The Team - Freedman Consulting, LLC
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The Team

Tom Freedman

President

 

As President of Freedman Consulting, LLC, Tom Freedman is an advisor to leading foundations, public interest causes, and nonprofit organizations.

Tom served in the Clinton Administration as Senior Advisor to the President, and prior to that was Special Assistant to the President for Policy Planning. In the 1996 presidential campaign, Tom 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. Tom 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.

Tom has been a Visiting Scholar at Resources for the Future and was awarded a traveling Watson Fellowship in 1985, through which he 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, Tom 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).

Tom 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. He serves on the Advisory Board for the Eli J. Segal Citizen Leadership Program.

Karin Freedman

Founding Partner & Chief Financial Officer

Karin K. Freedman is a Founding Partner and the Chief Financial Officer of Freedman Consulting, LLC where she oversees all financial, legal, and business operations matters and advises on firm strategic direction, culture, and mission.

Karin served in the Clinton White House from 1995 to 2001 in various capacities, including as Chief of Staff and Communications Director of the Domestic Policy Council, Special Assistant to the President, and in both the Deputy Chief of Staff’s office and the President’s Scheduling office.  From 2001 through 2005, she 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.  Karin also spent time on Capitol Hill as a member of the communications staff of the United States Senate Budget Committee.

Karin graduated summa cum laude with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Communications Studies from the University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA).

Lindsay Acker

Project Manager

As a Project Manager at Freedman Consulting LLC, Lindsay Acker conducts strategic planning, public policy research and advocacy, and coalition management.

Before joining Freedman in 2020, Lindsay served as Deputy Political Director for Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer, where she built a political response infrastructure ahead of the 2020 election. Prior to that, Lindsay served in multiple positions in the New York City Mayor’s Office. Most recently, as Field Director for the Office of Strategic Policy Initiatives, she directed NYC’s largest and most successful City-wide student voter registration drive. As a Project Lead in the Office of Public Engagement, she designed and implemented an innovative and effective rehousing initiative for families and veterans residing in NYC homeless shelters.

Lindsay is a Detroit native. She graduated with Honors from the University of Michigan in 2012. After college, Lindsay spent time in Israel and the West Bank, working on a variety of peace-building initiatives and becoming fluent in Hebrew and Palestinian Arabic.

Mira Ahmad

Senior Associate

Palo Alto, California

Mira Ahmad is a Senior Associate at Freedman Consulting, LLC, where she supports the firm’s California clients with strategy, research, and communications.

Prior to joining Freedman Consulting, Mira worked as a Senior Associate at the Global Development Incubator, where she partnered with startups and entrepreneurs to design, build and launch their social impact enterprises. Before joining the Global Development Incubator, Mira spent two and a half years at Abt Associates Inc. developing and implementing the firm’s digital strategy, and project managing priority business development efforts. She has consulted for a number of clients on digital interventions for social impact, including the Partnership for Newborn, Maternal and Child Health, Discovery Learning Alliance, and Bloomberg Philanthropies.

Mira earned a Bachelor of Arts in History with a minor in Urban Studies from Princeton University.

Ashley Anderson

Vice President

Palo Alto, California

Ashley Anderson is a Vice President with Freedman Consulting, LLC, and currently serves as Director of Philanthropy for a Silicon Valley family office where she drives strategy and manages diverse grantmaking portfolios. At Freedman Consulting, Ashley worked with California philanthropies and the Office of Governor Gavin Newsom to develop public-private partnerships to aid in California’s COVID-19 emergency response. She has also led strategy development and policy research efforts for major foundations and public interest coalitions on issues including tech policy, democracy, poverty, and more.

Prior to joining Freedman Consulting, Ashley led project-based engagements abroad with MasterCard and the Millennium Challenge Corporation to further anti-poverty and financial inclusion efforts in emerging markets. She also has several years of experience in strategic communications and marketing for associations and advocacy groups.

Ashley has a master’s degree in International Affairs from The Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University and a Bachelor of Arts in Communications and Journalism from the College of Charleston.

