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We are currently recruiting our 2018 class! Click here to check out the diverse and inspiring group of Emerge alumnae from around the country that we will soon be joining.

Former Clark County Clerk

Diana Alba began working at the Clark County Clerk's Office in December 1985 as a District Courtroom Clerk for Department XVI. During the next 15 years she accepted positions of increasing responsibility, working her way up through various supervisory and management positions. 

District Court 27 Judge

Nancy Allf is a District Court judge in Clark County, Nevada.  A Las Vegas resident for over 30 years, Nancy was admitted to practice law in 1983 and practiced law in Las Vegas until her election to the bench in 2010.  She is assigned to the civil division of the District Court and also has a partial Business Court assignment. Judge Allf is a 1979 graduate of Transylvia University in Lexington, KY with a B.A. in Pre-law and French, and received her J.D. from the Salmon P. Chase College of Law at Northern Kentucky University in Highland Heights, Kentucky in 1982.

DiGiacomo is a Chief Deputy District Attorney who has served with the Clark County District Attorney's office since 1999. She graduated from Loyola Law School in Los Angeles.

Nina Bailey is a freelance consultant at Prose & Publicity, a boutique public relations agency in Las Vegas. Prose & Publicity assists in content creation for media placement and helps solve problems to build engaging relationships with consumers on behalf of their clients. Bailey came to freelance through a background in finance and as the oldest of five children she is, by nature, a natural problem solver and leader.

Nevada State Assemblywoman, District 20

Ellen Barre Spiegel holds the distinction of being the first Emerge Nevada alumna to be elected to public office after having gone through our program. When she won election in 2008 for State Assembly representing Henderson's District 21, it was the first time a Democrat had won the seat in a generation and the first time a woman had ever held the seat. 

Emily is a classroom teacher at Paul Culley Empowerment School.

Kelly Benavidez is the liaison to Clark County Commissioner Lawrence Weekly.  Her community involvement has included work for the Las Vegas Latin Chamber of Commerce, Hispanics in Politics and the Latina Network. Ms. Benavidez is a fan of Chicano writers, and her favorite book is Rain of Gold by Victor Villasenor. She was reappointed by the Las Vegas City Council to the Las Vegas Clark County Library District, her term expires in March 2015.

Assemblywoman, District 34

Shannon is a third generation Nevadan with deep roots in the community and Democratic politics. She is a passionate advocate of a variety of public and philanthropic endeavors, serving on the boards of the Las Vegas-Clark County Library District Board of Trustees, the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation of Nevada, and Family-to-Family Connections Las Vegas.
She got her political start right out of college working for Senator Dick Durbin's first senatorial campaign.

Ms. Bliss, with 22 years experience as a federal prosecutor, has three primary areas of practice in which she represents individuals and businesses: criminal investigations and prosecutions by federal and state authorities, complex civil litigation and criminal appellate practice. Ms. Bliss is the chair of the White Collar Criminal Defense & Government Investigations Practice. She is published in the area of Federal Indian Law and has expertise in jurisdictional issues involving Indian Tribes. Ms.

Wendy is a graduate of the 2011 Emerge Nevada class and resides in Reno, Nevada.  She earned an Ed.M. in school administration from Rutgers University and served as an administrator in Vermont, California, and Nevada.  Wendy retired from education in 2012 and is currently President of Women of Washoe – WOW, the first all women’s chapter of the Alliance for Retired Americans, a senior advocacy group.  Wendy was appointed by the Reno City Council to the Senior Citizen Advisory Committee and is a board member for the Northern Nevada Literacy Council.

Member, Reno City Council, Ward 1

The daughter of a former small town City Council member, Jenny Brekhus grew up in Northern California. Today, Jenny is a member of the Reno City Council representing Ward 1. She was first elected to the council in 2012. She won re-election to a second term in the general election in 2016.
By background, Jenny is a city planner and public policy consultant. She earned her B.A. in classic civilizations from the University of California, Berkeley.

Dr. Constance Brooks joined Nevada System of Higher Education in 2012 and is the vice chancellor for government and community affairs. In this role, she provides oversight in the areas of government affairs, communications, diversity initiatives and community outreach. Dr. Brooks assists and supports the development of system-wide initiatives, catalyzes effective community collaboration and outreach, ensures targeted messaging and serving as the chief advisor for governmental affairs, policies, strategies and analytics.  
Prior to her employment with NSHE, Dr.

