Washington DC’s 500 Most Influential People of 2024 (2024)

Here’s our list of the experts and advocates, outside the government, who are playing big roles in Washington’s policy debates.

Written by Washingtonian Staff | Published on

Contents
  1. Antitrust
  2. Economic Policy
  3. Education
  4. Energy
  5. Foreign Affairs
  6. Good Government
  7. Healthcare
  8. Immigration
  9. Legal Intelligentsia
  10. Trade
  11. Alphabetical List of Influencers
  12. Photo Credits

Our nation’s capital is full of people who aren’t elected but who shape the laws and policies that govern our nation and ultimately affect the course of history. Despite what the news says, the majority of those Washingtonians care deeply about this country and advocate on behalf of changes and ideas they believe will make the nation better. What follows is our list of 500 of those stalwarts.

The selection process isn’t easy, and we recognize that there are more than 500 people of influence in DC. Our list is determined by several factors. First, we look for those who have deep subject-matter expertise and significant understanding of how the nation’s capital works, with the goal of getting action. Second, we want people who understand the nuances and complexities of a particular issue area. And third, we focus on policy subjects we think are of special relevance right now to our slate of elected officials.

While we didn’t include those in elected office or Capitol Hill and administration staffers—the influencees, so to speak­—many of our choices have served in government. We believe they often possess insight into how to get an issue elevated. We suspect others will land in government in the future, given their expertise.

We’ve tried to make choices across the ideological spectrum and avoid big-name “hired guns” whose influence often derives more from their communication skills and network than from their expertise in a particular area. Some people or organizations may strike you as having a harmful effect. We’re not passing judgment on whether every person’s influence is for the greater good. We want to highlight those who wield it.

This year includes some new names, such as Jay Timmons at the National Association of Manufacturers (in the Business & Labor section) and Victoria Espinel at BSA, the Software Alliance (Tech & Telecom). And we’ve included people who have now been on the list for several years, such as Neal Katyal (Legal Intelligentsia), who just argued his 50th case before the Supreme Court, and Suzanne Clark (Business & Labor), who leads the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, which was founded in 1912 in response to President Taft’s desire for a more central organization to keep in touch with businesses—a good example of how influence can be wielded and also called upon.

Ultimately, every one of the influencers shares a drive to understand a policy issue and propel it forward. Washington has always been a city of thinkers. We’re confident these are among the best brains in the city.

—Catherine Merrill
Washingtonian President and CEO

To purchase a physical copy of our Influencers list, please click here.

Experts who ensure that businesses are competing fairly and that mergers are in the public’s interest

Washington DC’s 500 Most Influential People of 2024 (1)

Seth Bloom
Bloom Strategic Counsel
President and Founder

Bloom, a former general counsel for the Senate Judiciary antitrust subcommittee, has substantial experience with critical regulatory and competition issues in telecommunications, media, and high tech, as well as transportation and aviation.

Hometown: Buffalo. What he’d tell his 18-year-old self: “Enjoy life and be spontaneous. Things tend to work out in the end, so difficult decisions, especially career decisions, are generally not as consequential as they seem at the time.” Song currently on repeat: “Blinding Lights” by the Weeknd.

Washington DC’s 500 Most Influential People of 2024 (2)

Kathleen Bradish
American Antitrust Institute
Vice President and Director of Legal Advocacy

An antitrust lawyer in private and government practice for nearly two decades, Bradish was tapped to lead the institute last fall. She has warned lawmakers about the dangers of monopoly in the wake of Ticketmaster’s Taylor Swift ticket fiasco.

Education: Princeton; Harvard Law.

Washington DC’s 500 Most Influential People of 2024 (3)

Teddy Downey
The Capitol Forum
CEO and Executive Editor

Downey runs this subscription-based website for those steeped in antitrust enforcement, driving discussions on the impact of mergers, mushrooming monopolies, and investigations of corporations.

Worst career advice he ever received: “Don’t start my own business.” What he’d tell his 18-year-old self: “Major in history, not English.” Last meal would be: Pizza.

Washington DC’s 500 Most Influential People of 2024 (4)

Jason Kint
Digital Content Next
CEO

Sitting atop a trade association that represents multi-platform content companies, Kint says he feels vindicated for DCN’s focus on the courts in its efforts to foster changes in data competition, including a significant win against Google’s app store.

Hometown: Columbus, Ohio. What he’d tell his 18-year-old self: “You don’t know anything yet, kid. Pay attention.” Hidden talent: Holiday-light decorating.

Washington DC’s 500 Most Influential People of 2024 (5)

Barry Lynn
Open Markets Institute
Executive Director

Lynn’s efforts to update anti-monopoly laws have shaped policymakers’ thinking over the past two decades, with his warnings about structural flaws and supply chains studied by not only US government officials but also those in Europe and Asia.

Hometown: Miami. First job: “Cutting and packaging in a factory making radio-controlled balsa-wood model airplanes.” Lesson from that job: “Be really careful when using the band saws.”

Washington DC’s 500 Most Influential People of 2024 (6)

Anant Raut
Trust and Trade
Podcaster

Raut hosts this increasingly popular podcast about antitrust and global-competition issues, lending analysis and context to the shifts in enforcement and bringing it all to an international audience.

What he’d tell his 18-year-old self: “Don’t live for the external validation of others.” Song currently on repeat: “Aquamarine” by Danger Mouse and Black Thought featuring Michael Kiwanuka. Most cherished possession: “Gobots my father bought me. I was heading into a spelling bee, and he told me if I won, he’d buy me every Gobot they had. I came in second, and we still went. My father has passed, but every time I see those Gobots, I remember how much he loved me.”

Washington DC’s 500 Most Influential People of 2024 (7)

John Schmidtlein
Williams & Connolly
Partner

As co-chair of the law firm’s antitrust practice, Schmidtlein has represented pharmaceutical manufacturers, telecommunication companies, and food processors in a wide range of criminal and civil cases.

Education: Brown University; Georgetown Law.

Washington DC’s 500 Most Influential People of 2024 (8)

David Segal
Yelp
Vice President of Public Policy

Segal’s anti-plutocracy activism came out of the Rhode Island progressive and labor movements and led to a run for Congress. He’s now seen as a blunt advocate for policies that protect consumers, workers, and small businesses from corporate monopolies.

Hometowns: Bethesda and Potomac. Education: Columbia University. Best career advice he ever received: “When I first got elected to the city council in Providence, a mentor gave me a few pieces of advice: One, your word is your currency—become somebody who’s known for keeping your word. Two, get to know all of your colleagues, not just the ones you think you agree with on everything.”

Washington DC’s 500 Most Influential People of 2024 (9)

Jonathan Yarowsky
WilmerHale
Partner and Co-Chair, Public Policy and Legislative Affairs Practice

Yarowsky has worked with the Biden administration and Congress to intensify antitrust scrutiny of what has been termed “killer acquisitions”—referring to a pattern of large companies seeking to acquire smaller biotech rivals developing lifesaving drug therapies, with the sole purpose of eliminating those competitors from the marketplace.

Best career advice he ever received: “In Washington, substance counts for a lot—but relationships are everything.” Hidden talent:“Remembering lifetime batting averages of Hall of Fame players.” Most cherished possession: “My high-school A2000 baseball glove.”

Back to Top

People who advocate for stable and secure financial systems

Washington DC’s 500 Most Influential People of 2024 (10)

Tim Adams
Institute of International Finance
President and CEO

A former Treasury Department official, Adams now helms the trade organization representing 400 of the world’s largest financial institutions, including JPMorgan Chase and Goldman Sachs, advocating on issues such as sanctions against Russia, cryptocurrency regulation, and climate-change financing.

Hometown: “I grew up in Murray, Kentucky, a town near the Tennessee border.” Best career advice he ever received: “Get up early—before anyone else, bring solutions, be relevant and optimistic.” Hidden talent: “My wife tells me I’d be a great travel agent. I can help someone plan a trip—and running routes—in almost any city.”

Washington DC’s 500 Most Influential People of 2024 (11)

Greg Baer
Bank Policy Institute
President and CEO

Since playing a key role in passage of the Dodd-Frank reform of Wall Street more than a decade ago, Baer has been taken seriously by policymakers as an expert on monetary, regulatory, and consumer policies.

First job: Ride attendant at Carowinds amusem*nt park in his hometown of Charlotte, North Carolina. Best career advice he ever received: “At one point when I was writing and selling books, ‘If you sign the copy in the bookstore, it can’t be returned to the publisher, so sign as many as you can at every store you visit.’ ” Hidden talent: “I can fall asleep within three minutes at any time and any place. I generally fall asleep on airplanes during takeoff.”

Washington DC’s 500 Most Influential People of 2024 (12)

Anne Balcer
Independent Community Bankers of America
Senior Executive Vice President, Chief of Government Relations and Public Policy

After the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau put into effect a rule that required lenders to collect and report data on credit applicants, Balcer led ICBA’s advocacy efforts, resulting in a court-ordered injunction of the rule. She also worked with the FDIC to ensure that community banks weren’t penalized by the Deposit Insurance Fund special assessment.

What she’d tell her 18-year-old self: “You’ll make a few wrong turns, but believe in your voice.” Hidden talent: “Sketches on napkins in my daughters’ lunchboxes.” Most cherished possession: “A pen my father gave me when I was sworn in to the Maryland Bar. It was given to my grandfather when he became a foreman at Bethlehem Steel.”

Washington DC’s 500 Most Influential People of 2024 (13)

James Ballentine
Ballentine Strategies
Founder and CEO

The former American Bankers Association executive vice president leverages his experience with financial services and small businesses to advise clients under the roof of his own consulting firm.

First job: Working with the Women, Infants, and Children Program. Lesson from that job: “Everyone can go through challenging financial periods in their lives, and there is value in having programs that can assist those in greatest need.” Last meal would be: “Baked halibut, hash browns, creamed corn, and bread pudding.”

Washington DC’s 500 Most Influential People of 2024 (14)

Tim Berry
JPMorgan Chase
Global Head of Corporate Responsibility and Chairman of the Mid-Atlantic Region

Berry earned a new title last year in his work for the $3.8 trillion–asset banking giant, which has lobbied against the costs of compliance of additional regulations for banks.

Hometown: Silver Spring. Education: Middlebury College.

Washington DC’s 500 Most Influential People of 2024 (15)

Reginald Brown
Kirkland & Ellis
Partner, Litigation

Brown represents a large number of financial-industry businesses facing congressional-oversight investigations, and he also advises private-­equity firms, asset managers, and healthcare institutions on regulatory policy.

Education: Yale; Harvard Law. First job: “McDonald’s cook, then crew chief.” Best career advice he ever received: “Lloyd Cutler told me when I was a young lawyer to ‘put on your jacket and go to lunch.’ It’s great advice in DC. Networks matter. Get to know as many interesting people as you can.”

Washington DC’s 500 Most Influential People of 2024 (16)

Naomi Camper
American Bankers Association
Chief Policy Officer

Since joining ABA in 2018, Camper has led on a range of policy issues for the nation’s $23.4 trillion banking industry, including improving access to financial services and urging banks to offer accounts with low or no fees or overdraft charges.

First job: “Cleaning dormitory bathrooms. I remain highly skilled at cleaning bathrooms.” What she’d tell her 18-year-old self: “Go easy on the eyeliner.” Song currently on repeat: “Chicas de Hoy” by the Mexican singer Tatiana. “I spent the summer of ’86 in Cuernavaca, where I was born, and you couldn’t escape that album.”

Washington DC’s 500 Most Influential People of 2024 (17)

Kelvin Chen
Consumer Bankers Association
Senior Executive Vice President, Head of Policy

Chen moved to CBA last fall after experience at Barclays as well as inside the government—he led the Federal Reserve Board’s Innovation Policy team and also worked at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

Hometown: Starkville, Mississippi. Song currently on repeat: “Bon-nie and Clyde” by Brigitte Bardot and Serge Gainsbourg. Most cherished possession: “My parents’ letters when they were courting each other via airmail from Taiwan to Massachusetts. Time moved more slowly then. And while there was less of everything, it all seems much richer.”

Washington DC’s 500 Most Influential People of 2024 (18)

Kate Childress
Bank Policy Institute
Executive Vice President and Head of Public Affairs

A former JPMorgan Chase lobbyist, Childress has deep connections that allow her to dive into a variety of issues, whether the intricacies of stablecoin legislation or bank practices that can counter systemic racism in Black communities.

First job: Movie concessionaire. Best and worst career advice she ever received: “Be patient.” What she’d tell her 18-year-old self: “When Facebook becomes a thing, buy the stock.”

Washington DC’s 500 Most Influential People of 2024 (19)

De’Ana Dow
Capitol Counsel
Partner and General Counsel

When Kalshi—an exchange in which people can trade on the outcome of world events—wanted help with its proposal to launch election betting in the US, it enlisted Dow, a former counsel and special adviser to two chairman at the Commodity Futures Trading Commission.

Hometown: Cincinnati. What she’d tell her 18-year-old self: “Study hard, party less, and choose friends wisely.” Hidden talent: “I’m a tennis player. I’ve played in USTA leagues for many years and earned a few trophies along the way.”

Washington DC’s 500 Most Influential People of 2024 (20)

Nicole Elam
National Bankers Association
President and CEO

As the youngest president and CEO of the only minority-focused national banking association, Elam uses her 20 years of experience to push for more inclusive capitalization policies to benefit minority communities.

Hometown: Indianapolis. First job: Burger King. Worst career advice she ever received: “ ‘All you need to do is work hard.’ You need more than hard work to advance. You need skills and a network. So invest in growing your network and getting the soft technical skills you need to be great in your field.”

Washington DC’s 500 Most Influential People of 2024 (21)

Kevin Fromer
Financial Services Forum
President and CEO

As the representative of the eight largest US banks, Fromer and his team have been pushing back on regulatory efforts to increase capital at member banks.

Hometown: Fairfax. What he’d tell his 18-year-old self: “Play your cards right and you’ll be in Washingtonian one day.” Hidden talent: “I make a mean apple crisp.”

Washington DC’s 500 Most Influential People of 2024 (22)

Tiffany Haas
Financial Services Forum
Head of Government Affairs

Haas has educated Capitol Hill lawmakers and staffers on the risks to the economy posed by higher bank-capital requirements.

Education: George Washington University; Marquette University Law School.

Washington DC’s 500 Most Influential People of 2024 (23)

Bridget Hagan
Blackstone
Managing Director

Known as a preeminent insurance policy resource inside the political world, Hagan has her hands on the latest financial regulatory proposals impacting investors and asset managers, including the scrutiny of private debt markets.

Best career advice she ever received: “Not taking an opportunity can be more risky than taking it.” Hidden talent: “I’m a pretty decent singer.” Song currently on repeat: “I’ll Take You There” by the Staple Singers.

Washington DC’s 500 Most Influential People of 2024 (24)

Lindsey Johnson
Consumer Bankers Association
President and CEO

Johnson’s top priorities have centered on helping banks navigate both a rise in new technologies and an escalation in regulatory pressures.

Hometown: Pampa, Texas. Best career advice she ever received: “Be someone that people want in their foxhole during difficult times.” Historical figure she most identifies with: “Sandra Day O’Connor. I remember learning in tenth grade about this incredible woman from El Paso who became the first woman on the Supreme Court. She’s what sparked the fire in me to be in DC.”

Washington DC’s 500 Most Influential People of 2024 (25)

Doug Kantor
National Association of Convenience Stores
General Counsel

As strategist for the leading trade association dedicated to advancing convenience and fuel retailing, Kantor has been described as one of Washington’s longest-serving soldiers in the credit-card wars, advocating for reforms to card fees.

First job: Teacher in the Los Angeles Unified School District. Lesson from that job: “Work hard and recognize that there are some things you simply can’t control.” Best career advice he ever received: “Focus on working with good people, and the rest will take care of itself.”

Washington DC’s 500 Most Influential People of 2024 (26)

Dennis Kelleher
Better Markets
Cofounder, President, and CEO

Kelleher counts among his policy accomplishments preventing cryptocurrency from infiltrating the traditional financial market and protecting consumers from what he sees as the threat of “systemically significant non-banks.”

What he’d tell his 18-year-old self: “Slow down and pay more attention to what’s going on around you.” Best career advice he ever received: “Surround yourself with people smarter and more experienced than you, and learn from them.” Worst career advice he ever received: “Make money first, and then do something you’re passionate about.”

Washington DC’s 500 Most Influential People of 2024 (27)

Aaron Klein
Brookings Institution
Senior Fellow

Klein was among the US citizens banned by Russia from entering that country for his prominent support of America’s leveraging of a payment system to punish Vladimir Putin over his invasion of Ukraine.

Historical figure he most identifies with: “Teddy Roosevelt, in the sense that I try to stand by my principles regardless of which party embraces them.” Most cherished possession: “I’m trying to care less about objects and more about the feelings they produce.” Hidden talent: “Packing the trunk of a car.”

Washington DC’s 500 Most Influential People of 2024 (28)

Edward Knight
Nasdaq
Executive Vice Chairman

Knight, who manages policy and litigation for the world’s second-­largest stock exchange, also leads the executive council of a burgeoning tech trade group—TechNet—that has advocated for measures contained in the CHIPS Act and infrastructure law.

Hometown: Laredo, Texas. Education: University of Texas at Austin; University of Texas School of Law.

Washington DC’s 500 Most Influential People of 2024 (29)

Walton Liles
Blue Ridge Law & Policy
Cofounder and Principal

The former Fidelity Investments lobbyist works his connections from his time as senior counsel on the House Financial Services Committee to help clients navigate capital markets and corporate governance issues.

Education: University of Virginia; University of Alabama School of Law.

Washington DC’s 500 Most Influential People of 2024 (30)

Drew Maloney
American Investment Council
President and CEO

A vocal champion of protecting private equity, Maloney is combatting rule changes by the Securities and Exchange Commission that haven’t been authorized by Congress.
Hometown: Weyers Cave, Virginia. First job: Sheep-and-poultry-farm worker. What he’d tell his 18-year-old self: “Where you go to college doesn’t dictate success—hard work is the key.”

Washington DC’s 500 Most Influential People of 2024 (31)

Doyle Mitchell
Industrial Bank
President and CEO

As head of the country’s sixth-largest Black-owned financial institution, Mitchell has helped oversee the distribution of tens of millions of federal dollars in loans and grants to minority communities.

First job: Grass-cutting at age 12. Best career advice he ever received: “ ‘Finish grad school right after undergrad’ was the best advice I didn’t follow.” Hidden talent: Writing song lyrics.

Washington DC’s 500 Most Influential People of 2024 (32)

Rob Nichols
American Bankers Association
President and CEO

Days after Silicon Valley Bank’s failure, Nichols hosted top policymakers at ABA’s Washington Summit, helping reassure confidence in banks and the system. He went on to pressure lawmakers against rushing to pass a range of new regulations in response to the crisis.

Hometown: Seattle. First job: Seattle Times paper boy. Lesson from that job: “If you’re not early, you’re late.”

Washington DC’s 500 Most Influential People of 2024 (33)

Andrew Olmem
Mayer Brown
Partner

Olmem has been an active participant in almost every major financial services policy debate over the past couple of decades, having most recently testified before Congress on the need for reform of federal deposit insurance in the wake of the Silicon Valley Bank failure.

First job: His own lawn-mowing business. Hidden talent: “Presi­dential trivia.” Most cherished possession: “My great-great-­grandfather’s discharge certificate from the Union Army, listing the battles he fought in during the Civil War. He did more in a few afternoons for this country than I could ever hope to achieve.”

Washington DC’s 500 Most Influential People of 2024 (34)

Michael Paese
Goldman Sachs
Global Head of Government and Regulatory Affairs

With time on Capitol Hill and at JPMorgan Chase, Paese stands out as one of the premier players on policies related to banking, securities, and the regulation of financial institutions.

Education: University of Notre Dame.

Washington DC’s 500 Most Influential People of 2024 (35)

Eric Pan
Investment Company Institute
President and CEO

Pan helped generate bipartisan opposition in Congress to an SEC proposal that critics believed would hurt investors, prompting lawmakers to echo Pan’s critiques.

Hometown: Pittsburgh. Hidden talent: “I can fall asleep anywhere.” Most cherished possession: “My father passed away when I’d just left for college, and my main reminder of him is his watch. He bought it when he was a young man—the most expensive thing he owned for a long time—and wore it every day.”

Washington DC’s 500 Most Influential People of 2024 (36)

Brendan Reilly
Barclays
Managing Director and Head of Regulatory Affairs and Public Policy, Americas

Reilly helms the Washington-based investment-­banking team as it navigates political headwinds around regulations, as well as an uncertain banking environment contending with inflation and higher interest rates.

Hometown: Allendale, New Jersey. First job: Working on a loading dock for a windows distributor. Historical figure he most identifies with: “Alexander Hamilton, more out of admiration. He had such a pivotal role in the foundations of government and finance at the highest level.”

Washington DC’s 500 Most Influential People of 2024 (37)

Elad Roisman
Cravath Swaine & Moore
Partner

As a partner in Cravath’s corporate-­governance and board-advisory practice, as well as former acting chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission, Rois­man has been involved with more than 1,000 enforcement actions handled by the SEC.

Best career advice he ever received: “Go into every meeting expecting to learn something new and be impressed.” Hidden talent: Photographic memory. Last meal would be: Bread and cheese.

Washington DC’s 500 Most Influential People of 2024 (38)

Rebeca Romero Rainey
Independent Community Bankers of America
President and CEO

Romero Rainey led ICBA efforts to differentiate community banks from larger financial institutions following 2023 bank failures, leading the FDIC to exempt most community banks from its proposed Deposit Insurance Fund special assessment.

Hometown: Taos, New Mexico. Education: Wellesley College. Best career advice she ever received: “Release perfectionism. Nothing will ever be perfect. Once I stopped striving for it, I allowed myself to step out of my comfort zone and grow.”

Washington DC’s 500 Most Influential People of 2024 (39)

Dan Smith
Consumer Data Industry Association
President and CEO

Smith left the Consumer Bankers Association to run CDIA, an association that represents a host of credit-reporting agencies. He was swiftly tasked with fighting a new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau rule aimed at amending the Fair Credit Reporting Act.

First job: Working for Senator Edward M. Kennedy. Lesson from that job: “Work harder than others and be willing to do whatever is asked—and volunteer to do what is not asked.” Hidden talent: “I could throw a baseball over 90 miles per hour.”

Washington DC’s 500 Most Influential People of 2024 (40)

Kristin Smith
Blockchain Association
CEO

With more than 100 member companies, Smith’s Blockchain Association focuses much of its muscle on helping shape comprehensive legislation that would create a regulatory framework for digital assets as well as clarity on stablecoin payments.

Hometown: Palos Verdes Estates, California. First job: Intern for Montana senator Conrad Burns. Lesson from that job: “Be nice to everyone—you never know who you’ll work for someday.”

Washington DC’s 500 Most Influential People of 2024 (41)

Diane Tomb
American Land Title Association
CEO

Tomb was instrumental in getting the Protecting America’s Property Rights Act—the title-insurance industry’s signature legislation in Congress—introduced in 2023 with bipartisan support. She has also raised $1.3 million for community grants benefiting housing-related charities across the country.

First job: Staff assistant for then–Vice President George H.W. Bush. Last meal would be: “A Thanksgiving turkey dinner with family.” Most cherished possession: “My dad’s button accordion. My parents were born in Ireland and learned to play by ear. My dad played at all family gatherings. His accordion is a reminder of the joy he brought so many.”

Washington DC’s 500 Most Influential People of 2024 (42)

Ryan VanGrack
Citadel Securities
General Counsel

The former senior adviser at the Securities and Exchange Commission has had near-constant engagement with regulators, providing the SEC with almost 200 pages of comments and analysis on rule-making proposals covering everything from how the stock market functions to the use of predictive analytics.

First job: Paperboy for the Rockville Gazette. Lesson from that job: “Attention to detail—I learned that tips flowed more easily when I put the newspaper on the doorstep rather than on the driveway.” Most cherished possession: “A baseball I got autographed, as a kid, by Ken Griffey Jr., Cal Ripken Jr., and Alex Rodriguez.”

Washington DC’s 500 Most Influential People of 2024 (43)

Alison Weiss
MassMutual
Head of Government Relations

Weiss played a key role in ensuring more access to registered index-­linked annuities (RILAs) by advocating for a provision—included in omnibus legislation—that eliminates administrative barriers to the marketplace.

First job: University of Connecticut athletic-department communications. Last meal would be: Lobster fra diavolo with Champagne. Historical figures she most identifies with: “Margaret Thatcher for her leadership and Caroline Earle White for her love of animals and animal activism.”

Washington DC’s 500 Most Influential People of 2024 (44)

Candida Wolff
Citigroup
Executive Vice President and Head of Global Government Affairs

Wolff acted as a liaison for the US government regarding the unprecedented financial sanctions imposed against Russia for its war against Ukraine.

Hometown: Canaan, Connecticut. Best career advice she ever re­ceived: “Don’t over-think your next job move—just make sure it expands your options and doesn’t restrict them.” What she’d tell her 18-year-old self: “I am as surprised as you are about where our career has taken us.”

Washington DC’s 500 Most Influential People of 2024 (45)

Kevin Wysocki
Anchorage Digital
Director of Policy

Behind the scenes, Wysocki helped enlist bipartisan cosponsors for a bill to restrict the Securities and Exchange Commission from requiring banks to include assets held in custody as a liability.

Hidden talent: “I can watch a YouTube video and figure out how to fix most things at home—though some projects work out better than others.” Last meal would be: “I’m from around Buffalo, so I have to say 20 wings with blue cheese.” Most cherished possession: A Union Army Civil War cavalry saber.

Back to Top

These advocates fight to keep our commerce strong for employers and employees

Washington DC’s 500 Most Influential People of 2024 (46)

Bruce Andrews
Intel
Corporate Vice President and Chief Government Affairs Officer

Andrews has been immersed in passage and implementation of the CHIPS and Science Act, which provides money for semiconductor research and development, manufacturing, and workforce development. It also has far-reaching implications for domestic politics and geopolitical policy.

First job: “Working in Senator Alan Cranston’s mailroom and being the backup driver.” Lesson from that job: “Make sure you’re learning regardless of what you’re doing. Find the lessons from everything you do.” Song currently on repeat: “No Surrender” by Bruce Springsteen.

Washington DC’s 500 Most Influential People of 2024 (47)

Nicole C. Austin
Reinsurance Association of America
Senior Vice President and Director of Federal Affairs

The former Financial Services Committee staffer is described as a behind-the-scenes policy player who has made progress on efforts to secure safe harbor for insurance services involving marijuana transactions, which remain illegal at the federal level.

Education: Hamilton College. What she’d tell her 18-year-old self: “Don’t forget Philippians 4:13.” Hidden talent: “Figure skating. I turned professional at 18.”

Washington DC’s 500 Most Influential People of 2024 (48)

Ruchi Bhowmik
Netflix
Vice President, Public Policy

Bhowmik—a former Obama deputy cabinet secretary and special assistant to the President for policy—strategizes key relationships for the streaming giant, working with regulators, nongovernmental organizations, and elected leaders in the US and Canada.

First job: Baskin-Robbins. Lesson from that job: “There is such a thing as too much ice cream.” What she’d tell her 18-year-old self: “Don’t take yourself too seriously—life is meant to be enjoyed.”

Washington DC’s 500 Most Influential People of 2024 (49)

Joshua Bolten
Business Roundtable
President and CEO

Amid an uneven economy and heightened tensions with China, Bolten conveyed to policymakers that CEOs believe trade agreements styled after the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement, particularly in the Indo-Pacific region, are key to US competitiveness.

Hometown: DC. Hidden talent: Played bass guitar in a band called the Compassionates, including while chief of staff for President George W. Bush.

Washington DC’s 500 Most Influential People of 2024 (50)

Brent Booker
Laborers’ International Union of North America
General President

Booker, who was secretary-treasurer of North America’s Building Trades Unions, succeeded the retiring Terry O’Sullivan at LIUNA last spring, helming the 500,000-member union’s legislative priorities.

Education: University of Virginia. Best career advice he ever received: “Show up for people in a way that matters: Call everyone back, be honest with them, and if you don’t know the answer to something, say that, find out the answer, and get back to them.” Song currently on repeat: “I have a teenage daughter, so in terms of songs on repeat in my life—anything Taylor Swift, which I guess makes me an accidental Swiftie.”

Washington DC’s 500 Most Influential People of 2024 (51)

Neil Bradley
U.S. Chamber of Commerce
Executive Vice President, Chief Policy Officer, and Head of Strategic Advocacy

Bradley manages the chamber’s pro-business-advocacy programs, including leading opposition to numerous Biden-administration regulatory proposals and business taxes.

Hometown: Sapulpa, Oklahoma. First job: Staff member for then-­representative Tom Coburn of Oklahoma. Lesson from that job: “You can either be the person who always calls other people when you have a question or you can study and learn the topic yourself and be the person other people call.”

Washington DC’s 500 Most Influential People of 2024 (52)

Roxanne Brown
United Steelworkers
International Vice President at Large

Brown’s experience—rooted in defense procurement policy, environmental regulation, and energy policy—is now being put to work on behalf of the union’s 1.2 million members and retirees.

Education: Howard University; University of Maryland. What she’d tell her 18-year-old self: “Hold on—it’s going to be a bumpy but amazing ride!” Song currently on repeat: “Alien Superstar” by Beyoncé.

Washington DC’s 500 Most Influential People of 2024 (53)

Dan Bryant
Walmart
Executive Vice President, Global Public Policy and Government Affairs

Bryant heads government affairs for the world’s largest private employer, leveraging relationships in both the private and government sectors and engaging in emerging-growth markets such as India.

Education: American University; Oxford. First job: “At age ten, selling soda in Delaware’s Rockford Park from a red wagon.” Lesson from that job: “The power of brands: Generic soda didn’t sell as well as branded soda did.”

Washington DC’s 500 Most Influential People of 2024 (54)

Ron Busby Sr.
U.S. Black Chambers
President and CEO

Busby worked with Maryland representative Glenn Ivey to help Black entrepreneurs understand how the Supreme Court’s ruling on affirmative action would affect minority-owned businesses.

Hometown: Oakland, California. Best career advice he ever received: “That working harder than everyone else got you promoted.” What he’d tell his 18-year-old self: “Be committed to God’s work.”

Washington DC’s 500 Most Influential People of 2024 (55)

Wayne Chopus
Insured Retirement Institute
President and CEO

Chopus leads an industry-wide effort opposing a proposed Labor Department rule that he says would limit retirement savers’ access to financial advice and products.

Hometown: Southington, Connecticut. First job: Basketball-­camp counselor. What he’d tell his 18-year-old self: “Be more comfortable being uncomfortable. It ultimately drives more personal and professional growth.”

Washington DC’s 500 Most Influential People of 2024 (56)

Stephen Ciccone
Toyota
Group Vice President, Government Affairs

Ciccone—who contends that the transition to electric vehicles won’t be fast or easy—has vigorously lobbied against what he calls a “draconian” electric-vehicle mandate proposed by the EPA, which would require fleet emissions to be cut by more than half over the next eight years. Amid reports of slowing EV sales and charging challenges, he’s argued that the emissions threshold is unrealistic for carmakers and, according to the Wall Street Journal, wrote in a memo, “We will not—back down.”

What he’d tell his 18-year-old self: “Things will get better.” Hidden talent: “Headstands. With eyes closed.” Last meal would be: “Mom’s lasagna.”

Washington DC’s 500 Most Influential People of 2024 (57)

Suzanne Clark
U.S. Chamber of Commerce
President and CEO

The leader of K Street’s biggest lobbying firm has become more vocal in criticizing dysfunction, gridlock, and overreach in Washington, chastising policymakers to take a longer-lens view in areas of compromise that are favorable to business.

First job: At a Hallmark store. Hidden talent: Gift-wrapping. Best career advice she ever received: “If they can’t trust you to do the small tasks well, why would they trust you with the big ones?”

Washington DC’s 500 Most Influential People of 2024 (58)

Gentry Collins
American Free Enterprise Chamber of Commerce
CEO

Collins leads an alternative to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce for business leaders with more staunchly conservative and aggressive beliefs about quashing regulations, tax policies, and corporate cronyism.

Education: Iowa State University.

Washington DC’s 500 Most Influential People of 2024 (59)

Judy Conti
National Employment Law Project
Director, Government Affairs

Conti advises congressional staffers on a full range of labor and employment bills that are being contemplated, working with committee members to shape the focus of hearings and fostering relationships with nongovernmental stakeholders, such as the Chamber of Commerce, to find common ground.

Hometown: Staten Island. Best career advice she ever received: “That it was okay to shut down a bad interview early and respectfully walk away when it was clear it wouldn’t be a good fit and the questions I was being asked were inappropriate.” Historical figure she most identifies with: “Frances Perkins—the first woman Secretary of Labor, a visionary and tireless advocate for working people.”

Washington DC’s 500 Most Influential People of 2024 (60)

Ryan Costello
Ryan Costello Strategies
Public Policy Consultant

The former Pennsylvania Republican congressman, who has lobbied against the FDA’s e-cigarette policies, was hired by the Vapor Technology Association to try to influence regulations that guide the process for regulating tobacco sales.

Best career advice he ever received: “Take pride in your work, be prepared, and be honest. Everything else flows from that.” What he’d tell his 18-year-old self: “As you age, spend a bit more time maintaining the network of friends you have, and appreciate the opportunities life presents in developing new ones.” Most cherished possession: Michael Jordan 1986 Fleer rookie card.

Washington DC’s 500 Most Influential People of 2024 (61)

Michaeleen Crowell
S-3 Group
Principal

The former chief of staff to Vermont senator Bernie Sanders was tasked by the S-3 Group, a government-relations firm, to lobby on behalf of DoorDash regarding labor and independent-contractor issues, as well as small-business, consumer, and food policies.

