Black Rock Group Team


Gretchen Andersen

Vice President

Gretchen Andersen has extensive media relations experience with local and national press throughout her time in Manhattan, Washington, DC and Las Vegas. She joined the Black Rock Group in 2019.

For four years, Gretchen worked on Capitol Hill as a press secretary in both the United States Senate and House of Representatives. Most recently she served as press secretary for U.S. Senator Dean Heller (R-NV). In the spring of 2018, she worked on Heller’s re-election campaign, helping manage communications and organize rallies, roundtables and press events with Heller and officials from the White House. Prior to her time in the U.S. Senate, Gretchen was an official spokesperson for two Republican members of Congress, including U.S. Representative Vern Buchanan (R-FL).

Gretchen got her start in public relations while working in New York City as a press secretary for Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (IAVA), a national non-profit focused on improving the lives of post-9/11 veterans. While posted at IAVA, Andersen worked with national reporters and producers and cultivated a large group of veteran spokespeople from across the country for a grassroots campaign to combat veteran suicide.

A native of Blue Bell, Pennsylvania, Gretchen is a graduate of the University of Pittsburgh.

Lily Bandola

Account Executive

Lily Bandola is an account executive at Black Rock Group. She previously interned with theNational Republican Congressional Committee and Law Media Group, a public affairs firm in  Washington, DC.

She is a graduate of Miami University of Ohio, where she received her B.A. in Political Science and Comparative Religion. Lily was a University Academic Scholar in Miami’s Department of Humanities, as well as a Student Ambassador for the College of Arts and Sciences. During the winter of 2018, Lily had the opportunity to travel throughout the Arabian Peninsula where she studied Arabian Gulf economies in social transition.

Michael Dubke

Partner & Co-Founder

Michael Dubke is a veteran GOP operative and has been involved in local, state and federal politics, as well as issue and public policy advocacy since 1992. His experience has brought him a unique understanding of the relationship between media strategy and public policy development.

Mike recently served as Assistant to the President for Communications in the White House. In that capacity, he oversaw a communications department that coordinated Congressional and Cabinet communications, Digital Strategy, Media Affairs, Production, Strategic communications as well and Surrogate operations.

In 2009, Mike was a Founding Partner at the Black Rock Group (BRG). At BRG, Mike has helped plan and lead successful communications and advocacy efforts in a variety of industries including energy, technology, transportation, financial services, restaurant and retail. In the non-profit realm, Mike has worked to promote digital security, eradicate child sex-trafficking, foster international dialogue and keep kids safe online.

In 2001, Mike founded a group of media services firms (Main Street Media Group, Crossroads Media and Herd Media) that have collectively placed almost $1 billion dollars of media for clients. The firms specialize in advertising strategy and placement for political candidates, issue advocacy organizations and trade associations. The media group has established itself as one of the go-to firms on the national scene for both political candidates and corporations.

Mike also served as President of Americans for Job Security (AJS), a pioneer independent expenditure organization that provided direct advocacy for citizens to public policy makers. Prior to co-founding AJS, he held the position of Executive Director for both the Ripon Society and the Ripon Educational Fund, where he oversaw the growth of the TransAtlantic Conference and the re-emergence of the Ripon Society as a participant in national politics. Mike began his career on the Bush/Quayle ’92 campaign as assistant to the Political Director.

Mike currently serves on the board of the Franklin Center for Public Policy Exchange and the Ripon Society. He is a graduate of Hamilton College and resides in Alexandria, VA with his wife Shannon and their two children.

Kay Foley

Vice President

Kay Foley joined Black Rock Group in 2019. Prior to joining the team, Kay spent 10 months serving as Chief of Staff at RigWil LLC, a small consultancy started by former White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer, where she handled media relations and oversaw an extensive, national book tour. Before moving to Washington, D.C. to pursue a Masters in Public Policy from Georgetown’s McCourt School, Kay spent 7 years in fundraising in the Boston area raising money and awareness for different causes including cancer research and domestic violence recovery. Originally from the Boston area, Kay earned her BA in Government from Harvard College, where she currently serves as Fundraising Chair for the swim team. She resides in Washington, D.C. with her politically savvy cat, Jackie O.

