Our Staff

Liz Liz Schrayer, President & CEO
Liz Schrayer serves as President & CEO of the U.S. Global Leadership Coalition (USGLC), a broad based coalition of over 400 businesses and NGOs that supports a smart power foreign policy. Under her leadership, the USGLC has grown to a nationwide network of advocates in all 50 states and boasts a bipartisan Advisory Council, chaired by General Colin Powell which includes every living former Secretary of State, and a National Security Advisory Council consisting of over 150 retired three and four-star generals and admirals. In addition to running the USGLC, Ms. Schrayer serves as President of Schrayer & Associates, Inc., a nationwide political consulting firm founded in 1994, which works on a wide range of domestic and international issues. Ms. Schrayer currently serves on USAID’s Advisory Committee on Voluntary Foreign Aid (ACFVA), as well as several advisory boards and committees for the University of Michigan including the Ford School of Public Policy, George Washington University, and Lockheed Martin. Prior to starting her own firm, Ms. Schrayer served as the national Political Director of AIPAC (American Israel Public Affairs Committee) for more than a decade. She worked on Capitol Hill, founding the Congressional Human Rights Caucus and in state government. She has traveled across the country organizing citizen advocates in every state. Ms. Schrayer has a Bachelor’s degree from the University of Michigan and resides in Maryland with her husband Jeff Schwaber, a Maryland attorney who helped in the launch of the Washington Legal Clinic for the Homeless.
Jason Gross, Executive Director
Jason Gross serves as Executive Director of the USGLC, tapping over 20 years of public policy, Capitol Hill and Presidential campaign experience to oversee day-to-day operations of the nationwide coalition. Prior to rejoining the USGLC, Gross served nine years as Chief of Staff to U.S. Representative Joe Courtney of Connecticut. Gross launched Courtney’s office in the House and led the office from a razor-thin 83 vote victory in 2006 to four strong reelections and Courtney being named Congress’s 8th highest over-performing Democrat by the Cook Political Report in 2014. Previously, Gross became the USGLC’s first full-time employee in 2001 and contributed to the organization’s growth from nascent coalition to established organization in six years as Managing Director. Earlier, Gross served as a Senior Professional Staff Member for European Affairs on the House International Relations Committee for Ranking Member Sam Gejdenson of Connecticut after having served on the foreign policy team of the Clinton-Gore 1996 Campaign. Gross earned a Master’s Degree in International Relations from the London School of Economics and holds a B.A. in Political Science from Tufts University. He lives with his wife, Connie Pendleton, a media lawyer, in Washington D.C. with their two sons.
Alexa Seidl MacKinnon, Special Assistant to the President & CEO
Alexa joins the USGLC after several years supporting Senator Patty Murray (D-WA) on Capitol Hill. Before moving to D.C., she worked for then-Congressman Jay Inslee’s final reelection campaign in 2010, and served as Deputy Finance Director for his successful 2012 gubernatorial race in Washington State. A native of Bainbridge Island, Washington, Alexa received her bachelor’s degree in Political Science from University of Washington in Seattle, and works as a portrait photographer in her free time.

GOVERNMENT RELATIONS TEAM

Lindsay Lee Plack, Government Relations Director
Lindsay Lee Plack serves as Director of Government Relations at the USGLC where she oversees the coalition’s engagement with Capitol Hill and other policymakers. Lindsay joins the USGLC from the Glover Park Group where she spent five and a half years managing government and public affairs work for a range of internationally-focused clients, including foreign governments, non-profits, and multinational corporations. She also served as a Senior Lobbyist at The Oldaker Group. Prior to joining the private sector, Lindsay worked on Capitol Hill for Congressman Joe Knollenberg (R-MI) and managed his national security, foreign policy, and related appropriations portfolios. Lindsay also has extensive campaign experience working on and managing campaigns at the local, state, and national level. Lindsay holds a bachelor’s degree from Saint Mary’s College – Notre Dame, and lives with her husband in Alexandria, Virginia.
Meghan Simonds, Deputy Government Relations Director
Meghan has served as USGLC’s Deputy Government Relations Director since June of 2010. She previously spent four years working for Senator Susan Collins (R-ME). Meghan served as Senator Collins’ Legislative Assistant for foreign affairs, transportation, and housing issues. Prior to her Legislative Assistant position, Meghan served as Senator Collins’ Legislative Correspondent for foreign affairs, defense, and veterans affairs. She graduated summa cum laude and with high honors with a Bachelor’s degree in Political Science from the University of Maine in Orono.
Mary Laurie, Government Relations Associate
Mary joins USGLC from InterAction, where she worked with the Public Policy Team on federal budget analysis and food security advocacy. Before InterAction, Mary served as a foreign policy fellow in the office of Senator Robert P. Casey, Jr. (D-PA), where she helped draft and negotiate the 2014 Global Food Security Act. Prior to her experience in the Senate, she served in the Washington, DC office of Human Rights Watch where she facilitated advocacy to the U.S. government and investigated protections for refugees. Mary holds a BA in international relations from the College of William and Mary and a JD from Penn State University’s Dickinson School of Law.

