innovator and liberator
Jessica Gottsleben is a servant leader, life-long scholar, and intersectional feminist. She strives to serve her community and improve the world through nonpartisan coalition, consensus, and capacity building and multipartisan policy-making toward a cooperative postpartisan future. Gottsleben believes in building relationships with diverse leaders and professionals for positive change “across the aisle” and across the globe. Gottsleben is a 2016 graduate of the Women's Campaign School at Yale University, and a 2014 inductee to the Order of Pegasus, the most prestigious and significant award attainable at the University of Central Florida, from which she holds two bachelor’s degrees with Burnett Honors College distinction in Radio and Television Broadcast Journalism and Political Science, and a Leadership Studies certificate.
A recognized activist against violence of all forms and abolitionist in the fight to end modern-day slavery, Jessica currently serves as a news editor for DC Stop Modern Slavery and uses her skills and resources to inform and connect citizens, law enforcement, legislators, and community leaders in anti-human trafficking efforts. Jessica previously gave a TEDx Talk that inspired the creation of an educational virtual reality video game, designed to bring gamers and medical, education and justice professionals into the mind of the victim, for which she now serves as an expert consultant. A sought-after speaker, she was recently honored by The German Marshall Fund of the United States and The OCP Policy Center in Morocco as a speaker at The Atlantic Dialogues 2016 in North Africa, and named 1 of 40 mid-career Emerging Leaders from around the world, at the “annual high-level gathering of the most influential public and private-sector leaders from around the Atlantic basin.” Her discussions focus on topics ranging from gender, parity and equity to violent extremism in a digital world.
Jessica is a 2017 New Leaders Council fellow, and is currently in the start-up phase of her own educational equity national nonprofit focused on dismantling the pipeline to prison by ensuring a pipeline to college. In 2016, Jessica won a nationwide competition and was honored at the 10th Annual Young Women to Watch Awards, where she was elected the first-ever #ILookLikeAPolitician Ambassador of Running Start, a nonpartisan not-for-profit organization headquartered in DC that trains young women to run for elected office. She fights for gender equality and parity nationally and internationally, inspiring young women and underrepresented groups to overcome the odds and be seen as the community leaders they already are through political office. Some of Jessica’s past work includes serving as a researcher and UNESCO delegate speaker on climate change and sustainability in the Caribbean, a multimedia journalist and director, a fellow on global peace and security, a U.S. Congressional fellow on interdisciplinary policy and one of the youngest inaugural Congressional Fellows in Constitutional Law. In 2014, she became one of four women in the history of the second-largest university in the United States to run for Student Body President.
Recognized as a "Young Madison” by the Robert H. Smith Center for the Constitution at James Madison's Montpelier, Jessica has also been featured in Bustle, NowThis Politics, and iKNOW Politics through UN Women, among other outlets. Jessica is completing her Master of Science degree in national security with a focus on cybersecurity, intelligence and forensics. She hopes to further serve as a digital defender in the fight against slavery and violence. As a young diplomat and aspiring Congresswoman, she plans to implement her expertise at the national and international level through federal committees, nongovernmental organizations and humanitarian agencies.