We are excited to announce that Taifa Smith Butler has been named the next president of Demos. Her term will begin in July 2021.
Butler is a visionary leader who brings more than 20 years of experience in strategic communications, public policy research, and data analysis in the public, nonprofit, and private sectors. She spent a decade advocating for children and working families at the Georgia Budget and Policy Institute, where she has served as president since 2015.
“Throughout her four years on Demos’ Board, Taifa Smith Butler has brought her policy expertise, vision for America to reach its full potential, and passion for serving others to our team. She simply has one of the greatest minds and one of the biggest hearts in this field. Taifa knows in order to uproot systems perpetuating the oppression of Black and brown people, we have to keep an ear to the ground and our eyes on the movement. Taifa is the perfect leader for Demos at this time.”
—Josh Fryday, Chair, Demos Board of Trustees
“Taifa Smith Butler is a visionary leader who brings tremendous experience to Demos. As a leader in public policy research and advocacy in Georgia, a fantastic partner and supporter of Demos on the Board, and as a friend and colleague in this work, she will bring so much to Demos and to the field as a whole. In this turning point moment for American democracy, Taifa’s voice and vision will be essential, and I’m so excited to see her lead Demos as a champion for an equitable and inclusive democracy.”
—K. Sabeel Rahman, Former President, Demos
“Taifa Smith Butler is a remarkable leader who brings an essential combination of seasoned economic policy expertise and lived experience to her work. After years of facing roadblocks at the federal level, our country now is in a moment of extraordinary policy opportunity. In order to seize that moment, Demos will need sharp thinking grounded in sound policy analysis and a vibrant spirit connected to the movement. Taifa comes to this role with both, and I cannot wait to see how Demos evolves under her leadership.”
—Heather McGhee, Trustee Emeritus and Former President, Demos
“Taifa’s leadership, people-centered vision, and commitment to advancing prosperity throughout Georgia has transformed not just GBPI, but the way our state thinks about policy. Under her guidance, GBPI became not only a top resource for policymakers, but for advocates and Georgians from around the state who understand that public policy must be used to improve outcomes for people. She will be missed at GBPI, but we are thrilled to continue her work to advance prosperity and an inclusive democracy in our nation at Demos.”
— Charles Johnson, Chair, Georgia Budget and Policy Institute
“Taifa has dedicated her life to creating a better Georgia, and I'm overjoyed that she will now bring the policy expertise she garnered while moving our state forward to Demos. She is a champion of working people who is fueled by the faith that everyone can achieve if we create pathways for them to do so. Every battle she has fought — and won — here in Georgia has prepared her to advance race-forward, movement-driven leadership as Demos’ president.”
—Tamieka Atkins, Executive Director, ProGeorgia
“As we travel down the road to recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic and the economic crisis that came with it, America needs leaders who are ready, willing, and able to call out injustice in all its forms and put forth bold, transformative policy ideas. Taifa Smith Butler is just that kind of leader. Her talent as a policy analyst is exceeded only by her tenacity as an advocate for working people. Indeed, Taifa joins Demos with a deep and abiding commitment to tackling the manifold crises our communities face today—from the COVID-19 recovery to racial inequity and beyond. After years of persevering and overcoming tough challenges in Georgia, Taifa is more than equipped to continue her life’s work as president of Demos.”
—Dorian Warren, President, Community Change
“Taifa is a visionary force with practical expertise who leads with intention and keeps community and equity at the center. Her fervent pursuit of economic opportunity for all Georgians is what we need realized across the nation. I am excited to watch Taifa continue driving that mission forward at Demos.”
—Otis Rolley, Senior Vice President, U.S. Equity and Economic Opportunity Initiative, The Rockefeller Foundation
About Taifa Smith Butler
After four years as a member of Demos’ Board of Trustees, Taifa Smith Butler will begin her tenure as president of the think tank in July 2021.
Butler takes on this role at Demos after nearly a decade at the Georgia Budget and Policy Institute, where, since 2015, she has led and inspired the GBPI team as its president and CEO. She is an established leader known as a problem solver and tireless champion for equity.
Taifa brings more than 20 years of experience in strategic communications, public policy research and data analysis in the public, nonprofit, and private sectors. Prior to joining the GBPI team as deputy director in 2011, she served as the policy and communications director for Georgia Family Connection Partnership where she co-managed the Georgia KIDS COUNT project and monitored public policy and its impact on children, families, and communities.
Named one of Atlanta’s 500 most powerful leaders in 2020 and 2021 by Atlanta Magazine, Taifa has served on various local, state and national committees and boards. Butler is a Class of 2017 Rockwood Leadership Institute “Leading from the Inside Out” Fellow, a member of the Leadership Georgia Class of 2016 and was a New Executive Fund fellow with the Open Society Foundation in 2015.
A first-generation college graduate, Taifa graduated from Mount Holyoke College and holds a master’s in public management and policy with a concentration in economic development and financial management from the Heinz School of Public Policy and Management at Carnegie Mellon University.