Staff

  • Carolyn J. Lukensmeyer

    Executive Director, National Institute for Civil Discourse

    Dr. Carolyn J. Lukensmeyer is the Executive Director of the National Institute for Civil Discourse, an organization that works to reduce political dysfunction and incivility in our political system. As a leader in the field of deliberative democracy, she works to restore our democracy to reflect the intended vision of our founding fathers. 

    Dr. Lukensmeyer previously served as Founder and President of AmericaSpeaks, an award-winning nonprofit organization that promoted nonpartisan initiatives to engage citizens and leaders through the development of innovative public policy tools and strategies. During her tenure, AmericaSpeaks engaged more than 165,000 people and hosted events across all 50 states and throughout the world. Dr. Lukensmeyer formerly served as Consultant to the White House Chief of Staff from 1993-94 and on the National Performance Review where she steered internal management and oversaw government-wide reforms. She was the Chief of Staff to Ohio Governor Richard F. Celeste from 1986-91, becoming the first woman to serve in this capacity. She earned her PhD in Organizational Behavior from Case Western Reserve University and has completed postgraduate training at the Gestalt Institute of Cleveland.

    Executive Director, National Institute for Civil Discourse

  • Robert G. Boatright

    Research Director

    Robert G. Boatright is Professor of Political Science at Clark University and the Director of Research at the National Institute for Civil Discourse (NICD) at the University of Arizona.  His research focuses on the effects of campaign and election laws on the behavior of politicians and interest groups, with a particular focus on primary elections and campaign finance laws and practices.  He is the author or editor of six books, including Getting Primaried:  The Causes and Consequences of Congressional Primary Challenges (University of Michigan Press, 2013); Interest Groups and Campaign Finance Reform in the United States and Canada (University of Michigan Press, 2011); and the edited volume The Deregulatory Moment?  A Comparative Perspective on Changing Campaign Finance Laws (University of Michigan Press, 2016).  He received a Ph.D. from the University of Chicago and a B.A. from Carleton College.

    Research Director

  • Jane Calderwood

    Director of Congressional Programs

    Jane Calderwood is the Director of Congressional Programs for the National Institute for Civil Discourse.  She manages NICD's congressional initiatives and is working to expand the Institute's work with the members of the House and Senate.

    Jane spent more than 20 years working for members of Congress.  She served as Legislative Director for two members of the House and was Chief of Staff for Senator Olympia Snowe (ME).  She created and executed successful legislative strategies for everything from preserving gender integrated training for the US Marine Corps to getting the additional child care funding needed to pass a welfare reform bill.

    She has also worked in the private sector as a consultant for a number of defense companies working with the US Navy shipbuilding, and served as Vice President of Government Affairs for Airports International-North America, the airports trade association.  She represented the airports before Congress and spoke to outside groups around the country.  She ran a successful social media campaign that captured national attention when the federal government shut down the Federal Aviation Administration.

    Jane is a proud Maine native who holds a BA in Economics from Bates College.  Jane has essentially been in training for this position during her many years working for Congress. She has worked for and with members of both political parties and has always believed the goal is good policy, not good politics.

     

    Director of Congressional Programs

  • Ted Celeste

    Director of State Programs

    Former State Representative Ted Celeste is Director of State Programs. Mr. Celeste leads Next Generation, a project of the National Institute for Civil Discourse. His goal is to inspire and support state legislators who want to promote greater understanding and better decision-making. As part of a bi-partisan team, Celeste has facilitated trainings for the CSG Midwest Regional Conference and the Colorado, Maine, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Nebraska, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Vermont and Washington Legislatures. He has also presented at the CSG BILLD leadership program in Madison, the National CSG annual meeting in Kansas City, and NCSL's annual legislative summit in Seattle. 

    Celeste served in the Ohio Legislature from 2007-2012. Known for working effectively “across the aisle” whether he was in the majority or the minority, he has lived his belief in respectful dialogue. One of the only candidates for state office who insisted on running a positive campaign, he won each of his 3 races with a comfortable majority in a swing district.  He was recognized for his emphasis on civil dialogue with the John Glenn Public Policy Institute’s Outstanding Public Service Award in 2011. Celeste lives in Columbus, Ohio, is married and has two daughters and 3 grandchildren.

     

    Director of State Programs

  • Raquel Goodrich

    Deputy Director

    Raquel is the Deputy Director for the National Institute for Civil Discourse. She provides strategic planning guidance and operational support to the organization. She also manages the organization’s public initiatives, including the Revive Civility campaign. She spearheaded development of the Institute’s Text, Talk platform, resulting in over 100,000 participants engaging in text-based, small group discussions on issues facing the nation.

    Raquel has over 10 years’ experience in meeting facilitation and conflict resolution processes. She previously worked at the Udall Foundation's U.S. Institute for Environmental Conflict Resolution, where she provided mediation services, integrated collaborative technologies into conflict resolution processes and conducted training for conflict resolution practitioners. 

    Raquel holds a Master of Public Administration from the University of Maine and a Bachelor of Social Sciences from Unity College.

    Deputy Director

  • Adriana Kelly

    Manager of Operations and Finance

    Adriana Kelly is the Manager of Operations and Finance for the National Institute for Civil Discourse, and new to the staff as of January 2017. She performs all business, finance, and operations functions for current and future programs.

    Prior to joining the Institute, Adriana served as the Accountant, Principal in the Department of Cellular and Molecular Medicine at the University of Arizona for seven years. An Arizona native, Adriana earned her Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration from the University of Arizona, as well as her Master’s of Accounting.

