Nominated by their peers, CampaignTech Innovators work in the fields of technology, campaigns, advocacy and government and have developed a legacy of innovation and collaboration using technology to inform, enable and engage voters and constituents on behalf of a political or issue advocacy campaign or legislative office. Winners of the award all demonstrate a visionary approach to the future of digital politics and advocacy.
Individuals in the following categories can be honored with a CampaignTech Innovator Award:
• Campaign Innovator – Individuals with a legacy of innovative outreach on the digital campaign trail
• Advocacy Innovator – Individuals who apply their strategic technological minds to issue advocacy
• Capitol Hill Innovator – Individuals in Congressional offices who use technology to communicate with constituents and craft public policy
• Candidate Innovator – Individuals whose vision while running for office led their campaigns to use technology in an open, interactive way to inform/engage voters
• Nonpartisan/International Innovator – Individuals who have made an impact digitally in the nonpartisan world or internationally
CampaignTech Innovators are honored every year in April at CampaignTech. Profiles of past winners are below.
2012 CAMPAIGNTECH INNOVATORS
Serenety Hanley: Vice President, Grassroots Targeting
Serenety had the honor of serving President George W. Bush as the first woman to hold the title of White House Internet Director as well as the Director of the Office of Web Communications at the Environmental Protection Agency. Previously, she was the first Director of Political Technology at the Republican National Committee where she developed and managed innovative and first of its kind political technology projects, including the award-winning GOPTeamLeader.com volunteer website which was the first "gamified" political web site that awarded points for recognition and redemption.
Jason Rosenbaum: Senior Online Campaign Director, Progressive Change Campaign Committee (PCCC)
Jason is co-founder of the blog The Seminal. Now, at the PCCC, he helped draft Elizabeth Warren into the race for Senate (MA) and helped House campaigns around the country run great new media programs in 2012. He has also aided on issues such as net neutrality, SOPA, and protecting Medicare and Social Security at the PCCC.
Tom Serres: Founder/CEO, Rally.org
As Founder and CEO of Rally.org, Tom is building one of the largest fundraising apparatuses in the world. His product serves 11,000 organizations across the United States and abroad and operates on two continents. Tom was awarded a 40 under 40 award by the New Leaders Council in 2010 and a Reed Award by Campaigns & Electionsmagazine for Most Innovative Product in 2012.
Stuart Trevelyn: CEO, NGP VAN
Stu led the vision for the NGP VAN’s innovative new Social Organizing tool, which allows supporters of a campaign to match their Facebook friends to the voter file. This way, a campaign can create target universes and supporters can use web-based tools like a Virtual Phone Bank to engage their friends in that universe. Following the NGP VAN merger, Stu led the launch of NGP VAN’s new Accelerator digital product, which is now the most widely used website platform among Democratic candidates.
Charlie Harper: Editor, Peach Pundit
Charlie's blog, Peach Pundit, is the largest in the state of Georgia and is read on a regular basis by elected officials, political junkies, and the mainstream media. The blog fights for changes to Georgia’s political ethics laws. As part of this, Peach Pundit helped uncover a corrupt Speaker of Georgia’s House, which ultimately resulted in his resignation. The Fix has listed Peach Pundit on its list of influential blogs.
Katie Harbath: Manager for Public Policy, Facebook
As the liaison for candidates and elected officials at Facebook, Katie is helping to bring the newest Facebook tools to campaigns. Katie regularly works with campaigns to integrate Facebook and strategizes with them to launch new tools on Facebook. Examples include: Tim Pawlenty’s announcement of his Presidential run on Facebook and the first ever Congressional Hackathon. Previously, Katie worked at the National Republican Senatorial Campaign where she was among the first people to start testing and experimenting with mobile.
Rosalyn Lemieux: Founding Partner, Fission Strategy
Rosalyn founded Fission Strategy, an award winning, 20 person firm. She is also responsible for building Attentive.ly, a social media platform for non-profits to use the social web. Attentive.ly serves as a bridge from email into social media and makes it possible for organizations to learn more about the people that they communicate with over social media as opposed to email. Previously she served as the Founding Executive Director and Campaign Director at the New Organizing Institute, where she started RootsCamp and Bootcamp.
Capitol Hill Innovator
Seamus Kraft: Digital Director, Committee on Government Oversight
Seamus has successfully deployed several major improvements on the way that Congress interacts with the American public. As part of the majority, Seamus launched the MADISON Project, a program to enable anyone to comment on specific provisions within legislation, taking the once closed markup process and opening it fully to the public. Several provisions generated by the public on the MADISON platform have already been incorporated into legislation. Previously, Seamus created the Citizen Watchdogs program that enabled the public to submit examples of government waste.
David Binetti: CEO/Co-Founder, Votizen
By founding Votizen, David has put the voter back at the center of American politics by creating a new political currency based on voter-to-voter connections, reducing the influence of money and increasing the importance of relationships in civic engagement. Recently, several celebrities have invested $750,000 in Votizen, including Napster co-founder Sean Parker. David is also the founder of USA.gov.
Kahlil Byrd: CEO, Americans Elect
Kahlil Byrd has dedicated his career to U.S. domestic politics and international media development. As CEO of Americans Elect, Kahlil is leading the first ever nonpartisan national online presidential primary. For the first time ever, the American people will directly nominate a presidential candidate online through AmericansElect.org, and their choice will appear on the ballot nationwide. Kahlil is combining our newest technologies with our oldest values to create an innovative and more democratic way for Americans to pick a president.
