At our annual summit in Washington, D.C., members from across the country gather to elect an executive board to represent the organization at the national level. This year's board was elected in late June and will serve until summit in the summer of 2019 when the next board is elected.
Jason Lam - National Chair
Jason Lam (firstname.lastname@example.org) is a rising senior from Bridgewater, New Jersey. In the second grade, Jason became fascinated by then-Senator Obama and went canvassing with his grandmother in Pennsylvania. After his freshman year of high school, Jason co-founded the Somerset County High School Democrats. Since then, Jason has served as Vice Chair of the New Jersey High School Democrats and campaigns director of HSDA. Jason is extremely interested in issues regarding criminal justice reform and economic inequality. Jason is so excited to serve HSDA and cannot wait for the blue wave in November!
Ariana Smartt - Vice Chairwoman
Ariana Smartt (email@example.com) was born and raised in Huntsville, Alabama. As one of the only democrats in her area, Ariana started the first High School Democrats of America chapter at her high school and was elected Northern Regional Director of Alabama High School Democrats as a sophomore in 2016, as well as Vice Chair in 2017. Ariana also led the regional initiative to lobby for the inclusion of sexuality and gender in her state hate crime laws and voter registration drives. She has volunteered on six campaigns on the local and state level and is a frequent speaker at local marches/rallies. Aside from political work, Ariana organized a celebration of female role models in her area, volunteers regularly at her town’s food bank and cultural center, has written articles for girlspring.com, participated in MUN, and loves to paint. Ariana is so excited to get to work as Vice Chairwoman of HSDA!
Talat Aman - Vice Chairman
Talat Aman (firstname.lastname@example.org) is a rising senior from Boston, Massachusetts, and has been fighting for progressive causes since his sophomore year of high school. After canvassing in the frigid battleground state of New Hampshire in 2016, Talat was inspired to campaign for Democratic candidates down the ballot and introduce hundreds of high school students to the importance of politics and civic engagement. Talat previously served as an intern at the constituent office of Senator Elizabeth Warren, and as the Massachusetts High School Democrats Chief of Staff. He is beyond excited to work with the new team!
Brennan Leach - Communications Director
Brennan Leach (email@example.com) is a rising senior from Wayne, Pennsylvania who has been passionate about politics, media, and journalism since she was a little kid! Brennan’s personal involvement in the political arena began when she was attacked on Fox News for asking Hillary Clinton a question about Donald Trump’s body shaming of women at a local town hall. Inspired by the power that her voice could have, Brennan spoke at the Women’s March on Philadelphia, was elected Communications Director of High School Democrats of Pennsylvania, and served as a democratic U.S. Senate Page this past fall. Brennan could not be more excited about her position as national Communications Director and can’t wait to get to work with her amazing new team!
Haritha Kumar - Programs Director
Haritha Kumar (firstname.lastname@example.org) is a rising junior from Cupertino, California, where she got more deeply involved in politics her freshman year of high school. Haritha strongly believes in the importance of youth involvement in politics, and hopes she can bring her experience from organizing in California to the national level. She previously served as the Vice Chair of California High School Democrats and the President of the High School Democrats of Cupertino, where she has worked with multiple non-profits and served as a MoveOn Resistance Summer Mobilizer. Outside of HSDA, Haritha is involved in debate and her school’s Women’s Empowerment Association. Haritha is very excited to get to work with the new Executive Board this year!
Anne Austin - Development Director
Anne Austin (email@example.com) is a rising senior from Chicago, Illinois, and has loved politics for most of her life. After watching Barack Obama be elected President in 2008, she took a greater interest in electoral politics, going on to work for Hillary Clinton’s 2016 campaign and Marie Newman’s congressional campaign. She previously served as Political Director of the Illinois High School Democrats, where she formed coalitions with several competitive congressional campaigns and the Illinois gubernatorial campaign. Outside of HSDA, Anne is on the executive board of her school’s Model UN team and volunteers with a Chicago food bank. She can’t wait for an amazing year with her new team!
Local HSDA chapters, located within individual high schools, make up the pulse of the entire organization. Members on the local level – from the bustling streets of New York City to the quiet towns of rural Indiana – have club meetings at their schools, bring in candidates and elected officials, and involve themselves in campaigns in order to improve their communities and turn their states blue.
Each "active" state has an executive board of leaders who help guide and support individual school chapters and act as a liaison between individuals in their state and the HSDA national board. State chapters also help organize statewide conferences, connect members to state candidates, and plan major phone banks and get-out-the-vote campaigns.
The national leadership of HSDA consists of three main bodies: the National Committee, the National Staff, and the National Executive Board. The National Committee, which votes on proposals from the Executive Board such as bylaw amendments, consists of two representatives from each chartered state/territory – the State Chair, and one member selected at the discretion of the state itself. The National Staff consists of members appointed by the Executive Board to provide input, work on specific tasks and initiatives, and essentially serve as an informal cabinet. Finally, the National Executive Board consists of six officers democratically elected by HSDA’s national membership the National Chair, the Executive Vice Chairwoman, the Executive Vice Chairman, the Communications Director, the Programs Director, and the Development Director.
In 2015, HSDA established an Adult Board of Advisors, a group of Democratic leaders who provide organizational continuity, outreach opportunities, and programming guidance. Congresswoman Terri Sewell (AL) and Congressman Joaquin Castro (TX) currently serve as honorary co-chairs.