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SF-BASED CSG EXECUTIVE VP JAMIE FISFIS ADDRESSES GLOBAL ACTIVISTS ON CAMPAIGNING DURING A PANDEMIC AT CANVAS’ ACADEMY, CO-HOSTED BY NOBEL PRIZE NOMINEE SRDJA POPOVIC

SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. (June 28, 2021)—Today, Core Strategic Group’s Executive Vice President for Campaigns and Electoral Research, Jamie Fisfis, spoke as a featured panelist on the subject of “Campaigning in a pandemic and post-truth world,” at the CANVAS Summer Academy for activists and reformers around the world.

“There is no doubt that autocratic governments around the world used the COVID-19 pandemic as a basis for increased citizen monitoring, postponing of scheduled elections, and as an excuse to crack down on freedoms of speech and assembly,” said Fisfis. “Deteriorating democratic situations in places like Ethiopia, Uganda and Hong Kong demonstrate this concerning trend.”

“Yet in the face of these obstacles, human rights reformers around the world have responded with creativity and persistence to actually increase their activism and impact,” said Fisfis. “They have done so by innovating to develop new tactics, communications channels and diverse coalitions that have resulted in more activism than ever. Of course, autocrats seeking to marginalize basic human rights will adapt to gain the advantage as they always do, and reformers will once again need to raise their game.”

The Academy is hosted by CANVAS and its co-founders Nobel Prize nominee Srdja Popovic and Slobodan Djinovic. The Academy brings together a worldwide network of activists, dissidents and students working directly for positive social change both globally and locally.

CANVAS Background

CANVAS [www.canvasopedia.org] provides activists from around the world with the tools for nonviolent revolution based on the success of Otpor! in Serbia in 2000. The Center for Applied Non-Violent Action and Struggle [CANVAS] Summer Academy is a program that explores activism and nonviolent movements in modern times, incorporating perspectives from various movements to help prepare them for the unpredictable, post-pandemic future.

Jamie Fisfis’ bio

Jamie Fisfis has served as a campaign, communications and polling consultant for democratic programs and movements around the world, teaching campaign skills to political activists from over 40 countries. He is a guest lecturer at Masaryk University’ Political Communications Master’s Degree Program in Brno, CZ Republic. He is also the co-editor of “A Democracy Builder’s Guide to Focus Groups,” a manual for conducting opinion research in closed societies. Prior to founding Chariot Campaigns, he directed democracy development programs in Serbia and Angola for the International Republican Institute. He remains active supporting democratic activists around the world.

Jamie has over 25 years’ experience in U.S. and international political campaigns. He is the founder of Chariot Campaigns, recipient of six AAPC “Pollie” Awards and three Reed Award nominations for innovative campaigns and strategies. He is now Executive Vice President for Campaigns and Electoral Research for the Core Strategic Group, which has offices in San Francisco, Sacramento, Anaheim, Los Angeles, St. Louis, Austin and Washington, D.C.


Ruben Gonzalez

Senior Vice President and Managing Director, FSB Public Affairs

Ruben Gonzalez is Senior Vice President and Managing Director for the FSB Public Affairs Los Angeles office.  Prior to joining forces with FSBPA Ruben led strategic consulting firm based in Southern California and serving the entire state of California providing government affairs/advocacy, media relations, crisis communications and political/campaign consulting services.

Ruben’s past and current clients include the DocuSign, United Way of Los Angeles, Delta Airlines, RAI Services, Workday, Sierra Cedar, ESI Development, Information Council of North America, Southern California Gas Company, Parking Company of America, the California Association of Realtors & the Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce where Ruben served as Senior Advisor for Strategic Affairs.

Prior to returning to the Consulting world, Ruben served as the Senior Vice President for Public Policy and Political Affairs for the Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce, which is the oldest and largest business association in Southern California. In this role he led all public policy issue development and advocacy for the Chamber. As Senior Advisor Ruben still served as chief advisor to the Chamber’s President & CEO, Board of Directors and senior staff on setting and implementing the organization’s political strategy, and as a spokesperson and chief strategist for general and crisis communications for the organization. Ruben also direct the Chamber sponsored L.A. Jobs PAC scoring an over 80% success record in endorsed races and spending over 4 million in independent expenditure campaigns.

Ruben formerly served as Senior Vice President of External Affairs for The Meruelo Group, a multibillion-dollar consortium of companies involved in hospitality, banking, restaurants and real estate. In this capacity, he was responsible for government affairs, media relations, community outreach, brand management; as well as, political and charitable engagement.

