Seafood trade group bolsters advocacy team

Jan. 13, 2005
NFI AlertNFI Strengthens Advocacy Team with Capital Hill ProsNFI announced today it is hiring three highly-skilled professionals from Capitol Hill to strengthen its national communications and advocacy efforts on behalf of the seafood industry.  John Connelly, NFI president, said the new additions to the advocacy staff include Cherylyn Harley LeBon as the group's Vice President of Public Affairs, Margaret McElroy as Vice President of Government Relations, and Frank Vitello as Director of Political Programs. This group joins NFI veteran Bob Collette, Vice President of Science and Technology, to strengthen NFI and gives the association the opportunity to tell our own story to the public and Washington, D.C. decision-makers. "I am proud Cherylyn, Margaret and Frank will be joining our team," Connelly said.  "Along with Bob, they bring an incredible breadth of experience to each position and will be a tremendous asset to our members. We're looking forward to strengthening our advocacy and communications efforts and this group will be critical to our success."As Vice President of Public Affairs, LeBon will bring her wealth of knowledge and media savvy to lead NFI's communications efforts with its members, Capitol Hill, the Administration and third party groups.  She recently served as Senior Counsel to U.S. Senator Orrin Hatch (R-UT) as he chaired the Senate Judiciary Committee.  LeBon is a recognizable fixture to the Washington media and political scene as she appears frequently on network and cable talk shows and has been a communications consultant to the National Republican Senatorial Committee and former spokesman and Deputy Press Secretary at the Republican National Committee.  She also served as Executive Director of the Independent Women’s Action Project and Director of Policy at the Ripon Educational Fund. LeBon earned a juris doctorate from the University of Wisconsin - MadisonLawSchool and a bachelor's in History from CanisiusCollege.   She is fluent in German, Spanish and Cantonese.As Vice President of Government Relations, McElroy will ensure NFI has an active voice on Capitol Hill and in the Administration when it comes to issues affecting the seafood industry.  She recently served as Legislative Director to U.S. Representative James Gibbons (R-NV) where her breadth of legislative and political process was essential.  During this time, she served as a regional representative for the GOP Legislative Directors Group, an organization that offers opportunities to meet other Legislative Directors and key House staff.  Her legislative experience was critically important as Congressman Gibbons earlier promoted her from Legislative Assistant.  McElroy earned a certificate of Political Management from The George Washington University and a bachelor's in History from University of Florida.As Director of Political Programs, Vitello will help broaden NFI's grassroots and coalition efforts.  His broad understanding of coalition building was put to good use as he recently served on the legislative staff of the House Resources Subcommittee on National Parks, Recreation and PublicLands.  Prior to that, he served as Executive Director of Defenders of Property Rights in WashingtonDC where he created a number of coalitions and grassroots campaigns for the group.  Vitello earned a bachelor's in environmental studies from State University of New York in Buffalo. LeBon, McElroy and Vitello will be on-board on Tuesday, January 18.  NFI is recruiting for two other positions.  Our Director, Regulatory Affairs will help Bob Collette assist members in answering their technical questions. The Director, Public Health Outreach will help NFI communicate more effectively with the medical and public health communities. 

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