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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."

Aida Mackic - Program Director

Aida Mackic is a professional community organizer and political advocate. As a Hijabi Muslim woman, preserving individual freedom and choice for women in all aspects of their lives has always been at the center of her personal and political identity.

In her many leadership roles in political organizing, Aida has become expert at developing and implementing all aspects of organizing campaigns to achieve their strategic imperatives - from the recruitment and management of a diverse organizing team, to the creation of extensive coaching and training of staff on best practices for managing relationships with community organizations, affinity groups, and political stakeholders. She has planned and managed direct field campaigns, developed and matured donor and affinity networks, and coordinated political lobbying and voter outreach campaigns. Perhaps most importantly and most fundamentally, she has motivated and mobilized people to join these efforts and support the goals she shares with the organizations and individuals who sponsor her work. 

Prior to joining COG, Aida served as the Lead Organizer in numerous political and issue-oriented campaigns, including recently as the Florida Community Organizing Director for the 2020 Elizabeth Warren for President, as the Political Coordinator for the Service Employees International Union (SEIU), FPSU, and as the Special Projects Director for the 2018 Gillum King Gubernatorial Campaign in Florida.

Aida was born in a small village in Bosnia-Hercegovina and immigrated to the United States as a war refugee when she was eleven years old. She learned at an early age that both in a war torn country and in what was her new home in Des Moines, Iowa, marginalized women often were not given platforms to speak. Aida quickly became a known grassroots activist within her small immigrant community. She was often a point person and mediator within her community and over time became a vital voice for women and their issues at large. Aida currently works and lives in Florida with her husband and their four children.

Kareem Jones - Data Director

Kareem Jones is a data and analytics professional that centers his work on empowering people to advocate for themselves through data.  As an openly black gay immigrant male, he believes in dismantling serotypes of who can be a data practitioner. 

Before returning to Community Outreach Group as Data Director, Kareem worked in version roles, both on local and national campaigns leading the ins and outs of political data from the ground up, including as a canvass manager for Community Outreach Group.  He also worked at Booz Allen Hamilton, where he developed and implemented reports and dashboards for the Veterans Affairs Department of Health Record Modernization.    

For two years, Kareem worked at Planned Parenthood's national office as the organization's data support specialist and trainer, where he developed in-house data talent and expertise at the affiliate level. In 2019, he led a national data boot camp for Planned Parenthood affiliate data managers from across the nation. 

A first-generation college graduate who received his bachelor’s in Healthcare Administration from Texas Southern University, Kareem is an advocate for accessible education, professional development, and mentorship for marginalized communities. He is an advisor & senior instructor for Generation Data, a nonprofit focused on training the next generation of leaders in the progressive data management community. He is also a member of the Gay Professional Men of Color, an organization that seeks to mentor other gay, bisexual, trans men, and questioning young professionals and help them build their network and pursue their ambitions.

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.