Ilyse Hogue is an expert in organizing and mobilizing grassroots support around social-justice issues, including human rights, media reform and representation, and reproductive freedom. She has been president of NARAL Pro-Choice America since February 2013.
“Advocacy and organizing are the things that have always made the difference. There’s no substitute for the power of working hand in hand to change minds and hearts, and bring our collective voices into the political sphere. That’s what we live and breathe here at NARAL.”
During her tenure at NARAL, Ilyse has pushed the conversation around abortion access to be one of fundamental human rights and self determination for women. NARAL has worked to be certain that reproductive freedom and family planning is part of the national discussion about how to support working women and families by connecting the dots between reproductive rights, economic security, and our nation’s prosperity. Under her leadership, NARAL and its members have made a mark on the fight for reproductive freedom around the country:
- A year-long campaign demanding presidential debate moderators #AskAboutAbortion resulted in a revealing discussion about abortion access between presidential candidates
- Winning candidates for U.S. Senate in Nevada, New Hampshire, Maryland, and California made reproductive freedom central to their campaigns in 2016
- Abortion rights supporters won a huge victory thanks to the Supreme Court’s ruling in Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt.
At the Democratic National Convention in 2016, Ilyse made history by sharing her own abortion story on the national stage, explaining that “it’s not as simple as bad girls get abortions and good girls have families. We are the same women at different times in our lives – each making decisions that are the best for us.”
Before her time at NARAL, Ilyse was a leader at a variety of progressive organizations, including MoveOn.org, Friends of Democracy, and Media Matters for America. At MoveOn.org, she served as the director of communications and political advocacy. During her time there, she used online engagement strategies to mobilize supporters around issues such as health care and financial reform and to get them involved in grassroots lobbying and federal elections. Prior to moving to DC, Ilyse was a program director that the Rainforest Action Network, which works to bring businesses more in line with ethical practices around human rights and the environment. Her work with the financial sector there was written up as a Harvard Business School case study after it led to the formation of the Equator Principles, the first ever collective commitment by private banks to subject lending practices to social criteria.
Ilyse regularly contributes commentary to news outlets such as the New York Times, CNN.com, the Nation, Cosmopolitan, and ELLE Magazine. She was featured as one of ELLE Magazine’s “10 Most Powerful Women in D.C.” and was named on Washington Life’s Power 100 list.
Ilyse has always taken an entrepreneurial approach to social justice co-founding the Center for Story-Based Strategy, which works to amplify the impact of grassroots organizing with new strategy and training resources, values-based communications and narrative campaigning and the Friends of Democracy PAC (now Every Voice) which seeks to eliminate the toxic influence of money in politics. She serves on the board of Bend the Arc: A Jewish Partnership for Justice and on the editorial board for the Nation magazine, the country’s oldest progressive news publication.
Ilyse holds a Master of Science in resource ecology management from the University of Michigan, where she studied the impact of resource constraints on politics and culture, and a Bachelor of Arts from Vassar College.