CBCF Announces New Members with Diverse Experience to its Board of Directors and
Corporate Advisory Council

For Immediate Release

Yolanda Raine
Vice President, Marketing and Communications

Washington, D.C., July 12, 2022 – Today, the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation, Inc. (CBCF) announced the election of 22 members to its board of directors and Corporate Advisory Council (CAC). The new members join CBCF at a pivotal moment and will help support CBCF’s work to advance the global Black community by developing leaders, informing policy, and educating the public.

“As CBCF continues to evolve, we are excited to welcome diverse new voices to our board and to the CAC,” said Congresswoman Terri A. Sewell, chair, CBCF Board of Directors. “I am sincerely grateful to the board and the CAC for their service and leadership. I look forward to working in partnership with new and current members to advance our mission and the Black community.”

The new members bring a wide array of diverse backgrounds and expertise in a variety of fields spanning government affairs, Fortune 500 companies, and more. Each member has demonstrated a willingness to invest their time, energy, and resources in helping the CBCF achieve its vision of eliminating disparities within the global Black community.

“CBCF is honored and privileged to have these accomplished individuals on our Board of Directors and CAC,” said Nicole Austin-Hillery, president and CEO of CBCF. “We are excited to have their unique and diverse perspectives supporting our work and advancing our mission.”

 The new board members who began three-year terms on May 5, 2022, are:

  • Congresswoman Stacey E. Plaskett, (D-VI-01), U.S. Congress
  • Congressman Troy A. Carter, Sr., (D-LA 2nd District), U.S. Congress
  • Chaka Burgess, Chief Executive Officer, Nation Strategies
  • LaDavia Drane, Global Head of Inclusion, Diversity, and Equity, Amazon Web Services
  • Pamela Everhart, Head of Regional Public Affairs and Community Relations, Fidelity
  • Quita Highsmith, Chief Diversity Officer, Global Executive Leader, Genentech
  • Broderick Johnson, Executive Vice President, Public Policy and Digital Equity, Comcast Corporation
  • John Mason, Senior Director of Government Affairs, Altria Client Services Inc., ex-officio
  • Marcus Sebastian Mason, Senior Partner, The Madison Group LLC
  • Dontai Smalls, Vice President of Global Public Affairs, UPS
  • Jessica Zielke, Group Director of Federal and Diplomatic Government Relations, Coca-Cola Company

The Corporate Advisory Council members began their three-year terms on May 5, 2022, are as follows:

  • John Mason, Senior Director of Government Affairs, Altria Client Services Inc. has been appointed chair effective May 5, 2022
  • Benjamin Branch, Vice President of Federal Government Affairs, International Franchise Association (IFA)
  • Zoe Cadore, Director of Government & Regulatory Affairs, Calpine Corporation
  • Heather Foster, Head of National Policy, Lyft, Inc
  • Ashley Hayes, Vice President of Government Affairs, Charter Communications
  • Edward W. Hill, Vice President, ViacomCBS
  • Cory C. Horton, Vice President of Public Affairs, Taft Advisors
  • Jackie Kelly, Jr., Senior Federal Affairs, FedEx Corporation
  • Adrienne Marks, Political Advocacy and Civic Engagement Programs, VISA
  • Virgil Miller, Senior Policy Advisor, Akin Group
  • Keenan-Austin Reed, Vice President, Alpine Group
  • Ibn Salaam, Director of Federal Legislative Affairs, Waste Management, Inc.
  • ShaShrina Thomas, Senior Director, Reynolds American Inc.