Jon Barrett

Editor-in-Chief

New York City, New York

Jon Barrett is Editor-in-Chief of the Bloomberg Cities Content Unit at Freedman Consulting, LLC, and is using his decades-long experience as a journalist to uncover and tell stories about public-sector innovation in city halls around the world.

Jon 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.

Claire Carey

Research Associate

Claire Carey is a Research Associate at Freedman Consulting, LLC. As a Research Associate, she supports project teams in strategic planning, research, and communications for clients.

Prior to joining Freedman Consulting, LLC, Claire was a Fulbright Scholar in Brazil where she acted as an English Teaching Assistant at the University Federal de Viçosa. Claire has experience working in communications and policy as an intern for the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities and for Public Knowledge. At the Center, she was responsible for tracking live legislation and reporting media coverage of state and federal policy designed to reduce poverty and inequality within housing, food assistance, healthcare, and immigration. She acted as a liaison between different policy teams and the communications team when assisting in media trainings, press rollouts, and pitches. In addition, she conducted an independent research project creating lesson plans to teach public policy through a lens of poverty and racial equity. At Public Knowledge, Claire researched telecommunications and anti-trust law, wrote political actions, and planned constituent events focused on the intersection of technology and social justice. Claire also worked for a Member of the British Parliament and for a legal nonprofit, where she focused on local issues in housing, criminal justice, and immigration.

Claire graduated summa cum laude from Villanova University with a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and minors in Sociology and Spanish. While at Villanova, Claire was a student leader for the school’s Special Olympics program and a board member for Villanova’s Chapter of Habitat for Humanity. She also volunteered as a tutor in Philadelphia and as a mentor for low-income Brazilian students applying to college in the United States.

Michelle Diggles

Deputy Editor, Director of Research

Michelle Diggles is the Research Director for Bloomberg Cities, where she explores the impact of public sector innovation on the ability of municipal governments to solve wicked problems and emerging challenges. Her expertise is in government reform, political change, and research methods.

Prior to her work at Freedman, Michelle built the political unit at the center-left think tank Third Way, advised electoral and advocacy campaigns, and led local community and labor groups. She also served as a professor of International Affairs at Lewis & Clark College.

Michelle completed her Bachelor’s of Science at the University of Wisconsin at Madison and holds a Doctorate in Political Science from the University of Oregon.

Kyla Elzinga

Director of Operations & Culture

Kyla Elzinga is the Director of Operations & Culture with Freedman Consulting, LLC. Her responsibilities include overseeing general office operations, information technology, financial reconciliation, and staff professional development. She also manages 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. Kyla previously interned with the White House in the Office of the Vice President, for Representative Keith Ellison’s campaign, and for Representative Dave Loebsack.

Kyla earned a Bachelor’s degree in Political Science from Hope College and is currently pursuing a Master’s degree from the Schar School of Policy and Government at George Mason University.

Sandra Fuentes Hashimoto

Senior Research Associate

Sandra Fuentes is a Senior Research Associate at Freedman Consulting, LLC, where she supports the Bloomberg Cities Content Unit.

Prior to joining the firm, Sandra worked for C230 Consultores, a public policy consulting firm based in Mexico City that specializes in the analysis, design, evaluation and implementation of public policies. She worked in projects related to criminal justice, crime prevention, public health, innovation, urban planning, housing, economic development, education and social mobility. In addition, she worked at the University of Chicago Survey Lab where she designed qualitative and quantitative tools for data collection processes related to three public health projects in order to characterize access to healthcare in the U.S. Sandra did a short-term consulting project with Tala, an international development firm that specializes in micro finance, by offering micro loans to people without credit history or access to credit in emerging countries.  Her previous experience also includes internships at the Laura and John Arnold Foundation, the French Embassy in Mexico City, the Mexican Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Executive Office of the President in Mexico City.

Sandra earned a Bachelor’s degree in International Relations and Economics at Instituto Tecnologico Autonomo de Mexico (ITAM) and a Master’s in Public Policy at the University of Chicago, where she specialized in international development and program evaluation.

