Jazmin Irazoqui Ruiz, President
Jazmín Irazoqui-Ruiz is social justice and movement lawyer who works to remove barriers for immigrant communities in New Mexico. She was the first DACAmented attorney admitted to the NM State Bar and has experience advocating for and leading federal, state, and local policy initiatives that allow immigrants to live safely and thrive, no matter their immigration status. Jazmin is a graduate of the EmergeNM Class of 2020 and the President-Elect of EmergeNM.
Jennifer Ford, Past-President & Secretary
Jennifer Siems Ford has served as the New Mexico Strategic Advisor for NEO Philanthropy since 2014. Her work is focused on changing the culture and reducing the stigma around abortion through investment in advocacy, culture change and movement building.
Born and raised in North Minneapolis, Minnesota, Jennifer has grown roots in New Mexico for the past twenty years. She has helped build the progressive movement by serving as the State Director for America Votes and as a volunteer campaign manager, Jennifer supported women of color to run for elected office and win. Jennifer has also directed statewide campaigns and ballot measures. One of her proudest accomplishments has been to serve as campaign manager for Respect Albuquerque Women, a community led campaign to defeat a 20-week abortion ban on the municipal ballot. She helped secure a historic win while also enhancing the strength and capacity of advocacy organizations to develop effective campaigns. Jennifer is passionate about her volunteer work as a mentor, trainer and board member for Emerge NM, which trains Democratic women to serve their communities by running for elected office. Jennifer’s personal life consists of parenting teenagers, maintaining her sanity by running with her dog Scout and forever searching for her precocious cat Meow Meow.
Sydney Tellez, Treasurer
Sydney is in her second year of law school at the University of New Mexico. She has worked within the political and advocacy community for over seven years. Born and raised in New Mexico, she is passionate about subverting systems of oppression that have worked to marginalize and disenfranchise generations of New Mexicans. Some of her professional accomplishments include working to elect one of the first Native American women in congress, organizing for access to reproductive healthcare, running a statewide program to ensure all New Mexicans have access to the ballot box, and fundraising for various statewide and federal races across New Mexico. It is her strong passion and dedication to culture and community that has led to her desire to pursue a law degree. Sydney believes intersectional advocacy and policy are crucial to building and sustaining strong communities.
An Emerge graduate from 2018, Sydney serves on multiple boards, including the New Mexico Religious Coalition for Reproductive Rights. She also serves as a commissioner on the New Mexico Advisory Committee to the US Civil Rights Commission. In her free time, Sydney enjoys performing in musical theaters across the Albuquerque area, exploring the mountains of New Mexico, and raising her three goofy animals.
Alexis is a law student at UNM School of Law, and will be graduating in December of 2022. Prior to law school, Alexis served as a political staffer and consultant for Democratic candidates across New Mexico, including campaigns to elect some of her fellow Emerge siblings. She was part of the 2018 Emerge class and has been involved with the program in various ways since then. She was born and raised in Albuquerque and is forever grateful for her Albuquerque Public School education and the community that has constantly supported her. She is passionate about helping women run for and win public office. Above all, she loves her baby kitties, Siren and Sage.
Rising out of a horribly abusive home and six foster homes, Barbara Jordan replaced bitterness with a loving generosity toward others. She scorned defeat to become very successful. She blocked hatred with an irrepressible spirit and an all-encompassing love for humanity. She became a warrior for justice, a protector of children, and a fierce advocate for the disenfranchised.
Barbara Jordan joined the United States Air Force in December of 1997 with only the clothes she had on. She faithfully served over 20 years with her top-secret security clearance. She retired as a Combat Veteran. She was embedded with the Explosive Ordinance Team (EOD) while serving in Afghanistan, She describes this time as one of the hardest but best times of her life. After serving four years in Alice Springs, Australia, New Mexico was her last assignment and is now the place she proudly calls home.
Barabara founded People Requiring Equality within Systemic Systems (PRESS) New Mexico (www.pressnewmexico.com) which highlights the systems within systems of social injustice in New Mexico and abroad. Barbara is a Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) volunteer, President, Sandoval County Federation of Democratic Women, a proud graduate of Emerge New MExico class of 2021, and mother of one son, 16 Air Force children who call and know her as mom, and three fur babies.
Barbara put everything that she learned from Emerge New Mexico and ran a successful Mayoral campaign for the election held in March 2022, which advocated for integrity, transparency, and the mental health of our children. Although she did not win, she reenergized the community and primed them for the change they are seeking.
Barbara has the foresight to analyze problems and see solutions. She is a consensus builder who welcomes everyone’s ideas. She anticipates the needs of others and possesses the creativity to find ingenious solutions that work. She has a doggedness and tireless spirit. The bottom line is that Barbara sees and serves everyone.
Marsha has been working in communications and civic engagement in New Mexico for over a decade. She currently works with a cohort of nonprofit organizations that focus on reproductive justice in New Mexico as a strategic communications advisor and thought partner. Marsha also specializes in crisis communications strategy and management, as well as spokespeople and media response training. She has worked with the NM Speaker Of The House of Representatives and the NM House Democratic Caucus as their Communications Director, and has also worked with multiple successful local ballot initiative and congressional campaigns. Outside of her work Marsha serves on the Board of Directors of Crossroads For Women, a nonprofit organization that empowers local women to break the cycle of incarceration and addiction by providing them housing and therapeutic services when emerging from incarceration. She also serves on the Board of Directors of New Mexico Voices for Children, a nonprofit organization that works to create systems-level sustainable change to improve the status, well-being, racial and ethnic equity of New Mexico’s children, families, and communities through evidence-based advocacy.
Mollie C. McGraw is a trial lawyer who works to obtain accountability for individuals who have been harmed or killed due to the wrongdoing of corporations and government actors. Mollie is an active board member of the New Mexico Trial Lawyers Association (“NMTLA”), and served as President of NMTLA from 2021-2022. Mollie has supported Emerge New Mexico for many years because she is committed to empowering and giving voice to those who seek to improve New Mexico for the benefit and well-being of others.