What’s your role with the Pro-Truth Pledge?
I have been brought on as the first staff leader for the Pro-Truth Pledge. My role is to create a nimble, cost-effective infrastructure to support awareness of and engagement around the Pro-Truth Pledge.
I will work closely with the founders, the board of directors, the advisory board, existing volunteers, donors, and other stakeholders to increase capacity by raising funds and getting more volunteers involved. I will develop and implement a strategy towards achieving our goal of increasing truth-oriented behaviors while protecting facts and civility.
What’s the problem that inspired you to take the role of Executive Director of the Pro-Truth Pledge?
I long felt concerned about the many dangerous ways misinformation affects democracy.
It undermines informed decision-making. Democracy relies on citizens making choices based on accurate information about issues, policies, and candidates. Misinformation clouds the truth and makes it harder for people to make wise choices.
It polarizes discourse. When inaccurate information spreads, it tends to confirm people’s biases. This can drive tribalism and push people to more extreme positions, making compromise and consensus-building harder.
It reduces accountability. Democracy depends on voters holding leaders accountable for their decisions and actions. However, when there’s a lack of agreement about the facts, it becomes easier for public figures to evade responsibility.
It threatens electoral integrity. False claims about things like election fraud or the reliability of voting systems undermine trust in core democratic institutions and processes. Even just the perception of impropriety caused by misinformation is hugely destabilizing.
It enables manipulation. Malicious actors (whether domestic or foreign) can weaponize misinformation through propaganda and disinformation campaigns aimed at manipulating public opinion for political ends, rather than informing democratic discourse.
Why do you believe the Pro-Truth Pledge helps solve the problem?
I believe the Pro-Truth Pledge helps to directly address misinformation. Some of the ways we do this include:
By taking the pledge, politicians, media leaders, and other influencers voluntarily commit to standards like retracting statements proven false and owning up to mistakes. This could discourage intentional lying and loose standards around facts.
The pledge creates social incentives and public accountability around truth-telling. Signers know their commitment is public and violations will damage their reputation. This alignment of values and incentives promotes truth.
If the pledge gains widespread adoption, it could help set strong societal norms around valuing and prioritizing truth, especially in public discourse. This cultural shift alone would reduce misinformation.
The pledge asks signers to acknowledge the humanity in those they disagree with and promotes civility. This encouragement of empathy and good faith disagreement can de-escalate polarized rhetoric that often breeds a disregard for truth.
By advocating for media literacy education and critical thinking, the Pro-Truth Movement also aims to equip citizens to better identify misinformation themselves through sharpened evaluation skills.
Of course, the pledge is voluntary and enforcement around violations depends on public pressure. But changing hearts and minds around truth can ultimately help heal some of the underlying societal conditions from which misinformation emerges. An ethos and culture of truth matters tremendously. Promoting media literacy, transparency in the information ecosystem, and a widespread ethic of truthful civic discourse is foundational. An informed and engaged public willing to speak truth is critical in the service of democracy.
Why are you the right person to lead the Pro-Truth Pledge as its first Executive Director?
I have a well-rounded background, which began as a social worker in inner city Detroit. There, I witnessed extreme systemic issues and failed public policies and their profound impact on families. This led me to pursue my Master of Public Administration degree to combat problems on a broader scale.
Armed with my MPA, I led several nonprofit organizations through significant positive transformations, revenue growth, and increased impact over a period of more than twenty years. Highlights included raising $75M for consecutive annual campaigns during the pandemic and achieving rare 7-figure gifts from individual, corporate, and foundation sources.
I have intentionally sought out the most challenging of nonprofit roles that could produce the greatest public good, including launching new nonprofits and reinventing existing nonprofits that were struggling.
Most importantly, I am passionate about the mission of the Pro-Truth Pledge and understand the urgency of taking back our democracy. I love my country and the freedoms we are blessed with. I have four children. I want them to be able to enjoy those freedoms. I understand that the key to a healthy democracy is an accurately informed and engaged citizenry. And in my lifetime, America – and the world as a whole – have never faced so much misinformation, profound bias, and deliberate, manipulative lies from public figures and the media as we see today. Democracy is under attack from within and without. I am looking forward to being a leader who helps bring back the civil and polite discussion of facts and a genuine movement towards consensus and problem-solving for issues and policies that impact us all.
How do you plan to accomplish this?
I will work with volunteers and donors to mobilize private citizens and public figures alike to take the pledge, advance the movement and hold media, politicians, and other influencers accountable to tell the truth. I will increase revenues and capacity to accomplish this and grow an army of volunteer activists to make this happen. We can, and must, combat these challenges to democracy! Please take the pledge, donate, volunteer, or send me an email at ptpdirector[at]intentionalinsights.org and join the fight!