NewsGuild Professional Staff
ADDY BAIRD, Organizer, comes to the Guild from BuzzFeed News, where she worked as a political reporter and served as unit chair, helping bargain their monumental first contract. Outside work, Addy loves baseball and yoga.
KARI BIENIAS, Local Representative, comes to the Guild from the Communications Workers of America (CWA), where she was the Organizing Director for the Print, Publishing and Media Workers Sector. Previously, Kari served as the Local Representative and Vice President for CWA Local 14156, leading contract negotiations for units across the print media industry, including the New York Times, the Daily News, the New York Post. She received her Masters in Labor Studies at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst.
JACK DICKEY, Local Representative, joined in July 2020 after seven years as a writer and editor at Sports Illustrated and TIME, where he covered baseball, football, culture, business, and politics, and was first vice chair of the union at Time Inc. He also co-led the successful organizing drive at SI after its sale in fall 2019. Before that, Jack was on staff at Deadspin. He graduated magna cum laude from Columbia in 2013 with a B.A. in English, and he was a two-time Jeopardy! champion.
REEMA HIJAZI, Organizer, comes to the Guild from Open Society Foundations, where she was part of forming the first union shop at a private philanthropy in the US. Before OSF, Reema worked in the West Bank with Palestinian and Israeli activists on new ways to form inclusive communities. She's a graduate of UVA and NYU.
CLAIRE HIRSCHBERG, Local Representative, comes to the guild from SAG-AFTRA where she worked nationally organizing all your favorite NPR stations. Before SAG-AFTRA, Claire organized charter schools with UTLA in Los Angeles. She now lives in Philly and has too many chihuahuas (Miss Cleo the leader is featured here) who have organized against her. Per the dog union agreement they appear once per zoom meeting.
RYAN HUANG is the Guild’s Bookkeeper, joining with over 40 years of experience across various industries with specialized expertise in accounting and financial consulting. Born and raised in China, he graduated from high school at the age of 15 with a dream of earning a college degree from an American university, a dream that came true in ’93 at Hunter College – City University of New York. Since then, he has worn several hats from being a Senior Accountant at a publishing house, as well as at a CPA firm, to the Controller and then Director of Finance at a marketing firm, before working as a consultant to successfully help individuals establish their own businesses. Outside of work, he has a passion for pop music – so much, in fact, that he even earned a diploma in multi-track recording technology.
MARIANNE LENABAT, Campaign Lead & Local Representative, joined the Guild in 2021 from the Alberta Union of Provincial Employees, where she served as Senior Organizing Advisor. She teaches at CUNY School of Labor and Urban Studies and has been an organizer and trainer with the Industrial Workers of the World since 2014.
MICHELLE MERLIN, Organizer, comes to the Guild after working for about a decade as a local news reporter. She most recently worked at The Morning Call in Allentown, Pennsylvania, where she helped form a union and fight for better conditions with her unionized colleagues across the Tribune chain. When she's not working, Michelle can be found pointing out squirrels to her dog, Lily.
NASTARAN MOHIT is the Organizing Director of the NewsGuild of New York, where she oversees the organizing program for the local. Nastaran began organizing with the Guild in 2012 on a project basis and was hired full time in 2015. Nastaran has organized hundreds of media professionals into the NewsGuild, leading successful campaigns at publications like The Los Angeles Times, Law360, Mic.com, The New Republic and The New Yorker. She has worked as an NYC-based labor and community organizer for the last 15 years. She is a graduate of Binghamton University, and received her Masters in Labor Studies from the Joseph S. Murphy Institute for Labor Studies at the City University of New York.
BRYAN NELSON, Local Representative, comes to the NewsGuild of New York with over 10 years of experience as a labor organizer, representative, and educator in a variety of union settings in both the private and public sectors, including a workers’ center where he helped build power among undocumented workers and community allies to fight wage theft and recover unpaid wages. Prior to joining the staff of the NewsGuild of New York, Bryan represented nurses and health professionals and also served as a Unit Chair and Executive Council member of the Washington-Baltimore News Guild. The product of a union household, he shares the NewGuild's commitment to union democracy and building power through organizing.
