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Justin Tanner, IMPACT Director

August 15, 2014 | By | No Comments



Justin Tanner - IMPACT DirectorJustin G. Tanner currently serves as a political appointee in the Obama Administration at the U.S. Small Business Administration, where he works to assist thousands of small businesses throughout the country with various government contracting and business development initiatives.

Prior to accepting his appointment, Mr. Tanner worked in external affairs for Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed, where he helped cultivate and maintain the City of Atlanta’s relationships at the state, local and federal levels of government. In the first two years of the mayor’s initial term, Mr. Tanner worked as a communications aide in the Mayor’s Office of Communications; and before joining City Hall, he served as Director of New Media on Mayor Reed’s 2009 citywide campaign and 2010 Inaugural Planning Committee. He has also gained experience in the private sector working with corporate law firms, Fortune 100 companies and small/medium-sized businesses.

Mr. Tanner is passionate about public service, mentoring young people and supporting the community. He is the recipient of the National Bar Association (NBA)’s Maynard Jackson Legacy Award, the NBA’s Trailblazer Under 40 Award and the Morehouse Alumni Association’s Dr. Joseph Draper Service Award. In addition, he has been profiled in the Atlanta Business Chronicle (40 Under 40), Atlanta Tastemaker Magazine (Top 20 Influencers of 2013), Atlanta Tribune: The Magazine (2013 Young Executive Issue), emPower magazine (2014 List of Rising Political Leaders) and Who’s Who in Black Atlanta (14th & 15th Editions). He a graduate of Leadership Buckhead, LEAD Atlanta, Outstanding Atlanta, New Leaders Council (NLC) Atlanta and the Truman National Security Project. He also serves as an ambassador on NLC’s National Strategic Advisory Council.

Mr. Tanner received his J.D. from Vanderbilt University Law School in Nashville, TN and his B.B.A. from Howard University in Washington, DC. While matriculating at Howard, he became a member of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc.– Alpha Chapter.


31 Aug


Dr. Marcus Coleman

August 31, 2012 | By |

Political Research Fellow

Dr. Marcus Coleman (B.A., University of Southern Mississippi; M.A., University of Kentucky; Ph.D., University of Georgia) received a Ph.D. in Political Communication from the University of Georgia in May of 2012.  During his time in graduate school, Dr. Coleman co-authored and authored publications, interned for the House Committee on Homeland Security, presented his research annually at national conferences, and taught an array of communication courses at the University of Georgia.

Dr. Coleman is a well-rounded scholar who uses qualitative methods, quantitative methods, and policy analysis to produce research regarding civic participation. Overall, his work investigates the civic relationship between African-Americans and the United States.  Theoretically, Dr. Coleman’s research combines elements of political science, cultural studies, interpersonal communication, and socio-psychology.

Dr. Coleman approaches Political Communication as a pragmatist evidenced by his commitment to interdisciplinary works.  In his dissertation, entitled “Black patriotism: A speculative inquiry”, he offers a critical-qualitative analysis of how patriotism is articulated among African Americans, within the context of the United States having its first non-Anglo-Saxon president, Barack Obama.

Dr. Coleman is currently analyzing the impact of photo identification requirements on African-Americans in battleground states. In addition, he has also assessed the potential impact of Mississippi’s photo ID measure on minority would be voters in Mississippi’s 2nd Congressional District.

Marcus Coleman, Ph.D. is currently a Research Fellow in the Civic Engagement and Governance Institute at the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies.  His research interests include voting identification legislation, patriotism as civic engagement, and political ideology.

Professional Associations

National Communication Association


Mary Frances Early Leadership Award, University of Georgia, awarded for 2009-2010

Student Government Association-Senator, University of Georgia,

All-Campus Allocation Committee, 2009-2010

University of Georgia Teaching Assistantship, awarded for 2007-2012

Lyman T. Johnson Fellow, The University of Kentucky, awarded for 2004-2005

University of Southern Mississippi Hall of Fame Inductee, University of Southern Mississippi, awarded 2004

Ronald E. McNair Postbaccalaureate Scholar, University of Southern Mississippi, awarded 2003

Published Works:

Harris, T. M. & Coleman, M. (2010). A Cultural Framework for Understanding Behavior Genetics. In Maria A. Osborne (Ed.) Advances in Genetics Research, (1). Nova Science Publishers, Inc.

Coleman, M. (2011). African-American self-reliance.  In Alberto Gonzalez, Marsha Houston, & Victoria Chen (Eds.). Our Voices: Essays in culture, ethnicity, and communication (5th ed). Roxbury Publishing Company.  Selected


Coleman, M (2012). “Black Patriotism”, presenter, National Communication Association.

