SPM Managing Partner, Ashley O’Connor, began her career over 20 years ago as a media producer. Since then, she founded Burning Glass Consulting with two other Republican women, led advertising for the 2004 and 2012 presidential campaigns, served as a partner at The Stevens and Schriefer Group, and founded Red October Productions.
Despite the unpredictable and volatile year that 2018 was, Ashley led SPM through another successful election cycle, working to re-elect Governors Larry Hogan and Phil Scott in two of the bluest states in the nation. Ashley also helped Mitt Romney secure his seat as Utah’s next U.S. Senator along with working on strategy and advertising on critical races throughout the country, including Gov. Asa Hutchinson, Rep. Elise Stefanik, Attorney General Chris Carr, also working with RGA and NRCC on critical races this cycle.
In 2016, Ashley advised campaigns and produced ads for some of the most highly contested races across the country, namely, Senator Roy Blunt, Senator Johnny Isakson, and Attorney General Curtis Hill. In addition, Ashley worked with the team at the NRSC and RAGA to produce ads for Senator Marco Rubio and Attorney General Patrick Morrisey.
In 2014, despite facing some of the toughest races in the country, Ashley steered the firm to a 100% win record - landing her on the Campaign & Elections magazine’s “The Influencers 50” list. Her work included Governor Larry Hogan’s upset win in Maryland and Governor LePage’s re-elect win with the RGA. She is particularity proud to have helped Elise Stefanik - then the youngest woman ever elected to Congress.
In 2012, Ashley was the Director of Advertising and Strategic Advisor for Governor Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign where she conceived, hired, and ran the campaign’s in-house advertising and production team, developed a geo-targeted strategy, and offered unparalleled quality control and speed which earned the campaign the moniker “the fasties in Boston” from Time magazine.
In 2010, Ashley produced the award-winning documentary “The Surge: The Untold Story”, which went on to win the 2010 Military Channel Award at the GI Film Festival and in 2004, she served as Director of Production for President Bush and led a team of nine political media consulting firms as the youngest media team member. She produced award-winning political spots, including “Windsurfing” and “I Voted for the 87 Billion Before I Voted Against It”. Most notably, she produced the 2004 Republican National Convention keynote video “The Pitch” that introduced President Bush.
Ashley has advised advertising efforts for key leaders in the Republican Party, is a three-time marathon runner, a board member of the YWCA Annapolis, and has lectured on politics and advertising at some of the nation’s top universities, such as Harvard’s Kennedy School, the University of Chicago’s Institute of Politics, Yale, and, her alma mater, Mount Holyoke College.
Ashley currently resides in Annapolis, Maryland, with her husband, son and their Bernese Mountain Dog.
Veteran political strategist Russ Schriefer has been shaping winning campaign messages for more than three decades. He’s held key roles in seven presidential campaigns, including the campaigns of President George H.W. Bush, President George W. Bush, and Mitt Romney, and has helped guide dozens of Representatives, Senators, and Governors to office.
Russ’s iconic advertising campaigns have become part of today’s political lexicon, with one columnist calling a 2018 gubernatorial series “as powerful, focused and skillfully crafted a political ad campaign as I have ever seen”. As a strategic advisor, Russ is known for his close, personal collaboration with candidates – serving as a media and debate coach, issues expert, campaign operations adviser, and source of fresh ideas.
Russ also provides strategic counsel and crisis messaging advice to a wide range of corporate clients, including Fortune 500 companies and national associations. His advertising campaigns have built critical grassroots and legislative support for key corporate initiatives.
Russ has produced two Republican National Conventions, designing the program for the party’s most important national live event. In that role, he also produced evocative legacy films for the party’s nominees and shaped primetime media messaging. The New York Observer called the 2004 convention “the most meticulously produced campaign convention ever televised and perhaps the most successful” and The New York Times called the 2012 Romney biopic “genuinely heartwarming.”
