Meet the DeanTeam staff

Welcome

We—together with our joyfully committed, bridge-building, change-making volunteers—are the DeanTeam. We invite you to connect with us and join us on the campaign trail. Everyone’s invited!

– Richard Carlbom, Campaign Manager

Kamal Baker, Phillips for Congress Communications & Finance Assistant

Kamal Baker

Communications & Finance Assistant

Kamal manages our social media calendar, creates social content and press releases, conducts donor research, and supports our fundraising activities.

Read Kamal’s story

I was born and raised in Minnesota. For most of my life I lived in Minnetonka, but attended school at Hopkins West Jr. High and Hopkins High. I just graduated from the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities with a double major in political science and communications. I used to play lacrosse at UMNTC but now I spend my free time cycling, cooking, and making music. 

My political career started as an intern with Terri Bonoff in 2016. About a year later I joined New Partners, a political consulting firm in Minneapolis, where I would spend the next year before taking the fall of my junior year off to work full-time as the intern coordinator and MN state house liaison for Senator Amy Klobuchar’s reelection race in 2018. For two months after the election, I went to work in the scheduling and communications department to help Governor-elect Tim Walz and Lt. Governor-elect Peggy Flanagan during their transition to the Capitol. 

Now I am the communications and fundraising assistant for the DeanTeam! Primarily, my job entails setting the weekly communications plan for our social media outlets and curating creative materials and drafting copy for the subsequent posts. On the fundraising side I help out Jonah, our finance director, with donor research and any other miscellaneous tasks falling under the fundraising umbrella. What I enjoy most about the campaign is our ability to innovate. The transition to a fully remote campaign has not been easy, but every week we come up with creative ways to engage with our community.

Finally, I just want to offer myself as a resource for students who want to pursue politics. I’ve been involved since I was a senior in high school, took time away from college to do some full-time work, and for the past semester I balanced this position and getting a degree. Being a student-professional has its own set of unique challenges, and if anyone is thinking of taking a similar path I’m happy to share my experiences and help however I can. 

Luke Bishop, Phillips for Congress voter engagement coordinator

Luke Bishop

Voter Engagement Coordinator

As a Minnesota DFL employee, Luke manages voter outreach activities for the DeanTeam, as well as for local DFL candidates running for state office. He also runs our intern program.

Read Luke’s story

I am the Voter Engagement Coordinator for the Phillips campaign! I’m born and raised in Saint Paul, where I attended Saint Paul Academy for high school and earned a B.A. in political science at Macalester College. During college, I played football, studied abroad in Germany & Austria, and worked on the grounds crew to maintain our beautiful campus. After graduating in May 2019, I accepted a position as a political consultant for Amy Klobuchar’s Presidential campaign, and later worked as campaign manager for Saint Paul City Councilmember Chris Tolbert’s re-election campaign. I’ve enjoyed every minute of my experience since joining the Phillips campaign in January.

As the VEC, my role is to organize direct contact with voters in CD3. I also coordinate resources, outreach, and volunteer support with local DFL candidates running for state office such as Dan Kessler, Bonnie Westlin, Rep. Kristin Bahner, and Rep. Kelly Morrison. I will also play a role in directing our intern program, which I am really excited about!

What makes the Phillips campaign unique is the passion and camaraderie among our staff, and the exuberance and commitment displayed by our volunteers. We run a positive campaign, choosing to highlight those things that bring us together rather than focusing on partisan or ideological differences in policy perspective. Dean exemplifies the type of leadership that we believe Washington needs, and our campaign upholds our commitment to ethical leadership by refusing donations from PACs, special interest groups, federal lobbyists, or members of Congress. We’re a 100% grassroots people-powered campaign.

Richard Carlbom

Richard Carlbom

Campaign Manager

Richard oversees all aspects of the Phillips for Congress campaign—ensuring Dean’s vision is clearly communicated and that everyone feels heard and invited.

Read Richard’s story

Before joining this team in February 2018, I’ve been working on campaigns in Minnesota and around the country since I was a college student at Saint John’s University in 2000. In fact, I really liked John McCain back then—but when he was beaten by George W. Bush in the Primary Election, I started working with the College Democrats to get Al Gore elected and have never stopped supporting the Minnesota DFL.

