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Introducing our First Round of SNAPCON Guest Speakers

SNAPCON was born out of a desire to bring community members, students, educators, and civic organizers together. By doing so, TICO aims to build the foundations of perpetually innovative and sustained civic organizing. Attendees will have the opportunity to forge relationships with fellow community members, learn from notable guest speakers, and make use of TICO's tools.

We are so excited to announce four of our speakers that you can look forward to hearing from during our event, including our keynote speaker Federal Elections Commissioner Ellen L. Weintraub! Read their bios below, and we hope to see you August 29th. More speakers will be announced soon, stay tuned!

Ellen L. Weintraub

Ellen L. Weintraub has served as a commissioner on the United States Federal Election Commission since 2002 and has chaired the Commission three times. 

During her tenure, Commissioner Weintraub has served as a consistent voice for meaningful campaign-finance law enforcement and robust disclosure. She believes that strong and fair regulation of money in politics is important to prevent corruption and maintain the faith of the American people in their democracy. Commissioner Weintraub is proud to have been part of the group of commissioners who approved the highest civil penalties in the agency’s history and has worked across the aisle to issue rules and opinions to provide guidance to those who engage in politics. She has participated in election-observation missions around the world and in the Commission’s public outreach efforts around the country.

Commissioner Weintraub has consistently sounded the alarm about the risk of foreign influence in U.S. elections. She has shined a spotlight on Russia’s direct attack on the 2016 Presidential election as well as more subtle attacks, such as the use of corporate and “dark-money” spending to serve as a vehicle for foreign influence in our elections. Chair Weintraub has also focused on the risk that unsubstantiated allegations of voter fraud may result in efforts that deter citizens from voting.

Prior to her appointment to the FEC, Commissioner Weintraub was Of Counsel to the Political Law Group of Perkins Coie LLP and served as Counsel to the Committee on Standards of Official Conduct for the U.S. House of Representatives (the House ethics committee), where she rewrote the House Ethics Manual and often led the Committee’s public education and compliance initiatives. She is a native New Yorker with degrees from Yale College and Harvard Law School.

Commissioner Weintraub (@EllenLWeintraub) has published articles in The New York Times, The Washington Post, and leading law reviews and is a frequent speaker on news shows and at conferences at home and abroad. 

Mussab Ali 

Mussab Ali is the youngest elected Muslim in the United States, serving on the Jersey City Public Schools Board of Education. Ali was inaugurated on January 9, 2018, and his term will end in 2021. Ali was granted the prestigious Harry S. Truman Scholarship in 2017 and was a Schwarzman Scholar Class of 2020. He recently graduated from Tsinghua University with a Masters in Global Affairs. This fall, he will be attending Harvard Law School (from home).  Through his work as an elected official, Mussab has made an impact on his community, while also gaining a lot of insight into local politics. Mussab is now working on a non-profit and hopes to continue organizing and advocating in the public sphere.

Jael Kerandi

Jael Kerandi was born in Nairobi, Kenya, and moved to the United States when she was 18 months old. She is the youngest of five children. Jael is a rising senior at the University of Minnesota - Carlson School of Management. She is majoring in Finance and Marketing with minors in Leadership and Business Law. She has just completed her internship with Microsoft in the Finance organization. Jael is passionate about creating a better world for future generations. Jael served as the first Black Undergraduate Student Body President at the University of Minnesota. She currently serves as the Ranking Representative to the Board of Regents. Jael is passionate about racial justice and ensuring that our institutions are held accountable. Jael chose to call for her University to sever ties after the murder of George Floyd, happening less than 20 mins from the Twin Cities Campus. It was important that as a representative of students, Jael spoke up. She has a deep love for football but enjoys watching almost all sports. She also enjoys babysitting, fitness (specifically weight lifting), and baking. Fun fact: Jael doesn’t use an alarm clock to wake up.

Josh Payne 

Josh Payne is the founder and co-director of the Covid-19 Response Innovation Lab, an initiative born out of the Stanford University Graduate School of Business, School of Engineering, School of Medicine, and more! Their work focuses on conducting research and forming solutions to combat Covid-19 and its various consequences on a global scale. Payne graduated from Stanford University this spring with a major in mathematical and computational science and a minor in music. He will be continuing his Stanford education this fall at the Stanford Graduate School of Business. Through a wide variety of academic and professional endeavors, Payne has effectively and innovatively approached civic organizing through a digital lens.


At The Institute for Civic Organizing (TICO), we are constantly developing new projects, from the release of new curricula to hosting virtual conferences to forming partnerships with other influential organizations. To keep up to date with our work at TICO, click here and check out all of our social media pages for the most up-to-date information. For all media inquiries, please email

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