// Team + Board

Meet Our Team

We are a team of narrative practitioners who have backgrounds in art, social justice, organizing, research, philanthropy, and more. We’re deep listeners who are committed to social justice. We take on ambitious projects and approach them with tenacity and curiosity.

Operations and Finance

Elizabeth has 20 years of experience working on building the internal capacities of small businesses.

Her work has focused on restructuring financially stagnant small businesses, helping them turn a profit and be more diligently engaged in the strategic and tactical facets of their business. Her greatest accomplishment has been to move small businesses from a “cigar box back office” to systems for effective management that play on the strengths of the entrepreneur.

Most recently, she brought those skills to the non profit back office, building and implementing systems to increase capacity including accounting, grants management, compliance and human resources, ensuring they support mission-driven work. Elizabeth graduated from American University in Washington DC with a BA in Communications, Law, Economics and Government (CLEG). While attending the University of Connecticut for graduate school, she met her husband and they now live in Brooklyn with their 10 year old son.

Pronouns: She/her

Managing Editor, Word Force

Megan is a communications strategist with over fifteen years experience in the United States and Southern Africa.

With both editorial and graphic design experience, Megan has worked to help strengthen organizational sustainability, infrastructure and commitment to racial, environmental and gender justice. She has worked with a wide range of organizations, philanthropists and activists including PhytoTrade Africa, Hedgebrook: Women Authoring Change, Unitarian Universalist Veatch Program at Shelter Rock, Unbound Philanthropy and Race Forward.

Megan received her Bachelor of Arts in Women's and Gender Studies and Mathematics from Sonoma State University and Master of Arts from the Craig Newmark Graduate School of Journalism in New York. Her writing has been published by Colorlines, and the New York Times.

Pronouns: She/her

Manager of Research and Development

Natalie comes to Narrative Initiative after a career in litigation and human rights advocacy. Through this work she became interested in how the interplay between law and culture can advance or hinder social and political movements, and how narratives are deployed to enhance or diminish perceptions of legitimacy and justice.

Natalie earned a Master’s at the Academy of International Humanitarian Law and Human Rights at the University of Geneva, and holds a J.D. from Cardozo School of Law and B.A. in Latin American Studies from Brown University.

Pronouns: She/her

Executive Director

Rinku is a writer and social justice strategist. She is formerly the Executive Director of Race Forward and was Publisher of their award-winning news site Colorlines. Under Sen’s leadership, Race Forward generated some of the most impactful racial justice successes of recent years, including Drop the I-Word, a campaign for media outlets to stop referring to immigrants as “illegal,” resulting in the Associated Press, USA Today, LA Times, and many more outlets changing their practice. She was also the architect of the Shattered Families report, which identified the number of kids in foster care whose parents had been deported.

Her books Stir it Up and The Accidental American theorize a model of community organizing that integrates a political analysis of race, gender, class, poverty, sexuality, and other systems. As a consultant, Rinku has worked on narrative and political strategy with numerous organizations and foundations, including PolicyLink, the ACLU and the Nathan Cummings Foundation. She serves on numerous boards, including the Women’s March, where she is Co-President and the Foundation for National Progress, publisher of Mother Jones magazine.

Pronouns: She/her

Program Director

Rachel is an artist, researcher, and organizer using all three of those lenses to illustrate what is possible and to build patterns for broad, mutual survival.

In 2011, Rachel founded Upwell. (The ocean was our client.) As executive director, she led the development of Big Listening practices, coupled with campaigning across a distributed network of influencers. The project aggregated power for movements and immediately redistributed that power through networks. Upwell's groundbreaking narrative work was grounded in both offline community organizing and online community management.

Recent appointments include an arts residency at Monson Arts, Creative Dissent Fellow at Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, Arts & Culture for Economic Development Residency at PolicyLink, and Growth Hacking Fellow at the Energy Foundation. 

Rachel holds an MFA-Social Practice from the California College of the Arts, a B. Phil in Interdisciplinary Studies from Miami University, and completed coursework for an MA in Arts Policy & Administration at Ohio State.

Pronouns: She/they

Our Advisory Board

Our advisory board is a diverse group working in advocacy, storytelling, strategic communications, nonprofit leadership, law, academics and other fields.

Chief Communications Officer, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Alfred is vice president for global communications at Ford, where he oversees communications, strategic partnerships, government relations, and public affairs. As part of the foundation’s executive leadership team, Alfred works on strategic planning and global brand management and partners with program teams to advance the foundation’s grant-making strategies and priorities.

Director, Equality Fund, Open Society Foundations’ U.S. Programs

Alvin is the program director of the equality team of the Open Society Foundations’ U.S. Programs, overseeing grantmaking related to racial justice and racial narratives. He is a progressive racial justice thinker, writer, and strategist whose work supports a new generation of ideas and organizations to explore the intersection of human rights, racial justice, cross-movement building, and gender equity.

Principal, Brownbridge Strategies

Eric is principal at Brownbridge Strategies, a firm providing comprehensive communications and fundraising strategies for progressive organizations and movements. Previously, Eric was the communications director for the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, where he created strategies for the foundation’s communications and worked closely with grantees to design and implement communications strategies in global development, reproductive health, environment, education, philanthropy, and the performing arts.

Vice President, Narrative, Arts and Culture, Race Forward

Jeff is the vice president for Narrative, Arts, and Culture at Race Forward. A celebrated journalist and music critic on hip hop music and culture, his 2005 book, Can't Stop Won't Stop, won the Before Columbus Foundation's American Book Award. His writings have appeared in publications such as URB, San Francisco Chronicle, the Village Voice, Vibe, Spin, The Nation, and Mother Jones. Jeff was previously the executive director of the Institute for Diversity in the Arts + Committee on Black Performing Arts at Stanford University.

Founder & President, Spitfire Strategies

As the founder and president of Spitfire Strategies, Kristen has extensive experience conceiving, implementing and managing smart programs that create lasting social change. She has helped hundreds of nonprofits and foundations develop winning communication and campaign strategies to spur action around some of today’s most pressing problems and critical issues ranging from restoring the Gulf of Mexico after the BP oil spill to protecting Americans’ online privacy rights to making sure all kids have access to a good education, nutritious food and quality health care.

Independent Consultant & Co-founder, The Culture Group

Liz is a seasoned cultural producer, change-maker, and strategist who has spent her career at the nexus of film and social impact. She is an independent consultant and co-founder of The Culture Group. Previously she served as executive director of FilmAid; advisor to HBO Films; executive vice president of programming and marketing at Sundance Channel, and co-founder and executive vice president of marketing for Fine Line Features. She was a member of President Obama’s Committee on the Arts and the Humanities and a member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.