MEET
OUR TEAM

Leadership

Michael Linden

Executive Director

Angela Hanks

Deputy Executive Director

Janelle Jones

Managing Director of Policy and Research

Our Team

Sammi Aibinder

Special Assistant to the Executive Director

Hugo Castro

Director of Operations

Thomas Cox

Program Associate

Claire Guzdar

Director of Campaigns and Partnerships

Vanessa Hsia

Program Associate

LaNita King

Senior Program Manager

Sabina Lee

Special Assistant to the Deputy Executive Director and the Managing Director of Policy and Research

Sapna Mehta

Director of Policy and Research

Sam Sanders

Director of Program and Strategy

Kate Taylor Mighty

Program Manager

Grace Western

Policy Analyst

Dani Zessoules

Policy Analyst

Executive Director

Michael Linden

Michael Linden is the Executive Director of the Groundwork Collaborative.

Michael was the inaugural Managing Director of Policy and Research at the Hub Project. Prior to joining the Hub Project, he was a senior policy adviser to Senator Patty Murray on the Budget Committee and then the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee. Before serving on Senator Murray’s team, Michael was the managing director for economic policy at the Center for American Progress.

Michael earned his master’s degree in public policy from the Goldman School of Public Policy at the University of California, Berkeley, and his bachelor’s from Brown University. He lives in Washington, D.C., with his wife and three children.

Deputy Executive Director

Angela Hanks

Angela Hanks is the Deputy Executive Director of the Groundwork Collaborative, working to advance a cross-cutting economic narrative for the progressive movement. Her work has been featured in the New York Times, Washington Post, and The Atlantic, among others, and she is a regular contributor to Forbes.com.

Before joining Groundwork in 2019, Angela served as director of the Center for Postsecondary and Economic Success at CLASP, director of workforce development policy at the Center for American Progress (CAP), and senior federal policy analyst at the National Skills Coalition. Angela began her career on Capitol Hill as a counsel on the democratic staff of the House Oversight and Government Reform committee and legislative assistant to Congressman Elijah E. Cummings (D-MD).

Angela earned her bachelor’s degree in political science from George Washington University and her law degree from the University of Maryland School of Law.

Managing Director of Policy and Research

Janelle Jones

Janelle Jones is the Managing Director for Policy and Research at Groundwork Collaborative.

Before joining Groundwork in 2018, Janelle was an economic analyst at Economic Policy Institute working on a variety of labor market topics within EPI’s Program on Race, Ethnicity, and the Economy. Prior to that, Janelle worked as a research associate at the Center for Economic Policy Research, and the Bureau of Economic Analysis. Her work has focused on labor markets, racial inequality, unemployment, unions and job quality. Her research has been cited in The New Yorker, The Economist, Harper’s, The Washington Post, The Review of Black Political Economy, and other publications.

Janelle served as an AmeriCorps*VISTA volunteer in Sacramento, California, where she worked for a grassroots nonprofit on community health issues. She also served as a Peace Corps volunteer in Peru in the Small Business Development Program focusing on local economic development.

Janelle is from Northeast Ohio and a very proud graduate of Spelman College. She earned her Master’s degree in applied economics from Illinois State University.

Special Assistant to the Executive Director

Sammi Aibinder

Sammi Aibinder is the Special Assistant to the Executive Director at the Groundwork Collaborative.

Before joining the team, Sammi was a member of the 2018-2019 Avodah Jewish Service Corps. She worked at N Street Village, the largest provider of housing and supportive services for women experiencing homelessness in DC, where she had the opportunity to learn about key issues in housing justice, health equity, and community building.

Originally from Hastings-on-Hudson, New York, Sammi graduated from Wesleyan University with a BA in the College of Social Studies. In her free time, Sammi loves cooking, going to trivia, and taking long walks with her noise-cancelling headphones.

Director of Operations

Hugo Castro

Hugo Castro is the Director of Operations at the Groundwork Collaborative. He oversees and manages our day-to-day operations, process improvements, and operational support for all of our teams.

Before joining the team, Hugo was the Operations Manager at the Democracy Fund where he was responsible for improving and coordinating major operational systems during their growth, including financial management, human resources, information systems, contract management, and office administration, as well as managing the ongoing day-to-day operations of the organization.

Hugo was born in Colombia and moved to the US when he was a teenager. When he’s not traveling and taking photos around DC, you can find him enjoying a book at a local coffee shop.

Program Associate

Thomas Cox

Thomas Cox III is a Program Associate for the Groundwork Collaborative and a newcomer to Washington, D.C.

Prior to joining the team, Thomas was an Associate Engagement Manager at Moody’s Analytics in New York City. In this role, he helped oversee the strategy and implementation of marketing initiatives and sales campaigns for Moody’s content. A Morehouse College graduate and Atlanta native, Thomas is a fitness and yoga enthusiast and runs his own pop-up fitness events brand.

In his free time, he loves traveling and exploring new restaurants that he reviews on Yelp first.

Director of Campaigns and Partnerships

Claire Guzdar

Claire Guzdar is the Director of Campaigns and Partnerships, working to advance a cross-cutting economic narrative for the progressive movement.

Prior to joining Groundwork in 2019, Claire was Associate Director of the Faith and Progressive Policy Initiative at the Center for American Progress, where she designed and executed advocacy and communications strategies to ensure progressive victories on economic justice, healthcare, religious liberty, and other issues. Previously, Claire was Field Associate and minimum wage lobbyist at NETWORK Lobby for Catholic Social Justice.

Before discovering a passion for progressive public policy, Claire was a high school teacher and college campus minister. She earned degrees in Theology from Boston College and Catholic Theological Union, where she was a Bernardin Scholar.

