OUR TEAM


Sheila O'Connell

Sheila O’Connell, CEO of Brass Tactics, is one of the country’s leading political strategists and advisors. Her two decades of experience working on successful political campaigns have proven her ability to bring innovation and ingenuity to traditional efforts promoting issues and candidates.

In 2016, Sheila managed the successful primary campaign of Senator-elect Chris Van Hollen, one of the most hard-fought primary campaigns of the election cycle. She has also served as a senior advisor to several successful efforts, including the Marylanders for Marriage Equality campaign, the campaign to elect Senator Mazie Hirono of Hawaii and the Democratic National Committee’s Obama-Biden re-election team.

Sheila’s previous experience includes serving as Maryland State Director for the Obama for America campaign in 2008, interim executive director of America Votes, political advisor to America Coming Together in 2004 and Political Director at EMILY’s List from 2000 to 2004.


Nicholas Kowalski 

Nick Kowalski is a seasoned campaign manager and strategist with more than 15 years of experience leading advocacy, political, earned media, marketing and membership programs. Nick’s approach to clients’ projects is rooted in the values of building relationships with trust and measuring performance with data. Nick has successfully led client teams with this approach for corporations, non-profit organizations and coalitions in a wide range of areas including healthcare, climate and environment, and financial and utility regulations.

Prior to Brass Tactics, Nick served as a State Outreach Director at Common Purpose Project (CPP) where he built partnerships with local coalitions and communities leaders in the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast to mobilize grassroots support of President Obama’s major legislative priorities. While at CPP, Nick was part of the team that developed and implemented The Action, a nationwide grassroots campaign that successfully ended the Bush Tax Cuts in 2012.

Nick’s field and management background on political campaigns across the country began with then-Senator Barack Obama’s presidential Primary and General election campaigns and has also included campaigns for Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, Virginia State Senator Janet Howell, and the Virginia Democratic Coordinated Campaign.

Nick graduated from the University of Washington and earned a Masters in Campaign Management from the George Washington University School of Political Management.

Nick is originally from Seattle and resides in Pennsylvania with his family, is a loyal Little of the TK Show, and supports first time candidates running for office as a volunteer Advisor for The Arena PAC.

 


Kevin Puleo

Kevin Puleo is a believer in people-centered, data-driven campaigns that rely on hard work and smart organizing to produce results that meet the client's goals. He provides general program oversight along with detailed guidance to ensure success. While he was worked on numerous organizing campaigns throughout the country over the past 15 years, a large part of his time was with Barack Obama's presidential campaign; starting in South Carolina in 2007, and eventually serving as Field Director in Colorado for the 2008 general election. Kevin continued his work with Organizing for America from 2009 through 2011 where he helped to organize grassroots support for the passage of the Affordable Care Act. He then served on President Obama's re-election campaign in 2011 and 2012 as a Regional Director in the Chicago headquarters and a GOTV Director in Pennsylvania.

At Brass Tactics, Kevin led the implementation of earned media programs that protected progress on environmental issues, and advanced climate change progress on college campuses. He also managed large-scale open enrollment programs to help people gain access to affordable health insurance. Kevin is skilled at creating campaign programs on a wide range of issues and managing multi-million dollar budgets.


Hilary Keller

Hilary Keller joins Brass Tactics with more than a decade of political and non-profit experience; including fundraising for local, state, and federal candidates in New York City and beyond, public policy research, event management, and data. Prior to her work at Brass Tactics, Hilary created and managed the data systems for SEIU-UHW’s Affordable Care Act outreach program in California. There she worked with modeled data and developed tracking and reporting systems for one of the largest healthcare coverage identification and enrollment programs in the country.

A proud Minnesotan, Hilary graduated from King’s College, London with a B.A. in European Studies and French, and from New York University with an M.A. in Politics.


Alex Steele

Alex Steele has spent the last eight years producing progressive change across the country at the national, state, and congressional levels. In 2007, Alex began this work in the Iowa Caucuses for then Senator Barack Obama’s presidential campaign. Thereafter, he organized in seven states during the 2008 primary and general election on behalf of Obama for America. Starting in 2009, Alex began working as a regional field director in Colorado with Organizing for America, where he built grassroots support for health insurance reform and Colorado Senator Michael Bennett’s successful 2010 election campaign. In 2012, Alex became the Colorado Deputy State Field Director in President Obama’s reelection campaign, leading the largest voter registration drive in state history.

Most recently, Alex served as the Midwest Field Director with the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee overseeing field operations in 15 congressional districts across 11 states. Since joining Brass Tactics, he has worked on issues relating to climate change and youth engagement.

Alex is originally from central California and currently resides with his wife in Southeast DC.


Jennifer Skates

Jennifer brings experience in candidate and issue-based electoral campaigns, public education community engagement, and non-profit collective impact. She excels at creating quality conversations between decision makers and the communities they serve. Her political career includes work for the Democratic Parties of Kentucky and Arkansas, Governor Terry McAuliffe, Senator Blanche Lincoln, and NextGen Climate; her time in the public and non-profit sectors includes work for the District of Columbia Public Schools and DC Promise Neighborhood Initiative. Jennifer's portfolio at Brass Tactics includes healthcare, climate advocacy, and clean energy projects.

A Tennessee native, Jennifer lives in Northeast DC with her sweet but ornery dog.


Marguerite Dooley

Marguerite brings extensive organizing and communications experience to her role at Brass Tactics. Before joining the team, she worked in the Legislative Affairs office for the Governor of Vermont, and in a variety of operations roles within the Vermont Democratic Party in the 2012 and 2014 cycles. Marguerite brings her background and  passion for engaging young people in the political process to her work every day. Since joining Brass Tactics, she has focused on projects connecting youth engagement and climate change action. 

Marguerite graduated from Wheaton College in Norton, MA with a degree in Political Science and Public Health. She currently resides in Washington D.C.


Carmela French

Carmela believes strong that our reality is what we choose to make it - and our careers should provide us not only with a livelihood, but be based off of community, fulfillment, and shared values. She joins Brass Tactics after gaining operations, HR, and communications experience in federal contracting and private industry. In previous roles she has developed talent branding, national operations policies, and program curricula.

As Operation Director, she is responsible for logistical and capacity support across all of Brass Tactics' programs. She's passionate about climate action, healthcare for all, and ensuring civil rights for all.

Raised in the suburbs of Atlanta, Carmela attended New College of Florida, researching conservation practices and developing a deep attachment to bromeliads and roseate spoonbills. She is involved in several climate action initiatives, works with the Human Rescue Alliance, and voraciously consumes public health data. She lives in beautiful Washington D.C. with her darling pup.