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Our Leadership

Katy Waters - Executive Director

Katy Waters is an operations expert and political advocate. As a queer Southern woman, she believes running effective, efficient, and racially equitable operations isn’t an option, it’s a mandate.  

Before joining Community Outreach Group, Katy worked at Lockwood Strategy where she developed and implemented financial, legal, and compliance administration procedures for multi-million dollar budgets across multiple nonprofit funding streams and for-profit entities. She also worked at Revolution Messaging, a full-service digital firm, where she managed operations for Revere, a broadcast SMS service and click-to-call tool used by progressive campaigns.

For over three years, Katy worked at Planned Parenthood’s national office where she led operations for the Organizing and Engagement Campaigns department, including multi-million dollar Independent Expenditure campaigns during the 2016 and 2018 elections. In 2017, Katy spearheaded an innovative process at Planned Parenthood Action Fund to prioritize organizational resources with vendors of color, culminating in a final commissioned report by Race Matters Institute. She also served as an organizer for five years in the Lone Star state's capital at Planned Parenthood of Greater Texas, where, in 2014, she led the operations behind the nationally recognized Stand with Sadie campaign after Texas defunded Planned Parenthood from the state’s Breast and Cervical Cancer Screening program. 

Katy is a first-generation college graduate who received her Bachelor of Social Work from the University of Texas at Austin. She is also a graduate of the Rockwood Leadership Institute "Art of Leadership for Women in Racial Justice and Human Rights," the Management Center's "Managing to Change the World," and Arena Academy's "Electoral Finance Director Training."

Maria Thomas Anderson - Operations Director

Prior to joining Community Outreach Group, Thomas was the Chief Administrative Officer at the GROUP DC where she was an expert in driving operational and financial performance with a superior level of service. In 2009, Thomas served in the White House Office of Management and Administration, where she managed logistics for weekly meetings with national and international dignitaries, conferences and media events for the entire White House complex. Among her many contributions, she played a vital role in the planning and execution of the 2010 Health Care Summit, 2010 Nuclear Summit, and 2011 China state visit to the United States.

Thomas honed her political chops with the 2008 Obama for America campaign, first as a lead organizer for Waterloo, Iowa, and later in five other primary election battlegrounds states. During the general election, she served as the Obama campaign’s Senior Accountant in Chicago, Illinois, where she helped to manage a $750 million campaign budget. Following the election, she served in the Accounting Department for the Obama-Biden Transition Project.

A native of Waterloo, Iowa, Thomas received a Bachelor of Science in Accounting from Florida A&M University.  She also holds a Master of Business Administration in Finance from Ashford University.

Thomas is an advocate for orphaned and abandoned children and she is also the founder of ChitaFit, a healthy lifestyle initiative that offers spin classes.