Rafael Shimunov

I’m an independent Creative Director who works with revolutionaries, union thugs, troublemakers, boat shakers and fist makers who defy, resist and persist to disrupt all manner of status no.

On teams, I’m typically a creative who rides with digital tech & tactics, or a digital lead with an artist in my side car.




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Rafael is amazing. Great vision, attention to detail, and he’s a stickler for getting things done. I’ve seen deadlines dropped at him at the last minute (not his own doing) and then witnessed him being able to crank out a product in no time. Someone you definitely want to work with!
Jeremy Rye
Program Officer for Immigration, Open Society Foundations
Rafael is a talented creative lead but also brings hard skills in technology and user experience. Most importantly, Rafael brings a zero-ego approach to teamwork, which is so essential in smaller teams/companies. When I worked with him at a startup, he quickly and seamlessly expanded his role to business analysis, marketing and just about anything where we needed help. Oh and he’s a ton of fun to work with!
Woody Chin
Chief Information Officer, Dillard's
Rafael is creative, professional, innovative, excited by possibilities, and a real self-starter. In the six months he worked for my organization, he no less than revolutionized our creative and technical capacity. He’s a team player, kind and funny as well – friendly and warm and a pleasure to have in the office.
Emily Harting
Director of Development & Communications, Literacy Partners
Rafael is a very talented strategist and implementer of large technology projects for large organizations. He was instrumental in taking PolicyLink’s technology strategy in a new direction that had enormous impacts on improving its online communications effectiveness. He brings a broad range of skill sets to his work.
Arnold Chandler
Principal and Co-Founder, Forward Change Consulting
Rafael is a creative and visionary designer and developer. He is a pleasure to work with and does not shy away from complex projects that take deep knowledge to understand and execute.
Erika Bernabei
Assistant Commissioner, NYC Department of Homeless Services
Rafael was a pleasure to work with. His commitment to going the extra mile and his passion for the work we were doing produced some of the best materials/videos/web pages/etc. we’ve ever had.
Jen Nessel
Communications Coordinator, Center for Constitutional Rights
Rafael is an absolutely fabulous employee–energetic, smart, warm, efficient, with a real can-do attitude. He is seldom flustered even by sudden and negative events. There’s no drama, just a “what do we need to do next” kind of attitude. I’m delighted to have him on my team.
Sandra Whisler
Chief Chief Operations Officer, PolicyLink
Rafael is one of the most creative and fun people I have worked with. His ideas are big and innovative and he really gets the intricacies of social justice movements.
Rebecca Landy
Program Manager, Human Rights Funders Network
I had the pleasure of working with him on several large-scale projects at PolicyLink, including the web and registration aspects of the Regional Equity Summit in New Orleans and the design, development, outreach, and roll-out of the Promise Neighborhoods Institute website. Rafael has an exceptional knowledge and command of database systems, web design, online technology. He impressed me with his ability to translate his expertise and communicate it effectively with a broad set of colleagues, many who did not have any technology background. He often gained buy-in about how these tools would contribute to our overall organizational strategy. His thoughtful questions and insights always improved our end product. Many of the systems and platforms he created continue to be useful to the organization today. As a team member, Rafael was very professional, thoughtful, easy to work with, always accessible, engaging, collaborative, and had a great sense of humor even in challenging times. I was continuously impressed with Rafael’s ability to handle fast-paced, high-pressure projects, often with competing deadlines. Any company or organization would be fortunate to work with Rafael – he has that winning combination of technical expertise, project management experience, and creativity.
Kay Fernandez Smith
Assistant Vice President of Programs, The San Francisco Foundation
Deputy Director, PolicyLink
Rafael is creative, skilled and thoughtful in his work. His experience and vision made a tremendous impact on the capacity and effectiveness of online communications strategy.
Ari Gluck
Director of Information Technology, Children’s Council of San Francisco
Rafael is a humble rockstar–that is, brilliant but unassuming–something that’s all too rare in the workplace. No swagger, no pretention, just a drive to put everything he has into getting the job done. I’ve seen Rafael manage sometimes-convoluted projects (and team dynamics) and take on near-Herculean timelines with the utmost professionalism and aplomb. Having worked on a small staff (about 10 people) with Rafael, I can also say that he’s a wonderful addition to any team: energetic, personable, thoughtful, always willing to pitch in and help a colleague with tasks large or small.
Katrin Sirje Kärk
Program Officer, Local Initiatives Support Corporation
I had the pleasure of watching Rafael evolve his skills from being a prodigious designer and conceptual technician to developing a keen sense of organizational strategy and how it related to ever-expanding arena of potential online applications that can boost a company’s profile, exposure, and perception with its target audience. While at PolicyLink, Rafael was forced to juggle multiple initiatives with interlocking objectives, overlapping audiences, and vastly different levels of technical aptitude from end-users. He navigated these complex waters with aplomb and grace, creating the basis for a number of Internet platforms used by the agency today. His combination of technical expertise, management proficiency, professional integrity, and personal humor is a rare asset for any entity to secure.
Dwayne Marsh
Vice President of Strategic Capacity Building, Race Forward: Center for Social Inclusion
Senior Advisor, U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development
Senior Director for Policy Engagement, PolicyLink
Rafael is an innovative, electric thinker who always comes to the table with new solutions to old problems. As a colleague, he was generous and open-minded, ready to both lead and support. As a person, he was similarly warm and eager to collaborate. Rafael would be a strong addition to any team.
Dan Lavoie
Deputy of Communications, Office of the New York State Attorney General
Director of Strategy, Freelancers Union
Deputy Communications Director, PolicyLink
Rafael was a creative adaptor of diverse research and advocacy campaigns into interactive web formats that channeled scores of volunteers into rebuilding efforts. He is also tireless and FUNNY!
Kalima Rose
Vice President for Strategic Initiatives, PolicyLink
He is dedicated, committed, fast, reliable, creative, and flexible. He is a visionary designer and developer who works with ease, has an incredible sense of humor, and creates works of art as final products.
Farzana Serang
Multicultural Fellowship Officer, The San Francisco Foundation
Executive Director, Cooperative Food Empowerment Directive
Rafael has a fantastic eye and is incredibly creative. His designs are bold, beautiful, and deliver the political punch that our work needs.
Ady Barkan
Director of Local Progress, Center for Popular Democracy
Rafael is a highly knowledgeable technician as well as a skilled manager. He was a pleasure to work with on the website for the Promise Neighborhoods Institute, a complex project with long term timelines. He is highly capable in coordinating multiple contributors and technology platforms into a single final product.
Daniel Blank
President, Bureau Blank