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Government & Politics

Meet the Members of the New Emerge Maryland Class

Emerge Maryland, the group dedicated to training and electing Democratic women to office, has just announced the members of its sixth class.

More than 30 women who have graduated from Emerge Maryland have signaled their intent to run for office in Maryland in 2018, the largest cohort of candidates ever.

Two Emerge graduates were elected to local offices two weeks ago: Shaneka Henson, who won an aldermanic seat in the Annapolis municipal election, and Denise Mitchell, elected to the College Park City Council.

“Women across Maryland are offering new energetic leadership through service to their communities by running for state and local office in 2018,” said Diane Fink, the group’s executive director. “They are smart and they are prepared.”

The members of Emerge’s latest class are:

China Wilson

China Wilson is a social policy and community activist currently serving as the director of Career Services and Experiential Learning and Title IX coordinator at Trinity Washington University. Her background includes close to 20 years of education experience within a variety of service areas, including community development, higher education, K-12, education policy, workforce development, crisis intervention and diversity awareness.

Deborah Dixon

Deborah Dixon is a licensed certified speech language pathologist who recently retired as the Director of Clinical Practices in School Services with the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA). She currently has a private practice in which she provides consultation and professional development training for speech language pathologists and also provides private speech-language services to individuals with communication disorders. She also recently completed training to become a court appointed special advocate to support children engaged in the court system of Anne Arundel County due to neglect or abuse.

Jennifer White

Jennifer Arice White is a health equity partnerships manager who works with advocates to pass state and local policies to improve the health and wellbeing of historically disenfranchised communities. She has contributed to numerous policy campaigns that have ensured active transportation, access to affordable and quality foods, and improved school health and early care and education standards.

Karine Lepillez

Karine Lepillez is a social equity consultant who provides research, training, and coaching to governments and communities seeking to increase inclusion and equity in their programs and organizations. She currently advises groups like Save the Children, Catholic Relief Services, and World Learning, as well as the Montgomery County Council as a member of its Committee on Hate/Violence.

Leighann Garcia

Leighann Garcia is a data and analytics professional who has worked in the health care and non-profit sectors helping organizations develop key metrics and performance indicators, optimize data storage structures, build effective reporting processes, and manage teams of analysts. She also serves as volunteer vice president of the Belvedere Improvement Association, devoted to improving her Baltimore community.

Diana Emerson

Diana Emerson works with nonprofits and corporations to create meaningful projects that help to drive impactful social outcomes that strengthen local communities.

Becca Niburg

Becca Niburg is an immigration attorney who also serves on a Howard County Board of Education working group focusing on the school system policy towards immigrants.

Victoria Venable

Victoria Venable is legislative director for state Del. Ben Brooks (D). to develop policy positions and legislative initiatives within his role as a state legislator. Her writing on ableism and disability rights has been published in several magazines and in “Diversity Education: Understanding and Addressing Student Diversity,” a Canadian textbook used in professional development for educators.

Phiona Quincy Bareebe

Phiona Quincy Bareebe is an accountant at Bon Secours where she handles accounts receivables and payroll.

Kathleen Seifert

Kathleen Seifert is a lawyer who will be admitted to the Maryland bar next month. She works as an associate with Haskell & Zimmerman handling divorce, custody, and child support cases across Southern Maryland.

Laura Henderson

Laura Henderson is the executive director of Progressive Action, a political action organization she launched following the 2016 presidential election.  After 25 years in the international development arena, she is now applying her advocacy, campaign, and government relations skills in her own community to support progressive policymaking in Maryland and the nation.

 Meghann Shutt

Meghann Shutt is a native Baltimorean and the chief learning officer for the Baltimore City Department of Social Services. She started her career as a Peace Corps volunteer in Kyrgyzstan, working on gender equality programs and civic engagement.

Theresa Stegman

Theresa Stegman is running for Democratic State Central Committee in District 40. She is now a development director with Cross Street Partners, managing complex adaptive reuse projects locally and nationally.

Karen Yoho

Karen Yoho is an educator who works with Frederick County Public Schools as an elementary language arts teacher. She has been with FCPS for 25 years, teaching grades 1-5 in all subjects, with a focus on language arts the past six years.  She has also spent the past nine years managing the office of Yoho Electrical Services, the electrical contracting company her husband started in 2006.  She has been the campaign treasurer for Frederick County Councilmember Jessica Fitzwater (D).

Aletheia McCaskill

Aletheia McCaskill is running for the state Senate in Baltimore’s District 44 with her husband and two lovely daughters. She currently serves as chairwoman of the Baltimore, Washington, D.C., Northern Virginia COPE, SEIU Local 500, and as a leader of the bargaining committee for SEIU Local 500 Early Learning Division and is a part of the Women’s Economic Security Agenda.


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Meet the Members of the New Emerge Maryland Class