STRATEGIC INITIATIVES TEAM

Derek Gianino, Director of Strategic Initiatives
Derek was most recently Deputy National Coalitions Director at the Romney for President campaign; overseeing national outreach efforts to veterans, sportsmen, and farmers. In this capacity, he directed efforts to recruit and mobilize activists in more than 15 targeted states and liaised with prominent veteran, business, and civic leaders. Previously, he was an Account Executive at Howard Consulting Group and served as Deputy Field Manager at DDC Advocacy, a national full-service public affairs firm. A Michigan native, Gianino graduated from Kalamazoo College, and received his Master of Public Policy from The American University. He has also lived and studied at the University of Aberdeen in Aberdeen, Scotland.
Nick Smith Nicholas Smith, Impact 2016 Associate
Nick joins the USGLC after working as a Regional Field Director for the Republican National Committee during the 2014 election cycle. In that role, he ran the daily operations of a field office in Sandoval County New Mexico for the successful re-election campaign of Governor Susana Martinez, as well as multiple state and local candidates. He was then part of the RNC Victory operation in Louisiana for the senate runoff election between Senator Bill Cassidy and former Senator Mary Landrieu. Prior to working for the RNC, Nick served on Georgia Governor Nathan Deal’s primary campaign. Nick has also completed internships on Capitol Hill and for the Membership Development department of the Cobb County Chamber of Commerce near his hometown of Atlanta, Georgia. Nick received his degree in International Affairs with a minor in French from the University of Alabama, during which time he also studied at the Catholic University of Paris in Paris, France.

