Our Team

ERA Coalition Board Members

Carol Jenkins

Carol Jenkins is an advocate for human, civil and women’s rights, an award-winning author and Emmy-winning former television journalist. 

Carol Jenkins is President and CEO of the ERA Coalition and the Fund for Women’s Equality, sister organizations dedicated to the adoption of the Equal Rights Amendment. A board member since its inception in 2014, she joined the leadership team in December of 2018.

Previously, Carol Jenkins was founding president of The Women’s Media Center, a national nonprofit organization created  to increase coverage and participation of women in media. As president, she conceived the Progressive Women’s Voices program to provide media training for women and girls, and she expanded SheSource, the largest portfolio of women experts in the country. At FCC hearings she testified on the “crisis in representation” in mainstream media.’ Every year WMC presents its WMC Carol Jenkins award to women in extraordinary leadership positions.

As former chair and current board member of Amref Health Africa USA, an arm of the largest health NGO in Africa, she is engaged in efforts to support health programs for African women and girls. Her other board work includes the Feminist Press, the Veteran Feminists of America, The Steering Committee of the Gloria Steinem Chair at Rutgers University, the Anne O’Hare McCormick Journalism Scholarship Board, the Northern Manhattan Arts Alliance, and the international animal rights organization Humane Farm Animal Care (Certified Humane).

Carol Jenkins is a part of The History Makers archive of African American oral histories housed at the Smithsonian Institute.

In the spring of 2019 and 2020 Carol Jenkins served as a Grove Leader at Hunter College, leading a cohort of Grove Fellows to produce a virtual gathering on the ERA on campuses across the country Carol Jenkins earned a B.A. from Boston University and an M.A. from New York University.

Both universities honored her as a Distinguished Alumna. She holds honorary doctorates from the College of New Rochelle and Marymount Manhattan College. She was a 2017 recipient of the Sackler First Award, given to women who are pioneers in their fields.

With her daughter, Elizabeth Gardner Hines, Ms. Jenkins is co-author of Black Titan: A. G. Gaston and the Making of a Black American Millionaire (2004). A biography of her uncle, a successful Alabama businessman and civil rights activist, the book won a Best Non-Fiction award from the Black Caucus of the American Library Association.

Carol Jenkins hosts the three-time NY Emmy-nominated interview show, Black America, on CUNY TV, now entering its sixth season. She is also executive producer, writer and correspondent of its documentaries, including the PBS-aired “More Than a Building, A Dream Come True,” an award-winning film detailing the creation of the new African American Museum in Washington, DC and “Conscience of America: Birmingham’s Fight for Civil Rights,

a special on the Birmingham National Civil Rights Monument, which won a national Telly award in 2018 and was nominated in the Best Documentary category by the National Association of Black Journalists. The program has been honored by the New York Association of Black Journalists as Best Talk, and Best Documentary. In 2018 she hosted a limited edition Black America podcast with Black women leaders, and was also co-anchor of CUNY TV’s live election night coverage, which dealt with national as well as local races.

As a pioneering African American television reporter, Jenkins was an anchor and correspondent for WNBC TV in New York for nearly 25 years. She reported from the floor of national presidential conventions from the 1970s to the 1990s, and from South Africa she reported on the release of Nelson Mandela from prison and co-produced an Emmy-nominated prime-time special on apartheid. She hosted Carol Jenkins Live, her own daily talk show, on WNYW-TV. Early in her career she co-hosted one of the first daily public affairs programs in New York City, Straight Talk on WOR-TV; and co-hosted Positively Black for WNBC TV, one of the earliest television programs dedicated to Black issues in the United States.

Among other honors:

Lifetime Achievement and International Reporting Awards from The Association of Black Journalists/NY; the 2008 Women’s Equality Award from The National Council of Women’s Organizations; the North Star News Prize. Women’s eNews recognized Jenkins as a “multimedia agitator against bias” and presented her with its Ida B. Wells Award for Bravery in Journalism and in 2014 she was honored for her life in journalism by Mercy College.

