Meet the Team

Gretchen Andersen has extensive media relations experience with local and national press throughout her time in Manhattan, Washington, DC and Las Vegas. For four years, Gretchen worked on Capitol Hill as a press secretary in both the United States Senate and House of Representatives. Most recently she served as press secretary for U.S. Senator Dean Heller (R-NV) including work on his re-election campaign. Prior to her time in the U.S. Senate, Gretchen was an official spokesperson for two Republican members of Congress, including U.S. Representative Vern Buchanan (R-FL). Gretchen got her start in public relations while working in New York City as a press secretary for Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (IAVA), a national non-profit focused on improving the lives of post-9/11 veterans. Gretchen is a graduate of the University of Pittsburgh.

Lily Bandola previously interned with the National Republican Congressional Committee and Law Media Group, a public affairs firm in Washington, DC. She is a graduate of Miami University of Ohio, where she received her B.A. in Political Science and Comparative Religion.

Before joining PWG in 2018, Jacqueline served as a Press Secretary in the United States House of Representatives and as Deputy Press Secretary for Kathy Szeliga’s 2016 U.S. Senate campaign. During her undergraduate career, Jacqueline interned with personal offices and committees within the U.S. House of Representatives and volunteered with after-school programs and community centers in Baltimore City. Jacqueline graduated cum laude as a Sondheim Public Affairs Scholar from University of Maryland, Baltimore County. She holds a B.A. in History and minor in Political Science.

Michael Dubke is a veteran GOP operative and has been involved in local, state and federal politics, as well as issue and public policy advocacy since 1992. His experience has brought him a unique understanding of the relationship between media strategy and public policy development.

Mike recently served as Assistant to the President for Communications in the White House. In that capacity, he oversaw a communications department that coordinated Congressional and Cabinet communications, Digital Strategy, Media Affairs, Production, Strategic communications as well and Surrogate operations.

In 2009, Mike was a Founding Partner at the Black Rock Group (BRG). At BRG, Mike has helped plan and lead successful communications and advocacy efforts in a variety of industries including energy, technology, transportation, financial services, restaurant and retail. In the non-profit realm, Mike has worked to promote digital security, eradicate child sex-trafficking, foster international dialogue and keep kids safe online.

In 2001, Mike founded a group of media services firms (Main Street Media Group, Crossroads Media and Herd Media) that have collectively placed almost $1 billion dollars of media for clients. The firms specialize in advertising strategy and placement for political candidates, issue advocacy organizations and trade associations. The media group has established itself as one of the go-to firms on the national scene for both political candidates and corporations.

Mike also served as President of Americans for Job Security (AJS), a pioneer independent expenditure organization that provided direct advocacy for citizens to public policy makers. Prior to co-founding AJS, he held the position of Executive Director for both the Ripon Society and the Ripon Educational Fund, where he oversaw the growth of the TransAtlantic Conference and the re-emergence of the Ripon Society as a participant in national politics. Mike began his career on the Bush/Quayle ’92 campaign as assistant to the Political Director.

Mike currently serves on the board of the Franklin Center for Public Policy Exchange and the Ripon Society. He is a graduate of Hamilton College and resides in Alexandria, VA with his wife Shannon and their two children.

Prior to joining the PWG team, Kay served as Chief of Staff at RigWil LLC, a small consultancy started by former White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer, where she handled media relations and oversaw an extensive, national book tour. Before moving to Washington, D.C. to pursue a Masters in Public Policy from Georgetown’s McCourt School, Kay spent 7 years in fundraising in the Boston area raising money and awareness for different causes including cancer research and domestic violence recovery. Originally from the Boston area, Kay earned her BA in Government from Harvard College, where she currently serves as Fundraising Chair for the swim team. She resides in Washington, D.C.

Carl Forti has nearly 20 years of experience in politics, campaign strategy, media relations and public affairs. He is a seasoned political operative, having served in leadership positions at advocacy organizations, a presidential campaign and four election cycles at the National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC).

Carl has been described as “one of the smartest people in politics you’ve never heard of” by Karl Rove and “the Alexander the Great of the Republican independent expenditure world.”

Carl develops campaign strategies for the nation’s most successful issue advocacy groups, third-party organizations and SuperPACs. Previously, Carl was Executive Vice President for Issue Advocacy at Freedom’s Watch, an organization that was a strong voice for conservatives and impacted the public policy debate at local and national levels.

During the 2008 presidential campaign, Carl served as Deputy Campaign Manager and Political Director for Romney for President, where he built and managed the national political operation that produced 11 primary or caucus victories.

Carl also has extensive experience on Capitol Hill. He served in numerous capacities at the National Republican Congressional Committee, including Communications Director and Issue Advocacy Director, where he managed an $80 million independent expenditure campaign.

Originally from Western New York and a graduate of the George Washington University, Carl resides in Alexandria, VA with his wife Sandy and their three children.

