Insights: A Conversation With Niki Christoff

On this episode of HPS Insights, Niki Christoff, CEO of Christoff & Co. and host of the Tech’ed Up podcast, joins HPS partner Bryan DeAngelis and senior director Elliott Owensby to discuss the evolving podcasting landscape and its value as a platform to educate key audiences on relevant topics, like decentralized finance (DeFi) and crypto. 

In the episode, Niki speaks to the origins of her podcast and how she leveraged her tech-sector experience and communications expertise to provide critical insights to the Beltway community. Niki also speaks to how recording and publishing the podcast has helped her realize the value of taking a step back to consider how ubiquitous—and now seemingly essential—many technological advancements have become. “We have lost some of the appreciation for what are still increasingly magical tools,” she says. “A lot of people are left out of the workforce and left out of accessibility, and there are people in all the big tech companies right now working on making lives better and more accessible. I worry that the narrative gets lost.”

To close out the show, the group discusses crypto and the ongoing regulatory debates in Washington, D.C. “Digital currencies absolutely will be adopted,” Niki insists. “So either the United States can pull it together and come up with a framework so that we lead on policy, or what will happen is exactly what has happened with Web2.” Listen to the full conversation here and check out the show notes below!

Show Notes


Insights: A Conversation With Emily David Hershman

On this episode of HPS Insights, Emily David Hershman, Director of Engagement and Special Projects in the Office of Delaware Governor John Carney joins HPS Partner Bryan DeAngelis to discuss the role of a communications team at the state government level and the unique challenges of the job. 

In the episode, Emily dives into how her team managed the COVID-19 crisis over what has now been over two years, outlining Delaware’s response to the pandemic and the ways in which her office worked to confront misinformation, build wide-reaching trust, and develop local relationships. 

Emily notes the importance of being nimble in public-facing communications and honest in disclosing the limitations of available information. “The message we’re saying today is accurate today,” she said. “But we have to all understand that just like this virus is changing—it’s getting new variants, etc.—so is our messaging.” She also provides insights into how Delaware and other states have been creative in the distribution of key messaging to reach new, younger audiences. Emily speaks to the importance of compassion and working with other states—from Massachusetts to Connecticut and Rhode Island—to learn how to better reach their citizens where they are. Listen to the full conversation here and check out the show notes below! 

Show Notes

Delaware COVID-19 Dashboard

– First COVID-19 case in Delaware on March 11, 2020

– Only 50% of Delawareans ages 18-35 were vaccinated by June 2021

– Delaware engaged in door-knocking to spread COVID vaccine information

California SMARTER coronavirus plan

– John Gallagher Jr. COVID-19 Video

– Elena Delle Donne COVID-19 Video


Historic Context And Economic Background Of Russia’s War On Ukraine

At the beginning of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, HPS examined the historical and economic context behind Russia’s tumultuous relationship with Ukraine, analyzing the state of play in regard to international sanctions as well as the broader global reaction


New HPS Insights Podcast Miniseries: Crypto Convos

With what seem like new innovations almost every day and an uncertain regulatory environment, the crypto space is rapidly changing—so much so that it’s hard to keep up with the latest developments.

To help provide the latest insights and analyses, HPS Insights launched “Crypto Convos,” a miniseries hosted by HPS Partner Bryan DeAngelis and HPS Senior Director Elliott Owensby. Each episode features an interview with a crypto expert from various segments of the industry to discuss the latest developments in crypto technology, policy, and regulation. Each guest offers a unique perspective on some of the biggest questions facing crypto regulators and investors today.

In the series’ inaugural episode, Bryan and Elliott were joined by Amit Sharma, CEO & Founder of FinClusive, a fintech firm at the cutting edge of 21st century compliance solutions for un- and underbanked communities across the globe. The group discussed how FinClusive is using new crypto products to expand financial access across the globe, the tight-rope that U.S. regulators walk when trying to balance the need for crypto regulation without hamstringing innovation, and the inherent tension between financial inclusion and counter-terrorist financing.