Prior to The Meruelo Group, Ruben was with a LA’s top public affairs firm where he served multiple clients as a lobbyist and ran political and issue campaigns. He also provided media strategy and served as a spokesperson for firm clients. His client portfolio at the firm included Motorola, Westfield, IBM, and many others across all business sectors.

In addition to this private sector experience, Gonzalez has made his mark in the public sector, serving as Deputy City Controller under Los Angeles City Controller Laura Chick and he has held positions with the South Coast Air Quality Management District’s Governing Board, California Transit Association, former California Assemblyman Lou Correa and former Los Angeles City Councilwoman Ruth Galanter.

He received a Bachelor of Arts in philosophy and political science from Loyola Marymount University (LMU) where he served as student body president. Gonzalez served as Chair of the board for Helping Young People Excel (HYPE), and is currently on the Board of Directors at LMU’s Center for the Study of Los Angeles and LA’s Best. He was also appointed in 2015 to the California State Controller Council of Economic Advisors and currently serves as Supervisor Mark Ridley Thomas’s appointee to the Los Angeles County Local Government Affairs Commission.

Rachael DiCicco

Director of Marketing, Core Strategic Group

Rachael DiCicco has more than six years of experience in developing strategic communications plans for corporate and public affairs clients. She has led grassroots public relations efforts throughout California, including cultivating relationships with reporters and developing relevant proactive and reactive messaging. In her role as Director of Marketing for Core Strategic Group, Rachael is responsible for managing all aspects of marketing and supporting the networking, prospecting, and new business development efforts. Rachael works directly with every CSG company to develop and implement effective marketing plans to maintain each agency’s reputation.

 

Experience:

  • One year as Director of Marketing for Core Strategic Group
  • Six years in public affairs, public relations, multicultural communications and marketing with FSB Public Affairs and Edelman
  • Expertise in automotive, health care, financial, food and beverage, civil justice reform and environmental issues

Community Involvement:

  • Communications Committee Member, MetroEDGE
  • Member, Women of Sacramento

Education:

  • Bachelor of Arts, Journalism with an emphasis in Public Relation, California State University, Chico
  • Minor in Psychology, California State University, Chico

Caroline Holman

PRESIDENT, Belmont Digital Media

Caroline Holman manages digital strategy and implementation for national and statewide public affairs clients. Her experience includes creating, executing and reporting on integrated, omni-channel digital campaigns for national and statewide political committees, as well as Fortune 500 brands, government agencies, national and statewide public affairs and advocacy clients. 

John Hooper

ORANGE COUNTY OFFICE MANAGER AND SENIOR VICE PRESIDENT, FSB PUBLIC AFFAIRS

Over the past 20 years, John has played important roles on political, public affairs and corporate social responsibility campaigns across the country and internationally including helping to pioneer domestic and international digital advocacy strategies for foreign governments, fortune 100 companies and international nonprofit organizations. Most recently, John was a managing director leading the public affairs practice for Group SJR, a New York digital strategy firm owned by WPP.   Previously, he ran the Washington DC office for the California Department of Education, advised legislative leadership on policy and political strategy and lobbied for the California Chamber of Commerce.

 

Experience:

  • 15 years in several key roles at the California State Capitol. 
  • Housing & Land Use, Banking & Finance, Education lobbyist for the California Chamber of Commerce representing the California business community.
  • Ran select field operations and special projects for two Speakers of the California State Assembly
  • Managed federal affairs for the California Department of Education under Superintendent of Public Instruction, Tom Torlakson
  • Managing Director at a leading NYC digital strategy firm Group SJR (owned by WPP) and led corporate communications and digital content strategy efforts for fortune 100 companies, foreign governments and international nonprofits.

Education:

  • Bachelor of Arts, Government, California State University, Sacramento
  • Masters of Business Administration, Pepperdine University

Adam Rosenblatt

PRESIDENT, CORE DECISION ANALYTICS, INC.

Adam Rosenblatt is a proven expert at leveraging research and analytics to understand and influence opinion and behavior.

President of Core Decision Analytics (CODA), the opinion insights and data analytics division of the Core Strategic Group, Adam designs and executes cutting-edge quantitative, qualitative, and data analytics programs for campaigns and non-political clients.

Campaigns & Elections magazine designated Adam as a non-partisan “Rising Star” and his experience spans from Fortune 500 corporations and prominent trade associations, to government agencies and major political campaigns.

During the 2018 and 2016 election cycles, Adam led complex predictive analytics programs in California that enabled victory in key races through data-driven targeting and messaging.