    Manager of Operations and Finance

  • Jennifer Kopac

    Assistant to the Executive Director

    Jennifer Kopac is the Executive Assistant to Dr. Carolyn J. Lukensmeyer, the Executive Director for the National Institute for Civil Discourse, and new to the staff as of September 2016. Jennifer provides administrative support to NICD and serves as the liaison and scheduler for the executive director.

    Jennifer has over a dozen years of higher education administration experience, most recently with the College of Humanities and Social Sciences, Departments of Philosophy and Religious Studies and the Institute for Philosophy and Public Policy at George Mason University.

    Jennifer holds a Bachelor’s degree in Studio Art from Georgetown University and a Master’s degree in Arts Management from George Mason University.

    Assistant to the Executive Director

  • Maya Mahoney

    Director of Development

    Maya Mahoney is the Development Director at the National Institute for Civil Discourse. A seasoned fundraiser with experience in both the political and non-profit world, Maya joined NICD in the fall of 2016.

    Prior to joining the Institute, she served as a Major Gifts Officer at Share Our Strength focusing primarily in the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic regions. In addition to cultivating and stewarding donors, she played a pivotal role in increasing the organization’s donor base and creating new fundraising events and platforms. Maya created a successful Mid-Tier Ambassador Program for Share Our Strength that explored ways to further engage and increase giving amongst mid-level donors, garnering industry interest when she presented her findings at the annual Bridge to Integrated Marketing Conference in 2015 and she has also published advice on how to engage these types of crucial and loyal donors.

    Previously, Maya was at the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee (DSCC), where she worked on the Northeast finance team. She helped plan and execute a $10 million fundraising plan for the 2010 & 2012 cycles. In this role, Maya built, organized and staffed fundraising events and was the point person for the DSCC’s annual New England Technology Conference in Boston, a biennial Women's Policy Conference in New York City, and a Women on the Road Fly-around effort with all Women Senators and Candidates. Prior to her time at the DSCC, Maya worked at a lobbying firm leading their fundraising efforts. 

    Maya holds a Bachelor’s degree in Broadcast Journalism and a minor in Political Science from Southern Methodist University in Dallas, and a Master’s degree in Political Management from The George Washington University.

    Director of Development

  • Makayla Meachem

    Program Coordinator, Next Generation

    Makayla Meachem is the Program Coordinator for Next Generation, a program of the National Institute for Civil Discourse.  She helps to coordinate Next Generation’s “Building Trust through Civil Discourse” workshops as well as facilitator trainings by serving as the contact person for legislators, their staff, alumni, and other interested groups. She assists in planning and travel arrangements for events as well as workshops being held across the country.

    Prior to joining the Institute, Makayla served in the office of Ohio State Senator Charleta B. Tavares as a Legislative Service Commission (LSC) Fellow. An Ohio native, Makayla attended Bowling Green State University prior to participating in the LSC Fellowship Program. She holds a bachelor’s degree in International Studies focusing in American Foreign Policy.

    Makayla came to the Institute seeking to work collaboratively with state legislators who want to recreate America’s political culture and take back policy for people instead of parties.

     

    Program Coordinator, Next Generation

  • Timothy J. Shaffer

    Principal Research Specialist

    Timothy J. Shaffer, PhD is Principal Research Specialist for the National Institute for Civil Discourse and is Assistant Professor in Communication Studies at Kansas State University. He primarily supports the interdisciplinary research network exploring issues of political incivility and political dysfunction. Additionally, because of his interests in and background with deliberative democracy and higher education's civic engagement movement, he also focuses on NICD initiatives connected to higher education such as the National Civility Network.

    Previously, Tim served as Director of the Center for Leadership and Engagement at Wagner College and as Research Associate at the Kettering Foundation where he engaged in research focusing on deliberative democracy and citizen-centered politics. He came to NICD to help build the research network and to support efforts that are explicitly connected to democratic and political engagement. He earned a BA from St. Bonaventure University, MA and MPA from the University of Dayton, and Ph.D. from Cornell University.

     

    Principal Research Specialist

  • Tracey Todd

    Social Media Director

    Tracey Todd is the Social Media Director for the National Institute for Civil Discourse, having joined the Institute in early 2014. Tracey works with the Institute's social media platforms to integrate the social media strategy into the Institute's overall communications strategy and handles the content and engagement associated with the National Institute for Civil Discourse's social media channels. He came from Gannett Digital and USA Today where he worked in Advertising Operations and collaborated on social media initiatives  including projects that focused on user-generated content. He has experience in digital communications and social media management from working for media content providers, The Hill Newspaper and USA Today. Tracey holds a B.A. in Mass Communication from Fayetteville State University in Fayetteville, North Carolina.

    Tracey came to the National Institute for Civil Discourse to help build a social media environment where Americans could not only connect and have civil dialogues about the issues facing our nation but also feel connected to creating outcomes from those discussions. Tracey utilizes social media and emerging technologies to help strengthen the quality and effectiveness of conversation in the online spaces today.

    Social Media Director

  • Basant Virdee

    Communications Coordinator

    Basant Virdee is the Communications Coordinator for the National Institute for Civil Discourse. She works on the Institute's signature Revive Civility Initiative, manages the Institute’s websites, newsletters, and creates reports about the Institute’s programs. In addition, Basant leads groups in small group dialogue including the innovative Text, Talk, Revive Civility platform.

    Basant holds a Bachelor's in Microbiology and a Master's in Public Health from the University of Arizona. She has been trained by the International Association of Public Participation in effective community outreach and engagement and has trained with Sylvia Haskvitz in Nonviolent Communication. Basant came to the Institute to help foster constructive dialogue and engage the public in critical thinking and civic decision-making.

    Communications Coordinator