I've held leadership roles for various national campaigns including getting out the vote among people with disabilities; multimedia initiatives to change attitudes about HIV/AIDS, mental illnesses, and nutrition and obesity; and efforts to raise awareness of Peace Corps university programs.

Our Volunteers, Our Heroes, Our Hope: Understanding HIV Vaccine Research

As an Executive Producer for the Self Reliance Foundation, I won a grant to participate in a behavioral change communications project funded by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) and managed by Ogilvy PR. For this campaign, I produced 14, one-minute Spanish-language radio spots addressing different concerns and misconceptions in U.S. Latino communities vis a vis HIV vaccine research. The radio spots enjoyed an average national listenership of 492,000 people each.

In addition, I drafted an informational newspaper column that was distributed to 91 Spanish-language newspapers nationwide. The campaign also partnered with the National Hispanic Resource Helpline so that interested audience members could call a toll-free number, learn more about HIV vaccine trials, and find out how to participate. Campaign staff distributed educational flyers in Spanish and English at greater D.C. events such as the National Zoo's Fiesta Musical and Adams Morgan Day. The NIAID project director described my messaging as “some of the best I’ve ever seen.”

National Mental Health Voter Empowerment Campaign

As an Education Specialist for the National Mental Health Association, I managed a long-term campaign to get out the vote among citizens with mental illness. I observed a one-day local training and repackaged it into a one-hour workshop that I then offered throughout the country in the year and a half leading up to the 2000 elections. I also transformed a book-length manual into a user-friendly guide, complete with original campaign management software, that grassroots mental health leaders could turn to in managing their local efforts. The campaign received front-page coverage in the New York Times.

La Mano Amiga - The Helping Hand

As Co-Founder and Director for Education for this national nonprofit that serves recent Latino immigrants, I worked to develop public education materials and to direct these resources to people in need. I cultivated a national mailing list of more than 400 Latino-serving organizations that, in turn, downloaded and distributed our organization’s free informational newsletter to their Spanish-speaking clients. The newsletter’s total reach grew to more than 40,000 readers per issue over the course of its first year, and the project was featured on Comcast Newsmakers.

I also secured free airtime on six urban, Spanish-language radio stations broadcasting in Fresno, Los Angeles, Seattle, and Portland. The stations played two long-format documentaries: Moral Crimes and My Child Is a Stranger. The documentaries explored little-known traps in the U.S. criminal justice system and the difficulties of raising immigrant teens. The radio stations have expressed an interest in broadcasting future documentaries produced by La Mano Amiga.

Peace Corps Stories Project

When I began my tenure with the Peace Corps Office of University Programs, I was surprised to discover that more than 1,000 students participated in these graduate school opportunities each year, but there was not a single student story posted on the Peace Corps website. I consequently reached out to hundreds of individuals living around the globe and developed 37 short, illustrated biographies describing the lives of Peace Corps graduate school students.

The vignettes reflected the cultural diversities of Peace Corps students, the academic diversities of the disciplines they studied, and the sectoral diversities in which they volunteered. Peace Corps recruiters across the nation turned to these examples to explain the agency’s graduate school options to potential applicants. Web pages of the vignettes attracted nearly 1,000 visitors each month, and Peace Corps senior leadership used quotes and examples from these stories in speeches and talking points. You can see several of these stories on the Vignettes page of this website.

Contact Email: Ellen (at), Tel: (202) 491-3276, WHATSAPP: 1 (202) 491-3276