Isabella Gelfand

Research Associate

Isabella Gelfand is a Research Associate at Freedman Consulting, LLC, where she supports the project teams in strategic planning, research, and communications efforts for clients. 

Prior to joining Freedman Consulting, LLC, Isabella was a Research Intern at the Brookings Institution, where she helped maintain the Brookings Oversight Tracker by analyzing and classifying congressional oversight documents. She assisted in ongoing research projects on the federal reserve and voter registration strategies and she co-authored two articles for the Brookings website. Isabella also served as a Legislative Intern for the Office of Massachusetts State Representative Carmine Gentile, where her policy memo on energy neutral home building served as the blueprint for a bill filed in the MA House of Representatives. As a Finance Intern for Mikie Sherrill’s congressional campaign, she raised thousands of grassroots dollars and helped execute fundraising events. Isabella also spearheaded the Feminist Majority’s 2018 PAC research, gathering data that informed which candidates the organization would endorse. Her interest and experience in progressive data analytics led her to an undergraduate research opportunity at the MIT Election Data and Science Lab. 

Isabella has volunteered as an Operations Coordinator at From Jersey With Love, a nonprofit organization in her home state that provides food, clothing, and programs for the local community. In this position, she conducted staff check-ins, created volunteer sign-ups, and wrote newsletters. As a Freelance Research and Data Associate for Rock the Vote, she assisted in research efforts supporting the Rock the Vote endorsement tool. 

Isabella graduated cum laude from Wellesley College with a Bachelor’s in Political Science. While there, she served as Co-President and Campaign Outreach Director for the Wellesley College Democrats. In this role, she managed the Executive Board, led event planning, and facilitated communications with national, state, and local campaigns.

Jarrid Green

Project Director

Jarrid Green is a Project Director at Freedman Consulting, LLC, where he provides public policy and philanthropic research, strategic planning, and business development support for the firm and its clients.

Prior to joining the Freedman team, Jarrid served in senior research and project management capacities at The Democracy Collaborative and The Center for Social Inclusion, where he focused on the development and promotion of racially-equitable community and economic development policies. Additionally, Jarrid’s experience includes tenures with The Smithsonian Institution’s Office of Policy and Analysis and Center for Education and Museum Studies, respectively, as well as the 2012 Obama Campaign.

Jarrid is a graduate of Bard College’s MBA in Sustainability Program and received his undergraduate degree from the University of Maryland.

Alexander Hart

Vice President

Alexander C. Hart is a Vice President with Freedman Consulting, LLC, where he manages projects in policy and strategic planning, research, communications, public opinion, evaluation, and event facilitation. His work for firm clients covers a broad portfolio of issues, including technology policy, poverty and economic opportunity, democracy, and municipal innovation. Alex has worked with major political campaigns, foundations, and nonprofit organizations including the Ford Foundation, Open Society Foundations, NetGain Partnership, President Obama’s 2012 reelection campaign, the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, and Spotlight on Poverty and Opportunity.

Alex joined the firm in 2012 as a Senior Associate. Previously, Alex covered the House of Representatives for Congressional Quarterly and was a Reporter-Researcher for The New Republic. Alex’s writing has been published in USA Today, The Chronicle of Philanthropy, The New Republic, The Los Angeles Times, The Chicago Tribune, Congressional Quarterly, CQ Weekly, The Orlando Sentinel, and ABCNews.com.

He graduated magna cum laude with a Bachelor of Science of Foreign Service degree from Georgetown University’s Walsh School of Foreign Service, majoring in international economics.

Kyra Jennings

Executive Vice President

Kyra Jennings serves as Executive Vice President of Freedman Consulting, LLC, overseeing client projects and firm operations and helping drive the strategic direction of the firm. In her decade at Freedman Consulting, Kyra has created and managed multiple philanthropic and public interest coalitions, developed and led communications and issue advocacy campaigns for policy initiatives and organizations, driven high-level events, and offered strategic planning and advising for a variety of clients focused on innovating for the greater social good.

