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MoveOn’s Executive Directors Announce They Will Depart in 2019 with MoveOn Positioned for Continued Impact

Under Anna Galland and Ilya Sheyman’s 6 Years of Leadership, People-Powered MoveOn Has Grown Dramatically and Emerged As a Pillar of the Resistance Movement in Landmark Trump-Era Fights

Galland and Sheyman Will Continue in Current Roles Until MoveOn’s Boards Conclude Search for New Director and Will then Assist Transition

After six years leading MoveOn Civic Action and MoveOn Political Action respectively, executive directors Anna Galland and Ilya Sheyman today announced that they will step down in 2019 after MoveOn completes a search for new leadership.

In Galland and Sheyman’s tenure leading MoveOn, the organizations’ combined budget more than quadrupled, MoveOn’s reach and visibility exploded, and MoveOn members emerged as central players in our nation’s politics. MoveOn today is bigger, stronger, and as healthy and influential as at any moment in MoveOn’s 20-year history. In the last two years alone, MoveOn emerged as a pillar of the national Resistance to Trump, played a pivotal role in the campaign to prevent repeal of the Affordable Care Act, served as a leader of 2018’s Families Belong Together mobilization against Trump’s separation of immigrant families, deployed innovative technology empowering activists to organize at scale, and inspired a massive grassroots mobilization that moved hundreds of thousands of votes for Democrats and helped power the November 2018 Blue Wave.

“I’m so deeply proud of what we’ve built and accomplished with MoveOn’s brilliant and dedicated staff, and our millions of members around the country,” Galland said. “After six years leading this organization through tremendous growth and development, we believe it’s time for new leaders to step up. I love this organization’s essential grassroots spirit and know-how, and I’m totally convinced our members have a central role to play in ending the Trump era—and turning our country towards being a place where everyone can thrive.”

“I’m so gratified by how millions of MoveOn members have used their collective people power to create progressive change from the grassroots up, and I’m glad to be handing off an organization that’s in strong shape and set to continue to make a huge difference resisting Trump and laying the groundwork for a progressive governing majority,” Sheyman said. “Anna and I will of course support MoveOn through its leadership search and transition, and then we look forward to continuing to contribute in a different role, as MoveOn members.”

“Under Anna and Ilya’s visionary, humble, and highly effective leadership, MoveOn has more than quadrupled in size, and led the charge in pivotal campaigning moments to block Trump’s dangerous agenda for our country, said MoveOn Board Member Ai-jen Poo, Executive Director, National Domestic Workers Alliance. “They’ve led MoveOn in rebuilding its brand, transforming its use of technology, professionalizing its operations, developing new channels of communication, and doubling down on an organizational culture that prioritizes equity and sustainability as well as effectiveness. Thanks to their leadership, MoveOn members are positioned to have even more impact on our nation’s politics moving forward.”

“Under Anna and Ilya’s extraordinary leadership, MoveOn has played a vital role in campaigning for dignity and justice for all families,” said Sen. Elizabeth Warren. “Their members fight for a democracy that works for everyone and few organizations are as effective at mass mobilization on any issue as MoveOn. I am personally grateful for their support as we fought together to create the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, as we fought together to take back a U.S. Senate seat, and as we’ve fought together to hold the Trump Administration accountable.”

“Anna and Ilya have been incredibly effective leaders of a deeply effective organization, through a time of tremendous challenge for so many in our country,” said Rashad Robinson, President, Color Of Change. “MoveOn today is one of the few organizations with the expertise and reach to help drive the type of power we need to achieve justice across race, class and gender. They have been thoughtful, strategic, and powerful leaders and true partners to Color Of Change.”

“When the Trump administration began separating immigrant families in summer 2018, one of my first calls was to Anna and MoveOn, urging a mass mobilization,” said Rep. Pramila Jayapal. “If MoveOn hadn’t stepped up to the plate, the massive June 30 Families Belong Together mobilizations might never have happened at that scale. Ilya and Anna have been bold, humble, and pragmatic organizers and organization-builders who’ve helped MoveOn become an essential outside force for justice in our nation. I deeply appreciate the strategic leadership they’ve shown in their six years at MoveOn.”

