We have an exceptional team with collective experience from every corner of the grassroots industry – from corporate communications, political campaigns and industry associations to not-for-profits and the White House.

Senior Staff

Michael Fleischer
Chief Executive Officer
Washington, D.C.
The Washington Post
Michael has more than eighteen years of experience in government and public affairs, specializing in legislative and regulatory communications, with expertise 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. Prior to joining DI, Michael was a Vice President at Lighthouse Consulting Group, a boutique firm specializing in energy and environmental issues. He also served as Vice President of Public Affairs at Widmeyer Communications. 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 Juris Doctor, and holds a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from James Madison University. He frequently travels internationally with his wife and six-year old daughter.
Brian Noyes
Executive Vice President
Marietta, GA
Marietta Daily Journal
Brian Noyes is an Executive Vice President for Direct Impact, managing new business growth in addition to providing strategic client counsel. Brian brings more than 20 years of advocacy experience spanning politics and grassroots communications to the firm. Noyes most recently completed work as Director of External Affairs for the Republican National Convention (RNC) in Cleveland, where he served as the primary liaison between the convention and elected officials, foreign dignitaries, business organizations and other associations. Before joining the RNC, Noyes’ career has included leadership roles with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s Global Intellectual Property Center, where he helped with strategic communications and third party outreach and running Brock Clay Government and Public Affairs in Georgia. Previously he served in the Bush Administration at the US Department of Housing and Urban Development, as well as roles during the Presidential campaigns, the Republican National Committee and convention in New York. Earlier in his career, he also worked with the late U.S. Senator Paul Coverdell and Georgia Republican Party.
Ralph Posner
Executive Vice President
East Windsor, NJ
The Star-Ledger
Ralph brings more than 20 years of political and policy experience to the firm. He is responsible for providing strategic counsel to DI’s clients and leading business development efforts. Ralph joined DI from FleishmanHillard, where he served as Senior Vice President and Partner, leading the agency’s public affairs division in Washington, D.C. During his eleven years with the firm, he developed and executed communications strategies for a wide array of clients, including multi-national Fortune 500 companies, coalitions, major trade and professional associations, and foreign governments. Prior to that, Ralph spent six years on Capitol Hill as a Legislative Assistant to both Senator Bill Bradley (D-NJ) and Representative John LaFalce (D-NY). He also served as Vice President at Ogilvy Public Relations. A native of New Jersey, Ralph graduated from the University of Rochester with a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and Economics. He lives in Arlington, Va., with his wife Alyssa and children Julia and Teddy.
Ray Glendening
Senior Vice President
University Park, MD
The Washington Post
Ray brings 13 years of diverse executive-level experience to DI. In addition to new business growth, Ray manages national public affairs and public relations campaigns for global corporate clients, trade associations and issue advocacy organizations. Ray is also a part of the Burson-Marsteller core services integration team, implementing a digital discipline across a global client list. Prior to joining Direct Impact, Ray was the Chief Innovation Officer at McBee Strategic Consulting. He was a member of the firm-wide executive business development team and contributed creative vision to communications strategies of all major McBee Strategic Consulting accounts. Prior to McBee, Ray was the cofounder and COO of Ruck.us, an online political engagement platform. During the 2008-2010 election cycle, he ran the national political department for the Democratic Governors Association overseeing all candidate and independent expenditure campaigns for 37 gubernatorial races. Ray holds a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and History from West Virginia University. He lives in the Petworth neighborhood of Washington, D.C. with his wife, Ashley.
Julie Carney
Vice President
Clarksville, TN
The Leaf Chronicle
Julie brings more than a decade of strategic communication, public relations and grassroots campaign experience to DI. Julie is current projects include some of DI’s largest integrated communications campaigns addressing public policy and corporate reputation issues including transportation, labor and immigration, education and STEM, veterans’ advocacy, and building diverse and engaged armies of stakeholders to help clients address public policy and perception challenges. Prior to DI, Julie spent five years with the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB), the nation’s largest small business association. As Senior Manager, she directed all NFIB Young Entrepreneur Foundation activities nationwide to promote and encourage small businesses and entrepreneurship education, including its nationwide scholarship program. Julie also served as a Staff Assistant and Marketing Coordinator for Quinn Gillespie & Associates. Julie holds a Bachelor of Arts in Public Affairs and Corporate Communication from Southern Methodist University, and serves on the Board of Directors for Pi Beta Phi Fraternity. She is a native of Tennessee and currently resides in the Capitol Hill neighborhood of Washington, D.C.
Ashley Duncan
Vice President
Thomaston, CT
Thomaston Express
