Our Team

Anne Lewis

Chief Executive Officer

Anne has developed policy and managed strategic communications at the White House, on Capitol Hill, in federal agencies, with nonprofit organizations, on political campaigns, for a major political party committee and in the private sector. With her partner, Maura Walsh, Anne has worked with The Washington Post, the National Parks Conservation Association, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, CARE, the Democratic Governors Association and a host of others to set online fundraising records on overall revenue of more than $200 million.

Anne founded Anne Lewis Strategies in early 2005 to provide strategic consulting for the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee’s online direct marketing program, which now accounts for 20 percent of the Committee’s overall revenue. She also built email lists of hundreds of thousands of individuals for Hillary Clinton and the Environmental Working Group.

Previously, Anne served as special assistant to the president on the National Economic Council staff at the Clinton White House and was twice confirmed unanimously by the U.S. Senate (under both Republican and Democratic majorities) as an assistant secretary of labor. She also served as chief of staff to U.S. Senator Carl Levin (D-MI) and as legislative director for U.S. Senator Harris Wofford (D-PA). Anne has been a principal at Podesta.com, vice president at the Council for Excellence in Government, director of Great American Media (the $75 million paid media effort for Bill Clinton and then Clinton-Gore during the 1991-1992 campaign), deputy assistant secretary for public affairs at the Department of Health and Human Services, and state director in New Hampshire and Virginia for Democratic candidates for president.

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Maura Walsh

Senior Vice President

Maura Walsh, senior vice president of strategy, is an online marketing expert with a decade’s worth of experience in direct email marketing and fundraising. She’s worked with clients such as the Environmental Working Group, The Washington Post, Hillary Clinton for President, and the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee to develop record-setting online marketing and fundraising programs.

Prior to joining Anne Lewis Strategies in January 2007, Maura was the director of account management for Plus Three, a technology company that provides website, email and fundraising technologies for nonprofit and political clients.

Maura also served as an internet strategist for APCO Worldwide, a public affairs and public relations company, and as a senior account manager for Bigfoot Interactive (now Epsilon Interactive), a leading email marketing agency, where she managed direct email campaigns for the company’s top accounts, including Capital One, H&R Block and MTV.

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Todd Plants

Chief Technology Officer

Todd Plants has worked with Anne Lewis Strategies since 2007 to improve online engagement and email fundraising for clients including Senator Carl Levin, the DSCC, the DGA, League of Conservation Voters and Natural Resources Defense Council. He has presented on social media before the Senate Democratic Caucus and written online communications for presidents, four-star generals, Oscar winners and Hall of Fame sports stars.

Todd is an experienced manager of technical projects who has developed sophisticated testing and segmentation regimens to guide robust email marketing campaigns. He’s also an expert in ensuring client emails get delivered to supporter inboxes.

Previously, Todd worked for the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, where he coordinated an online fundraising program that raised more than $10 million for the committee’s 2006 election efforts.

Before joining the DSCC, Todd worked as a community organizer for People for the American Way. He is a graduate of Harvard University.

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Nat Binns

Vice President

Nat Binns joined Anne Lewis Strategies after serving as a senior aide to former U.S. Rep. Patrick Murphy, developing and executing comprehensive media and political plans for two congressional races and Murphy’s campaign for Pennsylvania attorney general. His clients include Sen. Joe Manchin, Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney, No Labels and many others.

Through an aggressive communications strategy, Nat helped generate unprecedented coverage for Murphy’s attorney general race. He was also responsible for earning the support of the AFL-CIO, the Fraternal Order of Police and dozens of county Democratic organizations in a fiercely contested primary. In addition, he helped raise hundreds of thousands of dollars through online communications and managed the campaign’s social media presence.

As Rep. Murphy’s district director, Nat ran the congressman’s economic development agenda, including the rehabilitation of a formerly abandoned industrial site into a small business incubator and the creation of a Green Jobs Academy. All told, Nat helped the congressman create or save 3,000 jobs in the district.

Prior to that, Nat was the press secretary for Rep. Murphy’s successful 2008 re-election.

Since joining Anne Lewis Strategies, Nat managed the digital operation of victorious Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney and helped the campaign of Jim Graves come within two points of defeating Rep. Michele Bachmann.

He grew up in Pennsylvania’s coal country before attending the University of Rhode Island, where he studied journalism.

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Melanie Buck

Senior Digital Strategist

Melanie A. Buck, a senior digital strategist at Anne Lewis Strategies, leads some of the biggest digital efforts in politics, including those of Senator Kirsten Gillibrand and the Democratic Governors Association. In 2012, she helped guide the DGA to a record-breaking fundraising cycle and several key wins, among them New Hampshire Governor Maggie Hassan, and has helped Sen. Gillibrand raise over $2 million for Democratic women candidates. Melanie also manages the online strategy for Sens. Jeanne Shaheen and Heidi Heitkamp, as well as for Hillel International.

