Top Wonks is your single-source directory for locating knowledgeable authorities actively involved in a broad range of public policy issues. Journalists, researchers, public officials and conference planners find it to be an indispensable guide for locating just the policy wonk they need at a moment’s notice.
Press & Media:
Top Wonks’ Communications Department runs a full-service media relations shop, ready to assist reporters, editors and producers 365 days a year. To arrange an interview, call us at (212) 481-8302 or send us an email.
Erica Payne, Editor In Chief
In addition to the Agenda Project, Payne is also the founder of the Tesseract Group, a boutique consulting firm that provides strategy and communications expertise to select public policy and political organizations.
Past Tesseract clients include: the Brennan Center for Justice at NYU, Roosevelt Institute, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, the Center for Independent Media, the Howard Gilman Foundation, and America Votes.
Prior to founding the Agenda Project and the Tesseract Group, Payne co-founded the Democracy Alliance, a donor collaborative whose partners have invested over $100 million in progressive organizations.
Her early career included serving as Deputy National Finance Director for the Democratic National Committee during the 1996 presidential re-election campaign and as a consultant to a number of campaigns and political organizations. In addition to her public sector work, Payne has held senior marketing positions in the private sector.
Payne is the author of The Practical Progressive: How to Build a 21st Century Political Movement, which Jonathan Alter of Newsweek called “a blueprint for a progressive conspiracy to help save the country.”
She is on the Board of Advisors of the Public Diplomacy Collaborative at the Kennedy School at Harvard University.
Payne has a MBA from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania (2000) and a BA from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (1991).
Daniel Kelske, Managing Editor
After working for such public sector entities as the New Hampshire State Government and the Suffolk County District Attorney Office, Daniel joined the Agenda Project in January to promote effective public policy. Daniel studied History and Rhetoric at the University of New Hampshire, and is passionate about energy policy, financial reform, resource management and information systems. As the Agenda Project’s Strategy and Policy Associate, Daniel is the managing editor of Top Wonks and also specializes in packaging and marketing rationale values through web based tools and programs.
Melissa Williams, Associate Editor
Desperately wanting an escape from the cookie-cutter, white picket fences of Long Island New York, Melissa moved to New York City where she attended CUNY Hunter College and obtained a BA in Economics. During her years as an undergrad she smooth-talked her way into two, all-expense paid study abroad trips to Barcelona, Spain and Shanghai, China where she developed a passion for economic development and soup dumplings. This past year, she has conducted research on poverty alleviation in the Latin America and Caribbean region and found specific indicators that can be used to measure the impact of Microfinance Institutions in this region. However, to promote change abroad, change must be established on the home front, this is why Melissa was drawn to the Agenda Project and its influence of progressive public policy. She now spends her days taking long walks to avoid Metrocard hikes and tasting all the foods from the top street vendors.