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About our Board

Congressional Coalition on Adoption Institute

Board of Directors (Updated May 2019)



Senator Mary Landrieu

Board Chairman

Mary Landrieu was elected to the Louisiana State Legislature in 1979. For eight years, she successfully championed causes related to women and children, flood protection, and education reform. In 1987, she was elected State Treasurer and served with distinction for two terms. Strong fiscal management, pension fund diversification, debt limitation, and the creation of the first-ever municipal investment fund (now valued at over $2 billion) are some of her noteworthy accomplishments.

After a hard fought but unsuccessful race for Governor, she was elected to the United States Senate in 1996, becoming the first woman from Louisiana elected to serve a full term in the Senate. Senator Landrieu was a member of the Armed Services Committee, the Appropriations Committee, Chairman of the Small Business Committee, and Chairman of the Energy and Natural Resources Committee.  She was a tireless advocate for her home state and the Gulf Coast region in the aftermath of the catastrophic devastation of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita.

She led the 112th Congress to pass the Small Business Jobs Act of 2010. Some of her other notable accomplishments were the passage of the landmark Gulf of Mexico Energy Security Act (GOMESA); the Israel American Energy Alliance; and the RESTORE Act - the single largest one-term environmental investment in the Gulf Coast in US history.

Senator Landrieu serves on the Boards of Directors of CenturyLink, National Alliance for Pubic Charter Schools, Resources for the Future; and chairs the Board of the Congressional Coalition on Adoption Institute.  She graduated from Louisiana State University and is married to Frank Snellings, an attorney and real estate broker in Washington, DC.  They have two grown children and one grandchild.


Susan K. Neely

President and Chief Executive Officer, American Council of Life Insurers

 Susan K. Neely is the president and CEO of the American Council of Life Insurers (ACLI), the nation's leading trade association dedicated to providing products and services that contribute to Americans' financial and retirement security. As president and CEO, Neely drives public policy and advocacy on behalf of ACLI’s member companies that represent 95 percent of industry assets and serve 90 million families.

Neely has long been recognized as a leading voice in public policy and advocacy in Washington, D.C. She served as special assistant to President George W. Bush and helped create the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS), and later became the first DHS Assistant Secretary for Public Affairs. Neely was a senior executive at the Association of American Medical Colleges and the Health Insurance Association of America (HIAA), where she designed award-winning national advocacy programs and initiatives, like HIAA’s ground-breaking Harry & Louise campaign.

Most recently, she led the American Beverage Association (ABA) for 13 years as president and CEO. Under her leadership, ABA instituted first-of-their-kind initiatives with President Clinton’s Global Initiative and First Lady Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move campaign. These partnerships decreased calories from beverages sold in schools by 90 percent, put transparent calorie labels on millions of beverage containers, and reduced sugar consumed from beverages in the American diet. 

Neely has been named Trade Association CEO of the year by two different national organizations. She is a past chair of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Association Committee of 100 of the largest trade associations and the American Society of Association Executives.

A native of Iowa, Neely holds an undergraduate degree in journalism and French civilization from the University of Iowa and a master’s degree in public administration from Drake University. She is the mother of two children, Eve and Ben.


Russell W. Sullivan

Shareholder, Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck

Russ Sullivan provides strategic counsel, offering comprehensive solutions from an administrative, regulatory and legislative perspective on client’s most complex matters. He brings a unique perspective to a wide variety of issues for a broad range of industries, including tax, healthcare, energy, pensions, transportation, education, trade and economic development, as well as matters involving the nonprofit and for-benefit enterprise sectors. In addition to providing strategic legal counsel, Russ advises clients on business planning and public affairs.

Russ joined the Senate Finance Committee staff in 1999 before rising to staff director in 2004, a role in which he served until he retired in 2013. From that position, he saw some of the most important and complex issues within the business community come before the committee. Along with advising former committee chair Sen. Max Baucus, Russ also helped devise and implement strategies on the 2001 tax cuts, the JOBS Act of 2004, the Medicare Modernization Act of 2004, the Pension Protection Act of 2006 and the Affordable Care Act of 2009. Russ has served as legal or designated guardian for 22 teenagers over the past 15 years.


Government Relations, Tax,1


Finance Chair, Board of Directors, Congressional Coalition on Adoption Institute

Finance Chair, Board of Directors, The Fourth Sector Group

Member, Board of Directors, Capital Area Reach

Member, Board of Directors, John Leland Seminary

Publications & Presentations

Treasury Releases Guidance on Permissibility of State Legislation to Circumvent SALT Deduction Cap, Brownstein Client Alert, August 24, 2018 Treasury Releases Long-Anticipated Guidance on Taxation of Passthrough Entities, Brownstein Client Alert, August 9, 2018


J.D., 1987, University of Texas School of Law

B.B.A., 1983, Baylor University


District of Columbia



Member, Board of Directors, Child Development Center at the Church at Clarendon


Susan B. Hirschmann


Susan B. Hirschmann is Chairman of the Board and CEO of Williams & Jensen, having served as a Principal in the firm since 2002. Williams & Jensen is consistently ranked as one of the top lobby firms and is proud to be one of Washington, D.C.’s oldest independent lobbying firms. 

