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Our Team

We are persistent, committed partners.

Our diverse and talented team lives our values every day by partnering with clients we believe in to drive meaningful change.

– Matt Dorf, president and founder

Audrey Carroll

Associate

How do you drive meaningful change?

I use a people-first approach to ensure messaging and tactics are mission-driven and purposeful.

What is your proudest professional achievement?

I led the social media efforts for a 12-hour Capitol Hill vigil attended by faith leaders, advocates and members of Congress.

Favorite ice cream

Jeni’s Darkest Chocolate

Favorite movie

Sabrina (1954)

Favorite hobby

Sewing

Helen Chernikoff

Senior Strategist

How do you drive meaningful change?

Using skills honed by 20 years in journalism, I gain a deep understanding of our clients’ goals and work. Together, we surface the stories that will best serve their mission and reach key audiences.

What is your proudest professional achievement?

As the writer of a daily newsletter serving clergy, philanthropists and social workers, I conceived and wrote “The Ask,” which became the publication’s signature feature. Its profiles of thought leaders made it a significant driver of the Jewish communal conversation.

Favorite ice cream

Cannoli, at Mara’s Ice Cream Parlor

Favorite movie

Emma (2020)

Favorite hobby

Knitting

Amy Christenson

Senior Strategist

How do you drive meaningful change?

I leverage my experience in broadcast journalism to equip my clients to articulate their missions effectively and elevate their profiles.

What is your proudest professional achievement?

Winning an Emmy for the first documentary I produced while working at PBS Chicago

Favorite ice cream

Saskatoon Berry

Favorite movie

Amelie

Favorite hobby

Photography

Alexa Lamanna Clark

Senior Strategist

How do you drive meaningful change?

I partner with our clients to uplift the voices of those most impacted by the critical issues we work on, creating a platform for leaders and advocates to speak truth to power and to further progressive policy.

What is your proudest professional achievement?

When the federal government failed to provide critical COVID-19 stimulus support to millions of immigrants, I worked with undocumented immigrants to help them tell their stories of sacrifice, loss and perseverance in order to expose the human toll of the pandemic on millions in need of protection.

Favorite ice cream

Cookies and cream

Favorite movie

Almost Famous

Favorite hobby

Cooking

Drew Courtney

Vice President

How do you drive meaningful change?

I help clients communicate about complicated issues simply and powerfully, focusing on real world impacts and the difference policies and programs can make in the lives of ordinary people.

What is your proudest professional achievement?

In collaboration with our client Whistleblower Aid, I helped to ensure that the public learned about internal Facebook research and the impact of the platform’s decisions with a strategic media roll out that transformed the landscape for how we talk about public regulation of social media.

Favorite ice cream

Cinnamon

Favorite movie

Fargo

Favorite hobby

Ceramics

Shannon Craig Straw

Partner

How do you drive meaningful change?

I dive deep into our client’s identity and mission, and work side-by-side with them to develop effective, compelling core messaging that equips them to achieve their goals.

What is your proudest professional achievement?

When proposed changes to a program for parents and young children would have made it less effective, I developed messaging and an advocacy toolkit that enabled our coalition client to secure funding without the damaging changes.

Favorite ice cream

Mint chocolate chip

Favorite movie

The American President

Favorite hobby

Watching baseball

Nick DeSantis

Senior Director

How do you drive meaningful change?

As a journalist, I was trained to spot great stories. At WEST, I help my clients identify narratives that will resonate with key audiences, working closely with them to achieve their goals.

What is your proudest professional achievement?

Our team helped launch the Fund for New Leadership, an innovative fellowship for social change leaders. We built the group’s public footprint and have helped several fellows secure high-profile media coverage that advances their work.

Favorite ice cream

Mint chocolate chip

Favorite movie

In the Loop

Favorite hobby

Cooking

Eleanor Donohue

Associate

How do you drive meaningful change?

I work to identify every side and coexisting narratives within a single issue area, and use my understanding of audiences to successfully craft messaging that resonates.

What is your proudest professional achievement?

Outside of the office, I have long been involved in a pancreatic cancer advocacy organization, including managing communications and media relations for the Capital affiliate.

Favorite ice cream

Jeni’s Salted Peanut Butter with Chocolate Flecks

Favorite movie

Pride and Prejudice (2005)

Favorite hobby

Reading murder mysteries

Matt Dorf

President and Founder

How do you drive meaningful change?

I guide clients to reach the audiences they need to achieve their goals. Then, I collaborate with them to leverage these public-facing moments to further their advocacy, membership and/or development efforts.

What is your proudest professional achievement?

Founding a strategic communications firm that lives its values, encourages our team members to thrive, and partners with clients we believe in to drive meaningful change

Favorite ice cream

Maple walnut

Favorite movie

Dr. Strangelove

Favorite hobby

Cycling

Radim Dragomaca

Senior Strategist

How do you drive meaningful change?

