CULTURE COMMUNITY COMPASSION
Named for a group of social justice reformers in the late 18th century in England that included William Wilberforce, who worked to abolish the slave trade in his country, The Clapham Group represents and consults clients working to address modern-day injustices and promote the common good. We operate in marketing, think-tank, and consultation spaces. Whether through social marketing, public relations, or political and policy consulting, The Clapham Group believes that renewing the culture, confronting injustice and promoting the common good must be undertaken together if anyone is to succeed in shaping the conversation and, ultimately, improving the lives of individuals and families.
WHAT WE OFFER
PUBLIC RELATIONS & MESSAGING
Mark Rodgers is the Principal of The Clapham Group a company that seeks to influence culture upstream of the political arena. Mark served as the third-ranking Republican leadership staffer in the U.S. Senate for six years overseeing strategic planning and strategic communications. He also served as a high profile chief of staff to Senator Rick Santorum, working on Capitol Hill for a total of 16 years. He was known on the Hill for his work on such issues as poverty alleviation and global AIDS, as well as protecting life at its most vulnerable stages.
Mark is a published writer and a speaker at large and small gatherings on the topics of faith and public life, culture and caring for the least of these. His work over the years included an outreach to “culture creators,” and he has worked closely with artists such as Bono, Patty Heaton and The Fray. He still collects pop culture artifacts, as the walls of his office attest.
Mark is a social entrepreneur, and enjoys finding ways to help people “do good while doing well.” In the 1980s, Mark worked at the Pittsburgh Leadership Foundation, a faith-based organization committed to addressing the social needs of Pittsburgh from a Christian perspective. He also founded the National Institute of Lay Education (NILE), which developed adult education curriculum to encourage reflecting Christian involvement in public life. He earned a bachelor’s degree in petroleum engineering from Penn State, and attended Trinity Episcopal School for ministry. He is currently a Policy Fellow with the American Conservative Union Foundation. Mark is married to Leanne, and the proud father of four children.
Abby Skeans, Esq. is an associate at The Clapham Group who is deeply committed to issues of justice. Particularly dedicated to advocating for the most vulnerable of society, her clients include The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Annie E. Casey Foundation, The College Board, and the Humane Society of the United States, among others.
Prior to The Clapham Group, Abby served with a juvenile justice organization based in Kampala, Uganda where she worked with the Government of Uganda, Church of Uganda, and various international and local civil society organizations to craft and contribute to systemic reforms on behalf of children in conflict with the law. In 2013, she was invited to Malawi and South Sudan to explore opportunities to participate in reforms in the juvenile systems of both countries and was able to create valuable relationships between Government institutions of both countries and American organizations.
Abby is a published writer and speaker, and currently serves as an editorial reviewer for the International Journal of Transitional Justice. Abby is a graduate of Calvin College where she studied international relations and art history. She received her law degree from Regent University School of Law, where she supported the development of a Masters in Law program and built a relationship between Regent Law and various officials and grassroots partners in Uganda and South Sudan.
Abby is a member of the Washington, D.C. Bar. She is also grateful to serve as a Policy Fellow with the American Conservative Union Foundation, an Executive Council Member for Global Unites (a global youth movement committed to long-term transformation of conflict and sustainable peace in post-conflict regions), and a member of the Ideas Council for the Values and Capitalism Project at the American Enterprise Institute.
Michael Leaser joined The Clapham Group in July 2010. He has also served since 2013 as vice president of Cave Pictures, a film investment company which produces films that are good for the soul's consumption, true to the human condition, and beautiful in their craftsmanship. From 2010- 2013, he wrote 50 film review and culture articles for World magazine.
Michael previously served as managing editor for Philanthropy magazine at The Philanthropy Roundtable and as the executive assistant for Michael Novak at the American Enterprise Institute. He earned a B.A. in English and History at Washington and Lee University and an M.A. in Theological and Religious Studies at Drew University.
Michael is an avid fan of the Philadelphia Phillies, C.S. Lewis, and his wife.
Molly Connolly is an Associate at The Clapham Group whose work currently revolves around project development, community outreach and event planning for clients such as the College Board, Humane Society of the United States and the Annie E. Casey Foundation, among others.
Molly graduated magna cum laude from Gordon College where she double majored in Linguistics and Spanish. She took part in a great books honors program and spent a semester living in Alicante, Spain improving her language skills and exploring the Iberian Peninsula, where she hopes to return one day to complete the rest of the Camino de Santiago.
Molly cares about people and sustainable food and is most joyful when the two are combined. She has other various passions including yoga, film and photography and also moonlights as a touring member of the Cleveland, OH based band The Lighthouse and the Whaler, where she plays violin and keyboard.
