“In Washington, we have a lot of people working on education policy who have never been in a classroom,” says Dane Linn, recently named a vice president at the Business Roundtable. “I have always thought that my experiences as a classroom teacher “… gave me a solid grounding. And while I’ve been out of the classroom for a long time, I’m married to a middle-school teacher in one of the most impoverished districts in West Virginia, a community that has been impacted by addiction to OxyContin. She keeps it real for me every day.”
At the Business Roundtable, Linn will focus on how corporate executives can facilitate the adoption of rich curricula and instructional materials in schools around the country. The 51-year-old was most recently executive director of state policy at the College Board.
A former principal of Guyan Valley Elementary School in Pineville, W.Va., Linn has never really left Appalachia. “My wife and I made a very conscious decision 16 years ago that we would stay in the southern part of West Virginia”…. I guess you could say I drank the water.” He commutes home every weekend — a five-and-a-half-hour drive. Before the College Board, Linn was director of the Education Division of the National Governors Association Center for Best Practices for 15 years. Earlier in his career, he was coordinator of the West Virginia Education Department’s Office of Special Education Programs. Linn is currently pursuing a doctorate at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University. He holds a bachelor’s degree from Cabrini College in Radnor, Pa., and a master’s degree in education administration from the West Virginia Graduate College.
Christopher Snow Hopkins
Since 2008, Michael Andrews’s clients have been under siege.
“Whether it’s [subprime] mortgages or money-laundering allegations, investment banks have to contend with a bunch of different things at the same time,” he says. “Right now, one of the biggest concerns has to do with Libor” — the London interbank offered rate — “a delicate, complex issue that requires a multidimensional examination.” Earlier this year, Barclays agreed to pay British and American regulators $450 million to settle accusations that it had manipulated the estimated cost of interbank lending. A dozen other banks are under investigation.
Last month, Andrews joined Roberts, Raheb & Gradler as counsel. The boutique government-affairs shop — led by Rick Roberts, a former commissioner of the Securities and Exchange Commission — assesses the travails of its clients on three axes: legal, political, and financial. “If you lock in too much
in one part — if you just deal with the legal, for instance — you still have very significant exposure,” Andrews says.
The issue of artificial interbank lending rates has been muddied by an infelicitous phrase dating back to the 1960s. “This is one of the awkward things about the history of Libor,” Andrews says. “Forty years ago, a spot price would be set for wheat in the morning. This was called “˜fixing’ the price. That language has persisted and gotten the attention of antitrust authorities.”
Andrews was born in Erie, Pa., on the eastern shore of Lake Erie. His father was a city-employed auto mechanic, and his mother managed a neighborhood grocery store. After studying liberal arts at Pennsylvania State University, Andrews enrolled in law school at the University of Toledo. “I like staying north, in cold places,” he says.
Determined to remain on Capitol Hill for no more than two years, Andrews signed on as an aide to then-Rep. Joseph Vigorito, D-Pa., who chaired what is now the House Agriculture Livestock, Dairy, and Poultry Subcommittee. “We had the luck — or misfortune, some people would say — of drafting the Commodity Futures Trading Commission Act,” recalls Andrews, marveling that such a momentous task was entrusted to staffers in their twenties. Sure enough, Andrews bolted to the private sector after two years. “I have tremendous respect for [long-term] aides, but I felt I could only serve my member — in terms of creativity — for that long.”
At law firm Winston & Strawn, Andrews’s colleagues taught him to strike a balance between confidence and humility. “I learned a lot about how to deal with people and how not to deal with people,” he says. “You should show respect and deference but also strongly articulate your position.” Among his clients were the Chicago Mercantile Exchange and the Kansas City Board of Trade.
