A Seat at the Table

Welcome and Reflection

Panel Discussion

Presentation of ICCR 2023 Legacy Award


Talmon Joseph Smith

The New York Times, Economics Reporter


Talmon Joseph Smith (he/him) Talmon Joseph Smith is an economics reporter for The New York Times, based in New York. Before joining the Business desk, he was a staff editor in Opinion, covering public policy, economics, and culture. He was born and raised in New Orleans.

Brad Lander

New York City, Comptroller


New York City Comptroller Brad Lander (he/him) was elected to serve as our city’s budget watchdog and chief accountability officer on November 2nd, 2021. Lander’s background in community organizing and urban planning informs his work to make government work better for all New Yorkers. First elected to the City Council in 2009, Lander co-founded the Council’s Progressive Caucus and has a strong track record of partnering with community advocates to win transformative change for a more just and equitable city.

In the City Council, Lander spearheaded efforts to protect workers and build a more equitable economy, working closely with labor advocates to win groundbreaking laws to end unfair firings and establish a fair work week for fast food workers, protect freelancers from wage theft, ban discriminatory credit checks for employment, and guarantee a living wage for app-based drivers and delivery workers.

Lander’s hard-hitting reports and campaigns have led to better bus service, air-conditioning for all NYC school classrooms, and restored hundreds of millions of dollars for affordable housing. He helped lead a successful grassroots effort to desegregate the middle-schools of Community School District 15 (which serves students from Carroll Gardens, Park Slope, Red Hook, and Sunset Park) and partnered with advocates and legislators to combat discriminatory stop-and-frisk policing.

A longtime champion of more inclusive and transparent government, Lander helped bring participatory budgeting to NYC to give residents a voice in how city government invests in their neighborhoods. Throughout his work, Lander has taken an innovative, data-driven, and collaborative approach to tackling some of NYC’s biggest challenges, from reckless driving to infrastructure investments.

Lander was one of the founders of Local Progress, now a 1000-member strong network of local elected officials advancing a racial and economic justice agenda through all levels of local government. Prior to holding public office, Lander spent 15 years in the nonprofit sector as the director of the Fifth Avenue Committee and the Pratt Center for Community Development. He lives in Brooklyn with his wife, Meg Barnette, President and CEO of NonProfit New York, and their children, Marek and Rosa.

Jaz Brisack

Workers United Upstate New York, Organizing Director


Jaz Brisack (they/them) is the Organizing Director for Workers United Upstate New York. They first started organizing in Mississippi, working on the UAW campaign at the Nissan factory in Canton, Miss. More recently, Jaz spent two years as a barista at the Elmwood Starbucks, becoming a founding member of Starbucks Workers United and helping organize the first unionized Starbucks in the United States. They have since worked with organizing committees at companies ranging from Ben & Jerry’s to Tesla.

Tanya Wallace-Gobern

National Black Worker Center Project, Executive Director


Tanya Wallace-Gobern (she/her) is the first executive director of the National Black Worker Center Project. Born in Chicago, Illinois she moved to the Deep South in 1991 to launch an organizing career empowering women and people of color. As Executive Director of the National Black Worker Center Project she lives out her lifelong passion while executing the mission of empowering Black workers to advance their rights and improve the quality of jobs in key employment sectors. 

Tanya leads a cadre of membership-based, and member-driven Black worker centers that utilize a combination of leadership development, organizing, policy advocacy, and strategic communications to build power to address the black job crisis.

She is a graduate of the Harvard Business School Executive Leadership program and her opinions and contributions have been featured in YSB magazine, Ebony magazine, The Los Angeles Times and on ABC Nightly News.

Alphonso Mayfield

SEIU International, Executive Board Member


Alphonso Mayfield (he/him) has been a union leader for more than 8 years. He is an emerging leader in the labor movement who, in a very short time, changed the direction of the labor movement in Florida by bridging the gap between communities and their unions. Mr. Mayfield was appointed as the Interim President of FPSU in 2009 and was elected to serve as the President in 2010 and again in 2013. Under his leadership, the Union has run large-scale organizing drives resulting in tangible growth with measurable increases in size and revenues.  FPSU’s existing units have also seen better benefits and wage increases despite tough economic times due to the non-traditional bargaining approach.

Mr. Mayfield is an Executive Board member of SEIU International (A union representing 2 million diverse members in healthcare, property services and public sector in the United States, Canada and Puerto Rico) and Secretary Treasurer for SEIU Florida State Council (Collaborative body of SEIU Florida that represents over 55,000 active and retired healthcare professionals, public employees, and property service workers in the state of Florida).


Talmon Joseph Smith

The New York Times, Reporter

Inspired by faith, committed to action

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