Claire Green, Staff Director
Green joined the Board staff in October 2012 as Deputy Staff Director and was named Staff Director in September 2013. Before that, Green worked for the Senate Finance Committee as a Congressional Fellow. Green’s portfolio included SSA programs, solvency, deficit reduction issues, SSA’s administrative budget, and public and private sector disability programs. Green worked at Social Security for 18 years, earning over a dozen performance and team awards. In 2004, Green was promoted to the Chief Judges Attorney-Advisor where she worked on complex program and policy issues, the electronic business process, bias and misconduct complaints against Administrative Law Judges, and employee and labor relation issues. Claire has a JD from Western State University College of Law and graduated with honors from Assumption College in English and sociology.
Diane Brandt, PhD, Research Director
Dr. Brandt joined the Board staff in September 2017 as a Senior Advisor. Brandt began a career with the federal government in 2008 as a protocol manager for the National Institutes of Health, Clinical Center, Rehabilitation Medicine Department, Epidemiology and Biostatistics Section. Brandt worked principally on an interagency agreement with the Social Security Administration in support of the agency disability programs. In addition to a diverse clinical background, Brandt’s research interests include public policy/health policy and implications for vulnerable populations; and, the geospatial implications of policy outcomes. Brandt holds a BS in physical therapy from the University of Missouri-Columbia, a MS in gerontology and neurorehabilitation from Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri and a MA and PhD from the University of Missouri-St. Louis in political science, specializing in public/health policy.
Cheri Cannon, General Counsel
Cannon joined the Board in April 2021 as the General Counsel. Immediately before, from 2014 to 2021, Cannon was a Partner at Tully Rinckey PLLC and head of the Federal Labor and Employment practice in Washington, DC. Cannon also served for a little over 3 years as Managing Partner of the DC office. Prior to Tully Rinckey, from 2008 to 2014, Cannon served as the SES Deputy General Counsel for Fiscal, Ethics and Administrative Law for the Department of the Air Force, and from October 2007 to August 2008, Cannon was the Chief Counsel to the Chairman of the Merit Systems Protection Board. Other government service includes 17 years at the Small Business Administration, where Cannon served in SES roles of Deputy Director of the Disaster Loan Program and Associate General Counsel for General Law. Prior to government, Cannon was an associate at two law firms in Washington, Venable LLP and Beveridge and Diamond PC. Cannon earned a bachelor’s in political science (with Honors) from the University of California at Santa Barbara and a JD from Georgetown University Law Center.
Bethel Dejene, Management Officer
Dejene joined the Board staff in June 2014 as a Research Analyst and currently serves as a Management Officer. Prior to joining the Board, Dejene completed an internship at the Ethiopian Community Development Council in Arlington, Virginia. Dejene was also a participant in Capital Area REACH, job-readiness, and community service program. Dejene earned a BS in psychology from George Mason University.
Sunny Bick, Management Analyst
Bick joined the Board staff in January 2020 as a Management Analyst. Bick comes from a research background, most recently studying the pathology of Alzheimer’s Disease with the Mayo Clinic Institute of Neurodegenerative Diseases in Jacksonville, Florida. Bick’s previous work at Stanford University’s Hopkins Marine Lab involved marine species genetic diversity and adaptation to environmental stress. Bick spent several years with the Federal government doing collaborative VA Medical Center /NIH research into cholesterol metabolism and alcoholism’s effect on diabetes and hyperlipidemia in the Veteran population. Bick graduated with honors from the University of Maryland, receiving a BS in microbiology and biochemistry.
Pamela Crawford, PhD, Senior Advisor
Dr. Crawford joined the Board staff in June 2018 as a Senior Advisor. Crawford’s federal service includes positions at the Social Security Administration (as a STEM Presidential Management Fellow), Department of Health and Human Services (Assistant Secretary for Preparedness Response, Division of International Health Security), Department of Defense, the National Institutes of Health and the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy. Professional experience in academia includes Harvard University, Brigham and Women’s Hospital; the Johns Hopkins University at the Schools of Medicine, Public Health, Nursing, Evidence-based Policy Center, and the Center for American Indian Health. International work includes service at Mexico’s National Institute of Public Health, the World Bank Institute, and the World Health Organization. Crawford holds graduate degrees from Harvard University (SM), Johns Hopkins School of Medicine (MS), Johns Hopkins University (PhD), and Cambridge University (MPhil).
Conway Reinders, Lead Policy Analyst
Reinders joined the Board staff in May 2017 as a Policy Analyst and now serves as a Lead Policy Analyst, focusing on service delivery issues, including representative payees, field office closures, and performance management. Prior to joining the Board, Reinders was a research consultant to the Oxford Poverty and Human Development Initiative, an economic research center that advances a framework for reducing multidimensional poverty, grounded in people’s experiences and values. Previously, Reinders served as a special assistant to The Hamilton Project, a domestic economic policy initiative at the Brookings Institution. In 2016, Reinders earned a BA from the George Washington University, graduating magna cum laude in international affairs with special honors in economics.
Jenn Rigger, Senior Advisor
Rigger came to the Board as a Social Security Administration (SSA) detailee in March 2015 and currently serves as a Senior Advisor. In a 30-year career in Washington, DC, Rigger has focused on employment policy for people with disabilities, particularly Social Security beneficiaries’ return-to-work efforts. Rigger’s career began on Capitol Hill and in presidential primary campaigns. Rigger spent eight years at the Department of Education’s Rehabilitation Services Administration and nine more at SSA focused on the Ticket to Work and related employment support programs, including serving as staff to the Ticket to Work and Work Incentives Advisory Panel. At the Board, Rigger focuses on disability policy and administrative issues. Rigger obtained a BS in political science and history from James Madison University.
Omar Shalabi, Policy Analyst
Shalabi first came to the Board in September 2019 as a Research Intern and subsequently joined as a Policy Analyst in April 2020. Shalabi graduated with a BA in Economics from the University of Maryland, completing a research practicum with the strategic advisory and M&A firm Kaulkin Ginsberg. At Kaulkin Ginsberg, Shalabi studied the student loan market, particularly regulatory changes and trends in loan issuance and collection.
Emma Tatem, Lead Policy Analyst
Tatem joined the Board staff in August 2018 as a Policy Analyst and currently serves as a Lead Policy Analyst. Prior to joining the Board, Tatem worked as a Research Assistant to the Latin American Public Opinion Project, an international survey research institute housed at Vanderbilt University. Previously, Tatem completed an internship in the Governance Studies program at the Brookings Institution. In 2017, Tatum graduated magna cum laude with a BA in political science with honors from Pepperdine University and a certificate in conflict management from the Straus Institute for Dispute Resolution at the Pepperdine School of Law.
Mark A. Benavides, Summer Associate
Benavides joined the Board in May 2021 as a Summer Associate. Benavides is a rising second-year student at Howard University School of Law pursuing a JD with a certificate in family law. Before the Board, Benavides was an Operations and Policy Assistant for New American Economy, a bipartisan immigration reform nonprofit based in New York. Benavides holds a master’s in Negotiation & Conflict Resolution from Columbia University and a bachelor’s in government & Politics from St. John’s University.
Brandon Easley, Communications Intern
Easley joined the Board in June 2021 as a Communications Intern. Easley recently graduated summa cum laude from Pepperdine University with a BA in Political Science and minors focusing on Women’s Studies and Philosophy. Easley intends to attend law school in Washington, DC, in the Fall. Before interning at the Board, Easley worked in fundraising at Pepperdine University, interned at the Human Rights Campaign in DC, and conducted Professor-guided research on elections and international terrorism.