Staff - Freedman Consulting, LLC
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Staff

Tom Freedman

President

 

As President of Freedman Consulting, LLC, Tom Freedman is an advisor to leading foundations, public interest causes, and non-profit organizations. Mr. Freedman served in the Clinton Administration as Senior Advisor to the President, and prior to that as Special Assistant to the President for Policy Planning. In the 1996 presidential campaign, Mr. Freedman was Chief of Staff for Strategy, helping to create the policy and communications plan for Clinton/Gore ’96. Previously he was Press Secretary and later Legislative Director to then Congressman Charles E. Schumer (D-NY). He co-founded the non-profit organization the Welfare to Work Partnership, which grew to include more than 20,000 companies that hired more than 1 million Americans off of public assistance.

Mr. Freedman is an honors graduate of Carleton College, and a graduate of the University of California at Berkeley where he was Editor-in-Chief of the California Law Review.

Mr. Freedman has been a Visiting Scholar at Resources for the Future, and was awarded a traveling Watson Fellowship in 1985 and conducted a year long study of the African famine. He has published opinion articles in a variety of newspapers including The New York Times, The Christian Science Monitor and The Washington Post. In 2009, Mr. Freedman authored the chapter of recommendations for the next Domestic Policy Council in the book Change for America: A Progressive Blueprint for the 44th President (Center for American Progress) and wrote a chapter on ending child hunger in America with Joel Berg in the book Memos to the New President (Progressive Policy Institute). He serves on the Advisory Board for the Eli J. Segal Citizen Leadership Program. Mr. Freedman served as a member of the 2008 presidential Obama-Biden Transition Project on the Technology, Innovation, and Government Reform Policy Working Group, and was a policy consultant for President Obama’s reelection campaign in 2012, Obama for America.

Karin Freedman

Vice President & Chief Financial Officer

Karin K. Freedman is a Vice President and CFO of Freedman Consulting, LLC, where she leads all financial and budgeting matters for the firm and advises on firm strategic direction, mission, and vision.

She served in the Clinton Administration from 1995 until 2001 in various capacities, including as Communications Director and Chief of Staff of the Domestic Policy Council at the White House, and as Special Assistant to the President. From 2001 through 2005, Ms. Freedman served at the Democratic Leadership Council and Progressive Policy Institute in Washington, D.C. as Press Secretary, the senior officer in charge of media relations.

Ms. Freedman has also served on Capitol Hill as a member of the staff of the United States Senate Budget Committee. Ms. Freedman is a summa cum laude graduate of the University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA).

Kyra Jennings

Vice President

Kyra Jennings serves as a Vice President of Freedman Consulting, LLC, utilizing her previous experience with top-level political campaigns and elected officials to advise leading foundations, non-profit organizations, and new coalitions and partnerships. Her work for clients includes communications strategy and messaging, policy and issue advocacy campaigns, high-level events, and strategic planning.

At Freedman Consulting, she has helped launch and worked to grow multiple nascent coalitions and public-private partnerships, including the Global Alliance for Genomics and Health, Next Century Cities, and Skills for America’s Future. Ms. Jennings has also managed strategic planning, communications campaigns, and event development for organizations such as the Ford Foundation, the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, the Broad Institute, and the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. She served as a consultant for Obama for America 2012.

Ms. Jennings previously served as Press Secretary for Alex Sink’s 2010 gubernatorial campaign in Florida and as Communications Director for Chief Financial Officer Sink in her statewide elected office. Prior to that, she was the Southern Regional Press Secretary for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) during their historically successful 2008 election cycle. Ms. Jennings also served as the Communications Director for Congresswoman Zoe Lofgren (D-CA) and for former Congressman Chris Carney’s (D-PA) insurgent 2006 campaign. She graduated with distinction from Duke University.

Bill Nichols

Vice President

Bill Nichols is a Vice President at Freedman Consulting, LLC, where he uses his significant experience in journalism to advise clients on innovative and proven strategies for success. He joined the firm after a 35-year career in journalism, most recently as the founding Managing Editor of POLITICO. Mr. Nichols brings decades of experience in covering Washington and national politics and a successful track record guiding two innovative media startups: the launch of POLITICO in 2007 and POLITICO Europe in 2015.