Carl Forti

Partner & Co-Founder

Carl Forti has nearly 20 years of experience in politics, campaign strategy, media relations and public affairs. He is a seasoned political operative, having served in leadership positions at advocacy organizations, a presidential campaign and four election cycles at the National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC).

Carl has been described as “one of the smartest people in politics you’ve never heard of” by Karl Rove and “the Alexander the Great of the Republican independent expenditure world.”

While at Black Rock, Carl develops campaign strategies for the nation’s most successful issue advocacy groups, third-party organizations and SuperPACs. Previously, Carl was Executive Vice President for Issue Advocacy at Freedom’s Watch, an organization that was a strong voice for conservatives and impacted the public policy debate at local and national levels.

During the 2008 presidential campaign, Carl served as Deputy Campaign Manager and Political Director for Romney for President, where he built and managed the national political operation that produced 11 primary or caucus victories.

Carl also has extensive experience on Capitol Hill. He served in numerous capacities at the National Republican Congressional Committee, including Communications Director and Issue Advocacy Director, where he managed an $80 million independent expenditure campaign.

Originally from Western New York and a graduate of the George Washington University, Carl resides in Alexandria, VA with his wife Sandy and their three children.

Trevor Grady

Director

Trevor joined the Black Rock Group in 2018. He previously worked as a Government Affairs Associate for the American Planning Association in Washington, D.C.

Trevor is an alumnus of James Madison University where he earned his BA in both Political Science and Public Policy/Administration. While obtaining his undergraduate degree, Trevor interned with Rep. Randy Forbes (VA-04), Rep. Bob Goodlatte (VA-06) and Rep. Rob Wittman (VA-01).

After graduation, Trevor worked for the John Adams for Virginia Attorney General campaign and the American Family Association campaign in North Carolina before moving to the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area.

Originally from Chesapeake, VA, he currently resides in Arlington, VA.

Emily Hilliard

Account Executive

Emily joined the Black Rock Group in 2020. Prior to joining the team, Emily was a student at the University of Maryland. She graduated with a B.A. in Communications with a concentration in Public Relations.

Throughout her college career, Emily cheered for University of Maryland’s football and men’s basketball teams. Her junior year she interned for Sen. Pat Toomey (R-PA) and U.S. Department of State in the Bureau of Public Affairs. In the summer of 2019, Emily completed the White House Internship Program in the Office of Presidential Correspondence. During her senior year, she was the communication intern for the National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism (START), a Department of Homeland Security Center of Excellence, and a research associate for the Vogel Group. Originally from Pennsylvania, she currently resides in Washington, DC.

Brian Jones

Partner

Brian has a proven track record of creating and managing successful public affairs and public relations campaigns for some of the country’s most innovative companies, top-tier associations, influential coalitions and national political candidates. In addition, he has worked with a number of national and local nonprofit organizations.

Over the past two decades, Brian has helped lead effective communications and advocacy efforts for a variety of industries including technology, transportation, energy, financial services, restaurant and retail. In the nonprofit realm he has worked in support of marriage equality, early childhood education, eradicating child sex-trafficking and keeping kids safe online.

Brian has also been active in the world of electoral politics. Serving in senior roles for the presidential campaigns of George W. Bush, John McCain, Mitt Romney and Chris Christie. Once named one of the “top free-agent GOP operatives” by The Washington Post, former RNC Chairman Ken Mehlman noted Brian has “fantastic judgment, the respect of the press, good management skills, creativity and a commitment to excellence.”

Brian currently serves on the board of the National Network to End Domestic Violence. He earned his MA from the University of Washington in Seattle and BA from the University of Massachusetts in Amherst. Brian lives in Alexandria, VA, with his wife Emily and their two children.

