January 26, 2021

Contact: Yuridia Peña, [email protected], (718) 790-0837


After a strong fundraising haul, Donovan taps top talent to bolster campaign efforts.

NEW YORK, NY – Former Obama-Biden Housing Secretary and Budget Director Shaun Donovan today announced new additions to his Mayoral campaign, including former Pennsylvania State Director at Biden for President Brendan McPhillips to serve as Campaign Manager, Amelia Adams as Senior Advisor, and former Biden for President Georgia Press Secretary Jeremy Edwards, who takes on the role of Press Secretary. Donovan announced that Aicha Bamba will serve as Political Director, Rameera Robbalaa as Organizing Director, Candace Wint as Operations Director, and Danny Rodriguez as communications associate.

They join a talented group of strategists and political operatives with decades of experience in grassroots organizing, communications, fundraising and field operations. 

“Our campaign of ideas has attracted top tier talent with experience driving critical local, state and national elections and grassroots campaigns,” said Shaun Donovan, Candidate for Mayor of New York City. “Our team reflects the diversity of New York City and the diverse network we are building across the city, state and country who believe in my vision to repair, rebuild and reimagine a City that works for everyone.”

“The next mayor will have the incredible task of managing New York City through its recovery from COVID, and from years of neglect and mismanagement at the local and federal level. Thankfully, New Yorkers have an amazing opportunity to elect a proven leader and crisis manager with a long track record of fighting for housing justice here in New York – and as President Obama’s Housing Secretary and Budget Director, he understands that a budget is a moral testimony rather than an accounting sheet,” Brendan McPhillips, Campaign Manager, New Yorkers for Donavan. “I am excited to help elect Shaun Donovan so he can get to work leading New York City to a recovery that lifts up everyone.”

The new hires come after a successful financial filing that reflects the campaign’s ability to build the broadest coalition of support. New Yorkers for Donovan campaign has so far raised over $2.6 million in contributions and expected matching funds during the course of his campaign after raising a remarkable $954,000 in the most recent filing period. This is the highest amount raised in a single filing period among all of the candidates participating in the matching funds program. 

Staff Bios:


Brendan McPhillips has over a decade of experience championing progressive candidates and causes. He most recently served as Pennsylvania State Director on the Biden Campaign, earning a key victory in the crucial battleground state. McPhillips began the 2020 cycle as Iowa State Director for Pete Buttigieg, delivering an historic victory in February’s Iowa Caucuses. Prior to joining Mayor Pete’s campaign, Brendan managed Andrew Gillum’s upset victory in the 2018 Democratic primary for governor of Florida. McPhillips has worked in a number of other roles including serving as progressive Philadelphia Councilmember Helen Gym’s campaign manager in 2015 and senior advisor in 2019, Lt. Gov. John Fetterman’s campaign manager in the 2016 U.S. Senate primary, and is a veteran of both the Obama and Clinton presidential campaigns.


Amelia Adams is one of the foremost political strategists in New York City and serves as a Senior Advisor to Shaun Donovan’s campaign. She began her career at the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN) as a community organizer working with New York City residents to build power in their communities and hold elected officials accountable. 

Amelia quickly gained notoriety in the organizing and political field for her consistency, fairness and passion for building coalitions to move power to the people. Having lived in almost all of the NYC boroughs growing up, Amelia has knowledge of many different cultures and the injustices faced by the variety of peoples. In 2013 Amelia was deputized as a director of New York Communities for Change (NYCC) where she oversaw the organizing and political departments in addition to creating a staff development program. During the summer of 2013, Amelia was instrumental in helping to elect Bill de Blasio the first Democratic Mayor in NYC in two decades.

In 2014 she went on to become a Senior Advisor and the Director of Community Engagement for New York City’s first Latina Council Speaker, Melissa Mark-Viverito. Most recently Amelia served as Political Director to Mayor Bill de Blasio’s reelection campaign and Senior Strategist on the campaign to bring Ranked Choice Voting to New York City. Some of Amelia’s most notable accomplishments include the inaugural Fight For $15 campaign, expanding Participatory Budgeting to more NYC neighborhoods and the first ever national conference on sanctuary cities. She is a karaoke enthusiast and currently resides in Brooklyn, NY.


