Our Team

Our Team

Board of Trustees

Patricia Hyland, Chair
Elise Haas, Vice-Chair
Maria Gabriela “Gaby” Pacheco, Secretary
Suzette Brooks Masters, Treasurer
Peter Perl, Board Member
Jose Antonio Vargas, Founder & CEO (Ex Officio)


Advisory Board

Cristela Alonzo
Lara Drasin
Diana Espitia
Ian Nelson
Michelle O’Grady
Mony Ruiz-Velasco
Lateefah Simon
Chris Weitz
Damian Woetzel
Janet Yang

Jose Antonio Vargas

Chief Executive Officer, Los Angeles, CA

Jose Antonio Vargas is a journalist and filmmaker, and serves as the CEO of Define American. Jose was part of The Washington Post team that won the 2008 Pulitzer Prize for Breaking News Reporting for coverage of the Virginia Tech shooting. Vargas revealed his undocumented immigration status in an article in The New York Times Magazine. He went on to produce and direct his autobiographical  documentary, Documented, broadcasted by CNN, and later directed MTV’s White People. His memoir, Dear America: Notes of an Undocumented Citizen, was published by HarperCollins in fall 2018. You can watch a short video of Jose’s story on our storytelling platform.

Rev. Ryan M. Eller

Executive Director, Louisville, KY

Responsible for partnerships, innovation and organizational growth. Eller holds a B.S. in Political Science from Appalachian State University, a Masters Degree in Divinity from Wake Forest University, and a Masters Degree in Public Administration from Penn State University. Prior to joining Define American, he was the U.S. Campaigns Director at Change.org. For four years prior to that, he was the Executive Director of CHANGE in North Carolina—the largest broad-based community organizing group in the southern United States (a 501c3). He has extensive experience in the campaign arena as well, having managed political campaigns at both the local and federal level.

Bích Ngọc Cao

Chief Operations Officer, Los Angeles, CA

Responsible for overseeing day-to-day operations of Define American. Bich Ngoc has held digital marketing roles at Capitol Music Group’s Harvest Records and Warner Bros. Records, where she created campaigns for artists such as TV On The Radio, The New Basement Tapes and BANKS. She began her career at MySpace, launching MySpace Music and helping to build a fledgling social network into a global entertainment destination. After MySpace, Bich Ngoc joined Bobby Shriver and Bono to co-found and launch (RED), a unique product partnership among global brands such as Apple, Gap, Converse and American Express, to raise $100 million for AIDS programs in Africa. A lifelong Angeleno and USC alumna, Bich Ngoc is committed to public service and serves as president of the Board of Library Commissioners for the city of Los Angeles. She wrote an essay about online organizing in The New York Times bestselling book MoveOn’s 50 Ways to Love Your Country.

Jacky Goh

Development Director, Los Angeles, CA

Responsible for leading Define American’s capital growth strategy. Prior to Define American, Jacky served as the Director of Individual Giving at the Center for Youth Wellness in San Francisco. She was formerly the Director of Development for Esperanza Community Housing Corporation where she raised funds to support comprehensive community development and anti-displacement efforts in South Los Angeles. As Grants Manager at the Restaurant Opportunities Centers United, she helped to lift working conditions for the nation’s 5 million restaurant workers. Jacky holds a firm commitment to upholding a social justice framework in all of her endeavors.

Elizabeth Grizzle Voorhees

Managing Director, Creative Initiatives, Los Angeles, CA

Responsible for expanding Define American’s impact in television, film and entertainment. Elizabeth comes to Define American from a fifteen-year career in media. As a showrunner and executive producer, she oversaw non-scripted projects for networks such as VH1, OWN, Lifetime Television and Syfy. Elizabeth holds a B.A. in Communications from The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and a Masters Degree in Social Entrepreneurship from Pepperdine University. She is a storyteller at heart and passionate about harnessing the power of media to create positive global and domestic social change.

Kristian Ramos

Communications Director, Washington, D.C.

Kristian Ramos is the Communications Director for Define American who proudly hails from the Southwest.  Kristian has work experience in both the House and Senate working most recently for Media Matters For America. Prior to that he worked for the Mayor of Washington DC, he was the communications director for the Congressional Hispanic Caucus and began his communications career in the United States Senate for then Majority Leader Harry Reid in the Democratic Communications Center. Kristian began his career working for the League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC), the largest Latino civil rights and advocacy groups in the country. He has a Masters Degree in Governmental Affairs from Johns Hopkins University. He wishes the District of Columbia had better Mexican food.

Michael Conti

Creative Manager, San Francisco, CA

Responsible for creating original content through all forms of media for Define American. Conti holds a B.F.A. in Photojournalism from Rochester Institute of Technology and has worked both in newsrooms and for custom publishers. Prior to joining Define American, he photographed for national and international non-profits, and documented agricultural and industrial life in small towns throughout the United States. He contributes his passion for meaningful journalism to Define American’s storytelling, and uses his experience in stills, video, writing and graphics to find inventive ways to reach new audiences.

