Judy Meredith, Co-Founder and Executive Director

Judy Meredith is the co-founder and executive director of the Academy. A veteran lobbyist, Judy has worked for more than thirty years creating change through legislative advocacy. Judy’s experience inMassachusettsbegan in 1969 when she became a volunteer lobbyist for her adoptive and foster parent group. After ten years of working as an advocate inside and outside of state government, she founded Meredith and Associates, a political consulting firm known for its work with nonprofits. Over the years, Judy’s lobbying work evolved into a coaching model, offered through The Public Policy Institute, where she guided clients through the process of developing their own internal capacity for advocacy by mentoring staff, building leadership skills of volunteers, and helping to broker constructive and positive working partnerships with policy makers. Today, with the Academy, Judy is showcasing the best of her training and coaching programs and providing accessible skill-building sessions for tomorrow’s leaders for change.

Contact Judy: judy@realclout.org | 617-275-2923


Lew Finfer, Co-Founder and Lead Trainer

Lew Finfer is the co-founder and lead trainer for the Academy. Lew has worked as a community organizer inMassachusettssince 1970 and is the Director of the Massachusetts Communities Action Network (MCAN). MCAN was founded in 1985 to support six affiliated local community improvement organizations and statewide coalitions working on issues of youth jobs, youth violence prevention, and constructions jobs access. Previously, Lew worked with neighborhood improvement groups in Dorchester andSomervilleduring the 1970’s including Dorchester Tenants Action Council, Massachusetts Fair Share, and Somerville United Neighborhoods. He served as director of Massachusetts Tenants Organization and of Massachusetts Affordable Housing Alliance in the 1980’s. Today, with the Academy, Lew is teaching tomorrow’s leaders how to organize communities and be a force for positive change.

Contact Lew: lewfinfer@gmail.com


Sondra Peskoe, Capacity Building for Education Reform Advocacy

Sondra Peskoe is a professional educator and advocate who has devoted much of her adult life to the welfare of children, women, and families. As an active community leader and activist working on issues of social, economic, and racial justice, Sondra works with nonprofit organizations analyzing national and state legislation, organizing outreach to legislators, and advocating for progressive, pragmatic public policy. Sondra is a volunteer for several area public schools and was recently awarded the Mack I. Davis II Award for extraordinary volunteer service in the Cambridge Public Schools. She serves on the board of NARAL Pro-Choice Massachusetts and also volunteers with Junior Achievement where she’s been recognized three times during her ten years of service as an outstanding volunteer. Sondra is helping to build the Coalition to Dismantle the Cradle to Prison Pipeline in MA by advising the organization’s efforts to pass legislation to reform zero tolerance school discipline policies in Massachusetts, formulating goals and action plans, and mobilizing key stakeholders to join the coalition. Additionally, Sondra is the Education advocacy member of Education Law Task Force – School Exclusion & Dropout Prevention Coalition, functioning as the key organizer of the legislative campaign for two education bills. Sondra has a B.S. in Business Administration and Accounting and is a CPA.  She received her M.Ed. from Loyola University in Maryland and has taught Montessori education.

Contact Sondra at speskoe@realclout.org