Team

Depth of experience, passionate advocates.

We have a bipartisan team with experience working in key offices, on key committees, and in federal agencies with oversight of our clients’ issues.

Catriona Macdonald

President

Catriona Macdonald leads the Linchpin team in assisting clients in the areas of health, education, and disability to communicate their priorities and needs to audiences at all levels of government.

When your priorities are at risk, or you need a highly accomplished, tenacious advocate, you want Catriona on your side. Since founding Linchpin in 2004, she has led successful efforts to establish new medical research funds; protect small business opportunities from federal agency overreach and multi-million dollar competitors; and secure increases of more than $4 billion for early childhood education.

Catriona’s experience on Capitol Hill includes working for Senator Edward Kennedy on the Senate Labor Committee; staffing domestic social issues and appropriations for Congressman Steny Hoyer, the current House Minority Whip; and serving as the Legislative Director for Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro, the current Ranking Member of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services and Education. Her experience in the executive branch includes working as a budget and policy analyst in the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Management and Budget at the US Department of Health and Human Services.

She received her B.S. in Foreign Service from Georgetown University, and a Master’s in Public Policy from the Harvard University Kennedy School of Government.

Kathleen Havey

Senior Policy Advisor

Kathleen Havey specializes in advocacy on behalf of children and families. Her work builds upon several decades of experience in the nonprofit and congressional arenas.

Kathleen deploys her experience as staff to the House Ways and Means Health Subcommittee Chairwoman in myriad ways on behalf of Linchpin clients. She leads Linchpin’s work on family tax policy and child care, including the reauthorization of the Child Care and Development Block Grant. Kathleen is part of the education and health policy teams that secured extension of home visiting programs on Medicare legislation, strengthened early learning provisions in the Every Student Succeeds Act, and won significant increases in funding for early childhood in the FY 2014 and 2016 appropriations bills.

Prior to joining Linchpin, Kathleen worked at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, where she represented businesses of all sizes before Congress and the Administration on pension and employee benefit issues. She also taught marketing at Johns Hopkins and the University of Maryland.

On Capitol Hill, Kathleen served as Legislative Director for Congresswoman Nancy Johnson. In this capacity, she worked on issues under the jurisdiction of the Ways and Means Committee, including income support programs, pensions, and taxation. Responsible for issues of particular importance to women and families, including education and child care, Kathleen was deeply involved in conference committee negotiations on the landmark 1996 welfare reform law.

Kathleen holds a B.A. in Political Science from the University of Notre Dame and an M.B.A. with concentrations in marketing and finance from the University of Maryland.

Srinu Sonti

Policy Advisor

Srinu Sonti has worked on and off Capitol Hill to promote a wide range of health policy and regulatory priorities that improve access to health care. He has extensive experience in the political and policy arenas, including working directly with CMS on implementation of the Affordable Care Act.

Srinu joins Linchpin from the Federation of American Hospitals, serving the more than 1,100 investor-owned hospitals across the U.S.  As Vice President for Legislation, he was the lead lobbyist with Congressional Democrats.  He also managed the health IT portfolio, including managing successful regulatory changes to the Meaningful Use Program.

Prior to joining FAH, Srinu served as Health Policy Advisor to Senator Richard Durbin (D-IL), the current Minority Whip in the Senate.  There, he primarily managed the Senator’s health care finance issue portfolio, focusing on the Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security programs.  Before serving on Sen. Durbin’s staff, Srinu was the Associate Director of Government Affairs at the Center for American Progress.  At CAP, he raised awareness of and coordinated advocacy efforts on complex issues, such as health care and poverty.  Srinu also served for several years as the Research Director for then-Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV), focusing on message development and strategy.

Srinu earned a Bachelor of Arts in History from the University of Wisconsin, and a Juris Doctor degree from the New York Law School.

Douglas P. McCormack

Vice Chairman

Doug McCormack has spent the past 25 years engaged at the intersection of health care policy, law, politics and business. He specializes in solving complex challenges at the federal level through creative solutions and tenacious advocacy. Mr. McCormack returns to providing professional services after a decade of corporate health care experience.

