Leadership

We provide second-to-none strategic counsel to help you confidently navigate any challenge on the horizon. With more than 50 years of combined experience mitigating and managing issues and advocating for policy change at the highest levels, our team offers unrivaled expertise in public affairs, media relations, professional crisis management, litigation communications and crisis preparation.

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Jeff Eller

Jeff Eller brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to clients in the areas of US politics and litigation, crisis management and crisis preparedness. He is the founder of The Jeff Eller Group based in Austin, Texas.

Throughout his career Jeff has orchestrated the media, lobbying and communications strategies for multiple leading corporations in high-profile crisis situations, including the Firestone tire recall and the GM ignition switch issue.

His political savvy is second to none and his multifaceted strategies for mitigating issues and advocating for policy change have proven successful time and time again. Eller’s instincts are strong and his connections are deep, which enables him to navigate clients through crises of all kinds, including those that bleed over borders.

 

“Eller may, in fact, be the most linked, multiplexed, plugged-in human being on the planet — or at least in politics.”
- Forbes ASAP

 

Before founding his own firm, Eller served as the chairman of Public Strategies Inc., which he joined in 1994. During his time at Public Strategies, he led the company’s campaigns group, was promoted to president and CEO in 2006, and to vice chairman in 2009. He coordinated the Public Strategies team that handled the communications and public affairs counseling for a private equity buyout of a major energy company.

Eller began working for then-Governor Clinton in December 1991; first as Florida state campaign director, and then as political communications director for the national campaign. He has been involved in numerous congressional and Senate campaigns, and worked for two members of Congress. Serving in the Clinton White House as deputy assistant to the president and director of media affairs, Eller oversaw all regional and specialty media relations, as well as radio and television services.

Prior to these political roles, Eller was an award-winning television and radio journalist.

Today, Jeff Eller serves on the boards of latakoo, Zignal Labs, and The Texas Tribune. He is also a past board member for UsAgainstAlzheimers.

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Elisabeth Rutledge

Elisabeth Rutledge combines strong strategic vision with seamless tactical planning to deliver nimble and results-oriented campaigns. In her work with the Jeff Eller Group, Elisabeth draws from 20 years of experience in advocacy communication, strategic message development, coalition management, campaign development and reputation management.

Elisabeth has worked with clients large and small to protect and enhance their brand equity and stakeholder relationships. Her clients have included some of the country’s best-known names in energy, health insurance, retail, private equity and transportation.

Before joining The Jeff Eller Group, Elisabeth was a senior vice president with Hill + Knowlton Strategies and a managing director at Public Strategies.

Previously, Elisabeth worked as a communications and grassroots-organizing consultant for clients nationwide, including a workers’ compensation reform group, a labor union, and Leadership America, a national women’s program.

Her first jobs were on political campaigns, performing press, field, and fundraising duties for several Congressional campaigns and former U.S. Senator Bill Bradley’s 2000 presidential bid.

She graduated from the University of Texas at Austin with a degree in American Studies. Elisabeth is also a graduate of the Leadership Texas program.

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Tim Tessin

Tim Tessin has 20 years of experience providing media, policy, and political monitoring and analysis to clients in the public accounting, financial services, pharmaceuticals, pharmacy benefit management, aerospace, chemical, and automotive sectors.

Prior to joining the Jeff Eller Group, Tim owned his own consulting firm, T2 Policy Intelligence, LLC. Previously, he was Vice President at Research+Data Insights, a subsidiary of Hill+Knowlton Strategies. He served in a similar capacity at Public Strategies Inc. prior to its merger with H+K.

After receiving his B.A. in Philosophy from Michigan State University and his M.A. in Philosophy from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, he was a Research Fellow and then Lecturer in Philosophy at the University of Wales, Swansea, U.K.

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Suzanne Geiger

Suzanne Geiger brings an array of communications experience to The Jeff Eller Group, having worked in journalism, corporate communications, and the nonprofit sector for nearly 20 years.

Before joining The Jeff Eller Group, Suzanne was with The Texas Tribune as the organization’s development manager, where she stewarded donors and led successful marketing and communications fundraising campaigns using digital and traditional platforms, as part of a $6-million annual fundraising program. She also served as assistant development manager for the University of Texas at Austin’s McDonald Observatory, which included working on federal grant submissions to the National Science Foundation and NASA.

