About Us

The Team

Phillip Holmes Founder & CEO

Phillip is a dedicated and hands-on problem solver with years of campaign experience, deep policy knowledge and a keen sense of web design.

With more than 15 years experience in new media, social media, online communication, branding, and creative direction, Phillip has been at the helm of some of the most important and influential policy, political and cause campaigns on the web. He has a knack for empowering supporters online and connecting diverse and highly targeted constituents to candidates, causes and controversial issues.

Before founding Swell, Phillip was Managing Director at Blue State Digital (West) where he led development, strategy and execution for clients such as Lady Gaga’s Born This Way Foundation, Google’s SOPA campaign, Surfrider Foundation, US Soccer, YMCA, Anschutz Entertainment Group and Major League Soccer.

Phillip is an advisor to Invisible Children, Art Center College of Design, 1,000 Days and the Making Caring Common Project at the Harvard Graduate School of Education.

Tali Pressman Partner & COO

Tali co-founded Swell after 15 years in the not-for-profit world making change through art and culture. She now brings strategy, management, planning and fundraising experience to Swell’s growing portfolio.

Before Swell, she was Managing Director of Cornerstone Theater Company, an internationally recognized, community-engaged theater company in Los Angeles. While there she doubled the annual budget, securing major grants from the Kresge Foundation, the California Endowment, the James Irvine Foundation, ArtSpace, and Open Society Foundations. Prior to Cornerstone, she led special projects for the Progressive Jewish Alliance where she created and launched the Jeremiah Fellowship, an intensive training program for emerging social justice leaders in Los Angeles, San Francisco and Washington, DC. She is a member of Reboot, an advisor on Six Points Artist Fellowship, and the Silver Lake Independent Jewish Community Center.

Adam Jacobson Vice President

Adam heads up Swell’s Santa Cruz office while maintaining the big-picture view of all of Swell’s clients, making sure all the creative trains are running smoothly on their tracks.

He also has many successful campaigns under his belt while at Swell: from leading the Campaign the Raise the Minimum wage in LA to $15 an hour, to two winning LA city ballot measures—Yes on JJJ and NO on S.

Prior to Swell, he was the Director of Communications & Policy for the LA Business Council where he was a key player in implementing the nation’s largest urban solar program in Los Angeles. He has also had tenures as a magazine Arts Editor at the Los Angeles Times, a copywriter, blogger, college writing teacher and literary scholar. He wrote his Master’s Thesis on Joan Didion, Hunter S. Thompson, Tom Wolfe and the implications of New Journalism.

Peter Scheer Director of Content

Peter is a journalism refugee with a talent for communication. Before joining Swell, Peter spent nearly 10 years as the managing editor of Truthdig, an award-winning progressive news site. He wrote, coordinated an international staff, and edited a stable of writers that included the legendary Gore Vidal. For four years, he also hosted a nationally syndicated radio show. At Swell, Peter writes everything from blogs to email blasts to tweets, adapting to each client’s style and specific needs. Peter is a tech obsessive, Laker fan, world traveller, and Los Angeles native. He remains a wide-eyed idealist, despite every cause for cynicism a decade covering world news and politics engenders.

Eric Zwierzynski Graphic Designer & Coding

Eric is a designer and coder whose full-stack, soup-to-nuts skillset lets Swell produce high quality work in record time. He views difficult challenges, tight budgets and thorny political issues as fuel for creativity, creating designs that are as focused on results as aesthetics. Eric’s job is to make sure our clients can pivot on a dime and Swell can model, test and execute big ideas in short order. Eric has worked on just about every kind of project, from municipal planning and video game design to social memes and animations. He specializes in building high-quality websites with elegant UX and pixel perfect code.

When Eric isn’t slamming on projects at Swell’s NorCal hub, he can be found playing music, drinking homebrew with his wife and chasing his three-year-old son around the house.

Kathleen Rodgers Client Manager

A big-picture strategic thinker with a knack for turning complex problems into crisp language and effective campaigns. Kathleen comes to Swell after a stint at Phenomenon creative agency, where she worked with corporate and nonprofit clients, technology, health care, education and women’s rights campaigns.

Kathleen received her master’s degree in marketing and communications from University of Southern California and her bachelor’s degree in International Relations and World Politics from Vanderbilt University. A proud Nashville native, Kathleen spends her free time exploring LA’s hiking trails, solo road tripping and searching for the perfect acai bowl (seriously, she does this). Her New Year’s resolution is to visit more National Parks.