Other honors include those from The Feminist Press, The Daily News with its Front Page Award, YWCA, Girl Scouts of America, Save the Children, Single Parents’ Association, United Negro College Fund, Hale House, National Mothers’ Day Committee as Mother of the Year, the Police Athletic League as Woman of the Year, Abbott House as Humanitarian of the Year

Jessica Neuwirth

Jessica Neuwirth is President Emerita of the ERA Coalition/Fund for Women’s Equality, and author of Equal Means Equal, Why the Time for the ERA is Now. She is also the Director of Donor Direct Action and a founder of Equality Now.
Jessica has worked for Amnesty International and for the United Nations. As Special Advisor on Sexual Violence to the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights in 2010, she organized the UN high-level panel on reparations for victims of sexual violence in the DR Congo. She currently serves as the Rita E. Hauser Director of the Human Rights Program at the Roosevelt House Public Policy Institute of Hunter College.

Kimberly Peeler-Allen

Kimberly Peeler-Allen is the Co-founder of Higher Heights, a national organization building the political power and leadership of Black women from the voting booth to elected office.In 2018, Kimberly served as the Co-Executive Director of New York Attorney General Letitia James’ Transition Committee.

A highly skilled political fundraiser and event planner, Kimberly was the principal of Peeler-Allen Consulting, LLC from 2003 to 2014, the only African American full-time fundraising consulting firm in New York State. Kimberly serves also serves as Co-Chair of Higher Heights for America PAC, and is a Board Director of NARAL Pro-Choice America Foundation. She is currently a Visiting Practitioner at The Center for American Women and Politics at Rutgers University.

S. Mona Sinha

S.Mona Sinha is a globally recognized advocate for gender equality in business and society. She has parlayed a career in finance (Morgan Stanley), marketing (Unilever) and restructuring(Elizabeth Arden/Unilever) to work at the intersection of social justice and women’s leadership.

She founded Raising Change to address the funding gap in mission-driven organizations for social change. She also founded the Asian Women’s Leadership University, to bring liberal arts pedagogy to train future women leaders. She is the current Board Chair of Women Moving Millions, a community of women who fund big and bold ($1 million+) to create a gender equal world. She is an Executive Producer of Disclosure, a documentary film on the representation of trans people. Mona serves on several Boards and is an active investor in women entrepreneurs. In 2015 she was awarded the Ellis Island Medal of Honor. She has also been recognized for her leadership in the field of gender equality and social enterprise by Gloria Steinem & Apne Aap, Breakthrough, Smith College, Women’s eNews and Columbia Business School.

Leslie Bhutani

Leslie Sweem Bhutani started her financial career in banking at Republic Bank Dallas and then at Salomon Brothers in NYC. She is an activist on a number of different issues and involved with several non-profits, including Planned Parenthood, The Brennan Center for Justice, Earth Justice, and Connecticut Against Gun Violence. She has produced several documentary films and is on the board of the Santa Barbara International Film Festival.

Antuan M. Johnson

Antuan M. Johnson is a legal scholar and lawyer. Antuan is also a Ph.D. student in the Philosophy Department at Yale University. They received a B.A. in Philosophy from the University of Pennsylvania in 2013 and a J.D. from Harvard Law School in 2016. Following graduation, they worked as a litigation associate at Debevoise & Plimpton in New York.
They co-founded The Colors Project, a student-run publication for queer people of color in the Philadelphia community, at the University of Pennsylvania and co-founded the Queer & Trans affinity group for students of color at Harvard Law School. They also co-founded the Royall Must Fall and Reclaim Harvard student movements at Harvard Law School.

