GAD Institute 2020

The Government Affairs Directors’ Institute is an annual professional development conference for state and local real estate association professionals who provide guidance to and work for associations in the areas of government affairs, political affairs, legislative or regulatory affairs, lobbying, advocacy, RPAC fundraising, campaigns, community outreach and/or all REALTOR® Party initiatives.

This year GADs Give Back is partnering with the United Way and its United States COVID-19 Community Response and Recovery Fund. United Way Worldwide’s COVID-19 Fund supports communities by helping local United Ways respond, and by ensuring people get accurate information through their local 211 network. Donations through the GADs Give Back program will be used by the United Way’s local US chapters to provide food, shelter, vital information and additional assistance to those most in need.

95% of your donation to United Way Worldwide’s COVID-19 Community Response and Recovery Fund will provide relief to those left vulnerable by the pandemic.

Preliminary Itinerary (Subject to Change):

Thursday, July 9, 2020

3:00pm – 5:00pm EST

Pre-Institute: New GADs Training on REALTOR® Party Resources
A training by NAR staff on all the REALTOR® Party Resources available for state and local associations.

Tuesday, July 14, 2020

1:00pm – 1:30pm EST

Welcome Session

1:30pm – 2:30pm EST

Opening Keynote Speaker
Doris Kearns Goodwin

Wednesday, July 15, 2020

2:00pm – 3:00pm EST

It’s Not a Crisis Unless You Make it One: Crisis Communications
Case study from (industry, company, association) on how to message and manage communications during the pandemic

3:00pm – 4:00pm EST

A Discussion with NAR Leadership
Bob Goldberg and Vince Malta

4:00pm – 5:00pm EST

Adaptation – how companies and REALTORS shifted their focus during the pandemic.

Thursday, July 16, 2020

2:00pm – 3:00pm EST

Impacts on Voting
Practical guide to what the electorate and how the election process might affect campaigns

3:00pm – 4:00pm EST

Innovative Campaigning
Perspectives from political professionals and candidates, including voter persuasion and outreach, and fundraising

5:30pm – 6:30pm EST

Cocktail Class with Tattersall Distilling (Minneapolis, Minnesota)
Advance sign-up required on Signup Link here

Tuesday, July 21, 2020

1:00pm – 2:00pm EST

Work Group: Rent Control
Rent control issue and best practices

2:00pm – 3:00pm EST

Governing Under Pressure as a Leader
Lawmakers come and discuss how legislation and lawmaking happens during the crisis

Wednesday, July 22, 2020

1:00pm – 2:00pm EST

Federal Update
Shannon McGahn, Joe Ventrone, and Doug Sosnik

2:00pm – 3:00pm EST

Swing Voter Project
Rich Thau will talk about his Swing Voter Project

4:00pm EST

4:00pm EST Wanderlust Yoga (Austin, Texas) with Instructor Amelia
Advance sign-up required on Signup Link here

Thursday, July 23, 2020

1:00pm – 2:00pm EST

Work Group – Zoning
Zoning issues and best practices

2:30pm – 3:30pm EST

Closing Keynote

3:30pm – 4:00pm EST

Closing Session

Speaker Bios

Justin Y. Allen is a Senior Strategic Consultant for REAL Strategies, the REALTOR Party’s primary solution provider. REAL Strategies creates integrated solutions for the REALTOR Party in partnership with companies such as TargetSmart, American Strategies, Access Marketing Services, and others to deliver a full suite of data, technology, research, and communication services to REALTOR associations across the country. In this capacity, Justin has helped launch the new REALTOR Party Plus program. REALTOR Party Plus provides state and local associations direct access to a team of experts, as well as to cutting-edge data and campaign tools.

Before joining REAL Strategies, Justin worked for 10 years as Government Affairs Director for the Salt Lake Board of REALTORS. He also worked as a Political Consultant for the Utah Association of REALTORS for 8 years. From 2011 to 2016, he worked as a NAR REALTOR Party consultant helping state and local associations around the country utilize NAR grants and resources to enhance their government affairs programs. Justin enjoyed serving on the GAD Advisory Group and was pleased to host the GAD Institute in Salt Lake City in 2015.