For the past ten years, Mr. McCormack has been founder, CEO and Chairman of two venture-backed technology companies in the medical device and digital health sectors.  Under his leadership, these companies amassed nearly two dozen patents, were recognized with multiple R&D 100 and Edison Awards for innovation, and partnered with Apple to feature the first medical device brought to market with patient connectivity and control via an iPhone app. Mr. McCormack exited his first business through a strategic asset sale to a global market leader based in Germany.

Prior to his entrepreneurial career, Doug spent fifteen years in health policy and advocacy, including as a lawyer in a top DC-based law firm, and then as a partner in a global law firm where he was a co-founder of that firm’s public policy and advocacy practice group.  In this capacity, he focused on representing before Congress and federal agencies a range of health care interests, including hospitals and health systems, hospital consortia, physician and specialty practice groups, trade associations, group purchasing organizations, and medical technology companies.

Doug received his undergraduate degree from the University of Southern California and his Juris Doctorate from American University’s Washington College of Law. He is a member of the Maryland and District of Columbia bars, and serves on the boards of several early-stage technology companies.

Blake Gudgel

Senior Policy Associate

Blake Gudgel specializes in advocacy at the intersection of health policy and technology.  He brings to bear his experience with private sector development, government agencies and Congress to create new opportunities for Linchpin’s small business clients. Specific areas of focus include new product and market launches, corporate partnerships, IP, in-and-out licensing, business modeling, venture financing, and federal partnership development.

Blake brings to Linchpin more than a decade of experience leading development efforts in startup and institutional settings.  He has developed partnerships with multiple federal departments and agencies to support the development and launch of new technologies, including the Department of Defense, National Institutes of Health, TATRC, DARPA, National Science Foundation i-Corps, and the Department of Energy’s National Labs.   He has worked extensively with the Veterans’ Administration health system to support data-driven outcomes and improved care for veterans who sustained injury in combat.  Blake’s primary focus has been in health technology, but his experience also includes co-generation energy, tech-education platforms, specialty pharma, e-commerce and agro-tech.

Prior to joining the Linchpin team, Blake served as Director of Business Development for the tech transfer office of a major state university, where he managed the transition of the university’s intellectual property portfolio from lab to market, via licensing with public & private companies, spin-outs and collaborative partnerships.  He has held positions on the leadership teams of multiple start-up health technology firms, and currently serves as an advisor to several high tech ventures.  Blake received his degrees in Entrepreneurship/Venture Management and Marketing from the University of Oklahoma.

Andrea Ball

Senior Policy Associate

Andrea Ball has more than fifteen years of policy, advocacy and management experience in education issues, from early childhood through college and career. She has held senior leadership positions in government affairs and program management in California’s state department of education as well as the California State University (CSU) Chancellor’s Office and the Long Beach Unified School District, a nationally recognized large urban district. Andrea’s deep experience at the state level focused on efforts to close achievement and opportunity gaps brings a valuable perspective to federal policy issues, given the renewed emphasis on state and local decision-making reflected in the Every Student Succeeds Act.

Andrea served as Deputy Superintendent of Government Affairs for State Superintendent Jack O’Connell, where she worked on key federal policy and funding matters.  This included serving as department point person on implementation of the federal stimulus funds for education, which provided over $4 billion to California local education agencies, drafting and coordinating comments on federal education regulations, and providing oversight to federal liaison activities. Andrea represented the State Superintendent before budget and policy committees and in negotiations with state legislative and executive branch offices. At the CSU Chancellor’s Office, Andrea directed a program to improve access and preparation of students from underrepresented groups for college and career.

Andrea received a B.A. in History and Anthropology form the University of California, San Diego and a Master’s in International Management from Thunderbird Graduate School of Global Management. She holds a J.D. from American University Washington College of Law and is a member of the State Bar of California.

Adam Shapiro

PR Partner

Adam Shapiro partners with Linchpin to help clients enhance their public policy communications. As a broadcast journalist, his award-winning stories have appeared on CNN, CNBC, Headline News, and NBC television stations across the United States. His interest in public policy was stoked as press secretary for Governor Jim Hunt of North Carolina.

