Our Team




Joint Center President


Spencer Overton is the President of the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies, which was founded in 1970 as the Black think tank. Today, the Joint Center focuses on the impact of innovations like artificial intelligence and automation on the future of work and economic development in places like Detroit, Memphis, and the rural Black Belt of the South. The Joint Center also works to increase diversity among congressional staff.


Spencer chaired Government Reform Policy on the 2008 Obama presidential campaign, and on the Obama transition, he served as a lawyer in the General Counsel's office and as a member of the Technology, Innovation, and Government Reform (TIGER) policy team. During the Administration, Spencer served as Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General of the Office of Legal Policy, the “think tank” of the Department of Justice. After leaving the Department, Spencer held several roles on the 2012 Obama National Finance Committee, including teaching fundraising and chairing a fundraising program that raised $25 million.


Spencer is also a tenured Professor of Law at George Washington University, where he teaches race and the law, property law, and election law. He is a co-author of 5G, Smart Cities, and Communities of Color (2017), and the author of the book Stealing Democracy: The New Politics of Voter Suppression and several academic and popular articles. Through his work on national election law commissions, Spencer helped shape the contours of the modern voter ID debate and he led an effort that resulted in Iowa restoring voting rights to 98,000 Iowans who had completed their sentences.  


Spencer is an honors graduate of both Hampton University and Harvard Law School, he clerked for U.S. Court of Appeals Judge Damon J. Keith, and he represented large companies for four years practicing law at the firm Debevoise & Plimpton.





Director of Operations

Stanley Ray is the Director of Operations at the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies. He has a proven record of experience in accounting, human resources, project management, process improvement, risk management, federal and state compliance, developing and executing strategic business plans, and performing business analytics.

Stanley has served in a variety of functions in finance and operations during a career that spans over 30 years. Prior to joining the team at Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies he was President and CEO of Ray International, LLC, and has worked in key positions with Merrill Lynch, Arthur Anderson & Co., Falk Associates Management Enterprises, ICMA-Retirement Corporation, and is a veteran of the United States Navy and Florida Army National Guard.


Director, Black Talent Initiative


Don Bell, a Connecticut native, has spent the last three years working on Capitol Hill. In that time, he worked as a fellow, judiciary legislative correspondent, and Counsel to three Senators, culminating with his time on the Senate Committee on Veterans' Affairs. Don was elected President of the Senate Black Legislative Staff Caucus (SBLSC) in April 2016. During his term, he conducted a groundbreaking Census of black Senate staffers that inspired the current diversity movement and has been a leader in advocating for greater Senate staff diversity and organizing an inside/outside movement that has drawn national attention to the pervasive lack of diversity among Congressional staffers. As President, Don oversaw the development of additional employment resources for black Senate staffers, worked with the SBLSC Professional Development Committee to place members, and actively collaborated with House and Senate influencers to break down the barriers people of diverse backgrounds have to work on the Hill. Don is a graduate of the University of Connecticut and University of Connecticut School of Law. 





Program/Grants Management Associate


Keith Rogers was born in Gary, Indiana and grew up in Phoenix, Arizona. He attended Grand Canyon University, a private Christian school in Phoenix, where he majored in Justice Studies. His interests lie in politics, sports, and fashion. He is currently preparing to attend law school within the next few years. Eventually, Keith hopes to become involved in a kind of public service that will help make America even stronger socially. 





Senior Policy Advisor


Dana M. Lewis is the President and CEO of “In Other Words, LLC”, a professional writing business located in the Greater Philadelphia area. “In Other Words” provides strategic messaging, creative web and blog content, editing, and speechwriting to small businesses, corporations, and private clients. Prior to that, Ms. Lewis spent close to 15 years in the federal government and served in a variety of capacities as a legislative aide, legislative director, and senior policy advisor to Members of Congress including Representative Bobby Scott, Senator Barbara Boxer, and Democratic Leaders Steny Hoyer and Harry Reid. From 2007 – 2010, Ms. Lewis worked for both President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama as their personal and professional aide on the 2007 campaign and in the White House. She also served as the Executive Director of the National Women’s Business Council under the Obama Administration.




Executive Assistant

Sean Michael Love was born in Rota Spain while his mother served in the Navy and has called Washington DC his home for over 15 years. In 2007, Sean Michael left DC to attend Boise State University where he majored in Music Composition and English. Since returning to the DC, Sean Michael has invested his time into volunteering with several grassroots campaign advocating on the issues that affect the African-American community. Sean Michael joins the Joint Center team looking to continue to grow as a leader in his community and wants to continue to develop the relationships needed to make a true lasting change.


 Lynn English



Development Counsel 


Lynn English has a twenty-five year history of fundraising and program planning with dozens of local and national non-profit organizations and foundations. Her work includes extensive experience in virtually all facets of development including prospect research; donor cultivation; proposal writing and developing collateral materials; development audits, fundraising plans, and feasibility studies; special events; and managing board and volunteer fundraising. She is also an experienced facilitator and trainer and enjoys working with boards and staffs through the process of reaching consensus, developing skills, and navigating change.

Lynn has served as a development executive for organizations including AARP Experience Corps, Center for Community Change, Latin American Youth Center, Year Up National Capital Region, and others. She holds a B.A. in English from Georgetown University and a M.A. in English from the University of Maryland at College Park. She was a founding board member of Public Allies and currently serves on the Public Allies DC Advisory Board. 


Dr White


Dr. White is an Associate Professor of political science at George Washington University. He received his B.A. in political science from Southern University in Baton Rouge, Louisiana and his Ph.D. in political science from the University of Michigan. He previously held positions at the University of Texas at Austin, The Ohio State University, and Princeton University’s Center for the Study of Democratic Politics. Dr. White studies American politics with a focus on African-American politics, public opinion, and political participation. His research in these areas has appeared in the American Political Science Review, Journal of Politics, Public Opinion Quarterly, Journal of Black Studies,Race and Social Problems, Virginia Journal of Social Policy and the Law, and a number of edited book volumes.

He is co-editor of the book African-American Political Psychology: Identity, Opinion, and Action in the Post-Civil Rights Era. He also works on the development of survey and experimental methods for better understanding political and social issues. He has published work in these areas in the American Journal of Political Science and Political Analysis, and previously worked on surveys through the Detroit Area Study and as a fellow for the American National Election Study.