For me, it’s the opportunity to connect corporate action with answers to the thorny problems of our time.
It’s the experience you always wanted from a consulting firm:a thought partner; the question you needed to hear; the solution without needing to ask.
Meet the people who make it possible.
Kendall Bentz serves as a trusted advisor to corporations, industry associations and individual CEOs on issues central to their business strategy and organizational positioning. He works with top trade associations and leading blue-chip corporations to advance policy priorities and gain a competitive edge. He advises executives, formulating unique insights into broad social, business and policy trends that serve as the basis for original thought leadership platforms.
Over the past 15 years, Kendall has partnered with renowned economists and researchers to develop multiple research-driven communications initiatives that move public opinion and shape policy. He has helped the nation’s travel industry define transportation infrastructure as a bottom-line issue. He has led original research that redefined service sector employment – transforming the perception of industries ranging from gaming to retail.
Kendall leads the Washington, DC office of High Lantern Group. He graduated from Stanford University with a degree in political science.
Brittany Burns is an Associate at the High Lantern Group Philadelphia office where she works with non-profits and biopharmaceutical companies to manage clients’ communications strategies and develop key messaging and outreach. Prior to HLG, she worked at a leading hedge fund intelligence provider where she developed and managed financial event content strategy domestically and internationally for C-suite hedge fund managers and service providers.
West of Philadelphia born and raised, she holds an M.A. with honours in Promotional Media: Public Relations, Advertising, & Marketing at Goldsmiths, University of London. During her tenure in London, she worked as a Reader, discovering new fringe scripts for the Finborough, London’s leading Off West End theatre. She also graduated cum laude at Boston College with a B.A. in History and International Studies. She is fluent in French.
For over fifteen years, Jeremy has worked at the crossroads of public policy, business and strategic communications. He works closely with corporate and trade association executives developing organizational and executive positioning strategies, building effective thought leadership platforms and creating issues management programs. Jeremy creates compelling narratives and campaigns with clients that enhance reputation and advance key policy priorities and business imperatives in numerous industries including: retail and consumer goods, travel/hospitality, financial services, pharmaceutical, healthcare and technology.
Before joining High Lantern Group in 2012, Jeremy worked for the Heinz Family Foundation developing innovative market-based solutions to policy challenges, worked for two presidential campaigns and worked in fixed income trading on Wall Street. Jeremy graduated from Kenyon College, did post-graduate work at the London School of Economics and received a Masters in Public Policy from The George Washington University.
Daniel Casse has been an advisor to CEOs and their companies for over 15 years. He is also president of G100, an organization that regularly gathers 100 CEOs of significant global companies. In both his work at G100 and as a consultant, Daniel has worked on issues ranging from antitrust regulation to intellectual property protection to the impact of private equity. He has coached CEOs on critical decisions, trained dozens of senior leaders on positioning their business, and drafted hundreds of high-stakes speeches, articles, and white papers on behalf of clients. He has served as a special assistant to the President in the White House, an advisor to five presidential candidates, and as author of more than 50 opinion articles, essays, and book reviews published in the Wall Street Journal and other national publications.
Bryan Curran has more than 20 years of agency and corporate experience providing strategic communications counsel and support for multi-national corporations. He recently joined High Lantern Group from Edelman where he spent 13 years, most recently as a senior vice president in the corporate practice. He has successfully elevated corporate reputation and consumer awareness for clients across numerous industries by designing dynamic, multi-faceted campaigns that aligned media relations, thought leadership, social media and stakeholder engagement. He holds a Bachelor of Science in Advertising and Public Relations from Texas Christian University.
Cassie Dormond is an Associate Director at HLG office in Geneva, Switzerland. She has experience in corporate social responsibility, partnership building and management, and global affairs. Previously, Cassie served as the private sector liaison to the Board of the Global Fund to Fight HIV, Tuberculosis and Malaria where she realized engagement opportunities for business leaders and corporations to partner with the Global Fund. Before joining the High Lantern Group, Cassie worked as a US healthcare sector consultant with The Advisory Board Company and as an advisor to the CEO at a global health charity. She earned an MA in Global Social Policy from the University of Sheffield in England, and an undergraduate degree in Religion from Davidson College.