JEN SHEEHAN, Communications Associate, spent 30 years as a newspaper copy editor and reporter, most recently for The (Allentown, PA) Morning Call. In 2019, she was part of a group of journalists to organize The Morning Call Guild and from there became deeply involved in labor. In addition to holding nearly every type of position within her own union, she spent four years as a NewsGuild member organizer, working to help others like her organize their own workplaces including the Orlando Sentinel Guild, AccessMatters Guild and others. She’s married to a veteran journalist and has two daughters.
ANNIE SHIELDS, Organizer, comes to the guild fromThe Nation magazine where she helped organize her shop as a Guild member for 10 years. She served on the Local Executive Committee from 2020 - 2022 where she realized that working in the labor movement was her true calling. Annie is frequently accompanied on her daily Zoom calls by her feline friend Jelly.
BEVERLY SLOAN, Local Representative, comes to the Guild from Actors' Equity Association with 30 years' combined experience as a union representative and senior business rep overseeing the national LORT agreement as well as Off-Broadway, Theatre for Young Audiences, and multiple Stock agreements, among others. Beverly has a BA in creative writing and government from Penn State and a law degree from NYU. Never wanted to be a lawyer, though.
CARLY SMITH, Local Representative, comes to the NewsGuild of New York from SEIU, where she represented private sector workers in higher education and human services. She joined the labor movement as a member of the Professional Staff Congress/CUNY, the faculty and staff union of the City University of New York, where she served on the Executive Council representing the part-time faculty of the nation's largest public university system. Outside work, Carly likes riding bikes and teaches group road cycling skills as a volunteer with the New York Cycle Club.
DANIELLE SMITH, Organizer, joined the Guild in May 2021 from Law360, where she was a senior labor reporter and shop steward. In her “8 hours for what we will,” Danielle can be found playing the Sims4, riding her bike or making soup.
LENA SOLOW, Local Representative, comes to the NewsGuild after working for CWA Local 1180, representing shops in the non-profit, hospitality, and daycare sectors. Before their work at CWA Local 1180, Lena was an RWDSU member who helped lead the successful union campaign at the store Babeland. Their writing has appeared in VICE, Teen Vogue, and The New Republic. They are a proud member of the Freelancers Project in the National Writers Union.
HEATHER TROBE, Organizer, joined the Guild in 2019 after spending six years as a reporter. She's helped to organize multiple publications throughout the Guild, including Business Insider/Insider, Martha Stewart Living, People.com, Shape Magazine, Entertainment Weekly, Ziff Davis, and Forbes. As a former reporter, Heather believes that collective action is the best weapon for challenging oppressive power dynamics in the workplace. She's a graduate of Vassar College and CUNY Hunter College School of Social Work, as well as a former children's birthday party entertainer/mad scientist named "Hydrogen Heather."
TIM TRY, Membership Coordinator, comes to the NewsGuild of New York after spending seven years with Actors' Equity Association as the Audition Center Manager. At Equity, he helped ensure that AEA members were able to attend union organized auditions in a fair and equitable way and according to contractual requirements. Prior to that, Tim spent his career onstage, working in union theaters across the county. Tim is a freelance photographer in his spare time. His work includes some of his colleagues headshots you see on this page.
BILL ZODA, Local Representative, joined the Guild in 2023 after more than 15 years of professional experience working with PASNAP, a progressive and independent union of healthcare professionals based in PA. There, he served most recently as the union's Co Executive Director. In his capacity as a senior staffer, Bill led collective bargaining campaigns serving jointly as lead negotiator and campaign director where he most recently helped a group of 1,500 strike ready nurses win a standard setting contract. He also was involved in winning new organizing campaigns as well as litigating several arbitration cases in the union's favor.
Bill is excited to be putting his skills to use at the Guild, another progressive and dynamic union focusing on growth and building member power.