Dedrick Asante-Muhammad



Dedrick Asante-Muhammad is the president of the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies. For the past 20 years, Asante-Muhammad has dedicated his career to understanding and tackling racial and economic inequities. Asante-Muhammad joins the Joint Center from the Racial Economic Equity and Research at the National Community Reinvestment Coalition (NCRC) where he was vice president. During Asante-Muhammad’s tenure at NCRC, he oversaw fair lending, fair housing, the Women’s Business Center of DC, the National Training Academy, the Housing Counseling Network, and started the Racial Economic Equity Department. As chief of Membership, Policy, and Equity at NCRC, Asante-Muhammad oversaw Membership, Organizing, Research, and Policy.

Asante-Muhammad has worked at many of the nation’s top national non-profit advocacy organizations. Before joining NCRC, Asante-Muhammad served as director, senior fellow, and founder of the Racial Wealth Divide Initiative for Prosperity Now. Before this role, he worked as the senior director for Economic Programs at the NAACP; an associate fellow for the Institute for Policy Studies; was a Racial Wealth Divide coordinator for United for a Fair Economy; and served as Rev. Al Sharpton’s National Action Network National field director.

While at United for a Fair Economy, Asante-Muhammad co-founded the State of the Dream report, an annual publication honoring the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., that examines the state of racial and economic inequality in the U.S. Asante-Muhammad has continued to be a co-author, providing analysis in publications, including “The Road to Zero Wealth” and “Ten Solutions to Bridge the Racial Wealth Divide.” Over the years, Asante-Muhammad has also become a thought leader in diversity, inclusion, and procurement, as reflected in the Opportunity and Diversity series and the “Racial and Ethnic Representation and Investment Framework for the Banking Industry.”

Previous to his work at national non-profits, Asante-Muhammad worked in higher education at Williams College, Oberlin College, and Morgan State University. He also helped coordinate a college program at Bedford Hills Correctional Facility for Women. Asante-Muhammad has served and serves on various advisory committees and boards, including The Racial Equity Subcommittee of the Joe Biden Economic Policy Committee, Better Markets, the Advancing Black Strategists Initiative, and the Council of US Financial Health Network. 

Asante-Muhammad has been featured in outlets including The Hill, MarketWatch, Yahoo! News, Bloomberg, CNN, MSNBC, Time, The New York Times, C-SPAN, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, The Atlantic, TheGrio, Black Enterprise, and Inside Philanthropy. An avid writer and researcher, more of Asante-Muhammad’s work can be found in Medium, HuffPost, and the Racial Wealth Divide Initiative’s blog.

Asante-Muhammad has a bachelor’s degree in Political Science and Government from Williams College and a master’s degree in Systematic Theology from Union Theological Seminary.

Jessica Fulton


Vice President, Policy

Jessica Fulton is the vice president of Policy at the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies. An expert on issues at the intersection of race and economic policy, Fulton’s work focuses on identifying and promoting policies to advance the socioeconomic status of the Black community. In her current role, she oversees the Joint Center’s research and policy team and leads our Economic Policy research.

Before joining the Joint Center, she served as external relations director at the Washington Center for Equitable Growth, where she worked with scholars to advance policymaker understanding of the connection between economic inequality and economic growth. She has also held local research and advocacy positions at the DC Fiscal Policy Institute and the Chicago Urban League.

Fulton is a member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. She serves on the Board of The Black Swan Academy, an organization focused on increasing civic engagement among Black youth, and the Advisory Board of the Sadie Collective, which strives to increase the representation of Black women in economics. Fulton earned a bachelor’s degree in Economics from the University of Chicago and a master’s degree in Economic Policy Analysis from the Kellstadt Graduate School of Business at Depaul University.

Read her policy analysis and commentary here.

Chandra Hayslett


Vice President, Communications

Chandra M. Hayslett is the vice president of Communications at the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies. She is a Pulitzer Prize-winning communications executive with 24 years’ experience spanning the public relations, marketing and journalism industries. Before joining the Joint Center, she was director of communications at the Center for Constitutional Rights, where she led the overall development of strategic communications.

Prior to the Center for Constitutional Rights, Hayslett worked at public relations agencies and nonprofits, where she served as a strategic, trusted counselor who moved public opinion with narrative shifting and thought leadership amplifying CEO and executive director positioning.

Before transitioning into public relations, Hayslett spent 11 years as a newspaper reporter covering K-12 public education and politics at newspapers across Tennessee and New Jersey, including the Newark Star-Ledger, where she was part of a reporting team that won the Pulitzer Prize for breaking news.

