Our Team


Ellen Hodgson Brown, Founder & Chair

PBI_Ellen_REV_400.jpgEllen Brown, J.D., developed her research skills as an attorney practicing civil litigation in Los Angeles. She is the author of 12 books, including the groundbreaking Web of Debt and The Public Bank Solution. In the latter book, Ellen traces the history and evolution of the current private banking system, showing how it usurped the power to create money from the people themselves, and how the people can take that power back through public banks operating in the public interest. Ellen has written over 200 articles, and originally served as Chairman and President. She has degrees from UC Berkeley and UCLA School of Law.




The Board of the Public Banking Institute



Rep. Pamela Powers Hannley, Vice Chair

Pamela Powers Hannley is a representative in the Arizona House of Representatives. Her campaign platform included sustainable economic development through public banking. Pam is also a progressive activist and a political blogger. She regularly writes about politics, economics, feminism, healthcare and medicine, and immigration for Blog for Arizona, the Tucson Progressive, and the Huffington Post. She and her husband Jim are co-directors of Arizonans for a New Economy, the group responsible for getting public banking on that state's legislative agenda. Pam is the current social media editor and former managing editor for the American Journal of Medicine. She has received 15 awards in communication or photography during her career. She holds a master’s in public health from The University of Arizona and a bachelors in journalism from The Ohio State University. An Amherst, Ohio native, Pam has lived in Tucson, Arizona for more than 30 years.



Nichoe Lichen

An adoption social worker by profession, Nichoe has spent much of her life in environmental, civil rights and economic justice work. In 2011, she helped form WeArePeopleHere! whose mission was to seek an antidote to plutocracy. In 2012 Nichoe introduced public banking to New Mexico as a means to regaining dignity, hope and economic democracy at the local level. She co-organized Banking on New Mexico, which hosted an international public banking symposium in Santa Fe in September 2014. Nichoe has served on the Executive committee of that organization, and coordinated the “Brass Tacks Team” which does technical research grounding public banking in facts and data. Her efforts, along with others, led the City of Santa Fe to commission a public bank feasibility study in 2015.




Public Banking Institute Program Directors and Coordinators 



Daniel Hicks, Director of Media Relations

Daniel Hicks' mission at PBI is to direct a modern media strategy that reimagines the press and its role in our democracy, and produce multimedia content that leverages the power of a digital world. Daniel is a professional journalist, economist, TV producer, world traveler and dual faculty member at the University of Miami. From 1988-2009, Daniel managed network coverage from Los Angeles for NBC News, NBC Today, NBC Newschannel, MSNBC and CNBC. He received Emmy nominations in 1997 (Heaven's Gate) and 2004 (Reagan's funeral). In 1998, he covered German elections from Berlin as an MSNBC correspondent through the Arthur F. Burns Foundation in Washington, D.C. In 2005, Daniel created CNBC's first corporate sustainability series sponsored by Toyota Motors, British Petroleum and former NBC Universal parent General Electric. During the 1990s, Daniel spent almost four years in Tokyo writing and editing for the English edition of Japan’s largest daily newspaper, The Yomiuri Shimbun. Daniel graduated from the journalism school at Columbia University in New York City and obtained degrees in economics, politics and financial accounting from UCLA. He relocated his global agency, Florida Sustainability Partners (FLSP), to Fort Lauderdale in 2011.  



Suzanne O'Keeffe, Communications Coordinator

Suzanne comes to PBI after many years as a public banking advocate and homeowner activist following the financial crash. Her latest efforts for public banking in Los Angeles included creating and hosting a city-wide Public Bank People’s Forum, which included creating a powerful short video that has been viewed thousands of times. Suzanne has used her media expertise to help mobilize numerous public interest and political campaigns, including most recently as part of a team that propelled a grassroots effort to create a Los Angeles public bank – a call that has now generated response from key members of the LA City Council. She has been a Director of Marketing and Public Relations for non-profit arts organizations, an independent web developer, filmmaker, and media consultant, and a core team member of influential grassroots activist groups based in California. She holds a masters in professional writing from Carnegie Mellon, a digital media certificate from Vancouver Film School, and BS in biology / psychology from Allegheny College. 



Cimbria Badenhausen, Engagement Coordinator

Cimbria has an MBA in Managing for Sustainability, and is a certified permaculture designer and trainer. Based in Central NY, Cimbria serves as a consultant and coach for individuals and companies who are interested in streamlining their systems, and creating pathways to thriving. Her model for life rests on the permaculture principles as a framework, and integrates financial permaculture, dynamic governance and the practice of Buddhism.

Cimbria sees the Public Banking Institute as illustrating many aspects of financial permaculture. It is a grass-root organization helping to create a stakeholder-guided model of exchange which supports economic growth for all.


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