ActBlue names Regina Wallace-Jones as its first Black female CEO – Lifotravel

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ActBlue, the online political fundraising platform that has raised $11 billion since 2004 for Democratic campaigns and liberal organizations, announced Thursday that Regina Wallace-Jones will take over as chief executive, making her the first Black woman to assume the role.

Wallace-Jones, a former elected official and tech and finance executive, will also serve as ActBlue’s president. She succeeds Erin Hill, who led the Massachusetts-based nonprofit group for 14 years before stepping down at the end of last year.

“There’s nothing better that I can and should be doing in this space,” Wallace-Jones said of her appointment. “It really brings together, in a very profound way, two areas of my life that I care deeply about and that I believe I could make the most powerful impact on this country with.”

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Wallace-Jones, 48, comes to ActBlue from the lending platform LendStreet Financial, where she was chief operating officer. She holds an electrical-engineering degree from Stanford University and a public policy master’s from the UCLA, and she previously worked for eBay, Facebook and Yahoo.

Wallace-Jones said she plans to leverage her years of experience in technology and public service to fortify the security of ActBlue’s fundraisers while catering both to large campaigns and small-dollar donors, “making sure that the people who would otherwise be left out of the picture have a way of expressing their values.”

ActBlue founder Matt DeBergalis said in a statement: “Regina is uniquely suited to help build upon ActBlue’s transformational work and ensure our platform provides Democrats with a strategic advantage. In her 20 years in tech, she’s built platforms that scale, and she understands how to make sure systems evolve.”

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Wallace-Jones has spent more than a decade involved in politics as well. She organized President Barack Obama’s 2012 reelection efforts in East Palo Alto, Calif., and in 2018 she ran for the city council. Wallace-Jones served in East Palo Alto’s city council for four years, including one year as mayor in 2020.

Wallace-Jones said she was passionate about technology and public policy because she wanted to make sure underserved communities also reaped the benefits of the latest innovations. But she said she realized her tech experience made her seem like a political outsider to the people of East Palo Alto, a city surrounded by tech giants and facing gentrification.

“When I ran for office, one of the deepest concerns that the citizens had for me as I was putting my hat forward, looking to be scrutinized by my constituents, my community, was that I was this evil technology person that was there to sell out the entire city,” she said. “Part of my candidacy was really about … debunking that myth and being open and vulnerable.”

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Stacy Brown-Philpot, a longtime friend of Wallace-Jones and former CEO of the handyperson matching service Taskrabbit, said Wallace-Jones’s commitment to serving others will serve her well at ActBlue. Brown-Philpot and Wallace-Jones are members of the historically Black sorority Delta Sigma Theta, through which they have supported Black girls’ career aspirations and donated professional wear.

“She is one of the most energetic people that I know,” Brown-Philpot said. “She builds followership because she brings a level of optimism and enthusiasm and excitement to everything that she does.”

Now, at ActBlue, Wallace-Jones will also have a chance to bring a glass-ceiling-breaking “new dimension,” Brown-Philpot said.

“I’m now sitting at the helm of an organization that is all about small-dollar donations,” Wallace-Jones said, “that’s all about making sure that households just like … the one that I grew up in have a way to express a value, express a point of view, and put their dollars behind candidates they really believe in.”

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