Education: Boston University (BA, JD).

Washington DC’s 500 Most Influential People of 2024 (62)

Ashley Davis
West Front Strategies
Founding Partner

The former aide to Homeland Security director Tom Ridge has been a staunch advocate for cultivating formidable Republican women in business and politics in order to diversify and broaden perspectives in Congress.

Hidden talent: “I can golf.” Song currently on repeat: “Strength of a Woman” by Shaggy. Most cherished possession: “My son.”

Washington DC’s 500 Most Influential People of 2024 (63)

Zippy Duvall
American Farm Bureau Federation
President

Duvall has been a fierce defender of agriculture and its technological advancements, particularly as farming has attracted more scrutiny from climate activists for its greenhouse-gas emissions.

First job: Milking cows on the family farm in Georgia. Best career advice he ever received: “If you want to make a difference in this world, you need to step outside your fencerows.” Hidden talent: “I’m a cow whisperer. They come when I call, and they’re comfortable around me.”

Washington DC’s 500 Most Influential People of 2024 (64)

Nadeam Elshami
Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck
Policy Director and Government Relations Department Co-Chair

The former chief of staff to Nancy Pelosi was a crucial player in shaping and passing the bipartisan INFORM Consumers Act, which requires online marketplaces to be transparent and verify the identity of their sellers to stop the sale of stolen, counterfeit, or harmful products.

First job: US Senate mailroom. Lesson from that job: “Respect—appreciating, listening to, and learning from people from all walks of life, because the mailroom was a microcosm of our country.” Hidden talent: “Cooking. The busier the kitchen and the more complicated the recipe, the more relaxed I become.”

Washington DC’s 500 Most Influential People of 2024 (65)

Kimberly Glas
National Council of Textile Organizations
President and CEO

Glas lobbied Congress to close what she calls an “unfathomable” loophole that allows Chinese companies to sell forced-labor cotton to US consumers.

Hometown: Lockport, New York. What she’d tell her 18-year-old self: “The road will reveal itself. Do what feeds your soul.” Hidden tal-ent: “I can sing, and ‘New York, New York’ is my song.”

Washington DC’s 500 Most Influential People of 2024 (66)

Cedric Grant
Subject Matter
Government Relations

In addition to UnitedHealth Group, Pfizer, and Blackstone, the former chief of staff to Congressman Hakeem Jeffries added the aerospace giant Boeing to his lobbying registrar.

Education: Howard University; Columbia; Princeton Theological Seminary.

Washington DC’s 500 Most Influential People of 2024 (67)

Michael Hanson
Retail Industry Leaders Association
Senior Executive Vice President, Public Affairs

Hanson scored a substantial victory with passage of the INFORM Consumers Act, building a coalition for the new law, which aims to make online transactions more transparent and to deter the sale of counterfeit merchandise.

Hometown: Dallas. Worst career advice he ever received: “There’s no need to meet people in this town. Just keep your head down and work.” Song currently on repeat: “As Good as I Once Was” by Toby Keith.

Washington DC’s 500 Most Influential People of 2024 (68)

Desiree Hoffman
AFSCME
Lobbyist

As lobbyist for the union of state, county, and municipal employees, Hoffman sits at the fulcrum of debates over economic justice, employee safety, and emerging technologies in the workplace.

Hometown: Sunbury, Pennsylvania. Best career advice she ever received: “Work will always be there, so it’s best to hang it up and start fresh in the morning.” Hidden talent: “I make a tasty old-­fashioned—at least five different ways.”

Washington DC’s 500 Most Influential People of 2024 (69)

Roy Houseman
United Steelworkers
Legislative Director

Houseman pushed for resolutions to oppose attempts by Japan’s largest steelmaker to acquire US Steel.

First job: Prep cook and dishwasher. What he’d tell his 18-year-old self: “There are many roads to opportunity, and they tend to connect. Don’t be afraid to take a few side roads—they tend to be more rewarding.” Historical figure he most identifies with: “Senator Robert Wagner—the lead cosponsor of Social Security and the National Labor Relations Act.”

Washington DC’s 500 Most Influential People of 2024 (70)

Ryan Jackson
American Chemistry Council
Vice President, Federal Affairs

Jackson was lured from the National Mining Association to expand the council’s reach on Capitol Hill and advocate for the approval of new chemistries to enhance domestic manufacturing across a variety of industries.

Education: University of Oklahoma; Oklahoma City University (JD). First job: “Working at my grandfather’s hardware store in Oklahoma City, where I was able to help with errands and cleaning up.” Lesson from that job: “All positions from top to bottom matter in the success of an organization, so make your contribution meaningful.”

Washington DC’s 500 Most Influential People of 2024 (71)

Selina Jackson
Procter & Gamble
Senior Vice President, Global Government Relations and Public Policy

The Kansas native and advocate for one of the world’s largest consumer brands was a prominent proponent of stimulus packages as the country emerged from the Covid-19 pandemic.

First job: In the White House scheduling office. Lesson from that job: “Always know where the bathroom is.” Best career advice she ever received: “Don’t be afraid to take risks.”

Washington DC’s 500 Most Influential People of 2024 (72)

Everett Kelley
American Federation of Government Employees
National President

Kelley, who helms the largest federal-employee union in the country, was tapped by President Biden to serve on a council that provides recommendations on pay differentials for federal employees.

What he’d tell his 18-year-old self: “Behave, study hard, work hard, trust God, do what’s right, and everything will work out fine.” Hidden talent: “I was an award-winning chef in the US military, and I make my own sauce and the best slow-cooked Alabama-style barbecue you can get in the DC area.” Most cherished possession: “Outside of my wife, my red 1957 Chevy Bel Air.”

Washington DC’s 500 Most Influential People of 2024 (73)

Edward A. Kelly
International Association of Fire Fighters
General President

Kelly’s clout in the White House secured President Biden’s appearance at IAFF’s 2023 conference, marking the first time in 25 years that a sitting President attended the firefighters’ legislative gala.

Hometown: Boston. Best career advice he ever received: “Don’t slide down a fire pole with wet clothes. It’s like jumping out a window.” Hidden talent: “Cooking breakfast.”

Washington DC’s 500 Most Influential People of 2024 (74)

Sean Kennedy
National Restaurant Association
Executive Vice President, Public Affairs

Kennedy has lobbied Congress to support lower swipe fees that credit-­card companies charge businesses to complete transactions, noting that “American businesses pay the highest swipe fees in the world.”

First job: Collections agent, American Express Platinum Card. Lesson from that job: “There is a grace necessary for convincing people to give you their money, even when they owe it to you.” What he’d tell his 18-year-old self: “Organic chemistry will vanquish your premed aspirations. It’s okay. Go with your heart. And keep an eye out for a company called Amazon.”

Washington DC’s 500 Most Influential People of 2024 (75)

Brian Kerkhoven
Invenergy
Director of Labor Relations

Kerkhoven fostered relationships between the labor and management factions of trade unions and European wind-farm developers, resulting in a first-in-the-US agreement for offshore construction.

Best career advice he ever received: “Always end a difficult conversation with the other party believing they have a glimmer of hope to convince you otherwise. This keeps the lines of communication open.” What he’d tell his 18-year-old self: “Not to play rugby, because it destroys your body, and to always take the high road and do what’s right.” Song currently on repeat: “Bouncing Around the Room” by Phish. “It always makes me happy.”

Washington DC’s 500 Most Influential People of 2024 (76)

Michelle Korsmo
National Restaurant Association
President and CEO

As former CEO of the Wine & Spirits Wholesalers of America, Korsmo has longtime ties to the many players in an industry continuing to undergo shifting structural and labor challenges.

Hometown: Gilby, North Dakota. Best career advice she ever received: “I had the privilege to work closely with Secretary Elaine L. Chao at the Department of Labor. I learned a lot from her, especially the importance of tenacity in advocacy. If good policy is thwarted by process challenges, don’t give up. Find a way.” What she’d tell her 18-year-old self: “Put sunscreen on your hands.”

Washington DC’s 500 Most Influential People of 2024 (77)

Stephen Lamar
American Apparel & Footwear Association
President and CEO

Lamar has been aggressive in pushing for the modernization of labeling rules on clothing to allow companies the option for digital care tags, which he says will make apparel more accessible and comfortable.

First job: “A slug-removal business when I was ten: I would set out bowls of Piels Real Draft beer at night and charge my neighbors five cents for every slug I collected. I managed to rid the neighborhood of thousands of them.” Lesson from that job: “Even the most squeamish jobs can be very rewarding.” What he’d tell his 18-year-old self: “Don’t worry about botching your interview at Yale. You are about to meet your amazing wife at Colgate.”

Washington DC’s 500 Most Influential People of 2024 (78)

Marc Lampkin
Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck
Shareholder

The former adviser to Speaker John Boehner was tapped by Saudi Arabia to defend the highly controversial LIV Golf merger with the PGA, logging calls to a flurry of Senate Republican offices tasked with investigating the venture.

Hometown: Providence, Rhode Island. What he’d tell his 18-year-old self: “Study hard and work hard. But do it with a big smile and have fun. It’s important to create a pathway to success in your career and life, but it should be guided by a sense of happiness and joy.” Most cherished possession: “A signed Tom Brady jersey. Patriots, not Buccaneers, of course.”

Washington DC’s 500 Most Influential People of 2024 (79)

Katherine Lugar
Hilton
Executive Vice President, Corporate Affairs

Lugar helped forge a new agreement with Tesla to make the hotel’s electric-charging network the largest of any hospitality company’s, helping achieve the goal of reduced environmental impact that has been championed by policymakers.

Hometown: Austin, Texas. Best career advice she ever received: “Feedback is a gift. It’s always important to give—and receive—candid feedback.” What she’d tell her 18-year-old self: “When you run into an obstacle or have had a tough day, don’t overreact in the moment. Sleep on it—you’ll almost always wake up with a clear head and a path forward.”

Washington DC’s 500 Most Influential People of 2024 (80)

Brittany Masalosalo
HP
Chief Public Policy Officer

Masalosalo, a leading tech-policy innovator, helps advance HP’s work in human rights, accessibility, digital equity, sustainability, and support of Black and Brown communities.

Hometown: Denver. First job: “Scooping ice cream at Baskin-Robbins.” Best career advice she ever received: “Remember that work is more than just work—it impacts your family and loved ones as well. To the extent you can, pick a job that works for both you and your family. Balance is key.”

Washington DC’s 500 Most Influential People of 2024 (81)

Sean McGarvey
North America’s Building Trades Unions
President

Representing more than 3 million skilled craft workers, McGarvey is a well-­connected thought leader who has bolstered messaging around the jobs being created by the bipartisan infrastructure law.

Education: National Labor College; Harvard Trade Union Program. First job: According to Irish America magazine, McGarvey apprenticed as a glazier, a person who fits glass into windows and doors.

Washington DC’s 500 Most Influential People of 2024 (82)

Jim McGreevy
Coca-Cola
Vice President, Public Policy, Government Relations, and Political Engagement

McGreevy is a marquee player in the legislative and regulatory debates on the agricultural, health, nutrition, and tax issues facing the $250 billion global company, which is beginning to experiment with alcoholic products.

First job: Caddie at a country club. Lesson from that job: “You better show up on time or you won’t get any work.” Best career advice he ever received: “Learn to live with ambiguity.”

Washington DC’s 500 Most Influential People of 2024 (83)

Bill Miller
American Gaming Association
President and CEO

As the leading advocate for the $329 billion casino industry, Mil-ler has publicized the problems of illegal gambling and how it robs state governments and the industry of tens of billions in annual revenue.

Best career advice he ever received: “While I was working for Representative Connie Morella, she told me, ‘Attitude is altitude,’ and I think about it every day.” What he’d tell his 18-year-old self: “Don’t be in a hurry. It’s okay to not have it all planned out. There’s going to be plenty of days you have to put on a tie and jacket.” Hid-den talent: DJing.

Washington DC’s 500 Most Influential People of 2024 (84)

Justin G. Nelson
National LGBT Chamber of Commerce
Cofounder and President

Nelson’s organization pushed corporations to use their K Street lobbying teams and drum up support for the Respect for Marriage Act.

Hometown: Casper, Wyoming. First job: Washing dishes at Sizzler. Hidden talent: “Furniture upcycling.”

Washington DC’s 500 Most Influential People of 2024 (85)

Sean O’Brien
International Brotherhood of Teamsters
General President

O’Brien was a key dealmaker in the UPS impasse with workers, landing $2.75 more per hour initially for drivers, with a $7.50 hourly wage increase slated for down the road.

First job: “Hauling at Shaughnessy & Ahern in South Boston as a member of Teamsters Local 25.” Best career advice he ever received: “Make certain you always tell the truth, regardless of whether it helps or hurts you.” What he’d tell his 18-year-old self: “Have more patience, and listen as much as you can before speaking.”

Washington DC’s 500 Most Influential People of 2024 (86)

Stephen Parker
National Independent Venue Association
Executive Director

The former National Governors Association staffer leads the entertainment organization that pushed for a pandemic-relief program for concert venues. Now, in a post-pandemic period, Parker is trying to expand the group’s membership to build its advocacy power.

Best career advice he ever received: “To accomplish your goals, communicate your vision clearly—make sure it fits on a bumper sticker—and build a coalition to fight with you. This is true in advocacy and life.” Hidden talent: “I participated in singing competitions from eight to 16 years old.” Most cherished possession: “A 1974 Fender Jazz Bass in mocha brown.”

Washington DC’s 500 Most Influential People of 2024 (87)

Paul Richman
Insured Retirement Institute
Chief Government and Political Affairs Officer

Richman has built an industry-wide effort to urge the Biden administration to reject a proposed Department of Labor rule on retirement security that he believes could deny affordable professional financial advice to retirees and their families.

Hometown: Brooklyn. Best career advice he ever received: “Remain optimistic, and be confident in your own abilities to find solutions.” Talent he’d most like to have: “How to play pickleball.”

Washington DC’s 500 Most Influential People of 2024 (88)

John Ring
Morgan, Lewis & Bockius
Partner

The former National Labor Relations Board chair is helping employers navigate changes in federal labor policy, including collective bargaining and workforce restructuring, as well as providing guidance around congressional oversight of such matters.

Education: Catholic University.

Washington DC’s 500 Most Influential People of 2024 (89)

Charles Rivkin
Motion Picture Association
Chairman and CEO

A veteran of the Jim Henson Company, Rivkin has used his long list of connections, from Hollywood to K Street, to help movie studios navigate a new hyper-competitive age of entertainment.

Education: Yale; Harvard (MBA). Best career advice he ever received: “Always be willing to speak truth to power, and encourage others to do the same.” Hidden talent: “I can sing. When I was in college, I sang in two a cappella groups: the Yale Spizzwinks and the Yale Wiffenpoofs.”

Washington DC’s 500 Most Influential People of 2024 (90)

Lee Saunders
American Federation of State, County & Municipal Employees
President

Saunders took to the picket line with auto workers last fall as they waged a historic strike against the Big Three carmakers, creating solidarity among unions around economic disparities between corporations and their employees.

Hometown: Cleveland. First job: “My first full-time job was for the Ohio Bureau of Employment Services as a contract specialist, where I first joined a union.” Best career advice he ever received: “Always look for opportunities to learn and grow. No matter how far you get in your career, there are still things you don’t know and new skills you can hone.”

Washington DC’s 500 Most Influential People of 2024 (91)

Faiz Shakir
More Perfect Union
Founder and Executive Director

The former Bernie Sanders campaign manager has worked to connect a swath of working-class movements—including that of the Teamsters as well as workers for Starbucks and Amazon—to the politically connected in Washington, helping amplify their stories within the political system.

Hometown: Melbourne, Florida. What he’d tell his 18-year-old self: “If you can put a little money aside to invest, it’ll be worth it.” Song currently on repeat: “Life’s a Dance” by John Michael Montgomery.

Washington DC’s 500 Most Influential People of 2024 (92)

Matthew Shay
National Retail Federation
President and CEO

Shay, who represents the nation’s largest private-sector set of employers, has worked with the Biden administration on measures to ease inflation.

Hometown: Newark, Ohio. What he’d tell his 18-year-old self: “My 18-year-old self would have ignored the advice. There’s no way to tell someone else how to define success and happiness and how to achieve it. They’re going to have to learn that for themselves.” Last meal would be: “Steak and potatoes—what else is there?”

Washington DC’s 500 Most Influential People of 2024 (93)

Liz Shuler
AFL-CIO
President

As the first woman to helm the largest federation of labor unions in the United States, Shuler is at the forefront of every battle involving workers’ rights and the ability to organize.

Hometown: Gladstone, Oregon. Education: University of Oregon. First job: “Union organizer for the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 125, working on a campaign to organ­ize clerical workers at Portland General.”

Washington DC’s 500 Most Influential People of 2024 (94)

Hasan Solomon
International Association of Machinists
National Political and Legislative Director

A passionate advocate for workers’ rights, Solomon wears two different hats for the trade union, directing both the political and legislative strategies on labor rights and empowerment.

Education: Bowie State University; University of Baltimore School of Law.

Washington DC’s 500 Most Influential People of 2024 (95)

Adam Steinmetz
Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck
Senior Policy Adviser

The former GOP House Budget Committee adviser now represents a host of top-flight clients including Walgreens, Novartis, pharmaceutical company AbbVie, and managed-care corporation Centene.

Hometown: Bloomington, Indiana. Education: Indiana University; University of Iowa. First job: Research program analyst at the National Institutes of Health.

Washington DC’s 500 Most Influential People of 2024 (96)

Jennifer Stewart
Stewart Strategies & Solutions
President

Stewart, who runs an all-Black female lobbying firm, was retained by Live Nation as the entertainment group attracted harsh scrutiny from lawmakers and backlash from the public for its ticket-sales practices.

Education: Loyola University, New Orleans. Worst career advice she ever received: “You can do it ALL! The truth is, you simply cannot and I’m okay with that.” Last meal would be: “A good grilled cheese sandwich with smoked Gouda, onion rings, and a pickle on the side. Please don’t forget my margarita.”

Washington DC’s 500 Most Influential People of 2024 (97)

Erin Streeter
National Association of Manufacturers
Executive Vice President

Streeter rallied manufacturers and business associations to form the Manufacturers for Sensible Regulation Coalition, which is gathering support in Congress and the White House for slowing a raft of new proposed environmental, economic, and tax regulations.

Hometown: Hiawatha, Kansas. Best career advice she ever received: “No job is beneath you.” Song currently on repeat: “I’m Still Standing” by Elton John.

Washington DC’s 500 Most Influential People of 2024 (98)

Chris Swonger
Distilled Spirits Council of the United States
President and CEO

Swonger led the spirits industry’s fight to resolve the European Union’s retaliatory tariffs on American whiskey amid the taxation dispute over steel and aluminum.

Hometown: Abilene, Texas. Last meal would be: Lasagna. Historical figure he most identifies with: Jack Welch, former CEO of GE.

Washington DC’s 500 Most Influential People of 2024 (99)

Sam Tatevosyan
McDonald’s
Vice President of Federal Government Relations and Global Policy

Tatevosyan has been leading a multi-year, cross-industry effort to defend, promote, and enhance the franchise business model. He’s also been working with Congress to invest in workforce-training initiatives that create economic mobility for low-skilled workers.

First job: Starting and operating a commercial cleaning franchise. Best career advice he ever received: “Growth does not happen in a comfort zone.” What he’d tell his 18-year-old self: “You are not having a bad life—you are having a bad day. Keep moving forward.”

Washington DC’s 500 Most Influential People of 2024 (100)

Jay Timmons
National Association of Manufacturers
President and CEO

Timmons serves as the voice of the 13-million-person manufacturing industry—the largest manufacturing workforce since 2008. He led the launch of Creators Wanted, manufacturing’s largest national workforce-development-and-perception campaign, which toured the country engaging tens of thousands of students.

First job: “Taking care of cattle on our farm near Circleville, Ohio, and cleaning bathrooms at a fast-food restaurant.” Song currently on repeat: “ ‘Clocks’ by Coldplay. Keeps me focused on the most limited resource—time.” Most cherished possession: “A pothos plant given to my grandparents 70 years ago, a link to people I loved.”

Washington DC’s 500 Most Influential People of 2024 (101)

Darci Vetter
PepsiCo
Global Head of Public Policy

Vetter championed the bipartisan infrastructure act as a win for bio­diversity, and she has pushed lawmakers to get the Recovering America’s Wildlife Act across the finish line to incentivize sustainable practices and move toward the country’s climate goals.

Hometown: Aurora, Nebraska. What she’d tell her 18-year-old self: “Slow down. Try a lot of things to learn what types of work environ­ments give you energy and help you thrive. Ask those with more experience a lot of questions about how they got where they are.” Hidden talent: “I am an excellent whistler.”

Washington DC’s 500 Most Influential People of 2024 (102)

Joe Wall
BlackRock
Head of US Government Affairs and Public Policy

Wall partnered with the Bipartisan Policy Center to produce a set of recommendations on how to modernize and reauthorize the Small Business Administration, making progress inside the Senate’s Small Business Committee last summer. This spring, he transitioned from Goldman Sachs to head BlackRock’s government affairs portfolio.

What he’d tell his 18-year-old self: “Stay in college an extra year.” Hidden talent: Competitive eating. Song currently on repeat: “White Horse” by Chris Stapleton.

Washington DC’s 500 Most Influential People of 2024 (103)

Phillip J. Wallace
Walmart
Director, Federal Government Affairs

In addition to helming policy and innovation outreach for the biggest chain retailer, Wallace chairs a government-relations board that lifts up Black college students who hope to enter the advocacy field.

Hometown: Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Best career advice he ever received: “Character is more important than talent.” What he’d tell his 18-year-old self: “Don’t be afraid to show up as your authentic self.”

Back to Top

Experts who help ensure that our country’s policies, laws, and programs are nondiscriminatory

Washington DC’s 500 Most Influential People of 2024 (104)

Roy L. Austin Jr.
Meta
Vice President, Civil Rights, and Deputy General Counsel

Austin has built a team to deal with civil-rights issues on Meta, which has taken steps to limit advertisers’ ability to target users based on certain sensitive topics such as health, race, and sexual orientation, and has committed to studying the platform’s impact on different racial groups.

Hometown: State College, Pennsylvania. First job: Bakery custodian. Lesson from that job: “Don’t eat too much of the product.”

Washington DC’s 500 Most Influential People of 2024 (105)

Yvette Badu-Nimako
National Urban League
Vice President, Policy

An attorney and legal-policy executive, Badu-Nimako served as interim executive director of the Urban League’s Washington bureau, spearheading advocacy and engagement for its 90 affiliates across the US.

First job: Youth summer-placement representative at a career center. Best career advice she ever received: “Find mentors and sponsors who support your career and who you’d be proud to have advocate for you.” Last meal would be: Ghanaian jollof rice.

Washington DC’s 500 Most Influential People of 2024 (106)

Rontel Batie
Batie and Associates
CEO and Managing Partner

Batie has driven federal campaigns for social-justice organizations that have resulted in the restoration of Pell Grants for incarcerated individuals and federal funding to reduce state-prison populations.

Hometown: St. Augustine, Florida. First job: Janitor. What he’d tell his 18-year-old self: “Major in business or engineering. You can learn politics on the fly.”

Washington DC’s 500 Most Influential People of 2024 (107)

Dorothy Brown
Georgetown Law
Martin D. Ginsburg Chair in Taxation

Brown’s research on how the tax system hurts Black Americans gained the attention of senators, prompting the IRS commissioner to begin implementing changes, including decreasing the overall audits of taxpayers filing for the Earned Income Tax Credit.

Education: Fordham University; Georgetown Law; NYU Law (LLM in tax). Hidden talent: “I have an excellent BS detector.” Most cherished possession: “My home on Martha’s Vineyard.”

Washington DC’s 500 Most Influential People of 2024 (108)

Kris Brown
Brady
President

When the White House appointed Stefanie Felman as director of its office on gun-violence prevention, Brown—who heads the anti-gun-violence organization named for Jim and Sarah Brady—was there on her first day discussing policy initiatives to address the epidemic.

Education: Virginia Tech; George Mason (law school). Best career advice she ever received: “Come to work as your authentic self—to show your true personality, values, and spirit—regardless of the pressure you’re under to act otherwise.” Hidden talent: “I love words and trivia. Take me out for your game night!”

Washington DC’s 500 Most Influential People of 2024 (109)

Melanie L. Campbell
National Coalition on Black Civic Participation
President and CEO

In more than 28 years at the National Coalition, Campbell has led multimillion-dollar civic-engagement campaigns centered on the social-justice movement. Through the Black Women’s Roundtable, she’s also a well-wired convener of Black female power players.

Hometown: Mims, Florida. Education: Clark Atlanta University.

Washington DC’s 500 Most Influential People of 2024 (110)

Sheryll D. Cashin
Georgetown Law
Carmack Waterhouse Professor of Law, Civil Rights and Social Justice

Cashin’s vivid truth-telling to hold institutions to account, such as the Supreme Court as well as universities and policy­makers, has made her a regular commentator for outlets including Politico, CBS News, and NPR.

What she’d tell her 18-year-old self: “Don’t be afraid to take out loans to go to your dream school or major in areas you’re passionate about.” Hidden talent: “I’ve painted since I was six.” Most cherished possession: “Ajade plant. A hospital social worker was the first to tell me my father was dying and it was time to think about hospice. I kept staring at her plant, and she offered a piece to start my own.”

Washington DC’s 500 Most Influential People of 2024 (111)

Mark Chenoweth
New Civil Liberties Alliance
President and Chief Legal Officer

The former chief of staff to Mike Pompeo leads the nonprofit civil­rights law firm to defend constitutional liberties such as freedom of speech, freedom of religion, and limitation of government surveillance powers.

Hometown: Olathe, Kansas. Best career advice he ever received: “Focus on what you do well, and do more of that to add value to your organization. Don’t focus on getting better at the things you’ll never be very good at. Instead, delegate those to other people who are good at them.” Last meal would be: “Burnt ends, beef brisket, barbecue beans, cornbread, and other Kansas City BBQ specialties. Preferably from Joe’s KC or Jack Stack.”

Washington DC’s 500 Most Influential People of 2024 (112)

David Cole
American Civil Liberties Union
National Legal Director

As director of a program involved in approximately 1,400 state and federal lawsuits on a broad range of issues, Cole manages hundreds of attorneys for the nation’s largest and oldest public-interest law firm.

First job: Lifeguard. Lesson from that job: “Stay awake!” Historical figure he most identifies with: David of David and Goliath.

Washington DC’s 500 Most Influential People of 2024 (113)

Aykan Erdemir
Anti-Defamation League
Director of Global Research and Diplomatic Affairs

A former member of the Turkish Parliament, Erdemir is an outspoken advocate for minority rights and freedom of religion in the Middle East and beyond, with a direct line to the Israeli ambassador to the United States.

Hometown: Istanbul. Education: Bilkent University (BA); Harvard (MA, PhD).

Washington DC’s 500 Most Influential People of 2024 (114)

Holly Harris
Justice Action Network
Chairman of the Board

At the top of the country’s largest organization working to advance bipartisan criminal-justice reform, Harris has pushed to eliminate the federal sentencing disparity between crack-cocaine and powder-­cocaine drug charges.

First job: TV reporter at WKYT-TV in Lexington, Kentucky. Lesson from that job: “Watch your language near a hot mic—and every mic is a hot mic.” What she’d tell her 18-year-old self: “In five years, you won’t even remember his name.”

Washington DC’s 500 Most Influential People of 2024 (115)

Damon Todd Hewitt
Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law
President and Executive Director

Hewitt coordinates the group’s strategy of using the legal system to advance racial justice for Black Americans and other racial and ethnic minorities.

Hometown: New Orleans. Education: LSU; University of Pennsylvania Carey Law School.

Washington DC’s 500 Most Influential People of 2024 (116)

Kierra Johnson
National LGBTQ Task Force
Executive Director

A bisexual Black woman, Johnson advocates for queer and reproductive rights in Congress, on issues such as housing, healthcare, and employment discrimination.

Lesson from her first job (in retail): “If you truly want to be helpful, talk less and listen more. People will tell you who they are and what they need.” Hidden talent: “I can change the energy in a room. Luckily, I’ve learned to use my superpowers for good!” Last meal would be: “Fried pork chops, grits, and my grandma’s homemade biscuits.”

Washington DC’s 500 Most Influential People of 2024 (117)

Debra Katz
Katz Banks Kumin
Partner

The attorney who represented Christine Blasey Ford has established herself as a go-to attorney for discrimination, employment, sexual-­harassment, and civil-rights cases involving political figures and people in positions of authority.

First job: Teaching at a tennis camp. What she’d tell her 18-year-old self: “To enjoy life and work hard and to know that we each have an obligation to make the world a better place. Also, to travel far and wide before obligations kick in that make that hard to do.” Most cherished possession: “My father’s bongo set. He was a Latin drummer, and I inherited his drums when he died.”

Washington DC’s 500 Most Influential People of 2024 (118)

Ron LeGrand
LeGrand Group
CEO

A well-known voice on Black policy ideas and challenges, LeGrand advises stakeholders on a variety of issues tied to criminal justice and civil liberties.

Hometown: Jersey City, New Jersey. Education: Boston College (BA, JD).

Washington DC’s 500 Most Influential People of 2024 (119)

Janet Murguía
UnidosUS
President and CEO

As leader of the nation’s largest Latino civil-rights organization, Murguía lambasted President Biden’s plans to construct a border wall as a “disappointing step backwards” and has continued to push for a comprehensive solution.

Education: University of Kansas. Best career advice she ever received: “Be more concerned with using a compass than a watch.”Hidden talent: “I’m a good poker player.”

Washington DC’s 500 Most Influential People of 2024 (120)

Jim Pasco
National Fraternal Order of Police
Executive Director

Pasco worked closely with congressional officials and the White House to ensure passage of the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act, the first significant piece of firearms legislation signed into law since 1994.

First job: Soldier in the US Army. Best career advice he ever received: “When I got out of the Army, I had an attractive job offer in the private sector and an entry-level offer from the US Customs Service. My father urged me to accept the Customs job, telling me I’d never get rich but would be doing honorable work. He was right.” Most cherished possession: “A picture of me with Fred Willard, the greatest improvisational comedian in the history of the world.”

Washington DC’s 500 Most Influential People of 2024 (121)

David Safavian
American Conservative Union
General Counsel
ACU Foundation’s Nolan Center for Justice
General Counsel

Having been a key player in President Trump’s First Step Act—which, among other reforms, gave judges more flexibility in mandatory minimum sentences and expanded prisoner rights—Safavian is a leading voice in criminal-justice reform on the conservative end of the spectrum.

First job: Bartender/waiter in St. Louis. Lesson from that job: “Get to know the people you’re trying to sell to. Understanding what makes them tick is good for selling drinks as much as it is for selling ideas.” Historical figure he most identifies with: “Lazarus. He came back from the dead, much like my career after I served time in prison.”

Washington DC’s 500 Most Influential People of 2024 (122)

Vincent Talucci
International Association of Chiefs of Police
Executive Director and CEO

Talucci provides guidance on issues confronting the policing profession around the globe and was tapped to sit on the Homeland Security Advisory Council.

Education: Rutgers University–Camden; University of Washington Evans School of Public Policy and Governance.

Washington DC’s 500 Most Influential People of 2024 (123)

Patrice Willoughby
NAACP
Senior Vice President of Global Policy and Impact

Willoughby steered the NAACP’s strategy on student debt relief, choosing to press policymakers on an income-based repayment program that, among other things, could uplift Black borrowers.

What she’d tell her 18-year-old self: “Prepare to say something substantive in meetings, even if you’re there to take notes.” Hidden talent: “I’m not talented, but I’m an enthusiastic figure skater.” Most cherished possession: “A portrait of my great-great-great-grandmother. She was listed as enslaved on the 1840 census of Spartanburg County, South Carolina. In 1850, she was listed as a ‘fugitive.’ She escaped and had a portrait taken in a silk dress and bonnet.”

Back to Top

From the impact of climate change to sustainable energy, these subject-matter pros advocate and promote policies that balance economic growth with our planet’s future

Washington DC’s 500 Most Influential People of 2024 (124)

Alexandra Adams
Natural Resources Defense Council
Managing Director, Government Affairs

Adams—who helps NRDC’s federal- and government-affairs teams devise and implement strategies for tackling the threat of climate change—was intimately involved in securing climate provisions in the Inflation Reduction Act.

Hometown: Palm Beach, Florida. What she’d tell her 18-year-old self: “You’ll think you took a wrong turn, but you didn’t. It’s just the scenic route.” Song currently on repeat: “Don’t Dream It’s Over” by Crowded House.

Washington DC’s 500 Most Influential People of 2024 (125)

Greg Bertelsen
Climate Leadership Council
CEO

Bertelsen’s group works with congressional offices crafting legislation to put a fair price on carbon emitted during the production of carbon-intensive goods, including Democrats Sheldon Whitehouse and Chris Coons and Republicans Bill Cassidy and Kevin Cramer.

Hometown: Bethesda. What he’d tell his 18-year-old self: “You’re worrying about all the wrong things. Also, you’re prioritizing all the wrong things. But you’ll probably end up okay.” Songs currently on repeat: “All the songs on Tom Petty’s Wildflowers album.”

Washington DC’s 500 Most Influential People of 2024 (126)

Paul Bledsoe
Bledsoe & Associates
President

Bledsoe has urged US officials to be more aggressive in calling out China for avoiding a commitment to reduce greenhouse gases, as that country emits more than all developed nations combined.

Education: Ohio State. First job: Choirboy. Best career advice he ever received: “Return every email and phone call the same day.”

