~ Honorable Minister Lai Mohammed Named Managing Partner ~
Ballard Partners, one of the top government relations firms in the United States, is opening its first office in Africa in Abuja, Nigeria, the nation’s capital. Honorable Minister Lai Mohammed, the immediate past Nigeria Minister of Information and Culture, will serve as the Managing Partner of the Abuja office and the firm’s satellite office in Lagos, the nation’s financial center.
“Opening our first African office in Nigeria expands our firm’s international footprint to three continents and builds upon the important work we have done on behalf of African nations and companies in Africa and the U.S.,” said Brian Ballard, the firm’s President and Founder. “We are honored to have former Minister Lai Mohammed join the firm as our Managing Partner in Nigeria. He has a long record of public service and is one of the most respected officials in the country. His outstanding reputation and exceptional experience will be invaluable to our firm’s clients.”
Mohammed has been the voice of national progressive politics and governance for the last twenty-five years. For the last eight years as Minister of Information and Culture between 2015 and 2023 Minister Mohammed has served as the spokesperson, reputation manager and information management strategist-in-chief of Africa’s most populous country and biggest economy. He is the first two term Minister of Information and Culture in the history of Nigeria. In 2022, President Muhammadu Buhari conferred Mohammed with one of the nation’s highest honors, Commander of the Order of the Niger (CON) for service to the country.
Since the advent of Nigeria’s fourth republic in 1999, Mohammed played key roles in the political life of his country as Chief of Staff to President Bola Ahmed Tinubu as Executive Governor of Lagos, National Spokesperson for the Opposition for over a decade (2005-2015) and as a candidate for the Governorship of Kwara State in the 2003 General Elections.
“I am very pleased to join Ballard Partners and to open the firm’s first office in Africa,” Mohammed said. “Ballard Partners has an impeccable reputation internationally and is well known for its success representing African countries and American firms in Africa. The opportunities in Nigeria are substantial and I look forward to helping the firm’s clients achieve their objectives.”
Minister Lai Mohammed graduated with second class upper honors with dual degrees in Modern European Languages (majoring in French) and Law. He was then called to the Nigerian bar in 1986. The Minister has also been awarded several diplomas in different parts of the world including Diplomes d’Etudes Francaise 3ieme Degree in both Dakar, Senegal and Vichy France.
Alison Anway is joining Ballard Partners to Chair the firm’s newly created Health Policy Advisory Group.
“We are thrilled to welcome Alison in this unique position to broaden our firm’s suite of services beyond government relations advocacy,” said Brian Ballard, the firm’s President and Founder. “With her rare and granular expertise in the intricate world of health care policy, Alison will provide our health care clients with the policy research and development necessary for effective policy advocacy.”
Anway is the Founder and Principal of the Anway Policy Group (APG), a public policy consulting firm specializing in the healthcare sector. In her role at APG, Anway provided both federal and state health policy consulting support, with services including bill analysis and tracking, regulatory summaries and analysis, slide deck presentations to internal business partners, policy platform development, policy research, and comment letter drafting. Anway’s clients have included health plans, pharmaceutical companies, physician groups, and trade associations.
“I am excited to join Ballard Partners and to bring health care policy research and development services to the firm’s clients,” said Anway. “I look forward to building the firm’s Health Policy Advisory Group throughout the country.”
Anway began her career in health policy in the office of U.S. Senator Pat Roberts (R-KS) where she served as Legislative Assistant for Healthcare during the entirety of the consideration and passage of the landmark Affordable Care Act. Senator Roberts was a key Member of both the Senate Finance Committee and the Senate HELP Committee which had dual jurisdiction over the bill, giving Anway a front row seat to one of the most contentious and consequential Congressional healthcare policy deliberations of the past two decades.
Anway subsequently worked at Anthem (now named Elevance Health), the largest Blue Cross Blue Shield plan in America, and led their Public Policy team dedicated to the federal health plan lines of business. In this role, Anway led a policy division committed to providing policy support to Anthem’s Medicare Advantage, Medicare Part D, Medicaid, and Federal Contracting lines of business.