After serving as chief of staff to Philip Johnson, then-chairman of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, Andrews was enticed to Salomon Brothers, a client of Winston & Strawn’s, with what he remembers as a “beautiful line.” Salomon Brothers had just ceased to be a partnership at that time, and the promise of untold riches permeated the office. “They told me, “˜Why don’t you come work for us? We can pay you more, and it will cost us less.’ “
Five years later, Andrews recalls, he was flabbergasted when a rogue trader submitted false bids to circumvent a rule related to the purchase of Treasury bonds. In the ensuing scandal, the CEO and chairman were forced to resign. “That was probably the most searing experience of my career,” he says. “Literally, in those first weeks and months, we weren’t certain that the firm would be in existence for much longer. We had to borrow money every day in the repo market, and we weren’t sure people would be willing to trade with us.”
For much of the past decade, Andrews has been vice president of international affairs
at Citigroup. The 63-year-old says he plays golf “badly.”
Reporters and public-affairs professionals have a symbiotic relationship. Whether they like each other is almost beside the point.
“With newsrooms slashing [staff], you have reporters that are new to their beat or covering several beats at once,” says Shanna Duncan, the new executive vice president of Prism Public Affairs. “We fill in those gaps.”
“PR people are given a bad rap,” she adds. “I think some journalists are afraid they’re going to be giving up some of their integrity if they cross over”…. But we’re communicators, just like they are.”
When National Journal caught up with Duncan last Friday, she was glued to her television, monitoring the approach of Hurricane Sandy just ahead of Halloween. “I’m obsessed with this stuff”…. I don’t know if it’s better to know ahead of time that a storm is coming, or if it’s better to just be surprised by it.”
Earlier this year, another fit of atmospheric indigestion, a fast-moving “derecho,” forced Duncan and her family from their home in Alexandria, Va. They spent several nights in a hotel after losing power.
A native of Fort Worth, Texas, Duncan studied communications at Texas Christian University before coming to Washington for a job with the House postmaster. At that time, her father, Philip Duncan, was deputy chief of staff for House Speaker Jim Wright, D-Texas. “I was just starting college when Jim Wright became speaker,” she says. “My parents literally dropped me off at school and moved to Washington.”
Duncan’s next stop was a Vienna, Va.-based public-relations firm, where one of her clients was the National Organization for Rare Disorders. “I knew I had found my calling,” she says. “Reforming our health care system has been a consistent issue throughout my career.”
Duncan, 44, has worked as a senior vice president at the Prevent Cancer Foundation and at Hyde Park Communications. She is coleader of her 7-year-old daughter’s Brownie troop. “It’s amazing, but it’s actually a little intimidating — 7- and 8-year-old girls can be scary.”
Jody Rabhan didn’t know if she’d be able to return to the National Council of Jewish Women when she left in 2002 to start a family. Ten years later, she is back at the council and focusing on legislative issues as deputy director of operations.
Rabhan, 43, maintained her ties with the Jewish community through consulting for nonprofits, and she’s ready for a full-time position now that her sons, David and Miles, are 8 and 10. She returns in time for the election and the lame-duck session of Congress. While the so-called fiscal cliff will be the issue on everyone’s mind, Rabhan and the council hope that lawmakers will also reauthorize the Violence Against Women Act during the lame duck.
“I think the timing, professionally, just couldn’t be better,” Rabhan says of her new post. In her work as a contractor for other nonprofits, she gained experience in grant writing and other key areas. “The combination of having that experience and the institutional knowledge of having worked here previously is just ideal,” she says, “particularly in a time like this where there may be a new administration.”
Rabhan says that her parents volunteered regularly in their Richmond, Va., community, and she was similarly “bitten by the bug” to help others. Religion became more important in her life around the time she decided to start a family, she says. “I feel like it’s more of the religion that informs what I do and is the driving force behind my beliefs and what I feel very strongly about.”
