Piper Stege Nelson is a native of Austin, Texas. Prior to joining SAFE, she worked on Michelle Obama’s Let Girls Learn initiative, managing the partnerships and program stewardship. She previously served as Deputy Director of Annie’s List, a political action committee dedicated to increasing the number and success of women in politics in Texas; there she worked with the staff and board to support elected women and identify and train potential candidates. Prior to Annie’s List, Piper Stege Nelson was the Publisher of The Texas Observer, a nonprofit magazine telling the untold stories of Texas. Before that, Nelson worked for the National Democratic Institute in Washington, DC, a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization building democracy around the world. At NDI she served as the Senior Development Manager and worked with the women’s political participation team. There, she authored a training manual for women contesting the 2008 local elections in Sierra Leone and traveled to Freetown to train candidates, resulting in a 13% increase in the number of women elected to local office.
Piper also worked for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency; served on a number of Texas and New Mexico state political campaigns; and was legislative director for Texas State Representative Jessica Farrar. After graduating from Carleton College, she was awarded a Fulbright grant, then went on to earn her master’s degree from the LBJ School of Public Affairs at the University of Texas at Austin. She recently served on the Austin Commission for Immigrant Affairs and on the Lee Elementary PTA Executive Board, and currently serves as the Board Chair of AIDS Services of Austin. She and her husband love being in Austin with their two kiddos and dog, Astro.