Libertas Institute Staff


Connor Boyack, President
Connor Boyack founded Libertas Institute in 2011 and serves as its president. Named one of Utah’s most politically influential people by The Salt Lake Tribune, Connor’s leadership has led to dozens of legislative victories spanning a wide range of areas such as privacy, government transparency, property rights, drug policy, education, personal freedom, and more. A public speaker and author of 20 books, he is best known for The Tuttle Twins books, a children’s series introducing young readers to economic, political, and civic principles. A California native and Brigham Young University graduate, Connor lives in Lehi, Utah, with his wife and two children.
DJ Schanz, Vice President
DJ has owned and operated several successful businesses, including a medical records company and a political phone bank. An undergraduate of Brigham Young University, he received his MBA from the Thunderbird School of Global Management. DJ’s large network, entrepreneurial drive, and strategic mindset complement the work of Libertas and help build coalitions and increase our profile and policy success. DJ lives in Salt Lake City with his wife and four children.
Nichelle Aiden, Director of Communications
Nichelle’s diverse background includes acting, directing, writing, and journalism. In short, she is a storyteller, and uses her media experience to help Utahns understand the personal impact of public policies—how government overreach can negatively impact families, and how liberty can unleash personal growth and a meaningful pursuit of happiness.
Michael Melendez, Director of Policy
Michael oversees Libertas’ legislative and advocacy efforts. Prior to joining Libertas he was a legislative aide for a Utah state senator and the state government affairs manager for Waterford Institute, a digital education non-profit. Michael has also managed and worked on dozens of campaigns around the country, which included directing the Trafalgar Group’s nationally recognized polling operations in 2016.
Molly Davis, Policy Analyst, Criminal Justice
Molly is a policy analyst specializing in criminal justice. She is a senior contributor for Young Voices Advocates and a recipient of their 2019 award for excellence in advocacy. She is also a contributor to The Federalist. Molly’s writing has appeared in various news outlets including The Hill, Wired, Orange County Register, Washington Examiner, Salt Lake Tribune, and more. She graduated magna cum laude with a BA in political science and communication studies from Rocky Mountain College. Molly is also an alumna of the Charles Koch Institute’s fellowship program, and internship program.
Cristy Henshaw, Policy Analyst, Local Government
Cristy has an affinity for good systems, the exchange of ideas, Utah’s great outdoors and people. Her appreciation and affection for community are only second to her fondness for individual and property rights. Her history in city council and state politics as well as education allows for a unique perspective as a policy analyst. She is a graduate of Western Governors University with a degree in Elementary Education and Special Education. A former public school teacher, Cristy loves living in Highland, her “nerd” books, her outrageously fun family, Harmon’s salad bar, and her mountain bike.
James Czerniawski, Policy Analyst, Tech & Innovation
James was born in New Jersey and raised in New York. Prior to joining Libertas, he was a Program Coordinator for the American Institute for Economic Research. He earned his masters degree in economics from George Mason University where he was a Mercatus MA Fellow. He graduated from the State University of New York – Purchase with a bachelors in economics and American history. He is a travel enthusiast, a professional gamer, a cellist, an actor, a book worm, and a strong supporter for the ideas of liberty.
Catherine Hess, Director of Development
Catherine Hess was born and raised in Orem, Utah. A people person and relationship builder at heart, she has over 20 years of experience serving in leadership positions in a variety of community, corporate, and charitable organizations. She is a graduate of Brigham Young University with a degree in Human Development and Psychology. Catherine is committed to contributing to the wellness and happiness of Utahns. She is a world traveler, an outdoor adventurer and athlete, organizational expert and event planner, nutrition and exercise guru, culinary artist, musician, and mother to three beautiful children.
Amandah Hendricks, Grant Coordinator
Amandah has a background in both political science and event management. For the past several years, she has worked in the blockchain industry, and now with Libertas she spends her time cultivating relationships while championing her love for liberty and free markets. She enjoys all things candy, exercising and watching cartoons. Amandah currently lives in Springville with her three kids and golden doodle.
Elijah Stanfield, Creative Director
Elijah is illustrator of the Tuttle Twins children’s series that Libertas Institute publishes, and has been owner of Red House Motion Imaging, a media production company. He oversees the creative aspects of our work to convey powerful ideas with effective design. Elijah resides in Richland, Washington, with his wife April and their six children.
Katie Hague, Social Media Coordinator
Katie is an avid traveler, and studying foreign cultures and governments led her to develop a passion for the principles of a free society. She has been a freelance writer, education consultant, and social media manager, using her experience to help families find more freedom and fulfillment. A native of the Pacific Northwest, Katie is an unschooling mom to seven children on a ten acre farm in rural Kansas.
Ryan Mason, Director of Economic Content
Ryan is a graduate of American University where he was involved in various liberty focused organizations including Students for Liberty and Young Americans for Liberty. With a degree in economics and an internship for Praxis, Ryan now spreads free market principles through Libertas Institute’s youth education initiatives. When he’s not talking free markets, Ryan can be found playing and watching soccer.
Colette Wardrop, Executive Assistant
Colette is from Mesa, Arizona, where her background is in child development and working to meet behavioral and emotional needs of children and youth. She loves the opportunity to inspire and educate others on the principles of liberty and personal freedom with Libertas Institute. Colette currently resides in Provo and enjoys spending time playing music, reading books, and being outdoors with her husband.
Lynée Fife, Children’s Entrepreneur Market Manager
Lynée has been an active volunteer for 20 years—in the classroom, on the high school football booster club, with youth groups, and as an angel investor for each of her four children’s businesses. As a piano instructor, window washer, and maker of gourmet caramel apples, her children have learned invaluable lessons gaining real world experience. She joins Libertas to help other young entrepreneurs make their mark on the world. Lynée is an avid runner and lives in Herriman with her husband and kids.
Clifford Taylor, Operations Manager
Clifford has been a strong libertarian since his pre-teens, and left high school to homeschool himself. He entered college a year ahead of his peers and studied at BYU Idaho, later deciding to pursue a career outside of the traditional college system. Outside of his involvement with Libertas, he is working to become a storyboard artist.
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