Meet Our Facilitators

We’re thrilled to announce that Katie Harbath, CtK.Campfire Fellow Cohort I, and Jeff Casimir, Karasser, are co-facilitating the 3rd Annual CtK.Jake’s Retreat! The Retreat will be held at The Loft in Washington D.C. October 5-6. A few spaces are still available, register today!

Now, meet our facilitators!


Katie Harbath

Katie Harbath is the Public Policy Director for Global Elections at Facebook where she’s led Facebook's efforts in elections around the world since 2014. Prior to Facebook, Katie was the Chief Digital Strategist at the National Republican Senatorial Committee. She previously led digital strategy in positions at DCI Group and the Republican National Committee. Katie is a board member of the Atlantic Council, was named one of the top 50 people to watch in politics by Politico in 2014 and a Rising Star by Campaigns and Elections magazine in 2009.

jeff casimir.jpg

Jeff Casimir

Jeff is an expert facilitator and teacher with deep experience in social justice, education, technology, and entrepreneurship. His career started with Teach for America, teaching and helping run DC Public Schools and DC Charter schools for seven years. In 2009 he moved into accelerated adult education, establishing one of the first software "bootcamps" with LivingSocial in DC. Now in Denver, he serves as the Executive Director of the Turing School of Software & Design where they enable students to find personal freedom through high-impact careers.

CtK Jake's Retreat!

October 5 & 6, 2019
9:00am to 5:00pm
The Loft in D.C.

Newcomers are welcome!

CtK Jake's Retreat promises to move us beyond our tempting labels of right and wrong. We’ll build new techniques for meaningful dialogue, refine our understandings of negotiation, define what cannot be compromised, examine the intersectional nature of our identities, and explore the fierce urgency of Now.

Katie Harbath and Jeff Casimir will co-facilitate, along with a session from Lori Brewer Collins. This is a leadership weekend with a focus on connected, large system impact. Go beyond the confines of individual leadership. The learning opportunities of the weekend link what we've learned through the Campfires and retreats and our vertical development work.

And Lori will offer up a "State of Cultivate the Karass" and where we're headed and the possibilities we're exploring...

Share your ideas, expertise and experience. Renew relationships and create new ones. Think big, be bold, and reconnect with what it feels like to lead from your soul. 

Exciting things are happening! We're waiting for you in DC. Sign up now.

Keep an eye out in this space and in your inbox for more information!

Have A Great Weekend!

We’re headed into the weekend appreciative for all the work that our Fellows and Alumni do in pursuit of making this great democratic experiment a more perfect union.

We can’t help but wonder whether the conditions that gave rise to a stronger labor movement and Labor Day itself are coalescing again. 12-14 hour work days, 6 and 7 day work weeks, unsafe and unregulated work environments especially for the poor, the uneducated, and immigrants. So we’re reflecting on what it is that labor accomplished for all of us, starting back in the 1860s, with the infamous Haymarket Riot, and up until today. Here are a few other key dates of the labor movement.

According to the NYT, “American workers held the first Labor Day parade, marching from New York’s City Hall to a giant picnic at an uptown park on Sept. 5, 1882 … Many of the attendees risked their jobs by participating in the one-day strike. On their signs, they called for “Less Work and More Pay,” an eight-hour workday and a prohibition on the use of convict labor. They were met with cheers.”

President Grover Cleveland signed a bill into law on June 28, 1894, declaring Labor Day a national holiday.

1938: Political pressure continues to mount. On June 25, Congress passes the Fair Labor Standards Act, which limits the workweek to 44 hours, or 8.8 hours per day.

1940: On June 26, Congress amends the Fair Labor Standards Act, further limiting the workweek to 40 hours. A few months later, on October 24, the law goes into effect.


Read more here, here, and here.

Have A Great Weekend!

Alums are moving and shaking. On the campaign trail. Behind the scenes in the Administration. Across the country every day. Join us at CtK.Jake’s retreat in DC in October for more networking, skill shares, and professional development.

And here are just a couple of the issues that CtK.Campfire Fellows highlighted this past week.

Katie Bethell and her organization Paid Leave US was highly visible (again!) this week. Check out the videos with Democratic Candidates.

Bishop Garrison was on MSNBC talking about ethics and values in the 2020 election.

We’re headed into the weekend thinking about these two issues and how they tie together. We have a few things to say about the importance of family, ethics, and generativity. Look for those in the coming week.

Have a great weekend!

Have A Great Weekend!

Congratulations to Karasser Dr. Kristen Honey who was named the Director of Innovation at the Institute of Education. Pictured here with CtK Board Advisor Megan Smith.

Congratulations to CtK.Campfire Alum Katie Cahill on her new position as Healthy Appalachia Study at Howard H. Baker Jr., Center for Public Policy!

Congratulations to CtK.Campfire Alum Jose Antonio Vargas whose namesake elementary school opened today!

