Richard Greenberg, Founding Partner and President
Rick draws upon his broad experience in policy reform – from his early years as a policy analyst to his work as a director of strategic communications to his success directing social policy reform campaigns. However, it was his time as a foundation president, running The Fund for New Jersey, that helped him to fully realize his vision for data-driven digital storytelling. Rick’s work at the New Jersey Institute for Social Justice has won national recognition. As the Institute’s Director of Equal Justice Policy & Programs and Director of Strategic Communications, Rick successfully led the Second Chance Campaign to change New Jersey’s prisoner reentry laws. Through that work, he came to be known as one of the nation’s foremost authorities on and advocates for systemic criminal justice reform. The New York Times called the Second Chance Campaign’s legislative package, “a model for the rest of the nation.” While at the Institute, Rick produced an award-winning documentary video on gangs and prisoner reentry, “Moral Panic,” featuring then-Mayor Cory Booker and the national violence prevention leader, Dr. David M. Kennedy.
Elizabeth Ruebman, Executive Vice President
Elizabeth’s background is in government affairs, communications, and community outreach. Recently, she directed the Center for Collaborative Change’s Best Practices Summit on Community-Police Relations, which brought to Newark information on proven and promising practices for improving relations and trust between the community and Newark police. She was Policy and Communications Manager with NY/NJ Baykeeper, working to protect and restore the Hudson-Raritan Estuary. Elizabeth spent over ten years as a federal lobbyist working on such issues as criminal justice and welfare, with a focus on local government affairs. Elizabeth received her B.A. in American Government from Georgetown University and her M.A. in Public Administration from George Washington University.
JOSEPH BLANEY, ESQ., SVP, Government Affairs / Chief Strategy Officer
Joseph Blaney served as Deputy Director of State Affairs for Everytown for Gun Safety and Director of State Legislative Reform for The Innocence Project. A lawyer by training, Joseph began his career in state government and politics, serving as Senior Counsel to the New Jersey Office of Legislative Services, Senior Counsel to the New Jersey Senate Majority Office, and Policy Director to the New Jersey Senate Majority Leader.
Amaury Dujardin, Project and Digital Media Manager
Amaury Dujardin earned his B.S. in Mass Communications from Boston University’s College of Communication in 2015. While studying, he led the university’s Public Relations Student Society of America chapter, directed a student-run public relations agency and held multiple internships focused in media relations and digital media. Amaury looks forward to continuing to expand Amplify’s digital capabilities and implementing new and proven practices in the ever-changing media landscape.
Nate BURKARD, Community Engagement Manager
Nate’s strength is public outreach. Through in-person presentations and written communications, Nate can successfully translate concepts which may feel foreign to the audience and make them relevant so that the audience understands how they are affected by the issue. He is particularly adept at communicating with audiences with high levels of stress and trauma, who might be more skeptical or resistant than other audiences, such as the formerly incarcerated. Nate has created brochures for a wide variety of clients from elevator consultants to community-based nonprofit organizations, created and delivered workshops customized to the audience members’ personality and culture, and organized focus groups to solicit feedback to guide effective messaging.
SARAH COSTELLO, SOCIAL MEDIA MANAGER
Sarah Costello has been helping nonprofit organizations achieve their social media goals for the last five years. She is currently the Director of Development at NY/NJ Baykeeper, a leading environmental nonprofit focused on water quality issues. Sarah earned her B.A. in Political Science and History from Ramapo College of New Jersey and her Master of Public Administration with a focus in Non Profit Management from Seton Hall University in 2011.
