Our Team

The Convergence staff is made up of the following individuals (Click on each person’s name to see their bio):

 

David Eisner

The second-ever President and CEO of Convergence has served for three decades as a senior executive in the business, government, and nonprofit arenas, David Eisner brings passion and experience to problem-solving through community-building, coalition work, and civic engagement that bridge differences. He also brings a record of success at expanding scale and impact through entrepreneurial and innovative strategies that hinge on organizational learning, leveraging technology and building strong communities of support.

As the Senate-confirmed former CEO of the Corporation for National and Community Service nominated by George W. Bush in 2002, Eisner righted the federal agency in the aftermath of a financial management crisis. Later, he oversaw the successful AmeriCorps response to Hurricane Katrina, expanded bipartisan Congressional support for national service and grew AmeriCorps by 50%. Leaving the Administration after the election, David chaired All for Good, building the nonprofit, open-source platform that animated President Obama’s signature service initiative, Serve.gov.

In 2009, David was appointed by former President Clinton, then Chair of the National Constitution Center, to be CEO of that civic venue and museum in Philadelphia. Most recently, for more than six years, David served as President and CEO of Repair the World, the largest Jewish service organization, mobilizing tens of thousands of young adults in meeting urgent needs in communities.

David began his career as a press secretary on Capitol Hill. In the 1990’s, he served as Vice President of Communications at America Online and then AOL Time Warner, where he led several government-industry coalitions, headed the staff of the AOL Foundation and founded NetworkforGood.org, among other initiatives that built the first Internet communities around policy, technology and philanthropy issues.

David has degrees from Stanford and Georgetown Law School. He has served on boards for many nonprofit organizations, including Independent Sector, National 4-H Council, Public Allies, Points of Light, and the One America Movement.

David and his wife Lori have four children ages 17-23.

You can contact David via email at david@convergencepolicy.org

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Robert Fersh

Rob Fersh is the Founder/Senior Advisor of Convergence Center for Policy Resolution, a non-profit organization founded in 2009 to promote consensus solutions to issues of domestic and international importance. Immediately prior, Rob served as the United States country director for Search for Common Ground, an international conflict resolution organization. While at SFCG, he directed national policy consensus projects on health care coverage for the uninsured and U.S.-Muslim relations.

In the 1986-98 period, Rob served as president of the Food Research and Action Center (FRAC), a leading NGO working to alleviate hunger in the United States. Rob also served on the staffs of three Congressional committees, working for U.S. Representative Leon Panetta and for Senators Patrick Leahy and Edmund Muskie. While a Congressional staff member and at FRAC, he was deeply involved in shepherding passage of bipartisan legislation to reduce hunger in the United States.

Rob has held additional positions in the federal executive branch and non-profit sector. He was a 1994 recipient of the Prudential Foundation Prize for Non-Profit Leadership. Rob holds a law degree from Boston University and a bachelor’s degree in Industrial and Labor Relations from Cornell University, where he has served as a guest lecturer and co-instructor of a course on collaborative decision making and public policy. He is married, has four children, and two grandchildren.

Media Highlights

Our Voices Matter: Lorelle Media 
Finding Common Ground in the Belly of the Beast The Peace Building Podcast

Articles
Convergence’s Values and Approach

You can contact Rob via email at rob@convergencepolicy.org

Amanda Broun

Amanda Broun joined Convergence Center for Policy Resolution in 2017 as Executive Vice President.

Prior to joining Convergence, Amanda was Vice President of Programs and Practice at Independent Sector (IS), a national membership organization of nonprofits, foundations, and corporate giving programs. There, she led efforts to strengthen leadership, accountability, and effectiveness in nonprofit organizations of all sizes and missions.

Prior to IS, Amanda was Senior Vice President at Public Education Network (PEN), a network of community-based nonprofit advocacy organizations seeking to improve public education in high poverty school districts across the country. There, she led and supported efforts to broaden the focus of PEN members from school-based programs to influencing school district policy and public engagement in support of disadvantaged students.

Prior to joining PEN, Amanda served as Chief Education Counsel to the U.S. Senate Committee on Labor and Human Resources where she worked on federal legislation addressing the needs of students who were from low-income families, English language learners, homeless, at-risk of dropping out of school, or disabled, as well as initiatives to support teachers, early childhood education, and technology-based learning.

