Danielle Alexander

Communications Director

Danielle is a former used bookstore owner and neighborhood organizer from rural Michigan. She moved to Oregon in 2017 and stumbled into Oregon politics by working as the Communications Director of the YES on Measure 101 campaign to protect health care access for Oregonians. She then served as the Director of Communications & Campaigns at Strategies 360 where she worked on many issues that impact caregivers and families, including universal preschool, abortion access, affordable housing and renters rights, lowering the price of prescription drugs, workers rights, and criminal justice reform.

When she’s not directing our communications campaigns, you’ll find Danielle writing, reading, bookmaking, and enjoying North Portland with her partner, toddler son, and brood of rescue pets.

Elisa Andrade

Regional Organizer, Salem

Elisa is a first generation immigrant from Mexico City, Mexico and has established deep roots in the U.S. Growing up in the small town of Silverton, Oregon her initial work in nonprofit was her involvement with Silverton Food Bank and Silverton Together as a young volunteer. Elisa has drawn inspiration from her mother’s involvement in the Latina farmworker and immigrant organization Mujeres Luchadoras Progresistas. An organization she holds dear to her hart to this day and one she continues to support as a lead member of the organization. Elisa has invested much of her time to serving immigrant families having worked for PCUN Service Center as a Partially Accredited Representative, approved by the Board of Immigration Appeals to represent immigrants before the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services. More recently she continues to assist low income families and immigrants in the Salem area as a Resource Navigator for Mano a Mano a sister organization of PCUN with in the CAPACES network. She is a proud mom of three: two boys 3 yr., 10 month old, and a 10 year old stepdaughter.

Sharon Bernstein

Co-Deputy Director

Sharon oversees our finances and operations, and provides support to our organizing program. She has more than 20 years of experience working in non-profits and education, with a focus on leadership development, equity, and social justice. Sharon was one of the original founders of Family Forward back in 2009 and has loved seeing the organization grow. When she's not working, Sharon loves to be out in nature as much as possible.

Kaitlin Gaffney

Policy & Campaigns Manager

Kaitlin brings to the political team over 15 years of experience working in federal politics and campaigns, including serving on Senator Merkley’s state team for a decade. Most recently, Kaitlin worked to pass Measure 26-214 Preschool for All, bringing universal preschool to Multnomah County.

Kaitlin comes to this work having experienced the difficulty of affording childcare while remaining in the workforce full time. She is a passionate advocate for racial, gender, and economic equity and is excited to work to advance policies and change systems to benefit and support mothers and caregivers. Kaitlin lives in Portland with her wife and their two boys.

Francisca Garfia

Bilingual Communications Manager

Francisca is originally from San Bernardino County in Southern California but has called Portland home for nearly a decade. She moved here to go to Reed College where she studied anthropology with a focus on indigenous language revitalization.

She’s since worked with the City of Portland and Causa, Oregon’s immigrants rights organization. She’s passionate about strategic planning, advocating for better social support systems, and for more equitable outcomes. She looks forward to bringing that drive to ensure all Oregonian families can thrive. Outside of work, Francisca is dedicated to increasing bike accessibility and making sure women of color are able to enjoy the outdoors.

Regan Gray

Child Care Policy Advisor

Regan Gray is the Child Care Policy Advisor for Family Forward. With 18 years of legislative experience in the Oregon State Legislature as staff, lobbyist and advocate, she has proven to be a strong leader on policies for women, children and families throughout her career. A native Oregonian and Portland State University graduate, Regan lives in Oak Grove with her partner and three young children.

Courtney Helstein

Sr. Political Director

Courtney brings nearly a decade of political and policy experience to the team. She led the lobby effort to pass the most inclusive paid family & medical leave and reproductive healthcare access policies in the nation. Courtney has also brought her valuable political experience to ballot initiatives, like No on 106: No Cuts to Care, and nearly a dozen candidate campaigns. She kickstarted her career with the Oregon Student Association executing a statewide, record-breaking non-partisan voter registration drive, and worked to pass groundbreaking legislation on tuition equity and justice reinvestment.

