State Advocacy and Alliance Development, Bristol-Myers Squibb
Since launching his original business, CHRIS RUSSELL CONSULTING, in 2009, Chris has a proven track record of winning tough races.
Lead strategist and direct mail consultant for Rep. Tom MacArthur (NJ-3) in 2014, helping guide him through a competitive primary and general election in one of the DCCC’s early top national targets and the nation’s most expensive open-seat race. In 2016, we helped the Congressman romp to victory with over 60% of the vote.
Lead strategist and direct mail consultant for former Rep. Jon Runyan’s (NJ-3) first campaign in 2010, when he became the first challenger in 12 years to defeat an incumbent Member of Congress in New Jersey. Then helped Rep. Runyan win re-election in 2012, becoming 1 of just 17 Republicans nationally to win a district Obama also won.
Guided the campaign that helped Republicans notch their only pick-up in the New Jersey State Assembly in 2013, defeating a longtime incumbent in South Jersey.
Produced creative, hard-hitting direct mail for two targeted State House races in North Carolina, helping to earn victories in HD3 and HD49, with the latter being the only GOP pickup in a district that newly-elected GOP U.S. Senator Thom Tillis lost.
Managed the campaign and produced the direct mail for a Philadelphia-based mall owner and a local grassroots citizens group that overturned a century-old ban on liquor sales in a southern New Jersey suburb of Philadelphia.
Produced the direct mail for New Hampshire Executive Councilor Joe Kenney, who scored an upset victory in a March 2014 special election.
In 2015, helped first-time candidates Kate Gibbs and Ryan Peters knock off two Democratic incumbent County Freeholders in a county that President Obama handily won twice and where Democrats outnumber Republicans by nearly 30,000.
In 2016, served as the direct mail consultant for Congressman-elect John Faso (NY-19) and helped him score decisive victories in both a competitive primary and general election for an open house seat targeted by both parties and independent groups.
In 2016, served as a consultant and guided the direct mail efforts in three competitive New Jersey countywide races, and swept all three despite being drastically outspent in one and overcoming Hillary Clinton winning the other two by a double-digit margin.
In 2017, served as campaign and direct mail consultant for State Assemblyman Chris Brown, who convincingly won an open State Senate seat previously held by the Democrats – the only Republican pickup in the entire State.
A 1995 graduate of Temple University, Chris has won a combined 29 (and counting) Pollie Awards from the American Association of Political Consultants (AAPC) and Reed Awards from Campaigns & Elections Magazine for his creative work. He also took home the coveted “Rising Star” Award from Campaigns & Elections Magazine in 2008 as one of the Top 25 political professionals under the age of 35.
Chris serves as a strategic advisor to Members of Congress, Republican organizations, state legislators, and elected officials on the county and local level. He also advises corporations and issue advocacy groups in New Jersey, as well as nationally and internationally.
Chris currently serves as Chairman of the Temple University Political Science Alumni Advisory Board and as a Member of the Owl Club Board of Directors at his alma mater. Chris has consistently been named one of New Jersey’s top Republican consultants by both The Observer (PolitickerNJ.com) and InsiderNJ, as well as regularly appearing as a guest analyst on programs like NJTV’s On the Record and News 12 New Jersey’s Power & Politics.
Chris lives with his wife, Michelle, and daughters Emma and Alyssa, in Jackson, NJ.
Together, they founded the Caitlin Elizabeth Russell Foundation in 2006 in honor of their firstborn daughter, who passed away from complications of premature birth at the age of 4 months. Since its inception, Caitlin’s Foundation has raised more than a half-million dollars to help premature babies and their families.
As partner at Hamburger Gibson Creative, Kelly is a political media powerhouse, producing media and directing strategic messaging for environmental organizations, unions, candidates and campaigns from City Council to Senate races. Kelly was honored by with a Rising Star Award in 2014 by Campaigns & Electionsmagazine, and was named one of the American Association of Political Consultants’ 40 Under 40 in 2016. With more than a decade of experience making ads, Kelly is in her element on set, in the editing suite and in the situation room, helping campaigns win at every level. Her sweet spot is ads that reveal a candidate’s true character to voters and speak to their values. With a keen eye on the latest tools, trends and technologies for communicating a compelling and cohesive narrative, Kelly advises campaigns on how to navigate and employ digital campaign tactics that build buzz across the four-screens spectrum. Her engineering background and past work on the line in a steel fittings factory give her an eye for the authentic and an ability to solve problems on the fly. An accomplished skier, singer, mom and native Buffalonian, Kelly embodies a blend of wholesome Midwestern values with New York sophistication.
Heralded on the cover of The New Republic as the man who “reinvented campaigning,” Joe Trippi has been at the forefront of movement politics for nearly 30 years. Trippi began his political career working on Edward M. Kennedy’s presidential campaign in 1980 and has worked on numerous presidential, gubernatorial, senate, and congressional campaigns ever since.
Most recently, Trippi helped engineer a number of groundbreaking House victories for Representatives Tulsi Gabbard, Janice Hahn, Mark Takano, and Seth Moulton. In 2014, Trippi advised and produced media for Marine Seth Moulton in one of the most shocking come-from-behind House victories of the decade. The campaign overcame millions in outside spending to beat 18-year incumbent John Tierney in the primary and Richard Tisei in the targeted general election.
In 2010, Trippi was a senior strategist and media consultant in Jerry Brown’s successful run for California Governor. The campaign’s ads were described as “clever” and “amazing,” and they were widely considered some of best of 2010. TIME magazine named one ad, “Echo,” the best ad of 2010, and the Brown ads received four “Pollie” awards for excellence in political media.
According to The Atlantic magazine, Trippi’s influence on Democratic Party politics has been profound and lasting: “The small dollar Internet donor base attracted by Dean and flogged relentlessly by Trippi has transformed the party’s fundraising. Every single campaign uses Trippi-patented tactics to raise money. The men and women Joe Trippi cultivated in Dean’s staff have stormed the gates and occupy positions of power in major party and campaign offices.”
Trippi and his team pioneered the empowerment message and the online community tools that President Barack Obama used, which inspired a movement of supporters and has now become the basis for movement politics all around the world.
Trippi has an extensive international resume. In 1993, he worked for then-PASOK leader Andreas Papandreou’s successful campaign of Prime Minister of Greece, as well as for his son, George Papandreou in 2007. Trippi advised former British Prime Minister Tony Blair during his successful election. In 2006, he worked for Romano Prodi on his winning race for Prime Minister of Italy. In 2008,Trippi helped Morgan Tsvangirai and the Movement for Democratic Change receive the most votes, and helped garner international media attention to Robert Mugabe’s democratic subversion and violence which led to a ‘unity’ government and Tsvangarai becoming Prime Minister of Zimbabwe. In 2011, Trippi helped elect Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan.
In addition to his political work, Trippi has consulted with a number of leading non-profits and corporations including the Humane Society of the United States, the American Cancer Society, Best Friends Animal Society, Monster.com, Toyota, DaimlerChrysler, SES Americom, Corning, LabCorp, IBM, Lionsgate Films, BestBuy, and Wave Systems.
With 16+ years of experience in political media buying, Leah was one of the first political buyers to embrace digital media in 2012, when most campaigns chose to stick only to traditional media. She executed the first political addressable cable buy in New Jersey, and the first political addressable buy in the U.S. for Comcast. Recently, Leah planned and successfully executed a digital-only campaign for Rutgers University. Leah is also skilled in the creative, production, and direct mail process. Having worked for a small firm for most of her career, she is also well versed in how to run a business. Graduate of Rutgers University (B.A., Political Science, Journalism).
Laura has consulted for and trained progressive non-profits, political campaigns, and small businesses around the country for the past several years, specializing in online strategy development, organizing and outreach, fundraising, messaging, internet advertising and social media. She is a veteran of numerous political campaigns and organizations, including serving as new media director for the Bill Halter for Senate primary campaign – which used the Internet in innovative ways and raised over 3.5 million dollars online in 3 1/2 months. She served as the director of the Secretary of State Project national 527 in the remainder of the 2010 cycle.
At age 31, already a prominent political operative in New York State, Michael brings experience as a statewide Campaign Manager and State Party Executive Director to his new role as campaign consultant and strategist.
A New York native, Michael started his political career in 2008 on the Presidential campaign of United States Senator John McCain. He then spent four years at the New York Republican State Committee, including nearly two-and-a-half years as Executive Director, coinciding with a resurgence that saw Republicans take back control of the New York State Senate, elect seven new Republican Members of Congress, and make significant gains across the state with County Executives, District Attorneys, Sheriff’s, Clerks and County Legislators.
In 2014, Michael managed the underdog gubernatorial campaign of Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino against incumbent Andrew Cuomo. Despite being outspent $46 million to $6 million, Astorino earned kudos for running just 11 points behind Cuomo and winning 46 of New York’s 62 counties. Michael also advises Astorino in his role as Westchester County Executive, where he has been elected twice in a county Hillary Clinton won by 30% in 2016.
A 2009 graduate of Manhattan College, where he was named Valedictorian, Michael earned a degree in Business Administration, double majoring in Accounting and Finance. He earned induction into Beta Gamma Sigma and Epsilon Sigma Pi. While at Manhattan, Michael also served as President of Beta Alpha Psi, Chairman of the Dean of Business Student Advisory Committee, and a member of the Dean of Business Search Committee.
An avid New York Yankees fan, one of Michael’s first jobs was as a vendor at Yankee Stadium. In his spare time, Michael enjoys golfing, bike riding, and running. He also appears as a guest political analyst on NY1’s Road to City Hall.
A lifelong Rockland County resident, Michael lives with his wife Doina in Pearl River, NY, where he currently serves as town Chairman of the Orangetown Republican Committee.
Vice President of Advertising, Revolution Messaging
Loren Merchan serves as Revolution Messaging’s Vice President of Advertising, leading the Advertising team as they plan and execute award-winning ad campaigns.
With an MA in Advertising from the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications, Loren came to DC with a desire to “do good.” She joined Revolution Messaging after a stint at Discovery Communications and has been working with campaigns and advocacy organizations, like Bernie 2016, to make the world a better place ever since.
Certified in a host of advertising and social media platforms, including all five AdWords specialties and Google Analytics, her desire to use the best and most relevant tactics for progressive causes is rivaled only by her desire to eat nachos as often as possible.
Loren is an avid reader, enthusiastic baker, and possibly the only person at Revolution Messaging who is passionately pro-Oxford Comma.
I am the Founder and CEO of Turrency Political, L.L.C., a full service branding and political firm based in Nashville, TN. I am interesting in changing the political landscape in America through the avenues of Marketing, Advertising, and Branding. Democrats have to rebuild a strong brand to win!
Melissa Ryan is the Founder of Factual Democracy Project and the author of the Ctrl Alt Right Deleteweekly newsletter. She’s spent a decade leading digital campaigns for nonprofits and political races, including EMILY’s List, Barack Obama’s 2012 reelection campaign, the New Organizing Institute, and Senator Russ Feingold.
Ryan is an expert on the intersection of politics, media, and technology. She’s often called on by conference organizers and the press to speak on these topics.
Visit her website at melissaryan.net
I direct and implement strategies for building and mobilizing a national advocacy network, Speak Now for Kids, to engage parents, teachers, health care providers and others in support of children’s health. I provide direction and technical assistance to 200+ children’s hospitals in establishing, building and strengthening hospital-based child advocacy programs — including grassroots and grasstops advocacy. I also publish content for www.SpeakNowforKids.org, such as blog posts, advocacy tools and forums. I manages 10+ person teams through the Washington, D.C. Office.
Lauren Crawford Shaver joined Forbes Tate Partners as a Partner in January 2017. She oversees public affairs and the firm’s growing grassroots practice.
Prior to joining Forbes Tate Partners, Lauren served as the Director of Expansion States for Hillary for America. In this role, Lauren led efforts to build a Democratic infrastructure with state parties and candidates up and down the ballot – for 2016 and future cycles alike.
Lauren proved to be an invaluable member of the Hillary for America campaign. Before serving on Secretary Clinton’s 2016 presidential bid, Lauren worked in the Obama Administration as the Deputy Assistant Secretary for Public Affairs for health care at the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). At HHS, Lauren managed all campaigns and issues tied to the Affordable Care Act (ACA), Medicare, Medicaid, HealthIT, prescription drug pricing, health centers, and other health research.
Prior to HHS, Lauren was a consultant known for designing and executing effective grassroots and grasstops campaigns across a variety of industries, including, but not limited to: healthcare, finance, trade, and hospitality.
Lauren’s outside-in approach to grassroots efforts applies the tactics of political campaigns to legislative and public affairs settings. Lauren has directed several of the largest legislative public affairs campaigns in Washington – in fact, she has coordinated grassroots teams across all fifty states, and continues to meet and train additional teams to further expand her already remarkably talented network. Her work creates turnkey access for Forbes Tate Partners’ clients to deliver constituent responses to legislators at any time during any policy debate.
In addition to her consulting work, Lauren also held roles on the Hillary Clinton for President Campaign in Iowa, Nevada, and Washington in 2008, worked for Obama for America in Ohio, and drove priorities for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) in Illinois.
A born and raised Seattleite, Lauren received her Bachelor’s from the University of San Diego and received a Masters in Government from Johns Hopkins University, magna cum laude. She resides in Washington, DC with her husband and two bulldogs.
John Aristotle Phillips serves as CEO of Aristotle, where he has earned a reputation as an innovator, entrepreneur and valued advisor in the field of politics.
Mr. Phillips is a pioneer in the strategic applications of technology to politics and political communication. He has addressed the membership of the International Association of Political Consultants, the European Association of Political Consultants and the American Association of Political Consultants.
John graduated from Princeton University in 1978 with a Bachelor of Science in Aerospace Engineering. While at Princeton, Mr. Phillips received international recognition for his design, from publicly available documents, of an atomic bomb. He is the co-author of Mushroom: the Story of the A-Bomb Kid.
Michelle is an expert in the business of politics and is passionate about helping organizations in the progressive space thrive. With 15 years of experience in the industry and dozens of startups and campaigns under her belt, she knows what it takes to launch your inspiration to winning results. Michelle earned her MBA from the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth.
Tom Newhouse joins Convergence Media after two successful cycles at the NRCC as Digital Political Director and Digital Director. In those roles, Tom managed one of the largest digital teams in Republican politics. During Tom’s tenure at the NRCC, the Digital Department saw tremendous growth – including 67% increases in both online fundraising and digital advertising spending.
Prior to his time at the NRCC, Tom worked at Targeted Victory, a Republican digital strategy firm. While at Targeted Victory, Tom worked on a number of different clients, ranging from Super PAC’s to multiple Senatorial races to corporate and advocacy clients.
A proud graduate of Tulane University. Tom now resides with his wife Lauren in Alexandria.
Brian Franklin is President of Impact Politics and has provided marketing strategy, creative direction, language development, and writing services to over a hundred political campaigns, organizations, agencies, and corporations. He has led Impact Politics’ work for numerous federal, state, county candidate, ballot initiative, public advocacy, and non-profit campaigns, as well as ad development and online media strategy for international advocacy campaigns.
Brian’s work has earned prestigious national political advertising awards, such as Pollie Awards for Best Overall Internet Campaign, Best Overall Campaign Use of Negative Contrast, Best Use of Facebook Advertising, Best Use of Search Engine Advertising, Best Use of Humor in an Online Ad, Best Online Ads, and more. Brian has also won a Campaigns and Elections Reed Award for Best Online Targeting.
Brian is a Board Member of the American the American Association of Political Consultants and co-Chair of their Technology Committee. He is the author of numerous articles in Campaigns and Elections magazine as well as on political blogs.
In addition to his leadership role in the American Association of Political Consultants, Brian is also a member of the International Association of Political Consultants, Society for Consumer Psychology, Behavior Science and Policy Association and the International Society of Political Psychology. Additionally, Brian serves on the University of Florida’s Political Communications Advisory Council.
Joshua Habursky is the Founder/Chairman of the Grassroots Professional Network and concurrently the Director of Advocacy for the Independent Community Bankers of America. He is one of the most cited authors and speakers on advocacy, grassroots, and government relations communication topics.
Joshua has led grassroots advocacy campaigns for three national associations in transportation, healthcare and many other public affairs campaigns providing strategic communication services to trade associations, corporations and non-profit organizations. Joshua has been awarded recognition for being a young association innovator and for grassroots efforts in both the association and political campaign arenas.
Joshua is a regular contributor to Roll Call, Bloomberg, The Huffington Post, PR News, Campaigns & Elections, and The Hill on advocacy, grassroots, and political topics. Josh is also an adjunct professor in the Reed College of Media at West Virginia University teaching strategic communication and event promotion
courses and taught Campaigns & Specials Interests at Heidelberg University during the 2016 Presidential Election Cycle.
Joshua received his bachelor’s in political science from Washington & Jefferson College and a master’s in American government from Georgetown University and is currently pursuing a Certificate in Non-Profit Leadership from the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University.
Prior to founding Polis, Kendall was a consultant at Parthenon-EY where she advised the executives of multi-national corporations and Fortune 500 companies. She received her B.A. from Columbia University and attended the University of Oxford. Kendall has been featured in Forbes, TechCrunch, the Washington Post and the Boston Globe.
Stephanie D. Vance, also known as the “Advocacy Guru”, is the author of five books including Citizens in Action: A Guide to Influencing Government and the recently released The Influence Game. More information on her books is available on our books page. She’s a 25 year veteran of Washington, D.C. political scene and has held positions as a lobbyist, grassroots consultant and Congressional aide.
Stephanie’s experiences as a legislative director and Chief of Staff on Capitol Hill led her to found Advocacy Associates, a firm dedicated to helping individuals and organizations be both heard and agreed with in the legislative environment. To achieve that goal she provides in-person and online trainings for thousands of advocates around the world.
Ms. Vance holds a Master’s Degree in Legislative Affairs from George Washington University and a Master’s Degree in Liberal Studies at Georgetown University. She lives and works in Washington D.C..
Senior Data Scientist, Resonate
Daniel Scantlebury is a senior data scientist at Resonate where he works on the development, maintenance, and improvement of thousands of demographic, psychographic, and voter attribute models. He holds a PhD in ecology and evolutionary biology from the University of Rochester where studied phenomena occurring at continental spatial scales and time scales that far exceed human lifetimes – perspectives that have proved invaluable at Resonate where his models provide insights at scales ranging from the level of individuals to the entire nation. Some highlights from his time at Resonate include watching the Blue Wall crumble 30 days before the 2016 Presidential Election through algorithmic binoculars and elucidating the impact of the infamous “Comey Letter” on key constituents. His favorite projects, though, are collaborative, custom engagements where every day is beset by challenges and opportunities to develop new methods and reach new horizons.
Brent Comstock is an entrepreneur, rural economic developer, venture capitalist and
Since the age of 12, Brent has served as founder and CEO of the nationally recognized
company, BCom Solutions. In this role, Brent has served as the senior digital adviser for
local, state, and national political campaigns, and billion-dollar fundraising initiatives. He
is a nationally-recognized key leader for using broadband to connect rural America.
He used his company’s success as a platform to dive deeper into rural entrepreneurship
with the development of the Rural Impact Hub– a place for rural community
organizations to partner together and collaborate ways to support and strengthen rural
More recently Brent serves as principal of the venture capital fund, Change Ventures,
that invests in early stage Baltic-region start-ups. Brent is a graduate of the University of
North Carolina at Chapel Hill and Duke University where he was a Robertson Scholar.
Political Strategy Director, The Lukens Company
Tiffany Delgado is the Political Strategy Director at The Lukens Company. Since joining TLC in 2009, Tiffany has been instrumental in devising and implementing some of TLC’s most complex direct response programs. She is a multi-time Pollie, Reed, Goldie, and Maxi award winner.
Tiffany’s accounts have included the National Republican Senatorial Committee, 9/11 Memorial & Museum, and a host of Republican candidates up and down the ballot. In 2015, Tiffany moved to Houston to embed with the Cruz for President Campaign where she ran the low and high dollar direct mail programs, and oversaw the development of multichannel efforts that ultimately raised over $25 million and acquired 200,000+ new donors to the file.
Tiffany is a graduate of the University of Virginia and holds a dual Bachelor of Arts degree in Economics and Art History.
Tracy Dietz serves as the CEO of DonorBureau. Formerly, she was Executive Vice President of Sales & Marketing at L2 a leading provider of enhanced political data. Dietz grew the relatively small operation into a dominant force in the industry driving both revenue and new product development. During her tenure, Tracy was integral in expanding L2 to a national data provider and was a dominant force behind the development of L2’s online data and analytics platform.
During the 2016 election, Dietz was a fixture at the CBS News Decision Desk doing data analysis throughout the long primary season and on the night of the general election. Before L2 Dietz served as Associate Publisher of Campaigns & Elections Magazine, the trade journal of the campaign industry. She also headed the American Association of Political Consultants (AAPC) in the position of Executive Director.
Dietz was an AAPC 40-under-40 winner and one of Campaigns & Elections 50 Influencer’s changing the future of politics. She is also a past President of the Mid-Atlantic Chapter of the American Association of Political Consultants.
Tracy holds a B.A. in Political Science and Peace, War, and Defense from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. In her spare time, she follows her two daughters, Addison & Charley, to dance competitions and sporting events.
Jesse Contario is an Account Executive at Media iQ where he works with political campaigns, advocacy organizations and brands to achieve their digital media goals and deliver business insights that impact the bottom line. Leveraging Media iQ’s analytics and insights platform Contario assists political campaigns with their digital media outreach, helps non-profits and advocacy organizations capitalize on key moments to drive donations and engage their advocates and helps brands maximize their return on media investment.
Prior to joining Media iQ, Contario was part of Rocket Fuel’s Politics and Advocacy Practice in 2016 where he worked with candidates, causes and independent expenditures throughout the nation on their 2016 campaigns. Previously, Contario also served as a senior member of the political and public affairs team at Resonate, a data and analytics firm. There, Contario was primarily responsible for managing measurement and research solutions that leveraged audience insights and in-depth metrics to understand the impact of digital media campaigns, as well as designing media campaigns that addressed clients’ campaign goals. Prior to working in digital media, Jesse worked in political consulting as a pollster, conducting primary qualitative and quantitive research for candidates for offices ranging from United State Senate to city council, as well as trade associations, corporations, and issue advocacy groups.
Chris Wilson is CEO of WPAi, a research firm specializing in impacting behavior by integrating innovative predictive intelligence with advanced statistical and communications modeling.
As the Director of Research, Analytics and Digital Strategy for the 2016 Ted Cruz presidential campaign, Wilson is widely credited for playing a key role in Cruz’s triumph in Iowa. Wilson used a meticulous, technologically advanced and highly individual approach to reaching voters and predicting behavior based on ideological segments, personality types and the issues important to them.
Wilson’s political acumen and talent as a strategist has helped elect dozens of Republicans since 1996. Wilson has played an important role in every election since 1994, and brings that real-world experience to bear in analysis of the current political situation.
Prior to starting WPAi, Wilson was Global Director of Research for Weber Shandwick International, the world’s largest public relations firm at the time. While at Weber Shandwick, Wilson conducted market research for Fortune 500 companies such as like Coca-Cola, American Airlines, Kodak, Wells Fargo and Boeing.
In addition to his domestic political work, Wilson is also very active in international politics, having served as a strategic advisor on campaigns in Israel, Russia, England, Ukraine, Sri Lanka, Ghana, Nicaragua, and Turkey.
As president and founder of Ampersand Strategies, Josh draws upon expertise—honed over more than a decade in the trenches of political campaigns at every level of government—to position our clients at the forefront of their movements or the top of their industries.
In addition to his political work, Josh has worked with some of the nation’s leading corporations and most cutting-edge start-ups. He has managed large outreach programs for the Department of Defense and written for some of the biggest names in entertainment, advocacy, politics and the law.
After leaving the campaign trail, Josh served as regional political director for one of the nation’s most well-known grassroots advocacy organizations, training activists to make a convincing case for policy changes at the state and federal levels.
Through his breadth of experience, Josh has developed a unique understanding of the communications tactics that grow a cause into a movement. His grasp of the interplay between politics, policy and communications, and experience in the public, private and not-for-profit sectors sets him apart from others in the field.
Josh holds bachelor’s degrees in communications and public policy from Syracuse University and a Masters in Government Administration with a concentration in public financial management from the Fels Institute of Government at the University of Pennsylvania. He is a member of the American Association of Political Consultants and the Professional Speechwriters Association.