Steve Andersson

Steve Andersson is a Commissioner of Human Rights for the State of Illinois appointed by Illinois’ Governor JB Pritzker.  He is also a retired member of the Illinois House of Representatives.  During his tenure, he was floor leader for the House Republican Caucus and oversaw all debate on the House floor.  In addition, Representative Andersson led a bi-partisan initiative to end the longest state budget impasse in US history, overriding the veto of his own Republican Governor in order to do so.

During his last session in the Illinois House, Representative Andersson was the Chief Republican Sponsor of the Equal Rights Amendment and successfully passed the amendment making Illinois the 37th to pass the ERA.  Since passage of the ERA in Illinois, Representative Andersson has traveled the country advocating for passage in additional states.  He has been a practicing lawyer since 1992 and is licensed to practice in Illinois, the 7th Circuit and the United States Supreme Court.

Ron Baldwin

Ron Baldwin is the owner and president of Cabal Management and Consulting, a talent management and strategic consulting company. Ron began his career in the music and entertainment industry, Ron chose to focus his work on social benefit related initiatives. Following the devastating earthquake in Haiti, he served as Executive Director of J/P HRO, a Haitian relief organization from 2010 to 2013. He is currently advising celebrity influencers, raising public awareness and financial support for their efforts to promote social justice and for their political advocacy work. He is also a political strategist and fundraiser for national political campaigns and grassroots organizations.

Lauren Embrey

Lauren Embrey is president and philanthropic visionary of the Embrey Family Foundation and CEO of Embrey Interests, Ltd. She serves on many boards, including the AT&T Performing Arts Center and Women Moving Millions. Embrey’s awards for her philanthropic work include the Women Who Give Hope Award from Chiapas International in 2010, Women’s eNews’ 21 Leaders for the 21st Century in 2011, Ms. Foundation’s Women of Vision Award for Philanthropy in 2013, She Should Run’s Wendy Award in 2014 and Nomi Network’s Abolitionist Award in 2016

The Rev. Dr. Serene Jones

The Rev. Dr. Serene Jones, a highly respected scholar and public intellectual, is the 16th President of the historic Union Theological Seminary in the City of New York. The first woman to head the 180-year-old institution, Jones occupies the Johnston Family Chair for Religion and Democracy. She is the Immediate Past President of the American Academy of Religion, which annually hosts the world’s largest gathering of scholars of religion. Jones came to Union after seventeen years at Yale University, where she was the Titus Street Professor of Theology at the Divinity School, and Chair of the University’s Program in Women, Gender and Sexuality Studies.

Suzanne Lerner

Suzanne Lerner, co-founder and president of lifestyle and clothing brand Michael Stars, is an activist entrepreneur and philanthropist. As a philanthropist, she focuses on creating economic empowerment for women and girls. She supports organizations that promote gender and racial equality in the United States and internationally through personal grants, impact investments, and the Michael Stars Foundation. Today Suzanne inspires new generations of social impact entrepreneurs and is a frequent speaker on investing, founding, and running socially conscious businesses. She serves as a director on several non-profit boards including the ACLU of Southern California and the Ms. Foundation.

Dru Levasseur

M. Dru Levasseur is the Director of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion for the National LGBT Bar Association and leads Lavender Law 365®, the only LGBTQ+ inclusion coaching and consulting program designed specifically to enable the implementation of best practice standards for LGBTQ+ equity across law firms, law schools, and companies. He is co-founder of the Jim Collins Foundation and former director of Lambda Legal’s Transgender Rights Project. Dru holds a Women’s Studies degree from the University of Massachusetts and his J.D. from Western New England University School of Law. He is admitted to practice in DC, NY, GA, and MA.

Carol Robles-Román

Carol Robles-Román is Secretary of the ERA Coalition/Fund for Women’s Equality. Carol was previously the President and CEO of Legal Momentum, where she spearheaded legislative, legal and policy efforts to ensure equal rights for women and girls, combat human trafficking and violence against women and to protect women’s economic security. Carol was Deputy Mayor for Legal Affairs and Counsel to NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg for 12 years. She served as a NYS assistant attorney general for civil rights.