He previously worked as a congressional staffer for Rep. Rob Bishop, as Political Director at the Utah Republican Party, and has consulted on political campaigns for former Senator Orrin Hatch and Rep. Rob Bishop. He served for 8 years on the Centerville City Council. Justin served an LDS mission in Kyoto and Osaka, Japan, and graduated from Brigham Young University. He and his wife Lisa have four children–a son (16) and three daughters (14, 12, 10).

Sekou Andrews is the Founder/CEO of SekouWorld, Inc., innovator of “Poetic Voice,” and one of the most successful spoken word poets in the world. On any given day, this schoolteacher turned artist and entrepreneur, who built a 7-figure company on poetry, can be found keynoting at a Fortune 500 company, inspiring thousands at a concert, or performing for Barack Obama in Oprah’s backyard.

Sekou is the creator of “poetic voice” – a cutting-edge speaking category that seamlessly fuses inspirational speaking with spoken word poetry, like “Hamilton” meets “TED.” This innovative blend of strategic storytelling, thought leadership, spoken word, theater, and comedy humanizes content, making it entertaining, moving and memorable. Sekou’s accomplishments include two National Poetry Slam championships, two national poetry tours, two Independent Music Awards, three Helen Hayes Awards, the most “Just Plain Folks” music awards in history, the 2020 ABA “Entrepreneur of the Year” award, and the first “Best Spoken Word Album” Grammy nomination for a poet in 30 years.

It is no surprise that Forbes has called Sekou a “polymath” and “the de facto poet laureate of corporate America.” His “wow-factor” is in high-demand with the world’s most successful organizations, including Google, Viacom, Toyota, Nike, Cisco, Linkedin, Capital One, L’Oreal, Global Green, Paypal, ASAE, The Gap, Paypal, General Mills, the ACLU, and the NBA to name but a few. Sekou’s work has also been featured on such diverse national media outlets as ABC World News, CBS, MSNBC, HBO, Good Morning America, Showtime, MTV, and BET, and he has given private performances for such prominent individuals as Maya Angelou, Quincy Jones, Larry King, Hillary Clinton, Norman Lear, Sean “Diddy” Combs, and Coretta Scott King. Sekou has also emerged as a powerful voice for health and wellness, routinely evoking tears, cheers, and standing ovations at events for clients such as the Johnson & Johnson, United Healthcare, Mayo Clinic, Blue Shield, Kaiser Permanente, TEDMED, Roche, Northwell Health, Genentech, and the American Medical Association.

Sekou is a multi-talented entertainer with over 2 decades of experience inspiring audiences across platforms and genres. He has shared event stages with such heavyweights as Drake, Stevie Wonder, Jay-Z, Carlos Santana, Kendrick Lamar, Maroon 5, Jill Scott, and John Legend. He is also a voiceover artist and actor with several national commercials, three films, and an original, critically-acclaimed, two-man play on his resume. With creative partner Steve Connell, Sekou has inspired audiences from the HBO US Comedy Arts Festival to The Pasadena Pops Orchestra. Sekou has even returned to the classroom, teaching his rockstar secrets to public speakers through his highly effective Stage Might™ speaker training system that helps executives, influencers and leaders become more dynamic communicators.

With all of the innovation and inspiration that is poetic voice, Sekou Andrews is accomplishing the seemingly impossible – bringing spoken word poetry to the world’s largest stages, while redefining the notion of what a speaker is, and what a poet can be.

Tom Butler is a seasoned communications professional with more than 20 years of marketing, image building, media relations and writing experience. He currently is the Public Policy Communications Director for Florida Realtors, the largest trade association in the state of Florida serving more than 195,000 Realtor members and 51 local boards/associations.

Prior to joining Florida Realtors, Tom served as the Research Marketing and Communications Manager at Florida State University, Director of Communications and External Affairs for the Florida Department of Education and Deputy Press Secretary for the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation, among other roles.