Meryl supports strategic planning, issue analytics, and communications projects for clients across industries, including technology, entertainment, and healthcare. Before joining HLG, Meryl worked in advertising as a media strategist for TV, radio, podcast, and digital channels. Previously, she also worked in constituent services for U.S. Senator Mark Udall, and for a Denver non-profit that coordinated the city’s International Visitor Leadership Program, a citizen diplomacy program sponsored by the State Department.
Meryl graduated from Colorado College with a B.A. in International Political Economy and a minor in Arabic and Islamic Studies. Originally from Wisconsin, she takes advantage of the Southern California climate by playing and coaching soccer year-round.
David Frey brings more than 15 years of experience from many sectors—politics and government, higher education, entertainment, and healthcare—to High Lantern Group. He spent his early career supporting members of the United States Congress, where he secured and shaped media placements and advised on strategic policy positions. Later, he served as an in-house speechwriter to c-level executives at renowned global brands and built narratives that helped advance key priorities.
An alumnus of Marquette University, David devours news and begins his days with the familiar voices of NPR. He can often be found on the trails of Griffith Park in Los Angeles, where he is lucky to call home.
Rob has more than two decades of experience developing and leading high-profile strategic positioning and thought leadership initiatives for Fortune 100 companies, major trade associations and national political campaigns. In 2006 he helped conceive and create the Discover America Partnership, a coalition of major businesses that worked to increase international visitation to the U.S. The effort generated hundreds of articles and the passage of eight separate pieces of federal legislation including the establishment of Brand USA. Travel Weekly called it the “industry’s biggest legislative victory in a decade.” Prior to helping found High Lantern Group in 2009, he managed the external affairs strategy for the Walt Disney Company’s worldwide vacation and leisure division, including positioning on key industry issues and reputation among key stakeholders. Rob serves on the Board of Governors for the Los Angeles Economic Development Corporation. He also serves on the Board of Directors for Coro Southern California as well as for the Los Angeles Chamber of Commerce. He is a graduate of the Harvard Business School Program for Leadership Development, and received his Bachelors Degree in Political Science with Honors and Distinction from Kenyon College.
Yasmin Dias Guichot is a Senior Associate at High Lantern Group based in Geneva, Switzerland. Prior to her position at HLG, Yasmin was a Program Officer at the Health Foundation of South Florida where she managed grants and helped develop policy, systems, and environmental changes in the realm of nutrition and physical activity. Additionally, she also worked for the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine as a researcher and coordinator helping develop, implement, and evaluate university curriculums and best practices for preventive health programs. She has earned two masters, the first in Biomedical Research from the University of Maastricht in the Netherlands and the second in Public Health from the University of Miami. Yasmin is bilingual in Spanish and English with knowledge of French.
Michael Hodin is CEO of Global Coalition on Aging, Managing Partner at High Lantern Group, and fellow at Oxford University's Harris Manchester College. Mike features on Huffington Post and Fiscal Times’ Age and Reason Blog.
Mike was a Legislative Assistant with Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan in his first term. He was honored as a Visiting Scholar at Brookings Institution, on U.S. Foreign Economic Policy. He was senior executive at Pfizer, where he created and led International Public Affairs and Public Policy operations.
Mike is Member of Council on Foreign Relations, and was Adjunct Senior Fellow on population aging. He’s on the Boards of Foreign Policy Association, Business Council for International Understanding, American Skin Association, American Federation on Aging Research and Emigrant Savings Bank, where he serves the Risk and Audit Committee. Mike is on the World Economic Forum’s Global Agenda Council on Aging.
Mike holds B.A., cum laude, Cornell University, M.S. in International Relations from London School of Economics and Political Science, and M.Phil. and Ph.D. in Political Science from Columbia University.
Mark Hoffmann, Ph.D. has over a decade of experience in strategy and communications. He has worked intimately with executives, senior leaders, policy experts, medical researchers and practitioners, as well as other public and private leadership teams to make deeply complex material clear and persuasive. Mark is the author of numerous speeches, white papers, articles, blogs, chapters, and textbooks, and he has edited countless more. Prior to joining High Lantern Group, Mark spent a number of years working in international settings with private companies, universities, and governmental organizations in Argentina, Cambodia, England, the Philippines, Samoa, Thailand, and Vietnam. Mark holds a doctoral degree in rhetorical theory from the University of Maryland.