Washington DC’s 500 Most Influential People of 2024 (127)

Carol Browner
Covington
Senior of Counsel

The former EPA administrator provides strategic guidance and counsel on some of the most technical details regarding climate policy, including the Conference of Parties’ negotiations and the difference between “phasing out” and “phasing down” of fossil fuels.

Hometown: South Miami. Education: University of Florida (BA, JD).

Washington DC’s 500 Most Influential People of 2024 (128)

Jad Daley
American Forests
President and CEO

Daley, who leads the nation’s oldest forest-conservation organization, is helping direct the $1.5 billion from the Inflation Reduction Act to supercharge tree-equity efforts in all 50 states.

First job: Environmental-studies teacher. Lesson from that job: “Communicating with tired teenagers is harder than communicating with members of Congress. I learned how to share content in creative ways that match the audience.” Song currently on repeat: “Across the Great Divide” by Frank Solivan & Dirty Kitchen.

Washington DC’s 500 Most Influential People of 2024 (129)

Annie D’Amato
Invariant
Senior Director, Energy and Environment

D’Amato’s portfolio involves environmental law, including water-­resources management, chemical safety, and recycling and sustainability—areas she gained expertise in during her five-year run at the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works.

Best career advice she ever received: “ ‘Find out what works, then do more of that.By focusing on areas of agreement, you’re likelier to cultivate meaningful policy changes.” Song currently on repeat: “You’re Gonna Go Far” by Noah Kahan. Historical figure she most identifies with: “Margaret Mead believed in education, progressive social issues, and the power of everyday people to create change.”

Washington DC’s 500 Most Influential People of 2024 (130)

David Doniger
Natural Resources Defense Council
Senior Federal Strategist, Climate & Energy

At the forefront of the battle against air pollution and global climate change for more than four decades, Doniger has underscored the importance of the Inflation Reduction Act’s role in setting new carbon standards for power plants.

Hometown: Rye, New York. Best career advice he ever received: “Frame your own views in the form of a question. If you get the answer you want, let the other person own it. If you don’t get that answer, then you can always tell the other person what you think.” Last meal would be: Chocolate-chip cookies.

Washington DC’s 500 Most Influential People of 2024 (131)

Ross Eisenberg
American Chemistry Council
President, America’s Plastic Makers

After leading ACC’s federal advocacy for more than three years, Eisenberg transitioned to a new role centered around achieving more sustainable societal solutions for plastics while minimizing waste of the material.

What he’d tell his 18-year-old self: “Don’t wait a decade to marry that girl you’re in love with right now.” Hidden talent: “I have an encyclopedic knowledge of Police Academy movies.” Song currently on repeat: “Whoomp! (There It Is)” by Tag Team.

Washington DC’s 500 Most Influential People of 2024 (132)

Lisa Friedman
New York Times
Climate Reporter

Friedman was an important watchdog during the GOP primary debates, fact-checking claims by various candidates on issues such as fracking. She has also closely tracked the Biden administration’s fossil-fuel record.

Education: Columbia; University of Maryland. First job: Editorial assistant at the North Jersey Herald & News.

Washington DC’s 500 Most Influential People of 2024 (133)

Rich Gold
Holland & Knight
Partner and Leader, Public Policy & Regulation Group

Gold’s accomplishments include lobbying for wind- and solar-energy tax cuts as well as helping shape environmental policy on behalf of the manufacturing industry.

Hometown: New York City. Songs currently on repeat: “The Grateful Dead. All of them.” Most cherished possessions: “My watch collection and my ’69 red Corvette.”

Washington DC’s 500 Most Influential People of 2024 (134)

Gene Karpinski
League of Conservation Voters
President

Karpinski landed President Biden as a guest at the league’s 2023 Capital Dinner and is an important mouthpiece vouching for the administration’s climate-conscious investments, particularly to younger voters.

Education: Brown; Georgetown Law. First job: Field director, Public Citizen’s Congress Watch. Best career advice he ever received: “Choose to work where you can bring your conscience to work every day.”

Washington DC’s 500 Most Influential People of 2024 (135)

Will Shafroth
National Park Foundation
President and CEO

Shafroth is one of the nation’s leading voices in protecting more than 400 national-park sites, recruiting large-sum donors to bolster preservation, and collaborating with administration officials to craft environmental policy.

Worst career advice he ever received: “You need to make coffee for your boss to make it to the top.” Song currently on repeat: “Cowboy Take Me Away” by the Chicks. Historical figure he most identifies with: “Theodore Roosevelt. I’ve always admired his commitment to conservation, his courage, and his willingness to never give up.”

Washington DC’s 500 Most Influential People of 2024 (136)

Josh Siegel
Politico
Energy and Climate Reporter

Siegel is a vital dispatcher of information about the nuts and bolts of the political and policy fights on Capitol Hill concerning climate change and the environment.

Hometown: Deerfield, Illinois. Best career advice he ever received: “The key to staying on top of things is to treat everything like it’s your first project, as an intern would. Stay hungry.” Talent he’d most like to have: “Being handy. I can’t change my own tire or plunge a toilet.”

Washington DC’s 500 Most Influential People of 2024 (137)

Angelo Villagomez
Center for American Progress
Senior Fellow

A conservation advocate, Villagomez has presented the White House and the Department of the Interior with recommendations on how to involve Indigenous people in the designation of new national marine sanctuaries, to help the administration reach its goal of protecting 30 percent of US oceans by 2030.

Hometown: Saipan, Northern Mariana Islands. First job: “My first professional job was working for the League of Conservation Voters on a get-out-the-vote effort in Florida during the 2004 presidential election.” Lesson from that job: “You learn more when you lose than when you win.”

Washington DC’s 500 Most Influential People of 2024 (138)

Jason Walsh
BlueGreen Alliance
Executive Director

Walsh was invited to the White House last March for a roundtable with industrial-sector executives and labor leaders to discuss the impact of emissions-reducing investments on manufacturing.

Best career advice he ever received: “Careers don’t need to run in straight lines.” Last meal would be: Sushi. Song currently on repeat: “Tiny Garden” by Jamila Woods.

Back to Top

Top local minds who advocate to make certain that our economic system works

Washington DC’s 500 Most Influential People of 2024 (139)

Kate Bahn
Institute for Women’s Policy Research
Chief Economist and Senior Vice President of Research

During this period of labor unrest, Bahn has argued to lawmakers that strikes, or “collective worker action,” are ultimately good for economic efficiency, given that the market has been unbalanced for such a prolonged time. In her new role, she’ll helm a 15-person team that will work to bring intersectional gender analysis to mainstream policy debates.

Best career advice she ever received: “You learn a lot about your profession working in different positions, so you should only stay at your first job out of school two or three years so you can learn more elsewhere.” Hidden talent: Making vegan dinners. Last meal would be: Burmese food from Mandalay in Silver Spring.

Washington DC’s 500 Most Influential People of 2024 (140)

Dean Baker
Center for Economic and Policy Research
Cofounder and Senior Economist

The macroeconomist is widely cited by journalists and policymakers for his research on housing, intellectual property, Social Security, Medicare, and European labor markets.

Education: Swarthmore College (BA); University of Michigan (PhD).

Washington DC’s 500 Most Influential People of 2024 (141)

Oren Cass
American Compass
Founder and Executive Director

Through his think tank, Cass—a conservative himself—is attempting to reframe conservative economic ideology to promote a more skeptical view of capitalism and a model that instead channels investments toward the working class.

Education: Williams College; Harvard Law. First job: Consultant at Bain & Company.

Washington DC’s 500 Most Influential People of 2024 (142)

Manal Corwin
Centre for Tax Policy and Administration at the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development
Director

Well known in international tax circles, the former Treasury Department official is helping shepherd implementation of a global tax overhaul that implements a 15-percent minimum tax on multinational corporations.

Hometown: New York City. Education: Harvard; Boston University School of Law. What she’d tell her 18-year-old self: “The best opportunities are not always the ones you think you really want.”

Washington DC’s 500 Most Influential People of 2024 (143)

Tyler Cowen
George Mason University
Mercatus Center Chairman and Faculty Director

The libertarian-leaning economist and author of the popular Marginal Revolution blog is respected among policymakers for his pragmatism when it comes to economic growth and limited government intervention.

Hometown: Hillsdale, New Jersey. First job: Chess teacher. Music currently on repeat: Handel keyboard suites for harpsichord.

Washington DC’s 500 Most Influential People of 2024 (144)

Paul Dans
Heritage Foundation
Director, 2025 Presidential Transition Project

The former Trump-administration official is helming a $22 million effort to begin recruiting staff and ideas for the next potential Trump term, including developing a 920-page policy book and 180-day playbook of regulations and executive orders that could be acted on immediately in January 2025.

First job: Associate at Dewey & LeBoeuf. Education: MIT (BS in economics, master’s in city planning); University of Virginia School of Law.

Washington DC’s 500 Most Influential People of 2024 (145)

Ed Gresser
Progressive Policy Institute
Vice President and Director for Trade and Global Markets

The former policy adviser to the US trade representative authored a comprehensive report on Bidenomics, judging the President’s economic record as having a “credible start” but noting “gaps to fill,” such as economic policies that can go even further.

Hometown: Brookline, Massachusetts. Education: Stanford; Columbia University School of International and Public Affairs. Hidden talent: “Can beat nearly anyone at foosball.”

Washington DC’s 500 Most Influential People of 2024 (146)

Steve H. Hanke
Johns Hopkins University
Professor of Applied Economics

Hanke’s peer-reviewed book Did Lockdowns Work? The Verdict on Covid Restrictions was published by the Institute of Economic Affairs in London. His research, which concluded that lockdowns, at least in the spring of 2020, had only tiny effects on mortality rates, has considerably influenced the House Oversight Committee’s investigation of the efficacy of lockdown policies.

Education: University of Colorado Boulder. Best career advice he ever received: “Work hard and keep your nose to the grindstone.” Song currently on repeat: “None. I don’t even own any earbuds.”

Washington DC’s 500 Most Influential People of 2024 (147)

Adam Hersh
Economic Policy Institute
Senior Economist

Hersh has been working to shape green industrial policy and the electric-­vehicle transition, informing policymakers, civil-society leaders, and researchers in Washington and foreign capitals on the economic impact of the Inflation Reduction Act.

First job: Video-store clerk. Lesson from that job: “Be kind, rewind.” Last meal would be: Boiled Maine lobster with Maine-blueberry pie.

Washington DC’s 500 Most Influential People of 2024 (148)

Douglas Holtz-Eakin
American Action Forum
President

Holtz-Eakin testified before the House Budget Committee to outline ways for Congress to control the growth of regulatory expenses, shining a light on the 20 costliest government rules, which total nearly $1 trillion.

Education: Denison University (BA); Prince­ton (PhD). What he’d tell his 18-year-old self: “You have no clue. (Still don’t!)” Most cherished possession: His wedding ring.

Washington DC’s 500 Most Influential People of 2024 (149)

David Kass
Americans for Tax Fairness
Executive Director

Last spring, Kass took the reins of this coalition of more than 420 organizations, which is pushing for policies to force rich corporations to pay a larger share of federal taxes through progressive tax reforms.

Hometown: St. Louis. What he’d tell his 18-year-old self: “As James Taylor sang, ‘The secret of life is enjoying the passage of time.’ I’d say don’t be in such a hurry to figure everything out—enjoy the ride.” Hidden talent: “Playing guitar. I met my wife when I played in a band at the Grog and Tankard in DC. The bar is long closed, but we’ve been married 20-plus years.”

Washington DC’s 500 Most Influential People of 2024 (150)

Adam Kovacevich
Chamber of Progress
Founder and CEO

The former Google policy director created the Chamber of Progress to push pro-business policies from the progressive perspective, creating a new coalition that delves into issues ranging from tech policy to diversity in the workplace.

Education: Harvard. First job: Communications director and legislative aide for Representative Cal Dooley.

Washington DC’s 500 Most Influential People of 2024 (151)

Maya MacGuineas
Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget
President

MacGuineas put her stamp of approval on a bipartisan fiscal commission that would focus on bringing down the country’s medium- and long-term debt by considering cuts to all types of federal spending—and potentially help the next time there’s a debate about increasing the debt limit.

Best career advice she ever received: “Work with the smartest people you can.” What she’d tell her 18-year-old self: “Live in a foreign country early in your adult life.” Hidden talent: “Never checking luggage.”

Washington DC’s 500 Most Influential People of 2024 (152)

Susan K. Neely
American Council of Life Insurers
President and CEO

Neely’s council was named the top-­performing association for grassroots work last year. The honor was based on a survey of 300 policy leaders by the global advisory firm APCO.

First job: “Interning for my congressman, Jim Leach.” Best career advice she ever received: “Lift up other voices. I’ll never forget when I was deputy undersecretary for public affairs at the Department of Homeland Security and national-security adviser Condoleezza Rice validated my point after another leader brushed me off. That action—making someone feel heard—has inspired me to do the same.” Last meal would be: “Rib-eye steak, Caesar salad, and a glass of Châteauneuf-du-Pape.”

Washington DC’s 500 Most Influential People of 2024 (153)

Lindsay Owens
Groundwork Collaborative
Executive Director

By exposing how corporate profiteering results in price increases, the former aide to Senator Elizabeth Warren has been credited with changing the way people understand inflation. Ralph Nader hailed Owens as a “burst of new energy” in Washington.

First job: Gift-wrapper at a mall. Lesson from that job: “Making the youth minimum wage is terrible.” Most cherished possession: “A framed photo that includes five generations of women on my mother’s side. My great-grandmother lived to be nearly 100.”

Washington DC’s 500 Most Influential People of 2024 (154)

Sharon Parrott
Center on Budget and Policy Priorities
President

The leader of the left-wing think tank has been a go-to resource for journalists during repeated threats of a government shutdown, as well as on longer-lasting issues such as racial and ethnic disparities in poverty and the millions of people without health insurance.

Hometown: “The East Coast.My father was in the Navy.” Education: University of Michigan. Best career advice she ever received: “Sometimes being a bigger fish in a smaller pond is better—but not always.”

Washington DC’s 500 Most Influential People of 2024 (155)

Adam S. Posen
Peterson Institute for International Economics
President

Posen led a full-court press detailing the economic consequences of US debt default, as well as its impact on international investment and national security, which the White House included in its briefing materials to the media and Congress.

Hometown: Boston. First job: “Library assistant—shelving.” Lesson from that job: “Don’t lose track of the big picture or you’ll get locked in the stacks on the weekend.”

Washington DC’s 500 Most Influential People of 2024 (156)

Brian Riedl
Manhattan Institute
Senior Fellow in Budget, Tax, and Economics

Known for his detailed reports, Riedl combed government data to show that while taxing the rich should be a policy tool on the table, doing so would close only a small fraction of projected deficits—a study that raised eyebrows in policy circles.

Hometown: Appleton, Wisconsin. Most cherished possession: “The entire 1983 Topps baseball-card set—792 cards—framed on my office wall.” Historical figure he most identifies with: “Alexander Hamilton. We’re both pro-market economists who ambitiously overcame humble backgrounds to influence economic policy. Also, principled to the point of being bullheaded.”

Washington DC’s 500 Most Influential People of 2024 (157)

Manny Rossman
Harbinger Strategies
Partner

A former Senate Republican leadership staffer, Rossman is a counselor and advocate for numerous Fortune 100 companies. He specializes in tax policy, legislative strategy, and Senate procedure, working with both sides of the aisle to keep tax rates from increasing.

Hidden talent: “I’m an enthusiastic home pizza maker.” Song currently on repeat: “Fire On Up”by Paper Kings. Most cherished possession: His grandfather’s wristwatch.

Washington DC’s 500 Most Influential People of 2024 (158)

Charles Sauer
Market Institute
Founder and President

Sauer’s group signed on to a letter to Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo expressing concern with the Biden administration’s appetite to impose rate regulation on broadband internet services. The administration has not yet acted on the affordability question.

Best career advice he ever received: “Always be hiring.It is a simple piece of advice, but it has helped me identify the people around town who have special talents.” Hidden talent: “I was a college cheerleader, so I can lift people.” Historical figure he most identifies with: “Ross Perot. I was young when Perot was running for President, but his simplification of the arguments, charts, and graphs has influenced my whole career.”

Washington DC’s 500 Most Influential People of 2024 (159)

Emily Seidel
Americans for Prosperity
CEO

Seidel’s AFP spearheaded two major media campaigns to counter the White House’s rhetoric around Bidenomics, generating more than 9,000 media stories that pointed out the group’s critiques and offered their alternative economic approach.

Hometown: Edina, Minnesota. Best career advice she ever received: “Dad gave me the advice: ‘If a new job doesn’t make you nervous, it’s probably not worth taking. Don’t do the easy things—do what stretches you and makes you learn.’ ” Last meal would be: “A thick-cut Midwestern pork chop with my dad’s homemade hot-­pepper jelly and my mom’s lefse . . . and rhubarb pie for dessert.”

Washington DC’s 500 Most Influential People of 2024 (160)

Pete Sepp
National Taxpayers Union
President

Sepp was instrumental in pushing Republicans to get behind the IRS Funding Accountability Act, which would require the agency to update Congress on its spending plans.

First job: St.Louis County Board of Elections. What he’d tell his 18-year-old self: “You know nothing except how to learn, so do it. Others forget so easily—remember as many details as possible and you will be indispensable in years to come.” Hidden talents: “Improvisational cooking and engineering parts for broken devices.”

Washington DC’s 500 Most Influential People of 2024 (161)

Heidi Shierholz
Economic Policy Institute
President

The former chief economist at the Department of Labor was enlisted by Senator Bernie Sanders to help drum up support for legislation to increase the federal minimum wage to $17 an hour over a five-year period.

Hometown: Ames, Iowa. First job: De­tasseling corn. Hidden talent: Jigsaw puzzles.

Washington DC’s 500 Most Influential People of 2024 (162)

Jeff Stein
Washington Post
White House Economics Reporter

Stein—who has closely tracked the Biden administration’s ongoing, complex efforts to combat inflation—is recognized for his in-depth coverage of the intricacies of economics and how politics influences economic decisions.

Education: Cornell. What he’d tell his 18-year-old self: “Take more economics classes. Also, buy Tesla stock.” Last meal would be: Crunchwrap Supreme.

Washington DC’s 500 Most Influential People of 2024 (163)

Russell Vought
Center for Renewing America
President

The former director of the Office of Management and Budget was deeply involved in Republican strategy regarding a possible government shutdown—advocating that a stoppage could halt President Biden’s regulatory agenda—and has been floated as a potential chief of staff in a second Trump administration.

Education: Wheaton College; George Washington University Law School.

Washington DC’s 500 Most Influential People of 2024 (164)

Matthew Yglesias
Slow Boring
Founder and Editor

With a knack for provoking his natural left-of-center allies, Yglesias manages to insert himself in the center of most economic debates that cycle through Washington, including why progressives should take retail-theft crimes seriously and how the child-tax-credit program was a failure.

Hometown: New York City. Education: Harvard. First job: Writing fellow at the American Prospect.

Back to Top

Leaders of the policy reforms shaping our country’s educational system at all levels

Washington DC’s 500 Most Influential People of 2024 (165)

Mario Beovides
NALEO Educational Fund
Director, Policy and Legislative Affairs

Along with NALEO’s work on naturalization and voting-rights issues, Beovides is chief advocate for the Latino group’s work on the census and has expressed support for a Biden-administration move to update the nation’s racial and ethnic categories.

Education: University of Miami. First job: Constituent services in a US Senate office. Last meal would be: “My mom’s Cuban Italian meatballs—vegan Cuban picadillo with tomato sauce and mozzarella, with a side of white rice and black beans. The absolute best.”

Washington DC’s 500 Most Influential People of 2024 (166)

Denise Bode
Constitution Partners
President and Managing Partner

Working with Senator Mike Braun and Congressman G.T. Thompson, Bode has led advocacy for reintroduction of the American Food for American Schools Act as part of the Farm Bill, which would enforce Buy American standards for school-food distributors.

Historical figure she most identifies with: “Ida Tarbell, one of the first investigative journalists. She investigated John Rockefeller and the Standard Oil Trust.” Most cherished possession: “My iPhone. It’s important to keep connected with people, friends, and family.” Song currently on repeat: “Let It Be” by the Beatles.

Washington DC’s 500 Most Influential People of 2024 (167)

Kathleen deLaski
Education Design Lab
Founder and Board Chair

With the Design Lab hitting its tenth anniversary, deLaski remains one of the key connectors on education workforce issues, particularly on the lab’s mission of pinpointing jobs for those who lack traditional four-year degrees.

Hometown: Fairfax. First job: Cancan dancer. What she’d tell her 18-year-old self: “Slow down, you make people nervous.”

Washington DC’s 500 Most Influential People of 2024 (168)

Max Eden
American Enterprise Institute
Research Fellow

The conservative writer has become a leading voice on education reform, specifically on K–12 and early-childhood education, testifying before Congress on school violence and before the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights about the “school-to-prison pipeline.”

Education: Yale. First job: Research assistant at AEI. Lesson from that job: “An Ivy League degree does not necessarily qualify someone to be a scheduler.”

Washington DC’s 500 Most Influential People of 2024 (169)

Denise Forte
Education Trust
President and CEO

With decades of Capitol Hill experience, Forte knows the levers to push to advocate for underserved students. Her organization has been dubbed “the most important truth teller” in American public education.

Education: Duke; George Washington University. What she’d tell her 18-year-old self: “Ask all the questions.” Song currently on repeat: “Lose Control” by Teddy Swims.

Washington DC’s 500 Most Influential People of 2024 (170)

Lindsay Fryer
Lodestone DC
President and Founding Principal

Fryer has been the go-to person for Senate committees during their bipartisan negotiations on the Education Sciences Reform Act, a previous version of which she helped draft during her time as a congressional staffer. The act would reauthorize the Department of Education’s research arm.

Hidden talent: “I’m a karaoke master.” Most cherished possession: “Handwritten letters from my grandmother and late grandfather.” Historical figure she most identifies with: “Sandra Day O’Connor is an amazing role model.”

Washington DC’s 500 Most Influential People of 2024 (171)

Jessica Heppen
American Institutes for Research
President and CEO

Leading incisive studies on such topics as the effects of online learning and improving student attendance through text messaging, Heppen is the first woman to lead the national research group in its 76-year history.

Education: Miami (Ohio) University; Rutgers University–New Brunswick (MA and PhD).

Washington DC’s 500 Most Influential People of 2024 (172)

Frederick M. Hess
American Enterprise Institute
Senior Fellow and Director, Education Policy Studies

A political scientist and author who works on both K–12 and higher-­education issues, Hess was recognized by an Education Freedom Institute study as one of the most academically influential think-tank education scholars.

Talent he’d most like to have: “To be able to sleep on airplanes, or at least finish a flight without looking rumpled.” Song currently on repeat: “Rosalita (Come Out Tonight)” by Bruce Springsteen. Historical figure he most identifies with: “Someone who was frequently frustrated but kept plugging away, and did their best to honor their duty and enjoy the ride—Teddy Roosevelt.”

Washington DC’s 500 Most Influential People of 2024 (173)

Richard Kahlenberg
Progressive Policy Institute
Director of Housing Policy and Director of the American Identity Project

Kahlenberg has been called “the intellectual father of the economic integration movement” in K–12 schooling and is a foremost proponent of class-based affirmative action in higher-ed admissions. This year, he took a new role leading work on housing policy and outlining a new approach to teaching democratic values in grade school and college.

First job: Legislative assistant for Senator Chuck Robb. Lesson from that job: “Ideas matter, and constituencies matter even more.” Worst career advice he ever received: “Corporate law allows you to leave your options open.”

Washington DC’s 500 Most Influential People of 2024 (174)

Ebony Lee
Charter School Growth Fund
Chief External Affairs Officer

Lee—who has had stints at the Gates Foundation and the Department of Education—is a quietly influential behind-the-scenes player in expanding the reach and impact of public charter schools.

Hometown: Cleveland. Hidden talent: “Cat whisperer.” Last meal would be: Lobster mac and cheese.

Washington DC’s 500 Most Influential People of 2024 (175)

Lodriguez Murray
United Negro College Fund
Senior Vice President, Public Policy and Government Affairs

Murray works with a bipartisan cross-­section of Congress members as well as with historically Black college and university presidents on how to increase educational access and opportunities for under­served students.

First job: Fast-food cashier. Lesson from that job: “To not allow how other people treat you to dictate how you feel.” Song currently on repeat: “Blinded by Your Grace” (parts 1 and 2) by Stormzy.

Washington DC’s 500 Most Influential People of 2024 (176)

Julie Peller
Higher Learning Advocates
Founder and Executive Director

Peller argued to lawmakers that too many policy discussions are siloed into “higher education” or “workforce” challenges without working to connect training and post­secondary programs to fuel new opportunities.

Hometown: Glastonbury, Connecticut. What she’d tell her 18-year-old self: “Plans are helpful guides, but by doing good work well, opportunities will come.” Last meal would be: Lamb chops with roasted potatoes and caramelized carrots.

Washington DC’s 500 Most Influential People of 2024 (177)

Becky Pringle
National Education Association
President

Representing more than 3 million members, Pringle has been combating what many educators see as a coordinated threat on their freedom to teach inside the classroom, as well as a Supreme Court that she views as hostile to widening pathways to higher education.

Hometown: Philadelphia. Education: University of Pittsburgh; Penn State (MA).

Washington DC’s 500 Most Influential People of 2024 (178)

Richard V. Reeves
Brookings Institution
Senior Fellow, Governance Studies

Reeves—who sees a crisis for young men and boys in education, employment, and family life—has pushed for a federal commission on boys and men to consider their problems through a gender-based lens.

Hometown: Peterborough, England. Education: University of Oxford. What he’d tell his 18-year-old self: “Treat college as an educational opportunity, not just a social one.”

Washington DC’s 500 Most Influential People of 2024 (179)

Jenny Rickard
Common App
President and CEO

Rickard launched a partnership with City Year, allowing students from diverse backgrounds who are uncertain about their path beyond high school to commit to a yearlong national service program.

Hometown: Palo Alto, California. Hidden talent: “I can wiggle my ears and raise one eyebrow at a time.” Song currently on repeat: “The Best” by Tina Turner.

Washington DC’s 500 Most Influential People of 2024 (180)

Thomas Toch
McCourt School of Public Policy, Georgetown University
FutureEd Director

Toch helped commission a 20-page report on the future of education that outlines a new strategy for driving education equity and lays out the promise and peril of emerging technologies in classrooms.

Hometown: Setauket, New York. Song currently on repeat: “Texas Sun” by Khruangbin and Leon Bridges. Most cherished possession: An original Ansel Adams print.

Back to Top

People who know the industry—from fossil fuels to renewables—better than anyone

Washington DC’s 500 Most Influential People of 2024 (181)

Bryan Anderson
Southern Company
Executive Vice President and President, External Affairs

Anderson directs policy and public affairs for the country’s second-­largest utility company, which completed the first newly constructed nuclear unit in more than 30 years and will provide emissions-free energy to 500,000 homes and businesses in Georgia.

Education: University of Georgia; Mercer University (JD).

Washington DC’s 500 Most Influential People of 2024 (182)

Amy Andryszak
Interstate Natural Gas Association of America
President and CEO

Andryszak found that Russia’s invasion of Ukraine softened the Biden administration’s opposition to gas pipelines, as INGAA and others lobbied Congress to speed up the permitting process.

First job: “I worked at a snowball stand. Still the best job I’ve ever had.” Best career advice she ever received: “It is okay not to know all the answers. The important thing is to know whom to ask the right questions.” Song currently on repeat: “Willow” by Taylor Swift.

Washington DC’s 500 Most Influential People of 2024 (183)

Kevin Avery
ConocoPhillips
Vice President, Federal Government Affairs

The former Senate legislative counsel lobbies on tax, environmental, and public-lands issues for the $151.38 billion multinational energy corporation.

First job: National representative for Students Against Drunk Driving. Best career advice he ever received: “Always base your career choices on what you want to do, not what you think others want you to do.” Song currently on repeat: “I play a lot of John Coltrane.”

Washington DC’s 500 Most Influential People of 2024 (184)

Troy Bredenkamp
Renewable Fuels Association
Senior Vice President, Government and Public Affairs

Bredenkamp worked to get the Biden administration’s EPA to support and ultimately issue an emergency waiver that allowed E15 fuel to be sold during the summer months.

Best career advice he ever received: “Politics is a contact sport. Make many contacts and build relationships to be successful.” Last meal would be: “Twelve-ounce filet from Nebraska, with béarnaise sauce, creamed spinach, and sautéed mushrooms.” Historical figure he most identifies with: “Peter from the Bible. I can be very passionate about what I believe in, but I don’t necessarily always go about it in the right way.”

Washington DC’s 500 Most Influential People of 2024 (185)

Neil Chatterjee
Hogan Lovells
Senior Adviser

As a former adviser to Senate minority leader Mitch McConnell, the onetime chairman of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission is well wired on Capitol Hill thinking, particularly the Republican side.

Hometown: Lexington, Kentucky. Hidden talent: “I can hold my breath for two and a half minutes under water. And I have a video to prove it.” Most cherished possession: A 1989 black Buffalo Bills Starter jacket.

Washington DC’s 500 Most Influential People of 2024 (186)

Amanda Eversole
American Petroleum Institute
Executive Vice President and Chief Advocacy Officer

Eversole used the ongoing Russian invasion of Ukraine as a way to convey to policy­makers the urgent role oil plays in the day-to-day lives of Americans, as supply shortages threatened the global market.

Best career advice she ever received: “Success is when good luck meets hard work.” Hidden talent: “I have a knack for home renovation. There’s nothing better for stress relief than demolition.” Most cherished possession: “My great-great-grandmother’s hairbrush, comb, and mirror.”

Washington DC’s 500 Most Influential People of 2024 (187)

Jason Grumet
American Clean Power Association
CEO

To bolster the case for offshore wind projects—which more than a dozen senators highlighted in a letter to the White House—Grumet’s ACP compiled a report detailing the threats that whales face from a warming ocean.

First job: “Renting and washing canoes.” Lesson from that job: “Always wear an undershirt. It will keep you cooler in the summer and warmer in the winter.” Song currently on repeat: “The Distance” by Cake.

Washington DC’s 500 Most Influential People of 2024 (188)

Katherine Hamilton
38 North Solutions
Chair

Hamilton’s firm worked on the energy-storage tax credit and the microgrid credit in the Inflation Reduction Act, as well as the $27 billion national “green bank” that’s distributing solar funding.

First job: Legal assistant for a DC law firm. Lesson from that job: “I learned I did not want to be a lawyer and also that I needed to do more than just go to a top-tier school to succeed.” Best career advice she ever received: “It’s okay to ask someone to pay you for what you do.”

Washington DC’s 500 Most Influential People of 2024 (189)

Aliya Haq
Breakthrough Energy
Vice President, US Policy and Advocacy

Haq convened with John Podesta, the senior adviser to the President for Clean Energy Innovation and Implementation, about the importance of research and development in advancing the administration’s clean-energy goals.

Best career advice she ever received: “ ‘If you don’t want to be a lawyer, you should not go to law school.’ I decided to pursue a master’s in environmental policy instead of a JD and have felt grateful ever since.” Songs currently on repeat: “Lithium” by Nirvana, “Walking on Broken Glass” by Annie Lennox, “Under Pressure” by David Bowie and Queen. Last meal would be: Korean barbecue.

Washington DC’s 500 Most Influential People of 2024 (190)

Karen Harbert
American Gas Association
President and CEO

Harbert has stressed the natural-gas industry’s steady reduction in carbon emissions as she continues to advocate for gas to be part of the country’s energy mix, solidifying support from more than 100 members of the House of Representatives.

First job: Assistant in the office of Republican National Committee co-chair Maureen Reagan. Lesson from that job: “Don’t ever put your boss’s dad on hold.” Hidden talent: “Card shark.”

Washington DC’s 500 Most Influential People of 2024 (191)

Colette Honorable
Exelon
Executive Vice President, Public Policy, and Chief External Affairs Officer

Honorable manages the clean-energy portfolio for the nation’s largest utility, which serves 10 million customers and employs more than 19,500 people.

Education: University of Memphis; University of Arkansas at Little Rock School of Law.

Washington DC’s 500 Most Influential People of 2024 (192)

Karen Knutson
Chevron
Vice President and General Manager, Government Affairs

A longtime energy insider and former chief of staff to Alaska Republican senator Lisa Murkowski, Knutson aims to contribute “some much-­needed balance” to the conversation around the future of energy.

Hometown: Ketchikan, Alaska. Best career advice she ever received: “Help others succeed. Worry more about the success of the entire enterprise than your individual career.” What she’d tell her 18-year-old self: “Be brave and take risks. Your family and friends will always be your safety net.”

Washington DC’s 500 Most Influential People of 2024 (193)

John F. Kotek
Nuclear Energy Institute
Senior Vice President, Policy Development and Public Affairs

With war raging in Ukraine, Kotek has spent much of the last year encouraging lawmakers and the administration to invest more in domestic nuclear-energy capacity, resulting in a funding boost in supplemental appropriations requests.

First job: Grocery clerk. What he’d tell his 18-year-old self: “Don’t be afraid to admit mistakes.” Hidden talent: Ambidextrous golfer.

Washington DC’s 500 Most Influential People of 2024 (194)

Eli Lehrer
R Street Institute
President

Lehrer’s group saw progress in making the middle-ground case to lawmakers on both sides of the aisle: that permitting reform for energy projects would help deal with climate change without alienating corporate America.

First job: Reporter at Insight Magazine (Washington Times). Worst career advice he ever received: “Never return a phone call and never agree to meet with anybody. Doing this shows people how important and busy you are.” What he’d tell his 18-year-old self: “College grades aren’t very important in life. Don’t spend too much time in college studying.”