He has helped multiple state agencies weather crisis situations, participated in state emergency operations before and after severe weather events and assisted in post-active shooter emergencies. When not dealing with crisis events, he enjoys communicating with his stakeholders through various platforms and writing creative pieces to help break down complex issues.

He is a 1998 graduate of Florida State University with a BS in general communications with a minor in English. He lives in Tallahassee, Florida with his wife and two sons.

Josh Dix is the Director of Government Affairs for Charleston Trident Association of REALTORS. Josh is a member of the GAD Advisory Group and has been recognized as a leader in the Charleston area, having been named to the Charleston Metro Chamber of Commerce’s Leadership Charleston Class of 2019. Leadership Charleston recognizes and promotes the development of area leaders that are working toward advancement and growth in the region.

Prior to his current role, Josh worked on Capitol Hill in the office of Congressman Trey Gowdy, House Representative for South Carolina’s 4th District. Josh has also worked on and served in various roles on numerous other political campaigns in South Carolina.

Political Advocacy – National Restaurant Association

Jack Frye manages the National Restaurant Association’s federal and state political advocacy programs.  He is responsible for developing strategic campaigns in coordination with 52 state restaurant associations to help shape public policy.  Previously, Jack worked on Capitol Hill for Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-MD) and Rep. Ron Kid (D-WI).  Jack earned his Bachelor of Arts in Political Economics from Bates College in Lewiston, Maine.

Government Affairs Manager, Colorado Association of REALTORS®

Bridget Garcia serves as Government Affairs Manager for the Colorado Association of REALTORS®, the state’s largest real estate trade association representing more than 26,000 members statewide.

Through collaboration and constructive outreach, Ms. Garcia solicits the needs and identifies issues important to the industry from the organization’s members across the state to help drive good public policy to create an environment for the buying and selling of homes and commercial real estate, a prosperous business climate, strong infrastructure and a healthy quality of life. Working with all sides, participants of the industry and member input, she assists in crafting good legislation, writes and delivers compelling testimony before State House and Senate bodies and brainstorms effective concessions and changes to legislative proposals so that CAR can champion them into good laws for the industry.

Ms. Garcia’s work with business organizations, including her time as Senior Public Affairs Specialist at the Denver Metro Chamber of Commerce, has allowed her to keep her finger on the pulse of current legislative issues that affect small and large business and drive their impact on the economy. Her contributions drive effective, timely and relevant education and communication to her stakeholders.

Born and raised in Denver, Colorado, Ms. Garcia obtained her B.S. in Business Administration with a focus on Management at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas and is a graduate of Colorado’s Leadership Program of the Rockies.

Chief Executive Officer, National Association of REALTORS®

Bob Goldberg is chief executive officer of the National Association of REALTORS®. In that role since August 2017, he has worked closely with NAR’s leadership to transform the organization—introducing a staff culture focused on putting members first, leading change, communication, collaboration, and giving respect.

Among the initiatives he has launched are an Innovation, Technology, and Investment Summit; an Executive Outreach Program; and “Day in the Life of a REALTOR®,” a program that puts every NAR staff person into the field each year to better understand the work of REALTORS® and local associations.

Goldberg is also president of NAR’s investment arm, Second Century Ventures(link is external), as well as the highly ranked REach®(link is external) technology accelerator. Through those entities, NAR holds positions in a range of technology companies, driving innovation for the benefit of the industry and NAR members. In addition, he is president and CEO for the REALTORS® Information Network (RIN), a for profit, wholly-owned subsidiary of NAR, where he’s responsible for oversight of the® operating agreement with Move Inc.

A 23-year veteran of NAR and a recent inductee into the REALTORS® Political Action Committee Hall of Fame, he previously served as senior vice president, overseeing a wide portfolio that included sales, marketing, business development, and strategic investments. Before joining NAR, Goldberg was a senior vice president with PRC Realty Systems, the nation’s leading provider of computer-based real estate information.

