Meet a FLIPster

Meet a FLIPster – Katy McDougall-Collins

Katy discovered FLIP NC through “Pod Save America” (thanks, Lovett!). She learned about Indivisible during an episode of the podcast, went to Indivisible’s website, and that led her to our chapter. She has canvassed with FLIP NC about a dozen times. Her top canvassing tip? “Relax, be yourself, and have fun.” (Check out this video – Katy and her fellow FLIPsters demonstrate how easy canvassing is!)

Katy is a member of the new four-person FLIP NC Wake Leadership Team, which already has three successful canvasses and a happy hour social under their belt (and more events are scheduled – join us!). A Raleigh resident, Katy works in the digital world, “wearing a few different hats working on websites.”

Here, a Q&A with Katy.

Meet a FLIPster – Helen Poston

Helen came to her first FLIP NC event last July – our 99 Days to FLIP NC! event at Motorco – after seeing information pop up on her Facebook feed. Since then, she has canvassed with us about 10 times and recently joined our newly formed four-person Wake Leadership Team. They already have two canvasses under their belt (and more are scheduled – sign up!).

A Durham resident, Helen grew up in southern Wake County and works at Biogen as a manager in the patient services department. She and her husband Glenn are parents to an adorable 5-year-old, Nate. Helen has been politically engaged since the 2008 election but only volunteered a few times per election cycle back then. After the 2016 election, like many others, she realized that she had to get more involved. In addition to her work with FLIP NC, she is the team lead for Headcount in the Raleigh/Durham area.  

Here, a Q&A with Helen.

Meet a FLIPster: Dana Carvalho

Dana, a Chatham County resident who has her own line of jewelry, has canvassed with us five times in Wake County. She especially loves it when she has conversations with people who are surprised and thrilled to learn that their district is flippable. Her history of political action goes back to her Vietnam protesting days. Today, she volunteers with a pro-choice advocacy group in addition to FLIP NC.

Here, a Q&A with Dana. And be sure to join her at one of our remaining canvasses in flippable Wake County! Last call for voter outreach!

Meet a FLIPster: Heidi Colton

Originally from Philadelphia, Heidi lives in NC-H36, one of the flippable Wake County districts where FLIP NC canvasses. She has knocked doors with us at least eight times! Her husband, Josh, sometimes canvasses, too. The couple has three daughters and loves to see live music when they aren’t acting as “human Ubers” for their girls.

The 2016 election marked the first time Heidi got involved with voter outreach. By day, she works in biotech research and development.

Here, a Q&A with Heidi. And be sure to join her at one of our remaining canvasses in flippable Wake County! With less than two weeks until the polls close, it’s GOTV go time!

Meet a FLIPster: Matt & Jake Schwartz

Today, we’re featuring two of our youngest canvassers! Matt and Jake are twin brothers from Chapel Hill who are sophomores at Durham Academy. Theirs is a family that has always talked openly about current events – Jake says he has been incredibly interested in politics since age 11.

In their free time, Matt is a saxophonist for the jazz band at DA. Jake plays Ultimate Frisbee for the school and enjoys club Frisbee in the summer.

Because they can’t drive yet, the brothers usually get a ride from their father to our canvasses. Then, they split up and knock doors with a new canvassing partner each time.

Read this fascinating Q&A with the Schwartz brothers – sure to inspire you to get involved with FLIP NC in these final days before the election!

Meet a FLIPster: Lisa Reiter

She hasn’t always been politically active – after living in the D.C. area for four years, she grew tired of all of the political conversations. But Lisa finds that when the conversations are about true activation – and action – instead of gossip and frustration around our state of affairs, she’s all in.

Read this Q&A with Lisa, and make plans to join her at an upcoming canvass. We’re knocking doors every Saturday and Sunday until the election!

Meet a FLIPster: Francis Ferrell

Francis, a resident (and native) of Durham, is married to our co-founder, Briana Brough. They have two young sons. By day, Francis works for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers as a park ranger at Falls Lake.

“My parents were the prototypical 1970s hippies who would bring my siblings and me to peace marches,” he says, “but I would not consider myself to have been ‘politically activated’ until I got involved with FLIP NC.” Now, he’s taking Teddy Roosevelt’s advice, as you’ll read below, to not “fritter away” his time.

Here, a Q&A with Francis. And be sure to join him at one of our upcoming canvasses!