Washington DC’s 500 Most Influential People of 2024 (195)

Andrew Lundquist
ConocoPhillips
Senior Vice President, Government Affairs

Lundquist has been at the center of some of the most consequential energy-policy decisions in recent history—from spearheading the bipartisan 2005 Energy Policy Act and lifting the ban on crude-oil exports to facilitating a Biden-administration oil-drilling project in Alaska.

Education: University of Alaska; Catholic University (JD).

Washington DC’s 500 Most Influential People of 2024 (196)

Marco Margheri
Eni
Head of US Relations
Eni New Energy
Chairman

A globetrotting ambassador for energy, Margheri worked on promoting the need for energy diversification, especially as the US increasingly becomes a supplier for European countries.

Hometown: Milan, Italy. Worst career advice he ever received: “Concentrate on a ‘secure job.’ ” Best career advice he received: “Leave the secure job.”

Washington DC’s 500 Most Influential People of 2024 (197)

E. Dee Martin
Bracewell
Partner and Policy Resolution Group Co-Chair

Martin has a bipartisan reputation that has helped shape policies incentivizing hydrogen production, including helping clients take advantage of the Department of Energy’s Hydrogen Hub program.

Hometown: Conway, Arkansas. Best career advice she ever received: “Dolores Huerta, cofounder of United Farm Workers, taught me not to negotiate against myself. I had suggested narrowing our ask to something more acceptable to the other party, and she responded, ‘Let them tell us no—then we’ll decide whether we narrow it or ask for more.” Song currently on repeat: “Anything by Lana Del Rey or George Strait.”

Washington DC’s 500 Most Influential People of 2024 (198)

Jim Matheson
National Rural Electric Cooperative Association
CEO

Matheson helped coordinate the response of electric cooperatives to the $9.7 billion in grants from the Inflation Reduction Act, a key piece of the $93 billion clean-electric-energy projects proposed around the country.

Hometown: Salt Lake City. First job:Grounds worker for the parks department. Lesson from that job: “I was responsible for maintaining some baseball fields. On my last day, the season was over [but] I made sure the fields were in the best possible condition despite the fact no one would use the park. I learned the value of completing a job well, not for the praise of others but for the satisfaction I felt.”

Washington DC’s 500 Most Influential People of 2024 (199)

Erik Milito
National Ocean Industries Association
President

Milito led lobbying efforts that resulted in favorable outcomes for the offshore-energy industry, including continued oil and gas lease sales and Environmental Protection Agency permitting.

Education: University of Notre Dame. Hidden talent: “Strategic empathy. As I build and nurture relationships, I am able to understand and appreciate what motivates those around me.” Most cherished possession: “My Notre Dame boxing-champion jacket.”

Washington DC’s 500 Most Influential People of 2024 (200)

Phil Musser
NextEra Energy
Vice President of Government Affairs

Musser successfully advocated for approval of the Mountain Valley Pipeline in West Virginia and Virginia, the first pipeline approved by Congress since 1974.

Hometown: New York City. Hidden talent: Photographic memory. Most cherished possession: His grandfather’s WWII medals.

Washington DC’s 500 Most Influential People of 2024 (201)

Jeff Navin
Boundary Stone Partners
Partner and Cofounder

Navin, who also serves as director of external affairs for the Bill Gates–funded Terrapower, is hailed by colleagues as one of the savviest energy-policy strategists in the area, helping bring advanced nuclear reactors to the global market.

Hometown: Sioux Falls, South Dakota. Best career advice he ever received: “To advocate for myself. Sometimes your hard work is noticed, but sometimes you have to remind people of your value.” What he’d tell his 18-year-old self: “Play the long game, be patient, and treat everyone with respect.”

Washington DC’s 500 Most Influential People of 2024 (202)

Craig Piercy
American Nuclear Society
Executive Director and CEO

Piercy has transformed a staid professional technical society into a go-to resource for policymakers wrestling with advancements in nuclear technology, by increasing awareness about its role in contributing to a low-carbon energy system.

First job: Salesperson at Hechinger hardware. Lesson from that job: “Take time to do things right the first time, because it always takes longer to do things twice.” Best career advice he ever received: “If you are not willing to walk away from the table, you are not negotiating—you are begging.”

Washington DC’s 500 Most Influential People of 2024 (203)

Rich Powell
ClearPath
CEO

Powell heads this nonprofit whose mission is accelerating conservative energy solutions to climate change by promoting innovations that can reduce emissions in the energy and industrial sectors.

Best career advice he ever received: “Always begin with the end in mind.” Hidden talent: Piloting hot-air balloons. Last meal would be: Omakase from Sushi Taro.

Washington DC’s 500 Most Influential People of 2024 (204)

Ben Ratner
JPMorgan Chase
Executive Director, Corporate Sustainability

The former associate vice president of the Environmental Defense Fund is now building broad-based support for methane-emissions reduction across the finance, energy, and nonprofit sectors, collaborating with energy firms, investors, banks, and think tanks.

Education: Rice University; Stanford Law School. Worst career advice he ever received: “To remain in the legal practice even though my heart wasn’t in it.” Song currently on repeat: “Into the Great Wide Open” by Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers.

Washington DC’s 500 Most Influential People of 2024 (205)

Heather Reams
Citizens for Responsible Energy Solutions
President

Reams vigorously lobbied for the Energy Department’s decision to allocate $7 billion in federal funding for hydrogen hubs, heralding the move as a way to further accelerate future hydrogen energy investment from Appalachia to California. Additionally, CRES convened stakeholders to garner feedback about the tax impact on hydrogen producers.

First job: Retail at Pete Smith’s Surf Shop in Virginia Beach. What she’d tell her 18-year-old self: “Become really good at making lemonade.” Last meal would be: Tacos.

Washington DC’s 500 Most Influential People of 2024 (206)

Abigail Regitsky
Breakthrough Energy
Senior Manager, US Policy and Advocacy

In testimony to a Senate committee, Regitsky conveyed that encouraging clean hydrogen generation could remove fossil fuels from the process and still supply steelmaking with the energy it needs.

Hometown: Marietta, Georgia. Hidden talent: Juggling. Last meal would be: “Any matcha-based dessert.”

Washington DC’s 500 Most Influential People of 2024 (207)

Louis Renjel
Duke Energy
Executive Vice President and Chief Corporate Affairs Officer

As the executive for one of the nation’s largest electric-power holding companies, with 8.2 million US customers, Renjel is an integral player in the race to the company’s net-zero-emissions commitment as it embarks on a new hydrogen project in Florida.

Worst career advice he ever received: “The person on the other side of an issue is the enemy.” Talent he’d most like to have: Novak Djokovic’s tennis game. Most cherished possession: Bully, his English bulldog.

Washington DC’s 500 Most Influential People of 2024 (208)

Jeannie Salo
Schneider Electric
Vice President, Government Relations

Salo acted as a key player for clean-energy and climate-change provisions in the Inflation Reduction Act, including the $8.8 billion in rebates for home energy efficiency and electrification projects.

Hometown: San Antonio, Texas. Best career advice she ever received: “Look for your next job before you want the next job.” What she’d tell her 18-year-old self: “Don’t smoke. Wear sunscreen. And freeze your eggs!”

Washington DC’s 500 Most Influential People of 2024 (209)

Emily Skor
Growth Energy
CEO

Skor is heralded by energy-sector colleagues as a savvy power player, leading the country’s premier biofuel trade association representing more than half the nation’s bioethanol production.

Hidden talent: “I’m a classical pianist.” Song currently on repeat: “He’s on the Phone” by Saint Etienne. Most cherished possession: “My beach-glass collection from Madeline Island in Lake Superior. I add to it every summer.”

Washington DC’s 500 Most Influential People of 2024 (210)

Todd Snitchler
Electric Power Supply Association
President and CEO

Snitchler was able to minimize the negative impact on electric-power generators in the Inflation Reduction Act and has continued to advocate for a well-functioning and competitive wholesale electricity market.

First job: Gas-station attendant. Worst career advice he ever received: “Just wait your turn and things will eventually come your way.” What he’d tell his 18-year-old self: “You will never know what the path will be to get you from here to where you want to go, but it won’t be a straight line.”

Washington DC’s 500 Most Influential People of 2024 (211)

Mike Sommers
American Petroleum Institute
President and CEO

Sommers engages with lawmakers on both sides of the aisle as well as inside the Biden administration to push for the direct federal regulation of methane and to elevate permitting reform as a priority for Congress.

Hometown: Naperville, Illinois. Education: Miami University.

Washington DC’s 500 Most Influential People of 2024 (212)

Mary Streett
BP
Senior Vice President, Communications and External Affairs, Americas

Streett’s efforts in lobbying for direct federal regulation of climate-­warming methane culminated in the EPA issuing a new rule aimed at driving major reductions in methane emissions.

Education: University of Tulsa; University of Arkansas at Little Rock School of Law.

Washington DC’s 500 Most Influential People of 2024 (213)

Jamie Wall
ExxonMobil
Vice President and Head of Washington Office

As the point person in DC for the nation’s largest energy company, Wall was saddled with handling Democrats’ calls for a federal investigation into the company’s multibillion-­dollar acquisitions.

First job: Customer service at Babies ‘R’ Us. Lesson from that job: “Don’t argue with a pregnant woman over a coupon. Just make it work.” Song currently on repeat: “Calm Down” by Andre Soueid.

Washington DC’s 500 Most Influential People of 2024 (214)

Karen Wayland
GridWise Alliance
CEO

Wayland sees the tens of billions in the infrastructure bill dedicated to transportation electrification as a vehicle for upgrading and modernizing the country’s electrical grid.

First job: “I sold statistical-process-control software. It was horrible.” Lesson from that job: “It’s as important to learn what you don’t like to do in your career as it is to know what you do like to do, so don’t beat yourself up over jobs that don’t work out.” Best career advice she ever received: “Don’t turn down opportunities to explore possible new jobs, even if you’re not looking.”

Washington DC’s 500 Most Influential People of 2024 (215)

Brian Wolff
Edison Electric Institute
Chief Strategy Officer and Executive Vice President, Public Policy and External Affairs

Wolff continues to lead Edison’s clean­energy transition, partially by fueling the launch of an institute to provide stakeholders and regulators with up-to-date information on the newest clean-energy technologies and by engaging on permitting reforms inside the Financial Responsibility Act.

Hometown: Pine Bluff, Arkansas. Lesson from his first job (as a CNN production assistant): “Making yourself indispensable is key.” Best career advice he ever received: “Fail to plan, plan to fail.”

Washington DC’s 500 Most Influential People of 2024 (216)

Heather Zichal
JPMorgan Chase
Global Head of Sustainability

Zichal helped secure the company’s agreements surrounding the removal and storage of hundreds of thousands of tons of CO2, representing one of the largest carbon-removal purchases in history.

Hometown: Elkader, Iowa. Education: Rutgers University.

Back to Top

Understanding all corners of the globe, these experts help shape how America relates to the rest of the world

Washington DC’s 500 Most Influential People of 2024 (217)

Michael Abramowitz
Freedom House
President

Although Abramowitz’s outfit has documented 17 years of shrinking freedoms around the world, the president of the nonprofit still holds the belief that democracy is more resilient than even the most brutal and unwavering authoritarian regimes.

Best career advice he ever received: “Don’t hold grudges.” Song currently on repeat: “Look Ma, No Brains!” by Green Day. Most cherished possession: “A small piece of the Berlin Wall.”

Washington DC’s 500 Most Influential People of 2024 (218)

Mimi Alemayehou
Three Cairns Group
Senior Adviser

The Biden administration tapped Alemayehou to be part of a 12-­member presidential advisory council on African diaspora engagement, tasked with enhancing dialogue between the two continents.

Hometown: Addis Ababa and Nairobi. What she’d tell her 18-year-old self: “Travel more, and don’t give up on your French and learning the guitar.” Hidden talent: “Balancing my body on my arms.”

Washington DC’s 500 Most Influential People of 2024 (219)

Abed Ayoub
American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee
National Executive Director

As head of a national grassroots organization advocating for Arab Americans, Ayoub harshly criticized the Biden administration for its initial rhetoric around Israel’s war in Gaza, accusing the President of “repeating sensationalist claims” and “diminishing Palestinians’ suffering.”

Education: University of Michigan; University of Detroit Mercy School of Law. First job: Gas-station attendant. Worst career ad­vice he ever received: “ ‘Stay in your lane.’ This thinking limits growth and innovation.”

Washington DC’s 500 Most Influential People of 2024 (220)

Emma Belcher
Ploughshares Fund
President

A former national-security adviser in the Australian government and an alum of the Council on Foreign Relations, Belcher has expertise in nuclear security. As Israel escalated its war against Hamas, she cautioned about the rising chances of a nuclear attack and urged Israel to negotiate with its enemies the way the US did with the Soviet Union.

Hometown: Melbourne, Australia. First job: Public-affairs officer at the Australian Embassy in DC. Best career advice she ever received: “To get some government experience early on in my career.”

Washington DC’s 500 Most Influential People of 2024 (221)

Jeremy Ben-Ami
J Street
President

Ben-Ami’s goal is to have more members of Congress tap J Street for guidance on the enduring and difficult decisions that polarize the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and he says he’s seeing signs of increased interest in engagement.

Lesson from his first job (as a fellow in New York City government): “Keep no paper on your desk, and clear your inbox every day.” Hidden talent: “Counting cards at blackjack.” Last meal would be: A bagel, cream cheese, and smoked salmon.

Washington DC’s 500 Most Influential People of 2024 (222)

Hal Brands
Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies
Henry A. Kissinger Distinguished Professor

Through the media, Brands has warned policymakers that the US and other Western nations are failing a test for future wars by not supplying Ukraine with proper military support as American domestic public opinion for the war wanes.

Hometown: Austin, Texas. First job: “Washing cars around the neighborhood.” What he’d tell his 18-year-old self: “Focus on accumulating interesting experiences. The rest will work itself out.”

Washington DC’s 500 Most Influential People of 2024 (223)

Eliot A. Cohen
Center for Strategic & International Studies
Arleigh A. Burke Chair in Strategy

A sought-out scholar on foreign policy and national security, the former State Department counselor finds himself at the center of the most prominent debates over global power.

First job: “Cleaning cages in which rats were being held for experiments at MIT.” Lesson from that job: “Sometimes there are unpleasant things that need to be done.” What he’d tell his 18-year-old self: “Perseverance beats brilliance.”

Washington DC’s 500 Most Influential People of 2024 (224)

Elbridge Colby
American Global Strategies
Senior Adviser
Marathon Initiative
Cofounder and Principal

The former Defense Department official in the Trump administration has been described as an intellectual leader and rising star among the faction of the GOP pushing back against interventionism around the globe.

What he’d tell his 18-year-old self: “Don’t seek too much predictability and rigidity in your career. Focus on what you’re passionate about and are best at, then on making a contribution.” Song currently on repeat: “Take On Me” remix by Kygo. Historical figure he most identifies with: “Hopefully Paul Revere, but sometimes I worry Cassandra.”

Washington DC’s 500 Most Influential People of 2024 (225)

Matt Duss
Center for International Policy
Executive Vice President

The former Bernie Sanders foreign-policy aide has become an influential critic of traditional Democratic Party foreign policy, pressuring the Biden administration to recognize the value of Palestinian lives as much as those of Israelis.

Hometown: Nyack, New York. What he’d tell his 18-year-old self: “Don’t worry, everyone else is just winging it, too.” Song currently on repeat: “Desolation Row” by Cat Power.

Washington DC’s 500 Most Influential People of 2024 (226)

Mai El-Sadany
Tahrir Institute for Middle East Policy
Executive Director

El-Sadany is seeking to upend decades of status quo approaches to Middle East foreign policy, in favor of focusing on the voices of local advocates and changemakers, including those from Egypt, Lebanon, and Gaza.

Best career advice she ever received: “Every successful person got where they are because someone—or many people—believed in them and opened doors. Don’t be shy to ask for help.” What she’d tell her 18-year-old self: “Life is too short to spend it with friends who won’t celebrate you and push you to become who you’re meant to be.” Historical figure she most identifies with: “Nefertiti changed the eyeliner game and was a powerful yet mysterious queen.”

Washington DC’s 500 Most Influential People of 2024 (227)

Cathy Feingold
AFL-CIO
International Development Director

Feingold’s vast portfolio includes helping create the transatlantic labor dialogue on tech, working on labor standards in critical international mineral agreements, and shaping the US-Brazil partnership for workers’ rights.

Hometown: Glencoe, Illinois. Best career advice she ever received: “The importance of building strong intergenerational networks of women colleagues who can support you through the various phases of your career.” Last meal would be: Mexican street tacos.

Washington DC’s 500 Most Influential People of 2024 (228)

Michèle Flournoy
WestExec Advisors
Cofounder and Managing Partner

The undersecretary of Defense for policy during Barack Obama’s first term is considered one of the foremost thinkers on geopolitics, offering ideas on resolving diplomatic stalemates as well as on how the Pentagon can embrace technological innovation.

Hometown: Los Angeles. Lesson learned from her first job (as a stringer for Time): “The importance of being entrepreneurial and creating your own opportunities.” Hidden talent: “Planning awesome family vacations.”

Washington DC’s 500 Most Influential People of 2024 (229)

Jared Genser
Perseus Strategies
Managing Director

Hailed by the former UN high commissioner as “one of the leading human-rights lawyers in the world,” Genser has helped free hundreds of political prisoners in 20 countries, including Iran and Nicaragua.

Hometown: Bethesda. First job: “A teenage cashier at McDonald’s, Saturday breakfast shift!” Best career advice he ever received: “There is nothing more important than being honest and having a reputation for integrity.”

Washington DC’s 500 Most Influential People of 2024 (230)

Todd Harrison
American Enterprise Institute
Senior Fellow

Harrison successfully argued against the creation of a Space Force National Guard during the congressional debate over the National Defense Authorization Act.

Hometown: Hattiesburg, Mississippi. Lesson from his first job (as a strategy consultant at DiamondCluster International): “If you dig deep into a client’s data, you can see things they can’t see and understand their problems better than they do.” Hidden talent: Brewing beer.

Washington DC’s 500 Most Influential People of 2024 (231)

Sudafi Henry
theGROUP
Managing Partner

A former director of legislative affairs for then–Vice President Joe Biden, Henry landed a contract to provide the Embassy of Japan in DC with strategic counsel to enhance the relationship between the two countries, at a time when tensions between the US and China remain high.

Hometown: Los Angeles. Education: University of Maryland; George Washington University Law School.

Washington DC’s 500 Most Influential People of 2024 (232)

Tonija Hope
Howard University’s Ralph J. Bunche International Affairs Center
Director

Hope is deeply immersed in issues impacting Africa and was tapped to moderate the Atlantic Council’s panel on trying to drive changes on the continent. She also draws top foreign leaders to speak at Howard.

What she’d tell her 18-year-old self: “Savor these moments—it gets harder from here.” Last meal would be: “Duck confit from the old Café Atlántico.” Historical figure she most identifies with: “John Hope, my great-grandfather and the first Black president of Morehouse College and Atlanta University.”

Washington DC’s 500 Most Influential People of 2024 (233)

Emily Horne
Allegro Public Affairs
Founder and CEO

The former National Security Council spokesperson provides foreign-policy consulting to private clients, with connections that help influence the narrative around some of the most consequential global issues.

Lesson from her first job (working at Bruegger’s Bagels while in high school): “Everyone should work a food-service job at some point.” Best career advice she ever received: “Treat your career like a rock climb, not a ladder. The point is the challenge, the environment, and the experiences along the way, not getting to the top first.” Hidden talent: “I make the best chocolate-chip cookies.”

Washington DC’s 500 Most Influential People of 2024 (234)

David Ignatius
Washington Post
Foreign-Affairs Columnist

The well-wired columnist and spy novelist holds outsize weight in the Biden administration—many of whose members regularly consume his columns—making his declaration last fall that Biden shouldn’t run in 2024 even more seismic.

First job: “Bellhop at the Georgetown Manor Hotel in high school. But the ‘first job’ that truly shaped my life was covering the United Steelworkers Union for the Wall Street Journal in Pittsburgh.” What he’d tell his 18-year-old self: “Cut your hair.” Most cherished possession: His Ford Mustang Mach-E EV.

Washington DC’s 500 Most Influential People of 2024 (235)

Frederick W. Kagan
American Enterprise Institute
Senior Fellow and Director, Critical Threats Project

Kagan cowrote a highly circulated op-ed with retired Army general David Petraeus arguing that despite creeping pessimism, Ukraine’s counteroffensive against the Russians still had a chance of succeeding if the US would assist with more resources.

Education: Yale (BA, PhD).

Washington DC’s 500 Most Influential People of 2024 (236)

Atul Keshap
U.S. Chamber of Commerce
President, US–India Business Council

A key player in American attempts to improve relations with India, Keshap praised a high-level defense-and-tech initiative launched between the two democracies as a “tremendous forum” for coordinating a secure global economy.

First job: Foreign Service officer. Lesson from that job: “If America doesn’t lead, either nobody else will or, worse, our enemies will.” Best career advice he ever received: “Don’t be afraid to defy conventional wisdom.”

Washington DC’s 500 Most Influential People of 2024 (237)

Zalmay Khalilzad
Gryphon Partners
Founder and President

America’s former envoy to Afghanistan has remained a relevant presence as a diplomat turned consultant, meeting with the Russian ambassador, positing his own Ukraine policy, and urging the Biden administration to try to implement a peace deal with the Taliban.

Hometown: Born in Mazar-e-Sharif, Afghanistan; raised in Kabul. Education: American University of Beirut (BA, MA); University of Chicago (PhD).

Washington DC’s 500 Most Influential People of 2024 (238)

Howard Kohr
AIPAC
CEO

As the top executive of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee for nearly three decades, Kohr has maintained its stature as one of the nation’s most influential lobbying groups, with strong ties to leaders in both parties and to Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu. In March, he announced he would relinquish the powerful role by year’s end.

Hometown: Cleveland. Education: Kenyon College.

Washington DC’s 500 Most Influential People of 2024 (239)

Elisa Massimino
Georgetown Law
Visiting Professor and Executive Director, Human Rights Institute

Massimino is working to hold perpetrators of global atrocities accountable while also challenging the Biden administration to live up to human-rights standards at home.

Hometown: “Born in Honolulu but grew up all over. My dad was a Navy officer.” Lesson from her first job (as a cashier at a Long John Silver’s in Dallas): “A warm welcome and fried hush puppies can make anybody’s day better.” Last meal would be: “Spaghetti aglio e olio and a glass of Chianti.”

Washington DC’s 500 Most Influential People of 2024 (240)

Evan Medeiros
Asia Group
Senior Adviser

Medeiros was a participant in the first delegation from the Center for Strategic & International Studies to visit Taiwan since Covid-19, to build stronger relations and promote democratic values for an open society.

Lesson from his first job (as a junior fellow at the Carnegie Endowment): “Read broadly and often. Train your weaknesses.” Worst career advice he ever received: “You are too old to learn Chinese.” Hidden talent: “I have ears like a cat.”

Washington DC’s 500 Most Influential People of 2024 (241)

Mark Mellman
Democratic Majority for Israel
President

The group Mellman founded is designed to maintain and strengthen support for Israel among Democratic candidates and has spent millions to defeat left-wing candidates in primaries, including Democratic Socialists, whose stance on Israel, Mellman believes, falls well “outside reasonable and responsible discourse.”

Hometown: Columbus, Ohio. First job: “Summer job loading aluminum siding onto trucks.” Last meal would be: “A great hamburger.”

Washington DC’s 500 Most Influential People of 2024 (242)

A. Wess Mitchell
United States Institute of Peace
Senior Adviser

Mitchell urged US officials to convene a United Nations conference in support of Ukraine, aimed at countering Russia’s objective of forcing international acquiescence to its seizure of its neighbor’s territory. In February, Switzerland announced it would host a conference on Ukraine, though Russia has said it will not participate.

First job: “Hauling hay on my uncle’s alfalfa farm in West Texas.” Lesson from that job: “Get up early and hustle. No one is going to give you anything in life—you have to earn it.” Best career advice he ever received: “Don’t try to do it all. Learn to prioritize and focus on a handful of things that matter most. Multitasking is overrated.”

Washington DC’s 500 Most Influential People of 2024 (243)

W. Gyude Moore
Center for Global Development
Senior Policy Fellow

As a former minister of public works in Liberia, Moore focuses on African policy, championing what he calls a “Brown Revolution” by improving one of the most basic services: roads.

Hometown: Cape Palmas, Liberia. First job: “Working as a study-class teacher for grade-schoolers.” Lesson from that job: “My boss always talked about ‘stick-to-itiveness.’ I guess that’s what I learned.”

Washington DC’s 500 Most Influential People of 2024 (244)

Gissou Nia
Atlantic Council
Strategic Litigation Project Founder and Director

Nia, who has particular expertise in Iran, pressures policymakers to place human rights at the core of any discussions around global peace-and-security initiatives.

First job: “My first real job was in The Hague at the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia.” Lesson from that job: “Nothing can substitute for hard work.” Most cherished possession: “A map of the ancient Persian empire. It reminds me of my roots and ancestry. Cyrus the Great was a ‘human rights first’ kind of guy—at least compared to kings in that era—which I appreciate.”

Washington DC’s 500 Most Influential People of 2024 (245)

Robert O’Brien
American Global Strategies
Cofounder and Chairman

O’Brien, a former national-security adviser to President Trump, took a pass on running for the US Senate in Utah to continue providing strategic consulting to clients around the globe.

Education: UCLA; UC Berkeley School of Law. Best career advice he ever received: “As a lawyer, your role is to be a peacemaker.” Hidden talent: “The wisdom to have married Lo-Mari 35 years ago.”

Washington DC’s 500 Most Influential People of 2024 (246)

Trita Parsi
Quincy Institute for Responsible Statecraft
Cofounder and Executive Vice President

Parsi’s objective to promote diplomacy in America’s foreign policy gained currency in some circles as Israel’s war with Hamas broke out around the same time Russia’s war with Ukraine reached a stalemate.

Hometown: Uppsala, Sweden. What he’d tell his 18-year-old self: “Play the long game.” Music currently on repeat: “Winter,” from Vivaldi’s The Four Seasons.

Washington DC’s 500 Most Influential People of 2024 (247)

Julie Fishman Rayman
American Jewish Committee
Managing Director of Policy and Political Affairs

Rayman, who acts as a liaison between lawmakers and AJC’s 22 US offices, was invited to the White House for a roundtable after Hamas’s October 2023 attack on Israel.

First job: “Doing maintenance work at a designer home show in Atlanta.” Lesson from that job: “Litter is everyone’s problem.” Worst career advice she ever received: “Don’t let the people who work under you shine too brightly.”

Washington DC’s 500 Most Influential People of 2024 (248)

Josh Rogin
Washington Post
Columnist

Rogin’s deeply reported and buzzy columns on global conflicts have linked the wars in Israel and Ukraine, accused China of cultural genocide against Tibet, and criticized the Biden administration for its lack of attention to Syria.

Education: George Washington University; Sophia University.

Washington DC’s 500 Most Influential People of 2024 (249)

Dennis Ross
Washington Institute for Near East Policy
Counselor and Distinguished Fellow

The former special assistant to President Obama staked out a hawkish stance on Israel’s response to the Hamas attack, arguing that a perceived victory for the group would validate its ideology and embolden Iran. Ross’s service in the Obama administration makes him a significant voice that people listen to.

Hometown: San Francisco. First job: Analyst in the Pentagon. Hidden talent: “Sports analyst.”

Washington DC’s 500 Most Influential People of 2024 (250)

Douglas Rutzen
International Center for Not-for-Profit Law
President and CEO

The Biden administration tapped Rutzen to help organize its 2023 Summit for Democracy, and he has also been designated the non­governmental lead on how to safeguard civil-society and human-rights defenders around the world.

What he’d tell his 18-year-old self: “Ditch the 1980s haircut.” Best career advice he ever received: “Avoid the legal profession’s ‘golden handcuffs.’ ” Song currently on repeat: “What a Wonderful World” by Louis Armstrong.

Washington DC’s 500 Most Influential People of 2024 (251)

Robert Satloff
Washington Institute for Near East Policy
Executive Director

An expert on Arab and Islamic politics as well as US Middle East policy, Satloff has been consulted widely on the Arab-Israeli peace process, the challenge of political Islam, and the need to revamp US public diplomacy in the Middle East.

First job: “I’ve had one job in my professional life, with the Washington Institute for Near East Policy.” Hidden talent: “Manipulating frequent-flyer programs.” Most cherished possession: “The visa on which my father and his family entered America after escaping Soviet-controlled Ukraine in 1923.”

Washington DC’s 500 Most Influential People of 2024 (252)

Vikram J. Singh
United States Institute of Peace
Senior Adviser, Asia Center

With stints at both the departments of Defense and State, Singh is seen as an innovative policy generator on issues relating to peace and stability in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Myanmar, and North Korea.

First job: “Stockroom at Crate & Barrel.” Lesson from that job: “A great team makes almost any endeavor better—even unloading a truck.” Most cherished possession: A passport.

Washington DC’s 500 Most Influential People of 2024 (253)

Hadar Susskind
Americans for Peace Now
President and CEO

Susskind’s 20 years of experience as one of the Jewish community’s leading progressive advocates gained renewed purpose during Israel’s war with Hamas, when Susskind urged Israel to “choose the side of humanity” in protecting civilians.

Education: Tel Aviv University; University of Maryland. Lesson from his first job (at a movie theater): “Never pick up trash from the floor with your bare hands.” Hidden talent: “Deep knowledge of NFL history and statistics.”

Washington DC’s 500 Most Influential People of 2024 (254)

Yasmine Taeb
MPower Change Action Fund
Legislative and Political Director
Taeb Strategies
President

In media interviews, Taeb upbraided House lawmakers for voting to censure Representative Rashida Tlaib and became a vocal proponent of the Palestinian cause as Israel accelerated its war in Gaza.

Hometown: Tehran. Education: University of Florida; Georgetown; Penn State Dickinson School of Law. Worst career advice she ever received: “To accept the highest-paying job regardless of your life’s calling.”

Washington DC’s 500 Most Influential People of 2024 (255)

William F. Wechsler
Atlantic Council
Senior Director, Rafik Hariri Center and Middle East Programs

Wechsler has held several senior positions in the US government, including deputy assistant secretary of Defense for special operations and combating terrorism. He launched the Atlantic Council’s N7 Initiative to broaden the Abraham Accords.

Education: Cornell; Columbia University School of International and Public Affairs.

Back to Top

Whether fighting for democracy or federal-employee benefits, these people care deeply about having our public system work effectively

Washington DC’s 500 Most Influential People of 2024 (256)

Ginny Badanes
Microsoft
Senior Director, Democracy Forward

Badanes steered Microsoft to join 20 other leading tech companies at the Munich Security Conference in February, launching a new tech accord to combat deceptive uses of artificial intelligence in the 2024 elections.

Hometown: Tulsa. What she’d tell her 18-year-old self: “To spend more time with Mom and to record her talking, laughing, living—something I could share with her grandchildren after she’s gone.” Last meal would be: Nachos.

Washington DC’s 500 Most Influential People of 2024 (257)

Erik Baptist
Alliance Defending Freedom
Senior Counsel

Baptist works to hold the federal government accountable for violating laws and regulations that protect religious freedom; free speech; the sanctity of life; marriage and family; and parental rights. He has sued the Department of Health and Human Services and the Food and Drug Administration.

Education: Vanderbilt; George Washington University Law School.

Washington DC’s 500 Most Influential People of 2024 (258)

Adam Brandon
FreedomWorks
President

Brandon has repositioned this Tea Party group into a more moderate organization, asserting more libertarian positions on abortion and climate change and attempting to achieve bipartisan consensus on immigration and entitlement reform.

Hometown: Cleveland. Lesson from his first job (working on the McCain 2000 campaign): “You can adjust strategies but not principles.” Last meal would be: “An Ohio State Fair corn dog.”

Washington DC’s 500 Most Influential People of 2024 (259)

Danielle Brian
Project on Government Oversight
Executive Director/President

For three decades, Brian has worked to advance reforms across all three branches of government, testifying before Congress dozens of times.

First job: Piercing ears at Piercing Pagoda. Lesson from that job: “Just because someone thinks it’s a good idea doesn’t mean it is.” What she’d tell her 18-year-old self: “Don’t worry—pantyhose won’t be a thing too much longer.”

Washington DC’s 500 Most Influential People of 2024 (260)

Barbara Comstock
Society for the Rule of Law
Board Member

The former Virginia congresswoman has made the case for a new conservative pro-democracy movement rooted in the legal community, joining the board of this new organization that will focus on building a body of scholarship to counteract “anti-constitutional and anti-democratic law.”

First job: “In high school, I worked at a movie theater selling popcorn and tickets.” What she’d tell her 18-year-old self: “You really can meet your husband/life mate in high school.” Song currently on repeat: “The Best Is Yet to Come” by Frank Sinatra.

Washington DC’s 500 Most Influential People of 2024 (261)

Lee Drutman
Fix Our House
Cofounder

The senior fellow at New America has long argued that a multiparty democracy would benefit the US. His idea to reconfigure the House to let each district elect several representatives gained media traction this year during consecutive congressional crises.

What he’d tell his 18-year-old self: “Fear not. The plot thickens.” Hidden talent: “I’m a pretty good piano player.” Last meal would be: “Psychedelic mushrooms that make me accept death.”

Washington DC’s 500 Most Influential People of 2024 (262)

Norman Eisen
Brookings Institution
Senior Fellow, Governance Studies

Eisen is renowned as the lawyer dispensing some of the most prescient analysis on the criminal cases against former President Trump, having gained media notoriety for four comprehensive reports he issued on the charges.