I help my clients effectively position their message in a competitive marketplace of ideas and agendas and identify the best opportunities to break through and achieve their goals.

What is your proudest professional achievement?

I collaborated with a client to build a series of partnerships and programs as a part of our effort to elevate and amplify their profile among strategic audiences. The client was ultimately recognized with an award from a former Secretary of Defense and a standing ovation in the Hall of Flags at the US Chamber of Commerce.

Favorite ice cream

Hazelnut Gelato

Favorite movie

Death of Stalin

Favorite hobby

Cooking for my friends

Sara DuBois

Vice President

How do you drive meaningful change?

I work with my clients to understand their goals and then offer communications strategies and tactics to best position them to achieve their goals.

What is your proudest professional achievement?

I arranged a press call with members of Congress and women abused under the Saudi regime, resulting in great media coverage for the client and influencing how media, congressional staff and advocates viewed the issue.

Favorite ice cream

Bread pudding

Favorite movie

Reality Bites

Favorite hobby

Sunday NYTimes crossword

Tom Fazzini

Senior Advisor

James Gannon

Senior Strategist

How do you drive meaningful change?

I provide clients with a strategic sense of the media landscape and the most effective tactics to accomplish their goals.

What is your proudest professional achievement?

I produced an award-winning documentary on reparations and the movement to bring down Confederate statues.

Favorite ice cream

Pistachio

Favorite movie

In Bruges

Favorite hobby

Sailing

Hannah Gavin

Associate

Ari Geller

Managing Partner

How do you drive meaningful change?

I focus on ensuring that our work with clients is goal-oriented. Any media we place or content we develop is aimed a motivating an audience to take the necessary action to advance the client’s agenda.

What is your proudest professional achievement?

My proudest achievement was helping a client elevate their voice in a moment of particular national importance. Doing so immediately changed the narrative and opened the door for other allies to follow our client’s lead.

Favorite ice cream

Chocolate

Favorite movie

The Princess Bride

Favorite hobby

Going to the movies

Blake Goodman

Associate

How do you drive meaningful change?

I collaborate with clients to establish both short-term and long-term communications goals, while assessing the rapidly-changing news cycle and finding opportunities to highlight their work and purpose.

What is your proudest professional achievement?

After a highly competitive election, I drafted and distributed a statement that underscored our client’s uniquely consequential role in the campaign and the positive outcome, garnering extensive media coverage that reached key audiences.

Favorite ice cream

Mint chocolate chip

Favorite movie

Back to the Future

Favorite hobby

Playing tennis

Lacey Johnson

Associate

How do you drive meaningful change?

I highlight the strengths of our clients to help them achieve their goals.

What is your proudest professional achievement?

I led the planning and implementation of large-scale programs on behalf of LGBT+ students at Howard University.

Favorite ice cream

Jeni’s Gooey Butter Cake

Favorite movie

Happy Together

Favorite hobby

Writing

Alissa Kaplan Michaels

Senior Advisor

How do you drive meaningful change?

By guiding clients to communicate both efficiently and effectively, I help to amplify advocacy efforts on a global scale.

What is your proudest professional achievement?

I am most proud of my work that raises awareness of human rights issues.

Favorite ice cream

Anything chocolate

Favorite movie

Pan’s Labyrinth

Favorite hobby

Photographing sunflowers

Samantha Kupferman

Partner

How do you drive meaningful change?

Leveraging my background in journalism and political communications, I facilitate clients — and potential clients — in understanding where they’re trying to go and the most effective ways to get there.

What is your proudest professional achievement?

I was privileged to stand by the side of more than 100 Holocaust survivors as they returned to Auschwitz for the 75th anniversary of its liberation and bravely stood up to share their stories.

Favorite ice cream

Chocolate chip cookie dough

Favorite movie

Titanic

Favorite hobby

Hiking

Jonathan Levenfeld

Strategist

How do you drive meaningful change?

I work alongside our clients to create messaging that highlights their vital work and advances their long-term goals.

What is your proudest professional achievement?

When the pandemic emerged in early 2020, I overhauled the campaign’s communications strategy and organized a series of webinars across different digital platforms, ensuring that the candidate could continue to reach her target audiences throughout the district.

Favorite ice cream

Cookies and cream

Favorite movie

Interstellar

Favorite hobby

Playing Tennis

Alyson Malinger

Senior Strategist

How do you drive meaningful change?

In response to some of the most pressing social justice issues of our time, I partner with clients to strategically achieve their mission-driven goals through communications avenues.

What is your proudest professional achievement?

To help dismantle the misconception that domestic violence doesn’t happen in communities of faith, I partnered with a client to develop a public launch strategy of a report that highlighted survivors within and beyond the Jewish community.

Favorite ice cream

Ben & Jerry’s Non-Dairy Cinnamon Buns

Favorite movie

Sleepless in Seattle

Favorite hobby

Anything related to Broadway

Meredith MacKenzie de Silva

Partner

How do you drive meaningful change?

