Board of Directors

Lateisha Garrett, Chair

Lateisha Garrett hails from Powhatan, VA and is a graduate of James Madison University (JMU) where she earned a degree in English and political communications. After JMU, Teisha moved to Washington, D.C. to make the world a better place and focused on fundraising, communications, and marketing.

 

She has spent most of her career mobilizing and engaging people to support political candidates, advocacy organizations, issues, and non- profits. As a fundraiser, she has raised over $150 million from email, direct mail, phones, events, and campaigns. She is consistently called on by organizations to serve as an advisor on project implementation, strategy, recruiting, messaging, and more. Currently, she serves as the Vice President of Marketing and Communications at Civitech, a company dedicated to building a fairer and more equitable democracy through data and technology for Democratic and progressive organizations. In her spare time, she can be found wandering around Northern Virginia, cheering on a Washington sports team, voraciously consuming books, or baking cupcakes.

Jessica Bowser

Jessica is the past Political Director and a founding board member of Virginia’s List. Civic engagement and volunteerism are Jessica’s passions and she prides herself on leading by example. She serves on the Governor's Advisory Board on Volunteerism and Service and recently served on the board of the Virginia Service Foundation. As a former educator, she has worked tirelessly in the field of education policy and advocacy. She holds a Master of Education in Curriculum and Instruction from the University of Maryland.

 

Jessica is a member of the 2014 Political Leaders Program from the Sorensen Institute for Political Leadership at the University of Virginia. She is an appointed member of the Fairfax County Tree Commission and collaborates with many grassroots environmental groups to champion local conservation issues. Jessica launched and hosts the Virginia Outdoor Adventures Podcast, a show about outdoor recreation in Virginia. She uses this platform to elevate everyone's voice in outdoor spaces, where traditionally not everyone has felt welcome or safe, while also highlighting the natural beauty of our Commonwealth.

Jessica and her partner are proud alumni of The Ohio State University and reside in Alexandria, where Jessica is a member of the Fairfax County Democratic Committee.

Laurie Buchwald

Laurie Buchwald is a former two-term member of Radford City Council and a former candidate for House of Delegates in 2015 and for State Senate in a 2021 Special Election. She has served on multiple local, regional, and state boards and commissions, and was instrumental in the development of the City of Radford’s bikeway/walkway system. 

 

She was appointed by Governor Northam to the Board of Nursing and from that, was appointed to the Committee of the Joint Boards of Nursing and Medicine. She is active in the Blue Ridge Region of the Virginia Council of Nurse Practitioners. 

 

Laurie serves on the Central Committee of the Democratic Party of Virginia and is Secretary of the Democratic Women’s Caucus. She is a Board Member of the National Women’s Political Caucus–VA, and created the grassroots organization Elect Women! where she works to encourage and support SWVA women to run for office. 

 

In her professional life, she is a Women’s Health and Family Nurse Practitioner and has been providing healthcare to women for over 30 years. A self-described “Navy Brat” who moved frequently during the first 25 yrs of her life, she has lived in SWVA for over 25 yrs, and as a single mother, raised her son there. She is a graduate of both Radford University and the Medical College of Virginia and is nationally certified in Women’s Health and Family Practice. Laurie is an avid sports fan, a passionate photographer and reader, and loves to travel, whether by foot, car, or on her motorcycle.

Julie Copeland

As the founding executive director of Emerge Virginia, Julie led, trained, and mentored 209 Democratic women to prepare them to run for office from 2014 to 2019. Many of her trained alumnae now serve in federal, state, local, and municipal offices across Virginia, and eleven members of the new VA Democratic legislative majority are Emerge graduates.

 

From 1997 to 2013, Julie ran her own opposition research firm called Copeland Research. She worked with clients nationwide, including the 2009 Virginia Deeds for Governor campaign, and candidates for CO House, GA House, IA House and Senate, MD Senate, MO House, NC House, and PA Senate.