Before joining POLITICO, where he served as Managing Editor from 2007-2012 and Editor-At-Large from 2012-2015, Mr. Nichols spent more than 20 years at USA Today. He covered the Clinton White House from 1993-1999, the State Department from 1999-2004 and was a senior correspondent in the newspaper’s Washington bureau. As a reporter and editor, Mr. Nichols covered 8 presidential campaigns, 16 national conventions and traveled to more than three dozen countries.

Mr. Nichols has been a frequent speaker on the media’s digital transformation both nationally and internationally and has been part of the Bosch Foundation’s Journalism Program for German and American Journalists since 2010. Mr. Nichols was a juror for the Pulitzer Prizes in 2009 and chaired the National Reporting jury in 2010. He also is a past Secretary/Treasurer of the Executive Committee of the Reporter’s Committee for Freedom of the Press. He graduated from Indiana University.

Jon Barrett

Editor-in-Chief

Jon Barrett is Editor-in-Chief of the Bloomberg Cities Content Unit at Freedman Consulting, LLC, and is using his two-decade experience as a journalist to uncover and tell stories about public-sector innovation. Mr. Barrett previously served as Editor-in-Chief at The Advocate, Los Angeles Bureau Chief at Entertainment Weekly, Features Director at O at Home, and Senior Editor at Real SimpleCargo and a number of other magazines. Additionally, he has written and collaborated on a number of books, including Hero of Flight 93: Mark BinghamWhy Marriage Matters (with author Evan Wolfson), and The New York Times-bestseller The Meaning of Matthew (with author Judy Shepard). He is a graduate of Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism and Idaho State University.

Kyle Doran

Project Director

Kyle Doran is a Project Director with Freedman Consulting, LLC, where he undertakes program evaluation, strategic planning, and policy research for firm clients. He has led and conducted projects across a variety of issue areas, including workforce development and the labor market, public interest technology, government innovation, and agricultural policy. Mr. Doran has developed reports in collaboration with the Ford Foundation, Bloomberg Philanthropies, and the JPMorgan Chase Foundation on labor market matching technology, tech training programs, opportunities for philanthropy in public interest technology, community wireless networks, and public-private partnerships.

Mr. Doran joined the firm in 2013 as a Senior Associate. Previously, Mr. Doran was a Deputy Data Director for President Obama’s 2012 reelection campaign in Iowa, and worked on the data team for the 2013 Presidential Inaugural Committee.

Mr. Doran served in the Peace Corps in Armenia, where he helped advance civil society programs and assisted in curriculum development and classroom instruction as a Teaching English as a Foreign Language Volunteer. Previously, he was a Field Organizer for then Senator Obama’s 2008 presidential campaign in Alaska and Ohio. Mr. Doran holds a Bachelor of Arts from Lafayette College and a Master of Public Administration from the Maxwell School of Syracuse University.

Alexander Hart

Project Director

Alexander C. Hart is a Project Director with Freedman Consulting, LLC, where he leads and conducts projects in research, media and program evaluation, policy and strategic planning, and public opinion research. His work for firm clients covers a broad portfolio of issues including technology openness and access, poverty and economic opportunity, municipal policy, children and family policy, voting rights, and genomic medicine. Mr. Hart has worked with major political campaigns, foundations, and non-profit organizations including the Ford Foundation, Next Generation, Open Society Foundations, President Obama’s 2012 reelection campaign, and Spotlight on Poverty and Opportunity.

Mr. Hart joined the firm in 2012 as a Senior Associate. Previously, Mr. Hart covered the House of Representatives for Congressional Quarterly and was a Reporter-Researcher for The New Republic. He graduated magna cum laude from Georgetown University’s Walsh School of Foreign Service with a degree in international economics.

