August 6, 2017

Who

Founders

George A. Polisner, Founder
The resident old guy on the team, with more than 20 years of development and engineering experience in the tech industry, George brings his extensive background in corporate social behavior to the field of participatory democracy.

Golda Velez, Chief Architect
Golda has worked for Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Oracle, and other major enterprises and startups to direct complex projects, programs, and teams. She lends her rocket scientist mind to building our visually compelling, easy-to-use, privacy-protected social network.

Adam Lake, Network/Outreach
Adam continues to  promote civic cooperation, empowerment, and engagement as he has since his early days as a young Virginia Tech. student. His ideas and vision as a disruptor of the conventional actively help shape the civ.works concept.

 

Board of Directors

Lavar Youmans
Lavar has 10+ years of professional experience providing operations/leadership in both private and governmental organizations. His social work practice experience includes working in the areas of domestic violence, substance abuse prevention, community organizing, engaging men/boys, policy development, youth development, men issues and displaced populations. He holds a Masters of Social Work from Howard University with a focus in Policy, Research, and Community Organizing. Upon graduating, Lavar served as the Project Manager for Howard University School of Social Work Engaging Men and Boys Project working to shift social norms that negatively impact our culture promoting a healthy and respectful definition of manhood where men take responsibility for ending domestic violence and sexual assault.
Lavar’s professional and community-based work reflects his commitment to justice. In 2011 he worked as a research fellow in the Executive Office of the President of the United States, White House Office of the National Drug Control Policy, Office of Demand Reduction. In 2012 he worked as a Field Organizer in the state of Nevada, for Organizing for America, President Obama, and Vice President Biden Re-Election Campaign.

Catharine Mason
Catharine Mason, PhD, is Associate Professor of English and Linguistic Ethnography at the University of Caen — Normandy in France, and founding President of sister organizations, VOVA, Inc. and VOVA, France. Her work focuses on the stylistic features of oral discourse in a variety of languages including Clackamas Chinook, Southside Virginia English, and Anglo Pidgins and English dialects. She has published works on Chinook mythology, blues poetics, and video ethnography in language documentation. Through VOVA, Catharine has brought together scholars of vocal and verbal art to compile research in oral poetries in communities throughout the world.

George Polisner
George has spent the last several years of his career addressing highly-complex conceptual technological and economic challenges for government, large enterprise and society. He remains active and engaged in participatory democracy, participatory budgeting, communication and strategy. He also writes about corporate social behavior and externalities. His work and innovation has been noted at Oracle, Dell, HP and the Legislative Counsel for the State of California.

Stephen Suess
Originally trained as an architect and filmmaker, Stephen became fascinated with the systems and software that supported these professions and began his career in technology at Apple Computer in Cupertino in the late 90s. From there he worked for a number of startups and publishing companies in the San Francisco bay area and in Los Angeles, eventually rising to VP of Technology for Village Voice Media, where he oversaw a team of developers crafting custom web applications for internal use. In 2006, he left the corporate world and embarked on a 2 year trip around the world that took him to some 20 countries and 4 continents. When he returned, he decided to work on his own, where he could learn and employ a larger array of skills, and keep his professional encounters smaller scale and more personal. The last 10 years have allowed Stephen to develop a large number of technology skills, and he has contributed to a number of open source projects. Stephen has always been a political person, with a strong belief in social justice and the responsibility to leave the world a better place than one found it.

Golda Velez
Golda has designed data handling frameworks for several silicon valley startups, delivered key datasets at Factual, a leading location data provider, and was the primary maintainer of Webglimpse search software. She holds a BS in Applied Mathematics from Caltech.