Kyra utilizes her previous experience directing communications for political campaigns and elected officials to advise leading foundations, non-profit organizations, and new coalitions and partnerships. She has conceptualized, launched, and worked to grow nascent collaborative efforts, including the Criminal Justice Funders Forum, Next Century Cities, the Democracy Funders Collaborative, the Global Alliance for Genomics and Health, and Skills for America’s Future. She also has deep experience building issue awareness, providing landscaping analyses, and crafting actionable strategic plans for clients including the Ford Foundation, Media Democracy Fund, the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, and Obama for America 2012.

Kyra previously led communications efforts for Alex Sink’s 2010 gubernatorial campaign in Florida and served as Communications Director for Chief Financial Officer Sink in her statewide elected office. She was the Southern Regional Press Secretary for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee during their historically successful 2008 election cycle. Kyra also was Communications Director for Congresswoman Zoe Lofgren (D-CA) and the California Democratic Congressional Delegation and for former Congressman Chris Carney’s (D-PA) insurgent 2006 campaign.

Kyra graduated with distinction from Duke University.

Ake Kankirawatana

Research Associate

Ake Kankirawatana is a Research Associate at Freedman Consulting, LLC, where he supports project teams with strategic planning, research, and communications for clients.

Ake’s background lies in a range of experience across the public and non-profit sectors. Prior to joining the firm, he interned at the Natural Resources Defense Council in Washington, D.C. in the Climate and Clean Energy program, assisting in policy research on climate change-related health disparities and disaster preparedness of marginalized populations. Previously, he served the Intergovernmental Consultations on Migration, Asylum and Refugees as an intern at the International Organization for Migration in Geneva, Switzerland, conducting landscapes of European countries’ migration policies to inform member states of evolving trends in the management of global migratory flows. Before that, he interned at OneAmerica, the largest immigrant and refugee advocacy organization in Washington State, supporting policy research and issue advocacy on a variety of immigration and environmental issues, as well as organizing for an issue campaign centered on climate and economic justice for people of color.

Ake graduated from Duke University with a Bachelor of Arts in Public Policy and minor in History. He is also a certified Wilderness First Responder.

Talya Karr

Project Director

Talya Karr is a Project Director with Freedman Consulting, LLC, where she leads strategic planning, public policy, and philanthropic research efforts for a variety of clients.

Prior to joining Freedman, Talya worked at Deloitte Consulting, where she managed strategy projects for public sector clients including the Department of State and Library of Congress. Previously, she supported global public health programs, focusing on HIV/AIDS and gender, at the U.S. Agency for International Development.

Talya serves on the Advisory Council for the nonprofit Global Kids. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in Spanish from the University of Washington, and a Master of Science in Public Policy and Management from Carnegie Mellon University.

Mira Kline

Director of Talent Acquisition

Mira Kline is the Director of Talent Acquisition for Freedman Consulting, LLC, where she is responsible for driving hiring processes and working with senior staff to develop talent strategies that support the ongoing needs of the firm.

Prior to joining Freedman, Mira spent over six years working with executive search firms supporting leading national and international nonprofit organizations, philanthropic institutions, and think tanks in their hiring and talent needs. Mira has worked with organizations across a range of policy and issue areas spanning veterans affairs, internet freedom, technology and human rights, and health and human services, among others. Previously, she served as Consular Associate at the U.S. Embassy Branch Office Tel Aviv and as a Program Analyst within the Center for Public Health Policy at the American Public Health Association.

Mira holds a Bachelor of Arts in American Studies from Brandeis University and a Master of Public Administration from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Alec Lopata

Research Associate

Alec Lopata is a Research Associate at Freedman Consulting, LLC, where he supports project teams with strategic planning, research and communications for clients.

