Joan Blades


Joan Blades is the co-founder of, a grassroots progressive advocacy group with more than 3.3 million members. She is also a successful entrepreneur, the founder of Berkeley Systems, a tech company that, among other things, created the flying toaster screen-saver. In 2011, Blades co-founded Living Room Conversations (LRC) and works with Mark Meckler and others on the right to create meaningful dialogue between people of opposing views. Her goal is to engineer a more civil political culture that fosters common-sense approaches to solving urgent public policy problems. “We’re so far apart on some issues that it’s uncomfortable, because we’re going to stay far apart,” she says, “and yet, by getting to know one another we discover we share many concerns in common; concerns we can act on together.” Campaign finance, prison reform and energy policy are a few areas where they surprisingly find common ground.

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