Publisher's Section

2024 Who’s Who in Government Relations

Notable New Yorkers advocating for change in city, state and federal government.

City & State presents 2024's Who's Who in Government Relations.

City & State presents 2024's Who's Who in Government Relations. MetroPlusHealth; Oaktree Solutions; Marc Levine

Elected officials play a leading role in writing the laws that govern the lives of New Yorkers, but it’s not done in a vacuum. Behind the scenes, coalitions, trade associations and other stakeholder groups advocate for members’ interests in the policymaking process. Hospitals, labor unions, real estate developers, nonprofits and other organizations dispatch government relations staffers – or hire experienced lobbyists – to persuade public officials of the importance of an outcome they’re seeking. Even within government, different levels and branches negotiate with each other on high-stakes matters. Indeed, a lot of how government works is through government relations.

That’s why City & State is bringing back the Who’s Who in Government Relations for a second straight year. This list features the key people you need to know who are shaping policies that affect New Yorkers in so many ways – from the expansion of health care coverage to the creation of more affordable housing. It includes individuals who are winning funding for clean water infrastructure and STEAM education, securing land use approvals in high-profile projects and grappling with pressing issues, such as combating hate crimes, navigating the migrant crisis and adapting to the advent of AI.

What unites these notable New Yorkers is a record of shaping policies all across the state.

Caitlin A. Anderson

Associate, Harter Secrest & Emery LLP
Caitlin A. Anderson / Super Source Media LLC

As a member of the government affairs team at Harter Secrest & Emery, Caitlin A. Anderson has a practice that revolves around providing informed legislative and regulatory advocacy and excellent client service. Anderson represents trade associations, businesses and not-for-profits before the New York state government, communicating client positions to members of the state Legislature, state agencies and the governor’s office. She is a member of the American Bar Association Business Law Section Government Affairs Practice Committee and earned a law degree, summa cum laude, from William & Mary Law School.

Recent accomplishments: Anderson prides herself on being a committed advocate for her clients’ priorities. From successfully advocating for increases in transit funding to advocating for the passing and signing of legislation extending New York brewery license durations, she diligently worked with her colleagues to provide optimal representation to HSE’s government affairs clients. In addition, Anderson was elected to serve on the board of directors for the Friends of Dyken Pond, which helps support the Rensselaer County Dyken Pond Environmental Education Center in providing outdoor recreation and youth development opportunities.

Cristina Freyre Batt

Senior Vice President, Federal Policy, Healthcare Association of New York State
Cristina Freyre Batt / Kate Penn

As senior vice president, federal policy, Cristina Freyre Batt oversees all of the Healthcare Association of New York State’s federal government relations and advocacy activity. Batt works with federal policymakers and HANYS members to advance the association’s legislative and regulatory agenda. Before joining HANYS, Batt served as vice president of federal relations for the Illinois Health and Hospital Association. She has previously held roles in the office of Rep. Eliot Engel, the University at Buffalo, State University of New York and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Recent accomplishments: In collaboration with the American Hospital Association and our delegation members, HANYS has successfully pushed for the delay of billions of dollars in impending hospital cuts; worked to secure much-needed one-time and sustained federal funding for hospitals and health systems, including improved Medicare reimbursement; extended policies to support access to behavioral health services; and helped New York hospital members as they pursue reimbursement for certain COVID-19 related expenses.

Congratulations to Mark Benoit for being recognized in the Who's Who in Government Relations List

Mark Benoit

Senior Executive, Geto & de Milly
Mark Benoit / Geto & de Milly

With over three decades in high-level positions in government and politics, Mark Benoit offers clients sophisticated expertise in strategic communications and government relations. He worked for then-New York City Mayor David Dinkins alongside friend and future Mayor Bill de Blasio, and served as aide to U.S. Sen. Harry Reid and chief of staff to New York City Public Advocate Betsy Gotbaum. Holding titles of campaign manager, communications director and finance director for campaigns locally and nationally, he managed state Comptroller Tom DiNapoli’s successful campaign prior to joining Geto & de Milly. A respected governmental and political voice, Benoit has been a familiar media presence, including on NY1’s Consultant’s Corner.

Recent accomplishments: Benoit is a leader on the team developing 100% affordable housing for client Grand Street Guild on Manhattan’s Lower East Side. Working closely with public officials and city agencies, he is advancing these vital projects in addition to ensuring productive collaboration with the tenants of the Guild’s existing 600 units. He provides effective guidance and strategic government and community relations services to key clients including Fortune 500's PepsiCo, the Howard Hughes Corporation/Seaport Entertainment, and Restoration Hardware’s retail and hospitality portfolio in the Meatpacking District.

Alexander L. Betke

Partner, Brown & Weinraub
Alexander L. Betke / Timothy H. Raab, Northern Photo

Alex Betke is an attorney and registered lobbyist whose expertise includes government relations and municipal law. This unique combination enables him to meet a wide variety of client needs by providing informed counsel and innovative solutions on a range of policy, regulatory and political issues. Betke is well-versed in the legislative process and has extensive knowledge of funding streams at all levels of government. He has represented industry leaders on complex proposals involving property casualty insurance, title insurance, workers’ compensation and medical malpractice insurance. Betke has successfully secured passage of, averted advancement or amended countless legislative initiatives.

Recent accomplishments: Worked with an upstate film studio to enhance the film tax credit for upstate productions during the state budget. Secured $17 million in bond allocation for an upstate housing project. Secured Restore New York grant for a municipal client in Rockland County. Worked to secure passage of legislation to allow municipalities to participate in a new workers compensation program.

Larry Scott Blackmon

CEO, The Blackmon Organization
Larry Scott Blackmon / Andrew Morales

Larry Scott Blackmon is the CEO of The Blackmon Organization, a government relations consulting firm. He also serves as chair of the board of the BBB Serving Metropolitan New York, as president of the New York Association of Chapters of Alpha Phi Alpha and on the board of 100 Black Men of New York. Blackmon served as a vice president at FreshDirect, and he’s a former deputy commissioner of several New York City agencies. He earned a bachelor’s degree from SUNY New Paltz and a master’s of public administration from Metropolitan College of New York, and he is a graduate of the John F. Kennedy School’s Executive Leadership program at Harvard. He is also a graduate of Northwestern University’s DEI program.

Recent accomplishments: Blackmon’s highlights include delivering a TED Talk on visionary leadership, being named as one of the top 100 Black leaders in New York, relaunching his new firm, as well as being the recipient of over a dozen awards for his leadership and accomplishments. He led the first Harlem Prostate Cancer Awareness walk in 2023, and secured the donation of food to thousands of New Yorkers.

Vanessa Bongiorno

Government Relations Director, Farrell Fritz PC
Vanessa Bongiorno / Farrell Fritz

Vanessa Bongiorno is a trusted and skillful adviser who represents clients in the public health, mental health, human services and education sectors. She has served as the government relations director at Farrell Fritz for six years. Throughout her career, Bongiorno has worked tirelessly on behalf of health care providers, patients, families, civil legal service providers, social services organizations, biotech companies and trade associations to help her clients develop and advance legislative and regulatory solutions to address their most pressing concerns.

Recent accomplishments: Bongiorno advocated for the establishment of a Department of Health Center of Excellence in Hospice and Palliative Care and for implementation of a statewide education campaign on advanced care planning. She has worked to improve access to vital services and supports for individuals with autism and their families. She has advocated for continued state investment in civil legal services, particularly to assist in eviction legal defense services. Lastly, Bongiorno has worked to advance improved health insurance coverage, streamlined prior authorization processes, access to genetic testing and innovative medical therapies, particularly for cancer, rare diseases, mental health and substance use disorder.

Joe Bonilla

Managing Partner, Relentless
Joe Bonilla / Konrad Odhiambo

Joe Bonilla is the managing partner for Relentless, a creative strategy firm with its main office in Albany. As managing partner, Bonilla oversees a team of communicators, strategists, creatives and counselors that work with companies, associations and public figures to move an issue forward; expand the awareness of a particular product, service or brand; or defend a brand in the public eye. A former communications director for Assembly Member Patricia Fahy, Bonila is also deeply involved with community organizations and is a co-founder of Motor Oil Coffee.

Recent accomplishments: Working with the New York Conference of Mayors on delivering more unrestricted state aid for municipalities to cities and villages; working to increase Bundy Aid and TAP for private colleges and universities with the Commission on Independent Colleges and Universities in New York; advocating for funding equity for the Coalition for Asian American Children and Families; and continuing to advocate to remove archaic, Prohibition-era laws and regulations on craft beverages in New York state.

Jerome Bost

Director of Government Affairs and Communications, IBEW Local 1049
Jerome Bost / Steve Gravano

Jerome Bost, the director of external affairs at IBEW Local 1049, leads government relations and strategic communications for the Long Island union, representing 4,000-plus members in the electric and gas sector. With over 15 years in government relations and public service, Bost is a veteran of Rep. Tom Suozzi’s office and also worked for the Suffolk County Legislature under then-Presiding Officer DuWayne Gregory and then-Clerk of the Legislature Jason Richberg. Bost also advises Pat Guidice, business manager for IBEW 1049. He holds a bachelor’s in government and politics with a minor in communications from St. John’s University, and graduated cum laude from Suffolk County Community College.

Recent accomplishments: Provided essential input to the legislative commission focusing on the future of the Long Island Power Authority, emphasizing the protection of IBEW Local 1049 members’ employment, benefits, collective bargaining rights and service quality. Coordinated and managed screening candidates and elected officials, focusing on labor policies and union priorities. Orchestrated IBEW Local 1049 member mobilization and strategic campaigns supporting Rep. Tom Suozzi’s recent election, amplifying union voices in political processes. Hosted a high-profile labor breakfast featuring Rep. Donald Norcross of New Jersey, former Assembly Labor Chair Latoya Joyner and state Sen. Mario Mattera, fostering dialogue on key labor issues and policy initiatives.

Jeffrey Cannizzo

Vice President, Government Affairs, New York Racing Association
Jeffrey Cannizzo / Provided

As vice president of government affairs at the New York Racing Association, Jeffrey Cannizzo represents NYRA’s interests in Albany and before communities across the state. A third-generation horseman whose family has been involved with thoroughbred racing for 50-plus years, Cannizzo has considerable experience advocating for the sport. Prior to joining NYRA, Cannizzo served as executive director of the New York Thoroughbred Breeders for over a decade. He was named to the Thoroughbred Times’ inaugural “40 Under 40” list and the Albany Business Review’s “40 Under 40” list.

Recent accomplishments: One of Cannizzo’s primary goals upon joining NYRA in 2019 was building support and advancing legislation to secure a new Belmont Park. He guided a multiyear campaign to secure a $455 million loan from the state to build a new, modernized Belmont Park. As the political strategist behind this effort, he successfully highlighted the sport’s significance to the state’s economy and culture to a diverse audience of lawmakers, community leaders and racing stakeholders to achieve one of NYRA’s most important victories.

James Carr

Director, Hinman Straub
James Carr / Paul Castle, Castle Photography

James Carr works as a member of Hinman Straub’s terrific team of government relations professionals based in Albany. Before joining Hinman Straub, Carr was president of Carr Public Affairs Inc., a lobbying, public affairs and association management firm, following tenures in the state Senate. He often represents clients working to protect the environment while also spurring economic growth in New York. Carr is an Albany native, and serves groups important in education policy, including the School Administrators Association of New York State and the 4201 Schools Association.

Recent accomplishments: One of Carr’s primary roles is guiding groups during the legislative session in Albany, and providing insight and strategy throughout the year. He is especially caring of schools serving children with low-incidence disabilities (blindness, deafness and severe physical disabilities), school leaders and their work, and linking companies with policymakers across New York. He continues to believe that knowledge, trust and relationships – old and new – are critical to the reasoned discussion of complex issues.

