Chairman & Chief Executive OfficerFor over 40 years, Hal has guided the growth and direction of Cerrell. He consults with corporate and political clients on public affairs, government relations, media strategy, crisis and reputation management, legislation and political campaigns. As Chairman & CEO, Hal advocates for Cerrell’s clients before local city councils, the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors and various regulatory agencies, with his specialty being the energy, water, infrastructure and transportation sectors.
Chief Financial OfficerAs Cerrell’s CFO and co-owner, Steve oversees the firm’s accounting, finance, legal, and government reporting activities. A veteran of the firm for more than 30 years, he’s worked with staff to maintain consistent revenue growth and strengthen the company’s operations and client services. Steve’s understanding of the public affairs world comes from his extensive time as a financial manager and public affairs executive in the telecommunications and resource recovery industries. He advocated for various political and business-related projects, and was the business operations manager for one of the 100 largest cable television systems in the US. Steve is a wine enthusiast who has explored many of the great wine regions of the world.
Chief Strategic OfficerFor more than a decade, Brandon has run successful political, alliance development and public education campaigns. Working across the firm’s diverse specialty areas, he works to develop Cerrell’s strategic vision to ensure the firm’s continued growth. Brandon’s expertise is in developing winning strategic communications plans and mobilizing stakeholders to influence decision-makers and the media at the local, state and federal levels. A campaign veteran, he has managed several statewide programs for Cerrell and other firms, including a statewide healthcare advocacy and communications network and several ballot measures. After quitting smoking, Brandon loves running 5K’s and hiking with his friends, and spending as much time as possible with his family.
Vice PresidentTori runs Cerrell’s political, public education and issues management campaigns, specializing in strategic communications, stakeholder engagement and media relations for private and public-sector clients. With more than a decade of political campaign and public policy experience, Tori continues to play a game-changing role on local and statewide campaigns. Tori was lead manager of the Strategic Research Department for President Barack Obama’s successful reelection campaign in 2012, having served in a similar capacity on the President’s 2008 campaign, and on high-profile U.S. Senate reelection campaigns. Tori enjoys running, reading, walking her dog and enjoying the California sunshine. She’s also seen every episode of Friends and Seinfeld.
Vice PresidentAs Vice President, Victor Franco, Jr. provides expert government relations counsel to clients engaging LA City, LA County and other southland government agencies. Whether it’s working with a client in a planning session, lobbying decision-makers or walking with public safety officials at an onsite inspection, Victor is a demonstrated consensus builder and problem solver. Victor previously worked in several government affairs, marketing and lobbyist positions within the land use, automotive, technology and public safety sectors. A native of Los Angeles, Victor and his two children reside in Woodland Hills. An outdoor enthusiast, he serves on several public commissions and boards throughout LA County, as well as non-profit boards and fundraising committees.
Vice PresidentMarc brings decades of government relations and political experience to Cerrell’s government relations focus area. He leads a team of government and community affairs experts to serve clients seeking to build relationships with elected officials at the federal, state, county and city levels, as well as engaging public agencies throughout Southern California. A campaign and political veteran, Marc previously was the legislative coordinator for SEIU Local 721 in LA, managing several successful local revenue measures. He’s also worked for Senator Paul Wellstone and the Bill Bradley for President campaign among others. Marc enjoys a robust yoga practice for over 20 years after suffering a knee injury from playing one season in the Danish American Football League.
Public Affairs DirectorAs Public Affairs Director at Cerrell Associates, Jason provides a broad range of corporate, nonprofit and government clients with high-level communications, media and crisis management strategic advice and counsel. He has led award-winning public affairs and public relations campaigns and specializes in securing positive media coverage, supporting clients in crisis situations, and training corporate executives in crisis management and media relations. Jason is a veteran of both government and campaigns at the local, state and federal levels. He previously served as Communications Director for Los Angeles City Councilmember Bob Blumenfield and for former Los Angeles Unified School District Board Member Nury Martinez, and Press Secretary for former Congressman Howard Berman’s 2012 reelection campaign. Known at the office for his encyclopedic knowledge of useless information and Presidential trivia, and for his ever-growing collection of eccentric socks. Jason is a cinephile and a lover of food and cooking projects.
Public Affairs ManagerAnthony brings extensive public affairs/public relations experience spanning several industries to the firm’s government relations and land use teams. He specializes in strategic communications, media outreach, stakeholder and community engagement, brand development and event coordination. His experience in advocacy has given him the skills necessary to develop effective and culturally-sensitive messages for ethnically diverse audiences. Anthony came to Cerrell with more than a decade of experience in the fields of communications, public policy, government and international relations, nonprofit advocacy and business development. Anthony enjoys healthy living and staying active, watching documentaries, Seinfeld reruns and all types of sports, and taking his 10-year-old Shephard-mix everywhere with him on the weekend.