Drew Holzapfel brings a deep foundation in healthcare to High Lantern Group and our clients. Over the course of his career, Drew has held positions in the federal government and with pharmaceutical companies and device manufacturers. As a partner at High Lantern Group, he has led the firm’s work with top biopharmaceutical companies to drive market readiness, position key policy issues and gain third-party organization support. He also has helped many nonprofit/disease advocacy organizations and coalitions develop their positioning strategies and strengthen their influence and impact.
Drew has unique expertise in aging, Alzheimer’s disease and caregiving and has been recognized for his disease strategy work by advocacy organizations, corporations, international organizations, including OECD and WHO, and the US government. He is also a frequent speaker on these topics. Drew serves on The Global Alzheimer’s Platform Foundation’s Board of Directors, the Executive Director of The Global CEO Initative on Alzheimer’s Disease and founded a coalition of corporations to better support employee caregivers called ReACT (Respect A Caregivers Time). Drew earned his Bachelor’s degree from Emory University and a Master’s of Business Administration from The University of Maryland.
Megan Jackson advises clients in business strategy, narrative development and policy positioning. In this capacity, Megan also helps manage several private sector coalitions on a wide-range of topics, including global health, aging, travel, tourism and infrastructure.
She joined HLG after a career consulting Fortune 500 companies on market expansion risks and opportunities. Megan received an Honors B.A. from Wellesley College in International Relations-History, an M.A. in Security Studies from Georgetown University and an M.A. in Political Science from the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH-Zurich).
Managing Director, Strategic Design
A curiosity and passion for design's role in problem-solving has been the catalyst for Jess Kemp's career. With over a decade of experience in creative leadership, Jess has guided emerging couture fashion brands into the global market, constructed digital communities for America's critical care nurses, and won critical acclaim for her marketing and creative work in Higher Education. She has collaborated with some of the world’s most iconic brands including Sony, Disney, Starbucks, Mattel, Kaiser Permanente, and Warner Bros. In her role at High Lantern Group Jess leads a team of agile and digitally savvy designers, developers and user experience experts to build experiences and solve problems. Jess combines her razor-sharp aesthetic sensibility with an analytical thought process and strategic lens to consistently produce work that is thoughtful, unexpected, and effective.
Every day is different, and that is what makes working at HLG highly rewarding. It’s never mundane, and it’s always thought-provoking.
Brooks Kenny is a Managing Director at High Lantern Group and oversees select projects related to caregiving, aging, and healthcare. In this role, she currently supports the women’s network of UsAgainstAlzheimer’s, charged with directing its growth strategy through strategic partnerships and marketing initiatives. Most recently, she was on the founding team and Executive Vice President of Lotsa Helping Hands, a company providing solutions for our nation’s family caregivers. She led the company’s worldwide branding and social media marketing efforts, developing partnerships, creating business growth opportunities and expanding its reach to more than 1.5 million members.
Brooks is a nationally recognized subject matter expert in caregiving and is often called upon to speak with groups on such topics as cause marketing and strategic partnerships. Brooks has served in a leadership capacity for various nonprofit governing organizations and oversight committees and authored a communications and marketing training manual for nonprofit leaders. Among her achievements, Brooks was recently named among 40 Professionals Under 40 by the Washington Business Journal and given the Founder’s Award in 2009 for her dedication to the work of the Caregiver Action Network.
Beth is an Analyst in the L.A. office, where she supports the growing HLG Issue Analytics team. She uses quantitative and qualitative methods to analyze reputational risks and opportunities for clients across industries. She joins HLG with experience in data analysis and public policy consulting, as well as deep expertise in environmental and food system issues.
Beth holds a Master of Public Policy from the UC Berkeley Goldman School, where her graduate research explored risk and resilience of the Bay Area food system to natural disaster. Prior to graduate school, she served two years as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Cameroon implementing sustainable agriculture programs. She is fluent in French and a graduate of Cornell University with a B.A. in environmental studies. A California native, she spends all the time she can outdoors.