In the second episode of the series, Bryan and Elliott spoke with Alex Sternhell, principal at the Sternhell Group and a top financial services public policy strategist in Washington. The group discussed the evolving interest in crypto on the Hill, including new stablecoin developments and the inclusion of crypto-related tax provisions in the Bipartisan Infrastructure Deal. After walking through the past and present landscape surrounding crypto regulation and policy in the U.S., the group debated what future regulatory and policy action might look like. 

Crypto Convos’ third installment features Will McDonough, a leader in introducing one of the first Bitcoin future ETFs and Vice Chairman of Valkyrie Investments. HPS Partner Matt McDonald and Markets Policy Partners’ Brendan Walsh joined Bryan for the conversation, in which Will shared insights on the maturing regulatory environment for crypto-based funds, the potential of NFT technology, and more.

The latest episode of the series is a “podcast within a podcast,” as Bryan and Elliott are joined by Modern Markets Initiative CEO Kirsten Wegner and Elliptic Senior Policy Associate Kate Goldman, co-hosts of Crypto [StudyHall], a podcast that dives into the ever-evolving crypto landscape through conversations with experts from across the industry. Kirsten and Kate discussed new crypto developments and upcoming guests that they are most excited about, crypto’s impacts on almost every facet of life, particularly on social justice and geopolitics, and more.

Stay tuned for additional episodes throughout 2022, the so-called year of crypto regulation, as HPS continues its work to help clients define and navigate this new industry. Be sure to subscribe to the HPS Insights podcast on your favorite podcast platform to be the first to know about additional episodes, coming soon!


Insights: A Conversation With Retired General Stanley McChrystal

Retired Four-Star U.S. Army General Stanley McChrystal spent over thirty years serving his country in the armed forces—from West Point to Commander International Security Assistance Services Forces – Afghanistan. In this episode of HPS Insights, General McChrystal and coauthor Anna Butrico join HPS Partners Tony Fratto and Stacy Kerr for a conversation on risk in today’s dynamic landscape and their book, “Risk: A User’s Guide.” The authors discuss how individuals and organizations often fail to appropriately identify and mitigate risk. Leveraging his decades-long military service, General McChrystal offers insights into his battle-tested system for effectively detecting and responding to risk. 

On the podcast, General McChrystal and Butrico offer lessons for leaders at all levels, urging them to take responsibility for their organizations’ “risk immune systems,” even when that means breaking from established practices and old perspectives. “If the people before you or your peers are all doing it a certain way, there’s a safety in doing what they do—even if you fail.”

You can listen to the full conversation here. You can also learn more about the book here. Subscribe to the HPS Podcast Channel on your favorite podcast service for more insights and our weekly Macrocast.


Capitol Chatter: A Quarterly Analysis Of Congressional Tweets & A 2021 Retrospective

Welcome back to Capitol Chatter: A Quarterly Analysis Of Congressional Tweets, where we help you keep track of what Congress is tweeting. This analysis covers both trends from Q4 2021 and insights from the full year.

In 2021, Congressional Twitter accounts sent out a total of 549,687 tweets. Democrats accounted for 61.2% of that total, while Republicans sent the remaining 38.8%. Tweet activity declined over the year: members of Congress sent 115,657 tweets in Q4, an 11% decline from Q3. 

Topics: What Were Members Talking About?

After three quarters of growth, infrastructure emerged as the most discussed topic on congressional Twitter in Q4: members’ tweets about infrastructure jumped almost 50% from Q3 to Q4 as the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act was signed in November. Conversely, the number of tweets mentioning foreign affairs and defense fell 55%, returning to levels in line with tweet volume prior to the U.S.’ withdrawal from Afghanistan.

The steady growth in tweets about infrastructure and the economy was driven largely by Democrats, who used terms like “bipartisan,” “infrastructure,” “jobs,” and the hashtag “BuildBackBetter” to push the President’s agenda. Republicans were more likely to tweet about Biden directly, and focused on negative issues like inflation: Republicans mentioned “inflation” nearly nine times as often as Democrats in Q4.

