Steering Committee

OFFICERS  

Chair - Penny Githens

Penny considers the DWC her political home and wants to help more progressive, Democratic women be elected to political office, from local township boards all the way to the White House. Her roots as a Democrat run deep, and she likes to tell about her maternal grandmother, who at the age of 100 insisted on being picked up from her assisted living quarters so that she could attend the monthly meetings of her county's Democratic party. Penny is especially focused on issues of public education, corporate power in elections, voting rights, and an improved, accessible health care system.  She ran for the office of State Representative, House District 60.

Isabel Piedmont-SmithVice Chair - Isabel Piedmont-Smith

Involved with the DWC since 2006, Isabel served on the DWC steering committee in 2013-14, and is "happy to step up again to reconnect more closely with the organization."  She became involved in local politics around 2001, when strip malls and condos were gobbling up greenspace in and around the city.  With DWC support, she was elected and served one term as District 5 representative on the City Council 2008 through 2011.  She sat out a term to help take care of aging parents. She ran again successfully in 2015 and 2019, both times with the support of the DWC.  Born and raised in Bloomington, Isabel received a BA from Oberlin College and an MA from Boston University. She has worked in the Department of French and Italian at IU since 1996.

Michelle started her political career in 2010, when she became enraged when allegations of political corruption involving her local public officials emerged. Not being satisfied unless she was part of the solution, she was caucused into the position of Benton Township Trustee in March 2012. Some of the highlights of her time in office so far has been working with community youth organizations to start a Township Food Pantry and a Little Free Library, restoring two historical cemeteries in Benton Township, and was one of the first Townships in Indiana to partner with the American Red Cross for the Home Fire Campaign. Michelle has always been very grateful to the DWC for helping train and support her over the years, and was endorsed both times she ran for re-election. She is a Business Analyst at Indiana University; and is currently settling in to being an empty-nester with her husband in Unionville.

Claire CumberlandSecretary - Claire Cumberland

Since graduating from Indiana University, Claire has been appointed to the city’s Commission on Sustainability, the Bloomington Food Policy Council’s Steering Committee, as well as an ex-officio appointment to the Board of Directors for Bloomingfoods, followed by an elected role. She has been a delegate to the Indiana Democratic Convention, taking part in Bloomington’s Citizens’ Academy, managing a city council campaign, and most recently being asked to serve as the Monroe County Democratic Party’s Communications Deputy Chair. She has years of leadership experience, both academically and professionally. She completed the Community Justice and Mediation Center’s 40 Hour Mediation training certificate program and in January 2020 is participating in the Red/Blue Workshop with Better Angels.

Immediate Past Chair - Carolyn CarolynVan.jpgVandeWiele

Carolyn VandeWiele was a self-employed relief veterinarian for many years, retiring from practice in 2016. She moved to Bloomington in 1988 and fell in love with the community. She serves on the Monroe County Parks Board and is the current Democratic Appointee to the Monroe County Election Board. Carolyn has volunteered at WFHB Community Radio since 1993, served two terms on their Board of Directors, and can frequently be seen ushering at the BCT and Cardinal Stage. She is a passionate reader (co-owning Aquarius Bookstore until it closed in 1999), enjoys photography and cooking and has written a food column for the HT for several years. Carolyn has been a member of the DWC since 2004 and is one of the producers of the MMN. 

AT-LARGE MEMBERS

Bridget Anderson

Bridget Andersond (she/her) is the Vice President at Patronicity, a crowdfunding platform designed to support creative placemaking projects around the country. Anderson leads the CreatINg Places crowdgranting program in Indiana. It's powerful work that empowers hyperlocal community development and investment. The Patronicity team also works to stabilize and support small businesses and Anderson is the Lead Consultant and Community Advocate for bench Consulting, developing a roadmap to recovery. Anderson has over six years working with statewide and national non-profits including civil justice and educational organizations as well as six years serving elected officials and political campaigns. She graduated from Indiana University with a degree in political science and resides in rural Greene County.