JL Hernandez Client Manager

JL joins Swell with a background in content, impact, and partnerships. She comes with over 10 years of experience working on cause-based media projects for NGOs and brands, with a focus on strategy development, project management, digital ad sales, and marketing.

JL worked in creative development for production houses based in Singapore and Manila, before crossing over to digital when she joined Participant Media’s online publication TakePart in 2012. At Participant Media, she managed projects for partners including the Gates Foundation, Tillamook, and The North Face, and most recently, managed some of the brand activation for the film An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power.

Driven by the belief that the business sector has a tremendous capacity to scale social change, JL also works with local entrepreneurs, independent producers and makers in Los Angeles, and recently led the launch of an online marketplace, Craft, Main & Co., to create a community of consumers shopping local online.

Diana Huang Accounts Coordinator

Diana smashes content with fresh copy and a lot of attitude. She takes the time to understand all audiences and deep-dives into their worlds to better understand what’s behind the words not just what they’re saying. All that’s to say, she can write for a variety of audiences, including the dreaded millennials. Her work is influenced by her knowledge of effective communication, but also by her enthusiasm for pop culture and the zeitgeist (although admittedly not quite at Kanye’s level of popping a wheelie on the zeitgeist).

Diana interned at the World Health Organization in Beijing, where she learned to tailor and adapt content for completely disparate audiences. She studied communication and economics at the University of Southern California and the London School of Economics.

Adam Weissler Campaign Coodinator

Adam is writer and problem-solver with a passion for social change. With a diverse background that includes stints at the White House, traditional advertising agencies, production studios and nonprofits, Adam has years of experience building communication campaigns for a wide-range of platforms and causes.

Adam has worked with Google, Reddit and the California Endowment. Prior to working in public affairs, Adam spent a year backpacking solo through 27 countries, spending the last month working on a Tasmanian bee farm. Adam graduated from the University of Michigan with a B.A. in political science and psychology.

When not at Swell, you’ll most likely find him at the beach.

Bonnie Abaunza Coalition & Partnerships

Arrested 14 times and still looking to increase the rap sheet for justice, Bonnie and Swell have been on the hustle for more than 3 years together working on groundbreaking Emmy-nominated documentaries such as The Hunting Ground, which tackles campus sexual assault. Diane Warren and Lady Gaga’s song Till it Happens to You, which was nominated for an Oscar and won an Emmy.  

With Swell on digital and Bonnie on coalition, we spearheaded the social campaign for the feature film The Promise by Oscar winner Terry George, and the documentary Intent to Destroy, both about the Armenian genocide, as well as Cries from Syria (HBO) from Oscar nominated director Yzgeny Afineevsky, about the crisis in Syria, Bending the Arc, about Paul Farmer and Partners in Health, Harry and Snowman, which focuses on animal rescue, and The Heart of Nuba, about the genocide and crimes against humanity occurring in the Nuba mountains of Sudan.

She runs www.abaunzagroup.com and has consulted for the UN, the International Labour Organization, and Hans Zimmer. In 2009, Bonnie served as VP, Social Action and Advocacy at Participant. She graduated from UCLA and is fluent in Spanish. 

Natasha Hakimi Zapata Copywriter & Researcher

Natasha Hakimi Zapata is a writer and editor and holds a Creative Writing M.F.A. from Boston University, and both a B.A. in Spanish and a B.A. in English with a creative writing concentration from UCLA. She has been published in Los Angeles magazine and Truthdig, where she works as an assistant and poetry editor. She has received scholarships from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Hispanic Heritage Foundation, the Smithsonian Latino Center and the UCLA Alumni Association.

In 2016, she won an L.A. Press Club Award for her book review of the poetry collection “I Am the Beggar of the World.” She comes to Swell while working as a Ph.D. candidate in Latin American Literature at the Universidad Complutense de Madrid, Spain.

Career Opportunities
01
Client Manager & Strategic Projects

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02
Content and Social Media Writer

Swell is an equal opportunity employer. We strongly support diversity in the workforce. Email us your resume and related work.

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03
Junior Designer

Swell is an equal opportunity employer. We strongly support diversity in the workforce. Email us your resume and related work.

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