Prior to joining Freedman Consulting, LLC, Alec completed a Dunn Fellowship in the Office of Illinois Governor JB Pritzker. In this role, he worked with the Deputy Governor for Budget and Economy on projects ranging from policy research on upcoming issues in the General Assembly to assisting in the executive appointments for the hundreds of boards and commissions in the Deputy Governor’s portfolio. As an undergraduate, Alec participated in his school’s Washington Semester and worked as an intern on the Legislative team at the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities. He worked to track legislation moving through Congress and inform the Legislative team on how to develop strategy to advance the Center’s priorities. He was also the first Legislative intern to have research published by the Center, on the origins and impact of the college endowment tax in the 2017 tax bill. Alec also completed internships at Organizing for Action, the Office of Illinois State Senator Julie Morrison, and State Innovation Exchange, where he developed the breadth of his public policy background on the wide range of issues each organization was working on.

Alec graduated with honors from Claremont McKenna College with a Bachelor of Arts in Government and a Public Policy Sequence. While at Claremont McKenna, Alec worked at the Rose Institute for State and Local Government, serving as the Associate Student Manager in his final year, and also was involved with the Claremont Progressive Israel Alliance. Since graduating, he has volunteered as a mentor with Mikva Challenge and as a Civic Engagement Coach with the Illinois Chapter of the Religious Action Center for Reform Judaism.

Conor McKay

Project Director

Conor McKay is a Project Director with Freedman Consulting, LLC, where he leads projects focused on research, policy development, strategic planning, and issue advocacy.

Conor has worked as a political and policy advisor in and out of government, in the public, private, and non-profit sectors, and at both the federal and local levels. Before joining the firm in 2019, he was an Aspen Institute Fellow and inaugural director of the Institute’s Future of Work Initiative, investigating the ways in which technology and globalization are reshaping work in the 21st century and developing bipartisan policy solutions to protect and restore economic opportunity. Conor led and authored policy white papers on reimagining capitalism, reinventing workplace benefits and protections, reforming the social safety net, and preparing the workforce for automation. Prior to his work at Aspen, he was a Special Assistant on Vice President Joe Biden’s staff at the White House. He also served as Chief of Staff for the bipartisan Simpson-Bowles debt reduction commission, and he provided key policy development and data analysis for Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan’s efforts to revitalize basic city services.

Conor holds a Master’s degree in Public Policy from the University of Michigan and a Bachelor’s degree in English from the College of William and Mary.

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.

Bill joined the firm after a 35-year career in journalism, most recently as the founding Managing Editor of POLITICO. He 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, Bill 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. He is a former national reporting jury chair for the Pulitzer Prizes and past secretary/treasurer of the Reporter’s Committee for Freedom of the Press.

Bill earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in English and Journalism from Indiana University. In 2019, he was a fellow in the Media Transformation Challenge at Harvard University.

Marcus Ransom

Senior Associate

Marcus Ransom is a Senior Associate at Freedman Consulting, LLC. As a Senior Associate, he supports project teams in strategic planning, research, and communications for clients.

Prior to joining Freedman Consulting, LLC, Ransom served as a Legislative and Public Policy Summer Clerk for Arnold & Porter Kaye Scholer LLP. In this capacity, Marcus worked closely with a diverse team of attorneys, policy advisors, and policy specialists within the issue-areas of education, international trade, and healthcare policy, among others. Marcus supported the practice group by conducting legislative research and analysis, drafting reports for clients, covering Congressional hearings, researching regulatory grants, and preparing daily policy briefings. He also participated in multiple visits to Capitol Hill to advocate for the public policy interests of various clients. Before joining Arnold & Porter Kaye Scholer LLP, Marcus worked as a Business Development Intern for the Tampa Hillsborough Economic Development Corporation and a Legislative Intern for the Office of Congresswoman Kathy Castor (FL-14). As a Business Development Intern, Marcus worked closely with the Business Development team, in conjunction with CareerSource Tampa Bay, to recruit companies for programs to promote the career development of young professionals. As a Legislative Intern, Marcus drafted reports on multiple Congressional Briefings related to domestic commerce, international affairs, immigration, and sustainable environmental policy, researched legislation in order to appropriately respond to daily constituent concerns, and facilitated multiple constituent tours of the Capitol building.

Marcus graduated from Emory University with a Bachelor of Arts in Economics and a minor in Political Science.

