Thank you for attending EconCon 2021!


All sessions are virtual via Hopin.

Plenary Sessions
In conversation: Tax Justice for Equity, Economic Growth, and our Democracy

This panel brings together three individuals who have completely reshaped the tax policy debate and our understanding of how to fix our unequal tax code. Drawing on stunning historical and investigative reporting and research, they will discuss the urgent need to tax the wealthy and corporations to curb corporate power, preserve our democracy, and center race and gender in tax policy in order to advance equity for communities left behind by our broken tax system. They will connect it all to the current tax policy fight in Washington.

Centering Black Women in our Economic Recovery to Ensure a Full Recovery for All

Pundits, policymakers, and experts have been quick to declare our economy “recovered” in the aftermath of previous recessions even as Black workers and families continue to experience crisis-level unemployment, income instability, and housing insecurity. This conversation will feature economic policy experts discussing the vital importance of centering Black women in our policy making, and the difference it will make in our economic recovery when we do. Panelists will also discuss how a full economic recovery for Black women ensures a stronger, more inclusive recovery for all, and a more stable economy for the future.

Building Public Power to Remake the Economy

Public power is the power we wield when we come together in labor unions, political parties, organizations and associations, social movements, and accountable governments. Each panelist leads an organization and a movement that is building new forms of public power to remake our economy so that it works for all, not just the wealthy few. Panelists will identify successful approaches for building public power and discuss tactics for taking on private power. Panelists will also talk about how our economic security is dependent on public power, and what we can do to ensure new forms of public power can flourish for decades to come.

Keynote: Will History Repeat Itself? The Racist Roots of Austerity Politics

This panel will dig into the deeply rooted anti-Blackness and white supremacy undergirding austerity politics. In particular, the conversation will explore how the technocratic nature of austerity, deficit fearmongering, and fiscal responsibility hides the true intentions of these policies: denying Black and brown communities the benefits of our economy. Using a historical lens, the conversation will highlight how using austerity as a smokescreen for an undemocratic political agenda is a tried and true tactic of conservative politics, alongside some key lessons that we can apply to overcome today's political challenges.

In Conversation: The Post Neoliberal Promise

Acclaimed Economist and Professor Mariana Mazzucato discusses her new book “Mission Economy” and how the government can and must play an active role if we’re going to tackle the big and pressing economic issues of the moment.

How the COVID-19 Pandemic Exposed the Economy’s Precarity and Catalyzed the Most Progressive Economic Policy in a Generation

The COVID-19 pandemic profoundly changed our world, but in many ways, it simply magnified existing inequities and challenges. In this panel, experts will discuss what the pandemic revealed about our economy, and how those revelations are changing what is possible for policymakers to achieve for a stronger economy today. Panelists will reflect on the incredible successes to date, and consider how to overcome the structural challenges that remain to fully seize this moment and achieve a more just, stable economy.

Breakout Sessions
Philanthropic Approaches for Shifting Economic Paradigm

Leaders of various foundations will discuss how philanthropy is working to shift the economic paradigm. Representing work on a cross-section of issues, our panelists will discuss why moving beyond neoliberalism should be a goal for those striving to build a healthy, equitable, and democratic economy.

Unions and Racial Justice

Economic justice and racial justice are inextricably linked, and unions operate firmly at the intersection of the two. This panel will discuss the importance of unions to racial equity, and highlight why unions are among the country’s most important institutions for racial economic justice. The panel will also discuss how unions help win progressive policies that strengthen democracy, and discuss why labor law reform that boosts unionization is crucial for an equitable recovery.

Owning the Boom: The Transformative Effects of a Full-Employment Economy

Our economy is on the brink of a boom thanks to historic investments from the American Rescue Plan and the CARES Act. This panel will lay out the key characteristics of an economic boom, how it can be leveraged to reach the vision of true full employment, and its enormous potential to mitigate inequalities and return power to workers. The panel will also discuss why oft-cited concerns like inflation and labor shortages are welcome developments for a booming economy rather than serious obstacles.

Economic Democracy: A Framework for Equitable Power Building

This panel will introduce an Economic Democracy framework through conversations with movement partners whose work to combat and regulate the new corporate monopolists, reconceptualize essential public infrastructure, and increase public governance over our civic and economic institutions exemplifies Economic Democracy in action. Attendees will leave this session with a common understanding of Economic Democracy as a framework, concrete examples of Economic Democracy in practice, and policy solutions to mobilize around in the months to come.

