“At film school, everybody wants to be a director or a cinematographer,” says Jill Pike Bolger, who has joined the Glover Park Group as a vice president in its strategic-communications division. “All I wanted to do was be a producer, to take big ambitious ideas and find a way to make them happen.”
After receiving a bachelor’s degree in television production from Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles, Bolger cocreated and produced The Young Turks, one of the first nationwide liberal talk shows. The 33-year-old sees her new position at Glover Park Group as a continuation of her work in the entertainment industry.
“I’m not necessarily a film buff,” she says. “What I love is to be a support to thoughtful, creative, dynamic thinkers. That’s what I’ve been doing from school on.”
Bolger, who was born in Los Angeles, attended Arizona State University for a year and then worked for The Jeff Corwin Experience on the Animal Planet cable network. After graduating from Loyola Marymount, she moved to Washington and eventually became deputy director for communications at Third Way, a think tank created in 2005 to counteract political polarization.
The former television producer says she is “definitely a homebody and a nester. There’s nothing I enjoy more than going home, cleaning the house top to bottom, and then relaxing in our little, happy space.”
Christopher Snow Hopkins
The ascendance of Fox News in the early 2000s spawned a cottage industry: progressive media watchdogs intent on discrediting the cable news channel. Foremost among them is Media Matters for America, a nonprofit created in 2004 to monitor what Zeke Stokes calls the “right-wing noise machine.”
“We’re known for being the nemesis of Fox News,” says the 37-year-old, who recently became Media Matters’ director of outreach. “But we monitor 175 hours of television and talk radio every week, everything from Fox News to other right-wing outlets.”
The Democratic operative and civil-rights activist grew up in Bishopville, S.C., halfway between Columbia and Myrtle Beach. “If you’ve ever watched The Andy Griffith Show, you could probably draw many parallels between Bishopville and Mayberry,” he says.
As an undergraduate at the University of South Carolina, Stokes interned for the state’s Democratic Party and, at the age of 19, became the organization’s communications director. “It was a great real-world parallel to what you are learning in a liberal-arts program,” he says.
Over the next three years, Stokes helped the South Carolina Democratic Party remain viable in an increasingly conservative state. In 1998, then-Gov. David Beasley, a Republican, was defeated by Democrat Jim Hodges, becoming the first incumbent governor in the state to lose a bid for reelection since Reconstruction, Stokes says.
At 22, Stokes managed Inez Tenenbaum’s successful campaign to be South Carolina’s superintendent of education and then departed for White Plains, N.Y., to be a publicist at the March of Dimes national office. In 2004, he reunited with Tenenbaum to help her mount a Senate bid. Ultimately, she lost to then-Rep. Jim DeMint, R-S.C., by 9 percentage points. “You have to remember, this was , the year of George W. Bush’s reelection,” Stokes says. “We actually outperformed [Bush] by 10 points.”
Stokes then spent six years in private practice, consulting for state-based and federal organizations such as the South Carolina Department of Education and the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee. A few years ago, he experienced a “crisis of conscience, as I saw the LGBT rights movement progressing so quickly,” he says. “I got to a point where I didn’t want to be sitting on the proverbial front porch in 30 years and not be able to say that I had a part in advancing civil rights.”
So Stokes, who says he has a partner of five years, became active in the gay-rights movement. He most recently was director of external engagement at the defunct group OutServe-SLDN, where he led a media campaign in opposition to the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act.
When B. Dan Berger met future Rep. Katherine Harris, R-Fla., in the mid-1990s, she was a real-estate broker with her eye on a seat in the state Legislature. In the ensuing decade, Harris rose to national prominence as Florida secretary of state during the 2000 presidential election and as an unsuccessful Senate candidate in 2006. For most of that time, Berger was her political sage and consigliere.
“I was always her sounding board and campaign adviser,” says the 47-year-old, who this month took over as president and CEO of the National Association of Federal Credit Unions, a trade association established in 1967.
At an all-staff meeting on Aug. 1, Berger advanced his managerial credo: “extreme member service.” To better advocate on behalf of its constituents, the trade association has installed a webcast studio and HD broadcasting equipment at its Arlington, Va., headquarters.
When Congress returns in September, hundreds of credit-union professionals will fly to Washington for a lobbying blitzkrieg. The main objective of NAFCU’s 2013 Congressional Caucus, Berger says, is to preserve the credit-union tax exemption. Asked if he thinks the exemption is in jeopardy, he replies, “All tax expenditures and tax expenses are being looked at as Congress considers reforming the tax code, so we would be surprised if we weren’t part of that discussion.
“We feel pretty good about where we are,” he adds. “We’re on the Hill every day.”
A native of Gainesville, Fla., Berger became politically active in middle school. One of his classmates was the daughter of George Kirkpatrick Jr., then a candidate for the Florida Legislature, and Berger knocked on doors and passed out candy at parades on behalf of the political aspirant. Berger later became Kirkpatrick’s travel aide when he ran for reelection some years later.
Although Berger’s father was a professor at the University of Florida, both he and his sister attended Florida State University. “We didn’t have any money growing up, so we would have had to live at home,” he explains. “The [prospect] of that didn’t sound very appealing.”
When Harris was elected to Congress in 2002, Berger followed her to Washington as her chief of staff. After Harris vacated her seat to run for the Senate — losing to the incumbent, Democrat Bill Nelson, by 20 points — Berger was recruited by America’s Community Bankers. He joined NAFCU in 2006 and became executive vice president in July 2009.
Away from conversations about arcane tax issues, Berger and his 9-year-old daughter fish for trout and smallmouth bass in West Virginia.
IN THE TANKS
Richard Reeves, who is joining the Brookings Institution as policy director for the Center on Children and Families, has dedicated much of his career to understanding the effect of parenting styles on intergenerational social mobility.
“Mobility is politically salient, morally significant, and economically vital,” says Reeves, who was most recently director of strategy under Nick Clegg, deputy prime minister of the United Kingdom.
Over the past decade, Reeves has carved out a niche as a prominent British “liberal” philosopher. He has written and produced a half-dozen programs for the BBC, including a radio segment on the inadequacies of the British social-housing system, and penned a much-ballyhooed biography of his intellectual mentor, John Stuart Mill: Victorian Firebrand.
Reeves’s departure from Clegg’s office earlier this year received a lot of attention from British journalists, some of whom speculated it was a symptom of the declining fortunes of the Liberal Democrats. But Reeves has consistently maintained that he is moving to allow his sons to attend American schools.
A dual U.S.-British citizen, the 44-year-old is of Welsh ancestry — much like Thomas Jefferson, he notes. He was raised in Cambridgeshire and educated at Oxford University; he then alternated between positions in the British national government and U.K.-based think tanks including Demos, the Institute for Public Policy Research, and Lancaster University’s Work Foundation.
In the mid-1990s, Reeves was a Washington-based correspondent for London’s Guardian newspaper.
Under Clegg, Reeves helped set up an independent commission to track the country’s progress in facilitating socioeconomic movement. “We tried to create an institutional architecture for mobility, which I think is necessary, because, by definition, intergenerational mobility is a long-term game,” Reeves says.
He is married to Erica Hauver, an American-born sustainability consultant and a former director of development for the Special Olympics. Their two sons are now “at an age where they’re starting to beat me at tennis,” Reeves says. “It’s an odd sensation.”