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Joe D. Briggs, Esq.Founder and Director

Born and raised in Dundee, Florida, Joe Briggs was a scholarship athlete at Texas Christian University earning three varsity letters as a committed student leader on campus. After working in corporate America for a few years, Mr. Briggs transitioned into education as the Special Assistant to the President of Florida A&M University while also pursuing a master’s degree at the same institution as a State University System Fellow. Once he completed his master’s degree, Mr. Briggs decided to further his education goals once again at the Florida State University College of Law earning his juris doctorate in 2006.

During his time in law school, Mr. Briggs was employed as a law clerk by the top tier public finance firm Bryant Miller Olive and was also selected as a United States Senate Legal Extern. Mr. Briggs also completed two years of national leadership on the National Black Law Students Association Executive Board while also serving as a Lieutenant Governor in the ABA Law Student Division, Vice President of the Student Bar Association and as a member of his law school trial team.

After the completion of his externship as a US Senate Legal Fellow, Mr. Briggs was hired by the NFL Players Association to manage their Financial Programs Department. Currently, he is the Public Policy Counsel of the NFLPA and first individual to lead the NFLPA Government Relations Department. Mr. Briggs is also a professor at Georgetown University and often speaks on subjects ranging from politics to sports and everything in between. You may contact Joe via email at


David Johns, Director


David J. Johns graduated cum laude from Columbia University in 2004 with a triple major in English, Creative Writing and African American Studies. His research as a Mellon Fellow served as a catalyst to identify, disrupt, and supplant deleterious perceptions of black males both within academia and society. Following graduation, Johns obtained a Masters degree in Sociology and Education Policy at Teachers College, Columbia University graduating summa cum laude, while simultaneously teaching elementary school in New York. His Masters thesis, “Shadowboxing: Black Male Identity and Independent Schools,” examined how Black male adolescents at elite, self-selecting independent schools understand and respond to perceptions and expectations of Black males.

Johns currently serves as a Senior Education Policy Advisor to the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions under the leadership of Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA). His policy portfolio includes issues affecting low-income and minority students; immigrants and English language learners; neglected youth and foster children; early childhood education; Historically Black institutions, Hispanic Serving institutions, and Tribal Colleges. Johns was recently named one of Ebony Magazines “30 Top Leaders Under 30″ and his essay “Re-Imagining Black Masculinity” has been published in the National Urban League’s 2007 State of Black America Report.

An avid volunteer, Johns is a member of the Magic Johnson Taylor Michael’s Scholarship Program committee and is also on the board of Plan for Success, a non profit committed to diversity in the workplace. He is currently working on several projects to improve literacy among adolescent minority males, strengthen resources available to minority students at elite private schools, and a book project designed to help students navigate the college admissions and financial aid process.

Mr. Johns is from Los Angeles, California and is a member of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Incorporated. You may contact David via email at


Angela Rye, Esq. Founder and Director



Angela Rye is one of the most dynamic young leaders on Capitol Hill.  She has been featured in The Root 100, MSNBC’s “BLTWY Power List: 35 Under 35 Who Changed DC”, the Washington Post’s “Who Runs Gov”, and recognized as one of DC’s Most Influential, among others.  Ms. Rye currently serves as the Executive Director and General Counsel to the Congressional Black Caucus.  In her role a s executive director, Rye is tasked with developing the overall legislative and political strategy for the caucus.

Most recently, she served as Senior Advisor and Counsel to the House Committee on Homeland Security under the leadership of Congressman Bennie G. Thompson, Chairman.  There she was charged with developing the general political strategy for the Committee with a focus on assisting disenfranchised, small minority owned businesses.

Upon moving to the Nation’s Capital, Rye co-founded IMPACT (, an organization that seeks to encourage young professionals in three core areas: economic empowerment, civic engagement, and political involvement.  The five year-old organization has quickly become a powerful voice and advocate for today’s young professionals of color nationwide.  Rye continues to serve as IMPACT’s Director of Strategic Partnerships.  During her tenure with the organization, IMPACT has formed partnerships with the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation, Rainbow PUSH’s Wall Street Project, Young & Powerful, Congressional Black Caucus Political Education and Leadership Institute, Black Leadership Forum, and others.

