Speakers

Joel Baise

Joel Baise joined Walgreens as a Manager of State Government Relations in 2007.  He was responsible for government affairs activities in key states such as Texas, Arizona and Louisiana.  In December of 2008, Baise was promoted to Corporate Manager of Governmental Affairs for Walgreens Health Services.  In this role, Baise headed government affairs activities for Walgreens Health Services on both the State and Federal levels. In addition, Baise served on the executive leadership team of the business unit reporting to the Executive Vice President.  Currently, Baise is a Senior Director of State and Local Government Relations for the Walgreen Co.  In this position Baise has multiple roles. Baise leads a team which has governmental relations responsibilities for the western half of the United States.  Baise created and leads the Walgreen Government Ethics legal compliance program.  Baise has compliance oversight for over 35 Walgreen internal and external lobbyists and all campaign contributions.  Baise also advises other Walgreen departments and business units on legal issues related to compliance with local, state and federal government ethics laws.  Finally, Baise is responsible for government relations activities in the State of Illinois, California and is the Treasurer of the WalgreenCoPAC.

Prior to joining Walgreens, Baise served in several positions in Illinois state government.  Baise has a Bachelor of Arts and a Juris Doctor from the University of Illinois.

Leon Buck

Leon Buck joins NRF with 25 years of experience in government affairs. Most recently he was senior policy director and special projects coordinator for U.S. Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee (D-TX) where he covered the House Judiciary Committee, including the impeachment proceedings of President Trump. Before that, Leon served as assistant vice president with the American Property Casualty Insurance Association.  At APCIA, Leon lobbied before the House Financial Services and Senate Banking Committees, and worked on the passage and enactment of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, the National Flood Insurance Reform Authorization Act ,and the Terrorism Risk Insurance Act. 

Buck has served as a lobbyist for the American Red Cross in the office of government relations and public policy where he led the government relations efforts for the Hurricane Recovery Program. He also co-founded Government Strategies, a government relations firm serving clients before Congress and federal agencies. Prior to that, he served as the Staff Director to the Subcommittee on Immigration, Border Security and Claims of the House Judiciary Committee, and as legislative director to D.C. Mayor Sharon Pratt Kelly. He is also a veteran officer of the United States Navy and a travel baseball coach for high school aged young men. Buck was born and raised in Philadelphia, Pa. and lives in Bowie, Md, where he raised his three children. He is a graduate of Colby College in Waterville, Maine where he majored in government and history.  

Casey Cesnovar

In 2007, Mr. Cesnovar joined Walgreens as a Manager of State Government Relations responsible for 8 southern states as well as Puerto Rico. In August of 2010, he was promoted to Sr. Manager of State Government Relations responsible for all State Government Affairs activity on the east coast. In 2012, Mr. Cesnovar was promoted to Director of State Government Relations where he oversaw all state activity across the country. Currently Mr. Cesnovar holds the position of Divisional Vice President, State & Local Government Relations responsible for all legislative and regulatory issues affecting Walgreens enterprise wide business operations.

Prior to joining Walgreens Mr. Cesnovar spent nearly five years as a Professional Sales Representative for TAP Pharmaceuticals. Before that, he worked for the Lt. Governor of the State of Illinois where he served as the Assistant to the Deputy Chief of Staff and was eventually promoted to Director of Advance. Additionally Mr. Cesnovar played an integral role on the Wood for Governor Statewide campaign.  All the while working for and volunteering on various campaigns for the IL House and Senate.  Mr. Cesnovar received a BA in Political Science from DePaul University, Chicago.  Mr. Cesnovar lives in Libertyville, IL with his wife Karin and daughters Sophia (14) and Caroline (10). 

Dave Davis

Dave Davis is the President and Chief Legal Officer of the Utah Retail Merchants Association and the Utah Food Industry Association. Dave joined the Associations in 2007 as their Vice President and General Counsel and was elected by the respective Board of Directors to serve as President in March of 2010. Immediately before joining the associations Dave spent nearly a decade as the Director of Human Resources and Legal Counsel for large regional grocery wholesaler based out of Salt Lake City.

Dave graduated from the University of Utah with a degree in Political Science in 1994 and from Brigham Young University’s J. Reuben Clark School of Law in 1997.

Dave and his wife Kerri reside in Draper, Utah and have three daughters. 

Lauren Doroghazi

Lauren Doroghazi joined MultiState in 2012 and currently serves as Vice President. Lauren is an expert on state labor and employment policy and works closely with all of MultiState’s clients to inform them of legislative activity and emerging trends in this area that will have an impact on their businesses and industries. Lauren also served as Policy Director for the Council of State Chambers of Commerce where she managed several of the organization’s policy committees. She is a frequent writer and speaker on state and local employment policy and appears regularly before trade and professional associations and corporations, including state chambers of commerce, retail and service industry executives, the Association of Chamber of Commerce Executives, and Women in Government Relations.

Lauren’s prior experience includes serving as an editor for ProQuest, where she researched legislative histories of federal laws, and time on Capitol Hill and in the Canadian Parliament. Lauren graduated with a Master in Public Administration from The George Washington University in 2016 and holds undergraduate degrees in political science and history from the University of Michigan. Lauren is the co-founder of the MultiState Women’s Forum.

