Our Staff

Erica Gallegos
Co-Director
Andrea Paluso
Co-Director
Danielle Alexander
Communications Director
Mercedes Phelan
Organizing Director—Network Capacity
Brandy Bianchi
Organizing Director—State Campaign Capacity
Regina Gutierrez
Operations Manager
Erica Gallegos

Erica Gallegos (she/her) is a movement leader with firsthand experience in the field as a former Early Childhood Education teacher, and a mom of two kids. Most recently, Erica was the policy director for the Organizers in the Land of Enchantment (OLÉ) where she worked in coalition to move the successful landmark campaign for a constitutional right to early education in New Mexico.

Andrea Paluso

Andrea Paluso (she/her) is a community activist with roots in social work, and a mom of two kids. Most recently, she was the executive director for Family Forward Oregon and Family Forward Action, organizations in Oregon fighting for economic justice for mamas and caregivers, including advocating for transformational investments in making child care affordable and accessible and ensuring better wages for providers, as well as other economic supports for families like paid family and medical leave, pay equity, paid sick time, pregnancy accommodations and more.

Danielle Alexander

Danielle Alexander (she/her) is a writer, artist, and organizer raised in rural Michigan, where her mother operated a 24-hour in-home child care center. Utilizing trauma-informed storytelling and transformational organizing principles, Danielle has led winning communications campaigns in Oregon for the past five years, including passing a $100M investment in child care. Prior to working in politics, she led communications and advocacy work for afterschool programming and early education. She lives in North Portland, Oregon with her preschooler and brood of rescue pets.

Mercedes Phelan

Mercedes Phelan (she/her) is radical Black feminist who is fighting for Liberation, with a focus on breaking the school- to-prison pipeline. Before working in politics and organizing she was a childcare teacher in her hometown of Rochester, New York. She came into organizing in 2017 as an Organizer at Citizen Action for New York. After founding Citizen Action’s first Rochester Chapter in 2018, the chapter went on to win its first campaign, the removal of SRO’s (School Resource Officers) from the Rochester City School District. Mercedes was also a part of campaigns such as the Safe and Supportive Schools Act, the Campaign for Fiscal Equity, and the Campaign for Universal Childcare. She has a deep commitment to prioritizing the voices of those that are directly impacted and a strong belief in the importance of leadership development. She is a mom of two plus fur babies Rosie and Luna, and spends her free time wandering in the woods, reading socially relevant nonfiction, and trying new things, such as her latest obsessions: roller skating and succulent gardening.

Brandy Bianchi

Brandy Bianchi (she/her) is an organizer and campaigner with over 10 years’ experience fighting alongside teachers, nurses, custodians, and many other workers across the US and abroad. In addition to union organizing campaigns, she’s experienced in running statewide ballot measures and legislative campaigns; most recently to end the subminimum wage for tipped and incarcerated workers. As a Floridian, she has a strong personal interest in taking on social justice fights across the South.

Regina Gutierrez

Regina Gutierrez is mission driven and constantly strives towards positive social impact. Her academic and professional work have always been service oriented and focused on both community development and international development. Prior to working with the Network, she served in PeaceCorps Morocco, provided refugee and immigrant services in San Diego, CA, and obtained her Master of Public Administration from the Middlebury Institute of International Studies. She hopes to continue challenging systems of social injustice and being an agent of social change both in her personal and professional life.