MAPIS2021 Speaker Bios

MAPIS2021 Speaker Bios

Bios & “Career Lunch” Table Assignments of Featured Guests


Thursday, August 5, 2021 




Tony Bawidamann


  • Tony Bawidamann is Senior Director of Government Affairs for Comcast NBC. Prior to this, he led the national State Government Affairs team at Bristol Myers Squibb, and before that, led legislative and public affairs campaigns throughout the nation while working for several other firms.  Bawidamann has worked for three different members of Congress on Capitol Hill and has managed some of the most competitive legislative races in recent years in New Jersey.  His undergraduate degree is from Florida State University and his master’s degree from George Washington University. 


During lunch, join Tony Bawidamann at Table 14.



Hon. Jon Bramnick


  • Jon Bramnick has been a member of the New Jersey General Assembly since 2004, and was unanimously elected by his colleagues in 2012 to serve as the Assembly minority conference leader – the highest leadership position in the Republican caucus. He earned his BA in political science from Syracuse University and received his law degree from Hofstra University Law School.  Previously, he served as a Plainfield councilman from 1984 to 1991.  He holds the title “Funniest Lawyer in New Jersey” after winning contests sponsored by the bar association.



Stanley Braverman


  • Stanley Braverman is Braverman Associates' principal mediator and lead trainer.  He is an attorney and a graduate of the Harvard Program on Negotiation. For more than a decade, he served as the Deputy District Director of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission’s six-state Philadelphia-based District.  He was the founding director of the Negotiation and Conflict Resolution Institute at La Salle University.  Braverman holds an MBA from Drexel University and JD from Temple University School of Law.


During lunch, join Stanley Braverman at Table 13.



Mary Campbell Cruz


  • Mary Cruz serves as Chief of Staff for US Rep. Donald Norcross (NJ-1). Prior to working for the Congressman, she was the Political Director for 1199 SEIU New Jersey, the healthcare worker union.  She has served in a number of senior roles in campaigns and government.  She also worked as Rep. John Adler’s (NJ-3) District Director from 2009 – 2011.  Cruz graduated from Washington College with a major in International Relations and Economics, and a focus on Latin American Politics, which included studies in both Ecuador and Tanzania.


During lunch, join Mary Campbell Cruz at Table 1.



Marilyn Davis


  • Marilyn Davis has served as the New Jersey Area Director for Government Affairs for Altice, the parent company of Cablevision, since 2017. Prior to this position, she worked for the Democratic National Committee as the National Director of Community Engagement where she managed multiple initiatives across the country.  She also served as a top official for the US Department of Labor under President Obama.  Davis received her BA from the University of South Carolina and her graduate degree from Howard University.


During lunch, join Marilyn Davis at Table 2 



Steve DeMicco


  • Steve DeMicco is a founding partner in Message & Media, Inc., a strategic communications company started in 1992 in New Brunswick, NJ, and specializing in strategy and media for political, non-profit and private sector clients. Over the years, M&M has provided strategic, management and communications services to Congressional, gubernatorial and local campaigns in New Jersey, and in dozens of other states.  DeMicco was the lead political consultant on Phil Murphy’s successful 2017 gubernatorial campaign and has a similar role in his 2021 re-election effort. 


During lunch, join Steve DeMicco at Table 3. 



Kevin Drennan


  • Kevin Drennan serves as the Executive Director of the NJ Senate Majority Office, and before that, was Chief of Staff to Senate President Steve Sweeney. Previously, he worked as a Regional Director of Governmental Affairs for Cablevision and served as Executive Director of the NJ Commerce Commission.  He started his career managing a legislative campaign in Florida, before returning to New Jersey.  He received his BA from The College of New Jersey and his MA in City and Regional Planning from Rutgers University.


During lunch, join Kevin Drennan at Table 4.



Aaron Dworkin


  • Aaron Dworkin is a leading non-profit executive and social change entrepreneur, and works as the CEO for the National Summer Learning Association (NSLA), advocating for enriching and engaging summer programs targeting students vulnerable to learning loss when school is out. Dworkin is the former President of After School All Stars, a national network of after school programs, started by Arnold Schwarzenegger.  He graduated from Tufts University and received Master’s degrees in Education and Public Administration from Harvard University and Columbia University, respectively.


During lunch, join Aaron Dworkin at Table 5.



Jennifer Holdsworth Karp


  • Jennifer Holdsworth Karpheads JC Strategies, a national political and strategic communications firm.  She has served as a senior staff member for several high-profile campaigns, including as a Senior Advisor for Pete for America, NJ State Director for Hillary for America, and Campaign Manager for Mayor Pete Buttigieg's run for Chair of the Democratic National Committee.  Holdsworth Karp graduated from Rowan University in 2003, where she served two terms as SGA President.  She received her law degree from Seton Hall Law School.


During lunch, join Jennifer Holdsworth Karp at Table 6.