Professional background

Hailed as one of D.C.’s premier lobbyists, Susan has a reputation for effective advocacy and creative strategies. She has helped clients achieve success on issues ranging from health care and taxation to financial services, transportation, education, and appropriations. Whether it was working with a client to secure tax permanency for 529 education savings accounts, which was the first Bush Era tax cut to be made permanent; running the coalition to pass Medicare Part D; securing a rare Jones Act Waiver; or securing funding for the National Bio and Agro-Defense Facility (NBAF) after it had been removed from the President’s budget; Susan’s ability to win on tough issues is why her clients believe that there is no one better at “snatching victory out of the jaws of defeat.” 

Additionally, Susan brings a breadth of expertise in third-party coalition building and grassroots organizing. Her experience in state, local, and national youth politics and her years spent working for a national activist women’s organization gave her the background to found Integrated Legislative Strategies – an organization which pairs grassroots programs with legislative strategy, and where she oversees dozens of field staff across the country and works to build successful coalitions.  

Prior to joining Williams & Jensen, Susan was Chief of Staff to the Majority Whip of the House of Representatives. During her time working for House Leadership, she worked with Congress and the White House to develop and execute strategy on major trade, health care, and tax issues. This experience gave her an intimate understanding of and ability to advise clients on the intricacy of the inner workings of the Hill. 

Susan has been recognized for her achievements in D.C. She has been named her one of D.C.’s top lobbyists, one of the most powerful women in Washington, and one of the top 100 most highly regarded staffers on Capitol Hill.  She is also a strong voice on behalf of women, having served as one of three U.S. delegates to the U.N. Commission on the Status of Women in 2005, and having written an essay for Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy Institute of Politics’ book: Skirting Tradition: Women in Politics Speak to the Next Generation, while serving as a visiting fellow. She frequently speaks and serves on panels promoting women. 


Kerry Hasenbalg

Former CCAI Executive Director

Kerry Marks Hasenbalg began her work on Capitol Hill as the fellow for the Congressional Coalition on Adoption (CCA). In 2001, together with the four congressional co-chairs of the CCA, Kerry created the Congressional Coalition on Adoption Institute (CCAI). As the organization’s founding executive director, she worked closely with the congressional members on child welfare issues in the U.S. and abroad.  Under her leadership, both the congressional Angels in Adoption awards program and the congressional Foster Youth Internship program were created.  Kerry has visited more than 40 countries, often meeting with both high-ranking government officials and the poorest of the poor, to advocate for improved child welfare policies and practices. Prior to her work in DC, she spent three years working in Russia as an interpreter for Christian mission groups and later with adoption organizations.

Over the years, Kerry and her husband, Scott, have been known to work in tandem for children’s causes. In their joint efforts, they have been instrumental in the creation of several charitable organizations, including:  Christian Alliance for Orphans, where Scott served as a founding board member; North Branch Young Life, where Scott and Kerry serve as committee members; Calvary Chapel DC Metro; Orphan Institute; Show Hope, where Scott served as the Executive Director for 12 years under the board leadership of its founders, Steven Curtis and Mary Beth Chapman; and CCAI.

In recent years, Kerry has lead dozens of private formation retreats for leaders and lay people from the US and abroad. She and Scott live together in Danville, Pennsylvania, with their four children, Cole, Maya, Leah, and Annika, whom she homeschools.



Kelly Gage

Sr. Philanthropic Advisor at Nomi Network

CCAI Advisory Council Member

Kelly is an accomplished public speaker, educator, advisor, and philanthropist, with nearly 20 years of experience with foundations and NGOs dealing with human trafficking, public media, arts and culture, education, and community development. She is passionate about fighting exploitation in women and children. Prior to joining Nomi Network, Kelly served as an Associate Professor in the Department of Apparel, Merchandising and Design at St. Catherine University. She holds a doctorate in apparel studies from the Department of Design, Housing, and Apparel at the University of Minnesota, a master’s degree in Art History from the University of St. Thomas and a bachelor’s degree in economics from Northwestern University. She has also sat on the boards of the World Childhood Foundation, an organization that combats the sexual exploitation of women and children, and the Congressional Coalition on Adoption Institute. Aside from being an analytical thinker and an impeccable dresser, Kelly is the proud mom of two sets of twins.

