Valerie Ervin, Executive Director
Valerie believes that policy and public engagement converge to create a space for change. Her work as a legislator has focused on connecting government, business, education and the safety net to serve the needs of all residents of the community.
As a former elected official, Valerie championed the vision that America succeeds when working families succeed. Her policy accomplishments include raising the minimum wage, expanding universal pre-kindergarten, establishing the nation’s first county-wide food recovery network, increasing childcare subsidies, improving childhood nutrition and expanding universal breakfast programs, and developing models for closing the Achievement Gap.
Valerie served as the Montgomery County Council President in 2011 and made her mark as a strong, independent voice who along with her colleagues weathered the storm of one of the toughest budgets in recent memory, which occurred during the height of the great recession. The County came out of that year with a fiscal plan that has put the county on the road to recovery.
Valerie Ervin is a woman who sees hard truths and focuses on innovative strategies for solving problems. She has said that, “The Center for Working Families is elevating the discourse on issues of income inequality and social justice to expand our vision of the possible. We intend to forge new policy paths for making the American dream achievable for all families.”
Ervin has received many awards for her public service including: Montgomery County Commission for Women’s Historical Archives Inductee in 2014; Washingtonian Magazine’s Most Powerful Women Award in 2011; Maryland’s Top 100 Women from the Daily Record in 2008 and 2012; Phyliss Campbell Newsome Public Policy Leadership Award from the Center for Non-Profit Advancement in 2008; John Greeley Award from Liberty’s Promise in 2008; and the Phenomenal Woman of the Year Award from Community Bridges in 2007.
Stephan Edel, Green and Equitable Economies Organizer
Stephan is the Green and Equitable Economies Organizer. A Queens native, Stephan has worked as a union organizer in seven states, as a community organizer and as a producer of video and multimedia content. Stephan attended law school to better understand the legal mechanisms that impact and often marginalize working class communities and small businesses. He has a JD from The City University of New York School of Law. He also holds a Master’s Degree in Global Politics from Birbeck College of the University of London.
Jen Kern, National Issues Campaigns Director
Jen is the National Issue Campaigns Director working with both the Center and the Working Families Organization, leading campaign planning and support for Working Families’ local and state issue campaign work. Prior to that, Jen was the Minimum Wage Campaign Coordinator at the National Employment Law Project where she supported campaigns to raise the minimum wage at the local, state and federal levels. For 15 years, Jen worked in the national office of ACORN, including ten years as the director of ACORN’s Living Wage Resource Center, which served as a clearinghouse for the national living wage movement and provided direct organizing support for the campaigns driving the effort.
Mark Treskon, Senior Policy Strategist
Mark Treskon is the Senior Policy Strategist at the Center for Working Families, conducting research and forwarding the policy work of the Center. He has a PhD in Sociology from New York University, where he studied the role of advocacy organizations in promoting fair home lending legislation at local, state, and federal levels. Prior to his doctoral studies, he was a research analyst at the National Community Reinvestment Coalition and the National Low Income Housing Coalition, two organizations dedicated to promoting progressive federal housing policy. Mark has a Master’s Degree in Urban Planning from the University of Toronto and is a graduate of the University of Chicago.