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
President and General Manager
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.
Amy Cloessner
Senior Vice President
Baton Rouge, LA
The Advocate
With more than 13 years of grassroots experience, Amy provides strategic counsel in stakeholder communications, community-based education programs, high-volume mobilizations, coalition building and events. She works closely with DI’s field network to develop and execute state and local campaigns and has served as the client lead across a variety of industries including healthcare, automotive and education, as well as government agencies and non-profits. Amy has focused on several corporate reputation and CSR campaigns, working with community stakeholders and local media to educate and promote various initiatives at the grassroots level. Amy has also led numerous public policy campaigns affecting the healthcare industry. Her work has helped to connect patients, physicians and other stakeholders with Members of Congress and local public officials to elevate industry issues, advocate for legislation and build influential coalitions. Amy 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. She currently resides in Alexandria, VA.
Brenn Huckstep
Senior 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.
Nicholas Breeding
Vice President
Hopewell, VA
The Hopewell News
Nicholas “Nic” Breeding serves as a vice president. A seasoned public affairs professional, Nic’s 15-year background comprises leadership positions in government, politics and public relations at the national, state and local levels. At Burson-Marsteller, Nic leads communications and public relations programs for high-profile clients, applying his previous experience managing White House strategic initiatives and events as well as presidential, congressional, gubernatorial and state constitutional grassroots campaigns. Nic has directed numerous proactive media and influencer campaigns surrounding corporate reputation, community engagement and sustainability initiatives across the U.S. for key clients. Prior to joining Burson, Nic was associate director of political affairs at the White House. In addition to his time in the Executive Office of the President, his service in the George W. Bush administration included appointments under two Cabinet secretaries at the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development as well as domestic and international travel assignments with the Offices of Presidential and Vice Presidential Advance. Nic also served under Governor Mitt Romney at both the Republican Governors Association and the governor’s political action committee, The Commonwealth PAC. A graduate of Roanoke College and an alumnus of the Sorensen Institute for Political Leadership, Nic is a native of Southern Virginia.
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.
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.
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
Project Manager
South Salem, NY
Lewisboro Ledger
Sarah Blauner
Project Manager
Briarcliff Manor, NY
The Journal News
Michael DeFilippis
Senior Project Manager
Cortlandt Manor, NY
The Journal News
Danielle Kanter
Assistant Project Manager
Marblehead, MA
Marblehead Reporter
Kunal Khosla
Senior Project Manager
Potomac, MD
The Washington Post
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
Nick Schneeberger
Project Manager
Jackson, MS
Clarion Ledger
Stark Sutton
Senior Project Manager
Richmond, VA
Richmond Times-Dispatch
Mark Walker
Senior Financial Administrator
St. Petersburg, FL
The Tampa Bay Times
Lauren Morgan
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!