Kevin Chlad

Director of Government Relations, Adirondack Council
Kevin Chlad / Aimee Privitera

The Adirondack Park has combined wilderness and wildlife protections with vibrant human communities since 1892. For the past 49 years, the staunchest protector of the Adirondacks has been the Adirondack Council, an organization devoted to keeping the 6-million-acre park as wild and vital as when it was created. Kevin Chlad, the group’s director of government relations, has helped pass the Aquatic Invasive Species Prevention Act, the Randy Preston Road Salt Reduction Act and other measures, while highlighting the park’s role in combating climate change in his 10-plus years with the council.

Recent accomplishments: Chlad provided pivotal advocacy in the passage of numerous pieces of legislation in fiscal year 2023-24, including the ATV minimum age bill, which raised the age of unsupervised driving from 10 to 14 years old. He also helped secure key budget asks for the Adirondacks, such as the Survey of Climate Change and Adirondack Lake Ecosystems (SCALE) and the Timbuctoo Summer Climate and Careers Institute. SCALE provides an in-depth study of water quality and is crucial to state, federal and international science. Timbuctoo provides young adults from New York City with ideas for environmental careers and firsthand experience of New York’s natural wonders.

Yasmin Cornelius

Senior Vice President, Community Affairs, L+M Development Partners
Yasmin Cornelius / L+M Development Partners

Yasmin Cornelius, the senior vice president of community affairs at L+M Development Partners, is a dedicated leader committed to inclusion and public service. Her role in working with residents showcases her dedication to improving the lives of all the households in L+M’s portfolio. With experience in the private and public sectors, she brings a deep understanding of community engagement, government relations and housing finance. Leveraging her extensive networks, Cornelius advocates for residents’ needs and fosters constructive dialogue between the community and government stakeholders, supporting L+M’s objectives and ensuring access to essential services.

Recent accomplishments: In 2023, Cornelius and her team excelled as a key liaison between L+M, elected officials and residents, addressing community concerns and promoting harmonious interactions. She facilitated resident association elections and engaged officials to inaugurate resident leaders, fostering democratic participation. Her collaborative efforts included co-sponsoring events with government leaders, advocating for industry policies and securing essential resources for residents. Her strategic approach and foresight also stood out in building relationships and informing community stakeholders ahead of acquisitions. Cornelius’ 2023 highlights showcase her impactful role in community engagement, policy advocacy and resource facilitation, leaving a positive and enduring mark on numerous communities.

Shane Correia

Deputy Director of Government Relations, Center for Justice Innovation
Shane Correia / Center for Justice Innovation

Shane Correia provides strategic support to the Center for Justice Innovation and more than 30 teams spanning direct operations, research and technical assistance in government relations. Previously, Correia worked at the Bronx District Attorney’s Office, where he leveraged data to create efficiencies in arrest to arraignment time, case processing and support for victims and their families related to sexual assault, domestic violence and homicide. He has worked in local, state and federal legislative settings, as well as among various law enforcement and executive agency settings. He graduated with a law degree from Cardozo School of Law in 2013.

Recent accomplishments: In the past year, Correia has worked to support his colleagues on a multitude of issues ranging from increasing resources for mental health courts to understanding why youth carry guns to reduce gun violence. He also has managed key intergovernmental and community initiatives including responses to the migrant crisis.

Theresa M. Cosgrove

Director of New York State Legislation and Government Relations, Pitta Bishop & Del Giorno
Theresa M. Cosgrove / Pitta Bishop

Theresa M. Cosgrove is director of New York state legislative and government affairs for Pitta Bishop & Del Giorno. Managing the day-to-day operations at Pitta Bishop’s Albany office, she directs the group’s New York legislative communications and tracking systems, and assists with the representation of clients before the state Legislature and executive agencies. Cosgrove has drafted revisions to many New York state laws and has expertise in compliance with all of New York’s lobbying and campaign finance laws. She is a former legislative reporter for Cuyler News Service, and writes and edits the firm’s newsletter, This Week in New York.

Recent accomplishments: During 2023-24, in collaboration with several talented, dedicated government relations and government representatives, Cosgrove worked to implement an initiative increasing the number of behavioral health diagnostic professionals licensed to diagnose and treat people requiring mental health services. On implementation in June 2024, there will be 13,000 additional mental health professionals eligible to earn a diagnostic privilege, thereby increasing access to behavioral health services. I have been honored to lead our firm’s role with the team working to improve access to mental health treatment for more than 10 years.

Onida Coward Mayers

Chief Government Affairs Officer, Oaktree Solutions
Onida Coward Mayers / Oaktree Solutions

Onida Coward Mayers is the inaugural chief government affairs officer at Oaktree Solutions. She advises and provides strategy for an impressive portfolio of businesses and organizations. She served as the voter assistance commission agency head for then-New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg. Well-known for several New York City firsts, Coward Mayers launched NYC Votes; the New York City Youth Poet Laureate program featured in the 2021 presidential inauguration; and Voter Awareness Month, which inspired National Voter Registration Day. She executive produced and launched a New York City video voter guide and founded BCAT-TV. Her unique set of experiences and strong government profile previously led to her joining the MirRam Group as senior vice president.

Recent accomplishments: Last year, Coward Mayers launched her personal venture Comadre Communications LLC, integrating her expertise in media and communications with her connections in Black and Latino communities.

Carlyn Cowen

Chief Policy and Public Affairs Officer, Chinese-American Planning Council
Carlyn Cowen / Jeong Park

Carlyn Cowen is an advocate, activist and Filipinx American dedicated to building social, racial and economic justice through radical systemic change. As the chief policy and public affairs officer of the Chinese-American Planning Council, the nation’s largest Asian American social services organization, they oversee public policy, advocacy, government affairs and community engagement. Previously, they worked at FPWA, an economic nonprofit, and the New York City Mayor’s Office of Contract Services. They serve on the boards of Jews for Racial and Economic Justice, Advocacy Institute and Human Services Action.

Recent accomplishments: Cowen has been a part of campaigns that lift up AAPI, immigrant and low-income communities, as well as the human services workers who serve our communities. They helped win $30 million in state funding for AAPI CBOs, increased wages for home care workers and installed a 3% annual COLA for human services workers, alongside coalition partners and community members.

Kristen E. Curran

Director of Government Relations, New York State Catholic Conference
Kristen E. Curran / JP Elario

In her role at the New York State Catholic Conference, Kristen E. Curran advocates on behalf of the bishops of the Empire State to advance policies that pursue social justice, respect for life and the common good. As a devout Catholic, graduate of Catholic schools and mother of Catholic schoolchildren, the work is close to her heart. Curran is an attorney and has been a registered lobbyist for 12 years. She previously worked for Robert A. Ungar Associates, where she advocated on behalf of various labor unions. She is a graduate of Albany Law School and Siena College.

Recent accomplishments: Advancing the pro-life cause in New York can be delicate, but Curran welcomes the challenge and the broader conversation it can invite. To that end, she has spent the past year highlighting the need for an increased focus on maternal health, moms and babies, and struggling families. She proudly lobbies on behalf of Catholic Charities and the countless vulnerable populations that they serve every day in New York. She has also done a lot of work on other Church priorities, such as migrant aid and criminal justice reform.

Ruben Diaz Jr.

Co-Chair, Actum
Ruben Diaz Jr. / Actum

For over two decades, Ruben Diaz Jr. has championed a “New Bronx” agenda based on economic development, housing, education and public safety. Diaz first entered public office in 1997 as a member of the Assembly, where he served seven terms. In 2009, he won a special election for Bronx borough president, providing tens of millions in funding to projects like school technology upgrades, green roofs and boilers, park improvements and more. While Diaz was borough president, the Bronx saw over $18.9 billion in new development, including more than 45,000 new housing units and significant infrastructure improvements.

Recent accomplishments: Led by Partners Michael McKeon and Rachel Noerdlinger, along with co-chair Ruben Diaz Jr., Actum’s New York office has established itself as a go-to operator in the government relations, advocacy mobilization, special groups and political consulting space for a number of clients across the political, nonprofit and corporate spectrums. Just this year, Actum secured approval of a $68 million project for emergency beach repairs on Fire Island. Former Actum co-chair Tom Suozzi also won a special election for New York’s 3rd Congressional District after previously serving as the area’s representative for six years.

Samantha Diliberti

Vice President, Government Relations, JPMorgan Chase & Co.
Samantha Diliberti / Ali Garber

Samantha Diliberti is a passionate, action-oriented New Yorker with extensive experience in public policy, politics and community engagement. She is responsible for state and local government relations for JPMorgan Chase & Co. in five states, including New York. Her private sector experience includes leading government affairs for Starbucks’ Northeast division, lobbying for Fortune 500 companies, nonprofits and small-business owners, and serving as associate publisher for City & State New York. Samantha previously served on the teams of then-Gov. Andrew Cuomo and U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand. She is the founder of the civic engagement platform OrangeU Going and is currently pursuing a law degree.

Recent accomplishments: The most rewarding part of my role is working to improve the lives of New Yorkers. JPMorgan Chase has called New York City home for 225 years, investing in its residents, businesses, government and infrastructure. We are the city’s largest private employer with nearly 25,000 employees who serve millions of clients. As a longtime city partner, we bank thousands of public schools, have invested $4.8 billion in community development and financed the creation of 58,000-plus affordable homes. This past year, I watched the final steel beam rise on our new headquarters at 270 Park Ave., which will be the city’s largest all-electric tower.

Erin Drinkwater

Chief of Government Relations and Strategic Partnerships, MetroPlusHealth
Erin Drinkwater / MetroPlusHealth

Erin Drinkwater works with elected officials and other external stakeholders to advance MetroPlusHealth’s mission of providing public health insurance to New York City’s underserved communities. Previously, she was deputy commissioner of intergovernmental and legislative affairs for the New York City Department of Social Services. Drinkwater holds a bachelor’s degree in sociology, social and political policy and a master’s certificate in peace studies and conflict resolution from Duquesne University, as well as a master’s degree in urban policy analysis and management from The New School.

Recent accomplishments: Drinkwater's advocacy this year centered on increased health insurance coverage as well as increased resources for New York’s most vulnerable communities. Specifically, she has been advocating against proposed state budget cuts to Medicaid and the restoration of the Quality Incentive Program which directly allows MPH's providers to give the best care and coverage to its members. She is also championing increased coverage by supporting Coverage for All, which would expand health insurance coverage for New Yorkers regardless of immigration status, as well as legislation to allow continual coverage of children aged 0-6 in Medicaid and Child Health Plus.

Christopher Durosinmi

Director, Government and Community Affairs, Wildlife Conservation Society
Christopher Durosinmi / Terria Clay, Wildlife Conservation Society

Christopher Durosinmi, a lifelong Brooklyn resident, has dedicated his career to advocating for his community. As the New York City mayor’s community coordinator for the “Pre-K for All” initiative, he ensured eligible children enrolled by engaging stakeholders. Under the New York City Council, state Senate and New York City comptroller, he managed funding for 5,000 community-based organizations, addressed public housing issues and tracked legislation. As director of government and community affairs for the Wildlife Conservation Society, Durosinmi merges community organizing with his passion for environmental protection. He has led initiatives supporting wildlife conservation, education and workforce development – a field where more diverse representation is needed.

Recent accomplishments: Highlights encompass securing additional funding and increasing youth participation in the Wildlife Conservation Society’s STEM workforce initiatives, including the WCS STEM Lattice and SCI Network NYC. Collaborated with advocates and former Council Member Marjorie Velázquez to pass Intro. 559A, the “Skip the Stuff” bill. Utilized the Aquarium to host climate resiliency workshops with and for the community in aiding Coney Island’s preparedness for future climate events. Working with the Aquarium Conservation Partnership to develop and implement a Racial Equity Commitment across 27 aquariums nationally. Advocating within the cultural community to bolster funding and prevent cuts from the administration, City Council and state Legislature.

