Building Trust & Effectiveness in Congress
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Board of Directors

 The Board of Directors manage and control the property, business and affairs of the Congressional Management Foundation. The Board holds regular meetings with the President & CEO to discuss programmatic and fiducial matters concerning CMF.

The Honorable Dan Mica


U.S. Representative Dan Mica began his relationship with CMF as a Chief of Staff to Congressman Paul Rogers (D-FL). He succeeded Rogers in 1979 and served in the House of Representatives for 10 years. Congressman Mica served as the Executive Vice President of the American Council of Life Insurance from 1989 to 1996; appointed by President George H.W. Bush to serve on the Board of International Broadcasting in 1991; and appointed by President Bill Clinton as Chairman of the Board of Directors of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty in 1993. He recently retired as President and CEO of the Credit Union National Association (CUNA), where he served from 1996 to 2010.

The Honorable Kelly D. Johnston

Vice Chair

Kelly Johnston served as Secretary of the Senate from 1995 to 1996 under Senate Majority Leader Bob Dole (R-KS). Johnston has also served as Staff Director of the Senate Republican Policy Committee; as Deputy Assistant Secretary of Public Affairs in the U.S. Department of Transportation; and in various senatorial and congressional committee functions, including Deputy Political Director of the National Republican Senatorial Committee from 1989 to 1991. He served as Executive Vice President of Government Affairs and Communications of the National Food Products Association from 1996 to 2002. Since 2002 Johnston has been Vice President of Government Affairs of the Campbell Soup Company. Johnston has been a member of the CMF Board of Directors since 1997.

Mr. Ira Chaleff

Ira Chaleff has worked as a management consultant and executive coach for more than 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.

Mr. Chaleff 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. Mr. Chaleff 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.

Ms. Anita Estell

Anita Estell is an Attorney and Shareholder of Polsinelli Shughart Law Firm and a well known and respected lobbyist and businesswoman in the Washington D.C. community. In 2011 she was included as Washington Business Journal’s “Women Who Mean Business”. This list honors 25 women in the metro area who are leading and building strong companies or organizations and who demonstrate a commitment to giving back to their communities.

At Polsinelli, Ms. Estell is responsible for client development and managing a broad spectrum of client issues, including federal spending and tax policy generally with a focus on management of a client portfolio that has exceeded $2 billion annually in federally funded or tax-exempted programs. Ms. Estell’s experience also includes general municipal representation, transportation, infrastructure and water resources, community development, electric vehicles, higher education, telecommunications, science and technology, minority health, international affairs, defense, homeland security, energy and environment and other areas. 

Ms. Estell is a former Clinton appointee serving as Chief of Staff to Dr. Johnnetta B. Cole on the Clinton/Gore Transition Team and as a Senior Advisor to U.S. Department of Education Secretary Richard Riley.  Prior to working with the Clinton administration, Ms. Estell served on the House Appropriations Committee.  She was appointed to that position in 1987 by Rep. Louis Stokes (D-Ohio) and served five years. 

In addition to her experience in Congress and with the Clinton administration, Ms. Estell spent her early years as an attorney practicing communications law where she gained extensive experience in managing cases related to telecommunications policy, contract negotiation, minority ownership and First Amendment issues.  Prior to becoming an attorney, Ms. Estell received her early training as a reporter and anchor in both television and radio.

Mr. Les Francis

Les Francis is a communications specialist and political strategist with extensive experience in both the private and public sectors. He is also a highly regarded policy and opinion leader in national political circles. Before joining Washington Media Group, Mr. Francis spent three years at Goddard Claussen Strategic Advocacy and served for five years as Vice President for Communications & Public Affairs at the Educational Testing Service (ETS). Prior to joining ETS in 2001, Mr. Francis was Executive Vice President of Winner & Associates and a principal in Winner/Wagner & Mandabach Campaigns. Prior to that, Mr. Francis was Deputy Assistant to President Jimmy Carter and Deputy White House Chief of Staff.

In 1981, Mr. Francis Launched his own business, The FMR Group, which was a pioneer in the grassroots-lobbying field. The firm was known for its innovative and effective constituency-development efforts. Mr. Francis and his firm won national recongition from the Public Relations Society of America and the American Association of Political Consultants. In addition to managing or consulting dozens of initiative and referenda a over the past two decades, Mr. Francis served as a staff member, manager or senior adviser in campaigns for almost every office from city council to president.