She previously worked at Public Strategies, Inc., as a principal, working with small and large clients across a number of industries, providing messaging and materials to support their reputation, policy, and media-outreach goals. She executed targeted communications campaigns and contributed to grassroots advocacy efforts, including those involving legislative and regulatory issues.

Suzanne combines strong research, media-monitoring, and communications skills — including advocacy and messaging — with an awareness of today’s fast-changing media landscape.

Upon graduating from Colorado State University with a B.A. in journalism, Suzanne worked as an editorial assistant and features writer at the Austin American-Statesman.

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Mindy Noonan

Mindy Noonan has worked as a trusted communications partner to leadership teams and CEOs around the world for public, private and nonprofit organizations. Her background in journalism, corporate, event, crisis and litigation communications has aided clients in the automotive, energy, healthcare, information technology, insurance, pharmaceutical, retail, and travel and tourism industries.

Prior to her work with The Jeff Eller Group, Mindy served as communications director for YPO, the premier leadership organization of chief executives in the world. While there, she led the team responsible for content creation and delivery across print and digital channels and platforms. Mindy’s team also supported marketing and communications for YPO’s flagship events as well as for its annual membership renewal campaign.

She worked directly with YPO’s global chairmen on speech writing, preparation and delivery, and was the communications partner to the Chief Human Resources Officer, supporting the 300-person, virtual management team. She also served on the crisis assessment and response team.

As a managing director at Public Strategies, Mindy consulted leadership teams from Fortune 100 and 500 companies. She helped lead the firm’s media training curriculum and served as a media spokesperson while supporting strategy and execution in many client war rooms.

Before joining Public Strategies, Mindy worked at Perot Systems Corporation in corporate communications, first concentrating on internal communications and later creating and leading a media relations team to support the publicly traded company through quarterly earnings, mergers and media outreach.

Right out of college, she earned her litigation communication stripes at Courtroom Sciences, Inc. This experience would later translate to work for the defense team in a high-profile murder trial, as well as for corporate clients facing myriad litigation and crisis issues.

Mindy’s passion for journalism began as early as high school in Flower Mound, Texas, and carried through college at the University of Texas at Austin, where she earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism and worked in many roles over four years at “The Daily Texan” student newspaper, ultimately serving as its managing editor. She later earned a master’s degree in liberal arts from Southern Methodist University in Dallas, and also studied at the Universidad de Salamanca in Spain.

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Lee Godown

Lee Godown brings a wealth of public affairs, crisis and government relations experience to the Jeff Eller Group, LLC.

Godown joined the Global Public Policy staff of General Motors in January of 2010, and was based in their Washington, DC office. Recently, he was a senior advisor to Opel GmbH in Rüsselsheim, Germany, where he helped facilitate the successful $2.3 billion sale of GM’s Opel subsidiary brand to the French PSA Group. He began his career at GM monitoring and impacting U.S. Federal Government legislative, regulatory and other executive branch policies relative to GM's interests. In June of 2012, Godown was promoted to oversee government relations activities in GM's four international global regions - again focusing on the impact that legislation and regulation have upon GM's global footprint and business plan. In addition, Godown led GM and its executives through the Congressional oversight associated with the 2014 ignition switch matter.

In February of 2007, Godown joined Public Strategies, Inc. As a managing director in the firm’s Washington, DC office, he was an integral member of PSI’s government relations practice group and provided its clients with global government relations and crisis management services. Godown provided his clients with strategic counsel, advice and tactical solutions focusing on their needs in both the government and private sector spheres. He joined Public Strategies with more than 30 years of experience in Washington, DC. He served over 25 years in senior positions on Capitol Hill and has also been a lobbyist for a national professional medical association on both the U.S. Federal and state levels. Godown’s Washington experience encompasses numerous roles – as a Congressional chief of staff, committee staff director, an association executive, lobbyist, coalition-builder and political advisor. His primary role has been as a legislative, regulatory, political and crisis strategist, who is familiar with the workings of numerous governments around the world.

From 1997 to 2007, he served as chief of staff to Congresswoman Loretta Sanchez of California, assisting Sanchez in her work on the Armed Services and Homeland Security committees.