Hometown: Hollywood, California. First job: Flipping burgers at his family’s hamburger stand. Historical figure he most identifies with: “Václav Havel—and I actually got to know him when I was ambassador to the Czech Republic.”

Washington DC’s 500 Most Influential People of 2024 (263)

Lisa Gilbert
Public Citizen
Executive Vice President

Gilbert’s nonprofit analyzed tax records from the Chamber of Commerce, revealing that the business group raised $93 million in 2021 from donors who gave $1 million or more and arguing that the Chamber is primarily focused on big-business interests.

Hometown: Glen Rock, New Jersey. Worst career advice she ever received: “ ‘No one can make it in DC without a law degree.’ It is actually an expensive myth.” Most cherished possession: “A bow tie my grandfather used to wear. We were very close, and he was a remarkable activist, a stroke survivor, and an innovator.”

Washington DC’s 500 Most Influential People of 2024 (264)

Jeff Hauser
Revolving Door Project
Executive Director

Hauser, a longtime government watchdog, lambasted the Supreme Court’s new code of conduct for justices, arguing that because it has no enforcement mechanism, it allows the nation’s most powerful judges to avert transparency and accountability.

Hometown: New City, New York. Song currently on repeat: “Sabotage” by the Beastie Boys. Most cherished possession: “My reputation.”

Washington DC’s 500 Most Influential People of 2024 (265)

Liz Hempowicz
Project on Government Oversight
Vice President of Policy and Government Affairs

Hempowicz, who has testified before Congress more than ten times, was the lead author on a report detailing how state- and federal-government entities can use the Constitution’s disqualification clause to prevent certain officials who engaged in insurrection from holding public office in the future.

Hometown: Bridgeport, Connecticut. First job: “Selling sunglasses at a highway rest-stop kiosk.” Hidden talent: “Easily memorizing song lyrics and retaining them forever.”

Washington DC’s 500 Most Influential People of 2024 (266)

Eric H. Holder Jr.
Covington
Senior Counsel

The Biden administration named the former Obama attorney general to a panel of judges for a new European Union–mandated data court, whose function is to help meet Europe’s data-privacy regulations and contend with allegations of US surveillance.

Best career advice he ever received: “Always give 110 percent on every project—you never know who will review your efforts or how important the project will be viewed down the road.” What he’d tell his 18-year-old self: “Be appropriately patient but unafraid to challenge people in authority.” Last meal would be: “Not concerned about health impacts? Filet mignon.”

Washington DC’s 500 Most Influential People of 2024 (267)

Libby Liu
Whistleblower Aid
CEO

Liu leads this nonprofit legal organization, which supports public officials and private employees who seek to expose wrong­doing in government and corporations.

First job: “Typist at 15.” Lesson from that job: “A paid job means freedom.” Best career advice she ever received: “Never believe your own press releases.”

Washington DC’s 500 Most Influential People of 2024 (268)

Ryan McGowan
Institute for Legislative Analysis
CEO

McGowan’s new group produced report cards for how the 2024 Republican presidential candidates adhered to limited-government principles, assigning them individual grades in ten policy fields. The report was published in the Washington Examiner and cited by Nikki Haley, who touted it during her presidential campaign.

Lesson from his first job (doing federal audits for KPMG): “Wasteful federal-­government spending is worse than I thought.” Hidden talent: “Really bad impressions of people.” Song currently on repeat: “War Pigs” by Black Sabbath.

Washington DC’s 500 Most Influential People of 2024 (269)

Tiffany Muller
End Citizens United
President

Muller has built ECU into a political force with a goal of eradicating big money from politics. It has frequently called out alleged ethical transgressions of Republicans such as Lauren Boebert and George Santos.

Hometown: Amoret, Missouri. What she’d tell her 18-year-old self: “My 18-year-old self was newly out and from rural, conservative Missouri. She was scared. I would tell her to have more faith and confidence in herself because she is going to create a life and family she couldn’t even dream about then.” Historical figure she most identifies with: “Clara Barton. She was inspired every day to see the need and find a way to meet it.”

Washington DC’s 500 Most Influential People of 2024 (270)

Norman Ornstein
American Enterprise Institute
Senior Fellow Emeritus

A fixture in Washington for decades, Ornstein is tapped for media hits on everything from dysfunction in Congress and political polarization to the latest on the 2024 presidential contest.

First job: “Running the shoe counter in a bowling alley in Moncton, New Brunswick, at age 13.” Best career advice he ever received: “If you’re not willing to be honest and courageous in fighting for what you believe, find another profession.” Historical figure he most identifies with: “Of those in my lifetime, Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan. A towering intellect who engaged in the public arena.”

Washington DC’s 500 Most Influential People of 2024 (271)

Skye Perryman
Democracy Forward
President and CEO

A former general counsel for the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, Perryman has built a team to combat anti-democratic activity and extremism, emerging as a key resource for both moderates and progressives.

Hometown: Waco, Texas. First job: “Manually formatting diskettes for my dad’s economic consulting firm at age eight.” Most cherished possession: “A recipe box with my grandmother’s recipes.”

Washington DC’s 500 Most Influential People of 2024 (272)

Trevor Potter
Campaign Legal Center
Founder and President

Described by the American Bar Association Journal as “hands-down one of the top lawyers in the country on the delicate intersection of politics, law and money,” Potter is perhaps best known for being the lawyer for Stephen Colbert’s super-PAC in the 2012 election.

Hometown: Chicago. Worst career advice he ever received: “Don’t accept an appointment as an FEC commissioner because it’s a dead end—no one cares about election law.” Hidden talent: “Making a cheese soufflé.”

Washington DC’s 500 Most Influential People of 2024 (273)

Rob Richie
FairVote
Cofounder and Senior Adviser, Strategy and Learning

Richie has willed ranked-choice voting into the mainstream political consciousness, winning endorsem*nts from senators Mitt Romney, Joe Manchin, and Lisa Murkowski. Voters in Nevada, Oregon, and other jurisdictions will consider adopting the format in 2024 via referendums.

Education: Haverford College. Most cherished possession: “My passport. It enables me to explore the world with people I love.” What he’d tell his 18-year-old self: “Don’t be too hard on yourself when changes don’t happen fast enough.”

Washington DC’s 500 Most Influential People of 2024 (274)

Aaron Scherb
Common Cause
Senior Director, Legislative Affairs

Scherb helps craft pro-democratic reforms in such areas as redistricting, campaign finance, and voting rights, coordinating with Congress members and allies on drafts for proposed legislation.

Hometown: South Bend, Indiana. First job: Delivering newspapers for the South Bend Tribune.
Lesson from that job: “People appreciated and often recognized the small things, like making sure their newspaper was fully wrapped in plastic when it was raining or snowing.”

Washington DC’s 500 Most Influential People of 2024 (275)

Donald Sherman
Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington
Executive Vice President and Chief Counsel

Sherman pioneered the legal strategy of trying to use the 14th Amendment’s “disqualification clause” to prevent those who engaged in the January 6 attack on the Capitol from holding office again, making that the center of a case against Donald Trump.

Hometown: Harlem and Queens. Best career advice he ever received: “Be kind to everyone. Do favors for people, especially if it costs you little or nothing.” Hidden talent: “I know pi to about 40 or 50 digits.”

Washington DC’s 500 Most Influential People of 2024 (276)

Jacqueline Simon
American Federation of Government Employees
Public Policy Director

When former New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg tossed scorn at federal workers for the quality of their remote work, Simon struck back, pointing to collective-bargaining agreements that empower federal employees to negotiate the terms of how they work in a post-Covid environment.

Worst career advice she ever received: “My father once told me no one was ever going to pay me for my opinions. I had to prove him wrong.” Last meal would be: “Middleswarth potato chips from central Pennsylvania and freshly baked challah.” Hidden talent: “I am an excellent bowler.”

Washington DC’s 500 Most Influential People of 2024 (277)

Max Stier
Partnership for Public Service
President and CEO

Stier oversees efforts to provide data, insights, and recommendations to the executive and legislative branches about the structure and efficiency of government and to build connections between the public, private, and charitable sectors.

Hometown: Coralville, Iowa. First job: “I was a summer intern for Congressman Jim Leach in Washington when I was in high school.” Last meal would be: Chirashi sushi lunch at Raku.

Washington DC’s 500 Most Influential People of 2024 (278)

Joshua Tauberer
GovTrack.us
Founder and President

Tauberer’s website provides congressional information to just about as many people as the Library of Congress’s Congress.gov, as he continues to advocate for opening up congressional information to improve transparency in the legislative branch.

Hometown: Plainview, New York. Education: Princeton; University of Pennsylvania (MA and PhD).

Washington DC’s 500 Most Influential People of 2024 (279)

Cynthia Richie Terrell
RepresentWomen
Founder and Executive Director

An assertive voice on the need for reforms that remove barriers to female political representation, Terrell is a pioneer in the nationwide push for implementation of ranked-choice voting.

First job: Working on a US Senate campaign in Pennsylvania. Lesson from that job: “Polls are usually right.” Song currently on repeat: “Rich, White, Straight Men” by Kesha.

Back to Top

Leading pros who know the ins and outs of healthcare policy, regulation, and access—and how those can help or hurt consumers

Washington DC’s 500 Most Influential People of 2024 (280)

Jane Adams
Johnson & Johnson
Vice President, US Federal Government Affairs and Head of Office

Adams directs policy strategy for one of the world’s largest pharmaceutical companies, including fighting the impact of drug-price controls in the Inflation Reduction Act.

Hometown: Woodstock, Vermont. Talent she’d most like to have: “To play the guitar professionally like my husband.” Last meal would be: “Movie-theater popcorn and a large Diet co*ke with lots of ice.”

Washington DC’s 500 Most Influential People of 2024 (281)

Andrew Barnhill
IQVIA
Head of Public Policy

On behalf of the world’s largest clinical-research organization, Barnhill has been instrumental in shaping the FDA’s recent guidance about the use of real-world evidence in the approval process of drugs and devices—a key issue facing the agency this year.

First job: Host of a local cable-access television show while in high school. Best career advice he ever received: “Careers do not need to be linear. Think of your career, and your life, in decades, with opportunities to contribute and lead in lots of ways.” Hidden talent: “Teaching. I’m most known in DC for my lobbying career, but I’m a part-time professor and it’s my favorite part of the week.”

Washington DC’s 500 Most Influential People of 2024 (282)

Georges C. Benjamin
American Public Health Association
Executive Director

The former secretary of the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene has become an influential voice on healthcare issues, having been one of the earliest to flag the threat of the monkeypox outbreak.

Hometown: Chicago. What he’d tell his 18-year-old self: “ ‘Be more inquisitive about your family’s history.’ I know very little about my roots beyond my grandparents.” Hidden talent: “I was a reasonably decent musician. I played trombone.”

Washington DC’s 500 Most Influential People of 2024 (283)

Sheila P. Burke
Baker Donelson
Strategic Adviser

With two decades of experience on Capitol Hill, Burke provides clients with real-world expertise on Medicare, Medicaid, and children’s healthcare programs.

Education: University of San Francisco; Harvard. Hidden talent: Nee­dlepoint. Most cherished possession: “My father’s pipes.”

Washington DC’s 500 Most Influential People of 2024 (284)

Michael Cannon
Cato Institute
Director of Health Policy Studies

Cannon’s proposal to expand health savings accounts—which would lift the limit taxpayers can place in their HSAs to $7,500—was included in legislation that cleared the House Ways and Means committee last fall.

First job: Paperboy. Lesson from that job: “Adults prefer to read their newspapers earlier than teenagers prefer to deliver them.” What he’d tell his 18-year-old self: “You are a wondrous creature. Feel it. Enjoy it.”

Washington DC’s 500 Most Influential People of 2024 (285)

Anne Cassity
National Community Pharmacists Association
Senior Vice President, Government Affairs

Cassity helped educate law firms pursuing a class-action suit against Caremark to rein in revenue accumulated by pharmacy benefit managers, known as PBMs. She says there’s growing momentum to reform PBMs in Congress, with several bills emerging out of committees.

Hometown: Saint Francisville, Louisiana. What she’d tell her 18-year-old self: “Always take your parents’ advice. They’re usually right.” Last meal would be: Crawfish étouffée or boiled crawfish.

Washington DC’s 500 Most Influential People of 2024 (286)

Liz Clark
IHRSA
CEO and President

Before taking the helm of the global fitness association, Clark worked for a candy trade group, where she successfully lobbied to have confection manufacturing deemed essential during the coronavirus pandemic.

First job: “Cleaning hotel rooms, grounds­keeping, and helping my mom as a prep cook at our small family business in Montana at age nine.” Best career advice she ever received: “Surround yourself with positive people and don’t make up excuses. If you mess up, own it and move on.” Hidden talent: Scrapbooking.

Washington DC’s 500 Most Influential People of 2024 (287)

Sarah Corcoran
Guide Consulting Services
Senior Vice President and Chief Operating Officer

Corcoran helped make robust advances in the mental-health crisis-­response space, having been instrumental in the nationwide rollout of and continued funding for the 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline.

Education: Arizona State. Song currently on repeat: “Fire Escape” by Andrew McMahon in the Wilderness. Last meal would be: Schnitzel from the Berghoff in Chicago.

Washington DC’s 500 Most Influential People of 2024 (288)

Marjorie Dannenfelser
Susan B. Anthony Pro-Life America
President

Just weeks after Dannenfelser raised questions about former President Donald Trump’s commitment to antiabortion policies, she landed a meeting with him, demonstrating the power she wields with top-­ranking Republican officials, particularly during election years.

Hometown: Greenville, North Carolina. Lesson from her first job (at the Heritage Foundation): “Ask smart people for advice and help.” Most cherished possession: “My great-grandmother’s desk, given to her for Christmas by my great-grandfather in 1899.”

Washington DC’s 500 Most Influential People of 2024 (289)

Chester (Chip) Davis Jr.
Healthcare Distribution Alliance
President and CEO

Davis leads HDA’s discussions with policy­makers on supply-chain resilience, including the commercialization of vaccines and therapeutics and how that will affect distribution chains.

Hometown: Annapolis. First job: Lifeguard. Hidden talent: Playing the drums.

Washington DC’s 500 Most Influential People of 2024 (290)

Dan Diamond
Washington Post
National Health Reporter

Winner of a George Polk Award for investigative reporting on the pandemic, Diamond has continued to produce essential reading on the healthcare beat, including his scoop last fall on President Biden’s selection of Monica Bertagnolli to lead the National Institutes of Health.

Hometown: Baltimore. Best career advice he ever received: “ ‘At some point, you have to bet on yourself.’ That’s what the CEO of the Advisory Board Company told me in 2015 as I debated taking a pay cut and leaving the healthcare-consulting world to become a reporter at Politico.” Hidden talent: NBA trivia.

Washington DC’s 500 Most Influential People of 2024 (291)

Christine Eibner
RAND Corporation
Senior Economist

As director of RAND’s research program on healthcare costs and coverage, Eibner provides pertinent data to policymakers about the impact of health-insurance reforms, including modifications to the Affordable Care Act and changes to the Medicare Advantage program.

Best career advice she ever received: “Dry-run all of your presentations, and never present work you’re not confident in.” What she’d tell her 18-year-old self: “Take more math classes.” Song currently on repeat: “Dreaming” by Amy Beach.

Washington DC’s 500 Most Influential People of 2024 (292)

David Gaugh
Association for Accessible Medicines
Interim President and CEO

With his expertise in both science and regulatory affairs, Gaugh took the helm of AAM, which works to ensure the accessibility of generic and biosimilar medicines for patients.

First job: Pharmacist. What he’d tell his 18-year-old self: “Explore multiple avenues.” Most cherished possession: “My health.”

Washington DC’s 500 Most Influential People of 2024 (293)

Lawrence Gostin
Georgetown University
Professor of Global Health Law

Gostin is helping draft the Pandemic Treaty for the World Health Organization, working closely with the White House on crafting a strong agreement to strengthen future pandemic preparedness and response.

Hometown: New York City. Best career advice he ever received: “Take the path least traveled.” What he’d tell his 18-year-old self: “The first rule is to smile and give credit to others.”

Washington DC’s 500 Most Influential People of 2024 (294)

Scott Gottlieb
New Enterprise Associates
Partner

The former FDA head is a regular cable-news guest who has warned that the drug-price caps in the Inflation Reduction Act have exacerbated drug shortages, and he has suggested there should be carve-outs for certain in-demand drugs.

Hometown: East Brunswick, New Jersey. Education: Wesleyan University; Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai. First job: Healthcare analyst at Alex. Brown & Sons in Baltimore.

Washington DC’s 500 Most Influential People of 2024 (295)

Aron Griffin
America’s Health Insurance Plans
Senior Vice President, Federal Affairs

As representative for the nation’s health-insurance companies, Griffin wields the group’s research arm to help bolster its case on priorities such as value-based healthcare models and long-term-care insurance.

Education: University of Maryland. First job: Video-store clerk. Lesson from that job: “The store was often quiet and rarely had more than one employee on duty. As a result, I developed a knack for finding tasks that needed to be done in order to keep myself busy.”

Washington DC’s 500 Most Influential People of 2024 (296)

Al Guida
Guide Consulting Services
President and CEO

Guida has spearheaded advances in the mental-health field, such as securing funding parity with physical health, advocating for enhanced coverage for community behavioral health, and commissioning the National Academies study that catalyzed creation of the Child Tax Credit.

Hometown: New Haven, Connecticut. Worst career advice he ever received: “You have to go to law school in order to become a DC lobbyist.” Song currently on repeat: “Don’t Stop” by Fleetwood Mac.

Washington DC’s 500 Most Influential People of 2024 (297)

Cookab Hashemi
Elekta
Senior Director, Government Affairs

A Capitol Hill veteran of more than 20 years who has expertise in pharmaceutical and DNA medicines, Hashemi recently signed on with Elekta, a Swedish-based medical-technology company that’s searching for cancer and brain-disorder treatments.

Hometown: Fayetteville, North Carolina. First job: Staff assistant at the Democratic Governors Association. Best career advice she ever received: Always handwrite a thank-you note.

Washington DC’s 500 Most Influential People of 2024 (298)

Stacey Hughes
American Hospital Association
Executive Vice President, Government Relations and Public Policy

Hughes leads the association’s legislative and regulatory advocacy efforts, demonstrating expertise on the complexities around durable medical equipment, Medicare reimbursem*nt, and pharmaceutical issues.

First job: Kmart shoe department. What she’d tell her 18-year-old self: “Never close a door before you walk through it.” Last meal would be: Buffalo chicken wings and thin-crust pepperoni pizza.

Washington DC’s 500 Most Influential People of 2024 (299)

Chuck Ingoglia
National Council for Mental Wellbeing
President and CEO

Ingoglia has worked with senators on Certified Community Behavioral Health Clinics, which received an infusion of funding through both the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act and the omnibus bill improving access to care for those with mental-health or substance-­abuse challenges.

Hometown: Detroit. Education: Catholic University. Historical figure he most identifies with: “Dorothea Dix, an early mental-health reformer. She believed we could make a better future for people living with mental illness.”

Washington DC’s 500 Most Influential People of 2024 (300)

Chris Jennings
Jennings Policy Strategies
Founder and President

Lawmakers and policy-shapers tap Jennings for his expertise on Medicare prescription-drug cost-containment strategies as well as on tax-credit provisions in the Affordable Care Act.

Hometown: Athens, Ohio. What he’d tell his 18-year-old self: “Always be in—and focused on—the moment in front of you. That’s your best opportunity for advancement, not something you think you should be doing instead.” Historical figure he most identifies with: “Thomas Edison—only because he failed so many times before he had any success, not because I’m anywhere in his league.”

Washington DC’s 500 Most Influential People of 2024 (301)

Charles N. (Chip) Kahn III
Federation of American Hospitals
President and CEO

In underscoring to Congress serious concerns surrounding the growth of physician-owned hospitals, Kahn influenced the Center of Medicare & Medicaid Services to reverse policy and reinstate limits on such facilities.

Education: “When that question is asked of a New Orleanian, it means their high school: I went to Newman School from kindergarten through 12th grade, Johns Hopkins for my BA, and Tulane for my master’s in public health.” First job: Managing Newt Gingrich’s 1974 congressional campaign. Lesson from that job: “It helps to be audacious.”

Washington DC’s 500 Most Influential People of 2024 (302)

Genevieve M. Kenney
Urban Institute
Vice President, Health Policy, and Senior Fellow

A nationally renowned expert on Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program, Kenney has played a lead role in multiple congressionally mandated evaluations of the CHIP program and implementation of managed-care delivery programs.

Education: Smith College; University of Michigan (master’s, PhD). First job: “Working the snack bar on the DC–Mount Vernon boat.” Song currently on repeat: “The Weight” by Mavis Staples.

Washington DC’s 500 Most Influential People of 2024 (303)

Jay Khosla
Humana
Senior Vice President, Corporate Affairs

Khosla worked on the bipartisan Improving Seniors Timely Access to Care legislation, which modernizes and simplifies the approval of health-coverage decisions—partly through an electronic approval process—and aims to bring more transparency and reliability through better reporting and stronger medical guidelines.

Hometown: Fairfax. Education: Virginia Commonwealth University; University of Richmond (JD). Most cherished possession: “The watch my father wore when he immigrated to the US.”

Washington DC’s 500 Most Influential People of 2024 (304)

James Klein
American Benefits Council
President

Klein vigorously advocates for passage of legislation to address hospital facility fees, which mark up costs for patients, employers, and the government, adding up to what he describes as “billions of dollars in unnecessary and unwarranted charges.”

Best career advice he ever received: “ ‘Accept the number-two position,’ when I was runner-up for the American Benefits Council’s top job. I was the deputy for four years and have been president for the past 32.” What he’d tell his 18-year-old self: “If you insist on being a Buffalo Bills fan, expect to have your heart broken every year.” Song currently on repeat: “Let It Be” by the Beatles.

Washington DC’s 500 Most Influential People of 2024 (305)

Sarah Kyle
Eli Lilly
Vice President, Federal Affairs

Kyle lobbies Democrats on behalf of the pharmaceutical giant, exhibiting expertise on drug pricing, reimbursem*nt, and intellectual-­property issues, as well as navigating the challenges related to insulin, diabetes, Alzheimer’s drugs, and international pricing.

Hometown: South Bend, Indiana. Education: Purdue University; Johns Hopkins. What she’d tell her 18-year-old self: “Your goal should be to become an interesting person—take every opportunity you have to learn something new.”

Washington DC’s 500 Most Influential People of 2024 (306)

Courtney Lawrence
Cigna
Vice President, Federal and Public Affairs

Lawrence has helped roll out a “what’s possible” tool, breaking down different scenarios for Medicare Part D pricing changes in hopes of educating policymakers as they debate how to reconfigure a labyrinthine pricing system.

Education: University of Georgia.

Washington DC’s 500 Most Influential People of 2024 (307)

Nancy LeaMond
AARP
Executive Vice President and Chief Advocacy and Engagement Officer

LeaMond drives the agenda of one of the most powerful organizations for senior citizens, marshaling a staff of more than 700 and a volunteer network approaching 20,000.
Hometown: Millburn, New Jersey. Best career advice she ever re-ceived: “Being underestimated is a superpower.” Last meal would be: “Pasta—Italian heritage till the end.”

Washington DC’s 500 Most Influential People of 2024 (308)

John Lepore
Moderna
Senior Vice President, Government Engagement

In the face of criticism from Senator Bernie Sanders, Lepore helped explain the rationale for Moderna’s pricing strategy around its commercial Covid vaccine. Despite the Senate scrutiny, Moderna successfully launched Spikevax last fall, including a partnership with Health and Human Services to provide free doses to the uninsured.

Hometown: Baltimore. Hidden talent: Butcher. Historical figure he most identifies with: George Bailey from It’s a Wonderful Life.

Washington DC’s 500 Most Influential People of 2024 (309)

Jeanne Mancini
March for Life Education & Defense Fund
President

A leading figure in the antiabortion movement for more than a decade, Mancini has urged allies to fight against abortion on the state and federal levels, arguing that neglecting federal legislation to protect the unborn would align the US with policies in China and North Korea.

Education: James Madison University; Catholic University’s Pontifical Pope John Paul II Institute for Studies on Marriage and Family.

Washington DC’s 500 Most Influential People of 2024 (310)

David Merritt
Blue Cross Blue Shield Association
Vice President of Policy and Advocacy

Merrit spearheaded a sweeping set of affordability solutions to reduce healthcare costs for patients by more than $700 billion over a decade. They include marshaling support for legislation to eliminate an exemption enabling certain hospital departments to charge steeper rates.

First job: McDonald’s. What he’d tell his 18-year-old self: “Don’t be such an idiot. Take school and your future seriously.” Most cherished possession: His dogs, Buddy and Bear.

Washington DC’s 500 Most Influential People of 2024 (311)

Mark Miller
Arnold Ventures
Executive Vice President of Healthcare

For more than three decades, Miller has been an advocate for finding ways to lower costs and improve healthcare value, most recently briefing Congress and White House officials on efforts to modulate pharmaceutical, hospital, and health-plan payments.

First job: “Mostly worked construction in college.” Lesson from that job: “I didn’t want to work in construction.” Historical figure he most identifies with: Oscar the Grouch.

Washington DC’s 500 Most Influential People of 2024 (312)

David Mitchell
Patients for Affordable Drugs Now
President and Founder

As a vocal advocate for reducing drug costs, Mitchell has combated industry claims that research-and-development investments will suffer due to new drug-pricing laws, and he has cited a study showing that some manufacturers are even planning increases.

Hometown: Detroit. First job: “Drugstore clerk for 67 cents per hour at 14 years of age.” What he’d tell his 18-year-old self: “Shut up and listen more. Reach higher.”

Washington DC’s 500 Most Influential People of 2024 (313)

Anand Parekh
Bipartisan Policy Center
Chief Medical Adviser

Parekh helped catalyze the revival of the House Congressional Primary Care Caucus, to educate members on both sides of the aisle about what he sees as America’s primary-care crisis and the importance of advancing primary-care policy to improve healthcare.

What he’d tell his 18-year-old self: “All things are difficult before they’re easy.” Hidden talent: Playing Pachelbel’s Canon in D on piano. Song currently on repeat: “Beautiful Day” by U2.

Washington DC’s 500 Most Influential People of 2024 (314)

Mark Parkinson
American Health Care Association and the National Center for Assisted Living
President and CEO

Despite a call from the Medicare Advisory Panel for cuts, Parkinson helped clinch a 12th consecutive Medicare funding increase as members of his association have continued to recover from pandemic-­induced financial stress.

Hometown: Wichita, Kansas. First job:Legislative assistant for former congressman Bill Green. Lesson from that job: “Washington is run by staffers who are in their twenties and thirties and sometimes more powerful than their bosses.”

Washington DC’s 500 Most Influential People of 2024 (315)

Kavita Patel
Mary’s Center
Physician

The primary-care doctor is a font of analysis on healthcare debates, dispensing her thoughts on everything from weight-loss drugs to Covid masking from her perch as an MSNBC contributor.

Education: University of Texas at Austin; UCLA. First job: Piercing ears at the mall. Worst career advice she ever received: “Just show up early and don’t complain too much.”

Washington DC’s 500 Most Influential People of 2024 (316)

Richard Pollack
American Hospital Association
President and CEO

A harsh critic of commercial health-­insurance companies, Pollack commissioned polling that grabbed the attention of policymakers and bolstered his case that patients favor providers over insurers when making treatment decisions.

First job: Legislative assistant to Congressman David R. Obey of Wisconsin. Song currently on repeat: “New York State of Mind” by Billy Joel. Most cherished possession: “My father’s silver and bronze medals from the Normandy landing and the Battle of the Bulge.”

Washington DC’s 500 Most Influential People of 2024 (317)

Monica Popp
Marshall & Popp
Partner

Popp worked on the most significant overhaul of the federal cosmetics law since 1938. It requires companies to prove the safety of their ingredients before they can be used and brought to market.

Hometown: Shreveport, Louisiana. What she’d tell her 18-year-old self: “Very few things in life are permanent career mistakes, so be smart but use this time to explore the world near and far.” Talent she’d most like to have: “Whipping up a large meal with ease—those who can are a treasure.”

Washington DC’s 500 Most Influential People of 2024 (318)

Lori Reilly
PhRMA
Chief Operating Officer

Reilly continues to hammer prescription-­drug provisions in the Inflation Reduction Act, arguing that price-setting will force biopharmaceutical companies to scale back on cancer research.

Hometown: Laurel, Maryland, until age 13, then Omaha, Nebraska. First job: “Selling shoes at a Midwest retail chain, Richman Gordman.” Historical figure she most identifies with: “I’ve always loved Willa Cather. She moved to Nebraska at a young age; attended the University of Nebraska, my alma mater; and broke a lot of barriers for women.”

Washington DC’s 500 Most Influential People of 2024 (319)

Elena Rios
National Hispanic Medical Association
President and CEO

Rios represents 50,000 Hispanic physicians across the US and directs education and research on the most cutting-edge healthcare developments and questions.

Hometown: Pico Rivera, California. Talent she’d most like to have: “Scheduling more vacation time.” Last meal would be: An ice-cream sundae.

Washington DC’s 500 Most Influential People of 2024 (320)

Matt Salo
Salo Health Strategies
Founder and CEO

The former executive director of the National Association of Medicaid Directors now breaks down Medicaid Managed Care rule changes for clients in the private healthcare space.

Education: University of Virginia. First job: Busboy at Chesapeake Bay Seafood House. What he’d tell his 18-year-old self: “Don’t be afraid to put yourself in situations where you might fail. You’ll learn more from those than from cautious guarantees of success.”

Washington DC’s 500 Most Influential People of 2024 (321)

Kathryn G. Schubert
Society for Women’s Health Research
President and CEO

After Schubert pressed for action on a national strategy for women’s health equity, President Biden took the step of launching the first-ever White House Initiative on Women’s Health Research.

Education: Mary Washington College; George Washington Univer­sity. First job: “Town beautification crew—picking up trash and weeding gardens.” Lesson from that job: “Always wear sunscreen! Kidding, but a valuable lesson nonetheless. I learned that work is really hard but satisfying and you can look around and see the fruits of your labor.”

Washington DC’s 500 Most Influential People of 2024 (322)

Melissa Schulman
CVS Health
Senior Vice President, Government and Public Affairs

Schulman lobbied the federal government to allow Medicare beneficiaries to access healthcare from any location by removing the “originating site” requirement that limits patient access based on where they live.

Talent she’d most like to have: “Truth serum.” Last meal would be: Prime rib and coffee ice cream. Song currently on repeat: “Is It Over Now?” by Taylor Swift.

Washington DC’s 500 Most Influential People of 2024 (323)

JC Scott
Pharmaceutical Care Management Association
President and CEO

Scott testified before the House Committee on Education and the Workforce to advocate for the 73 pharmacy-benefit companies and to caution against policies that he claimed would allow the government to dictate the terms of their contracts or limit choice for employers.

Hometown: Pensacola, Florida. Best career advice he ever received: “Be kind to others. Always assume they have the best intentions. You’ll enjoy your professional and personal life more if you approach people with positivity.” Song currently on repeat: “Raise Your Glass” by Pink.

Washington DC’s 500 Most Influential People of 2024 (324)

Stephanie Silverman
Venn Strategies
Founder and CEO

Silverman helps clients navigate complex and often thorny new regulations, including an executive order from the Biden administration aimed at thwarting corporate consolidation among health-care companies.

First job: Babysitting. Lesson from that job: “Kids will do things when they think they have a say.” Hidden talent: Word games.

Washington DC’s 500 Most Influential People of 2024 (325)

Bill Sweeney
AARP
Senior Vice President, Government Affairs

Sweeney helped deliver the group’s message to lawmakers to keep Social Security and Medicare out of the debate on how to cut the nation’s $1.7 trillion deficit.

Best career advice he ever received: “Make sure you’re doing work you can be proud of and have fun doing.” Talent he’d most like to have: “I’d love to speak more languages and get more out of travel.” Song currently on repeat: “Higher Love” by Whitney Houston.

Washington DC’s 500 Most Influential People of 2024 (326)

Brad Tallamy
Merck
Executive Director, Policy and Government Relations

Tallamy urged policymakers to advance pharmacy-benefit-­manager reforms, which address what he describes as misaligned phar-maceutical supply-chain incentives and would reduce patient out-of-pocket costs.

Hometown: Elkton, Maryland. Education: Loyola University Maryland.

Washington DC’s 500 Most Influential People of 2024 (327)

Mini Timmaraju
Reproductive Freedom for All
President and CEO

Timmaraju fought a Republican proposal to require doctors to care for infants born after a failed abortion, saying that doing so would “vilify” physicians trying to provide end-of-life care. She continues to be a significant strategist for how Democrats should frame the abortion issue in elections.

Hometown: “I was born in Hyderabad, India, but I consider Sugar Land, Texas, my hometown.” First job: “Cashier at McDonald’s while in high school.” Best career advice she ever received: “Learn how to raise money and you’ll always be able to get a job in campaigns and advocacy work.”

Washington DC’s 500 Most Influential People of 2024 (328)

Michael Tuffin
AHIP
President and CEO

A former executive vice president of AHIP—formerly America’s Health Insurance Plans—Tuffin returned to lead the organization late last year after steering healthcare advocacy for UnitedHealth Group, the world’s 10th-largest company.

Education: Providence College (BA); Vanderbilt (MBA).

Washington DC’s 500 Most Influential People of 2024 (329)

Grace-Marie Turner
Galen Institute
Founder and Executive Director

Turner is regularly called on to testify before Congress on issues including consumer choices in healthcare and the importance of widening accessibility to private-coverage networks.