Coleman, M (2010). “African-American political reorientation to the United States: Communicating change”, presenter, Interdisciplinary Conference, Athens, GA,

31 Aug


Tyrik McKeiver

August 31, 2012 | By |

Special Project Manager (Political Involvement)
Tyrik “Ty” McKeiver is currently a graduate school candidate at Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs (SIPA) focusing on international affairs and management.
Prior to his graduate studies, he worked in Washington, D.C. for several years in the Executive and Legislative branches of government and in the private sector. As a former congressional staffer and policy advisor for Senator Bill Nelson and the House of Representatives Committee on Homeland Security under the leadership of Chairman Bennie G. Thompson, he has a breadth of knowledge as it relates to public policy development, oversight, and implementation. In his capacity on Capitol Hill, Ty handled a wide range of issues to improve coordination of Federal, State, local, and Tribal governments in planning for, responding to, and communicating during man-made and natural disasters.

Ty has also worked to implement homeland security provisions and enhance stakeholder engagement in the Executive Branch during his tenure at the Transportation Security Administration within the Department of Homeland Security. Rounding out his years in Washington, D.C., Ty specialized in strategy management consulting at SRA International, Inc. -Touchstone Consulting Group and among other things, reported to top executives on national security initiatives and successfully co-led a proposal writing team to enhance business development for the firm’s homeland security unit.

Ty is a native of Rochester, New York and earned a Bachelors of Arts in International Relations from Florida International University in Miami. He is a member of Holy Comforter-Saint Cyprian Catholic Church in Washington, D.C.

16 Aug


Joe Briggs, Esq. IMPACT Founder and Director

August 16, 2012 | By |

Born and raised in Dundee, Florida, Joe Briggs was a scholarship athlete at Texas Christian University earning three varsity letters as a committed student leader on campus. After working in corporate America for a few years, Mr. Briggs transitioned into education as the Special Assistant to the President of Florida A&M University while also pursuing a master’s degree at the same institution as a State University System Fellow. Once he completed his master’s degree, Mr. Briggs decided to further his education goals once again at the Florida State University College of Law earning his juris doctorate in 2006.

During his time in law school, Mr. Briggs was employed as a law clerk by the top tier public finance firm Bryant Miller Olive and was also selected as a United States Senate Legal Extern. Mr. Briggs also completed two years of national leadership on the National Black Law Students Association Executive Board while also serving as a Lieutenant Governor in the ABA Law Student Division, Vice President of the Student Bar Association and as a member of his law school trial team.

After the completion of his externship as a US Senate Legal Fellow, Mr. Briggs was hired by the NFL Players Association to manage their Financial Programs Department. Currently, he is the Public Policy Counsel of the NFLPA and first individual to lead the NFLPA Government Relations Department. Mr. Briggs is also a professor at Georgetown University and often speaks on subjects ranging from politics to sports and everything in between. You may contact Joe via email at

15 Aug


Nina Smith, Deputy Director

August 15, 2012 | By |


Nina Smith is currently the Publicist for The, the nation’s premier source of news, culture and commentary for thought leaders of color.  Having received her B.A. in Political Science from Morgan State University, Nina worked for the MD Democratic Party during the 2006 cycle. For the next four years, Nina worked for Governor Martin O’Malley in his communications office, coordinating media events, conducting strategic communications and stakeholder management. Later, Nina left Maryland state government to work on faith and nonprofit issues for Prince George’s County Executive Rushern Baker’s office. Nina went on to receive a presidential appointment to the Obama Administration working at the U.S. Small Business Administration as Deputy Press Secretary in 2012. You may contact Nina via email at

15 Aug


Erica Butler, IMPACT Press Secretary

August 15, 2012 | By |


Erica Butler, an alumna of Florida A&M University, received her B.A. in Broadcast Journalism. Erica has interned on Capitol Hill working for former Congressman Albert Wynn and current Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton. Erica also interned at the U.S. Department of Education for a span of three years. As a journalist, Erica has contributed to numerous media outlets including Loop21, CBS, and NBC News.  She is a member of the National Association of Black Journalists, the National Urban League, and Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. You may contact Erica  via email at

15 Aug


Brandon Andrews, IMPACT Director

August 15, 2012 | By |


A communicator, digital strategist, and legislative specialist Brandon Andrews handled defense, technology, foreign relations, and small business issues as a legislative staffer in the D.C. office of U.S. Senator for several years. As designated staff for the markup of the National Defense Authorization Act he authored amendments on a variety of topics, including prosthetics, supply routes, adaptive sports, cyber security, social media, unmanned systems, and PTSD/TBI.

Brandon worked as a consultant assisting disruptive and social impact organizations with digital strategy, online advocacy, and navigating the federal system. Brandon served as Interim Executive Director of INSIGHT America. He spent 5 years in the U.S. Senate where he handled technology, small business, and defense policy. He also worked on the digital team of the 57th Presidential Inaugural Committee. In the community, Brandon served as the Political Action Committee chair of the NAACP’s Washington, DC branch. As Director of IMPACT he manages web content and civic engagement.