Ian Reitz

Social Media Manager

Ian Reitz is the Social Media Manager of the Bloomberg Cities Content Unit at Freedman Consulting, LLC, where he works to develop and execute impactful social media strategies to elevate the rapidly evolving public-sector innovation movement.

Previously, he served as the Communications VISTA for College Possible Philadelphia, a college access and success non-profit, where he was responsible for implementing print and digital communication strategies to enhance stakeholder engagement and increase the organization’s visibility in the region’s philanthropic sector.

Ian is a graduate of Saint Joseph’s University with degrees in Marketing and Business Intelligence.

Chrissy Rujiraorchai

Research Associate

Chrissy Rujiraorchai is a Research Associate with Freedman Consulting, LLC. In this role, she supports project teams in strategic planning, research, and communications efforts for clients. Chrissy’s areas of expertise include human rights, democracy, and poverty & economic mobility issues.

Prior to joining Freedman Consulting, Chrissy worked as a PURE Member Advocate in high-net worth insurance to manage a variety of projects that involved strategic planning, research, and composition skills. As an undergraduate, she was a Denning Fellow and worked with Safe Passage’s development office to provide a holistic education for the poorest, most at-risk students in the Guatemala City dump. At Safe Passage, her work allowed her to develop a better understanding of cross-cultural non-profits. Her research investigated how language and culture influences the processing, expression of, and recovery from grief and crisis, as well as how these things might impact the provision of services, regulation, and policy in working with multicultural communities. While working with Safe Passage, she focused on developing self-sustainable programs and materials for recruiting and cultivating engagement with the organization. Her work primarily focused on program design, analysis, strategy, and implementation.

Chrissy graduated from Bowdoin College with a Bachelor of Arts in Government and Legal Studies, specializing in International Relations and Comparative Government, and a second major in Hispanic Studies. While at Bowdoin, she was awarded the Henni Friedlander award, which is awarded to an undergraduate who had overcome adversity in his or her own life and gone on to contribute significantly to the common good. As a student leader, she participated in advocacy and community-oriented groups serving many roles including the BSG Vice President of Academic Affairs, CLT Baldwin Mentor, Joseph McKeen BVC Fellow, Orientation Fellow, and was the student representative of Bowdoin’s executive search committees and Trustees committees. Currently, Chrissy volunteers her time with mentorship programs, such as Big Brothers Big Sisters and Capital Education Partners.

Lauren Schumitz

Executive Manager for the President

Lauren Schumitz is the Executive Manager for the President at Freedman Consulting, LLC, where she aids the firm president with project tracking, new business acquisition, research, and scheduling and logistics. She is also a member of the administrative team, where she helps with firm operations and the management of the internship program.

Lauren started at Freedman Consulting in 2018 as an Administrative Associate. Prior to joining the firm, she interned at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts as the Production Intern, where she supported theater and event logistics. Lauren also interned at The Smithsonian Associates Discovery Theater, during which time she assisted with stage and audience management. In addition, 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 Bachelor of Arts in Organizational Sciences and a minor in Psychology.

Omnia Shedid

Senior Associate

Omnia Shedid is a Senior Associate at Freedman Consulting, LLC. As a Senior Associate, she supports project teams in strategic planning, research, and communications for clients.

Prior to joining Freedman, Omnia was a Political Research Associate at Priorities USA, where she led the research effort for U.S. Senate and House campaigns. Omnia was also a member of the United States Foreign Service Internship Cohort with the U.S. Department of State. As a member of the cohort, she served at the Office of Policy for the State Department’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs and at the U.S. Embassy in Spain.

Omnia graduated from Towson University with a degree in Political Science and American Studies. While at Towson University, Omnia founded the Higher Education Initiative, which is a program that mentors and prepares high school student from Baltimore City for post-high school education opportunities.

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.

Prior to joining Freedman Consulting, Chris 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. Chris’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.

Chris is a graduate of American University’s School of Communications.

