Joan HeadshotExecutive Director Joan Mandle, Ph.D. / 315-725-4211

Joan Mandle has been the Executive Director of Democracy Matters since 2001. She is also Associate Professor of Sociology and Anthropology, Emerita, at Colgate University, where she also directed the college’s successful Women’s Studies Program, and founded and supervised Colgate’s Center for Women’s Studies. Her teaching and her extensive published work explore social change and social movements. She has written books about the Women’s Movement, about Women’s Studies, and most recently, with Jay R. Mandle, about political organizing entitled Change Elections to Change America: Democracy Matters Students in Action.

Professor Mandle also has taught sociology at Haverford College, Bryn Mawr College, and Penn State and in Tianjin, China. She has been a Distinguished Visitor at both the Institute for Social Change at the University of California at Berkeley and the Women’s Leadership Institute at Mills College.

Professor Mandle has been actively involved with many efforts to reform the political system. She spearheaded a two-year grassroots organizing drive in Oakland, California and in San Francisco that resulted in the successful passage of significant campaign finance reform in both those cities. Mandle also has had extensive direct experience with the electoral system, having served as Campaign Manager for incumbent Congressman Robert W. Edgar of Pennsylvania in two election cycles.

Over the years, Mandle has received widespread recognition for her political work, including the League of Women Voters of Oakland’s “Civic Contribution Award” for her work on public campaign financing, and the Sociologists for Women in Society’s “Feminist Activism Award” for a lifetime of service and activism. Mandle was also recently honored at the Annual Gala Dinner of Citizen Action of New York.

Democracy Matters, founded by NBA player Adonal Foyle, has offered internships in political organization and social change to students at over 600 high schools, colleges and universities since 2001. Mandle lectures widely at these schools, and to civic groups and organizations as well, on subjects of democracy, women, and political change.


National Organizing Field Director Anita Kinney

Anita has been driven by a sense of urgency in our current political system to work for the rights of citizens through social justice and activism. She has worked with migrant, Native, and underrepresented communities in North America, advocating for equal access and a political voice in these times of hardship. She is currently working towards her Masters of Social Justice in Intercultural Relations from SIT Graduate Institute in Brattleboro, Vermont, while maintaining the other foot in the heart of North Carolina, her home state. Anita is a musician and artist, integrating these tools in her activism work – attempting to live by conscience and by example. Anita’s passion for equal rights and community activism has led her work in the direction of organizing, studying social justice theory, and emphasizing historical context when working in the field of advocacy.

MaxStahlDirector of Political Engagement Max Stahl

Max Stahl began his political career in 2007 as the youngest paid staffer on the Obama campaign. He has gone to organizer and organizer-management roles in 13 states, including every socio-economic demographic imaginable in the United States. In 2012, Max received a degree in Politics from Brandeis University. Over the last two years, he has been employed as a Campaign Organizer for Democracy for America. While there, he has developed and led trainings, organized DFA members across the country, and created many online email campaigns for candidates and causes.

Listening and talking with such a broad section of voters convinced Max that people sense something innately unfair with the political system, and are hungry for fundamental change. Politicians are surrounded by big money incentives to put the interests of powerful industries above their voters. Max strongly believes that until that fundamental truth changes, our Democracy won’t act in the best interests of the American people.

In his role as Director of Political Engagement, Max is working tirelessly to fulfill Democracy Matters’ mission to ignite a movement that inspires leaders to bring about fundamental change and remove the corrosive influence of money in politics.

Office Manager Susan Critton

Susan Critton came to Democracy Matters with extensive administrative and bookkeeping experience — including 7 years with not-for-profit organizations including Arts and Community Development organizations. Critton also brings to DM expertise in fundraising, grant oversight, database management, graphic design, and web site management.

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