Our team is made up of Mississippians who understand both the blessings and challenges of the Magnolia state. We were raised here, educated here, and have invested our lives here. We are committed to helping Mississippians succeed over the long haul, and with decades of public policy and political experience in Mississippi, have built the largest and most influential advocacy organization in the state.
Grant is a sixth generation Mississippian who grew up in Laurel. He founded Empower Mississippi in 2014 as a solution center, tackling Mississippi’s biggest challenges so everyone can rise.
Russ brings a passion for Mississippi and extensive public policy and legal experience to Empower Mississippi. In his role as President, Russ plays a critical role in strategy development, and oversees our public policy, government affairs, and advocacy efforts.
Elyse is the Director of New Schools Project. This project, to be publicly launched in late 2021, aims to come alongside education entrepreneurs and help them start high quality charter and private schools in Mississippi.
Steven is the Director of Justice & Work for Empower Mississippi. In this role, he is responsible for the implementation of strategies to help shape and execute policies pertaining to criminal justice and employability issues.
In his position as Vice President of Marketing & Communications, Brett oversees marketing and communications strategies for a portfolio of issue initiatives that includes education, expanding work opportunities, and justice.
Joanna is the Director of Outreach. She is responsible for strengthening Empower Mississippi’s outreach to individuals who are most affected by education, work, and justice public policies, with a commitment to providing a platform for these impacted voices.
Gina is the Director of Operations & Events. In her role, Gina organizes all special events, oversees project management and administration of the organization’s human resources, accounting, and compliance systems.
Katie is Executive Assistant to the CEO and Development Manager. As Development Manager, she plays a pivotal role in every aspect of the organization’s development, working to identify, cultivate, and keep informed supporters of Empower’s mission, as well as providing world-class service to donors.
J. is a Contributing Fellow at Empower Mississippi. In this position he plays an advisory role on criminal justice reform policy.
Chris works with Empower to examine the impact of regulation in Mississippi on labor force participation rates and wages, as well as providing valuable research and insights on how technology and innovation can improve education, job opportunities and our justice system.
Conor works with Empower to review government regulations and provide reform recommendations for increasing entrepreneurship.
Matt is a Contributing Fellow at Empower Mississippi. In this position, he plays an advisory role on education policy.
Empower Mississippi works to Educate, Engage, and Elect Mississippians dedicated to removing barriers to opportunity.
Empower Mississippi Foundation is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization working to educate citizens. Contributions are tax deductible for federal income tax purposes.
Empower Mississippi is a 501(c)(4) advocacy organization working to engage citizens in the public policy process. Contributions are not tax deductible for federal income tax purposes
Empower PAC is a state political action committee working to recruit, train, and elect candidates for the legislature who are committed to ensuring that every Mississippian has access to a high quality education and meaningful work.