Senior Account ExecutiveAs a Senior Account Executive, John specializes in bridging the gap between the familiar communication mediums and the new fast-paced digital communications. His experience in campaign strategy, message development, strategic planning, social media, outreach and digital content allows him to successfully develop and execute strategic communications programs for issues-based causes and political campaigns. His digital media work has been featured in regional and local papers and websites across Southern California. John engages in thoughtful analysis and creative thinking that supports any public relations campaign. He specializes in developing strategic communications programs focusing on reaching diverse audiences through digital advertisements and materials, and manages social media content, tracking and analytics for clients. On weekends, you can find John at the Rose Bowl or Pauley Pavilion cheering on his beloved Bruins. During the off season, he’s probably in his garage brewing beer.
Senior Account ExecutiveSierra implements comprehensive public relations programs to shape public opinion and frame complex issues for Cerrell’s diverse clientele. She designs programs focusing on strategic communications, corporate social responsibility, and public policy analysis to strengthen our clients’ brands and achieve their goals. Her experience includes providing counsel to corporations, high-profile individuals and non-profit organizations in political affairs and strategic philanthropy, including organizing political fundraisers for numerous candidate campaigns and political action committees. A lover of eating chocolate, dancing, and playing with dogs, you will most likely find Sierra doing one of these activities (and yes, sometimes all at once).
Account ExecutiveLeigh brings a keen understanding of strategic communications, messaging and grassroots engagement to Cerrell’s public relations, crisis communications, campaigns and community outreach programs. She develops innovative, multipronged strategies that win elections, influence key decision makers, gain media coverage and accomplish her client’s public policy goals. An East Coast transplant, Leigh’s background includes working at the Supreme Court, on a statewide election and in the international relations sphere. Through this work, she gained valuable experience in political communications working on sensitive and complex policy issues. Outside work, Leigh can be found trying out the newest restaurant, cooking an elaborate recipe or cheering on her beloved USC Trojans.
Account ExecutiveWendy Villalta supports Cerrell Associate’s Public Relations & Crisis Communications practice area as an Account Executive. Her client portfolio includes high-profile projects in construction, healthcare, oil and gas, and water. In addition to serving a diverse range of clients in managing public relations programs, Wendy is a digital communications strategist, launching and managing social media programs for several of Cerrell’s clients. Wendy is an outdoor enthusiast who enjoys hiking, backpacking, camping and rock climbing. She is passionate about protecting public lands, animal welfare, and on weekends she volunteers at a local cat shelter.
Senior Account CoordinatorAt Cerrell, Kathryn works on issues management and ballot measure campaigns. She develops and implements advocacy, outreach and media relations strategies for the firm’s private, public sector and nonprofit clients. Kathryn began her career as a Teach for America corps member, teaching 5th grade in rural Louisiana. She was also a fellow at the Louisiana Department of Education and most recently worked in public affairs at SKDKnickerbocker. She received her undergraduate degree from the University of Virginia and her Master in Public Policy from the University of Southern California. Her favorite activities include exploring new cities, reading on the beach and working to get more women elected.
Senior Account CoordinatorJosh manages stakeholder engagement, community outreach and coalition building activities for contentious issues throughout Southern California. He specializes in working on the firm’s environmental, health, local government and land use clients. Josh gained his community engagement expertise by serving as a Board Member for Mi Casa de Angeles, coordinating fundraising opportunities to build a new K-6 school in Lima, Peru. He also worked with the Freedom of Information Organization, engaging student bodies to raise awareness about the lack of transparency within government. When not at Cerrell, you can find Josh at Dodger Stadium catching a game with his dad, Steve…
Accounting & HR ManagerSarah wears many hats at Cerrell, blending traditional accounting and office management functions with innovative human resources practices, ensuring a productive and collaborative workplace environment. She oversees client invoicing, as well as accounts payable and receivable, and manages staff onboarding and benefit administration activities to seamlessly integrate new employees onto our team. Sarah gained valuable accounting and human resources experience through her previous work in the mental health and insurance sectors. A proud UCLA Bruin, Sarah enjoys traveling, reading fantasy fiction, cross stitching, and spending time with her family and twins.
ReceptionistAnna has been part of the Cerrell family for 20 years. The first voice that everyone hears when they call our office, she provides administrative support with a focus on accounting and event coordination. Anna came to Cerrell with over a decade of experience working for the public sector. In her time with the Los Angeles City Attorney’s Office and California Children Services, she gained valuable customer service and database management experience that she continues to use to this day. Anna and her husband are members of her local church outreach program and love to watch NFL games on her time off.
Senior Accounting & Compliance CoordinatorAs a Senior Accounting and Compliance Coordinator at Cerrell, Joe is an integral part of the administration team by supporting the firm’s account leaders with client budgeting, contract management and sub-contractor coordination. Joe manages the firm’s lobby reporting and registrations, accounts payable, revenue forecast, budgets, and cash account reconciliations. Joe gained valuable finance experience through his previous work in the mortgage industry where he worked in both the compliance and loan servicing departments. In his free time, Joe enjoys watching football, working out, seeing live music, and appreciates the many great restaurants that Los Angeles has to offer.
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