Posts Tagged ‘Lovable Lobbyists’

Lovable Lobbyist Profile: Jocelyn Bissonnette

Tuesday, February 14th, 2012 by Vbhotla

Jocelyn Bissonnette speaks at a NAFIS conference.

It’s been more than a year, but Lovable Lobbyist is back with a special Valentine’s Day Lovable Lobbyist edition!

With education reauthorization being worked on this year, we wanted to introduce you to one of the people that will be helping to make a difference in the lives of students across the country. Meet Jocelyn Bissonnette, the Director of Government Affairs with the National Association of Federally Impacted Schools, a non-profit that works to ensure that students across the country get the education they deserve, particularly those from military families.

Do you have a personal connection to the nonprofit you work for?

Education has long been a passion of mine. I studied economics and political science in college, but my interest in federal education policy was piqued by a course on social mobility and social change and reinforced through my participation in a literacy-focused tutoring program. I spent a summer teaching middle school in Providence, RI and while that was an incredible experience, I realized that although I wanted to pursue my interests in education, teaching was not for me. I’m fortunate to work for an organization that advocates for and protects the interests of school districts.

What positive things Online Casino would you like people to know about lobbying and advocacy?

My organization lobbies on Impact Aid – an education program that reimburses school districts for the lost local tax revenue associated with the federal presence in their district (anything from military installations to Native American reservations to national parks). I see myself as an advocate: the voice of these school districts on Capitol Hill, protecting their interests and ensuring their voices are represented. NAFIS provides district-specific analysis and legislative expertise vital to the policy-making process. Our members are busy running school districts, and my organization exists to monitor congressional activities on their behalf.

What can people do to get involved in advocacy activities with Impact Aid schools?

NAFIS has a website ( and a Facebook page where we post advocacy activities and action alerts. You can donate to the Federally Impacted Schools Educational Foundation, which provides workshops and training to school personnel. NAFIS also works with the Committee for Education Funding, a broad coalition of educational groups (

What else makes you lovable outside of your regular work?

I love cooking, cheering on New England sports teams, and seeing shows at local theatres in DC and Northern Virginia. Because of my Armenian heritage, I also enjoy discussing Armenian history and culture.

Lovable Lobbyist Profile: Christine Sequenzia

Wednesday, December 1st, 2010 by Brittany

A photo of my dog, Mali, and I at the capitol lobbying for animal welfare.

Think “lovable,” and very likely, puppies and kittens come to mind.  Think “lobbyist,” and for one reason or another, those puppy-kitten images disappear, revealing a cloud of skepticism and distrust.  Why the bad rep?  We’re challenging the not-so-sunny perceptions of the lobbying community, one face at a time.  Meet Christine Sequenzia, a Texas A&M graduate who has dedicated her career to animal welfare and public policy.  Ms. Sequenzia currently serves as Federal Policy Advisor of the Animal Welfare Institute in Washington, D.C. and has worked on Capitol Hill and in the private sector

Do you have a personal connection to the nonprofit you work for?

Yes, most definitely.  As a young girl, I dreamed of becoming a veterinarian.  This dream lead to my first job as a horse stable hand cleaning horse stalls, and then on to the Animal Medical Center of Plano, where I worked as a veterinary technician for 7 years.  After completing a Bachelor’s degree in Animal Science from Texas A&M University, I realized my impact would be greater lobbying for animal welfare measures on Capitol Hill.  Today, my efforts include ending horse slaughter, increasing humane living conditions for farm animals, marine mammal conservation and others.

For a full list, visit:

What positive things would you like people to know about lobbying and advocacy?

Good Question!  First, not all lobbyists are “bad people.”  Many nonprofit and NGO lobbyists make less than Capitol Hill staffers, lobbying for causes in which they believe.  Advocating for stronger laws protecting girls against sex-trafficking, rights of domestic violence victims and solid animal protection policies are valiant and honorable causes.  Remember to look beyond the title and instead toward the goal.

What can people do to get involved in lovable advocacy activities with the Animal Welfare Institute?

To assist AWI in our lobby efforts visit the Compassion Index (CI) at  There you will be able to communicate directly with your elected representatives, view each member’s score on animal protective policies and write in support of AWI endorsed legislation by simply entering your zip code.

What else makes you lovable outside of your regular work?

Thank you for asking.  Currently, I am very busy volunteering at Doorways women’s shelter, answering hotline calls and assisting women seeking shelter, while coordinating our Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure team.  Most recently, the leaders of McLean Bible Church and I are planning a new praise event on Capitol Hill, called Capitol Praise!  Capitol Praise will be held weekly on the national mall during warmer months and will feature praise music from rock to gospel.  Please follow me on twitter  @CSequenzia or visit my website,, for details.

To nominate a lovable lobbyist, email

Lobbying Gets Lovable: An interview with Matthew de Ferranti

Monday, August 16th, 2010 by Brittany

Matthew de Ferranti speaking with advocates from Habitat for Humanity

Welcome to our first-ever lovable lobbyist interview.

This whole idea came about as a result of the reaction I inevitably get when I tell people where I work. It’s normally a frown, followed by some rant about how lobbyists are all criminals working for big oil and tobacco (the director of “Thank You For Smoking” should be commended for his film’s staying power).

Over the 4 years I’ve been working at, I’ve honed my response to this criticism. It goes a little something like this…

“You like puppies, public education and nurses, right? Well, guess what, they all have lobbyists representing them!”

So, as you can see, I’m on a bit of a personal mission to make people realize that there are, in fact, lovable lobbyists out there.  They are not the unicorns of Washington… I swear they actually exist! Here is one of them, our first-ever lovable lobbyist, Matthew de Ferranti of Habitat for Humanity.

Do you have a personal connection to the nonprofits you’ve worked for?
Yes, I absolutely have a personal connection to Feeding America, Teach for America and Habitat for Humanity.  Each is fundamentally about strengthening the American Dream by working with low- and moderate-income individuals, children and families to expand economic opportunity.  I deeply believe in the missions of each organization and believe that we are all connected.

What would you like people to know about lobbying and advocacy that is positive?
The future of our country and the world are often in part resolved through public policies and public discourse.  As Teddy Roosevelt said, “The credit belongs to the man [or woman] in the arena.”  And as Lyndon Baines Johnson said, “You will find meaning only in the issues of your time.”

What can people do to get involved in lovable advocacy activities with Habitat?
You can take action on issues important to Habitat by visiting You can build with one of Habitat’s 1,500 U.S. affiliates or donate to Habitat’s affordable housing program.  It’ll change your perspective on life forever.

What else makes you lovable outside of your regular work?
I love to travel and learn about people: India, Vietnam and China have been my choices over the past two years, but I also love to travel in the United States and have lived in Oakland, California; Iowa and Texas over the past decade.  Exploring D.C. by foot and doing all of the Duck Tours in the United States over the next decade are two of my current interests.

To nominate a lovable lobbyist you know, email me at

We think lobbyists are lovable…

Tuesday, June 15th, 2010 by Brittany

With all the teasing, whispers and not-so-nice mentions in the press, with think lobbyists have been having a pretty bad run of it so we’ve decided to do something about that.

Starting this month, Lobby Blog will feature our picks for “Lovable Lobbyist” of the month.

Have a lobbyist you think is lovable and out there fighting for a great cause? Send an email to to nominate them today! Each “Lovable Lobbyist” will be featured on the blog and receive a special gift from the team at Lobby Blog and

We’re sure many of the nominations will come for lobbyists working at nonprofits and charities but we are open to anyone you think is doing something lovable. We look forward to hearing from you!