Christopher Maloney

Partner

Chris Maloney’s political, policy and communications experience spans two decades in public service. As a Partner at Black Rock Group, he works as a trusted advisor and strategist to advise political, business and international non-profit leaders on public policy and communications, serving as the primary spokesman for a range of high-profile clients. Chris has also served as a general consultant and lead strategist on numerous successful political campaigns, including Dan Sullivan and Lisa Murkowski’s bids for U.S. Senate in Alaska and U.S. House Republican Conference Chair Liz Cheney’s campaigns for Congress in Wyoming.

Before joining Black Rock Group, Chris served as the Communications Director for Mitt Romney in the Midwest, leading the presidential campaign’s battleground press operations, research and rapid response in Ohio. His career also includes senior staff roles in U.S. House Leadership, the National Republican Congressional Committee and the Ohio Republican Party.

Chris has been nationally recognized as a Campaigns & Elections Magazine Rising Star and was named to the American Association of Political Consultants’ “40 Under 40” list in 2018. Chris earned a B.A. in Public Policy from George Washington University and his M.P.S. in Communications from Georgetown University. He resides in Alexandria, VA with his wife and son.

Charlotte McCoy

Senior Vice President

Charlotte has a successful record of running media relations and public affairs campaigns for Fortune 100 companies, multi-stakeholder coalitions, trade associations and international governments. She joined the firm in 2015 as a Senior Director.

She previously worked at CLS Strategies executing comprehensive communications plans for technology, trade and litigation clients. Charlotte’s responsibilities included developing effective messaging, leading media outreach, and generating savvy digital and social media initiatives. Prior to CLS Strategies, she educated federal policymakers on adoption and foster care issues.

A New Jersey native, Charlotte graduated Phi Beta Kappa from The George Washington University with a degree in international affairs. She resides in Washington, DC.

Jamie (Loftus) Rhoades

Senior Consultant

Jamie’s experience extends from strategic political communications work for leaders on Capitol Hill and presidential campaigns to managing public affairs campaigns for leading global companies. In 2012, she started her own communications consulting company, Quartus Strategies, based in Washington, D.C.

Jamie previously served as the Chief of Public Relations and Government Affairs at the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey from January 2011 to March of 2012. There she managed the media relations, marketing and government and community relations departments at the bi-state agency. Prior to her work at the Port Authority, Jamie was a member of GE’s corporate communications team at the company’s headquarters in Fairfield, Connecticut. She helped lead the development and implementation of global corporate campaign initiatives to proactively define the company’s reputation and enhance growth.

In 2007, Jamie joined DCI Group, a communications and public affairs firm, where she helped lead public affairs campaigns, communications campaigns and coalition building activities for Fortune 500 companies and nonprofit organizations with a focus on education, telecommunications and energy issues.

Her tenure on Capitol Hill includes press positions in both the House and Senate. She served as press secretary for members of the U.S. House of Representatives and for Texas Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison. Jamie also handled media affairs and rapid response as a member of the McCain-Palin campaign communications team, and served as a state communications director for the Bush-Cheney ’04 campaign.

Jamie attended the College of the Holy Cross in Worcester, MA. Originally from Skaneateles, NY, she currently resides in Washington, D.C. with her husband Matt Rhoades.

Elizabeth Wood

Senior Account Executive

Elizabeth joined the Black Rock Group in 2019. Prior to joining the team, Elizabeth was a student at Rhodes College. She received her B.A. in Political Science and minored in International Relations and Religious Studies. In the summer of 2017, Elizabeth lived in London where she studied British Contemporary Politics and Brexit.

While at Rhodes, Elizabeth was a four-year member of the field hockey team.  During the spring of 2018 Elizabeth had the opportunity to work on Diane Black’s campaign for Governor in Tennessee as an intern and recruiter. Following that experience, in the summer of 2018 she interned at OnMessage Inc., a notable campaign consulting firm located in the DC metro area. At this firm Elizabeth helped with social media monitoring, tracking campaign spending numbers, and aiding in the production of ads for candidates. Elizabeth is a native of Alexandria, Virginia and still currently resides there.