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Felix Schein, managing Partner of Griffin|Schein, is a campaign and communications strategist who has worked as a political campaign manager, corporate communications director, and network television reporter and producer.
A veteran of NBC News, Felix began his journalism career at Meet the Press and the NBC Nightly News, serving as a researcher and associate producer for NBC’s Chief Foreign Affairs Correspondent, Andrea Mitchell. In 2001, Felix joined the Today Show where he primarily produced live and long-form packages about 9/11 and its geopolitical aftermath. Shifting to domestic politics, Felix served as a reporter and producer for NBC’s Political Unit throughout the 2004 presidential campaign and logged more than 500 days in the field reporting on the campaigns of Gov. Howard Dean and Sen. John Kerry. In this capacity, he was a regular on-air contributor to NBC News/MSNBC programs.
In 2006, Felix moved from campaign reporting to political campaign management, leading campaign strategy, messaging and media relations for one of the most-closely watched gubernatorial candidates in the country.
As Managing Partner of Griffin|Schein, Felix and his team now work with leading foundations, advocacy organizations and philanthropists. Most recently this work has included developing and managing issue advocacy campaigns for California’s largest healthcare foundation, the nation’s largest corporate foundation and a variety of organizations involved in issues ranging from violence reduction, to environmental protection, to K-12 education reform. Most prominently, Griffin|Schein is responsible for the development and execution of the communications strategy supporting the Proposition 8 marriage equality lawsuit and for the advocacy campaign employed by Sandy Hook Promise in the wake of the Newtown school shooting.
Felix is a graduate of Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service and holds an MBA from the Haas School of Business at the University of California Berkeley.
Lara Bergthold, Principal of Griffin Schein, is a campaign and communications strategist who has worked as a philanthropic advisor, political strategist, presidential senior campaign advisor, and PAC director.
An expert on the nexus of entertainment and politics, Lara began her career at the Hollywood Women’s Political Committee, a political action committee comprised of over 300 women in the entertainment industry where she eventually became the Executive Director. Raising over $6 million for Democratic candidates, the group lobbied on progressive issues and included executives, actresses, producers and below the line talent.
As Executive Director of the Lear Family Foundation, a private foundation of Lyn and Norman Lear, Lara directed millions of dollars of grants annually to progressive organizations working on civil liberties, civil rights, the environment and the arts, among others. She helped launch the “Declaration of Independence Road Trip” a multimedia historical document and voter registration tour after the Lears purchased an original copy of the Declaration of Independence, which eventually toured all 50 states and registered over 4 million voters.
In 2004, Lara joined Wesley Clark’s presidential campaign and served as National Political Director for six months until transitioning to manage the entertainment industry efforts on behalf of the John Kerry Presidential Campaign.
Lara has served as the Board Chair of People for the American Way since 2000 and Board Chair of Campaign for America’s Future since 2007. She also serves on the Advisory Board for the Los Angeles Alliance for a New Economy (LAANE).
Lara is a graduate of UC Berkeley and holds a Masters in Public Policy from the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University.read less
Hillary has extensive experience in consulting, non-profit advocacy and political campaigns. With a policy and law background, Hillary excels at transforming complex macro ideas into concrete actionable plans. She has had the opportunity to advise foundations, celebrities and private companies at all stages of an issue campaign.
At Griffin|Schein, Hillary manages the work for Students Matter, a national non-profit organization dedicated to sponsoring impact litigation to promote access to quality public education. In this role, Hillary is helping to build a non-profit organization from the ground up, developing the Students Matter brand and messaging and overseeing coalition-building activities. She also advises singer-songwriter Alicia Keys on her ongoing HIV/AIDS advocacy work – including managing strategic partnerships and media relations around Ms. Keys’ initiatives.
Most recently, Hillary was a Senior Analyst with Global Philanthropy Group where she advised individual philanthropists on how to effectively run their foundations. Hillary also worked at Cerrell Associates, a Los Angeles public affairs firm, where she advised the company’s energy and environmental clients to develop strategy, build coalitions, and engage the media. Prior to working at Cerrell Associates, Hillary managed the Green Schools Campaign on behalf of the Los Angeles-based environmental non-profit, Global Green USA.