Mentions of “inflation” illustrate how congressional Twitter can be a barometer of both parties’ political and communications strategies. While consumer interest in inflation has been high all year, as data from Google Trends show, Republicans increased their discussion of the topic to try to tie rising prices to President Biden’s agenda in May, while Democrats shifted gears in December, pointing to the need to fight inflation as a reason to pass Build Back Better.

Mentions of COVID-19 vaccines showed a similarly partisan split. Democrats’ tweets about COVID-19 vaccines generally tracked Google search volume: volume slowed over the year after peaking around expanded vaccine eligibility in April. Republicans mentioned vaccines far less frequently for most of the year, until President Biden announced a sweeping vaccine mandate in November. Since then, Republican mentions of vaccines have matched or even outpaced those by Democrats.

Member Leaderboards: Who Was Tweeted About—And Tweeted—Most?

President Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris were mentioned most in members’ tweets: their combined weekly mentions ranged from one to 40 times more than combined mentions of Congressional leadership (Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.), Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.)). 

Speaker Pelosi consistently led the other three leaders in mentions by other lawmakers. Among lawmakers, regulators, and government officials, her handle was mentioned the fourth most on congressional Twitter in 2021, trailing only @potus, @housedemocrats, and @joebiden.

Meanwhile, Senator John Cornyn (R-Texas) was crowned 2021’s most prolific tweeter in Congress. His account sent out a total of 6,507 tweets, over 1,000 more than any other member’s account. However, Sen. Cornyn’s tweet volume has steadily declined, dropping 44% from Q1 to Q4. Q4 was the only quarter in which Cornyn was not the top tweeter: that spot went to Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.).

Tennessee Republican Senators Marsha Blackburn and Bill Hagerty join Sen. Cornyn as the only senators on the full-year leaderboard, which is largely composed of Democratic House members. 


HPS conducted text analysis on all tweets and retweets from handles included in C-SPAN’s “members of Congress” Twitter list that were posted between January 1, 2021, and December 31, 2021. In total, we searched for more than 150 keywords in each of the 549,687 tweets (including retweets) to determine which topics were discussed in each. In this analysis, independent Senators Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and Angus King (I-Maine), who caucus with the Democratic Party, were treated as Democrats. 

To provide context for our full-year analysis, HPS obtained Google Trends data on select relevant topics featured in Axios’ 2021 news cycles analysis. The 0 to 100 weekly Google Trends index measures a topic’s proportion to all search topics in the U.S. 

COVID cases data used are from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s COVID Data Tracker; they were normalized to the same 0 to 100 scale as the Google Trends data.


Insights: A Conversation With Anna Gifty Opoku-Agyeman

Anna Gifty Opoku-Agyeman is an award-winning researcher and writer and the co-founder of the Sadie Collective. In this book recommendation episode of HPS Insights, Tony interviews Anna about her new book, “The Black Agenda.” The two chat about the book, a collection of essays by Black experts on a variety of public policy topics, and discuss why it is so important to include Black voices in public policy debates. 

In the current societal environment where race, diversity, and inclusion have come to the forefront of public discourse, Anna saw an opportunity to create a book that elevates the work and commentary of Black experts on public policy. As Anna and Tony explore a wide range of issues the book covers, the two note that each section is full of important and often widely unknown data, as well as thought-provoking and timely policy prescriptions.

In addition to delving into some of the issue-specific essays, Anna and Tony also discuss the important role that institutions more broadly play in increasing the inclusion of Black voices and talent, such as by hiring from Historically Black Colleges and Universities. There is no shortage of Black folks looking to take opportunities, Anna notes, and organizations that make an effort to realize that will be rewarded with a deeper, better workforce that everyone benefits from.