Sarah Hunt quoted extensively in the NYT on climate change. Read what she has to say: Three Things You Can Do: Shop, Share and Donate. And take a look at Rainey Center’s upcoming partnership to produce the inaugural Policy Colloquium.

CtK.Campfire Alum Maria Town was featured on Pod for the Cause. Disability Rights are Civil Rights. Listen in!

And take a look at the latest data from Pew Research Center. It interrogates how our conversations on social media make us feel - and our propensity to talk to people who disagree with us.

“The new survey also finds that users generally do not find common ground with others during online discussions about politics. Two-thirds of users (67%) say that discussing politics on social media with people they disagree with usually leads them to find out they have “less in common politically” than they expected. About a quarter (26%) report finding out they have “more in common” than previously thought. These shares are statistically unchanged from 2016.”

We want to know what you think. Weigh in!

Have A Great Weekend!

This week, we watched Mueller speak to Congress and have been thinking about a few themes ever since. First and foremost, that our politics have become theater. We’re not so naive as to think that this hasn’t always been the case. We’re just struck by all the “think pieces” on the “optics” of the Mueller hearing and how incredible shallow and short-sighted they are. (We’re looking at you, Chuck Todd.)

The TLDR; version of this is so cynical - more cynical than we like to be - and goes like this: It’s all about appearance, not about substance. Our own Sarah Longwell probably put it best:

Shorter: Truth doesn’t matter.

And, yet, it does. We know that it does. You know that it does. We know that there are patriots everywhere. That you are patriots. That, daily, you are defending democracy and reaching across the aisle and showing yourself to be Loyal Antagonists. We know that a vigorous bipartisan defense of the Republic is possible. And we thank you for continuing to do this work. Stay out there. And stay loud.

Goings on from around the Karass:

Charles Moran is tracking the Log Cabin Republicans as they support the effort to ban the criminalization of homosexuality.

Evan McMullin reminds us that leadership is hard work. It demands that you stand up at exactly the moment you might most want to sit down.

In view of the renewed scrutiny on Russian interference in elections, Rainey Center reupped their report about Russian misinformation attacks in dating apps.

Emily Holden, writing for The Guardian, published on climate change and the administration’s attempts to muzzle science.

Sarah Hunt reminds us why it is essential to have diversity in politics.

Maria Town brought attention to the importance of #DisabilitySolidarity and racism & bias within the disability rights movement.

Cori Zarek and the Beeck Center at Georgetown hosted the Coding It Forward Summit.

And Sara Holoubek introduced a crowdsourced list of experts working at the intersection of tech, ethics, health, equity, and the social determinants of health.

Happy reading and have a great weekend!

CtK's Brand of Leadership

We want to talk a little bit about Teri Kanefield’s perspective here and what it means for our work and our nation’s democracy:

This is what the work of Cultivate the Karass is all about: Training leaders who can handle the big, complex problems that we continue to face in our democracy and our world.

Why is this so important? Because the environment we now work within is Volatile, Uncertain Complex/Chaotic, and Ambiguous. In the leadership development field, we call it VUCA for short. The world has become a VUCA world. For those leaders who gain strength and risk taking capability through certainty, the question becomes: How to move through the world with volatility, uncertainty, chaos, complexity, and ambiguity? As Teri Kanefield points out, paraphrasing other scholars whose research has also proven it, authoritarians loathe complexity.

This is where leadership in the midst of complexity - the very core of our CtK mission - is essential democracy-building work.

Each time we host a Campfire to welcome a new cohort of Fellows, there is amazement that CtK can foster dialogue between conservatives and liberals. But we know that these leaders are all patriots, all people with the same agenda – how to foster the great democratic experiment that is the United States of America – and all people who can manage the complexity required to move our nation forward.

Because of how CtK selects, models, and teaches leadership, there is no room for authoritarian impulses. (So much so that we never really considered that was the ideological position never present in the room.) Any aversion to complexity is an automatic disqualifier for our brand of leadership.

And our brand of leadership is what the world needs right now. There is so much to gain from the complexity of our democratic experiment – and from the leadership experiment that CtK is conducting.

Pew Research on Political Labels

Pew Research Center took a look at how people feel about political labels that have obtained ubiquity in our current discourse. The survey, conducted April 29-May 13, 2019, also asked adults about their impressions of several other terms: “libertarian,” “progressive,” “liberal” and “conservative.”

  • Americans have generally positive views of other political terms asked about in the survey, though these views also differ along partisan lines.

  • Majorities have positive impressions of “progressive” (66%), “conservative” (60%), “liberal” (55%) and “libertarian” (also 55%).

  • Overall, Democrats hold more positive views of the term “conservative” than Republicans do of “liberal.” Nearly four-in-ten Democrats (38%) say they view “conservative” positively compared with fewer than a quarter of Republicans who view “liberal” in the same light.