His election wins have made history. In 2014, he helped guide “the biggest upset in the country” with Governor Larry Hogan’s stunning victory in Maryland, which was followed by his successful 2018 re-election campaign. Also, in 2014, Russ helped elect Elise Stefanik, then the youngest woman ever elected to Congress.
A partial list of his additional candidates includes: Governor Chris Christie, Governor Asa Hutchinson, Governor Mary Fallin, Governor Bill Weld, Governor Paul Cellucci, Governor Tom Ridge, Governor Bob Riley, Senator Dan Coats, Senator Johnny Isakson, Senator Richard Lugar, Senator John Cornyn, and Senator Roy Blunt.
Russ started his career in politics working as a Legislative Assistant, Press Secretary, and Chief of Staff on Capitol Hill, and managing campaigns at the NRCC and the NRSC. He has consulted and lectured on politics and media in the United States, Russia, Africa, Cambodia, and Egypt, and was an Associate Professor at The George Washington University Graduate School of Political Management. He also serves on the board of the Tony Award-winning Signature Theatre in Arlington, VA.
Russ graduated from Manhattan College and lives in Maryland with his wife, award-winning columnist, author, TV commentator, and entrepreneur, Nina Easton, and their daughter, Ellie.
Austin is a rare breed, having both corporate and political success. Since starting his first business when he was a freshman at Ole Miss, he’s gone on to own and operate a number of small businesses in his native Mississippi. However, politics has always played a central role in his professional career.
Austin is one of the most visible links between Mississippi politics and the rest of the country. He is often quoted in national media outlets for his take on state and federal political events. He is also a regular on Mississippi Public Broadcasting’s @Issue program, which is a weekly rundown of the state’s political and legislative issues.
Most recently, Austin led the 2018 messaging and paid media efforts for the Mississippi Victory Fund; a Super PAC established to support Senator Cindy Hyde-Smith’s election efforts. In 2016, Austin ran the national Super PAC for Governor Rick Perry’s presidential campaign and served as a Senior Advisor to Governor Jeb Bush’s presidential campaign. Additionally, Austin has taken on numerous roles as a lead consultant and strategist for many campaigns, PACs, and Fortune 100 companies.
In 2014, Austin served as a Senior Strategist in Senator Thad Cochran’s primary campaign and went on to run the campaign’s operations during the runoff. Cochran’s runoff victory was called “stunning” and “a miracle.”
Recognized as one of the nation’s top fundraisers, Austin has worked in many roles, including serving as a National Finance Chairman for the 2012 Romney campaign (for which he was also a Senior Member of the strategy team), a member of the RGA’s National Finance Committee, the State Finance Chairman for the Mississippi Republican Party, and a National Finance Consultant for the National Republican Senatorial Committee.
In 2008, Austin served as Campaign Manager for Senator Roger Wicker’s first U.S. Senate bid.
His foray into national fundraising began when he served as a member of the National Finance Committee for President George W. Bush’s re-election campaign in 2004. Austin is currently a member of the Finance Committee for Mississippi Lieutenant Governor Tate Reeves, as well as a member of other national political finance committees.
Austin served as Finance Director for Haley Barbour’s first campaign for Mississippi Governor in 2003. That year, the Barbour for Governor campaign shattered all state campaign fundraising records. After, Austin was asked to join Capitol Resources as a Campaign Consulting/Government Affairs Specialist.
Austin was born and raised in Yazoo City, MS, graduated from Ole Miss, and currently lives in Jackson, with his wife, Deidre, and their two children, Bo and Ebbie.
From the local courthouse to the U.S. Senate, Heath has been the winning strategist for Mayors, County Chairs, District Attorneys, State Supreme Court Justices, U.S. Representatives, Governors, and Senators. Campaigns and Elections magazine describes him as “a skilled strategist who wears the hats of attorney, political advisor, and PR man.” Heath combines these skills and his entrepreneurial spirit to provide legal, communications, and media guidance to candidates, state and national parties, public officials, associations, non-profits, chambers of commerce, and business executives from small businesses to Fortune 100 companies.
