Meet Our Team
Alice Wilkerson serves as Advance Maryland’s Executive Director. She has over 15 years’ experience working in and around the Maryland General Assembly with expertise in public policy, legislative strategy and political campaigns. Prior to joining Advance Maryland, she was Executive Director of Strong Future Maryland. Alice also worked as a lobbyist representing non-profit and local government clients, including Marylanders to Prevent Gun Violence, Waterkeepers Chesapeake, ACLU of Maryland, and Public Justice Center. Starting in 2007, she served for 10 years as Chief of Staff to former State Senator, now Congressman Jamie Raskin (MD-D8) and was instrumental in the passage of over 100 bills of which the Senator was lead sponsor or Senate floor leader. Wilkerson has experience in numerous policy areas including civil rights, education, environmental protections, public safety, workplace protections, and local government.
Alice’s commitment to public service can be attributed to the example set by her mother, who instilled strong principles of fairness and equality in her children and always encouraged civic participation. Growing up on Maryland’s Eastern Shore and living close to the Chesapeake Bay, she developed a passion for protecting the environment, leading her to focus on environmental policy in her educational pursuits and early career.
Alice earned her Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science from Salisbury University, where she was active with the Institute for Public Affairs and Civic Engagement. She earned a Master’s Degree in Philosophy and Social Policy with a focus in environmental ethics from The George Washington University. She also serves on the Board for the Maryland Coalition Against Sexual Assault.
Digital & Communications Director
As Advance Maryland’s Digital and Communications Director, Maya works at the intersection of digital engagement and grassroots organizing to uplift our partners and bring our communities together around bold, progressive policy. Growing up under conservative state governments in Utah and Arizona gave Maya a keen understanding of the importance of state and local leadership. Her family and friends fostered their strong sense of civic responsibility from a young age, but their public school teachers were the primary champions of their passion for activism. After moving to Tucson to attend the University of Arizona, Maya got involved with the Arizona Democratic Party in a variety of roles. They served as a precinct committeeman and state committeeman, and founded the Pima County Democratic Party LGBTQ+ Caucus, earning a place on the Executive Committee. They took a semester off to work full time at Democratic Party headquarters organizing volunteers, managing community events, drafting correspondence, and everything in between. After earning their Political Science degree, Maya moved to Washington, DC, and began working as a digital consultant for campaigns and organizations across the country, getting hands-on experience with a wide range of digital tools and sparking an interest in marrying those tools with grassroots organizing. Maya joined the team at Strong Future Maryland as their Outreach Strategist and quickly fell in love with Maryland, working to pass progressive legislation through two General Assembly sessions. Now, Maya lives in Baltimore with their partner and two cats, where they love nothing more than to order some local takeout and watch Star Trek.
Program & Media Associate
Rianna joined the Advance Maryland team in January, 2023 as a Program & Media Associate. Rianna works with our partners to shape strategy and develop compelling visuals for social media to bolster visibility and engagement to win on important progressive legislation. Rianna moved to Baltimore in 2016 to work for Food & Water Watch, and was the lead Baltimore organizer on the successful campaign to ban fracking in Maryland. She organized and lobbied for environmental justice and renewable energy bills in Annapolis for four legislative sessions, and notably played a key role in passing Senator Washington’s bill to remove water bills from the tax sale foreclosure process in Baltimore, where people were losing their homes or churches for unaffordable water bills. Additionally, she worked to pass a charter amendment to make Baltimore the first major city in the country to ban water privatization, and to pass legislation through the Baltimore City Council to create a comprehensive water affordability program. At the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, she helped form and co-chaired the national Utility Justice Coalition, which passed a national moratorium on utility shutoffs in the Heroes Act relief bill. Rianna transitioned from organizing full time to do graphic design and communications work to support movement organizing and completed the Graphic Design for Organizing Apprenticeship Program with Social Media Technologies in 2021. She is passionate about bringing together her commitment to justice, love of art, and skills as an organizer to create powerful design for lasting change. She prioritizes ethical storytelling, action-driven messaging, and accessible, impactful design. Rianna loves making art especially mosaics, ceramics, and linocut printing, exploring Baltimore with her dog, Beluga, and organizing for racial justice with Showing Up for Racial Justice Baltimore. She is a candidate for the Maryland Institute College of Art Graphic Design M.A. ‘24.
Board of Directors
Larry Ottinger (he/him) is a long-time civil rights and social change lawyer, advocate, and funder. Currently, he is a philanthropy adviser on democracy and economic justice issues. In addition, he founded and chaired Our Maryland, the state’s largest online platform and partner for a just and sustainable future for all Marylanders the past five years. Previously, he served as President of the Center for Lobbying in the Public Interest and in senior roles at the Fannie Mae Foundation, Advancement Project, People For the American Way and the civil rights law firm of Bernabei & Katz. He was a member of the 2007 class of Leadership Maryland and has served on the national NARAL and other nonprofit boards. After graduating from Stanford Law School, he clerked for U.S. District Judge Walter E. Black, Jr. in Baltimore.
Sheila F. Maith
Sheila F. Maith (she/her) is an executive coach and consultant to national and local leaders in not-for-profit and mission driven organizations.. Prior to becoming a consultant, she spent twenty years in the non-profit, government and quasi-government sectors. She served in a variety of roles including as Senior Advisor and Community Affairs Officer for the Federal Reserve Board of Governors; as Managing Director for Leadership and Policy Development at the Fannie Mae Foundation; and as senior Labor Committee counsel to Senator Edward M. Kennedy. She received a J.D. degree cum laude from Harvard Law School and a Master’s Degree in Public Policy from the Kennedy School of Government. She also received an A.B. degree in public policy magna cum laude from Duke University.
Molly Amster (she/her) is founding director of Jews United for Justice and The JUFJ Campaign Fund’s Baltimore branches which advance racial and economic justice at the state and local level. She serves in leadership roles in the Maryland Coalition for Justice and Police Accountability and Renters United Maryland. Molly is a facilitator for Baltimore Racial Justice Action and a member of Our Maryland’s Board of Directors. Molly’s earlier work at CHAI: Comprehensive Housing Assistance, Incorporated, in Northwest Baltimore focused on older adult services, public schools, and community race relations. She moved to Baltimore in 2007 to help establish the environmental education program and farm at The Pearlstone Center. Molly fosters dogs for BARCS and lives in Northeast Baltimore City.
Tom Coale (he/him) is an attorney with the law firm of Talkin & Oh, LLP. His practice concentrates on affordable housing, land use, and zoning. Mr. Coale also serves as General Counsel for the Save Our Sun campaign, which is focused on bringing local ownership to The Baltimore Sun. He has served on numerous nonprofit and government boards and commissions, including the Howard County Charter Review Commission, the Ellicott City Master Plan Committee and the Maryland Comptroller’s “Reform on Tap” Task Force. Mr. Coale serves on the Board of Trustees for the Maryland Science Center, the Board of Directors for the Baltimore Regional Housing Partnership, and the Steering Committee for the Howard County Housing Affordability Coalition.