Amanda received her J.D. from New York University School of Law and B.A. from Barnard College, Columbia University. She is currently on the faculty of Columbia University’s School of Professional Studies where she teaches in the nonprofit management program.

You can contact Amanda via email at amanda@convergencepolicy.org

Dusie Cassata

Dusie is Convergence’s director of development and finance. In her time at Convergence, Dusie’s portfolio has included program development, operations, communications, fundraising, human resources, finances, and more in support of Convergence’s growth from a startup to a mature organization. Dusie originally joined Convergence in 2010 as a fellow on Convergence’s U.S.-Pakistan relations project, called the U.S.-Pakistan Leaders Forum. Dusie’s interest in relations with the Muslim world began at Brown University, where she wrote an undergraduate thesis on the subject of immigration in France following the “veil affair.” After graduating with a bachelor’s degree in international relations and French civilization with honors, she taught English in the suburbs of Paris during the 2005 riots there. She became closely acquainted with the tensions and grievances among primarily Muslim youth and French society at large. Drawing on a desire to expose inequalities like those she witnessed as a teacher, Dusie earned a master’s degree in human rights from University College London’s School of Public Policy. She wrote her dissertation on discrimination against Muslim youth in France. Dusie served as a junior policy officer at 4Children, a British children’s charity, before returning to the U.S. Prior to joining Convergence, Mademoiselle Hoagland also taught French at St. Albans School in Washington, D.C.

You can contact Dusie via email at dusie@convergencepolicy.org

Dawn Collier

Bio coming soon…

Omar Elkhatib

Omar is the Senior Manager of Democracy Initiatives for Convergence. He has a Masters in Elections and Campaign Management from Fordham University and a Bachelors in Political Science from The Ohio State University. He has lived in multiple cities including Denver, Chicago, New York, Washington, D.C, and his native Columbus Ohio. Omar has worked across three political parties at various levels of government. He values the opportunity to bring people with differing opinions together in establishing constructive dialogue aimed at strengthening democracy.

You can contact Omar via email at omar@convergencepolicy.org

Jag Griffiths

Jag is the Executive Assistant to the President and Executive Vice-President of Convergence Center for Policy Resolution. He graduated with a bachelor’s degree in English and Communications from Marymount University. Prior to joining Convergence, Jag spent a few years as a program assistant at the World Bank, supporting education projects in the Latin America & Caribbean region. In his spare time he enjoys traveling, writing, reading and spending time with his two dogs.

You can contact Jag via email at jag@convergencepolicy.org

Leigh Hilford

Leigh is the Development Associate at Convergence. She graduated with honors from the University of Texas at Austin in 2019 and earned degrees in Plan II Honors and English Honors. As an undergraduate she interned at the Austin Film Festival and the Harry Ransom Center.

Isabel Hinestrosa

Isabel Hinestrosa is the Associate for the Future of Health Project at Convergence. She is currently pursuing her Masters degree in Public Health Microbiology and Emerging Infectious Diseases at George Washington University’s Milken Institute School of Public Health. Isabel’s passion for all things health-related led her to work at the American Society for Microbiology and at the National Breast Cancer Coalition prior to joining Convergence. In her spare time, Isabel enjoys traveling to visit her family and spending time with her dog, Amy.

Russell Krumnow

Russell Krumnow is the Senior Director of Projects. He comes to Convergence with more than a decade of experience in strategy, advocacy, coalition-building and communications focused on advancing issues like economic opportunity, education, and civic engagement.Previously, he helped build and lead Opportunity Nation, a bipartisan campaign focused on closing the opportunity divide in America. As the campaign’s Managing Director, he led strategy development, engaged a network of hundreds of coalition partners, worked on successful policy advocacy efforts, served as a spokesperson to many media outlets, and regularly presented the Opportunity Index to diverse audiences as a tool to drive positive change in communities.

Prior to joining Opportunity Nation, Russell designed professional and leadership development programs with a consulting firm. Additionally, with the non-profit Partnership for Public Service, he built a national outreach campaign aimed at inspiring college students to seek out public service careers. Before that, he planned and implemented student civic education programs serving thousands of students annually with the National Young Leaders Conference and wrote curriculum for a voter education effort during the 2008 presidential campaign. He has organized on state and national political campaigns.