In January 2019, Goldberg was named No. 7 on the Swanepoel Power 200, a list of the most powerful and influential executives in real estate, produced annually by consulting firm T3 Sixty. Goldberg holds a bachelor of arts degree from the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill. He and his wife, Susan, a former REALTOR®, live in Chicago.

Joe Goode is the Chief Executive Officer of American Strategies. Joe conducts public opinion surveys and provides strategic advice for trade associations, non-profit organizations and corporations. He has worked for and advised political organizations and campaigns for more than thirty years as a pollster, consultant and executive. Joe has worked closely with the National Association of REALTORS® since 2007, providing opinion research and consulting services in more than forty states and hundreds of localities – including successful constitutional amendment campaigns in Arizona, Florida, Louisiana, Missouri, Montana, North Dakota, Oregon and Texas. Joe helped design and implement the National Association of REALTORS® Campaign Services Program bringing state of the art campaign tools and data services to state and local REALTOR® associations.

Before coming to American Strategies, Joe was Chief Operating Officer at the polling firm Greenberg Quinlan Rosner. He has also worked as a Vice President at the polling firm Lake Research Partners and as Campaign Manager and District Director for NC Congressman David Price.

Doris Kearns Goodwin is a world-renowned presidential historian, public speaker and Pulitzer Prize- winning, New York Times #1 best-selling author.

Her seventh book, Leadership in Turbulent Times, was published in September 2018 to critical acclaim and became an instant New York Times bestseller. A culmination of Goodwin’s five-decade career of studying the American presidents focusing on Presidents Abraham Lincoln, Theodore Roosevelt, Franklin Roosevelt and Lyndon Baines Johnson, the book provides an accessible and essential road map for aspiring and established leaders in every field, and for all of us in our everyday lives.

Goodwin’s career as a presidential historian and author was inspired when as a 24-year-old graduate student at Harvard she was selected to join the White House Fellows, one of America’s most prestigious programs for leadership and public service. Goodwin worked with Johnson in the White House and later assisted him in the writing of his memoirs.

She then wrote Lyndon Johnson and the American Dream, which became a national bestseller and achieved critical acclaim. It was re-released in 2019 with a new foreword highlighting LBJ’s accomplishments in domestic affairs that have stood the test of time.

Goodwin was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for No Ordinary Time: Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt: The Home Front in World War II. The Fitzgeralds and the Kennedys was adapted into an award-winning five-part television miniseries. Her memoir Wait Till Next Year is the heartwarming story of growing up loving her family and baseball. Her sixth book, The Bully Pulpit: Theodore Roosevelt, William Howard Taft, and the Golden Age of Journalism, won the Carnegie Medal and is being developed into a film. Goodwin’s Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln served as the basis for Steven Spielberg’s hit film Lincoln and was awarded the prestigious Lincoln Prize, the inaugural Book Prize for American History, and the Lincoln Leadership Prize.

Well known for her appearances and commentary on television, Goodwin is frequently seen in documentaries including Ken Burns’ The History of Baseball and The Roosevelts: An Intimate History; and on news and cable networks, and shows including Meet The Press and The Late Show with Stephen Colbert. She played herself as a teacher on The Simpsons and a historian on American Horror Story. In 2020, she served as the executive producer for History Channel’s six-hour, three-night miniseries event, “Washington”, which delves into the lesser-known details of America’s first president and shows the arc of his developments as a leader.

Goodwin graduated magna cum laude from Colby College. She earned a doctorate degree in Government from Harvard University, where she taught Government, including a course on the American Presidency. Among her many honors and awards, Goodwin was awarded the Charles Frankel Prize, the Sarah Josepha Hale Medal, the New England Book Award, as well as the Carl Sandburg Literary Award. Goodwin recently founded Pastimes Productions with Beth Laski to develop and produce film, television and digital projects.

Goodwin lives in Boston, Massachusetts. She was the first woman to enter the Boston Red Sox locker room in 1979, and is a devoted fan of the World Series-winning team.