Previously, Melanie was a policy associate at the Sunlight Foundation, helping coordinate advocacy efforts on key government accountability legislation, frequently blogging on relevant policy topics, and conducting comparative studies of government efforts to provide more information to their citizens.

An American University alumna, Melanie graduated magna cum laude with a B.A. in communications, law, economics and government and summa cum laude with a master’s in political communication.

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Tyler Douse

Senior Digital Strategist

Tyler Douse is an experienced online communications strategist with expertise in developing and executing web-based strategies for nonprofit organizations and political campaigns. He’s worked with clients such as Minnesotans United for All Families, Sen. Ben Cardin, Sen. Chris Coons, Sen. Amy Klobuchar and Sen. Bob Menendez to develop first-rate online organizing campaigns and fundraising programs.

Prior to joining Anne Lewis Strategies in March 2011, Tyler served as online communications director for Sen. Blanche Lincoln, new media director for Andrew Rice for U.S. Senate, communications director for Oklahoma State Senator Al McAffrey and online communications consultant for The ONE Campaign.

Hailing from Pryor Creek, Oklahoma, Tyler graduated with a B.A. in political science and communications from Oklahoma Baptist University, where he served as president of his class, and studied economics and public policy at Georgetown University through The Fund for American Studies.

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Clarissa Stark

Senior Digital Strategist

Clarissa Stark joined Anne Lewis Strategies in 2011 as digital associate and production manager, bringing with her technical and new media skills. Currently, she works with a state political committee, an incumbent in the U.S. House of Representatives and several nonprofit advocacy organizations, including Sandy Hook Promise, Alley Cat Allies and the Environmental Working Group.

Previously, Clarissa worked for Joe Trippi & Associates, where she provided support to the media and communication teams. She assisted in new media strategy development for the American Cancer Society’s More Birthdays campaign and maintained its social media channels on Facebook and Twitter. Her contributions also included designing web and email graphics for Jerry Brown’s gubernatorial bid and editing video for Rep. Tim Holden’s successful re-election campaign. She also assisted in new media strategy development for the American Cancer Society’s More Birthdays campaign and maintained its social media channels on Facebook and Twitter.

Clarissa grew up outside of Pittsburgh and attended Brandeis University, where she graduated magna cum laude with a B.A. in psychology and English. Since February 2009, she has devoted her Saturday mornings to volunteering as an abortion clinic escort in Silver Spring, Maryland.

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Bob Albrecht

Editorial Director

Bob Albrecht is a multi-platform writer with experience in political reporting and marketing. He has worked for large, nationally recognized organizations, including the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, where he blogged on the 2008 presidential election and LivingSocial, where he wrote and edited for cities spanning Louisville to Seattle.

He was previously a fellow with the Washington Center for Politics and Journalism, where he participated in discussions with Colin Powell and several nationally known journalists. As a newspaper reporter, he won a 2010 C.B. Blethen Memorial Award for investigative reporting. In Portland, Ore., he led free creative writing workshops for under-privileged populations.

Since joining Anne Lewis Strategies in March 2012, Bob has written for former Vice President Walter Mondale, former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, Secretary of State John Kerry and other top office-holders. He writes for the entire roster of Anne Lewis clients, including the Democratic Governors Association, Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand and Sandy Hook Promise.

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Ryan Aquilina

Director of Digital Production

Ryan Aquilina joined the Anne Lewis Strategies team in June 2012. As director of digital production, Ryan works with clients ranging from the Democratic Governors Association and a list of Democratic senators to The Washington Post Company’s WaPo Labs.

Ryan’s prior experience includes both political and nonprofit work. He previously managed communications for a local candidate in Michigan representing over 1.2 million people. Before that, he was the communications specialist at SAVE Dade, a nonprofit in Miami-Dade County that is the largest LGBT advocacy organization of its kind. His role there included everything from video production to email communication.

Ryan graduated summa cum laude with a B.S. in communication and political science from the University of Miami (Go ‘Canes!) and was born and raised outside Detroit, Mich.

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Sara Deneweth

Director of Design

Sara Deneweth joined Anne Lewis Strategies in fall 2013 as its design director.

A veteran of numerous campaigns, Sara was previously at the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, serving as a digital strategist for the 2012 cycle and was the director of new media for the independent expenditure program in 2010. In between, Sara worked for ABC News on the true crime docudrama “Final Witness.”

Before moving to Washington, D.C., Sara was the post-production manager at Remedy Editorial, a boutique film/video company in San Francisco. In addition to creating videos for corporate clients, she also founded Remedy’s Adopt-a-Doc program, which provides support to independent filmmakers. Adoptees have won numerous awards on the festival circuit, aired nationally on PBS and been released theatrically.