Amy Drumm

Amy Drumm is vice president, government affairs for Michigan Retailers Association. Her responsibilities include day-to-day advocacy in the state Capitol, as well as analysis and monitoring of all legislation and public policy. She serves as liaison to retail industry government affairs professionals and organizations and oversees the MRA Political Action Committee. In 2018, she was nationally recognized by the Food Marketing Institute (FMI) for her extraordinary leadership and work on Michigan’s ban on local excise taxes or fees on food and beverages – the country’s first-ever such law, according to FMI president and CEO Leslie Sarasin. 

She joined MRA as legislative coordinator in 2012 and was promoted to manager of government affairs in 2013 and director in 2015. A University of Michigan graduate, she previously was legislative director for then-State Rep. Sharon Tyler.

Andy Ellen

President and General Counsel

NCRMA President and General Counsel Andy Ellen has overall responsibility for leading NCRMA and its 11 affiliated companies. Now in his 23rd year with NCRMA, he is passionate about achieving the Association’s mission of promoting a positive legislative and regulatory environment for the retail industry in order to enhance members’ opportunities for success.

Andy was named one North Carolina’s most influential lobbyists in North Carolina by the North Carolina Center for Public Policy Research for five straight bienniums including being ranked as one of the top four most influential lobbyists for three straight bienniums. He is also a recipient of the 2014 Triangle Business Journal’s Corporate Counsel Awards and the 2018 Elon University College of Arts and Sciences Distinguished Alumni Award.

Originally from Southern Pines, North Carolina, Andy is a 1992 graduate of Elon University. He received his Juris Doctorate from the Norman Adrian Wiggins School of Law at Campbell University in 1997 and became licensed to practice law in North Carolina that same year. He lives in Wake Forest with his wife, Tricia, and their two daughters, Julia and Jenna.

Jim Ellis 

As creator of the Ellis Insight publication and Senior Political Analyst for the Business-Industry Political Action Committee (BIPAC), Jim Ellis analyzes electoral politics and reports upon trends, characteristics, and tendencies in American elections for political action committees, associations, and legislative advocacy firms.  

He formerly provided political consulting services to the House Republican majority through 2006, has run two national political action committees, and managed successful political campaigns.  

Jim speaks around the country on electoral politics, previously appeared as a debate participant on the CBS affiliate in Washington, DC’s morning news program, and is a regular on the Sunday Morning Newsmakers with Larry Marino radio show on KRLA in Los Angeles and has been interviewed on many national and local radio programs.

 Gordan M. Gough

Now in his nineteenth year at the Council, Gordon serves as President and CEO. In this role, he is the point person for Ohio retail and wholesale issues in the Statehouse and Congress and manages the Council’s business operations.

In addition to his Council duties, Gordon serves as Past-Chairman of the Council of State Retail Associations, member of the National Retail Federation’s Innovation Advisory Committee, and serves on the boards of the Capitol Square Foundation, the Greater Columbus Sports Commission, and the Ohio Industrial Commission Nominating Council.

Gordon has also served the people of Central Ohio as President of the Nationwide Children’s Hospital Foundation Development Board.

In 2012, Gordon received Columbus Business First’s Forty Under 40 Award for rising business leaders, and in 2016 was named by Columbus Business First as “20 People to Know in Retail”, and was recognized in 2019 by Smart Business as one of the top executives of the 50 smartest companies in the Central Ohio region.

A native of Kettering, Gordon earned a B.A. in Political Science from The Ohio State University and an M.B.A. from The Ohio State University’s Fisher College of Business.  He and his wife reside in Dublin with their four children.

 Sandra Guckian

Sandra Guckian is currently Vice President, State Relations where she directs the association’s State Government Affairs activities in California and monitors state-level legislative and regulatory advocacy in twenty states and Puerto Rico. Having served the association for over 25 years, Sandra has held a variety of positions in Pharmacy Affairs, Health Policy, and the NACDS Foundation. Sandra has a Bachelor of Science in Pharmacy and Master of Science in Pharmacy Administration degrees from The University of Texas at Austin College of Pharmacy. As a pharmacist, she has practiced in a variety of settings including chain pharmacy, hospital pharmacy and home health care practice.

Rose Gundersen

Rose joined Washington Retail in 2019 with over 25 years of experience in insurance, banking, healthcare and an additional three years as the Washington State Department of Labor & Industries’ Small Business Liaison Manager. 

Her broad background and experiences make her an ideal fit to serve retailer members as the Vice President of Operations and Retail Service of Washington Retail (WR). She has also enjoyed success as an entrepreneur in both the private and non-profit sectors as well as in policy research and advocacy. 

With her bi-lingual background, growing up in Hong Kong and nonprofit background, Rose is facilitating the Retail Workforce Training and Advancement objective under Washington Retail Board’s Justice, Equity, Diversity and Inclusion (JEDI) Initiative. 

Her knowledge of government regulations makes her an invaluable resource to support members with regulatory compliance. Rose understands the challenges that small businesses face, and they are assured to receive answers with a super-fast response time! 

Rose oversees a high performing team that provides claims and risk management for WR’s members. She works closely with the association’s government affairs team on policies that impact retailers. 

