NICD Staff

Keith Allred
Executive Director

Keith Allred

Keith Allred became the Executive Director of the National Institute for Civil Discourse on January 1, 2019. He was recruited to lead NICD because he had recently launched CommonSense American, a new organization that brings Republicans, Democrats, and Independents together from across the country to find and champion solutions with broad support. Impressed by the successful five-year state pilot, leadership invited Keith to make NICD the platform for CommonSense American and to integrate it with NICD’s other programs to revive civility and enhance problem solving across the partisan divide.

The Common Interest, the state-level pilot organization, operated in Idaho from 2005 – 2009. Its major legislative achievements led the Idaho Democratic Party to make the unusual move of asking him, as an independent, to be their nominee for Governor in 2010.

Prior to returning home to pilot the citizens’ group, Keith became the first professor of negotiation and conflict resolution hired by Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government. He started his academic career as a professor at Columbia.

Keith has also served in a variety of business leadership roles. Most recently, he was a partner at the Cicero Group, ranked the 12th best boutique management consulting firm in the world by Prior to Cicero, he served as COO of Health Catalyst. Keith’s leadership there played a critical role in attracting a major investment by Sequoia Capital. He is a member of the Board of Directors for Midas Gold, which trades on the Toronto Exchange (TSX: MAX).

Keith earned a PhD in Organizational Behavior from UCLA and BA in American History from Stanford. A fifth-generation Idahoan who grew up working summers on the family cattle ranch, Keith finished eighth in the world standings of the National Cutting Horse Association in 2017 after competing in the World Finals in Fort Worth. He and Christine are the proud parents of Anna (16), Dan (14), and Cate (11). The kids are still deciding if they’ve forgiven their parents for moving them from Idaho to DC this summer.

Robert Boatright
Research Director

Robert G. Boatright

Robert G. Boatright is Professor of Political Science at Clark University and the Director of Research at the National Institute for Civil Discourse (NICD) at the University of Arizona. His research focuses on the effects of campaign and election laws on the behavior of politicians and interest groups, with a particular focus on primary elections and campaign finance laws and practices.

He is the author or editor of six books, including Getting Primaried: The Causes and Consequences of Congressional Primary Challenges (University of Michigan Press, 2013); Interest Groups and Campaign Finance Reform in the United States and Canada (University of Michigan Press, 2011); and the edited volume The Deregulatory Moment? A Comparative Perspective on Changing Campaign Finance Laws (University of Michigan Press, 2016).

He received a Ph.D. from the University of Chicago and a B.A. from Carleton College.

Cheryl Graeve
National Community Organizer

Cheryl Graeve

Cheryl Graeve currently serves as the National Community Organizer for NICD, working with communities and partner organizations to foster civil discourse capacity and help bridge political divides through online and in person NICD programs.

Prior to joining NICD, she served as the Senior Director of Field Support for the League of Women Voters of the United States. There she worked with national, state and local leadership on internal governance programs and civic capacity building through development of a nationwide training system and volunteer coaching structure to increase organizational outreach and effectiveness. Prior to that she served as Executive Director of AFL-CIO’s national youth group, where she developed an international anti-child labor campaign called the Toycott (a boycott of toys made in China). Cheryl also served as Legislative Director for the Minnesota Public Interest Research Group (MPIRG) and helped pass a state “motor voter” law designed to increase voter registration among under represented populations through public agencies. She also worked as a district Field Representative for Minnesota Congressman Gerry Sikorski when he served in Congress.

She and her husband Alain Fournier enjoy spending time in nature and observing birds through experiences in our country’s state and national parks.

Hala Harik Hayes
Program Director

Hala Harik Hayes

Hala Harik Hayes has worked with the National Institute for Civil Discourse since 2018, leading work with municipalities and providing strategic input on NICD’s programs focused on changing the way Americans interact with one another.
Hala has more than fifteen years of experience as a manager in the public and nonprofit sector. She organized civic engagement projects around the country with AmericaSpeaks. These community engagement campaigns brought people—ranging from stakeholders, constituents, and residents—into conversations on policy issues to help inform decisions on potentially contentious issues. Hala also worked in the office of District of Columbia Mayor, Anthony Williams, where she organized public engagement activities with local residents.
Hala holds a Master’s degree in Public Administration from American University’s School of Public Affairs, and a Bachelor’s degree from Case Western Reserve University. In her spare time, Hala can be found exploring her home of Washington, DC with her family.
Brent Hill
Next Generation Program Director