Matt Levy is the Senior Director of Issue Analysis, where he leads the development and refinement of natural language processing techniques to analyze and predict trends impacting corporate reputation and positioning. He brings over 8 years’ experience in policy analysis, strategic communications, and data analysis to the High Lantern Group.
Prior to joining HLG, Matt managed a diverse portfolio of projects, supporting Fortune 500 clients to surface narratives from U.S. consumers around cutting-edge technologies to inform a major product deployment, employees at a major utility company to improve employee engagement and safety outcomes, and business owners to accelerate technology adoption. He has previously worked in the design thinking, international development, and teaching spaces.
He received his masters from Stanford University’s International Policy Studies program and his bachelor’s degree from George Washington University.
Director of Business Services
As Director of Business Services, Emily oversees the day-to-day operations of High Lantern Group’s six offices and identifies opportunities to update and streamline company protocols and enhance the employee experience. Emily also manages the roll out of essential employee services such as new hire on-boarding procedures, technology, and administrative tools and serves as a liaison between HLG and its sister companies, SSA & Company and G100 Companies.
Emily joined High Lantern Group in May 2014 and has been instrumental in the development and growth of the firm’s budding event services offering. In this role, she helps coordinate client events, negotiates with vendors, manages collateral material and provides on-site logistical support. She also plans and manages all internal firm-wide events, including HLG’s annual summer offsite.
Before joining High Lantern Group, Emily was a Paralegal for SenecaOne Finance, where she worked on various research projects related to financial settlements. She graduated Summa Cum Laude with a B.A. in Paralegal Studies from Kaplan University in October 2014.
Clare has advised CEOs, senior executives and corporate boards on a broad range of communication issues for more than 15 years. Formerly the worldwide director of communications and special projects for Walt Disney Parks and Resorts, Clare specializes in organizational and executive communication, linking leadership messaging to corporate strategy, brand strategy and communication initiatives. She has worked with numerous global brands as well as local nonprofits.
Gina Masino is an Administrative Coordinator at High Lantern Group, responsible for the operations and organization of the New York office, including the Global Coalition on Aging (GCOA), the leading business voice on aging policy and strategy created and run by HLG. In this role, Gina supports GCOA's CEO and broader team organizationally and contributes to client engagements through research, message development and relationship management.
Previously, Gina worked as a community organizer and political intern on a 2016 presidential campaign. For two years she worked at NationSwell, a New York City start-up with a social impact mission and a drive to encourage cross-sector collaboration. She completed internships while in college with the Office of Senator Kirsten Gillibrand and the New York State Attorney General’s Office.
She is a graduate of Barnard College, cum laude, where she received her BA in English and minored in Political Science.
Bringing more than 28 years’ experience in strategic communications, public affairs, corporate positioning and reputational advertising, Chad McGinnis joined High Lantern Group in the spring of 2018.
Chad has crafted strategy, messaging and served as principal creative lead for reputational ad campaigns on behalf of corporate and trade association clients in the manufacturing, agriculture, energy and healthcare sectors. Highlights include industry strategic positioning campaigns for the U.S. steel industry, chain pharmacy industry and a multi-year, national education and reputation-building campaign on behalf of the U.S. oil and natural gas industry.
Prior to High Lantern Group, Chad served as executive vice president at Blue Worldwide. He holds a B.A. in political science from Denison University.
Cortland Mercer is a Director at High Lantern Group, where he manages projects for blue chip clients – primarily in the health, finance, consumer packaged goods, and technology sectors. With the firm since 2013, Cortland’s expertise in business communications includes corporate positioning, leadership coaching, and strategic messaging.
Prior to joining HLG, Cortland served in a variety of roles in the public affairs arena including participating in the Coro Fellowship in Public Affairs in Los Angeles, CA, which promotes effective and ethical leadership. Additionally, he has worked with the executive team of the University of North Carolina system to develop policies that promote public higher education. Cortland served as Student Body President at the University of North Carolina at Asheville where he graduated with a BA in Political Science.