For The Clapham Group, Caroline works on projects relating to pop culture, Millennial movements, advocacy, cause marketing and faith. Before joining The Clapham Group, Caroline worked in development for the Trinity Forum. She has worked in professional theatre in DC as an actor, master teaching artist, house manager, production manager, and designer with venues such as Young Playwrights’ Theater, Artisphere, Source Theatre, Rorschach Theatre, Synetic Theater and Adventure Theatre. Before moving to DC, Caroline worked as an elementary school teacher, urban farm manager, and Catholic Worker. Caroline is a graduate of Bethel School of Ministry in California and Harvest School of Missions in Mozambique. Caroline holds a B.A. in Theatre Arts from Bethel College in Indiana, where she graduated summa cum laude.
Branden S. Polk, MSW, LGSW is the CEO and Founder of Arrowhead Advising, LLC, a
passionate personal coaching, leadership development, and consulting business that helps leaders and
organizations exact the most beneficial and transformative influence on society and culture.
Branden is committed to being an advocate for the most vulnerable through his work as a licensed
social worker, counselor, personal and organizational leadership coach, and as a creative
Before founding Arrowhead Advising, Branden served with a community-based
nonprofit organization that provided behavioral health, mental health, case management, and advocacy
services to underserved children, adolescents, and families. He spent most of his time providing
therapeutic services to children and families who had been impacted by traumatizing experiences
and advocating for behavioral services in the realms of juvenile justice, education, and child
welfare. Prior to working with the Clapham Group, Branden provided consulting services to Child Welfare
Information Gateway, a service of the Children’s Bureau and Health and Human Services, in the areas of
public health, adoption, foster care, and child abuse neglect prevention.
Branden received his undergraduate degrees in Psychology and Theater from the College of
William &amp; Mary in Williamsburg, Virginia. He is also a graduate of George Mason University
where he received his master’s degree in Social Work. During that time he founded a mentoring and professional
group for men, The Arrowhead Society, that focuses on developing leaders and creative movements.
Prior to joining the Clapham Group, Brian spent over four years on Capitol Hill focusing on communications and legislative policy for Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (CA). Brian completed his MBA in 2014, from George Mason University with an emphasis in International Business. Currently, Brian serves as Principal for The Twende Group, a consulting group providing government relations, faith engagement and strategic relationship building for individuals and organizations who are on the front lines of impacting lives of the most vulnerable. He has spent many years working for and engaged with faith-based organizations. In addition, he serves as the Executive Director of Faith & Law, an organization that works with congressional staff to better understand the implications of their faith in the public square.
Prior to working on Capitol Hill, Brian was a director for the Youth HIV/AIDS Awareness Program in Jos, Nigeria. He organized small business training for HIV+ clients and managed proposal development for federal and private funding. Brian has significant knowledge of sub-Sahara Africa from spending many of his childhood and formative years living in Nigeria, Liberia, Eritrea and Kenya.
For Clapham, Brian works on issues related to child welfare and juvenile justice reform.
Sarah has spent over eight years on Capitol Hill working for Senator James Inhofe (OK). During her time in the United States Senate, she supported the Senator in his position on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee along with his frequent trips to Africa and relationships on the continent.
Prior to joining The Clapham Group, Sarah founded The Twende Group in 2012. Twende focuses on providing government relations and strategic relationship building for individuals and organizations who are on the front lines of impacting lives of the most vulnerable. Previously, she served as the Executive Director of Hamlin Fistula USA, an NGO supporting maternal health in Ethiopia. Sarah has lived and worked in North Africa and loves to travel and write.
For Clapham, Sarah works primarily on child welfare issues and supporting ways to build stronger families and keeping kids out of the system.
Emily McCord, associate at The Clapham group, has worked with clients including The College Board and The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation on education issues.
Before joining the Clapham team, Emily worked in a Midwest U.S. representative's office on Capitol Hill. Her work included education legislation, constituent communications, communications team support, office schedule coordination, and event planning and execution; she also acted as a personal assistant to the Member. Before her time on the Hill, Emily gained education practitioner experience through privately tutoring a wide variety of ages as well as teaching freshman composition to undergraduate students at a public university.
As a freelance writer and editor and drawing on her social media expertise, she has also provided written content and communications consultation to a wide variety of clients including political campaigns.
Emily’s experience in politics and communications allows her to offer clients a political perspective and an eye for messaging as she supports the planning and execution of effective internal and external strategies and enables ongoing dialogues around issues of justice, opportunity, and education. She believes that well-told stories and civil conversation have the power to transform a culture for the better.
Emily is a graduate of Belhaven University, where she majored in English and received her M.A. in English from Indiana University. Emily and her husband, a reserve officer in the Navy, are the proud parents of two children.
The Clapham Group
5272 Lyngate Court, Suite 200
Burke, VA, 22015
Phone: +1 (703) 425 2404
Fax: +1 (703) 896 3046