Office of Public Engagement
Ofelia Casillas Director, Senior Advisor to the Secretary
In October 2013, Ofelia was appointed Director of Public Engagement and Senior Advisor to the Secretary at the Department of Labor. She leads the Agency's engagement with U.S. Corporations and Small Businesses as well as outreach to constituency communities such as Latinos, veterans, youth, women and African-Americans. Her office builds relationships and support for the Secretary's priorities including skills building, income inequality, Comprehensive Immigration Reform and the Affordable Care Act.
Prior to joining the Department of Labor, Ofelia was the U.S. Media Relations Manager for McDonald's Corp., overseeing media crisis and relations as well as managing critical issues across the world's largest restaurant chain's 14,000 U.S. restaurants. Before that, she was a National Regional Press Secretary for the Obama campaign with media relations and crisis communications responsibility over the country's western states including election battlegrounds Colorado and Nevada. Previously she was Deputy Director of Communications at the American Civil Liberties Union of Illinois. For a decade, Ofelia was the public policy writer at the Chicago Tribune and a journalist at the Los Angeles Times.
Ofelia has Bachelor's Degrees with high honors in English and Journalism from the University of Florida. Originally from Miami and of Cuban descent, she calls D.C. and Chicago home.
A'shanti Gholar Special Assistant
In March 2011, A'shanti was appointed Special Assistant to the Secretary in the Office of Public Engagement of the Department of Labor. She is responsible for working with and engaging African Americans, women, veterans, small businesses, and young people around the nation on the many programs, policies, and services that the Department of Labor offers to educate and assist the public.
Prior to coming to the Department of Labor, A'shanti served as the Deputy Director of Faith and Constituency Outreach at the Democratic National Committee where she developed programs and organized events to reach out to minority communities. The experience that she gained has allowed her to cultivate alliances and involvement in numerous community, state, and national organizations. In her efforts, she also built strong relationships with elected officials at every level of government and engaged community stakeholders to allow voices from all to be heard.
In June of 2012 A'shanti took an extended leave of absence from DOL to serve as the first ever Director of Public Engagement for the Democratic National Convention Committee in Charlotte, NC. In running the Office of Public engagement, she and her team ensured that the convention was open and accessible to all Americans by conducting nationwide outreach and creating convention week activities that were open to the general public
A'shanti earned her Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science at the University of Nevada at Las Vegas and has begun graduate work in Industrial and Organizational Psychology. A native Nevadan, she is the recipient of several state honors and scholarships, and is proud to be a Truman Project Partner.
Jeremy Bishop Special Assistant
Jeremy Bishop is a Special Assistant to the Secretary, in the Office of Public Engagement. In his current role, his primary responsibilities include engagement with the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender community (LGBT), the disability community, people and families affected by HIV / AIDS, and also issues dealing with pensions and retirement.
Previously, Jeremy was Executive Director of Pride At Work, AFL-CIO, the constituency group for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender workers in the organized labor movement. During his tenure at Pride At Work, Jeremy negotiated union contracts to includes issues of importance to the LGBT community, including non-discrimination clauses, domestic partner benefits, transgender health benefits, and inclusive pension packages.
Before joining Pride At Work, Jeremy was Chapter Services Manager for Parents, Families, and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG). He assisted PFLAG's more than 500 chapter network with technical issues and traveled extensively around the country to perform trainings on LGBT issues.
A native North Carolinian, Jeremy received his Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and Religion at Wake Forest University in 2000 and in 2007, he participated in the Harvard University John F. Kennedy School of Government's Senior Executives in State and Local Government program.
Maya E. Goines Special Assistant
Maya E. Goines is a Special Assistant to the Secretary in the Office of Public Engagement. Ms. Goines portfolio includes, international violence against women, affordable health care outreach, and she is a part of the rules and regulatory rollout group.
Most recently, Ms. Goines served as the Department's White House Liaison. Previously, Ms. Goines served as the Democratic National Committee's Deputy Director of the American Majority Partnership. The American Majority Partnership team worked to forge and strengthen ties across core Democratic communities, on the basis of the values and vision we share. Through her work, Ms. Goines collaborated with every DNC department, the party's constituency caucuses, state parties, and allies in Congress and elsewhere to identify cross-cutting issues around which to build a proactive program of sustained outreach to and mobilization within Democratic communities.
In addition to being an advocate for African American values within the Democratic Party, Ms. Goines worked with the faith, youth, and grassroots activists to provide training, the tools and resources necessary to run effective campaigns. In addition, she planned and executed events and forums to ensure the African American point of view and values were heard in the Democratic Party.
Prior to working at the DNC, Ms. Goines was the executive director of the Maryland Democratic Party where she spearheaded the launch of the Women's Leadership Network and strategized with the state's central committees to achieve their 2008 political goals. From 2003-2007, Ms. Goines worked in the political department for the Service Employees International Union (SEIU). During her tenure, she implemented campaign plans, organized national political meetings for state and local councils, and worked in the field to successfully defeat California's ballot initiatives that harmed working families in 2005.
Ms. Goines started working in politics for a Member of Congress and in the DNC's training department for the 2002 elections. She received her Bachelor's Degree in Political Science and International Studies from Iowa State University and is a member of Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority Inc.
Ernesto Archila Special Assistant
Ernesto Archila is a Special Assistant to the Secretary in the Department of Labor's Office of Public Engagement, where his portfolio includes Latino outreach, counter-trafficking in persons and international labor affairs. Prior to joining the Secretary's staff, he served as a Special Assistant at the Occupational Safety and Health Administration and as a Workforce Analyst in the Employment and Training Administration. Mr. Archila holds a Masters in International Affairs with a focus on human rights from Columbia University and a B.A. in Philosophy from NYU. His professional experience includes working at the United Nations Development Programme in New York, working for a national non-profit workforce development intermediary, and engaging in grassroots community organizing in Colombia and the United States.