Our Staff

Democracy NC 2014 Staff

For the staff directory, please visit our Contact Page

  • Leigh Bradley

    Office Manager

    Leigh holds a BSW from Indiana University and an MSW from UNC-Chapel Hill. She has been with the organization since 1996.

    leigh@democracy-nc.org | 919-286-6000 Ext 10


  • Omisade Burney-Scott

    Training Director

    Omisade is a native of New Bern, NC and a graduate of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. For the past 20 years, she has actively worked around a variety of social justice issues including School to Prison Pipeline, Reproductive Justice, Community Economic Development, Policing/Prisons and Domestic Violence. Omisade’s professional career spans higher education, non-profit leadership, philanthropy and her own consulting practice. Her areas of expertise include organizational capacity building, training and facilitation, leadership development, philanthropy and governance. Omisade has worked at The YWCA of the Greater Triangle, The Southern Rural Development Initiative (SRDI), The Warner Foundation and Public Allies North Carolina. She has also volunteered on a number of nonprofit boards including Stone Circles, The Fund for Southern Communities, SpiritHouse and The Beautiful Project. Omisade believes in the interconnectedness of spirituality and activism and the mighty and righteous work of indigenous leaders tethered to local communities and small organizations. As Training Director, Omisade leads Democracy NC’s training work in local communities across the state.

    omisade@democracy-nc.org | 919-286-6000 Ext 19


  • Becky Carver

    Development Director

    Since moving to Durham in 1981, Becky has been a dedicated volunteer and activist, primarily around reproductive rights and other social justice issues. She has a B.S. from the University of Tennessee and M.S. from American University. Building on her special education and mental health experience, Becky has over twenty years in the nonprofit sector as Executive Director, Director of Development, Deputy Director, Project Director, and volunteer board member effectively promoting and advancing organizations’ missions and programs. She has worked at Wright School, The Alcohol/Drug Council of NC, Cornucopia Cancer Support Center, and Planned Parenthood. She understands the importance of making systemic changes to remedy the challenges we face in our communities and beyond and the need to work in coalition to achieve common goals.

    becky@democracy-nc.org | 919-286-6000 Ext 12


  • Gabe Casalett

    Communications Specialist

    Gabe worked in the tech and online marketing industry for about 10 years before joining Democracy North Carolina’s staff. During that time, he enjoyed using his talents to benefit causes he believes in by volunteering as a web & graphic designer and online marketing consultant for local and international non-profit organizations. As Communications Specialist at Democracy NC, he is dedicated to developing new, interesting, and effective ways to spread the word about our work through online and offline channels alike.

    gabe@democracy-nc.org | 919-286-6000 Ext 20


  • Robert Dawkins

    Field Organizer, Piedmont NC

    Robert has worked as a grassroots organizer for a number of years, conducting organizing campaigns in Houston and Atlanta for ACORN before becoming their Head Organizer in Charlotte. He has also consulted on various grassroots campaigns for nonprofit groups. He has a BA in Political Science from the University of South Carolina.

    robert@democracy-nc.org | 704-957-3105


  • Cheryl Ellis

    Organizing Director

    Cheryl is a proud alumna of the University of Virginia. As Organizing Director, she trains and leads Democracy NC’s Organizing Team and develops and oversees implementation of our organizing, base building and voter engagement work. Since moving to NC in 1986, Cheryl has worked in both the private and public sectors. Through her work in the public school system and human services for over 20 years, she saw the plight of those who were disenfranchised and many times forgotten and dedicated her career to standing for and with the least of these. In 2008, Cheryl was re-energized to engage politically in the health care reform movement because of her son’s personal experience of being denied coverage. She moved through the ranks of Organizing for America (now Action), starting as a volunteer and moving up to the position of State Coordinator. In that role, Cheryl led staff and volunteers across North Carolina into a new era for OFA as a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization working on multiple issues including health care, gun violence prevention, immigration reform, climate change, women’s rights, minimum wage and Medicaid expansion. Cheryl has also served as a volunteer peer counselor for The Women’s Center in Raleigh, a member and leader of Southern Wake Concerned Citizens and member of the NC Association of Educators.

    cheryl@democracy-nc.org | 919-286-6000 Ext 31


  • Jennifer Frye

    Associate Director

    Jenn was a Democracy Summer student organizer in 2003 and served on Democracy NC’s Board of Directors before becoming part of the organizing staff in January 2006. She is an alumnus of the Public Allies North Carolina leadership development program and previously worked in gun violence and homelessness prevention. She holds a BA in Political Science and German from UNC. As Associate Director, she manages the daily operations of Democracy NC, participates heavily in our organizing and leadership training work and is responsible for our community outreach in the Durham area.

    jenn@democracy-nc.org | 919-286-6000 Ext 15


  • Jake Gellar-Goad

    Volunteer & Administrative Coordinator

    Jake graduated with a Master of Public Administration degree from North Carolina State University in Raleigh and began as a Field Organizer with Democracy North Carolina in 2011. In 2014 he moved into his current role as the Volunteer & Administrative Coordinator based in Durham.