New Board Member Biographies

  • Congresswoman Stacey E. Plaskett represents the United States Virgin Islands’ at-large Congressional District in the United States House of Representatives. She is currently serving her fourth term in Congress. For the 117th Congress, the members of the House Steering and Policy Committee unanimously appointed Congresswoman Plaskett to serve on the House Committee on Ways and Means, the oldest and one of the most exclusive committees in Congress. In true historic fashion, Mrs. Plaskett is the first Member from a U.S. territory and the fourth African American woman to serve on this committee.
  • Congressman Troy A. Carter, Sr. is serving in his first term as the Congressman from Louisiana’s 2nd Congressional District, encompassing most of New Orleans, Jefferson Parish, and River Parishes including St. Charles, St. James, St. John the Baptist, Ascension, Assumption, Iberville, as well as portions of East Baton Rouge and West Baton Rouge Parish. Congressman Carter currently serves on two House Committees, the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, one of the largest committees in Congress that has jurisdiction over all modes of transportation, and the Small Business Committee, which has direct oversight and consideration over all matters affecting America’s backbone, small businesses.
  • Chaka Burgess is a veteran government affairs professional with more than twenty years of experience leading and managing government and public affairs for Fortune 500 companies, trade associations, and nonprofit organizations. As chief executive officer of Nation Strategies, Chaka leads the development of multidisciplinary government and public affairs strategies, with an emphasis on coalition building, securing key legislative champions, and stakeholder engagement.
  • LaDavia Drane is a bridge between the worlds of technology and inclusion, diversity, and equity. Leveraging technology for good, in ways both big and small, and with a global impact is her personal and professional mission. LaDavia lives out her mission, daily, as the global head of inclusion, diversity, and equity for Amazon Web Services. Prior to this role, she served as the U.S. public policy head of diversity & inclusion for Amazon.
  • Pamela Everhart is a senior vice president and head of regional public affairs and community relations in Fidelity’s Communications, Public Affairs and Policy Group. In this role, Pamela oversees the firm’s state and local government relationships, public affairs, and community relations activities at its Boston Headquarters and across Fidelity’s regions in the U.S. Pamela has led Fidelity’s efforts to deliver financial literary to hundreds of thousands of students in underserved communities in the regions where Fidelity has a footprint.
  • Quita Highsmith is an award-winning chief diversity officer and a global executive leader. She is a visionary skilled at realizing potential through demonstrated ability to anticipate trends, unlock strategic opportunities and generate long-term value. At Genentech ($25B+ Revenue), Quita was selected as the first chief diversity officer in the 46-year history of the company and reports to the CEO. She is responsible for enterprise-wide strategic initiatives that drive business impact by investing in commercial efforts, stakeholder engagement, research innovation and providing guidance to the Genentech Board of Directors.
  • Broderick Johnson is the EVP, Public Policy & EVP, Digital Equity for Comcast Corporation. Broderick oversees the company’s Public Policy team and holds overall responsibility for Comcast’s role in the digital equity space. Comcast is a leader in solutions to bridge the digital divide, and Broderick works closely with our partners in government and other stakeholders to support our shared goal of connecting as many Americans as possible to the Internet, and to shape our corporate policies that allow our businesses to continue to grow and innovate.
  • Marcus Sebastian Mason is senior partner at The Madison Group, LLC (TMG) with offices in Los Angeles and Washington, DC. Marcus served as an advisor to both campaigns of President Barack Obama and as an advisor to the Obama-Biden White House. Most recently, Marcus served as the chairman of the Biden Campaign’s African American Leadership Finance Council and serves as senior advisor to the Campaign’s co-chairman and senior leadership team.
  • Dontai Smalls joined the UPS Global Public Affairs function in the Washington, DC office in October 1999. He coordinates all international issues on Capitol Hill for UPS, particularly global trade and customs modernization policy. He also coordinates UPS’ global aviation portfolio in DC. He is responsible in Washington for managing the relationships between UPS and Europe, including the embassies.
  • Jessica Zielke is the group director of federal and diplomatic government relations for The Coca-Cola Company in their Washington, D.C. Government Affairs office managing all Federal outreach and engagement for the company. A member of the Coca-Cola family since 2018, Jessica joined after serving as the general manager of events with Government Executive Media Group (Atlantic Media). From 2009-2017 Ms. Zielke was the assistant chief of protocol for Ceremonials at the U.S. Department of State under the administration of President Barack Obama.

New CAC Member Biographies

  • Benjamin Branch is vice president of federal government affairs for the International Franchise Association (IFA) where he is responsible for leading advocacy and legislative strategy at the federal level to advance IFA’s policy priorities. He brings over 18 years of legislative, political and public policy expertise. Prior to joining IFA, he was the Director of Government Affairs for JUUL Labs. He previously served as the former executive director of the Congressional Black Caucus PAC and as Legislative Director for Congressman Gregory Meeks from New York. A native Virginian, he graduated from Old Dominion University in Norfolk, VA with a degree in Political Science.
  • Zoe Cadore is the director of government & regulatory affairs at Calpine Corporation, America’s largest generator of electricity from natural gas and geothermal resources. In this role, she leads Calpine’s federal affairs advocacy and policy in Washington, D.C.
  • Heather Foster is a political thought leader and subject matter expert on how racial equity. She currently leads national policy at Lyft, Inc where she manages the team’s leading federal relations, strategic partnerships and policy coalitions. She has built a political career that has included grassroots organizing, political strategy and policy engagement for over two decades. Most recently serving on the transition team for the Biden-Harris administration. Heather served in the Obama administration as White House Public Engagement Adviser to President Obama overseeing his engagement efforts around key public policy issues including healthcare, immigration and economic mobility with elected and community leaders.