Replacing Deficit Hawkishness with Abundance

A scarcity mindset is pervasive in our party politics. It also manifests in our communities when the harmful narrative that some people are undeserving of success is internalized and then reinforced by public policies. Breaking this harmful cycle begins by embracing the idea that we have more than enough to go around, especially via redistributive measures in the tax code, and is the first step to building an economy of mutual care.

Defining Success: Reimagining Economic Measurement

Inequality has changed how our economy works and who it benefits. Old measures of economic progress can set up policymakers and the public at large to misunderstand how the economy works and what to do to create broad-based prosperity. This panel will push back against prevailing economic narratives that use aggregate headline statistics and help attendees start thinking about how the right economic metrics can change the country’s dominant economic narratives and lead to better policy.

Sectoral Bargaining and the Future of Labor

This panel will discuss what sectoral bargaining is, how it works, and why it is an important complement to workplace-level bargaining. Experts will also share how sectoral bargaining can raise standards for all workers and how advocates are pushing towards it in a variety of ways.

Securing the Future, Securing the Bag: How State Tax Wins Unlock the Investments People Need

States are the laboratories of our democracy. Across the nation we've seen mobilized communities pioneer and boost institutions that feed the hungry, house the homeless, teach our children, and include the excluded. State-level fights to raise revenues, assert progressive economic agendas, and deliver for working families will shape the future for millions—we're already winning across the country, and where we aren't winning yet, we are changing the stakes. Listen to experts share how their state campaigns lay the groundwork that allows federal funds to be spent equitably, articulate local visions for a fairer, more compassionate economy, and circumvent gridlock that can stymie federal aid to deliver wins for our communities.

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Thank you for
attending EconCon 2021!

OCTOBER 6-7, 2021

Elise Gould

Senior Economist
Economic Policy Institute
Elise joined EPI in 2003. Her research focuses on wages, poverty, inequality, economic mobility and health care. She is a co-author of “The State of Working America,” and her work has been published in The Chronicle of Higher Education, Health Economics, and Tax Notes.

Tracy Williams

Director, Reimagining Capitalism
Omidyar Network
Tracy leads the Omidyar Network’s work to build the power of working people and shape a new economic paradigm. Previously, she was at McKinsey & Company, first as a consultant in their South Africa office and later as the Global Practice Manager for Economic Development.

Charles Khan

Financialization and State & Local Tax Campaigns Lead
Center for Popular Democracy
Charles is the Organizing Dir. at the Strong Economy For All, focusing on budget & legislative driven campaigns fighting for economic equality, public investments, & corporate accountability in NY. He also leads Wall St. & state tax campaigns at the Center for Popular Democracy.

Erica Smiley

Executive Director
Jobs with Justice
Smiley is a long-time organizer and movement leader. She has been spearheading strategic organizing and policy interventions for Jobs With Justice for nearly 15 years, previously serving as campaigns director and as senior field organizer for the southern region.

Rep. Mark Pocan

Congressman for Wisconsin
U.S. House of Representatives
Representing Wisconsin’s second district since 2013, Rep. Pocan is committed to using his life experience to fight for policies that promote economic and social justice and support families. He is a small business owner, union member, and lifelong advocate for progressive causes.

Puya Gerami

Recovery For All
Puya Gerami is the director of Recovery For All, a statewide coalition of 48 labor, community, and faith organizations united in a long-term mission to eliminate systemic inequities in Connecticut.

Ericka Taylor

Popular Education Manager
Take on Wall Street/Americans for Financial Reform
Ericka Taylor is the Popular Educator for Take on Wall Street, which aims to build an economy centered around working people and not the financial elite. Throughout her career, she has worked at the local and national levels as a community organizer, trainer, and grantmaker.

Bart Sheard

Legislative Representative
Bart is a legislative representative for AFL-CIO where he advocates for workers on capitol hill. Prior to joining AFL-CIO, he represented unions and workers before the National Labor Relations Board and federal courts. He’s a graduate of The George Washington University Law School.

David Madland

Senior Fellow; Senior Adviser, American Worker Project
Center for American Progress
David is the author of “Re-Union: How Bold Labor Reforms Can Repair, Revitalize, and Reunite the United States” & “Hollowed Out: Why the Economy Doesn’t Work without a Strong Middle Class.” He regularly talks and writes about the middle class, economic inequality, and labor unions.”

Naomi Zewde

Assistant Professor in Health Policy and Management
CUNY School of Public Health
Naomi is an assistant professor in health policy and management at the CUNY School of Public Health. She studies how public policies can reduce inequality in health insurance and wealth. She is also a fellow at the Roosevelt Institute.

