Gloria Story Dittus, Chairman, Story Partners
Dubbed the nation’s first “Public Affairs maven” by Wired magazine, Gloria is a trusted counselor who provides strategic communications, corporate positioning, and messaging advice to members of Congress, cabinet Secretaries, and business leaders. She founded Story Partners in 2010 after the successful acquisition of Dittus Communications by FTI Consulting, which included a five-year commitment on the senior management team leading client engagements for major technology, energy, and transportation organizations.
With 30+ years of public policy, communications, and political experience, Gloria has worked with executive teams at Shell, HSBC, Home Depot, Dell, Intel, Microsoft, GM, Southern Company and other Fortune 500 brands, helping them to protect and enhance reputation, weather and prevent crises and favorably position leadership.
As Editor-in-Chief, Crawford oversees production and content of The Washington DC 100. A senior director of public affairs at Story Partners, Grigsby uses his background as both a public relations professional and published author to bring clients persuasive writing, messaging, and communications strategy.
He has worked with a range of trade association and corporate clients creating and executing strategic communications campaigns with an emphasis on writing, developing messaging and content, and traditional and social media. For major industry executives, he has crafted speeches and policy-oriented op-eds, earning placements in numerous trade and daily publications. His first book was The Gringo: A Memoir, and his personal writing has appeared in the Huffington Post, Congressional Quarterly, The Colorado Daily, and other magazines and blogs.
As a senior director of public affairs at Story Partners, Adam works with clients on communications strategy, issue advocacy and crisis communications, with a focus on executing earned media campaigns inside the beltway and across the country.
Adam has served as the director of communications and marketing for the federal IT firm SBG Technology Solutions, focusing on corporate and public affairs, media relations, employee engagement, executive communication, B2B marketing, and corporate social responsibility. Previously, Adam has also supported accounts in public affairs and crisis communications for Qorvis Communications. Adam’s political experience includes work as the communications director to a successful campaign for the Rhode Island State Senate and in media relations in the office of U.S. Senator Charles Schumer.
Story Partners’ vice president of marketing Laura Hubbard has more than 15 years of experience and expertise in partnership development, event execution, and reputation management.
Laura has worked for the Consumer Technology Association, where she launched CTA’s Innovation Policy Day at SXSW bringing together policymakers, innovators, and entrepreneurs to debate the polices impacting emerging and disruptive technologies. Additionally, she developed and executed partnerships within the startup community, working with groups like 1776, Startup Grind and Tech.co. Laura also has experience in non-profit development with earlier positions at the National Woman’s Party at Belmont-Paul Women’s Equality National Monument and the National Trust for Historic Preservation.
As President of Story Partners, Debra help clients manage a variety of communications challenges ranging from navigating controversial legislative and regulatory issues, to shaping public policy debates, to building effective business coalitions. She has spent 25 years developing strategic communications and public affairs campaigns on behalf of clients, including as Executive Vice President with Porter Novelli; as General Manager of Strategic Communications and Managing Director of Public Affairs for FTI Consulting; and as Executive Vice President and COO of Dittus Communications where she played a leading role in growing the firm into one of the nation’s leading independent agencies. Debra spent nearly a decade working on Capitol Hill as special assistant to House Speaker Thomas P. O’Neill, Jr. and as an aide to the Iran Contra Committee. She has an MBA in business economics and public policy from the George Washington University.
As Executive Vice President of Story Partners, Trudi guides clients in issues management, crisis communications, advocacy, executive positioning, grassroots strategy, coalition management, and media training. In her more than 25 years of experience, Trudi has developed award-winning public affairs campaigns for clients including PhRMA, Biotechnology Industry Organization, GE Foundation, Kraft Foods, Pernod Ricard USA, and Grocery Manufacturers of America, among others.
Trudi has also served in leadership positions at Allison+Partners, FTI Consulting, and Dittus Communications, which she helped build into one of Washington’s leading public affairs firms. She began her career in Washington serving as chief of staff and communications director for former U.S. Rep. Larry Combest (R–TX). Trudi started her career as a journalist in Texas, where she was a news director and anchor at a CBS affiliate.
