MAXIM THORNE (He/His), Chief Executive Officer
Maxim Thorne earned a B.A. (cum laude honors) in Economics and Political Science from Yale College and a J.D. from the Yale Law School. Maxim has served as the Managing Director of The Andrew Goodman Foundation, Senior Vice President and Chief Communications and Development Officer of NAACP, the Chief Operating Officer and Vice President of Human Rights Campaign and HRC Foundation and the Executive Director of NJ Head Start Association. As a dedicated leader and advocate, Maxim has served on the Board of Directors of many organizations as well, including the founding Board of Yale Black Alumni Association, Chaired the 40th Anniversary of the Afro-American Cultural Center at Yale, Honorary Co-Chair of the 50th Anniversary of the Afro-American Cultural Center at Yale, the Board of Governors of Yale University, Executive Committee of the Yale Law School, GLAAD, the North Star Fund, Amistad Research Center, Barnert Hospital Foundation and Planned Parenthood of Metropolitan New Jersey. He also serves on the Yale Alumni Task Force on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI).
“I know what it is like to feel the entire continuum of being young, marginalized and disenfranchised to becoming whole, empowered and American. Now more than ever, we need to reimagine, protect and strengthen the pillars of our democracy. We have to turbocharge and make real an intersectional and holistic democracy movement building on the centrality of the rich diversity of youth. Every innovation and tried and true is on the table, be it texting, digital organizing, short films, dorm storming, student panels, marches and more.” – Maxim Thorne
ANNA CUBBAGE, (She/Her), Organizer at Large
Anna Cubbage joined Civic Influencers in 2022 after facilitating learning for nine years as a Social Studies educator in North Carolina. She graduated with a B.A. and M.A. in History from the University of North Carolina Wilmington. As an educator and historian, Anna believes in the power of youth and community to create meaningful change. She currently resides in Wilmington, NC where she enjoys reading, the beach, music, trying out new creative outlets, and learning new things.
AUDREY FERGUSON (She/Her), Co-Chief, Organizing
Audrey Ferguson received her B.A. in Philosophy from the University of Texas at Austin. During undergrad she helped found a LGBTQ+ sorority, while also advocating on a number of other issues. Since graduating she has spent her work and personal life as an organizer, aiming to build collective power and increase civic engagement. She has worked on many electoral and issue campaigns across the country, primarily focusing on issues of economic injustice and efforts to support underserved communities.
Audrey is an Organizer-At-Large with Civic Influencers. In her role she aims to strengthen young people’s power within our country and help increase voter participation. She currently resides in Austin, TX and spends her free time making art with friends as well as working with a few local organizations.
BRENNA LIMBRICK (She/Her), Operations Manager
Brenna Limbrick started with Civic Influencers in 2012 as a Statewide Organizer in Ohio. After a break to take care of her two young sons, she returned in 2018 during the Ohio midterms, again as a Statewide Organizer, to oversee Civic Influencers and help higher-education institutions continue their democratic engagement. In 2020 she transitioned to an operations role to help Civic Influencers gain its official 501(c)(3) nonprofit status and oversee new process implementation. Brenna has a degree in Computer Information Systems and more than 20 years of administrative, technical and program knowledge that helps her administer Civic Influencers’ operational processes.
She believes that democracy (voting especially!), justice and equity should be taught in our society at a young age. She is dedicated to her family and kids, volunteering her time in the community when possible. Brenna resides in Pataskala with her husband and two boys who are very active in soccer.
CORNELL DUCKWORTH (He/Him), Organizer At-Large
Cornell Duckworth joined Civic Influencers in 2022 as a Statewide Organizer in Georgia. Born in Cleveland, Ohio, he joined the organization to fight the systemic failures that hinders young people from participating in a just democracy. Before starting at Civic Influencers, Cornell had 6 years of experience in nonprofit, community engagement, and voter outreach. He started his career by joining AmeriCorps in 2016 and served in South Los Angeles schools by preparing students with emotional and academic skills to succeed in life. He later went on to work on multiple high profile political campaigns and mobilized underrepresented communities of color in Georgia, Texas, Maryland, and California. Cornell has an excellent reputation for promoting advocacy and fighting to give voices to those who have been unheard through the power of voting.
He received his B.A. in Political Science cum laude from Morgan State University in Baltimore, MD, where he was initiated into Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity Inc. and held multiple positions within the Student Government Association. Cornell currently resides in Atlanta, GA where he enjoys spending time with family, experiencing new cuisines, and listening to podcasts.