As a Vice President at Direct Impact, Ashley is responsible for day-to-day oversight of grassroots client projects and new business efforts for a variety of Fortune 500 and association clients in the energy, environment, transportation and financial services industries. She also leads the firm’s Rapid Response offering which provides real-time media monitoring and response for Direct Impact clients facing critical issues and crises. Ashley has extensive background in energy and utility issues, with specific focus on the natural gas industry. Prior to joining Direct Impact, Ashley was a member of the corporate communications team at Eversource Energy (formerly Northeast Utilities), New England’s largest electric and natural gas utility. In that role, she was responsible for a wide variety of internal and external communications and public relations initiatives including media relations and social media, executive support, employee communications and website management. Ashley was part of the crisis communications team that managed response to two of the largest power outages in company history. Ashley is a graduate of Quinnipiac University’s School of Communications in Hamden, Conn. and holds a B.A. in public relations.
Katie Feldman
Vice President
Charlotte, NC
Charlotte Observer
Katie has more than 12 years of strategic communications and marketing experience. As Vice President, she serves in a leadership capacity as the day-to-day grassroots lead on the Ford Motor Company account, one of the company’s largest clients. Katie also contributes to business and client development.Katie came to DI from Hyatt Hotels Corporation, where she was Director of Corporate Communications and led strategic initiatives such as the launch of Hyatt Thrive, the company’s corporate responsibility platform, and defined the brand identities and communications plans for Hyatt luxury and lifestyle hotel brands. Prior to her position at Hyatt Hotels Corporation, she held roles at Park Hyatt Washington and Blue Duck Tavern, GOLIN and The General Investment & Development Companies.Katie holds a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism and Mass Communication from the University of North Carolina and Chapel Hill. She lives in Arlington, Va. with her husband and son.
Brenn Huckstep
Vice President, Strategy and Operations
Charlottesville, VA
The Daily Progress
Brenn Huckstep brings more than ten years of grassroots, marketing, public relations and public affairs experience to client projects and new business efforts. Brenn is currently working on the firm’s largest healthcare client in support of its annual public education initiative in markets across the country. She has extensive internal communications experience, having worked on communications programs for leading brands and associations which included the development of materials for internal audiences such as grassroots toolkits, newsletter content, presentations and speeches. Brenn previously served as the Marketing Manager for Main Justice, a D.C.-based news publication, where she managed events including live panel discussions on Capitol Hill and expert digital webinars. She also brings Capitol Hill experience from her time in Congresswoman Linda Sanchez’s (D-CA) D.C. office after working with the Democratic National Committee. Brenn graduated from Randolph-Macon Woman’s College in 2004 with a double major in Political Science and Communications. She earned her Masters in Management with Marketing from Bournemouth University in the United Kingdom in November of 2013.
Heidi Lifson
Vice President
New City, NY
The Journal News
Heidi manages client budget operations for the firm’s largest accounts and supports DI’s new business efforts. She is integral to the development of DI’s nationwide field network, among other operational responsibilities. During her 15 years at DI, Heidi has worked on a wide variety of projects, ranging the day-to-day management of an educational outreach program on behalf of a government agency, educating senior citizens about their Medicare choices and working with physicians to preventing legislation regarding medical malpractice. For each program, she 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. Heidi holds a Master’s Degree in Public Administration from George Mason University and a Bachelor of Science in Human Services from the University of Hartford.
Tim Lyons
Vice President
Salem, NH
The Eagle Tribune
Tim provides senior campaign management and strategic communications counsel to a wide range of clients on integrated public engagement and mobilization efforts aimed at the grassroots level. He brings experience managing targeted media, stakeholder and issue advocacy campaigns on behalf of the firm’s largest clients. Prior to DI, Tim was Deputy Press Secretary at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), serving as a national spokesman and advising senior agency officials on communications outreach around high-profile policy debates. Before joining EPA, Tim worked for U.S. Senator Judd Gregg (R-NH) as a Project Director, engaging with constituents to address a number of legislative and appropriations matters. Tim is currently pursuing his MBA (part-time) at the Boston University Questrom School of Business with an emphasis on strategy, innovation and marketing. He graduated from Syracuse University in 2005 with a B.A. in broadcast journalism and political science. He currently lives in Massachusetts with his wife, Anna, and daughter, Nora.
Vince Price
Managing Director, Finance
Gambrills, MD
The Capital
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.

Staff Directory

Robert Beaird
Senior Project Manager
Dallas, TX
Dallas Morning News
Kristi Begonja
Assistant Project Manager
South Salem, NY
Lewisboro Ledger
Sarah Blauner
Assistant Project Manager
Briarcliff Manor, NY
The Journal News
Emily Cheung
Project Manager
Silver Spring, MD
The Gazette
Nicholas Ciccone
Project Manager
Superior, WI
Superior Telegram
Michael DeFilippis
Project Manager
Cortlandt Manor, NY
The Journal News
Colleen O’Kane
Project Manager
Dayton, OH
Dayton Daily News
Danielle Moore
Assistant Project Manager
Silver Spring, MD
The Washington Post
Mike Mullen
Assistant Project Manager
Cranford, NJ
The Star Ledger
Stark Sutton
Senior Project Manager
Richmond, VA
Richmond Times-Dispatch
Mark Walker
Senior Financial Administrator
St. Petersburg, FL
The Tampa Bay Times
Lauren Williams
Senior Project Manager
Franklin, TN
The Tennessean
Sam Wolde
Financial Administrator
Alexandria, VA
The Alexandria Times

Interested in joining our team?

Check out a list of open positions on our parent company Burson-Marsteller’s website!