Brandon assisted in planning the first My Brother’s Keeper Data Jam and is working on a web application – SkillTarget – that was developed at the event. He was appointed to the D.C. Commission for National and Community Service by the Mayor of Washington, D.C., where he currently serves at Vice-Chair.

Brandon’s provides commentary on policy, politics, and technology. He has been featured on TVOne, CCTV America, BBC, NPR, Fox News, and other outlets.

You may contact Brandon via email at

15 Aug


Semhar Araia, IMPACT Founder

August 15, 2012 | By |


Semhar Araia is Oxfam International’s Horn of Africa regional advisor and an original founder of IMPACT. Semhar has an international law background and specializes in conflict resolution, international human rights, development and peacebuilding in Africa. She recently served as a member on the Obama-Biden Presidential Transition Team and has extensive prior experience working as a foreign policy staffer in US Congress, as an Africa analyst for The Elders ( and as an attorney on the implementation of the 2000 Eritrea-Ethiopia peace agreement. Semhar is also the founder and Executive Director of the Diaspora African Women’s Network (DAWN), an organization whose mission is to develop talented women and girls of the African diaspora, provide them with opportunites related to Africa and promote community service in minority and immigrant neighborhoods. She has been featured as a guest speaker in various media outlets and to schools, universities, and other audiences on effective advocacy and campaign organizing strategies for Africa.

15 Aug


Angela Rye, Esq. Founder and Director

August 15, 2012 | By |



Angela Rye is one of the most dynamic young leaders on Capitol Hill.  She has been featured in The Root 100, MSNBC’s “BLTWY Power List: 35 Under 35 Who Changed DC”, the Washington Post’s “Who Runs Gov”, and recognized as one of DC’s Most Influential, among others.  Ms. Rye currently serves as the Executive Director and General Counsel to the Congressional Black Caucus.  In her role a s executive director, Rye is tasked with developing the overall legislative and political strategy for the caucus.

Most recently, she served as Senior Advisor and Counsel to the House Committee on Homeland Security under the leadership of Congressman Bennie G. Thompson, Chairman.  There she was charged with developing the general political strategy for the Committee with a focus on assisting disenfranchised, small minority owned businesses.

Upon moving to the Nation’s Capital, Rye co-founded IMPACT (, an organization that seeks to encourage young professionals in three core areas: economic empowerment, civic engagement, and political involvement.  The five year-old organization has quickly become a powerful voice and advocate for today’s young professionals of color nationwide.  Rye continues to serve as IMPACT’s Director of Strategic Partnerships.  During her tenure with the organization, IMPACT has formed partnerships with the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation, Rainbow PUSH’s Wall Street Project, Young & Powerful, Congressional Black Caucus Political Education and Leadership Institute, Black Leadership Forum, and others.

Rye began her career in legislative advocacy upon graduating from Seattle University School of Law, at the National Association for Equal Opportunity in Higher Education (NAFEO), which is the umbrella association for the Nation’s 120 historically and predominately black colleges and universities on Capitol Hill and with the Executive Branch.  At NAFEO, she served as the Coordinator of Advocacy and Legislative Affairs. Prior to NAFEO, Rye had the privilege of serving as a Legal Extern in Congresswoman Maxine Waters’ Los Angeles office. While working in the district office, Rye learned about legislative procedure and organization, as well as developed favorable public policy for constituents, and assisted in the mobilization and organization of community members to make a difference locally.

Rye also served as the Western Region Director for the National Black Law Students Association (NBLSA) where she managed and supervised the Western Region Executive Board.  Formerly the Legislative Affairs Chair of the Greater Washington Area Chapter (GWAC) for the Women’s Law Division of the NBA, Rye is committed to shoring up efforts to increase knowledge of the political processes for her colleagues and peers. Rye’s reputation for advocacy led to her recent appointment to the American Bar Association’s Government Affairs Committee, where she serves as the YLD Liaison. She is also Vice Chair of the National Bar Association Young Lawyers Division.

Born and raised in Seattle, Washington, Rye learned the importance of advocacy through her family’s political and community activism. She now resides in Bowie, Maryland and is a member of Reid Temple AME Church.

15 Aug


Sarah Misailidis, IMPACT Communications Director

August 15, 2012 | By |


Sarah Misailidis is currently a PR manager at a Washington, D.C. firm. With press experience in both the private sector and in government, she has provided guidance, with regard to messaging opportunities, for attorneys as well as members of Congress. Sarah received a B.A. in English at the University of Virginia and is working toward obtaining a Master’s degree in Communications from The Johns Hopkins University. Sarah is also a member of Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Inc.

You may contact Sarah via email at