Meet Our Team
From our headquarters in Austin, we are focused around-the-clock on making big changes. Our backgrounds are varied, but our commitment is singular and strong.
Since joining Annie’s List as its Executive Director in July 2018, Fort Worth native Royce Brooks has led the organization to its most successful election cycle ever, with over 1000 women trained, a record 37 women endorsed, and a record 31 women elected, including every Annie’s List incumbent on the ballot.
Royce has honed her leadership in a career encompassing both policy and electoral politics. Before joining Annie’s List, she worked with city leaders, researchers and community members to develop a policy agenda addressing inequality in Atlanta as the city’s first Chief Equity Officer.
Prior to that, Royce helped to shape a policy vision here in Texas as the policy director for Sylvester Turner’s successful campaign for Mayor of Houston. She also guided more than 250 civic leaders and stakeholders through the consensus development of strategic policy priorities during Mayor Turner’s transition process. Before joining Mayor Turner’s campaign, she served as the statewide policy director for Wendy Davis’s 2014 campaign for Texas governor.
Royce has worked in both houses of Congress, including as a legislative counsel and subcommittee staff director in the United States Senate, where she led oversight and legislative efforts related to oil spill remediation, drinking water protections and more.
Royce served as a policy analyst with the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies, a public policy research institution focusing on issues of concern to communities of color. Early in her career, she was a legislative assistant for Martin Frost, former Chairman for the U.S. House Democratic Caucus. There she was responsible for policy issues including energy, health care, technology and finance.
Royce has been the recipient of awards including the Texas Legislative Black Caucus’s Barbara Jordan Leadership Award and the Black Austin Democrats’ Beacon of Light Award. Royce is a graduate of Rice University, Harvard Law School, and Dunbar High School in Fort Worth, Texas.
Monica Gomez was born in El Paso, Texas and grew up in New Mexico politics. She was exposed to campaigns from a very early age, sometimes spending her birthdays at primary election parties.
Monica volunteered on her first political campaign as a 16 year-old freshman in college. She has been actively involved with the New Mexico Democratic Party since the 2004 Presidential Election, serving as a state central committee member, chair and vice-chair of the New Mexico College Democrats and a committee member of the Hispanic Caucus of the College Democrats of America.
One of her most notable wins was the defeat of an eighteen-year incumbent to elect her father to the New Mexico House of Representative in 2014. In 2016, she moved into Texas politics, serving as the campaign manager for State Rep. Lina Ortega’s primary race (HD-77). She later returned for the general election to manage State Rep. Victoria Neave’s successful campaign in Dallas (HD-107), one of the closest races in the state.
She holds two undergraduate degrees from New Mexico State University, where she is working to finish two masters degrees. In her spare time, Monica enjoys flower arranging and is a regionally ranked floral designer.
Jerell Tongson is a Democratic campaign staffer and consultant of 8+ years with experience across the country in everything from State Assembly to Presidential races. Learning Finance with Senator Gillibrand (2010) and President Obama (2012), he initially came to Annie’s List through Campaign School after graduating college (2013), he then joined the Wendy Davis team as Deputy Regional Finance Director for North Texas (2014).
This past cycle, he advised national Finance efforts for Congressional races in Nebraska and Alabama and served as Finance Director for campaigns in Virginia and North Carolina. Outside of finance, he provided oppositional research in TV and radio broadcasting for 100+ races for American Bridge in Washington, DC (2016) and guided field canvassing efforts for the Arizona Senate Race (2018).
Jerell is originally from Shelby, Ohio, has a B.A. in Politics and Sociology from New York University and is currently completing his M.P.S. in Political Management at George Washington University.
In his spare time, he likes to travel, listen to music & brewing a good cup of coffee.
Flávia has extensive experience creating exceptional visual design for web and print, as well as a solid understanding of branding and corporate identity. In addition to 10 years of agency experience, Flávia holds a Masters degree in graphic & editorial design from the prestigious Fine Art University of Oporto, Portugal, Europe, where she lived for many years. She also holds a post graduate degree in branding from the Catholic University of Paraná State, PUC, Brazil, the country where she was born and raised. As a graphic designer, Flávia served non-profit organizations in Washington DC for several years—and dedicated herself into accelerating good practices in the graphic design field that focused on small business entrepreneurship in Latin American. In 2015, she moved to Austin to work in the finance industry as a visual designer. Now, Flávia is with us, doing what she believes she does best, helping Annie’s List design the path to elect more women into power!
Shellie Hayes-McMahon joined Annie’s List in July, 2018. She first got to know the organization as an endorsed candidate in May when she narrowly lost her bid for the Cedar Park City Council. Shellie has more than 25 years of management experience, using her Democratic values to put employees first in pursuit of business goals. She has successfully led teams at Costco, Williams Sonoma and Natural Grocers.
Shellie currently serves on the Cedar Park City Council’s Parks, Arts and Community Enhancement (PACE) Committee, where she helps direct city resources to provide cultural experiences and improve quality of life. She is also an overactive member of Wilco Dems, bringing her younger son along while her husband and older son support from home.
Ana Harris is a political and nonprofit professional with experience in organizing and community building. A Dallas native, Ana is thrilled to be back in her home state after spending nearly six years in the Boston area. Ana served as the campaign manager for a city council race in suburban Boston, and comes to Annie’s List from the Planned Parenthood League of Massachusetts, where she worked in fundraising to lead and expand the young philanthropist group. Ana’s dedication to increasing the number of smart, Democratic women in American politics can be seen through her in her volunteer work with Emerge Massachusetts, and her previous internship with Annie’s List while an undergraduate. She received her B.A. from Wellesley College. After her time spent in New England, Ana is grateful for the warm weather and sunshine, and that no one laughs when she says, “Y’all.”
Born and raised in Texas, Jacob has lived in Austin for seven years after growing up in the Dallas/Fort Worth area. He is an alumnus of the Annie’s List internship program, completing internships in both communications and development while finishing his Bachelor’s degree in Women’s and Gender Studies at the University of Texas at Austin. He is passionate about working to advance the representation of marginalized groups in politics and learning how to improve social justice advocacy, especially at the intersections of race and gender. In his free time, Jacob enjoys training for 10Ks, eating too much Tex-Mex, listening to pop music, and finding new places to brunch.
Policy and Communications Coordinator
Gracie Padilla, a Dallas native, has extensive nonprofit experience and a background in policy research. Before joining Annie’s List, Gracie worked as a research analyst for the Texas Legislative Council. There she was assigned to ten, high-volume House committees. Prior to that, she served as an advocate at the National Domestic Violence Hotline, and on the direct services team at the Girls Empowerment Network. Gracie is dedicated to helping elect progressive women. She frequently checks the #txlege hashtag on Twitter, and is especially passionate about health and human services, public education and election law. Gracie received her Bachelor’s of Social Work from the University of Texas at Austin and is a former Annie’s List political intern. She and her dog, Hadley, are regulars at Zilker Park.