You can listen to the full conversation here. You can also learn more about Anna and “The Black Agenda” here and follow Anna on Twitter @itsafronomics. Subscribe to the HPS Podcast Channel on your favorite podcast service for more HPS Insights episodes and our weekly Macrocast.


HPS Announces New Director Hires, Welcomes Back Stephanie Dodge Bigley As Senior Director


Today, Hamilton Place Strategies (HPS) announced Alaina Monismith, Maura McDonough, and Rustin Finkler will be joining the firm as directors and Stephanie Dodge Bigley, previously a director at HPS, will be returning to the firm as a senior director.

“At an exciting time of growth for the firm, it is great to welcome Alaina, Maura, and Rustin to HPS,” said HPS Partner Matt McDonald. “They each bring a depth of experience which will benefit both our clients and internal teams. We are also excited for Stephanie to be back at HPS. She is a great colleague and will be an asset to the team as she leads the firm’s expanding portfolio of legal work.”

Stephanie Dodge Bigley returns to HPS from Davis & Santos where she practiced complex commercial litigation and white-collar defense. Stephanie specializes in legal strategies, advising clients on how to use public affairs to advance their legal position and minimize reputational risk. Stephanie previously served as a law clerk for the Honorable David A. Ezra, Senior U.S. District Judge for the Western District of Texas. Before going to law school, Stephanie worked as an associate and a director at HPS. Stephanie is bilingual in English and Spanish.

Prior to joining HPS, Alaina Monismith served as Senior Manager of Communications & Media Relations at the Public Affairs Council. Previously, Alaina worked in communications at the Alliance of Community Health Plans and as an editor of a trade publication in the D.C. metro area.

Rustin Finkler comes to HPS from Village Capital where he managed strategic communications for a non-profit with an affiliated venture fund. Rustin holds a Master’s in Public Policy from Georgetown University.

Maura McDonough was previously an account executive at Edelman, where she managed public awareness campaigns in the healthcare, workforce development, and environmental sustainability spaces. Maura previously worked in the office of Congressman Stephen Lynch (D-MA). 


HPS Hires Michael Short As Managing Director, Announces Slate Of Promotions

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Hamilton Place Strategies (HPS) announced Michael Short will be joining the firm’s growing team as a managing director. Melissa Manson and Max Mallory have also been promoted to managing director.  

“We are very excited to welcome Michael to HPS,” said Matt McDonald, a partner at HPS. “His considerable strategic communications experience and policy issue knowledge will be an invaluable asset to the firm.”

Prior to joining HPS, Short served as the Chief Communications Officer and Director of the Office of Public Affairs at the Commodity Futures Trading Commission under two presidential administrations of both political parties. From 2017 to 2019, he was head of media relations at the National Association of Manufacturers, the nation’s largest industrial trade association. Earlier in his career, Short served in key communications roles at the White House, Republican National Committee, and the U.S. House of Representatives. 

In addition, HPS announced several promotions today, which include: 

– Melissa Manson to Managing Director

– Max Mallory to Creative Managing Director

– Claire Bischoff to Senior Director

– Scott Haber-Katris to Senior Director

– Ryan Harrison to Associate Creative Director

– Tala Anchassi to Creative Director

– Oliver Edelmann to Director

– Claire Radler to Director

– Jolene Rencher to IT Manager

“We are delighted to announce year-end promotions for a number of our talented HPS team members,” said Partner Stuart Siciliano. “Our clients will benefit even further from their leadership and expertise, and I look forward to continuing to work with them as they keep growing professionally and contribute to the firm’s strong culture.”

Now a managing director, Melissa Manson has grown alongside the firm over the last decade, supporting corporate clients across a range of issues, including M&A, technology, transportation, and financial services. In her new role, she will serve as lead strategist on teams and continue to play an integral role in coaching and training at the firm.

Max Mallory will continue to lead an experienced and growing HPS Creative team as managing director, blending policy, design, and technological expertise to help clients increase the accessibility, reach, and emotional resonance of their work. Having previously served as a director at HPS, Mallory brings a depth and breadth of policy expertise to his leadership of HPS Creative.