Sara graduated from the University of Michigan with a degree in environmental policy and studied graphic design at the California College of the Arts. She is also a proud alumna of the New Organizing Institute’s 2009 new media bootcamp, and she volunteers there teaching the next generation of digital campaigners.

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Aaron Teskey

Senior Digital Solutions Engineer

Aaron Teskey joined Anne Lewis Strategies in June 2013 to manage digital fundraising and communications for a wide range of clients, with a particular focus on leveraging and optimizing technology to further clients’ goals.

Previously, Aaron developed strategy for and managed the Gay & Lesbian Victory Fund and Institute’s websites, microsites, social media, email marketing and online advertising. He utilized his extensive technology background to streamline and optimize list growth, online fundraising and marketing efforts using a data-driven approach.

Prior to working at Victory, he coordinated youth-related programming and marketing at the Human Rights Campaign. While there, he also designed and executed two viral social media and list-building campaigns centered on National Coming Out Day.

Aaron left his home state of Minnesota to attend George Washington University, where he graduated summa cum laude. He decided to stick around in Washington, D.C., and recently adopted his son Keanue, who he says is the cutest dog ever.

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Stephen Carter

Digital Strategist

Stephen Carter has nearly a decade of experience advising candidates, elected officials and national legislative organizations on developing and implementing aggressive communications strategies.

Before joining Anne Lewis Strategies, Stephen was communications director for a member of the House of Representatives, serving as official spokesperson and senior advisor on all legislative and communications matters.

Prior to his service on Capitol Hill, Stephen was a regional press secretary at a national political committee, where he wrote and enacted communications plans for over a dozen competitive congressional races across the country including incumbents and top-tier candidates.

Stephen also served as a communications strategist at Blue Engine Message & Media, working with several nonprofit organizations to execute aggressive online and press campaigns around issues such as promoting national service, lowering health care costs and enacting gun background checks.

Stephen is a native of Washington state and remains a diehard Seattle sports fan. He received his B.A. in Politics from Whitman College in Walla Walla, Washington. Stephen is also active in Washington, D.C.’s improv comedy community where he is extremely hilarious.

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Emily Graham

Digital Strategist

Emily Graham assists a range of political and non-profit clients, including the USO and the Environmental Working Group, throughout the digital strategy process. Emily brings a wealth of campaign and volunteer experience to her role as a digital associate, including previous work with Jewish Women International, the Democratic National Committee and Special Olympics International.

Prior to joining Anne Lewis Strategies, Emily worked in client management at EF Education First in Boston, where she arranged large trips abroad for a portfolio of Spanish-speaking clients. Her previous role took her to Vienna, Budapest, Prague and Thailand, but she chose to return to Washington, D.C. to help further the goals of progressive campaigns and organizations.

A Washington, D.C. native, Emily graduated cum laude with a double major in government and history from Bowdoin College in 2011. While at Bowdoin College, Emily served as president of the campus chapter of V-Day, an organization dedicated to ending violence against women and volunteered with the Maine Volunteer Lawyers Project, assisting low-income Mainers navigate the civil justice system.

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Michael Kanick

Digital Strategist

Michael Kanick is a veteran digital media strategist who joined Anne Lewis Strategies in October 2013. He builds email and social media campaigns to increase online engagement for a number of advocacy and political clients, including U.S. Senators Chris Coons, Mark Pryor and Bob Menendez, and the Chesapeake Bay Foundation.

Mike previously served as digital media director for U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown; worked as a digital consultant for clients like Google, Comcast and Starbucks’ Ethos Water; and also worked for Media Matters for America and U.S. Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton.

Mike is a native (upstate) New Yorker and holds a B.A. in History and Political Science from the State University of New York College at Oswego and an M.A. from the George Washington University in Political Management. He is a father of two and diligently trying to raise his children as Yankees/Giants/Rangers fans.

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Julia Leonard

Digital Strategist

Julia Leonard builds email and social media campaigns to increase online engagement for a wide range of Anne Lewis Strategies clients, including the Sandy Hook Promise Foundation, Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney and the Pennsylvania Democratic Party.

Prior to joining Anne Lewis Strategies in 2013, Julia managed new media for CREDO Super PAC in Pennsylvania, mobilized volunteers as a SNAP PAC fellow in Ohio, conducted online strategy for nonprofits including MomsRising, Friends of Quinn and the Jennifer Altman Foundation, and worked in the Scottish Parliament. She has also volunteered with the Colorado Springs Philharmonic, produced plays and musicals for the Melancholy Players and taught a writing workshop at the Westchester County Jail.

A native of Colorado, Julia left the mountains behind to attend Sarah Lawrence College, where she studied political science and stage management.

