Liz Schrayer serves as President & CEO of the U.S. Global Leadership Coalition (USGLC), a broad based coalition of over 500 businesses and NGOs that advocates for strong U.S. global leadership through development and diplomacy. 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 virtually every living former Secretary of State, and a National Security Advisory Council consisting of nearly 200 retired three and four-star generals and admirals.
Ms. Schrayer currently serves on the U.S. International Development Finance Corporation’s Development Advisory Council, 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. She is also a member of the Council on Foreign Relations.
In addition to running the USGLC, Ms. Schrayer serves as President of Schrayer & Associates, Inc., a nationwide consulting firm founded in 1995, which works on a wide range of domestic and international issues.
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.
Michelle Bekkering currently serves as National Engagement Director for the U.S. Global Leadership Coalition. Prior to joining USGLC, Bekkering was nominated by the President and unanimously confirmed by the U.S. Senate as an Assistant Administrator of the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID). A passionate advocate for women’s empowerment and equality, Bekkering was a leading architect of the White House led Women’s Global Development and Prosperity Initiative (W-GDP); a whole of U.S. Government initiative to economically empower 50 million women by 2025. Bekkering was awarded a Superior Accomplishment Award by USAID for her leadership.
Emily Benovitz serves as the Chief of Staff for the U.S. Global Leadership Coalition. She joined the USGLC in 2011, most recently serving as Program Director, overseeing the organization’s events and programming in DC and across the country. Prior to joining USGLC, Emily spent two years at the American Israel Public Affairs Committee managing activity for AIPAC’s top political activists, and has previous experience working at an education non-profit and on Capitol Hill. In her community life, Emily is a member of the Jewish Federations of North America’s National Young Leadership Cabinet, a premier young leadership development program that educates and connects the next generation of global Jewish leaders and philanthropists. She has served on the Board of Directors of the Jewish Federation of Greater Washington and co-chaired many programs and initiatives. Emily is a native of Louisville, KY and received her bachelor’s degree in Political Science from the University of Michigan.
Nissa joins the USGLC after working in various communications roles, most recently serving as Acting Communications Director for Congresswoman Barbara Lee of California. Prior to joining Congresswoman Lee’s office, Nissa worked at the Sierra Club as Assistant Press Secretary for the Clean Transportation Campaign. A native of Berkeley, California, Nissa received her bachelor’s degree in International Relations with a focus on security studies from Tufts University. While studying abroad, she explored multilateral institutions in Brussels and examined European Union expansion issues in the Balkans.
Ariana joins the USGLC with nearly ten years of federal government experience working on foreign policy and national security issues. Most recently, Ariana served as the Director of Senate Affairs in the Department of State’s Bureau of Legislative Affairs. In this capacity, she advised the Department on how to advance U.S. foreign policy, national security, and development priorities in Congress and managed the Department’s relationship with the U.S. Senate. Prior to joining the State Department, Ariana served as the Foreign Policy and Defense Advisor to Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA) responsible for the Senator’s foreign policy, national security, and related appropriations portfolios. A native of Syracuse, New York, Ariana spent a year studying in Paris, France, before earning her bachelor’s degree in International Studies with a minor in French Literature from Johns Hopkins University.
Parker joins USGLC from the International Republican Institute (IRI), where he served in various roles, including Resident Program Director for Indonesia and Timor-Leste. Living in Jakarta and Dili, he served as IRI’s senior in-country representative and implemented democracy and governance programs funded by the National Endowment for Democracy, State Department, and US Agency for International Development. He has lived in six countries and worked on 13, with experience across government, policy, and politics. He started his career as an aide to then-House Speaker John A. Boehner and working on political and public affairs campaigns in his home state of Ohio. He holds a Master’s degree in Political Management and Global Politics from George Washington University and a Bachelor’s degree in Political Science from The Ohio State University.
Lukogho joins the USGLC from Raytheon, where she served in their Leadership Development Program as a Business Development Manager and worked on export/import control compliance and U.S. and foreign regulations in international business activities. Her previous experiences include serving as a Legislative Staffer and Press Assistant for U.S. Representative José E. Serrano of New York, a Grants and Policy Manager for BURN Manufacturing in Kenya, and a Business Development Consultant for Groupe Nduom in Ghana.
