George A. Polisner, Founder
The resident old guy on the team, with more than 30 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
Amy is an author, editor, screenwriter & playwright. Her memoir, Marrying George Clooney, Confessions From A Midlife Crisis (Seal Press) was adapted into an Off-Broadway play at CAP21 Theater Company in 2012. She has written for both TV and film. Her screenplay, Funny Valentines, directed by Julie Dash (Daughters of the Dust) was nominated for a BET best screenplay award in 2000. She co-wrote the film, Mr. Wonderful, directed by Anthony Minghella.
Amy has contributed to numerous anthologies and magazines. She is the co-editor of the anthology, Dancing at The Shame Prom (Seal Press, 2012) and most recently the editor of SHADES OF BLUE, Writers on Depression, Suicide, and Feeling blue (Seal Press, 2015). Amy travels all over the country leading her very popular writing workshops, Women Writing/Righting Their Lives – an all women retreat for women to write their lives, use their voices, share their stories and change the world.
Amy also serves on the advisory board of the Women’s Media Center (founded by Gloria Steinem, Robin Morgan and Jane Fonda), the Board of Directors at Peters Valley School of Craft, and co-founded The Milford Readers and Writers Festival in 2016 (where Gloria Steinem, MK Asante and John Berendt were the featured authors). She is on faculty at OMEGA Institute, where she co-facilitates a workshop, WOMEN WRITING TO CHANGE THE WORLD. Her morning post on Facebook, This is what I know. Post Coffee. Pre Wine is followed by thousands of people.
For the past ten years, Sharon Kyle has been the publisher of the LA Progressive, an online social justice daily magazine. She is also the President of Peoples College of Law and has served as a law professor there for several years. But before immersing herself in the law and social justice, Ms. Kyle was a member of several space flight teams at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory where she managed resources for projects like Magellan, Genesis, and Mars Pathfinder. Sharon also sits on several other boards including the Board of Directors of the ACLU and is on the editorial board of the BlackCommentator.com.
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, 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 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.
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 has worked for Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Oracle, and other major enterprises and startups to direct complex projects, programs, and teams. She 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.