NATIONAL OUTREACH TEAM

Carey Carey Campbell, National Outreach Director
Carey comes to the USGLC from her previous position as Chief of Staff to the South Carolina House of Representatives Deputy Minority Leader James Smith, where she oversaw all political and legislative priorities. Her previous experience includes serving as South Carolina Deputy Political Director for the Hillary for President campaign during the 2008 primaries and a former lobbyist for a South Carolina education organization. Carey has worked on numerous political campaigns at the local, state, and presidential level overseeing field, fundraising, and policy development. She graduated with honors from the University of South Carolina, where she focused on Political Science. She is a native of Native of Decatur, AL and spent several years in Nashville, TN.
Alex Alex Grant, Deputy National Outreach Director
Alex joins the USGLC from the National Association of Broadcasters’ Political Action Committee (NABPAC), where he served as Senior Manager. At NABPAC, his responsibilities included expanding the visibility and size of the PAC, recruiting new donors, managing communications, and working with leaders of the broadcast industry to engage with key stakeholders. His previous experiences include serving as Campaign Manager for a congressional campaign in Indiana during the 2012 cycle, as a PAC Compliance Specialist at Vocus, Inc., and as Finance Director and Legislative Aide for Congressman Steven R. Rothman (D-NJ-09). A native of Rustburg, Virginia, Alex received his Bachelor of Arts in Government & International Relations from George Mason University, and holds a Master of Professional Studies in Political Management from George Washington University.
Andrew Andrew Kraus, Acting Director of Veterans Outreach
Andrew joins the USGLC from Wounded Warrior Project, where he worked in the Washington DC office. In this role, he provided support to Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, and helped build a network of veterans throughout the Mid-Atlantic. During this time, he served as the Howard County Chamber of Commerce Director of Legislative Affairs, working with state and local partners to improve the business climate in Maryland. Andrew spent five years on active duty, and continues to serve as a Marine with the 2nd Civil Affairs Group in Washington, DC. He graduated from Catholic University with a B.A. in Politics.
Ash Harden Ash Harden, Western Regional Outreach Director
Ash Harden joins the USGLC from the Colorado Democratic Party’s Coordinated Campaign, where she was the Regional Field Director for southeast Colorado. Previously, Ash worked as a Program and Marketing Manager for the Business Council for Peace, where she supported and provided training to entrepreneurs in post-conflict countries, such as Rwanda and Afghanistan. Ash also served as a Research Associate at the Council on Foreign Relations in New York. Before CFR, Ash lived and worked in Udaipur, India training locally elected village representatives on leadership skills. She holds a MSc in Gender, Globalization, and Development from the London School of Economics and a B.A. from Emory University in Middle Eastern and South Asian Studies and International Relations, where she graduated summa cum laude. She is also a member of Phi Beta Kappa.
Ashley Eason Ashley Eason, Midwestern Regional Outreach Manager
Ashley comes to the USGLC with deep experience in international relations and politics. She has lived and worked overseas in Moscow with New Life Russia and in Brussels, Belgium with the EU-Ukraine Business Council promoting global trade. Additionally, she worked in Tennessee at the Marshall Fund and at Hope Presbyterian Church in Cordova. Ashley received her undergraduate degree from Texas Tech University and her M.A. in International Peace and Conflict Resolution from the School of International Service at American University. Ashley is a member of Young Professionals in Foreign Policy, the Washington Area Bicyclists Association, and is a native of Plano, Texas.
Colleen Bowman Colleen Bowman, Regional Field Manager
Colleen joins the USGLC after serving as the Manager of Field Operations at BIPAC, the Business-Industry Political Action Committee. In this role, Colleen built and strengthened strategic relationships with leading state business organizations and supported their advocacy efforts. Prior to joining BIPAC, Colleen worked as a legislative intern in the Capitol Hill office of then-Senator John Kerry and in the district office of Congresswoman Kathy Hochul. She was also honored to participate in the Student Conference on U.S. Affairs at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, where she analyzed the three “Ds” of foreign policy: diplomacy, development, and defense. A proud native of Buffalo, N.Y., Colleen graduated from the College of the Holy Cross with a B.A. in Political Science.
Jonathan Fredi Jonathan Fredi, Texas Field Manager
Prior to joining the USGLC, Jonathan worked in Texas as a member of Senator John Cornyn’s staff with a focus on Department of State and Department of Homeland Security issues. Prior to his time in a congressional office, Jonathan lived and worked in Barcelona, Spain. After earning his M.A. in International Relations from the Institut Barcelona d’Estudis Internacionals, he worked with the Global University Network for Innovation to advocate for higher education reform as well as working on reestablishing higher education systems in areas affected by conflict or upheaval. He earned his B.A. from Louisiana State University and is a proud native of Nashville, Tennessee.
Jeremy Tolbert Jeremy Tolbert, Southern Regional Outreach Manager
Jeremy comes to the USGLC from the Office of U.S. Senator Tim Scott (R-SC). During his tenure there, he focused his efforts on military affairs outreach, directed the Military Academy Nominations Program and served as the Senator’s liaison to various groups and organizations. In addition, he was involved with Department of State issues and organized and directed major events. To date, he has worked for two U.S. Senators and has been a part of several federal campaigns, including the historic election of Tim Scott, who became the South’s first African-American Senator since Reconstruction. He is a graduate of Clemson University where he served as the Governmental Affairs Director and advocated for higher education on behalf of Clemson’s undergraduate student body. Jeremy is a proud native of Greenville, South Carolina.
Adelana Lopez Adelana Gladstein, Field Associate
Adelana comes to the USGLC after receiving her M.A. in International Relations from the University of Miami, where she specialized in U.S.-Latin American relations. While in graduate school, she held an internship in the Congressional Affairs Office at the U.S. Southern Command where she focused on security issues in Latin America and the Caribbean. Previously, Adelana spent over a year working as a Legislative Correspondent on Capitol Hill where she worked on Western Hemisphere affairs issues. She earned her B.S. in International Affairs and B.A. in History from Florida State University. She also spent a semester studying abroad in Valencia, Spain. Adelana is a proud native of Orlando, Florida.
Kayla McAfee Kayla McAfee, Field Associate
Kayla comes to USGLC after working with the successful Bera for Congress campaign, where she worked as a Finance Assistant in Sacramento, California. Prior to that, she worked with the California Democratic Party as a Regional Field Director, managing and motivating a staff of Field Organizers, interns and hundreds of active volunteers, for the 2014 campaign cycle. Kayla is a South Florida native but is currently residing in the greater DC area. She graduated from Florida State University with a dual degree in Political Science and International Relations, where she was involved with the National Collegiate Honor Society and Phi Eta Sigma.

