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 has worked on people centered, field intensive, campaigns throughout the country for over ten years.  While he started electoral organizing work in 2004, a large part of his time was with Barack Obama’s presidential campaign; starting in South Carolina in April of 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 Chicago headquarters and GOTV Director in Pennsylvania.  As the current Project Manager for Brass Tactics, Kevin has had primary responsibility for overseeing the implementation of Planned Parenthood’s door-to-door canvass program in Cleveland, Philadelphia and Atlanta that assisted people with health insurance applications through HealthCare.gov.

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 working to effect progressive change across the country at the national, state and congressional level. Alex began this work in late 2007 in the Iowa Caucuses for then Senator Barack Obama’s presidential campaign. He would go on to organize in seven states during the 2008 primary and general election on behalf of Obama for America. Starting in 2009 Alex began work as a Regional Field Director in Colorado with Organizing for America, working to build grassroots support for health insurance reform and in support of CO Senator Michael Bennett’s successful 2010 election campaign. In 2012 Alex became CO 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 Washington, DC.

Jennifer Skates

Jennifer excels at creating quality conversations between decision makers and the communities they serve.  She has worked on candidate and issue based electoral campaigns, public education community engagement, and non-profit collective impact.  Her political career includes work for the Democratic Parties of Kentucky and Arkansas, Governor Terry McAuliffe, Senator Blanche Lincoln, and others; she has also served the District of Columbia Public Schools and DC Promise Neighborhood Initiative.

When not at work, Jennifer can be found reading (or arguing with her friends) about local DC politics.