Russell is a graduate of Baylor University and earned a Master of Arts in political science at the University of Mississippi.

You can contact Russell via email at russell@convergencepolicy.org

Kayla Sykes

Kayla Sykes is the Communications Assistant for Convergence. Kayla came to Convergence with a passion for fostering empathy and deep listening, building meaningful relationships, and searching for common ground/ways to work together to achieve positive change.

Before joining Convergence, Kayla served DC Public Schools as an AmeriCorps VISTA by conducting evaluations of afterschool programs. She gained communications and event planning experience as part of a local political organization, where she organized trainings for local community leaders focused on building intentional relationships and reaching across racial, cultural, and political divides. She also created and hosted a 10-episode podcast series, which featured community members sharing their stories and discussing topic areas including polarization, common ground/empathy, and unconscious bias.

Kayla graduated with Bachelor and Master of Science degrees from Virginia Tech. She lives in Arlington, VA with her wife.

You can contact Kayla Sykes via email at kayla@convergencepolicy.org

Angela Travers

Angela is the Development Manager at Convergence. She brings more than a decade of experience working as a philanthropic advisor for high net worth families, a facilitator for multi-generational family offices, and as an administrator of private family foundations. Previously, she was the Individual Giving Manager with Young Invincibles, the nation’s leading millennial research and advocacy group, working to amplify the voices of young adults in the political process and expand their economic opportunity. While there she managed the individual giving and family foundation portfolios of a coalition focused on identifying, developing, and scaling data-driven strategies for increasing college student voter engagement. Prior to her work with Young Invincibles, Angela oversaw the philanthropic activities of high net-worth families for over 15 years. As the administrative arm of a small DC-based organization, Angela engaged shareholders in order to align interests and values. She also worked to bridge the inter-generational gap in her office through meaningful dialogue and an understanding of both family and individual goals. Angela holds a BS in Psychology with a Minor in Women’s Studies from Florida International University and an MBA from the University of Maryland.

You can contact Angela via email at angela@convergencepolicy.org

Vicki Veenker

Vicki joined Convergence in 2017 to spearhead the West Coast work of Convergence. She directs the California Health Reform Initiative, Convergence’s first project outside of Washington, D.C.

Vicki has a deep background in mediation and dispute resolution. The International Trade Commission appointed Vicki to its Mediators Panel, as did the United States District Court for the Northern District of California, which also appointed Vicki to its Neutral Evaluators Panel. She has been named to the Tech List (the Silicon Valley Arbitration & Mediation Center’s list of the world’s leading technology neutrals) each year since its inception. She began her career more than thirty-five years ago at the Kettering Foundation as a Program Associate for the National Issues Forum of the Domestic Policy Association, which conducts public deliberations on issues of national import. More recently, she led the Foreign Policy Association’s Great Decisions program in Palo Alto.

Vicki has practiced intellectual property law since 1988, representing universities, life science entities, and technology companies. She was the founding partner of the Silicon Valley Intellectual Property Group at international law firm Shearman & Sterling LLP, until she founded Veenker Law Offices in 2013. Previously she was a partner at Fish & Neave (now Ropes & Gray), beginning her practice in its New York office. Vicki served as an Adjunct Professor at the University of California’s Hastings College of the Law and at Santa Clara University Law School, where she taught Alternative Dispute Resolution in Patent Cases. She made a foray into sports law in 2005, helping found and serving as the first General Counsel of Women’s Professional Soccer.

In 2002, Vicki was named one of California’s top 20 lawyers under 40 by California Law Business and has been named a leading national IP practitioner numerous times by legal industry publications. She is a Board Member and former President of the Law Foundation of Silicon Valley, which provides free legal representation to under-served communities. She earned a law degree from Georgetown University Law Center, where she was Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of Law & Technology, and a B.S. in Biochemistry and a B.A. in Political Science, both from Indiana University.

In 2016, Vicki was a candidate for the California State Assembly, making it through the primary and into a hotly contested general election, spawning her interest in applying her dispute resolution expertise to public policy issues.

You can contact Vicki Veenker via email at vicki@convergencepolicy.org