Mara Brosy-Wiwchar is a District Representative for Congressman Jared Polis in Ft. Collins, CO. 

Dr. Nancy E. Brune is the Executive Director of the Kenny Guinn Center for Policy Priorities. Prior to joining the Guinn Center, she was a Senior Policy Analyst at Sandia National Laboratories, where she worked on issues of national security, energy security, homeland security, water-energy-security nexus, and technology and policy. In addition, Dr. Brune served as an Adjunct Senior Fellow at the Center for A New American Security, a bipartisan national security think tank.

Nevada State Assembly

Irene was raised in the farming community of Kerman, California, the second of five children. From an early age, Irene's parents taught her the value of hard work, dedication and perseverance. Academically, Irene excelled and her dedication to her studies led her to the University of California at Fresno to pursue her Bachelor of Science degree in Business Management. Irene worked her way through school serving in several capacities, including as a student assistant for the football team.

Marisa Calderon is chief of staff and deputy executive director of the National Association of Hispanic Real Estate Professionals (NAHREP). She is an 18 year veteran of the financial services and housing industry.
Ms. Calderon takes a direct role in the association's conference and event planning efforts, including NAHREP’s Housing Policy and Hispanic Lending Conference in Washington, D.C.

Chelsie combines her dynamic personality, her skills as an Attorney and her extensive public policy experience to strengthen NV Energy’s effectiveness at the local political level.  Chelsie possesses a keen understanding and broad knowledge of the gas and electric utility industry. She works directly with company management to provide strategic recommendations and critical support for the execution of company initiatives directly impacting energy delivery and operations.

Board Member

Melissa Clary brings more than 16 years of private and public sector experience to her position as a Project Manager for the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). Ms. Clary provides project management for the Information Technology infrastructure installation of Eastern Colorado Healthcare System's replacement Veteran's hospital in Aurora, Colorado, totaling more than 2.2 million square feet at a cost of greater than $800 million. Additionally, she provides project management support for 33 hospital campuses in Region 1 for the VA’s Office of Information Technology.   Ms.

Candidate for Nevada State Board of Education

Donna has been a life long advocate for children and education which shows through her track record. She has spent eight years as a juvenile prosecutor and DA’s juvenile unit supervisor and as an attorney for abused, neglected children in dependency court. She has had a two years staff attorney for National School Safety Center which led her to be an expert on prevention of school crime, violence, bullying, drugs and weapons on campus.


Lesley Cohen represents District 29 in the Nevada State Assembly.  After being appointed to the seat in 2012 and losing in the infamous "red wave" election of 2014 which flipped both houses of the Nevada Legislature, Ms. Cohen won election in 2016 despite the district favoring the Republican presidential and senatorial candidates.  Ms. Cohen's Field Director for the 2016 campaign was fellow Emerge graduate Leisa Moseley.  Ms. Cohen is an attorney who focuses her practice primarily in the family law field.

Venicia Considine has lived in southern Nevada for nearly 20 years and is a graduate of University of Las Vegas and UNLV's Boyd School of Law. She is the past President of the Nevada Chapter of the National Organization for Women and a member of the Nevada Women's Lobby. Currently, she is an attorney at the Legal Aid Center of Southern Nevada, helping families avoid foreclosure and keep their homes.

District Court Judge

Kathleen Delaney is a District Court Judge in Department 25

Carolyn Essex recently graduated from the Emerge Nevada program in 2009.  She is running for Nevada State Assembly in District 7, North Las Vegas in November, 2010.Carolyn is a Community Organizer and Political activist and currently resides in North Las Vegas.  Public service and involvement has been her passion for more than 28 years.  She first entered public service as an employee for the City of Los Angeles, Community Development Department in 1980.  After leaving the Community Development Department in 1998, Mrs. Essex began a career in hospitality with Good Nite Inn, Inc.

Dr. Edith Fernández is a proven administrative professional skilled in building relationships with community leaders, elected and government officials. She has substantial experience in the field of higher education with expertise in institutional research, student success initiatives, and strategic collaborations as well as significant marketing and organizational leadership skills.

For more than 24 years Alison Gaulden worked as a reproductive freedom fighter conducting the public affairs strategy for Planned Parenthood Mar Monte including public policy influence, the grassroots advocacy and volunteer development, media relations, public relations and marketing. She volunteered from 1989 to 1998; then came on staff as Associate Vice President. She was promoted within five months to VP. 

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