Her education includes a B.A. in Business Administration from the University of Washington and an Executive J.D. from Concord Law School. 

Outside of work, Rose is a board director of Washington Trafficking Prevention, a nonprofit she co-founded to combat human trafficking. Often, you will also find her mountain biking with her husband wherever possible, and spending time with her three adult children. 

Andrew Hackman

Andrew is a registered federal lobbyist who has testified before the U.S. Senate and lobbied in over 25 state capitols. Prior to joining Serlin Haley, he served as vice president of government affairs for the Toy Industry Association, where he oversaw TIA’s advocacy programs at both the state and federal levels. Andrew also has directed the national government affairs program of the Consumer Specialty Products Association.

Andrew received a Bachelors of Science in Public Affairs from Indiana University’s School of Public and Environmental Affairs in Bloomington, Indiana and a Masters of Business Administration from George Washington University in Washington, D.C.

Jeremy Hancock

Jeremy Hancock is Senior Director of Government Affairs and represents Experian before Congress, federal agencies and state policymakers. He specializes in issues related to credit reporting, identity theft, marketing, e-commerce and privacy. Prior to Experian, Jeremy worked in legislative and regulatory affairs for Charles Schwab, where he managed a number of legislative issues, including banking and tax policy, and was responsible for public policy strategy.

Jeremy has also worked as an aide in the United State Senate, where he advised senior Members of Congress on economic policy and financial services issues and staffed Senators on the Banking and Commerce Committees. He holds a bachelor’s degree from Florida Southern College and an MBA from The George Washington University.

John Holub

John Holub is an Associate at Public Strategies Impact (PSI), one of the leading legislative advocacy organizations in New Jersey, having joined the firm in January 2017.  His move to PSI earned him the designation as a “Winner” in the weekly “Winners & Losers” column of PolitiFax New Jersey.  Even more recently, Holub was recognized by InsiderNJ.com as a “well-respected Statehouse presence,” and named to their Top 100 Policy Makers List.

 Since 2005, John has served as President and CEO of the New Jersey Retail Merchants Association (NJRMA), a role he continues to serve.  Additionally, John continues as Executive Director of the NJRMA affiliate, the New Jersey Council of Chain Drug Stores (NJCCDS).  In 2018, John also assumed the role of Executive Director of the Pennsylvania Retailers’ Association (PRA).

 Holub was previously the New Jersey State Director for the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB), the largest small business advocacy group in New Jersey, representing 11,000 members.  Prior to that, he worked for some of the most closely watched and highly targeted New Jersey political campaigns as both campaign manager and consultant.  John helped lead the campaigns of former US Representative/senatorial candidate Dick Zimmer and Mercer County Executive Bob Prunetti, among many others.  He also served as an aide to Governor Christie Todd Whitman during her first term in office.

Holub is a 1993 graduate of Syracuse University, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in political science.

Chris Howes

Chris Howes founded The Howes Group, in 2001 with a mission of representing clients with integrity and focus. Since 1994 his lobbying and association management career has been built on representing a diverse group of industries and associations in Colorado including; pharmacy, agriculture, grocery, telecommunications, hospitals, big box retail, national beverage manufacturers, emergency radio, voting equipment, emergency first responders, police departments and commercial developers. His work on behalf of the state chamber of commerce, state hospital association and state retail association has established his reputation as one of the most trusted lobbyists under the golden dome. From 1994-1997 Chris Howes served as Vice President of the Colorado Retail Council and soon became the Council’s lead lobbyist on the issue of pharmacy regulation and legislation. Before moving over to the State Capitol, Mr. Howes was a Senior Associate for Maria Garcia Berry at CRL Associates, Inc., a contract lobbying firm in Denver specializing in municipal and county government. A registered Republican in Denver, Mr. Howes values the importance of working both sides of the aisle to gain support for our clients' legislative agendas.

Austen Jensen

 Austen Jensen joined the Retail Industry Leaders Association (RILA) in January 2016 and serves as senior vice president for government affairs. In this role, Jensen advocates before Congress and prudential regulators to promote transparency, innovation, and competition in the payment ecosystem. In addition to handling the payments portfolio for RILA members, he also handles financial services issues that fall under the jurisdiction of the Securities and Exchange Commission, Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, Federal Trade Commission and the Federal Reserve.

Outside of the financial services arena, Jensen directly handles environment and sustainability issues, along with policies surrounding patents. As senior vice president of government affairs, he manages the entire government affairs teams that deals with workforce policy, privacy, trade, taxes and assists with the RILA PAC to target retail leaders on Capitol Hill. 

Prior to joining RILA, he spent more than a decade working in the U.S. House of Representatives. Austen served as chief of staff for Congressman Patrick McHenry (R-NC), who currently serves as the Ranking Member of the Financial Services Committee and was the former chief deputy whip for House Republicans.

An Arizona native, Austen is a graduate of Arizona State University where he earned his Bachelor of Science degree in political science. He currently resides in Alexandria, VA with his wife and son. They attend St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Old Town Alexandria.

Caroline Joiner

Caroline Joiner serves as Senior Manager, Public Policy for Amazon where she leads government relations and policy for Texas and the South Central region.