Kevin Elkins

Political Director, New York City District Council of Carpenters
Kevin Elkins / NYCDCC

Kevin Elkins has been the political director for the New York City District Council of Carpenters union for three years. Prior to that, he was the communication director for Staten Island District Attorney Michael McMahon in 2015. He later served as borough director of the New York City comptroller’s office and was district director and campaign manager for former Rep. Max Rose in his upset 2018 bid.

Recent accomplishments: Helped defeat then-New York City Council Member Charles Barron and led the fight to force Kristin Richardson Jordan out of office. Spearheaded the union’s legislative efforts to successfully pass the Wage Theft Accountability Act, which made wage theft a felony, and the LLC Transparency Act. Has been on the frontlines of passing a comprehensive housing package.

Wendy Perlmutter Finkel

Director of Government Relations, JCCA
Wendy Perlmutter Finkel / Cait McCarthy Photography

Wendy Perlmutter Finkel has spent over two decades working on behalf of New York nonprofits and government. As director of government relations at JCCA, her portfolio includes intergovernmental and legislative affairs, government funding, grant writing and licensing. A longtime advocate for children and families from underserved communities, Finkel previously held legal and policy positions at The New York Foundling, the New York City mayor’s office and the New York City Administration for Children’s Services. She holds both a law degree and master’s degree in public policy from the University of Chicago. She represents JCCA in multiple coalitions and advisory committees in city, state and federal forums.

Recent accomplishments: Since starting at JCCA in 2020, Finkel has successfully navigated the complexities of federal, New York state and local government relations to secure substantial support for children and families in marginalized communities. Recent achievements include leading agency efforts to enhance mental health supports for high-acuity children statewide and securing funding for mental and behavioral health, foster care, prevention and unaccompanied children’s residential services, substantially contributing to JCCA’s $110 million operating budget.

Chatodd Floyd

Senior Vice President, Greater New York Hospital Association
Chatodd Floyd / Emily Assiran

Chatodd Floyd joined GNYHA’s government affairs department in 2023. He is responsible for all state and local legislative and budget issues and leads GNYHA’s Albany advocacy efforts. Before joining GNYHA, Floyd spent over a decade in government serving as deputy secretary for legislative affairs to Govs. Kathy Hochul and Andrew Cuomo. Prior to those roles he served as deputy chief of staff to New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio. He earned a law degree from the University of Cincinnati College of Law and a bachelor’s in American studies from Emory University.

Recent accomplishments: Floyd left the governor’s office in October of 2023 and has been leading the Greater New York Hospital Association’s efforts to increase Medicaid rates in this year’s budget. The association and campaign are focused on reducing health care disparities and improving health outcomes for low-income, predominantly Black and brown communities. Hospitals across the state have been facing rising costs from contract labor to drugs, while Medicaid rates have been largely stagnant, leading to service cuts and closures primarily impacting underserved communities reliant on Medicaid. GNYHA is fighting to increase New York’s Medicaid reimbursement rate for hospitals to 100% of cost by 2028.

Jaime Franchi

Director of Communications and Government Relations, Long Island Contractors’ Association
Jaime Franchi / Long Island Contractors’ Association

Jaime Franchi joined LICA in 2022 as director of communications and government relations. She is an award-winning communications professional with experience in government, investigative journalism and media relations. Before joining LICA, Franchi served as government relations liaison for Island Harvest Food Bank, where she advocated for anti-hunger policies. Her prior experience includes serving as Suffolk County deputy communications director for strategic planning, associate public and media relations director at Long Island University, vice president for communications at CooperHill and executive editor at Morey Publishing.

Recent accomplishments: Franchi’s work was a critical part of the successful inclusion of the Suffolk County Clean Water Restoration Act passed in last year’s state budget. After being adopted by the Suffolk County Legislature for voter referendum this November, the act will add $8 billion to the regional economy over the next 30 years.

Drew Gabriel

Vice President, Intergovernmental Affairs, CAMBA
Drew Gabriel / Provided

Drew Gabriel has had the opportunity to work among talented individuals and become a vital part of helping New Yorkers access unprecedented opportunities, especially around employment and housing. Gabriel has worked in New York City and state legislative affairs to identify and mitigate the everyday challenges faced by New Yorkers. As a result, he has helped connect local stakeholders to critical programs and services that will spur and has spurred growth, ensuring every community has the necessary resources to thrive. Currently, he is the vice president of intergovernmental affairs for CAMBA.

Recent accomplishments: Over the past year, Gabriel has built out CAMBA’s infrastructure to improve constituent access to social services and addressing the needs of the migrant crisis while serving everyday New Yorkers.

Bill Gustafson

Senior Director of Government Affairs, New York State, Alzheimer’s Association
Bill Gustafson / Beth Smith-Boivin

Bill Gustafson is the senior director of government affairs for the Alzheimer’s Association in New York state, where he manages federal and state affairs as well as advocacy efforts and engages with volunteer advocates. Prior to working at the association, Gustafson was the Capital Region political action coordinator for CSEA, chief of staff to Assembly Member Didi Barrett and regional communications coordinator for the Assembly Democrats. He is a graduate of Nazareth University with a bachelor’s degree in political science, and resides in Slingerlands with his family.

Recent accomplishments: 2023 was a landmark year at both federal and state levels. At the federal level, we engaged in an access to treatment campaign. Since we are now in a new era of treatment for Alzheimer’s, it was critical that the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services understand how Medicare access to these treatments was imperative. We engaged our members of Congress and held a rally outside the New York City office of CMS, all in the name of access. In the summer of 2023, CMS revised its initial decision and authorized Medicare coverage. At the state level, we secured additional funds in the budget for dementia care and support services.

Kenya Handy-Hilliard

U.S. Government Relations Manager, McDonald’s Corp.
Kenya Handy-Hilliard / Jannah and Kiyanna Handy

Kenya Handy-Hilliard has been with McDonald’s for two years, transferring her government knowledge to interpret the language of business. She joined after a 2021 run for New York City City Council in the 40th District. Prior to that, Handy-Hilliard worked as the director of intergovernmental affairs and outreach at the New York City Department of Investigation; as intergovernmental affairs director for Brooklyn, Queens and Staten Island at the state attorney general’s office; as Brooklyn director for community affairs for the New York City comptroller’s office; and as a senior legislative aide to Rep. Yvette Clarke in Washington, D.C.

Recent accomplishments: Working diligently to introduce the great work that McDonald’s owner-operators have been doing to expand partnerships and pipelines for their employees, franchisees and local community colleges through their Archways to Opportunities educational assistance programs. This provides greater access for McDonald’s crew members and managers to help pay for college, learn English through ESL classes and/or get their high school diploma. Handy-Hilliard has been introducing McDonald’s operators as community stakeholders, highlighting their commitment and investments in their local communities, raising awareness and understanding of the benefits of the franchise model, which has actuated generational wealth across the globe – especially for franchisees of color.

Kevin Hansen

Head of Government Affairs and Policy, New York, Ørsted
Kevin Hansen / Ørsted

Kevin Hansen leads government affairs and public policy in New York state for Ørsted, a leading renewable energy company that develops, constructs and operates offshore and onshore wind farms, solar farms, energy storage facilities, renewable hydrogen and green fuels facilities and bioenergy plants. Prior to Ørsted, Hansen spent nearly a decade with New York state at Empire State Development, where he served as senior vice president and head of public policy. He has also worked in the Washington, D.C., mayor’s office and for the management consultancy Bain & Company.

Recent accomplishments: Led government affairs efforts to secure a successful new contract award and Final Investment Decision for Sunrise Wind, Ørsted's second offshore wind farm in New York state, which is expected to be the largest in the nation and power 600,000 Long Island homes when completed in 2026; Oversaw Ørsted’s legislative and policy positions and regulatory filings, represented Ørsted at conferences and events, and served on the steering committee for the New York Offshore Wind Alliance.

Camille Hastick

Vice President, External Affairs and Government Relations, Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce
Camille Hastick / Provided

Camille Hastick is a seasoned professional who graduated from Catherine McAuley High School, and then attended New York University and earned a bachelor’s degree in economics. She was also a participant in a fellowship at the Coro New York Leadership Center. Hastick was employed in various industries over the years and serves on the Brooklyn Navy Yard board of directors and is president of the Drs. Roy and Eda Hastick Family Foundation, set up to honor the legacy of her late father, Roy A. Hastick Sr., who was the founder of the Caribbean American Chamber of Commerce.

Recent accomplishments: A highlight from the past year has been joining the Brooklyn Chamber and continuing my passion advocating for small businesses. In this role at the Chamber it is leveraging my background not only in economic development but also challenging me to find my voice advocating for small businesses through policy and legislative issues in the city, state and federal levels. It’s a joy to see how my past has woven together to get me to the place I am today.

Tyquana Henderson-Rivers

Founder, President and CEO, Connective Strategies
Tyquana Henderson-Rivers / Cedric Wooten

Tyquana “Ty” Henderson-Rivers is the founder, president and CEO of Connective Strategies. With over 30 years in politics and advocacy, she is renowned for her expertise in brand-building and strategic positioning. As a registered lobbyist and MWBE-certified business owner, Henderson-Rivers has been instrumental in numerous successful political campaigns, including those of Gov. Kathy Hochul, Rep. Gregory Meeks and Queens District Attorney Melinda Katz. Her lobbying prowess extends to fostering common ground and sensible policymaking among diverse stakeholders. Notable clients include the Healthcare Education Project, FedEx and NYC Health + Hospitals, solidifying her reputation as a top organizer in New York.

Recent accomplishments: Over the past year, our accomplishments have been remarkable. We successfully launched the Faith-Based Initiative Division, fostering collaboration and community engagement. Additionally, our pivotal role in securing a significant victory in the Queens district attorney election showcased our commitment to justice and civic responsibility. Furthermore, our dedication to excellence was recognized nationally as we proudly clinched a prestigious 2023 REED award for Best State Legislative Website. These achievements underscore our unwavering commitment to making a positive impact and driving meaningful change in our community and beyond.

Dan Hendrick

Vice President, External Affairs, Clearway Energy Group
Dan Hendrick / Clearway Energy Group

Dan Hendrick has 20-plus years of experience in external affairs, communications and advocacy campaigns. Before rejoining Clearway in 2023, Hendrick was vice president of government affairs at REV Renewables, and he was previously head of external affairs East for Clearway. Hendrick also served as director of external affairs East at NRG, a Fortune 500 energy company. He is a U.S. Navy veteran, filmmaker and author. He was president of the New York Solar Energy Industries Association, a founding board member of the Coalition for Community Solar Access and most recently the chair of the American Clean Power Association’s East Region Committee. 

Recent accomplishments: In the past year, Hendrick has served as vice president for two massive renewable energy companies. From June 2023 through November 2023, he was vice president of government affairs at REV Renewables, where he led government relations for REV’s 2.8-gigawatt operating fleet and substantial development pipeline throughout the United States. Hendricks was then selected to serve as vice president of external affairs at Clearway Energy Group, the country’s fifth-largest renewable energy developer and operator with a 10 GW portfolio. In this role, he oversees government, regulatory and market affairs and external and internal communications.

