Staff

Chase Thomas

Executive Director

phone: 480.532.1880
email: chase@betterutah.org

Chase joined Better Utah in January 2016 as our Policy and Advocacy Associate. He first started working with Better Utah as a Mary Alice Woolley Public Service Fellow from the BYU Law Class of 2015, a generous year-long fellowship from the BYU Law School, from which Chase graduated in April 2015.

During his time at BYU, Chase interned with the ACLU of Utah, as well as in New York City with the LGBT Project of the National ACLU. Chase was very involved at BYU as an editor on the BYU Law Review, chair of the Annual International Law and Religion Symposium, and the leader of the first-year mentoring program. He was also president of BYU Law’s chapter of the American Constitution Society—a national network of progressive lawyers, judges, and policymakers—helping contribute to a more robust discussion at BYU surrounding legal and policy issues affecting Utah and the nation.

Before moving to Utah for law school, Chase graduated with a degree in political science from Arizona State University. Although he was born and raised in Arizona, he lived in the Fort Worth, Texas area for two years while he served a mission for the LDS Church during which he learned to speak Spanish and gained an appreciation for the hardships immigrants face while living in this country without documentation.

Chase stepped into the role of executive director in August of 2018.

Katie Matheson

Communications Director

phone: 801.896.7295
email: katie@betterutah.org

Katie joined Better Utah in December 2017 as the Communications Director. She has a background in music, and graduated from Westminster College in Princeton, NJ in 2010 with a degree in vocal performance. Katie spent the years following her graduation teaching music, performing around the New York Metro area, running a business, and working with community groups to get young people involved in music.

In 2014, Katie and her husband moved to Utah to be with her family, and shortly thereafter had their first child. She was then brought on as Social Media Manager and Education Outreach Specialist with the Utah Philharmonic, a community orchestra based out of Riverton, while also performing occasionally and teaching music in Park City. In early 2017, Katie co-founded Utah’s CD4 Coalition, a citizen group focused on political accountability.

Katie’s community activism and organizing led her to Alliance for a Better Utah, and her passion for political accountability, communications, and creating a better community are what drive her work.  

Lauren Simpson

Policy Director

Lauren joined Better Utah in March 2018 as a Mary Alice Woolley Public Service Fellow from Brigham Young University Law School. She is a licensed member of the Utah State Bar.

While attending BYU Law, Lauren served as an editor on the BYU Law Review and performed legal research for professors through the BYU Law Library. She also worked as an extern for Justice Thomas R. Lee of the Utah Supreme Court. In 2017, she travelled to an immigration detention center in Dilley, Texas to volunteer with the CARA Family Detention Pro Bono Project, a nonprofit assisting women and children claiming asylum in the United States. There, Lauren prepared refugees from Central America and the Caribbean for interviews with asylum officers and drafted declarations for immigration appeals. She returned to Texas in 2018 as adjunct faculty to assist a new group of BYU Law student volunteers and continue working with refugees.

Lauren completed her undergraduate studies at BYU, where she studied Broadcast Journalism and Political Science. She covered Utah politics as a student reporter and volunteered for three years with Project Read, a nonprofit focused on adult literacy. She learned Spanish while serving the Latinx community as a missionary for the LDS Church in northern Los Angeles, California.

Kathryn Calderon

Political Coordinator

Kathryn joined Better Utah in 2020 as the Political Coordinator. She graduated from the University of Utah with a degree in Communication and two minors in Political Science and Spanish. During her time as a student, Kathryn worked on Ben McAdam’s Salt Lake County Mayor campaign where she focused on GOTV related outreach, and assisted with campaign communications. During her time as a student she spent a semester abroad in Spain where she had time to not only indulge in her love of culture, but refine her Spanish skills. She was also a member of the Governmental Relations Board at the University of Utah, a branch of student government that works on engaging college students in political affairs, such as voting. 

Before joining Better Utah, Kathryn was a Development Associate Intern at Mi Familia Vota, a nonprofit Latino organization that focuses on voter engagement, advocacy, and leadership development.  She additionally worked on Representative Suzanne Harrison’s campaign, interned for Action Utah during the Utah legislative session, and spent the summer interning for a Member of Parliament at the British Parliament in London. 

Pat Thompson

Technology Manager

Pat was born and raised in Salt Lake City, Utah and continues to love living here. He attended Catholic school all the way through high school, then went on to the University of Utah to study Film and Media Arts and Urban Planning. After graduating from college, Pat spent five years filmmaking, working on various projects for groups including Nike, New Balance, Jewish Family Services, Race Swami, and the Salt Lake City Marathon. Additionally, he helped complete a feature-length documentary on cow horse training in the western US titled Down the Fence that is currently available on Netflix. After finishing that film, Pat returned to the University of Utah to get a Masters of Science in Information Systems, graduating in December 2018. He’s excited to use all his skills and knowledge to play his part in helping to make Utah a better place for us all!

Jenny
Magaña

Digital Communications Associate

Jenny first started her college career at the University of Utah where she was a Diversity Scholar. There, she volunteered her time at Jackson Elementary which is when her interest in community service began. In December 2020 she will graduate with her BA in Graphic Design from Southern New Hampshire University. 

Jenny joined the Better Utah team in August 2020 as the Digital Communications Associate. Before joining, she interned for the Salt Lake City Mayor’s Office, under Jackie Biskupski, in the Diversity and Human Rights department. Following that, she was the Communications and Marketing Intern for Planned Parenthood Action Council of Utah.  

Jenny currently sits on the SLC Womxn’s March 2021 Leadership Committee as the Illustrator, and volunteers her time as the graphic designer for the Change the Native Mascot of Bountiful High School. 
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Join us for Better Utah's Moving Forward Virtual Fundraiser!

This year's event will be held virtually and will feature a conversation with Kate Kendell, Co-Interim Legal Director of the Southern Poverty Law Center and the former Executive Director of the National Center for Lesbian Rights.