Hillary’s campaign knowledge derives from her work in the political arena having worked on Barbara Boxer’s Senate campaign and General Wes Clark’s presidential campaign.
Hillary is a native of Los Angeles, and recently served on the Board of the Los Angeles League of Conservation Voters. She is also an alumnae mentor with the Fulfillment Fund. Hillary holds a B.A in public policy from Brown University and a Juris Doctorate from the UC Hastings College of the Law.read less
Manny is a seasoned media relations and reputation management professional with a proven record of delivering strategic and innovative thinking to some of the most recognizable companies, brands, and campaigns.
He brings to Griffin|Schein his broad experience in multi-tiered media relations, crisis communications and strategic campaign counsel.
At Griffin|Schein, Manny leads the communications and media relations efforts for the American Foundation for Equal Rights, the sole sponsor of the federal constitutional challenge to California’s Proposition 8. In this role, Manny provides strategic messaging support and regularly interfaces with media on one of the most high-profile cases to reach the United States Supreme Court in recent memory. Manny also supports The California Endowment by leading communications efforts around various health-related education and awareness campaigns, including steering earned media initiatives and branding opportunities, planning and executing events, and creating opportunities to raise the visibility of The Endowment’s flagship Health Happens Here campaign.
Manny trained within the corporate and consumer public relations practices at Fleishman-Hillard International Communications and Waggener Edstrom Worldwide, as well as specialized crisis boutique and public affairs firms. In his most recent role at Mercury Public Affairs, Manny was responsible for crafting and implementing public affairs and communications strategies supporting complex projects and business imperatives for a Fortune 10 company. Immediately prior to that, he led the rapid-response and strategic communications function for Apollo Group, one of the world’s largest private education providers, and served as national spokesperson for the company’s largest subsidiary, University of Phoenix. He began his career as a field representative and caseworker at the district office of the Hon. Congresswoman Grace F. Napolitano, D-Norwalk.
Manny is a graduate of Cornell University, earning Bachelor of Arts degrees in Sociology and Government, with a concentration in Law and Society.
Elizabeth is a seasoned communications strategist who is an expert in social marketing campaigns. Her work has impacted public policy, changed people’s behavior, and created healthier lives.
Her responsibilities at Griffin Schein include managing the communications efforts for The American Foundation for Equal Rights (AFER), the sole sponsor of the federal lawsuit to overturn California’s Proposition 8, and for Students Matter, a non-profit education reform organization.
Her past experience includes 10 years as a senior vice president with GMMB, a national strategic communications and political consulting firm, where her clients included the Entertainment Industry Foundation, Cisco Systems, First Five California, the Healthcare Finance Administration, Children Now, the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption, and Buckle Up America. On behalf of her clients, Elizabeth developed and directed various communications strategies including TV/radio/print advertising, strategic partnerships, event production (including press conferences, roundtables, concerts, Capitol Hill hearings), market research/surveys, strategic partnerships, PR and earned media outreach, collateral materials for internal and external audiences, website development and content, PSAs and videos.read less
Kylen PreatorAccount Executive
Kylen brings extensive management, research and communications knowledge to Griffin|Schein through her work experience in the sports, business, art and hospitality industries. She also leverages her marketing, branding and communications experience to help clients build meaningful narratives and campaigns for the causes they care about.
In her most recent role, Kylen worked with Global Philanthropy Group where she provided strategic philanthropic consulting services to high-profile individuals, such as Ben Stiller, Shakira, Demi Moore, and Ashton Kutcher, and to cause-conscious corporations and luxury-brands such as Bulgari. Through her client work, Kylen has also cultivated partnerships with key thought leaders, including Clinton Global Initiative and Gates Foundation. Kylen has broad international advocacy and fundraising experience in multiple issue areas, including; cancer, malaria, refugees, maternal mortality, sex-trafficking, poverty, homelessness, education, and intercultural understanding. She began her international issue advocacy while studying linguistics and intercultural communications in Switzerland on a Rotary International scholarship.
