DAWN IS AN ACCOMPLISHED LEADER WITH EXPERIENCE IN THE LAW, POLITICS, GOVERNMENT, AND PHILANTHROPY.
Dawn is an accomplished leader with experience in the law, politics, government, and philanthropy. She currently serves as a partner in the law firm of Boies, Schiller & Flexner, where as an attorney she has fought for undocumented immigrants, victims of financial crime, and voters facing intimidation. For the last three and a half years, Dawn served as a Commissioner of the Joint Commission on Public Ethics. She currently serves as a National Board member of the American Constitution Society, a national legal organization that seeks to advance a progressive vision of the law. Dawn has extensive experience in the federal government having served two Democratic Administrations, first as Assistant to the White House Chief of Staff and then as Executive Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services, where she helped improve access to affordable health care. During the 2008 election cycle, Dawn served as a Regional Political Director for the Hillary Clinton for President campaign, and then as the New York Political Director for President Barack Obama. Dawn has also worked in philanthropy for the Open Society Foundations and the Ford Foundation, two of the largest philanthropies in the world, where she managed approximately $40 million of grants promoting civic engagement, political reform, and grassroots activism.
Dawn grew up the daughter of a single mom, Irene Smalls, a Harlem native, and has three brothers, one of whom lives in the Bronx and one of whom lives in Brooklyn. Dawn lives in Manhattan with her husband and her three children.
A LAWYER TAKING ON THE TOUGH FIGHTS
Dawn currently serves as a partner at the law firm Boies Schiller Flexner. She is co-lead counsel for one of the largest Fair Labor Standards Act class actions ever, representing over 90,000 au pairs for wage fixing and violations of federal, state, and minimum wage.
Dawn previously represented victims of the Madoff Ponzi scheme; an applicant for clemency which was granted on President Obama’s last day in Office; and immigrant workers in a case for sexual harassment, unpaid wages, and forced labor. In the lead up to the 2016 election, Dawn served as counsel for several State Parties in a proactive attempt to fight then-candidate Trump’s attempts to intimidate voters at the polls prior to the Election.
AN INDEPENDENT LEADER HOLDING ELECTED OFFICIALS ACCOUNTABLE
For the last three and a half years, Dawn served as a Commissioner of the New York State Joint Commission on Public Ethics, appointed by Minority Leader Andrea Stewart Cousins. In her role, she provided oversight to the State agency tasked with ensuring that state elected officials and lobbyists comply with the State’s ethics and lobbying laws and regulations. Previously, Dawn served as the Secretary of the New York City Bar’s Ethics Committee at Senator Gillibrand’s request, when the Senator was Chair of that Committee
A LEADER WITH TWO DECADES OF EXPERIENCE IN FEDERAL GOVERNMENT AND POLITICS
Dawn started her career at the White House in the 1990s where she served an Assistant to the White House Chief of Staff John Podesta and Erskine Bowles, and as a liaison on policy and budget issues for the District of Columbia.
Dawn later served in the Obama Administration as Executive Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) under Kathleen Sebelius. As Executive Secretary, Dawn served as the chief regulatory officer for HHS, which represents almost a quarter of all federal outlays and administers more grant dollars than all other federal agencies combined. At HHS, Dawn served a key role in the successful implementation of the Affordable Care Act, ensuring that each provision was assigned to a responsible component within the Department and that key deadlines were met; and the successful implementation of the Mental Health Parity Act, which required health plans that provide mental health or substance use disorder benefits to do so at the same level they provide medical/surgical benefits.
In the 2008 election cycle, Dawn served as a Regional Political Director for the Hillary Clinton for President Campaign, covering 6 states, and in the general election as the New York Political Director for then Sen. Barack Obama.
A CIVIC LEADER ADVANCING PROGRESSIVE POLICIES
Dawn currently serves as a national board member of the American Constitution Society, the nation’s leading progressive legal organization, with over 200 student and lawyer chapters in almost every state and on most law school campuses. Prior to serving on the board Dawn co-founded the student chapter at Stanford Law School and upon graduation, she also co-founded the New York Lawyer Chapter to provide a space for progressive lawyers in New York City to meet and exchange ideas about how to support a progressive agenda in the law.
Dawn has also worked for the Open Society Foundations and the Ford Foundation, two of the largest philanthropies in the world, managing approximately $40 million of grants promoting and increasing civic engagement, political reform, and grassroots activism.