Mark C. Alexander, Esq., Strategic Advisor
Mark is a law professor at Seton Hall University, specializing in Constitutional Law and the intersection of Law and Politics. He is active in politics and government: Mark was Senior Advisor to Barack Obama, having worked on the Obama presidential campaign since January 2007. As Policy Director, he developed Senator Obama’s signature policies, built a network of policy experts and provided overall strategic guidance. Mark also served as New Jersey State Director in the primaries, running all operations in his home state. In addition, he worked on a wide variety of legal matters and political work and routinely appeared as a surrogate for the campaign. Mark also served on the Presidential Transition Team, reviewing the Federal Election Commission, as part of the Justice and Civil Rights Team. Mark was General Counsel to Cory Booker and the Booker Team in the 2006 Newark Municipal elections and then for Newark in Transition, as Mayor Booker moved to assume the office. Other political work includes serving as Issues Director for the Bill Bradley for President Campaign in 1999-2000. Mark also worked for U.S. Senators Edward Kennedy and Howard Metzenbaum, and he served a two-year term as an elected official in the Washington, D.C. government.
Matthew Traub, Strategic Advisor
Matthew serves as managing director and chief of staff at DKC. In addition to being a member of DKC’s executive team and supervising several of DKC’s divisions, he is a key player in the firm’s media business and crisis management areas. Matthew supervised the media relations campaigns around Howard Stern’s move to SIRIUS Satellite Radio and the launch of Air America Radio, and he represented Vivendi Universal in the sale of its entertainment assets to NBC. He has managed the media strategy for an array of complex cases involving civil and criminal litigation, and has represented a diverse array of corporations including Thomson Reuters, Cantor Fitzgerald, General Motors, Court TV, Coach, EMI Recorded Music, Michael Eisner’s Tornante Company, Sirius Satellite Radio, Emmis Communications and Rainbow Media. Matthew joined DKC after nearly a decade on Capitol Hill working for three different members of Congress. As chief of staff and press secretary to Rep. Nita Lowey, a New York Democrat, he supervised a staff of 20 people in three offices and served as Lowey’s spokesman and liaison to the New York and national media. He also served as her legislative director and House Appropriations Committee aide. Prior to joining Lowey’s staff, Matthew worked for Rep. Henry Waxman (D-CA) and former Rep. Thomas Downey (D-NY).
Deborah Howlett, Senior Producer
Deb is an old school journalist with a passion for new media. An award-winning reporter for the national newspaper USA Today, she has covered presidential campaigns, natural disasters, two NFL Super Bowls and the war in Afghanistan. She has also served as a communications director for a governor of New Jersey and as president of a highly regarded state policy think tank. Howlett is now combining her skills as a storyteller with emerging digital and video technologies to create powerful, progressive change in public policy.
JEFF HECKMAN, SENIOR PRODUCER
Jeff Heckman is a New Jersey based photographer, cinematographer and editor. He has a diverse background in media production, specifically in higher education. Currently working for Rutgers University, Jeff creates educational, promotional, and training films for both in-house and outside clients. Some of the projects he has worked on while at Rutgers include the Let’s Move! Newark Campaign, the White House Council for Community Solutions visit to Newark, NJ and the award winning Annie’s Project New Jersey. Jeff continues to produce videos for a variety of non-profits and at-risk-youth programs throughout the state. Jeff received a Bachelor of Arts in Communications from Rowan University.
Steve Shultz, Government Affairs Advisor
Steve Shultz has served as Chief of Staff for Volunteers of America Delaware Valley since 2007. In this role, he is responsible for tracking legislative and regulatory priorities for the agency while monitoring important issues and political trends affecting service delivery on behalf Volunteers of America Delaware Valley and its clients. In addition to policy oversight, Steve oversees all development and communications functions pertaining to the organization’s mission of service and marketing strategies throughout the tri-state area along with physical plant, construction, and maintenance oversight for the agency’s properties. Prior to joining the agency, Steve served as South Jersey Director to U.S. Senator Frank Lautenberg. There, he handled a wide range of issues affecting the region including environment, transportation, energy, appropriations, and homeland security. Steve previously served as Legislative Policy Director to N.J. Assemblyman Louis Greenwald. In that position, he focused on budget and appropriations, property taxes, auto insurance, and health care.