She holds an MBA with a certificate in International Business from Howard University and a BA in Political Science from San Jose State University. She is a member of Women of Color Advancing Peace and Security, a 2018 Africa Business Fellowship alum, and a co-founder of the Congolese Diaspora Impact Summit. Lukogho is originally from the D.R. Congo and considers California and DC to be home.
Madison joins the USGLC after interning in the Government Relations department. Prior to her work with the USGLC, Madison interned with the Center for Global Development conducting policy outreach with Congress and federal agencies and with the U.S. Department of State in the Bureau of Legislative Affairs. Madison earned her master’s in international affairs from the Elliott School at the George Washington University and her bachelor’s in international studies and political science from the University of Denver. She’s a proud native of Western Colorado.
Katherine joins the USGLC after multiple internships in federal government, including the USAID Legislative Affairs Office and the Department of State Trafficking in Persons (TIP) Office. Katherine recently graduated from the University of California at Berkeley where she received her B.A. in Global Peace and Conflict with minors in Human Rights and French. While completing her undergraduate degree, she studied at the University of Geneva Global Studies Institute and University College London, and she led a student organization focused on ending labor trafficking. Katherine is originally from Orange County, California, but is thrilled to be back in Washington, D.C.
Alma joins the USGLC from Dewey Square Group, bringing over 15 years of experience as a political, communications, and leadership strategist. As a Principal leading DSG’s Public Affairs teams for eight years, she has guided winning campaigns for candidates, causes, and companies seeking to shape public opinion across the country. Leading field operations and public engagement teams for over 15 years, Alma has mobilized national multicultural leaders, built intersectional coalitions, and advanced the visibility of underrepresented communities. Additionally, Alma brings experience in creating DEI initiatives and programs for corporate and non-profit organizations and is an experienced bilingual media trainer and leadership strategist, having advised Members of Congress, national civil rights leaders and Fortune 10 executives for on-camera interviews, public speaking, and executive leadership development. Prior to her tenure at DSG, Alma worked for the Washington D.C. Council and the U.S. House of Representatives.
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.
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.
Luke joins the USGLC after serving as Deputy District Director for Representative Jeff Fortenberry of Nebraska. During his tenure with Congressman Fortenberry, Luke served as Campaign Manager, and also managed district staff and spearheaded outreach initiatives throughout the state. Earlier, Luke interned in Congressman David Schweikert’s office in Arizona. Luke attended Nebraska Wesleyan University, where he studied political theory and the philosophy of religion. Luke will be based in Phoenix as he executes USGLC’s Western outreach.
Nezar joins the USGLC from Twitter’s public policy team where he focused on the company’s nationwide work around the 2020 Election. Earlier, he worked with Facebook’s public policy team on global elections and government outreach and has held numerous internships including at the Atlantic Council, the U.S. Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, and companies in the UK and Jordan. Nezar holds a master’s degree in international economics and American foreign policy from Johns Hopkins University’s School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS) and received his bachelor’s degree in international studies from American University. Originally from Northern California, and having spent time living in Europe and the Middle East, Nezar is happy to call Washington, D.C. home.
Sean joins USGLC from the Democratic National Committee where he managed a nationwide team of staff and volunteers during the 2016 election. At the DNC, Sean supported the research and communications departments by providing real time updates from thousands of campaign events across the country. His earlier experience includes roles such as Regional Field Director for Rep. Patrick Murphy (FL) and Veteran Field Organizer for the Truman National Security Project. Sean is a veteran of the US Marine Corps, having earned the rank of Sergeant while serving at the historic Marine Barracks Washington, DC. Sean holds a B.A. in political science from the University of South Florida and is a proud USF Bull.
Troy joins the USGLC after managing public affairs for a marketing company in Dallas, where he led government and community relations initiatives nationally. Previously, he worked as Director of Communications and Outreach in the Texas Legislature for now-Dallas Mayor Eric Johnson as well as roles with the U.S. Department of Treasury and with U.S. Representative Gene Green of Texas. He earned his bachelor’s degree from Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service, studying international politics and law. A proud native of Houston, Texas, Troy is excited to work on outreach efforts in his home state as well as Oklahoma and New Mexico and will be based in Dallas.