Aisha Nyandoro, Ph.D.

Chief Executive Officer
Springboard To Opportunities
Dr. Aisha Nyandoro is the CEO of Springboard To Opportunities, which provides direct support to residents of affordable housing. Springboard uses a “radically resident-driven” approach designed to improve quality of life and end the generational poverty trajectory.

Kayla Blado

Press Secretary
National Labor Relations Board
Kayla Blado is the Press Secretary for the National Labor Relations Board.

Sara Cullinane

Director and Co-founder
Make the Road New Jersey
Sara Cullinane, Esq is Director and Co-founder of Make the Road New Jersey (MRNJ) and NJ state director of its sister c4, Make the Road Action (MRA). She holds a JD from NYU School of Law, where she was a Root-Tilden-Kern public service scholar.

Molly Shack

Co-Executive Director
Ohio Organizing Collaborative
Molly Shack is the Co-Executive Director of the Ohio Organizing Collaborative, a statewide organization dedicated to improving lives through grassroots organizing. Since 2011 she has helped lead faith, community, and student organizing efforts to register hundreds of thousands of voters and win campaigns on education, voting rights and criminal justice reform.

Ingrid Haftel

Manager, Democracy Beyond Elections
Participatory Budgeting Project
Ingrid Haftel manages Democracy Beyond Elections, the Participatory Budgeting Project’s collaborative campaign to deepen participatory democracy rooted in community-led decision making that is equitable, accessible, and significant.

Tracey Ross

Director, Federal Policy and Narrative Change
Tracey is focused on federal policy and narrative change at PolicyLink. Most recently, she led the organization’s All-In Cites initiative, working with cities across the country to adopt policies and practices to ensure one’s zip code does not determine their life outcomes.

Deyanira Del Río

New Economy Project
For almost 25 years, Deyanira has worked to promote cooperative and community-controlled finance, immigrants’ economic rights, and equitable neighborhood development. At New Economy Project, she helped launch the organization’s community loan funds.

Anne E. Price

Insight Center
Anne is the first woman President of the Insight Center. She has worked in the public sector on a range of issues including child welfare, hunger, workforce development, and higher ed. Her work was featured in the New York Times, The Washington Post, and other publications.

Maurice Mitchell

National Director
Working Families Party
Maurice is a nationally recognized political strategist and visionary leader. Raised by working-class parents, he began organizing as a teenager. When Mike Brown was killed, Maurice moved to Ferguson and helped build the Movement for Black Lives. In 2018, Maurice took the helm of Working Families Party as its National Director.

Michelle Holder

President & CEO
Washington Center for Equitable Growth
Michelle Holder is President and CEO of the Washington Center for Equitable Growth as well as Associate Professor of Economics at John Jay College, City University of New York. Her research focuses on the Black community and women of color in the American labor market.

Anna Gifty Opoku-Agyeman

Sadie Collective
Anna is a Ghanaian-American researcher, writer, author, commentator, and activist. She co-founded The Sadie Collective, the only non-profit organization addressing the pipeline and pathway problem for Black women in economics, finance, and policy.

Taifa Smith Butler

Taifa Smith Butler is the President of Demos – The People’s Think Tank. Demos works to fight systemic racism through research, advocacy, multi-platform communications, legal expertise, and deep partnerships with grassroots organizations from across the country.

Mike Konczal

Roosevelt Institute
Mike Konczal is the director of Macroeconomic Analysis at the Roosevelt Institute, where he focuses on full employment and inequality. He is the author of the book “Freedom From the Market,” and a co-author, with Joseph Stiglitz, of “Rewriting the Rules of the American Economy.”

Rakeen Mabud

Chief Economist and Managing Director of Research and Policy
Groundwork Collaborative
Rakeen Mabud is the Chief Economist and Managing Director of Policy and Research at the Groundwork Collaborative. Rakeen is an expert on economic inequality and the 21st century workplace, with a focus on how structural factors such as racism and sexism perpetuate inequities.

Algernon Austin

Senior Research Fellow
Center for Economic and Policy Research
Algernon’s primary focus is on the intersection of race and the economy. He is the first Director of the Program on Race, Ethnicity, and the Economy, which focuses on labor market conditions for BIPOC workers. Prior to joining CEPR, he worked at the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund.

