Spokespeople

Sameera Hafiz

Advocacy Director

Sameera Hafiz is the Advocacy Director at the National Domestic Workers Alliance (NDWA).  In this role, Sameera directs the Beyond Survival campaign to end the human trafficking of domestic workers and oversees the policy work of the We Belong Together campaign to mobilize women in support of reforms that honor the needs of immigrant women.

Elly Kugler

Federal Policy Director

Elly Kugler leads the organization's federal policy work around direct care and childcare; supports organizing and campaigns by and for direct care workers; and collaborates with national organizations and state stakeholders to impact and improve state implementation of the new FLSA protections for homecare workers. She began supporting domestic worker organizing in 2001, when she collaborated with domestic worker leaders to support the creation of the Colectiva de Mujeres in San Francisco, CA.

Alicia Garza

Special Projects Director

Alicia Garza is the Special Projects Director for the National Domestic Workers Alliance. She has been the recipient of multiple awards for her organizing work in Black and Latino communities, receiving the Local Hero award from the San Francisco Bay Guardian and the Jeanne Gauna Communicate Justice award from the Center for Media Justice in 2008. She has twice been honored by the Harvey Milk Democratic Club with the Bayard Rustin Community Activist award for her work fighting gentrification and environmental racism in San Francisco's largest remaining Black community.

Palak Shah

Social Innovations Director

Palak leads NDWA's experimental and market-based approaches to improve working conditions, services and employment opportunities for domestic workers.

Most recently, Palak served as a leader at Wellmont Health System, an 8 hospital health system in Northeast Tennessee and Southwest Virginia. Palak developed the health care system's strategic responses to the Affordable Care Act and the rapidly changing healthcare environment. Palak was previously a member of Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick’s Administration, serving as a member of the governor's budget team and then as the Commonwealth’s Deputy Director of Performance Management. Palak previously worked in the private sector as a management consultant at Accenture’s strategy practice.

Andrea Cristina Mercado

Campaign Director

Andrea Cristina Mercado is the daughter of South American immigrants, the mother of two young girls, and the Campaign Director at the National Domestic Worker Alliance. Andrea was an organizer at Mujeres Unidas y Activas (MUA), a grassroots Latina immigrant women’s organization in the San Francisco Bay Area, for eight years. At MUA she led the California Domestic Worker Coalition, which successfully passed a statewide Domestic Worker Bill of Rights into law and co-founded the National Domestic Workers Alliance.

Maria Reyes

National Organizer

Maria has been an active member of Mujeres Unidas y Activas (MUA), one of the NDWA’s founding member organizations, since 1999. She is a committed worker-leader within the NDWA who has mobilized countless other domestic workers to build support for the California Bill of Rights Campaign and other NDWA initiatives. As an immigrant woman with experience as a domestic worker, and as a long-time community organizer, Maria is excited to focus her energies on building the NDWA and winning victories with other domestic workers in her new role as National Organizer.

Barbara Young

National Organizer

Barbara has been a domestic worker for the past 17 years, and is well acquainted with both the exploitation domestic workers face—and the potential of domestic workers to organize for lasting change. She is an active member of Domestic Workers United (DWU), one of the NDWA’s founding affiliate organizations, and has provided consistent and inspiring leadership for the NDWA since its foundation.

Ai-jen Poo

Director

Ai-jen Poo, Director of the National Domestic Workers Alliance (NDWA) and Co-director of the Caring Across Generations campaign, has been organizing immigrant women workers since 1996. In 2000 she co-founded Domestic Workers United, the New York organization that spearheaded the successful passage of the state’s historic Domestic Workers Bill of Rights in 2010. In 2007, DWU helped organize the first national domestic workers convening, out of which formed the NDWA. As Co-director of Caring Across Generations, Ai-jen leads a movement that is inspiring thousands of careworkers, parents, grandparents, grandchildren, and lawmakers to work together to ensure that all people can mature in this country with dignity, security and independence.