Meet a FLIPster: Laura Ballance

You’ve heard us say that FLIPsters are rock stars – our all-volunteer organization depends on lots of good people lending a hand, making a financial contribution, and participating in our democracy. Today’s featured FLIPster is a literal rock star, though!

Laura is the bassist for indie rock band Superchunk. (If you haven’t already, listen to “What a Time to Be Alive,” Superchunk’s musical response to the 2016 election and all that has happened since.) She also runs Durham’s Merge Records, home to artists like Arcade Fire and She & Him.

Laura still finds time for activism, volunteering with multiple organizations. She had never canvassed before discovering FLIP NC. She’s knocked doors with us in Wake County on three occasions. 

Here, a Q&A with Laura.

Meet a FLIPster: Andrea Cash

Andrea, a Durham resident, is the FLIP NC communications director behind content such as this Meet a FLIPster blog series, our newsletter, and our social media. A former newspaper reporter and magazine editor, she now owns and operates Andrea Cash Creative, helping her small-business and nonprofit clients with content strategy and creation, branding, PR, social media, and video and event production.

Here, a Q&A with Andrea. And be sure to join her in our voter outreach efforts!

Meet a FLIPster: Bryan Luukinen

It's another Meet a FLIPster – video edition! 

Right after our big August canvass in flippable Wake County (80 canvassers! 1,200 doors knocked! 400 conversations!), we chatted with Durhamite Bryan Luukinen, a first-time canvasser. We asked Bryan what's motivating him to volunteer this election season, what's troubling him about the current NC General Assembly, and how his first canvassing experience compared to his expectations. 

We're so glad Bryan is returning for more FLIP NC canvasses this fall! Watch this Q&A, and then sign up to join him! We have plenty of voter outreach opportunities!

Meet a FLIPster: Ben Dawson

Neighbors on Call has done a great job of spreading the word about our canvasses, resulting in fantastic FLIPsters like Ben, who works in manufacturing and lives in Chapel Hill.  

“I attended a magnet boarding high school with a pretty oppressive administration,” Ben says. “That’s where I learned to question authority and fight for what’s right.”

Once he went to college and throughout his 20s, he didn’t pay much attention to politics, but the age of social media put it all right in the spotlight and made the process and results of the process so much more tangible.

And, “Mike Brown’s death in Ferguson really lit the fire for me,” Ben says.  

Here, a Q&A with Ben. And be sure to join him at one of our upcoming canvasses!

Meet a FLIPster: Susan Blount

Susan moved to Chapel Hill in the spring of 2016 after retiring from a 40-year career in the tech industry, working for companies like Digital Equipment Corporation in Massachusetts and Dell and Compaq in Texas. 

“I spent so many years in a solid blue state and then a solid red state, where the need or potential for change was limited, that I was never particularly active,” Susan says. “I admired the Civil Rights workers of the ’50s and ’60s and regretted I didn’t have the opportunity to contribute to such important movement, to make a difference like that.”

Upon moving to North Carolina, Susan volunteered for the Hillary Clinton campaign as a way of meeting like-minded people. “And boy, did I! After the election, our campaign team decided to band together, and Neighbors on Call was founded,” says Susan. “So, finally, an opportunity to make a big difference.”

Here, a Q&A with Susan. And be sure to sign up to join her at an upcoming canvass!

Meet a FLIPster: Brian & Jenni Murphy

It's another Meet a FLIPster – video edition!

Right after our record-breaking July Wake County canvass (80 canvassers! 1,200 doors knocked!), we chatted with Durhamites Brian and Jenni Murphy, who were first-time FLIP NC volunteers.

"I was really scared going into it, and it was so totally not something to be scared of," Jenni said. "People were really excited and really grateful to talk to us."

We're grateful that they've already made plans to come back and talk to more voters! 

Watch our video Q&A with the Murphys, and join them in our voter outreach efforts this fall!

Meet a FLIPster: Anjali Patel

Anjali had never canvassed before her FLIP NC days. She has lived in North Carolina for most of her life. An NC State graduate with a CPA license, she has not always been politically activated. 

“It is so much more than just politics these days,” she says. “What's happened since Trump became our leader has made me more aware of things going on in our country and around the world. There are so many ways to get involved and feel like you're making a difference, that it's hard not to contribute in some way. I just want to show my daughter that it's OK (and actually, great!) to care and do something about it.”

Here, a Q&A with Anjali. And be sure to join her at an upcoming canvass!