Julian Brave Noisecat

VP, Policy & Strategy
Data for Progress
Julian Brave NoiseCat (Secwepemc/St’at’imc) is Vice President of Policy & Strategy for Data for Progress and a fellow of New America and the Type Media Center. He’s currently working on a book about Indigenous peoples in the United States & Canada, and published by Alfred A. Knopf.


Campaigns Director for Bargaining for the Common Good network
Bianca Cunningham is a former retail worker who led her coworkers in 7 stores across Brooklyn, NY to unionize, making them the first unionized retail workers in the company. She later led her coworkers on a 49 day strike to secure their first contract.


Executive Director
National Employment Law Project
Rebecca is a respected national leader in federal workers’ rights advocacy in great demand for her thought leadership at the intersection of labor and racial equity. Previously, Rebecca served on NELP’s Executive Management team as Chief of Programs.

Rachel Cooper

Senior Policy Analyst
Every Texan
At Every Texan, Rachel’s focus is on food and nutrition programs as well as obesity. Before joining Every Texan, she worked for the Food Research and Action Center (FRAC). Cooper received her Masters in Human Development and Social Policy from Northwestern University.

Anand Giridharadas

Anand is the author of the New York Times bestseller “Winners Take All: The Elite Charade of Changing the World,” and the newsletter The.Ink. He’s an editor-at-large for TIME, an on-air political analyst for MSNBC, and a visiting scholar at New York University.

Austin Clemens

Washington Center for Equitable Growth
Austin’s work focuses on economic measurement policy. Prior to joining EG, he was an assistant research scientist at the Public Policy Research Institute at Texas A&M University. His work has appeared in Legislative Studies Quarterly and the Smithsonian Magazine.

Claire Guzdar

Groundwork Collaborative
Claire is the Director of Campaigns and Partnerships, working to advance an economic narrative for the progressive movement. Prior to joining Groundwork in 2019, Claire was Associate Director of the Faith and Progressive Policy Initiative at the Center for American Progress.

Joe Scantlebury

Living Cities
Joe leads Living Cities, a collaborative of 19 of the world’s leading foundations and financial institutions working together to close racial income and wealth gaps. Prior Living Cities, Joe worked at the W.K. Kellogg Foundation and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

Don Chen

Surdna Foundation
Don is the President of the Surdna Foundation, and furthers the foundation’s efforts to strengthen and leverage its commitment to social justice. Don was previously at the Ford Foundation, and also serves as Co-Chair of the Presidents’ Council on Impact Investing.

Ellen Dorsey

Executive Director
Wallace Global Fund
Ellen is the Executive Director of the Wallace Global Fund, where she focuses on progressive change on environmental issues, democracy, human rights and corporate accountability. Ellen has also held a number of leadership roles focused on human rights and the environment.

Lebaron Sims Jr.

Associate Director, Policy & Research
Lebaron joined Demos in April 2021 and builds and leads the organization’s Economic Democracy work. Prior to Demos, he spent eight years as a staff researcher at Prosperity Now, a national nonprofit organization dedicated to helping low- and moderate-income households build wealth.

Jesse Eisinger

Senior Reporter & Editor
Jesse is a reporter and editor at ProPublica, and the author of “The Chickenshit Club: Why the Justice Department Fails to Prosecute Executives.” In April 2011, he and a colleague won the Pulitzer Prize for National Reporting for a series on questionable Wall Street practices.

Mariana Mazzucato

University College London
Mariana is a Professor of Economics at University College London, where she is Founding Director of the UCL Institute for Innovation & Public Purpose. Mariana is an acclaimed author of three books, the most recent is “Mission Economy: A Moonshot Guide to Changing Capitalism.” “

Ariel Ron

Assistant Professor of the U.S. Civil War Era
Southern Methodist University
Ariel is historian of nineteenth-century U.S. politics and economic development, paying particular attention the political economy of slavery during the Civil War. He is the author of “Grassroots Leviathan: Northern Agricultural Reform in the Slaveholding Republic.”

Jamelle Bouie

The New York Times
Jamelle covers U.S. politics, public policy, elections, and race. His political instincts provide audiences with unique insight on the past, present, and future of our national politics and the state of race relations. He has emerged as a leading voice on the national scene, being named to Forbes “30 Under 30 in Media” in 2015.

Zac Petkanas

Democratic Strategist
Petkanas Strategies
Zac is a veteran Democratic strategist and messaging expert with more than a decade of experience in competitive federal and state campaigns. Petkanas served as Director of Rapid Response for Hillary Clinton’s 2016 campaign and communications director for Senator Harry Reid.