Brent Hill

Brent Hill currently serves as the Program Director for Next Generation at NICD. Presently, he is also President Pro Tempore, the highest-ranking member of the Idaho State Senate. He is in his nineteenth year serving in the legislature and is a member of the Senate State Affairs and Local Government & Taxation committees. Before becoming leader of the Senate, he served on the Legislature’s budget setting committee and chaired the Senate Local Government & Taxation Committee. He serves on the national Board of Directors for the State Legislative Leaders Foundation (SLLF) and the Senate Presidents’ Forum and has been on the Executive Committees of both the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL) and the Council of State Governments-West (CSG West).

Brent is a retired Certified Public Accountant and Certified Financial Planner with over 35 years of business and financial experience. Born and raised in Idaho, he attended Brigham Young University-Idaho and earned his accounting degree with a minor in economics from Utah State University. For over 20 years, he was president and CEO of Rudd & Company, an accounting and business consulting firm with offices in Idaho and Montana.

Brent is a frequent contributor to newspapers and other publications and authored the book, A Matter of Principle that explores the fundamental ideals that guided America’s Founders.

Brent and Julie have raised four sons who, in turn, have blessed them with twenty grandchildren.

Timothy J. Shaffer
Principal Research Specialist

Timothy J. Shaffer

Timothy J. Shaffer, PhD is Principal Research Specialist for the National Institute for Civil Discourse and is Assistant Professor in Communication Studies at Kansas State University. He primarily supports the interdisciplinary research network exploring issues of political incivility and political dysfunction. Additionally, because of his interests in and background with deliberative democracy and higher education's civic engagement movement, he also focuses on NICD initiatives connected to higher education such as the National Civility Network.

Previously, Tim served as Director of the Center for Leadership and Engagement at Wagner College and as Research Associate at the Kettering Foundation where he engaged in research focusing on deliberative democracy and citizen-centered politics. He came to NICD to help build the research network and to support efforts that are explicitly connected to democratic and political engagement. He earned a BA from St. Bonaventure University, MA and MPA from the University of Dayton, and Ph.D. from Cornell University.

Nadine Wise
Next Generation Program Manager

Nadine Wise

Nadine Wise is the Program Manager for Next Generation, a program of the National Institute for Civil Discourse. She supports the organization of facilitator workshops and trainings, including the premier “Building Trust through Civil Discourse” workshop. She participates in the strategy planning to expand the number of state legislatures engaging in civil public discourse. She produces Next Generation key messages and manages the social media presence for events, training materials, and announcements.

Nadine brings nearly thirteen years of Ohio state government and academic experience, serving in various liaison and communication capacities at state agencies, legislative offices, and a public university. Most recently, Nadine served as the communication and marketing manager for the Ohio Colleges of Medicine Government Resource Center, located at The Ohio State University. Her roles throughout state government and academia included legislative liaising, communications, external relations, social media and website management, and brand identity.

Nadine graduated from Ohio University (‘05) with a Bachelor of Science in Communications and a specialty in Political Communications and Public Advocacy. She enjoys spending time with her two young children and husband in Worthington, Ohio.

Christina R
Research Administrator

Christina Rocha

Christina Rocha is a Research Administrator and has worked at the University of Arizona for over 20 years. Christina started her career at UArizona in the Bursar’s Office. She has also worked in the CatCard Office and the Office of the Registrar. Christina started her Accounting position in the Arizona State Museum, in 2012, which quickly transformed into a Museums' Business Center serving the campus museums.
In 2016, the RII Business Center was created to serve RII Museums, Centers, and Institutes. Christina is currently serving as the Account Manager for the Arizona State Museum, The National Institute for Civil Discourse, Tumamoc Hill, and the Mining and Mineral Museum as well as PCard Liaison for all RIIBC Units. Christina has over 35 years of customer service experience and works with her customers to make sure they get the advice and/or assistance that they require for their success.
Christina is an active member of various UArizona Shared Governance Groups.
In her free time, Christina spends time with her family, and friends. She enjoys cooking, and watching TV.