Hayslett is a member of the New York Association of Black Journalists, the Communications Network, New York Women in Communications, Inc., PR Council, and the Metro Manhattan (NY) Links, Inc. She has a Bachelor of Arts in African-American Studies from the University of Tennessee and lives in New York City.

Quinci Moody


Vice President, Finance and Operations

Quinci Moody is the vice president of Finance and Operations at the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies. A dedicated nonprofit executive with more than fifteen years of experience, Moody is passionate about guiding emerging nonprofits to achieve their highest potential. She especially enjoys building capacity in organizations working to strengthen vulnerable or underserved communities, and developing nonprofit leaders of color.

In 2005, she earned a Master of Public Administration with a concentration in Nonprofit Management from American University, after completing a BA in English from Florida A&M University in 2003.

After graduate school, Moody continued to strengthen organizations through her role as program associate at Fair Chance, an organization that provides nonprofit leaders with tools and knowledge they need to thrive. Hired to continue the organization’s expansion into new communities, Moody successfully led outreach, consulting, and capacity building efforts in several of Washington, DC’s most underserved communities. After conducting comprehensive organizational assessments, based on best practices, to determine capacity building needs, Moody provided intensive nonprofit capacity building services in areas of board development, fiscal management, fundraising, strategic planning, program evaluation, and human resources. She also provided leadership coaching to executive directors of community-based nonprofits and facilitated quarterly executive director roundtables on relevant nonprofit management topics.

Prior to joining The Joint Center, Moody served as chief operating officer at The Fishing School, a nonprofit that provides year-round out-of-school-time academic, life skills, and parent engagement programming for youth and families from Washington, DC’s most under-resourced communities. During her ten-year tenure, Moody served as a critical thought partner to the chief executive, facilitated significant organizational expansion, and oversaw the organization’s fundraising, programs, and operational functions such as human resources, accounting, facilities management, and information technology.

Dr. LaShonda Brenson


Senior Researcher

Dr. LaShonda Brenson is the senior researcher at the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies, where she leads our Hill Diversity research. Prior to her current role, she served as the senior fellow of diversity and inclusion at the Joint Center.

Prior to the Joint Center, Dr. Brenson served as a civil rights analyst at the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights. At the Commission, Dr. Brenson organized national briefings and wrote reports on municipal fines and fees and its impact on minority communities, minority voting rights, and women in prison. Previously, she was the research director at Project Vote, a national, nonpartisan, nonprofit organization founded on the belief that an organized, diverse electorate is the key to a better America.

Dr. Brenson earned her bachelor's degree in Mathematics and Political Science from the University of Rochester, and her Ph.D. in Political Science from the University of Michigan-Ann Arbor. Using qualitative interviews with congressional staffers and quantitative methods, her dissertation research provides evidence that the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) and Congressional Hispanic Caucus (CHC), as institutions, matter. One way she demonstrates the added value of the CBC and CHC is by illustrating that when caucus members serve as caucus leaders, they introduce more bills because of their additional staff capacity.

Read her policy analysis and commentary here.

Claire Meneer


Director, People and Operations

Claire Campbell is the director of People and Operations at the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies, where she focuses on building structures and policies that allow for organizational growth and centering values.

Previously, Campbell was the director of Operations at Millennial Action Project (MAP), whose mission is to empower young elected officials with the tools and resources they need to be effective and empathetic leaders. Before MAP, Campbell served as director of Operations at West Wing Writers, a speechwriting and strategic communications firm, where she played an integral role in helping the company double in size during her tenure

A graduate of Heidelberg University, Campbell lives in Ohio with her partner, Andrew, and their two Goldendoodles, Bo and Arnie.

Bianca Dacres


Policy Analyst, Workforce Policy

Bianca Dacres is a policy analyst of Workforce Policy at the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies.

Before joining the Joint Center, she was a policy analyst on the Partnership to Advance Youth Apprenticeship (PAYA) at New America, where she spearheaded work surrounding skilled trades and construction and Opportunity Youth. She also co-led the Youth Apprenticeship Policy Academy Cohort alongside PAYA partner National Governor’s Association.

Before transitioning into the non-profit sector, Dacres spent two years as a congressional staffer in the U.S. House of Representatives. During her time, she ran legislative correspondence programs and assisted senior leadership with streamlining their messaging tools.

Dacres has a Bachelor of Science in Political Science from Flordia Agricultural and Mechanical University and a Master of Public Policy from George Washington University. After completing her Master’s program, she calls Washington, DC, her home.

