With over 25 years of political experience in government affairs, campaign management, lobbying, trade association relations and issue management, Joe Kefauver is a respected opinion leader among corporate public affairs leaders.
Prior to starting Align Public Strategies, Kefauver was Vice President of Public Affairs for Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. where he oversaw all state and local government matters for the world’s largest corporation. In his capacity there, Kefauver was responsible for prioritizing and developing the company’s legislative and political agenda, their interaction with Governors, Attorneys General, Mayors and legislative leaders, as well as executing the company’s aggressive store expansion program. Additionally, he played a leadership role in many of the company’s major strategic initiatives such as environmental sustainability and expansion of healthcare programs and led a team of 50 professionals.
Kefauver also served as the Director of Government Affairs for Darden Restaurants, Inc. based in Orlando, Florida. At Darden, Joe oversaw the company’s federal and state government relations programs as well as their political involvement including managing their Political Action Committee.
Kefauver currently serves as a contributing editor for Convenience Store Age, Retailing Today, Nation’s Restaurant News, and Convenience Store News.
Kefauver is an alumnus of the University of Maryland and received his graduate degree from The Catholic University of America in Washington, DC.
Carson Chandler has nearly two decades of experience working across different disciplines in the public affairs, communications, government relations and political arena.
Prior to starting Align Public Strategies, he served as the Public Affairs Director for Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer for more than five years. In this role, he was responsible for the development, implementation and communication of a wide variety of signature projects for the City of Orlando. He also served as the staff director for the Mayor’s leadership role in the U.S. Conference of Mayors and other high-profile national organizations. In doing so, Chandler has built relationships with hundreds of America’s mayors, members of their senior staffs and national organizations dedicated to local and state government.
Previously, Chandler was the Vice President of a Washington, D.C.-based communications and government relations firm. He also served as a press official in both the United States Senate and House of Representatives. Notably, he served as Deputy Press Secretary for U.S. Senator Bob Graham where he also handled media relations for the Congressional 9/11 investigation.
A University of Florida graduate, Chandler began his career as a television news reporter and anchor, earning an Emmy award while working for the ABC-TV affiliate in West Palm Beach, Florida.
Chandler’s background in multiple communications and government disciplines, combined with his track record for cultivating public-private partnerships, allows him to offer clients a unique skill set that includes both the creation of winning messaging and the ability to determine the best strategies for delivering that message to decision makers and influencers and, ultimately, leveraging those stakeholders to generate results.
Having worked on scores of candidate and issue campaigns including three presidential races, Franklin Coley has a deep political background. He also has experience in the public sector having served as a Presidential Appointee to U.S. Labor Secretary Elaine Chao and as a staff member for U.S. Senator Mel Martinez. For the better part of the last decade, Coley has acted as a consultant to companies and associations crafting political engagement strategies, counseling on legislative and regulatory trend lines, repositioning clients relative to external considerations and developing creative public policy alternatives. His areas of expertise are issue management, campaign management and stakeholder engagement.
Coley is a graduate of the University of North Carolina and is proudly involved in a number of conservation organizations including Ducks Unlimited Florida which named him Area Chairman of the Year in 2012.
Partner & Public Relations Director
Mike Harris is a former television journalist and veteran public relations practitioner. As Align’s Public Relations Director, he works directly with clients to devise creative, out-of-the-box public relations and social media campaigns.
Harris is also in charge of strategy for gaining television coverage for clients, including local and national features stories, interviews and network television shows. He has recently garnered coverage for clients on CNN, MSNBC, ABC Nightly News, and a product demonstration on CSI: Miami just to name a few.
Prior to working with Align Public Strategies, Harris founded Uproar PR. Harris previously served as Vice President and head of East Coast operations for a San Francisco-based PR agency. Harris spent 10 years in local and network television. He has produced full- length broadcasts for CBS, ABC, ESPN and The NFL Network.
Harris is the chair of the executive board of Make-A-Wish of Central and Northern Florida. He has a B.A. degree in journalism from The University of South Florida.
