Milwaukee 2020 Host Committee
"The nonprofit civic organization responsible for organizing, hosting, and funding the 2020 Democratic National Convention."   

(page revised April 17, 2020)  

Milwaukee 2020 Host Committee  |  fb/Milwaukee2020/   |  @Milwaukee2020
press releases 

The Host Committee has had its share of challenges:

> On Feb. 4, 2020 the Board of Directors fired president Liz Gilbert and chief of staff Adam Alonso after allegations of a toxic work environment made in a Jan. 30 letter.  See:
Jordan Mickle.  "Milwaukee 2020 Host Committee Board fires two leaders accused of 'toxic' office culture."  WTMJ-TV, Feb. 4, 2020.

Alana Watson.  "Leaders Of Milwaukee 2020 DNC Host Committee Fired Over Allegations Of Toxic Work Environment."  WPR, Feb. 5, 2020.

> On April 16, 2020 the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported the host committee is cutting its staff from 31 to 14 due to the uncertainty created by the coronavirus pandemic. See: Daniel Bice.  "DNC Milwaukee Host Committee reduces staff by more than half through layoffs and transfers."  Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, April 16, 2020.

Mayor Tom Barrett and U.S. Rep. Gwen Moore

Honorary Co-Chairs 
Governor Tony Evers
Senator Tammy Baldwin
Milwaukee County Executive Chris Abele
Former Senator Herb Kohl
Former Milwaukee Journal Sentinel President and Publisher Betsy Brenner
Community Volunteer Jacqueline Herd-Barber
Lubar & Co. Chairman Sheldon B. Lubar
Northwestern Mutual Chairman, President, and CEO John E. Schlifske
Major League Baseball Commissioner Emeritus Bud Selig. 

Honorary Vice Chairs: Lieutenant Governor Mandela Barnes, State Treasurer Sarah Godlewski, Attorney General Josh Kaul, Secretary of State Doug La Follette, Representative Ron Kind, Representative Mark Pocan, State Senate Democratic Leader Jennifer Shilling, State Assembly Democratic Leader Gordon Hintz, and Milwaukee Common Council President Ashanti Hamilton.

Honorary Finance Chair
: Milwaukee Bucks Senior Vice President Alex Lasry.

Board of Directors

President  formerly Liz Gilbert

(see below) 

Rebeca López, Attorney at Godfrey & Kahn, S.C. 
John W. Miller, Founder and Principal at Arenberg Holdings 
Michael O'Neil, General Counsel at The Dohmen Company 
Dr. Joan Prince, Vice Chancellor of Global Inclusion and Engagement at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee

Senior Advisors

Shirley Ellis

 Leave of absence from  senior advisor/district director to U.S. Rep. Gwen Moore; has worked with her for nearly three decades.

Teresa Vilmain

Led the Milwaukee 2020 Host Committee during the transition period before Filmanowicz and Penebaker were brought on at the beginning of Mar. 2020.  Experience includes: Consultant to Women's Voices, Women Vote, 2011.  General consultant to Chet Culver's campaign for Governor of Iowa, May 2009-May 2010.  Consultant to consultant to Be The Change Inc./ServiceNation, 2008-09.  State director on Hillary Clinton's 2007-08 Iowa caucus campaign.  Advisor on Tom Vilsack's presidential campaign, Nov. 2006-07.  Director of political strategy at the DNC in the 2004 cycle (announced as "General Election Strategist" in February 2003).  Wisconsin state director for Gore-Lieberman in the 2000 General Election campaign.  General consultant to Tom Vilsack's gubernatorial campaign in Iowa in 1998.  Wisconsin state director for Clinton/Gore 96.  Consultant for the Human Rights Campaign's OutVote 96 project.  Political director of Emily's List, 1993.  Campaign manager for Geraldine Ferraro's 1992 U.S. Senate race.  Director of training at the DNC, 1989-90.  State director on Gary Hart's Iowa caucus campaign in 1987 and then for Michael Dukakis' caucus campaign in 1987-88.  Deputy campaign manager on Tom Harkin's run for U.S. Senate in 1984.  First presidential campaign worked on was Sen. Ted Kennedy in 1980.  Native of Cedar Falls, Iowa.

Philip Walzak

Deputy Commissioner for Public Information at the NYPD to Sept. 2019.  Senior advisor on NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio's 2017 re-election campaign; senior advisor for strategic planning (2015-16) and press secretary (2014-15) to Mayor de Blasio; communications director on de Blasio's 2013 campaign.  Campaign manager on Chris Abele for Milwaukee County Executive, 2011.  Communications director on Mayor Tom Barrett's 2010 campaign for governor. Director of strategic communications at the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, 2009.  Communications director to Assembly Speaker Mike Sheridan, D-Janesville. Wisconsin communication director for the Obama campaign in Fall 2008.  Managed U.S. Sen. Herb Kohl's 2006 re-election.   Milwaukee native.  twitter

Chief Executive Officer  Raquel Filmanowicz

(announced Feb. 28, 2020)  Director of U.S. community affairs for BMO Harris Bank, Apr. 2012-Feb. 2020.  Health operations administrator (Feb. 2008-Mar. 2012) and health communications officer (Oct. 2002-Feb. 2008) for the City of Milwaukee Health Department.  B.S. in business administration from Cardinal Stritch University, 2003.

