Chief Executive Officer
Prior to launching Seek Common Ground, Sandy was the COO of Achieve, responsible for setting the strategic vision and executing the daily operations of the program, communications, advocacy and finance and operations teams. Before being named COO in 2013, Sandy held various leadership positions at Achieve, including leading all advocacy, partnership and communications activities. Sandy began her career as a labor and employment and contracts lawyer and she wrote and spoke frequently on HR and business issues. It was during this period of time that Sandy started the first workplace flexibility coalition, the FLECS coalition. She then went on to leadership positions at the National Associations of Manufactures, eventually serving as the senior advocate before Congress and federal agencies and overseeing all work related to labor, employment, safety, immigration, workforce, education and competitiveness issues. During this time, Sandy led the Compete America coalition, which successfully increased the number of high skilled immigrants in the U.S. Contemporaneously, Sandy also worked on or led coalitions dedicated to securing education tax benefits, workforce education and training, STEM funding and the reauthorization of ESSA. Sandy served as a board member for the National Immigration Forum and was a member of the National Workforce Flexibility 2010 commission.Sandy received her J.D. from The George Washington University and her B.A ,Magna Cum Laude,Phi Beta Kappa from San Diego State University.
Skills/Workstreams: Leadership, coalition-building, communications and strategy.
Personal Journey: Mom, lawyer, transplanted Californian, 20+ years of building odd bedfellows coalitions on labor, immigration and education issues, happy place: beach or the Chesapeake Bay, life-long learner and seeker, beginner kayaker.
-Passionate, Open, Agreeable, Organized and Responsible, Resilient.
“It always seems impossible, until it’s done”
Chief Common Ground Officer
Michael's work at Seek Common Ground is to be a thought partner and strategist with coalition leaders; to be on the lookout for innovative, replicable, sustainable ideas that advance the Network's collective work, and to build systems to document, analyze, and promote lessons learned both within and outside the Network. Michael comes to the work having led cross-coalition advocacy efforts for five years at Achieve, an action think tank focused on advancing state-based education policy solutions to promote college, career, and civic readiness of students. His (almost) thirty years of experience include leadership roles at the Hunt Institute, New York City Public Schools, the Anne & Kirk Douglas Foundation, Sylvan at School, and Teach For America.
Communications: message testing & development, delivery training, testimony & speech preparation.
Strategy: vision ideation, mission alignment, goals & outcomes guidance.
Coalition Building: agenda setting, organizing, engagement advice.
Management: organizational structure, resource development, operational configuration.
Personal Journey: Parent, listener, RPCV: Togo, TFAer, 30 years in the work, podcast aficionado, runner.
Open, Disorganized, Extraverted, Agreeable, Calm.
“And when my time is up, have I done enough?”
--Eliza Hamilton: “Who Lives, Who Dies, Who Tells Your Story,” from Hamilton: An American Musical
Director of Networks
Claudia is Seek Common Ground's Director of Networks where she supports education advocates across the country as they build diverse and impactful coalitions to improve student outcomes in their local contexts. Claudia creates spaces for shared learning across the network through digital platforms and in-person meetings. She served a similar role at Achieve, an education non-profit dedicated to ensuring all students graduate ready for college, career and citizenship. There, Claudia served as a Senior Associate and managed the Coalition Support Network consisting of over a dozen state-based education advocacy coalitions nationwide. Prior to that role, Claudia helped manage a network of Latin American business leaders heading multi-national corporations at the Group of Fifty. She earned a Master's in Public Administration from The George Washington University and a bachelor's degree from the University of Virginia.
Skills/Workstreams: Strategy, planning, program management, evaluation, facilitation, relationship-building, and leadership development.
Personal Journey: Daughter of a long line of immigrants, opportunity seeker, people connector, reality checker, open mindset, translator/interpreter, traveler, salsa dancer.
-Agreeable, Extroverted, Conscientious, Open-Minded, Anxious.
"If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together."