For his role in the 2015 Louisiana Gubernatorial race, Adam was recognized with the Telly Award, a Pollie Award, and three Reed Awards. For his role in crafting the research-based communications campaign that led to the passage and later defense of interchange (swipe fee) reform, Adam was recognized with American Association of Political Consultants 2012 Silver Pollie Award for “Best in Show Public Affairs Campaign” as well as the 2010 Reed Award for “Best U.S. Public Affairs Campaign.”

Adam has served as an Adjunct Professor of Research and Strategic Communications at American University in Washington DC, where he received a Master of Arts in Applied Politics as well as a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science and Public Communication.

David Wilson

EXECUTIVE VICE PRESIDENT AND CFO, C3 PUBLIC STRATEGIES

David M. Wilson is Executive Vice President and CFO of C3 Public Strategies, Inc., managing partner of the firm. David oversees all corporate and political clients as well as campaign grassroots management. David has a lifelong passion for politics and a deep understanding of direct voter contact through grassroots communications.

A Sacramento native, David grew up in the political arena and has extensive experience in the industry aiding over 120 municipal, legislative, and congressional campaigns. David’s career has led him across California contributing to his expertise of California and it’s political geography. David resides in Newport Beach and anchors C3’s Southern California office.

Miranda Pinto

CONTROLLER

Miranda Pinto joined the Core Strategic Group team as our Administrative Services Director. Miranda brings nearly 15 years of experience in administrative management which includes finances, human resources, employee development, and office management.

 

Experience:

  • 13 years as Administrative Accounting Assistant/Office Manager for private educators
  • Two years as Office Manager for a mergers and acquisitions firm

 

Education:

  • Obtaining a degree in Business Administration

David A. Murillo, CAE

PRINCIPAL AND PRESIDENT, THE CORE MANAGEMENT COMPANY

David is a Principal and the President of The Core Management Company. He is the vision driver of TCMC and primary liaison to our client Boards. He provides executive level services, and assists in strategic planning, government affairs and PAC management for our clients. He possesses a Certified Association Executive (CAE) designation from the American Society of Association Executives (ASAE) and is currently enrolled in the US Chamber of Commerce’s Institute of Organizational Management (IOM) program. A respected leader in the realm of association executives, David was named the 2019 Association Executive of the Year by the California Society of Association Executives (CalSAE). He  currently serves as CalSAE’s Vice Chair & Secretary and is in line to become Chair of the Board in 2020. 

 

Experience:

  • Nearly 20 years of trade association/membership/risk management experience, including, executive management, marketing, program development, and communication with membership and public agencies
  • Has served in an executive director capacity for national, state and local trade associations and professional societies
  • Served as membership executive for California Restaurant Association and American Council of Engineering Companies of California
  • Strong background in insurance programs and risk management
  • Certified Association Executive (CAE) designation from the American Society of Association Executives (ASAE)
  • Completed half of curriculum of Institute of Organizational Management program, expected completion June 2020
  • 2019 CalSAE Executive of the Year

 

Community Involvement:

  • Current Vice Chair of the  California Society of Association Executives (CalSAE)
  • Member of the American Society of Association Executives
  • Former President of the California Capital Region Sigma Chi Alumni Association

 

Education:

  • Bachelor of Science, Business Administration, California State University, Sacramento

Carlos Madriles

CREATIVE DIRECTOR, CORE STRATEGIC GROUP AND VICE PRESIDENT, BADFISH MEDIA

Carlos brings a diverse business and communications background and over 13 years in marketing and design experience to the Core Strategic Group team. Using his proficiency in graphic design, video production, web design work, 3D space layouts, and event production, Carlos implements his experience in marketing and branding principles to deliver effective collateral pieces across several different mediums. Carlos understands the importance of being a student to the ever evolving marketing and creative world. Based in the Core Strategic Group Orange County office, Carlos has worked hand in hand with the Anaheim Chamber of Commerce on countless initiatives, election campaigns, community engagement campaigns, advocacy issues, and economic development policies over the past 9 years.

 

EXPERIENCE

• Former Lead Designer for a retail design company
• Former Director of Communications for the Anaheim Chamber of Commerce
• Over 9 years of public affairs work, leading the design and implementation of
campaign websites, logos, mailing collateral, and social media marketing
campaigns
• Proficient in Video Production and design suites Final Cut Pro, Adobe
Illustrator, Photoshop, InDesign, and Sketchup

Dan Kramer

SENIOR VICE PRESIDENT, CORE STRATEGIC GROUP AND PRESIDENT, KPA STRATEGIES

Dan Kramer, President of KPA Strategies, has more than 20 years experience in political, campaign and trade association management, investigative research and public relations. He is an expert in developing and implementing effective public affairs campaigns for businesses, institutions and individuals under attack from competitors, activists, political and regulatory officials, and the media. Dan holds both a B.A. and Master’s degrees from the University of Southern California.

