Advisory Board

Our Advisory Board members are established young leaders in government, research, and youth advocacy who bring a wealth of knowledge about the challenges young adults are facing. As experts in their respective fields, the advisory board members serve as strategic partners, providing professional expertise and guidance to develop the Institute’s research priorities, to define a policy agenda that invests in young adults, and to broaden our network of youth organizers working to enact social change.

Octavia Abell Headshot

Octavia Abell

Co-Founder & Chief Executive Officer, Govern for America

Octavia Abell is the Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Govern For America (GFA), a nonprofit working to build the next generation of public sector leaders by connecting diverse and dynamic recent graduates to high-impact roles in state government and supporting them to become government change agents. She is a member of the Forbes 30 Under 30 Class of 2020 and a Justice Catalyst Fellow. Prior to launching GFA, Octavia served as the Director of Strategy for the Rhode Island Office of Innovation where she led efforts to build government effectiveness and catalyze innovation across Rhode Island. Some of her landmark initiatives include: crafting the CS4RI initiative to bring computer science education to every K-12 public school in the state, spearheading a redesign of the state’s digital presence, and launching the Government Innovation League, a leadership development program for Rhode Island state employees. Octavia previously served on Governor Gina Raimondo’s policy team and believes strongly that individuals can be powerful change agents within complex systems. She holds a BA in Political Economy and International Development from Tulane University.

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Anmol Chaddha headshot

Anmol Chaddha

Research Director, Equitable Futures Lab, Institute for the Future

Anmol Chaddha leads the Equitable Futures Lab at the Institute for the Future in Palo Alto, CA, which develops solutions to the problems of social inequality in response to ongoing economic and technological transformations. He is currently coordinating the California Future of Work Commission created by Governor Gavin Newsom to develop a broad agenda to promote economic equity in California. Anmol has extensive policy and social science research experience in economic inequality, racial inequality, low-wage work and job quality, debt and wealth. He previously developed policy and research at the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston on the problems of economic inequality. At the Fed, he established an initiative to improve the quality of jobs in low-wage industries, led quantitative research on racial wealth inequality, and examined the rising debt burdens of low-income families. He has been a visiting scholar at the Stanford Center on Poverty and Inequality and the African Centre for Cities at the University of Cape Town in South Africa. Anmol holds a PhD from Harvard University, where he was a Fellow in the Multidisciplinary Program in Inequality and Social Policy at the Kennedy School of Government, and a BA from the University of California, Berkeley.

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Josh Fryday

Chief Service Officer, California Volunteers

Josh Fryday was appointed California’s Chief Service Officer by Governor Newsom to lead service, volunteer and civic engagement efforts throughout California. Fryday is a military veteran and the former Mayor of Novato, his hometown. He also served as President of Golden State Opportunity (GSO), leading on the expansion and implementation of the California Earned Income Tax Credit (CalEITC) and other programs to provide financial security to millions of low-income working people in California. Prior to GSO, he served as Chief Operating Officer (COO) for NextGen Climate, a leading national organization focused on climate change and clean energy. Fryday served in the military as an Officer in the United States Navy (‘09-‘13) as a member of the Judge Advocate General’s Corps (JAG). He was stationed in the Office of Military Commissions, working on the Guantanamo Bay, Cuba detainee cases, and testified before the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee on the closing of Guantanamo. He also served overseas in Yokosuka, Japan, where he augmented the Navy’s 7th Fleet’s Humanitarian Aid and Disaster Relief efforts during ‘Operation Tomodachi’ following the 2011 earthquake, tsunami, and nuclear disaster. Fryday received his law degree from UC Berkeley School of Law, and clerked in the US Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of California, as well as the San Francisco District Attorney’s Office for then District Attorney Kamala Harris. He also received his undergraduate degree in Political Science and Philosophy from the University of California, Berkeley, graduating Phi Beta Kappa with highest honors. He later served on the UC Berkeley Alumni Board of Directors (06-09), where he co-founded the Equity Scholarship to increase diversity on the UC Berkeley Campus. He is a former fellow with the Truman National Security Project, former Term Member of the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR), and was a proud volunteer in the Dominican Republic with the Amigos De Las Americas Program. He currently serves as Board Chair for Demos, a national think-tank focused on issues of democracy and economic equality. Josh is married to Mollye Fryday, a public school teacher, and they have three energetic young boys, Shay, Calvin and Tam.

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Jesús Guzmán

Policy Program Associate in the Research to Action Lab at the Urban Institute

Jesús Guzmán is a policy program associate in the Research to Action Lab at the Urban Institute, where he works to improve financial well-being and advance upward economic mobility. For over 10 years, Guzmán has advanced both local programmatic and large-scale policy solutions to improve economic outcomes for Latinos, immigrants, and marginalized communities. At Corazón Healdsburg, he worked with community partners in building a countywide coalition to launch the first guaranteed basic income pilot serving low-income families with young children. Previously, Guzmán managed the Alliance for Boys and Men of Color at PolicyLink’s research and data initiatives – a network with over 100 community-based partners – working to advance race and gender justice by transforming policies. Guzmán holds a master’s degree in public policy from the Goldman School at UC Berkeley. 
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Jessica Morse Headshot

Jessica Morse

Deputy Secretary for Forest Resource Management, California Natural Resources Agency

Jessica Morse is the Deputy Secretary for Forest Resources Management at the California Natural Resources Agency. In her role, she is working to increase the pace and scale of forest restoration and vegetation treatment to make Californians wildfire resilient.

