Staff

Meet Our Team

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President

Scott Wasserman

Scott Wasserman has served as president of the Bell Policy Center and the Bell Action Network since August 2016. Scott leads a veteran staff that has played a major role in fiscal reform, education policy, economic security and other key issues that affect the well-being of working families in Colorado. Previously, Scott was deputy chief of staff to Gov. John Hickenlooper and chief of staff to former Lt. Gov. Joe Garcia and current Lt. Gov. Donna Lynne. He worked in the governor’s office from 2013 to 2016, advising on education policy, workforce development and health care initiatives. Before that, Scott spent eight years in leadership positions at SEIU and Colorado WINS. He also has worked as a lobbyist and served four years as director of communications and press secretary for the Colorado House Minority Office. Scott graduated from George Washington University with a bachelor’s degree in Middle East studies.

DIRECTOR OF STRATEGY & OPERATIONS

Julie Pecaut

Julie Pecaut has more than 20 years of experience in fundraising, marketing, strategy, and management for nonprofit organizations. Before joining the Bell in 2013, she was director of development for the Family Resource Center Association, a statewide network of community-based family resource centers. She previously led her own consulting practice serving a variety of non-profit and progressive political organizations. She has also served in leadership roles for Mercy Housing’s Colorado and national offices and led the fundraising program at Water for People. Julie holds a bachelor’s degree in English and mathematics from Grinnell College. She serves on the board Families Forward Resource Center.

Director of Policy & Research

Rich Jones

Rich Jones joined the Bell as the director of policy and research in 2004. In addition to leading the Bell’s research and policy staff, Rich works on family economic security issues such as predatory lending, the minimum wage, family work supports, retirement security and the Earned Income Tax Credit. He also conducts research and analysis on state fiscal and budget policy. Rich has more than 35 years of experience working on a variety of public policy issues. Before coming to the Bell, he was the director of legislative programs at the National Conference of State Legislatures, where he worked for 24 years. He also served as a researcher for the Pennsylvania General Assembly. Rich holds a bachelor’s in government administration from Shippensburg University and a master’s in public administration from Penn State.

Director of outreach & donor development

Cate Blackford

Cate Blackford joined the Bell in early 2017. She brings with her over a decade of experience building strong, effective coalitions, local, state, and federal policy wins, and a deeply held commitment to justice and equity. Previously, she served as director of public policy for Hunger Free Colorado, where she led efforts to increase access to federal nutrition programs, expanded advocacy networks, and helped pass legislation to reduce stark disparities in Colorado’s food stamp program. Before joining Hunger Free Colorado, Cate championed local public health and community development initiatives and led statewide efforts to advocate for affordable housing. She holds a master’s in Public Policy from the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University.

DIRECTOR OF communicationS

Erin Moriarty-Siler

Erin Moriarty-Siler started writing for local and national publications in high school, later putting her love for well-crafted storytelling to use as a communicator and writer in several capacities. After graduating from the University of Colorado Boulder with a degree in English, Erin held roles at the Center for Western Priorities and a growing tech startup with a focus on media relations, communications strategy, and content management. Prior to joining the Bell Policy Center in 2017, she was the managing editor of an industry publication dedicated to health insurance, employee benefits, and retirement.

Senior policy analyst

Natalie Wood

Natalie O’Donnell Wood is a seasoned policy and research professional, having worked with policymakers in Colorado and across the country on a variety of issues, including health care, human services, ethics and lobbying. For 15 years, Natalie worked for the National Conference of State Legislatures, spending half of her tenure there with the organization’s Center for Ethics in Government. Most recently she was the director of policy and development for Peer Assistance Services, where she focused on behavioral and public health policy. Natalie holds a bachelor’s degree in political science from Saint Mary’s College at Notre Dame, and a master’s degree in political science, politics, and public policy from the University of Colorado Denver.

Data & systems manager

Regan Byrd

Regan Byrd has more than nine years of experience in nonprofit operations, fundraising, communications and administration. She previously worked for Arapahoe County, Hunger Free Colorado, The Arc of Jefferson County, and 9to5 Colorado. Regan is currently co-chair of the 9to5 Colorado board of directors and previously served on the Aurora Human Relations Commission and the board of the YESS Institute. She holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Denver, where she studied public policy, sociology, gender and women’s studies, and English. Regan completed the Grassroots Institute for Fundraising Training program, and she is currently studying to obtain her paralegal certificate and IT certificate.

rapid response policy analyst

Joshua Mantell

Joshua joined the Bell in 2018 as the Rapid Response Policy Analyst and works with the research team on a host of issues, as well as assists with communications and outreach by writing and developing content. A relatively recent Colorado resident, Joshua moved from Washington D.C. in April 2017. Prior to working at the Bell Policy Center, he was at the Wilderness Society in both Washington D.C. and Denver, where he worked on public lands, energy, and climate change policy. In the nation’s capital, he also worked in Congress focusing on sustainability and energy conservation. Joshua is originally from Sacramento, California and graduated from UC Santa Barbara with a bachelor’s degree in history.

Research Associate

Andrea Kuwik

Andrea Kuwik has served in the nonprofit field for several years. Beginning her career performing direct social services, Andrea has worked with individuals experiencing chronic health conditions, people experiencing homelessness, and communities impacted by natural disasters. Prior to joining the Bell Policy Center in 2018, Andrea contributed to the policy and advocacy work of several Colorado organizations. Andrea has a B.A. in political science, history, and economics from the University of Pittsburgh, an MSW from the University of Denver, and is currently pursuing an MPA from the University of Colorado Denver.

policy analyst

Amanda Valenta

Amanda joined the Bell in 2018 as a Policy Analyst with a specific focus on work and learning. She holds a Ph.D. in Sociology from Rice University, where she was a Research Assistant with the Houston Education Research Consortium, housed within Rice’s Kinder Institute. Her research with HERC included work on K-12 education policy, postsecondary education and access, racial stratification, and intergenerational mobility. Before attending graduate school, Amanda worked for education and youth development nonprofits in Denver and New Haven, where she became committed to promoting equity in education and family well-being.

Public interest policy fellow

Dorsa Djalilzadeh

Dorsa Djalilzadeh graduated from Colorado College in 2018 with a double major in feminist and gender studies and political science. She began her fellowship with the Bell in June 2018. Born and raised in Colorado, Dorsa has had consistent exposure to the economic challenges that face Coloradans, as well as the discriminatory systems that oppress the most marginalized members of our communities. This is why Dorsa has a vested interest in understanding the intersections of economic policy with gender and race, and their impact on people across the state. In her work toward championing a more equitable society, Dorsa has worked for several progressive campaigns in Colorado, interned for Congresswoman Diana DeGette, and served as student body president of Colorado College.

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