Recently, Heath set records for re-electing the Governor of Alabama, securing a historic third term for Senator Johnny Isakson in his re-election campaign against a wealthy, self-funder, and managing the closely contested campaigns for Attorneys General Steve Marshall (AL) and Chris Carr (GA).
Heath successfully managed political strategy for all of Senator Isakson’s elections and Sam Olens’s historic election as Attorney General, as well as Brian Kemp’s media campaign for Secretary of State. Additionally, he was the Lead Strategist for the Georgia Republican Party in 2010, which lead to the first-ever Republican statewide sweep and the development of the modern Republican majority in the state.
Heath served as the Lead Political Strategist for the Georgia Chamber of Commerce and numerous local community chambers’ successful referenda efforts resulting in more than $6 billion in infrastructure funding. He assembled the bipartisan team chosen by the Georgia Charter Schools Association to pass the first statewide charter school amendment in the U.S., and was appointed by Governor Nathan Deal to the Georgia Professional Standards Commission and State Ethics Commission.
Heath is a graduate of the University of Georgia and the University of Georgia School of Law. He resides in Marietta, GA, with his wife, Lee, an attorney and General Manager of Times Journal/The Marietta Daily Journal and Neighbor Newspapers. Heath and Lee have three children.
A veteran campaign strategist with experience in races from the presidential to down ballot level, John advises clients on messaging, advertising strategy, targeting, earned media, and writes and produces advertising.
John has written, produced, and placed advertising for outside groups supporting candidates for U.S. Senate, Governor, Attorney General, U.S House, and other key races nationwide. John has worked with all of the major Republican campaign committees on races from Oregon to Maine. In addition, John has developed successful media strategies for statewide ballot initiatives across the country.
John has advised outside groups in the highest-profile judicial fights in generations. In 2018, his advertising introduced Justice Kavanaugh to the country, pushed back against Democrats’ smear campaign, and ultimately helped Kavanaugh get confirmed to the Supreme Court with bipartisan support. Additionally, John led advertising efforts in support of Justice Gorsuch in 2017, and in support of keeping Justice Scalia’s seat open until after the 2016 presidential election.
In 2014, John helped Strategic Partners & Media win seven statewide races and managed a massive eight-state Super PAC campaign widely credited with creating the new Republican Senate Majority. Prior to joining Strategic Partners & Media, John was the Deputy Communications Director at the Republican State Leadership Committee. Before his time at the RSLC, John was a Research Analyst for the 2012 Romney presidential campaign.
John is an expert sailboat racer. He has earned ICSA All-American honors multiple times and won six National and North American sailing championships. John enjoys fly fishing and duck hunting. He holds a master’s degree in public policy in international security and economic policy from The University of Maryland, and is a native Louisianan, where he frequently travels. John and his wife, Lucy, live in Annapolis, MD, with their two loving dogs.
Doug Mayer is a highly-skilled political strategist and veteran communicator with more than fifteen years of experience working in the political communications sector, including serving three successful Republican Governors. As the newest Partner at Strategic Partners & Media, Doug will be using his vast communications and media skill set to advance SPM’s client-focused mission and well-deserved winning reputation. His ability to apply successful campaign strategy and tactics to a diverse set of clients and problems, both political and corporate, is a tremendous added benefit to SPM.
Most recently, Doug helped manage Maryland Governor Larry Hogan’s successful 2018 re-election campaign. In a year described by many as the worst for Republican candidates in the past 50 years, Governor Hogan won by double digits in a deep blue state. The campaign has been widely praised for its superior media strategy and creative use of both data and focus groups targeting swing voting women.
Doug spent more than three years as Communications Director to Governor Hogan. As a critical member of senior staff, Doug played a pivotal role in shaping the Governor’s first term in office and helped guide the administration through four legislative sessions, the riots in Baltimore City, the Governor’s public battle with cancer, and countless political and legislative issues.
