Chaz Cirame, Founder and Principal
Chaz is one of the nation’s foremost experts regarding how NGO’s and influencers affect public policy. The company he founded and runs - Cc: External Affairs, Inc. – helps corporations, trade associations, public affairs firms and non-profits develop long-term partnerships to reach and exceed their goals - be they shaping public opinion, achieving legislative outcomes, or building lasting strategic alliances.
A veteran of dozens of political and issue campaigns, Chaz has also served in senior Fundraising and political roles for a variety of campaign and non-profit organizations including serving as Political Director of the Maine Republican Party. Immediately before starting Cc: External Affairs, Inc., Chaz served on the senior leadership team of the American Legislative Exchange Council where he ran Public Affairs, Fundraising/Membership and Conferences. While at ALEC, Chaz and his team shattered organizational records for fundraising, legislative outreach, private sector member recruitment and conference attendance.
Chaz is an alumnus of the University of Maine Augusta, where he worked his way through college as an aide to the Maine State Senate Leadership. Chaz is a past President of the Washington Area State Relations Group, an association of D.C.-based state government affairs professionals, He currently serves on the board of directors of the America’s Future Foundation.
Senior Philanthropic Consultant
Matt joins CC: External Affairs with over ten years of fundraising and management experience. He has served in leadership roles at several Washington, D.C. based nonprofits including the Franklin Center and the Bill of Rights Institute. Matt has hired and developed fundraising teams and has experience successfully implementing direct mail, foundation relations, corporate giving, and major donor relationship strategies.
A native of the Buckeye state, Matt holds a B.S. in Business from The Ohio State University. Currently he resides in Charlottesvile, VA with his wife Shannon and yellow lab Tessa. In his free time, he enjoys hiking, camping, and going to concerts. Matt is also the Assistant Winemaker at Glass House Winery.
Senior Communications Consultant
Mary Ellen is a strategic communicator with more than a decade of experience in issue advocacy and non-profit management. She understands how to craft messaging and frame policy issues for both national and state and local campaigns. She has worked at various Washington, DC non-profits and most recently served as chief of staff at the Franklin Center, where she steered a leadership team of five department directors. She has direct experience managing organizational content strategy, running media outreach efforts and serving as an on-the-record media spokesperson. Prior to the Franklin Center, Mary Ellen worked as a Senior Account Executive for Public Relations firm O’Keeffe & Company and as Director of Communications for Americans for Prosperity.
Her passion for media and communications began at Marquette University where majored in journalism. She resides in Orlando, FL with her husband and two children.