Trevor previously worked as a Government Affairs Associate for the American Planning Association in Washington, D.C. Trevor is an alumnus of James Madison University where he earned his BA in both Political Science and Public Policy/Administration. While obtaining his undergraduate degree, Trevor interned with Rep. Randy Forbes (VA-04), Rep. Bob Goodlatte (VA-06) and Rep. Rob Wittman (VA-01). After graduation, Trevor worked for the John Adams for Virginia Attorney General campaign and the American Family Association campaign in North Carolina before moving to the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area.

Erin currently serves as the firm’s Executive Vice President, managing day to day operations. Prior to joining PWG, Erin Grandstaff served as account executive at Blue Line Strategic Communications where she was responsible for the day-to-day operations, client interaction, and implementation of strategic plans as well as supporting a wide range of other client needs. In 2007, Erin worked for the ONE Campaign. While at ONE, she was the Student Outreach Coordinator and then moved into the role as a national campaign coordinator for the presidential initiative, ONE Vote ’08. Erin was a professional staff of U.S. Senator Harry Reid from 2004 to 2007. Erin holds a B.A. in Political Science and Spanish with a minor in Art History from Indiana University.

Before joining PWG, Alexandra Hernandez worked at Gloss PR, a boutique PR firm in Philadelphia. At Gloss, Alexandra had the chance to work with Iron Chef Jose Garces and the Garces group, Chef Garces’ non-profit organization aiding immigrants living and working in the Philadelphia area. Alexandra holds a B.A. in Communication, with specializations in Journalism and Media Production and a minor in Political Science from Villanova University.

Prior to joining the PWG team, Emily was a student at the University of Maryland. She graduated with a B.A. in Communications with a concentration in Public Relations.
Emily has interned for Sen. Pat Toomey (R-PA), U.S. Department of State in the Bureau of Public Affairs, National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism (START), a Department of Homeland Security Center of Excellence, and a research associate for the Vogel Group. In the summer of 2019, Emily completed the White House Internship Program in the Office of Presidential Correspondence. Originally from Pennsylvania, she currently resides in Washington, DC.

Brian has a proven track record of creating and managing successful public affairs and public relations campaigns for some of the country’s most innovative companies, top-tier associations, influential coalitions and national political candidates. In addition, he has worked with a number of national and local nonprofit organizations.

Over the past two decades, Brian has helped lead effective communications and advocacy efforts in a variety of industries including technology, transportation, healthcare, clean energy, financial services and retail. In the nonprofit realm he has worked in support of marriage equality, early childhood education, eradicating child sex-trafficking and keeping kids safe online.

Brian has also been active in the world of electoral politics, serving in senior roles for the presidential campaigns of George W. Bush, John McCain, Mitt Romney and Chris Christie.

Brian currently serves on the board of the National Network to End Domestic Violence. He earned his MA from the University of Washington in Seattle and BA from the University of Massachusetts in Amherst. Brian lives in Alexandria, VA, with his wife Emily and their two children.

Veronica began with PWG as an intern in 2017 and 2018. As an intern, she assisted the team with comprehensive media monitoring and data mapping. With her degree in Mathematics, Veronica brings valuable analytical and problem-solving skills to the PWG team. Her extensive experience comes from heading communications efforts for various campaigns during her undergraduate career, giving her insight into unique social media and digital communications strategies, especially for targeting younger demographics. Veronica holds two B.A.s in Mathematics and German from the University of California, Santa Barbara. She rejoined the PWG team as an account executive upon graduating in 2019.

Chris Maloney’s political, policy and communications experience spans two decades in public affairs. As a Partner at Potomac West Group, he works as a trusted advisor and strategist to a range of political, business and international nonprofit leaders on public policy and communications.

Chris has also served as a general consultant on numerous successful issue advocacy efforts and political campaigns, including Dan Sullivan and Lisa Murkowski’s bids for U.S. Senate in Alaska, the historic Bristol Bay Forever Initiative, and U.S. House Republican Conference Chair Liz Cheney’s campaigns for Congress in Wyoming. Before joining the team, Chris served as a Communications Director for Mitt Romney, leading his presidential campaign’s battleground press operations, research and rapid response in the Midwest. His career also includes senior staff roles in U.S. House Leadership, the National Republican Congressional Committee and the Ohio Republican Party.

Chris has been nationally recognized as a Campaigns & Elections Magazine Rising Star and was named to the American Association of Political Consultants’ “40 Under 40” list in 2018. Chris earned a B.A. in Public Policy from George Washington University, a M.P.S. in Communications from Georgetown University, and a M.P.A. in Public Administration from Harvard University. He resides in Virginia with his wife and son.

Charlotte McCoy has a successful record of running media relations and public affairs campaigns for Fortune 100 companies, multi-stakeholder coalitions, trade associations and international governments. With deep policy communications experience, her work includes technology, transportation and healthcare issues. She previously worked at CLS Strategies executing comprehensive communications plans for technology, trade and litigation clients. Charlotte worked with clients to develop effective messaging, lead media outreach, and generate savvy digital and social media initiatives. Earlier in her career, she also educated federal policymakers on adoption and foster care issues. A New Jersey native, Charlotte graduated Phi Beta Kappa from The George Washington University with a degree in international affairs.

