NGP Celebrates Women's History Month!

This year, we’re celebrating women leaders who’ve made a difference in our state and communities in honor of Women’s History Month! Check this page throughout March to see who we’ve given shoutouts to, and be sure to follow everyone to keep up with their work.

Meet the Incredible, Dedicated Women from NextGen Policy

NextGen Policy is proud to say that the majority of our staff are women! Since it’s Women’s History Month, we wanted to take a second to recognize the dedicated women of NGP. We’re inspired by you, made better by you, and honor your work — this month and every month!

Portrait of Adriana Sanchez-Ochoa

Adriana Sanchez-Ochoa

Chief Deputy Director

Portrait of Amy Hamblin

Amy Hamblin

Policy Advisor

Portrait of Andrea Serrano

Andrea Serrano

Communications Specialist (Digital & Design)

Portrait of Courtnie Thomas

Courtnie Thomas

HR Director & Policy Advisor

Portrait of Adriana Sanchez-Ochoa

Adriana Sanchez-Ochoa

Chief Deputy Director

Adriana Sanchez-Ochoa is the Chief Deputy Director of NextGen Policy and directly assists in team management and daily operations. Her policy areas of emphasis include immigration, digital equity, and environmental justice. She also serves as the NextGen Policy liaison to the ethnic, women’s, and LGBT caucuses of the CA State Legislature.

Before joining the NextGen Policy team, Adriana spent 18 years working in various key positions in the California Legislature. She worked for four Assembly Speakers and, in her last job with the Assembly, was the Director of International Relations and Protocol. In addition, Adriana has worked extensively with the California Latino Caucus.

Adriana has a Bachelor’s degree from UC Davis in International Relations and Political Science with a minor in Spanish. She is the proud mother of three daughters and has three beautiful grandchildren. In her spare time, she loves gardening, exercise and anything that involves the outdoors. She is a proud immigrant from Colombia and is fully bilingual in Spanish.

Pronouns: She, Her, Hers

Portrait of Amy Hamblin

Amy Hamblin

Policy Advisor

Amy Hamblin is a Policy Advisor at NextGen Policy and is responsible for the following areas: inclusive democracy and digital equity.

Before joining NextGen Policy, Amy worked as a policy advisor on Tom Steyer’s presidential campaign. She brings over 15 years of experience in advocacy, communications, and civic engagement. She began her career on the 2008 Obama campaign, managing an online community of nearly two million supporters. She is passionate about strengthening civic engagement at home and abroad. She has served as an international election observer in Ukraine, Russia, Egypt, and Macedonia. In addition to her work at NextGen, Amy also teaches in the Political Science Department at Contra Costa College.

Amy holds a Master’s degree in International Relations with a specialization in Economics from Johns Hopkins University and a Bachelor’s degree in Journalism and Political Science from Northwestern University.

Pronouns: She/Her/Hers

Portrait of Andrea Serrano

Andrea Serrano

Communications Specialist (Digital & Design)

Andrea Serrano is NextGen’s Communications Specialist (Digital and Design) and works closely with the Policy team on all digital items, including external email send outs, website maintenance, and advocacy campaign strategy. Andrea is the lead graphic designer for creative direction & content management for social media, website, and external branding strategies. Before coming to NextGen Policy, Andrea worked at the Sacramento Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, leading the graphic design visuals for prominent Chamber and community partner campaigns. Andrea has worked in design planning and strategy with La Familia Counseling Center, The Sacramento Kings, The Golden 1 Center, and Caltrans Division of Human Resources. Andrea has a Bachelor of Arts degree from California State University, East Bay, in Graphic Design. In her spare time, she enjoys visiting local art museums and being outdoors. She is second-generation and fluent in Spanish.

Pronouns: She, Her, Hers

Portrait of Courtnie Thomas

Courtnie Thomas

HR Director & Policy Advisor

Courtnie Thomas works on mental health issues for NextGen Policy. Her work includes coalition building, advocacy, program development and policy analysis, and, most importantly, listening to those who have lived experiences in this space. She is also the Human Resources Manager for NGP.

She joined NextGen after working for various Speakers and Assemblymembers in the California State Assembly. Prior to her stint at the State Capitol, Courtnie came from the local government world of Sacramento City Hall, where she worked tirelessly to change the social and economic landscape of the Oak Park neighborhood where she grew up.

She is a proud first-generation college graduate, a proud daughter of a single mother, and a proud mother of a wonderful child.

Pronouns: She, Her, Hers

Portrait of Elena Santamaria

Elena Santamaria

Partnerships Manager and Senior Policy Advisor

Portrait of Kat Bocanegra Speed

Kat Bocanegra Speed

Development Advisor

Portrait of Samantha Couch

Samantha Couch

Development Director

Portrait of Samantha Seng

Samantha Seng

Legislative Director & Policy Advisor

Portrait of Elena Santamaria

Elena Santamaria

Partnerships Manager and Senior Policy Advisor

Elena Santamaria specializes in health, human services, and homelessness policy issues. She has led NextGen’s efforts to defend the Affordable Care Act, extend services to undocumented communities, ensure patients have access to affordable prescription drugs, and expand progressive healthcare policies both nationally and in California. Additionally, she spearheads the organization’s racial equity work as it relates to the state’s Racial Equity Commission and co-leads the coalition advocacy. 

