Shayna Gelender

Managing Director

Shayna Maxine Gelender is the Managing Director for the ACLU of Northern California where she is responsible for ensuring that our team and the organization is thriving.

Her ethos is people-oriented. Top priorities include creating effective management systems, advising and coaching supervisors, cultivating a safe and affirming workplace, building strong teams, planning thoughtfully, and setting smart, sustainable goals. 

Shayna joined the ACLU of Northern California staff as a Youth Advocate in 2000. In that capacity, she facilitated trainings for teachers and students, worked with high school students to plan youth rights conferences for 800+ attendees, organized week-long student summer field investigations on civil liberties issues, and engaged students in the political process through peer education and lobbying.

From 2003-2009, Shayna worked for ACLU of Northern California as a Field Assistant, Field Coordinator, and Field Organizer, where she was instrumental in building an organizing and community engagement program. During these years, Shayna did a range of work, including field organizing for reproductive justice and LGBT rights ballot initiative campaigns, mobilizing grassroots activism for state legislative campaigns, building diverse coalitions, developing volunteer leadership, and coordinating ACLU chapters across Northern and Central California.

While serving as the ACLU of Northern California’s Director of Organizing & Community Engagement (2009-2014), Shayna further refined and fully implemented ACLU of Northern California’s innovative organizing model that promotes recruitment and leadership development by engaging constituents in advocacy work and community outreach. She supervised a dynamic team of organizers and led the creation of a Conference & Lobby Day, an annual opportunity for activists from across California to lobby the state legislature and build grassroots political power for civil liberties and social justice.

Shayna is a founder and former Membership Director of the Good Ol' Girls as well as former Membership Director of the East Bay Young Democrats. She was named Emerging Social Justice Leader in 2009 by the Progressive Jewish Alliance.

She has served as Chair of the Bay Area Regional Council for Bend the Arc: A Jewish Partnership for Justice. Shayna currently serves on the Bend the Arc National Board of Directors.

Shayna is a proud alumna of Mills College, where she earned a bachelor's degree in Public Policy with a concentration in Economics & Social Justice.