Ray Chao, Campaign Strategist
Ray founded a strategic communications consulting firm that served over a dozen non-profit and political clients in New Jersey. He also led a statewide grassroots campaign to improve employment opportunities for ex-offenders. Ray received his B.A. in public policy from Princeton University.
Ryan low, campaign strategist
Ryan managed over 30 political and corporate campaigns on the local, state, and federal level in Massachusetts, New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Georgia, Texas, and California. Ryan studied history at Princeton University.
Gregory A. Joseph, Project Manager and Campaign Strategist
Gregory A. Joseph brings over a decade of communication, political, and organizing experience to issue campaigns and nonprofit organizations. Starting in 1997, Gregory has led policy, research and communications teams on some of the nation’s most high profile political campaigns, including a national Presidential campaign in 2000, and Senate and Governor’s races in Texas, California, Minnesota, New York and New Jersey. In addition, Gregory has managed congressional and City Council campaigns in New York City, and was the Research Director for a ballot initiative in Florida. In 2007, Gregory joined the National Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty, and assumed responsibility for management of the Troy Davis clemency campaign. Utilizing tested organizing principles, as well as breaking ground via social media networks, Gregory was able to bring national attention to the Davis case, and helped build an international network that is still effective years since after its inception. Most recently, Gregory managed the state senate campaign of Mark Alexander, the New Jersey State Director for then-Senator Barack Obama in 2008. Gregory’s writing has appeared in The Nation and Alternet, and he performs stand-up comedy throughout New York City, New Jersey and Washington, DC.
Dr. Toi James, Research Director
Toi is the poster child for marrying research to action using film and video. She was first introduced to the idea a long time ago when taking part in the Hanks-Alexander screenwriting program (aka “The Bill Cosby Program”). She has since earned her PhD in Communication where she specialized in documenting research on video and turning that video into research documentaries. Toi has also applied her media and research skills, working at Sesame Workshop, Nickelodeon, Girl Scouts of the USA, and BrainJuicer. She has also taught research methods at UC San Diego and Sarah Lawrence College.
Akintola Hanif, Director of Photography
Akintola is best known for his stunning and compassionate portraits of the urban underclass. For nearly a decade he has been photographing gang members in Northern New Jersey, where he has also chronicled the lives of housing project residents, the homeless, and the artistic and sexual subcultures of his subjects. His first film, “Freedom of Everybody Dies,” a 5-minute mixed media short, has been showcased in the kick-off for the Museum of African Music and the Black Harvest International Film Festival. His film “Moral Panic: More Heat Than Light,” produced by the New Jersey Institute for Social Justice, debuted at the Newark Museum and was featured in screenings at Princeton and Columbia University.Currently, Akintola works as the resident documentarian at New Jersey’s YouthBuild Newark program and has recently created several films for the Central Ward Boys and Girls Club and the Clinton Hill Weed and Seed Partnership.
Lorne Lieb, Consulting Producer
Lorne founded Plowshares Media with one goal, to bring affordable video solutions to mission driven organizations. He brings to this endeavor expertise built over years producing and associate producing critically acclaimed television programs such as the groundbreaking PBS Frontline specialMuslims (for which he won a Cine), the series Television in America, ABC Nightline: One Muslim Voice, and The People Speak (History Channel). His background in community and labor organizing also aids him in developing the innovative educational and community engagement campaigns that accompany his projects. He has created video solutions for non-profit clients the Harlem Educational Activities Fund, Dartmouth Medical School, Service Employees International Union (SEIU), and The NYC Coalition for Behavioral Health, among many others.
Noah Litvin, Digital Media Producer
Noah Litvin is a New York City-based digital media producer. He codes websites, edits copy, designs logos, and produces video. He is a graduate of St. John’s College, Annapolis, where he studied philosophy, worked in a planetarium, and played intercollegiate croquet.