Heidi Schreck

Heidi Schreck is a playwright and award-winning actor. Her play What the Constitution Means to Me, which she also performs in, was a finalist for the 2019 Pulitzer Prize for Drama. Her play Grand Concourse was a finalist for the Susan Smith Blackburn Prize and winner of the Stacey Mindich Lilly Award. Heidi has commissions from Atlantic Theatre Company, Manhattan Theatre Club, and South Coast Repertory and has been a writing fellow with the Clare Tow Foundation, Soho Rep and Sundance Theatre Lab. Heidi’s television writing includes “I Love Dick,” “Billions” and “Nurse Jackie.” Winner of two Obies, a Drama Desk, and the Theatre World Award.

Gloria Steinem

Gloria Steinem is a writer, lecturer, political activist, and feminist organizer. She travels in this and other countries as an organizer and lecturer and is a frequent media spokeswoman on issues of equality. Among the many organizations she co-founded are the Women’s Action Alliance, the National Women’s Political Caucus, the Women’s Media Center, Voters for Choice and Choice USA. She was the founding president of the Ms. Foundation for Women. She also co- founded Ms. magazine and helped to found New York magazine.

Christina Swarns

Christina Swarns is the President and Attorney-in-Charge of the Office of the Appellate Defender, Inc. (OAD) OAD is one of New York City’s oldest providers of appellate representation to poor people convicted of felonies, the City’s second oldest institutional indigent defense office and a national model of effective, innovative, and holistic appellate defense representation. Prior to joining OAD, Christina served as the Litigation Director for the NAACP Legal Defense & Educational Fund, Inc. (LDF). While at LDF, Christina also served as lead counsel in some of this country’s highest profile death penalty cases. She argued, and won, Buck v. Davis – a Texas death penalty case challenging the introduction of explicitly racially biased evidence at trial – in the 2016-2017 Term of the United States Supreme Court.

Thursday Williams

Thursday WIlliams is making her Broadway debut! She recently appeared in What the Constitution Means to Me at New York Theatre Workshop and is currently a senior at William Cullen Bryant High School in Queens. She has debated at Brooklyn Law School and NYU through the Legal Outreach Program and completed a judicial internship at the Civil Supreme Court through the Sonia & Celina Sotomayor Judicial Internship Program last summer.

ERA Coalition Staff

Carol Jenkins

Carol Jenkins is an advocate for human, civil and women’s rights, an award-winning author and Emmy-winning former television journalist. 

Carol Jenkins is President and CEO of the ERA Coalition and the Fund for Women’s Equality, sister organizations dedicated to the adoption of the Equal Rights Amendment. A board member since its inception in 2014, she joined the leadership team in December of 2018.

Previously, Carol Jenkins was founding president of The Women’s Media Center, a national nonprofit organization created  to increase coverage and participation of women in media. As president, she conceived the Progressive Women’s Voices program to provide media training for women and girls, and she expanded SheSource, the largest portfolio of women experts in the country. At FCC hearings she testified on the “crisis in representation” in mainstream media.’ Every year WMC presents its WMC Carol Jenkins award to women in extraordinary leadership positions.

As former chair and current board member of Amref Health Africa USA, an arm of the largest health NGO in Africa, she is engaged in efforts to support health programs for African women and girls. Her other board work includes the Feminist Press, the Veteran Feminists of America, The Steering Committee of the Gloria Steinem Chair at Rutgers University, the Anne O’Hare McCormick Journalism Scholarship Board, the Northern Manhattan Arts Alliance, and the international animal rights organization Humane Farm Animal Care (Certified Humane).

Carol Jenkins is a part of The History Makers archive of African American oral histories housed at the Smithsonian Institute.