When she is not working or spending time with her husband and dogs, Courtney serves on the City of Portland Open & Accountable Elections Commission. She grew up in Southern Oregon but has called Portland home for over a decade. Courtney earned a B.A. from the University of Oregon.

Amy Hojnowski

Development Director

Amy Hojnowski joined the Family Forward Action and The Mother PAC board in 2013 and then joined staff in 2018. She brings to the organization two decades of advocacy experience on behalf of many progressive organizations like Sierra Club, Planned Parenthood, America Votes, MoveOn, National Environmental Trust, and Basic Rights Oregon. As a mom of two young kids, she believes that Oregon has the unique opportunity to create economic equality for all families if we center the needs of moms and women of color in our policymaking. Before becoming a mom, Amy and her husband visited 17 countries around the world and once spent 6 months traveling cross-country in their orange '77 Westy. Gender Pronouns: She/Her/Hers

Rae Jesequel

Operations Coordinator

Rae is mom to four kids, ages 7, 12, 18, and 21. She has been a single mom, a stay-at-home mom, and is currently a married, working mom. Her experiences with motherhood opened her eyes to the serious lack of systemic support in this country for caregivers, and she became involved in activism with many different organizations, finally devoting most of her time to Family Forward. She previously served as Board Chair for Family Forward Action, as well as two terms on the Mother PAC endorsement committee. When she is not smashing the patriarchy, she enjoys making art, getting tattooed, reading, weightlifting, and hanging out at the dog park with her German Shepherd puppy making new 4 legged friends.

Lisa Kwon

Policy Manager

Lisa was born in Seoul, Korea and grew up in Virginia, Hawai’i, and Portland, Oregon. As the daughter of an immigrant single mother, Lisa quickly realized the many barriers that exist for those without robust support systems. She comes to Family Forward with five years of experience advocating for racial/immigrant justice on local, state, and national levels.

In her previous role, Lisa served as a Legislative Director at the Oregon Capitol, working on policy related to child welfare, behavioral health, and incarcerated women. She is excited to bring her passion for grassroots organizing and knowledge of the legislative process together to help families of all backgrounds thrive. In her free time you can catch Lisa experimenting with new recipes or outdoors with her partner.

Nichi Linder

Digital Organizer and Data Manager

Nichi is a long-time feminist who believes strongly in the power of grassroots movement to create real social change in our communities. When women, particularly women of color, are lifted up, we all win. She has dedicated her professional career to creating positive change that betters the lives of Oregonians. With nearly a decade of experience in the reproductive rights & justice movement, Nichi is well-versed on what it takes to win. She’s an activist, a mother, an aspiring gardener, and a dedicated social justice warrior who knows learning never stops – and the fight for justice is worth it.

Andrea Paluso

Executive Director

Andrea is a social worker turned community activist and fervent policy wonk. She has worked in public education, community health clinics, and in international development. She has master’s degrees from Columbia University in social work and public health and a work history in public policy and nonprofit program management. Andrea hopes that our work will inspire and help parents, employers and policy-makers to create the kinds of policies that work for today’s families. Andrea is the mother of two kids, ages 6 and 8.

Kate Sharaf

Donor Engagement Manager

After nearly a decade as a stay at home parent, activist, and volunteer, Kate has a deep personal commitment to our mission and is excited to join the Family Forward team. Kate brings a wide breadth of experience in fundraising, organizing, and event production, and enjoys building relationships and finding ways to engage people in support of a mission. She particularly appreciates Family Forward’s intersectional, justice-oriented approach to change. Kate has a graduate degree in public policy and worked in Federal and State government on health care policy prior to having kids. She has two kids and enjoys gardening, camping, making pottery, and many other crafts.

Katrina Gonzalez Yuen

Co-Deputy Director

Katrina joined the Family Forward Oregon board in 2015 and served as Chair and Treasurer prior to joining the team in 2021. She is a human resources consultant focusing on nonprofit, small business, and start-up HR strategic planning and operations. She has 20 years of HR experience ranging from corporate global settings managing compensation and mobility internationally to creating award-winning start-up organizations with a focus on culture and workplace flexibility. Katrina lives in Portland with her husband and two school-aged children. She was born in the Philippines and spent her formative years in Corvallis, Oregon.