Building Trust & Effectiveness in Congress
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Brad Fitch

President & CEO

Bradford Fitch has spent 25 years in Washington as a journalist, congressional aide, consultant, college instructor, Internet entrepreneur, and writer/researcher.

Fitch began his career as a radio and television reporter in the 1980s. He began working on Capitol Hill in 1988 where he served for 13 years. He worked in a variety of positions for four Members of Congress, including: press secretary, campaign manager, legislative director, and chief of staff.

Fitch left Congress in 2001 to work for the Congressional Management Foundation. As Deputy Director of CMF, he served as a management consultant for Members of Congress, offering confidential guidance, conducting staff training programs, and writing publications on enhancing the performance of individual congressional offices and the institution. He served as editor of Setting Course: A Congressional Management Guide for the 108th Congress and 109th Congress editions. In 2005 Fitch managed CMF’s Communicating with Congress project, and co-authored the report, How Capitol Hill is Coping with the Surge in Citizen Advocacy. He left CMF in 2006 to form a new company, Knowlegis, in affiliation with Capitol Advantage. Knowlegis is now a part of CQ-Roll Call Group, where Fitch served as a Vice President until 2010 when he returned to CMF.

Fitch is also the author of Citizen's Handbook to Influencing Elected Officials (TheCapitol.Net, 2010); Media Relations Handbook for Agencies, Associations, Nonprofits and Congress (TheCapitol.Net, 2004); “Best Practices in Online Advocacy for Associations, Nonprofits, and Corporations,” a chapter in Routledge Handbook of Political Management (Routledge, 2008); and articles on communications and advocacy. He has taught journalism and public communications at American University in Washington, D.C, where he served an adjunct Associate Professor of Communications. He received his B.A. degree in Political Science from Johns Hopkins University and his M.A. degree in Journalism and Public Affairs from American University.

Susie Gorden

Vice President

Susie Gorden oversees the professional development of congressional staff and internal management of CMF. She comes to CMF with over 15 years' experience in policy, government relations and advocacy.

Susie has extensive experience in the nonprofit sector, for organizations small and large. Most recently, she was the Policy Director for Big Brothers Big Sisters of America where she successfully secured increased funding to ensure more quality mentoring relationships for America's at-risk youth and developed a grassroots framework to coordinate the efforts of the organization's 300+ agencies. She was also selected by her peers to chair the Washington Group of the National Collaboration for Youth, which provides a unified voice for over 50 national nonprofits working to better conditions for America's youth. While at the Center for Environmental Citizenship, she created the Environmental Journalism Academy – securing partnerships with National Public Radio, the Washington City Paper and Washington Post to provide 162 high school and college students with direct experience producing environmental content.

Prior to that, Susie was a liaison to Congress for Capitol Advantage (now part of CQ Roll Call). In that role, she interacted with dozens of congressional offices and advocacy groups to improve constituent communications and citizen engagement. She came to Capitol Advantage after a stint as a Legislative Assistant for an influential member of the Energy and Commerce Committee. Susie also has a background in research, as co-author of a National Library of Medicine project.

Nicole Folk Cooper

Director of Research & Publications

Nicole Folk Cooper conducts research, analysis, writing, and outreach on a broad range of CMF activities, including managing and writing reports and publications; consulting with congressional offices; conducting training programs; and managing and conducting project work.

Currently, Nicole is the project manager for the "Life in Congress" research series that reports on the employee engagement, job satisfaction, and work-life of congressional staff and House Members. She was the project manager and editor of the 2010 revision of Keeping It Local: A Guide for Managing Congressional District & State Offices, and  the 111th, 112th, and 113th Congress editions of Setting Course, CMF's premier publication on setting up and managing congressional offices. She is co-author and editor of The Insider's Guide to Research on Capitol Hill, and the editor and project manager of the most recent edition of the Congressional Intern Handbook. Nicole also manages and contributes to the communications and technology research reports produced by CMF's Partnership for a More Perfect Union.

Nicole came to CMF in 2001 from InterAmerica Technologies, which was one of the primary vendors of correspondence management systems (CMS) to House and Senate offices. Prior to her work at InterAmerica, Nicole was Office and Systems Manager for a Member of Congress.

Kathy Goldschmidt

Director of Strategic Initiatives 

Kathy is responsible for the day to day internal planning and management of the organization, and she regularly contributes to CMF’s research and project work. She joined CMF in 1997 and was the Director of Technology Research from 2000-2006 and Deputy Director from 2006 - 2011. 

For more than 15 years Kathy has been an integral part of CMF’s research and publications. She was co-author of the 2013 report Life in Congress:  Job Satisfaction and Engagement of House and Senate Staff and a contributor to the 2010 revision of Keeping It Local:  A Guide for Managing Congressional District & State Offices. She also directed CMF’s technology research and guidance through the Communicating with Congress Project and the Gold Mouse Award Project, and she played a critical role in the Connecting to Congress Project.

