ARENA TEAM

Swati Mylavarapu

CO-FOUNDER & PARTNER

Swati is a Founding Partner at Incite Ventures. She was previously a Partner on the venture capital team at Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, where she focused on consumer digital and hardware investments. Before KPCB, Swati built the international business and product marketing efforts at Square, a financial services company that levels the playing field for small businesses. She also serves on the non-profit boards of B Lab, Bayes Impact, and the Boston Review. Swati graduated from Harvard with an AB in Development Studies, and was elected to Phi Beta Kappa and a Truman Scholar. She also holds an MPhil in Economic History from the University of Oxford, where she was a Rhodes Scholar.

@swatipedia

 

Ravi Gupta

CO-FOUNDER & MANAGING PARTNER

Ravi is the Founder and former CEO of RePublic Schools, a network of charter schools in the South. RePublic’s two flagship schools are the first and only two charter schools in Tennessee to rank in the top five percent of all public schools for growth and absolute performance. Ravi previously served as Special Assistant and Speechwriter to Susan Rice, U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations. He also spent two years working on Barack Obama’s 2008 presidential campaign – joining then-Senator Obama’s exploratory committee and working through the primary and general elections. He ran fundraising and voter turnout operations in more than a half dozen states during the primary election and served as assistant to Chief Strategist David Axelrod during the general election. Ravi received his J.D. from Yale Law School and his B.A. from Binghamton University, where he was named a Truman Scholar and was awarded the University Medal, the school's highest honor. In 2012, he was named to the Forbes 30 Under 30 List.

@ravimgupta

 
Kate-Catherall-2.jpg

KATE CATHERALL

CO-FOUNDER & PARTNER

Kate is the Founder of Chorus, a nonprofit focused on removing barriers to civic engagement, and Chorus Agency, a network of pro bono advisors supporting exceptional leaders to run for office and win. She began her career in politics on President Obama's 2008 campaign and has been organizing ever since. Altogether, she has worked six election cycles including two congressional campaigns, a gubernatorial campaign, a senate campaign, and two presidential campaigns. Most recently, she served as Senior Vice President at 270 Strategies, a mission driven consulting firm founded by alumni of the Obama 2012 campaign. There, she partnered with candidates, causes, and companies from 40+ countries to build grassroots campaigns. Kate holds a B.A. in Political Science and Theater and Drama from Indiana University, and is a native of Chicago. She speaks conversational Swahili, having lived, taught, and traveled in East Africa sporadically since 2006.

@kate_catherall

 
Diana-Fassbender.jpg

DIANA FASSBENDER

PARTNER

Diana comes to The Arena from EMILY’s List, where she spent three years as their Eastern Regional Director, raising funds to elect pro-choice, Democratic women up and down the ballot. Prior to that, her career includes roles at the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee and statewide fundraising for a Senate re-election campaign. She also executed nationwide fundraising for amfAR, the Foundation for AIDS Research in New York. Diana holds a B.A. from the University of Massachusetts and is a fourth generation New Yorker.

 
Santiago-Martinez.jpg

SANTIAGO MARTINEZ

PARTNER

Before joining The Arena, Santiago was a Senior Vice President of Data & Analytics at 270 Strategies. For over eight years, he has helped organizations make informed, data-driven decisions to meet their goals. Using his extensive campaign experience, he helped campaigns across the country and around the globe run sophisticated data-analytics operations. In 2012, Santiago was the North Carolina data director for President Obama's re-election campaign, where he used reporting and targeting to build one of the most sophisticated data shops in the campaign's 10 battleground states. Santiago got his start in 2008 as a field organizer in North Carolina, where he aided in President Obama's historic 14,000-vote victory. Santiago graduated from Arizona State University with BA in Political Science. He also serves on the Board of Directors at the Latin American Youth Center which strives to empower a diverse population of youth to achieve a successful transition to adulthood through multicultural, comprehensive, and innovative programs that address youths' social, academic, and career needs.