Prior to joining Governor Newsom’s administration, Jessica spent nearly ten years in National Security working for the Defense Department, State Department and the US Agency for International Development. Her assignments included a year and a half in Baghdad, Iraq, as well as tours in India, Myanmar, and US Pacific Command.

Throughout her career she designed and executed innovative strategies across agencies and governments, including a strategy using renewable energy technology transfer as a catalyst for US defense engagement with India.

Jessica is a 5th generation Northern Californian. She and her family still own and manage their original homestead forestland in the Sierra foothills. Jessica is an outdoor enthusiast and can be found backpacking, skiing and fishing throughout the Sierra. She even hiked 500 miles of the Pacific Crest Trail.

Ms. Morse holds a Masters of Public Affairs from Princeton University and a Bachelor of Arts in economics from Principia College.

In 2018, Morse ran for U.S. Congress in California’s 4th Congressional District.

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Hinnaneh Qazi

Finance Budget Analyst, Health and Human Services, California Department of Finance

Hinnaneh Qazi is a budget analyst at the California Department of Finance. In her role at the Department, Hinnaneh conducts fiscal and policy analysis for Medi-Cal, the state’s Medicaid program which provides health care for nearly 13 million low-income Californians. Hinnaneh’s career has been dedicated to advancing greater racial, political, economic, and health equity through policy research, data analysis, and advocacy. Prior to joining the Department of Finance, Hinnaneh served as a policy consultant for the California Health in All Policies Task Force, analyzing racial pay inequities across the state’s civil service workforce. Her research helped inform strategies to tackle racial and gender disparities in the state and has supported racial equity capacity-building in Sacramento. Hinnaneh also served as an analyst for the Berkeley Institute for Young Americans from 2016 to 2018, where she conducted research exploring the rise and causal factors of anxiety disorder among young adults.

From 2013 to 2016, Hinnaneh worked for California Common Cause, one of the state’s leading democracy reform nonprofits. At California Common Cause, Hinnaneh supported campaigns to curb the influence of money in U.S. politics and increase access to the ballot box, and helped institute a Young Activist Program for student activists.

Hinnaneh received a Master of Public Policy from UC Berkeley’s Goldman School of Public Policy in 2018 and a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from UCLA in 2013.

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Solana Rice headshot

Solana Rice

Co-Founder and Co-Executive Director, Liberation in a Generation

Solana Rice is a dedicated advocate aiming to shape the most vibrant, inclusive, and sustainable economy this country has seen. As Co-Founder and Co-Executive Director of Liberation in a Generation, she is using her over a decade of focus on building wealth and financial security for low-income families to create an inspiring vision of our economy, shaped by a vibrant network of political organizing groups and advocates. This is all in the service of advancing a bold policy agenda that makes achieving economic liberation for people of color within a generation possible. 

Prior to starting Liberation in a Generation, Solana was Director of State & Local Policy at Prosperity Now where, under her leadership, she built strong advocacy partnerships with organizations in the field and advanced dozens of policies in nearly half the states in the nation. Prior to joining Prosperity Now, Solana served as a director for financial security initiatives at PolicyLink. Solana has a Master’s in City Planning from MIT, where she researched the integration of individual development accounts into community development services. She holds a B.A. in architecture from Washington University in St. Louis.

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Zac Townsend

Associate Partner, McKinsey & Co

Zac Townsend is an Associate Partner at McKinsey & Company. Zac is a leader in McKinsey’s banking practice with a focus on financial technology and digital business building. Zac has split his career between government service and fintech companies. He was most recently the inaugural Chief Data Officer of California and earlier served as the head of innovation and CTO of the City of Newark, NJ under Mayor Cory Booker.

A graduate of Y Combinator, the startup accelerator, he built banking startup Standard Treasury, which he ultimately sold to Silicon Valley Bank. For his work he was named to Forbes 30 Under 30 list for Enterprise Technology. He was also an early employee at Stripe and Gusto.

He has held academic affiliations with Stanford University Social-X program, Harvard’s Berkman Center for Internet and Society, and NYU’s Center for the Promotion of Research Involving Innovative Statistical Methodology (PRIISM).

Zac serves on the board of the San Francisco Symphony and previously served on the boards of Bayes Impact, a data science not-for-profit, and Alternative Family Services, a Bay Area foster and adoption agency. He is a published statistician and his writing has appeared in the American Banker, Financial Times, San Francisco Chronicle, San Francisco Examiner, San Jose Mercury News, Slate, and TechCrunch.

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Ben Wessel Headshot

Ben Wessel

Executive Director, NextGen America

Ben Wessel is the Executive Director of NextGen America, which fights for progressive change by growing and wielding the grassroots power of young people in elections. In this role, Ben works to elect candidates who support progressive policies with a focus on mobilizing the voters who care most the issues: young people. NextGen works across 11 states, focusing on elections from President to state legislature. Prior to being named Executive Director of NextGen in July 2019, Ben worked in various roles at the organization including in the organizing, digital, and political departments starting in 2014. Before NextGen, Ben worked for Cory Booker’s campaign for US Senate in New Jersey, as the Political Campaigns Manager for Action, and as the Youth Vote Director for President Obama’s reelection campaign in New Hampshire. In 2016, Ben was named one of the “16 Young Americans Shaping the 2016 Election” by Rolling Stone magazine. He is a board member of the Alliance for Youth Action and a native of Washington, DC. He lives in San Francisco.

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