Who We Are

Staff

Leadership

Amber Wallin, MPA
Executive Director

Amber has been with NM Voices since 2012, when she was brought on as a Center on Budget and Policy Priorities fiscal policy fellow and later served as a research and policy analyst, the director of NM Voices’ KIDS COUNT program, and Deputy Director before taking over as Executive Director in 2022. Amber is a state and nationally recognized expert on issues related to child and family well-being and fiscal policy. She has served on multiple fiscal policy and child well-being advisory committees among policy networks, philanthropic organizations, and governmental bodies and regularly shares information and recommendations on how to build greater equity and opportunity for children and families. Born and raised in New Mexico, Amber received her Master of Public Administration degree from New Mexico State University and worked in the public sector at the city, state, and federal levels before joining NM Voices. She lives in Albuquerque with her husband and two young children.

Policy Team

Bill Jordan, MA
Government Relations Officer

Bill has been with NM Voices since 1998 and leads our legislative advocacy efforts in Santa Fe and Washington, D.C., working primarily with lawmakers on issues such as raising the minimum wage, creating a state-level earned income tax credit, expanding access to health care, passing the child helmet safety law, and the like. Bill is relied upon by many legislators for data and information relating to the legislation they are voting on or writing. He was appointed to Governor Richardson’s Equal Pay Task Force and his Budget Balancing Task Force. Previously, Bill was executive director of the HIV Coordinating Council of New Mexico.

Jacob Vigil, MSW
Senior Research and Policy Analyst

Jacob joined NM Voices in 2018 to focus on anti-poverty initiatives, including economic security, safety net, and early care and education policies, which he’s done through research and statewide outreach and advocacy. He was promoted to Senior Policy Analyst in 2022. Prior to joining NM Voices, Jacob worked in advocacy and coalition building in Illinois and California on early childhood and children’s health issues. He also worked as a government relations representative advocating for quality subsidized child care in several Western states. Before entering public policy, Jacob was a social worker and educator. Jacob holds a BA in Latin American History from Pomona College in Claremont, CA, and a Master’s in Social Work from Loyola University Chicago.

Paige Knight, MPP
Senior Research and Policy Analyst

Paige joined NM Voices in 2018 and focuses on tax, fiscal policy, and environmental issues. She was promoted to Senior Policy Analyst in 2022. Originally from Minnesota, Paige moved to Albuquerque in early 2017. Prior to moving to the Southwest, she worked with youth and families at a variety of nonprofits in Iowa City and Chicago, including as an AmeriCorps volunteer for a year. In New Mexico, she worked with DreamSpring (formerly Accion) and interned with the Legislative Finance Committee. Her experience with nonprofit and governmental organizations further developed her interest in public policy issues, particularly those surrounding family economic well-being. She received her BA in Economics from Luther College in Iowa and her Master’s in Public Policy from UNM. 

Emily Wildau, MPP
Research & Policy Analyst/KIDS COUNT Coordinator

Emily joined NM Voices in 2020. She helps coordinate the KIDS COUNT program and focuses on issues related to early childhood, education, and family economic security. She was born in Roswell and completed her BA in English Rhetoric at NMSU. During her time there, Emily discovered her passion for social justice in a volunteer role advocating and fundraising for programs to support an end to child soldiering in Central and East Africa. Since relocating to Albuquerque in 2015, Emily has been able to contribute to her community by working as a grant writer at Roadrunner Food Bank and Central New Mexico Community College. She earned her Master’s in Public Policy at UNM.

Javier Rojo, MPA
Research & Policy Analyst

Javier joined NM Voices in 2019. He focuses on immigration, the U.S. Census, tax and budget issues, and criminal fines and fees. He was born and raised in Albuquerque, and completed his undergraduate education at UNM where he studied economics, philosophy, and statistics. After college, Javier worked for the state Taxation and Revenue Department, where he helped publish the state’s first ever tax expenditure report. He was selected as the New Mexico Fellow for the Institute for Policy Studies, a D.C.-based think tank. While in D.C., he conducted research on CEO compensation, immigration, and international trade. Javier served as a grant writer for the Center of Southwest Culture, which works to revitalize New Mexico’s rural economy by introducing innovative business models. He completed a Master’s in Public Affairs at Princeton University.

