Speakers

Patrick Brady

Patrick Brady serves as Senior Director, State Affairs & Advocacy. In this role, Mr. Brady represents RILA before state and local governments on critical issues impacting the retail industry. 

Prior to joining RILA, Mr. Brady was a Director, Policy Engagement at the Society for Human Resource Management, managing their labor and employment, civil rights, and workforce development legislative portfolio. In this role, Mr. Brady was instrumental developing and introducing H.R. 4219, the Workflex in the 21st Century Act—a bill to address the myriad state and local paid sick leave laws impacting employers.

 Mr. Brady is a graduate of Loyola University of Chicago with a Bachelor's of Art in Political Science and Minors in Economics and Criminal Justice. He lives in Alexandria, Virginia with his wife and two sons.

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. 

Elise Diedrich

Elise Diedrich, is a Director of State and Local Government Affairs and leads employment policy strategies to advance Target’s business priorities and Target’s brand in 50 states and major city markets across the country. She works with retail companies, associations and internal business teams to develop retail positions on complex policy issues related to pay and benefits, employment, labor and workforce.

Before joining Target in 2013, Elise was the Director of Government Affairs at Supervalu covering legislative work in 20 states. She was the Political Director for Congresswoman Betty McCollum (D-MN) and Director of Communications for the Minnesota Center for Environmental Advocacy (MCEA). Elise spent eight years working for the Minnesota State Senate Majority Leader as chief policy and legislative coordinator.

Elise is a graduate of the UW-Madison, a Hubert H. Humphrey School of Public Affairs Policy Fellow and a graduate of the Leadership Twin Cities 2020-21 Cohort. She is a current member of the Minneapolis Workplace Advisory Committee (WAC). She also served on the Target Law Pyramid Diversity Action Committee (DAC) from 2016-2018 and was a Best Prep e-mentor. Elise lives in St. Paul with her husband, two teenagers and a cat named Selby.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

 

Stephen I. Sadove

Between January 2002 and November 2013, Stephen I. Sadove held positions of increasing responsibility with Saks Incorporated.  In January 2002, Sadove joined the management team of Saks as Vice Chairman.  In March 2004, he assumed the additional post of Chief Operating Officer of the Company and in January 2006 he assumed the position of Chief Executive Officer.  He held the post of Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Saks between May 2007 and November 2013.  In November 2013, Saks Incorporated was sold to Hudson’s Bay.

Prior to joining Saks, Sadove built a distinguished marketing and consumer products career spanning over 25 years.  Between 1975 and 1991, Sadove held various positions of increasing responsibility with General Foods (now Kraft Heinz), including Executive Vice President and General Manager of the Desserts, as well as Meals Divisions.  

Sadove joined Bristol-Myers Squibb Company in 1991 as President of Clairol.  In 1994, he was appointed President, Worldwide Clairol, having direct responsibility for the Clairol business in the United States as well as all of the consumer businesses in Canada, Europe, the Middle East, Africa, and Latin America.  In 1996, he was appointed to the post of President, Bristol-Myers Squibb Worldwide Beauty Care, with responsibility for Clairol Worldwide and Matrix Essentials.  In 1997, he was appointed President, Bristol-Myers Squibb Worldwide Beauty Care and Nutritionals, adding Mead Johnson Nutritionals to his duties.

During his tenure at Bristol-Myers Squibb, Sadove led Clairol to become the number one hair care business in the United States, relaunched the Herbal Essences brand into a $700 million business, and completed the sale of the beauty care business to Procter & Gamble.   During this period he also served as Chairman of what is now the Personal Care Products Council.

Sadove is a graduate of Hamilton College and holds an MBA with distinction from Harvard Business School.  He is also a recipient of an Honorary Doctor of Commercial Science Degree from LIM College.  He currently serves on the public company boards of Aramark (Chairman), Colgate-Palmolive (lead director), Park Hotels and Resorts and Movado.  He is a former Chair of the National Retail Federation and serves as an advisor to Mastercard as well as serving on numerous community and civic boards including Hamilton College and AmeriCares. He is also a founding partner of JW Levin Management Partners, a Private Equity firm.

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 Talbot

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.

Cassandra Walker 

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.