Ms. Jennifer Luray

Jennifer Luray is the Director of Public Policy & Government Relations at BD, a global medical technology company. Previously, Ms. Luray served as vice president of government affairs and public policy for Susan G. Komen for the Cure®, and senior director of government affairs and policy at Abbott Laboratories. Prior to joining the private sector, Luray worked on Capitol Hill. From 1999-2004, she worked for U.S. Senator Barbara A. Mikulski as her Chief of Staff. She served as the top advisor to the Dean of the Women Senators and oversaw all legislative and policy initiatives. She also managed Mikulski's Washington staff and coordinated the Senator's activities and responsibilities as Secretary of the Senate Democratic leadership team.

Ms. Luray has extensive and broad expertise in public administration, the legislative process, management, community organizing, and key national policy issues. Prior to her Capitol Hill experiences, Ms. Luray directed an international leadership program for union officials at Harvard University, and was a union organizer bargaining for health care workers in Providence, Rhode Island with the Service Employees International Union (Local 76). She has also worked with Emily's List to advise women candidates on legislative issues, and was invited by the European Union to study women and politics. Ms. Luray earned a Master's degree in Public Administration from the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University in Massachusetts.

Ms. Patricia McGinnis 

Patricia McGinnis is the former President and CEO of the nonpartisan, nonprofit Council for Excellence in Government. The Council's mission is to improve the performance of government at all levels and to increase citizen confidence and participation in governance. Before coming to the Council, Ms. McGinnis was a co-founder and Principal of the FMR Group, a public affairs consulting firm in Washington, D.C., where she concentrated on education, energy, and communications policy. In government, she served in the U.S. Office of Management and Budget, where she led the effort to create the Department of Education. She also held posts at the Senate Budget Committee, and the Departments of Commerce and Health and Human Services.

Ms. McGinnis serves on numerous committee and boards, including the Dean's Alumni Leadership Council of the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University and the Board of Visitors at the University of Maryland School of Public Affairs. She is a fellow of the National Academy of Public Administration, a member of George Washington University 's Homeland Security Policy Institute Steering Committee, and is currently a Director of the Brown Shoe Company in St. Louis, Missouri, and Logistics Management Institute in McLean, VA. She holds a B.A. in political science from Mary Washington College of the University of Virginia, and a M.P.A. from the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University.

Ms. Amy Sandgren Plaster

Amy Plaster was appointed executive director of federal governmental affairs for CMS Energy and its principal subsidiary, Consumers Energy, in 2008. She is responsible for CMS Energy's office in Washington, D.C., and leads the company's federal governmental and public affairs efforts. Ms. Plaster previously served in the offices of several Michigan Members of Congress, most recently as chief of staff to Michigan U.S. Rep. Pete Hoekstra. She also worked as the director of federal policy for the Eastman Kodak Co. and in government affairs for the Food Marketing Institute.

A native of Muskegon, Mich., Ms. Plaster earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in political science and philosophy from Hope College, in Holland, Mich. She earned a law degree from the Washington College of Law at The American University, in Washington, D.C., and was admitted to the Maryland bar. She served on the board of directors of Women's Policy Inc., and was chairperson in 2012. Ms. Plaster also served as chair of the board of directors for the Little Scholars Child Development Center operated by the Library of Congress Child Care Association.

Mr. Gary Serota

Gary Serota is President of Affinity Marketing Services Corporation, specializing in developing unique benefit and loyalty programs for corporate, non-profit, and association clients. Previously, Mr. Serota was Senior Vice President of Business Development Memberdrive. He served eight years as a management consultant for Members of Congress and their staff, and as President and Executive Director of the Congressional Management Foundation. He also co-authored the book, Capitol Jobs: An Insider’s Guide to Finding a Job in Congress.

Ms. Deborah Szekely

Deborah Szekely is a prominent Southern California-area philanthropist. She currently works as the Chairman and Founder of the New Americans Museum in San Diego. She also founded the Fundacion La Puerta in Tecate, Mexico, a nonprofit combining leadership and environmental training of students throughout the region. Ms. Szekely pioneered the fitness spa as a major service industry, founding the Rancho La Puerta Fitness Resort Spa in Tecate and the Golden Door Spa in Escondido, California. She currently serves on the Board of Directors for four other organizations, including the Center for Science in the Public Interest in Washington DC and the Old Globe Theatre.

Ms. Szekely conceived of and funded the original edition of CMF’s Setting Course. She was a member of the Board for Claremont Graduate University, the International Volunteer Association, and Youth Service America. She is currently involved with several philanthropic organizations, including the San Diego Women’s Foundation and is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations. She recently received the “Mrs. San Diego” award from the San Diego Rotary Club and has been recognized by the League of Women Voters and the Alexis de Tocqueville Society for her contributions. Ms. Szekely has authored several books and magazine articles on lifestyle change, and frequently speaks publicly on well-being and all aspects of volunteerism.