His work has been published in The New Republic, The Los Angeles Times, The Chicago Tribune, Congressional Quarterly, The Chronicle of Philanthropy, CQ Weekly, The Orlando Sentinel, ABCNews.com, and The Alexandria Times. Mr. Hart was also one of the lead authors on the report A Future of Failure: The Flow of Technology Talent into Government and Civil Society, which was featured in Politico and cited in a White House report on Big Data.

Maria White

Project Director

Maria White is a Project Director at Freedman Consulting, LLC, where she leads client engagements involving policy research, strategic planning, and issue advocacy campaigns. Prior to joining the firm, Ms. White was the Deputy Director in the Office of the Secretary at the Democratic National Committee.

Ms. White was with the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) for six years in a number of high-level roles, including as the Political Research Director, where she developed and managed SEIU’s research infrastructure, and as the Health Care Reform Campaign Lead Researcher. She also served as a Senior Member Strength Specialist on Immigration, where she focused on activating and training local SEIU leaders and membership.

She previously worked as a Research Analyst at the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee during the 2008 election cycle, and held research positions with Athena Group Research, MSHC Partners, Inc., and the International Peace Operations Association. Ms. White has a degree in International Affairs from the George Washington University.

Michelle Diggles

Deputy Editor, Director of Research

Michelle Diggles is the Deputy Editor, Director of Research of the Bloomberg Cities Content Unit at Freedman Consulting, LLC. Drawing upon decades of political experience and multi-method research expertise, Dr. Diggles unearths knowledge and insights from public sector innovation at the municipal level to help practitioners better engage and serve their communities. She previously was the lead public opinion and political analyst at the Washington, DC-based think tank Third Way, served as an advocate for students and tenants, and worked on several political campaigns. Dr. Diggles was a professor of international affairs and political science at Lewis & Clark College and has also taught at American University, the University of Oregon, and Portland State University. Her work has appeared in such outlets as MSNBC, FOX News, Washington Journal, The Atlantic, The National Journal, USA Today, Real Clear Politics, Politico, The Washington Post, and Slate. Dr. Diggles earned her Bachelor of Science in Political Science at the University of Wisconsin at Madison and her Doctor of Philosophy at the University of Oregon.

Christopher Swope

Deputy Editor

Christopher Swope is Deputy Editor of the Bloomberg Cities Content Unit at Freedman Consulting, LLC., where he tells stories about public-sector innovation in cities around the world.  Previously, he launched and edited Citiscope, an online news site focused on urban solutions, and worked at NPR as editorial coordinator of StateImpact, a project focused on coverage of state government by stations in eight states. Mr. Swope’s two decades in journalism include an editing role at the Pew Charitable Trusts’ Stateline news site, and roles in writing, editing and management at Governing magazine. He is a graduate of American University’s School of Communications.

Ashley Anderson

Project Manager

Ashley Anderson is a Project Manager with Freedman Consulting, LLC, where she drives strategy, research, and policy advocacy efforts for clients ranging from large foundations to international corporations on issues including democracy, tech policy, poverty, and more. 

Prior to joining Freedman, Ms. Anderson completed a consulting engagement for MasterCard where she researched government payment flows in emerging markets. In addition, she was a 2015 summer fellow for the Millennium Challenge Corporation in the Philippines, where she conducted stakeholder interviews to report on the impacts of MCC’s development programs. She also has several years of experience in strategic communications and marketing, specifically for associations and advocacy groups.

Ms. Anderson has a master’s degree in international affairs from The Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University and a bachelor’s degree in communications and journalism from the College of Charleston.

Luke Freedman

Project Manager

Luke Freedman is a Project Manager with Freedman Consulting, LLC, where he assists with research and writing needs for the firm’s clients. Previously, Mr. Freedman worked as a U.S. Elections Analyst with the United States Studies Centre at the University of Sydney, where he covered the 2012 U.S. elections and wrote and conducted research on American politics and policy for an Australian audience. He also interned at Politico, Climate Solutions, and the ACLU of Washington State. Mr. Freedman’s writing has appeared in a range of print and online publications including Chronicle of Philanthropy, The Australian, The Canberra Times, The Drum, and The Conversation. He graduated magna cum laude from Carleton College.

