Chief Executive Officer
Woodcliff Lake, NJ
The Bergen Record
Nicole Cornish oversees day-to-day operations, manages the new business development process, leads key client accounts and serves as primary liaison for DI’s national grassroots field network. Nicole joined the DI team in 2003, providing client leader services for some of the company’s highest profile clientele including Pfizer, Merck, Ford Motor Company and various trade associations and industry coalitions. Since joining DI, Nicole has focused on targeting audiences through community-based organization outreach, developing relationships with influential opinion leaders and mobilizing local stakeholders to deliver an issue, brand or company key message. Previously, Nicole served as president of Direct Impact. Before joining Direct Impact, Nicole worked in Burson-Marsteller’s San Diego office, where she served as brand practice manager for the Sony Electronics Corporation-West Coast account. Previously, she worked for Edelman-New York as a technology practice account supervisor for Fuji Photo Film, U.S.A., managing several digital imaging product launch activities, Internet campaign initiatives and the promotion of corporate milestones. In both these positions, her responsibilities included long- and short-term communications program development and special event planning.
Executive Vice President
Bringing more than 15 years experience managing public relations, marketing and political campaigns across multiple media markets, Connie Partoyan joined DI in 2009. Connie is leading an integrated legislative campaign for one of DI and Burson-Marsteller’s largest clients. In addition, she serves as a senior leader on DI’s new business development team and provides media and campaign strategy for its existing clientele.Connie has extensive experience in managing communications, building grassroots coalitions and providing strategic counsel for senior executives and Members of Congress. This experience has served her well in both the private and public sectors. Before joining DI, Connie served four years as chief of staff for Congresswoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA) where she managed the four offices and oversaw the Congresswoman’s communications operation. In her role Connie helped position the Congresswoman as a leader in the Republican Conference and managed her election into House Republican Leadership. Connie also served as administrative assistant and press secretary for Congressman Rick White (R-WA) who founded the Congressional Internet Caucus and as Deputy Press Secretary to Senator Slade Gorton (R-WA). She was Counselor and Senior Advisor for the Department of Commerce’s Technology Administration, where she helped promote the Administration’s technology agenda. Her work in the private sector includes positions as government affairs counselor for Preston Gates Ellis & Rouvelas Meeds, where she worked on health IT, broadband, natural resources and a number of other issues; as executive vice president and chief operating officer for TechNet, she developed the long-term political, policy and growth strategy for the organization; and as director of communications for the Information Technology Industry Council, where she worked to enhance the public policy agenda of the technology trade association representing 28 of the largest IT companies.
Connie graduated from the University of Puget Sound in Tacoma, WA with a B.A. in business administration.
Managing Director, Finance
In his 11-plus year tenure, Vince Price has served as a financial administrator, client billing manger and government contracts manager for the Burson-Marsteller D.C. office, and then as a finance director following his transfer to Direct Impact in July 2005.In his role as finance director, Vince is responsible for the office P&L, including quarterly budgeting and planning, and monthly reporting to Burson-Marsteller. Additionally, Vince is responsible for client contracting, client billing, accounts receivable and revenue forecasting. Prior to joining DI, Vince worked for 10 years in sales management for Glover Equipment and D&F Office Furniture. He holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in government and politics from the University of Maryland College Park.
The Bergen Record
Kim Axelrod brings a decade of experience in corporate communications and reputation management, having worked to advance major brands both in-house and as a consultant at several WPP agencies. As a vice president at Direct Impact, Kim works on key client accounts across various sectors, as well as focusing internally on strategy and operations for the firm overall.
Kim joined Direct Impact from LivingSocial’s corporate communications team, and most recently ran international communications for the Washington DC-based social commerce player. Before joining the startup world, Kim was at Visa Inc. in San Francisco where she led a diverse set of global corporate communications efforts. Earlier in her career, Kim held positions at Burson-Marsteller and Ogilvy Public Relations Worldwide, leading account teams focused on strategic positioning, executive visibility, event/campaign management and media relations for clients including HP and Sun Microsystems.
Kim holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Virginia’s McIntire School of Commerce. Originally from Teaneck, NJ, she now lives in Arlington, VA with her husband and daughter.
The Hopewell News
Nicholas Breeding manages programs for high-profile, key clients at the firm, applying his previous experience with presidential, congressional, gubernatorial and state constitutional grassroots campaigns. Prior to joining DI, Nicholas was associate director of political affairs at the White House. In addition to his time in the Executive Office of the President, he served under Secretaries Mel Martinez and Alphonso Jackson at the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development; staffed domestic and international travel assignments with the Offices of Presidential and Vice Presidential Advance; and served under Governor Mitt Romney at the Republican Governors Association. Nicholas is a graduate of Roanoke College and an alumnus of the Sorensen Institute for Political Leadership. He is a native of Southern Virginia.
Baton Rouge, LA
Amy Cloessner oversees DI’s Communications Center and is responsible for new business development. She provides strategic counsel for our high-volume, high-quality outreach programs, including our signature Legislative Correspondent campaigns and community-based education programs. She brings years of experience in developing cost-effective grassroots programs, data targeting and acquisition, message development, specialist training, troubleshooting and analysis.During her time at DI, Amy has served as client lead for several programs on varying issues, such as healthcare, transportation, energy, labor and trade laws and public safety. Prior to joining DI in 2002, she received her B.A. in political science from Louisiana State University and her Juris Doctor from the Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C., where she also worked to provide legal assistance to low-income families in the area.