NYSAR Director of Government Affairs

Prior to joining NYSAR’s Government Affairs Department in 2001, Mike worked for eight years in the New York State Assembly directing communication efforts for several Assembly members and served as staff for the Ways and Means committee.  Mike became the Director of Government Affairs in 2008.  NYSAR’s Government Affairs Department helps to formulate and implement the association’s annual legislative and political agenda and to manage the REALTORS Political Action Committee (RPAC), Issues Mobilization Fund and the association’s independent expenditure efforts.  The department is also responsible for assisting local boards in achieving their political and legislative goals.

Mike is a proud graduate of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and lives outside of Albany, NY with his wife Beth and two kids.

Samar Jha joined the Greater Philadelphia Association of REALTORS® (GPAR) in 2016 as the Director of Government & Public Affairs with over 5 years in legal and public policy experience.  As the Director of Government & Public Affairs, Samar manages the government affairs team and the REALTOR® Political Action Committee (RPAC). Samar also serves as the staff liaison to GPAR’s Diversity Committee and the Young Professionals Network (YPN) Committee. Samar also serves as a member of the Diversity Committee and RPAC Fundraising Committee at Pennsylvania Association of REALTORS® (PAR) and the GAD Advisory Committee with the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR).

Previously, Samar has worked, as a corporate lawyer working on corporate commercial transactions, aircraft leasing and financing, mergers & acquisition, and private equity. Samar also served as a Graduate Public Policy Fellow at Philadelphia City Council.

Samar received a dual degree (B.A., LL.B.) from NALSAR University of Law, Hyderabad, India. Samar received his Master of Laws (LL.M.) from the University of Pennsylvania Law School. Samar will be receiving his Master in Public Administration (MPA) from the Fels Institute of Government, University of Pennsylvania in August 2020. Samar also currently serves as the Vice-President of the Fels Students Association.

Samar is originally from Jamshedpur, India and currently resides in Philadelphia with his wife, Anjali Chainani, and two cats, Miso and Tamarind.

Dan Judy joined North Star Opinion Research as a Research Analyst in early 2001, and became Vice President in 2009. In 2012, Campaigns and Elections magazine named him a “Rising Star” in the political consulting industry, and in 2015 he was part of the American Association of Political Consultants’ inaugural “40 Under 40” class. He works on a wide variety of political, non-profit, and corporate projects from questionnaire development, to fielding, to strategic analysis and presentation, and is also a skilled focus group moderator, having conducted groups on a wide range of topics in cities across the country.

Dan has helped the winning campaigns of U.S. Senators including Lamar Alexander, Bob Corker, Marco Rubio, and John Kennedy; Governors including Ron DeSantis (FL), and Bill Lee (TN); numerous members of the U.S. House; and state and local officials across the country. His public affairs work has focused on transportation (for clients including the Metro Atlanta Chamber of Commerce and Transit Planning Board in his home state of Georgia), the environment (for The Nature Conservancy, Trust for Public Land, ClearPath, and Environmental Defense), and health care (for America’s Health Insurance Plans, the Pharmaceutical Care Management Association, and PhRMA). Other clients include the Boy Scouts of America, The Federalist Society, and U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

Dan often offers commentary on polling and the political issues of the day, and his analysis has appeared on network television stations across the country, BBC World TV and Radio, NPR’s Morning Edition, Sirius XM, and in the Wall Street Journal, the Boston Globe, The Hill, and National Journal. He has also served as a panelist at national conferences including ALEC, the American Association of Political Consultants and the Hispanic Leadership Network.

Dan graduated cum laude from the University of Georgia with a degree in political science and history, and developed an interest in politics while interning for House Speaker Newt Gingrich and the late Senator Paul Coverdell. He is a member of the American Association of Political Consultants and the American Association for Public Opinion Research.

Dan is a passionate fan of the Georgia Bulldogs, Atlanta Braves, and Atlanta Falcons. He has thru-hiked the Appalachian Trail from Maine to Georgia, run two marathons, and reached the summits of Washington’s Mt. Rainier (14,410 feet), Mexico’s Pico de Orizaba (18,701 feet), Ecuador’s Cayambe (18,996 feet), and Tanzania’s Mt. Kilimanjaro (19,341 feet). He lives in Alexandria with his wife and two children.