Kyla Elzinga

Director of Operations & Special Assistant for Planning

Kyla Elzinga is the Director of Operations & Special Assistant for Planning with Freedman Consulting, LLC, where she oversees general office operations, hiring processes, assists with special projects and firm planning, and oversees the firm internship program. Prior to joining Freedman Consulting as an Administrative Associate and later serving as Special Assistant to the President, she was a Production Assistant with the media consulting firm, McKenna Pihlaja. Ms. Elzinga previously interned with the White House in the Office of the Vice President and for Representative Keith Ellison’s campaign and Representative Dave Loebsack. Ms. Elzinga is a graduate of Hope College with a degree in Political Science.

Emily Van Dusen

Senior Associate

As a Senior Associate with Freedman Consulting, LLC, Emily Van Dusen conducts strategic planning, in-depth policy research, and issue advocacy for foundations and nonprofit clients. Her portfolio has included providing advice and analysis around criminal justice reform, government innovation, consumer issues and the future of work, and strategies for high-impact philanthropic giving.

Prior to joining the firm as a Research Associate, she worked for the Clerk of the House of Representatives as a Public Information Specialist, where she assisted congressional staff with disclosure documentation and helped members of the public navigate congressional procedures. Ms. Van Dusen also helped manage donor relations as a Development and Communications Assistant at University of Michigan’s Center for the Education of Women. Her previous experience also includes internships at the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, the U.S. Department of Education, and the office of Congressman John Dingell (MI-12).

Ms. Van Dusen graduated Phi Beta Kappa from the Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy at the University of Michigan, where her degree included a focus area on civil rights and social justice.

Kaye Sklar

Senior Research Coordinator

Kaye Sklar is a Senior Research Coordinator of the Bloomberg Cities Content Unit at Freedman Consulting, LLC. While at Freedman, Ms. Sklar has helped drive strategic research, policy and communications activities for firm clients. Ms. Sklar is currently focused on analyzing and writing about city government innovation. Previously, Ms. Sklar worked for Facebook as a Communications Extern on the product, policy, and corporate communications teams. Ms. Sklar has also worked with Planned Parenthood Federation of America and the World Affairs Council of Oregon, and she interned with the U.S. Department of State. A Fulbright recipient, she researched Slovenia’s transition to independent statehood post-Yugoslavia. Ms. Sklar graduated from the University of Ljubljana with a Masters in Political Science and cum laude from Scripps College with a Bachelor of Arts in Philosophy.

Morgan Routman

Staff Writer

Morgan Routman is the Staff Writer of the Bloomberg Cities Content Unit at Freedman Consulting, LLC., where she crafts stories about the innovative public-sector work being done in cities around the world. Her experience ranges from writing for the online media publication, Pluralist, to working on Captiol Hill, to working in communication shops for various organizations. Previously, she worked both as the Associate Director of Multimedia Communications for Basilinna, LLC., and as the Communications Associate for the Antiquities Coalition, where she created and executed tailored communication strategies for both the consulting firm and the non-profit, concurrently. Ms. Routman earned both her Bachelor’s in Political Communication and Master’s in Media and Strategic Communication from the George Washington University.

Kelly Jasiura

Research Associate

Kelly Jasiura is a Research Associate at Freedman Consulting, LLC, supporting client work in strategic planning, research, and communications.

Before joining Freedman, Ms. Jasiura was a Communications and Advocacy Fellow at Global Health Strategies in New York City, supporting clients in the global health and development space. There, she worked on communications strategies, media outreach and event planning to support the firm’s efforts on preventable childhood diseases, universal health coverage and safe, quality medicines. Prior to Global Health Strategies, Kelly interned in the Reese News Lab at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill to research and produce digital media products to fill news gaps in rural North Carolina, and she also served as a senior reporter for the university’s newspaper, reporting on issues and policies related to students and the campus community.

Kelly graduated Phi Beta Kappa from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill with a B.A. in Media and Journalism, specializing in public relations, and a second major in public policy.