Melissa Gong Mitchell brings to High Lantern Group more than a decade of public affairs experience, specializing in policy-related and CEO-level strategic communications, advocacy campaigns and coalition building. Melissa also serves as Executive Director of the Global Coalition on Aging, an organization conceived, created and operated by HLG and recognized as the leading global business voice on aging policy and strategy.
Prior to joining HLG, Melissa served as Director of Industry Relations and Strategic Outreach at the U.S. Travel Association where she led grassroots development and industry initiatives including the organization’s CEO Roundtable, legislative fly-in and political action committee. She previously served as Executive Director of the Travel Business Roundtable, a CEO-based advocacy organization, and an Associate at Prime Policy Group (formerly BKSH & Associates), a Washington-based government affairs firm. Melissa holds an MBA from Georgetown University and a BA in Journalism and Psychology from the University of Mississippi.
David Niles is President of SSA & Company, a leading management consulting firm, and G100 Companies, a professional services holding company. Dave sits on the board of Leading Edge Aviation and is an investor in private companies and venture capital funds. He is also Chairman of the advisory board of the Deming Center for Quality and Competitiveness at Columbia Business School and a member of the Gotham Chapter of YPO.
Previously, David was a Partner at Castling Group, a management consulting firm and private equity fund. Before Castling, David was a member of Booz, Allen and Hamilton's Media and Entertainment Practice. Earlier, David led corporate development for a division of Bertelsmann AG and served as a Senior Advisor to the CEO of the Signature Group, a $1B membership-services company. David started his career as an Account Executive with Ogilvy and Mather. He holds a MBA, with distinction, from Columbia Business School and a BA from the University of Virginia.
Mario Ottiglio leads the Geneva, Switzerland office of High Lantern Group. He brings over a decade of leadership at global health organizations – spanning the public and private sectors to meet the public affairs needs of clients across Europe and Asia. Mario focuses on the global reputation strategies of firms, trade associations and international institutions, especially in the pharmaceutical, healthcare and life sciences sectors. He holds experience in managing trade associations and building consensus among diverse interests for creative public affairs solutions. In addition, he has extensive knowledge of the United Nations system.
Previously, Mario served as the Director of Public Affairs, Communications & Global Health Policy at the International Federation of Pharmaceutical Manufacturers and Associations (IFPMA). In this role, he acted as a spokesperson for the global R&D biopharmaceutical industry, promoting active, cross-sector dialogue with key stakeholders. Mario was often involved with high profile media and authored several thought pieces. Prior to that, he worked in public institutions and private firms across a range of issues. An Italian national, he holds a MA in Political Sciences and International Relations. Mario speaks English, French and Italian.
Charles brings to High Lantern Group his experience and interest in strategic communications across a range of forums and issues. He is particularly drawn to the potential of well-crafted narratives to challenge conventional thinking and introduce compelling new ideas, transforming dialogues in business and government. He has produced research reports, advised clients and shaped messaging in a variety of industries and policy areas, including healthcare, energy and emerging technology.
He attended Davidson College, graduating magna cum laude with a degree in Political Science. While in college, he traveled throughout India and edited the humor section of the student newspaper.
Julie Pierce has more than 25 years of experience providing strategic communications counsel and support for senior executives. Her specialty is helping leaders and managers figure out what they have to say and how to say it, in ways that engage stakeholders and advance business objectives. Over the years, Julie has crafted hundreds of strategic plans, high-stakes presentations, and white papers and articles that position her clients as thought leaders. Besides coaching individuals and teams, Julie often leads workshops on how to organize complex ideas and structure clear, compelling presentations, memos, and proposals. Julie’s corporate experience includes 15 years with McKinsey & Company, as global director of internal communications and director of communications for the Greater China region, and 10 years with the Economist Intelligence Unit based in New York and Hong Kong.
At High Lantern Group, Katy advises business and non-profit leaders and senior staffers across a host of industries and issue areas, from healthcare and energy to travel and tourism. Organizations look to Katy to help them navigate complex operating environments, assess and respond to organizational risks and emerging threats to their industries and identify opportunities for growth.