 

During her career, she was a senior advisor to seven statewide campaigns, including directing the 1996 Coordinated Campaign for Clinton/Gore and U.S. Senate candidate Mark Warner. She was chief of staff to Lt. Gov. Don Beyer for four years, and played critical roles on his 1989, 1993, and 1997 statewide campaigns. In addition, she managed Lt. Gov. Beyer’s legislative agenda for all eight years in office. Julie also served as the Senate Democratic Caucus director in VA for three cycles.

 

Julie serves on the Board of Directors of Virginia’s List and the Cabinet of Emerge Virginia. She is the proud mother of two remarkable young women, Emma and Sophie. In her spare time, Julie creates royal-icing-decorated cookies for events of all types.

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Angela Elder

Angela is a nonprofit and fundraising professional with over a decade of experience. She started her (non-traditional) journey into politics when she joined the Biden for President campaign as a National Events Manager. After having one of the most rewarding career experiences of her life, she went on to complete the National Democratic Training Committee’s 3-month Staff Academy fundraising program to further develop her campaign finance skills. Her most recent campaign roles have been with Jennifer Carroll Foy’s Virginia gubernatorial primary, and as Deputy Finance Director for Hala Ayala’s Virginia Lt. Governor race.

 

Prior to campaign life, Angela spent the entirety of her career in nonprofit business associations focused on diversifying revenue streams, community-building, and developing educational experiences and events to help business professionals and students learn and grow in their careers.

 

Angela is a lifelong Virginian and Democrat, born and raised in Lynchburg, attended The College of William & Mary with a degree in Women’s Studies and History, and currently resides in Alexandria with her husband Matt and two dogs Iggy and Myrna. 

Emily Francis

Emily has served on the board of Virginia’s List since 2015. She has spent the last 20+ years working for public interest and environmental organizations; she is a fundraiser, strategist, organizer, and advocate. She began working on political campaigns professionally in 2004 and is committed to ensuring our elected officials are reflective of and responsive to the constituents they represent.

Emily ran for office in 2015 and directly saw the value of local, grassroots support — including the strong support of women and Virginia’s List. She is a graduate of the 2015 Emerge Virginia class, is a member of the Richmond City Democratic Committee and has previously served on the Democratic Party of Virginia's Central Committee. She serves on multiple statewide and local boards of directors. Emily lives in Richmond.

Audra Grassia

Audra Grassia is an accomplished leader with experience working with political, government, private-sector, and non-profit organizations to plan and execute large-scale campaigns and programs. Prior to founding her company, Grassia Collaborative (a certified Small, Women-owned, and Minority-owned Business), Audra spent the better part of the last 15 years working directly with candidate campaigns, candidate committees & PACs, and progressive advocacy organizations. In addition to playing a senior-staff role on multiple campaigns at the state, local and congressional levels - she has been the Deputy Political Director at the Democratic Governors Association, a Regional Director at EMILY's List, worked on the Hillary for America campaign in 2016 and more recently was the Deputy Director of the States Team on Elizabeth Warren's presidential campaign.

 

In addition to her campaign experience, Audra serves as an officer in the US Army Reserves and has held roles with multiple tech start-ups. Her diverse experience has led her to focus her consulting on the intersection of technology, innovation and politics. In her spare time, she enjoys spending time with her two children, her spouse, and her dog in Midlothian, Virginia, where she calls home. 

Carla Hesseltine

Carla can always be found in the car between Virginia Beach and Richmond visiting either the general assembly building or her granddaughter. Her path to service began in 2014 while her Dad was in hospice and subsequently passed. This eye opening experience led her to team up with former State Senator Frank Wagner, to shepherd and pass SB466, a bipartisan piece of legislation concerning the rights of family members to visit loved ones while in guardianship.