In 2015, Anway established the Public Policy department at UCB Pharma, a global biopharmaceutical company focused on immunology and neurology and headquartered in Brussels, Belgium. In that role, she expanded her policy experience into the pharmaceutical sector, giving her unique experience and insights into the policy priorities of two of the most powerful health policy constituencies.
Anway currently serves on the Board of the Capital Health Plan and is a graduate of Florida State University and the University of Kansas School of Law.
Tyrone D. Bland, former Head of Government Affairs at Creative Artists Agency (CAA), is joining Ballard Partners, one of the top government relations firms in the United States, as a partner in its Los Angeles office.
“We are delighted to have Ty join our firm in Los Angeles and significantly expand our capabilities in California,” said Brian Ballard, the firm’s President and Founder. “The remarkable depth and breadth of his relationships in the Golden State, along with his invaluable public and private sector experience, give our firm unique capabilities to serve our clients’ growing needs from Los Angeles to Sacramento to Washington, DC.”
Bland served as Head of Government Affairs at Creative Artists Agency (CAA) where he led a range of legislative, regulatory and political issues directly impacting the agency’s global and national clients and business segments. He served as Vice President of State and Local Government Relations at Herbalife Nutrition from 2016 to 2020, Managing Partner at Porter Tellus LLC and Managing Director at Capitol Hill Consulting Group. Bland also led Government Affairs in 11 Western States for Amtrak and directed the Sacramento legislative agenda for LAPD, LADWP and the Port of Los Angeles as the Senior Legislative Advocate for the City of Los Angeles’ Chief Legislative Analyst (CLA) Office. Prior to joining the City of Los Angeles, he served as Special Assistant to the General Manager at the Long Beach Water Department and Chief of Staff in the California State Assembly. In 2022, Bland was appointed to the California Water Commission by California Governor Gavin Newsom and recently confirmed by the California State Senate.
“I am honored to join Ballard Partners and assist in building the firm’s momentum and growth in California. I look forward to working with colleagues and clients on all segments of our business, from California to Capitol Hill,” said Bland.
As the most Senior lobbyist in Ballard’s West Coast operation, Bland will offer strategic advocacy to Fortune 500 companies, global business leaders, trade associations, and groups seeking to retain top-level advocacy before the Los Angeles City Council, the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors, regional City Councils throughout California and representation before Federal government regulators, the United States Congress and the White House.
Mr. Bland is a native of Los Angeles County and attended the University of California at Berkeley and the University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA).
Nikolas Pascual, former Chief of Staff to Miami Mayor Francis Suarez, is joining Ballard Partners, one of the top government relations firms in the United States, as a partner in its Miami office.
“Miami is the most dynamic city in America and Nik has helped make it so during his public service with Mayor Suarez,” said Brian Ballard, the firm’s President and Founder. “Our firm’s clients will be uniquely served by Nik’s rare insights and exceptional relationships.”
As Chief of Staff to Mayor Francis Suarez, Pascual managed the Office of the Mayor and oversaw the mayor’s Legislative and Policy Agenda. Under Nikolas’s leadership, the city achieved record-breaking results, including the lowest tax rate in Miami’s history, the lowest homicide rate in over 60 years, and the largest tech migration in history.
“Nik has been an exceptional leader on my team at City Hall, and I am grateful for his service to our city and wish him the best in his professional endeavors at Ballard Partners,” said Mayor Francis Suarez.
Prior to his role as Chief of Staff, Nikolas served as a Senior Advisor to the City Manager, where he led the city’s government relations team and secured record-breaking funding for Miami in Tallahassee and Washington D.C. He also helped create the city’s first Economic Development Agency, Venture Miami.
“I am excited to be joining the great team of professionals at Ballard Partners and look forward to helping the Miami office build on its remarkable success,” said Pascual.
