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Best Practices in Advocacy and Lobbying: Promoting Student Financial Assistance Programs with Congress
Tue, Feb 5, 2019 2:00 PM - 3:00 PM EDT

This session will feature three panelists who have extensive experience in advocating for programs, policies and funding with Congress. With a new Congress taking office in January, a new Democratic Party majority in the House and Reauthorization on the horizon, we will hear what these experts have to say about challenges and potential opportunities working in this environment. Registrants will come away from the session with information that will help them in engaging in their own advocacy with elected officials.

Justin Draeger is President and CEO of the National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators. He serves as the primary voice of NASFAA and as the liaison between the association members, the U.S. Congress, federal agencies and the media. His prior experiences include working as a financial aid director, regulatory and policy analyst, and spokesperson. He has held senior positions overseeing government relations, communications, and policy work.  Justin currently serves on the boards of directors of the American Council on Education (ACE), Baker College, the Association Mutual Health Insurance Company, his local PTA board, and other organizations that promote health and education. He earned his undergraduate from Brigham Young University and his MBA from Baker College. Justin lives in Fairfax, VA with his wife and three children, where he spends his free time shuttling children to various events, playing racquetball, running or swimming.

Brett Lief is currently Chief Strategy Officer for Higher Education and Government sectors for Windham Professionals. Windham Professionals, founded in 1982 is a customer-centric and compliance driven revenue management company with headquarters in Andover, MA.

Prior to joining Windham, Brett was a board member and advisor for the National Student Loan Program in Lincoln, Nebraska. For the prior 16 years Brett served as the president of the National Council of Higher Education Loan Programs and before that served as a Vice-president of the National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities. Before leaving for Washington, DC he was the Deputy Chief of Staff to the Chancellor of New Jersey's Department of Higher Education. Brett began his professional career as Assistant Director of Financial Aid at Monmouth College and then Director at Brookdale Community College. He also served as a board member of the National College Access Network.

Jesse O’Connell is the Strategy Director for Federal Policy at Lumina Foundation, based out of their Washington, D.C. office. He leads the development and advancement of the foundation’s federal policy priorities, with the goal of increasing the attainment of high-quality credentials and promoting affordable pathways through postsecondary education.

Prior to joining Lumina, Jesse served as the assistant director for federal relations at the National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators. Jesse began his career as a financial aid administrator at Georgetown University. He holds both a master’s and bachelor’s degree from Georgetown, where he was an All-American as a member of the track and field team.
In addition to his professional work, Jesse is involved in his community of Alexandria, VA where he lives with his wife and two children.

Jim Anderson has been the Director of Financial Aid at Montclair State University for the past nine years.  In his thirty-nine year career in higher education financing he has been a financial aid administrator at five universities (Montclair, Columbia University, Fairfield University, New York University and the University of New Haven), serving as a director at four of those schools, and also has experience as a sales executive with the student loan company, Sallie Mae, and as a staff member for a number of years with the College Board. 

Jim is past-president of New Jersey Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators (NJASFAA) and is currently vice president of the Eastern Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators (EASFAA). 

Jim has a bachelor’s degree from Bates College and a master’s degree from the University of New Haven.  He resides Oak Ridge, NJ.

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