Lydia Paukei, JD, MSW
State Tribal Policy Fellow

Lydia joined NM Voices in August 2021 as a fellow through the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities. Her focus is on state policies that impact Native American children, families, tribes, and pueblos in the state. Originally from Minnesota, Lydia worked with American Indian students who attended Minneapolis Public Schools, interned with the Minnesota Department of Human Services focusing on American Indian mental health policy, and has interned with the Bureau of Indian Affairs Southwest Regional Office in Albuquerque. Lydia graduated with a Juris Doctor and an Indian Law Certificate from the UNM School of Law. She also has a Master’s of Social Work and a BA in American Indian Studies from the University of Minnesota. Lydia is an enrolled member of the Oneida Nation (WI) and a direct descendant of the Red Lake Nation. Lydia, her partner, and their young daughter call Albuquerque home.

Divya Shiv, MPP
Research & Policy Analyst

Divya joined NM Voices in 2021 and focuses on issues related to health policy. She earned a BA in English Literature and Psychology from Haverford College in Pennsylvania. After college, Divya became passionate about public policy while working as a behavioral therapist for children with developmental disabilities. She later worked as a community organizer to advocate for statewide housing reform. Divya holds a Master’s in Public Policy from the University of California, Berkeley.

Communications Team

Sharon Kayne
Communications Director

Sharon joined NM Voices as Communications Director in 2006. In crafting and framing NM Voices’ messages and issues – whether in op-eds, press releases, newsletters or reports – she relies extensively on her writing/editing background. She worked previously as managing editor and featured columnist for the Albuquerque-based alternative paper Crosswinds Weekly and was a television news producer at KOAT TV, the ABC affiliate in New Mexico. She has contributed as a freelance writer to many of Albuquerque’s newspapers and periodicals. She has a BA from Arizona State University.

 
 

Alex McCausland
Graphics and Social Media Manager

Alex assists the communications director by producing graphics and managing the social media accounts. He was born and raised in California and moved to Albuquerque in 2019 to complete his BA in English and Journalism at the University of New Mexico. Previously he served as the editor in chief of the Daily Lobo, UNM’s independent student newspaper, and as a freelance photographer at the Deli LA, a Los Angeles-based music magazine.

Development and Operations Team

Farah Council, MA
Director of Operations & Organizational Effectiveness

Farah joined NM Voices in early 2017, bringing with her an extensive background in nonprofit management, program design and evaluation, training and facilitation, fundraising, and equity and inclusion, among other skills. Farah was the Director of Development for NM Voices until, in 2022, she was promoted to the Director of Operations & Organizational Effectiveness. Prior to joining NM Voices, she served as program manager at The Institute for Inclusive Security, leading an innovative program in a conflict-affected setting to advance women’s inclusion in peace processes in Sudan and South Sudan. She also held an adjunct faculty position at the SIT Graduate Institute as well as served as a strategic advisor and consultant to several international and national nonprofit organizations. Farah holds an MA in Conflict Transformation from the School for International Training and a BA in Political Science from UNM.

Brian Urban
Operations Manager

Brian wears a number of hats at NM Voices – from managing the office to overseeing the donor database, helping coordinate and run our events, with a little graphic design thrown in. Brian first came to NM Voices as part of our Youth Link program, which trained middle- and high-school youths in the art of advocacy using tobacco prevention as a tangible issue. His bachelor’s degree is from the University of New Mexico.

Barbara Mike
Operations Support Clerk

Barbara joined NM Voices in 2017 after living in Kansas for many years. While in Kansas she was an administrative clerk for Westar Energy, assistant to the treasurer of the Prairie Band Potawatomi Nation, and was a physical science technician and a natural resources administrative assistant for the Environmental Science program at Haskell Indian Nations University in Lawrence, which is also where Barbara earned her bachelor’s degree.

Shelby Greaser, MBA, MSW
Grants Manager & Development Associate

Shelby joined NM Voices in 2022 and works with the development and operations team to oversee and manage grant funding. She also assists in development and event planning. Shelby was born and raised in Albuquerque, where she earned both her Master’s in Social Work and Master’s in Business Administration from New Mexico Highlands University. After graduating, she continued to support the social work profession as the business support manager for the National Association of Social Workers where she engaged in event planning, business operations, and policy advocacy. Throughout Shelby’s education and career, she has maintained a passion for social and economic well-being.

Board of Directors

Leadership

Kenneth J. Martinez, Psy.D.
Chair

Ken is a retired child and family psychologist. He has been on the faculty in the Department of Psychiatry at the UNM Health Sciences Center since 1978. He was Children’s Behavioral Director for the state from 1997 to 2005, and chair of the Children, Youth and Families Division of the National Association of State Mental Health Program Directors. Ken served on the Rosalynn Carter Mental Health Symposium Planning Committee. He retired from the American Institutes for Research (AIR) in 2017 after having served as the lead disparities reduction resource with AIR’s National Resource Center for Mental Health Promotion and Youth Violence Prevention. Ken is the author of numerous articles and book chapters as well as being a local and national presenter.

