Roger Custer, Executive Director - email@example.com
Roger Custer has been AFF’s Executive Director since 2011. Previously, he was an Associate at the Charles Koch Institute and Conference Director at Young America’s Foundation where he oversaw the nation’s leading conservative student conferences and assisted with activism programs. He earned a BA at Ithaca College and an MPA in nonprofit management at George Mason University. His work has been featured in TIME, The Washington Post, CNN, The Washington Times, the Daily Caller, C-SPAN, and other major media. In his free time, he trains for triathlons and is a deacon at McLean Presbyterian Church. Follow him on twitter.
Brit Vorreiter, Director of Programs – firstname.lastname@example.org
Brit Vorreiter is the Director of Programs at America’s Future Foundation. She is a native of Louisville, Kentucky, and gradated Summa Cum Laude from Mercer University in Macon, GA with a BBA in Economics and Management. Brit has been working in the free-market arena since the summer of 2012, first as a Koch Summer Fellow at George Washington’s Regulatory Studies Center, an intern with the State Policy Network, and recently as an Event Associate with Mercatus and the Institute for Humane Studies. Brit enjoys running, DC brunches, and meeting new people.
Kathryn Shelton, Director of Chapter Advancement – email@example.com
Kathryn Shelton is a Research Associate at the William J. O’Neil Center for Global Markets and Freedom, a free-market think tank at the Edwin L. Cox School of Business at Southern Methodist University. Shelton spends most of her time assisting economists with research, data collection and class preparation. She also coordinates the Center’s events, including the annual conference. Shelton is Chair of the Dallas Chapter of America’s Future Foundation and writes for local and national media outlets.
Heather Curry, Senior Advisor – firstname.lastname@example.org
Heather Curry is the manager of external affairs for the Cato Institute, where she coordinates outreach to coalition groups at the state and national level. Prior to joining Cato in this role, Heather was a research intern in the institute’s Center for Constitutional Studies and an external affairs manager at the Institute for Humane Studies. Before moving to D.C., Heather specialized in corporate sales for a Fortune 300 corporation. Heather is a San Diego native and graduate of the University of San Diego, where she majored in Political Science.
Jason Riddle, National Chapter Coordinator – email@example.com
Jason Riddle joined the America’s Future Foundation team in 2012 as the chairman and co-founder of AFF’s Atlanta chapter. Jason is passionate about communicating the principles of sound economics and individual liberty. For two years he was producer and co-host of business and economics talk radio program in Atlanta where he had the opportunity to interview a multitude of U.S. Senators, political commentators, best-selling authors, policy analysts, economists, and business leaders. His writings have been published in The Freeman, Peachtree Papers, and on his blog.
Jason has over seven years of management consulting experience where he has worked with a variety of public and private companies to enhance their business performance through risk management, process improvement, and internal control. Jason graduated from the Honors Program at the University of Georgia with a BBA in International Business including a dual concentration in Finance and Real Estate.
Sarah Kerner, Director of New Media – firstname.lastname@example.org
Sarah works full time with the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty. She is a recent graduate of Wheaton College where she earned a bachelor’s degree in political science and a bachelor’s in psychology. She was involved with the school’s rowing team, did work for the Alumni Association, was Publicity Coordinator for the IJM chapter, and participated in volunteer work oversees. While at Wheaton, Sarah was able to intern in the District Office of Congressman Peter Roskam and spent a semester in D.C., participating in the American Studies Program and interning at Bread for the World. During her summers, she spent time in Thailand working with an anti-trafficking organization and also did psychology research for the University of Rochester. She also interned for Edelman.
Joel Gehrke is Editor of Doublethink Magazine. He is also a Commentary Staff Writer at The Washington Examiner, where he covers campaigns, congressional oversight of the executive branch, and the White House. Among other things, he has covered the Energy Department — with particular reference the to the green energy loan program — the State Department, and the Justice Department’s involvement in Operation Fast and Furious and the ensuing investigation. He is a graduate of Hillsdale College.
