Staff

  • Keith Allred

    Executive Director

    Keith Allred became the Executive Director of the National Institute for Civil Discourse on January 1.  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 Vault.com.  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.

    Executive Director

  • Dr. Carolyn J. Lukensmeyer
    Dr. Carolyn J. Lukensmeyer

    Carolyn J. Lukensmeyer

    Executive Director Emerita

    Dr. Carolyn J. Lukensmeyer is the Executive Director of the National Institute for Civil Discourse, an organization that works to reduce political dysfunction and incivility in our political system. As a leader in the field of deliberative democracy, she works to restore our democracy to reflect the intended vision of our founding fathers. 

    Dr. Lukensmeyer previously served as Founder and President of AmericaSpeaks, an award-winning nonprofit organization that promoted nonpartisan initiatives to engage citizens and leaders through the development of innovative public policy tools and strategies. During her tenure, AmericaSpeaks engaged more than 200,000 people and hosted events across all 50 states and throughout the world. Dr. Lukensmeyer formerly served as Consultant to the White House Chief of Staff from 1993-94 and on the National Performance Review where she steered internal management and oversaw government-wide reforms. She was the Chief of Staff to Ohio Governor Richard F. Celeste from 1986-91, becoming the first woman to serve in this capacity. She earned her PhD in Organizational Behavior from Case Western Reserve University and has completed postgraduate training at the Gestalt Institute of Cleveland.

    Executive Director Emerita

  • Robert G. Boatright, Research Director
    Robert G. Boatright, Research Director

    Robert G. Boatright

    Research Director

    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.

    Research Director

  • Ted Celeste
    Ted Celeste

    Ted Celeste

    Director of State Programs

    Former State Representative Ted Celeste is Director of State Programs. Mr. Celeste leads Next Generation, a project of the National Institute for Civil Discourse. His goal is to inspire and support state legislators who want to promote greater understanding and better decision-making. As part of a bi-partisan team, Celeste has facilitated trainings for the CSG Midwest Regional Conference and the Colorado, Maine, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Nebraska, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Vermont and Washington Legislatures. He has also presented at the CSG BILLD leadership program in Madison, the National CSG annual meeting in Kansas City, and NCSL's annual legislative summit in Seattle. 

    Celeste served in the Ohio Legislature from 2007-2012. Known for working effectively “across the aisle” whether he was in the majority or the minority, he has lived his belief in respectful dialogue. One of the only candidates for state office who insisted on running a positive campaign, he won each of his 3 races with a comfortable majority in a swing district.  He was recognized for his emphasis on civil dialogue with the John Glenn Public Policy Institute’s Outstanding Public Service Award in 2011. Celeste lives in Columbus, Ohio, is married and has two daughters and 3 grandchildren.

     

    Director of State Programs

  • Kelly Copley

    Administrative Assistant

    Kelly Copley is an experienced Assistant and Human Resources Manager with a demonstrated history of working in the non-profit arena. Skilled in Office Administration, Employee Relations, and Organization, Kelly is a professional with a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Arizona, she is a second generation Wildcat. Married for 25 years to Alumni James Copley with two children, Hannah, third generation Wildcat and Cameron, a Lumberjack at NAU. Bear Down!

    Administrative Assistant

  • Maya Mahoney

    Director of Development

    Maya Mahoney is the Development Director at the National Institute for Civil Discourse. A seasoned fundraiser with experience in both the political and non-profit world, Maya joined NICD in the fall of 2016.

    Prior to joining the Institute, she served as a Major Gifts Officer at Share Our Strength focusing primarily in the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic regions. In addition to cultivating and stewarding donors, she played a pivotal role in increasing the organization’s donor base and creating new fundraising events and platforms. Maya created a successful Mid-Tier Ambassador Program for Share Our Strength that explored ways to further engage and increase giving amongst mid-level donors, garnering industry interest when she presented her findings at the annual Bridge to Integrated Marketing Conference in 2015 and she has also published advice on how to engage these types of crucial and loyal donors.