Prior to joining Amazon, Caroline was a founding partner at Ironclad Partners, a Texas-based public affairs firm that specialized in government relations, strategic communications, reputation management, and strategic counsel to a variety of clients. Previously, Caroline served as Executive Director for TechNet, the national, bi-partisan association of technology companies. In this role, she oversaw TechNet’s state advocacy and political activities in Texas and the southeast and secured significant legislative victories on education and workforce, privacy, cybersecurity and procurement.

Prior to TechNet, Caroline served as an independent government affairs consultant for a variety of corporate and political clients in Texas. Earlier, she served as Vice President of the Global Intellectual Property Center at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce in Washington, D.C., leading a 700-member coalition of companies and associations to protect IP and innovation around the world. In 2005, Caroline was appointed to serve as the Executive Director for Trade Promotion at the U.S. Department of Commerce, managing various programs that helped American small and medium-sized companies grow their business globally. Caroline also has years of political experience with various roles on statewide and presidential campaigns.

Caroline is a native of Amarillo, Texas and a graduate of the University of Texas at Austin. She resides in Austin, Texas with her husband and two kids.

Rob Karr

As President & CEO of the Illinois Retail Merchants Association (IRMA), Rob brings 27 years of experience to the Association.

Rob joined the IRMA staff in 1994, coordinating IRMA’s government relations efforts. In that capacity, he also served as the legislative coordinator for the Illinois Food Retailers Association and the Midwest Hardware Association. Additionally, he had the responsibility for IRMA’s membership development efforts.

In 2012, Rob was named Executive Vice President and assumed the position of President & CEO on Jan. 1, 2014. 

Rob currently serves on the Employment Security Advisory Board to the Illinois Department of Employment Security, the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Advisory Board to the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission, the Illinois Attorney General’s Franchise Advisory Board, the Illinois Department of Public Health’s Food Safety Advisory Committee and the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity’s Low-Income Energy Assistance Program Policy Advisory Council. In 2009, Rob was appointed by then-Governor Pat Quinn to serve on the temporary Pension Systems Modernization Task Force.

He is a graduate of Illinois State University. Rob is a native of Chicago and long-time resident of Jacksonville where he and his wife, Lori, reside. They are the proud parents of four.

Alison Keane

Alison Keane is an environmental attorney with over 25 years’ experience in both the private and governmental sectors.  She is currently the President and CEO of the Flexible Packaging Association (FPA), the association representing U.S. converters of film, foil, paper and other materials into packages for food, medical device and industrial products.  Prior to joining the FPA in 2016, she was with the American Coatings Association (ACA) for 16 years and served first as Counsel and then as Vice President for Government Affairs.  She was also the Executive Director, General Counsel and Corporate Secretary for the ACA’s product stewardship organization - PaintCare.  Other employment experience includes the Environmental Protection Agency’s Headquarters office, the Maryland State Senate and private practice.  Alison has her BA in Biology from St. Mary’s College of Maryland and her JD from Golden Gate University in San Francisco.  She is admitted to the practice of law in both Maryland and the District of Columbia.

Leigh Knotts

Leigh Knotts is the Regional Director, State Government Affairs for the National Association of Chain Drug Stores. Leigh joined NACDS in April 2012 and is responsible for advocacy in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina and Tennessee.  Prior to joining NACDS Leigh worked in the government relations department of Berry, Quackenbush & Stuart, PA, in Columbia, SC.

Leigh graduated from the University of South Carolina with a degree in Political Science in 1995 and a Paralegal Certification in 1997.

She resides on her farm in Lugoff, SC with her husband Chris and children, CJ and Maggie.

Cailey Locklair

Cailey Locklair is the President of the Maryland Retailers Association, Maryland Chain Drug Store Association, Maryland Food Industry Council and Tri State Jewelers Association and has worked in Maryland State politics for the past fifteen years. She attended the University of Delaware where she received her Bachelor of Arts in political science and Towson University where she received her Master of Science degree in integrated homeland security management with a focus on security policy. She also holds a Certificate of Security Assessment and Management from Towson University. Previously, she worked at the Baltimore Jewish Council as their Deputy Executive Director and was the Assistant House Administrator for the Maryland House of Delegates. In 2014, she was chosen by The Seventh State as an "Annapolis Top Five Young Gun" and in 2019 by the Daily Record as a "Successful by 40 VIP." Cailey is a member of the State’s Unemployment Insurance Legislative Oversight Committee, is Chair of the national Council of State Retailer Associations, sits on the board of Goodwill of the Chesapeake and sits on the Executive Directors Council to the Maryland Tourism Development Board. In her free time, she enjoys volunteering with animal organizations, boating, playing softball for the Department of Legislative Services and is a proud "sponsor" of Naval Academy midshipman. She resides in Edgewater, MD.

