.

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Our Team


Louis Elrod
President

Louis Elrod
President

Louis Elrod was elected President of the Young Democrats of America at the organization’s 2015 National Convention in Los Angeles, California.

Louis has been involved in the Young Democrats since 2004, serving as a leader on the high school, college, and state levels. After founding a vibrant high school chapter in his hometown, he served as president of the Young Democrats of the University of Georgia, his state’s largest chapter, during the 2008 election cycle. He later represented the Young Democrats of Georgia as National Committeeman from 2010-2011, and served as YDG President from 2011 to 2013. He served as Vice President of the Young Democrats of America from 2013-15.

As President, Louis instituted a statewide training program that trained hundreds of Young Dems across the state on valuable political skills and worked to place them on campaigns during the 2012 cycle. Louis and his team ran the program at a profit, and during his tenure as president, the Young Democrats of Georgia were not only completely debt-free but had two of their most successful fundraising cycles in years.

He obtained a degree in Political Science from the University of Georgia and worked as a legislative aide for the state House Democratic Caucus after graduating. He has managed five campaigns throughout Georgia, most recently winning two races during the 2012 election cycle: one for state House and the other for District Attorney, knocking out a Republican incumbent.

Louis lives and works in the Atlanta area, and cannot be reached during UGA football games.

Constantina Meis
Executive Vice President

Constantina Meis
Executive Vice President

Constantina has been active in Democratic politics serving on many campaigns around the country for over 10 years. In 2009 she became the National Committeewoman for the New Jersey Young Democrats, which gave her an opportunity to help both her state and national organizations. In 2011 she became actively involved in the Women’s Caucus of YDA and currently serves as Chair.

During her tenure as Chair of the Women's Caucus, Constantina has pursued several initiatives; one of which is the Rising Star Program. A program targeted towards underrepresented groups, such as women, minorities and those in the disability community to give them the tools they need to become politically successful.
Constantina Meis, has nearly a decade of experience in local, state, and national campaigns. Some of her experience includes field operations for Field Strategies; a political firm based in D.C., serving as Campaign Manager for the Passaic County Democratic Committee, Hudson County Director for a US Senate campaign, and Statewide Deputy in New Jersey for Obama for America ‘08 doing training and outreach. Currently Constantina Meis, works as a Youth Development Specialist for Boys & Girls Club of Newark.

She is a first generation Greek-American, and has had a chance to succeed because of the sacrifice of her parents. She was the first within her family to earn a high school and college diploma. Constantina studied Political Science with a concentration in Public Administration, because she had an interest in serving the community that her family raised her in.

Outside of politics she is very active in her local church and Big Brothers and Big Sisters. At church Constantina assists with community event planning, and she currently serves as a mentor in the Big Brothers and Big Sisters. Over the last two years this experience has further provided her with insight on the tools that the youth of today need to succeed.

Kristina Contreras Fox
Vice President

Kristina Contreras Fox
Vice President

In 2012, Kristina co-founded the current chapter of Young Democrats of Rhode Island, and has served as President and National Committeewoman. Kristina has also served as Secretary-Treasurer of the Northeast Region.

In addition to her involvement with Young Democrats, Kristina is a New Leaders Council alumna, and sits on the board of the New Leaders Council RI chapter as an Ambassador. She currently works for the RI Community Food Bank.

A proud Rhode Islander, Kristina is a community organizer with a deep commitment to empowerment. Kristina's experience as a working-class biracial queer Latina motivates her passion for social justice and equity.

After graduating from Assumption College, she served two years in Americorps, a federal volunteer corps that works to meet critical needs in communities across America. She continued to build community power by organizing with UNITE HERE! Local 217 and Ocean State Action. In 2014, she joined the Jorge Elorza for Mayor campaign as Field Director. Jorge Elorza was inaugurated on January 6, 2015 as the 38th Mayor of the City of Providence, RI.