Adam has led communications efforts to build bipartisan support for bills before Congress, including the reauthorization of the Child Nutrition Act and the Maternal, Infant and Early Childhood Home Visiting program. He was also part of the advocacy team that fought for passage of the Early Learning Challenge Fund.  His work has been recognized for excellence by the Public Relations Society of America, International Association of Business Communicators, National School Public Relations Association, The Communicator Award, North Carolina Associated Press and the Michigan Associated Press. He is considered “a go-to PR guy in town” by The Washington Post.

Adam is a graduate of the University of Missouri School of Journalism. He is a regular lecturer at George Washington University and American University on the role of modern communications in achieving strategic goals.

Heidi Magnuson

Design Partner

Heidi Magnuson partners with Linchpin to help clients further develop their branding and identity in both print and electronic media. As a graphic designer, her award-winning work has been recognized by HOW magazine, the Web Marketing Association, and the Association of Education Publishers.

Heidi has worked with non-profit and association clients for the past 20 years helping build their unique strong recognizable presence. From print to online strategies and design, she has worked with such clients as The Association of State Home Visiting Initiatives (ASTHVI), Grameen Foundation, Feedmore, United Nations Girl Up, Mazon, and College Possible. She has also done work with many educational institutions such as the University of Maryland, George Mason University, the University of Delaware and Arizona State University.

Heidi is a graduate with honors of Syracuse University, Newhouse School of Public Communications. She has also judged numerous national design competitions in print and electronic media.

Advisory Board

Leslie C. Francis

Chairman, Advisory Board

Les is an independent communications and government affairs specialist. His broad experience in Washington spans both ends of Pennsylvania Avenue, with multiple stops in between.  He has served as Chief of Staff to California Congressman Norman Mineta and as Deputy White House Chief of Staff to President Carter, where he was responsible for negotiating the formation of the US Department of Education.  He held the position of Executive Director of both the Democratic National Committee and the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. His own business, the FMR Group, was an early eighties pioneer in grassroots lobbying, known for its innovative and effective constituency development accomplishments. He has managed or consulted on dozens of initiative and referenda campaigns, and has served as staff, manager or senior advisor to campaigns for almost every office from city council to president. Les has returned to his roots, and lives and works in California with frequent trips to the nation’s Capitol.

Jennifer Luray

Advisory Board Member

Jenny is Director for Public Policy and Government Relations for BD, a global diagnostics, biosciences, and medical devices firm. Her expertise in health and family issues has been widely recognized inside and outside government.  Following her time as Legislative Director to New York Congresswoman Nita Lowey, she served as the Deputy Assistant to the President for Women’s Initiatives and Outreach in the Clinton Administration. Jenny moved to the Senate as Chief of Staff to Maryland Senator Barbara Mikulski, before directing public policy and government affairs for Abbot and Susan G Komen for the Cure.

Anthony McCann

Advisory Board Member

Tony is the Vice Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Maryland Health Benefit Exchange.  His deep background in health program administration was launched at the National Association of Counties as the Program Director for Health Programs. His service on the Senate Budget Committee led to appointments as Assistant Secretary for Management and Budget at the US Department of Health and Human Services in the Reagan Administration, and Assistant Secretary for Finance and Information Resources and Chief Financial Officer at the US Department of Veterans’ Affairs in the George H.W. Bush Administration.  Following his years as Clerk/Staff Director for the House Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and Associated Agencies Appropriations, he became Secretary of the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene under Governor Ehrlich. Tony retired from government as Chief Financial Officer of the US Department of Health and Human Services’ Health Resources and Services Administration before his return to the Health Benefit Exchange and role as a Senior Fellow at the University of Maryland School of Public Policy.

Ted McConnell

Advisory Board Member

Ted is the Executive Director of the Campaign for the Civic Mission of Schools.  In addition to his work for Republican Presidential campaigns, he served in the Reagan Administration as Congressional Affairs Assistant to US Department of Commerce Secretary Baldridge.  After consulting on campaigns and political affairs, Ted became the Assistant to the Chairman, Justice William Brennan, for the Commission on the Bicentennial of the US Constitution. This launched his subsequent career as a leader in nonpartisan civic education issues, including work as the Director of the National Campaign to Promote Civic Education for the Center for Civic Education and his current role supporting CMS co-chairs Justice Sandra Day O’Connor and the Honorable Lee Hamilton in promoting civic learning across the US.