Tania Maestas

Tania is an experienced litigator and strategic advisor who specializes in complex civil litigation, government relations, and regulatory matters. Her broad practice encompasses securities, environmental, products liability, technology, financial services and white collar matters. Tania has committed the majority of her career to government practice, representing government agencies in appellate litigation and regulatory counseling matters. Tania has also represented the State of New Mexico on immigration issues and has filed numerous amicus briefs in support of immigrants and law enforcement priorities. Tania currently serves as Chief Deputy to New Mexico Attorney General Hector Balderas. As the primary legal policy advisor, Tania is responsible for developing and executing the Attorney General’s policy initiatives and supervising some of the agency’s most complex and high-profile matters, covering securities, technology and privacy, civil rights, environmental and consumer law. Tania was previously appointed by the Governor of New Mexico as General Counsel for the state’s Regulation and Licensing Department. During her tenure, she was the supervising attorney for the Department’s Securities Regulation, Alcohol and Gaming, Financial Institutions and Construction Industries Divisions. In that role, Tania counseled the Governor and Cabinet Secretary on statutory implementation. Tania has also served as Assistant Attorney General and Division Director of the Open Government Division, where she coordinated representation, communications and policy between the Office of the Attorney General and client states agencies, including the Secretary of State’s Office. Tania has been a legal instructor for the Attorney General Alliance and Conference of Western Attorneys General for over a decade. Most recently, took on the additional role as Deputy Executive Director for the Attorney General Alliance.

Paul Martino

Paul Martino is vice president and senior policy counsel at the National Retail Federation. He is responsible for developing and implementing federal legislative and regulatory advocacy efforts on a range of ecommerce and consumer protection policy issues, most notably, data privacy and security.

With more than 25 years of industry, government and legal experience, Martino is known as a leading industry strategist and lobbyist on a range of Internet, telecommunications and technology policy issues. He has been featured on television as a consumer data privacy expert and as a speaker on privacy and data security issues at events hosted by the U.S. Department of Commerce, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, BritishAmerican Business, the Silicon Valley Association of General Counsels, the Berkeley Center for Law and Technology (BCLT), the International Association of Privacy Professionals (IAPP) and the American Bar Association (ABA).

Before joining NRF, Martino co-chaired the privacy and data security practice of Alston & Bird LLP, a leading national law firm, where he represented businesses, trade associations and coalitions before Congress, federal departments and independent agencies on issues affecting data privacy, cybersecurity, ecommerce, telecommunications, financial services and intellectual property. Martino was named a national leader in privacy and data security law every year from 2008 to 2014 (while in private practice) by the chief publication ranking American business lawyers, Chambers USA: America's Leading Lawyers for Business.

Prior to joining Alston & Bird in 2005, Martino served for four years as a principal advisor to Chairman John McCain and the lead counsel on Internet, technology and privacy issues for the U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation. He came to the Senate after spending seven years advising startup and newly public technology companies on corporate and transactional matters in Silicon Valley, where he was a business and technology associate with the law firms of Gunderson Dettmer and Brobeck, Phleger & Harrison.

Martino graduated with honors from Georgetown University with a bachelor’s degree in government and a concentration in American government. He earned his law degree at the University of California, Berkeley.

Rachel Michelin

Rachel Michelin is President of the California Retailers Association (CRA), the most significant voice representing the retail industry in California’s public policy arena, at the State Capitol, in City Halls and with regulatory bodies across the state. Michelin oversees a diverse board and membership representing retail throughout the state and nation from small brick and mortar, to franchises to national retailers and on-line merchants. Rachel has led associations for over 20 years with visionary leadership including strategic growth and engagement, increasing revenue, developing partnerships, statewide influence and public awareness. Rachel has demonstrated success through a strong bipartisan leadership network she has built with key influencers in the public and private sectors.

Prior to California Retailers, Michelin led California Women Lead as Chief Executive Officer and Executive Director since 2002. She also served as Program and Policy Director for the California Elected Women's Association for Education and Research (CEWAER), Communications Director and District Director for members of the State Assembly and has worked on local, state and national political campaigns.   She also served as an appointee under the Schwarzenegger and Brown Administrations.

Rachel is a Senior Fellow of the American Leadership Forum - Mountain Valley Chapter and received her bachelor's of arts from the California State University, Fullerton majoring in Communications - Journalism and minor in Political Science.

Charles R. Miller

Charles R. Miller is VP, Government and Public Affairs at Macy’s, Inc.  He joined the Macy’s Law Department in 2005 when Macy’s acquired The May Department Stores Company.  Previously he was a Senior Counsel at May and, before that, Corporate Secretary and Assistant General Counsel at Petrolite Corporation, a publicly-traded specialty chemicals company.  Earlier in his career Miller served as Counsel to the Governor of Missouri, as an associate attorney at a law firm in Missouri, and an Assistant Attorney General for the State of Missouri.

In New York City Miller is a member of Manhattan Community Board 5 and a Director of Hudson River Health Care, a nonprofit provider of integrated health care and social support services to over 225,000 patients across the Hudson Valley and New York City areas.  He also is a Director of Rauschenbusch Metro Ministries, a community-based organization providing direct and educational services in the Hell’s Kitchen neighborhood of Manhattan.

Bruce Nustad

Bruce joined the Minnesota Retailers Association as its staff president in September 2012, bringing with him a strong background of working with the business community. Before joining the retailer he served as TwinWest Chamber of Commerce president and CEO. Nustad’s experience also includes leadership positions with the Minnesota High Tech Association, American Collectors Association, Twin Cities North Chamber of Commerce, and the Saint Paul Area Chamber of Commerce. Bruce’s claim to fame is an extras role in the movie Fargo.