Kathy has spoken extensively on the topics of congressional communications and legislative e-government, and she has facilitated a variety of high-level meetings to improve communications between citizens and Congress. She has also been integral to a number of contracts with the House of Representatives to develop strategies for House use of information and communications technologies, including an intensive, two-year project to develop a ten year vision and strategy for technology in the House of Representatives.

Prior to her work at CMF, Kathy worked in a congressional office and as an Internet Analyst and Communications Specialist for a small consulting firm. She holds a BA from Carleton College.

Sarah Thomson

Office Manager

Sarah Thomson addresses the internal administrative needs of CMF and provides support for the projects and services of the organization.

Sarah has worked for a variety of organizations in the nonprofit, corporate, and public sectors throughout the world. She started work at CMF in 2014 as a British expatriate whose experience includes British embassies in Senegal and Ivory Coast, the European Stock Market in Belgium, and an event management firm in South Africa. Her expertise is in administrative, logistical, and development support.

Sarah has earned her BA in linguistics from University of Newcastle upon Tyne in the UK. In her spare time, Sarah does volunteer work for her children's schools.

Beverly Bell


Beverly Bell previously served as CMF's Executive Director. She served as editor of the 110th Congress edition of CMF's flagship publication, Setting Course, and has more than 20 years of experience working for and with Members of Congress and their staff.

Beverly spent 12 years working for two Members of the House of Representatives, including five as Chief of Staff. She then spent 10 years in the private sector in the Government and Regulatory Affairs Office at PricewaterhouseCoopers and the legacy firm of Coopers & Lybrand. In that role, she educated Members of Congress and their staff on public policy issues affecting the capital markets including financial services, tort reform, and trade initiatives.

Beverly served on the CMF Board of Governors from 1997 to 2006 and is an officer of the House Chiefs of Staff Alumni Association. She is a Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Agnes Scott College in Atlanta, Georgia.

Ira Chaleff

Management Consultant

Ira Chaleff has worked as a management consultant and executive coach for over 15 years. He is President of Executive Coaching and Consulting Associates and a founding partner of the Institute for Business Technology, which conducts its popular Personal Efficiency Program for Fortune 500 companies and government agencies.

Ira is a former Executive Director of the Congressional Management Foundation and the author of the book, The Courageous Follower: Standing Up To and For Our Leaders. He has taught political and organizational leadership at American University and is a core curriculum instructor in Georgetown University's Leadership Development Program.

Ira also has broad international experience in leadership development through such agencies as The Asia Foundation, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty and The National Democratic Institute.

Philip W. Flewallen

Management Consultant

Phil Flewallen, a highly experienced and knowledgeable leader in public service management, brings more than 20 years of hands-on experience leading the development and execution of strategic programs to drive organizational improvement. Phil collaborates with numerous Federal departments and agencies as a trusted advisor on a variety organizational transformation and performance strategies, including strategic planning, performance management, communications, change management and human capital development.

Prior to joining CMF, Phil was the Managing Director of the Human Capital Management and Organizational Change Practice for a DC-based management consulting firm. Beginning in 2000, he worked on Capitol Hill serving as the Deputy Chief Administrative Officer (CAO) for the U.S. House of Representatives where he led major strategic organizational performance management programs, collaborating with and advising House Member and Committee offices and House and Senate Officers. He also served five years as Special Assistant to the CIO at the Environmental Protection Agency.

Phil received his Master’s in Politics and Public Policy from the Eagleton Institute of Politics at Rutgers University, and his BA degree from the University of California, Berkeley. Phil also served as a California Executive Fellow, serving as liaison in the California Governor’s Office.

Beverly Jones

Management Consultant

For over a decade and with more than 1000 hours of executive coaching, Beverly Jones has worked with leaders to bring new productivity to their teams. Her clients have included university deans, provosts and presidents, as well as other institutional executives and government officials. Bev is Senior Fellow and Strategic Coach for the Voinovich School of Leadership and Public Affairs at Ohio University. Leadership development also has been her focus with clients such as the Organization of American States, where she created a 30-hour “Leading Change” course for high potential managers. 

From 1987 to 2000, Bev was senior vice president of external affairs and policy for Consolidated Natural Gas Company. Earlier, Bev was a department chairman at the Washington law firm Wickwire, Gavin and Gibbs, PC. She began her legal career in the Market Regulation Division of the Securities and Exchange Commission. Before law school, she was assistant to the president at Ohio University, where she created the affirmative action program. Bev’s coaching and consulting activities focus upon strategic planning, performance management, MBTI and 360 assessments, change management, team building, career advancement and transitions, resilience, fostering innovation and collaboration, stress management, positivity and productivity.

Stephanie Jones


Stephanie Jones founded Stephanie Jones Strategies, LLC in 2010 to focus her expertise on empowering businesses, nonprofits, and individuals to increase productivity and profitability by improving diversity, expanding communication and engaging with external strategic partners and communities. Prior to launching SJS, Stephanie served as Executive Director of the National Urban League Policy Institute, the League’s research, policy and advocacy arm. She was also Editor-in-Chief of The State of Black America and Opportunity Journal magazine.