Prior to working at NextGen Policy, Elena worked in the California State Legislature for a number of Assembly Members and also intermittently spent time on various legislative campaigns.

Elena holds a Bachelors of Science in Political Science from the University of California, Davis.

Pronouns: She, Her, Hers

Portrait of Kat Bocanegra Speed

Kat Bocanegra Speed

Development Advisor

Kat Bocanegra Speed supports the organization’s fundraising and development program, focusing on grant writing, foundation relations, and donor stewardship.  

Before joining NextGen Policy, Kat was a Research and Project Manager for the Tom Steyer PAC, where she worked on the Governor’s Task Force on Jobs and Economic Recovery. Prior to this, she served as the Deputy Research Director for the Tom Steyer presidential campaign and as a Research Associate for multiple Steyer-led programs and initiatives.

Kat has a Bachelor’s degree from UCLA in Political Science with an emphasis on American politics.

Pronouns: She, Her, Hers

Portrait of Samantha Couch

Samantha Couch

Development Director

Sam Couch leads NGP’s development team and is responsible for helping our organization create a sustainable funding model.

Prior to leading the development team, Sam helped manage NGP’s staffing engagement with the Governor’s Task Force on Business and Jobs Recovery–which generated over 20 policy and program proposals and over $20 billion in state budget funding.

Before joining NGP, Sam worked with NextGen America, the largest youth-vote mobilization organization in the country and had roles with their political, advocacy, and communications teams. As a Senior Project Manager, Sam developed and launched a large-scale voter mobilization program as well as a multi-million dollar immigrant rights initiative. She also directed NGA’s social media campaign for the 2018 midterms before moving to work as a senior member of the Steyer for President campaign in 2020.

Earlier in her career, Sam was drawn to education policy, managing an afterschool program and then joining an education based non-profit. Sam held several key roles with the non-profit, including supporting the CEO and helping to coordinate their development functions. As a product of California’s public school system, Sam is passionate about ensuring all children have the right to a high quality education, regardless of their zip code.

Sam is from Salinas, CA and attended community college before receiving her degree in Communications from CSU, Sacramento. Outside of work, Sam enjoys spending time with her husband, their two sons, Leo and Henry, and their dog, London.

Pronouns: She, Her, Hers

Portrait of Samantha Seng

Samantha Seng

Legislative Director & Policy Advisor

Samantha Seng covers education policy – early childhood, K – 12th grade, and higher education for NextGen Policy. The work includes advocating for policies and programs that promote access, equity, and student success at every stage of their educational career.

Samantha joined NextGen after a stint in the California State Assembly, working on a wide range of issues for several different elected officials. Before moving to Sacramento, Samantha came from the non-profit sector, teaching, mentoring, and tutoring low-income and at-promise youth throughout the Bay Area.

Samantha is a proud daughter of immigrants, a first-generation college graduate, and the first family member to hold a Master’s Degree – in Education from Lesley University. Samantha holds an undergraduate degree from UC Berkeley.

Pronouns: They/She

Portrait of Stacey Smith

Stacey Smith

Deputy Director

Portrait of Susi Galyon

Susi Galyon

Policy Advisor

Portrait of Tiffany Germain

Tiffany Germain

Research & Policy Advisor

Portrait of Ashley Perez

Ashley Perez

Program Coordinator & Policy Associate

Portrait of Stacey Smith

Stacey Smith

Deputy Director

StaceySm ith serves as the Deputy Director for NextGen Policy, responsible for team management, political operations, communications, and advocacy campaigns. She also handles policy work in the veterans affairs area, and serves on the Vet Fund Foundation Board of Directors. She previously worked for NextGen America as Director of Outreach, managing legislative advocacy and the California political team’s electoral work at the Congressional level.

Prior to NextGen, Stacey was the Deputy State Director for United States Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA), serving as the Senator’s liaison in northern California, overseeing six field offices, and managing press events across California.

Stacey holds a BA in Government-Journalism from California State University, Sacramento. In her personal time she enjoys exploring California with her family, attending Sacramento Republic FC soccer matches, and cheering on her two sons at their many sporting events.

Pronouns: She, Her, Hers

Portrait of Susi Galyon

Susi Galyon

Policy Advisor

Susi Galyon is responsible for managing finance and operations for Fahr LLC. Before joining the NextGen Policy team, she worked for the Department of Defense as Command Secretary and Assistant to the Commodore for US Navy Logistics Command Task Force 53 in Manama, Bahrain.