Board Members

Javier Aceves, MD
Board Member

Since starting his career in medicine, Javier has been interested in developing programs for and providing direct services to populations experiencing challenges in accessing health care. Additionally, he has focused on the development, sustainability, and expansion of community-based pediatric programs from a public health perspective. Javier served as medical director of the Young Children’s Health Center from 1999 to 2016, and has been involved in improving the health of families living in the southeast heights of Albuquerque. In 2012, he was named executive medical director of Pediatric Ambulatory Services for the Children’s Hospital. His interest in family health comes from a sense of shared responsibility to improve the level of access and quality of health care services in the community and the overall health of a diverse pediatric population. Through these efforts and interests he hopes to have a positive impact on improving the health of two communities: persons with disabilities and chronic conditions and the underinsured and uninsured living in the southeast heights of Albuquerque.

Debra L. Baca, MA
Board Member

Debra has worked since 1988 at Youth Development, Inc., where she currently serves as the vice president of Early Childhood Education and Family Development. She works directly with families of preschool-age children to create safe, healthy, and inviting centers for learning and development. Besides overseeing programs such as Head Start and NM Pre-K, Debra leads several early childhood projects that focus on homeless children, special education services, and family advocacy.

 
 

Marsha Garcia
Board Member

Marsha has been working in communications and civic engagement in New Mexico for over a decade. She currently works as a strategic communications advisor and thought partner with several nonprofit organizations that focus on reproductive justice in the state. Marsha also specializes in crisis communications strategy and management, as well as spokesperson and media response training. She has worked with the New Mexico Speaker of the House of Representatives and the New Mexico House Democratic Caucus as their communications director, and has also worked on multiple successful local ballot initiatives and congressional campaigns. Outside of her work, Marsha serves on the board of directors of Crossroads for Women, an organization that empowers local women to break the cycle of incarceration and addiction, and volunteers as a trainer in media relations and communications for Emerge New Mexico.

Ruth Hoffman
Board Member

Ruth worked as an advocate in New Mexico for over thirty years. She began her work with Common Cause-NM working for ethics and government reform. In the mid-1990s, she worked for the New Mexico state Legislature as an analyst and staff member to the state Constitutional Revision Commission. Ruth was then program director at the NM Center on Law and Poverty for three years. From 1999 until her retirement at the end of 2019, she was the director of Lutheran Advocacy Ministry-NM, a faith-based advocacy office focusing its advocacy agenda on issues related to people living in poverty and experiencing hunger.

Danielle R. Lansing, Ed.D.
Board Member

Danielle is a faculty member in the early childhood education (ECE) program at Southwestern Indian Polytechnic Institute (SIPI). She also serves as project director and principal investigator for SIPI’s Restorative Teachings Initiative, where she has developed innovative practices and partnerships on behalf of SIPI’s ECE program. Danielle also recently contributed a chapter to the compilation “Teacher Education across Minority Serving Institutions: Programs, Policies, and Social Justice.” Danielle earned her Doctorate in Education from Arizona State University where she studied educational administration and supervision. She also has a Master’s in Education Administration from UNM and a Masters in Early Childhood Risk and Prevention from Harvard.

Newton Robinson
Board Member

Newton, who retired from Intel’s Human Resources Department in 2013, still serves as the program manager and president of its Community Mentor Network (CMN). A program Newton founded in 2009, CMN mentors students at Cibola High School and UNM. Prior to his 18-year career at Intel, Newton worked for 18 years at IBM. He earned a BA in Psychology from the State University of New York at New Paltz, completed the Human Resource Management Certificate Program from the Anderson School of Management at UNM, and is a member of the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM). Newton currently serves on the Deacon Board at Fellowship Missionary Baptist Church, and is part of the International Mission Team that traveled to Santa Dominica, Hong Kong, Belize, Guyana, Kenya, and Jamaica.

Rev. Robert Woodruff, D.Min.
Board Member

Rob is pastor of Second Presbyterian Church, a bilingual and multicultural congregation committed to ecumenical and social justice work in Albuquerque and abroad. He completed his Master of Divinity degree at Princeton Theological Seminary and Doctor of Ministry degree at Columbia Theological Seminary in Decatur, Georgia. Before coming to Albuquerque, he served churches in Ann Arbor, Boulder, and Seattle, and volunteered a year at Presbyterian Church (USA) as a Young Adult Volunteer in Quetzaltenango, Guatemala. Rob was ordained in August 2002 by the Presbytery of Plains and Peaks in Colorado.