Eric C. Henry

Head of Regulatory and External Affairs, Ocean Winds North America
Eric C. Henry / Charity Dos Santos

Eric C. Henry is head of regulatory and external affairs at Ocean Wind North America’s Bluepoint Wind project, where he leads communications, government and community affairs strategies that support Bluepoint’s business and permitting objectives. Before Bluepoint, Henry led New York City government affairs for a broadband provider, and prior to that, he served as general counsel to the New York City Mayor’s Office of City Legislative Affairs and as the inaugural general counsel and director of intergovernmental affairs to the New York City Department of Veterans’ Services. Henry got his start in government affairs at the New York City Council and the New York Botanical Garden, where he is currently a member of the board of trustees.

Recent accomplishments: Prior to Ocean Winds North America, Henry led broadband affordability campaigns to bridge the digital divide for income-constrained New Yorkers, which was realized through the Big Apple Connect program which provides free cable and broadband to NYCHA residents. His work at OW NA is focused on cultivating meaningful relationships and partnerships between the Bluepoint Wind project, overburdened communities, tribal nations, mariners and governmental agencies. The Bluepoint Wind project, once fully built, will reduce an estimated 5 million metric tons of CO2 from the atmosphere per year and power up to 900,000 homes with clean energy.

Jason M. Hilliard

Government Affairs Director, The Building & Realty Institute of Westchester and the Mid-Hudson Region
Jason M. Hilliard / Provided

Prior to his current role, Jason M. Hilliard held multiple positions in the political sphere. He worked for U.S. Sen. Amy Kobluchar’s presidential campaign as both deputy national political director and director of strategic planning for South Carolina, and he served as the director of policy and legislation in the state Senate. In addition, he was the Queens borough director for public affairs for then-New York City Comptroller Scott Stringer and executive director in the office of Rep. Gregory Meeks. Hilliard’s military background is also notable, as he is a veteran of both the U.S. Army and U.S. Air Force.

Recent accomplishments: Advanced legislative that require the elimination of any illegal restrictive covenants prior to the sale of real estate which would specifically perpetuate housing discrimination by forbidding sales on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, familial status, marital status, disability, national origin, source of income or ancestry.

Sam Hoyt

Founder and President, Upstate Strategic Advisors
Sam Hoyt / Yves-Richard Blanc

Throughout his career, Sam Hoyt has played an active leadership role on legislative, budgetary and regulatory matters across New York state. Hoyt is an experienced government professional, having served in the Assembly for nearly two decades, as the regional president of Empire State Development under Gov. Andrew Cuomo and as the regional director of the Western New York office for then-U.S. Sen. Daniel Patrick Moynihan.

Having served in both the legislative and executive branches of New York state government, Hoyt has the firsthand experience, knowledge, relationships and insight to advance projects and issues with important policymakers and leaders.

Recent accomplishments: Hoyt has helped clients successfully navigate the legislative and executive branches of government at both the state and local levels. As a boutique firm that focuses primarily on issues impacting Upstate New York, Upstate Strategic Advisors can develop and execute government relations strategies for their clients while giving each client constant, direct access to the founder and president of the firm.

Kara Hughes

Senior Adviser, O’Donnell & Associates
Kara Hughes / Don Pollard

Kara Hughes has more than two decades experience in public policy and government relations at the federal, state and local level. She specializes in helping corporations and advocacy groups translate broad policy goals into real world action. Hughes is senior adviser and head of the New York City practice for O’Donnell & Associates, which she joined after three years as senior vice president and executive vice president at Kasirer. Her government experience includes working as acting director of city legislative affairs for the mayor, senior adviser for city, state and labor affairs at the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, and director of economic development for then-U.S. Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton.

Recent accomplishments: Hughes developed and executed a successful strategy, working in partnership with New York City, to establish its first ever policy for the use of drones. With a leading global light show company, Pixis, Hughes worked with the Adams administration on a one-of-a-kind public-private collaboration for the first drone shows in New York City, with Pixis designing and executing bespoke stories in the sky, to celebrate the 50th anniversary of hip-hop. Together, through this collaboration, we brought the best of this groundbreaking technology to the people of New York with four separate drone light shows in Manhattan, Queens, Brooklyn and the Bronx.

Francesca Iodice

Research and Policy Analyst, Urban Strategies
Francesca Iodice / Prestige by Lifetouch

Francesca Iodice is a distinguished public affairs practitioner as well as research and policy analyst at Urban Strategies, where she focuses on stakeholder engagement, coalition-building and advancing strategic data-driven narratives through comprehensive policy analysis. Her deep understanding of New York’s political and regulatory environment is drawn from her legislative experiences in the state Senate and New York City Council. Iodice’s expertise in navigating complex regulatory and policy matters makes her a key advocate for businesses and organizations in New York.

Recent accomplishments: Over the past year at Urban Strategies, I have played a pivotal role in enhancing the well-being of our city and its communities. Leveraging my expertise in research, data analysis and stakeholder engagement, I’ve actively engaged in initiatives that raise awareness of substance abuse and the fentanyl overdose crisis, promoted advancements in weapons detection technology, and significantly bolstered support for foster children through strategic partnerships with nonprofit organizations. This work not only aligns with my professional goals but also underscores my deep commitment to tackling pressing issues and driving meaningful change for New Yorkers.

Kimberly Ireland

Director of State Government Relations, National Grid
Kimberly Ireland / National Grid

Balancing sustainability, affordability and reliability are at the core of the advocacy effort of Kimberly Ireland, National Grid’s New York director of government relations. Experienced at both the state level and managing some of the company’s largest and most complex customer relationships, she has a unique perspective of how policy and meeting customer needs intersect. Recently, Ireland has been discussing the company’s statewide efforts to deliver a more modern and resilient energy grid through the largest transmission investment in National Grid history, called the Upstate Upgrade. From Buffalo to Montauk, National Grid provides electric and or gas service to 4 million customers.

Recent accomplishments: In 2023, her team championed legislation approved by both houses to promote and inform state policy in preparation for the growing use of electric vehicles and the need for utility infrastructure to support charging. Additionally, they worked and celebrated with customer-focused organizations AARP and PULP at the signing of a new law to streamline the application processes for utility customer assistance programs.

Joe Jankowski

Government Relations Director, Suffolk AME
Joe Jankowski / Chuck Fazio

With 20-plus years of experience, Joe Jankowski has established himself as an advocate and leader in the public and private sectors. Since breaking into government as an intern for then-U.S. Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, Jankowski has had the privilege of working in Congress and the Assembly, as well as for national, city and regional nonprofit organizations, guiding them through the legislative process, nonprofit regulation and major development initiatives. As government relations director for Suffolk AME, one of the state’s largest independent labor unions, Jankowski currently serves a pivotal role in guiding workforce initiatives and policy through state and local government.

Recent accomplishments: Along with a coalition of stakeholders, Suffolk County is in the process of accomplishing a goal that has been decades in the making, the establishment of a subwatershed wastewater plan and unified sewer district. With legislation moving through the Senate and Assembly, Suffolk AME and its partners look to secure short- and long-term union employment and raise the quality of life for Suffolk residents, small businesses, and the economy as a whole. Joe has brought AME’s voice to the table through county and state legislatures and the Executive Chamber and will continue to advocate for advancement of this imperative agenda.

Pakhi Kane

General Manager, Avoq
Pakhi Kane / Provided

Pakhi Kane has over 15 years of experience within the government, private and nonprofit sectors of New York City. Her understanding of the political landscape of the city is extensive, having worked closely with and for elected officials on both sides of City Hall, within the mayor’s office and the New York City Council, and in executive leadership roles in both the private and nonprofit sector. Kane’s work is widely known and trusted among city and state government leadership, elected officials, nonprofit leaders and community members throughout New York City.

Recent accomplishments: Kane is grateful to be part of the truly stellar public affairs/strategic communications team at Avoq and excited for the year ahead.

Kyle Kimball

Vice President, Government Relations and Community Engagement, New York University
Kyle Kimball / New York University

Kyle Kimball, a member of New York University’s senior leadership team, joined NYU as vice president for government relations and community engagement in 2023. Prior to NYU, Kimball was the vice president for government relations for Con Edison. He was also previously appointed as president of the New York City Economic Development Corp. by then-Mayor Mike Bloomberg, and later reappointed by Mayor Bill de Blasio. Prior to his time in government, Kimball worked in investment banking for Goldman Sachs and JPMorgan Chase & Co. He earned a bachelor’s degree from Harvard University and a master’s in public policy from Harvard Kennedy School.

Recent accomplishments: Kimball has strengthened relationships with NYU’s community and civic partners near its Village, Union Square and Brooklyn campuses. This has included negotiations with the NYC School Construction Authority to save the Morton-Williams grocery store, helping NYU take a leading role in a clean energy future, and developing government partnerships in AI, science and technology. Kimball serves on several boards including the Regional Plan Association, the Center for an Urban Future, Prospect Park Alliance and the New York State Regional Economic Development Council.

Julian Kline

President, Kline Public Strategies
Julian Kline / Sheena Kim

Julian Kline has successfully managed campaigns and advocated on behalf of various clients in New York for 12 years, including associations, nonprofit service providers, cultural institutions and Fortune 500 companies. After recently serving as head of policy at Tech:NYC, he launched Kline Public Strategies, which specializes in advocating on legislation, regulations, budget allocations and reputation-building efforts for clients across New York state. Kline has built strong relationships in government and civic life throughout New York by serving as a trusted advocate and leading crucial campaigns, including for New York’s Green Light Law, housing voucher reform, infrastructure projects and LGBTQ+ organizations.

Recent accomplishments: In late 2023, Kline launched a boutique government and community affairs consulting firm based on his knowledge and experience from working with a wide range of clients for over a decade, and after leading policy and government relations efforts at Tech:NYC. Kline Public Strategies is serving clients in the tech and nonprofit sectors, providing a driven and energetic focus on client success. At Tech:NYC, Kline worked to advance proactive policy efforts, weigh in on various issues impacting New York City’s tech ecosystem, and continue to expand the tech industry’s presence with government stakeholders in New York City, Albany and Washington, D.C.

Matt Kudish

Matt Kudish / NAMI-NYC

Matt Kudish is the CEO of the National Alliance on Mental Illness of New York City, or NAMI-NYC, helping families and individuals affected by mental illness build better lives through education, support and advocacy. Kudish is a leading, respected voice in the mental health field. Notable media coverage includes The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Thrive Global, CBS, CNN, ABC7 New York, NBC New York, NY1 and more. Kudish cultivates partnerships with leading hospitals, health agencies and nonprofits to address the city’s mental health crisis. He has also increased access to mental health support through NAMI-NYC’s one-of-a-kind programs for communities of color.

Recent accomplishments: Leading voice and advocate for family support and preventative community-based mental health in New York City and in Albany; advocating against the city’s involuntary hospitalization directive and police violence against people with serious mental illness; leading the innovative emergency room survey informing transformative change for people with serious mental illness and their families in New York City hospitals.

Sharon Levy

Senior Vice President, Public Affairs, YMCA of Greater New York
Sharon Levy / Melissa Maxwell

Although Sharon Levy started at the YMCA over 20 years ago, she spent nearly 15 years playing various roles at all three levels of government. At the YMCA, Levy's goal is to increase access to the programs New Yorkers need to thrive. Whether it’s increasing seats in after-school programs; pre-K and preschool for 3-year-olds for new Americans; building more Ys in Queens, the Bronx and Brooklyn; or increasing voter registration and civic engagement activities, Levy has prioritized access. Sharon has a bachelor’s from Queens College and a master’s in public administration from NYU’s Wagner Graduate School of Public Service.

Recent accomplishments: Highlights from the past year include securing federal capital funding for the next two new YMCA facilities in Queens and Brooklyn, increasing government support for YMCA programs and services, elevating the importance of aquatics programming in New York City and supporting the Y’s work in serving the city’s growing immigrant community.

