Our Team

EducateUS is building a movement of voters laser-focused on advancing progressive sex education policy and implementation across the country. We believe that comprehensive public sex education can change the world.


Jaclyn Friedman

Founder and Executive Director

EducateUS is led by Founder and Executive Director Jaclyn Friedman, a lifelong activist, advocate and organizer. Friedman’s work has globally popularized the affirmative consent standard of sexual consent. Her first book, Yes Means Yes: Visions of Female Sexual Power and a World Without Rape, was one of Publisher’s Weekly’s Top 100 Books of 2009, and has inspired new laws in five U.S. states, as well as policies on countless campuses across the country and the world. She also spearheaded the legendary #FBrape campaign, which forced Facebook to address and exclude content that promotes or trivializes violence against women under their hate speech policy, and is founder and former executive director of Women, Action & the Media (WAM!).

Candace Hardnett headshot

Candace E. Hardnett

Lead Organizer

Candace E. Hardnett is a social justice activist, pastor, and experienced community organizer with a focus on equality, inclusion, and civil rights for marginalized groups. She has been instrumental in lobbying, protesting, and advocating for legislation that protects the rights and well-being of minority groups, particularly those which involve BIPOC and LGBTQIA+ communities. She believes that all people have a right to exist in a world without fear of discrimination or bigotry. Candace believes her faith to be a valuable component to the justice work that she so diligently pursues and for this reason she believes strongly in comprehensive sex education and ending the stigma around sexuality and expression. Candace lives in Savannah, GA with her wife and daughters. Her passion derives from her love for them and the desire that they live in a safe and equitable world.

Monika Nayak

Monika Nayak

Lead Researcher

Monika Nayak is a Ph.D. student and researcher in the Department of Health Policy & Management at UCLA. In her research, she emphasizes the influence of policy and politics on sexual and reproductive health and healthcare at the population level and especially for young people. She pursues projects which incorporate her background in public opinion research and public policy with her experience in statistical methods, data analysis, reporting, and visualization. Monika is joining in mobilizing folks around EducateUs’ mission with a vision for inclusive sex education as a foundational component of reproductive freedom and bodily autonomy for all. 

Board Members

Cara Berg Powers

Cara Berg Powers


 Cara is an innovative strategic thinker working across a variety of disciplines to build the capacity of communities to create meaningful and lasting change. Cara has been working for over 15 years in arts, education and culture to help people reimagine and reshape the world, most recently as Executive Director of the Transformative Culture Project. She is currently a Visiting Lecturer in Education at Clark University, and has also taught at Worcester State University, UMASS Boston and Wheelock College, as well as guest lecturing at a number of colleges and universities. She has produced content for MTV and NBC, and has presented at national conferences on issues of media, culture and equity. She has also provided training for non-profit leaders like Facing History and Ourselves and OxFam America. 

Her work has been published by Harvard University in partnership with Lady Gaga’s Born this Way Foundation, as well as through several feminist publications. She was featured in Gloria Feldt’s No Excuses: Nine Ways Women Can Change How We Think about Power and gave the inaugural keynote for the UpTake’s groundbreaking Conflict Sensitive Journalism fellowship. Cara serves the community through several Boards and Committees.

Before her time at TCP, Cara founded the Youth Media Institute at Project: Think Different (now amplifyme) and also ran Digital Media programming for the United Teen Equality Center (UTEC). She holds a Doctorate in Educational Leadership and Change in addition to a MA in Transformative Media Arts and a BA in Screen Studies and Urban Development/Social Change.

Soraya Chemaly

Soraya Chemaly


Soraya Chemaly an award-winning author and activist who writes and speaks frequently on topics related to inclusivity, social justice, sexual violence, and technology. The former Executive Director of The Representation Project and Director and co-founder of the Women’s Media Center Speech Project, she has long been committed to expanding women’s civic and political participation.
Soraya is also the author of Rage Becomes Her: The Power of Women’s Anger, which was recognized as a Best Book of 2018 by the Washington Post, Fast Company, Psychology Today, and NPR Her work is featured widely in media, documentaries, books, and academic research. As an activist, Ms. Chemaly spearheaded successful campaigns challenging corporations to address online hate and harassment, censorship, and institutional biases.
Soraya currently serves on the national board of the Women’s Media Center and is a former board member of Emerge America. She has also served on the advisory councils of Trajectory Women, Women in Journalism, the Center for Democracy and Technology, VIDA, Secular Woman, FORCE: Upsetting Rape Culture, No Bully, and Common Sense Media DC.  Prior to 2010, Ms. Chemaly spent more than fifteen years as a market development executive and consultant in the media and data technology industries.  You can find her on Twitter @schemaly.


