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Meet Team IMPACT

IMPACT Directors


Nina Smith


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

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State University, she 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 at the U.S. Small Business Administration as Deputy Press Secretary in 2012.

Brandon Andrews Full

Brandon Andrews


A communicator, digital strategist, and legislative specialist Brandon Andrews handled defense, technology, foreign relations, and small business issues as a legislative staffer

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 in the D.C. office of U.S. Senator for several years. Raised in Brewton, AL Brandon has served the D.C. area’s largest volunteer organization, Hands On/Greater DC Cares, as Project Manager and Strategic Outreach Committee member for several years. He served as political action chairman for the NAACP, DC Branch. DC Mayor Vincent C. Gray appointed Brandon to the Commission on National and Public Service where he shares responsibility for administration of funds appropriated to D.C. from the Department of Homeland Security and Corporation for National and Community Service.



Erica Butler

Press Secretary

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

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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.


Ashley Clingman-Jackson

Strategic Manager

Ashley Le’Nay Clingman-Jackson currently works at the Department of State as the Global Issues Senior Adviser in the Bureau of South and Central Asia. A graduate of American University’s School of International Studies,

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Ashley Le’Nay has worked at the Department of State since 2008 and has served in several capacities including: Policy Officer in the Caribbean Affairs Office; Executive Assistant in the Office of the Executive Secretariat; Assistant Public Affairs Officer and Legislative Affairs Liaison; and founding team member of the Countering Violent Extremism Policy and Programs Unit. She specializes in strategic communications and planning, strategy development, stakeholder management, policy analysis, and program design and management. In addition to her work in Foreign Policy, Ashley Le’Nay has been a long time member of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), previously serving as Membership Chair and President at the American University chapter and Youth Works Chair at the DC Branch.


Krystal Leaphart

Staff Assistant

Krystal Leaphart is an emerging civil rights leader. Born and raised in Detroit, Michigan, Krystal was able to learn the values of service and advocacy through organizations like the Detroit National

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Association for the Advancement of Colored People Youth Council and Top Teens of America. After ranking number one in her graduating high school class, she continued her education at Howard University in Washington, D.C. Ms. Leaphart serves as president of the Howard University Chapter of the NAACP. She is currently pursuing a degree in Legal Communications. Krystal has interned for Rep. John Conyers, Jr. (D-MI) and the NAACP at the Washington, D.C. Bureau. Krystal will attend law school and pursue a career in human and civil rights law.


Tyrik McKeiver

Special Project Manager

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.

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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, Mr. McKeiver has a breadth of knowledge as it relates to public policy development, oversight, and implementation.

In his capacity on Capitol Hill, Tyrik handled a wide range of issues to improve coordination of Federal, State, local, and Tribal governments in planning for, responding to, and communicating during manmade and natural disasters.

IMPACT Founders


Adria Crutchfield

A native of Indianapolis, Indiana, Adria Crutchfield began living and working in Washington, D.C. in January 2005 for Congressman G.K. Butterfield (NC-01) as the health care legislative assistant. After

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nearly one year, she was asked to join the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) as the Director of Special Projects. Ms. Crutchfield now serves as an Obama Appointee to the Department of Housing and Urban Development. A graduate of Washington University in St. Louis, she fills her spare time through social justice-related community activism, running, reading, and activities with family and friends.


Ryan M. Scott

Ryan Scott is a native of Johnstown, Pennsylvania and a graduate of Allegheny College. Ryan served as a Financial Advisor at Merrill Lynch where he worked with a team called the Washington Renaissance

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Group. Their focus areas included financial planning, estate planning, insurance and annuities, and business planning. Currently, Ryan leads various financial workshops for several young professional organizations as the COO of Jade Private Wealth Management. Ryan also serves as a mentor for the Hoop Dreams Scholarship Program, preparing high school seniors for college.

You may contact Ryan Scott via email at


Semhar Araia

Semhar Araia is the founder and executive director of the Diaspora African Women’s Network (DAWN), an organization that develops and supports the next generation of African diaspora women

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focused on African affairs. She is also an adjunct professor at the University of Minnesota, specializing on the Horn of Africa, US-Africa foreign policy, conflict resolution and international development. A lawyer by training, Semhar worked for the US Congress, The Elders, the Obama-Biden Presidential Transition Team and the 2000 Eritrea-Ethiopia peace process. She is a White House Champion of Change and African Union Diaspora Awardee, recognized for her contributions in the Africa diaspora community. Semhar is a graduate of the University of Saint Thomas and Marquette Law School and was born in New York City to Eritrean immigrant parents.


Angela Rye, Esq.

Angela Rye is a Principal at IMPACT Strategies and political strategist. She most recently served as the Executive Director/General Counsel for the Congressional Black Caucus. She has been

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featured on MSNBC, TV One, BET, C-Span as well as 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 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 Washington, D.C., Rye co-founded IMPACT, an organization that seeks to encourage young professionals in three core areas: economic empowerment, civic engagement, and political involvement. The seven-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 predominantly 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.

You may contact Angela Rye via email at


Joe D. Briggs, Esq.

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

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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 the first person 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 Briggs via email at

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