Dan Lowenstein

Senior Vice President of Government Affairs, VNS Health
Dan Lowenstein / Provided

Leading government affairs for VNS Health, New York’s largest and most established home- and community-based health care organization, Dan Lowenstein advocates for solutions to support the growing number of New Yorkers aging in place or living with disabilities. He has advocated for equitable, cost-effective health policy solutions for most of his career. Fun fact: Lowenstein got his start as a reporter for City & State Publisher Tom Allon. He met his wife, Wendi Paster – former chief of staff to retired Assembly Health Committee Chair Richard Gottfried – when Lowenstein worked for Gottfried and Paster worked for Ruth Messinger in the early 1990s.

Recent accomplishments: Lowenstein and the VNS Health government affairs team (working with many others) played key roles in recent New York state initiatives to support seniors and people with disabilities. These include restoring quality incentive funding for managed long term care plans, ensuring adequate funding for MLTCs serving people with the most complex needs, securing funds to raise home care worker wages, and making it easier to integrate services for people enrolled in both Medicaid and Medicare.

Jen Manley

President, Park&K Public Affairs
Jen Manley / Amy Mayes

Jen Manley believes that everyone deserves a voice in government and proudly works with nonprofit and cultural institutions to raise theirs for the greater good. She co-founded Park&K Public Affairs five years ago after working in New York City government and communications for over a decade, including as a reporter and editor, for then-Mayor Mike Bloomberg and helming government relations at the Queens Library. She has been recognized in City & State’s 40 Under 40 and by the Obama White House as a Champion of Change. Manley lives in Brooklyn and serves on the boards of Urban Librarians Unite and the Brooklyn YWCA. 

Recent accomplishments: Park&K is a boutique firm that invests in our clients long term. I am pleased to now offer PR and social media support to our clients – a key to smart advocacy. We have also seen several multiyear capital projects come to fruition this year, with significant help from our allies in government, including a center for immigration legal aid in the Bronx and a new medical school on the southern coast of Puerto Rico, funded with CDBG. I am especially proud that our work in Puerto Rico is expanding, with a new San Juan office and team member.

Vincent Marrone

Founder and Manager, Public Strategies LLC
Vincent Marrone / Provided

Vincent Marrone has worked in public policy, politics, community organizing and advocacy since 1986. He worked for then-Assembly Member Richard Gottfried and the Assembly Health Committee for six years. Marrone has since led government relations efforts in several government and nonprofit settings, including the AIDS Institute of the state Department of Health, and for the Drug Policy Foundation and the After School Corporation at George Soros’ Open Society Institute. Marrone founded Public Strategies LLC in 2001. He grew up in Syracuse, is a graduate of Cornell University and resides in Westchester County.

Recent accomplishments: Led efforts in to enact legislation to protect New Yorkers with medical debt and establish a task force to address the crisis of missing and murdered women and girls of color, secured funding to help those struggling with student loan debt, and helped cannabis retailers organize their efforts to focus administrators and legislators on the many challenges facing them.

Lesley A. Massiah-Arthur

Associate Vice President for Government Relations and Special Assistant to the President, Fordham University
Lesley A. Massiah-Arthur / Provided

Possessing an impressive background in government and community affairs, Lesley Massiah-Arthur has distinguished herself as one of the leading advocates for higher education in New York – often working behind the scenes to improve the lives of New York’s college students while securing millions for Fordham University priorities. A City & State Above & Beyond Award for Outstanding Women in Public Service awardee, Massiah-Arthur holds degrees from SUNY Albany and Fordham, professional certificates from Yale University and the University at Michigan and is an American Council on Education Fellow. She begins doctoral studies this summer at The University of Pennsylvania.

Recent accomplishments: While completing her ACE Fellowship, Massiah-Arthur continued to successfully develop advocacy efforts and policy positions to promote Fordham as a thought leader, a strategic and agile institution which promotes holistic and personal development. In addition to advocating for the full restoration of higher education funding cuts, she also wrote and shepherded several successful grants for Fordham, including a $5 million Higher Education Capital Matching Grant for the university's McShane Student Center and grants for the university’s differently-abled students. Finally, Massiah-Arthur brought her 9-year-old daughter, Leighton, to the Governor’s Mansion to celebrate the women’s suffrage movement. Leighton was impressed!

James McMahon

Partner, Elk Street Group
James McMahon / Maureen Frazier, TLM Associates LLC

James “Cadillac” McMahon has lived and worked in Albany for over 30 years. He graduated from the State University of New York at Oneonta, where he studied literature and aerodynamics. In 1988, Assembly Member Peter Abbate gave him his start in government and in 1991, he joined the staff of the Assembly’s Program and Counsel Office. While moonlighting to make ends meet at Yates Street Café, he met Maggie Boepple, who offered him an opportunity to work at her highly regarded and remarkably successful Lobbying Firm on Elk Street. In 1998, he volunteered to drive then-Rep. Chuck Schumer whenever he visited Albany during his campaign for U.S. Senate.

Recent accomplishments: McMahon had numerous highlights this past year. He was instrumental in getting his older brother Michael McMahon reelected as Richmond County district attorney; he has recently learned how to play the harmonica; plus, he just finished reading “Dracula” by Bram Stoker and Melissa DeRosa’s “What’s Left Unsaid.” He also set the table for a smart and strategic merger between TLM Associates and the Elk Street Group. The Elk Street Group, headed up by Diane Frazier and Andrea DeBow, is the first certified MWBE lobbying firm in New York state.

Brette McSweeney

Managing Director, Bolton-St. Johns
Brette McSweeney / Bolton-St. Johns

Brette McSweeney joined Bolton-St. Johns in 2021 and focuses on advising nonprofit clients on building stakeholder engagement and developing successful policy advocacy strategies. For nearly two decades before that, McSweeney led Eleanor’s Legacy, the statewide women’s political organization working to elect pro-choice Democratic women to state and local office across New York state. In 2017, McSweeney was a professional fellow of the American Council of Young Political Leaders. She received a master’s degree in international affairs from Columbia.

Recent accomplishments: She is a member of the Advisory Council of the ERA Coalition, a diverse coalition working towards passage of the Equal Rights Amendment and a more equal future for all.

Jimmy Meagher

Policy Director, Safe Horizon
Jimmy Meagher / Drew Brown, Safe Horizon

Jimmy Meagher has been with Safe Horizon, the nation’s largest nonprofit victim services organization, for over 15 years. After graduating from Haverford College in 2008, Meagher joined the organization as a client advocate in the Brooklyn Criminal Court Program. Since then, he has moved into increasingly responsible roles and now works within the Government Affairs Office. He obtained his MSW from the Silberman School of Social Work at Hunter College in 2013. He now uses his years of direct service experience and his social work background to advocate for the organization’s legislative, budget and policy priorities.

Recent accomplishments: Fair Access to Victim Compensation (Meeks/Myrie), which will expand access to victim compensation to many more survivors across New York state who choose not to report their victimization to law enforcement; Rape is Rape legislation (Cruz/Hoylman-Sigal), which will more closely align our laws with the lived experiences of sexual assault survivors; successfully advocated alongside coalition partners for state funding to make up for a critical loss of federal Victims of Crime Act funding for victim assistance programs.

Haeda Mihaltses

Director, Government and External Affairs, Sterling Project Development
Haeda Mihaltses / Marc Levine

Haeda Mihaltses brings over three decades of experience in New York City and state government to project development at Sterling. She worked in then-Mayor Mike Bloomberg’s administration for three terms, where as director of intergovernmental affairs she oversaw budget, legislation and land-use approvals. She led the Hurricane Sandy relief efforts on Staten Island. Previously, Mihaltses served 15 years at the New York City Council, becoming the first female Finance Division director. Following her career in government, she joined the New York Mets as vice president of external affairs. Mihaltses serves on the board of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority and is board chair at St. Michael’s Home.

Recent accomplishments: Mihaltses is handling the approval process for Willets Point and NYCFC Soccer Stadium. She is leading entitlement with state agencies at Belmont Retail Village in Nassau County. She chairs the New York City Transit Committee on the MTA board, which held hearings on congestion pricing.

Annie Minguez Garcia

Vice President, Government and Community Relations, Good Shepherd Services
Annie Minguez Garcia / Cristóbal Vivar

Annie Minguez Garcia is responsible for collaborating with staff on advocacy efforts and mobilizing around efforts impacting the human services sector throughout the city as well as state. Minguez Garcia is a member of New York City Mayor Eric Adams’ inaugural Nonprofit Advisory Council, a steering committee member of the Campaign for Children, the Fostering Youth Success Alliance and the Coalition for Community Schools Excellence and the coordinator of the Learning to Work Coalition. She serves on the Wildlife Conservation Society as a designee of New York City Comptroller Brad Lander and on the boards of the Good Shepherd Volunteers and the National Advocacy Center.

Recent accomplishments: Minguez Garcia exemplifies a unique blend of community-mindedness, compassionate leadership and insightful knowledge of systemic complexities that distinguish her in the government relations sector. Her commitment to championing community voices is an inspiration to us all.

Gregory Mitchell

Senior Associate, RG Group
Gregory Mitchell / Alan Rosenberg, RG Group

Greg Mitchell is a senior associate at RG Group, a government relations firm representing innovative clients of all sizes in New York City and New York state. He represents clients in the technology and innovation, consulting, telecommunications, construction, energy and real estate sectors. With expertise in legislative and budget processes, land use, procurement and government relations, Mitchell provides a well-rounded perspective and guidance to clients navigating the complexity of government. Prior to joining RG Group, Mitchell spent close to a decade working in government, including for the New York City Council and Mayor’s Office.

Recent accomplishments: Mitchell assisted in navigating and analyzing the always-changing city budget, and matched client solutions and messaging with the demands and priorities of key government decision-makers. He oversaw the effective completion of several critical client-led projects involving new technologies and innovations.

Celine Mizrahi

Principal, Civitas Public Affairs
Celine Mizrahi / Civitas Public Affairs

Celine Mizrahi has nearly 25 years of experience managing policy and political campaigns and building advocacy coalitions across local, state and federal arenas. Mizrahi has a demonstrated track record in electoral politics, movement building, and legislative and narrative change. For over a decade, she served as a senior team member for House Judiciary Chair Jerry Nadler and New York City Council Speaker Corey Johnson, working on some of the most pressing issues of our time. Mizrahi started her career advocating for low-income New Yorkers and after graduating from NYU Law, led state and federal legislative efforts at the Center for Reproductive Rights.

Recent accomplishments: On behalf of clients, Mizrahi: created a national anti-poverty campaign blueprint and plan; supported program development to serve homeless New Yorkers; worked on a successful campaign to bring birth control over-the-counter and launch an affordability and access campaign; and led federal advocacy efforts for election funding and voter registration policy.

Leslie Moran

Senior Vice President, New York Health Plan Association
Leslie Moran / Timothy H. Raab

Leslie Moran’s career with the New York Health Plan Association has spanned the course of three decades. During this time, Moran has been an advocate for managed care plans, working with state lawmakers, regulators and policymakers to help ensure the view of the health plan community is included in policy discussions, and that the role plans play in New York’s health care system is recognized.

Recent accomplishments: Addressing health disparities and improving health outcomes for underserved populations, expanding coverage to more New Yorkers, and reducing underlying costs of care are key health policy focuses for HPA. To support those goals, HPA teamed with a wide-ranging alliance of organizations and community partners working to restore funding for the Medicaid Quality Incentive Program and partnered with a broad coalition of consumers, employers and health plans committed to expanding coverage to lower-income New Yorkers and the state’s uninsured immigrants. At the same time, HPA supports initiatives to improve price transparency and make health care more affordable for consumers and employers.