Prior to returning to his home state of Maryland, Doug spent two years working as Communications Director for South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley. Doug defended Governor Haley’s first term record during her successful re-election campaign and played a key role in launching many important state government-based initiatives that solidified her already strong record of accomplishment.
Doug began his career as an Intern on Capitol Hill and as a Researcher for Rudy Giuliani’s presidential campaign. He has governmental and political experience on the federal, state, and local levels.
Doug resides in Annapolis, MD, with his wife, Allison, and their two children, Ainsley and Doug Jr. “DJ”. They share their home with an English Bull Terrier named Rudy and a large cat named Rebel.
Shannon Chatlos is a Vice President at Strategic Partners & Media where she leads the digital and strategic corporate communications teams responsible for developing messaging strategies, advertising solutions, and integrated digital strategies for candidates, associations, advocacy clients and corporations.
Most recently, Shannon lead the digital strategy for Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan’s and Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson’s 2018 reelection campaigns as well as the digital efforts for several multi-state Super PACs and associations with key wins across the country.
In 2016, Shannon was the lead digital strategist and advisor for several campaigns - most notably Senator Johnny Isakson and Attorney General-Elect Curtis Hill; and in 2014, Shannon served as a senior advisor on Larry Hogan’s stunning upset in the Maryland Governor’s race, ran a multi-state Super PAC campaign supporting Republican veterans and minorities.
During the 2012 election cycle, Shannon was Director of Business Development for right-leaning campaigns as well as non-partisan organizations/advocacy groups at Resonate - where she implemented dozens of digital media campaigns using the company’s unique “big data” platform.
Before joining Resonate, Shannon held a 12-year position with Aristotle where she partnered with hundreds of federal and statewide campaigns, Super PACS, and campaign organizations - assisting them with their technology needs.
Shannon serves as an advisor on University of Florida’s Political Communications Master’s Program and is an active volunteer for nonprofits, military organizations and political campaigns since college. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Journalism from The University of Georgia and lives in Annapolis, Maryland with her two sons and her French Bulldog, Bumper.
Don is SPM’s Senior Editor and Director of Photography. He enjoys the freedom of supplying creative input and ideas to all of our projects while still getting out of the editing chair from time to time to shoot. With more than 20 years of experience, Don’s work has won numerous awards, including two recent Pollie Awards for his efforts on Maryland Governor Larry Hogan’s successful 2018 re-election campaign.
Don started in broadcast journalism with the U.S. Army, where he created and filmed news and entertainment radio and television programs. The military fostered Don’s ability to independently document and produce a piece from beginning to end, including directing, storyboarding, shooting, editing, and finishing with graphics, color correction, and audio. Through his years of reporting and on-camera work with the Army, Don honed his voiceover talent as well.
After his coveted tour with Soldier’s Radio and Television and the end of his military duty, Don went on to edit, direct, and produce for several national clients including ABC, BET, CBS, Discovery, ESPN, and PBS.
Don has worked on everything from political campaigns, corporate and music videos, and news, to family, sports, and education videos. Don has provided technical training for the software program Avid Media Composer, he helped start the Art Institute of Austin’s Digital Film Program as their Faculty Lead Instructor, and he has taught at George Washington University’s Graduate School of Political Management.
Don has a master’s degree in film production from American University. He resides in Columbia, MD, with his wife, Kara, and their three children. His favorite hobby is documenting their lives through photography and film. Let’s just say – they have most well-produced family movies around!
At Strategic Partners & Media, Anne pulls creative projects out of the partners’ minds and gets them out in the field, then into the edit suites. Booking crews and directing projects from start to finish are second nature to her, since she’s been active in the Washington and Baltimore production worlds for years.
Prior to joining SPM, Anne was a principal at LCTM Industries, Inc., another Annapolis-based production company. Through LCTM, she had the opportunity to work on projects that debuted in countries as diverse as Egypt, Brazil, France, and Hungary. She’s won multiple regional and national awards for writing and directing corporate and non-profit projects such as profiles for Children’s Defense Fund, or instructional programs for law enforcement. Along the way, she’s been privileged to work with children, athletes, politicians, and an alligator . . . once.
