Who We Are



Amber Wallin, MPA
Executive Director

Amber joined NM Voices in 2012 as a Center on Budget and Policy Priorities fellow. After that year-long fellowship, she was hired as a Research and Policy Analyst and later as the Director of the KIDS COUNT program. She was promoted to Deputy Director in 2017 to oversee NM Voices’ research and policy work. Amber took over as Executive Director in 2022. She has worked in the public sector at the municipal, state, and federal levels, including in the government department at New Mexico State University and the budget department at the city of Las Cruces. She received her MPA from NMSU. Born and raised in New Mexico, Amber 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 2020. 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 2020. 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
Grants Manager & Development Associate

Shelby joined NM Voices in 2022 and will work with the team to oversee and manage grant funding. She will also assist in development and event planning. Shelby was born and raised in Albuquerque, where she received 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 Team

Kenneth J. Martinez, Psy.D.

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

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.


Antonio Granillo
Board Member

Antonio is a community advocate at the Partnership for Community Action (PCA), a nonprofit organization dedicated to building strong, healthy communities throughout New Mexico. Antonio communicates with PCA’s community during the legislative session, teaches alternative substance abuse prevention courses to high school students, leads interns during the Youth Employment Summer Institute, and orients new parents upon graduation of Abriendo Puertas curriculum. Antonio is also an actor, instructor, and academic tutor at Working Classroom, a nonprofit theater and visual arts organization. He studies public policy, community planning, and education as an undergraduate at the University of New Mexico.

Fred Harris, JD
Board Member

Fred is a twice-elected former U.S. Senator (OK, 1964-1973), who served on President Johnson’s Kerner Commission in 1968. He is now a professor emeritus of Political Science at the University of New Mexico, where he also serves as director of the UNM Fred Harris Congressional Internship Program. He has produced 19 nonfiction books and is the award-winning author of three novels. You can watch a recording of Fred’s Aug. 6, 2020, talk on his role on the Kerner Commission, why its findings were ignored, and how they relate to racism in America 50 years later, here.

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.

Yvette Kaufman-Bell
Board Member

Yvette is the founder of A Paradigm Shift Empowerment Coaching and is a certified John Maxwell global team member, trainer, public speaker, and published author of the book A Paradigm Shift: In the Presence of the Lord! She earned a Bachelor’s in Speech Communications and Religion from Eastern New Mexico University. As a governor appointee, Yvette served nearly 7 years as the executive director of the NM Office of African American Affairs. She served 10 years as a state commissioner with the NM Martin Luther King Jr. Commission and 13 years in upper management with the YMCA of Central NM and YMCA of the USA. She has been an active volunteer with the Steel Bridge women’s rescue mission and sits on the boards for the NM African Black Birthing Coalition, March of Dimes, and Con Alma Health Foundation.

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.

Olivia D. Underwood Jackson, Ph.D.
Board Member

A native of Brent, Alabama, Olivia is an R&D S&E systems engineer at Sandia National Laboratories, where she is also a principal member of Technical Staff. In 2015, she became the first African American to earn a Ph.D. from the Materials Science program at the University of Alabama in Huntsville. As an advocate for children, education, STEM, and inclusion, she established the Dr. Olivia D. Underwood Scholarship in 2018 to help women of color be successful in STEM fields. During the summer, she serves as a volunteer instructor for the “Hands-On, Minds-On Technology” summer program for middle- and high school students. Olivia is also a published author and co-authored a paper titled “Mitigating Implicit Bias for Leaders” in 2019. Olivia belongs to several professional societies and has received numerous awards.

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.