Based in Los Angeles, Kylen continues her volunteer work with several social entrepreneurship and education initiatives. Kylen is conversational in German and Spanish, and holds a double degree in International Business and Marketing from Georgetown University.read less
Aimee DewingAccount Executive
Aimee Dewing specializes in advocacy and political communications with experience executing domestic and international campaigns. From exploring Antarctica with the world’s leading climate scientists to producing press coverage from President Obama’s first trip to Asia for the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Forum, Aimee implements innovative strategies to spread meaningful messages.
At Griffin|Schein, Aimee supports leading environmental and health foundations by organizing high-profile events, garnering media coverage and developing messages that helps to move public opinion in California and across the country. With a passion for social and environmental health, Aimee develops and executes awareness campaigns to further initiatives that build stronger and more equitable communities.
Previously, Aimee has planned worldwide education and development campaigns with Al Gore’s non-profit organization, The Climate Reality Project, where she built partnerships with local governments, media and corporations. Aimee has experience in election management and environmental advocacy, as well as the organization of official White House events. She has produced logistics for a variety of creative strategies, helping audiences connect to important issues.
After earning a Master’s degree in Public Policy from Pepperdine University, with an emphasis in American Politics and International Relations, Aimee joined the Obama for America campaign where she orchestrated national news coverage from events across the country. She went on to produce internationally televised coverage of the 56th Presidential Inauguration and other official White House programs.
Aimee is part of Al Gore’s Climate Leadership Corps, trained to present An Inconvenient Truth slideshow in her community. She also writes for the art review Warholian where she covers contemporary art and culture. Aimee is a native of Los Angeles.read less
Danielle KeltonAccount Executive
Danielle is a strategist with experience developing and executing strategic communications and public outreach campaigns designed to influence media coverage and public opinion. She has extensive experience assisting clients in the energy industry, and has worked at the intersection of public affairs, media relations and community outreach.
Previously, Danielle worked at Winner & Associates, where she managed accounts for Fortune 500 companies and provided clients with strategic communications campaigns, with detailed planning for public affairs, media relations and community outreach.Prior to that, Danielle engaged in communications planning as well as media monitoring and analysis for a variety of research institutes and non-profit organizations, including the Population Media Center, the USC Center on Public Diplomacy and the Montreal Institute for Genocide and Human Rights Studies.
She co-authored a book chapter evaluating Sudanese media, published in 2009, in The World and Darfur: International Responses to Crimes Against Humanity in Western Sudan. Danielle was also a contributor to a report evaluating American broadcasting efforts in the Middle East, entitled An Evaluation of Alhurra Television Programming, published by the USC Center on Public Diplomacy in 2008.
Danielle holds a Masters degree in Public Diplomacy from the University of Southern California and a Bachelors degree in Political Science and Psychology from McGill University.
Katharine AzarAccount Executive
Katharine Azar is a communications and public affairs strategist specializing in social media and public diplomacy. She has extensive media handling, event planning and strategic relationship management experience.
Previously, Kate was Deputy Head of Press, Policy and Public Affairs for the British Consulate-General, Los Angeles. In this role, she served as a press liaison and political advisor for the British Government. She executed
campaigns including the British Government’s global branding campaign and designed public affairs programs for Ambassadors, Members of Parliament and Royals–including the 2011 visit of The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge–to raise the public profile of the UK in the US.
Her past experience includes working for various non-profits, including co-founding the award-winning Olive Tree Initiative. She also spent time working for the US Department of State and consulting for the US Mission to NATO.
Kate holds a BA in International Studies from the University of California, Irvine, and a Master’s in Public Diplomacy from the University of Southern California.read less
Michael AiSenior Account Associate
Michael is a strategic advisor with extensive experience in advocacy, campaign development and government relations. He has experience developing campaigns, formulating strategies, and advancing change-making agendas.
Before joining Griffin|Schein, Michael served as Legislative Deputy for Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa. Michael provided strategic counsel on the Mayor’s legislative agenda and liaised with City Council to advance the Mayor’s legislative priorities. He advised on matters relating to trade, commerce and tourism, business tax reform, public works, jobs and business development, and planning and land use.
Prior to his role as Legislative Deputy, Michael served as the Director of Advance for Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa. In his role as Director of Advance, Michael spearheaded planning and execution of Mayoral press conferences and public appearances to develop high-impact press events.