Larry Kramer

The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation
Larry has been President of the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation since 2012. Under his leadership, the foundation has maintained its commitment to areas of enduring concern, while adapting its approaches and strategies to meet changing circumstances and seize new opportunities.

Skanda Amarnath

Executive Director
Employ America
Skanda Amarnath is the executive director of Employ America, a research & advocacy organization that advocates for macroeconomic policies that promote sustainably tighter labor markets

Kara Voght

National Politics Reporter
Mother Jones
Kara Voght is a national politics reporter at Mother Jones, where she writes about the politics and policy of the Democratic party under President Joe Biden. Her work has appeared in The Atlantic and Politico.

Jasmine Gripper

Executive Director
Alliance For Quality Education
Jasmine initially started a career as an educator, but shifted to advocacy after realizing education policies steeped in inequity were harming children and limiting their potential. After working for Obama’s reelection campaign, in 2013 she then joined Alliance for Quality Education.

Mariah Montgomery

National Campaigns Director
PowerSwitch Action
Mariah is the National Campaigns Director at PowerSwitch Action, where she works with local coalitions and campaigns in cities around the country on campaigns to harness our collective resources to repair harms and build the common good, and to challenge corporate power.

Jane Chung

Jane has managed campaigns to organize gig workers at The Worker Agency and worked on Elizabeth Warren’s presidential campaign agricultural development in Rwanda. She started her career at Facebook, which informs her analysis of power today.

Hannah Levintova

Mother Jones
Hannah is an award-winning investigative reporter at Mother Jones interested in stories about money and influence, income inequality, and politics. Before becoming a journalist, she processed FOIA requests at a federal agency in Washington, DC, then worked at NPR.

Bryce Covert

Independent journalist
Bryce Covert is an independent journalist writing about the economy. She is a contributing writer at The Nation, and her writing has appeared in the New York Times, Time Magazine, the Washington Post, New York Magazine, Wired, the New Republic, Slate, and others.

Betsey Stevenson

Professor of Public Policy and Economics
University of Michigan
Betsey is a professor of public policy and economics at the University of Michigan. Previously, she served on the Council of Economic Advisers and as chief economist of the U.S. Department of Labor. Her research explores women’s labor and the economic forces shaping families.

Benjamin Dulchin

Fed Up Campaign Director
Center for Popular Democracy
Benjamin is the Director of the Fed Up Campaign, a unique grassroots campaign that fights for full employment, rising wages, and a Federal Reserve for working people. Prior to joining CPD, Benjamin spent ten years as the ED at the Association for Neighborhood and Housing Development.

Ash Kalra

California State Assembly
The Assemblymember represents California’s 27th District, the first Indian American to serve in the California Legislature in state history. Ash is the Chair of the Committee on Labor and Employment and Chair of the CA Legislative Progressive Caucus.

Dorothy Brown

Professor of Law
Emory University
Dorothy is a visiting Professor of Law at Georgetown University and the author of “The Whiteness of Wealth: How The Tax System Impoverishes Black Americans- And How We Can Fix It .” She has appeared on CNN, MSNBC, PBS, NPR, and published in The New York Times & The Washington Post.

Sara Nelson

International President
Association of Flight Attendants-CWA, AFL-CIO
With the opportunity to make once-in-a-generation policy changes and transformative investments in our communities, EconCon 2021 is the perfect time to gather virtually.

Jerusalem Demsas

Policy Reporter
Vox Media
Jerusalem is a policy reporter at Vox, and covers a range of issues from housing and homelessness to infrastructure and transportation. She has written for the Center for American Progress, worked on gubernatorial races across the country and the 2020 presidential primary.

Tara Raghuveer

Homes Guarantee/People’s Action/KC Tenants
Tara is the director of KC Tenants and also the director of the campaign for a national Homes Guarantee, based at People’s Action, a national network of grassroots organizations committed to economic and racial justice.

Natalie Foster

Economic Security Project
Natalie Foster is the President and co-founder of the Economic Security Project, a network dedicated to advancing a guaranteed income in America and reining in the unprecedented concentration of corporate power.

Asha Banerjee

Economic Analyst
Economic Policy Institute
Asha Banerjee is an economic analyst at the Economic Policy Institute focusing on racial disparities in the economy and policies around UI, taxes, wages, and unions. Previously she was a policy analyst at CLASP working on higher education funding and student debt cancellation.


Director of Technology
Groundwork Collaborative
With the opportunity to make once-in-a-generation policy changes and transformative investments in our communities, EconCon 2021 is the perfect time to gather virtually.