With a track record of high-impact advocacy wins, Perryman returns to lead the organization as it expands its reach
Washington, D.C. — Democracy Forward announced today that it has named prominent advocate and lawyer Skye Perryman as its new President and Chief Executive Officer. The move is a return to Democracy Forward for Perryman, who was a founding litigator of the organization in 2017. Perryman’s appointment comes as the organization enters a new phase of growth, reaching beyond the executive branch and building on its success in confronting unlawful threats to democracy and social progress.
“As we continue to see the basic values of our democracy under attack, Skye Perryman is the right leader at the right time for Democracy Forward,” said Marc Elias, head of the Political Law practice at Perkins Coie and Chair of the Board of Democracy Forward. “She is a successful litigator, effective strategist, and a coalition builder who is committed to taking on critical fights to advance social progress and democratic values. We are all thrilled to welcome Skye back to Democracy Forward to lead its next phase at a time when the stakes for our nation’s future could not be higher.”
Perryman brings a wealth of experience in both the private and nonprofit sectors, most recently serving as Chief Legal Officer and General Counsel of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, the nation’s premier organization of physicians dedicated to the health care of women, where she led a number of legal and policy initiatives to enhance access and equity in women’s health care.
“We must use all tools at our disposal to fight for the promise of democracy at this crucial moment. It is an honor to be rejoining the team at Democracy Forward as we expand the scope and reach of our work,” said Perryman.
Democracy Forward was founded in 2017 to combat corruption in executive branch policymaking and to fight vigorously in court on behalf of those harmed. The organization has used the law to successfully challenge bad actors and their abuses of power, shut down unlawful committees created for special interests, and expose unfair, unreasonable regulations that strip individuals and communities of crucial protections. Democracy Forward’s efforts helped disband unlawful government advisory groups (including one that sought to collect private information on individual American voters), reversed the rollback of healthier school nutrition standards for 30 million children, compelled collection of equal pay data, helped to reinstate more than $200 million in evidence-based teen pregnancy prevention grant funding, assisted in preserving the Affordable Care Act, and secured a first-of-its-kind court ruling that a Trump administration official had been unlawfully appointed, which led to the invalidation of policies harmful to asylum seekers, among many successes
Under Perryman’s leadership, the organization will continue to use the law to challenge abuses of power and threats to the nation’s future, including by expanding its legal work in the states and amplifying the voices of communities and individuals most affected by governmental action at all levels.
Perryman began her legal career at Covington & Burling LLP and later practiced at WilmerHale where she handled complex, high-stakes matters at the intersection of law and policy. Earlier in her career, she led programs to provide educational enhancements for underserved youth in central Texas public schools and was part of initial efforts to build coalitions between labor and environmental stakeholders supporting investment in renewable energy infrastructure.
Perryman holds a Juris Doctor with honors from the Georgetown University Law Center and a Bachelor of Arts magna cum laude from Baylor University, where she is a member of the Board of Advocates for the College of Arts and Sciences. She has received numerous accolades, including being named a Washington Rising Star by SuperLawyers for four consecutive years, a Top 40 Under 40 Trailblazer by the Leadership Center for Excellence, a Harry S. Truman Scholar, and receiving the Chuck F. C. Ruff Pro Bono Lawyer of the Year Award. Her work has been covered widely in the media, including by The New York Times, National Public Radio (NPR), National Broadcast Corporation (NBC), The Washington Post, The Houston Chronicle, and Teen Vogue.
Perryman succeeds Anne Harkavy, the organization’s founding executive director. “Under Anne Harkavy’s leadership, Democracy Forward was a critical force in upholding the rule of law. We are all grateful for Anne’s leadership and proud of the legacy that she leaves,” said Elias.
Democracy Forward is a nonprofit legal organization founded in 2017 to litigate challenges to unlawful executive branch action on behalf of organizations, individuals, and municipalities. The organization has taken 650 legal actions and reversed dozens of harmful policies. Democracy Forward is expanding its work, building on its success to confront unlawful threats to democracy and social progress. More about President and CEO Skye Perryman here.