Michael also worked at Equality California as the Los Angeles Campaign Manager. At Equality California, Michael helped to develop a field persuasion campaign to build support for marriage equality in the least supportive areas of Los Angeles and advocated for the advancement of LGBT rights and protections.
Michael graduated from the University of California at Los Angeles, with a degree in Economics and a minor in Accounting. He is a proud native of Southern California.read less
Jessica Gelzer provides Griffin|Schein clients with a broad range of communications support, including media relations, strategic messaging, campaign development, social media engagement, and event planning. Jessica takes pride in assisting organizations craft a unique voice that elevates their work and advances progressive policy outcomes.
Fueled by a passion for equitable health advocacy, Jessica currently works with The California Endowment to advance their Health Happens Here campaign. She supports a variety of The Endowment’s health-related education and awareness efforts and has a proven track record of planning and executing events with high-profile participants. Jessica also leads communications efforts for Charles R. Drew University of Medicine and Science, the only dually-designated Historically Black Graduate Institution and Hispanic-Serving Health Professions School in the U.S.
Jessica’s previous experience in public policy research informs her current strategic planning work. Prior to joining Griffin|Schein, Jessica facilitated projects at the Los Angeles Department of City Planning and provided policy consultation to the City of West Hollywood’s Department of Rent Stabilization and Housing. Jessica also previously worked with the Urban and Environmental Policy Institute to advance equitable food access, transportation planning, and the smart growth of the goods movement in Southern California. In addition to her policy work, Jessica planned an annual Journalism Conference at Campus Progress, a division of the Center for American Progress.
A proud Los Angeles native, Jessica graduated Phi Beta Kappa from Occidental College with a degree in Urban and Environmental Policy, completing an honors thesis on gender equality in the green economy.read less
Jaclyn provides strategic planning and communications, social media management, and applied research skills for Griffin|Schein to enhance the positive impact of clients’ campaigns. Through her work on the Students Matter litigation-based campaign, Jaclyn has developed extensive knowledge of the national and California-specific education reform landscapes, as well as an in-depth understanding of leveraging new and social media to connect with other thought-leaders in an issue space.
Prior to joining Griffin|Schein, Jaclyn worked at the University of Southern California’s Jesse M. Unruh Institute of Politics, where she prepared content for and managed the Institute’s website and helped the Institute maintain dynamic and positive relationships with visiting politicians and politicos in order to engage the student body in the political sphere of California. She also previously worked as a legislative intern in the Washington, D.C., office of U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, where she conducted research to assist the legislative team in drafting bills and participated in the planning of the Senator’s landmark women’s economic development conference. As an intern in the press office of Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, she helped prepare the Mayor for media events and inform the Los Angeles community of the Mayor’s work reforming K-12 education, reducing gang violence, and increasing public use of alternative modes of transportation.
Jaclyn graduated with a B.A. in Public Relations from the Annenberg School of Communication and Journalism at the University of Southern California and a B.A. in Gender Studies from the USC Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences. Jaclyn originally hails from Lafayette, LA.read less
Jackie PomeroyAccount Associate
Jackie contributes a background in research, policy analysis, and public outreach. Her knowledge of broader trends in the policy world enables her to provide comprehensive support to both Students Matter and the 11th Hour Project.
Jackie is deeply committed to education as a tool to improve quality of life. Before joining Griffin|Schein, Jackie interned with Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa’s Office of Education where she informed the Mayor’s strategic goals in education through policy memos and issue briefings. Her senior thesis focused on reform efforts at Los Angeles Unified School District, which introduced her to the political context of education policy in California. As a graduate student, she worked with the California State Library to conduct original research on the impacts of discipline policies on children in California’s charter schools.
Her experience engaging the public on important policy issues includes an internship with League of Women Voters where she provided voter outreach and education services prior to the 2012 election. She also helped coordinate events to promote dialogue around the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change and co-authored a chapter on efforts to address global warming through informed citizen deliberation.
Jackie graduated with a B.A. in Public Policy Analysis and Politics from Pomona College. She recently earned a Masters degree in Public Policy from the University of Southern California. Before moving to Los Angeles, Jackie lived in Florida, New Jersey and Colorado.read less