Jerry Amante

SENIOR VICE PRESIDENT AND GENERAL COUNSEL, CORE STRATEGIC GROUP

Jerry serves as Senior Vice President and General Counsel for the firm. Based in Orange County, Jerry leads business development efforts throughout the southern California region.  Jerry possesses nearly 40 years of real estate and land use law, business and corporate law, political and government experience.

 

Experience:

  • Nine years at Core Strategic Group
  • Ten years in public office, including Council Member, Mayor and as a Board Member and Chairman of several regional government agencies
  • Nearly 40 years of practicing law in complex transactions and litigation in California; Admitted to all California State and Federal courts and the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.

 

Community Involvement:

  • Former Mayor, City of Tustin
  • Former Chairman of the Orange County Transportation Authority (OCTA) Board of Directors
  • Former Chairman of the Transportation Corridor Authority (TCA) Board of Directors
  • Former Member of LOSSAN Board of Directors
  • Past President, California League of Cities, Orange County Division
  • Past President, Association of California Cities, Orange County
  • Former Chair/Past Chair/Board Member of multiple Boards, the Irvine Chamber of Commerce, The Irvine and Tustin Exchange Clubs and the Irvine Public Schools Foundation, among others
  • Instructor / Lecturer on Public Policy at various So. Cal Universities & Colleges
  • Former member of the Association of California Cities Emeritus Council
  • Current Chair of Heroes and Healthy Families
  • Former Host, The City Square radio show on OC Talk Radio
  • Current Host, Java with Jerry Radio Show / Podcast

 

Education:

  • Bachelor of Arts, Political Science, UCLA
  • Juris Doctor, Southwestern University School of Law

Frank Rizzo

PRINCIPAL AND EXECUTIVE VICE PRESIDENT, CORE STRATEGIC GROUP AND PRESIDENT, FSB PUBLIC AFFAIRS

Frank Rizzo is President of FSB Public Affairs. He has over twenty-five years of political and public affairs experience and has led grassroots public affairs campaigns in over forty states and Canada. He is an expert at developing and managing grassroots campaigns to influence legislative, regulatory, and policy decisions at the federal, state, and local level for corporate and trade association clients. Frank has also managed various ballot and independent expenditure campaigns around the country. Frank has worked some of the country’s largest companies on wind and solar energy projects, cannabis issues, waste facilities, and mixed-use and commercial developments. His experience with community outreach extends to projects involving NEPA (National Environmental Policy Act), FERC (Federal Energy Regulatory Commission), and CEQA (California Environmental Quality Act), as well as many state and local environmental regulations around the country.

 

Experience:

Frank spent fifteen years working on political campaigns throughout the country at all levels including presidential campaigns, congressional races, legislative and county races. He has also worked for some of the country’s leading political consulting firms producing television, radio, and direct mail advertisements.

  • Founding Partner at Five Corners Strategies
  • Division Manager at Saint Consulting
  • Service Employees International Union
  • Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee
  • White House Office of Management and Budget

 

Community Involvement:

  • East Bay Leadership Council
  • Impact Diable Valley, Founding Member
  • Public Affairs Council

 

Education:

  • Harvard Business School’s “Leading Professional Services Firms” program
  • University of California-Davis CEQA CLE land-use program
  • MIT-Harvard Public Disputes Program “Deal with an Angry Public”
  • Masters in Public Policy, The Rockefeller College of Public Affairs and Policy at the University of Albany in New York
  • Bachelor of Science, History, and Politics from Drexel University in Pennsylvania

James Fisfis

PRINCIPAL, AND EXECUTIVE VICE PRESIDENT, CORE STRATEGIC GROUP AND PRESIDENT, CHARIOT CAMPAIGNS

Chariot’s President and founder James Fisfis has over two decades’ experience in U.S. and international political campaigns, including 18 years in California. He is the recipient of six AAPC “Pollie” Awards and three Reed Award nominations for his successful and innovative ad campaigns to elect moderates in deeply partisan districts in California, which earned him the Silver “Pollie” Award for best Candidate Media Campaign of the 2014 election cycle.