Sasha Issenberg


  • Sasha Issenbergis the author The Engagement: America’s Quarter-Century Struggle with Same-Sex Marriage (2021).  He also authored three previous books, on topics ranging from the global sushi business to medical tourism and the science of political campaigns.  He covered the 2008 election as a national political reporter in the Washington bureau of The Boston Globe, the 2012 election for Slate, the 2016 election for Bloomberg Politics and Businessweek, and 2020 for The Recount.  He also teaches political science at UCLA. 



Sean Kennedy


  • Sean Kennedy is Vice President of Government Affairs and External Partnerships at Rowan University, after previously serving in a similar position for the Rowan School for Osteopathic Medicine. A top campaign operative, he managed a multi-million dollar super PAC effort that successfully defended NJ Senate President Steve Sweeney in what would become the most expensive legislative race in American history.  Strongly committed to community service, Kennedy has been very active in raising money to fight cancer.  He earned his BA from Rowan University and his JD from Rutgers.


During lunch, join Sean Kennedy at Table 4


Hon. Andy Kim


  • Congressman Andy Kim was first elected to the US House of Representatives in 2018.  He represents the Third Congressional District of NJ and serves on the Armed Services Committee, the Foreign Affairs Committee and the Committee on Small Business. He grew up in South Jersey, the son of Korean immigrants, where he attended public schools before becoming a Rhodes Scholar.  Prior to Congress, he served at USAID, the Pentagon, the State Department, the White House National Security Council, and in Afghanistan as an advisor to Generals Petraeus and Allen.



Sue Ramanathan


  • Sue Ramanathan has served as a trusted advisor to principals in Congress and the US Dept of Homeland Security (US DHS) for over twenty years. Sue provides strategic guidance to clients with a focus on homeland and national security.  During the Obama Administration, she served as Deputy Assistant Secretary for the US DHS Office of Legislative Affairs and as Counselor to the Secretary.  She attended Rutgers University for her undergrad and law degrees, and received a Master’s degree from Georgetown Law.


During lunch, join Sue Ramanathan at Table 7.



Jason Redd


  • Jason Redd is currently based in Washington, DC and serves as the Director of Government and Regulatory Affairs for Gibbons PC, a major law firm. Redd previously served as the Deputy Executive Director and General Counsel to the New Jersey Senate Democratic Office.  He has also served as the Senior Counselor to the Senate President and Chief of Staff to the Senate Majority Leader.  Redd graduated from Rutgers University with a BS in Public Health and attended Brigham Young University, where he received his law degree.


During lunch, join Jason Redd at Table 8.



Christina Renna


  • Christina Renna is President & CEO of the Chamber of Commerce Southern NJ. She oversees a ten-person staff and has direct oversight of the Chamber’s work in public policy, and membership growth, retention and experience.  She joined the Chamber in 2007 as Director of Government Affairs before being tapped by Gov. Chris Christie to serve in his Administration.  She returned to the Chamber in 2014.  Renna received her BA from St. Joseph’s University in Philadelphia and her MPA from Villanova University. 


During lunch, join Christina Renna at Table 9. 



Chris Russell


  • Chris Russell is currently the top advisor to New Jersey Republican gubernatorial nominee Jack Ciattarelli, and serves as a strategic advisor to Members of Congress, Republican organizations, state legislators, and elected officials on the county and local level. As an award-winning direct mail consultant, Chris has won over 30 industry awards to date for his creative work.  A graduate of Temple University, Chris currently serves as a Member of the Political Science Alumni Advisory Board.


During lunch, join Chris Russell at Table 10. 



Hon. Tahesha Way


  • Tahesha Way serves as New Jersey’s 34th Secretary of State. As such, she serves as New Jersey’s top election official, in addition to overseeing the state government offices supporting New Jersey’s arts, culture, history, and business communities.  Prior to becoming Secretary of State, she was an Administrative Law Judge and a member of the Passaic County Board of Commissioners.  She is a graduate of Brown University and holds a JD from the University of Virginia School of Law, where she clerked for the Virginia Legal Aid Society and the United Steelworkers of America.



Larry Weitzner


  • Larry Weitzner is the CEO of Jamestown Associates, one of the nation’s premier political consulting firms that specializes in television advertising, campaign strategy, mail and issue communications for Republican candidates. Weitzner was the lead advertisement maker for the Trump Presidential Campaigns of 2016 and 2020, and has worked on various other campaigns, including Chris Christie’s, and for the Republican National Committee.  Weitzner received his BA from Lehigh University and his law degree from Seton Hall University.


During lunch, join Larry Weitzner at Table 11



Rob Zucker


  • Rob Zucker is a Partner at Winning Strategies Washington (WSW), having joined in 2003 after working for over nine years on Capitol Hill.  His efforts have included direct lobbying of Congress, grassroots organization and training, and outreach with third-party organizations. He previously served as the Legislative Director for US Cong. Steve Rothman (D-NJ), a former member of the House Appropriations Committee, as well as serving as a legislative assistant to the Ranking Member on the House Veterans Affairs Committee.  Rob earned a BA from Tufts University.


During lunch, join Rob Zucker at Table 12.