Anne lives in the Annapolis, MD, area with her husband, and together they have successfully launched two of three daughters from the nest. They are active in local programs aimed at improving education and housing resources for underserved communities.
José Rocca is the Junior Editor at Strategic Partners & Media, meaning all media coming in the door goes through his skilled fingers and organizing processes. He manages SPM’s interviews, other footage, screening materials, and is frequently assembling rough cuts before they go to final edit. If that’s not enough hats to wear, he can also be found on a set occasionally, helping with a shoot.
Prior to coming to SPM, José graduated from the University of Maryland with a degree in broadcast journalism and a minor in film studies. While originally studying to become an air traffic controller, José decided to switch paths after realizing that working with cameras was way more fun than sitting in a control tower. Still, that early training in moving things around to their best and safest use comes in handy at SPM.
During his time at Maryland, José was heavily involved with the athletics department on campus as a videographer/editor for a variety of sports. He later went onto intern for multiple organizations in DC that included, WUSA9, the Washington Wizards and DC United.
José is a native of Spain but has spent most of his life in the DMV area. He’s an avid fan of nutella, gumshoe soles and thinks the ending to Game of Thrones was ok.
Matt Proud is the Interactive Media Developer at Strategic Partners & Media. He develops rich media ads, websites, web applications, and data integration programs for campaigns and clients. What started years ago as a high school interest has transformed into a critical and integral part of SPM’s digital team.
Matt was the Operations/Digital Director for the Larry Hogan campaign where he created the online and data infrastructure that supported what is widely-viewed as the largest grassroots/digital success of the 2014 election cycle.
Before working directly on the Hogan campaign, Matt worked for Change Maryland – the nonpartisan grassroots organization formerly chaired by now-Governor Larry Hogan, as well as for many organizations and Republican campaigns in Maryland, including serving as the Political Director for Congressman Andy Harris and the Political Director for the Maryland Republican Party.
Matt’s passion for sharing the importance of learning to code at a young age has inspired many Maryland high school students, and he spends early mornings serving as an Academic Advisor in local schools. Matt was born and raised on Maryland’s Eastern Shore, and recently earned his private pilot’s license.
Nicole Drummond is the Creative Content Strategist at Strategic Partners & Media, where she generates social media content, designs graphics, and executes media buys for political, corporate, and association clients.
In 2018, Nicole helped guide the media team through the successful elections and re-elections of Governors Larry Hogan, Asa Hutchinson, and Phil Scott, Senator Mitt Romney, Congresswoman Elise Stefanik, and various other clients.
In 2016, Nicole was a key member of the digital team for some of the top campaigns across the country like Senator Johnny Isakson and Attorney General Curtis Hill. She also worked on several multi-state Super PACs and associations who won more than 40 Congressional seats, and helped Josh Hawley secure a victory in the most expensive Attorney General primary ever.
Prior to joining SPM, Nicole served as a Communications Intern for the Maryland Republican Party, where she managed the party’s social media and assisted in fundraising efforts. After this, she volunteered on a Senate campaign in Georgia. Then, as an Account Executive for the student-run public relations firm Creative Consultants, Nicole implemented social relations strategy to help local non-profit organizations develop a stronger on-campus presence. Finally, at CRAFT Media/Digital, she worked in the Booking Department to assist with media monitoring, pitching, and booking clients for broadcast appearances.
Nicole graduated from the University of Georgia with degrees in public relations and political science. Today, she lives in Washington, D.C., and enjoys taking boxing classes in her free time.
Megan Herrin is the Digital Media & Content Planner at Strategic Partners & Media. She designs graphics, develops and executes social media content, and assists with digital media buys and reporting for corporate, political, and association clients.