Julián Gustavo Gómez

Campus Engagement Manager, Boston, MA

Responsible for the management of Define American Chapters. Gómez holds a B.A. in Film and Media Arts from American University and comes to Define American from Fission Strategy, where he was a Digital Strategy Fellow and managed the organization’s email strategy. His previous experience includes working on political ads during the 2014 midterm election at MeanGreen Media in Washington, D.C. and curating social media for The Harry Potter Alliance, an innovative fan-activist nonprofit. He has also worked as a freelance videographer and editor on many projects including the Student Emmy-winning film “Chesapeake Villages.”  Having moved to Miami, FL from Argentina at a young age, Julián is a proud advocate for immigrant and minority rights and a former DACA recipient.

William Johnston-Carter

Video & Graphics Editor, Los Angeles, CA

Responsible for editing videos by the production team. Born in Connecticut but raised on the Central Coast of California, William Johnston-Carter graduated from Chapman University with a BFA in Film Production and a BS in Physics. While at Chapman he was a member of the selective Filmmaker-in-Residence mentor program with Academy Award winning producer Cathy Schulman (Crash, The Illusionist). After college, William interned for the documentary filmmaker Robert Kenner (Food Inc., War Letters, Two Days in October) before spending two years with AmeriCorps where he served as Media Production Coordinator for the nonprofit organization Impact America. In 2017, he southbound through-hiked the Appalachian Trail, 2,189 miles from Maine to Georgia, and took way too many photos to prove it.

So Yeon Kang

Events Manager, Washington, D.C.

Responsible for managing and executing events for the organization. So Yeon has over 15 years of experience in outreach, program development and management and community organizing, particularly in Asian American communities. She was formerly the Events and Fundraising Manager at National Coalition for Asian Pacific American Community Development, where she organized the annual conference and helped to build individual giving efforts. So Yeon holds a Master of Public Administration from New York University’s Robert F. Wagner School of Public Service and a B.A. in International Studies from American University.

Noelle Lindsay Stewart

Entertainment Media Manager, Los Angeles, CA

Responsible for media outreach and communications strategy for Define American. In addition to working in the U.S. House of Representatives, Noelle has held positions at top lifestyle & entertainment companies like BET Networks, Inc. and Baltz & Company. She now couples her political experience with her knowledge of the media landscape to provide energized and engaging media strategies and inspire people to ask thoughtful questions. Noelle is also the co-founder of Women II Watch, a quarterly event series and social platform that unities rising female leaders across various industries.

Sarah E. Lowe

Digital Strategist, Los Angeles, CA

Responsible for digital communications and audience engagement strategies for Define American. Sarah has over fifteen years of experience crafting cross-platform media campaigns for The Walt Disney Company, Nintendo, Cigna, PBS, and Discovery Channel. She has also been at the forefront of launching large-scale netroots movements in conjunction with arts-based nonprofits including American Promise, Question Bridge: Black Males, and Land of Opportunity. Sarah holds a B.A. in English from Wittenberg University, a master’s in Professional Writing from the University of Southern California, and is currently pursuing her Ph.D. in Health Promotion and Policy at the University of Massachusetts Amherst with a focus on Global Migration and Community Building in the Digital Age.

Monica Medellin

Video Producer, Los Angeles, CA

Responsible for creating video content at Define American. In her previous work, she was Associate Producer at #EmergingUS, the production arm of Define American and a production assistant at the Los Angeles Times. In addition to video production, she has worked in entertainment media and music at SpinMedia, VIBE and REVOLT TV. Monica is passionate about telling stories that reflect the true diversity of our country. She holds a B.A. in Journalism from the University of Oregon.

Ana Molina

Development Manager, Palo Alto, CA

Ana is responsible for supporting Define American’s capital growth strategy, primarily through foundation partnerships. Previously, Ana was the Grants Associate at Fresh Lifelines for Youth in the San Francisco Bay Area. She also served as the Princeton in Latin America Fellow at Cojolya Association of Maya Women Weavers in Guatemala where Ana worked to increase revenue to support preserving the art of the back-strap loom and economically empowering indigenous Tz’utujil women. Ana has B.A. in Political Science and French from Columbia University. As an immigrant, Ana is proud to support Define American’s efforts to uplift positive and true narratives of immigrants in the United States.

Valeria Rodriguez

National Campus Coordinator, Lincoln, Nebraska

Responsible for coordinating Define American Chapters. Valeria holds a B.A. in Spanish and Political Science from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, where she was the founder of the Define American Chapter @ UNL, which was named 2016 Chapter of the Year. During her time at UNL, Valeria established the Dr. Juan Franco Legacy Scholarship to help undocumented and DACAmented students. She interned with Nebraska Appleseed for four years, serving as the Women Empowered to Lead program coordinator and field organizer for the Immigrants and Communities program.

Shauna Siggelkow

Executive Video Producer, Los Angeles, CA

Responsible for oversight of Define American’s video content production. In her previous work, she was an Assistant Editor at MeetingHouse Productions and Tommie Copper Productions, a Senior Production Assistant at Zero Point Zero Productions, a Coordinating Producer at Hot Air Productions and a Senior Associate Producer & Casting lead for the Emmy-Nominated MTV special “White People.” Shauna has been leading production at #EmergingUS, the production arm of Define American, for the past two years. She holds of Bachelors of Arts from Oberlin College. As a storyteller, she’s dedicated to exploring the complexity of our American identity.

Jonathan Yu

Operations Manager, Mountain View, CA

Responsible for assisting Jose Antonio Vargas and the Define American team. Jon graduated from UCLA, line produced Define American’s film Documented, and previously managed operations for HyperShop. He probably should’ve majored in computer science.