Curtis Picard

Curtis Picard joined the Retail Association of Maine (formerly the Maine Merchants Association) in November of 2007.

Prior to his current position, Curtis was Vice President of Business Development and International Trade for the Vermont Chamber of Commerce. He was responsible for the chamber’s International Trade Program with offices in Shanghai, China and Taipei, Taiwan. Additionally, he coordinated the annual VT Business and Industry EXPO, the largest Business to Business tradeshow in Northern New England and managed the Vermont Aerospace and Aviation Association (VAAA), a group formed to support the aviation industry in Vermont and an affiliate of the Vermont Chamber of Commerce.

Picard serves on the board of directors of the Topsham Development, Inc., and the Maine Society of Association Executives. He has previously served on the boards of the Maine Tourism Association, Council of State Retail Associations, National Retail Federation and InforME. He was appointed by the DECD Commissioner to the Maine Small Business and Entrepreneurship Commission. In 2018, he was honored with the J. Thomas Weyant Award by the National Retail Federation recognizing the state retail association executive of the year. 

He graduated from the University of Vermont in 1991 with a B.S. in Business Administration and he received a New York University Certificate in Sports and Event Management in 1993.  He is a 2008 graduate of the U.S Chamber’s Institute for Organization Management and earned his Certified Association Executive (CAE) designation in January of 2012.

Picard is a runner who has completed four marathons and a former volunteer firefighter.  He is married with one son and lives in Topsham. 

Cassandra Walker Pye

Cassandra Walker Pye is Executive Vice President and Chief Strategy Officer for Lucas Public Affairs (LPA), a public affairs consultancy based in Sacramento. For 35 years, she has enjoyed a successful career in communications, government, politics and advocacy for corporate interests in global, national, state and local arenas. She joined LPA in November 2019.

Cassandra has served in leadership roles in the public and private sectors in Sacramento and in Washington, DC. From 2014 through 2019, she led 3.14 Communications, LLC, a full-service communication consultancy with clients in a range of sectors. She began her career at the Food Marketing Institute and directed government relations operations for the California Grocers Association and the California Retailers Association. As senior vice president for APCO Worldwide, Cassandra co-led the agency’s global food and consumer products practice group. In 2003, Cassandra was appointed deputy chief of staff to California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger and served as a member of his post-election transition team. She is former political director and corporate affairs vice president for the California Chamber of Commerce, where she launched the JobsPAC, ChamberPAC and the Coalition for California Jobs.

Since 2016, she’s been a lead facilitator for the American Leadership Forum’s (ALF) Leading Consciously trainings, providing insights into unconscious (implicit) bias and its impact on societal structures and institutions.

Cassandra sits on the Leadership Council for the Public Policy Institute of California (PPIC) and serves on the boards of California Women Lead and New Way CA, Street Soccer USA. She is a passionate professional soccer fan and was among the original group of supporters for Sacramento Republic Football Club, now a Major League Soccer enterprise. Cassandra and husband Kelvin have four adult sons. They reside in Sacramento. 

Brian Riggs 

Brian Riggs is a native of New Jersey where he currently resides with his wife and two daughters. He first joined the public sector in 1997, when he served as the research historian for the National Constitution Center in Philadelphia. In 2007 he was hired by Association Headquarters, Inc., an association management company, where he began designing and executing leadership workshops, organizational engagement and strategic planning for the public and private sectors.

Today Brian is the CEO of Riggs Enterprise, a company that specializes in organizational development with a strong focus on helping leaders think differently, strategic planning and internal and external communications. More specifically, he and his team work closely with leadership teams and organizations on organizational effectiveness, change management and developing a culture of innovation.

Riggs holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of North Carolina, a master’s degree from Rutgers University, and is a graduate of Cornell University’s change leadership program. 

Scott Shalley

R. Scott Shalley currently serves as President & CEO of the Florida Retail Federation (FRF). For over 80 years FRF has served as the voice of Florida’s immense retail industry. As President & CEO, Mr. Shalley maintains responsibility for all areas of FRF operations including oversight of Georgia Retailers, FRF Services, FRF Realty and other related ventures. He joined FRF in 2017 and has over 30 years of experience in lobbying, association management and private sector business management. Prior to joining FRF, Mr. Shalley served as Executive Director of the Florida Association of Counties. He has worked extensively with lawmakers and government agencies throughout Florida, Georgia and Washington, D.C.  Mr. Shalley previously served as Vice President/Director of Business Management for an internationally recognized bridge engineering firm. His responsibilities included contract negotiation and business development throughout the United States as well as in South America and Saudi Arabia.  Mr. Shalley is a graduate of Florida State University.