First job: Feature writer for the Albuquerque Journal. Lesson from that job: “You’ll do your best work when you love what you’re doing.” Most cherished possession: “The diary my father wrote as a B-17 pilot stationed in North Africa during World War II.”

Washington DC’s 500 Most Influential People of 2024 (330)

Stephen J. Ubl
PhRMA
President and CEO

Ubl argued to Capitol Hill that the government price-setting policies for medicines enacted by the Biden administration put at risk, among other things, the jobs of construction workers who build new medical facilities, as dozens of companies say they’ll scale back investments.

Education: St. Cloud State University. What he’d tell his 18-year-old self: “Entering college, you should study a wide variety of things that interest you—art, music, science. There will be plenty of time to specialize.” Song currently on repeat: “I’m from Minneapolis, so I’m partial to Prince.”

Washington DC’s 500 Most Influential People of 2024 (331)

Jennifer Walton
Pfizer
Senior Vice President, US Policy and Government Relations

Walton has navigated the evolving treatments for coronavirus variants as well as new prescription-drug provisions on behalf of Pfizer, which allocates nearly $20 million annually to lobbying Washington.

Hometown: Beloit, Kansas. Hidden talent: “My kids would probably say having eyes in the back of my head.” Most cherished possession: “A poem my dad wrote me when I graduated from high school.”

Back to Top

Authorities on the legislative, legal, and administrative policies that shape our nation’s immigration system

Washington DC’s 500 Most Influential People of 2024 (332)

Nazanin Ash
Welcome.US
CEO

A new State Department–led private sponsorship program that allows groups of Americans to sponsor refugees from any country was a victory for Ash, who heralded “the generosity of the American people” as a solution to the refugee-resettlement crisis.

Hometown: Santa Monica, California. First job: Peer counselor at a shelter for runaway and homeless youth. Lesson from that job: “Kids don’t run away from home unless being on the streets is safer than being at home. It’s a lesson that applies to refugee newcomers as well—you don’t leave everything you’ve known, loved, and built unless your life depends on it.”

Washington DC’s 500 Most Influential People of 2024 (333)

Ronnate Asirwatham
Network
Government Relations Director

A leading immigration lobbyist, Asirwatham works on issues including asylum, refugee resettlement, unaccompanied children, and international human-rights law.

Hometown: Kandy, Sri Lanka. What she’d tell her 18-year-old self: “Slow down and enjoy yourself. Everything is going to be all right.” Hidden talent: “I am a great photographer and co*cktail maker.”

Washington DC’s 500 Most Influential People of 2024 (334)

Robyn Barnard
Human Rights First
Senior Director, Refugee Advocacy

Barnard says she devotes “99 percent” of her time to protecting the US asylum system as Republicans have sought changes to eligibility for migrants fleeing persecution in other countries.

Education: University of Melbourne (Australia) for BA and JD; Georgetown University Law School (JD exchange). First job: In the US, associate attorney in the Refugee Representation team of Human Rights First. Lesson from that job: “Watch closely and listen to experienced advocates and mentors, as you will learn more that way than through any organized training or class.”

Washington DC’s 500 Most Influential People of 2024 (335)

Vanessa Cárdenas
America’s Voice
Executive Director

Cárdenas offered her backing to a bipartisan immigration bill that would create a 12-year, two-part path to legal status and require that the border first be declared secure before pathways to legal status are granted.

Education: George Mason University. Best career advice she ever received: “My mom gave me the best advice to survive in this city of overachievers. The closest translation would be ‘Don’t waste time in jealousy—instead focus on improving yourself.’ ” Hidden talent: “I am a decent baker.”

Washington DC’s 500 Most Influential People of 2024 (336)

Kristie De Peña
Niskanen Center
Senior Vice President for Policy and Director of Immigration Policy

The descendant of Mexican immigrants, De Peña argues that robust international migration—including through asylum—is integral to filling jobs that power the US economy.

First job: At 15, server in a restaurant called Hobos. Best career advice she ever received: “Fortune favors the prepared.” What she’d tell her 18-year-old self: “Focus on developing resilience. Life can get very serious, but taking yourself too seriously is a mistake.”

Washington DC’s 500 Most Influential People of 2024 (337)

Carlos Gutierrez
TheDream.US
Cofounder

The former Secretary of Commerce is a leading Republican player in the immigration debate whose blessing is eagerly sought for any bipartisan proposal attempting to change the law.

Hometown: Born in Havana, Cuba. First job: Sales representative for Kellogg in Mexico. Best career advice he ever received: “Almost ten years before I became CEO, a mentor said: ‘Carlos, shoot for the top.’ It gave me confidence that I could be the CEO.”

Washington DC’s 500 Most Influential People of 2024 (338)

Thomas Homan
Homeland Strategic Consulting
Founder and President

Homan, who helped develop the hard-line Trump-administration policies intended to separate families who illegally cross the border, could regain clout in a second Trump term.

Hometown: West Carthage, New York. First job: Lifeguard. Best career advice he ever received: “Never forget where you came from. Never forget where you started. Don’t forget those below you, and reach back to give them a helping hand.”

Washington DC’s 500 Most Influential People of 2024 (339)

Angela Kelley
NGV
Senior Adviser

Kelley—a former chief adviser at the American Immigration Lawyers Association—made the case that extending Temporary Protected Status to more migrants from Venezuela would be the “strongest tool in the toolbox” for the Biden administration to alleviate the concerns of state and local officials while still meeting immigrants’ needs.

Best career advice she ever received: “You learn by listening.” Hidden talent: “I can whistle super-loudly with my fingers.” Last meal would be: “My abuela’s homemade fideos (noodles), her incredible slow-cooked sauce with beef, and a spectacular Bordeaux.”

Washington DC’s 500 Most Influential People of 2024 (340)

Jose Magaña-Salgado
Masa Group
Principal and Founder

A longtime immigration advocate and undocumented immigrant who holds DACA status, Magaña-Salgado assists nonprofit organizations with policy advocacy.

Hometown: Phoenix. First job: Barista. Most cherished possession: “Two cornhole boards covered by a custom oil painting of my home, given to me by dear friends.”

Washington DC’s 500 Most Influential People of 2024 (341)

Doris Meissner
Migration Policy Institute
Senior Fellow and Director, US Immigration Policy Program

Meissner is often called upon by media to explain the dilemmas facing the Biden administration following the lifting of Title 42, as Democratic cities struggle to house and accommodate streams of migrants.

Best career advice she ever received: “Go for opportunities that pique your interest, especially if they’re not in your game plan.” What she’d tell her 18-year-old self: “Act confident even when you’re not and you’ll learn to be confident.” Historical figure she most identifies with: Madeleine Albright.

Washington DC’s 500 Most Influential People of 2024 (342)

Todd Schulte
FWD.us
President

The immigration and criminal-justice advocate, who repeatedly fought the Trump administration’s immigration policy, has raised the red flag on the prospect of a second Trump term, calling the former President’s plans “authoritarian,” “often illegal,” and part of “xenophobic demagoguery.”

First job: “Advance work on a presidential campaign.” Lesson from that job: “Don’t try to tell people their own politics, but do try hard to listen and understand.” Hidden talent: “I can make extremely good scrambled eggs.”

Washington DC’s 500 Most Influential People of 2024 (343)

Dan Stein
Federation for American Immigration Reform
President

The head of a flagship network whose aim is to clamp down on the flow of migrants into the country, Stein lobbied Republicans last fall to hold out for reforms to the asylum and parole systems that permit noncitizens entry and release.

Hometown: Washington, DC. Education: Indiana University (BA); Catholic University (JD).

Back to Top

Whether involving land, sea, or air, these experts fight for policies that help strengthen the backbone of our country

Washington DC’s 500 Most Influential People of 2024 (344)

Gina Adams
FedEx
Corporate Vice President, Government and Regulatory Affairs

As the company’s top lobbyist, Adams oversees political and policy affairs for FedEx Express, FedEx Ground, and FedEx Freight, in addition to running one of the country’s largest corporate political-action committees.

Hometown: Washington, DC. Best career advice she ever received: “Listen more than you speak, don’t make enemies by accident, show grace always, and understand that your position is not permanent.” What she’d tell her 18-year-old self: “I’d emphasize the value of learning a foreign language and the joy of mastering an instrument like the piano.”

Washington DC’s 500 Most Influential People of 2024 (345)

Nikitra Bailey
National Fair Housing Alliance
Executive Vice President

Following her congressional testimony on fair housing, Bailey championed the Biden administration’s Renters Bill of Rights, designed to crack down on predatory background checks and income-source discrimination.

Education: Penn State; University of Pittsburgh School of Law. What she’d tell her 18-year-old self: “Be afraid and do it anyway.” Most cherished possession: “My Bible.”

Washington DC’s 500 Most Influential People of 2024 (346)

Mark Begich
Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck
Strategic Consulting Adviser

The former Alaska senator helped a group of utility co-ops in his home state secure a $206 million Department of Energy grant for improvements to their utility system, to ensure that Alaska can reach its targets on converting to renewable energy.

First job: “Salesperson in a gift-and-jewelry business.” Lesson from that job: “Be honest with your customers, good and bad.” Hidden talent: “I’m a great handyman.”

Washington DC’s 500 Most Influential People of 2024 (347)

Ed Bolen
National Business Aviation Association
President and CEO

Bolen helps foster a healthy economic environment for the aviation industry. He’s currently pressuring Congress to pass legislation to facilitate pilot training for Reagan National Airport in order to bolster efficiency.

Hometown: Salina, Kansas. Lesson from his first job (as a referee for elementary-school basketball and flag football): “Be fair and consistent, but recognize that when you make a tough call, there will be people who feel you are being neither.” Worst career advice he ever received: “A law professor told me billable hours weren’t that bad. Then I clerked for a law firm and found that—for me—they were.”

Washington DC’s 500 Most Influential People of 2024 (348)

Christine Burgeson
Airlines for America
Senior Vice President, Global Government Affairs

The former legislative assistant in the George W. Bush administration collaborates with airlines, the labor industry, and lawmakers to advocate for consumer and shipping aviation priorities.

Best career advice she ever received: “Even if it’s not part of your job description, always be willing to do whatever is needed.” Hidden talent: “Party planning—an innate Southern trait.” Last meal would be: Chicken and dumplings.

Washington DC’s 500 Most Influential People of 2024 (349)

Eric Burgeson
Delta Air Lines
Managing Director, Government Affairs

The former chief of staff at the Department of Energy during the George W. Bush administration, Burgeson is the senior GOP lobbyist on the Delta team, with close ties to majority whip Tom Emmer.

First job: “Pushing a broom and doing cleanup on road construction.” What he’d tell his 18-year-old self: “Start a journal so you can reflect on the big things and remember the little things that will happen in your life.” Song currently on repeat: “You Can’t Always Get What You Want” by the Rolling Stones.

Washington DC’s 500 Most Influential People of 2024 (350)

Art Cameron
RTX
Vice President, Global Government Relations

Cameron worked with Senator Roger Wicker and Congressman Michael Guest on the expansion of Raytheon’s manufacturing operations in Forest, Mississippi, where the research-and-development behemoth develops new military weaponry.

Hometown: Washington, DC. Best career advice he ever received: “Learn to be a team player early—you can never have too many friends.” Song currently on repeat: “Life in the Fast Lane” by the Eagles.

Washington DC’s 500 Most Influential People of 2024 (351)

Theresa Fariello
United Airlines
Executive Vice President, Government Affairs and Global Public Policy

The former ExxonMobil adviser now helms federal, state, and international government engagement for the world’s third-largest airline, which has enhanced its presence at its Dulles Airport hub.

Hometown: Rhinebeck, New York. Education: George Washington University; George Mason University Law School; Georgetown Law. Worst career advice she ever received: “Don’t work for the government.”

Washington DC’s 500 Most Influential People of 2024 (352)

Garrick Francis
Alliance for Automotive Innovation
Vice President, Federal Affairs

Francis was a key voice before Congress advocating for investment in semiconductor chips in order to keep the automobile industry at the forefront of American manufacturing.

Hometown: Born in Raleigh, North Carolina. Lesson from his first job (as a printer’s assistant): “The printed word is beautiful, powerful, and everlasting.” Best career advice he ever received: “From my mother, Florence Irving Francis: ‘Start every day with the determination to improve upon the day before.’ ”

Washington DC’s 500 Most Influential People of 2024 (353)

Geoff Freeman
U.S. Travel Association
President and CEO

Freeman, who represents the $1.2 trillion travel industry, has called on federal policymakers to make sweeping changes to the Federal Aviation Administration after 3,000 flight cancellations and delays last January.

Hometown: Port Washington, Wisconsin. First job: “Washing dishes in a small Italian restaurant.” Hidden talent: “Optimism. I’ve managed to convince myself I can get better at golf despite all evidence to the contrary.”

Washington DC’s 500 Most Influential People of 2024 (354)

Roger Harris
Amtrak
President

The country’s national passenger railroad has invested $124 million of infrastructure funds to increase on-time performance as it prepares to introduce the next generation of Acela trains, increase track capacity, and make upgrades along the busiest parts of the Northeast corridor.

Hometown: San Diego. Song currently on repeat: “I’m Good (Blue)”by David Guetta and Bebe Rexha. Most cherished possession: “I don’t have one. I’m not a very acquisitive person.”

Washington DC’s 500 Most Influential People of 2024 (355)

Ian Jefferies
Association of American Railroads
President and CEO

After a series of negotiations, Jefferies heralded a national collective-­bargaining agreement in which railroad management and labor agreed to a 24-percent wage increase and paid sick leave.

Hometown: Lexington, Kentucky. Song currently on repeat: “Anything by Wilco.” Historical figure he most identifies with: “I don’t think I can identify with him, but I’ve always admired Winston Churchill.”

Washington DC’s 500 Most Influential People of 2024 (356)

Kathryn D. Karol
Caterpillar
Senior Vice President, Global Government and Corporate Affairs

Wielding 30 years of government experience, Karol has a portfolio that includes free trade, tax, intellectual-property rights, and regulatory issues for the world’s leading manufacturer of construction and mining equipment, whose revenues topped $67 billion last year.

Hometown: Washington, DC. Lesson from her first job (on a political campaign): “Serve as a role model, be trustworthy.” Song currently on repeat: “Viva la Vida” by Coldplay.

Washington DC’s 500 Most Influential People of 2024 (357)

Laura Lane
UPS
Executive Vice President and Chief Corporate Affairs and Sustainability Officer

Lane is helping steer the shipping company’s pledge to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050, touting a new e-bike delivery system that’s being used in Germany.

First job: Waitress at Bob Evans. Worst career advice she ever received: “Cut your hair and fit in more with the guys.” Historical figure she most identifies with: “Mother Teresa, because she believed in making a difference in just one life and that’s what all of us should strive to do.”

Washington DC’s 500 Most Influential People of 2024 (358)

Sara Nelson
Association of Flight Attendants–CWA
International President

Nelson was vetted by the Biden administration to lead the Labor Department. Although she wasn’t selected, she holds considerable sway on Capitol Hill and remains a top-flight advocate on behalf of people working at 30,000 feet.

Hometown: Corvallis, Oregon. What she’d tell her 18-year-old self: “Stop spending time worrying about whether you can do it and just focus on how and why you’re going to do it.” Song currently on repeat: “Lift Me Up” by Rihanna.

Washington DC’s 500 Most Influential People of 2024 (359)

Ziad Ojakli
Boeing
Executive Vice President, Government Operations

The former legislative-affairs aide for President George W. Bush has helmed public policy and lobbying for the aircraft giant since 2021 and leads its global philanthropic organization, which pledged $10 million to veterans last fall.

Education: Georgetown. What he’d tell his 18-year-old self: “You can’t predict the future. Live in the moment.” Hidden talent: DJing.

Washington DC’s 500 Most Influential People of 2024 (360)

Hollyn Schuemann
General Motors
Executive Director, Head of Federal Affairs

The company’s senior Republican lobbyist leads the Washington team and its navigation of everything from tax and trade policy to changes in safety regulations and infrastructure funding.

Education: Louisiana State. Lesson from her first job (as a swim instructor and lifeguard): “Patience is key when working with people in vulnerable situations.” Best career advice she ever received: “People may not go about doing the job the same way as you. Respect the varying approaches people take—it’s the end result that matters.”

Washington DC’s 500 Most Influential People of 2024 (361)

Bill Shuster
Squire Patton Boggs
Senior Policy Adviser

The former chairman of the House Transportation and Infrastructure committee was hired by Airlines for America last summer to influence lawmakers on the reauthorization package of the Federal Aviation Administration.

Hometown: McKeesport, Pennsylvania. Education: Dickinson College; American University.

Washington DC’s 500 Most Influential People of 2024 (362)

Chris Spear
American Trucking Associations
President and CEO

Spear appeared alongside Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg to unveil a new truck-parking project that will plow funds into more pavement space near highways for the nation’s 3.5 million drivers.

Hometown: Omaha. First job: At a Kubota assembly plant. Lesson from that job: “I’d rather build a world for tractors than build them.”

Washington DC’s 500 Most Influential People of 2024 (363)

Jim Tymon
American Association of State Highway & Transportation Officials
Executive Director

Tymon’s organization helped states and local governments deal with the technical requirements to solicit infrastructure funding, including national electric-vehicle-program dollars being allocated over a five-year timeline.

Best career advice he ever received: “If you don’t have enough to keep you busy, don’t be afraid to ask for more.” Hidden talent: “I can sleep in anything that moves—a plane, a car, a bus, a train.” Song currently on repeat: “Thunder Road” by Bruce Springsteen.

Washington DC’s 500 Most Influential People of 2024 (364)

Omar Vargas
General Motors
Vice President and Head of Global Public Policy

Vargas helped the auto giant promote the federal government’s new $7,500 clean-­vehicle tax credit, which can be tapped by drivers of the Chevrolet Bolt EV and Bolt EUV.

Hometown: Berkeley Heights, New Jersey. Best career advice he ever received: “Don’t sit behind a desk all day.” Historical figure he most identifies with: “Voltaire—an optimistic guy.”

Washington DC’s 500 Most Influential People of 2024 (365)

Molly Wilkinson
American Airlines
Vice President, Head of Regulatory and International Government Affairs

Wilkinson has guided the company through one of its more turbulent periods, marked by anticipated rule-making challenges as well as global events that have repeatedly ensnared airspace, including re-engagement in foreign aviation markets such as China.

Hometown: Amsterdam, New York. First job: “Working in my dad’s law office.” Lesson from that job: “Who you know is just as important as what you know.”

Washington DC’s 500 Most Influential People of 2024 (366)

Cherie Wilson
Delta Air Lines
Vice President, Government Affairs–Sustainability

Wilson facilitated the launch of Americans for Clean Aviation Fuels, a diverse coalition of the largest industrial sectors in America—from agribusiness and farmers to fuel producers and manufacturers—all focused on promoting the economic benefits of homegrown sustainable aviation fuel.

Hometown: Germantown. Best career advice she ever received: “In assessing what companies to work for, look at the C-suite leadership, specifically the values of the CEO, who sets the tone for the company.” Song currently on repeat: “Heat Waves” by Glass Animals.

Washington DC’s 500 Most Influential People of 2024 (367)

Heather Wingate
Delta Air Lines
Senior Vice President, Government Affairs

To assist the US government’s repatriation efforts of American citizens seeking to leave Israel during its war with Hamas, Delta added a string of new flights from Athens to New York City.

Hometown: Lawrence, Kansas. Best career advice she ever received: “Stay curious and in constant learning mode. Adapt.” Hidden talent: “I have a good deal of stamina. I’m not fast, but I can run a long way.”

Washington DC’s 500 Most Influential People of 2024 (368)

Jill Zuckman
SKDK
Partner

Zuckman, a former Washington political correspondent, has worked with a client to push the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to use female crash-test dummies when evaluating motor vehicles, in an effort to close a testing gender gap. Studies show that women are more likely to be seriously injured and killed in auto accidents than men.

Education: Brown University. First job: Reporter at the Milwaukee Journal.Song currently on repeat: “Always Be My Baby”by Mariah Carey.

Back to Top

Legal minds who put their brainpower behind helping our government work better

Washington DC’s 500 Most Influential People of 2024 (369)

Donald Ayer
Campaign Legal Center
Senior Adviser

An appellate lawyer for more than 30 years, Ayer has argued 19 cases before the Supreme Court and became a significant voice arguing for Donald Trump’s prosecution for the January 6 attack on the Capitol.

Education: Stanford (BA); Harvard (MA, JD). First job: Law clerk to Justice William Rehnquist. Lesson from that job: “Simple and direct is better than complicated and indirect.”

Washington DC’s 500 Most Influential People of 2024 (370)

Andrew P. Bakaj
Compass Rose Legal Group
Founding and Managing Partner

Bakaj is known for taking on high-risk international cases—he was lead counsel on an investigation that tied the former prime minister of Malta to the assassination of a journalist, and he exposed a New York media publication as being a Chinese foreign agent.

Hometown: Stamford, Connecticut. Best career advice he ever received: “Opportunities don’t appear out of thin air. ‘Luck’ is a byproduct of hard work.” What he’d tell his 18-year-old self: “Relax.”

Washington DC’s 500 Most Influential People of 2024 (371)

Lisa Banks
Katz Banks Kumin
Partner

A leading sexual-harassment and employment discrimination attorney, Banks represented more than 40 former Washington Commanders employees who came forward to expose the team’s troubled environment under former owner Dan Snyder.

First job: Working in research and development of sneakers for Reebok. Talent she’d most like to have: “Writing the ‘great American novel,’ or any novel, actually.” Last meal would be: Mujadara and warm pita bread, just like my Lebanese grandmother made for me growing up.

Washington DC’s 500 Most Influential People of 2024 (372)

Marcus Childress
Jenner & Block
Partner

As investigative counsel to the House Select Committee investigating the January 6 attack on the Capitol, Childress conducted more than 60 depositions and interviews of key witnesses. He now helps companies and organizations navigate litigation risks stemming from the Supreme Court’s ruling on race-conscious admissions.

Hometown: Chester, Virginia. What he’d tell his 18-year-old self: “Be confident enough to dream.” Most cherished possession: Jordan 11 Retro Bred sneakers.

Washington DC’s 500 Most Influential People of 2024 (373)

Ty Cobb
Ty Cobb PLLC
Owner

The former Trump White House counsel is back in private practice, handling complex litigation for public officials and Fortune 500 companies. He has publicly warned that another Trump term would turn the Justice Department into Trump’s legal-defense team.

First job: Cutting grass for $1 a yard at age seven. Best career advice he ever received: “Hesitate briefly and let your mouth catch up to your brain.” A talent he’d most like to have: “Forgiveness.”

Washington DC’s 500 Most Influential People of 2024 (374)

Mike Davis
Article III Project
Founder and President

A former chief counsel to Senator Chuck Grassley, Davis has steadily built his media presence. He’s a confrontational Trump loyalist who has been floated as a possible attorney general in a second Trump administration.

Hometown: Des Moines. Education: University of Iowa (BA, JD).

Washington DC’s 500 Most Influential People of 2024 (375)

Karen Dunn
Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison
Partner

When the Justice Department pursued Google for monopolization of the advertising market, the tech giant tapped Dunn, who specializes in high-stakes trials, investigations, and crisis management for big-name companies.

Hometown: Wyckoff, New Jersey. Song currently on repeat: “Shut Up and Dance”by Walk the Moon. Historical figure she most identifies with: “Eleanor Roosevelt. She said these words to live by: ‘You must do the thing you think you cannot do.’ ”

Washington DC’s 500 Most Influential People of 2024 (376)

Jamie Gorelick
WilmerHale
Partner

With stints as both a deputy attorney general at the Justice Department and a general counsel at Defense, Gorelick represents some of the highest-powered players in Washington and has close connections to Washington Post owner Jeff Bezos.

First job: “Litigator in a small litigation firm.” Worst career advice she ever received: “ ‘Women don’t belong in litigation—or national security or law enforcement.’ I ignored this.” What she’d tell her 18-year-old self: “Go for it. Don’t play it safe.”

Washington DC’s 500 Most Influential People of 2024 (377)

Fatima Goss Graves
National Women’s Law Center
President and CEO

Goss Graves has pressured the Biden administration to finalize Title XI rules, describing the delayed revamp as “devastating” to survivors of sexual assault on college campuses.

First job: Babysitting. What she’d tell her 18-year-old self: “The time in college when you decided to do nothing and just be young at the beach was time well spent.” Song currently on repeat: “Paint the Town Red” by Doja Cat.

Washington DC’s 500 Most Influential People of 2024 (378)

Deepak Gupta
Gupta Wessler
Founding Principal

Gupta’s bio pronounces that he wants his firm to be a “counterweight to the corporate dominance of the Supreme Court and the appellate bar” and instead help ensure justice for consumers, workers, and communities injured by government wrongdoing.

Hidden talent: “I can talk to the most annoying people without showing a hint of annoyance.” Last meal would be: Rigatoni from the Red Hen, with a glass of Nerello Mascalese. Historical figure he most identifies with: “My grandfather, a newspaper editor in India who spoke out against British rule and was jailed for it.”

Washington DC’s 500 Most Influential People of 2024 (379)

Jamie Jackson
K&L Gates
Partner

Having crafted bipartisan legislation on issues such as cybersecurity defense and military justice during her time in government, Jackson now leverages her expertise as a private attorney advocating for clients.

Hometown: Glen Allen, Virginia. First job: Busser at Aunt Sarah’s Pancake House. Song currently on repeat: “Hero”by Mariah Carey.

Washington DC’s 500 Most Influential People of 2024 (380)

Neal Katyal
Hogan Lovells
Partner

Katyal is highly sought by media outlets for his expertise on Donald Trump’s criminal cases. He launched his own podcast, Courtside, a deep dive into consequential Supreme Court cases for non-lawyers.

Education: Dartmouth; Yale Law School. What he’d tell his 18-year-old self: “Marrying well is a thousand times more important than anything else you do.” Last meal would be: Vongole pizza from 2 Amys.

Washington DC’s 500 Most Influential People of 2024 (381)

Joshua Matz
Kaplan Hecker & Fink
Partner

Matz was part of the team representing E. Jean Carroll in holding former President Trump liable for battery and defamation before a federal jury in Manhattan, which awarded her $5 million in damages.

Education: University of Pennsylvania; Oxford; Harvard Law. Hidden talent: “I’m a bread baker—mainly challah.” Last meal would be: Spaghetti and meatballs.

Washington DC’s 500 Most Influential People of 2024 (382)

Don McGahn
Jones Day
Practice Leader, Government Regulation

While the former White House counsel is not advising Trump’s 2024 run, he remains a key legal voice in the conservative ecosystem, with close ties to Mitch McConnell and many judges in the pipeline for appointments if Trump returns to the White House.

Hometown: Atlantic City, New Jersey. Education: Notre Dame; Widener University; Georgetown.

Washington DC’s 500 Most Influential People of 2024 (383)

Jonathan Turley
George Washington University Law School
J.B. and Maurice C. Shapiro Professor of Public Interest Law

A well-known legal analyst who appears often on Fox News to discuss constitutional questions, Turley was one of the first witnesses Republicans called to testify during their controversial impeachment inquiry of President Biden.

Hometown: Chicago. Best career advice he ever received: “Live every day like it’s your last, because someday you are bound to be right.” Talent he’d most like to have: “I’d like to be able to perform the Vulcan salute. My inability to separate my fingers entirely has been the source of endless abuse by my children.”

Washington DC’s 500 Most Influential People of 2024 (384)

John Vecchione
New Civil Liberties Alliance
Senior Litigation Counsel

Vecchione has been challenging the constitutionality of administrative actions against American citizens since 2016, most recently serving as lead counsel in cases on First Amendment rights and judicial and congressional powers that have reached the Supreme Court.

Worst career advice he ever received: “Follow your dreams.” What he’d tell his 18-year-old self: “Don’t take calculus for two semesters, and if you can afford it, you are not too young to own a house or condo.” Hidden talent: “Whatever Forrest Gump has that has him in interesting places at interesting times.”

Washington DC’s 500 Most Influential People of 2024 (385)

Mark S. Zaid
Mark S. Zaid, P.C.
Founding Partner

Zaid, who specializes in crisis-management cases, is working on a lawsuit against Donald Trump and two January 6 rioters on behalf of the estate of Officer Brian Sicknick, who died as a result of the attack on the Capitol.

First job:
Newsday newspaper-delivery boy. Worst career advice he ever received: “Not to rock the boat.” Most cherished possession: “A gold medal given to a senior officer of RMS Carpathia for rescuing survivors of RMS Titanic.

Back to Top

Leaders who help shape the policies that make our country safe and protected

Washington DC’s 500 Most Influential People of 2024 (386)

Sergio Aguirre
WestExec Advisors
Cofounder and Managing Partner

Aguirre leads a bipartisan team that works with top-flight clients on defense, foreign-policy, cybersecurity, data-privacy, and communications needs.

Hometown: Atlanta. First job: Production assistant at Fox Sports South. Lesson from that job: “That I did not want a career in sports television.”

Washington DC’s 500 Most Influential People of 2024 (387)

Dmitri Alperovitch
Silverado Policy Accelerator
Cofounder and Chairman

The Department of Homeland Security decided to establish a program to enhance the nation’s supply chains at the recommendation of a special advisory subcommittee, which Alperovitch co-led.

Hometown: Moscow. Best career advice he ever received: “Become a deep expert on the topic you’re passionate about, and showcase that expertise publicly on blogs, social media, and podcasts. Your ideal job will then seek you out.” Song currently on repeat: “Don’t Stop Believin’ ” by Journey.

Washington DC’s 500 Most Influential People of 2024 (388)

Jenna Ben-Yehuda
Atlantic Council
Executive Vice President

The former president of the Truman National Security Project, Ben-Yehuda is a longtime advocate for gender equity in national security and founder of the Women’s Foreign Policy Network.

First job: “I worked as a babysitter at a gym—changing diapers, cleaning toilets, and caring for kids.” What she’d tell her 18-year-old self: “Slow down!” Song currently on repeat: “Fast Car” by Tracy Chapman.

Washington DC’s 500 Most Influential People of 2024 (389)

Thomas P. Bossert
Trinity Cyber
President

The former Homeland Security adviser to President Trump and the deputy Homeland Security adviser to George W. Bush now provides his network-security-services expertise to governments and private companies.

Hometown: Quakertown, Pennsylvania. Education: University of Pittsburgh; George Washington University Law School.

Washington DC’s 500 Most Influential People of 2024 (390)

Bradley Bowman
Foundation for Defense of Democracies
Senior Director, Center on Military and Political Power

Bowman’s sharp-tongued scrutiny and critiques of US defense policy often gain traction and shape media narratives, including his evaluation last fall that, while the Biden administration responded with great speed after the Hamas attack to send weapons and support to Israel, it needed to do even more.

Hometown: “I grew up mostly in Oregon.” Education:West Point; Yale (MA).

Washington DC’s 500 Most Influential People of 2024 (391)

Nitin Chadda
WestExec Advisors
Cofounder and Managing Partner
Chadda sits atop this strategic advisory firm, which is packed with former top national-­security and foreign-policy officials with direct ties to the Democratic Party establishment and Biden administration.

Best career advice he ever received: “Always choose the boss, not the job.” Hidden talent: Fashion design. Historical figure he most identifies with: Niccolò Machiavelli.

Washington DC’s 500 Most Influential People of 2024 (392)

Carrie Cordero
Center for a New American Security
Senior Fellow and General Counsel

An attorney with more than 20 years of experience in national security, Cordero focuses on cybersecurity, privacy, and defense-policy research, as well as developing strategies to combat violence and anti-Semitism.

Hometown: Cleveland. First job: Summer-­camp counselor. Lesson from that job: “Value the summers you get to spend outside—they don’t last forever!”

Washington DC’s 500 Most Influential People of 2024 (393)

Rajesh De
Mayer Brown
Partner

One of the most trusted voices in Washington on cybersecurity challenges, De assists a host of major companies including Palo Alto Networks, Google, and Toyota, and is a judge on a newly established Department of Justice court that reviews data protection.

Hometown: Philadelphia. Education: Harvard; Harvard Law. Best career advice he ever received: “Go where the action is.”

Washington DC’s 500 Most Influential People of 2024 (394)

Evelyn Farkas
McCain Institute
Executive Director
The former New York congressional candidate was among the first to raise alarms about Russian interference in the 2016 election and has molded herself into a thought leader on the security challenges facing Ukraine and Israel.

Hometown: Chappaqua, New York. First job: “I was a clerk in a chocolate store when I was 14.” Lesson from that job: “Don’t sample the merchandise. I got hooked on chocolate at an early age—and can’t kick the habit!”

Washington DC’s 500 Most Influential People of 2024 (395)

Sue Gordon
SecurityScorecard
Independent Director

A nearly four-decade intelligence-­community veteran, Gordon is helping public- and private-sector customers manage cybersecurity risks.

Education: “Duke University. Go Blue Devils!” Hidden talent: “Making grilled cheese sandwiches.” Song currently on repeat: “Walking on Sunshine” by Katrina and the Waves.

Washington DC’s 500 Most Influential People of 2024 (396)

Stephen J. Hadley
Rice, Hadley, Gates & Manuel
Principal

Now atop an international consulting firm founded with Condoleezza Rice and Robert Gates, Hadley is heralded as a strategic thinker with an abundance of contacts and intelligence from his tenure as assistant to President George W. Bush on national-security affairs.

Hometown: South Euclid, Ohio. Education: Cornell; Yale Law. First job: Naval officer.

Washington DC’s 500 Most Influential People of 2024 (397)

Rebeccah L. Heinrichs
Hudson Institute
Senior Fellow and Director, Keystone Defense Initiative

Heinrichs has argued that Congress—specifically Republicans—should embrace the Reagan orthodoxy of countering the country’s paramount foes, China and Russia, simultaneously.

