Our Team

Julie Stauch

Julie Stauch

Founding Partner & CEO

Julie Stauch has more than 30 years of experience in campaigns, government and private sector work. She has worked on 5 presidential campaigns, run 3 US House races, and designed advocacy programs for several non-profit organizations. She did press and site advance for a US Vice President, and worked on large governmental conferences including NATO the 50th Summit, The Stability Pact Summit in Sarajevo, Bosnia Herzegovina, and the WTO in Seattle. Additionally she has worked in the legislative branch of the federal government, and in two executive offices of state government. No matter where she worked or when she was working there, she has spent a great deal of time explaining American democracy to Americans. She continues to be shocked by the increasing number of Americans who don’t know how to have an impact in any of the governments in which they live. Her work with this project is driven by her desire to empower others to own their government, their personal power as a citizen, and understand how critical their voice is at every level. 

Heather Matson

Heather Matson has spent the last 22 years working and volunteering as a public policy advocate and development professional committed to building community, connections, and civic engagement. She just completed a term of service in the Iowa House of Representatives for District 38 where she primarily focused on education, health care, and constituent services.  Her experience in government affairs includes five years in Washington, DC with the Chicago Mercantile Exchange as well as two years with Planned Parenthood of the Heartland.  Her political experience includes her own campaigns for the Iowa State House as well as various roles on campaigns for Senator John Kerry, Congressman Leonard Boswell, Dusky Terry, and Governor Tom Vilsack.  She  spent five years contracting as a legislative bill tracker for Campbell/Patterson Consulting, and more recently served as the Development Director for the Des Moines Social Club, a former local arts and culture nonprofit. Her previous volunteer leadership has included serving as Vice-Chair of the Iowa Democratic Party, Chair of Planned Parenthood Voters of Iowa, and Vice-Chair of the Interfaith Alliance of Iowa. Heather currently serves on the board of directors of the Ankeny Kiwanis Club and the Ankeny Service Center. A native of Rhode Island, Heather holds a bachelor’s degree in government from Western New England College and a master’s degree in legislative affairs from The George Washington University.

Heather Matson
Susan Everett

Susan Everett

Susan Everett brings 30+ years of experience as a public educator, trainer and champion, with a focus on driving knowledge and civic engagement across all demographics. Utilizing the core values of seeking common ground, respectful dialogue, and building models for educating all in the function and process of our democratic government, Susan joined Democracy Defenders of America (DDA) as an early founder and advocate. DDA seeks to provide citizens with an engaging, informative, and relevant education experience that teaches the basics of local, state, and federal government, along with ways to engage in civic life at all levels. Her experience in public education as a History teacher, district administrator, and curriculum writer and developer, makes her uniquely qualified to lead the team of educators creating a dynamic asynchronous curriculum that adult learners can access at their convenience. United with the goals and vision of other DDA founders, Susan believes that our democracy is at a crossroads, and the work we do through our education program, coaching, and advocacy will be a crucial step in building active, empowered and knowledgeable citizens in a drive to secure this great American experiment.