Rye began her career in legislative advocacy upon graduating from Seattle University School of Law, at the National Association for Equal Opportunity in Higher Education (NAFEO), which is the umbrella association for the Nation’s 120 historically and predominately black colleges and universities on Capitol Hill and with the Executive Branch.  At NAFEO, she served as the Coordinator of Advocacy and Legislative Affairs. Prior to NAFEO, Rye had the privilege of serving as a Legal Extern in Congresswoman Maxine Waters’ Los Angeles office. While working in the district office, Rye learned about legislative procedure and organization, as well as developed favorable public policy for constituents, and assisted in the mobilization and organization of community members to make a difference locally.

Rye also served as the Western Region Director for the National Black Law Students Association (NBLSA) where she managed and supervised the Western Region Executive Board.  Formerly the Legislative Affairs Chair of the Greater Washington Area Chapter (GWAC) for the Women’s Law Division of the NBA, Rye is committed to shoring up efforts to increase knowledge of the political processes for her colleagues and peers. Rye’s reputation for advocacy led to her recent appointment to the American Bar Association’s Government Affairs Committee, where she serves as the YLD Liaison. She is also Vice Chair of the National Bar Association Young Lawyers Division.

Born and raised in Seattle, Washington, Rye learned the importance of advocacy through her family’s political and community activism. She now resides in Bowie, Maryland and is a member of Reid Temple AME Church.

Semhar Araia,IMPACT Founder


Semhar Araia is Oxfam International’s Horn of Africa regional advisor and an original founder of IMPACT. Semhar has an international law background and specializes in conflict resolution, international human rights, development and peacebuilding in Africa. She recently served as a member on the Obama-Biden Presidential Transition Team and has extensive prior experience working as a foreign policy staffer in US Congress, as an Africa analyst for The Elders ( and as an attorney on the implementation of the 2000 Eritrea-Ethiopia peace agreement. Semhar is also the founder and Executive Director of the Diaspora African Women’s Network (DAWN), an organization whose mission is to develop talented women and girls of the African diaspora, provide them with opportunites related to Africa and promote community service in minority and immigrant neighborhoods. She has been featured as a guest speaker in various media outlets and to schools, universities, and other audiences on effective advocacy and campaign organizing strategies for Africa.

Adria Crutchfield,IMPACT Founder


A native of Indianapolis, Indiana, Adria Crutchfield began living and working in Washington, D.C. in January 2005 for Congressman G.K. Butterfield (NC-01) as the healthcare legislative assistant. After nearly one year, she was asked to join the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) as the Director of Special Projects. Ms. Crutchfield has since transitioned into a new position working with members of Congress and the Obama Administration. A graduate of Washington University in St. Louis, she fills her spare time through social justice-related community activism, running, reading, and activities with family and friends. You may contact Adria via email at


Ryan M.Scott, IMPACT Founder

Ryan Scott is a native of Johnstown, Pennsylvania and a graduate of Allegheny College. Ryan served as a Financial Advisor at Merrill Lynch where he worked with a team called the Washington Renaissance Group. Their focus areas included financial planning, estate planning, insurance and annuities, and business planning. Currently, Ryan leads various financial workshops for several young professional organizations as the COO of Jade Private Wealth Management. Ryan also serves as a mentor for the Hoop Dreams Scholarship Program, preparing high school seniors for college. You may contact Ryan via email at

Sarah Misailidis, IMPACT Communications Director

Sarah Misailidis is currently a PR manager at a Washington, DC firm.

Prior to this position, she worked as a Public Affairs Specialist at the U.S. Department of Agriculture and as a press officer in both the U.S. House of Representatives and U.S. Senate. With several years overall press experience in both the private sector and in government, Sarah has been responsible for communications including outreach e-newsletters, managing media requests, updating the website content, and writing press releases, advisories, op-eds, and speeches.

Additionally, she has provided guidance with regard to messaging opportunities for attorneys as well as members of Congress to speak on issues that matter to them and their clients and constituents, respectively.

Sarah received a B.A. in English at the University of Virginia and is working toward obtaining a Master’s degree in Communications from The Johns Hopkins University.

Sarah is a native of Silver Spring, Maryland, and is a member of Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Inc. You may contact Sarah via email at



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