Mabel Muñiz-Sarduy

Political and External Affairs Director, Council of School Supervisors and Administrators
Mabel Muñiz-Sarduy / Council of School Supervisors and Administrators

Mabel Muñiz-Sarduy presently serves as the director of political and external affairs at the Council of School Supervisors and Administrators. Muñiz-Sarduy now leverages her extensive experience to advocate tirelessly for school leaders and administrators. Her commitment to fight for resources for New York City schools is bolstered by her firsthand understanding of the challenges and needs faced by supervisors. She retired from the New York City Department of Education in 2021, having held the esteemed position of executive superintendent of Queens North. Her lifelong career encompasses many other pivotal roles, including superintendent, principal, assistant principal and teacher.

Recent accomplishments: CSA will continue to advocate for supports for our supervisors, including professional learning opportunities. This year through the effort of many, the state funded $975,000 for the executive leadership institute.

Katie Neer

Of Counsel, Dickinson & Avella
Katie Neer / Celeste Sloman

Katie Neer thrives helping clients navigate pervasively regulated industries. Neer primarily represents cannabis companies navigating the state’s rollout of its adult-use, medical and hemp marketplaces. In addition to legislative lobbying, Neer works with cannabis companies, big and small, on a variety of compliance, licensing, enforcement and other regulatory matters in New York and beyond. With experience within government and in-house at plant-touching companies, ancillary startups and statewide associations, she is uniquely situated to provide full-service strategic and legal counsel.

Recent accomplishments: Advised several clients from entity formation through licensure and operations, or through dissolution and liquidation; helped many of the registered organizations in the state’s medical cannabis program transition into adult-use; advocated for improving access and affordability to medical cannabis; served as chair of Upper Hudson Planned Parenthood; and welcomed a new baby girl!

Hailey Nolasco

Director of Government Relations, Center for Justice Innovation
Hailey Nolasco / Center for Justice Innovation

A proud Brooklyn native and Dominican American, Hailey Nolasco serves as the director of government relations at the Center for Justice Innovation. Prior to this role, Nolasco was assistant deputy commissioner of intergovernmental and legislative affairs at the New York City Department of Social Services. In addition to her work in government affairs, Nolasco is known for her anti-gun violence work. By way of a calling through lived experiences, she mentored youth most at-risk of being harmed by violence and spearheaded interventions to address the intersection of gun and domestic violence, notably leading the creation of the RISE program, a citywide effort to address domestic violence. 

Recent accomplishments: In the past year, Nolasco has worked to support her colleagues on a multitude of issues ranging from increasing resources for mental health courts to understanding why youth carry guns to reduce gun violence. She also has managed key intergovernmental and community initiatives including responses to the migrant crisis.

Michele O’Connor

Director of Licensing and Senior Legislative Associate, Hodes & Landy
Michele O’Connor / Provided

Michele O’Connor is a veteran government affairs professional with over 20 years of experience in the field. She is currently the director of licensing and senior legislative associate at Hodes & Landy. O’Connor has contributed extensively to the firm’s commitment to the highest level, its growth and the diversification of services and policy areas. She manages the firm’s health care licensure consulting practice. Her policy area expertise includes health care, long-term care, insurance and environment.

Recent accomplishments: O’Connor has successfully advocated for legislative and regulatory changes on behalf of clients while maintaining positive relationships with key policymakers and enhancing the visibility and credibility of the firm’s clients.

Perry Ochacher

Founder and President, Willett Public Affairs
Perry Ochacher / Jo Bryan Photography LLC

Perry Ochacher’s lifelong involvement in Westchester County politics allows Willett Public Affairs to occupy a unique position in the government relations field in New York. Ochacher positioned Willett Public Affairs as an experienced government relations firm available to serve Westchester clients, because this was an area he recognized as previously underserved in the public affairs marketplace. Willett is now a go-to firm for clients in the Golden Apple, representing an increasing number of Westchester’s most treasured cultural destinations and leading nonprofits, helping these respected Westchester institutions thrive.

Recent accomplishments: In the past year Willett has continued to add new clients, many Westchester-based, such as the Hudson River Museum, Lyndhurst Mansion, Holocaust Education Center, Burke Rehabilitation Hospital, Tarrytown Music Hall and the developers of the former United Hospital site in Port Chester. This growth comes in addition to Willett’s established reputation for statewide lobbying. With a growing client base ranging from statewide trade associations to local nonprofits and developers, and an increasing number of those clients hailing from Westchester, Willett Public Affairs is emerging as a leading regional government relations firm in New York.

David Osorno

Vice President, MirRam Group
David Osorno / Provided

With a decade of experience in intergovernmental relations, David Osorno has focused on public health and human resources at the city and state levels. As a project manager in the private sector, he utilizes technology-driven solutions to expedite program delivery. Currently with the MirRam Group, Osorno advocates for nonprofit organizations and industry coalitions, lobbying the state Legislature for success in an ever-changing city and state. Previously, Osorno served as senior adviser for intergovernmental affairs in the New York City Mayor’s Office and held staff roles in the state Senate. At KPMG, he assisted in modernizing business operations for state and local governments.

Recent accomplishments: By advocating for increased public health funding and expanding opioid prevention and harm reduction services, Osorno shows his commitment to addressing the opioid epidemic and promoting community well-being. He also recognizes the importance of fully funding the WIC program in New York state, ensuring essential benefits for mothers, expecting mothers and young children. Additionally, he works diligently to secure increased funding for cultural institutions in New York City, enabling diverse programs and exhibitions that enrich cultural heritage and foster community engagement.

Shannon Owens

New York State Director of Government Relations, American Council of Engineering Companies of New York
Shannon Owens / Nusser Photography

Shannon Owens is the New York state director of government relations for the American Council of Engineering Companies of New York, or ACEC New York, a coalition of nearly 300 engineering firms employing about 33,000 New Yorkers. Owens developed her public procurement and ethics expertise through previous roles in the state Senate Majority Counsel’s Office and in the Assembly working for Assembly Member Donna Lupardo. Owens graduated cum laude from SUNY Old Westbury with a bachelor’s degree in politics, economics and law, and holds a master’s degree from Albany Law School in legal studies with a specialty in government affairs and advocacy.

Recent accomplishments: In direct collaboration with President and CEO John Evers, Owens leads ACEC New York’s legislative and regulatory advocacy efforts. Observing the state’s mandatory two-year lobbying ban, Owens has found opportunities to improve the organization’s internal operations, including taking a lead role in revamping its committee system and ensuring legislative communications include balanced and meaningful content. Owens also oversees industry meetings with partner agencies, represents ACEC New York firms’ interests at the federal level and manages the organization’s PAC operations. This year, Owens’ focus will be on infrastructure funding, MWBE opportunities, energy and environment-related guidance, and improving efficiency in public contracting.

Marlo Paventi

Senior Director of Public Policy and Government Affairs and Chief Lobbyist, Long Island Board of Realtors
Marlo Paventi / Michael Shekian

Marlo Paventi has been an advocate for Realtors since 2018. Her tenure at LIBOR gives a glimpse into her career of building and fostering effective and beneficial relationships with policymakers at all levels. Under the tutelage of then-Rep. Steve Israel, she assisted constituents from his congressional district, also seizing the opportunity to lend her considerable skills to many political campaigns both local and nationally. A proud Long Island transplant, Paventi hails from Syracuse, New York. She has received a bachelor’s degree from the University at Buffalo, and her master’s from Stony Brook University’s School of Social Welfare.

Recent accomplishments: On top of creating a successful candidate screening process for her members that supports Realtor-champion lawmakers, she has fostered and mentored colleagues into association management, and has secured over $200,000 from the National Association of Realtors to help create tools and resources to educate association members and the general public on fair housing and protected classes through LIBOR’s sister site,

Lilliam Perez

Vice President, Government and Community Relations, Montefiore Einstein
Lilliam Perez / Montefiore Einstein

Lilliam Perez is the vice president of government and community relations for Montefiore Einstein in the Bronx and Westchester, Rockland and Orange counties. In that capacity, she is responsible for strategic engagement and advocacy with elected leaders, government agencies and community-at-large. Prior to joining Montefiore, she was senior adviser and deputy director of intergovernmental affairs in the Office of the state Attorney General and chief of staff for then-state Sen. Eric Schneiderman. Perez has devoted her life to advocating for social justice issues such as education and immigration reform, political empowerment and women’s rights.

Recent accomplishments: While in the Senate, her team was instrumental in pushing for Rockefeller Drug Laws reforms, ethics reforms, women’s rights, LGBTQ+ rights, minimum wage increases and regaining control of the Senate for the Democrats. In the Attorney General’s office, she worked to restructure the Puerto Rican and Dominican National Parades, and many social-economic justice matters. At Montefiore Einstein, she is part of a team leading the advocacy to increase Medicaid reimbursement rates, funding for safety-net hospitals, medical education, programs addressing social determinants of health and creating strong partnerships in the community while advancing the health and well-being of the residents.

Kassandra Perez-Desir

Head of Government Relations, New York, New Jersey and Puerto Rico, DoorDash
Kassandra Perez-Desir / Jennifer Piazza

Kassandra Perez-Desir is the head of government relations for New York, New Jersey and Puerto Rico at DoorDash, drawing on decades of experience in government and public policy. She has previously worked in various roles with U.S. Sen. Chuck Schumer, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Gov. Andrew Cuomo. In her current role, she thrives at building and strengthening relationships with stakeholders at all levels of government. Prior to joining DoorDash, Perez-Desir was the regional director of government affairs and public policy at Verizon. She holds a bachelor’s degree in government and politics from St. John’s University and a JD from New York Law School.

Recent accomplishments: Perez-Desir has played an instrumental role in overseeing DoorDash’s robust policy agenda across New York to help advance its mission of growing and empowering local economies while working closely with community organizations. Representing DoorDash from the chambers of the New York City Council to the halls of the statehouse in Albany, she has championed policies that create flexible work opportunities, help small businesses thrive and fight food insecurity. Perez-Desir has also been at the forefront of DoorDash’s efforts to work with a broad coalition of stakeholders to build consensus and advocate for legislation at the local, state and federal level.

Jake Potent

Director of Public Policy and Government Relations, Revel
Jake Potent / Revel

For the past year, Jake Potent has served as Revel’s director of public policy and government relations. Prior to joining Revel, Potent was a managing director at top-five government relations firm Constantinople & Vallone Consulting in New York City. In that capacity he delivered key policy victories for companies like T-Mobile, Electrify America and Lyft. Before his stint there, he was the director of communications to then-state Sen. Adriano Espaillat. Potent has also held various roles in the state Senate and Assembly, along with staff roles on numerous political campaigns.

Recent accomplishments: In the last year, Potent has been integral in supporting the Green Rides Initiative, a first-in-the-nation program to electrify New York City’s rideshare fleet. He has worked closely with the Taxi & Limousine Commission to ensure drivers have convenient, reliable access to affordable fast charging. He also brought together a coalition of environment and energy organizations to weigh in on the state’s electric vehicle charging development program (MakeReady) review in the fall of 2023. Those efforts helped secure an investment of over $300 million in additional funding to upgrade New York City’s power infrastructure to better support EV fast charging.

Jim Quent

Partner, Statewide Public Affairs
Jim Quent / Lucy Schultz Photography

Jim Quent has worked in government and politics for 30 years. He has represented an array of clients, including Coalition for the Homeless, Coca-Cola, Home Depot, La Mama Experimental Theater, Metropolitan College of New York, the National Restaurant Association and the New York City Special Riggers Association, just to name a few. Every day is different; what remains a constant is the need to maintain relationships with elected officials, staff, city agencies, community groups, business organizations and other advocacy groups. Quent’s strength is in building coalitions of like-minded people to focus on a particular policy, regulatory or budgetary matter to achieve his clients’ goals.