Pia Ulrich

Director of Contracts and Administration

Pia Ulrich is the Director of Contracts and Administration at Freedman Consulting, LLC, where she works closely with the CFO in handling the firm’s contracting, finance, and benefits needs.

Prior to joining Freedman Consulting, she worked at the Federation of American Scientists, first as a Policy Analyst, and later in the Operations & Finance Executive Team. Pia’s previous work experiences include a research internship at the Partnership for Global Security, and four years as a Researcher at the European Legal Studies Institute in Germany.

Pia has a Master’s degree in Security Policy Studies from The George Washington University and a law degree from the University of Osnabrueck, Germany.

Emily Van Dusen

Project Manager

Emily Van Dusen is a Project Manager at Freedman Consulting, LLC where she conducts strategic planning, in-depth policy research, and issue advocacy for foundations and nonprofit clients.

Prior to joining the firm in 2016 as a Research Associate, Emily worked for the Clerk of the House of Representatives as a Public Information Specialist, where she assisted congressional staff with disclosure documentation. Her previous experience also includes helping to manage donor relations as a Development and Communications Assistant at University of Michigan’s Center for the Education of Women, along with 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).

Emily 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. She is currently working towards a Master’s in Policy Management from Georgetown University.

Maria White

Advisor on New Initiatives

New York City, New York

Maria White is the Advisor on New Initiatives at Freedman Consulting, LLC, where she works with the firm President to identify and evaluate new business opportunities and consider their implications for the current policy landscape. She also draws on her seventeen years of experience in research, organizing, and advocacy to advise firm clients and staff on project strategy and direction.

Maria 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 the research infrastructure for SEIU’s political department, and as the lead researcher for the Health Care Reform Campaign, where she bridged the divide between the policy and advocacy teams and the campaign communications apparatus. Maria left her role leading political research to gain more field experience as an immigrant rights organizer, where she worked with local unions and regional partners to build support for comprehensive immigration reform among union members through workshops, trainings, negotiations and targeted campaigns. Directly prior to joining the firm, Maria served as the Deputy Director in the Office of the Secretary at the Democratic National Committee.

Maria is based in her native New York City. She has a degree in International Affairs from the George Washington University, and also spent time studying at Beijing Foreign Studies University. She is moderately fluent in Spanish and conversant in Mandarin Chinese.

Firm Advisors

Xavier Briggs

Advisor

Xavier Briggs is an Advisor with Freedman Consulting, LLC. He currently serves as a Distinguished Visiting Professor at NYU and as a nonresident senior fellow at the Metropolitan Policy Program at Brookings.

Xav served as vice president of the Ford Foundation for six years, overseeing the foundation’s inclusive economies and markets work globally along with its regional program teams based in China, India, and Indonesia. Following a reorganization in early 2019, he helped the foundation consolidate and launch the division of U.S. Programs, overseeing domestic programming in a wide range of areas. He led the foundation’s efforts to build the field of impact investing and, starting in 2017, to commit $1 billion of endowment assets for that purpose over a decade. Xav was also a member of the executive committee of the board of Living Cities, a consortium of America’s largest private foundations and financial companies.

Prior to joining the Ford Foundation, Xav was tenured full professor of sociology and urban planning in the Department of Urban Studies and Planning at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and served as head of MIT’s Housing, Community, and Economic Development Group. His books include The Geography of Opportunity (Brookings, 2005), Democracy as Problem Solving: Civic Capacity in Communities Across the Globe (MIT Press, 2008), and Moving to Opportunity: The Story of an American Experiment to Fight Ghetto Poverty (Oxford University Press, 2010).

From January 2009 to August 2011, while on public service leave from MIT, Xav served as associate director of the White House Office of Management and Budget. Earlier in his career, he served as a community planner in the South Bronx, a policy advisor and R&D director at the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, a fellow of the Urban Institute, and associate professor of public policy at Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government.

Xav currently serves on the boards of the Global Impact Investing Network, Demos, Just Capital, and the Center for Advanced Study in Behavioral Sciences and is an elected member of the National Academy of Public Administration. His views have appeared in the New York TimesBoston Globe, CNN, and other major media, in English and in Spanish.