Danielle Davis


Director, Technology Policy

Danielle A. Davis, Esq., is the director of Technology Policy at the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies, where she leads the organization's Technology Policy program. Her primary areas of focus encompass broadband adoption and access, content moderation, and privacy issues. She brings a wealth of experience to her role as a highly accomplished attorney specializing in technology and telecommunications law, policy development, and civil rights advocacy.

Before assuming her current position, Davis held the role of assistant general counsel at the Universal Service Administrative Company. In this capacity, she provided legal counsel related to the administration of the Affordable Connectivity Program and the USF Lifeline Program. Additionally, she served as a Tech and Telecom Policy counsel at the Multicultural Media, Telecom, and Internet Council. Here, she offered guidance on tech and telecom matters to leadership, managed the fellowship program, reviewed outgoing communications, and drafted and edited comments submitted to the FCC and NTIA.

Davis's dedication to advancing technology and telecom policy is evident in her prior work as a Tech and Telecom Policy fellow at the National Urban League Washington Bureau. In this role, she advised senior management on tech and telecom issues, collaborated on cross-functional teams and projects, and was responsible for drafting U.S. congressional testimony, policy recommendations, comments, letters, and digital outreach materials.

Davis's impressive academic background includes a Juris Doctor degree from Barry University, Dwayne O. Andreas School of Law, as well as a Bachelor of Science in General Economics and a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from Florida Atlantic University, where she graduated cum laude. She is an active member of the Florida Bar, the Federal Communications Bar Association (FCBA), and the International Association of Privacy Professionals (IAPP). Davis also serves as a co-chair on the FCBA's Privacy and Data Security Committee.

Notably, Davis is a skilled writer and editor, having held the esteemed positions of Editor-in-Chief of the Southern Journal of Policy and Justice and Senior Editor of the Barry Law Review during her time in law school. She has also authored numerous publications and conducted research at the intersection of technology, law, and civil rights, further demonstrating her commitment to advancing these critical issues. Lastly, Davis is a proud member of Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Inc.

Kayla Elliott


Director, Workforce Policy

Kayla C. Elliott, Ph.D. is director of Workforce Policy at the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies, America’s Black think tank. She leads a team of experts who center Black communities in policy debates concerning the future of work, workforce development, and access to good jobs. Prior to the Joint Center, Dr. Elliott was the director for higher education policy at The Education Trust. She has shared her expertise on outlets such as The Washington Post, TheGrio, and The Chronicle of Higher Education.

Dr. Elliott also holds a master's in philanthropy and a certificate in nonprofit management and has worked on P-20 education issues with a range of nonprofit organizations, including Lumina Foundation, the Southern Education Foundation, and Teach For America. Dr. Elliott earned a Ph.D. in higher education leadership from Florida Atlantic University, where she taught undergraduate courses and worked in research roles in the College of Education and the Provost’s Office.

A proud HBCU advocate and third-generation alumna, Dr. Elliott studied business administration at Fisk University. Dr. Elliott is a member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority. She enjoys cooking, reading, and exploring parks, festivals, and restaurants in the Washington, D.C. area.

Kennedy Fortner


Communications Associate

Kennedy Fortner is the communications associate at the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies, providing support to the communications department through a range of functions. These include overseeing the Joint Center's weekly and monthly newsletters, monitoring media placements, and managing the press pages, blogs, and event placements on the website.

Prior to her role at the Joint Center, Fortner served as a communications intern at Alma DDB. In this position, she was responsible for managing and distributing daily trend reports to company executives, providing information on clients, competitors, and relevant agency news. She also drafted storyline angles for senior executives to pitch to major advertising trades, developed press releases and advertising award write-ups, and led the graphic creation of social media posts for platforms such as Instagram, Twitter, and LinkedIn. Additionally, she was involved in writing social media and internal communications copy. Fortner also worked as a public affairs assistant for the City of Miami Gardens, where she spearheaded the curation of social media content for community outreach events and summits.

Fortner earned her Bachelor of Arts in Public Relations with a minor in Graphic Design from Howard University. During her time at Howard, she participated in ColorComm as a 2023 HBCU Fellow. As part of this program, she had the opportunity to meet with mentors and address diversity and inclusion in the communications, marketing, advertising, media, and digital industries.

Victoria Johnson


Director, Digital and Multimedia Communications

Victoria Johnson is the digital and multimedia director at the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies where she serves as the Joint Center's visual storyteller and manages the Joint Center's digital media including social media, website,  and other multimedia platforms. Victoria joined the Joint Center team in 2018 as the digital communications specialist, served as its communications manager from Feb. 2021 to Dec. 2022, and digital multimedia director from Jan. 2023 to May 2024.