María Cristina Chicuén

Research Associate

María Cristina Chicuén is a Research Associate with Freedman Consulting, LLC. In this role, she supports project teams in strategic planning, research, and communications efforts for clients.

Prior to joining the firm, María Cristina was an Emerson National Hunger Fellow with the Congressional Hunger Center, where she worked on anti-hunger and anti-poverty issues with the Illinois Hunger Coalition in Chicago and the Center for Community Change in Washington, DC. In this capacity, she researched the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), specifically as it related to federal work requirements through the Employment and Training (E&T) program. She also provided research assistance in the areas of affordable housing, federal jobs guarantee, and fair immigration reform, among other topics.

Before joining the Congressional Hunger Center, Ms. Chicuén interned for the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation with the Community and National Initiatives team. As an undergraduate, María Cristina was a U.S. health policy Teaching Assistant with the Human Biology department, undertook several human-centered design projects through the Hasso Plattner Institute of Design, and co-coordinated the Stanford cohort of 10x10K Cuba, an international competition that sought to help Cuba’s up-and-coming programmers and entrepreneurs by providing winners with resources and means to advance their businesses. Her previous experience also includes internships at the Urban Oasis Project, Bon Appétit Management Company, and the Miami HEAT Group.

Ms. Chicuén graduated from Stanford University with a degree in Human Biology and a concentration in Sustainable Food System Development.

Marisa O’Toole

Research Associate

Marisa O’Toole is a Research Associate at Freedman Consulting, LLC, where she supports client work in strategic planning, research, and communications.

Prior to joining Freedman Consulting, Marisa worked as a paralegal for Vogel, Slade and Goldstein, LLP, a top DC qui tam law firm specializing in whistleblower representation in fraud cases committed against the government. In this role, she worked on various cases involving healthcare and defense industry fraud and conducted in-depth research on state and federal statutes, regulations, and case law regarding such industries and government programs. Marisa also assisted the firm’s attorneys with the filing and service of pleadings and facilitated initial intake interviews with clients.

Before Vogel, Slade, and Goldstein, LLP, Marisa served as a job coach for teenagers with developmental disabilities, interned for the Maine Volunteer Lawyers Project—a civil legal aid organization serving low-income Mainers—and completed the Maine Government Summer Internship Program as a legal assistant at the Workers’ Compensation Board Advocate Division in Portland, Maine.

Marisa graduated Phi Beta Kappa, summa cum laude, and with Highest Honors from Bowdoin College, where she majored in Government and Legal Studies and minored in Education. While at Bowdoin, Marisa played varsity softball and participated in various political, advocacy, and community-oriented groups.

Lauren Schumitz

Administrative Associate

Lauren Schumitz is an Administrative Associate at Freedman Consulting, LLC, where she manages scheduling and logistics for the firm principal and assists with administrative operations. She previously interned at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts as the Production Intern as well as at The Smithsonian Associates Discovery Theater. Prior to these experiences, Lauren spent a summer in China as an English teacher for elementary school children. Lauren graduated summa cum laude from The George Washington University in 2018 with a major in Organizational Sciences and a minor in Psychology.

Matt James

Special Projects Advisor

Matt James has long been a non-profit and philanthropic leader, and is recognized as an innovator in communications initiatives for social good, both in the Bay Area and nationally. Mr. James’ award-winning contributions extend to strategic communications and campaigns in health, climate change and early childhood development. He most recently was a visiting scholar at the David and Lucile Packard Foundation, where he worked to increase funding on health and climate change. Mr. James was co-founder and president of Next Generation and spent many years at the Kaiser Family Foundation, where he was a principal architect of Kaiser Health News and oversaw the Foundation’s media and public education work. He began his career in politics, serving as a key aide to Congressman Mo Udall as well as Senators Daniel Patrick Moynihan and Dale Bumpers. Passionate about public health, Mr. James currently serves on the board of the CDC Foundation, as well as advisory committees for the National Wildlife Federation and the Lucile Packard Foundation for Children’s Health.