The Public Leadership Institute is a nonprofit, nonpartisan policy and leadership center organized to raise public awareness on key issues of equity and justice and to develop public leaders who will improve the economic and social conditions of all Americans.
Gloria Totten - Founder and President
For more than 20 years, she has directed nonprofit organizations and led grassroots organizing campaigns on the federal, state and local levels. Gloria led Progressive Majority from 2001-2015, served as Political Director for NARAL from 1996-2001 and as Executive Director for Maryland NARAL from 1993-1996. In her home state of Minnesota, Gloria worked as the Education Director for Pro-Choice Resources, President and Lobbyist for the Minnesota Coalition Against Sexual Assault and Media Chair for It’s Time Minnesota!. Gloria serves as chair of the board of directors for Brave New Films and as a board member for the New American Leaders Initiative. She is an Advisory Committee Member for the Drum Major Institute Scholars Program, Political Parity, Progress Now, Wellstone Action and the Women’s Information Network.
Aimee Z. Arrambide, JD - Program Manager and Reproductive Rights Policy Specialist
She has worked in the reproductive rights and justice movement for the majority of her professional career. While studying Philosophy at the University of Texas, Aimee interned at NARAL Pro-Choice Texas. She worked as a health educator at a Texas Planned Parenthood after graduation. During law school, she served as a legal intern at the Center for Reproductive Rights, Global Program and the New York Civil Liberties Union, Reproductive Rights Project. After graduating from New York Law School, she worked as the Director of Public Affairs at NARAL Pro-Choice Texas, a legal fellow at RH Reality Check, and the Director of Policy and Advocacy at the Texas Women’s Healthcare Coalition. She currently serves as the Co-President of Fund Texas Choice, a practical support abortion fund and on the Advisory Council of ReproAction, a new direct action group forming to increase access to abortion and advance reproductive justice. Aimee is the co-editor of A Playbook for Abortion Rights.
Beth Cope - Executive Vice President
For more than 20 years, she has amplified the voices for worthy causes in the nonprofit, corporate and electoral sectors. As founder of Talking Heads Media, Beth led the earned media effort for the 2005 Smoke Free Air Act and spearheaded communications for tax reform legislation, a campaign to end payday lending, and communications projects for LGBT equality. She served as the Director of Community in Georgia for the U.S. Green Building Council and worked as the PR Director of Kool Smiles. From 1997-2003, Beth was the Executive Director for Georgia NARAL. Beth earned a bachelor’s degree in political science at Georgia State University
Bernie Horn - Senior Director for Policy and Communications
He has worked in politics for more than 25 years as a lawyer, lobbyist, political consultant, policy director, and communications trainer. Bernie is the author of Framing the Future: How Progressive Values Can Win Elections and Influence People, published in 2008 by Berrett-Koehler. He was previously a Senior Fellow at the Campaign for America’s Future, working on domestic policy and message framing. Between 2000 and 2008, Bernie was Senior Director for Policy and Communications at the Center for Policy Alternatives (CPA). Among other things, he wrote CPA’s flagship policy books: eight editions of the Progressive Agenda for the States and two editions of the Progressive Platform for the States. While at CPA, he taught message framing to hundreds of elected officials and candidates. Bernie is a graduate of the Johns Hopkins University and the Georgetown University Law Center.
Hannah Miller - Policy and Research Associate
Hannah has a strong personal and professional interest in politics and social justice, with a particular passion for women’s rights. As a history and women’s studies major at Denison University, Hannah worked as a research assistant and senior fellow in both departments. She also served as an on-call advocate and president of one of the largest sexual assault prevention and education groups on campus. In graduate school at American University, Hannah worked for the Department of Government, conducting research on women’s political representation and serving as a teaching assistant for undergraduate political research methods courses. She earned her Masters of Science degree in 2015 from the School of Public Affairs in Justice, Law and Society.
Janessa C. Sambola - Policy and Communications Associate
A recent transplant from Cincinnati, OH, Janessa studied Political Science and Political Communications at Ohio University in Athens, OH. While completing her undergraduate degree, Janessa worked as a fellow on campus at OU for President Obama’s reelection campaign. Prior to moving to Washington, D.C., Janessa worked in publishing and recruiting, while also volunteering for progressive campaigns such as Ohio state Senator Nina Turner’s bid for Secretary of State. She has always been passionate about women’s rights and intends on pursuing a communications career within progressive politics. She is currently pursuing her Master of Arts in Strategic Communication at the George Washington University.
Michael Weiss - Operations Manager
As the administrative backbone of PLI for the past four years, Michael focuses on the operational systems, processes and policies that support our mission. He also writes policy briefs and grants, coordinates the PLI State Strategy Forum, manages interns, and builds PLI’s network of elected officials. Michael has a background in both academic research and business management. He earned a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from George Washington University.
Dave Woodward - National Network Director
Dave is a highly respected trainer on political policy and strategy, having helped train thousands of officials, activists and organizers. Since 2004, he has served as a Commissioner of Oakland County, Michigan where he chairs the Democratic Caucus and serves on the Finance, General Government and Claims Review Committees. Dave served as a Representative in the Michigan House from 1999 until 2004.