NICD Staff

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.

Deputy Director

Bonnie LePard

Bonnie LePard is the Deputy Director of the National Institute for Civil Discourse. She has spent her career working to find common ground and solutions to serve the common good. Before joining NICD, Bonnie has been the executive director of four nonprofit organizations. She saved the land that is now owned by the Tregaron Conservancy, an organization that she founded in 2006. Most recently, Bonnie ran a 400-acre National Trust for Historic Preservation site in northern Virginia and later was the executive director of The Cultural Landscape Foundation.

Bonnie earned her B.A in English from Wesleyan University and her J.D. from New York University School of Law (with an emphasis in environmental law). She clerked for two federal judges and served in the Honors Program at the U.S. Department of Justice as a trial attorney in the Environmental Crimes Section. Bonnie prosecuted over 20 federal trials and worked on the Exxon Valdez case.

Bonnie and her husband Bruce Reed have raised a daughter Julia Reed and a son Nelson Reed who have also worked in education, law, and government. Bonnie is the President of the Cleveland Park Historical Society. She serves on the board of the Australian American Leadership Dialogue. Bonnie is also a Bridge Building Co-Chair of the Partnership for American Democracy.

She enjoys her women’s book groups, exercise, cooking, and sporting events – especially baseball and Gonzaga basketball. Bonnie and Bruce live in a very old house and have a young golden retriever, Wrigley. You can find them hiking around the District of Columbia.

Program and Development Coordinator

Mia Ayer

Mia Ayer is the Program and Development Coordinator for the National Institute for Civil Discourse. She primarily supports the CommonSense American program, where she helps organize input from the membership and experts in the field to engage Congress with the results. She also helps organize NICD’s development efforts. Mia brings a background in congressional management and operations and is passionate about supporting a healthy democracy for the future. She has previously worked with the Congressional Management Foundation and the Partnership for Public Service, where she supported nonpartisan work in the good governance sphere.

Mia holds a Master’s degree in Philosophy and Social Policy from George Washington University, and a Bachelor’s degree in Anthropology and Peace Studies from the University of Notre Dame. She enjoys taking long walks on sunny days and spending time with her friends.

Former Next Generation Program Director

Brent Hill

Brent Hill served as the Program Director for Next Generation at NICD until January 2022. He retired from the state legislature in 2020 after serving 19 years in the Idaho State Senate, 10 years as President Pro Tempore, the highest-ranking member of the Idaho State Senate. He has served on the national Board of Directors for the State Legislative Leaders Foundation (SLLF) and the Senate Presidents’ Forum and 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. He has also served on various board and advisory councils for corporations, banks, charitable organizations, and universities.

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.

Chief Technology Officer

Jason Honn

Jason Honn is the Chief Technology Officer for the National Institute for Civil Discourse. He has created and helps manage NICDs websites including:,,,,, and He also assists with video production and graphic design.

Jason brings over 20 years of experience in development and design. He has a wide range of familiarity with different web platforms and technologies. He has worked with varying businesses and organizations in both the private, nonprofit and public sectors. Jason has created and managed over a 100 sites that range in both scale and function. He aligns tightly with NICDs purpose and objectives, and is passionate about helping this organization successfully make a difference.

Jason graduated with a degree from BYU Idaho. Jason and his wife Sheri have 5 children ranging in age from 21 to 5 (Talia, Braden, Cooper, Finley, and Gracie). They are active in their church and enjoy supporting and coaching their kids in sports, music, and life.

Chief Marketing Officer

Justin Kistner

Justin is the Chief Marketing Officer for the National Institute for Civil Discourse and the CommonSense American program.

For the last 20 years Justin Kistner has been at the forefront of digital marketing and software product management. Most recently, he served on the executive team during two exits for digital marketing software companies. Justin has been able to see how digital ad technology and strategies work at the highest levels. This unique access has come from working for top 10 ad software partners for Google, Facebook, and Twitter. Justin has developed strategies and led the execution of over $10M in Facebook advertising for top brands, such as Nike, Invisalign, and Xfinity. Also notable, he holds a patent for a social engagement scoring algorithm. And, his work has been featured in the American Museum of Advertising. Justin has contributed to top-tier tech publications such as Mashable, VentureBeat and ReadWriteWeb. As a speaker or keynote, he has been an invited presenter at conferences such as ad:tech, OMMA Global, Web 2.0 Expo, Blogworld, eMetrics and Social Fresh.

Outside of work, Justin is a passionate vegetable gardener and Oregon Ducks football fan. He lives in Seattle with his wife and son.

Robert Boatright
Director of Research

Robert G. Boatright

Robert G. Boatright is Professor and Chair of the Department of Political Science at Clark University and the Director of Research for the National Institute for Civil Discourse 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 emphasis on primary elections and campaign finance laws and practices.

He is the author or editor of nine books, including "The Deregulatory Moment? A Comparative Perspective on Changing Campaign Finance Laws" (2016); "Getting Primaried: The Causes and Consequences of Congressional Primary Challenges" (2013); and "Interest Groups and Campaign Finance Reform in the United States and Canada" (2011). He is currently completing a book manuscript on how American politicians discuss political corruption.

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

Cheryl Graeve
Director of National Programs, Engaging Differences, and Golden Rule 2020

Cheryl Graeve

Cheryl Graeve currently serves as the Director of National Programs for NICD, including the Engaging Differences and Golden Rule 2020 programs. She works 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.

Timothy J. Shaffer
Director of Civic Engagement and Deliberative Democracy

Timothy J. Shaffer

Timothy J. Shaffer, PhD, is the Director of Civic Engagement and Deliberative Democracy for the National Institute for Civil Discourse. He is also an Associate Professor in Communication Studies and Director of the Institute for Civic Discourse and Democracy at Kansas State University. He supports the interdisciplinary research network exploring issues of political incivility and political dysfunction, NICD initiatives connected to higher education such as the National Civility Network, and is part of team managing communication efforts.

He has edited four books, published dozens of scholarly articles and chapters, and offers trainings and workshops for those interested in learning about how to engage differences constructively in a variety of settings. He received his PhD 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. 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
Finance and Budget Manager

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 the 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 Museum's 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, the Gem & Mineral Museum, and the Mining and Mineral Museum. She also serves 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.

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.