2020 President, National Association of REALTORS®

Vince Malta, a REALTOR® in San Francisco, California, is the 2020 President of the National Association of REALTORS®.

Vince is a third-generation REALTOR® and the CEO and broker of Malta & Co., Inc. Vince has been in the real estate business for 43 years and has served the industry in countless roles.

On the national level, Vince has testified before Congress multiple times on behalf of NAR on issues such as the impact of increasing conforming loan limits, insurance reform, and housing policy. He has served on the NAR Board of Directors from 2002 to present, and was the 2010 & 2011 Vice President of Government Affairs.

Since 1988, Vince has been deeply involved with the California Association of REALTORS® (CAR). In 2002 he became an Honorary State Director for Life, and in 2006, CAR elected him President. He was awarded REALTOR® of the Year for the state of California in 2007.

He is a graduate of the University of San Francisco and the University of San Francisco School of Law.

Sherri Martin is the political affairs manager for the Pennsylvania Association of Realtors®. Martin joined PAR in February 2014 and is responsible for the association’s Realtors® Political Action Committee (RPAC), including both fundraising and disbursement efforts. She also serves as the staff liaison to the Public Policy Coordinating Committee overseeing the association’s issues mobilization efforts and other public policy projects.

Prior to joining PAR, Martin worked for seven years as the government affairs director for the Greater Harrisburg Association of Realtors®. In the past, she also has worked for a statewide professional association, large lobbying and legal firm, as well as a Pennsylvania gubernatorial campaign.

Shannon McGahn is the Senior Vice President of Government Affairs for the National Association of REALTORS®, which represents more than 1.3 million members involved in all aspects of the residential and commercial real estate industries.

McGahn, a member of the association’s Advocacy Group, is responsible for managing NAR’s Federal Legislative and Political Affairs and Political Representative teams. She provides strategic advice on public policy issues impacting NAR and helps direct its Independent Expenditure and Public Advocacy programs.

Before joining America’s largest trade association, McGahn served as the staff director for the House Financial Services Committee and, prior to that, as a counselor to the United States Treasury Secretary. She also held communications roles for three members of House Leadership during her near 20-year Capitol Hill career.

In addition, McGahn served as Vice President for a D.C.-based public affairs firm, and held the same position for a consulting firm focused on grassroots communication in major national media markets.

The first woman to hold the Senior Vice President of Government Affairs position in NAR’s 110-year history, McGahn brings with her nearly two decades of experience working with or for the legislative and executive branches of the U.S. government. As she continues her career at NAR, she is focused on working on behalf of America’s 1.3 million REALTORS® to promote and protect property ownership for people across the United States.

McGahn earned her B.A. in History from The George Washington University. A native of Westerville, Ohio, she currently resides in Alexandria, Virginia, with her husband and two sons.

Amber McReynolds is one of the country’s leading experts on election administration and policy, and co-author of the book “When Women Vote”. Amber is the CEO for the National Vote At Home Institute and Coalition and is the former Director of Elections for Denver, Colorado. During her time there, she transformed the elections division into a national and international award-winning office. She has proven that designing pro-voter policies, voter-centric processes, and implementing technical innovations will improve representation for all voters.

Amber serves on the National Election Task Force on Election Crises, as an advisory board member for the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Election and Data Science Lab; as a board member for Represent Women, City Year Denver, and Lift Colorado; and serves on various advisory boards for other national organizations focused on improving election administration. Among other accolades, Amber was also named by Governing Magazine as a 2018 Top Public Official of the Year for her work. Amber holds a Masters of Science degree in Comparative Politics from the London School of Economics and a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and Communications from the University of Illinois.

Liz Peetz is the Vice President of Government Affairs at the Colorado Association of REALTORS®. Ms. Peetz directs the public policy efforts of the Colorado Association of Realtors and manages many functions of the government affairs division, but she specializes in policy development, advocacy, and legislative affairs. She also oversees CAR’s Legislative Policy Committee and candidate endorsement process through the Colorado Association of REALTORS® Political Action Committee. Ms. Peetz is a licensed attorney in CO, NE, and Washington D.C.

