Define American conversation was founded in April 2011 by Jose Antonio Vargas, and co-founded by Jake Brewer, Jehmu Greene, Alicia Menendez.
Today, the work of Define American is led by Jose and Jake Brewer along with a network of friends and allies across the United States including:
Jake Brewer, Founder and Co-Chair
Jose Antonio Vargas, Founder and Co-Chair
Afshin Pishevar, General Counsel
Campaign Director, Rev. Ryan M. Eller
Responsible for overseeing day-to-day operations of the project, including the pledge campaign and expanding the film’s impact on policy. Ryan holds a BS in Political Science from Appalachian State University, a Masters Degree in Divinity from Wake Forest University, and a Masters Degree in Public Administration from Penn State University. Prior to coming to Define American, Ryan was US Campaigns Director at Change.org. For four years prior to that, Eller was the Executive Director of CHANGE in North Carolina—the largest broad-based community-organizing group in the southern United States (a 501c3). He has extensive experience in the campaign arena as well, having managed political campaigns at the local and federal level.
Media and Partnerships Director, Lara Drasin
Responsible for seeking out and implementing creative ways to accomplish Define American’s goals through both likely and unexpected partnerships and media partners. Lara is the Associate Producer for the film “Documented”. Prior to joining Define American, Drasin was a strategist for Hiltzik Strategies, an NYC-based boutique public relations and crisis management firm handling a range of corporate and individual clients in the areas of media, technology, entertainment and advocacy. Lara also worked at Mediabistro.com, where she was responsible for interacting with users – primarily freelance journalists and designers - in order to improve the site. Lara graduated with honors from New York University with a dual B.A. in Journalism and Sociology.
Operations Manager, Jonathan Yu
Responsible for overseeing logistics for project implementation and calendar management and coordination. Jonathan has been working with Jose Antonio Vargas his entire career, managing travel, organizing schedules, and overseeing accounting for various projects. Yu has edited and reviewed articles and media for Vargas throughout his career, including providing key feedback on award-winning pieces. A student of film in college, Jon views hundreds of films per year and can quickly evaluate and improve content.
To reach our staff, please use our Contact Us form.