Now I look back and wonder what I was thinking . . . 

After graduating from Saint John’s and Saint Ben’s in May 2004, I was elected Mayor of St. Joseph, MN that November. I was re-elected in 2006. After serving as Mayor, I went to work for Congressman Tim Walz in the First Congressional District. After helping Congressman Walz win in 2010 during the Tea Party wave, I then went on to manage the Minnesotans United for All Families campaign for marriage equality from 2011–2013. We built the largest grassroots campaign ever in Minnesota and made our state the first to ever defeat a hurtful constitutional amendment and then the 12th state to legalize marriage just six months later. 

I believe in the power of grassroots and deeply relational organizing. I believe that voters seek hope, inspiration and still sometimes vote out of fear. Figuring out how to connect with voters, authentically, is the key to our success in this campaign.

Erin Carney

Office Manager

Erin manages our campaign office and delivers critical administrative support to our campaign team.

Read Erin’s story

I am the volunteer Phillips for Congress Office Manager. I started volunteering for the campaign as an Office Greeter in 2018 and was pleased to be asked to join in again this election year. My husband, Adam, and I live in Maple Grove and love to travel— our favorite place so far is New Zealand. I grew up in San Diego and attended San Diego State University and earned a BA in Social Science for Single Subject Teaching.

Prior to becoming a campaign volunteer, I was the Executive Director for the Minnesota Jaycees and have worked at other non-profits in programming roles. One of my favorite parts of the Phillips campaign is the people—we have an awesome team of staff and volunteers who are giving 110% to re-elect Rep. Phillips.

Yahye Mohamed, Phillips for Congress diversity & inclusion director

Yahye Mohamed

Diversity & Inclusion Manager

As a Minnesota DFL employee working on behalf of Dean—and Democrats throughout Minnesota’s 3rd Congressional District—Yahye engages with immigrant and POCI communities, welcoming them into the campaign and providing voter and volunteer support.

Read Yahye’s story

I was born in Mogadishu, Somalia. From a young age, I developed a strong passion for soccer, a passion that I still maintain today. After immigrating to the United States in 1999, I moved to Minneapolis and graduated from Edison High School in 2003. I have expertise in Health and Disaster Management, and my previous work includes stints with the American Red Cross and FEMA.

Before joining the Phillips campaign, I volunteered or worked on numerous DFL campaigns for candidates such as Lindsey Port, Erin Maye Quade, and Ilhan Omar. I have a unique knack for connecting with new people and making those I’ve just met feel like lifelong friends. 

Sarah Morrow

Volunteer Engagement Director

As a DFL employee, Sarah manages DeanTeam volunteers—and volunteers across Minnesota’s 3rd Congressional District—and she delivers the programming and materials that ensure they feel successful and supported.

Read Sarah’s story

I have the best job, working with our DeanTeam volunteers. I grew up in St. Louis, MO, went to the U of Michigan, Ann Arbor, and lived in Kansas City, LA, and NYC before landing in Minnesota. My background is graphic design, publishing, and community work. My family and I were politically active for years, and then the 2016 election and Dean’s campaign inspired me to completely change my career to work full-time for Dean.

Nowadays, you’ll find me in an old yellow house on Galpin Lake in Excelsior, where I live with my husband Andrew, three daughters (Aberdeen, 20; Georgia, 18; Virginia, 17), our sweet barky dog, and neurotic cat. Our house is brimming with protest signs, teenagers, good coffee, and radical hope for the election

Sarah O'Neill

Sarah O’Neill

Digital Content Strategist

Sarah crafts digital campaign content and strategy, and she implements content and features on the Phillips for Congress website.

Read Sarah’s story

I’m Sarah O’Neill, digital content strategist and writer. I originally hail from Rosemount but crossed the border to attend the University of Wisconsin–Madison, where I got my degree in Wildlife Ecology, and I never crossed back. I now live in Hudson.