Prior to her current position, Ms. Peetz has more than 15 years of experience in government affairs and legal analysis in Washington D.C. and Colorado with previous roles as a US. Congressional staffer, and work in various business and non-profit organizations focusing on healthcare related issues, counterterrorism legal operations, litigation, and democracy promotion and civil society training.

Ms. Peetz, grew up in Greeley, Colorado. She holds a B.A. in International Affairs from CU- Boulder, and a J.D. from Creighton University. She currently lives in Denver and is very active in the community as a leader for the Young Lawyers Section of the American Bar Association and she also serves on the Executive boards of the Junior League of Denver and LIFT Colorado that recruits business friendly candidates to run for office. She also is on the board of the Common Sense Policy Institute.

Jane Rayburn is a Vice President at EMC Research where she manages all aspects of research projects from designing the questionnaire to providing clients with actionable recommendations from the data. Jane works with a variety of clients including political campaigns, public interest groups, advocacy organizations, and private companies. Jane has committed her career to equitable representation; from electing women to office or to the re-enfranchisement of voters, a voice for everyone is at the heart of her work.

Jane took her first job in survey research in 2003 at the Government Performance Survey Research Center at Florida State University in her hometown of Tallahassee, Florida and worked with a local Boston pollster for four years. She joined EMC Research after serving as the Research Director and Managing Partner at Fako Research and Strategies, a national public opinion research firm in Chicago, IL.

Jane graduated from the University of Florida with a BA in Political Science and Classics and completed an MA in Classical Languages at the University of Georgia. She is a proud Emerge Massachusetts alumna, class of 2014. She currently lives in Washington, D.C. with her husband, David.

Pursing a side passion, Betsy operates a flower farm, Artis Flora, offering luxurious, winsome beauty to a variety of clients. She is the Vice President for the Eugene Police Foundation and the Chair of Better Housing Together, a community lead effort advocating for housing affordability and supply. Betsy enjoys backpacking, sailing and anything else that gets her outside in the beautiful Pacific Northwest.

Doug Sosnik has advised U.S. presidents, senators, governors, Fortune 100 corporations, foundations and universities for 35 years.

Mr. Sosnik served as a senior advisor to President Clinton for six years, playing a key role in policy, strategy, political and communications decisions in the White House.  During this time Mr. Sosnik’s titles included Senior Advisor for Policy and Strategy, White House Political Director and Deputy Legislative Director.

Mr. Sosnik currently advises elected officials, corporations, foundations, universities, non-profits and philanthropists on strategic planning and crisis management.  Clients have included the National Basketball Association, the Motion Picture Association of America, CNBC, The Rockefeller Foundation and The University of North Carolina.

Sosnik has also advised over 50 U.S. Senators and governors.

Mr. Sosnik co-authored a New York Times bestseller Applebee’s America: How Successful Political, Business and Religious Leaders Connect with the New American Community.

Mr. Sosnik received his Bachelor of Arts degree from Duke University.  He currently resides in Washington, D.C. with his wife, Fabiana Jorge, and their three children, Christopher, Phillip and Nicole.

Vice President for Government Affairs

As Senior Vice President for Government Affairs for Illinois REALTORS®, Greg St. Aubin leads the lobbying and advocacy activities of the 50,000-member statewide trade association. Greg and his seasoned team of professionals carry out the Association’s legislative research and analysis, policy development, direct lobbying at the state and local level, grass roots mobilization, campaign advocacy through RPAC and Independent Expenditures, and RPAC fundraising.  The Illinois REALTORS® governmental affairs team is comprised of 17 dedicated professionals, which includes 10 Local Government Affairs Directors.

Illinois REALTORS® has a strong voice on a wide range of public policy issues that impact REALTORS®, homeowners, and other property owners, developers, and investors.  With its 50,000 politically active members, Illinois REALTORS® has a powerful advocacy voice at all levels of government, and is viewed as a respected, dedicated watchdog that is a constructive and essential participant in the public policy process.