Emily joins the USGLC from Finseca, a national trade association representing the country’s top life insurance agents and financial advisors. As a Political Affairs Manager, Emily worked with a portfolio of Finseca advocates to educate lawmakers on financial security issues and to expand and strengthen the organization’s advocacy network. Previously, she served as a senior staffer for former Chairman Sharon Bulova of the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors in Northern Virginia. A proud native of Leesburg, Virginia, Emily received her B.A. degree in Government from the College of William & Mary and M.P.P. degree from George Mason University.
Rob comes to the USGLC after managing and working on state-level campaigns in Northern Virginia. He also served as a Legislative Aide for the Virginia House of Delegates’ Majority Caucus Chairman, where he managed correspondence, maintained the Delegate’s schedule, and assisted with legislative activities during the 2016 and 2017 General Assembly Sessions in Richmond. After graduating from George Mason University in 2013, Rob worked as a carpenter in the Washington, D.C. area while he finished an internship in the U.S. House of Representatives, and volunteered on various federal, state, and local political campaigns throughout Virginia. He holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in global affairs, with concentrations on global governance and economics. After growing up all over the United States, mainly in New Mexico and Virginia Beach, Rob is happy to call Northern Virginia home.
Eric Moorer joins USGLC after serving as Deputy Canvass Director for the Grassroots Team’s DC office, fundraising on behalf of Amnesty International. Previously, Eric interned for a U.S. Senator’s state operation and served as a Catholic Community Connection fellow for the Society of St. Vincent de Paul. Earlier, Eric worked as a political campaign coordinator for a Cleveland City Council candidate and as the executive assistant for an Ohio gubernatorial campaign. A native of Northeast Ohio, Eric earned his Bachelor of Arts degree in history from Notre Dame College, where he served as the college student representative to the Propel Ohio Collegiate Leadership Summit and was a 2-time conference champion for the college’s track and field team. Eric is a proud Cleveland sports fan and excited to manage outreach efforts in the Ohio Valley.
Alexandra comes to the USGLC from the Republican Party of Iowa, serving as a field organizer for voter and coalition engagement and for support to state and local candidates. She previously represented the Automotive Service Association as a Legislative Assistant for the Redding Firm, worked as a Constituent Services Coordinator for the Republican National Committee, and served as a Legislative Intern for Congressman Paul Cook of California. Alexandra is a proud graduate of Towson University, where she earned a B.S. in political science with a concentration in national security and intelligence.
Evan joins the USGLC from Global Ties Arizona, where he served as Operations Assistant, aiding the local implementation of the State Department’s International Visitor Leadership Program. Previously, he served as a field organizer for a successful City Council campaign in Phoenix, and as Project Supervisor for an international nonprofit in Panama. While in school, Evan held numerous internships including with the Official Trade Representative for the City of Phoenix to Mexico, the Phoenix Committee on Foreign Relations, and the Dorn Policy Group. A native of Tucson, Arizona, Evan attended Arizona State University where he obtained Bachelors of Science degrees in Political Science and Sociology, and a minor in Spanish Literature. Evan is currently based in Phoenix and looks forward to relocating to Washington, D.C. in the coming months.
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.
Carrie joins the USGLC from Project: Time Off where she supported research and communications efforts for a national behavioral-change campaign. Prior to working with Project: Time Off, she served as a digital producer at NBC ahead of and during the 2016 Rio Olympic Games. She holds a B.A. in journalism and English from Duquesne University and a M. Sc. in journalism from Columbia University. Originally from Northern Virginia, Carrie is happy to call Washington D.C. home.
Halsey joins the USGLC after two years of managing digital projects for the nonprofit behind Earth Day. In that role, he worked with global leaders and NGOs to support climate change action, pollution reduction, and environmental education issues for the event’s one billion annual participants. Prior to his work for Earth Day, he served as the data manager for Senator Angus King’s 2018 re-election campaign and as a Senate committee policy intern. He earned his B.S. in environmental policy from the University of Vermont, lives in Washington, D.C., and was born and raised on the coast of Maine.