From 2002 until 2005, Stephanie served as Chief Judiciary Committee Counsel to Senator John Edwards. Prior to working for Senator Edwards, Stephanie was Chief of Staff to the late Congresswoman Stephanie Tubbs Jones. From 1994 until 2000, Stephanie served in the Clinton Administration as Secretary’s Regional Representative in the U.S. Department of Education, where she created and implemented public awareness and grassroots partnership campaigns in support of the Administration’s education initiatives throughout a six-state region.

Before entering government service, Stephanie was an Associate Professor of Law at Northern Kentucky University’s Salmon P. Chase College of Law, where she taught Civil Rights Law, Civil and Criminal Procedure, Entertainment Law, and Trial Advocacy. Stephanie has also served on the adjunct faculty of Northwestern University School of Law and practiced law with the firm Graydon, Head & Ritchey in Cincinnati. Prior to her legal career, Stephanie was a staff reporter at the Cincinnati Post and Executive Assistant to Lionel Richie and the Commodores.

Meredith Persily Lamel

Management Consultant

Meredith Persily Lamel previously served as CMF's Director of Training and Consulting. She is President of MPL Partners, LLC, an organizational consulting and leadership coaching firm, and also serves on the full-time faculty of American University's Kogod School of Business.

Prior to joining CMF, Meredith was Director of Executive Education at the Corporate Leadership Council (CLC), the human resources practice of The Corporate Executive Board (CEB). At CLC, she taught best practices research to corporations and organizations from around the globe on the topics of leadership development, high potential talent, succession management, performance management, executive coaching and employee engagement. Meredith consulted in the areas of management capacity building and strategic planning for The Futures Group, and held a number of positions at Pyramid Research, the telecommunications division of the Economist Intelligence Unit.

Meredith graduated with an MBA from The University of Chicago and has a BA with honors from Brown University. She earned a Certificate in Leadership Coaching from Georgetown University and is credentialed as an Associate Certified Coach by the International Coach Federation. She is an authorized facilitator of The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator® (MBTI®), The Leadership Circle Profile™, Appreciative Inquiry, and the Team Diagnostic™ Assessment.

Laura D. Scott

Management Consultant

Laura Scott worked for CMF from 1991 to 1996 and has been consulting for CMF since then. Laura has led well over a hundred confidential assessments for House and Senate offices on matters such as Strategic Planning, Communication, Team Building, District Office Operations, and Mail Systems. Prior to joining CMF, Laura worked in a Senate office for eight years.

Currently, Laura is the Interim Director of the Center for Leadership & Organizational Change at the University of Maryland, College Park. In this role, she works with Deans, Department Chairs and other campus leaders to help them plan and implement organizational change. She received her Masters in Organizational Development from The American University/NTL.

Rick Shapiro

Management Consultant

Rick Shapiro previously spent 19 years at CMF and served as Executive Director from 1990 to 2006. During that time he facilitated strategic planning retreats, conducted confidential office assessments and performed other management consulting services for congressional offices.

Rick is the author of Frontline Management, a guidebook for running district and state offices. He is also the author of several chapters in CMF’s management guidebook, Setting Course, and co-author of Working in Congress: The Staff Perspective. He has appeared on the CBS Evening News, CNN, C-Span, CNBC, and National Public Radio to discuss congressional management issues and is frequently cited in newspaper articles.

Before coming to CMF, Rick held senior staff positions in both the Senate and House, and worked as a management consultant for Coopers & Lybrand and the State of Arizona. He received his Masters in Public Administration from Princeton University.

James Vaughn

Special Consultant

As an advisor and consultant to CMF, James Vaughn brings more than a decade of experience in political advocacy and the uses of new technology to the Partnership for a More Perfect Union. His past clients include Capitol Advantage/Knowlegis working with media companies, informal groups and average citizens to develop tools to measure influence. James also co-developed Power Rankings, which ranked members of Congress for power and effectiveness according to 23 different variables. Governor Schwarzenegger appointed him to the California State Bar Board of Governors Examining Committee where he serves as Vice-chair for Moral Character Determination.

Prior to Capitol Advantage, James served as the Deputy on President Bush’s USA Services E-Government initiative, developing federal-wide standards for citizen-to-government communications with a focus on new and emerging technologies. He also served on the task force to set standards for websites across the federal government to make them more citizen centric. This was a natural outgrowth of his work as Director of Government and Politics for America Online (AOL) where he conceived and created and many other online tools and products to help citizens connect with elected officials and government agencies at all levels. He also developed the highly successful 2002 and 2004 election portals for America Online in partnership with CNN and others.

These projects grew out of research James conducted while securing his Master’s in Public Administration at Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government. There he focused on the Internet and the delivery of service to the public and private sector as well as the impact of the Internet on public policy decisions and innovation. Prior to his Master’s degree, James was a political and public affairs consultant in California and ran dozens of campaigns at the local, state and congressional level.