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Announcing the 2020 Excellence in Advocacy Award Nominees

Thursday, July 2, 2020   (0 Comments)

Women in Government Relations is pleased to announce the nominees for this year’s Excellence in Advocacy Awards to coincide with the Professional Women in Advocacy Conference taking place virtually November 9-11, 2020. The intent of the awards is to put the spotlight on everyday advocates who dedicate themselves to representing their issue, cause or organization in the public policy arena and this year we have an amazing group of nominees!


Peer judges will now review the nominations and finalists in each category will be announced in August. One awardee in each category will be revealed at a virtual ceremony taking place in the afternoon/evening of Tuesday, November 10, 2020 (time to be announced).


Here are the 2020 Award Nominees by category:

Excellence in a Federal Issue Campaign - An effort wherein the advocate(s) successfully impacted the outcome of a federal legislative or regulatory problem or opportunity on behalf of their cause, issue, client, organization or coalition.

  • The team of Emily Bryan and Annette McDermott from Cooley Public Strategies   
  • The team of Kathleen Coulombe, Susan Neely, Joyce Meyer, Jill Kozeny, Jessica Mancari, Justin Hakes from American Council of Life Insurers     
  • The team of Karen McCarthy, Charlotte Etier, Rachel Gentry, Jackie Cottom, Jill Desjean, Megan Walter from NASFAA       
  • Misty Chally, Executive Director, Coalition of Franchisee Associations             Mallori Miller, Vice President, Government Relations, Independent Petroleum Association of America (IPAA)
  • Sarah Meek, Senior Director of Legislative Affairs, ANCOR
  • Yadira Sanchez, Co-Executive Director, Poder Latinx     
  • Jeanne Slade, Director of the National Emergency Medicine Political Action Committee and Grassroots Advocacy, American College of Emergency Physicians      
  • Nili Yossinger, National Director, Refugee Congress 

Excellence in a State Issue Campaign - An effort wherein the advocate(s) successfully impacted the outcome of a state or local legislative or regulatory problem or opportunity on behalf of their cause, issue, client, organization or coalition.

  • Regina Eberhart, Director of Political Action, Transport Workers Union
  • Nikki Hutchison, State Director, Advocacy Associate, AARP   
  • Kate O'Malley, Founder and CEO, K.O. Strategies                         
  • Erin Rice, Owner/Principal Consultant, Rice Strategies, LLC.      
  • Kristine Telford, Senior Director, Public Affairs, Edison Electric Institute             
  • Jennifer Wicker, Director of Intergovernmental Affairs, Virginia Hospital & Healthcare Association

Excellence in a Campaign for Women Serving Women – An effort wherein women advocate(s) successfully impacted the outcome of a problem or opportunity on behalf of other women.

  • The team of Dee Dee Bass-Wilbon and Deana Bass-Williams from Bass Public Affairs Group     
  • Na'ilah  Amaru, Advocacy and Policy Strategist, self-employed     
  • Maggie Felman-Piltch, CEO/Founder, #NatSecGirlSquad                
  • Andrea Goldstein, Senior Policy Advisor, Women Veterans Task Force - House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs
  • Sharon Jackson, Director, Women2Women
  • Jennifer Mangone, Manager of Congressional Policy, American Academy of Dermatology Association 
  • Kayt Wahlert, Management and Program Analyst, U.S. Department of Energy, Office of Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy     
  •   Iris Wilbur Glick, Vice President, Public Policy and Government Affairs, Greater Louisville Inc., The Metro Chamber of Commerce 
  •  Ashley Wilson, Vice President of Congressional & Public Affairs, Executive Director of Women Taking the Lead, US Chamber of Commerce      
  • Lina Zdruli, Founder, Dafero

Excellence in Advocacy on a Controversial Issue – An effort wherein the advocate(s) successfully impacted the outcome of a federal legislative or regulatory problem or opportunity on an issue that was controversial or not very popular.

  • Roberta "Toni" Meyers, Director of State Strategy and Reentry, Legal Action Center            
  • Kathleen Sgamma, President, Western Energy Alliance

Excellence in Advocacy by an Up and Coming Practitioner - Recognizes the advocate for early achievements in her career and potential to be a successful contributor to the field over time.

  • Lucia Alonzo, Chief of Staff, Ferox Strategies
  • Lauren Babb, Public Affairs Director, Planned Parenthood Northern California
  • Francisco Bencosme, Senior Policy Advisor, Open Society Foundations      
  • Giovanteey Bishop, Program Manager, Next Generation Leadership Institute
  • Giovanteey Bishop, Manager, In Our Own Voice: National Black Women’s Reproductive Justice
  • Hannah Cooper, Director of Grassroots, Distilled Spirits Council of the United States         
  • Riley Bechdel, Director of Client Services, Engage, LLC       
  • Kayla Gardner, Senior Manager of Government Affairs, Wireless Infrastructure Association                
  • Kathryn Gimborys, Government Affairs Associate, IHEP     
  • Eliza Hernandez, Chief of Staff, National 4-H Council
  • Dakota Jackson, Government Relations Associate, Self-Insurance Institute of America (SIIA)            
  • Mary Kobbeman, Government Relations Manager, Marklund Children's Home        
  • Radha Mohan, Policy Advisor and Associate, Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck
  • Kate Noble, Regulatory Analyst, Western Energy Alliance    
  • Kristine O'Brien, VP, Global Government Affairs, Airlines for America               
  • Victoria Palacio, State Advocacy Coordinator, Legal Action Center     
  • Reagan Payne, Manager Emerging Technology Policy, General Motors             
  • Jasmine Sessoms, Government Relations Officer, Community College of Philadelphia        
  • Monica Sibri, Development Advisor, Poder Latinx             

Advocate of the Year - This is a marquis award that recognizes a mid-career advocacy professional for extraordinary work on behalf of a her cause, industry or policy issueDesigned to recognize women with between 8-20 years of experience in the advocacy field who have achieved remarkable results for their career level.

  • Na'ilah Amaru, Advocacy & Policy Strategist, self-employed 
  •  Valerie Barter, Executive Director, Violence Prevention Avalon East Ltd.      
  •  Jana Barresi, Senior Director of Federal Government Affairs, Walmart           
  •  Tami Buckner, Head of Federal Affairs, Waste Management
  •  Carrie Calvert, Vice President, Government Relations, Agriculture & Nutrition, Feeding America    
  •  Wendy Chun-Hoon, Executive Director, Family Values @ Work             
  • Elizabeth DiLauro, Senior Director of Advocacy, ZERO TO THREE 
  •  Regina Eberhart, Director of Political Action, Transport Workers Union         
  • Lesli Gooch, CEO, Manufactured Housing Institute
  •  Tara Hogan Charles, Associate Director, Global Government Relations & Public Policy, The Procter & Gamble Company (P&G)
  •  Kelly Lafollette, Education, Alabama schools      
  •  Stephanie Lester, Senior Director for Government Affairs, The Gap Inc.  
  •  Scarlett Lewis, Founder and Chief Movement Officer, The Jesse Lewis Choose Love Movement                 
  •  Mallori Miller, Vice President Government Relations, Independent Petroleum Association of America (IPAA)
  •  Julie Peller, Executive Director, Higher Learning Advocates         
  •  Tannaz Rasouli, Senior Director, Public Policy and Strategic Outreach, AAMC
  •  Kathryn Schubert, Chief Advocacy Officer, Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine 
  •  Heather Way Kitzes, Assistant Director, Government and Community Affairs, Chicago Cubs    

Please help us congratulate these everyday superheroes doing extraordinary things by sharing this news post on social media #EIA2020 @WGRDC.

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