As Senior Vice President of Story Partners, Carrie leverages her background in corporate communications, public relations, advertising, and broadcast journalism to counsel clients on their most critical external messaging. Carrie’s two decades of experience includes work for Qorvis (now Qorvis MSLGROUP) and Dittus Communications. Her work has earned numerous industry awards – among them, a PRNews Non-Profit PR Award, the coveted Silver Anvil, a SABRE, and a Bulldog Award. While at Dittus, Carrie was also featured in the Bulldog Reporter “Winning PR Campaigns” profile for her work on the Ford/AAA Student Auto Skills event. A case study for her work on the Rubber Manufacturers Association’s “First Annual National Tire Safety Week” was also featured in PR News.
Carrie began her career in the television newsroom, which included more than six years as a writer, producer, and off-air reporter, as well as producer for CNN’s Washington bureau, Washington, D.C.’s News Channel 8, and Seattle’s North West Cable News, the nation’s first digital newsroom.
As a senior vice president at Story Partners, Kathy specializes in reputation management and engagement – helping clients navigate the connections between government, business and consumers. Her 25-plus years of agency and government experience includes work in communications, public affairs, and issue advocacy for a wide range of corporate and trade association clients in a variety of industry sectors including financial services, transportation, energy, and healthcare.
Most recently Kathy was a partner and director of the Corporate and Public Affairs practice in the Washington, D.C. office of Ketchum, Inc., where she brought 25 years of agency and government experience in communications, public affairs and issue advocacy to a wide range of corporate and trade association clients. She has developed and managed numerous national and international public affairs campaigns for trade associations and corporations including the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers Association, Airlines for America, the Biotechnology Industry Association, a consortium of public company auditing firms, the Dow Chemical Company, and CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield. In 2006-07, she led Delta Air Lines’ award-winning national campaign to fight US Airways’ hostile takeover bid.
Prior to her agency work, Kathy spent seven years working for the federal government in Washington, D.C. She was a public affairs specialist at the U.S. Department of Energy, where she worked directly with business and trade association representatives and organized coalitions to support the Bush Administration’s National Energy Legislation, which passed in fall 1992. From 1989 to 1992, Kathy served as associate director for public liaison at the White House, where she was the principal White House contact for NGOs, corporations and trade associations on environmental, energy and healthcare issues. During her White House tenure, she organized and maintained a coalition of more than 200 business groups, trade associations and environmental interests to support the reauthorization of the Clean Air Act, which was signed into law in 1990.
As an assistant vice president for digital communications and advertising at Story Partners, Samantha leads clients’ social and digital media campaigns. She has 14 years of diverse public affairs experience and a strong background in traditional media, crisis communications, brand reputation management, and digital engagement. Prior to Story Partners, Samantha was head of the digital public relations team at MXM Social, where she designed successful digital campaigns and developed online influencer strategies for a wide range of corporate and consumer clients. Samantha received her master’s degree in Public Communication from American University.
As director of digital communications and advertising, Philippa works at the nexus of digital and traditional marketing, where she develops multichannel approaches to ignite clients’ target audiences. Previously, Philippa led digital and social media efforts for a variety of consumer brands at the Washington, D.C.-based agency iStrategyLabs, and she worked on crisis, reputation, and public affairs campaigns for LEVICK. Philippa has also grown and defended the digital footprints of clients across industries including energy, food, retail, and healthcare. Philippa began her career in journalism, and earned the Writers Guild of America East’s award for broadcast writing during her time as a TV producer for Voice of America.
Matthew Cooper has worked for some of America’s most prestigious magazines including Time, The New Republic, National Journal, U.S. News & World Report. He wrote for Newsweek in the 1990s and rejoined the magazine in 2014. A veteran White House correspondent, he’s known for his in-depth reporting and analysis from Washington. Cooper also earned national attention during the CIA leak case where his refusal to name his sources went all the way to the Supreme Court. He has appeared on “60 Minutes,” “Meet the Press” and a host of broadcast and cable shows.
Jay Timmons is president and CEO of the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM), the largest manufacturing association in the United States representing small and large manufacturers in every industrial sector. He became NAM president in January 2011. Prior to his appointment as NAM president, Jay was executive vice president beginning in 2008. In 2005, he joined the NAM as senior vice president of policy and government relations. His previous experience includes serving as chief of staff to Congressman, Governor and Senator George Allen (R-VA) from 1991 to 2002, and a term as executive director of the National Republican Senatorial Committee during the 2004 election cycle. When he first came to Washington in the 1980s, he served as press secretary to Congressman Jim Martin (R-NC) and later Alex McMillan (R-NC).