Recent accomplishments: Professionally, Quent has secured much-needed food pantry and eviction prevention funding at a time when these services are in dire need. He has also tackled an array of policy issues for his for-profit clients. Quent works closely with the Department of Buildings to promote construction worker safety and improve day-to-day operations related to code compliance, permitting and licensing. Personally, he’s proud to have been appointed to the Red Cross Long Island board of directors and serve as a Red Cross Disaster Action Team volunteer assisting people affected by fires and storms.

Brianna Raza

Director of Government Relations, American Heart Association
Brianna Raza / Marlo Ellis

Brianna Raza is leading the charge on heart health in New York. Raza graduated from Marist College with a bachelor's degree in political science in 2018 and began her professional career as a legislative analyst at the lobbying firm Ways and Means NY. Over the past few years she has overseen government relations for the American Heart Association. Her passion for advocacy has contributed to her success in passing policies to improve the health of New Yorkers. 

Recent accomplishments: The American Heart Association has been engaged on a number of issues over the past year that are critical to improving heart health. Raza oversees a robust state and local policy agenda, which includes improving the survival rate for out-of-hospital cardiac arrests, increasing access to healthy foods and improving tobacco control measures. In the last year, she has been successful in advocating to expand access to healthy school meals as well as raising the state cigarette tax.

Lincoln Restler

Chair, Committee on Governmental Operations, State and Federal Legislation, New York City Council
Lincoln Restler / NYC Council

Born and raised in the 33rd Council District, Lincoln Restler has spent his whole life living and working in the district’s neighborhoods. As a New York City Council member, Restler is focused on increasing transparency, accountability and integrity in government. He ran for office because he’s committed to being a problem solver for his neighbors and has prioritized addressing the affordability crisis, combating climate change and improving transit. Before being sworn in, he spent most of his career as a public servant in New York City government. Over 15 years ago, Lincoln helped form New Kings Democrats, an organization dedicated to reforming Brooklyn politics.

Recent accomplishments: In January, Restler was appointed chair of the Committee on Governmental Operations, State and Federal Legislation. He’s pushing to elevate standards of governmental efficiency and efficacy and to bring real oversight to the Adams administration. Among his top priorities for the committee are to craft significant reforms to the Campaign Finance Board regulations and close recently exposed loopholes. Last year, Restler introduced legislation to impose post-employment lobbying restrictions on government employees.

Mayleen Rivera

Deputy Secretary, Intergovernmental and External Affairs, Office of Assembly Speaker Carl E. Heastie
Mayleen Rivera / Tyiesha Ford, Fullness of Joy Photography LLC

Mayleen Rivera currently serves as deputy secretary for intergovernmental and external affairs, or IEA, for Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie. Her portfolio includes the New York State Black, Puerto Rican, Hispanic and Asian Legislative Caucus, the Puerto Rican/Hispanic Task Force and the Task Force on New York-Canada Relations. Rivera provides crisis management for constituent emergencies to the majority conference and organizes briefings, workshops and collegial events for the legislators. Prior to her present role, Rivera was a legislative director for Assembly Member David Buchwald. She is a first-generation graduate with a bachelor’s degree in law and society and a minor in business from Russell Sage College.

Recent accomplishments: Represented the speaker during the state legislators’ study tour in Canada and met with their consul general, business council, chamber of commerce and Canada-U.S. Inter-Parliamentary Group to discuss opportunities for future collaboration; developed an internal webpage layout to highlight IEA functions and branded IEA logo; and created a multi-contact agency database. This year, Rivera celebrated a decade of public service having worked at the state Legislature in various capacities, including the Executive Chamber, state Department of Health and Albany County Hall of Records. She believes in empowering youth and giving back to the community and values spending time with family and friends.

Daniel Rosenthal

Vice President of Government Relations, UJA-Federation of New York
Daniel Rosenthal / Marko Dashev

Daniel Rosenthal is a former Assembly member who represented the 27th Assembly District. He was elected in November 2017 and served until August 2023, when he joined UJA-Federation as its vice president of government relations. During his time in the Assembly, Rosenthal was chair of the Task Force on Food, Farm and Nutrition Policy. Rosenthal’s legislative accomplishments included passing legislation that created transparency to prescription drug pricing, protecting New Yorkers from hazardous drug recalls and requiring colleges to modernize and enhance their disclosure of hate crimes that occur on campus. 

Recent accomplishments: UJA-Federation of New York provides more than $180 million in grants for a network of hundreds of nonprofits in New York and across the globe. Rosenthal joined UJA-Federation at a time of rising antisemitism that escalated after Oct. 7. He has helped facilitate solidarity trips to Israel and works to increase security funding for institutions in New York City. He also works with New York City officials to secure policy changes by the New York City Department of Education to combat hate and antisemitism, including new trainings. Rosenthal is deeply involved in helping local nonprofits strengthen their private-public partnerships and fortify the safety net across New York City.

Haley Rubinson

Vice President, Corporate Affairs, Revel
Haley Rubinson / Emily Aronica

Haley Rubinson is Revel’s vice president of corporate affairs, overseeing the company’s government, regulatory affairs and communications functions. Revel is the leading provider of public electric vehicle fast charging and all-electric rideshare in New York City. Prior to Revel, Rubinson was a managing director at Tusk Ventures. She also served as deputy policy director for then-Gov. Andrew Cuomo, and she has held a series of positions in New York City and New York state government focused on transportation and infrastructure policy.

Recent accomplishments: Rubinson leads Revel’s government relations team, working with city and state officials to accelerate EV adoption in New York City. Revel introduced the city's first all-electric rideshare fleet and has been building the public charging infrastructure to help all TLC-licensed drivers have convenient, reliable access to affordable fast charging. In the last year, Rubinson has helped Revel partner with elected leaders, including U.S. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, New York City Mayor Eric Adams, Queens Borough President Donovan Richards, Rep. Ritchie Torres, TLC Commissioner David Do and others to open and break ground on new public infrastructure projects in the Bronx, Queens and Brooklyn.

Denny Salas

Senior Vice President, Gotham Government Relations
Denny Salas / Rachel Charlesworth

Denny Salas has been a stockbroker, a legislative researcher on Capitol Hill, a political consultant to members of Congress, a government affairs and political action committee manager for small-business manufacturing, a grant writer and development officer at a charter school – and a political candidate for local office. A first-generation Dominican American, Salas is married with a daughter and a son on the way (due in May) and two dachshunds, Libi and Milo. He is a first vice president at the United Democratic Organization and serves on the Manhattan Democratic Party’s County Committee and is a judicial delegate and ethics committee member. 

Recent accomplishments: I would love to compare my efforts to others in my field. Over the past year, I've had (myself) over 550 meetings with elected officials on behalf of our clients. I don't know if anyone else compares. I’ve advocated for state legislation to protect Medicare benefits for municipal retirees, to penalize organized crime using insurance fraud and to bring more transparency to car purchases.

Congratulations to Craig Schulz for being recognized in the Who's Who in Government Relations List

Craig Schulz

Director, Communications and External Affairs, Amtrak
Craig Schulz / Lauren Schulz

Craig Schulz is director of external affairs at Amtrak, overseeing public affairs and stakeholder coordination for the Gateway Program and adjacent capital projects in New York and New Jersey. In more than 10 years with Amtrak, Schulz has managed high-profile initiatives throughout the Northeast Corridor, including Superstorm Sandy’s effects on the North River Tunnel, the start of construction on the Portal North Bridge and Hudson Yards Concrete Casing projects, as well as the Train 188 derailment in Philadelphia, among others. 

Recent accomplishments: Celebrating the start of construction on Section 3 of the Hudson Yards Concrete Casing with U.S. Sen. Chuck Schumer, Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg, Gov. Kathy Hochul, Amtrak Chairman Tony Coscia and other VIPs; mentoring new colleagues at Amtrak and developing relationships with new stakeholders important to the Gateway Program’s continued success; hosting Amtrak’s executive leadership team for a tour of New York-area infrastructure aboard the custom Amtrak Inspection Car; spearheading coordination of the Build Gateway Coalition to raise awareness about the importance of the Gateway Program.

David Schwartz

Founder and President, Gotham Government Relations
David Schwartz / Provided

David Schwartz is an internationally recognized, award-winning attorney, and for more than a decade, a lobbyist as founder and president of Gotham Government Relations. Schwartz is an advocate on behalf of businesses, trade associations, not-for-profits, foreign countries and individuals. Whether in the courtroom defending and advocating on behalf of litigants in high-profile cases or in the halls of the state Capitol, the same philosophy and attitude exists, which is to advocate as aggressively and passionately for the client as possible.

Recent accomplishments: Age-friendly executive orders in both Suffolk and Nassau counties; city, state and federal legislation introduced to protect the earned Medicare benefits of municipal retirees; introducing state legislation creating the strongest consumer protection and pet care standards in the country.

Will Schwartz

Vice Chancellor for Government Relations, State University of New York
Will Schwartz / Valerie Caviness, SUNY System

As SUNY’s vice chancellor for government relations, Will Schwartz oversees the Office of State Relations, Office of Federal Relations and the New York Small Business Development Center. These offices are responsible for liaising with all governments in New York and Washington, D.C, for the formulation and advancement of SUNY’s legislative programs, strategies and policy issue development, and supporting small businesses in New York state. Schwartz is a proud SUNY alumnus, having earned his bachelor’s in political science from Buffalo State University. He earned his master’s degree in public administration from Marist College. He resides in East Greenbush with his wife, Amy, and children Matthew and Hailey.

Recent accomplishments: Schwartz joined SUNY in February this year following his last role with the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, where he oversaw their government and community relations team. He has dove in head first to work towards advancing SUNY's top state budget priorities, which include increasing operating aid and capital aid for all SUNY campuses and hospitals, continuing the 100% community colleges funding floor, passing universal FAFSA legislation, and working to increase funding for other vital SUNY programs and initiatives like EOP and Empire AI.

Danielle Secor

Founder, Secor Strategies
Danielle Secor / Sophie Secor

Danielle Secor began her career as a civil rights and inclusion intern at the New York Power Authority. Since then, she has held positions at the New York City Department of Sanitation and the Mayor’s Public Engagement Unit. She quickly progressed from a housing specialist to a project lead overseeing teams in Upper Manhattan and the Bronx, eventually becoming deputy chief of staff. Utilizing her expertise in health care policy, Secor then served as the director of government affairs and chief of staff at Medrite, an urgent care company with locations across New York, New Jersey, Connecticut and Florida.

Recent accomplishments: Currently, Secor partners closely with the urgent care industry to strategically implement government affairs strategies across the Northeastern region. Throughout the past year, her unwavering dedication has been pivotal in elevating the voice of urgent care facilities throughout the Northeast, ensuring equitable access to care within local communities. Through her efforts, the urgent care sector has experienced a surge in advocacy initiatives, resulting in a notable doubling of membership engagement across the Northeast. She holds dual master's degrees in public administration and international relations with a specialization in health policy from Seton Hall University in New Jersey.

Marissa Shorenstein

Chief External Affairs Officer, BSE Global
Marissa Shorenstein / Ilya S. Savenok/Getty Images

Marissa Shorenstein is the chief external affairs officer at BSE Global, previously serving as a principal at SKDK. In 2021, Shorenstein was director of the executive transition for New York state’s first female governor, Kathy Hochul. Shorenstein was president-northern region at AT&T, overseeing the company’s external affairs for seventeen states, and was director of communications for Andrew Cuomo’s 2010 campaign for governor and press secretary for then-Gov. David A. Paterson. She is a commissioner of the New York State Gaming Commission and chair of the Citizens Budget Commission, and she graduated from Harvard University and Fordham University Law School.