Matthew Shay

Matthew Shay is president and CEO of the National Retail Federation, the world’s largest retail trade association and foremost industry group focused on the people, policies, ideas and technologies shaping the consumer retail economy. He serves as chief advocate and spokesman for the nation’s largest private-sector industry employer, responsible for supporting one in four U.S. jobs – 52 million working Americans – and generating $3.9 trillion in annual GDP. Since his arrival in 2010, Shay has transformed NRF into Washington’s most powerful voice supporting the retail industry. Under his tenure, membership and revenue have more than doubled and the organization’s influence has grown significantly inside Washington, across the United States and globally. He has led the organization to new levels of effectiveness on policy issues, increasing awareness of the industry’s economic impact and expanding political engagement. Shay has held leadership positions in the retail, consumer and services sector for more than 20 years. Before NRF, he served as president and CEO of the International Franchise Association, which represents more than 1,400 franchise companies in retail and other industries around the world. He is a graduate of Wittenberg University in Springfield, Ohio, and The Ohio State University College of Law, and holds a master’s degree in business administration from the Georgetown University McDonough School of Business. 

Erin Sigrist

Erin Sigrist is the President of Vermont Retail & Grocers Association and Executive Director of the Vermont Specialty Food Association. She has represented business in Vermont state politics for the past eleven years. Previously, she worked as a Government Relations Specialist for Downs Rachlin Martin, Vermont’s largest law firm, representing a broad range of clients in the areas of healthcare, energy, employment, and local government. Erin grew up in a family-owned hardware store in the Finger Lakes in New York and received her Bachelor of Science in Business with a concentration in Marketing from Elmira College. Erin is President of the Vermont Society of Association Executives, Treasurer for the Council of State Retail Associations, and was recognized in 2019 as a Rising Star by Vermont Business Magazine. Erin lives in Northfield, VT with her husband, Neal, her two cats, and two dogs.

Paloma Sparks

Paloma brings more than 18 years of experience working with the Oregon Legislature. She is OBI’s lead on all government affairs for Oregon Business & Industry and has been with the organization since 2018. Paloma is a recognized policy expert on Oregon labor and employment law. In addition to her work on policy and strategy, Paloma also acts as OBI’s General Counsel. She attended the University of Oregon, where she earned a Bachelor of Arts in political science and a law degree.

Paloma has been the lead negotiator on several pieces of important legislation including the recently passed Paid Family and Medical Leave Insurance program. She also works closely with many state agencies, most recently on Oregon OSHA’s COVID-19 workplace safety rules.

Renée Sunde

A passionate, results driven leader with over 30 years of experience working in public and private sectors and non-profit executive management. Renée is a visionary leader focused on strategic growth and industry engagement, developing partnerships, garnering statewide influence and public awareness. She has been leading the Washington Retail Association (WR) as President & CEO since 2017. 

Renée stepped in at a time when the industry was experiencing significant change and transformation. As stewards of Washington’s retail experience, WR is dedicated to working for Washington retailers to grow and strengthen their position with their consumers, legislators, and the marketplace. 

Prior to joining WR, Renee served as Economic Development Director for the City of Olympia. There she forged a new priority to focus city efforts on a balanced approach to community and economic development. During her tenure, the City completed a Downtown Strategy that included a retail emphasis and focus on community renewal and downtown economic development. 

Prior to her work in Olympia, Sunde served as Deputy Director for the Thurston Economic Development Council. She played a key role in the development and successful launch of the region’s Center for Business & Innovation (CB&I), a partnership between the Thurston EDC and South Puget Sound Community College. Today she serves as a CB&I Board Director. 

Renée was recently elected to the Council of State Retail Associations National Board of Directors. CSRA acts as a portal for communications between state retail associations across the country primarily concerning state legislation and regulations affecting the retail industry. Sunde studied Business Management at Northwest University and continued her education through the Institute of Financial Education and International Economic Development Council. 

Renée and her family live in Olympia, Washington. 

Terry Talbott

Terry Talbott, R.Ph. is a 1987 graduate of Duquesne University School of Pharmacy in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. She began her professional career with Thrift Drug as an intern and for the last 32 years has been an employee with CVS pharmacy. During her career at CVS, Terry has been a pharmacist and a pharmacy supervisor for CVS Pharmacy covering the Pocono and Lehigh Valley areas of Pennsylvania, and she joined the Government Affairs team for CVS Health in 2014. She has covered various states on the Eastern seaboard and currently is responsible for all enterprise business unit activity for the CVS Government Affairs team in the states of New Hampshire, and New York. She also serves as a Senior Advisor for the Government Affairs team on pharmacy practice, retail, and Minute Clinic issues. 

Terry has been involved in many pharmacy organizations throughout her career. She is the youngest female to ever serve as the President of the Pennsylvania Pharmacists Association President, and has represented CVS on the Pennsylvania Chain Drug Store Association Board. Terry also participated on the committee to rewrite the Pennsylvania pharmacy practice act. She currently is a member of the Dean’s Advisory Committee for the Duquesne University School of Pharmacy and has been a guest lecturer at Duquesne and also at the Wilkes University Nesbitt School of Pharmacy. 

In 2011, Terry was appointed to the Pennsylvania State Board of Pharmacy. She was reappointed in for a second term in 2018 and has served as the Board’s Chair twice. She serves on the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy (NABP) Advisory Committee on Examinations bringing her vast experience to this process. 