    Born and raised in North Carolina, his activism grew through volunteering with and supporting a variety of social justice, voting rights, and LGBT equality-oriented nonprofits, causes, and campaigns including serving as the Volunteer Coordinator for a successful mayoral campaign in Chapel Hill piloting public campaign financing at the municipal level in 2009.

    jake@democracy-nc.org | 919-286-6000 Ext 14


  • Isela Gutiérrez-Gunter

    Research Associate

    Isela got her start in social justice work as a student activist in 1997 and has been hooked ever since. She has over a decade of experience in advocacy-oriented nonprofits, beginning with her first job at the ACLU of Washington State in Seattle. Most recently before moving to North Carolina, Isela worked as an advocate for statewide juvenile justice policy reform at the Texas Criminal Justice Coalition in Austin and to promote local drug policy reform at the Defender Association’s Racial Disparity Project in Seattle. She has a BA in History from Scripps College and a MSW from UNC-Chapel Hill.

    isela@democracy-nc.org | 919-286-6000 Ext 18


  • Bob Hall

    Executive Director

    Bob has worked with grassroots groups across the South since 1970, collaborating on a variety of economic and social justice projects. He has served on numerous non-profit boards and governmental commissions, provided expert testimony in court cases, and consulted with officials in a dozen states on voting rights and campaign finance reform. He was the founding editor of Southern Exposure, the magazine of the Institute for Southern Studies, where he worked for 25 years. Honors include the MacArthur Fellow award, NC Press Association’s First Amendment Award, NC AARP’s Advocacy Friend of the Year Award, and NC NAACP’s Political Trailblazer Award. He has an MA from Columbia University.

    sprc@mindspring.com | 919-489-1931


  • Shoneca Kent

    Field Organizer, Eastern NC

    Shoneca began working in the social and economic justice field with the North Carolina Justice Center and Blueprint North Carolina in 2009 as a Center for Community Change community organizing intern. She went on to work as a program associate with the North Carolina Association of Community Development Corporations, organizing low and moderate income community members to participate in the Twin Counties Visioning and Strategic Planning Process. She has a bachelor’s degree in Sociology from UNC-Chapel Hill.

    shoneca@democracy-nc.org | 919-286-6000 Ext 32


  • Nancy Shakir

    Field Organizer, Southeast NC

    Nancy resides in Fayetteville, North Carolina where she is a community activist and volunteer. She has a BA in History from Rutgers University, and MA from St. Peter’s Jesuit College. Her other studies include Organizational Behavior at Polytechnic, NY and further graduate work in History at Rutgers University and Fayetteville State University. She hosts a radio and local TV show and serves on the boards of several community organizations.

    nancy@democracy-nc.org | 910-527-5441


  • Adam Sotak

    Statewide Campaigns Organizer

    Adam Sotak (pronounced so-tock) is a West Virginia native who, at the age of 12, moved to Salisbury, NC. He received his BSW from Appalachian State and MSW from UNC-Chapel Hill. He is currently in his third role with Democracy NC, formerly Western NC Field Organizer (2000-2007) and Organizing Director (2007-2014). As our Statewide Campaigns Organizer (SCO), Adam works with volunteers and organizations across the state in a variety of ways to promote the principle of “one person, one vote”.

    adam@democracy-nc.org | 919-286-6000 Ext 11


  • Linda Sutton

     Field Organizer, Central NC

    Linda has been active in the Winston-Salem community since the early 70′s, working as a union organizer and Special Voter Registration Commissioner. She co-founded the Winston-Salem Voting Rights Coalition, a grassroots organization of non-profit, nonpartisan community groups that has registered thousands of voters and engaged them in electoral reforms such as early voting, same day registration and campaign finance reform. In 2008 she received the Urban League’s Community Leader of the Year Award. Linda is based in Winston-Salem and also works in Forsyth, Guilford, Davie and surrounding counties.

    linda@democracy-nc.org | 336-870-2168