First job: “Cashier at the local grocery store.” Best career advice she ever received: “Keep a private record of the wins along the way.” What she’d tell her 18-year-old self: “Go enjoy more live music.”

Washington DC’s 500 Most Influential People of 2024 (398)

Fiona Hill
Brookings Institution
Senior Fellow

One of the world’s foremost experts on Russian affairs, the former senior director for Europe and Russia on the National Security Council has become an omnipresent analyst on the war in Ukraine and how it’s impacting other US foreign-policy decisions.

Hometown: Bishop Auckland, England. Best career advice she ever received: “Think of your career as a long arc and every position as a steppingstone to learning something new.” Hidden talent:Photography.

Washington DC’s 500 Most Influential People of 2024 (399)

Bruce Hoffman
Georgetown University Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service
Professor
Council on Foreign Relations
Shelby Cullom and Kathryn W. Davis Senior Fellow for Counterterrorism and Homeland Security

After the October 7 attacks on Israel, Hoffman met with Republican and Democratic lawmakers to explain the consequences for counterterrorism in the region. He also briefed senior members of the intelligence community, including the antiterrorism office of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

Hometown: The Bronx. Best career advice he ever received: “Lead by example.” Last meal would be: “Spicy Shinwari chicken karahi, an Afghan dish.”

Washington DC’s 500 Most Influential People of 2024 (400)

Seth G. Jones
Center for Strategic & International Studies
Senior Vice President; Director, International Security Program; Director, Transnational Threats Project

Jones, who leads a bipartisan team of more than 50 staffers dedicated to formulating strategic national-security solutions, has robustly advocated for long-term military assistance to Ukraine.

Hometown: Greenwich, Connecticut. Education: Bowdoin College; University of Chicago. Hidden talent: Beatboxing.

Washington DC’s 500 Most Influential People of 2024 (401)

Jane Lee
Rebellion Defense
Chief Government Relations Officer

Through the Software in Defense Coalition, a group she founded, Lee secured several new statutes within the Department of Defense that make it easier for small defense-tech businesses to lure new talent into the national-security space.

First job: “Cashier at my parents’ diner.” What she’d tell her 18-year-old self: “Laugh more, stress less.” Song currently on repeat: “Think” by Aretha Franklin.

Washington DC’s 500 Most Influential People of 2024 (402)

Michael Morell
Beacon Global Strategies
Senior Counselor and Global Chairman of the Geopolitical Risk Practice

The CIA veteran—who advises a wide range of clients on international policy and homeland security—was called before the House Judiciary Committee to discuss the probe surrounding Hunter Biden’s laptop and the discrediting of a New York Post story during the 2020 campaign.

Hometown: Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio. Education: University of Akron; Georgetown.

Washington DC’s 500 Most Influential People of 2024 (403)

Michael O’Hanlon
Brookings Institution
Senior Fellow and Director of Research, Foreign Policy

O’Hanlon is a regular presence on cable news—often called upon to analyze national-security hot spots—and is well known in Capitol Hill defense circles.

First job: Farm hand on a dairy farm in upstate New York. Talent he’d most like to have: “I would like to be 10 to 20 percent smarter.” Last meal would be: Chesapeake Bay crabcakes.

Washington DC’s 500 Most Influential People of 2024 (404)

Nichole Francis Reynolds
ServiceNow
Vice President and Head of Global Government Relations

Reynolds was successful in working with the House and Senate appropriations committees to pass language requiring the Department of Defense to improve military housing for junior enlisted servicemembers.

First job: Lifeguard. Lesson from that job: “Sink or swim.” Song currently on repeat: “Survivor” by Destiny’s Child.

Washington DC’s 500 Most Influential People of 2024 (405)

Paul Scharre
Center for a New American Security
Executive Vice President and Director of Studies

Scharre—who wrote a book examining artificial intelligence’s impact on the military—is well regarded by defense colleagues for his expertise on the coming AI revolution and its wide-reaching national-security implications.

Education: Washington University in St. Louis; King’s College Lon­don. First job: Special-operations reconnaissance-team leader in the Army’s 3rd Ranger Battalion.

Washington DC’s 500 Most Influential People of 2024 (406)

Lucas Schleusener
Out in National Security
Cofounder and CEO

Schleusener leads an LGBTQIA+ professional association focused on making the sprawling national-security enterprise more equitable and inclusive through changes to law, custom, and policy.

Lesson from his first job (as a summer-camp counselor): “Make sure everyone has had lunch or a snack before making big decisions.” What he’d tell his 18-year-old self: “Be yourself—everyone else is already taken.” Last meal would be: Spicy cumin lamb noodles.

Washington DC’s 500 Most Influential People of 2024 (407)

Matthew Steckman
Anduril Industries
Chief Revenue Officer

Anduril’s development of autonomous surveillance towers for southern-­border security sits at the heart of the convergence of national-security policy, technology, and privacy.

Best career advice he ever received: “Progression is not about title or compensation, it’s about how much risk your organization allows you to take on its behalf.” What he’d tell his 18-year-old self: “A hot temper solves nothing.” Song currently on repeat: “Sweet Symphony” by Joy Oladokun and Chris Stapleton.

Washington DC’s 500 Most Influential People of 2024 (408)

Caroline Tess
National Security Action
Executive Director

A former National Security Council staffer to President Obama, Tess heads up this organization, which, according to InfluenceWatch, provides Democratic candidates with foreign-affairs insight and talking points. She has a talent for marshaling the expertise and influence of nongovernmental players in policy debates.

Education: UC Berkeley; Georgetown. First job: Military legislative assistant for Congressman Frank Pallone Jr. of New Jersey.

Washington DC’s 500 Most Influential People of 2024 (409)

Melanne Verveer
Georgetown Institute for Women, Peace & Security
Executive Director

Franklin Foer’s book on the Biden administration’s first two years revealed Verveer’s secretive efforts to help Hillary Clinton compile a list of 1,500 vulnerable Afghan women and families that the Taliban would most likely target as the US withdrew from the country. The list was circulated among Biden officials as Verveer and other allies pressed for action.

Hometown: Shamokin, Pennsylvania. Hidden talent: Interior decorating. Last meal would be: A Ukrainian delicacy, cherry vareniki.

Back to Top

Beltway insiders helping advance Big Tech and telecommunications issues on Capitol Hill

Washington DC’s 500 Most Influential People of 2024 (410)

Amanda Anderson
Block
Global Head of Public Policy and Government Relations

The former Uber lobbyist now guides regulation strategy for Block, the financial-­tech servicer. Anderson has had an impact on shaping the Buy Now, Pay Later industry and PPP programs for micro-entrepreneurs.

Best career advice she ever received: “No matter who you are, what you’ve achieved, or what title you may hold, people respect the work.” Most cherished possession: “My great-grandmother’s punch bowl—we use it every year at our holiday party, and every year I panic it may break.” Hidden talent: “I have a hidden dream of opening a catering company—I love hosting huge parties and cooking every bit of food.”

Washington DC’s 500 Most Influential People of 2024 (411)

John Bailey
American Enterprise Institute
Nonresident Senior Fellow

In his capacity as a senior fellow at AEI, Bailey has written extensively about the risks and opportunities with generative artificial intelligence, including in education.

Education: Dickinson College. Best career advice he ever received: “ ‘It’s better to light a candle than to curse the darkness.’ A Jesuit proverb.” Song currently on repeat: “The Comeback” by the Zac Brown Band.

Washington DC’s 500 Most Influential People of 2024 (412)

Meredith Attwell Baker
CTIA
President and CEO

Baker has warned policymakers that more exclusive-use licensing of 5G-friendly spectrum is necessary to support the exploding demand of the $825 billion annual wireless economy.

Hometown: Houston. Best career advice she’s ever received: “Sometimes it’s the job that’s great, sometimes it’s the boss, and if you’re really lucky, it’s both.” Most cherished possession: “My dad’s service dog, Zia.”

Washington DC’s 500 Most Influential People of 2024 (413)

Michael Beckerman
TikTok
Vice President and Head of Public Policy, Americas

As the viral-video app attracts more scrutiny in Washington, Beckerman has acted as a human shield for the incoming attacks—enduring withering interviews, including a memorable spat on CNN in which he refused to articulate TikTok’s views on Chinese oppression.

Education: George Washington University. First job: Legislative correspondent/aide for Congressman Fred Upton of Michigan.

Washington DC’s 500 Most Influential People of 2024 (414)

Shirley Bloomfield
NTCA–The Rural Broadband Association
CEO

Bloomfield’s mission is promoting greater availability—and more effective usage—of broadband-deployment grant funding by working with everyone from federal officials to community-based broadband providers.

Hometown: Fond du Lac, Wisconsin. What she’d tell her 18-year-old self: “Never be afraid to simply be yourself. Authenticity is not only underrated, but being anything else is exhausting.” Last meal would be: “It would be comprised of side dishes, which are frankly the best part of the meal. French onion soup, French fries, roasted Brussels sprouts with bacon, and a hot-fudge sundae.”

Washington DC’s 500 Most Influential People of 2024 (415)

Catherine Bohigian
Charter Communications
Executive Vice President, Government Affairs

Bohigian helped leverage a Federal Communications Commission program in order to provide low-cost or free connectivity to lower-­income customers.

First job: Waiter at Dalt’s, a Dallas restaurant. Best career advice she ever received: “Find a great mentor.” Talent she’d most like to have: “The ability to stop time.”

Washington DC’s 500 Most Influential People of 2024 (416)

April Boyd
Spotify
Vice President, Global Government Affairs and Public Policy

From AI to antitrust concerns, Boyd makes sure the voice of the streaming service is heard by decision makers in DC and beyond. She has spearheaded Spotify’s work with congressional leaders to change laws to combat app-store abuses.

Hometown: Sidney, Iowa. First job: Intern in the White House press office. Song currently on repeat: “ ‘Slow Burn’ by Kacey Musgraves. I love Spotify’s Coastal Cowgirl playlist.”

Washington DC’s 500 Most Influential People of 2024 (417)

John Branscome
Meta
Director, Public Policy

Hired to help combat regulatory threats from a Democratic administration, Branscome leads Facebook’s $20 million annual lobbying blitz on issues including misinformation, immigration, and algorithmic bias.

Hometown: Hillsville, Virginia. Education: Virginia Tech. First job: In the Virginia governor’s office as a special assistant on environmental/natural resources. Best career advice he ever received: “Be thankful for the jobs you didn’t get.”

Washington DC’s 500 Most Influential People of 2024 (418)

Kara Calvert
Coinbase
Head of US Policy

Calvert assisted in marshaling people representing more than 50 companies to swarm Capitol Hill to advocate for cryptocurrency, which more than 52 million Americans now own.

Hometown: Riverton, Wyoming. Worst career advice she ever received: “ ‘Sharpen your elbows—you won’t survive by being nice.’ In my experience, sharp elbows don’t help move an issue or a relationship forward. Being honest and open does.” Hidden talent: “I studied ballet for 13 years and can still perform a pretty solid pirouette.”

Washington DC’s 500 Most Influential People of 2024 (419)

Jay Carney
Airbnb
Global Head of Policy and Communications

The former Obama White House press secretary was lured to Airbnb by CEO Brian Chesky to try to change the narrative around the lodging company, which was plagued by sagging bookings coming out of the pandemic and mounting customer dissatisfaction.

Education: Yale. First job: Reporter for the Miami Herald.

Washington DC’s 500 Most Influential People of 2024 (420)

Steve Case
Revolution
Chairman and CEO

The cofounder of AOL has been crowned Washington’s “tech whisperer,” with a highly influential voice on legislation involving AI technology, particularly when it’s geared to benefit economies outside of Silicon Valley.

Hometown: Honolulu. Worst career advice he ever received: “The conventional wisdom was that it was best to work at a Fortune 500 company and that joining or starting a new company was too risky. Thankfully, I didn’t listen.” What he’d tell his 18-year-old self: “Revolutions usually happen in evolutionary ways, so you need to be patient and persevere.”

Washington DC’s 500 Most Influential People of 2024 (421)

Danielle Coffey
News/Media Alliance
President and CEO

Representing 2,000 media outlets worldwide, Coffey has warned tech companies against using news content to train AI models without compensation or permission.

Hometown: Los Angeles. Best career advice she ever received: “Don’t try to be someone you’re not. You’ll fail. Be the best version of yourself.” Song currently on repeat: “Goodbye Horses” by Q Lazzarus.

Washington DC’s 500 Most Influential People of 2024 (422)

Maryam Cope
ASML
Head of US Government Relations

Cope’s work in tech policy over the past 16 years has contributed to the growth of the semiconductor industry. She’s had more than 100 supply-chain meetings with key government officials, including Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo.

Education: Northwestern; Stanford.

Washington DC’s 500 Most Influential People of 2024 (423)

Maura Colleton Corbett
Glen Echo Group
Founder and CEO

Corbett—who has expertise in privacy, security, and copyright issues—has been described as playing a pivotal role for technology companies trying to navigate their way through various regulatory proposals bandied about on Capitol Hill.

Hometown: South Orange, New Jersey. First job: “Babysitting all of my younger siblings.” Lesson from that job: “Don’t have seven kids.”

Washington DC’s 500 Most Influential People of 2024 (424)

Michael Daniel
Cyber Threat Alliance
CEO and President

Daniel helped develop the Cyber Incident Reporting Framework recommendations, identifying the data-field types that the Cyber­security and Infrastructure Security Agency should collect as it implements new laws.

What he’d tell his 18-year-old self: “When you get to graduate school, don’t focus entirely on the class work.Take advantage of the other opportunities the school has to offer.” Last meal would be: “Steak and pasta, with a really good beer.” Most cherished possession: “I recently received a 500-year-old Japanese wakizashi from my sensei.”

Washington DC’s 500 Most Influential People of 2024 (425)

Antigone Davis
Meta
Global Head of Safety

With the company facing pressure to enhance child protections, Davis pressed lawmakers to pass legislation requiring parental approval for app-store downloads by teenagers.

Education: Barnard; University of Chicago Law School.

Washington DC’s 500 Most Influential People of 2024 (426)

Kathryn de Wit
Pew Charitable Trusts
Project Director, Broadband Access Initiative

De Wit has played a key role in assisting states, local communities, and the federal government in forging consensus around new federal broadband policy standards. She has also advocated for extending internet access to 20 million households.

Hometown: Pittsburgh. Best career advice she ever received: “Work hard, but find time to do things that re-energize you. You’re no good to anyone when you’re depleted.” Hidden talent: “Improvising dinner from an ‘empty’ fridge or pantry.”

Washington DC’s 500 Most Influential People of 2024 (427)

Lane Dilg
OpenAI
Head of Strategic Partnerships, Global Affairs

The former Santa Monica city manager and Energy Department official works with federal agencies advocating for what is arguably the buzziest technology company on the planet. She’s encouraging safe adoption of AI tools in Congress and multiple federal agencies.

Education: University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill; Harvard Di-vinity School; Yale Law School. Best career advice she ever received: “It’s about boundaries, not balance.” Hidden talent: “Building pillow forts.”

Washington DC’s 500 Most Influential People of 2024 (428)

Patricia Ephraim Eke
Microsoft
Director, Global Cybersecurity Public Policy

Eke advocates for global cybersecurity policy on infrastructure risk-management best practices and frameworks; artificial intelligence; cloud security; and cross-border data flows.

Education: Washington College (BA); George Washington Uni­ver­sity (master’s).

Washington DC’s 500 Most Influential People of 2024 (429)

Victoria Espinel
BSA, The Software Alliance
President and CEO

Espinel testified before the Senate subcommittee on Commerce, Science and Transportation to urge lawmakers to distinguish between developers and deployers of artificial intelligence so companies can reap economic benefits.

Hometown: Washington, DC. Education: “Double Hoya—Georgetown undergrad and law school—and London School of Economics for LLM.” First job: Cashier at a fast-food restaurant.

Washington DC’s 500 Most Influential People of 2024 (430)

Jeff Farrah
Autonomous Vehicle Industry Association
CEO

To calm fears that automation will destroy jobs, Farrah has argued that truck drivers will continue to be necessary to haul freight as technology evolves to fill staffing gaps.

First job: Pizza delivery. Lesson from that job: “Great early education in hustling! As a teenager, you can do quite well working hard with a smile on your face.” Best career advice he ever received: “My uncle taught me that identifying incredibly talented people to work with is a superpower worth developing.”

Washington DC’s 500 Most Influential People of 2024 (431)

Ed Gillespie
AT&T
Senior Executive Vice President, External and Legislative Affairs

Gillespie coordinates public/private partnerships around the country to help make broadband access more affordable, while at the same time developing digital-literacy platforms and workshops.

Hometown: Browns Mills, New Jersey. Education: Catholic University. Hidden talent: “Keeping confidences.”

Washington DC’s 500 Most Influential People of 2024 (432)

Alexandra Reeve Givens
Center for Democracy & Technology
President and CEO

Givens met with Vice President Harris to discuss how the administration should approach governing artificial intelligence, stressing that addressing the technology’s potential harms is the only way the US can innovate responsibly and compete globally.

Best career advice she ever received: “Rather than a single mentor, build your personal ‘cabinet’ of advisers with diverse experiences and backgrounds.” Talent she’d most like to have: “To speak in any language.” Most cherished possession: “Family photographs—I curate them obsessively, and they give me so much joy.”

Washington DC’s 500 Most Influential People of 2024 (433)

David Goodfriend
Goodfriend Group
President and Founder

Goodfriend, who represented the Communications Workers of America’s NewsGuild in proceedings before the FCC, argued against the Standard General–Tegna merger, which Tegna ultimately scrapped.

Hometown: Madison, Wisconsin. Best career advice he ever received: “Choose experience over pay.” Hidden talent: “Playing jazz flute.”

Washington DC’s 500 Most Influential People of 2024 (434)

Robin Hanson
George Mason University
Associate Professor of Economics

Hanson has been heralded as one of the deepest early thinkers on the impact of artificial intelligence, warning policymakers against global governance of the technology and arguing that gradual but lawful change is the most likely long-term AI scenario.

Education: UC Irvine (BS); University of Chicago (master’s); Caltech (PhD). First job: Researcher at the Lockheed AI Center from 1984 to 1989. What he’d tell his18-year-old self: “Try harder to find others to talk out ideas with.”

Washington DC’s 500 Most Influential People of 2024 (435)

Sacha Haworth
Tech Oversight Project
Executive Director

Haworth is a persistent vocal antagonist of Meta, accusing its senior leadership of lying about the company’s business practices and endangering child safety for profit, a line of attack that has gained traction on Capitol Hill due to Haworth’s ability to organize.

First job: Bruegger’s Bagels. What she’d tell her 18-year-old self: “Study whatever the hell you want in college.” Talent she’d like to have: “The ability to wear high heels all day.”

Washington DC’s 500 Most Influential People of 2024 (436)

Fred Humphries
Microsoft
Corporate Vice President, US Government Affairs

Humphries got behind a Senate bill aimed at endorsing multi-cloud technologies as a solution to issues arising from current cloud implementation within the government. While it has won bipartisan support, the bill remains in committee.

Hometown: Nashville, Tennessee. Education: Morehouse College; Temple University School of Law. What he’d tell his 18-year-old self: “Math and science are the skills you should possess.”

Washington DC’s 500 Most Influential People of 2024 (437)

Brian Huseman
Amazon
Vice President, Public Policy

Huseman helped facilitate the opening of the first phase of HQ2 in Arlington, which houses 8,000 employees and holds capacity for growth.

Hometown: Anadarko, Oklahoma. Best career advice he ever received: “Raise your hand and be willing to take on responsibilities that you may not be comfortable with or that may not be in your job description.” Talent he’d most like to have: “I’d love to be a great singer. I have fun doing karaoke at office holiday parties, but it would be awesome to be able to belt out an amazing tune.”

Washington DC’s 500 Most Influential People of 2024 (438)

Stewart Jeffries
Jeffries Strategies
President

Jeffries enlisted in Meta’s growing lobbying army in Washington, with a focus on privacy, security, online advertising, and platform transparency.

Education: “I’m a Double ’Hoo: University of Virginia for undergrad and law school.” Song currently on repeat: “Feel Like Funkin’ It Up”by Rebirth Brass Band. Last meal would be: Crawfish boil followed by a lemon doberge cake.

Washington DC’s 500 Most Influential People of 2024 (439)

Greta Joynes
Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck
Policy Director

While representing the telecommunications company Brightspeed, Joynes successfully lobbied for changes in eligibility requirements so small and medium-size companies could more effectively compete for Broadband Equity Access and Deployment (BEAD) grants.

Education: Northern Illinois University.

Washington DC’s 500 Most Influential People of 2024 (440)

Joel Kaplan
Meta
Vice President, Global Public Policy

As a top lieutenant to Mark Zuckerberg, Kaplan is tasked with forecasting and managing policy risk to the social-network giant, leading a team of about 1,000 worldwide.
Hometown: Weston, Massachusetts. Education: Harvard. First job: Marine Corps artillery officer.

Washington DC’s 500 Most Influential People of 2024 (441)

Karen Kornbluh
German Marshall Fund
Distinguished Fellow for Technology and Competitiveness

Kornbluh has advocated that the US pursue a new digital foreign pol­icy that includes a “digital policy lab” to foster domestic policymaking; a “technology task force” to promote international cooperation; and promotion of the White House-led declaration for the future of the internet.

Hometown: New York City. Lesson from her first job (as an economist for Townsend-Greenspan): “Data science is an art as much as a science.” What she’d tell her 18-year-old self: “It’s not just the work. Even more important are the relationships.”

Washington DC’s 500 Most Influential People of 2024 (442)

Curtis LeGeyt
National Association of Broadcasters
President and CEO

LeGeyt worked with senators Ed Markey and Deb Fischer on the AM Radio for Every Vehicle Act, which would require automakers to continue making AM radio standard in new vehicles. It has attracted more than 200 cosponsors in the House and 47 in the Senate.

First job: Dunkin’ Donuts. What he’d tell his 18-year-old self: “Take risks both personally and professionally, worry less about long-term plans, and along the way invest in friendships that will make the journey fulfilling.” Song currently on repeat: “All things Guns N’ Roses.”

Washington DC’s 500 Most Influential People of 2024 (443)

Chris Lewis
Public Knowledge
President and CEO

Lewis has appealed for a federal privacy law to ensure consistent compliance and protection of consumer rights, despite some tech companies’ promises to impose their own standards.

Hometown: Alexandria. First job: Sales associate at Staples. Lesson from that job: “Know the technical details of the product. It’s true for tech policy, too.”

Washington DC’s 500 Most Influential People of 2024 (444)

Luther Lowe
Y Combinator
Head of Public Policy

After 15 years at Yelp, Lowe hopped over to the tech startup accelerator last year, at a time when startups have been increasingly tuned in to the policy changes being debated in Washington.

Hometown: Fort Smith, Arkansas. First job: Chuck E. Cheese. Lesson from that job: “I learned I was better at upselling moms on extra cheese and Chuck E. Cups working at the cash register than repairing token jams in the Skee-Ball machine as a game-room attendant.”

Washington DC’s 500 Most Influential People of 2024 (445)

Collin McCune
Andreessen Horowitz
Head of Government Affairs

A former staff director for House Financial Services committee Republicans, McCune lobbies on securities and commodities laws that are integral to the battle over cryptocurrency and stablecoin regulation for the $35 billion venture-capital firm.

Education: Franklin & Marshall College.

Washington DC’s 500 Most Influential People of 2024 (446)

Waldo McMillan
Cisco Systems
Vice President, the Americas, Government Affairs

McMillan worked with lawmakers to preserve international tax provisions that he believes will protect domestic research-and-­development investment.

First job: Counsel for Senate majority leader Harry Reid. Best career advice he ever received: “Senator Reid taught me to return every phone call, no matter who was on the other end.” Last meal would be: “Soul food, please! I’ll take a plate of fried red snapper, mac and cheese, and some greens and yams.”

Washington DC’s 500 Most Influential People of 2024 (447)

Bruce Mehlman
Mehlman Consulting
Founder

The longtime political and public-policy guru, known for his punchy trend charts, is a sought-after speaker on technology and emerging political challenges.

Hometown: Baltimore. Best career advice he ever received: “Slow and steady wins the race.” Last meal would be: “Aurelio’s Pizza and Sarah’s PB Fudge ice cream, same as my third-grade birthday party.”

Washington DC’s 500 Most Influential People of 2024 (448)

Rosa Mendoza
ALLVanza
Founder, President, and CEO

Mendoza helps Latino and underserved communities navigate digital challenges and innovation, including pushing the FCC to ensure equitable infrastructure investments.

Education: Washington State University. What she’d tell her 18-year-old self: “Cultivate a strong work ethic, be resilient in the face of challenges, never give up, and continuously seek opportunities for learning.” Song currently on repeat: “Happy” by Pharrell.

Washington DC’s 500 Most Influential People of 2024 (449)

Lulu Cheng Meservey
Rostra
Founder and CEO

In an X thread viewed more than a million times, Meservey made the case to the Federal Trade Commission that the success of HBO’s The Last of Us was proof that the FTC didn’t need to block Microsoft’s $69 billion Activision Blizzard bid to preserve game-industry competition between Sony and Microsoft. Meservey recently left Activision for a new startup focused on audience-building for founder-led companies.

Lesson from her first job (as a carnival worker): “How to manage chaos.” Best career advice she ever received: “Don’t try to have a five-year plan, just get good at being opportunistic.” Last meal would be: Cheeseburger Happy Meal with an Oreo McFlurry.

Washington DC’s 500 Most Influential People of 2024 (450)

Marissa Mitrovich
Fiber Broadband Association
Vice President of Public Policy

Holding two decades of experience in the telecom industry, Mitrovich has raised FBA’s profile in the broader political ecosystem, helping secure $42 billion in grant funding—the largest-ever allocation for fiber-broadband projects.

First job: “Selling Italian ice on the boardwalk at the beach in high school.” Lesson from that job: “If you can make someone’s day, go the extra mile.” Best career advice she ever received: “Always know the whip count.”

Washington DC’s 500 Most Influential People of 2024 (451)

Jason Oxman
Information Technology Industry Council
President and CEO

Oxman was at the White House for the launch of the Biden administration’s national spectrum strategy, which Oxman hailed as improving federal coordination of spectrum and future investment in innovation.

Hometown: Auburn, Maine. Song currently on repeat: “Don’t Start Now”by Dua Lipa. Most cherished possession: “My Hush-A-Phone, a relic of technology with a regulatory history that only a tech and telecom policy nerd could appreciate.”

Washington DC’s 500 Most Influential People of 2024 (452)

Christopher Padilla
IBM
Vice President, Government and Regulatory Affairs

Padilla ventured to Capitol Hill to explain how the government can accelerate its journey to cloud technology by moving government functions toward more secure networks and responsible AI adoption.

Education: Johns Hopkins. First job: YMCA soccer referee at age 14. Lesson from that job: “Know the rules, be fair to everyone, look for teaching opportunities.”

Washington DC’s 500 Most Influential People of 2024 (453)

Michael Petricone
Consumer Technology Association
Senior Vice President, Government Affairs

Petricone has been explaining to policymakers how antitrust legislation could impact small businesses and has drawn parallels between the White House’s response to AI and the internet’s evolution in the 1990s.

Best career advice he ever received: “Don’t try to do everything.Con-centrate on a few big, important things and make an impact.” Hidden talent: “I can juggle.” Most cherished possession: “A baseball signed by the Red Sox 1975 World Series outfield.”

Washington DC’s 500 Most Influential People of 2024 (454)

Stanley Pierre-Louis
Entertainment Software Association
President and CEO

Armed with data showing that 215 million Americans play video games, Pierre-Louis has attempted to reframe perceptions around them, citing evidence that attitudes toward the games grew more positive coming out of the pandemic.

Hometown: Columbus, Ohio. What he’d tell his 18-year-old self: “Planning is just as important as knowing when to pivot.” Last meal would be: Molten chocolate cake.

Washington DC’s 500 Most Influential People of 2024 (455)

Neil Potts
Meta
Vice President, Trust and Safety Policy

Potts unfurled Meta’s free, open-source content-moderation tool called Hasher-Matcher-Actioner, which is designed to help platforms identify terrorist or other inflammatory images or videos and take action against them en masse.

Education: United States Naval Academy; University of Virginia School of Law. First job: “Shopping-cart collector at a grocery store.” Hidden talent: “I’m a repository of useless trivia. Did you know we spend about six months of our lives searching for missing items? Did you know that properly stored honey doesn’t spoil?”

Washington DC’s 500 Most Influential People of 2024 (456)

Michael Powell
NCTA–The Internet & Television Association
President and CEO

A former FCC chairman, Powell now represents companies both building platforms and offering content. In pointed language, he labeled the FCC’s new attempt to reclassify broadband as a common-carrier service an “illusory” effort trying to solve a “fabricated” problem.

Hometown: “I was an Army brat, so my hometown was the back of a station wagon moving from place to place.I was born in Birming­ham, Alabama.” First job: “Armored cavalry officer in the US Army.” Lesson from that job: “You can’t ask people to do anything they don’t believe you’re willing to do yourself.”

Washington DC’s 500 Most Influential People of 2024 (457)

Brett Quick
Crypto Council for Innovation
Head of Government Affairs

Quick has become a frequent face on CNBC to explain the policy developments surrounding cryptocurrency and enforcement actions by the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Education: University of Alabama. Talent she’d most like to have: “I dream of being a formidable tennis player, but alas, I remain mediocre on my best day.” Last meal would be: “All of the carbs and cheeses: pizza, pasta, nachos.”

Washington DC’s 500 Most Influential People of 2024 (458)

Brian Quintenz
Andreessen Horowitz
Head of Policy, Crypto

Quintenz has pleaded with Congress to provide concrete policy certainty around cryptocurrency for consumers and investors, or else risk a drag on the pace of innovation due to “dubious US regulatory enforcement actions.”

First job: Assistant treasurer for John Kasich’s 2000 presidential campaign. Lesson from that job: “How you do the small things is how you’ll handle the big things.” What he’d tell his 18-year-old self: “Read more.”

Washington DC’s 500 Most Influential People of 2024 (459)

Tony Samp
DLA Piper
Principal Policy Advisor, Head of AI Policy

The founding director of the Senate’s AI Working Group is now lobbying for OpenAI and other AI organizations, helping craft the legislative and regulatory proposals that could guide the deployment of artificial-intelligence technologies, which are rapidly disrupting business and media.

First job: “Serving up cheesesteaks in the local food court.” What he’d tell his 18-year-old self: “The best is yet to come.” Most cherished possession: “Probably my iPhone—photos and videos of my kids, y’all!”

Washington DC’s 500 Most Influential People of 2024 (460)

Matthew Schruers
Computer & Communications Industry Association
President and CEO

Schruers submitted comments to the US Copyright Office regarding AI and copyright, arguing that no new regulations were needed because existing law—specifically, the Copyright Act—addresses any issues surrounding artificial intelligence.

First job: Clerk in a health-food store. Lesson from that job: “Never bring your supervisor a problem without a proposed solution.” What he’d tell his 18-year-old self: “You don’t persuade with the arguments that move you. You persuade with the arguments that move your audience.”

Washington DC’s 500 Most Influential People of 2024 (461)

Gary Shapiro
Consumer Technology Association
President and CEO

As the representative of more than 1,500 American technology companies, Shapiro holds considerable sway on the foremost technology challenges, as did his letter to President Biden outlining how the tech community could help combat inflation.

Education: Binghamton University; Georgetown Law. What he’d tell his 18-year-old self: “Don’t burn bridges. Save all cards and badges. Keep and organize your contact and meetings info.” Last meal would be: “Beer-can chicken.”

Washington DC’s 500 Most Influential People of 2024 (462)

Kristin Sharp
Flex Association
CEO

Sharp launched Flex—a trade association representing tech powerhouses such as DoorDash, Lyft, and Uber—to educate lawmakers on the value of flexible jobs, not only for workers but also for consumers and the economy. Her work includes the first nationwide studies of app-based workers, growing out of her advocacy for such entrepreneurs on the Hill.

Hometown: Grand Rapids, Michigan. First job: “Wearing a life-size prescription-pill costume for a political campaign.” Lesson from that job: “Always dress for success.”

Washington DC’s 500 Most Influential People of 2024 (463)

Edward “Smitty” Smith
T-Mobile
Senior Vice President, Public Policy and Government Affairs

Smith left DLA Piper’s telecom practice to helm lobbying for the nation’s third-largest cellular carrier, with more than 119 million customers.

Education: Brown; Harvard Law. What he’d tell his 18-year-old self: “Do not worry about being cool. Being cool at 18 is overrated.” Hidden talent: “I make a mean sweet-potato pie.”

Washington DC’s 500 Most Influential People of 2024 (464)

Jonathan Spalter
US Telecom–The Broadband Association
President and CEO

A key player in the effort to close the digital divide, Spalter testified before a House committee on the importance of federal funding for rural broadband, for which the administration subsequently requested $6 billion.

First job: “At 15, I was a stadium vendor at Madison Square Garden.” Lesson from that job: “Never eat food bought from a stadium vendor.” Talent he’d most like to have: Speed-reading.

Washington DC’s 500 Most Influential People of 2024 (465)

Gerry Stegmaier
Reed Smith
Partner

A veteran litigator, Stegmaier focuses his practice on questions centering on corporate governance, intellectual property, and crypto­currency and other digital assets.

First job: Washington Star newspaper carrier. Lesson from that job: “A little hustle goes a long, long way.” Hidden talent: “I write poems. Thousands of them. I came across a Chinese proverb that said never trust a warrior who isn’t a poet. It stuck.”