 

She is a two time gubernatorial appointee on the Commonwealth Council on Aging and worked to increase the budget (BA #332) for the Senior Farmer’s Market and a resolution (SJ66) to highlight senior malnutrition issues. She serves on the Virginia COVID-19 Long-Term Care Facility Task Force, is the Chair of the Virginia Beach Human Rights Commission, serves on the Virginia Beach Community Services Board and was a finalist in the selection for an interim Virginia Beach City Council Lynnhaven seat. She was highlighted as one of the "Women in Business" award in 2011 while owning Just Cupcakes. She has been a keynote speaker for Congressmen Rigell’s Women’s Symposium, Ultimate Show for Women and Hampton Roads Small Business of the Year.

 

She is a graduate of the University of Virginia’s Sorensen Political Leader’s Program and Candidate Training Program and the FBI Citizen’s Academy. She has a degree in Visual Communication and bleeds green for Marshall University. Go Herd!

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Monica Hutchinson

Monica (she/her) is a wife and proud mother of three amazing young adults ages 18, 15, and 14. She is a Community and Political Organizer where she organizes around racial justice, social justice, and family centered issues like paid leave, elder care, child care, living wage, and more. A transplant from Queens, New York, Monica is extremely passionate about her communities here in Virginia and hope to inspire many with her vision of a Commonwealth where everyone works together towards racial, social and political justice. She is driven to fight for issues including civil rights, equity and equality, voting rights, restorative criminal justice reform, education, women equality, reproductive rights, LGBTQIA, immigration, healthcare, living wage, paid leave, elder care and more.

 

Monica is a graduate of the Virginia Progressive Leadership Project (Cohort 5), Alumna of the Black Campaign School, and serves multiple organizations through volunteer and civic engagement including the Henrico County Democratic Committee, where she formed and until this year served as the Chair of the Henrico County Democratic Black Caucus, The Henrico NAACP where she currently serves as 1st Vice President, Chair of the Political Action Committee, member of the Education Committee, past Chair of Communications and Criminal Justice Committees, and served as the mentor for the Henrico NAACP Youth and College Chapter. Monica is also a member of the Henrico County Public Schools Special Education Advisory Committee where she serves as Vice-Chair of Planning.

 

For the 2020 Presidential elections, Monica proudly served as a 2020 VA state and 2020 Virginia At-Large National Delegate for President Joe Biden and traveled to PA to work as Deputy Director of Voter Outreach for Vote Blue for pre-GOTV/GOTV. Here in Virginia she was a member of DPVA’s Virginia Women for Biden, and Virginia African Americans for Biden. Monica is a founding member of the Women for Biden/Biden Harris digital grassroots team and an admin for the Virginia/DC Women for Biden Harris state group. She is a founding member, Executive Board member, and the Vice President of Government relations for the Women of Color Coalition, which started out as a digital organizing group for Biden for President and after the 2020 election, the WOCC group was turned into a 501(c)3 and 501(c)4 and has continued the work to engage, educate, and empower. Monica is fiercely dedicated to electing Democrats up and down the ballot and enjoys engaging her community on the issues that most impact them while challenging all to see the world through a lens of equity, diversity, inclusion, and opportunity as we fight in solidarity for justice.

Julie Jakopic

Julie Jakopic's career has focused on  working with low-income families and communities and the organizations that serve them. She is a leadership evangelist, helping leaders build resilient organizations and lives they love while delivering results and changing the world for good. 

 

Her commitment to change includes leading in her community at organizations such as Hopkins House Pre-School, Sheltered Homes of Alexandria and both the Alexandria Economic Opportunity Commission and Community Services Board.  She served as the Vice Chair for Finance and Administration of the Alexandria Democratic Committee for six years, the 8th Congressional District Committee for two, and ran for House of Delegates in 2015. 
 

A former nationally ranked synchronized swimmer with a passion for chocolate, Julie is a juried photographer and painter. She holds an MA in Sociology/Social Psychology and a BA in Communication from the University of Maryland.