ELISE ORLICK (She/Her), Stakeholder Advisor
Elise Orlick works with Civic Influencers’ supporters to build capacity for the organization’s critical work empowering young people. An experienced organizer and advocate for democracy reform at the state and national levels, she joins Civic Influencers after working at the Andrew Goodman Foundation. Previously she was a State Director for WashPIRG, where she took a major role in helping pass automatic voter registration, same-day registration and pre-registration of 16- and 17-year-olds in Washington state. She has also worked as a Democracy Advocate for U.S. PIRG where she led federal campaigns to overturn Citizens United v. FEC and introduce federal ethics legislation.
Elise graduated from the College of William & Mary cum laude. She now lives in Seattle with her boyfriend and their cat Pixel. In her spare time, Elise enjoys plant-based cooking and walks along the Salish Sea.
EMILY BUSH (She/Her), Senior Stakeholder Advisor
Emily joined Civic Influencers in 2022 as the Senior Stakeholder Advisor. With over 13 years of development experience, Emily has worked with a number of high profile politicians and nonprofit organizations and has extensive expertise in fundraising, advocacy, events management and leadership. She is passionate about building strategic partnerships and relationships to scale organizations that are committed to equity and justice. Prior to joining Civic Influencers, Emily most recently worked at Girls Who Code and the Marshall Plan for Moms who are working to close the gender gap in tech and advocate for women’s equality.
Emily graduated from the University of Vermont with a B.A. in Economics. She currently resides in Manchester, Vermont with her husband and their three young boys.
IZZY WEIR (She/They), Senior Communications & Stakeholder Advisor
Before joining the Civic Influencers team, Izzy served as the Digital Director and Director of Partnerships and Distribution for Patriotic Millionaires. In these roles, she developed and executed successful digital strategies that advanced the organization’s mission and goals.
Izzy holds a Master’s degree in Political Management from The George Washington University and a Bachelor’s degree from Lyon College. Her educational background and professional experience have equipped her with a deep understanding of political and social issues, as well as the skills needed to make a tangible impact.
Outside of work, Izzy enjoys gardening, thrifting, and painting. She resides in Michigan with her partner and two dogs.
JAYCEE BROWN (She/They), Organizer At-Large
Jaycee Brown joined Civic Influencers in 2022 as an Organizer At-Large focusing on Pennsylvania and Ohio. Jaycee received their Bachelor of Social Work from the University of Mississippi in 2021, and they’re currently completing their Master of Social Work at the University of Pittsburgh. Jaycee has experience working in community engagement, political advocacy, and grassroots campaigns. In their work, Jaycee focuses on activating power in marginalized groups, particularly in BIPOC and LGBTQ+ communities.
Jaycee loves exploring Pittsburgh’s parks, dancing, and reading a good book. After a long day, you can find Jaycee cuddled up with their two-year-old cat, Stevi Rose.
JIM CAVAN (He/Him/His/They), Chief of Communications
Jim brings 15 years of experience as a writer and editor to his new role of Chief of Communications for Civic Influencers. A graduate of the University of New Hampshire, Jim started his career in 2009 as Director of Media for Green Alliance, a New Hampshire-based company that provides marketing services to local businesses committed to sustainability.
In 2014, he made good on a childhood dream by pursuing sports writing full time, contributing to outlets including ESPN, Sports Illustrated and The New York Times, among others. From 2017 to 2023, Jim served as Director of Content for Trueline, a marketing firm based in Portland, Maine. In joining Civic Influencers, he’s thrilled to be bringing his career full circle, leveraging the power of words and narrative to further a truly noble mission—helping safeguard our democracy for generations to come.
Jim lives in Southern Maine with his wife Deana, their daughter Evie, and a mischievous whippet-dingo named Lucy. In 2015, Jim and Deana founded Rett’s Roost, an organization that provides free retreats to families affected by pediatric cancer.
JOSHLYNN HILBURN (She/They), Deputy Statewide Organizer
Joshlynn Hilburn is an organizer dedicated to creating positive and effective change in marginalized communities. Her background and experiences have led her to advocate for disenfranchised youth and BIPOC communities. She received her Bachelor’s degree in sociology and Mexican American and Latinx Studies from The University of Texas at Austin. During their time in Austin, Joshlynn coordinated legislative meetings, mobilized young voters, and volunteered with numerous nonprofit groups. She is originally from a small town in Texas but currently resides in Houston, TX. Aside from organizing, Joshlynn loves to spend time with their dog, read, and explore the outdoors. She is always looking for ways to make memories.
KATHLEEN HUTTON (She/Her), Co-Chief, Digital Communications
Kathleen proudly joined Civic Influencers to oversee its Digital Communications. Kathleen has over 18 years of experience in the communications, marketing and development departments at various non-profits. Prior to joining, she worked for the American Sustainable Business Network as its IT Director, DBA, CRM and CMS expert.
She believes that voting is a cornerstone characteristic for a functioning democracy and preserving rule of law. Kathleen lives by the ocean in Plymouth, MA with her husband Jim, daughter Helena, her dog Bella and tabby cat Mr. Angel.
