Meet our Staff

Diane Fink – Executive Director

Diane Fink is the Executive Director of Emerge Maryland. She joined the founding organizing committee in September 2011 and in March of 2012 she was hired as the Executive Director. Since then, Emerge Maryland has become the fastest growing organization dedicated to helping women attain public office in the state.

Diane is a member of the Western Maryland Democratic Caucus, a Board member of the Frederick Community Action Agency and Secretary of the Board of the Friends for Neighborhood Progress in Frederick. She is also a member of the National Community Action Foundation.

Prior to joining Emerge, Diane worked as legislative staff in the Maryland General Assembly.

In 2006, elected by popular vote, she served two terms for a total of 8 years on the Frederick County Democratic State Central Committee. During that time she chaired the Candidates and Campaigns sub-Committee and edited and published the newsletter, The Banner.

Diane began working for local political campaigns in 2001. She worked at all levels from canvasser to manager, field operations director to consultant on federal, state, and local races.

She has two grown children and lives with her husband in Frederick County, Maryland.


Elizabeth Paul – Program Assistant

Born in Washington DC, Elizabeth grew up in rural western Maryland near Boonsboro. She earned her Bachelor of Arts from Virginia Tech. Many years later, she earned her teaching credential and Masters of Education from UCLA. Prior to teaching, Elizabeth worked in the Washington offices of United States Senator Charles McC. Mathias, Jr., a Republican, and Maryland Governor William Donald Schaefer, a Democrat. As a staff member to the U.S Presidential Commission on the HIV Epidemic during the Ronald Reagan Administration, she conducted research on community-based AIDS organizations throughout the country. She worked as a Senior Program Associate at the non-profit Getty Center for Education in the Arts, part of the J. Paul Getty Trust in Los Angeles for several years.

In more than 20 years of teaching, Elizabeth has worked with a wide range of students in Los Angeles and Frederick County, including 11 years at Frederick County’s alternative middle/high school working with students with significant behavior problems. She currently teaches 7th grade science at a middle school in Frederick.

From 2010 to 2014 Elizabeth served as Chair of the Washington County Democratic Central Committee until she stepped down to run for the House of Delegates in 2A against two Tea Party incumbents. She has also served twice on the Washington County Salary Study Commission, chairing the Commission in 2016.  In 2018 she ran for Washington County Commissioner, one of only two women out of 11 candidates. She is currently the Chair of Women At The Table, a bipartisan Washington County PAC determined to help more qualified local women get elected.

Elizabeth has served in a wide variety of leadership positions in her jobs, politics and her community. She served on the Board of Directors of the Frederick County Teachers Association and the Washington County Farm Bureau. Elizabeth was an elected Delegate to the Democratic National Convention in 2012 and again in 2016. Starting in 2016 she wrote a monthly political column for the Herald-Mail, Hagerstown’s local newspaper, for nearly 2 years. She is involved with numerous community organizations including the Daughters of the American Revolution.


Donna Penkova – Administrative Assistant