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Public Allies Board of Directors Sets Its Sights on the Future with New Leadership

Public Allies is pleased to announce its new slate of board officers as well as the members who will serve on the Executive Committee of its National Board of Directors:


  • Chanda Smith Baker (former President and CEO of Pillsbury United Communities who brought Public Allies to the Twin Cities, full bio here), Chair
  • Angela Dorn, JD, Vice Chair
  • Christopher Besendorfer, Treasurer
  • Aria Florant (PA Bay Area ’12), Secretary
  • Bill Graustein
  • Kanwar Singh (Immediate Past Chair)


In addition, Priya Bhatia, who previously served as the chair of the advisory committee of Public Allies Wisconsin, will serve as the new chair of our Governance Committee.


The board also took action to extend the terms of service of Christopher Besendorfer, Angela Dorn, William Graustein, Kanwar Singh, and Lisa Woodruff-White. These leaders were vetted against the same criteria as the new board members who were elected in the past twelve months, and their ongoing service will be invaluable in maintaining institutional knowledge, continuity, and stability.


These decisions were made after thoughtful consideration to select a diverse and talented slate of new individuals (with representation by Public Allies staff and program alum) while maintaining critical institutional knowledge. We are confident that this year’s slate, together with returning board members, comprises a group of actively-engaged, values-aligned members with rich and varied experiences positioned to lead Public Allies with commitment and expertise to its brightest and most impactful future.


This new slate was recommended by the Governance Committee, voted on and approved by the board of directors at its annual meeting on August 11, 2023.


We would like to extend our deepest gratitude and appreciation to Dr. Robert Ashcraft who has retired from our board. We thank him for his leadership and his many years of service and dedication to Public Allies, especially in the past 12 months, during which time he led our Governance Committee in bringing on six new board members and installing our new board composition matrix that aligns with organizational values.


We would also like to thank Kanwar Singh for their many years of service as board chair and their continued service on our Executive Committee. Kanwar has dedicated over twenty years of service to Public Allies. Their leadership has been particularly pivotal over the last year when they personally stepped in to ensure stability and continuity with our staff, partners, alumni, and donors.


For a full list of current board members, please click here.

To read a message from Chanda Smith Baker, new Chair of the Board of Public Allies, please click here.