Chief Operating Officer  Paula Penebaker

(announced Feb. 28, 2020)   Executive advisor to YWCA Southeast Wisconsin; served 20 years as president and CEO before retiring on Dec. 31, 2019.  Worlked at First Wisconsin Bank starting in 1992 as training and development staff in the Human Resources Department and rising to vice president and diversity manager.  Worked for 13 years in the Management Systems Division at The Proctor & Gamble Company.

April 16, 2020...unclear who is still on staff

Chief Development Officer  Leah Israel

(Nov. 2019)  Consultant to Sen. Tammy Duckworth, Pete for America, Gov. Pritzker and Human Rights Watch from May 2017.  National finance director and advisor to Tammy Duckworth from July 2011.  Consultant at L.E. Israel, LLC from Dec. 2012.  Finance director for the Illinois Democratic Coordinated Campaign, June 2010-May 2011.  Senior associate at Nancy Kohn Consulting, LLC, Jan. 2007-July 2010.  Statewide director of student organizing for Fair Wisconsin, Aug. 2006-Jan. 2007.  B.A in English, political science from University of Iowa, 2006.

Chief Financial Officer  Brandon Thaler

(Aug. 2019)  Chief of staff at Surgo Foundation, Dec. 2018-Aug. 2019.  Operations manager (May 2015-Dec. 2018) and operations associate (Aug. 2014-May 2015) at BlueLabs: Analytics, Data, Technology.  Bachelor's degree in political science and government and international relations from American University.

Vice President of Development and Finance  Julia Naomi Blue

(May 2019)  Director of philanthropy for Eastern region at the ASPCA, Apr. 2013-May 2019.  Deputy finance director for NY Tristate on Obama for America, Apr. 2011-Nov. 2012.  Deputy finance director for Illinois at the DNC, Feb. 2009-Apr. 2011.  Studied political science at Howard University.

Vice President of Engagement and Opportunity  Neisha Blandin

(Aug. 2019)  Director of strategic accounts at Change Research, Mar.-July 2019.  Northeast regional director for the ASDC, Sept. 2017-Mar. 2019.   Start By Asking Campaign for the Robin Hood Foundation, Feb.-Aug. 2017.  National deputy women's vote director (June-Nov. 2016), deputy director of African America outreach (Mar.-June 2016), deputy director of grassroots engagement (July 2015-Mar. 2016) and national finance associate for grassroots fundraising (Apr.-July 2015) for Hillary for America. Grassroots fundraising director at the Ready for Hillary super PAC from Jan. 2014.  Fundraising development at The Cooper Union, 2013.  Associate at Hudson TG, political consulting firm, Aug. 2010-Aug. 2012.  Junior fundraiser at The Esler Group, July 2009-Aug. 2010; and campaign finance compliance officer at Gioia for New York, July 2009-Jan. 2010.  B.A. in political science from Montclair State University, 2008.  Originally from Trinidad and Tobago.  twitter

Press Secretary  Hannah Mills

(Oct. 2019)  Associate (May 2017-Sept. 2019) and public affairs trainee (Feb.-May 2017) at Kivvit.  Communications intern for the DNC, Sept-Dec. 2016.  B.A. in communication arts, political science from University of Wisconsin-Madison, 2016.  Chicago native.

Senior Director for Volunteer Management  Tony Snell

(Nov. 2019)  Volunteer and staffing coordinator at VISIT Milwaukee from Jan. 2017.  Interim executive director at the Milwaukee LGBT Community Center, Jan.-Apr. 2018.  Studied journalism at University of South Carolina.

Director of Grassroots Activation  Nadiyah Groves

(Aug. 2019)  Assistan program office for Local Initiatives Support Corporation, Dec. 2018-Aug. 2019.  Deputy Milwaukee Director on Tammy Baldwin for Senate, May-Dec. 2018.  Principal and chief event designer at Lavish Events, 2010-14.  Human resources assistant, 2010-13; administrative clerk, 2007-10.  B.S. in user experience and communication design from Milwaukee School of Engineering, 2018.


Former Staff

fired Feb. 4, 2020...
President  Liz Gilbert

(announced as executive director on May 22, 2019)  Comes to the host committee from position as executive director of the New Jersey Democratic State Committee (NJDSC), announced Jan. 2018.  National finance director and surrogate director on the Murphy-Oliver campaign.  Deputy finance directo on the Philadelphia 2016 Host Committee.  Houston and Southwest Texas finance director (April-Nov. 2014) and national finance director (Sept. 2013-Mar. 2014) on Wendy R. Davis for Governor (TX), New York tri-state deputy finance director fot the DNC, Feb.-Sept. 2013.  Regional GOTV director in the Charlotte area for Obama for America, Sept.-Nov. 2012.  Finance assistant for the Charlotte in 2012 host committee, June-Sept. 2012.  B.S. in education from University of Wisconsin-Madison, 2013.  twitter

Chief of Staff  Adam Alonso

CEO of The Cratos Group in NJ from Feb. 2009.  Deputy chief of staff (Jan.-May 2018) to NJ Gov. Phil Murphy. Senior vice president at Max Consulting and MemEvents, May 2007-Jan. 2009.  Executive director of Nuestra American, May-Dec. 2008.   B.A. in political science and economics from Drew University, 2006.

bid committee