Earlier, Godown was the Washington lobbyist for the American College of Emergency Physicians. After a year in that role, he moved to the organization’s headquarters in Dallas to become director of chapter and state relations.

Beginning in 1983, Godown spent 12 years on the staff of Congressman Bob Wise of West Virginia. He was staff director of the Committee on Government Operations, Subcommittee on Government Information, and Justice. He then moved to direct the House Public Works Committee’s Economic Development Subcommittee. Godown has served on the advance staff of numerous presidential campaigns and has assisted in other White House advance capacities.

Godown is a Board Member of the German American Business Council, the Global Conservation Corps, and numerous other international business, professional and philanthropic organizations. He is a contributing author to Congress and Public Policy (Dorsey Press, 1982) and is the author of 27 legislative reports to the House of Representatives.

He is a graduate of California State University at Pomona, has taught at the Paul Merage School of Business at the University of California, Irvine, and is an adjunct professor at the George Mason Graduate School of Policy and Government. He is married and has two sons and a daughter.

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Of Counsel

Keith Thomas

Keith Thomas brings information technology experience and an intuition for problem solving to his clients. He has an inherent ability to discuss concepts in non-technical terms and to distill complex issues into clear decisions and action points.

Formally trained as a sound engineer, Keith started his career working as the chief engineer for a recording studio in Pennsylvania. After relocating in the 1990s to Austin, Texas, Keith parlayed his studio tech and Apple/Mac experience into a career in information technology.

Prior to teaming up with The Jeff Eller Group, Keith served as the IT Director for Public Strategies for 17 years. He then held several roles within H+K Strategies including IT Director and Business Partner, IT Development and Communications Director, and Global CIO. Over his 20+ year career working with high level, high profile executives within these consulting agencies, Keith has earned a reputation as someone who is thorough, trusted, instinctual, and unflappable.

Keith is available for general IT consulting and specializes in performing IT system health checks for security and best practices, as well as optimizing email systems, Mac computers and servers. In addition, he also provides product research and evaluation services, cloud migration assistance, mobile and VoIP phone system expertise, and conference/meeting tech logistics.

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Of Counsel

James E. McAvoy

The Issue Management Group

Jim McAvoy is an expert at designing and driving global internal and external communications. He has a proven track record of partnering with C-Suite executives on their most challenging issues.  Jim is adept in transforming, training, and mentoring highly creative and effective global communications teams to deliver research based and outcome driven communications programs.

Over the course of his career, Mr. McAvoy has built extensive experience in digital and mainstream external and internal corporate communications including advertising, data security communications, financial relations, grassroots campaigns, product marketing, media relations, public affairs, risk management and crisis communications.

He has designed and managed marketing and communications programs for clients including Abbott Laboratories, Accenture, Altria, American Airlines, AXA, Chevron, Citigroup, Disney, Ford, Johnson & Johnson, Mattel, Monsanto, Radcliffe College, Sony, Stanford University Medical Center, State Farm Insurance, Sun Life of Canada, Telefónica, Texaco, and Visteon.

He led Accenture’s corporate communications on issues, playing a senior leadership role in the firm's growth from pre-IPO to what is today a Fortune Global 500 company with more than 440,000 employees in 120 countries and $34.9B in annual revenue.

Jim led all research and communications strategy for stabilizing and rebuilding HealthCare.gov after its failed launch by another provider. Working with the Jeff Eller Group, Jim drove the program that successfully promoted Accenture as saving the system and reset public opinion of the system’s performance in 12 months, securing a more than $100M annual revenue stream.

He handled complex issues for Accenture such as U.S. Foreign Corrupt Practice Act (FCPS) allegations, UK Public Accounts Committee inquiries, U.S. national security matters, labor disputes and litigation, and whistleblower suits. In one instance he developed a strategy that successfully mitigating negative publicity that preserved the company's $2.5B Government unit's business.

Before joining Accenture, Jim chaired Burson-Marsteller's Media Practice. He created Burson’s media relations network in the United States, Latin America, Europe and Asia. He advised Oprah Winfrey in her successful effort to pass legislation strengthening federal laws against child abuse and served as a senior consultant to groups as diverse as The American Legion and the King Faisal Foundation; the Saudi Royal Family's charitable trust.