Anushay Hossain


Anushay Hossain is an author, podcast host and passionate speaker on women’s rights. Her writings on gender, race and health in America are published on Forbes, USA Today, Newsweek, CNN.com and more.

Anushay’s first book, The Pain Gap: How Sexism and Racism in Healthcare Kills Women was published by Simon and Schuster in 2021. It is an Audible bestseller and was released in Japanese.

Anushay is also host of the “Spilling Chai” podcast, now in its fifth season. She lives in Washington, DC with her husband, two daughters and pets.


Denise Blaya Powell


Denise Blaya Powell is Co-Founder & Partner at Women Who Run Nebraska a founder and partner of She’s Electable Nebraska, an organization dedicated to recruiting, training and supporting forward-thinking women running for office.

She has spent more than 20 years creating and executing marketing and community relations programs for a wide range of organizations, including PepsiCo and Hilton Hotels where she served as Director of Communications. A native Spanish-speaker, Denise has led multicultural community relations initiatives for various brands, including Pfizer and HSBC.

After moving to Omaha from Los Angeles, Denise helped create the Nebraska Loves Public Schools campaign, a campaign designed to advocate for public school education in the state.

Building on her desire to see greater representation of women in leadership positions, in 2017 Denise cofounded Women Who Run Nebraska, the state’s only political action committee serving exclusively female candidates. She and her partners later created She’s Electable. Through grassroots events and a social media campaign, She’s Electable and Women Who Run build a sense of community and positive energy around (and among) women candidates.

The daughter of immigrants who instilled in her the importance of giving back, Denise serves on the board of directors of the Immigrant Legal Center, an organization that provides free legal services to immigrants in the region. Denise also serves on the board of the WCA, and is the PTA Vice President at Lewis & Clark Middle School (go Trailblazers!).

She and her husband moved to Nebraska from Los Angeles, had two beautiful children, and are ever grateful to call Omaha home.

Advisory Board

Brianna Boggs is an independent coach and consultant focused on supporting executives and boards of directors through leadership challenges. She focuses on racial equity and fundraising.

Elle Chase is a certified sex educator, sexologist + coach and the author of Curvy Girl Sex: 101 Body-Positive Positions to Empower Your Sex Life. Elle is known throughout the sexual health community as a respected voice and influential thought leader, particularly at the intersection of body-image and sexual pleasure.


Stephanie Connaughton is a mentor, advisor and investor focused on initiatives and innovations that make women’s lives better.

Tahir Anderson Duckett is a civil rights lawyer and activist in Washington, DC, who believes in a movement for safety and justice that doesn’t rely on policing and incarceration. He is the Executive Director of the Center for Innovations in Community Safety, and the founder and former Executive Director of ReThink, an organization dedicated to preventing sexual violence before it starts, with a particular focus on adolescent boys.

Sarah Sophie Flicker is a culture organizer, creative director & artist. She is a founder of the Women’s March On Washington, The Resistance Revival Chorus, The Citizens Band, The Meteor, Joy To The Polls, nd is a co-author of the Women’s March official book, Together We Rise , which was released in January 2018 and was a New York Times bestseller.

Justine Ang Fonte (justinefonte.com) is the child of Philippine immigrants ​and a nationally-recognized intersectional sex & health educator, public speaker, and consultant based in New York City.

Jess McIntosh is a public speaker and communication strategist who’s worked for over 15 years at every level of national politics. 

Preston Mitchum is the Director of Advocacy and Government Affairs with The Trevor Project. He is a Black queer attorney, advocate, and activist with a focus on the power of Black people, young people, and queer, trans, and nonbinary people. Preston resides in Washington, DC where he actively pushes for safe spaces for Black LGBTQ residents

Rabbi Danya Ruttenberg is a longtime feminist activist and the author of eight books, including  On Repentance and Repair: Making Amends in an Unapologetic World and  The Passionate Torah: Sex and Judaism.

Renee Bracey Sherman is a reproductive justice activist, writer, and the executive director of We Testify, an organization dedicated to the leadership and representation of people who have abortions and share their stories at the intersection of race, class, and gender identity.

Naomi Sobel has over a decade of experience in the donor organizing, philanthropy, and social change sectors. Most recently, Naomi spent two years leading the donor organizing team at Movement Voter Project, which raised and moved over $100M to grassroots organizing and voter mobilization efforts over the course of the 2020 electoral cycle.

Alison Turkos is a sexual assault survivor, advocate, and activist working to create systemic change.