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Jae Aron

Digital Associate

Jae Aron is thrilled to be back at Anne Lewis Strategies, where she first got her start as an intern in the fall of 2012. Before then, she served as a political writer at Mack Crounse Group, a Democratic direct mail firm in Alexandria and, most recently, as an account assistant at GMMB, one of the leading Democratic advertising agencies in the country.

Jae brings her diverse experience in progressive politics – along with her strong writing and editorial instincts – to her current role as digital associate, where she works closely with clients to develop and implement online fundraising and communications strategies.

Originally from Williamsburg, Virginia, Jae graduated from Wesleyan University in 2011, where she received Phi Beta Kappa and honors in American Studies. After a year teaching English in Andalusia, Spain, she settled in Washington, D.C., which she now proudly calls home.

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Sofia Jagannathan

Digital Associate

Sofia Jagannathan joined Anne Lewis Strategies in October 2013 after working as a fundraiser for the last four years. Her clients include Wisconsin gubernatorial candidate Mary Burke, Senator Mark Pryor, Representative Kyrsten Sinema and the Minnesota-DFL, among others.

Previously, Sofia worked at Benchmark Strategies as a fundraising consultant to Senator Tom Udall. She managed Senator Udall’s D.C. and national fundraising programs, developing fundraising strategy, building and staffing events and managing call time. Sofia has a background in both individual and PAC fundraising.

Prior to working for Senator Udall, Sofia worked on Senator Bill Nelson’s D.C. finance team and served as one of the first staffers on Senator Chris Coons’ campaign in 2010.

Sofia graduated from the University of Michigan with a degree in political science and is a native of Washington, D.C.

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Colin Hostetter

Digital Production Associate

Colin Hostetter works as a digital production assistant at Anne Lewis Strategies, helping at many stages of the email writing and production processes.

Before joining Anne Lewis Strategies, he interned in the Washington and Newark offices of Sen. Bob Menendez, which gave him the chance to explore both the legislative and constituent service sides of politics.

He attended Hamilton College in the frigid depths of upstate New York, where he graduated cum laude with a B.A. in government and a minor in creative writing. In college, he wrote for his college’s satire newspaper and sold a humorous short story to Cicada Magazine. He also received departmental honors for his senior thesis on American politics.

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Ben Long

Political Technology Consultant

Ben Long has been working with Anne Lewis Strategies since March 2012. With over ten years of professional experience in web technologies, including the launch of three successful companies of his own, Ben now advises nonprofits, small businesses and political organizations on their marketing and technology strategies. He specializes in technology management and translating complex technical concepts for non-technical audiences.

In 2008, Ben co-founded and served as executive director for a Portland, Oregon nonprofit designed to organize and energize the local partner-dance community. Along with directing a weekly dance event with 100 to 200 attendees, his chief responsibility was ensuring the sustainability of the nonprofit organization and its leadership.

Ben started in politics as a special assistant for Rep. Kurt Schrader’s 2010 campaign, where he drafted campaign communications, administered the donor database and oversaw the campaign’s new media presence. Ben’s other political experiences include an internship in Rep. Jay Inslee’s D.C. office where he figuratively and literally re-wrote the book on being an intern.

Ben graduated magna cum laude with a BA in marketing from Portland State University.

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Ranit Schmelzer

Of Counsel

Ranit Schmelzer has more than 25 years of communications experience at the highest levels of government, in the nonprofit community and the private sector. She has served as an advisor, senior strategist and spokesperson covering some of the nation’s most complex issues and has led a wide variety of public affairs campaigns.

Schmelzer’s experience includes a distinguished career on Capitol Hill, where she held several senior communications positions. For more than a decade, Schmelzer was the communications director to U.S. Senate Democratic Leader Tom Daschle. In that capacity, she served as chief communications advisor to the senator and lead spokesperson, developed multi-tiered communications strategies for domestic and foreign policy legislative initiatives and ran media campaigns for the Senate Democratic Caucus. Earlier in her career, she served as press secretary to U.S. Representative Barbara Kennelly, a member of the House Leadership and the Committee on Ways and Means, and as deputy press secretary to U.S. Senator Barbara Mikulski.

After her tenure on Capitol Hill, Schmelzer joined the National Women’s Law Center as vice president for communications, managing the communications and field departments for a 60-person nonprofit organization.

In the fall of 2011, Schmelzer established Schmelzer Strategies, a communications consulting firm specializing in communications strategy, issue advocacy, crisis communications and media relations. Schmelzer Strategies has represented a variety nonprofit organizations, foundations and government agencies, including the Bloomberg Foundation, the Brookings Institution, the National Conference on Citizenship, Points of Light, the Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition (SPARC) and the White House Council for Community Solutions, among others.

Schmelzer earned her B.A., cum laude, in Political Science from the University of Rochester.

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