A passionate advocate for the adoption of companion animals, Jay is the chairman of the Washington Humane Society Board of Directors. He also serves on the board of the U.S. Chamber Institute for Legal Reform. He attended The Ohio State University and resides with his family in McLean, Virginia.
Prior to forming The Washington Tax & Public Policy Group (formerly the Washington Tax Group), Mr. Nickerson served as Tax Counsel to Chairman Bill Thomas (R-CA) on the Committee on Ways and Means from 2001 to February 2005. He also served as Staff Director to Chairman Jim McCrery (R-LA) on the Subcommittee on Select Revenue Measures from 2004 to February 2005.
While working for the Ways and Means Committee, Mr. Nickerson had primary responsibility for the American Jobs Creation Act of 2004, the most significant business tax reform legislation enacted in the past twenty years. Mr. Nickerson also was lead tax staff on the dividend and capital gains rate cuts and other business incentives in the Jobs and Growth Tax Relief Reconciliation Act of 2003. His primary areas of jurisdiction for the Committee included corporate transactions, international taxation, energy taxation, depreciation, alternative minimum tax, financial products, tax shelters, research and development, business tax credits, and insurance taxation.
Mr. Nickerson served on the Delegate and Caucus Team at the 2004 Republican National Convention in New York and worked as an attorney advisor to the National Republican Senatorial Committee during the 2004 and 2006 elections.
Prior to joining the Committee on Ways and Means, Mr. Nickerson spent two years as the counsel for the National Foreign Trade Council working closely with NFTC’s 450 multinational corporations, the Department of Treasury, the United States Trade Representative and Congress on international tax and trade legislation and agreements. Prior to that, Mr. Nickerson spent seven years as a trial attorney for the Department of Justice, Tax Division and the Internal Revenue Service.
Mr. Nickerson received his B.S. in Business Administration from the University of New Hampshire and his J.D., magna cum laude, from the New England School of Law, and attended the New York University LL.M. in Taxation program.
Kent serves as vice president of government relations for The Home Depot. As the leader of global government relations, Kent is responsible for managing relations with elected officials on the federal, state, local and international levels. Kent opened the Washington, D.C. office for The Home Depot in 2002. He was named by The Hill newspaper as one of the top 50 corporate lobbyists in 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, and 2013.
Kent is active in state and national retail associations including the Retail Industry Leaders Association. In addition to the retail industry, Kent is active professionally serving as past president of the Business-Government Relations Council, whose membership includes the heads of government relations departments for the Fortune 200.
Kent serves on the Board of Trustees of Ford’s Theatre where he Chairs Ford’s Board of Governors and Co-Chairs the Development Committee. He is also a member of the National Advisory Board for the Concordia Language Villages. Kent and his wife, Karen, have two children and reside in Arlington, Virginia.
As president and CEO, Chris leads ATA’s efforts to advocate and educate on behalf of the trucking industry. Employing more than 7 million people and moving more than 10 billion tons of freight annually, trucking is the industry most responsible for moving America’s economy.
Prior to his time at ATA, Chris has deep background and experience in the transportation, energy, labor and technology sectors over five different continents.
Chris came to ATA from Hyundai Motor Co., where he served as vice president of government affairs. In that role he served on the Executive Committee for Global Automakers. Previously, Chris was ATA senior vice president of legislative affairs and worked for Honeywell Process Solutions.
Chris also has extensive experience in the federal government, serving as deputy representative for the Coalition Provisional Authority in Iraq, assistant secretary of labor for policy and as professional staff in the U.S. Senate.
Chris is on the board of directors for the University of Wyoming’s Center for Global Studies, has been awarded the US Department of Defense Joint Civilian Service Medal and Honeywell’s Premier Achievement Award. As President and CEO of ATA, Chris also serves as an Association Member on the Northwestern University Transportation Center Business Advisory Council and on the American Transportation Research Institute’s Board of Directors.
Chris holds a master’s and bachelor’s degree from the University of Wyoming.
Leslie A. Belcher is a managing director in Steptoe’s Washington office, where she is a member of the Government Affairs & Public Policy Group, focusing on government relations. Ms. Belcher offers clients 15 years of experience advising members of Congress and directing government relations campaigns at a large public university. She has a diverse background of public- and private-sector experience and focuses on appropriations, tax, trade, energy, and health.
