Staff & Board


John Raskin, Executive Director, is an organizer and political leader with extensive experience in New York City and State politics.  Before co-founding the Riders Alliance, he served as chief of staff to New York State Senator Daniel Squadron.  Prior to that, he worked for five years as a community organizer and director of organizing for Housing Conservation Coordinators, an affordable housing advocacy organization on the West Side of Manhattan.  He has a B.A. from Harvard University.

Nick Sifuentes, Deputy Director, comes to the Riders Alliance after working in the National Issue Advocacy Practice at BerlinRosen Public Affairs, where he spearheaded communications strategies to promote environmental protection, LGBT rights, arts and culture, and good jobs. Nick also served as the Sierra Club’s Press Secretary for the Northeastern United States, as a communicator at the Los Angeles Alliance for a New Economy (LAANE), and as a journalist with the Center for American Progress.  He is a graduate of the University of California, Los Angeles.

Rebecca Bailin, Campaign Manager, has close to ten years of experience working for social justice.  She has worked as the Student Network Coordinator for the Abortion Rights Coalition of Canada and as a reproductive rights advocate for Planned Parenthood of Nassau County.  She holds an M.A. in Sociology from the New School for Social Research and a B.A. from the University of British Columbia.

Sonia Isard, Membership and Development Manager, brings her commitment to community engagement to the fight for better public transit.  Before joining the Riders Alliance, she worked as the Associate Editor and Digital Media Editor for Lilith Magazine. She holds an M.A. from the Jewish Theological Seminary and a B.A. from the University of Michigan, where she focused on environmental economics. Sonia got her start in organizing with the Philadelphia Student Union, where she worked on educational equality and youth empowerment.

Masha Burina, Senior Community Organizer, has a background in organizing, community outreach, policy research and legislative relations on campaigns including paid­ sick leave, housing for the homeless, “sweat­free” procurement policies, and fast food workers Fight for $15.  Masha holds a B.A from the University of Washington, an LL.M. from the University of Turin, and a Masters in Public Policy from the Harvard Kennedy School of Government.

Stephanie Veras, Community Organizer, traces her passion for social change and advocacy to her freshman year in college at The City College of New York, where she was a Colin Powell fellow. She has experience conducting outreach and research for Trestle Communications’ “You’ve Earned It” campaign to increase Medicaid enrollment among DACA recipients. In addition, she worked closely with District 10 leaders and staff to build capacity in Washington Heights and Inwood to engage community members in the citywide participatory budgeting process. Stephanie holds a B.A. in Media Communications Arts with a concentration in Public Relations and Advertising from The City College of New York.

Joseph Loonam, Organizing Fellow, is a native New Yorker who has spent his life around organizers in some form or another. He was a volunteer with Community Voices Heard and VOCAL NY throughout high school, before leaving the city to attend Hampshire College in Amherst MA. There he earned a BA studying the history of social movements in the United States. When he was not in school he worked at the Metropolitan Council on Housing organizing tenant associations and helping coordinate the Real Rent Reform coalition. He is very excited to work at the Riders Alliance as a Center for Neighborhood Leadership apprentice, in partnership with Public Allies and Americorp.


Advisory Board

Laura Clancy is the chief of staff at Achievement First, a charter school network in New York City. She has worked as a management consultant at Bridgespan, a leading consultant for not-for-profit organizations, and holds an MBA from Columbia University.

Mark Foggin is a partner at Public Works, a management consultant firm helping nonprofit, public sector and other mission-driven organizations that focus on economic and community development. He previously spent more than a dozen years in the Bloomberg and Giuliani administrations. Mark has lived in four of the five boroughs and is an enthusiastic multimodal commuter.

Michael Freedman-Schnapp is an urban planning and public policy expert working for Forsyth Street Advisors, an advisory and asset management firm focused on affordable housing, real estate, and municipal/impact investment.  He was previously the Director of the City Council’s Policy & Innovation Division and Director of Policy for Council Member Brad Lander, where he was critical to the planning and implementation of the largest participatory budgeting process in North America.  He teaches urban planning and policy courses at the Pratt Institute and the NYU Wagner School.

Mark Winston Griffith is the Executive Director of the Brooklyn Movement Center. He has previously worked as the field organizer for the MOVE NY campaign, the Executive Director and Senior Fellow for Economic Justice at the Drum Major Institute for Public Policy, and the co-director of the Neighborhood Economic Development Advocacy Project.

Benjamin Kabak is the author of Second Avenue Sagas, a widely read blog that focuses on issues involving mass transit in New York City. He is a graduate of NYU Law School and an attorney at Bortstein Legal Group in Manhattan.

Theo Moore is the Senior Policy Analyst in the Policy & Innovation Division of the New York City Council. He brings over ten years of nonprofit and political advocacy experience, having worked as National Lead Organizer with the Restaurant Opportunities Center United (ROC-United) as well as with ALIGN: the Alliance for a Greater New York, Common Cause, Families United for Racial and Economic Equality (FUREE), and the Working Families Party. He is a lifelong resident of Brooklyn, born and raised in the East Flatbush section of the borough.

Gene Russianoff is the staff attorney and spokesperson for NYPIRG’s Straphangers Campaign, New York City’s oldest and best-established advocate for better transit service. He is a graduate of Brooklyn College and Harvard Law School, and was a Revson Fellow at Columbia University.

Jeremy Soffin is a Senior Vice President at BerlinRosen, a public affairs and communications firm in New York. He previously worked as director of media relations at the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA), where he served as chief spokesman for the agency that runs New York’s buses, subways, suburban commuter rails and various bridges and tunnels.