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Heather Keppler

Amy Laufer

In 2016, after a presidential election that made her (almost) lose faith in American voters, Heather Keppler started Blue Nova, a Northern Virginia-based group that educates voters and facilitates their activism through opportunities to knock on doors, text, call and fundraise for progressive candidates including county board and commonwealth attorney. In 2019, Heather also ran a school board campaign for an incredibly well-qualified Arlington mom.  Following this campaign she started working as a substitute teacher in the public school system in an effort to help relieve the stress so many teachers are enduring. Today, Heather, who lives in Arlington, Va., with her husband, three kids, dog and cat (her favorite), sees Virginia's List as the perfect place for her to help raise money to get more progressive, pro-choice women into state office. 

Amy founded Virginia’s List in 2015 to support progressive women running for statewide office in Virginia. She is a current member and past chair of the Charlottesville City School Board, where she led initiatives that helped improve graduation rates, implemented an afterschool program aimed at improving reading skills for young students, and expanded preschool programs for city children. Amy won the Democratic nomination for Charlottesville City Council in 2017 with a record-setting number of votes for a primary and she is a candidate in the November general election.

 

Amy holds an undergraduate degree in geology from the University of Wisconsin Milwaukee and a MA in science education from Columbia University-Teachers College. She has taught in public and private schools and spent two years in the Peace Corps teaching in an impoverished school in Jamaica. Amy has helped her husband run his Charlottesville-based real estate business and is the mother of three children.

Juanita Jo Matkins

After a few paid jobs as an actress, Juanita Jo used her bachelor’s degree in theatre (B.S. Theatre Arts, Towson University) as a springboard to teaching and ultimately to a professorship at the College of William & Mary – in science education (M.Ed and Ed.D. University of Virginia)!  Her first full-time teaching job was kindergarten and her last full-time teaching job was Professor of K-12 Science Education, retiring as Professor Emerita in 2015. It wasn’t until she discovered her own power to understand science concepts – by teaching them to her elementary students – that Juanita Jo “caught fire” and began to truly understand what it was to be self-actualized. She is determined to help others, both young and adult, to find their gifts and use them to the betterment of all. With her science background, Juanita Jo is a fierce advocate for solutions for human-induced climate change challenges, and for education that helps all citizens understand what they can do.

She lives in Louisa County and breathes rural issues such as broadband access. Juanita Jo ran for the House of Delegates from the 56th District in 2019 and learned the hard way how influential gerrymandering currently is in rural areas of Virginia. She serves as 1st Vice Chair of the Louisa Democratic Committee. She is a founder of Louisa United, a diverse local organization that advocates for better representation in government, policing, and education, and also for removal of Confederate symbols from pubic places. She is also a founding member of Indivisible Louisa, and is the go-to person for local questions about felony restoration of rights, having helped many local voters with restoration of their rights. She has lobbied in the General Assembly for both the NAACP and also Equality Virginia.

 

Juanita Jo plays the pipe organ for her church; loves to weed her flower garden, and wistfully recalls her 40’s when she was a competitive powerlifter and could benchpress her own weight. She is looking forward to helping women in Virginia reach the heights politically and to also help them know their power and use it to help us all.

Jonette Meade Barley

Jonette Meade Barley is currently working as a Utilities Tech Services Supervisor for The City of Richmond and The Department of Public Utilities.  Her varied career includes over 14 years of banking experience; 16 years US Government; people and project management, event planning; retail sales; the management of multi-functional work teams; and customer service.

Jonette has developed an exceptional background in people and project management and a professional style based on excellent inter-personal communications and an ability to make the best possible use of her personal network.

Jonette has a Associate of Arts Degree from Strayer University in Business Administration (2008); a Bachelor of Business Administration Degree from Strayer University with a concentration in Marketing (2009); a Master of Business Administration Degree from Strayer University with a concentration in Management (2011); member of Golden Key International Honor Society, and I have earned my Master of Science degree with concentration in Project Management, October 2013 (Magna Cum Laude) member of Alpha Chi Honor Society, received my diploma from Faith Landmark Bible Institute, June 2015, received Certificate of Ordination from Faith Landmark Bible Institute, May 2015, and member of Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Incorporated; Alpha Phi Zeta chapter.