COMMUNICATIONS TEAM

Sidney Sidney Traynham, Communications Director
Sidney joins the USGLC after a decade of experience in communications, policy and advocacy in the US, Europe, Asia and Africa. He most recently led the national press outreach and digital campaign efforts on immigration and refugee issues for Church World Service’s DC office. Prior to returning to DC, he worked in the international humanitarian and development sector in Geneva with the ACT Alliance, after which he was based in Afghanistan, Pakistan and Thailand with Church World Service. A DC native, Sidney received his undergraduate degree from American University and more recently earned his Master’s in International Peace and Security from the War Studies Department at King’s College London.
Jennie Jennie Bragg, Deputy Communications Director
Jennie joins the USGLC from Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, where she served as manager of North American communication. Prior to joining Gavi, Jennie held various roles in writing and media-relations, including a year-long communications fellowship at the National Cancer Institute (NIH). She spent the early part of her career as a producer at CNN in New York. A Connecticut native, Jennie received her undergraduate degree in English from Duke University. She holds a Master of Public Health with a focus on health communication from the University of Southern California.
Elizabeth Elizabeth Holtan, Digital Communications Manager
Elizabeth comes to the USGLC from the Council of Better Business Bureaus, where she managed BBB’s national digital media platforms, and previously, its relations with over 200 Fortune 500 and nonprofit members. Prior to that, Elizabeth worked for Public Affairs at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, managed communications at New York State’s oldest estate vineyard, and gained a diverse range of experience at DoD, multinational corporations, and nonprofits. An award-winning writer, she holds an M.S. in Public Relations from Syracuse University’s S.I. Newhouse School and a B.A. in English and Spanish from the State University of New York at Fredonia, and also studied at Northumbria University in England. Elizabeth, a Montana native, serves on the Northern Virginia board of the Royal Scottish Country Dance Society.
Leslie Leslie Tisdale, Communications Manager
Leslie joins the USGLC after two years as the Press Secretary and Foreign Policy Legislative Aide to Congressman Lloyd Doggett, focusing on the Middle East. Before moving to Capitol Hill, she worked at the U.S. Attorney’s office in Austin, Texas and also did press work for Senator Kay Hagan. Leslie earned her B.S. in Political Communications and Government from the University of Texas at Austin and is a native of Corpus Christi, Texas.
Allison Allison Taylor, Digital Communications Associate
Allison comes to the USGLC from the private sector, where she served as Marketing and Public Relations Writer for Wolfram Research International. There, she covered a wide array of communications projects, with a primary focus on consumer outreach and education. She helped with the partnership between The Raspberry Pi Foundation and Wolfram Research International, and provided on-site communications support at the 2013 Computer-Based Math Summit. With a distinctive degree in both Physics and Film/Media Arts from American University, she is skilled in both technical and non-technical aspects of communications. While originally from Long Island, NY, she much prefers DC to New York City.

PROGRAMS TEAM

Emily Emily Benovitz, Program Director
Emily Benovitz joined the USGLC in September 2011 and currently oversees the organization’s programming in DC and across the country. Prior to the USGLC, she spent over two years at The American Israel Public Affairs Committee, where she managed lobbying activity for AIPAC’s top political activists, and helped educate members of Congress and their staff on the importance of a strong U.S. – Israel relationship. She has previous experience working at an education non-profit in DC and interning on Capitol Hill. Emily received her bachelor’s degree in Political Science from the University of Michigan and is a native of Louisville, Kentucky.
Emily Emily Jennings, Field Events Manager
Emily Jennings comes to the USGLC after receiving her Bachelor’s degree in International Relations from American University, where she specialized in U.S. foreign policy and national security. While in college, she held internships with The British Embassy and Vital Voices Global Partnership, an NGO that empowers up-and-coming women leaders around the world. Emily spent a semester studying abroad in St. Petersburg, Russia and loves finding any excuse to practice her Russian language skills. Hailing originally from Burlington, Vermont, Emily has lived in the District since 2007 – and doesn’t see herself ever leaving!
Leah Leah Goldman, National Events Associate
Leah Goldman joins the USGLC after receiving her undergraduate degree in Government and Modern Middle Eastern studies from Harvard University. Leah spent her summers working in public service, first writing grants for a nonprofit that provides welfare services to families in New York City, then interning on Capitol Hill, where she fell in love with D.C. Most recently, she spent a summer studying international human rights in Istanbul. While at Harvard, she was a student leader at the Institute of Politics, class committee member, and philanthropy and social chair of her sorority. Leah is a proud native of New Rochelle, NY.
Crystal Crystal Marshall, Field Events Associate
Crystal joins the USGLC after receiving her M.A. in European Studies from Johns Hopkins SAIS in May 2016. She received her B.A. from Hillsdale College in History, Political Economy, and Spanish. In addition to her academic experiences, Crystal previously worked as an Events Assistant at Johns Hopkins SAIS, helping to coordinate hundreds of on-campus conferences, high-profile events, and graduation ceremonies. Additionally, Crystal interned for the U.S. State Department and the Civil War Trust. Originally from the Seattle region in Washington State, Crystal is now happy to call the “other” Washington her home.