    Previously, Maya was at the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee (DSCC), where she worked on the Northeast finance team. She helped plan and execute a $10 million fundraising plan for the 2010 & 2012 cycles. In this role, Maya built, organized and staffed fundraising events and was the point person for the DSCC’s annual New England Technology Conference in Boston, a biennial Women's Policy Conference in New York City, and a Women on the Road Fly-around effort with all Women Senators and Candidates. Prior to her time at the DSCC, Maya worked at a lobbying firm leading their fundraising efforts. 

    Maya holds a Bachelor’s degree in Broadcast Journalism and a minor in Political Science from Southern Methodist University in Dallas, and a Master’s degree in Political Management from The George Washington University.

    Director of Development

  • Makayla Meachem
    Makayla Meachem

    Makayla Meachem

    Program Manager, Next Generation

    Makayla Meachem is the Program Coordinator for Next Generation, a program of the National Institute for Civil Discourse.  She helps to coordinate Next Generation’s “Building Trust through Civil Discourse” workshops as well as facilitator trainings by serving as the contact person for legislators, their staff, alumni, and other interested groups. She assists in planning and travel arrangements for events as well as workshops being held across the country.

    Prior to joining the Institute, Makayla served in the office of Ohio State Senator Charleta B. Tavares as a Legislative Service Commission (LSC) Fellow. An Ohio native, Makayla attended Bowling Green State University prior to participating in the LSC Fellowship Program. She holds a bachelor’s degree in International Studies focusing in American Foreign Policy.

    Makayla came to the Institute seeking to work collaboratively with state legislators who want to recreate America’s political culture and take back policy for people instead of parties.

     

    Program Manager, Next Generation

  • Timothy J. Shaffer
    Timothy J. Shaffer

    Timothy J. Shaffer

    Principal Research Specialist

    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.

     

    Principal Research Specialist

  • Tracey Todd
    Tracey Todd

    Tracey Todd

    Social Media Director

    Tracey Todd is the Social Media Director for the National Institute for Civil Discourse, having joined the Institute in early 2014. Tracey works with the Institute's social media platforms to integrate the social media strategy into the Institute's overall communications strategy and handles the content and engagement associated with the National Institute for Civil Discourse's social media channels. He came from Gannett Digital and USA Today where he worked in Advertising Operations and collaborated on social media initiatives  including projects that focused on user-generated content. He has experience in digital communications and social media management from working for media content providers, The Hill Newspaper and USA Today. Tracey holds a B.A. in Mass Communication from Fayetteville State University in Fayetteville, North Carolina.

    Tracey came to the National Institute for Civil Discourse to help build a social media environment where Americans could not only connect and have civil dialogues about the issues facing our nation but also feel connected to creating outcomes from those discussions. Tracey utilizes social media and emerging technologies to help strengthen the quality and effectiveness of conversation in the online spaces today.

    Social Media Director

  • Basant Virdee
    Basant Virdee

    Basant Virdee

    Communications Coordinator

    Basant Virdee is the Communications Coordinator for the National Institute for Civil Discourse. She works on the Institute's signature Revive Civility Initiative, manages the Institute's websites, newsletters, and creates reports about the Institute's programs. In addition, Basant leads the Institute's public programs in the state of Arizona. Basant holds a Bachelor's in Microbiology and a Master's in Public Health from the University of Arizona. She has been trained by the International Association of Public Participation in effective community outreach and engagement and has trained with Sylvia Haskvitz in Nonviolent Communication and with Catherine Tornbom in Circle Group Facilitation. Basant came to the Institute to help foster constructive dialogue and improve individual and collective well-being through teaching healthy communication skills. 

    Communications Coordinator

  • Nadine Wise
    Nadine Wise

    Nadine Wise

    Assistant to the Director of State Programs

    Nadine Wise is the Assistant to the Director of State Programs 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.

    Assistant to the Director of State Programs