Mary V. Hughes, Founder
Mary V. Hughes is a co-founder and President of Hughes & Company, previously Staton Hughes, a strategic communications and political consulting firm in Palo Alto, California. Mary founded and served as Director of The 2012 Project, a national, non-partisan campaign of the Center for American Women and Politics at Rutgers University to increase the number of women in Congress and state legislatures by taking advantage of newly drawn and newly created districts resulting from redistricting and reapportionment.
Mary has advised candidates for President, Congress, state and legislative office contributing to a number of groundbreaking “firsts” — first woman in US history to lead her Party in the Congress; first woman Superintendent of Schools in California; and first open lesbian judge elected in the nation.
Mary is a contributor to the Governors Guidebook series “Keys to the Governors Office” and “Win the Right Way,” collected essays on political strategy. Hughes, a former Executive Director of the California Democratic Party, has published op-eds and book reviews related to American politics in the Los Angeles Times, The San Francisco Chronicle and The Huffington Post, among others. She is an Emerge CA “Woman of the Year” (2007) and a Women’s eNews Leader for the 21st Century (2012). Mary is a graduate of the University of Virginia School of Law and Mt. Holyoke College. She lives with her husband in Palo Alto.
Betsy Cotton, Director
Betsy Cotton is a lawyer and women’s rights advocate. Betsy served as Development Director for The 2012 Project, a national, non-partisan campaign of the Center for American Women and Politics at Rutgers University to increase the number of women in Congress and state legislatures. Betsy worked with public interest law firm Equal Rights Advocates for many years in a variety of roles from Law Fellow to Board Chair. As a lawyer, Betsy has practiced in the areas of gender discrimination, fair housing and consumer protection. She is a member of the Economic Development & Justice Donor Circle of the Women’s Foundation of California. A graduate of University of Pennsylvania, Betsy has a JD from UCLA. Betsy lives in Oakland with her two teenage daughters.
Laurie Kretchmar, Media & Social Media Director
Laurie is a communications pro and social media evangelist for great causes. A former business journalist for Fortune and Working Woman magazines, Laurie has also worked in corporate communications, marketing, public relations and social media. One of the first journalists to recognize the vast possibilities of the digital era, she moved from print to digital in 1995. Laurie served as Editor in Chief and VP of Programming at Women.com Networks, the first major website for women. During the last election cycle, Laurie was Media and Social Media Director for The 2012 Project, a national, non-partisan campaign to increase the numbers of women in Congress and state legislatures. A graduate of Dartmouth College, Laurie lives with her family in the Bay Area and tweets via @LKhere and @LKthere and, of course, @ClosetheGapCA.