Sam Pfister, Membership Director – email@example.com
Sam Pfister, native of Springfield, Illinois, graduated from Western Illinois University in 2008 with a BA in Political Science. While at WIU, he joined the Sigma Chi fraternity and was Student Body President his senior year. After an internship with Congressman John Shimkus, in October 2009, he joined Congressman Tim Johnson (R-IL) eventually rising to be his legislative director. He is a passionate conservative, dedicated to restoring America’s founding principles by influencing young Americans and those around him.
Katherine Ruddy, Photographer
Katherine Ruddy is a Washington, D.C.-based freelance photographer, staff photographer for America’s Future Foundation and contributing photographer of Doublethink. She is also the advertising manager of The American Spectator magazine. She holds a B.S. degree in Studio Art from Florida State University. To see her photos, click here.
Jordan Pic, Intern
Jordan Pic is the fall intern at AFF in conjunction with the Koch Internship Program. Jordan is a recent graduate of the University of North Florida (UNF) in Jacksonville, Florida where she earned a BA in Political Science, with a focus on International Relations and minored in International Studies. Jordan has previously worked for the Mitt Romney Presidential Campaign, in the office of Florida House Representative Jimmy Patronis, and UNF’s development department. Jordan’s favorite topic is foreign affairs and she studied abroad in Strasbourg, France and recently interned at GlobalJax, a nonprofit organization sponsored by the State Department Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs. Jordan has authored and co-authored two Op-eds, featured in local Florida newspapers. Jordan’s dream job would be to work for an international non-profit organization.
Board of Directors
Jeff Berkowitz, Chair
Jeff Berkowitz is the principal of Berkowitz Public Affairs, which provides a range of services to corporations, trade associations, political campaigns, and educational and advocacy organizations, including strategic and crisis communications, policy analysis and investigative research. Previously, Berkowitz served as Research Director for the Republican National Committee, where he oversaw all policy and legislative analysis and candidate and opposition research and provided strategic guidance on messaging and communications to national and state party officials. Berkowitz has worked on campaigns at the federal, state and local level throughout the country, including Mayor Rudy Giuliani’s presidential campaign, where he served as Deputy Communications Director and Research Director, and President Bush’s re-election campaign, where he served as Senior Defense and Foreign Policy Analyst for the RNC and Bush-Cheney 2004. In government, Berkowitz was the Associate Director for Research in The White House Office of Scheduling and spearheaded community outreach on critical policy initiatives as the President’s Liaison to the Jewish Community. He also served at the State Department as an advisor on international information programs and public-private partnerships for the Under Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs. Berkowitz also has worked with a range of organizations outside of government, including the Center for U.S. Global Engagement, the National Energy Marketers Association, and the Intercollegiate Studies Institute. In addition to serving as Vice Chairman of America’s Future Foundation, Berkowitz is on the board of the Hamilton Foundation and a member of the Young Leadership Board of the Republican Jewish Coalition. A resident of Washington, DC, Berkowitz is a graduate of American University’s School of International Service and a member of the Alpha Epsilon Pi fraternity.
David White, Vice Chair
David White is the chief operating officer of Keybridge Communications, a public relations firm that specializes in writing, media placement, and design. In addition to his work at Keybridge, David is a well-known wine writer. He is the founder and editor of Terroirist.com, a critically acclaimed wine blog, and he writes a twice monthly column for Wines.com which appears in nearly 100 newspapers across the country.
David began his career in the administration of George W. Bush, where he worked as a speechwriter at the Department of Housing and Urban Development. He has also worked at the American Enterprise Institute, where he was assistant editor of The American Enterprise, a national magazine of politics, business, and culture. In addition to serving on AFF’s board, David is a founding board member of the American Wine Consumer Coalition.
David’s articles have appeared in dozens of top publications, including the New York Times, Los Angeles Times, and Washington Post. He has appeared on both radio and television on numerous occasions. David is a graduate of Yale University, where he rowed on the crew team and co-edited The Politic, Yale’s nonpartisan political magazine.
