Ana Garcia-Ashley, Gamaliel Executive Director
Ana Garcia-Ashley has been the Executive Director of Gamaliel since January 2011—the first woman of color in America to head a national community organizing network.
She began organizing in 1981 after graduating from the University of Colorado in Denver. Deeply interested in the intersection of politics and faith, Garcia-Ashley also attended the Iliff School of Theology. She joined Gamaliel in 1992 as the lead organizer of MICAH in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, where she led one of the most successful campaigns in Gamaliel’s history: winning a $500 million commitment from local banks to invest in affordable housing. As a result, 7,000 low-income families in Milwaukee were able to buy homes. Garcia-Ashley also founded Gamaliel’s statewide Wisconsin affiliate, WISDOM.
Laura Barrett, Executive Director
Laura Barrett is the National Campaign Director for Gamaliel and Transportation Equity Network. She has been a community organizer for more than 20 years. Laura previously worked as a field organizer for the Center for Community Change, and has served as director of Housing Comes First, the Missouri Public Interest Research Group (MoPIRG), and the Campaign for Jobs and Housing. She was the campaign manager for a ballot initiative that resulted in the passage of the largest per capita housing trust fund in America ($5 million annually), the St. Louis Housing Trust Fund. She has helped groups to win millions in public transportation funding, and has negotiated community benefits agreements and positive workforce development policies on the state, local and federal levels. As the civic engagement director for Gamaliel, she has helped local affiliates to register 12,000 low-income and immigrant voters, and to make more than 125,000 voter contacts about non-partisan issues in the 2008 fall election. She holds a Master's in Social Work from Washington University.
Sam Finkelstein, Deputy Director
Originally from California, Sam has 10 years of experience organizing throughout California, in Chicago, and nationally around racial and economic justice issues, including low-income and subsidized housing, worker rights, immigration, gentrification, education, health access, and resource equity. He was a co-founder and campaign director of National People's Action's Housing Justice Campaign, focusing on increasing access to low-income housing and stopping the privatization of public housing. Sam was also the co-founder, executive director, and lead organizer of Gender JUST, a Chicago-based grassroots organizing effort led by transgender and gender-non-conforming youth of color. He also has a Master’s in Public Policy from Northwestern University.
Cynthia Jarrold, Federal Policy Coordinator
Cynthia Jarrold has worked with the Metro Organization for Racial and Economic Equity (MORE2), an affiliate of Gamaliel in metropolitan Kansas City, for the last four years. She holds a Master of Divinity degree from Central Baptist Theological Seminary, where teaches as an adjunct. Cynthia is a licensed minister and served for nine years as an associate at Leawood Baptist Church. She is also trained in peace-building and conflict transformation.
Karen Kelsey, Administrator
Karen Kelsey first became associated with TEN/Gamaliel in 2006 through Gamaliel’s Individual Donor Campaign as the Data Base Coordinator for 20 participating regional affiliates. She began her administrative activities as Office Manager at Senne, Kelsey, & Associates, a family run Forensics Engineering firm, active primarily in Civil Litigation. In the same field, she served as a Researcher for Attorneys and Paralegals, assisting them in the preparation of their cases. Karen currently serves as the “Hub” of Transportation Equity Network, generally providing support and distributing information as needed by the TEN Staff. Born and raised in St. Louis, MO, she holds a BA in The Teaching of Modern Dance from the University of Illinois and continues to live in St. Louis.