Prior to working in the Middle East, she was a Business Manager for Mass Mutual in San Francisco. She is a Sacramento State alum, earning a BA in Communication Studies with an emphasis on Intercultural Communication.

Pronouns: She, Her, Hers

Portrait of Tiffany Germain

Tiffany Germain

Research & Policy Advisor

Tiffany Germain specializes in high-level public policy analysis and political research. Her primary areas of emphasis include tackling food insecurity, providing more healthy school meals in California schools, and developing California’s food system networks.

Before joining NextGen Policy, Tiffany was the Deputy Research Director at NextGen America, where she focused on statewide and national political races. Prior to her work at NextGen, she served as Research Manager for the Center for American Progress Action Fund in Washington, D.C. She also spent time on Capitol Hill working for United States Senator Kay Hagan (D-NC), proudly serving the people of her home state of North Carolina.

Tiffany holds a BA in Political Science from East Carolina University and an MA in Public Management from Johns Hopkins University.

Pronouns: She, Her, Hers

Portrait of Ashley Perez

Ashley Perez

Program Coordinator & Policy Associate

Ashley Perez is a NGP Policy Associate and Program Coordinator. Her policy areas of emphasis include: voting rights and digital equity. Before joining the NextGen Policy team, Ashley interned at the California Labor Commissioner’s office and, most recently, at the Labor Council for Latin American Advancement.

Ashley has a Bachelor’s degree from UC Riverside in Political Science and Public Service. In her spare time, she enjoys baking, reading and walking her dogs.

Pronouns: She, Her, Hers

Portrait of Hunter Blas

Hunter Blas

Grants and Compliance Manager

Portrait of Kimberly Sanchez

Kimberly Sanchez

Education Policy Associate

Portrait of McKenna Jenkins

McKenna Jenkins

Executive Associate

Portrait of Kimi Meyer

Kimi Meyer

Finance and Accounting Manager

Portrait of Hunter Blas

Hunter Blas

Grants and Compliance Manager

Hunter Blas is NGP’s Grants and Compliance Manager and is responsible for reviewing, tracking, and monitoring compliance for all grants NGP receives or administers. 

Before joining NextGen Policy, Hunter was with NextGen America during the 2018 midterm election cycle, working on their finance, legal, and operations team which helped to manage the largest and best-funded effort to turn out young people in a midterms election. Afterwards, she worked on Tom Steyer’s presidential campaign as an HQ Operations Manager, managing logistics across more than 10 states. 

Hunter has a Bachelor’s degree in Political Science and English from Fordham University. She is currently pursuing her Masters in Public Administration at New York University’s Wagner School of Public Service.

Portrait of Kimberly Sanchez

Kimberly Sanchez

Education Policy Associate

Kimberly Yareni Sanchez is NGP’s Education Policy Associate where her focus is advancing the team’s education agenda – advocating for policies and programs that promote equity, access, and student success from cradle to career.

Education equity first piqued her interest when she served as a Student Board Member for her K-12 school district. Prior to working at NextGen Policy, Kimberly held an administrative role at the California State Senate and interned in Washington, D.C., for the Council of Opportunity in Education.

Kimberly has a Bachelor’s degree from UC Davis in Political Science with a minor in Education. She is the proud daughter of immigrants, the first in her family to graduate from college, and fully bilingual in Spanish. In her free time, she enjoys writing and spending time with her family.

Pronouns: She, Her, Hers

Portrait of McKenna Jenkins

McKenna Jenkins

Executive Associate

McKenna Jenkins is an Executive Associate at NextGen Policy. Her comprehensive responsibilities include supporting the Executive Director, Legislative/Policy Manager, and Development team. She is responsible for tracking, monitoring, and advocacy coordination around NGP’s bill, budget, program, and regulatory priorities. She also manages the operational functions/processes for the organization and supports NGP’s Women’s Issue policy area. 

Before joining the NextGen Policy team, McKenna held various positions in legislative advocacy where she specialized in grassroots coalition building and digital advocacy campaigns. 

McKenna holds a B.A in Political Science with a minor in Sociology from Sonoma State University.

Pronouns: She/Her/Hers

Portrait of Kimi Meyer

Kimi Meyer

Finance and Accounting Manager

Kimi Meyer is NGP’s Finance and Accounting Manager and works with the Admin Team on budget forecasting and financial reporting. Her responsibilities include: managing the accounts receivable, tracking grant expenditures, and overseeing the yearly audit. 

Before joining NextGen Policy, Kimi worked as the Budget Manager for the Tom Steyer PAC where she analyzed budget spending and program costs, administered the financial projection process, and produced financial reports. Prior to her work at the Tom Steyer PAC, she served as the Finance and Operations Analyst for the Tom Steyer presidential campaign, and the Operations Manager for NextGen America. 

Kimi has a Bachelor’s degree from UC Berkeley in Geography with a minor in Geographic Information Systems.

Pronouns: She, Her, Hers