In the past, she served as a Committee Member at the American Cancer Society while volunteering for Daffodil Days. Former member of the Executive PTA Board for George F. Baker Elementary School as their Fundraiser Chairperson. Former board member and VP Marketing for the Project Management Institute Central Virginia Chapter.  Previous member Maymont Park Dooley Noted Society and the International Toastmasters Association. Formerly served as one of Strayer University Alumni Ambassadors and for five years served as the President of the university’s alumni chapter.

In the past, she has volunteered, organized, and hosted events for the Susan G. Komen Foundation; the American Cancer Society; the Virginia Breast Care Foundation; the Sisters Network of Virginia and in 2007 Richmond BMW along with Susan G. Komen for the Cure recognized Jonette as an Honorable Supporter of Breast Cancer Awareness. Jonette has received numerous awards for her work to help fight Breast Cancer from the Honorable Senator Ryan T McDougle; Richmond City Council East End 7th District, City Councilwoman Deloris McQuinn along with the University of Virginia Hospital located in Charlottesville, VA for her dedication as well. This is just to name a few the list goes on and on.

Jonette is also a member with numerous organizations; District 66 - Toastmasters; member of the Golden Key International Honor Society; member of the National Black MBA Association; member of Metropolitan Business League, and a member of the PMI Central Virginia Chapter where I served as their Director of Event Planning.  Former member of Chamber Women RVA, current member of AWWA/American Water Works Association Customer Service Committee; as well as serving as member of the Minority Business Enterprise and Emerging Small Business Advisory board for the City of Richmond. 

On the Political side of the arena Jonette is a member of the Richmond City Democratic Committee serving as their 4th Ward Chair since March 2020, member of the Virginia Women’s Caucus since April 2018 and currently serving on their endorsement committee.  Served as a State Delegate for VADEMS in 2020, member of the National Women’s Political Caucus, currently serving as a member on the social action committee with Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Incorporated.  Jonette currently serves as the Treasurer for the NPHC/National Pan-Hellenic of Metro Richmond.  Founding Member of the Ladies in Blue – VA PAC.  Former Delegate Lashrecse Aird, of the 63rd District appointed Jonette to serve as the 4th Congressional District Liaison to the Women's Caucus of the Democratic Party of Virginia in which she served until  the end of  Delegate Airds term in office.

Jonette is uniquely positioned to impact organizations’ productivity and long-term success, with her powerful vision of bringing purpose into the people equation to promote healthy, productive, and meaningful working relationships. 

When not working or networking Jonette enjoys spending quality time with her 15-year-old son Morales, her mother, and her new spouse.

Terry Ann Stevens

Terry has a lifelong interest in public service, volunteer work, community involvement and getting tasks accomplished.  She was on the Virginia Beach SPCA board for ten years and is still an honorary board member. As a military spouse living in the Middle East, Terry was instrumental in spearheading a middle school sports program at the DoD school.  Years later, US military children supporting their active duty parents in Bahrain still benefited from this program. Back in the US, she continued her involvement in the PTA earning Volunteer of the Year in 2019 for her work with elementary school children in an after school program.  Terry served as a board member with Vanguard Landing for two years and currently serves on the board of Connect With a Wish which is an organization to enhance the lives of children in foster care in Virginia Beach.  In 2022, she was appointed by city council to serve on the Clean Community Commission.

 

Professionally, Terry served the Commonwealth of Virginia as a Virginia State Trooper, Special Agent Accountant and Assistant Special Agent in Charge.  Currently, she works full time in residential real estate helping people achieve their dream of homeownership and guiding them through the process. Terry received her Bachelor of Science in Actuarial Science & Mathematics from the University of Connecticut.  She graduated from the Emerge Virginia program in 2018. She attended the Sorensen Institute Candidate Training Program in 2019, LEAD Hampton Roads in 2019, Sorensen Political Leaders Program in 2020-2021 & earned her Certificate of Non-Profit Management in 2022.