Sophia joins the USGLC after completing several internships with the Office of Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, Office of Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, Bureau of Legislative Affairs at the U.S. Department of State, Center for International Policy and the Congressional Research Service. Sophia recently graduated from American University, where she received her B.A. in International Studies with additional studies in Law & Society and Community-Based Research. During her time at AU, Sophia studied abroad at Sciences Po and SOAS University of London. Originally from Long Island, NY, Sophia now calls Washington, D.C. home.
Emily came to the USGLC in 2012 as a Program Assistant and today serves as the organization’s Program Director. Prior to joining USGLC, Emily held various roles in communications and event management at The British Embassy, Vital Voices, and Biotechnology Innovation Organization. Emily received her bachelor’s degree in International Relations from American University, where she specialized in U.S. foreign policy and national security, and spent four months studying in St. Petersburg, Russia. A native of Burlington, Vermont, Emily has called DC home since 2007.
Tyler joins the USGLC from the Mellinger Group, a political consulting firm where he worked with numerous clients running for state and federal office on planning events and executing fundraising strategy. Prior to joining the Mellinger Group, Tyler worked as a Marketing Coordinator at NDM Communications in Orange County, California. Tyler served as a White House Intern in the Obama Administration, first working in the Office of Intergovernmental Affairs, serving as a liaison to our nation’s mayors and city councilmembers, and again at the White House Council on Environmental Quality on the Public Engagement team. A native of the Tampa Bay area, Tyler holds a B.A. in political science from the University of South Florida and is also a proud Eagle Scout.
Alexis joins the USGLC after a decade of experience in human capital development focused in private, public, and non-profit sectors across multiple continents. A recent graduate of Johns Hopkins’ School for Advanced International Studies (SAIS), Alexis received a master’s degree in International Economics and American Foreign Policy studying in Bologna, Italy and Washington, D.C. Before SAIS, Alexis spent four years working in East Africa for One Acre Fund, four years with the Brookings Institution in Washington, D.C. serving the U.S. federal government, and two years with Smith College Executive Education. A native of Eau Claire, Wisconsin, Alexis completed her undergraduate degree at Smith College in Sociology and French Studies, where she spent her junior year studying and working abroad in Paris and Rabat, Morocco.
Jessica joins the USGLC after holding several internship positions, including with InterAction and the Center on Wrongful Convictions of Youth. She recently graduated from Cornell University where she received a B.A. in government and also studied English and Spanish. While at Cornell, she spent a semester studying in Spain and played varsity soccer for four years, serving as co-captain her senior year. Jessica is a proud Chicago native, and she is excited be working in Washington, D.C.
As Director of External Relations, Melissa oversees the USGLC’s fundraising and development operations, including membership and corporate and foundation partnerships. Melissa also leads the engagement and stewardship of the USGLC Board of Directors.
Melissa’s background is primarily in political consulting and fundraising, with over ten years of experience raising money for Presidential and Congressional candidates. 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. Melissa lives in Montgomery County, Maryland with her husband Matt, daughter Lucy and son Jacob.
Dana joins the USGLC with over ten years of non-profit management experience. Most recently, Dana served as a managing consultant for then-Governor Nikki Haley’s One South Carolina Flood Fund where she developed the protocol to manage and distribute funding to the disaster relief organizations. Dana was the Executive Director for the JDRF (Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation) Palmetto Chapter in Columbia, SC for over seven years, where she was responsible for the geographical growth of the chapter to include national advocacy, fundraising and events planning. Dana holds a graduate degree in international relations from the University of South Carolina and an undergraduate degree in Spanish from Wofford College in Spartanburg, SC.
Dana lives in Alexandria, Virginia with her two daughters.
Eddie arrives at the USGLC from Quorum, a public affairs software tracking firm, where as a Business Development Representative, he worked with government and public affairs executives and grassroots directors. Previously, Eddie served as a policy intern at U.S. Libya Business Association. Originally from Los Angeles, Eddie has lived in Washington D.C. for five years after earning his B.A. degree in Political Science from American University.
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.
Sarah Smithers joins the USGLC after working in various operational roles at Emily’s List, M+R Strategic Services, and other organizations. She recently received her master’s degree in political science with a concentration environmental politics and policy analysis from Appalachian State University. She completed several internships while in school, one at the Water Infrastructure and Resiliency Finance Center within the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and another with Genworth Financial. A native of Raleigh, she is excited to explore all the wonderful things DC has to offer.