Recent accomplishments: Shorenstein is creating greater integration across strategic communications, community outreach and government relations to ensure that BSE Global is viewed as an integral part of the Brooklyn and New York City communities through its extensive programming at Barclays Center and its partnerships with dozens of community organizations that support underserved communities across the borough and the city.

Yeruchim Silber

Director of New York Government Relations, Agudath Israel of America
Yeruchim Silber / Moshe Gershbaum

Rabbi Yeruchim Silber has had a long career in community and government relations, the last seven as director of New York government relations at Agudath Israel of America, a national service and advocacy organization serving the Orthodox Jewish community. In that capacity he leads Agudath Israel’s advocacy efforts in Albany, New York City and in local municipalities across the state. Silber’s prime advocacy focus is on non-public school education and religious liberties, with a particular focus on land use challenges facing Orthodox communities.

Recent accomplishments: Led the efforts to preserve the Mandated Services Program, the largest source of state funding for non-public schools, which reimburses schools for a host of mandates performed at the behest of the state; was a major part of the coalition looking to double the amount of security funding to non-public schools; successfully worked with Gov. Kathy Hochul’s administration to veto a number of bills that could have resulted in stunting the growth of growing Orthodox communities in Orange County.

Felicia Singh

Director of Policy and Government Relations, CACF
Felicia Singh / Joana Meurkens

Felicia Singh is an advocate for children and families with experience in civic engagement, electoral organizing and workers’ rights. She is currently the director of policy and government relations with the Coalition for Asian American Children and Families. Singh is also a trainer for New American Leaders, an organization that supports first and second generation Americans running for office, and was formerly the advocacy and campaigns manager for Jahajee Sisters. She taught for 10 years before running for New York City Council in District 32 in 2021.

Recent accomplishments: Singh leads CACF’s policy team, which focuses on equity that centers the AAPI community across New York. She co-leads the AAPI Equity Budget, which successfully advocates for a historical investment in the state budget for the AAPI community. Singh has led CACF’s policy team and government relations work by uplifting the need for equity in education, budget, data, health care and language access. Her lens of policy change work involves strong ties to community based organizations serving AAPI communities across New York state, relationships with city and state agencies, as well as her work with our legislative champions.

Manvir Singh

Director of Government Relations and Strategic Partnerships, MetroPlusHealth
Manvir Singh / MetroPlusHealth

Manvir Singh works on building relationships with community organizations, faith leaders and elected officials to advance MetroPlusHealth’s mission of providing high quality health care to all New Yorkers. He began his career as staff assistant at the New York City Mayor’s Office of Intergovernmental Affairs before moving on to policy adviser at the city’s Department of Small Business Services, and later becoming state and federal legislative manager at the city Department of Social Services. Born in Queens and raised on Long Island, Singh holds a bachelor’s degree in political science and cinema and cultural studies from Stony Brook University.

Recent accomplishments: Along with supporting MetroPlusHealth’s advocacy work, Singh has grown the organization’s presence in communities across New York City. With an eye on serving the most vulnerable and underserved communities, he has worked tirelessly to reimagine our community involvement. This included more partnerships with community-based nonprofits and elected officials for community events and distributing 30,000 backpacks to reduce the stress on low-income families with children headed back to school across the city.

Dan Slippen

Vice President, Government and Corporate Relations, American Museum of Natural History
Dan Slippen / Alvaro Keding, American Museum of Natural History

Dan Slippen began his career on Capitol Hill, working on transportation and infrastructure policy for Sens. Joe Lieberman, Chuck Schumer and Daniel Patrick Moynihan. He returned to New York in 2001 to work for the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey. After 9/11, he joined Pace University as director of government affairs, leading its Center for Downtown New York on efforts to rebuild Lower Manhattan before joining the American Museum of Natural History in 2004. During the COVID-19 pandemic, Slippen worked with Congress to include museums and cultural organizations in the Shuttered Venues Operators Grant and with New York City to open a mass vaccination site that provided 100,000 vaccinations. 

Recent accomplishments: In May 2023, the American Museum of Natural History opened its Richard Gilder Center of Science, Education, and Innovation – featuring new exhibition galleries, collections storage and lab spaces, and state-of-the-art classrooms encompassing the most comprehensive modernization of the museum’s educational spaces in nearly 100 years – for which Slippen managed regulatory requirements and led public and corporate funding strategies.

Matthew R. Smalls

Senior Vice President, MirRam Group
Matthew R. Smalls / The Law Office of Matthew R. Smalls

Matthew Smalls joined the MirRam Group in 2017 and has become one of the foremost experts on pharmacy policy through his representation of the Pharmacists Society of the State of New York. Smalls previously served the state Senate Democratic Conference in several roles, including special Counsel. He began his legal career as an assistant district attorney in Manhattan, and has been featured as a legal expert in publications such as The Wall Street Journal and The Washington Post. Smalls holds degrees from New York University’s School of Professional Studies, New York Law School and the University of Rochester.

Recent accomplishments: Spearheaded the effort to transition the state’s billion-dollar Medicaid pharmacy benefit out of managed care, into a fee-for service model. This seismic shift provides hundreds of millions of cost savings to the state, and eliminates pharmacy benefit managers as an expensive middleman. Secured hundreds of thousands of discretionary funding for not for profits, including organizations that support the formerly incarcerated, as well as organizations that provide behavioral health services for children and families.

Anne Sperling

Vice President, Government and Community Affairs, NewYork-Presbyterian
Anne Sperling / NewYork-Presbyterian

Anne Sperling oversees all city, state and federal government affairs activities for NewYork-Presbyterian, one of the nation’s most comprehensive integrated academic health care systems. In this role, she builds relationships with elected officials, local organizations and community boards, and acts as a spokesperson for NYP on governmental, legislative and community issues. Sperling also leads the hospital’s community relations work, developing programs to help support community-based organizations in the neighborhoods that NYP serves. She previously served as the director for intergovernmental affairs at the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene.

Recent accomplishments: In 2023, Sperling led NewYork-Presbyterian’s efforts to advance various legislative priorities, including higher Medicaid rates in the state budget. Her legislative work was complemented by activities to support New York City and Westchester’s local communities, often in partnership with elected leaders. Recent successes include the launch of NYP’s Community Fund, which is providing $3 million in funding to community-based organizations that are addressing social determinants of health in neighborhoods the hospital serves, an expanded mini-grant program to award funding and technical support to small CBOs, and a range of other initiatives aimed at supporting New Yorkers.

Evan Sullivan

Executive Vice President, Ostroff Associates
Evan Sullivan / Elario Photography, Ostroff Associates, Inc.

Evan Sullivan is an executive vice president at Ostroff Associates, where he advocates for clients across a wide range of subject areas including health and human services, housing, energy and education. Joining the firm in 2017, Sullivan brings extensive government and political experience from his time in the state Senate to the firm and to the clients he represents. He has leveraged this experience to successfully advocate for clients in Albany and New York City on legislative, regulatory and budgetary issues.

Recent accomplishments: Over the past year, Sullivan played an integral role in the passage of a step-therapy reform bill that enhances patient protections, securing substantial funding for a new affordable housing project that had been delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and obtaining the licensure of a new substance abuse treatment program that is providing critical services in a community that experienced significant gaps in services in the midst of the epidemic. Additionally, he has expanded his role to serve as a mentor for vice presidents and legislative analysts at the firm.

Brett Swanson

Head of Community Affairs and Social Impact, Grubhub
Brett Swanson / Emily Assiran

As head of community affairs and social impact at Grubhub, Brett Swanson serves as the company’s lead with business groups and non-governmental organizations in Grubhub’s priority markets. Through hyper-local relationships and community-first initiatives, Swanson champions Grubhub’s philanthropy work focused on supporting independent restaurants, helping to close the hunger gap and creating opportunities in the hospitality industry with key stakeholders across the country. In addition, Swanson is actively building public-private partnerships with the city and Grubhub’s corporate partners.

Recent accomplishments: Over the past year, Grubhub and its “Serving the City” meal distribution initiative has provided over 30,000 meals to food insecure families across New York City, and has supported 40 community-based organizations and 50 independent restaurants.

Jennifer Tassler

Vice President for Government Relations and Strategic Affairs, Associated Medical Schools of New York
Jennifer Tassler / Elizabeth Xuan Dong

Jennifer Tassler leads government relations and strategic affairs for the Associated Medical Schools of New York and the New York State Academic Dental Centers, the consortia of the medical and dental schools. Tassler oversees outreach to both state and federal governments to enhance diversity in the physician workforce, increase biomedical research funding and improve access to high quality oral health care for vulnerable populations. She previously worked at the Food and Drug Administration and the American Psychiatric Association handling both federal regulatory and congressional affairs related to mental health parity, physician payment and access issues.

Recent accomplishments: Tassler has helped AMSNY raise the profile and nearly triple state funding for the Diversity in Medicine Programs, leading to an historic expansion of the portfolio after several years of cuts. She has also worked with the Legislature to provide sustained increases for the Diversity in Medicine Scholarship and leveraging funding from the Mother Cabrini Health Foundation, to directly impact the physician workforce in New York state. Further, Tassler successfully secured funding for the NYSADC Fellowship to Address Oral Health Disparities, which provides advanced training for dentists in special care dentistry.

Meghan Taylor

Senior Vice President, Government Affairs and Public Relations, Genting Americas
Meghan Taylor / Resorts World

Meghan Taylor joined the Genting team in May 2020, as the COVID-19 pandemic continued to impact the gaming industry. Taylor tapped into her government affairs, public relations and coalition-building experience to see Resorts World’s New York properties through that challenging time and come out even stronger. Today, as senior vice president of government affairs and public relations, Taylor continues to work with lawmakers, the community, organized labor and other key stakeholders to amplify Resorts World’s economic, social and local impact.

Recent accomplishments: Over the last year, Taylor has built on her robust portfolio as Resorts World unveiled its ambitious $5 billion expansion, which would create 10,000 construction and permanent jobs. She has engaged with, listened and responded to city and state officials, community leaders and others who would be impacted by the project resulting in strong community support. Her approach is driven by a steadfast belief in the power of partnerships within the communities that Resorts World calls home.

Mark Weprin

Vice President of Government Affairs, Invenergy
Mark Weprin / Becca Hill

Mark Weprin, the former deputy secretary for legislative affairs for Gov. Andrew Cuomo, started at Invenergy over a year ago. He has served as both a member of the New York City Council, where he chaired the Zoning and Franchises Subcommittee, and the Assembly, where he chaired the Small Business Committee. He is a member of the board of directors of the Regional Plan Association and New Yorkers for Parks.

Recent accomplishments: Invenergy is the leading privately held clean energy company in the country. Invenergy is one of the largest developers of land-based wind and solar farms in New York state. The company is also developing the Clean Path NY transmission line, which will connect the upstate wind and solar to New York City. In February, Invenergy was selected by the state of New Jersey to build Leading Light Wind, now the largest competitively awarded offshore wind project in the nation.

Abdullah Younus

Vice President of Advocacy and Government Relations, United Way of New York City
Abdullah Younus / Fotobuddy Photography

Abdullah Younus has spent the last seven years strategizing and campaigning for progressive candidates, unions and community-based organizations. Currently, he is the vice president of advocacy and government relations at United Way of New York City. He previously served as senior director of advocacy at the New York Immigration Coalition and was responsible for all campaigning across New York. Before that, he was a strategic researcher on United Auto Workers’ graduate worker organizing campaigns. He has also worked on many electoral campaigns from the local to the federal level in a variety of capacities.

Recent accomplishments: Quadrupling immigrant legal services funding and bringing it close to $70 million in New York; shepherding the expansion of New York Immigration Coalition’s community engagement teams across the state to assist with settling recent migrant arrivals; building United Way of New York City’s government relations department.