Meet a FLIPster: Claudia Koonz

An Orange County resident, Claudia is an author and retired professor of history at Duke. Back in her grad school days, she did some telephone sales and door-to-door opinion surveys. She hated being intrusive and swore she’d never solicit again. “Over the last four decades, nothing made me reconsider until the 2016 election,” she says. “Knocking on doors is still challenging, but the community spirit in FLIP NC inspired me to venture out of my comfort zone.” To date, she’s canvassed with us about six times.

Here, a Q&A with Claudia. And be sure to sign up to join her at an upcoming canvass!

Meet a FLIPster: Brigitte Lyons

Today, we’re bringing you Meet a FLIPster – video edition! We chatted with Brigitte Lyons, the founder of a boutique PR and digital marketing agency who lives in Carrboro, right after our July 22 Wake County canvass.

She has canvassed with FLIP NC about four times but has also done GOTV work for campaigns.

“For me, it’s just really about not feeling helpless. … I’m trying to take back my power by going out and sharing this message that there are things we can do. That voting matters. Canvassing matters. … [Volunteering] makes me feel better, to be honest,” she says.

Watch our video Q&A with Brigitte, and join her at an upcoming FLIP NC canvass!

Meet a FLIPster: Dan Stipe

Today’s featured FLIPster keeps super busy on the weekends playing around the Triangle in his rock cover band, Andrea Cash & Kings of the Highway, along with our communications director, the aforementioned Andrea Cash. Dan is a hugely talented guitarist and singer. But even after a gig that goes until 1 a.m. on a Sunday morning, he still makes time to canvass with FLIP on many Sunday afternoons.

Dan has lived in North Raleigh since 1993. He works as an industrial designer, specifically on medical devices. His political past is peppered with variety. “I would say I've always been politically aware. I was actually a registered Republican until several years ago. I voted for both Reagan and [George H.W.] Bush twice,” he says. “What turned my thinking around was observing how President Clinton was treated when he was in office. It made me realize the Republican Party cared more about their power than what was good for the country. That situation has only gotten worse, and by orders of magnitude.”

Here, a Q&A with Dan.

Meet a FLIPster: Marnie & Andrew Ross

It’s a two-fer this week!

Here’s a fun date idea: Go canvassing together! Andrew and Marnie Ross, a married couple from Chapel Hill, have done this seven times with FLIP NC. It turns out life partners make pretty great canvassing partners, too. Known for their gourmet cooking, they also host FLIP NC’s data entry team meetings monthly at their home – and they feed our number crunchers quite well!

Marnie grew up a military kid. She has now lived in North Carolina for a combined total of 17 years, the longest she’s spent in one state. She works at UNC.

Andrew grew up with parents who traveled the world and lived in impoverished countries when they were young. He was taught from an early age to get involved in order to see the change he desired for society – and to fight for those unable to fight for themselves. He has lived in Chapel Hill since 2007 and works for a retired business owner and philanthropist. Here, a Q&A with the couple.

Meet a FLIPster: Isabel Geffner

Isabel, a Chapel Hill resident, is the daughter of two public servants. Her mother was a public school teacher in New York City, and her father was a union organizer. Her professional career has had many dimensions to it – both in the private sector (trade book publishing in New York City) and the public sector (as a social worker at the Chapel Hill Police Department and the founder of a nonprofit focused on adolescent mental health). Currently, she works at Book Harvest in Durham, an organization that is devoted to addressing inter-generational poverty by ensuring that access to literacy resources and supports are available to every child. While Isabel considers herself a bit of an agitator and activist, she generally defines herself as a wife and mother above all things. Especially germane to her involvement with FLIP NC, her son Will Guzzardi is a state representative in Illinois from the 39th District in Chicago. “My son is fighting the good fight in a state that, while traditionally Democratic, still bears the trappings of entrenched power struggles and budget challenges,” Isabel says. “Will is teaching me so much about how to advocate for legislation that protects workers and wages, education, and the economy. It’s a tough world our legislators live in.” Here, a Q&A with Isabel.

Meet a FLIPster: Mark Hellman

Mark is retired from NCDOT, where his job before moving into management was meeting with property owners to acquire the right of way for new road projects – everything from paving dirt country roads to building I-540. His first extensive canvassing was in Chicago, often for candidates not supported by “the Daley machine,” such as George McGovern in 1972. “I admired some things about the machine, such as the starter jobs they provided to some low-income youth, but it wasn't reliably progressive, to say the least,” Mark says. Here, a Q&A with Mark.