In the spring of 2019 and 2020 Carol Jenkins served as a Grove Leader at Hunter College, leading a cohort of Grove Fellows to produce a virtual gathering on the ERA on campuses across the country Carol Jenkins earned a B.A. from Boston University and an M.A. from New York University.

Both universities honored her as a Distinguished Alumna. She holds honorary doctorates from the College of New Rochelle and Marymount Manhattan College. She was a 2017 recipient of the Sackler First Award, given to women who are pioneers in their fields.

With her daughter, Elizabeth Gardner Hines, Ms. Jenkins is co-author of Black Titan: A. G. Gaston and the Making of a Black American Millionaire (2004). A biography of her uncle, a successful Alabama businessman and civil rights activist, the book won a Best Non-Fiction award from the Black Caucus of the American Library Association.

Carol Jenkins hosts the three-time NY Emmy-nominated interview show, Black America, on CUNY TV, now entering its sixth season. She is also executive producer, writer and correspondent of its documentaries, including the PBS-aired “More Than a Building, A Dream Come True,” an award-winning film detailing the creation of the new African American Museum in Washington, DC and “Conscience of America: Birmingham’s Fight for Civil Rights,

a special on the Birmingham National Civil Rights Monument, which won a national Telly award in 2018 and was nominated in the Best Documentary category by the National Association of Black Journalists. The program has been honored by the New York Association of Black Journalists as Best Talk, and Best Documentary. In 2018 she hosted a limited edition Black America podcast with Black women leaders, and was also co-anchor of CUNY TV’s live election night coverage, which dealt with national as well as local races.

As a pioneering African American television reporter, Jenkins was an anchor and correspondent for WNBC TV in New York for nearly 25 years. She reported from the floor of national presidential conventions from the 1970s to the 1990s, and from South Africa she reported on the release of Nelson Mandela from prison and co-produced an Emmy-nominated prime-time special on apartheid. She hosted Carol Jenkins Live, her own daily talk show, on WNYW-TV. Early in her career she co-hosted one of the first daily public affairs programs in New York City, Straight Talk on WOR-TV; and co-hosted Positively Black for WNBC TV, one of the earliest television programs dedicated to Black issues in the United States.

Among other honors:

Lifetime Achievement and International Reporting Awards from The Association of Black Journalists/NY; the 2008 Women’s Equality Award from The National Council of Women’s Organizations; the North Star News Prize. Women’s eNews recognized Jenkins as a “multimedia agitator against bias” and presented her with its Ida B. Wells Award for Bravery in Journalism and in 2014 she was honored for her life in journalism by Mercy College.

Other honors include those from The Feminist Press, The Daily News with its Front Page Award, YWCA, Girl Scouts of America, Save the Children, Single Parents’ Association, United Negro College Fund, Hale House, National Mothers’ Day Committee as Mother of the Year, the Police Athletic League as Woman of the Year, Abbott House as Humanitarian of the Year

Bettina Hager

Bettina Hager is the DC Director and COO of the ERA Coalition and Fund for Women’s Equality. She previously served as the co-Chair of the Equal Rights Amendment Task Force of the National Council of Women’s Organizations and has been helping lead the movement for constitutional equality since 2012. Bettina has conducted focused lobby training workshops across the country on the issue of constitutional equality and oversaw the creation of a widely used ERA advocacy packet with information on how to contact elected officials, reach out to media and encourage constituency outreach. She has organized and moderated briefings on the Equal Rights Amendment in both the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate. Bettina also writes for The Hill as an opinion contributor on gender issues. In 2018, she was named one of the 21 Leaders for the 21st Century by Women’s News. Prior to joining the ERA Coalition, she worked as Programs Director and Interim Executive Director at the National Women’s Political Caucus (NWPC), advocating for the necessity of women’s political participation at all levels of government. Bettina graduated from St. Olaf College with a degree in Biology and concentration in Women’s Studies.