Before joining HLG, Katy led the Government Affairs team at Alzheimer’s Research UK, the largest charitable funder of dementia research in Europe. During her tenure, the UK Government committed to an ambitious goal of a disease-modifying treatment for Alzheimer’s by 2025. Katy helped craft the supporting strategy, while also managing multiple issue campaigns on key legislative priorities. She led the development of a program of work focused on the impacts of dementia on women, which established the organization as a thought-leader on the issue.
Previously, Katy served as the Deputy Finance Director for a Congressional campaign and later worked in lobbying for a diverse range of municipal and private clients, as well as a large trade association. A native Oregonian, Katy graduated with Honors from the University of San Francisco with a degree in Politics.
Sagar Sane is an Associate Director at High Lantern Group's Asheville Office. Sagar helps clients with their industry, market, and issue research needs.
Sagar joined High Lantern Group after completing his MBA. Prior to business school, Sagar worked on political campaigns in North Carolina. He brings to HLG expertise in public policy, research and communications. Originally from Overland Park, KS, Sagar has degrees from UNC-Chapel Hill, the University of Florida and North Carolina State University.
Sam Savin is an Associate Director in High Lantern Group's Philadelphia office. Sam helps clients translate research and data into meaningful insights to achieve superior positioning in an increasingly competitive marketplace.
Sam joined High Lantern Group after working for several years in Baltimore's and Philadelphia's municipal governments; he brings to HLG expertise in research, evaluation, project management, and public policy.
A Minnesota native, Sam came to the East Coast in 2009 to study history at Goucher College.
Susan Wile Schwarz is a healthcare analyst and communications strategist. Prior to joining HLG, she established the communications practice and advised on research design for a global health economics think tank, advisory group, and implementation partner to governments and the private sector. Susan also worked as a policy and research analyst at Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health. As an independent consultant, Susan advised not for profit organizations and mission-driven businesses on management, research, communications, partnership opportunities, and growth strategies. She has a Master’s of Public Health from Emory University and a Bachelor’s degree from Columbia University in American History and Middle Eastern, South Asian, and African Studies.
Chief Editorial Officer
Kevin has provided strategic counsel and communications advice to dozens of Fortune 500 companies for more than 12 years. During that period, he has led crisis communications efforts on some of the highest profile antitrust, class action, and product liability trials of the last decade and helped companies develop and manage litigation communications teams. Kevin also served as a senior policy and communications advisor to two presidential campaigns and a Washington, DC-based think tank.
Based in the Los Angeles office, Victor supports strategic planning, positioning and communications work for clients in the technology, healthcare, retail, hospitality and entertainment industries. Prior to HLG, he interned with McCann-Erickson in Hong Kong and completed the State Department’s Critical Language Scholarship program in Russia. Having also spent much of his childhood outside the U.S., Victor is fluent in Russian and Georgian and tries to bring his global perspective to every project.
A shameless movie and media junkie, he graduated magna cum laude from the Missouri School of Journalism where he was active at the college radio station. He spends his free time boxing, playing tennis and exploring the diverse geographies of L.A. and California.
Associate Design Director
Ben Westhoven is a designer, problem solver and conceptual thinker. His experience as part of various design teams includes interactive design at Razorfish in Atlanta, as well as leading package design and branding at Golden Road Brewing in Los Angeles. From illustration to layout to typography, he believes that thoughtful design lives in the details of every project.
Ben graduated with honors from Auburn University’s College of Architecture, Design and Construction with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Graphic Design. When he’s not pushing pixels around his computer screen, he enjoys working with his hands via photography, drawing and infrequent attempts at keeping old engines from leaking too much oil.
Ben is a Senior Associate in High Lantern Group’s Washington, DC office where he supports corporate and trade association clients in the travel and tourism, health care, and food service industries. He also works with the firm’s issues analytics team, analyzing trends, and developing insights that impact corporate reputation.
Prior to joining HLG, Ben held roles in political research and communications. Most recently he worked for Correct The Record, a strategic research and rapid response organization formed to support Hillary Clinton’s 2016 presidential campaign. He developed research reports on a range of public policy issues, assisted with strategic messaging development and rapid response communications efforts.
A Massachusetts native, Ben graduated from Bates College in 2012 with a B.A. in History and a minor in Philosophy.