POLICY TEAM

John K. Glenn, Policy Director
John K. Glenn is Policy Director of the U.S. Global Leadership Coalition. He joins the USGLC after serving as Director of Foreign Policy at the German Marshall Fund of the United States, where he led Transatlantic Trends, an annual survey of foreign policy attitudes in the United States and Europe, and oversaw GMF’s foreign policy grantmaking and programming. His background also includes academic expertise as executive director of the Council for European Studies and project manager at the Institute of War and Peace Studies at Columbia University. He is adjunct faculty at the Elliott School for Public Affairs at George Washington University and has written numerous books, articles, and policy briefs, as well as appears in the media regularly as a commentator on international affairs. Dr. Glenn holds a Ph.D. and M.A. in sociology from Harvard University and a bachelor’s degree from Oberlin College.
Sung Lee, Deputy Policy Director
Sung joins the USGLC from Feed the Future Knowledge Driven Agricultural Development program, where he managed the publication process for the Feed the Future’s annual Progress Report. He was previously Assistant Director for Global Agricultural Development Initiative at the Chicago Council on Global Affairs, where he led the Initiative’s outreach and research efforts on global development and food security issues. He holds an undergraduate degree from George Washington University as well as two graduate degrees from the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs at Syracuse University in Public Administration and International Relations.
Zach David Stein, Policy Associate
David Stein comes to the USGLC from the Blum-Kovler Foundation, a family philanthropic foundation where he served as a Program Officer. In this position, he identified potential grant recipients and reviewed grant proposals from local and international non-profits with a focus on criminal justice reform, refugee support efforts, and anti-poverty programs in Washington, DC. Prior to this, he was a member of the field team for Representative Mark Pocan’s (D-WI) campaign, where he assisted in voter outreach and volunteer recruitment efforts. David received his Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science and International Studies from the University of Wisconsin. He also spent a year studying as an exchange student at Sciences Po, a political science university in Paris, France. David is a native Washingtonian.

DEVELOPMENT TEAM

Beth Melissa Lieberman, Director of Development
Melissa Lieberman joins the USGLC after nearly 10 years of political fundraising experience at the Presidential, Senatorial, and Congressional levels including with the campaigns of Senator Joe Lieberman, Senator Frank Lautenberg, and former Congressman Martin Frost. Melissa previously served as director of development for MedStar Washington Hospital Center where she was responsible for overall fundraising strategy and execution, and before that as director of development for the National Jewish Democratic Council (NJDC). Melissa graduated from Rutgers University with a bachelor’s degree in political science.
Torrey Torrey Shallcross, Deputy Director of Development
Torrey Ford Shallcross joins the USGLC from the national non-profit Women Against Prostate Cancer (WAPC), where she served as Vice President of External Relations overseeing corporate relations, educational programing and outreach efforts. Prior to joining WAPC, Torrey spent over two years managing corporate relations and development for the Melanoma Research Foundation, diversifying the organizations corporate portfolio to include the pharmaceutical, entertainment, finance, beauty and commodities sectors. Torrey also spent time at the Biotechnology Industry Organization where she helped develop biotechnology industry policy and with the TransAtlantic Business Dialogue, facilitating conversations between leading American and European companies who advocate for a barrier-free transatlantic market. Torrey began her tenure in Washington, D.C. at CSIS, where she managed the Biotechnology Project. Torrey holds a BA in international relations/conflict resolution and philosophy from Sweet Briar College in Virginia.

FINANCE AND ADMINISTRATION

dularniyangoda_web Dular Niyangoda, Chief Financial Officer
Dular Niyangoda serves as the Chief Financial Officer at the USGLC and brings over fifteen years of executive leadership experience in finance and operations. Most recently, Dular was the CFO for The Optical Society (OSA) where he led finance and customer service departments. His leadership experience across the for-profit and not-for-profit sectors includes strategic finance and budgeting, accounting, compliance, human resources, information technology and customer service. Prior to returning to the not-for-profit sector, Dular founded a number of businesses promoting sustainable organic products. Dular lives with his wife and two children in Washington, DC.
Ashley Howe Ashley Howe, Finance Associate
Ashley comes to USGLC from Capitol Compliance Associates, a campaign compliance firm where she served as Operations Manager. She also provided finance and administrative support for several Senate races during the 2014 Election cycle. Prior to this, she spent over three years at the Center of the American West, where she organized conferences and lectures to promote Western history and environmental conservation. She has previous experience interning with Truman National Security Project and on Capitol Hill. Ashley received her Bachelor of Arts degree in International Affairs from the University of Colorado, Boulder and is a native of Colorado.

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