Danielle Glover
Vice President

Danielle Glover
Vice President

Danielle’s political campaign background includes serving as Deputy Field Director and Political Director for Salazar for Congress, Regional Field Director for the Udall, Obama, and Salazar campaigns (Forward Colorado), and as a Field Organizer for the Ritter for Governor Campaign. Danielle also served as GOTV Director for the African-American Voter Information and Registration project during the 2011 Denver mayoral run-off election. Her extensive experience in the campaign field has allowed her the benefit of not only working on Denver campaigns, but also the Colorado Western Slope, for three cycles. Currently, Danielle is working to strengthen the Colorado Young Democrats in her role as Chair, and runs the Adams County Young Dems, which is the county where she resides.

Here in Colorado, Danielle is a board member on Emerge Colorado, which works to recruit, train and elect Democratic women to office. She also serves on the NARAL Pro-Choice Colorado Foundation board. Nationally, Danielle is a Truman National Security Project Partner and is the co-director for the Colorado chapter of the Truman Project.

She graduated from the University of Colorado Denver earning a bachelor’s degree in Political Science with a minor in Communication. In May 2014, Danielle graduated with her Master’s in Public Administration and concentration in Local Government at the University of Colorado Denver.

Danielle currently serves as the Legal & Government Affairs Manager at the Association of periOperative Registered Nurses (AORN) where she manages the legislative and regulatory affairs for all 50 states. Prior to joining AORN, Danielle was the Colorado Association of Commerce and Industry’s Colorado Manufacturing Initiative Program Manager where she functioned as the industry liaison on several task groups and advisory councils. At CRL Associates, Inc. was an Account Executive where she served as Coalition Director on several campaigns including a statewide referendum, local initiative, and a regional transportation project. Danielle’s political interest was initially sparked by her desire to advance policies and principles that were central to her values. Danielle is widely recognized for her skills at team building, conflict resolution, leadership, and developing lasting professional relationships.

Being a Colorado native, she grew up enjoying the outdoors, snowboarding, hiking, camping, fishing, and running 5Ks. Danielle’s love of travel has taken her throughout the U.S., China, and Guatemala where she earned her certificate in advanced Spanish. She relishes her time at home relaxing with her dog, Rambo.

Daniel Sims
Vice President

Daniel Sims
Vice President

Daniel is a native of the Arkansas Delta, one of the poorest regions of the country, and the Delta is where he first learned of the importance of Democratic policies and how impactful they are in improving the lives of citizens. A member of a political family, Sims learned from an early age that politics is about making the world better than it was found. Sims’ first experience of YDA was at the 1999 National Convention in Little Rock, AR, where he knew he wanted to be involved and inform change for young people across the country.

Sims is an alumnus of Saint Louis University, where he studied Political Science, History, and Classical Humanities.

In the years since, Sims has served in a number of positions both within YDA and his state party, including Assistant Voter Protection Director for the Victory Coordinated Campaign (2010), National Political Affairs Director for the YDA Minority Caucus (2010-2012) and as a founding member and advisor to the YDA Black Caucus (2013-present). Currently, Sims is the Chair’s Designate to Auxiliaries for the Democratic Party of Arkansas, where he is responsible for oversight of the party’s organizations, working alongside them to develop strategies for their growth, development, and identification of candidates representative of each part of the party’s base.

Outside of politics, Sims is very active in the nonprofit community, serving on the boards of several state, regional, and national organizations, such as the Arkansas School for Math, Science, and the Arts Foundation Board, Board President-Emeritus of Catalysts by Design, and Faith in the Word Ministries. He is the Managing Partner of RDSF Consulting, a consulting firm for nonprofit and government organizations.

Daniel resides in Little Rock with his wife LaToya, and their two-year old daughter, Andréa.

Quentin Wathum-Ocama
Secretary

Quentin Wathum-Ocama
Secretary

Quentin was elected the President of the Minnesota Young DFL (MYDFL) in 2015. He has been active with MYDFL since 2008 and has served in other various leadership positions such as Outreach and Inclusion Office, National Committeeman, and Vice President. Quentin attended his first Young Democrats of America function in 2009, when he had the opportunity to attend the national convention in Chicago. Quentin served as a Deputy Development Director for the Minority Caucus and as Midwest Region Director.

