Our Team

Embold Research is a team of data scientists and communications professionals with deep experience helping leaders translate data into actionable insights.

Embold Research is the nonpartisan, non-political unit of Change Research.

Nicole Bare, President and CEO

Nicole leads the Embold Research team, bringing a background in strategic communications for government, business, and nonprofits. Her track record includes driving record-breaking sales for a financial services organization, leading successful marketing campaigns for a global high-tech firm, and generating millions in publicity value for an online charitable event. She has worked closely with pollsters, creative teams, digital marketers, lobbyists, and PR pros to translate survey data into winning strategies.

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Robin Pressman, VP of Growth

Robin brings expertise in advocacy with a keen understanding of polling and data driven programs to Embold Research. Serving clients at Pressman Consulting, she provided a wide range of data driven strategies and project management. Prior to starting her firm, she served as Senior Associate at GQR, providing message development, targeting and polling expertise to numerous candidates and non-profit clients. She also served as Field Director for the National Environmental Trust and worked with organizations such as Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence and NARAL Pro-Choice America. Robin has worked on and managed electoral campaigns in New Jersey, Maryland, and Oregon. After more than two decades in DC, Robin, her husband and son relocated to Alameda, California. They love living on this small island in San Francisco Bay.


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Matt Merriman-Preston, Head of Growth Operations 

Dr. Matt Merriman-Preston brings expertise in strategic problem-solving, working with people, and business development to Embold Research. Prior to this role, he owned and operated Ampersand Consulting – a firm that provided a wide range of political services to candidates, elected officials, and organizations. Matt has worked with candidates in every branch of government from local to statewide levels, providing key support in dozens of victories. Matt has participated as an invited speaker-trainer to support women and young people running for office for many different organizations. He was elected to chair the City of Pittsburgh’s reapportionment advisory committee following the decennial census of 2011. Matt volunteers as a board member of Western Pennsylvania’s Planned Parenthood Action Council. Matt lives in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania with his wife and children. 

Kris Balderston, National Director

Kris has been in public service at the federal and state level for over three decades, serving governors and in senior positions in the US Senate, State Department, and the White House. He also worked in the private sector as the President of Global Public Affairs for Fleishman Hillard and created Balderston Strategic Partnerships to provide counsel to universities, corporations, and nonprofits.

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Kyla Ronellenfitsch, Product Manager

Kyla brings eight years of qualitative and quantitative research experience to the Embold team. She has designed action-oriented studies for a wide range of clients, including government, unions, pension funds and green energy. A committed life-long learner, she recently completed her Masters of Science in Analytics from the University of Chicago, and also holds Bachelors and Masters degrees from Carleton University in Ottawa, Canada.



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Jessica Mason, Analyst

Jessica joined Embold Research in 2022. She is passionate about utilizing data to craft meaningful stories and messages with impact. Before joining Embold, Jessica worked at Hart Research Associates, managing both quantitative and qualitative projects with the aim of providing actionable insights and effective communications strategies for a variety of corporate, political, and non-profit clients. She also created and managed messaging campaigns for advocacy groups and marketing firms. She graduated Phi Beta Kappa from Wesleyan University with a B.A. in The College of Letters, an interdisciplinary program for the study of literature, history, and philosophy from antiquity to the present. She is based in Washington, D.C., and enjoys hiking in her spare time.


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Trenton Marlar, Analyst

Trenton brings over five years of quantitative research experience to Embold Research. As a trained political scientist, he has leveraged survey data to explain the political attitudes and behaviors of individuals living in countries around the world. His strengths include survey questionnaire design, data visualization, and statistical analysis. Trenton recently earned a Ph.D. in Political Science from the University of Colorado Boulder where he researched the effects of economic inequality on citizens’ evaluations of democracy. He also holds a master’s degree from the London School of Economics and a bachelor’s degree from Oregon State University. Trenton currently resides in Colorado.


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Bharati Ganesh, Analyst

Bharati joined the Embold team in 2024. She previously worked at Impact Research, helping advance Democratic campaigns and progressive causes through comprehensive quantitative and qualitative research. Bharati is originally from New Jersey, where she has extensive experience polling and organizing. She graduated magna cum laude from Bryn Mawr College with a degree in Political Science, designing a conjoint survey experiment that assessed the impact of party cues in local elections as part of her senior thesis. Bharati is currently based in Washington DC and enjoys boxing, exploring museums, and searching for the best bagel in her spare time.

Embold Research is the nonpartisan unit of Change Research. Our methodology and polling have been featured in: