Sascha Burns, Political Strategist
Sascha is a political strategist and news commentator, frequently debating conservative pundits on MSNBC and the Fox News Channel. She delivers analysis on ABC, NBC, CBS and FOX affiliates, and on international news channels and news radio. She anchored the 2004 Democratic National Convention’s online political coverage, conducting primetime, off-the-podium interviews with the keynote speakers. She served on the Advisory Council of Senator John Kerry’s Presidential Exploratory Committee, as national advance staff for press operations on the 2000 Gore/Lieberman Campaign, and as a longtime lobbyist at Patton Boggs, the top-ranked public policy firm in the country. Sascha was also on the staff of United States Senator Sam Nunn.
Ben Carlson, National Marketing Communications and Branding
Ben has a long history of activism and service in LGBT and HIV/AIDS organizations, with a focus on marketing and communications. He coordinated media relations for the NAMES Project Foundation when the AIDS Memorial Quilt was displayed in its entirety in Washington, DC. He directed public relations for the San Francisco Lesbian/Gay Freedom Day Parade and Celebration, one of the world’s largest pride parades. He has written columns on HIV/AIDS policy and on media portrayals of LGBT people for the LGBT press. He was associate producer and on-air talent for Hibernia Beach LIVE on the top modern rock radio station in San Francisco, which at the time was the nation’s longest-running gay-hosted radio talk show. Carlson has also served as vice president for communications at two of the world’s most innovative biotechnology companies, where he mastered the art of crisis and issues communications. Ben has consulted on digital graphics, branding and Web site development. His “trustmark” for online privacy seal program TRUSTe is among the Web’s most familiar symbols. Ben holds a BFA from the Rhode Island School of Design.
Lisa has more than 25 years of marketing communications and public affairs experience on agricultural issues. She has served as vice president of public affairs for the American Seed Trade Association and as communications director for the National Pork Producers Council, the Animal Health Institute and the Biotechnology Industry Organization. Lisa has strong relationships with key organizations and opinion leaders in the production agriculture and food safety communities. In addition, she has a proven track record in issue and crisis management in multiple high-profile agricultural issues. As spokesperson for various clients, she has participated in numerous national print, radio, and television stories. Lisa graduated from Southeast Missouri State University with a degree in communications, and did post-graduate study at New York University. A native of the Missouri Bootheel, she retains an interest in her family’s cotton farm.
Mari Ann Donnelly, Design
Mari Ann has extensive experience creating powerful and appropriate solutions for a wide variety of clients in both small studio environments and at the major global ad agency Ogilvy PR Worldwide. She has a broad background in design, advertising, fine arts, print production and project management. She is featured in GRAPHIS Student Design 96, Creativity 31 and Letterheads Gone Digital by David E. Carter. She is the recipient of numerous design awards, including the Neenah Paper Award and the Art Directors Club of Metropolitan Washington Merit Award.
Dominic Frederico, Spokesperson Trainer/Video Production
Dominic is an Emmy-award winning television photojournalist who, as an independent cameraman, regularly works on news stories and documentaries for major network and cable TV programs, including ABC News, Good Morning America, Nightline, NBC Dateline, CBS Early Show, Tonight Show with Jay Leno, CNN, National Geographic Today, The Discovery Channel and PBS Health Diary. He covered the Democratic National Convention in Denver for national broadcast outlets, is covering the 2012 Presidential Election and regularly covers breaking stories for ABC and other national TV networks. He was a photojournalist with ABC News affiliate KMGH-TV in Denver for 10 years and Chief Photographer for CBS Affiliate KKTV in Colorado Springs for two. Dominic has been conducting spokesperson training with Pamela Avery for nearly a decade, and also has provided media relations consultation and training for FEMA. Dominic served as Aeromedical Operations Officer with the Medical Service Corps of the Wyoming Air National Guard and was stationed in Iraq. Dominic’s video production company, Appaloosa Productions, Inc., is certified as a Service-Disabled Veteran Small Business.
Hank is principal and creative director of Ampheta Creative, a graphic design and marketing communications consulting firm located in the Washington, DC area. His firm, founded in 2000, specializes in creating integrated cross-media marketing communications, including print collateral, print and Web advertising, tradeshow exhibits, interactive media and corporate identity development. The firm has a broad client base, including commercial, government and association accounts. His work has been recognized in Print magazine, and he received an Addy award for pro bono work done for the American Heart Association. Prior to starting Ampheta Creative, he worked as an art director for the Virginian-Pilot newspaper in Norfolk, VA, and as creative director for Reston Design Group in Reston, VA. Hank holds a BA in communication arts and design from Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond.
Gloria Pan, Internet Communications
Gloria conceived and organized Turner’s pro bono project, #Fem2. Her current full-time position is with MomsRising, although she will occasionally lend us her brilliance. Previous to joining Turner, she directed communications at The Media Center where, through the strategic use of Internet marketing and outreach, she helped transform a small, newspaper-industry-specific enterprise into an influential, widely recognized media thought leader. Gloria was editor of The Media Center’s morph blog and a driving force in its annual We Media conference, a must-attend event for the media vanguard. Before that, she managed communications for the American Press Institute. From 1991 to 2000, she resided in Tokyo, Japan. After completing a masters program in development economics at Sophia University, she became international editor and writer for The Nippon Foundation, the largest philanthropic organization in Japan. Gloria holds a BA in political economy from Barnard College and speaks Mandarin, Chinese and some Japanese.
Susan is the winner of the 2002 Best of Silver Anvil Award from the Public Relations Society of America for the broadcast launch of XM Satellite Radio, and of the 2003 Silver Anvil for the 911 volunteerism initiative, MyGoodDeed. A veteran public relations consultant with over 20 years of experience, she has generated high-profile media coverage for national campaigns, issues and groups that advocate for the environment, hunger relief, ending genocide in Darfur, healthcare, voting rights and disaster relief. Her management positions for media giants, including The Walt Disney Company and Universal Studios, have given her first-hand knowledge and special insight when developing strategies for successful national print and broadcast coverage. She has established long-standing relationships with key editors, reporters and producers in business, consumer and trade media outlets. Her clients have included Diplomats and Military Commanders for Change, United Animal Nations, the Royal Norwegian Embassy, the Permanent Mission of Norway to the UN, Feature Story News, the American Red Cross, Symantec, Iomega, E! Entertainment TV, “Entertainment Tonight” and many more. Susan holds a BA in cinema and communications from Hunter College in New York City.
Cliff is an author, pundit and public relations strategist whose firm Libertas, LLC handles media relations for political, corporate and non-profit clients. In 2008, his first book, The Real McCain: Why Conservatives Don’t Trust Him—And Why Independents Shouldn’t, was published by PoliPoint Press and became a political (#2) and non-fiction (#17) bestseller at Amazon. As founder and President of Libertas, he has counseled Mayors Against Illegal Guns (MAIG), Chaired by New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, and The Alliance For Climate Protection, run by former Vice-President Al Gore. Other clients have included IBM, The American Association for Justice (previously The American Trial Lawyers Association), Global Strategy Group, Andrews McMeel Publishing, LLC, and the Earth Day Network. Schecter was an analyst at polling firm Penn & Schoen in 1996, helping re-elect President Bill Clinton. As a political and media strategist overall, he has helped advise the Democratic National Committee and Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, as well as the campaigns of former Virginia Governor and current U.S. Senator Mark Warner, former New York Attorney General and Governor Elliot Spitzer, former Connecticut Democratic Senate nominee Ned Lamont and former Ohio Congressional candidate Paul Hackett, among others. Schecter’s been a lecturer for the U.S. State Department—delivering briefings on U.S. politics to diplomats, journalists and academics in countries such as South Africa, Australia, Romania and Malta. Schecter is a weekly columnist for Al Jazeera English, reaching almost 400,000 readers, 80% of which reside in North America. He is a contributor to The Guardian Online and Huffington Post. Previously, Schecter had columns syndicated nationally by United Press International and Knight Ridder Inc. Over the past decade, Schecter has been a regular guest on PBS, MSNBC, CNN FoxNews, BBC and NPR. Currently he is a regular panelist on Your Voice, a Sunday morning public affairs show broadcast on Fox and ABC in the Columbus, Ohio area.
Naomi has built her career on transforming talented people and organizations into powerhouses of influence. Her hard-hitting media strategies have consistently put her clients on the map over the past 20 years, in a career spanning both Coasts and the very different worlds of Washington D.C. and Hollywood. She has played a pivotal role in ending the careers of some of the most corrupt members of Congress, exposing front groups and the corporate interests behind them and systematically rooting out misinformation in the media. Naomi launched and directed the communications operations of Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) and Media Matters for America. Her hard-hitting media strategies have penetrated every national media outlet, including CNN, the New York Times, NPR, The Daily and The Daily Show. Naomi was the media force behind the defense of outed undercover CIA agent Valerie Plame Wilson and appeared briefly in Fair Game (2010), which portrayed Ms. Plame’s extraordinary journey. She has worked with high-profile actors from Kim Cattrall to Ellen Page to the stars of Criminal Minds, successfully advancing their advocacy efforts. Last year, she launched the ‘Rebuild The Dream’ Campaign Tour with Van Jones, Shepard Fairey and The Roots in New York City. Naomi has been featured on media including CNN, NPR, The Washington Post, the Los Angeles Times, Roll Call, The Hill, The Wall Street Journal, the Associated Press and writes for AmericaBlog. Naomi is a partner with the Truman National Security Network and has worked extensively on Capitol Hill. She is president of Seligman Consulting. She is a graduate of the University of Massachusetts, Amherst and the University of Sussex in England.
Richard has spent two decades in journalism and public affairs and is principal of the Sheehe Group, offering communications strategy, content and training. With specialties in strategic communications, media training and internal/workforce communications, Richard has served clients in healthcare, non-profit and academic sectors as well as the NIH, CDC, DHS, USDA, NTSB and other government agencies. A former national correspondent and news anchor for the NBC radio network and freelance reporter for The New York Times and the Associated Press, Richard served as assistant vice president for communications at George Washington University and director of strategic communications for the National Academy of Public Administration. He was also an adjunct professor and director of media relations at GW Medical Center, where he supervised the media response to 9/11 and the hospitalizations of anthrax victims and the U.S. vice president. He co-authored an HHS media guide on public health and developed crisis training curricula for the CDC. Richard is a training instructor at EEI Business Communications and president of Capital Area Healthcare Communicators, a professional development affiliate of the American Hospital Association.
Laura Williamson McCafferty
Laura Williamson McCafferty is an award-winning journalist and public relations consultant. She honed her writing skills at several daily newspapers, culminating with the Atlanta Journal-Constitution (AJC). Over the past 12 years, she has written for a variety of organizations, including the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, Environmental Defense Fund, World Wildlife Fund, American Diabetes Association, Joslin Diabetes Center, Scenic America, Porter Novelli, Scenic Maryland, Environmental Media Services, Science Communication Network, IQ Solutions, American College of Preventive Medicine, Green Seal and others. She has written and placed op-eds and advertorials in major national publications, including USA Today, the Washington Post, TIME, Newsweek, US News & World Report and Good Housekeeping. She has written correspondence signed by President Bill Clinton; speeches for the CEOs of the American Cancer Society and the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids; talking points for former Surgeon General C. Everett Koop and several Members of Congress. Laura earned her Bachelor of Arts degree at Georgetown University (Magna Cum Laude, with a certificate in Honors English), after spending a year abroad studying French literature at the University of Paris/Sorbonne. She also has a master’s in Journalism from the University of Maryland.