Since joining the firm as an associate in 2016, Claire Bischoff has driven strategic and crisis communications campaigns and brand development efforts for many clients, including those in the highly regulated financial, technology, and M&A arenas. Her extensive digital knowledge is an asset to the firm and to its clients. 

As senior director, Scott Haber-Katris, who started his career at HPS and returned this past year, will continue to leverage his deep policy expertise to support a wide range of clients, including leading technology and financial services companies and trade associations. The leadership and mentorship he displays on his teams will help other team members grow in his footsteps. 

Ryan Harrison, who also joined the HPS team this past year, has immediately become an invaluable member of the Creative team. From brand identity to digital storytelling, Harrison drives strategic, imaginative, compelling, and ultimately effective work for our clients. 

Having joined HPS as associates in 2019, Tala Anchassi will become HPS Creative’s newest director, while Oliver Edelmann and Claire Radler will both become HPS directors, working collaboratively with HPS teams and clients to craft data-driven, strategic messages, and campaigns to further client objectives across industries. 

Jolene Rencher is critical to the HPS operations team and as IT manager, will now serve as the primary internal contact for office-wide information technology support while assisting in the firm’s overall operations.


HPS Names Andrea Christianson, Bryan DeAngelis, And Christina Pearson As Partners

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Hamilton Place Strategies (HPS) announced that Andrea Christianson, Bryan DeAngelis, and Christina Pearson have been named partners at the firm. Andrea, Bryan, and Christina have each served as managing directors at HPS, bringing significant public affairs and strategic communications expertise to the firm.

These promotions are the latest addition to a year of growth for Hamilton Place Strategies. In June, Falfurrias Capital Partners acquired a majority stake in HPS, allowing HPS to partner with Ballast Research, a firm that provides clients direct feedback from policymakers. In July, stakeholder intelligence platform alva became a partner as well. HPS will continue to leverage the capabilities of its organizational partnerships and the expertise of its personnel to create industry-leading analytical public affairs campaigns as it welcomes its new partners.

“I’m thrilled to share that Andrea, Bryan, and Christina have been named partners at HPS. They have each demonstrated exceptional leadership at HPS and have invested significantly in the growth and development of our firm and colleagues,” said HPS Co-founder and Partner Tony Fratto. “Andrea, Bryan, and Christina bring a depth of experience working through complex and high-stakes communications challenges with a variety of clients. We look forward to the many contributions these highly valued team members will make to HPS as partners.”

Andrea joined HPS in 2013, bringing extensive communications and rapid response experience from campaigns and government. As a managing director at HPS, Andrea has led multiple issue campaigns as well as policy research and analysis to inform client strategy and public affairs efforts on technology, finance, trade, and other economic policy issues. She also manages HPS’ media monitoring arm, Flag Media Analytics.

Bryan joined HPS as a managing director in 2019 after successful stints on Capitol Hill and as a public affairs consultant in Washington, D.C. He has been a trusted advisor to members of Congress and Democratic candidates throughout his career, and previously served as communications director and chief spokesperson for Senator Chris Dodd (D-CT). Bryan provides strategic counsel to HPS’ clients on corporate reputation, issue management, stakeholder persuasion, and public policy. He works with clients in the financial services, energy and climate, and tech industries, and is co-leading the firm’s increasing work in the cryptocurrency space.

Christina is recognized as the leader behind successful public affairs campaigns and reputational positioning for multiple global brands, particularly in the areas of health care, technology, and ESG. Before joining HPS in 2019, Christina was Assistant Secretary of Public Affairs for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Christina also helped Microsoft reshape its image with policymakers during her tenure on their government affairs senior leadership team. At HPS, she’s worked with clients in the health care, technology, transportation, retail, and financial sectors to advocate on issues, elevate brand awareness, and build support among key stakeholders to achieve business and policy goals.