In 2018, Megan interned with SPM’s digital team and worked on the re-election campaigns for both Maryland Governor Larry Hogan and Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson, as well as assisted with the digital efforts for multi-state Super PACs, associations, and corporate clients.
Prior to joining SPM, Megan attended the University of Georgia where she graduated with a degree in political science and studied German. While in college, Megan stretched her time between internships and several on-campus organizations. Megan started out as an Intern at Imagine Media Consulting in Atlanta, GA, where her affinity for all things social media began. Then, she switched gears to intern within the Office of Legislative Counsel at the Georgia State Capitol. While interning at SPM, Megan also served as a Fellow under former Senator Saxby Chambliss.
Megan lives in Washington, D.C., with her husband. She enjoys yoga, traveling, and trying new restaurants (as well as impressions) in her free time.
As a Digital Political Consultant, Cam advises clients on digital advertising, fundraising, strategic messaging, and social media. Cam organizes clients’ political and grassroots efforts, making strategic connections to advance overall campaign efforts.
Prior to joining SPM, Cam served as Digital Director on 2018’s most expensive race – former Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner’s re-election campaign.
From 2015 to 2017, Cam worked at the digital marketing firm Targeted Victory, serving as the Lead Digital Adviser for a number of notable federal and state clients, including Senators Murkowski and Burr. Cam also helped launch Senator Blackburn’s award-winning small dollar fundraising campaign and was a Digital Fundraising Consultant for the NRCC and the RGA.
Prior to starting his career in politics, Cam was a 4th Grade Teacher in Forsyth, GA - a career that inspired him to seek strong policy solutions to educating the next generation. He is a graduate of Georgia College & State University in Milledgeville, GA, where he majored in Early Childhood Education.
Cam lives in Roswell, GA, and enjoys attending concerts and Atlanta Hawks games in his spare time.
Adam Katora is the Interactive Media Coordinator at Strategic Partners & Media where he assists in the development of websites, web applications, and data management projects.
Prior to joining SPM, Adam served as Data Director of the Maryland Republican Party. Throughout the 2018 election cycle, he assisted candidates up and down the ballot to build out their campaign digital and data infrastructures.
In 2016 Adam worked as a Voter File Development Analyst at the Data Trust, where he helped to build and maintain a national voter database for Republican candidates and organizations.
A graduate of American University, Adam now currently resides in Annapolis. An avid runner, he has twice completed the Marine Corps Marathon in Washington, D.C.
Becca Thomas is the Production Coordinator at Strategic Partners & Media. Day-to-day, Becca juggles scheduling talent, licensing content, and managing order in our on-site production house. She keeps your project on deadline and ensures productions with last minute changes and emergency updates hit their delivery dates.
Becca joined the SPM team just ahead of the United States’ COVID curve. With respect to pandemic pandemonium, our typical on-the-job training turned train-from-home. She put six hours in at our office, grabbed a laptop, and got to work.
Prior to SPM, Becca worked as a Client Services Coordinator at Cision; where she navigated the world’s largest Public Relations software hub while she built, preserved, and analyzed corporate, non-profit, and political media campaigns – all from the inside out.
A Marylander through and through, Becca earned her bachelor’s degree in Media Production from Salisbury University after growing up in small town Carroll County – a data point she uses to cite a direct correlation to her unwavering passion for American politics and popular culture.
Heather has spent her career on the administrative side of business focusing primarily on bookkeeping. Here at SPM Heather keeps the train moving. Her years of bookkeeping skills, attention to detail and second-to-none organizational ability are put to good use at the Annapolis office.
Heather administers contracts and work orders; maintains all monthly, quarterly, and annual financial statements; tracks all of SPM’s paid media campaigns; and handles all of SPM’s accounts payable & accounts receivable. And she does so flawlessly.
Prior to joining SPM, Heather worked as an Office Manager, Bookkeeper, Legal Receptionist, Senior Sales Coordinator, and CFO’s Assistant at a wide range of small businesses.
Heather is a military spouse who currently lives in Maryland with her husband, Greg, and their four children.