Jillia Pessenda and Liz Young

2018 promises to be one of womenwinning’s busiest, most exciting, and critically important years to date. I am thrilled to announce that a complete staff team is in place to propel the organization’s growth and success through the 2018 midterm elections and beyond.

Please join me in welcoming Jillia Pessenda, who started today as Political Director, and Liz Young who will begin as Director of Advancement next week. Both Jillia and Liz bring strong experience in politics, development, and communications and are unwaveringly committed to electing pro-choice women to all levels of public office.

In 2017, Jillia was the first woman and openly LGBTQ person to run for Minneapolis City Council in Ward 1. While she came up just 184 votes shy of a victory, her campaign successfully doubled turnout at precinct caucuses and increased turnout on Election Day by 15 percent. Prior to her run for City Council, Jillia worked for organizations including Headwaters Foundation for Justice, OutFront Minnesota, Project 515, and served on Homegrown Minneapolis. In 2015, she served as Finance Director for Representative Ilhan Omar’s successful campaign for Minnesota House of Representatives. Jillia holds a dual degree in Theatre Arts & Dance and Gender, Women & Sexuality Studies from the University of Minnesota Twin Cities. Having been a womenwinning-endorsed candidate herself, she brings a unique experience to the Political Director position. She is committed to creating space for women from all intersections and identities to be welcomed, supported, and inspired to run for office – and win.

As Director of Advancement, Liz will be responsible for all aspects of our fundraising, marketing and communications. She brings more than a decade of experience in campaigns, organizing, and political finance. Most recently she served as Legislative Assistant to State Senator Jeff Hayden and Finance Director for the Minnesota Senate DFL Caucus, where she oversaw a record-breaking caucus fundraising program as well as targeted candidate fundraising initiatives. In 2017, she planned and executed all activities related to Saint Paul Mayor Melvin Carter’s January inauguration. Liz is a graduate of Syracuse University in New York and holds a dual degree in Political Science and French. Liz approaches her work with an intersectional lens and is passionate about building the next generation of political leadership.

I am so excited to have Jillia and Liz on board and look forward to working with them!

-Lauren Beecham
Executive Director