It wasn’t until after grad school that Rabhan made the connection between her love for political science and her interest in Jewish studies. Her introduction to the National Council of Jewish Women came through a fellowship while studying at what is now the Darrell D. Friedman Institute for a dual master’s degree in social work and Jewish communal service. She joined the Jewish Community Relations Council as director of domestic policy after graduating in 1995. A year later, she joined the National Council of Jewish Women full time as a legislative associate and eventually was promoted to associate director. “It’s a place where progressive people, not just women, can come together,” she says. “It is the place going forward for anyone who is connected to their Judaism and cares about socioeconomic issues.”
AROUND THE AGENCIES
The newest member of the State Department’s legislative-affairs office lived in low-income housing as a child in New York City. After his parents’ divorce, Nuku Ofori moved with his mother and brother into subsidized housing as she struggled to care for them on her salary. “We really had to make do with a lot less,” he says. The living situation lasted for only a few years, but the experience influenced Ofori’s career path. “It wasn’t destitution, but it was definitely a contrast,” he says. “In Long Island, you don’t have to travel very far to see concentrations of poverty and super-concentrations of wealth.”
His move from Capitol Hill to the State Department seems logical to Ofori. “I saw the interconnectivity between domestic issues to issues that are abroad,” he says. Now as the director of legislative affairs focusing on the House, Ofori looks for ways to tackle problems facing people around the world. For Ofori, that means recognizing, for instance, that “this subset of people in this country is experiencing this hardship” and then asking, “What are other people around the world experiencing?” Ofori, 38, hopes to examine whether U.S. international advocacy policies are helping or hurting people abroad.
At Baylor University, Ofori started as a premed student before he decided to pursue sociology and political science with the hope of one day working on civil rights and advocacy. He was advised that a law degree should be his next goal after graduation in 1996, so he headed to Temple University’s Beasley School of Law and then to the National Coalition for the Homeless, where he was a housing-policy analyst.
While at law school, Ofori first heard Rep. Chaka Fattah, D-Pa., speak. Afterward, the student sent the House member a letter and his résumé. A year later, in 2000, Ofori was surprised by a phone call from Fattah’s then-chief of staff asking if he still wanted to work for the lawmaker. As Fattah’s new legislative assistant and correspondent, Ofori was the only one in the office who answered constituent mail. “At first it was a little daunting because there was a lot of mail to answer, but I’ve got to say, that really did expose me to so many different issues really quickly,” he says. His 12 years with Fattah included two years as a legislative assistant, one year as a senior policy adviser, and then his final position as legislative director. Ofori hopes that his experience will inform his liaison work for the State Department, especially determining which policies to pursue based on how members will respond.
CVS Caremark is more than the place you go when you run out of toilet paper or have a cold. It’s also a health care provider, and that explains why Ann Walker-Jenkins left her post as assistant director of federal affairs for the American Academy of Physician Assistants to become the company’s director of federal-government affairs. “It’s so much more than a pharmacy chain,” she says.
Walker-Jenkins, 33, says that moving to the corporate world was an easy decision because she believes that CVS Caremark is in a position to help lower health care costs. One example is the company’s work to educate consumers on medication adherence. When patients don’t take their medicine as directed by a doctor, the subsequent illnesses cost the health care system $300 billion annually, she estimates.
A career in lobbying was not the path Walker-Jenkins envisioned when she left her hometown of Lubbock, Texas, for Kentucky’s Asbury University. Nutrition and health classes introduced the English major to the field. “It opened my mind to the idea that there were ways to improve health that I didn’t fully understand and wanted to understand more,” she says. She made the move to D.C. after graduation and joined the National Healthy Mothers, Healthy Babies Coalition, where she put her English background to work writing about health policy. “I found that being able to quickly understand an issue, synthesize it, and write about it, was really, really helpful,” Walker-Jenkins says. Her résumé includes stints at the American Academy of Physician Assistants and the Association of Women’s Health, Obstetric and Neonatal Nurses. That experience with health care providers translates easily into working with pharmacists who offer counseling and care at CVS, she says.
This article appeared in print as “People.”