Kelly shows excellent relationship building and management skills throughout professional, academic, and social circles and utilizes her vast experience mentoring, coaching, and serving as a valuable resource to colleagues, students and graduates. Kelly’s particular areas of international expertise are Brazil, Cambodia and India. Her areas of specialization include Afro Brazilian slave dress, major gifts development, relationship building, development of grant-making programs and Portuguese. Kelly was a board member at the Curtis L. Carlson Foundation between 1197 to 2003 as well.


Kim Carver

Vice President, Gulf Coast Bank

Kim Carver is Senior Vice President of Government Relations and Human Resources for Gulf Coast Bank in New Orleans. In his role on the bank's executive management team, he oversees all employee relations issues and represents the bank with elected officials at the federal, state & local areas.  Previous to his work for the bank, Mr. Carver was an elections & campaign consultant with GCR & Associates and an engineer with Siemens.

In addition to his work with the bank, Mr. Carver is active in a number of social, civic and political organizations. He was appointed to the board of directors of the Louisiana Lottery Corporation by Governor Bobby Jindal in 2009 and is currently serving as Chairman. He also serves as a gubernatorial appointee to the Tobacco Settlement Financing Corporation and was previously appointed to the Louisiana Tourism Development Corporation. Carver was appointed by New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin to the Board of Zoning & Adjustments, by St. Tammany Parish President Pat Brister to the St. Tammany Parish Performing Arts Center Blue Ribbon Commission and by Jefferson Parish President Mike Yenni's 100 Day Committee.  He also serves on the Finance Committee and Public Policy Committee for GNO, Inc. and the Government Relations Councils for the Louisiana Bankers Association and American Bankers Association.  He was a founding member and is a board officer for CrossroadsNOLA - a nonprofit organization that recruits, sports & develops foster families from the faith-based community.     

Kim is married to Kristyn Smith Carver, PhD of Baton Rouge, and together, they are the proud parents of three adopted daughters - the youngest from foster care. The Carver family makes their home in Mandeville, Louisiana.


Rita Lewis

President of RML Strategies

Adoptive Parent

Rita Lewis is a senior strategist and independent government relations consultant with more than 35 years of experience in managing numerous successful coalitions, issue advocacy, and public affairs campaigns on behalf of Fortune 500 companies as well as national organizations and trade associations. She is President of RML Strategies, a boutique Washington, DC consulting firm she started in 2018. Previously, Lewis served a decade as Senior Vice President of NCTA, the Internet and Television Association. During her tenure, she directed Congressional relations for some of the industry’s most significant technology and telecommunications policy issues. She also pioneered NCTA’s efforts to increase education and personal outreach to every Member of Congress and their staff. Immediately prior to joining NCTA, Lewis was a Partner and the senior Senate Democratic lobbyist for The Washington Group, where she focused on a broad range of issues including telecommunications, transportation, real estate, and health care. In addition to serving in several positions for former U.S. Senate Minority and Majority Leader Tom Daschle (D-SD), her experience includes roles as Deputy Executive Director and Political Director for the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee and Director of Congressional Affairs at the U.S. Department of Education. 

In 2000, Lewis adopted her daughter, Maria, from Guatamala, and she continues to provide support and information to families considering adoption.  


Rick Spielman


Adoptive Parent

Rick Spielman enters his 6th season as General Manager of the club and 11th overall with the Vikings in 2017, the 27th season he has worked in the NFL. Spielman joined the Vikings as Vice President of Player Personnel on May 30, 2006 and directed scouting, free agency and draft preparations for the club before taking on General Manager duties for 2012. Spielman has climbed the ranks of NFL personnel departments with Detroit, Chicago and Miami prior to joining the Vikings. Spielman’s tenure with all 3 franchises has been highlighted by drafting impact players throughout the seven rounds and making key trades and free agency acquisitions. Spielman’s teams have won 6 divisional titles and advanced to the playoffs 10 times. The Vikings have drafted players who have made immediate impacts on the club under Spielman’s direction. The team has used 12 picks in the 1st round since Spielman joined the club to select Adrian Peterson (2007), Percy Harvin (2009), Christian Ponder (2011), Matt Kalil (2012), Harrison Smith (2012), Sharrif Floyd (2013), Xavier Rhodes (2013), Cordarrelle Patterson (2013), Anthony Barr (2014), Teddy Bridgewater (2014), Trae Waynes (2015) and Laquan Treadwell (2016). Of those drafted from 2007-15, all 11 were starters in their rookie seasons, 7 were All-Rookie selections, 4 were Pro Bowlers as rookies, Peterson and Harvin were each named Associated Press Offensive Rookie of the Year and Patterson was a 1st-Team Associated Press All-Pro, only the 2nd rookie position player in team history to achieve the honor, joining Randy Moss in 1998. Rookie K Blair Walsh in 2012 joined Moss and Patterson as the only rookie All-Pro selections in team history. Under Spielman’s drafting, a total of 13 Vikings have earned All-Rookie honors, highlighted in 2015 by 3 players earning All-Rookie honors- LB Eric.