Advancing systemic DEIB solutions and creating an ecosystem of diverse leadership talent in governance — from entry-level hires to senior executives.
About Representative Democracy
We are a nationwide project devoted to authentic DEIB practices and leadership development that build a vibrant ecosystem of diverse talent across government service. Our approach is inclusive and collaborative, driven by evidence, and focused on profound, lasting change. Representative Democracy is a fiscally sponsored project of The Miami Foundation.
How We Work
We create and promote DEIB-related research
We partner with thought leaders and practitioners
Funding progress by building capacity, developing leaders and allyship, and propelling strategies toward the vision we share.
We make grants to equity-centered efforts
The Representative Democracy Advisory Council comprises DEIB practitioners and leadership development experts. Together, they bring a range of experience and knowledge on the latest theory, practical tactics, and insight on training and behavior change, as well as keen understanding of how government institutions work. As advisors, they offer thought leadership and support for DEIB in the public sector workplace and long-term, organizational success.
Linda Akutagawa | LEAP
Linda Akutagawa is president and CEO of LEAP (Leadership Education for Asian Pacifics). A passionate social entrepreneur, she is dedicated to leadership development and inspiring Asian and Pacific Islanders to pursue leadership roles across sectors. She is a nationally recognized speaker and facilitator, and chair of the Alliance for Board Diversity. Linda is a member of the California Department of Insurance Diversity Task Force and the Asian/Asian American Institute Advisory Board at California State University, Los Angeles.
Katherine Archuleta | Dimension Strategies
Katherine Archuleta is a nationally acknowledged strategic planner, mentor, and community engagement advocate. She is the founding partner at Dimension Strategies, working with complex organizations that seek to improve their strategic directions or relationships with new and diverse communities. As the first Latina to lead the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, Katherine designed and implemented policies and programs to support diversity, equity, and inclusion in the federal workforce.
Rebecca Cokley | Ford Foundation
Rebecca Cokley develops strategy for the Ford Foundation U.S. disability rights program. Prior to joining Ford, she was co-founder and director of the Disability Justice Initiative at the Center for American Progress, where she built out a progressive disability policy platform and led a campaign resulting in an unprecedented number of presidential candidates developing their own such policies. She has served as a policy appointee for the U.S. Department of Education and the Department of Health and Human Services, and she oversaw diversity and inclusion efforts for the Obama Administration.
Wendy Helgemo | Big Fire Law and Policy Group
Wendy Helgemo is a policy advocate dedicated to serving American Indians, Alaska Natives, and Native Hawaiians in the public, nonprofit, and tribal sectors, and to protecting tribal sovereignty. She is a senior legislative attorney at Big Fire Law and Policy Group, bringing more than 25 years of experience in federal Indian law and policy and working with tribal governments. Previously, Wendy was senior advisor on Indian Affairs for United States Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid (NV) and also served as in-house counsel for several federally recognized tribes and the National Indian Gaming Commission. She is a member of the Ho-Chunk Nation.
Michelle Maldonado | Lucenscia
Michelle Maldonado is a leadership development and organizational performance consultant who holds an international certification in mindfulness and emotional intelligence teaching. She is the founder and CEO of Lucenscia, a firm dedicated to human flourishing and mindful business transformation. Michelle is a highly sought-after keynote speaker, thought leader, and strategist. She collaborates with government agencies, corporations, non-profits/NGOs, and higher-ed communities worldwide that are helping to make workplaces and world places more human.
Laura Maristany | Bitwise Industries
Laura Maristany is a seasoned advocate and community builder with extensive Capitol Hill and policymaking experience. As director of External Affairs, she leads Bitwise Industries' outreach and partnerships with government and community leaders to build tech economies in underestimated cities across the country. She previously served as an associate director at Democracy Fund where she created and carried out the foundation's constructive politics strategy to explore what unites us, while helping institutions that govern become more diverse, inclusive, and better able to serve all Americans. As a thought partner and leader, she has helped launch several startup organizations with a focus on strengthening capacity and infrastructure to promote inclusive systems across sectors.
Jocelyn McDaniel | The Inclusion Group
Jocelyn McDaniel is an equity and justice strategist, researcher, and facilitator. She is currently an independent consultant and a doctoral student, studying Human and Organizational Learning at George Washington University. She brings over a decade of experience in the social equity space with her most recent work focusing on co-creating strategies, programs, and policies that foster more diverse, inclusive, and equitable work environments.
Maria Robles Meier | We Are The People
Maria Robles Meier is an inclusion expert and leader on diversity in the public sector. As the founder and chief strategist of We Are The People, she works with organizations to develop professional empowerment trainings targeting diverse professionals who impact politics and policy. In 2020, Maria co-authored the first-of-its kind guide for congressional hiring managers on building and maintaining diverse and inclusive offices.
Rachel Perić | Welcoming America
Rachel Perić works to create communities where all residents — including immigrants and refugees — can thrive and belong. Through various leadership roles, she helped Welcoming America grow from a startup to an award-winning organization and today serves as its executive director. She has also led a community literacy coalition and served as regional director of the United Way of the National Capital Area. The granddaughter of Holocaust survivors, Rachel serves on the board of Art and Remembrance, a nonprofit that recognizes courage and resilience through art.
Dr. Mischa Thompson | Subject Matter Expert
Dr. Mischa Thompson has worked with policymakers on both sides of the Atlantic to develop and execute strategic diversity, equity, and inclusion policies and programs for over two decades. As a specialist in transatlantic and intergroup relations, some of Dr. Thompson’s notable efforts include founding capacity-building programs for executive and emerging leaders across North America and Europe. Originally from Detroit, Dr. Thompson holds a Ph.D. from the University of Michigan, where she was a prestigious National Science Foundation Fellow and managed several laboratories, research grants, and diversity initiatives in the social sciences with a focus on intergroup relations, identity, and implicit bias.
Mark Sobol | Longwave Partners
Mark Sobol is a trusted advisor to the senior leaders and governing boards of American public institutions as well as American and international businesses in the technology, energy, financial services, health, and manufacturing sectors. In various roles, he has helped bring about the leadership, strategic, and structural progress necessary to match the scale and complexity of the challenges these organizations face. His present focus is on furthering leadership, mentoring, and an organizational development framework for the United States Congress. Mark serves on the advisory board of the FMC, the Association of Former Members of Congress.