Steering Committee


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.

Vice Chair - Bridget Anderson

Bridget has been engaged in local and statewide politics all her life. She has over six years of work experience in the Indiana Statehouse and six years working with statewide and national non-profits. She graduated from Indiana University with a degree in political science and is inspired by civic engagement as a means to improve lives. She's a cheerleader for access, equity, and empowerment and believes that together people can solve problems. She is currently the Director at Patronicity, a crowdfunding platform designed to support creative placemaking projects around the country. It's powerful work that empowers hyper-local community development and investment. She's a resident of rural Greene County where she lives with her husband Christopher and their beautiful dog Gertie.

Treasurer - Michelle Bright

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. 


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.

Alessia_ModjarradAlessia Modjarrad

Alessia Modjarrad is a senior at Indiana University, studying Economic Consulting and Law and Public Policy. Originally from Maryland, she began her work in politics after co-founding the grassroots progressive organization Montgomery County for Change and working to pass common-sense gun legislation. As the daughter of two immigrants, Alessia is passionate about ensuring that all people have access to equal opportunities and a well-funded public education. Now, she is working to flip Indiana blue as President of the College Democrats of Indiana. She also worked full-time as Deputy Political Director for Dr. Woody Myers, Indiana's Democratic Gubernatorial Nominee this past election cycle.  As a DWC steering committee member, she hopes to aid pro-choice women in their journey through political advocacy and candidacy. 

Headshot_-_Sensenstein__Elizabeth.jpegElizabeth Sensenstein

Originally from Akron, Ohio, Elizabeth received a degree in Sociology from Thiel College in Pennsylvania. After working as a social worker in Pittsburgh for four years, she moved to Indiana. During my time in Bloomington, she has been a social worker, owned a food truck, and finally found a home with Monroe County Government. Over the past three years, she has worked in multiple departments, most recently taking over as the Human Resources Administrator.


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.

Vicky-Sorensen100.jpgVicky Sorensen

Vicky has lived in Monroe County since 1976. She holds a Bachelor's Degree in Social Work from IU and has worked for IU, the Monroe County Probation Department, as Program Manager for Monroe County Healthy Families, and Assistant Special Educator for students with learning disabilities at Highland Park Elementary. Vicky was endorsed by the DWC in 2010 when she ran (and won!) her campaign for Indian Creek Township Trustee. She served two terms as Trustee.

Ilana Stonebraker

Ilana Stonebraker moved to Monroe County in January 2020 to become the Head of Business/SPEA Library at Indiana University. In 2018, she successfully ran for Tippecanoe County Council, becoming one of two first democrats elected to county council there in 23 years. She serves as a mentor to candidates through Run for Something and is passionate about supporting Millennial candidates. 


 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.  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 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.