Before joining Steptoe, Ms. Belcher was an advisor in The Scott Group and an advisor in the Government Relations and Public Policy Practice Group at the law firm Collier Shannon Scott. She previously worked as the Assistant Director of Federal Relations at Oklahoma State University. Additionally, Ms. Belcher has served on the staff of Congressmen Bill Brewster, Tom Cole, and Wes Watkins, working as Chief of Staff for Congressmen Cole and Watkins.
Scott Whitaker is president and CEO of AdvaMed, the world’s largest medical technology association.
He is widely recognized as a top health care advocate and policy expert with experience across multiple health policy sectors, having worked successfully with diverse stakeholder groups – including hospital, patient and physician groups, regulators, public and private payers, and global trade organizations – to advance medical technology innovation and timely patient access to next-generation treatments and cures.
Prior to AdvaMed, Whitaker was chief operating officer of the Biotechnology Innovation Organization (BIO), the world’s largest trade association representing biotechnology companies, and president of the BIO International Convention, the world’s largest biotech conference. Having served as COO of BIO since 2005, Whitaker brings a deep knowledge of the medical technology innovation ecosystem, a wealth of health care advocacy expertise, and strong working relationships with patient groups and other industry stakeholders. Whitaker also previously served as chief of staff of the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services (HHS) – a cabinet agency with 67,000 employees and a budget of $550 billion – from 2003 to 2005. He also served as assistant secretary for legislation at HHS from 2001 to 2003. Whitaker began his Washington career on Capitol Hill, where he worked for U.S. Senator Don Nickles (R-Okla.). Whitaker holds a master’s degree in government from Johns Hopkins University and a degree in political science from Palm Beach Atlantic University.
Robert Cresanti serves as the President & CEO of the International Franchise Association, the world’s oldest and largest organization representing the franchising industry. Cresanti joined the IFA in April of 2014 from SAP America, Inc., where he served as vice president of Corporate Affairs & Government Relations since 2009. In his public service, he was confirmed by the U.S. Senate in 2006 as Under Secretary for Technology for the Department of Commerce, the highest ranking U.S. official charged specifically with representing and advocating for the United States high tech industry globally. He chaired multiple bilateral technology trade missions for the U.S. government in the European Union, Asia and Russia and served as co-chair for the White House PCAST, the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology. In his nearly decade-long service on Capitol Hill, ranging from Committee Chief of Staff in the Senate, to Legislative Counsel in the House, he handled legislation before the Banking, Judiciary, Commerce, Government Affairs and Finance Committees.
Cresanti received a law degree from Baylor University School of Law, a bachelor’s degree in Political Science and International Relations from Austin College. He also received a certificate of EC Law from the University of Glasgow Law School and completed master’s courses in International Relations from Johns Hopkins SAIS.
Amy Walter is the National Editor of The Cook Political Report where she provides analysis of the issues, trends and events that shape the political environment. Her weekly column appears at CookPolitical.com.
Over the past 14 years, Amy Walter has built a reputation as an accurate, objective, and insightful political analyst with unparalleled access to campaign insiders and decision-makers. Known as one of the best political journalists covering Washington, she is the former political director of ABC News. She is also an exclusive panelist on NBC’s Meet the Press and a regular panelist on PBS’ Washington Week with Gwen Ifill and Fox News’ Special Report with Bret Baier. She provides political analysis every Monday evening for the PBS NewsHour.
This is Amy’s second tour of duty with The Cook Political Report. From 1997 to 2007, she served as Senior Editor where she covered the U.S. House.Walter was named one of DC’s “50 Top Journalists” by Washingtonian Magazine in 2009 and honored with the Washington Post’s Crystal Ball award for her spot-on election predictions in 2000. She is a member of the Board of Trustees at Colby College where she graduated summa cum laude.
Recognized as one of Washington’s most effective public policy advocates and an expert on security, technology and commerce issues, Stewart launched
Monument in 2006, building on high-level positions in the Bush Administration as the Assistant Secretary of Policy at the Department of Homeland Security. In the Senate, Stewart served as General Counsel to the Assistant Senate Majority Leader, Don Nickles, Counsel to Judiciary Committee Chairman, Orrin Hatch, and Counsel to the Rules Committee Chairman, John Warner. Stewart has testified before Congress on numerous occasions and has held high-level positions for presidential campaigns, corporate boards and Washington, D.C. think tanks. He is a graduate of Williams College and the University of Virginia School of Law.