Aicha A. Bamba is a highly experienced political practitioner.  She combines her love for the community, drive for justice and equity to her work in government and politics. She is a product of the Bronx’s best public schools and is passionate about ensuring that every student has the opportunity to succeed. Aicha has served as Director of External Affairs for then councilman, Rep. Ritchie Torres, and has worked on numerous campaigns such as Zellnor Myrie for New York as Senior Campaign Coordinator and Yvette Clarke for Congress as Field Director. Her passion for the community led to working with her mentor Andre M. Richardson and the Tobacco Free Kids Flavor Hook Kids Campaign, a grassroots coalition of tenant leaders, community activists, and clergy members such as Rev. Kristen John Foy and NAACP President Hazel Dukes. During her tenure as the organization’s NYC Director of Outreach and Advocacy, she led outreach and lobbying efforts to ban flavored e-cigarettes. She also led the Census outreach efforts in the Bronx and Manhattan for Children’s Aid Societies. Aicha attended St. John’s University and is a proud Bronxite.  


Rameera is an accomplished and dedicated professional with a proven track record of achieving consistent results related to community organizing, outreach, and field strategy. Rameera most recently served as the North Eastern States Organizing Director for Biden for President. She also served in various capacities on the Obama, Clinton, Sanders, and Bloomberg campaigns, and brings years of New York City organizing experience to the table, most recently as a team member of Melinda Katz’s Queens D.A. campaign, and has worked for the Working Families Party as a field director and deputy campaign manager on city council and state races.


Jeremy comes to the campaign from Georgia after previously serving as the Director of African American Media for the Democratic Party of Georgia during the Senate runoff, as well as the Georgia Press Secretary for the Biden Campaign during the general election. Prior to that, Jeremy served as the Communications Director for Congressman Bobby Rush and worked in a variety of roles at the Department of Justice, including paralegal, press assistant, and ultimately, Deputy Spokesperson. Jeremy was born and raised in Syracuse, New York, and graduated from Syracuse University in 2013. 


Candace brings close to two decades of professional experience in innovation, thought leadership, project management, political operations and strategy to the campaign. Prior political endeavors include the 2008 Obama for America race, 2009 Presidential Inaugural Committee, serving as a two term political appointee at the US Department of Housing and Urban Development and the 2020 Bernie Sanders race. A garnet and gold bleeding alumna of The Florida State University, there she earned dual Bachelor of Science degrees in business, one in Finance and one in Multinational Business Operations. She is a lapsed CMP (Certified Meeting Professional).


Originally from San Juan, Puerto Rico, Danny served as a Legislative Intern in the Ways and Means Committee within Puerto Rico’s House of Representatives, where he worked closely with the Committee President to draft the contentious 2016-2017 government budget in the middle of the island’s debt crisis. Danny was a Campaign Fellow for the Florida Democratic Party in Miami, assisting in Communications and Finance. Danny brings a unique mix of political and private sector communications experience and helped lead a pro-bono engagement in support of a global nonprofit focused on financial inclusion, earning him a CEO Force for Good Award. During the 2020 election cycle, Danny provided communications support for a number of campaigns. Danny attended Harvard University, where he received a B.A. in Government and a Minor in Music.

These new hires build upon previously released leadership; Campaign Strategists Bill Hyers and Rick Fromberg, Senior Spokesperson Yuridia Peña, and Finance Director Ioanna Niejelow. Hyers is known for running upset campaigns by managing victories for Kirsten Gillibrand (2006, Congress) and Michael Nutter (2007 Philadelphia Mayor). He also served as campaign manager for Bill de Blasio’s successful mayoral campaign. Media strategist Rick Fromberg successfully led Bill de Blasio’s reelection campaign and the outreach efforts of de Blasio’s Universal Pre-Kindergarten initiative. Yuridia Peña has held communications roles in government, labor and nonprofit entities. She recently launched Alta Consulting, a boutique firm that specializes in media relations and public affairs. Ioanna Niejelow served as a senior executive in the Obama Administration from 2009-2016. She was the senior advisor to Donovan during his tenure as Budget Director, focusing on organizational management, strategic priority planning and implementation, operations, personnel and executive communications strategy. Ioanna has also held several leadership positions in both state-wide US Senate campaigns and presidential campaigns where she managed field operations, stakeholder outreach, principal and surrogate events coordination, and fundraising.

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