Prior to joining the Joint Center, she spent six years as a journalist earning robust newspaper and magazine experience while reporting on policy and entertainment for New York Daily News, New York Amsterdam News, Teen Vogue, Mashable, Vulture, and more.

She earned a bachelor's degree in advertising and public relations at The City College of New York and a master's degree in journalism at the Craig Newmark Graduate School of Journalism (formerly CUNY Graduate School of Journalism), where she specialized in urban city reporting.

Fatoumata Keita


Director, Development

Fatoumata Keita is the director of Development at the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies, where she leads the implementation of the organization’s fundraising plan. Before this role, she was a senior manager of foundation relations at the National Women's Law Center, where she led foundation fundraising efforts for workplace justice and education programs. Prior to joining the Law Center, she advised the senior vice president of programs at AARP Foundation on programmatic planning, budgeting, implementation, and monitoring of key projects. Additionally, Keita served as a philanthropy associate at Bloomberg Philanthropies. In this role, she supported the executive team with strategic grant-making and the operations team with the day-to-day management of the foundation.

Keita holds a master’s in Gender and Women’s Studies from Trinity College Dublin, where she was a George J. Mitchell scholar. During her time in Ireland, she worked as a policy officer with a small Irish-based NGO, Wezesha, which aimed to address unemployment and isolation issues for African migrants living in Ireland. She received her Bachelor of Arts in Business and Government from Franklin and Marshall College. She enjoys listening to good music and podcasts, reading, and traveling.

Gabrielle Smith Finnie


Policy Analyst, Workforce Policy

Gabrielle Smith Finnie, Ph.D. is a policy analyst of Workforce Policy at the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies. Prior to joining the Joint Center, she was a research intern at the Institute for Higher Education Policy (IHEP) and graduate assistant in the higher education PhD program at Old Dominion University. In both roles, Smith Finnie has worked to reimagine higher education and advocate for evidence-based and equity-driven practices to ensure student success in higher education and economic mobility post degree attainment.

Smith Finnie holds a master’s degree in higher education administration from Florida International University and a bachelor’s degree in communications from the University of Delaware. She also recently defended her Critical Participatory Action Research (CPAR) dissertation study which explored the impact and intersection of race and justice-involvement, examined Black individuals’ ideologies of freedom, and their experiences in higher education and navigating society post-justice-involvement.

Outside of her scholastic and professional pursuits, Smith Finnie is a member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. She is also an avid vinyl collector and is always looking for the best albums to add to her collection.

Justin Nalley


Senior Policy Analyst, Workforce Policy

Justin Nalley is a senior policy analyst of Workforce Policy at the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies. Nalley brings his experience advocating for access to equitable resources for Black communities to produce timely policy research and data analysis, which centers Black workers in workforce development, post-secondary access, and access to quality jobs.

Before joining the Joint Center, Nalley served as the senior public policy analyst for the American Civil Liberties Union of Maryland. In this role, Nalley researched, lobbied, and conducted state fiscal analysis to shape policy for Black youth and families in public education, juvenile justice reform, and voting rights. Nalley was also instrumental in the formation and recognition of the first union at the ACLU of Maryland and held the role of shop steward, leading contract negotiations. He also worked at Baltimore City Public Schools as an analyst, ensuring the large urban district received accurate state revenue to support their students.

Nalley is a member of the National Forum for Black Public Administrators and the Association for Public Policy Analysis and Management. Nalley attended the University of Maryland Eastern Shore before earning his Bachelor of Business Administration from Temple University and Master of Public Administration from West Chester University.

Kimberly Victor


Research Associate

Kimberly Victor is the research associate for the Hill Diversity Program at the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies. She previously served as the Joint Center's research analyst.

Prior to joining the Joint Center, she was a research assistant in various labs at Cornell and Stanford University. At Stanford’s Social Psychological Answers to Real-World Questions (SPARQ), she worked on projects that utilized behavioral science insights to improve police-community relations and promote equity and inclusion in the education sector. At Cornell, she successfully defended her senior honors thesis on the intersection between race and purpose, arguing that the connection between one’s sense of purpose and racial identity has important implications on one’s well-being, particularly for communities of color.

She also served as a student assistant at the New York State Office of the Attorney General Civil Rights Bureau. There she conducted research to help with education campaigns and worked with various diverse communities to ensure the protection of their rights and access to legal counsel.

She earned a bachelor’s degree in Human Development with minors in Inequality Studies and Crime, Prisons, Education, and Justice from Cornell University. During her tenure at Cornell, she worked as the Poetry Program Coordinator for Prisoner Express, helping the organization provide opportunities for creative self-expression through art and poetry to hundreds of incarcerated individuals across the U.S.

Read her policy analysis and commentary here.