Meghan is an Account Executive at PWG. Prior to joining PWG, Meghan served as a public relations intern at National Geographic. During her time at National Geographic, Meghan worked with the public relations team for the National Geographic Channel - supporting talent and administrative needs. She also supported the event planning staff over the course of her internship. Meghan holds a B.A. in Communication with a concentration in Mass Media, and a minor in Political Science from Merrimack College.

For over three decades, Michael Meehan has been at the epicenter of the communications, politics and policy spheres. He has spent his career at solving complex problems and delivering key successes on the combative court of Capitol Hill and helping companies, foundations, trade associations, non-profits and issue coalitions navigate crucial policy issues.

On Capitol Hill, Michael served in several top leadership posts. He was the first chief of staff and remains a top advisor to U.S. Sen. Maria Cantwell (D-WA), the chair of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation, including all four of her Senate races. He has also served as communications chief for several U.S. Senators including former U.S. Senator John F. Kerry (D-MA), now President Biden’s Climate Envoy.

Michael spent more than a decade as a member of leadership staff in both chambers of Congress, including the role of national political director for Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle (D-SD). Mr. Meehan was senior counselor to DNC Chairman Terry McAuliffe (D-VA) and held other top posts at the DSCC and the DCCC.

As testimony to Michael’s ability to find consensus and generate progress, both Presidents Barack Obama and George W. Bush nominated him to serve as a member of the Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG), now the U.S. Agency for Global Media. He was confirmed by the U.S. Senate, sworn into office by then Vice President Joe Biden in 2010 as a BBG Governor in the Obama-Biden Administration (2010-2015). There he oversaw the Voice of America, Radio Free Europe and was Chairman of the Board of the Middle East Broadcasting Network and Radio Free Asia and Chairman of the Budget and Strategy Committee with an annual budget of over $750 million. The five media companies and the Open Technology Fund reached a weekly average of more than 270 million audience members in 100 countries and in 61 languages, promoting the free flow of news and information in the area of public diplomacy.

Michael’s media training, expertise with multiple communications platforms and extensive work in U.S. politics creates a skill set that is unique in the field. He has worked with C-suite executives preparing IPOs and financing rounds, executed crisis communications strategies and led complex communications efforts for policy advocacy. As an expert in strategic communications, media relations, messaging, polling and election politics, Michael’s is well positioned to build targeted and personalized public relations campaigns that achieve public policy and media goals.

Michael currently serves on several boards, including Media Matters and holds a degree in political science and education from Bates College. As an expert on the intersection of media, communications and politics, Michael regularly appears on national television news programs.

Michael is a guest lecturer at Columbia’s School of International and Public Affairs, American University, UCLA, Stanford and Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government. Michael lives in Del Ray, Alexandria, VA with his wife and daughters.

Charlie Patterson has spent more than a decade managing all facets of communications for accounts in the high profile and innovative technology, nonprofit and political spheres; including for Fortune 100 clients, environmental and conservation NGOs and statewide ballot initiatives. Specializing in writing and media relations, Charlie has years of policy communications experience he brings to clients to help them deliver the right message at the right moment. His previous work includes time spent as a scholar with Blue Line Strategic Communications in Washington, DC and an internship with the Robertson Marketing Group in Salem, VA. Charlie holds a B.A. in Political Science from Roanoke College.

Joining PWG in 2019, Isabelle is currently Account Executive. Previously, Isabelle Shafer interned at Safe Kids Worldwide, a non-profit organization that helps families and communities protect children from preventable injuries. She also interned at Barcelona City FM, an English-speaking radio station in Barcelona, Spain, and worked as a radio host for the WUFT-FM Radio Reading Service, a radio station that creates accessible content for blind and visually impaired individuals. Isabelle graduated from the University of Florida and holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Telecommunication with a specialization in Media and Society.

At PWG Elizabeth helps with the day-to-day operations on a number of client accounts drafting memos and press releases, pitching stories to reporters, curating media lists and more.

Prior to joining the team, Elizabeth was a student at Rhodes College where she was a four-year member of the field hockey team. She received her B.A. in Political Science and minored in International Relations and Religious Studies. During the summer of 2017 Elizabeth lived in London where she studied British Contemporary Politics and Brexit.

While at Rhodes, Elizabeth had the opportunity to work on Diane Black’s campaign for Governor in Tennessee. In 2018 Elizabeth interned at OnMessage Inc., a notable campaign consulting firm located in the DC metro area. At this firm she helped with reporter outreach, media monitoring, tracking campaign spending and aiding in the production of ads for candidates. Elizabeth is a native of Alexandria, VA and currently resides in Arlington, VA.