Washington DC’s 500 Most Influential People of 2024 (466)

Kara Swisher
Vox Media
Podcast Host

The host of two popular podcasts listened to by Washington insiders, Swisher continues to report on the fast-moving developments in the tech industry, including landing several scoops such as on the turmoil and feuding personalities inside OpenAI.

Hometown: Princeton, New Jersey. Education: Georgetown Uni­versity; Columbia.

Washington DC’s 500 Most Influential People of 2024 (467)

Berin Szoka
TechFreedom
President and Founder

Having advised the FTC on how to write privacy rules that hold up in court, Szoka is now advocating for “cyber-libertarianism,” an alternative vision for policymakers to regulate the internet.

Best career advice he ever received: “A lawyer at Latham once told me, quoting the 1958 film Auntie Mame: ‘Life’s a banquet, and most poor suckers are starving to death.’ If you just coast by, you starve—without realizing what you’re missing.” What he’d tell his 18-year-old self: “Spend more time with ideas and people you don’t agree with—they’re so much more interesting.” Last meal would be: “The menu is less important than the guest list.”

Washington DC’s 500 Most Influential People of 2024 (468)

Alexandra Veitch
YouTube
Lead, Public Policy, Americas and Emerging Markets

Veitch has offered testimony before Congress on how algorithms curate and push content to users, and she has strong contacts in Democratic policy circles from her years as an Obama official.

First job: “I worked at a bagel shop that was so poorly run that we’d often run out of bagels.” Worst career advice she ever received: “Someone told me in 2003 that there were no jobs for Democrats on the Hill and I should do something else. What an adventure I would have missed.” Last meal would be: “A tasting menu eaten at the bar at Maydan.”

Washington DC’s 500 Most Influential People of 2024 (469)

Gina Woodworth
Snap
Director, Americas Policy

As pressure heightened in Washington around protecting young people on social-media apps, Woodworth spearheaded the rollout of new Snap features, including in-app warnings for suspicious attempts to contact teenagers.

Hometown: West Long Branch, New Jersey. First job: “Working be­hind the counter of my father’s deli.” Song currently on repeat: “Anything ’90s hip-hop.”

Back to Top

These pros understand the details of agreements and regulations driving imports and exports, plus their impact on America

Washington DC’s 500 Most Influential People of 2024 (470)

Usman Ahmed
PayPal
Head of Global Public Affairs and Strategic Research

In demonstrating to Capitol Hill lawmakers the benefits of digital trading on a global scale, Ahmed has shifted perceptions about how trade can assist small businesses that serve marginalized communities.

Hometown: Silver Spring. Worst career advice he ever received: “ ‘Become a specialist.’ The world is too complex and interconnected to be so narrowly focused.” Song currently on repeat: “Over” by Chvrches.
Elissa Alben

Washington DC’s 500 Most Influential People of 2024 (471)

Elissa Alben
Pfizer
Vice President and Head, Global Innovation and Trade Policy and International Government Relations

Harnessing two decades of experience in international trade policy, Alben engaged last summer with emerging South Korean female leaders on international trade negotiations and US trade policy.

Hometown: Niskayuna, New York. First job: “Answering the tips line at a TV station in upstate New York.” Worst career advice she ever received: “When I was 22, a psychic at a party said being a lawyer would be too much for me and I should try something less intense.”

Washington DC’s 500 Most Influential People of 2024 (472)

Scott Boos
Alliance for American Manufacturing
Senior Vice President, Government Affairs and Policy

Building on his years in the Senate—and now leading policy work for AAM, a labor-manufacturing partnership—Boos was an indispensable voice as the bipartisan infrastructure bill came together.

Best career advice he ever received: “Never let your face show how hard your ass is getting kicked.” What he’d tell his 18-year-old self: “Honesty, even when it’s not the most popular stance, builds trust and credibility.” Last meal would be: Italian hoagie from Wawa and Tastykake Butterscotch Krimpets.

Washington DC’s 500 Most Influential People of 2024 (473)

Ed Brzytwa
Consumer Technology Association
Vice President, International Trade

Brzytwa visited Geneva, London, and Cambridge to convey industry support for digital-trade standards and expressed concern about a US Trade Representative decision to “abandon core digital-­trade policy provisions” at World Trade Organization negotiations.

What he’d tell his 18-year-old self: “Get out of the ivory tower more often and become comfortable with the practical realities of doing business.” Hidden talent: “I was an award-winning actor in high school and an aspiring one in college.” Most cherished possession: “My wedding ring. I lost it once snorkeling in Bermuda, but luckily Tiny Jewel Box was able to have a new version made.”

Washington DC’s 500 Most Influential People of 2024 (474)

Kimberley Claman
Liberty Mutual Insurance
Vice President and International Public Affairs Officer

Having negotiated the financial-services and investment portions of numerous trade agreements at the United States Trade Representative office, Claman is an internationally recognized expert on trade and investment.

Education: George Washington University. First job: “Testing and implementing new software for a financial-reporting system.” Lesson from that job: “Working second shift is not for morning people.”

Washington DC’s 500 Most Influential People of 2024 (475)

Nasim Fussell
Lot Sixteen
Senior Vice President

Fussell’s close relationships on Capitol Hill give her sway on a host of thorny trade and policy issues regarding China and Taiwan, as Congress combats the Trade Office’s approach on trade authority.

Hometown: Ann Arbor, Michigan. Hidden talent: Ballroom dancing. Historical figure she most identifies with: “Madeleine Albright. Like me, she came to the United States as a young girl with her family to escape a brutal government and found a welcoming home and wonderful life here.”

Washington DC’s 500 Most Influential People of 2024 (476)

Blake Harden
Retail Industry Leaders Association
Vice President, International Trade

A former trade counsel for the House Ways and Means committee, Harden is steeped in both the politics and substance of trade issues and is known as the face of most every trade issue impacting retailers.

Education: Michigan State; University of Detroit Mercy School of Law. Best career advice she ever received: “ ‘You don’t have a prob-lem. The client has a problem.’ It stuck with me and helps me put things in perspective.” Last meal would be: “A tossup between crabcakes and eggplant Parmesan. In either case, it would also involve a large glass of Napa Cab.”

Washington DC’s 500 Most Influential People of 2024 (477)

John Murphy
U.S. Chamber of Commerce
Senior Vice President for International Policy

Murphy hammered the Biden administration’s policy shift on digital-­trade rules—which would have allowed free cross-border data flows and prohibited national requirements for data localization and reviews of software source code—saying they’d “harm American workers, invite unfair treatment of U.S. companies, and threaten our competitiveness.” He’s urged a change of course, galvanizing lawmakers who complain the administration went over Congress’s head.

First job: Wendy’s. Lesson from that job: “Be ready for the lunch rush.” Most cherished possession: “A piece of the Berlin Wall.”

Washington DC’s 500 Most Influential People of 2024 (478)

Alex Perkins
Mehlman Consulting
Principal

Perkins crafted a memo urging businesses that rely on trade to enhance engagement with federal officials, noting the push to move business out of China and warning that revocation of China’s Permanent Normal Trade Relations status is a “sleeper risk” for business.

Education: Stanford; University of Connecticut School of Law. First job: “In seventh grade, my best friend, my younger brother, and I started a snow-removal business.” Lesson from that job: “Try not to over-complicate it. In retrospect, the two-page contract we drafted was overkill.”

Washington DC’s 500 Most Influential People of 2024 (479)

Kelly Ann Shaw
Hogan Lovells
Partner, Global Regulatory

Shaw has represented electric-vehicle battery producers and automotive companies in their pursuit of benefits in new funding for semiconductors as well as tax credits from the Inflation Reduction Act.

Hometown: Seattle. First job: Ski instructor. What she’d tell her 18-year-old self: “Success comes in all shapes and sizes.”

Washington DC’s 500 Most Influential People of 2024 (480)

Lori Wallach
American Economic Liberties Project
Director, Rethink Trade Program

A 30-year veteran of congressional trade battles, Wallach was considered a prescient force during the Trans-Pacific Partnership debate and is a frequent analyst on the technical details of policy, including data privacy and World Trade Organization decisions.

Hometown: Wausau, Wisconsin. Hidden talent: “Scuba diving—specifically teaching people afraid of water how to dive and be calm.” Historical figure she most identifies with: “Paul Revere, because my career has involved warning people about sneaky attacks on jobs, food safety, the environment, digital governance, democracy, human rights, etc., via provisions buried in ‘trade’ agreements.”

Washington DC’s 500 Most Influential People of 2024 (481)

Michael Wessel
Wessel Group
President and Owner

Wessel has argued for a radical change in the US approach to trade with China, noting that the rival superpower has not lived up to its legally binding commitments and floating the possibility of suspending Permanent Normal Trade Relations for a specific period of time.

First job: Paperboy. Worst career advice he ever received: “To ‘leave a job while I still found it fulfilling,’ as the adviser thought I had reached the pinnacle. Enjoyment and fulfillment in one’s work are vital.” Song currently on repeat: “No Woman, No Cry” by the Fugees.

Washington DC’s 500 Most Influential People of 2024 (482)

Clete Willems
Akin
Partner

Willems, who served as a deputy assistant to former President Trump on international economics, is a heavily sought-out thought leader helping shape the GOP agenda in Congress, especially as it relates to US-China relations.

What he’d tell his 18-year-old self: “Study economics instead of chemical engineering.” Talent he’d like to have: “A little more patience would go a long way.” Last meal would be: “Obviously, pasta with seafood. Easy.”

Back to Top

From redistricting to registration laws, these experts closely follow and advocate for changes to how we elect our public servants

Washington DC’s 500 Most Influential People of 2024 (483)

Jessica Ring Amunson
Jenner & Block
Partner

Amunson beat back a conservative effort to upend congressional redistricting, scoring a victory in the Supreme Court in the Allen v. Milligan case. She described her legal opponents as trying to “radically reshape the law of democracy.”

Education: Georgetown University (BA and MA); Harvard Law (JD). Worst career advice she ever received: “In high school, I was interested in journalism and applied to a number of national news organizations. One rejection letter advised me, ‘Set your sights a little lower.’ ” Hidden talent: “Organizing carpools.”

Washington DC’s 500 Most Influential People of 2024 (484)

Jessica Anderson
Sentinel Action Fund
President

Anderson has taken a leave from her work at Heritage Action to guide an affiliated super-­PAC, the Sentinel Action Fund, which hopes to encourage conservative voters to cast more ballots by mail in 2024.

First job: Intern for a Florida state representative. Lesson from that job: “Buy a good navy suit. Skirt and pants.” Song currently on repeat: “9 to 5” by Dolly Parton.

Washington DC’s 500 Most Influential People of 2024 (485)

Ian Bassin
Protect Democracy
Cofounder and Executive Director

Bassin’s group numbered more than 100 staff last year in 25 states and DC. They assist legal, political, and media efforts in a crusade to protect the work of local election officials and to improve structural deficiencies in elections that can be manipulated by authori-­tarian interests.

Hometown: New York City. Best career advice he ever received: “Worry less about my next job or ‘career’ and more about whether on that given day I was doing something useful that I was excited about and strongly believed in.” Hidden talent he’d most like to have: “I’d almost trade a limb to be able to sing and play music.”

Washington DC’s 500 Most Influential People of 2024 (486)

Sarah Brannon
American Civil Liberties Union
Managing Attorney, Voting Rights Project

Brannon’s expertise centers on enforcement of the National Voter Registration Act. She was part of the team that took on the Trump administration’s effort to add a citizenship question to the decen-nial census.

Education: St. Mary’s College of Maryland; University of Maryland Carey School of Law.

Washington DC’s 500 Most Influential People of 2024 (487)

Marc Elias
Elias Law Group
Founding Partner
Democracy Docket
Founder

While the flamboyant attorney parted ways with President Biden’s legal team over differing 2024 strategies, Elias still represents Democratic senators and is expected to feature heavily in any recount lawsuits that arise during this election year.

Hometown: Suffern, New York. Education: Hamilton College (BA); Duke (MA, JD). Best career advice he ever received: “Work on a case that goes to trial as soon as you can. It makes the rest of the legal profession make so much more sense.”

Washington DC’s 500 Most Influential People of 2024 (488)

María Teresa Kumar
Voto Latino
President and CEO

Since joining Voto Latino in 2004 to mobilize Hispanic voters, Kumar has honed her commitment to engaging younger Latinos in two crucial presidential battlegrounds: Arizona and Nevada.

Hometown: Sonoma, California. What she’d tell her 18-year-old self: “Be patient—everything is a learning moment, including learning what you don’t want to do.” Historical figure she most identifies with: “My great-great-grandmother, Petrona Tehran, whose family helped build Cartagena, Colombia. She was a descendant of slaves who spoke little Spanish but was always there to advance her daughters’ learning.”

Washington DC’s 500 Most Influential People of 2024 (489)

Leonard Leo
CRC Advisors
Chairman

The Federalist Society’s former executive vice president and current co-chair of the board of directors is a giant in conservative legal circles, both heralded and vilified—depending on one’s political slant—as the man who transformed the modern judiciary by ushering Donald Trump’s nominees to the Supreme Court bench.

Education: Cornell University; Cornell Law School. Best career advice he ever received: “If you are called to do a job, do it and don’t care about who gets the credit.” Song currently on repeat: “I don’t have earbuds.”

Washington DC’s 500 Most Influential People of 2024 (490)

Cleta Mitchell
Conservative Partnership Institute
Senior Legal Fellow

A former Trump election adviser, Mitchell played a central role in attempting to stop the certification of the 2020 election results in Georgia, and she remains influential in a movement that foments doubts about American elections.

Hometown: Oklahoma City. What she’d tell her 18-year-old self: “Don’t marry any man until he’s at least 29 or 30. Men are not fully grown up until then.” Last meal would be: Steak and twice-baked potato.

Washington DC’s 500 Most Influential People of 2024 (491)

Jonathan Rauch
Brookings Institution
Senior Fellow, Governance Studies

The author, whose expertise is in government and society, has traveled the US declaring that everyone has a role in promoting truth, pushing back against misinformation, and supporting democratic institutions.

First job: Education reporter for the Winston-­Salem Journal. Best career advice he ever received: “Don’t go to law school unless you want to be a lawyer.” What he’d tell his 18-year-old self: “There’s nothing wrong with being gay.”

Washington DC’s 500 Most Influential People of 2024 (492)

Jason Snead
Honest Elections Project
Executive Director

As head of a conservative group advocating for more restrictive voting laws and backing the controversial independent-state-­legislature theory, Snead is expected to feature prominently in voting flare-ups in 2024.

Education: Bowling Green State University; George Mason (master’s in public policy).

Washington DC’s 500 Most Influential People of 2024 (493)

Virginia Kase Solomón
Common Cause
President and CEO

Solomón, who came to Common Cause in February, has backed the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act, a stalled effort to modernize the 1965 Voting Rights Act meant to combat voter suppression.

First job: Blockbuster Video. Worst career advice she ever received: “To be more realistic about my goals because I was a teenage mom and I should be happy just to have a steady income.” Song currently on repeat: “Dance the Night” by Dua Lipa.

Washington DC’s 500 Most Influential People of 2024 (494)

Laura Williamson
Southern Poverty Law Center
Senior Policy Advisor, Democracy and Voting Rights

Williamson has been an unwavering advocate for passage of a modernized Voting Rights Act, applying pressure to lawmakers and showing a willingness to push the Biden administration to do more to make registering to vote easier.

Hometown: Hillsborough, North Carolina. Last meal would be: “Excellent pizza and a good beer.” Most cherished possession: “My oldest philodendron, a gift from family that has been with me for 15 years, through four interstate moves and in eight homes.”

Back to Top

Abramowitz, Michael
Adams, Alexandra
Adams, Gina
Adams, Jane
Adams, Tim
Aguirre, Sergio
Ahmed, Usman
Alben, Elissa
Alemayehou, Mimi
Alperovitch, Dmitri
Amunson, Jessica Ring
Anderson, Amanda
Anderson, Bryan
Anderson, Jessica
Andrews, Bruce
Andryszak, Amy
Ash, Nazanin
Asirwatham, Ronnate
Austin, Nicole C.
Austin Jr., Roy L.
Avery, Kevin
Ayer, Donald
Ayoub, Abed
Badanes, Ginny
Badu-Nimako, Yvette
Baer, Greg
Bahn, Kate
Bailey, John
Bailey, Nikitra
Bakaj, Andrew P.
Baker, Dean
Baker, Meredith Attwell
Balcer, Anne
Ballentine, James
Banks, Lisa
Baptist, Erik
Barnard, Robyn
Barnhill, Andrew
Bassin, Ian
Batie, Rontel
Beckerman, Michael
Begich, Mark
Belcher, Emma
Ben-Ami, Jeremy
Benjamin, Georges C.
Ben-Yehuda, Jenna
Beovides, Mario
Berry, Tim
Bertelsen, Greg
Bhowmik, Ruchi
Bledsoe, Paul
Bloom, Seth
Bloomfield, Shirley
Bode, Denise
Bohigian, Catherine
Bolen, Ed
Bolten, Joshua
Booker, Brent
Boos, Scott
Bossert, Thomas P.
Bowman, Bradley
Boyd, April
Bradish, Kathleen
Bradley, Neil
Brandon, Adam
Brands, Hal
Brannon, Sarah
Branscome, John
Bredenkamp, Troy
Brian, Danielle
Brown, Dorothy
Brown, Kris
Brown, Reginald
Brown, Roxanne
Browner, Carol
Bryant, Dan
Brzytwa, Ed
Burgeson, Christine
Burgeson, Eric
Burke, Sheila P.
Busby Sr., Ron
Calvert, Kara
Cameron, Art
Campbell, Melanie L.
Camper, Naomi
Cannon, Michael
Cárdenas, Vanessa
Carney, Jay
Case, Steve
Cashin, Sheryll D.
Cass, Oren
Cassity, Anne
Chadda, Nitin
Chatterjee, Neil
Chen, Kelvin
Chenoweth, Mark
Childress, Kate
Childress, Marcus
Chopus, Wayne
Ciccone, Stephen
Claman, Kimberley
Clark, Liz
Clark, Suzanne
Cobb, Ty
Coffey, Danielle
Cohen, Eliot A.
Colby, Elbridge
Cole, David
Collins, Gentry
Comstock, Barbara
Conti, Judy
Cope, Maryam
Corbett, Maura Colleton
Corcoran, Sarah
Cordero, Carrie
Corwin, Manal
Costello, Ryan
Cowen, Tyler
Crowell, Michaeleen
Daley, Jad
D’Amato, Annie
Daniel, Michael
Dannenfelser, Marjorie
Dans, Paul
Davis, Antigone
Davis, Ashley
Davis Jr., Chester (Chip)
Davis, Mike
De, Rajesh
deLaski, Kathleen
De Peña, Kristie
de Wit, Kathryn
Diamond, Dan
Dilg, Lane
Doniger, David
Dow, De’Ana
Downey, Teddy
Drutman, Lee
Dunn, Karen
Duss, Matt
Duvall, Zippy
Eden, Max
Eibner, Christine
Eisen, Norman
Eisenberg, Ross
Eke, Patricia Ephraim
Elam, Nicole
Elias, Marc
El-Sadany, Mai
Elshami, Nadeam
Erdemir, Aykan
Espinel, Victoria
Eversole, Amanda
Fariello, Theresa
Farkas, Evelyn
Farrah, Jeff
Feingold, Cathy
Flournoy, Michèle
Forte, Denise
Francis, Garrick
Freeman, Geoff
Friedman, Lisa
Fromer, Kevin
Fryer, Lindsay
Fussell, Nasim

Gaugh, David
Genser, Jared
Gilbert, Lisa
Gillespie, Ed
Givens, Alexandra Reeve
Glas, Kimberly
Gold, Rich
Goodfriend, David
Gordon, Sue
Gorelick, Jamie
Goss Graves, Fatima
Gostin, Lawrence
Gottlieb, Scott
Grant, Cedric
Gresser, Ed
Griffin, Aron
Grumet, Jason
Guida, Al
Gupta, Deepak
Gutierrez, Carlos
Haas, Tiffany
Hadley, Stephen J.
Hagan, Bridget
Hamilton, Katherine
Hanke, Steve H.
Hanson, Michael
Hanson, Robin
Haq, Aliya
Harbert, Karen
Harden, Blake
Harris, Holly
Harris, Roger
Harrison, Todd
Hashemi, Cookab
Hauser, Jeff
Haworth, Sacha
Heinrichs, Rebeccah L.
Hempowicz, Liz
Henry, Sudafi
Heppen, Jessica
Hersh, Adam
Hess, Frederick M.
Hewitt, Damon Todd
Hill, Fiona
Hoffman, Bruce
Hoffman, Desiree
Holder Jr., Eric H.
Holtz-Eakin, Douglas
Homan, Thomas
Honorable, Colette
Hope, Tonija
Horne, Emily
Houseman, Roy
Hughes, Stacey
Humphries, Fred
Huseman, Brian
Ignatius, David
Ingoglia, Chuck
Jackson, Jamie
Jackson, Ryan
Jackson, Selina
Jefferies, Ian
Jeffries, Stewart
Jennings, Chris
Johnson, Kierra
Johnson, Lindsey
Jones, Seth G.
Joynes, Greta
Kagan, Frederick W.
Kahlenberg, Richard
Kahn III, Charles N. (Chip)
Kantor, Doug
Kaplan, Joel
Karol, Kathryn D.
Karpinski, Gene
Kass, David
Katyal, Neal
Katz, Debra
Kelleher, Dennis
Kelley, Angela
Kelley, Everett
Kelly, Edward A.
Kennedy, Sean
Kenney, Genevieve M.
Kerkhoven, Brian
Keshap, Atul
Khalilzad, Zalmay
Khosla, Jay
Kint, Jason
Klein, Aaron
Klein, James
Knight, Edward
Knutson, Karen
Kohr, Howard
Kornbluh, Karen
Korsmo, Michelle
Kotek, John F.
Kovacevich, Adam
Kumar, María Teresa
Kyle, Sarah
Lamar, Stephen
Lampkin, Marc
Lane, Laura
Lawrence, Courtney
LeaMond, Nancy
Lee, Ebony
Lee, Jane
LeGeyt, Curtis
LeGrand, Ron
Lehrer, Eli
Leo, Leonard
Lepore, John
Lewis, Chris
Liles, Walton
Liu, Libby
Lowe, Luther
Lugar, Katherine
Lundquist, Andrew
Lynn, Barry
MacGuineas, Maya
Magaña-Salgado, Jose
Maloney, Drew
Mancini, Jeanne
Margheri, Marco
Martin, E. Dee
Masalosalo, Brittany
Massimino, Elisa
Matheson, Jim
Matz, Joshua
McCune, Collin
McGahn, Don
McGarvey, Sean
McGowan, Ryan
McGreevy, Jim
McMillan, Waldo
Medeiros, Evan
Mehlman, Bruce
Meissner, Doris
Mellman, Mark
Mendoza, Rosa
Merritt, David
Meservey, Lulu Cheng
Milito, Erik
Miller, Bill
Miller, Mark
Mitchell, A. Wess
Mitchell, Cleta
Mitchell, David
Mitchell, Doyle
Mitrovich, Marissa
Moore, W. Gyude
Morell, Michael
Muller, Tiffany
Murguía, Janet
Murphy, John
Murray, Lodriguez
Musser, Phil
Navin, Jeff
Neely, Susan K.
Nelson, Justin G.
Nelson, Sara
Nia, Gissou
Nichols, Rob
O’Brien, Robert
O’Brien, Sean

O’Hanlon, Michael
Ojakli, Ziad
Olmem, Andrew
Ornstein, Norman
Owens, Lindsay
Oxman, Jason
Padilla, Christopher
Paese, Michael
Pan, Eric
Parekh, Anand
Parker, Stephen
Parkinson, Mark
Parrott, Sharon
Parsi, Trita
Pasco, Jim
Patel, Kavita
Peller, Julie
Perkins, Alex
Peschin, Sue
Perryman, Skye
Petricone, Michael
Piercy, Craig
Pierre-Louis, Stanley
Pollack, Richard
Popp, Monica
Posen, Adam S.
Potter, Trevor
Potts, Neil
Powell, Michael
Powell, Rich
Pringle, Becky
Quick, Brett
Quintenz, Brian
Ratner, Ben
Rauch, Jonathan
Raut, Anant
Rayman, Julie Fishman
Reams, Heather
Reeves, Richard V.
Regitsky, Abigail
Reilly, Brendan
Reilly, Lori
Renjel, Louis
Reynolds, Nichole Francis
Richie, Rob
Richman, Paul
Rickard, Jenny
Riedl, Brian
Ring, John
Rios, Elena
Rivkin, Charles
Rogin, Josh
Roisman, Elad
Romero Rainey, Rebeca
Ross, Dennis
Rossman, Manny
Rutzen, Douglas
Safavian, David
Salo, Jeannie
Salo, Matt
Samp, Tony
Satloff, Robert
Sauer, Charles
Saunders, Lee
Scharre, Paul
Scherb, Aaron
Schleusener, Lucas
Schmidtlein, John
Schruers, Matthew
Schubert, Kathryn G.
Schuemann, Hollyn
Schulman, Melissa
Schulte, Todd
Scott, JC
Segal, David
Seidel, Emily
Sepp, Pete
Shafroth, Will
Shakir, Faiz
Shapiro, Gary
Sharp, Kristin
Shaw, Kelly Ann
Shay, Matthew
Sherman, Donald
Shierholz, Heidi
Shuler, Liz
Shuster, Bill
Siegel, Josh
Silverman, Stephanie
Simon, Jacqueline
Singh, Vikram J.
Skor, Emily
Smith, Dan
Smith, Edward “Smitty”
Smith, Kristin
Snead, Jason
Snitchler, Todd
Solomon, Hasan
Solomón, Virginia Kase
Sommers, Mike
Spalter, Jonathan
Spear, Chris
Steckman, Matthew
Stegmaier, Gerry
Stein, Dan
Stein, Jeff
Steinmetz, Adam
Stewart, Jennifer
Stier, Max
Streeter, Erin
Streett, Mary
Susskind, Hadar
Sweeney, Bill
Swisher, Kara
Swonger, Chris
Szoka, Berin
Taeb, Yasmine
Talucci, Vincent
Tallamy, Brad
Tatevosyan, Sam
Tauberer, Joshua
Terrell, Cynthia Richie
Tess, Caroline
Timmaraju, Mini
Timmons, Jay
Toch, Thomas
Tomb, Diane
Tuffin, Michael
Turley, Jonathan
Turner, Grace-Marie
Tymon, Jim
Ubl, Stephen J.
VanGrack, Ryan
Vargas, Omar
Vecchione, John
Veitch, Alexandra
Verveer, Melanne
Vetter, Darci
Villagomez, Angelo
Vought, Russell
Wall, Jamie
Wall, Joe
Wallace, Phillip J.
Wallach, Lori
Walsh, Jason
Walton, Jennifer
Wayland, Karen
Wechsler, William F.
Weiss, Alison
Wessel, Michael
Wilkinson, Molly
Willems, Clete
Williamson, Laura
Willoughby, Patrice
Wilson, Cherie
Wingate, Heather
Wolff, Brian
Wolff, Candida
Woodworth, Gina
Wysocki, Kevin
Yarowsky, Jonathan
Yglesias, Matthew
Zaid, Mark S.
Zichal, Heather
Zuckman, Jill

Back to Top

Antitrust
Bloom by Makarov Jeanniton; Bradish by DPA Picture Alliance/Alamy; Lynn courtesy of Open Markets

Banking & Finance
Adams by Magdalena Papaioannou; Baer and Childress courtesy of Bank Policy Institute; Berry courtesy of JPMC; Johnson courtesy of CBA; Klein courtesy of Brookings Institution; Nichols courtesy of ABA; Reilly courtesy of Barclays; Romero Rainey courtesy of ICBA

Business & Labor
Andrews courtesy of Intel; Austin by Patricia Cheetham; Bolten by Kevin Allen Photography; Bradley courtesy of U.S. Chamber of Commerce; Clark by Magdalena Papaioannou; Costello by Violetta Markelou; Duvall courtesy of AFBF; Glas by Melissa Robbins/Washington DC Headshots; Kelly courtesy of IAFF; Kerkhoven by Mark Gregory; Korsmo by Stephanie Ascar; Lamar and Swonger by Jeff Elkins; Rivkin by Gary Landsman; Shuler courtesy of AFL-CIO; Stewart by Tim Coburn

Civil Rights & Criminal Justice
Austin by Matt Mendelsohn; Dorothy Brown by Brent Futrell/Georgetown Law; Cashin by Robyn Bishop; Chenoweth courtesy of NCLA; Cole by Molly Kaplan/ACLU; Johnson by Todd Franson; Katz by Scott Robinson; Pasco by Allison Shelley Photography

Climate & Environment
Friedman courtesy of New York Times; Gold courtesy of Holland & Knight; Shafroth by Elman Studio for National Park Foundation; Walsh by Francis Chung/E&E News

Economic Policy
Bahn by Farrah Skeiky; MacGuineas by Kim Goldwein; Neely courtesy of American Council of Life Insurers; Owens by Laura Barisonzi; Seidel by Damon Moritz/Stand Together

Education
deLaski courtesy of Education Design Lab; Hess courtesy of AEI; Kahlenberg by Bridget Badore; Pringle courtesy of National Education Association; Reeves courtesy of Brookings Institution; Rickard by Jessica Yurink Photography

Energy
Andryszak by Lauren Ackil; Avery by Hall Puckett/ConocoPhillips; Honorable by Jackie Hicks; Margheri by Scott Henrichsen/scottfoto.com; Martin courtesy of Bracewell LLP; Matheson courtesy of NRECA; Salo by Lena Corrado; Skor courtesy of Growth Energy; Wolff by Jeff Elkins

Foreign Affairs
Abramowitz by Sabine Gudath; Belcher by Laura Manariti; Brands courtesy of AEI; El-Sadany by Audrey Bolus; Flournoy courtesy of WestExec Advisors; Ignatius by Diana Walker; Keshap courtesy of USIBC; Khalilzad by Susan Walsh/Getty Images; Rogin by Stephen Gosling; Singh by Katharine McKenny/Wildwood; Wechsler courtesy of Atlantic Council

Good Government
Brian by Katie Jett Walls Photography; Liu by Liz Norwood/Norwood Photography; Ornstein courtesy of AEI; Potter by Casey Atkins/Campaign Legal Center; Richie courtesy of FairVote; Simon courtesy of Chelsea Bland for AFGE; Stier by Joshua Roberts

Healthcare
Adams by Magdalena Papaioannou; Barnhill by Alex Garcia Photography; Dannenfelser by Victoria Stiles/EWTN; Griffin courtesy of AHIP; Gostin courtesy of Georgetown Law; Gottlieb courtesy of AEI; Kyle by Lauren Ackil; Miller by Todd Spoth; Mitchell by Butch Ramsey; Parkinson courtesy of AHCA/NCAL; Patel courtesy of Brookings Institution; Rios by Patricia De La Rosa

Immigration
Kelley courtesy of Furman University; Meissner by Louis Tinsley

Infrastructure & Transportation
Adams and Vargas by Magdalena Papaioannou; Bolen courtesy of National Business Aviation Association; Christine Burgeson courtesy of Airlines for America; Harris courtesy of Amtrak; Jefferies courtesy of AAR; Karol courtesy of Caterpillar

Legal Intelligentsia
Bakaj by Norwood Studio; Goss Graves courtesy of NWLC; Jackson courtesy of K&L Gates; Vecchione courtesy of NCLA

National Security & Defense
Aguirre courtesy of WestExec Advisors; Ben-Yehuda by Stacey Vaeth; Chadda by Magdalena Papaioannou; Cordero courtesy of CNAS; De by Mayer Brown; Hoffman by Michael Lionstar; Jones courtesy of CSIS; Scharre courtesy of Erin Scott

Tech & Telecom
Baker courtesy of CTIA; Branscome by Jen Packard; Coffey by Elliott O’Donovan; Cope by Kristina Sherk; Eke by Nafa/Judah Avenue; Givens courtesy of Center for Democracy and Technology; Haworth by Tina Krohn; Humphries by Magdalena Papaioannou; Huseman by Jeff Elkins; Jeffries by Dennis Drenner/Charm City Headshots; Lowe by T.J. Kirkpatrick/Redux; Meservey courtesy of Substack; Mitrovich by HeadshotsDC; Oxman by Matt Mendelsohn; Petricone courtesy of Consumer Technology Association; Quick by Ronald Flores Photography; Quintenz courtesy of Commodity Futures Trading Commission; Schruers courtesy of CCIA; Spalter courtesy of Broadband Association; Stegmaier by Reed Smith; Swisher by Philip Montgomery

Trade
Fussell by Cassidy Duhon; Murphy courtesy of U.S. Chamber of Commerce; Perkins by D.A.Peterson; Wallach courtesy of Rethink Trade

Voting Rights & Election Law
Bassin by John D. & Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation; Brannon by Molly Kaplan/ACLU; Rauch courtesy of Brookings Institution; Kumar by Magdalena Papaioannou

More: Features500 Most InfluentialInfluencers

Washington DC’s 500 Most Influential People of 2024 (2024)

References

Top Articles
Latest Posts
Article information

Author: Fredrick Kertzmann

Last Updated:

Views: 6602

Rating: 4.6 / 5 (46 voted)

Reviews: 85% of readers found this page helpful

Author information

Name: Fredrick Kertzmann

Birthday: 2000-04-29

Address: Apt. 203 613 Huels Gateway, Ralphtown, LA 40204

Phone: +2135150832870

Job: Regional Design Producer

Hobby: Nordic skating, Lacemaking, Mountain biking, Rowing, Gardening, Water sports, role-playing games

Introduction: My name is Fredrick Kertzmann, I am a gleaming, encouraging, inexpensive, thankful, tender, quaint, precious person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.