I support people working on the front lines of injustice: immigration lawyers, human rights researchers, and advocates supporting people experiencing domestic violence.

What is your proudest professional achievement?

The work I am currently doing to remind the United States of its values and obligations to be a defender of human rights, including the right to migrate and to seek asylum, is particularly important. We are working with several human rights and immigrant advocacy groups to remind political leaders of both parties that we are a nation of immigrants, built on the rule of law.

Favorite ice cream

Sea salt caramel

Favorite movie

My Big Fat Greek Wedding

Favorite hobby

Distance running

Seth Nieman

Associate

How do you drive meaningful change?

I provide clients with smart, strategic guidance and messaging based on their work, mission and purpose.

What is your proudest professional achievement?

During the 2022 legislative session, I led the messaging and communications strategy to advocate for voting rights expansion in Mississippi.

Favorite ice cream

Blue Bell’s Mardi Gras King Cake

Favorite movie

Do the Right Thing

Favorite hobby

Running

Nicole O’Neill

Associate

How do you drive meaningful change?

I conduct in-depth research on a client’s mission, sector and audience to collaboratively shape their messaging and outreach in support of their goals.

What is your proudest professional achievement?

I created a video series for a client to underscore the challenges of being a female professional in a male-dominated career and provide advice for aspiring young women in their fields.

Favorite ice cream

Turkey Hill’s Double Dunker

Favorite movie

Mama Mia!

Favorite hobby

Reading

Adam Peck

Senior Strategist

How do you drive meaningful change?

Every client has an important story to tell. My job is to help them identify the most compelling narratives, build upon those narratives and share them with the world.

What is your proudest professional achievement?

Pulling off the communications rollout for a weekend-long series of events across two states, three federally-operated facilities, and with the involvement of the White House.

Favorite ice cream

Maine Sea Salt Caramel, from Mt. Desert Island Ice Cream Co.

Favorite movie

Jurassic Park

Favorite hobby

Running

Christine Peterson

Vice President of Talent & Equity

How do you drive meaningful change?

I build dynamic workplace cultures where team members thrive, do their best work, feel safe, and are seen, heard and included.

What is your proudest professional achievement?

Reducing occupational segregation by mentoring and developing young women so they may achieve career mobility

Favorite ice cream

French Vanilla

Favorite movie

When Harry Met Sally

Favorite hobby

Cooking

Jessica Sarstedt

Vice President

Manisha Sunil

Senior Strategist

How do you drive meaningful change?

I partner with clients to execute strategic communications plans that achieve their goals, around legislation, issue awareness, fundraising, or internal affairs.

What is your proudest professional achievement?

When violence in Gaza escalated in May of 2021, I secured key media placements for humanitarian workers on the ground and worked to center the stories of those most impacted by the conflict.

Favorite ice cream

Cold Stone’s “Founder’s Favorite”

Favorite movie

Inglourious Basterds

Favorite hobby

Hiking

Cassandra West

Associate

Shamari White

Associate

How do you drive meaningful change?

I conduct research on clients’ work, audiences and impact on society and then use that knowledge to create creative and impactful messaging and outreach.

What is your proudest professional accomplishment?

After a significant and historic event that resulted in an onslaught of media requests, WEST worked to provide clients with measures to organize and identify the best media opportunities.

Favorite ice cream

Birthday cake

Favorite movie

Breakfast at Tiffany’s

Favorite hobby

Creating music playlists via Apple Music and Spotify

Romelo Wilson

Associate

How do you drive meaningful change?

I approach each of my clients’ goals with logic and empathy to collaborate with them to develop effective messaging and smart strategies.

What is your proudest professional achievement?

Outside of the office, I support a national summer learning organization to implement strength-based messaging strategies and curricula focused on social/emotional learning.

Favorite ice cream

Butter Pecan

Favorite movie

Freedom Writers (2007)

Favorite hobby

Dancing

Ashley Zhao

Associate

How do you drive meaningful change?

I focus on understanding and highlighting our clients’ goals to help them develop the necessary strategies to promote positive social change.

What is your proudest professional achievement?

I co-authored a FiveThirtyEight article based on an analysis of anti-CRT bills across 40 state legislatures, which revealed how most of these bills simply echoed fear-mongering rhetoric from the Trump administration.

Favorite ice cream

Trader Joe’s Cold Brew Coffee and Boba

Favorite movie

Everything Everywhere All at Once

Favorite hobby

Thrifting

What is it like to work at WEST?

We believe in our clients and share their passion, values and commitment to a better world. And we know that the lasting, meaningful change we want to create is only possible with a team of people who have diverse backgrounds, perspectives and beliefs. As we work to create change in the world around us, we are also creating and strengthening equitable workplace cultures at WEST and across our industry where employees can thrive.

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