The Washington Post
Michael Fleischer, vice president at Direct Impact, has more than a dozen years of experience in government and public affairs, specializing in legislative and regulatory communications. Michael has expertise in designing and implementing advocacy campaigns at the federal and state level. He has worked on a variety of issue areas including energy, environment, transportation and financial services.Before joining Direct Impact, Michael was vice president at Lighthouse Consulting Group, a boutique government affairs firm specializing energy and environmental issues. He also served as vice president of public affairs at Widmeyer Communications, a public policy oriented public affairs firm where he played a key role in a wide range of successful issues management, legislative and advocacy campaigns.With a strong background in media and politics, he has served as the principal staffer for a number of corporate and non-profit clients, including AES Corporation, Edison Electric Institute (EEI), the US Climate Action Partnership (USCAP), JP Morgan Chase Card Services, Consumers United for Rail Equity (CURE), and the Committee for Economic Development (CED). Michael began his career at The Washington Post on the national news and politics desk where he helped cover the Clinton impeachment process, the 1998 congressional elections, the NATO bombings in Serbia and the capitol police shootings.
Michael is a graduate of the Columbus School of Law at the Catholic University of America, where he received his J.D., and has a Bachelor of Arts degree in political science from James Madison University. Michael’s extensive travels include the Dominican Republic, France, Ireland, Italy, Morocco, Spain, the United Kingdom and Venezuela.
New York, NY
The New York Times
As vice president, Alissa Hinkson uses her expertise in message development and strategic positioning to lead a nationwide grassroots corporate reputation program for the firm’s largest client. She has experience directing communications campaigns for a diverse range of leading corporate and public affairs clients, helping them articulate focused agendas, execute key communications objectives, and reach target audiences with their messages. Her extensive experience in strategic branding, product positioning, media relations, crisis management and grassroots program development and execution will play an integral part in shaping DI client campaigns in 2012. Alissa joins us from Rational 360, a DC-based public affairs and communications firm, where she served as vice president and campaign lead for clients including Pfizer, Blackstone Co-Founder Pete Peterson’s Foundation, the Personal Care Products Council, the American Association for Homecare and the American Dental Education Association. A former senior aide at pollster Frank Luntz’s message research firm, Luntz, Maslansky Strategic Research, Alissa worked with Disney and Proctor and Gamble to develop corporate responsibility platforms and philanthropic focus, developed language and training for customer outreach at Citigroup, UBS and State Farm, and identified corporate partnerships strategies for Conservation International and a joint initiative by the United Nations Foundation and the Nike Foundation. Throughout her career, Alissa has developed communications campaigns around a variety of issues such as economic policy, healthcare, financial services, CSR, sustainability, environmental safety, mergers and acquisitions and contract disputes. Alissa also edited both fiction and non-fiction trade books for former Harper Collins Imprint ReganMedia and published features in the Hartford Courant as a contributing writer to the Sunday Magazine. Alissa is a graduate of Trinity College in Hartford, Connecticut.
New City, NY
The Journal News
Heidi Lifson is responsible for identifying new business opportunities within the government and overseeing existing government programs, including the day-to-day management of three task orders for the U.S. Treasury educational outreach program. During her time at DI, Heidi has worked on a wide variety of projects, ranging from educating senior citizens about their Medicare choices and working with physicians, to preventing legislation regarding medical malpractice, to assisting retailers in obtaining the Sacagawea golden dollar coin. For each program, Heidi oversaw all components of outreach and reporting, including data cleansing, database programming, recruiter training, direct mail and fax production, response management, progress tracking, troubleshooting and reporting final results. Prior to joining DI in 2000, Heidi spent a total of six years working with individuals with developmental disabilities; and as an advocate, living arrangement supervisor, employment and volunteer consultant.Heidi received a master’s degree in public administration from George Mason University and a B.S. in human services from the University of Hartford.
Senior Vice President
Steven Soper has been with Direct Impact since 2007 and provides senior leadership on the design and implementation of grassroots communications and public affairs campaigns. Steven’s experience includes leadership on earned media programs in the automotive and financial services industries, in addition to multiple legislative and public education campaigns focusing on trade, regulations, and land use development. Steven has also conducted numerous communication and media training sessions on behalf of clients across the country and around the world. Prior to joining DI, Steven served as associate director in The White House Office of Political Affairs during the George W. Bush administration. In this role, he coordinated presidential travel and served as a liaison to campaigns and political leadership for a twelve-state region. Before coming to The White House, Steven held several political positions at the Republican National Committee including director of political education where he was responsible for national party training programs. Steven also worked on the Bush-Cheney ’04 campaign as a regional political coordinator. In this capacity he worked from campaign headquarters and coordinated state staff on various voter contact programs and campaign events-including the battleground states of Ohio, Michigan and West Virginia. In addition, Steven has held roles on the 55th Presidential Inaugural Committee and the 2000 Republican National Convention, and served as an international election monitor in Serbia.