Announcing Our Next Executive Director: Ivan Luevanos-Elms!

Last month, we announced that our fearless leader of the past eight years – Sarah Johnson – will be leaving Local Progress and the Local Progress Impact Lab in the fall, signaling a bittersweet but exciting new chapter in the growth and evolution of our network.

Today, we’re thrilled to announce our next Executive Director: Ivan-Luevanos-Elms

This decision comes after a months-long process by the boards of Local Progress and the Impact Lab. We couldn’t be more confident in and excited to support Ivan as he prepares to officially step into the role on August 21. 

Many of you know and love Ivan. You recognize his heart, soul, and energy at any in-person LP event. He was, for many of us, our first introduction to the network and continues to be the tireless cheerleader who quotes Beyonce as he hypes us up. And that’s because in so many ways, Ivan’s story is LP’s story. 

Born in Mexico, he came to the U.S. at the age of 4 on the strength of his family’s courage to build something new together. His lived experiences as a gay Mexican growing up in Los Angeles galvanized his work – first in electoral strategy with the Working Families Party and then at the intersection of immigrant and LGBTQ+ rights with Make the Road NY. He later served in government as Director of the Community Engagement Division of the New York City Council where he helped create NYC’s municipal ID card system and expand the city’s participatory budgeting process. And it was this organic fusion of grassroots organizing, electoral power-building, and collaborative governance that brought Ivan to LP in the first place. Over the last five years, he has helped scale this powerful network. As Organizing Director, he has helped create the organization’s state organizing framework – which ultimately led the establishment and growth of our amazing state chapters in New York, Texas, North Carolina, and Minnesota. He also helped build the Progressive Governance Academy, which has trained over 1,000 elected officials, in deep collaboration with the State Innovation Exchange and re:power. Needless to say, we are so grateful and excited to have someone who is deeply rooted in community organizing, coalition building, and collaborative governance. 

We welcome both the continuity and opportunity that Ivan’s leadership brings in this moment. Ivan has and will continue to build what’s at our core while also pushing us to innovate and bring it to the next level. He will be the first Latinx, first immigrant, first queer person to lead our network – helping us continue to live into the multi-racial democracy we are collectively working to build. 

Ivan’s leadership and Local Progress’ role in the broader progressive movement are coming together at a time that calls for bold action. Never have we had so much hope and simultaneous threats to democracy – in our localities, at every state level, and nationally. We will face this challenge together. 

Please join us in congratulating Ivan, and thank you for being part of changing what’s possible at the local level. 

In solidarity,

Kris & Jillian