Alaina Beverly is an expert in urban policy, politics, civil rights, and community mobilization with over 15 years of experience in strategic planning, government relations, civic engagement, and program management. In her role as Assistant Vice President for Urban Affairs at the University of Chicago Office of Federal Relations, Alaina shares the University's research, scholarship, and models of urban investment with federal policymakers and national partners. She is the founding director of the Urban America Forward program, an annual interdisciplinary convening of national thought-leaders committed to equity-based approaches to urban policy. She also teaches a graduate course on Closing the Racial Wealth Gap.
Prior to joining the University of Chicago in September 2013, Alaina served as the Associate Director for the first-ever White House Office of Urban Affairs for the Obama Administration. In that role, Alaina laid the foundation for President Obama’s urban office by building a constituency for the office and identifying scalable models of urban innovation to inform the White House-interagency policy efforts. Alaina also served as Principal at The Raben Group, a prestigious public policy and advocacy firm in Washington DC. She carried out litigation and advocacy strategies as a voting rights attorney for Advancement Project and the NAACP Legal Defense & Educational Fund. Alaina graduated from Stanford University and the University of Michigan Law School.
Sunil Mansukhani brings two decades of experience in education and civil rights policy, law, and advocacy from both the nonprofit sector and government. While at The Raben Group, Sunil’s clients have included Open Society Foundations, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, Child Trends, Communities in Schools, The University of Chicago, Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce, and the Education Writers Association. He served in the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) and the U.S. Department of Education (ED) over the course of three administrations, serving presidents of both parties. Prior to joining Raben, Sunil was the Deputy Assistant Secretary for Policy in ED’s Office for Civil Rights (OCR) from 2009-2012. As part of OCR’s senior management team, Sunil helped lead an office of over 600 employees and a budget of $100 million, with 12 locations across the country. He led the development of OCR’s policy initiatives and data collection efforts. While Sunil was at ED, OCR issued guidance that sought to protect the civil rights of tens of millions of students in areas such as the consideration of race in K-12 and college admissions; harassment and bullying; sexual violence; documentation requirements for enrollment in public schools; and equal access for students with disabilities. In addition, he oversaw the implementation of the widely-heralded Civil Rights Data Collection, a survey of all the public schools in the nation. Sunil has also previously served as a Senior Attorney in DOJ’s Civil Rights Division; Executive Director of the District of Columbia Access to Justice Commission; an associate with the law firm Crowell and Moring; a law clerk for Chief Judge Edward Cahn in the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, and a teaching fellow at Georgetown University Law Center’s Institute for Public Representation. Sunil is on the Board of Directors of the Center for Law and Social Policy as well as The Equal Rights Center. He is also on the National Advisory Council of Asian Americans Advancing Justice – AAJC. Sunil received his B.A. in Political Science and Economics, summa cum laude, from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, his J.D. from Yale Law School, and an LL.M in Advocacy from Georgetown University Law Center. He is most proud of helping to make his two young daughters diehard Chicago Cubs fans.
As a Senior Associate at The Raben Group, Rachel Motley is an advocate who believes in the power of centering constituent and activist voices to press for equitable policy change. Much of her work at the firm is focused on legislative strategy, Capitol Hill and third-party outreach, and building mission-oriented events and stakeholder engagements to elevate the work and impact of nonprofit organizations and advocacy groups. Rachel combines her passion for public engagement with her wide-ranging skill set in order to develop and execute innovative tactics that advance progressive priorities. She has worked closely with organizations such as the Pace Center for Girls, the Innocence Project, and Latinos for a Fair Judiciary. Prior to joining Raben, Rachel was a Policy and Lobbying Specialist at the National Organization for Women (NOW) where she worked with coalitions and activists across the country to advocate for issues such as reproductive justice and voting rights. In this role, Rachel developed key stakeholder materials and strategy for NOW’s National Action Campaigns that organized grassroots activists to advance legislation on state and federal levels. Rachel received her B.A. from the University of Cincinnati with a degree in Political Science and International Affairs. She is passionate about social justice, civil rights, and gender justice. When Rachel is not working, you might find her cookin’ up a storm in the kitchen or exploring Washington, D.C.