Director of Media Strategies
Mark is a 20-year veteran whose expertise extends across multiple communications platforms including; web, mobile, social and mass media, as well as traditional advertising. He has developed media campaigns in nearly every major market in the United States as well as France, Great Britain, Mexico and Brazil. Mark has an innate ability to forecast trends and keep clients ahead of the curve. Mixing a traditional business background with a unique media and technological understanding, he is a leader in the advertising industry and viewed as a tough media negotiator who’s always looking to stretch his clients’ marketing reach.
Director Of Account Management
Kendall Wayland serves as Align’s Director of Account Management where she leads clients in the cleantech and utility industries. Kendall leverages her relationships with industry influencers to gain market exposure, thought leadership and numerous speaking and award opportunities at some of the top industry trade shows for her clients.
Wayland’s clients have received feature coverage in leading business and trade publications including Utility Fleet Professionals, Utilimetrics, Yahoo! Finance, BusinessWeek, and Reuters. Wayland has a knack for editing press releases, award applications and client collateral to make them both compelling and relatable for both technical and non-technical audiences.
Kendall received her B.S. in Liberal Studies from the University of Central Florida.
Director of Grassroots Outreach
With a diverse background in digital marketing and politics, Rachel Moalli manages Align’s grassroots campaigns and coalition programming. Moalli previously worked as an Account Director at IZEA, specializing in digital marketing initiatives for several Fortune 500 companies. Moalli’s political experience includes running online marketing campaigns for a wide range of political candidates and advocacy groups. Moalli currently serves as the Government Relations chair for Ad2 Orlando, the young professional division of the American Advertising Federation.
A University of Central Florida graduate, Moalli majored in Political Science with a minor in Mass Communications.
Natalie Martinez Varela
Public Affairs Manager
With her varied advocacy roles within the public and private sector, Natalie Martinez Varela, a Public Affairs Manager at Align Public Strategies, is equipped with innovative communication skills and a comprehensive business acumen.
Prior to joining Align, Martinez worked in Health Policy at Florida Blue, Government Relations at Volkswagen Group of America, and communication roles with the EU Parliament. An Orlando native, Martinez has a lifelong relationship with the Hispanic business community and currently serves on the Board of Directors for Art & History Museums – Maitland. She is also active with the Orange County League of Women Voters, Winter Park Chamber of Commerce, Orlando Science Center Young Professionals, and Athena NextGen. Finally, she is a co-founder of The Commission on Local Debates.
Martinez graduated from the University of Florida with her Masters in International Business, and her Bachelors in Business Management and Political Science. She completed portions of both her Bachelors and Masters abroad in Madrid, Spain and Brussels, Belgium, respectively, achieving fluency in Spanish and proficiency in French.
Director of Operations
Michelle Neeld serves as Director of Operations where she oversees the daily operations and scheduling including support for Align’s partners and managers. Michelle has over 12 years of professional experience in office management and is a member of the International Association of Administrative Professionals (IAAP). She specializes in facilities management, travel coordination, meeting & event planning, and invoice reconciliation. Additionally, she has developed innovative systems and process improvements proven to increase Align’s efficiency and value for clients.
Creative Communications Officer
With 20 years of industry experience, Regina knows how to effectively blend creative thinking with a bottom line outlook. She is quick to identify what consumers want to hear and craft campaign headlines to meet those demands in a relevant and memorable fashion. Her award-winning work can be seen throughout North America and Europe with such clients as: Chanel, M&M’s, U.S. Airways, Health First Medical Systems and Patron Spirits.
Director of Digital Services
Chris is a seasoned expert in digital media, site development and Search Engine Optimization for countless platforms and operating systems. Whether the job calls for a promotional microsite or sophisticated e-commerce site, Chris’ team has the experience to deliver project on time and on budget. Examples of Chris’s work includes sites for: The Viera Company, SunRail, the Central Florida Expressway Authority, Nature’s Table and the Florida Department of Transportation.
Sara is a strategic thinker who has a remarkable sense for blending clients’ goals into concise and effective campaigns. Her award-winning portfolio includes work for such international brands as M&M’s, American Express, Delta Airlines and Carnival Cruise Lines. As Creative Director, Sara is involved in every step of a campaign and assures, from concept to completion, no step is ever missed.
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