Rachel Pfeffer
With more than 25 years of experience as an executive manager, organizational development coach and fund developer, Rachel has supported dynamic network development and partnerships that led to high-performing management teams.  Over the past decade, she has managed 15 different social justice focused agencies in the nonprofit, philanthropic, public and educational sectors.
I enjoy doing the-heavy-lifting by embracing the conditions for organizations to thrive. I have been called the “Mary Poppins” of nonprofits.
I received my doctorate from the CUNY Graduate Center in Environmental Psychology while working as an Urban Planner for the City of New York. I launched and directed the first of four collaboratively organized nonprofits run for and by formerly incarcerated young women based on my dissertation research and later co-published: Surviving the Streets: Girls Living On Their Own (Garland Press, now Routledge Press).
Chrisi West

Chrisi West is the Director of Communications for the ERA Coalition and Fund for Women’s Equality. She previously served as the Director of Advocacy for Child Care Aware of America, and worked in digital communications for nonprofit advocacy organizations for 11 years prior to that position. Chrisi has created and led trainings on communications and social media tools for effective advocacy for issues-based organizations across the country and has been passionate about women’s issues and equity her entire life. In her free time she leads social media efforts for a gun violence prevention group in Virginia, runs an afterschool reading program for children in at-risk housing, escorts at a women’s health clinic, and serves as an officer on two different boards. She has a degree from the University of Pittsburgh in Communications: Rhetoric.

Velu Ochoa

Velu Ochoa is the Social Media Manager – Digital Strategist for the ERA Coalition and Fund for Women’s Equality. She has over 10 years of experience working in the nonprofit and private sectors. Velu is committed to diversity, equity, and inclusion in all facets of her life. During her free time, she provides social media consulting services to small companies and independent projects. She is also a volunteer with the DC Music Summit, a nonprofit that empowers underrepresented artists in the DMV area (DC, VA, and MD). Velu is also part of a collective of women and allies called  “Movimiento Pùrpura DC”, committed to the fight against gender violence where she helps lead efforts to empower and educate people around gender equity and intersectionality. Velu has a Master’s degree from UNCW.

Vivien Pong

Vivien Pong is the Executive Administrative Coordinator for the ERA Coalition/FFWE. She has over eight years of film & television production experience and previously worked with the MTV Entertainment Group at ViacomCBS, where she helped launch social impact initiatives and outreach programs. Her documentary work ranges from bicentennial statehood celebrations to Brazilian culture during the 2016 Olympics. She is an alumna of Ball State University, with a Bachelor of Arts in Telecommunications.

Aminat Sanusi

Aminat Sanusi attends Howard University and is working towards her Bachelor’s degree in Political Science and Criminology. After Howard, she wants to attend law school and be an attorney that works with domestic violence victims; which is the reason why she is very passionate about interning with the ERA Coalition. Aminat has been interning with the ERA Coalition since the spring of 2019 and is proud to be a part of the Coalition’s effort to get the Equal Rights Amendment ratified. She also enjoys traveling and has lived in India to complete a service project and studied abroad in Nigeria.

Aryana Goodarzi

I’m passionate about people and fostering their voices. I hope to do this through politics, by struggling for civil and  political rights, particularly for the LGBTQ+, women, and people of color.

ERA Advisory Council

Patricia Arquette
Melanie Campbell
Wendy Davis
Donna Deitch
Lindy Dekoven
Abigail Disney
Tiffany Dufu
Minna Elias
Gloria Feldt
Jane Fonda
Agnes Gund
Sarah Jones
Linda Kaplan Thaler
Christine Lahti
Judy Lotas
Jane Levikow
Catharine MacKinnon
Camille Massey
Alyssa Milano
Beth Monaghan
Kathy Najimy
Laura Neuwirth
Marla Schaefer
Taylor Schilling
Ilyasah Shabazz
Glennda Testone
Jamia Wilson
Marie Wilson
Mel Wymore
Fran Zone

Sign Up For Our Newsletters Here