 
Abby-Witt.jpg

ABBY WITT

PARTNER

Abby joins The Arena with nearly 15 years of experience in grassroots engagement across the political, government, and advocacy fields. Most recently, Abby served as the Campaign Manager for Daniel Biss’ gubernatorial campaign in Illinois.  She joined Biss’ campaign from the Chicago Public Schools (CPS) where she managed budget and policy initiatives for the nation’s 3rd largest school district. Prior to CPS, Abby was a founding member and Managing Director of Organizing for Action (OFA), a national organization dedicated to advancing a progressive agenda through grassroots action and training. Abby helped create OFA after six years within the Obama presidential campaigns and Administration, including two years in the White House Office of Public Engagement and Intergovernmental Affairs, serving as the Director of Political Operations in 2012, and working in eight states as part of the Field team during the primaries and general election in 2007-2008. Years earlier Abby began her career working at the Center for American Progress. Since then, she’s worked six election cycles, at the congressional, statewide, and presidential levels. A proud Chicagoan, Abby graduated from American University in Washington, D.C.

 

Lee Pedinoff

DIRECTOR OF MARKETING

Lee is a native New Jerseyan turned Nashvillian. He served as a Founding Teacher, Administrator, and School Leader at RePublic Schools, a non-profit network of charter schools working to reimagine public education in the South. Lee took a short sabbatical from education as a Business Technology Analyst at Deloitte, where he served on the project that launched the Affordable Care Act healthcare exchange in Massachusetts. Lee was a Teach For America Nashville corps member and graduated from Vanderbilt University with a B.A. in Economics, Political Science, and Corporate Strategy. At Vanderbilt, he was elected Executive Vice President of Vanderbilt Student Government by the student body and received the award for Outstanding Campus Leadership.

@pedinoff

 
Julia-Leitner.jpg

JULIA LEITNER

ASSOCIATE

Julia has worked in labor, political, and community organizing. In 2016, Julia worked on the Clinton campaign in Ohio, and in the wake of the election rejoined the labor movement as a Lead Organizer with the United Auto Workers (UAW), overseeing regional operations of a campaign to unionize over 7,000 workers. After graduating from Harvard in 2013, Julia trained as a labor organizer with SEIU in Oakland. She went on to organize coffee farmers in Colombia and helped build an agriculture tourism business to supplement the incomes of smallholder farmers in a post-conflict region. Julia received her A.B. from Harvard in History and literature. She grew up in California and New Mexico. She speaks fluent Spanish and wrote her senior thesis on activist art groups from the 2011 economic crisis in Argentina.

 
Chris-Marte.jpg

CHRISTOPHER MARTE

ASSOCIATE

In 2017, Christopher jumped into the arena and ran for New York City Council in the 1st District. Before running for office, he worked for IBM's retirement fund as an investment analyst and trader. Christopher got his start at CastleOak Securities as an investment banking analyst. Christopher also served on the young professional board of Defy Ventures and co-founded two community gardens on NYCHA property. Christopher received a B.A. in International Politics from Long Island University Global College while studying in China, Japan, England, and Costa Rica.

@chrismartenyc

 

ASHLEY PORTER

DIRECTOR OF ADVANCE

Ashley worked for Hillary for America from 2015 to November 2016 as a National Advance Lead. Before joining the campaign, Ashley served as the New York representative for Creative Visions Foundation, a premiere agency for individuals who use media and the arts to ignite positive social change with over 75 partnered projects consisting of films, documentaries, and media-related programs. She also worked at United Talent Agency in the Motion Picture talent department working with clients Oscar Isaac, Tracy Morgan, Rachel McAdams, Ray Liotta and more. Ashley attended Indiana University receiving her BA at the Ernie Pyle School of Journalism and continued on to receive her graduate degree from UCLA's School of Public Health.

 
Mónica-Pérez.jpg

MÓNICA PÉREZ

DIRECTOR OF LEGISLATIVE CAMPAIGNS, ARIZONA PROJECT

Mónica joins The Arena from Ocotillo Group, a consulting firm she created to provide campaigns and non-profit organizations with strategic communications, training, management, and engagement expertise. She has over 15 years of experience with training and facilitation, community organizing, and voter engagement for national organizations including Wellstone Action, Planned Parenthood Federation of America, Democracy for America and Service Employees International Union (SEIU). Mónica is a proud Arizona native and first-generation American, who grew up in a small border town, which helped shape her sense of community, need for inclusivity and passion for Latino community engagement. In 2004, after working as an organizer for local and national campaigns, Mónica ran for an open seat in the Arizona legislature. She narrowly lost her bid by less than two percent of the vote, but her proudest moment was watching her parents get to vote for the first time, with their daughter on the ballot. Mónica has been recognized as one of Arizona’s “40 Hispanic Leaders Under 40” for her leadership and dedication to community service.

 
 

ARENA ADVISORY BOARD