Tom Hallaran: CTO, IB5k
Tom cut his teeth as a bio-informatician at Washington University’s Genome Sequencing Center, writing software to automate the genome sequencing and mapping pipeline. Now, at IB5k, Tom helps public servants, non-profits, and civically-minded corporations connect with their customers, audiences, friends, and constituents through a genuine, commonly shared experience. Tom has expertise in planning, building and supporting large scale, high performance sites, applications and campaigns.
Tracy Russo: Director of New Media, Department of Justice
Tracy is responsible for development and execution of digital and social media strategy for the Department of Justice. She redesigned and rebranded the department's website, justice.gov, to focus on helping citizens find and get critical information about the department on the web or through major social media channels. She also envisioned, designed and developed FOIA.gov, a key open government web initiative, which provides all citizens with information about FOIA including agency compliance, what the law is, how it works and how to make FOIA requests.
2011 CAMPAIGNTECH INNOVATORS
Wesley Donehue: CEO, Donehue Direct
After South Carolina Rep. Joe Wilson shouted “You lie” at President Obama during a joint address to Congress, it was Donehue who helped Wilson raise some $2 million online in just two weeks. He also helped Sen. Jim DeMint build an online presence and become an Internet force during the 2010 cycle. Donehue launched his own firm in 2010 with a focus on new media and technology.
Sarah Granger: Founder and CEO, PublicEdge
Credited by Wired magazine with launching the “first true weblog to be put up by a politician,” (for former Sen. Gary Hart’s 2003 presidential exploratory committee) Granger has more than 20 years of experience in new media and online communications. Her firm crafts online messaging and social media strategies for campaigns and organizations. Last cycle, Granger served as new media strategist for the Women’s Campaign Fund and as the interim political director at BlogHer.
Vince Leibowitz: Principle Consultant, the Dawn Group
After working as a newspaper editor and journalist out of college, Leibowitz entered politics full time in 2003. He founded his own firm, now known as The Dawn Group. A co-founder of the Texas Progressive Alliance and TexBlog PAC, his digital outreach work on Hank Gilbert’s campaign for Agriculture Commissioner last cycle was recognized nationally by the New Organizing Institute.
Steven Moore: Chief of Staff, Office of Illinois Republican Rep. Peter Roskam
On Capitol Hill, Moore played a key role in the effort to update House rules to allow online advertising to be used for constituent communication. Last cycle, Moore launched an experiment to determine whether online ads persuade and just how many impressions it takes to move votes. In a study co-authored with Google and CampaignGrid, Moore concluded that 18 million impressions delivered over eight days to voters in Florida’s 11th congressional district moved 18 percent of the campaign’s targeted demo.
Michael Ertel: Supervisor of Elections, Seminole County, Florida
After eight years in the U.S. Army and with a dozen years of experience in the PR field, Ertel was one of the first election supervisors in Florida to engage with voters through social networking using Facebook and Twitter. Ertel became the co-founder of the foursquare "I voted" badge where users earn the badge by checking in at their local polling place on Election Day.
Jim Gilliam: Founder and CEO, NationBuilder
A former documentary filmmaker, Gilliam is the creator of NationBuilder, an online management platform. NationBuilder organizes online tools for campaigns, regardless of partisanship, including free access to a nationwide voter file. Among Gilliam’s other creations—act.ly, a tool to help circulate petitions on Twitter. Gilliam’s speech at this year’s Personal Democracy Forum has more than 300,000 online views.
Capitol Hill Innovator
Matt Lira: Digital Director, Office of House Majority Leader Eric Cantor
Lira is the first digital staffer to be given a full-seat at the senior leadership table in a Congressional leadership office and his time on Capitol Hill includes many Congressional firsts. Among them are the first Congressional web video, Twitter account and the first online ads under the franking program. Lira is also responsible for the YouCut program, which allows the public to vote on which item to cut from the federal budget with the winning item actually brought up for a vote on the House floor.
Jill Miller Zimon: City Council Member, Pepper Pike, Ohio
Zimon is the first nationally recognized female blogger to be elected to a city council in the country and the first candidate for her city council to utilize a website or social networking tools during a campaign. Zimon, who blogs at writeslikeshetalks.com, is also the project director for the Civic Commons EfficientGovNetwork Project which aims to make local governments in Northeast Ohio more efficient through online collaboration.
Margarita Cedeno de Fernandez: First Lady of the Dominican Republic
As first lady, Margarita Cedeno de Fernandez has worked to improve education and close the digital gap through access to information and communication technologies. She has worked to strengthen the country’s community technology centers, which are located in 75 rural communities nationwide. Last year, the centers provided more than half a million citizens with free access to online tools and services.
Clay Johnson: Owner, Big Window Labs
During the 2004 election cycle, Johnson served as the lead programmer for Howard Dean’s presidential campaign—a catalyst for the use of the Internet in politics. He went on to found Blue State Digital, which played a key role in Barack Obama’s digital strategy in 2008. He also led a campaign titled, “Let our Congress Tweet,” part of the effort to allow members to use social media under Congressional franking rules.