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Cassandra Pye joins Donna Lucas as co-owner as bench of experts deepens

  • Lucas Public Affairs (LPA) names Cassandra Pye president and co-owner
  • Donna Lucas, founder and CEO of LPA, remains active in all aspects of firm management, client service and ownership
  • Firm builds out management team, service offerings in response to growth in business

Lucas Public Affairs (LPA) continues its evolution and growth as a leading California consultancy, naming Cassandra Pye president and co-owner in partnership with political communications expert Donna Lucas, who founded the firm in 2006.

Pye, who joined LPA first as a consultant then served as executive vice president and chief strategy officer in October 2019, has worked closely with Lucas to build the firm, adding issue area and service expertise among staff along with a strong culture. Lucas will continue in her role as CEO and, along with Pye, will continue to mentor and grow the firm’s deep bench of talent to provide top level public affairs services to the firm’s clients.

“LPA is growing and evolving, as are the roles Cassandra and I play,” said Lucas. “Our firm has responded to the demand for high-level, high-quality public affairs services in a complex issues environment not only with Cassandra’s added leadership, but also with the development of a strong management team and an expansion of services that now includes a robust creative and digital team.”

Pye and Lucas share a 30-year-long relationship that spans both their professional and personal lives. Their shared passion of working at the intersection of policy, politics and communications makes them a dynamic and knowledgeable duo. They worked together under Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, Pye as deputy chief of staff to the governor and Lucas as deputy chief of staff for strategy to the governor and chief of staff to First Lady Maria Shriver.

“It is an absolute joy to work with Donna. We play so well off each other’s strengths,” said Pye. “Establishing this management team with such a tremendous level of talent gives Donna and I bandwidth to oversee the operation at large with a strategic lens.”

LPA witnessed 50 percent growth over the past two years. During that time, the firm expanded to provide specialized digital and creative design services and enhanced its training offerings to help clients adapt to the ever-changing public affairs landscape.

LPA has also invested in strengthening the management duties and expertise of its diverse and experienced management team, comprising these top public affairs and media practitioners who lead client accounts and agency operations:

Travis Taylor, senior vice president. Taylor leads several account teams through some of California’s toughest and most important challenges. He also guides the firm’s business development, including the buildout of its digital and creative design practices. He brings a wealth of experience in transportation, energy, technology and infrastructure from his accomplished career across top communications agencies in Sacramento, the Bay Area and Hawaii.

Jessyca Sheehan, senior vice president. Sheehan specializes in corporate communications and issues/crisis management with significant expertise in the energy and environment policy and regulatory arenas. She leads LPA’s client services and innovation efforts which are dedicated to anticipating and serving the evolving needs of our clients.

Matt Mahon, vice president. Mahon helps steer LPA’s political and legislative communications while providing expertise in water, energy, tourism and agriculture policy issue areas. He also heads up the firm’s marketing and branding initiatives, which support a variety of Sacramento and statewide nonprofits and organizations.

Daisy Castellón, vice president. Castellón brings her bilingual communications background and experience to LPA, where she directs public affairs strategies for technology, civic and mission-driven client work and leads LPA’s talent management initiatives, overseeing and supporting the firm’s growing and diverse team.

Natalie Haskell, account supervisor. Haskell is well-versed and experienced in California’s key issue areas, currently with a keen focus on public health and natural resources. She uses this expertise to develop and execute effective public affairs and communications strategies that help her clients achieve their goals in California.

Patrick Dorsey, account supervisor. Dorsey brings significant experience in media relations, stakeholder engagement and executive visibility to all his client teams. He recently served as the press secretary for California’s COVID-19 Vaccine Task Force, helping the Newsom Administration develop a proactive earned media strategy around the state’s vaccination efforts.

Additionally, these two members of the management team bring a wealth of experience to the firm in fiscal and firm management, mentorship and client service:

Nancy Heffernan, senior strategist. Heffernan brings 38 years of communications and management experience to the full range of LPA clients and staff as a long-time capital-area consultant and former Capitol Press Corps journalist and media professional. She specializes in strategy and message development around complex issues, crisis advising and litigation communications. Heffernan also leads the firm’s media training service to prepare executives and spokespeople for effective presenting and media engagement.

Roxi Williams, chief financial officer. Williams has over 25 years of experience in finance and accounting services and has been with LPA since its founding. She has been an integral part of the firm’s growth for over two decades, overseeing strategic planning, budgeting and forecasting to maximize operational performance of the firm.