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© 2018 NY02 Dems

Liuba Grechen Shirley

Founder, Former District Organizer

Liuba has spent her career empowering working families by forging partnerships between business, government, and not-for-profit organizations to tackle issues including economic development, access to health care, paid family leave, and government transparency. She is an international development professional, who has managed various research projects focused on smallholder agriculture, market information systems, and financial access. She holds an MBA with specializations in Management, Economics, and Social Innovation from New York University's Stern School of Business, and a BA in in Politics and Russian from NYU.


Liuba has worked with farmers, health care workers, community leaders, and entrepreneurs in Africa, the Middle East, Europe, and the United States to help them improve their livelihoods. She has worked for the United Nations Foundation, the United Nations Association of the USA, EastWest Institute, the Carpathian Foundation, and New York University, and has led delegations to Capitol Hill to lobby for strong American leadership at the UN.


As an independent consultant, Liuba has focused specifically on women’s economic empowerment working on projects for Women Deliver, PL+US: Paid Leave for the US, Vital Voices, Global Health Visions, and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Liuba served as a UN Women’s Empower Women's Global Champion for women's economic empowerment. Together with UN Women, she launched the #IAmParent campaign, focused on Parental Leave around the world.

In late 2017, Liuba stepped away from her duties as an active leader for the New York's 2nd District Democrats group in order to pursue a congressional run to unseat Peter King. New York's 2nd District Democrats is unaffiliated with her campaign.

Shafi Rehman

National Security Committee Chair


Shafi serves as Director at a financial risk analytics startup in New York. Prior to this, he spent time working in international development/global health, and addressing trade and economic issues.  He began his career as a Trauma Technician at the GW Emergency Department. He spent two years managing and leading operations in Haiti for a disaster relief nonprofit called Global DIRT, an organization that was honored by President Obama for its efforts during Hurricane Sandy in New York. Shafi studied International Development/Pre-Health at George Washington University and holds a graduate degree from Johns Hopkins University’s School of Advanced International Studies in International Economics.  He is passionate about issues surrounding national security, foreign policy, energy and environment, and fiscal policy. 


Dennis Urban

Education Committee Chair


Dennis Urban is a full-time social studies teacher and an adjunct professor of education. He has taught high school classes on United States history, government, sociology, and historical research, and college courses on social studies methods, elementary education, history, and philosophy. As an active member and elected representative of his teachers union, Dennis has been a vocal advocate for public education. He received his BA in history from Salisbury University in Maryland, and earned two Master’s degrees and a PhD in social studies education from Teachers College, Columbia University. Dennis has published and presented on inclusive education, democratic citizenship education, social studies methods, local history, social justice, and educational technology.


Kenny St. John

Economic Development Committee Chair


Kenny St. John is a lifelong Lindenhurst Village resident who ran as an independent candidate for Mayor in March 2016 on a platform focused on downtown revitalization and implementing a Shop Local property tax incentive program. He received his Bachelors in Political Science from Boston College in 2014, graduated from St. John’s University School of Law this past June. He was recently admitted to the New York State Bar. During law school, Kenny interned at two small, employee-side firms and in the Labor Relations Department of Metro-North Railroad, and wants to practice Labor and Employment Law as an attorney.

Jackie Duodu-Burbridge

Jackie Duodu-Burbridge has over 12 years of experience in Long Island's non-profit sector as a successful fundraiser with extensive experience in event planning and strategic outreach. She currently serves as the Director of Development for Mercy Haven, Inc., a housing agency serving the homeless and individuals with mental illness. Her past experience includes overseeing all development and communication efforts in various arenas including private school, higher education, and national volunteer health organizations.  Jackie has also been a volunteer content creator for a popular online destination aimed at supporting the financial literacy of women of color. Additionally, in 2015 she served as campaign manager for the re-election campaign of Nassau County Legislator Siela Bynoe. Jackie holds an MBA in Marketing from Hofstra University. As an undergraduate alumna of Spelman College, Jackie has a passion for women's rights and racial justice.  

Karen Higgins

Environmental Committee Chair

Karen Higgins is an attorney who has practiced law for twenty five years at four firms in New York City and on Long Island, including her current firm Gold Benes, LLP, in Bellmore. As a litigator, she has worked on numerous types of cases and insurance claims, including environmental and toxic tort matters. She earned both her Law Degree and Bachelors in Government and Politics at St John's University, and was an associate articles editor on the St. John's Law Review.

Edward J. O'Donnell

Health Care Committee Chair

Ed is a career media professional having worked in the advertising, marketing, television and digital media industries. He is currently the Chief Operating Officer of Girl Starter Inc., a trans-media company that uses entertainment to inspire, amplify, mentor and fund the next generation of female business owners and leaders. Creating new media/entertainment destinations with inspirational, actionable, content for young women.


Ed has a BSBA in Marketing from Georgetown University and began his career in media planning at Young & Rubicam. In this capacity, he was responsible for the development of the strategic sales positioning for each of the NBC Universal owned television properties, development and execution of integrated sales packages, management of the business to business web site and stewardship of the annual upfront events.  He was also the key marketing liaison for NBC with parent company, General Electric.


After 15 years in advertising, he left to work at NBC as the SVP, Strategic Marketing. After ten years in television he went into television production working with KidRo Productions helping to create media productions for channels such as CBS and HBO. Working as a consultant for Time Inc. to create television programming, he was the Executive Producer of two seasons of "SOS: Salva Mi Casa" - a 26 episode Spanish language home show which aired on Telemundo from 2015 - 2017.

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