Joanna Robinson, Treasurer
Joanna started her first business in April 2009. Lunar Massage is a neighborhood massage studio for busy professionals and area residents in DC that has expanded to two locations in the city and is in the process of establishing a third. She switched to being an entrepreneur after four years of fundraising for various libertarian causes. She was AFF’s Membership Director from 2005-2007 before joining the Board. Prior to coming to Washington D.C., Joanna managed a congressional campaign in District 26 in Texas (Dallas), worked in the importing business for the craft industry, and then at a financial planning firm. She comes from an Army family, and her degree is in English Literature.
Cheryl Miller, Secretary
Cheryl Miller manages the AEI Program on American Citizenship. Previously, she worked as head news clerk and editorial researcher at the New York Times and as deputy director of research in the White House Office of Presidential Speechwriting. Her work has appeared in such publications as the Wall Street Journal, the Weekly Standard, Commentary, and the Claremont Review of Books. She is the author of the AEI report, Underserved: A Case Study of ROTC in New York City, and co-author (with Robin Lake) of Strengthening the Civic Mission of Charter Schools.
Kmele Foster is an entrepreneur with a diverse mix of business and public policy experience. His entrepreneurial background includes successful venture in telecommunications, retail sales, marketing, and new media production. Mr. Foster co-founded his first company, Technology Brokerage Group, as a sophomore in college. Under his leadership, the company was recognized as a premier partner by industry leaders including AT&T and Level 3 Communications. In 2010, Mr. Foster worked with his wife, Tracy, to launch ONA, a high-end camera accessories company with distribution and retail partners around the globe. Mr. Foster is an active partner in Freethink Media, an innovative creative agency and studio with production, marketing and distribution capabilities. In addition to his entrepreneurial endeavors, he is a regular contributor to national news programs and publications where he offers his unique insights on business and public policy. Mr. Foster is a graduate of the University of Maryland, College Park with degrees in Government & Politics and Economics.
Gary D. Leff
Gary is Chief Financial Officer for the Mercatus Center and Institute for Humane Studies where he is responsible for their combined $18 million budget. Previously he was Director of Development for both IHS and Mercatus, and prior to that, Program Director for IHS Liberty & Society summer seminars. Before joining the Institute for Humane Studies he was a Charles G. Koch Summer Fellow at the Tax Foundation where he authored A Half Century of Small Business Federal Income Tax Rates and Collections. Gary has been cited in numerous publications including the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Financial Times, San Francisco Chronicle, and Washington Post and has lectured on such diverse topics as privacy regulation, education reform, and U.S.-Russian relations.
A renowned expert on airline, hotel, and credit card loyalty programs, Gary serves as Senior Moderator and member-elected board President of Flyertalk.com, the world’s most popular online travel community. He was named one of five voices to listen to about business travel by Inside Flyer magazine. And his blog on the subject, “View from the Wing,” can be found at http://view.boardingarea.com. When not in the office, Gary is likely to be found in an airline first class lounge, hotel suite, overwater bungalow, or enjoying a glass of Krug at 30,000 feet.
A nationally competitive collegiate debater and high school coach, he has continued to assist local teams and tournaments as a volunteer and has been published in Rostrum, the journal of the National Forensic League. Gary holds a BA (summa cum laude) in economics from California State University, Fresno.
Kristen Soltis Anderson
Kristen Soltis Anderson is Vice President at The Winston Group, a DC based polling and strategic consulting firm where she has worked since 2005. She was featured as a “Mover and Shaker” in Campaigns & Elections Magazine in June 2010. She has appeared on many television, radio, and online programs and is a regular contributor to Pollster.com and POLITICO’s Arena. She earned her Master’s in Government from Johns Hopkins University where she graduated summa cum laude. She has been an invited speaker at George Washington University, Johns Hopkins University and Loyola University in Baltimore, and led a training session on polling for The Leadership Institute.