In my first job out of college, I served as a human Swiss Army knife on Dan Buettner’s interactive Quest and BlueZones expeditions. There, I researched conservation content, coordinated logistics, and developed curriculum resources with National Geographic on the good days—and orchestrated medivac flights from the Peruvian Amazon on the bad. I then tried my hand at freelance copywriting for Target and MNSCU before joining the Firebrand team, where I am now a digital content strategist and senior writer.

In my nearly ten years at Firebrand, I’ve written for local nonprofits, Fortune 50s, tech start-ups, and colleges and universities, including the U of M’s College of Liberal Arts.

I’m an avid baseball fan, I know my way around a kitchen, and I’m active in local politics. In fact, I currently serve as the communications chair for the St. Croix County Democratic Party.

As part of the Phillips for Congress campaign, I contribute to digital strategy, ideation, and content creation. Linking arms with the people who are a part of this campaign—the staff, interns, and volunteers who bring such joyful energy and passionate commitment to this work—make the job a joy. 

Clara Severson, Phillips for Congress political director

Clara Severson

Political Director

Clara nurtures political relationships for the Phillips for Congress campaign, and she manages our field program.

Read Clara’s story

I grew up in Duluth, Minnesota, before moving to a small town in Wisconsin for middle and high school. After graduation, I attended Macalester College in St. Paul for a year before transferring to the University of Minnesota—Twin Cities. While obtaining a degree was ultimately not in my future, I’m working my dream job right here on the Phillips for Congress Campaign. 

Anyone who knows me will know that I’m obsessed with animals. I own chickens, four dogs, three cats, and some fish. When I’m not taking care of my fur crew, I’m spending time with my husband and 2 year old son, Jude. 

Jonah Van Why

Jonah Van Why

Finance Director & Communications Advisor

Jonah manages campaign donor relations, executes all fundraising activities, and ensures reporting compliance. He also plays an important role in campaign communications planning.

Read Jonah’s story

Hi I’m Jonah. I grew up in St. Paul, spent some time with cows and corn fields at St. Olaf for college, then two years working in D.C. I joined the DeanTeam in June of 2018 as Dean’s sidekick (aka I drove him around, read him briefs, and ate lunch with him) and am now Finance Director and pitch in with communications.

I’ve been grateful every day since 2018 to work for a genuinely good person in Dean, one who knows how to inspire, lead, and encourage everyone around him. The DeanTeam is a product of Dean, where we are optimistic in our pursuit of a different kind of politics. 

When I have free time I enjoy checking out state parks and eating pancakes.

Meshach Weber, Phillips for Congress digital engagement director

Meshach Weber

Digital Engagement Director

Meshach drives campaign digital innovation and implements the platforms and practices that nurture strong digital communities for voters and volunteers, alike.

Read Meshach’s story

A little about me. My name is pronounced Me-Shock, but it could have been worse—I was almost a Melchizedek. I’m a cis white male born in a commune in Georgetown MN. I was raised around innovators and change agents. We moved to London (at age 4) where my parents started a health and environmental organization that included the founders of Greenpeace UK, headed by a man that eventually became Gwyneth Paltrow’s health guru.

I moved back to the US at 11. I then lived in poverty for several years and experienced a diverse set of neighborhoods. In my early and late 20’s I lived in Sydney Australia—eventually working in Film production for the international show, Water Rats.

I went on to work in film and TV for several years in the US (on feature films, MST3K, CBS Sunday Morning, Dateline NBC, and more). For the last twenty years, I’ve worked in high tech and health and wellness—specializing in startups and marketing tech. I always engaged in non profit work as well.

I enjoy having a rainbow of humanity around me.

I’m passionate about health & wellness, high tech, history, global issues, the climate, and helping people discover peaceful growth. My specialty is using evidence based methods to accelerate behavior change and create thriving digital communities.

I work in digital engagement for the campaign, leveraging silicon valley marketing and rapid growth methodologies.

A slightly amusing thing about me: I was in a Monty Python skit as a kid. I like helping.

Let’s create change—together.

Join the DeanTeam—a diverse, committed team of neighbors who are creating change in communities across Minnesota’s Third District.

Whether you’d like to volunteer at an upcoming campaign event or lend a hand from home, there are always opportunities to make a meaningful difference.

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