Greg joined the lobbying team of the Association in 1987 and was selected to lead the Government Affairs Department a year later.  Before joining the Association he was a Legislative Liaison for the Illinois Department of Revenue and also worked for Illinois Lt. Governor George H. Ryan and State Senator Laura Donahue.

Greg holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from Western Illinois University. He lives in Springfield, Illinois with his two children.

David Stark is the Public Affairs Director for the Bay East Association of REALTORS.  He helps community leaders, the media and the public understand real estate issues and works to include the REALTOR® perspective in the development of public policy. Prior to joining the Bay East staff in 2005, he worked for more than a dozen years managing housing and community development programs for cities in southern and northern California. David holds a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Political Science and English from the University of California, Riverside and a Master’s Degree in City and Regional Planning from California Polytechnic University, San Luis Obispo.

Kelli Walker Starrett is the Senior Vice President and Director of Governmental Relations for the New Orleans Metropolitan Association of REALTORS®. In her current position, she works closely with REALTORS® and their clients on local, state, and federal policy issues impacting real estate in the 10-parish metro area. Previously, Mrs. Starrett served as Legislative Assistant to a local State Senator and as Voluntary Agency Liaison for FEMA. Kelli has a B.A. in Political Science from Northwestern State University of Louisiana and a Graduate Certificate in Emergency Management from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. She resides in New Orleans with her husband, daughter, and rescue dog.

Joseph M. Ventrone is Vice President of the National Association of REALTORS® Federal Policy and Industry Relations Team. Mr. Ventrone oversees all of NAR’s Federal Policy and the Real Estate Services Program–an effort directed to serving the special and varied business needs of large brokers. Under his leadership, the Federal Policy and Industry Relations Team develops and analyzes policy on housing; real estate finance; business and technology; environment and commercial real estate.

Mr. Ventrone’s expertise in housing issues spans over 40 years and includes stints in the private sector, top federal agencies and on Capitol Hill during both the Democratic and Republican administrations.

Prior to joining the NAR in 2003, Mr. Ventrone was a Senior Policy Advisor at the Federal Housing Finance Board, where he liaised with Congress and trade associations for the independent regulatory agency that oversees the $700 billion Federal Home Loan Bank System.

Mr. Ventrone was also a member of the Bush/Cheney Transition Team at the Department of Housing and Urban Development, where he assisted with the design and the development of the transition briefing book for Secretary-designate. He then served as a Special Advisor to Secretary Mel Martinez, focusing on housing policy and congressional relations.

In Congress, Mr. Ventrone shepherded some of the most significant federal housing, mortgage finance and urban affairs legislation to pass Congress. His achievements include the American Home Ownership and Economic Opportunity Act of 2000, the Quality Housing and Work Responsibility Act, the Homeowners Insurance Availability Act, establishment of the Committee on Affordable Housing and Health Care Facility Needs of Senior Citizens, the Section 8 program, the McKinney Act and the Cranston-Gonzalez National Affordable Housing Act.

Mr. Ventrone joined the United States House of Representatives as a professional staff member in 1983. In 1988, he became minority deputy staff director for housing and two years later, he was named deputy staff director. In 1995, he became deputy staff director for the House Committee on Banking and Financial Services (now the Committee on Financial Services).

A native of Providence, Rhode Island, Mr. Ventrone graduated from Curry College with a B.A. degree in 1971. He earned his Master’s degree in Public Administration (Urban Affairs) from American University in 1973.

GAD Institute – Future Dates

2021: July 20 – 22, 2021 in Denver, CO
2022: July 19-21, 2022 in Philadelphia, PA

GAD Institute Contacts

Julia Parenteau
2019-2020 GAD Chair
(763) 232-9055

Kelli Starrett
2019-2020 GAD Vice-Chair
(504) 258-5563

Christina Garavaglia
NAR Manager, Political Advocacy Education