A life-long Pennsylvanian, Terry lives in the Pocono Mountains in Northeast PA with her husband of 34 years, Jonah. They have one adult son, Noah, and two rescued terrier mix dogs. Since 2008, Terry has been active with the Alliance of Therapy Dogs, initially volunteering with her dog, Kirby, at the local library in the “Paws and Pages” program which helps children to improve their reading skills by reading to canine companions. One of Terry’s current dogs, Logan, is also a certified therapy dog and they are active volunteers at the Lehigh Valley International Airport’s Canine Therapy Program. 

Terry serves her parish family at Our Lady Queen of Peace Church in Brodheadsville, PA, as Confirmation coordinator and instructor in the religious education program, chaperone for the youth ministry program, and a member of the social justice advocacy ministry. She also serves on the Diocese of Scranton Advocacy Advisory Committee, Youth Ministry Advisory Committee, and Catechist Training Committee. She loves reading, gardening, baseball, and exploring national parks with her husband. 

Francisco J. Uribe

Francisco Uribe joined The Home Depot in October 2007. He is The Home Depot’s executive representative and focal point of contact for state and local government relations in the U.S., as well as Puerto Rico and Mexico. 

Mr. Uribe is responsible for leading the state and local government relations team and directing, controlling, planning and the overall management of all state and local government relations for The Home Depot as well as in Puerto Rico and the country of Mexico. 

Prior to joining The Home Depot, Mr. Uribe was Director of Government and External Affairs for Verizon from 1998 through 2007 where he was responsible for government relations, implementing and managing community affairs programs, and for identifying community-based organization programs that could be supported through the Verizon Foundation. Prior to Verizon, Mr. Uribe held numerous positions throughout various levels of the federal government. As Special Projects Coordinator to Congressman Xavier Becerra (D-CA), he managed and implemented strategies to support local community-based organizations and businesses in obtaining federal grants, contracts and programs. He also provided counsel to the Congressman on international affairs. Mr. Uribe also worked in Washington, D.C. from 1993 through 1995 as a staff assistant to the Attorney General of the United States and at the White House Office of Public Liaison where he worked for the Associate Director for Hispanic, Environmental and Religious Community issues. At the White House he helped coordinate various advocacy campaigns, such as the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), among others. 

As part of his community involvement, Mr. Uribe currently serves on the board of directors of the California Retailers Association, the California Business Properties Association, and the Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce. 

Mr. Uribe was raised in Los Angeles, California from the age of three years old where he attended public schools. He earned an Executive MBA from Pepperdine University, a Bachelor of Arts degree in International Relations and Ethnic Studies from the University of Southern California and earned an Associate of Arts degree in Journalism/Public Relations from El Camino College. He has completed certificates in business management from Boston College and in international business from the Moore School of Business at the University of South Carolina. He is a graduate of Leadership Southern California, the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute and the Society of International Business Fellows Leadership Academy. 

Mr. Uribe and his wife, Alejandra, have two sons and live in Northridge, California. 

Gautham Vadakkepatt

Gautham Vadakkepatt is an award-winning researcher, educator, and founding director of George Mason University’s Center for Retail Transformation, a center focused on supporting SMB retail. His research focuses on managerially and societally relevant issues in the domains of social media, technology, innovation and non-product market strategies (e.g., sustainability, government-business relationships, corporate activism), with a specific interest in the retail sector. His research has been published in leading marketing journals. His research is recipient of the 2015 MSI/H. Paul Root Award and was a finalist for the 2020 Sheth Foundation/Journal of Marketing Award for long-term contributions to the field of marketing. He was recently identified as a Top 100 retail influencer by Rethink Retail. Prior to starting his academic career, Gautham worked for General Electric and a quality engineer and an e-business analyst. Since then he has also consulted with several companies on their go-to-market, marketing, digital and/or data strategies.

Dave VanderWoude

Dave VanderWoude is a Manager of Government Affairs for Best Buy Co., Inc., a leading provider of technology products, services, and solutions.  He leads advocacy and monitors legislative activity for Best Buy in states in the Northeast, Midwest, and Southeast regions and focuses internally on workforce and tax policy for the company.  Prior to joining Best Buy in 2017, Dave worked for a lobbying firm in St. Paul, MN and spent several years as a legislative staffer in the Massachusetts House of Representatives.  He is a graduate of Tufts University in Medford, MA.

Josh Young

Josh Young represents the chemical and plastics industries before legislative and regulatory agencies throughout the country.  Josh began working for the American Chemistry Council in 2004 and serves as Senior Government Affairs Director in their Washington, DC headquarters.  Mr. Young works with legislative and regulatory officials, local chemistry councils, environmental federations, and industry groups at the local, state and federal level. 

Additionally, Mr. Young represents ACC through Public Policy Groups participation including the American Legislative Exchange Council, National Conference of State Legislators, the Council of State Governments, National Governors Association, Republican Governors Association, Democrat Governors Association and the Lieutenant Governors Association.

Josh serves on the Board of Directors for the State Government Affairs Council and Product Management Alliance.

Upon receiving his Master of Arts degree in English from Washington & Lee University, Mr. Young served as a Legislative Liaison for US Senator Paul Coverdell in Washington, DC.  He is married to the former Kelly Jordan of Raleigh, NC and they and their son reside in Arlington, VA.