Xav holds an engineering degree from Stanford University, an MPA from Harvard, and a PhD in sociology and education from Columbia University. He studied as a Rotary Scholar at the Federal University of Bahia in Brazil. Raised in Miami and The Bahamas, and with roots in Africa, Europe and Latin America, he and his wife live in Brooklyn.

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. Matt’s 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. Matt 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, Matt 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.

Monique Rizer

Senior Fellow

Monique Rizer is a Senior Fellow with Freedman Consulting, LLC. She currently serves as the Executive Director of the Washington, D.C. region of Urban Alliance, a national youth development nonprofit.

Monique started work as a Marketing Assistant at LeMaster & Daniels PLLC before taking a job as a Development Associate at the National Military Family Association. From there, Monique worked in freelance writing and editing for two years until she was hired as Deputy Director of Spouse Programs, Marketing and Contract Services at the Military Officer’s Association of America. In this position, she created the Keeping a Career on the Move® program, which earned the American Society for Association Executives (ASAE) ‘Power of A’ Silver Award, was featured multiple times by the White House and continues today, having tripled in growth since its launch. Following this position, Monique was the Senior Director of Communications and Marketing at Child Care Aware of America. She then became the Chief of Staff for Be The Change, Inc. before joining one of its three issue-based campaigns, Opportunity Nation, as the Executive Director.

Monique was a member of the first class of Gates Millennium Scholars, earning her bachelor’s degree in journalism from Gonzaga University and a master’s degree in information management from Syracuse University. Monique is mom to two sons, the eldest who serves as an Infantryman in the Army National Guard.

Mary Smith

Senior Advisor

Mary L. Smith specializes in corporate governance, compliance, operations, regulatory matters, data privacy, government and public policy, and risk management. Mary is also a national leader on health equity. She has served on boards, as the chief executive officer of a $6 billion national healthcare organization, and as chief legal officer. Her industry experience includes healthcare, insurance and banking.

In her private sector experience, Mary started her career in technology at Walgreens and Northern Trust. In these positions, she worked side-by-side with the business leaders to address technology needs, attract customers and develop strategy. Mary is currently Vice Chair at the VENG Group where she consults on business development, strategy, healthcare, and corporate governance. She previously served in a senior role at Tyco International (US) Inc., a $40 billion public company, where she managed one of the most high-profile corporate governance matters in the country. At Tyco, Mary managed a $60 million budget and regularly advised the board and senior executives on corporate governance matters and compliance. Mary also served as Special Counsel & Estate Trust Officer at the Office of Special Deputy Receiver in Chicago, Illinois where she managed over 20 insurance companies with approximately $1.5 billion in assets.

Mary has served at the highest levels of government, both at the federal and state level. Mary was the chief executive responsible for managing a national healthcare system (the Indian Health Service) serving over 2.2 million persons with a budget of over $6 billion that included 26 hospitals. Mary has also served on the senior team of the Civil Division at the United States Department of Justice and was General Counsel at the Illinois Department of Insurance and member of senior management, overseeing legal and compliance functions. Earlier in her career, Mary served in the Clinton White House as Associate Counsel to the President and Associate Director of Policy Planning in the Domestic Policy Council.

Mary was an attorney at Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP in Washington, D.C. While at Skadden, she specialized in governmental investigations and securities class actions.

Mary is Secretary and a member of the board of directors of the American Bar Association and a board member of the National Women’s History Museum. She is also a Member of the National Policy and Innovation Council for WellCare (NYSE: WCG). She is also the Founder and Board Chair of the Caroline and Ora Smith Foundation which promotes Native American girls in STEM fields. She has completed the Stanford Law School’s Directors’ College as well as Women’s Director Development Program at Kellogg School of Management, Northwestern University. She is also an NACD Board Leadership Fellow.

Mary graduated from the University of Chicago School of Law, cum laude and received a Bachelor of Science in Mathematics and Computer Science, magna cum laude, from Loyola University of Chicago. Mary is Native American and is an enrolled member of the Cherokee Nation.