Story of Us

We are a team of organizers.

We believe meaningful community engagement can improve people’s lives and create lasting change. This is what drives our work.

Nicole Derse and Addisu Demissie founded 50+1 Strategies after more than a decade of working in grassroots organizing. As veterans of President Obama’s historic 2008 campaign, they held key positions in battleground states of Wisconsin and Ohio.

Following President Obama’s inauguration, Nicole served as the National Director of Training & Organizational Development for Organizing for America, developing and leading training programs for hundreds of national staff and tens of thousands of volunteers. Addisu joined Organizing for America as the National Political Director and went on to serve as the Campaign Manager for Cory Booker’s 2013 U.S. Senate campaign in New Jersey, help run Congresswoman Janice Hahn’s special congressional election victory in Los Angeles and Rahm Emanuel’s successful mayoral campaign in Chicago.

Together, they started 50+1 Strategies with hopes of creating more representation, more inclusion, and more diversity in politics. Based in the San Francisco Bay Area, we operate at the local, state and national levels to elect Democratic candidates, advance issues at the ballot box, and support causes that create positive change.

In less than five years, we have risen to become one of the most successful firms in California. 50+1 has supported national clients like Planned Parenthood and Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America, worked to elect dozens of candidates (and unseat San Francisco’s last Republican), and build organizing programs for industry leaders like Airbnb and the Golden State Warriors.

Our team is made up of diverse professionals that have demonstrated success in the public, private, and nonprofit sectors. We pride ourselves on being a full-service civic engagement firm that brings heart and hustle to everything we do.

Our Original Team

Our Team