KATRINA COUSINS (She/Her), Organizer At-Large
Katrina Cousins comes to Civic Influencers with over 15 years of diverse experience in non-profits focused on a range of social justice issues including eliminating homelessness in Baltimore, education and college access/equity, racial justice, environmental and climate justice, and women’s rights. Prior to joining Civic Influencers Katrina worked for the NAACP for over 7 years in progressively more advanced roles in the Environmental and Climate Justice Department and the Development Department. At NAACP Katrina balanced operations management, project coordination, and development with her ability to be an advocate and ally for those in need.
Katrina takes pride in engaging and creating trusting relationships with the community she fights for and is committed to life-long service to people and communities who need their voices to be heard. She will bring her diverse professional background to Civic Influencers and bring insights to all facets of non-profit events and fundraising.
Katrina loves traveling and spending time with her husband, two children and two fur babies. Katrina has a BA in Communications, Journalism, and Television Production from Shaw University in Raleigh NC.
LIAM HYSJULIEN (He/Him), Co-Chief, Learning
Liam Hysjulien received his B.A. in Sociology from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro and his Master’s in Environmental Sociology from the University of Tennessee. Before starting at Civic Influencers, Liam spent six years working in higher education as a Political Science program coordinator at the University of Tennessee and Duke University. Liam worked on developing and implementing voter-related service-learning initiatives that helped to empower students to become more civically engaged around issues of voter registration, voter awareness and voter education.
MARIA RENEE MORALES (She/Ella), Stakeholder Engagement Coordinator
Maria Renee is a Latina, bilingual (Spanish and English), social worker originally from Guatemala. She received her Bachelors from St Edward’s University and Masters from the University of Houston. She has always been an organizer and has worked with the Texas’ community since she moved to the USA in 2013, specifically with the Latinx community. She uses her cultural background, experience, and education to organize and mobilize young people to advance causes for the freedom and equality of BIPOC communities. Outside of her work in organizing, Maria Renee loves hanging out with her dogs, going on hikes, and exploring nature and new restaurants. She currently resides in Austin, Texas.
MICHAEL NORRIS (He/Him), Senior Special Projects Manager
Mike Norris spent ten years as the Associate Director of Florida Campus Compact prior to joining the staff of Civic Influencers. Mike is well known for his work with college and university faculty and staff throughout Florida on issues related to civic engagement. While at Florida Campus Compact, Mike started the Engaged Faculty Fellows program assisting faculty to redesign course curriculum to include service-learning and community-service components. Additionally, he is an adjunct professor of music theater at Tallahassee Community College. In his role as a Statewide Organizer in Florida, Mike supervises Civic Influencers in North and Central Florida and consults with staff to increase young people’s civic power throughout the state.
Originally from Arlington, Virginia, Mike holds the Bachelor of Music Education and Master of Music degrees from Samford University in Alabama. Prior to his work in the field of higher-education engagement, Mike held full-time positions as a music educator and church musician in Charlottesville, Virginia, and Tallahassee.
OLIVIA STEPHENS (She/Her), Experimental Design Data Manager
Olivia Stephens received her B.A. in Psychology from Berry College and her Masters of Science in Psychology from The University of Texas at San Antonio. Since undergrad, she has been passionate about Positive Youth Development and youth’s ability to have a positive impact on the world around them when the “adults in the room” give them the support and room to do so. Olivia is excited to be doing just that as a part of the Civic Influencers team. She brings six years of experience, combined, conducting research, analyzing data, and studying Positive Youth Development within both academic and non-profit sectors. Olivia loves to spend her free time with her boyfriend and their two dogs going on adventures, doing jigsaw puzzles, and binge-watching their latest obsession. She currently resides in Bryan, Texas, but will always call the Smoky Mountains of East Tennessee, where she grew up, home.
RACHAEL GAMBINO (She/Her), Chief of Staff
Rachael Gambino firmly believes that your vote is your voice. An innovative and results-oriented professional, she brings over eight years of fundraising, event planning, program development and volunteer management experience in both nonprofit and for-profit organizations to Civic Influencers. Prior to joining, she worked with The Andrew Goodman Foundation, a partner organization advancing youth civic engagement across the nation, and Rising Tide Capital, a nonprofit whose mission is to transform lives and communities through entrepreneurship. With a focus on strategic planning, an emphasis is placed on the maximization of resources, prioritization of team well-being and optimization of creativity.
Rachael currently resides in Pennsylvania with her husband and rescue dog Charlie. She received her Bachelors of Science in Communications from the State University of New York at Cortland. She is a proud alumni of the AmeriCorps VISTA program, serving two terms across the Northeast.
SADIYA KHAN (She/Her), Organizer At-Large