Pam_Davidson_mug_shot.jpgPam Davidson

Pam received her B.A. from IU in 1975, and graduated magna cum laude from the Indiana University School of Law at Indianapolis in 1979.  She was an examiner in the IRS Estate and Gift Tax Division and practiced law in Indianapolis before joining the nonprofit sector in 1985.  She has been a nationally recognized motivational speaker in charitable gift planning for decades.  She is President of Davidson Gift Design, consulting and specializing in presentations about all aspects of gift planning for nonprofits. From 1985 - 1996, she was with IU Foundation as Executive Director of Planned Giving and Associate Counsel, quadrupling expectancies in only two years. She has served on many boards, including a nationally recognized women’s shelter and public radio and TV, on the APTS Leadership Council.

Dorothy GrangerDorothy Granger

Dorothy has worn many hats over the years -- researcher, educator, higher education administrator, director of non-profit agencies, fundraiser, and quilter. Currently, the Development Director for Beacon, Inc., she plans to retire early in 2022. She worked to fight to pass the Equal Rights Amendment in the late ‘70s, in Illinois. She volunteered on John Kerry’s team for his US Senate race in the early ‘80s, and has volunteered on many campaigns for strong women in local elections since she moved to Bloomington. "I was a thoughtful, hard-working member of the city council for two terms and am now a board member for Bloomington Township."  She has been involved with the mission of the DWC since its inception, and has previously served on the steering committee.

Jill Joliff

Jill Joliff

Jill was drawn to politics in the late 70s by the women’s and lesbian/gay rights movements.  She has been involved with the DWC since shortly after its inception, including a previous stint on the Steering Committee.  She served on the Monroe County Women’s Commission in its first years and has been involved in various capacities in a number of campaigns, including managing a City Council campaign.  Her background includes approximately 40 years’ experience in the non-profit and public sectors, both locally and around the state, as both paid staff and volunteer, and with a primary focus in justice and equity.

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Tilly Robinson

A BHSS senior, Tilly has been involved in politics since joining her parents to canvas for the 2010 referendum. In spring 2018, she helped organize a walkout against gun violence at Jackson Creek Middle School. She's volunteered for political campaigns, and has spoken at and helped organize protests for climate action and fair redistricting.  She's been a member of the High School Democrats of America, where she leads her school chapter and serves as Chief of Staff for the Indiana High School Democrats. She volunteers for WFHB, and helps lead South’s speech and debate teams.

Tilly hopes to bring a focus on funding public education and ensuring schools are responsive to students’ needs. She’s also interested in gender equity in the workplace, including paid leave and affordable childcare, as well as matters of climate justice, campaign finance transparency, voting rights, and civic engagement, particularly among young people

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Doris Sims

Doris earned both bachelor’s and master’s degrees from IU SPEA.  Her first job after graduation was with Bloomington’s Redevelopment Department.  In the past, she’s volunteered for many area service agencies, from Girls Inc. to United Way.  She currently serves as the Director of Bloomington Housing and Neighborhood Development, having also served as the Human Resources Director for the City of Bloomington. 

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Sophie Suter

From Evansville, Sophie is an IU sophomore double-majoring in political science and journalism, with a focus in public relations. She began as the Deputy Communications Director for College Democrats of Indiana and then was elected as the Marketing Director for College Democrats at IU during her freshman year. Right before starting her sophomore year, she was selected as the district intern for the Ninth District Democratic Party. Currently, she is president of College Democrats at IU through 2022.

As an SC member, Sophie wants to represent the voice of the College Democrats and young people as a whole. She believes that young voters have lots of power and can make big changes if they put in the effort. She is determined to make sure that there are candidates on the ballot that would pay attention to those young people and keep their needs in mind at all times.

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 Amy Swain

Amy has more than 20 years experience serving multiple types of businesses and organizations with communications, presentation, negotiation, budget and management skills after receiving a Bachelors Degree in Business from Indiana University.  Currently she is Marketing Director at American Rental, managing social media, website, an omnichannel messaging platform and directing all other marketing efforts. Amy is an active community volunteer with her local Exchange Club and Lions Club.  She helped reorganize and restart the defunct Grace Center Food Pantry which serves residents in Clear Creek, Indian Creek and Polk Townships.  She has served on the Monroe County Women's Commission, and is currently on the Monroe County Plan Review Committee.  She served two four-year terms in office on the Indian Creek Township Board, and ran for State Representative, House District 62 in 2018, with endorsement by the DWC.  She is a past Chair of the DWC.