Quentin first got involved in politics in 2008, when like many young people he volunteered on the first Obama campaign. Since that first experience, Quentin has had so many opportunities to continue to help candidates and campaigns that represent his values. Over the last few years he has had the opportunity to work for the DFL's coordinated campaign in 2010, Minnesotans United for All Families in 2012, and MN Neighbors Organizing for Change in 2014.

Drew Pollom
Treasurer

Drew Pollom
Treasurer

Interested in politics after the 2000 election, Drew became active in college when he joined the Young Democrats at Gonzaga. There, his first election experience was getting out the vote for Barack Obama in the Washington caucuses, in the snow. He spent the rest of the 2008 election working to elect Democrats in deep red Eastern Washington, working on behalf of a dozen campaigns. After 2008, he joined the board of the Young Democrats of Washington. Since then he has worked his way up to being the chair of the Young Democrats of Gonzaga, chair of the King County Young Democrats, and President of the Young Democrats of Washington.

In addition to his local service, Drew has been active in YDA politics since 2008. Serving primarily with our finance and budget committees, he has worked to to empower our membership with . In the past administration, he served both as the deputy treasurer and interim treasurer of YDA.

A lawyer, Drew focuses on Indian law the legal issues of tribal communities. A Seattle resident, When Drew isn't helping his local chapters or doing legal work, he can be found at Centurylink field, rooting on his beloved Sounders and Seahawks.

John Keller
National Committeeman

John Keller
National Committeeman

John Keller has been involved in political campaigns since the spring 2004. While still in college, he volunteered at the headquarters for then State Senator Barack Obama before his primary for the US Senate. This was the first of many campaigns he worked on in college and since college.

As a junior, Mr. Keller interned for Toni Preckwinkle, then-Alderman of Chicago’s 4th Ward. Through dedication and hard work, he established himself as a reliable staffer in Ms. Preckwinkle’s organization. The relationships he built during his internships later led to his first campaign job in Chicago, helping organize Alderman Preckwinkle reelection in 2007.

In 2007 he also became involved in the Young Democrats of Cook County and the Young Democrats of America. Attending his first conference and first convention that year.

Since John got his start in campaign politics he has been apart of more than 15 campaigns. Including managing a countywide race in Cook County where more than million voters showed up to the polls. He has also been a part of different policy initiatives, helping produce a community benefits agreement for the Olympics and staffing a team of legislators who developed a report on local government consolidation in Illinois.

In all these positions Mr. Keller has invested time and energy in young volunteers and interns to help them develop campaign skills. He has dedicated his career to translating his ideals into action. John would like to see reform in the education system and help shape the wider agenda of the Democratic Party.

Akilah Ensley
National Committeewoman

Akilah Ensley
National Committeewoman

Akilah R. Ensley, a native of Greenville, North Carolina, attended the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill and the American Intercontinental University. She holds a Bachelor of Science in International Business Management and a Master of Business Administration and Project Management. As a dedicated political advocate and community organizer, she is instilled with a passion for service and a commitment to voter protection and engagement. As a Certified Life, Business and Wellness Coach; Mentor and Coach for Brown Girls Lead; Committee Member of the North Carolina American Heart Association; and Founder and State Director of the NC Chapter of the New Leaders Council, she works diligently to promote social welfare, civic engagement and community service.

Akilah has held numerous professional positions, which include Regional Field Director for Erskine Bowles for US Senate; Partnership Specialist for the United States Census Bureau; Principal Consultant for ERA Management and Consulting, LLC; Executive Director of the Pitt County Substance Abuse Coalition; Lead Sales and Patient Education Coordinator for American Lipo Centers; and Deputy Political Director for Kay Hagan for US Senate. In addition, prior to being elected Democratic National Committeewoman for the Young Democrats of America (YDA), Akilah served her beloved North Carolina as the National Committeewoman for YDA.

Akilah has a vision of inclusion and effectiveness for the next generation of young political leaders and strategic operatives. Her goal is to build a coalition of individuals who will help to reshape the political landscape across this country

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About Us

The mission of the Young Democrats of America is to elect Democrats, advocate for progressive issues, and train the next generation of progressive leaders. Founded in 1932, YDA is the largest partisan, youth-led political organization in America.

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