YWA 2017 Finalists: Politics & Campaigns
A woman who engages in politics to promote pro-choice, Democratic values. Nominees in this category may have worked on a campaign or for a political official or organization.
Recognized by the White House as a Champion of Change and a Forbes 30 Under 30 Honoree, Jamira Burley is the essence of perseverance. With over a decade of experience as a human rights defender, community and youth engagement strategist, she is dedicated to reshaping communities and disrupting the status quo. Coming from a family, where both of her parents and twelve of her thirteen brothers have been incarcerated, Jamira’s advocacy is very personal. As the first of 16 children to graduate from high school and pursue higher education, she is a Temple University graduate, with a BA in International Business, Legal Studies. Formally, she’s developed and implemented community engagement strategies on a range of issues — for the City of Philadelphia, Department of Justice, Amnesty International USA, United Nations and Hillary for America. Driven by her own personal experiences, she hopes to provide unique insight into engaging impacted communities and create opportunities for shared leadership, that will help actualize the change we all so desperately need.
Shola is a location-independent social entrepreneur whose career has spanned the public and private spheres. After earning her MA in Public Policy and International Law, Shola worked at a brand management and marketing firm in Paris. She then dove into policy with the Obama Administration’s National Economic Council. Following her stint at the White House, Shola spent a year and a half on the business side of POLITICO. Most recently, she served as a Regional Director for the Clinton Campaign in Michigan. Alongside her co-founders at Tuesday Strategies, Shola is working to increase Millennial civic engagement and voter turnout. A graduate of the University of Chicago, Shola can usually be found either digging clams with local fishermen or nibbling caviar with foreign dignitaries.
Kiara Pesante Haughton
Kiara Pesante Haughton is the Communications Director for the Democrats on the U.S. House of Representatives’ Committee on Education and the Workforce, where she is one of the youngest senior staffers in the chamber’s Democratic leadership. Working with Ranking Member Rep. Bobby Scott (VA-03), she advances an agenda that strengthens working families and creates opportunity for all Americans, including policies to close the achievement gaps in K-12 education, expand access to Pell Grants and make college more affordable, reforming the juvenile justice system, raising the minimum wage, providing paid sick and family leave for all workers, and more.
Before her current role, Pesante Haughton served as the Southern Regional Press Secretary and National Director of African American Media for the Democratic National Committee during the 2014 election cycle. While there, she led the Party’s media relations and strategic engagement efforts in 11 states and communities of color nationwide, working closely with state parties and more than 40 candidates and campaigns. Prior to that, she was a battleground states radio and TV booker for the 2012 Democratic National Convention, and Communications Director for D.C. Councilmember Mary Cheh and the District’s Committee on Transportation and the Environment. While there, she was a senior adviser who played an integral role in the campaigns to expand bike lanes, ridesharing applications, Car2Go, the D.C. Circulator, and other transportation services throughout the city. She has also served in various roles at Edelman Public Relations, the Congressional Black Caucus, and the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute.
Pesante Haughton earned her Master’s in Public Administration from Howard University, and her bachelor’s degree in Journalism from Auburn University.
A first generation Jamaican-American born and raised in Maryland, Laurie-Anne Sayles is a Public Health Policy professional who melds the world of health policy and communications to develop sustainable solutions in response to issues affecting diverse communities.
Laurie-Anne earned a Bachelor’s of Science degree from the University of Maryland, College Park School of Public Health and a Master’s in Public Administration from the University of Baltimore School of Public Affairs. Laurie-Anne’s professional experience includes work at the National Institutes of Health’s (NIH) – National Cancer Institute (NCI), as a Scientific Communications Editor, and a stint as a Constituent Liaison for the campaign to elect U.S. Senator Chris Van Hollen. Prior to that, Laurie-Anne spent two years as a Research Fellow at the University of Baltimore’s William D. Schaeffer Center for Public Policy.
For Laurie-Anne, the motto “Committed to Community | Dedicated to Progress” is more than a slogan – it’s how she lives. Laurie-Anne was inspired to pursue public service by the teachings of her parents and the historical Presidential campaign of then Senator Barack Obama. It was during his historic run that Laurie-Anne became an Obama fellow, and as a result a tireless volunteer and advocate was born. Laurie-Anne would eventually pursue a challenging, yet ultimately unsuccessful runs for MD State Delegate, representing Rockville and Gaithersburg and most recently, running as a City Council candidate for the City of Gaithersburg municipal election in 2015, coming within 300 votes short of a victory.
In 2010, Laurie-Anne was appointed by County Executive Isiah Leggett to the Montgomery County Community Action Board (the County’s anti-poverty advocacy board); now representing Gaithersburg. As a long-serving member of the PTA and NAACP Parent Council Liaison for the Gaithersburg High School community, Laurie-Anne has advocated for smaller class sizes, school construction funding and access to career preparedness education. Laurie-Anne is also past President of the Association of Black Democrats, an organization focused on increasing civic engagement in underrepresented communities. Currently serving her first term on the City of Gaithersburg’s Economic and Business Development Committee, focusing on finding ways to encourage business expansion, promote investment in older commercial areas, and support smart growth and development initiatives. Laurie-Anne previously served as an appointed member of the Gaithersburg Education Enrichment Committee, which helps to meet the diverse educational needs of City students attending schools in Gaithersburg.
Laurie-Anne’s interests include public speaking, volunteering, traveling, cooking, and supporting equitable and just policies. She lives in Gaithersburg, MD with her husband Julian, and their daughter Mikaylah.