  • Ashley Hayes is the vice president of government affairs at Charter Communications. She is responsible for leading strategic policy and political engagement around Charter’s efforts to close the digital divide, create jobs, and deliver industry-leading telecommunications services to customers from coast to coast. Previously, Hayes advocated on a myriad of health policy and regulatory issues to the U.S. Congress and White House for global life sciences company, Sanofi. A Texas native, Hayes began her policy career in the office of Congressman Marc Veasey (D-TX), where she served as Legislative Director and Senior Policy Advisor managing his legislative team and directing policy and political strategy. She has also worked as Senior Director of Federal Advocacy at the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America, representing the nation’s leading biopharmaceutical research companies among policymakers.
  • Edward Hill is vice president of ViacomCBS’ Global Government Relations team. In this role, Hill guides advocacy across the company’s portfolio of businesses, and works with internal stakeholders, policymakers, and government officials to advance the corporation’s legislative, regulatory, and political initiatives. Hill joins ViacomCBS from the Washington, DC office of McGuireWoods LLP, where he served as Vice President of the firm’s Federal Public Affairs Group.
  • As vice president of public affairs at Taft Advisors, Cory Horton draws upon his in-depth knowledge of legislative and public affairs processes to assist clients in both the public and private sectors. Throughout his career, he has drafted bills, advocated for key legislative amendments, and fostered positive bipartisan relationships with many Members of Congress, political entities, civil rights organizations, and advocacy groups.
  • Jackie Kelly, Jr. is a senior federal affairs representative for FedEx Corporation. Jackie joined the FedEx team in September of 2019 and handles issues related to surface transportation. Prior to his current role with FedEx, he spent 19 years at American Trucking Associations (ATA), rising through the ranks of the Government Affairs Office.
  • With over a decade of political advocacy experience, Adrienne Marks is a seasoned Government Relations professional. In her current role, she is responsible for managing Visa’s Political Action Committee, civic engagement, regulatory compliance at the federal and state level and corporate diversity & inclusion initiatives.

John Mason is senior director of government affairs at Altria Client Services Inc. In his role, John manages AltriaPAC, engagement with stakeholders, employee resources in Washington D.C., and strategic planning on federal issues for Altria Group and the Altria family of companies.

Prior to joining Altria, John worked for the United States Department of Agriculture in Rural Development for Utilities in the Administrators Office which supports rural communities in the form of loan and grants for infrastructure programs.

  • Virgil Miller served for nearly 13 years in the U.S. House of Representatives, most recently as the chief of staff for Rep. Cedric L. Richmond (D-LA), former Assistant to the Majority Whip and former Chairman of the CBC. Virgil served as liaison between Rep. Richmond and two presidential administrations, including all federal agencies.
  • Keenan Austin Reed, a Capitol Hill veteran, has spent the past decade guiding and advising principals in all levels of government. She has led congressional offices to senior Members and specializes in building coalitions to enhance Congress as an institution. In Keenan’s most recent role as chief of staff to Congressman Donald McEachin, she served as the Congressman’s top policy and political advisor, crafting strategies to elevate the Congressman’s work as a member of the House Energy and Commerce committee.
  • Ibn Akbar Salaam is the director of federal legislative affairs for Waste Management, Inc (WM). Ibn is responsible for developing and advocating WM’s public policy position in tax, sustainability, transportation, and diversity, equity and inclusion. Ibn also manages WM’s political engagement and relationships with Members of Congress, industry coalitions, and other public policy organizations.
  • In her role at Reynolds American Inc (RAI), ShaShrina Thomas shapes and promotes the interests of all RAI operating companies, including R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company; Santa Fe Natural Tobacco Company, Inc., American Snuff Company, LLC, R. J. Reynolds Vapor Company, and Modoral Brands Inc., in the political and policy arenas. As the company’s top democratic lobbyist, she works with Administration officials, members of Congress and industry associations on agriculture, commerce, manufacturing, and trade issues.



The Congressional Black Caucus Foundation, Incorporated (CBCF), established in 1976, is a non-partisan, nonprofit, public policy, research and educational institute, committed to advancing the global black community by developing leaders, informing policy and educating the public.