In addition to his award-winning media consulting for political candidates and elected officials, James has conducted and directed over 500 political and public affairs surveys and focus groups – in the United States and in over 20 countries on four continents – for Fortune 500 companies and business and technology organizations.

Prior to founding Chariot in 2006, James served in the California State Assembly as Political and Communications Director for three consecutive Minority Leaders.

Kristy Babb

PRINCIPAL, CORE STRATEGIC GROUP AND CEO, THE CORE MANAGEMENT COMPANY

Kristy is a Principal and CEO of The Core Management Company. She oversees TCMC’s administrative operations and leads a number of TCMC’s client teams. For nearly two decades she has excelled at developing integrated communication campaigns for corporate, government and nonprofit clients including Ford Motor Company, Western Carwash Association, Sacramento Metro Chamber of Commerce, California Travel Association and the Dairy Council of California. Kristy is currently enrolled in the US Chamber of Commerce’s Institute of Organizational Management (IOM) program. 

 

Experience:

  • 12 years with the Core Strategic Group Family of Companies
  • 20 years public relations/public affairs, political campaign management, and association management experience
  • A leader in strategic design, branding, message development and community-based outreach
  • Former Director of Communications, Dairy Council of California
  • Former Project Manager, The Hoyt Company

 

Community Involvement:

  • Past Board Director, Folsom Chamber of Commerce
  • Honorary Board Member, Raley’s Food for Families
  • Volunteer, Friends of the NICU
  • Wife and mom to two awesome boys

 

Education:

  • Bachelor of Science, Political Science, University California Davis
  • Minor, Communications

Cherri Spriggs

PRINCIPAL AND CHIEF CLIENT SERVICE OFFICER, CORE STRATEGIC GROUP AND FSB PUBLIC AFFAIRS

Cherri has managed day-to-day efforts and multi-million dollar budgets on behalf of a number of statewide and local initiative and referendum campaigns, Fortune 500 companies, local government agencies, non-profit organizations and associations.

Since 2012 she has lead the firm’s Latino Outreach and Spanish-Language team. Assimilating to the language and culture through study and living abroad, Cherri has spent much of her career developing and implementing culturally appropriate strategies for her clients. Her extensive experience and sage counsel makes her the go-to choice for clients seeking to deliver their messages to the Latino community.

Her record of success coupled with her unique collaborative approach to ballot initiative campaigns and traditional corporate public affairs programs has earned her a national reputation for being an intentional, strategic leader and a masterful tactical implementor. Cherri’s passion, dedication and vivacious spirit makes her a client favorite.

 

Experience:

  • Seven years with FSB Core Strategies
  • 20 years in public relations, public affairs, multicultural communications and ballot initiative campaigns with Porter Novelli, Edelman, VSP and California State University, Chico
  • Experienced in health care, education, transportation, insurance, tort reform, land use and patient advocacy issues
  • Served as Campaign Manager or Deputy Campaign Manager for 15 Statewide, Regional, and Local Ballot Initiatives in Transportation, Education, Land Use, Public Safety, Health Care and Tort Reform

 

Community Involvement:

  • Commissioner, Economic Development Commission, City of Lincoln
  • President, Lincoln Chamber of Commerce
  • Board Member, Visit Placer
  • Board Member, Lighthouse Counseling & Family Resource Center
  • Director at Large, CSU Chico Department of Public Relations & Journalism Advisory Board
  • Sustaining Member, Junior League of Sacramento
  • Member, California Women’s Leadership Association
  • Member, California State Railroad Museum Foundation
  • Member, Crocker Art Museum

 

Education:

  • Bachelor of Arts, Journalism, California State University, Chico
  • Minor, Spanish
  • Minor, Art History

Jeff Flint

CEO, CORE STRATEGIC GROUP

Jeff is the CEO of Core Strategic Group and the Senior Partner in the firm. He oversees all aspects of the firm, including client services, project management, business development, and managing the business. Jeff has extensive experience in public relations and political campaigns.

Experience:

  • 12 years with Core Strategic Group (including predecessor company)
  • 30 years public relations/public affairs/political campaign/government experience
  • 11 years in the State Legislature, managing campaigns including those of the Chief of Staff and Political Director at Assembly Speaker Curt Pringle’s office
  • Former Vice President at Russo, Marsh+Rogers, Inc.
  • Former CEO of Flint Communications

Community Involvement:

  • President and Board Chairman, Placer United Soccer Club (2013-Present), Board member since 2010
  • Husband to an amazing wife and dad to five wonderful kids

Education:

  • Bachelor of Science, Political Science, Caltech
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