At the beginning of Galland and Sheyman’s tenure, MoveOn had an annual budget of $7.5 million; this year that number grew to $32 million. MoveOn’s base of recurring donors has quadrupled. MoveOn’s membership of millions now reaches into every one of the nation’s 3,000 counties, and the organization has grown massive SMS and video programs to engage and mobilize progressives around the country. In this period the staff has nearly tripled and MoveOn has undergone major changes including a rebrand last year, the in-housing of the MoveOn tech team, and innovation in the areas of video persuasion and production, digital advertising, mobile organizing, and online campaigns. Galland and Sheyman have led MoveOn to prioritize equity as a practice internally and externally, and have overseen millions of dollars in grants contributed by MoveOn to other progressive and community organizations.


For more information about Anna and Ilya’s accomplishments at MoveOn, their transition, and their reflections on their tenure, read their Medium post: https://medium.com/@MoveOn.org/reflections-on-six-years-e426ffabe754

Key data points

  • Anna and Ilya have served MoveOn for six years as co-executive directors. They have steered MoveOn through the end of the Obama era, the 2016 election, the turbulent first two years of the Trump and Resistance era, and a massive midterm election mobilization in which MoveOn moved hundreds of thousands of votes for Democrats.
  • They have positioned MoveOn as a generous progressive movement ally and a strategic pillar of the Resistance.
  • Under their leadership MoveOn has grown and developed substantially. MoveOn’s staff team has more than tripled, its budget and base of monthly sustaining donors has more than quadrupled, and its program complexity and national visibility and impact have grown tremendously, year over year, since 2013. They have also prioritized organizational development and have built a powerfully collaborative “low-ego, high-impact” internal culture, attracting and retaining a skilled, experienced, and effective staff. MoveOn today is stronger than it’s ever been.
  • Key campaigns and mobilizations they’ve led MoveOn through:
    • Successfully defending health care for tens of millions of Americans by defeating Trump/Republican efforts to repeal the Affordable Care Act (2017)
    • The June 30, 2018 “Families Belong Together” mobilizations of hundreds of thousands opposing family separation and detentions (2018)
    • Mueller investigation defense, including helping mobilize over 100,000 people to march two days after the 2018 midterms (2017 and continuing)
    • Defending diplomacy with “60 Days to Stop A War” — persuading Senate Democrats to allow the Iran Nuclear Deal to come into being (2015), and providing grassroots muscle for the first bipartisan Senate vote to end the US role in Yemen (2018)
    • Strategic organizing around “Run Warren Run” and supporting Bernie Sanders’ bid for the presidency (2015 and 2016)
  • Supporting the broad progressive movement: In the last six years, MoveOn has made grants of millions of dollars each year to dozens of advocacy groups and direct relief charities, including supporting humanitarian efforts after the Camp Fire, Hurricane Maria emergency relief for Puerto Rico raising more than $4 million (2017), and hundreds of thousands of dollars to advocacy groups on the front lines of Trump and GOP attacks.
  • They’ve made MoveOn a stronger organization, including:
    • More than quadrupling the budget. When they started as EDs in 2013, MoveOn had an annual budget of $7.5 million across entities. In 2018, our annual budget was $32 million.
    • They began their tenure with a staff of 22 across entities. The team grew year over year and in January 2019 have 63 staff.
    • They in-housed technology and operations, and built a strong leadership team.
    • In 2013, MoveOn had roughly 20,000 recurring monthly donors. Entering 2019, the organization has over 80,000.
    • They oversaw MoveOn’s launch and development of Video Lab; a mobile team with robust SMS and Peer-to-Peer texting programs; MoveOn Petitions; and the breakout innovation of Real Voter Voices video persuasion.
      • MoveOn is closing in on one million SMS subscribers–a jump from near zero in 2016.
      • MoveOn’s videos have earned nearly half a billion organic video views since launching Video Lab in June 2016.
      • Real Voter Voices moved hundreds of thousands of votes for Democrats in the 2018 election — additional to what other programs produced.
    • They’ve deepened MoveOn’s commitment to racial, gender, and other forms of equity, including through internal work such as trainings, working groups, retreats, caucuses; and through external work including some of MoveOn’s first explicit, long-term racial justice campaigns. They’ve also led the first work in MoveOn’s history to understand and track the identity of our membership.
  • MoveOn’s boards are committed to conducting an excellent leadership search, and Anna and Ilya will continue in their roles until new leadership has been onboarded.