Kathleen O’Hearn is the director of coalitions for State Policy Network. In this capacity, she is responsible for overseeing and developing relationships with D.C.-based organizations in order to promote state-focused strategies. She previously served as a Program Associate for SPN from 2006-2007. Prior to joining SPN for the second time, Ms. O’Hearn served as the Associate Director for State Outreach and External Relations at the Mercatus Center at George Mason University. She also spent time as a staff assistant on Capitol Hill and working as a research intern for the Texas Public Policy Foundation. Ms. O’Hearn earned her BS in Biomedical Sciences at Texas A&M University, as well as a minor in Business Administration. She is currently pursuing a graduate degree at George Mason University. She currently lives in Arlington, VA, with her husband Jerry Brito.
Whitney Garrison Athayde
Whitney Garrison Athayde is the Director of Development at The Independent Women’s Forum as well as an owner of Meticulous Events and a board member of AFF. Previously, she has been a part of the fundraising teams at The The American Spectator Foundation, The Atlas Economic Research Foundation and the Center for Excellence in Education. She got to know D.C. well early in her career as a Program Instructor for the Close Up Foundation. She is also a founding member of the Network of Enlightened Women (NeW) and currently serves on their Advisory Board. Whitney earned her B.A. in Political Science from the University of Virginia and her Masters in Public Policy from George Mason University where she studied as a Seymour Martin Lipset Scholar. She and her husband John Athayde are active members of Alexandria Presbyterian Church and both Athaydes enjoy shooting and/or growing their own food.
Kathryn A. Kelly is an associate in the New York office of Gibson Dunn & Crutcher and is a member of the firm’s Tax Practice Group. Before joining the firm, Ms. Kelly served as a law clerk to Chief Judge William B. Traxler, Jr. of the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit. Ms. Kelly earned her Juris Doctor in 2010 from Columbia Law School, where she was a Harlan Fiske Stone Scholar and Executive Editor of the Columbia Journal of Tax Law.
In 2002, she received her Bachelor of Arts degree in Economics from Southwestern University, where she was a Presidential Scholar and Fleming Fellow. She graduated magna cum laude with departmental honors in Economics. Ms. Kelly serves on the advisory board of the Columbia Journal of Tax Law. She is admitted to practice in the State of New York and before the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit.
Kristine Esposo joined Direct Impact (DI), a wholly owned subsidiary of Burson-Marsteller and a member of the WPP family, in June 2013. She manages a nationwide grassroots communications program for one of the firm’s largest clients and draws from her experience in public affairs campaigns, coalition management, issue advocacy, and stakeholder outreach.
Prior to joining DI, Kristine worked in Strategic Alliances at DCI Group, where she served clients in the technology, education, retail pharmacy, and agriculture industries. In her role at DCI, Kristine built and maintained relationships with think tanks, advocacy groups, and issue experts from across the political spectrum. Previously, Kristine worked in corporate relations, external affairs, and event planning for public policy research and advocacy organizations.
Originally from Frederick, Maryland, Kristine graduated from The George Washington University with a B.A. in Political Science and completed graduate coursework in International Commerce and Policy at George Mason University. She currently serves on the board of directors of The George Washington University Alumni Association and resides in Arlington, Virginia with her fiance Erik Telford.
Peter Suderman is a senior editor at Reason magazine and Reason.com, where he writes regularly on health care, the federal budget, tech policy, and pop culture. He is also a film critic for The Washington Times and a 2010 Robert Novak Journalism Fellow. Before joining Reason, Suderman worked as a writer and editor at National Review, the Competitive Enterprise Institute, FreedomWorks, Doublethink, and Culture11. His writing has appeared in the Wall Street Journal, the New York Post, Newsweek.com, theAtlantic.com, the Washington Examiner, The New Atlantis, The American Conservative, the Orange County Register, and numerous other publications. He lives in Washington, D.C.
Arthur Brooks, American Enterprise Institute
Michael Gleba, The Sarah Scaife Foundation
Carl Helstrom, The JM Foundation
Roger Ream, Fund for American Studies
Leonard Liggio, Atlas Economic Research Foundation
Edwin Meese, Heritage Foundation
Edwin Feulner, Heritage Foundation
Gene Meyer, Federalist Society
Grover Norquist, Americans for Tax Reform
Ron Robinson, Young America’s Foundation
Chad Thevenot, Institute for Humane Studies