Program Associate

Vanessa Hsia

Vanessa is a Program Associate of Groundwork Collaborative.

Prior to joining the Groundwork Collaborative, Vanessa worked as a part of the leadership development and executive education team at the Center for Strategic and International Studies. In the past, she has conducted research projects and fieldwork abroad on women’s economic opportunities in Costa Rica, as well as the role of gender in the Israel-Palestine conflict.

Though she’s lived in a few different cities, Vanessa considers herself a SoCal native and is a proud graduate of UC Irvine, where she studied French and International Studies. She is a fan of cats, dogs, indoor house plants, bookstores, warm weather, and coffee.

Senior Program Manager

LaNita King

LaNita King is the Senior Program Manager for the Groundwork Collaborative.

Prior to joining, LaNita served as the Development Manager at The Voter Participation Center (VPC), and was responsible for managing and cultivating VPC’s fundraising program. She has also served as the State Party Victory Fund Coordinator for the Democratic National Committee (DNC) where she managed a direct-mail based fundraising program for all 50 state parties.

She is a native of California and moved to Washington D.C. after earning her degree at California State University, Northridge. LaNita is an avid Premier League soccer fan and faithfully supports Manchester United.

Special Assistant to the Deputy Executive Director and the Managing Director of Policy and Research

Sabina Lee

Sabina Lee is the Special Assistant to the Deputy Executive Director and the Managing Director of Policy and Research.

Prior to joining Groundwork in 2019, Sabina was a paralegal at Lieff Cabraser Heimann & Bernstein LLP in New York, where she worked on a variety of cases ranging from sexual assault, medical malpractice, dangerous device failure, and other public health related issues.

Sabina was born and raised in the greater Boston area to immigrant parents. As a first-generation college student, she studied English Literature at Yale University, focusing on disjointed communities and loneliness among marginalized people.

Outside of work, Sabina can be found browsing used book stores, hunting for plants, and sampling cheese.

Director of Policy and Research

Sapna Mehta

Sapna Mehta is the Director of Policy and Research of the Groundwork Collaborative, working to advance a coherent economic narrative across the progressive movement, and helping to manage the policy and research staff.

Prior to joining Groundwork in 2019, Sapna was the Legislative and Policy Director at Main Street Alliance, where she helped build momentum for the first ever House of Representatives hearing on paid family and medical leave.

Sapna also managed strategy development in the Ford Foundation’s Future of Workers unit to build power for working people through grassroots organizing and policy change.  Her work included updating, creating and enforcing robust labor standards and modernizing social insurance programs to meet the needs of 21st century workplaces and families, and strengthening institutions that build worker voice and power

As the Research and Liaison Manager with the Office of the New York City Comptroller, Sapna worked with advocates to move statewide policy campaigns and advance local ordinances to improve outcomes for working people.  She was also previously a Strategic Campaigns Researcher with SEIU, where she won union contracts for janitors, security officers and window washers across the Midwest and Texas.

Sapna was born and raised in Cleveland, Ohio and has a bachelor’s degree in economics from The Ohio State University.

Director of Program and Strategy

Sam Sanders

Sam Sanders is the Director of Program and Strategy.

Prior to joining the team in 2018, Sam managed congressional affairs at the Economic Policy Institute, advancing research on labor and workers’ rights, the federal budget, taxes, trade, and economic inequality. Prior to that, Sam served as a policy advisor in the U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division, working on issues including labor standards regulations and the future of work.

Sam hails from Southern Maryland, and attended Yale University, where she focused on Chinese language/cultural studies.

Outside of work, she can be found rehearsing with SongRise or the 18th Street Singers, trying to pet other people’s dogs on the sidewalk, or leaving a DC library with an impractical number of books.

Program Manager

Kate Taylor Mighty

Kate Taylor Mighty is a Program Manager for the Groundwork Collaborative.

Before joining our team, Kate worked in a rotational program at a software company called HubSpot, cycling through different marketing roles in Cambridge, Massachusetts and Dublin, Ireland. Previously, Kate helped develop communication strategies to encourage state policymakers to implement clean energy policy, and worked as a marketing intern at a DC-area edtech company called 2U.

Originally from Boston, Kate attended Yale University and majored in political science. Outside of work, Kate’s passions include live music, arguing about TV, and exploring the great indoors.

Policy Analyst

Grace Western

Grace Western is a Policy Analyst at the Groundwork Collaborative, where she provides research support on a variety of economic justice issues.

Previously, Grace was a Policy and Research Manager at The Hub Project, where she provided policy analysis and research support for various issue advocacy campaigns, notably for health care and economic issues. She also worked in the Office of Senator Kirsten E. Gillibrand and on Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign.Grace has a B.A. in Political Science and Women’s Studies from Colgate University. Originally from Syracuse, New York, Grace is a lover of reading nooks and dancing to live music in the park.

Policy Analyst

Dani Zessoules

Dani Zessoules is a Policy Analyst at the Groundwork Collaborative, where she provides research support on a variety of issues related to economic justice.

Before joining the team, Dani was a Research Assistant at the Center for American Progress, where she researched and published articles on issues related to economic inequality, the labor market and international trade. Prior to that she was a federal legislative affairs intern at the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities following a domestic policy internship at the Center for Economic and Policy Research. She holds a bachelor’s degree in economics from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst. 

Outside of work you can find Dani discovering new bike paths, playing guitar on her porch and stressing out about what fun facts to include in her bio page.

Want to Get Involved?

We are always looking for new partners as we work to build and advance real prosperity and opportunity for all. Contact us if you’re interested in learning more.