About Change the
Game

Who we are

Change the Game (CtG) knows there is a dearth of diversity within the progressive data space, something that is detrimental not only to living our values, but to the quality of analysis of the data we need to win. For this reason, CtG aims to create accessible pathways into this field for a diverse group of learners, who hope to gain the skills and understanding of tools needed to start working as data staffers for progressive organizations around the country. To better support these learners, CtG aims to simultaneously build out a mechanism of community building and support for existing practitioners and experts. An infrastructure that we hope will also be utilized by the new members of the community as they graduate from CtG programming.
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How we're different

Change the Game is focused on breaking down technical barriers to entry in the field of Progressive Data by teaching common skills utilized across the space. Change the Game intentionally targets its recruitment towards traditionally underrepresented communities, aiming to increase diversity across the progressive data space. Change the Game focuses on building a pipeline of data staff for the progressive advocacy industry, from party organizations to independent expenditures and campaigns.

We are looking for participants from traditionally underrepresented communities who have an interest in database or list management, and/or general targeting. Our aim is to develop trainings and a virtual community, to ensure participants and the progressive data community at large, have the tools, skills and network needed to work in the progressive space this cycle.

Virtual data academies

Our online data academies provide participants the following opportunities:

  • Mentorship and small team project based learning;
  • A community speaker series to provide networking and community development opportunities;
  • Online learning courses, which will allow participants to engage in exciting, activity based learning remotely; and
  • An online communication platform for participants, and the larger progressive data community, to share resources, best practices and job opportunities.

At-your-own-pace online learning

Change the Game provides topic specific online courses for data professionals and aspiring data professionals interested in learning new skills and updating their resume to add new tools. 

We work hard to continue to update our online learning library with new courses and to update our existing courses. So keeping checking in to see what’s new. 

These online courses include video overviews, activities, knowledge checks and additional resources, to ensure learners have what they need to grasp the main takeaways for each topic and to practice using their new skills. 

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Not only were the trainings useful but being in the room with this group of people was amazing.

Jasmine Leiva

Change the game participant

Change the game

Meet the Team

Poonam Benakatti
Project Lead

Poonam has worked in project management across various spaces. Most recently, she spent her time working on early vote analytics with Biden for President. Prior to Change the Game, she finished her service with Peace Corps Thailand. She switched from the healthcare sector to contribute to organizations that work toward directly empowering people.

Poonam has an MS in Applied Cognition in Neuroscience from UT Dallas, and a BS in Neuroscience. Go Comets! While spending her pandemic time in Dallas, TX, you can catch her baking cakes, or working on her calligraphy skills.

Steven Howard Headshot

Steven Howard
Data Lead

Steven, a two time Dundie Award nominee, has worked in data roles for several organizations across the progressive space, most recently DigiDems and Berlin Rosen. He studied computer science and finance at Columbia University. Inspired to change the education system, he began to make the transition to issue based organizing in 2012 and made the full time switch into politics in 2014.

Based in Alexandria, VA, you can find Steven training his stubborn Husky, being a plant dad and gaming in his free time. His mission is to give a voice to the voiceless and destroy systems of oppression.

Elizabeth Pustinger
Content Lead

Elizabeth Pustinger has worked in content creation with organizations including the BBC, Netflix, and the Metropolitan Museum of Art. She graduated from Fordham University with a BA in Communications and Culture and has since filmed work for the FBI's International Conference on Cyber Security, published videos for BBC Reel, and is now managing content for Change the Game.

She was born and raised in El Paso, Texas, located on the border between the United States and Juárez, Mexico, and now resides in New York City. When she has free time, she enjoys screenwriting and practicing her photography.

Philippa Wood
Executive & Training Director

Philippa has worked in training for over ten years, starting as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Guatemala, then for the National Democratic Institute in Washington, DC, and most recently for the Texas Democratic Party as their Training and Programming Director.

Philippa has an MA from the Institute of Development Studies in the UK in Governance and Development, and a BA from the George Washington University in Political Science and Journalism. Based out of Austin, Texas, you’ll most likely find her bothering her cat Reece and pup Gizmo for photo-shoots for their Instagram account.

Hear from former participants

“I loved the people in the room. I'm so excited to have an amazing and supportive network of diverse, smart, talented people.”
Victoria O'Dell
Change the Game Participant
“I am so grateful for this opportunity and to have had the chance to grow and learn with the other wonderful people in this cohort...”
Jazmin Gonzalez
Change the Game Participant
“This training has been an incredible experience! I'm grateful for...the connections I've built, and the confidence I've grown...”
Connie Gao
Chnage the Game Participant