Nikolas began his career as a Legislative Aide in the Florida House of Representatives for Representative Jose Felix Diaz and later joined Speaker Jose Oliva’s office. During his tenure in Tallahassee, Miami-Dade County and South Florida achieved some of their most successful legislative sessions.
Outside of work, Nikolas volunteers his time with several non-profit organizations, including the Children’s Home Society and Camillus House. He earned his Bachelor’s in Public Administration from Florida International University, where he continues to mentor students.
Nikolas is a Miami native and resides there with his wife Blislainey and their three children.
– Former Congressman Jeff Miller to Chair New Group –
Ballard Partners, one of the top government relations firms in the United States, announces the formation of a Veterans Practice Group within the firm. The practice group will be chaired by former Congressman Jeff Miller, who previously served as Chairman of the House Veterans Affairs Committee and as a senior member of the House Armed Services Committee in the U.S. Congress.
“Former Congressman Miller dedicated his public service career to serving veterans, and he will continue to do so in our firm’s new practice group,” said Brian Ballard, the firm’s President and Founder. “He will be joined by other partners in our firm who have distinguished public service experience addressing the needs of our nation’s veterans.”
The firm’s new veteran affairs group will provide advocacy related to addressing veteran health care, housing, mental health and suicide prevention.
“During my time in public service, I was dedicated to finding better ways to provide our veterans with the assistance and services they have earned,” said former Congressman Miller. “Our firm’s partners have extensive public sector experience serving veterans at both the state and federal level, and will bring that same dedication to assist veterans through our firm’s new veterans practice group.”
Members of the firm’s new practice group include:
Dan McFaul (Washington). McFaul spent more than 20 years on Capitol hill and worked on a broad scope of veteran affairs issues. McFaul was instrumental in the construction of a 230,00 square foot “VA Superclinic” in Florida that helped revolutionize veterans’ care and provided a blueprint for VA/DOD cooperation in health care. Dan also served as a member of the Presidential Transition Team for National Security. In this capacity, Dan worked on the Appointments Team responsible for recruiting and vetting potential appointees to the incoming Administration, specifically for the Department of Defense, the Department of Veterans Affairs, the Armed Services, and the Intelligence Community.
Courtney Coppola (Tallahassee). Coppola served as Deputy Chief of Staff to Governor Ron DeSantis, and assisted Governor DeSantis in oversight of veteran affairs. In this role, Coppola helped Governor DeSantis implement the “Governor’s Challenge” that used evidence-based practices to prevent suicide among service members. Part of this initiative included “The Fire Watch,” which mobilizes and trains community members to be vigilant to the concerns of veterans and to direct them to the support they need to prevent suicide.
Dane Eagle (Tallahassee). As Secretary of the Department of Economic Opportunity, Eagle oversaw Employ Florida Vets and DEO’s Veterans Program, and administered the Florida Jobs for Veterans State Grant Program. Additionally, he facilitated the Florida Veterans Workforce Summit and the Veteran Incentives Awards. During his legislative tenure, he promoted and co-sponsored countless pro-veteran bills, further promoting Florida as the most veteran-friendly state in the nation.
Tola Thompson (Washington). Thompson served as Chief of Staff to Congressman Al Lawson, whose district included one of the nation’s largest veteran populations. During his time in that role, Thompson assisted Rep. Lawson in his successful effort to establish a Veterans Administration outpatient health clinic in Jacksonville. The outpatient clinic is currently under construction, and when completed, will include 185,000 square feet of space for providing health care services to our nation’s veterans.
Joe Buscaino (Los Angeles). Buscaino served as a Councilmember on the Los Angeles City Council, and in that role he supported legislation that provided housing and mental health services to veterans, as well as incentives for veterans to be employed by the City of Los Angeles. Additionally, Buscaino successfully advocated for the construction of the first all-veteran housing project in City Council District 15. That project was done in partnership with Los Angeles County to provide wrap-around services to veterans living in those housing units.