This article is from the archive of our partner National Journal

Image-Makers

Katharine Lister Monument artist: Katharine Lister (Chet Susslin)

Katharine Lister was only a teenager when Ed Rendell was elected mayor of Philadelphia in 1992, but she was mesmerized by the indomitable pol.

"It really got me, at an early age, thinking about the power of one person," says Lister, who joined the Monument Policy Group earlier this month. "He didn't fix everything perfectly, but he got Philadelphia to believe in itself again."

A former chief of staff to Sen. Maria Cantwell, D-Wash., Lister has been a Democratic communications specialist for the better part of two decades, taking part in a half-dozen presidential, Senate, and House campaigns. She was most recently deputy chief of staff at the Commerce Department.

Raised in Philadelphia, she majored in art history at Yale University. Her choice of study "really made me think about telling a story," she says. "You have to be able to communicate, not just the history of the piece but the artistic intention and the viewer's reaction"¦. You're interacting with a piece from a 360-degree perspective."

Lister, 35, has also worked for the Democratic Leadership Council, Democratic Rep. Adam Smith of Washington, and the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. In 2004, she served as deputy communications director on John Kerry's presidential campaign.

Christopher Snow Hopkins

Corporate Life

Kymberly Messersmith

Kymberly Messersmith's sanctuary is a "glass tree house" perched on a rocky outcrop near Shenandoah National Park in Virginia. The sylvan retreat was built by Jim Sanborn, who also designed the undulating "Kryptos" sculpture outside the Central Intelligence Agency headquarters, and was acquired by Messersmith after she spotted it from the highway below.

"My family has been coming to Rappa-hannock County for years," says Messersmith, who this month joined KPMG as a managing director in the government-affairs practice. "It was so upsetting to leave at the end of the day that we finally decided to buy a place."

The structure is not technically a tree house, but "it's on top of a boulder, so when you look out, you're in the middle of the trees."

At KPMG, Messersmith will "translate the importance of the accounting profession" for the public and identify regulations relevant to the profession. She will also offer scholarships to prospective accountants in conjunction with state-based organizations of certified public accountants.

Raised in Southern Illinois and South Florida, "I'm a Yankee and a rebel," Messersmith says. "And if I lived down South, I'll tell you what, I can switch right back into Southernspeak in a heartbeat."

Her father, Frank Messersmith, was elected to the Florida House when the younger Messersmith was in her teens, and he eventually became minority leader pro tempore.

"That is really what brought me into this sphere," she says. "He would take me into his office just to observe, which taught me the importance of bringing people to the table"¦. He would explain to me how he was trying to build the kind of consensus where everybody could score a win."

As for Messersmith's mother, she worked "ungodly hours" as the owner of Seven to Heaven Hairdressers, a salon in Springfield, Ill. The family lived above the business. "When I was a kid, I used to come down in my footed pajamas, wander around the store, paint my nails, and probably get into all sorts of havoc."

At her mother's urging, Messersmith studied political science at Northern Illinois University. "I actually wanted to be a scuba diver and study the biology of underwater specimens, but my mother said, "˜You're absolutely not going to school in Florida. That's too far away.' "

After graduating, Messersmith came directly to Washington, where she waited tables at what is now the Darlington House in Dupont Circle, before joining the National Governors Association as director of corporate programs. She eventually started her own company and then was hired as vice president of state-government affairs for American Express, where she helped persuade state governments to take plastic.

"At that time, we had this novel idea that states should accept credit cards for fees and fines and taxes," she says. "But you couldn't just pull a trigger and make that happen. We had to go in and pass enabling legislation. We also had to explain the economics "¦ to show them why it made sense to accept credit cards and not just checks or cash."

Messersmith, 50, was most recently a senior adviser with 3 Click Solutions. She is a certified Pilates instructor.

C.S.H.

Trade Associations

Linda Kelly NAM litigator: Linda Kelly (Richard A. Bloom)

The new general counsel and senior vice president at the National Association of Manufacturers, Linda Kelly, remembers a time when Congress actually got things done.

"When I arrived in Washington, D.C., in the early '90s, it was really a different place," she says. "There was a much greater opportunity for members of Congress not only to work together across the aisle but also for Congress and the White House to work together."

Now, however, legislative progress is beginning to seem like a relic of the past, leading policy advocates to look for new ways to make their voices heard. Kelly, a native of Syracuse, N.Y., and a graduate of Dartmouth College, is leading the charge into new territory.

In a nod to the importance of litigation in a fiercely partisan political climate, Kelly joined NAM in September to launch the Manufacturers' Center for Legal Action, which will engage in legal advocacy on behalf of the association's members.

"Congress has really abdicated its authority in terms of passing legislation and working out the details of laws — and federal regulatory agencies are, not surprisingly, filling in the blanks," Kelly says. "There's a lot of regulatory activity going on right now that affects manufacturers, so in order to have a voice in those issues, we thought it was really important to ramp up our legal activity."

The center will play both defense and offense. It will respond to litigation that could impact the manufacturing sector while also launching legal challenges of its own and weighing in on cases as a friend of the court.

Kelly, 46, is no stranger to the world of law and lobbying. Before joining NAM, the Georgetown University Law Center graduate served as senior counsel and director of chief legal officer services at the Association of Corporate Counsel, an in-house bar association for professional corporate counsel.

She has also worked at the U.S. Chamber Institute for Legal Reform and in the federal-affairs office of Ryder System, a transportation-services company.

"It's been a diverse public-policy experience," Kelly says. "I've worked on litigation in the lobbying sphere and also in education as well as issue advocacy. Now all of this is coming together at NAM, where I plan to put everything I've learned to work through our broad-spectrum advocacy efforts."

Clare Foran

Ivory Tower

Kerry Ates

As the longtime chief of staff to Sen. Jay Rockefeller, D-W.Va., Kelly Ates had not updated her résumé in over a decade, when her boss announced his retirement plans earlier this year.

"I had originally imagined that I would be part of the team that would be here to turn the lights out," says Ates, who has been named chief of staff to Johns Hopkins University President Ronald J. Daniels. "I never even flirted with the idea of leaving."

But that was before she was recruited by the 137-year-old institution in Baltimore. Not all universities have a chief of staff position, but Johns Hopkins has "quite a bit of breadth, across fields and geographic regions," Ates says.

Ates, who was raised in the greater Washington area, was imbued by her parents with a "core sense of patriotism," she says, "and a sense that the role of government was to do good." Her mother was a neonatal nurse and her father a 30-year employee of the National Security Agency.

After receiving a bachelor's degree from the University of Maryland and a law degree from the University of California (Los Angeles), Ates practiced law in Washington for a number of years to pay off her student loans. She was interviewed for her position on Rockefeller's staff by Tamera Luzzatto, his legislative director and later the chief of staff to former Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, D-N.Y.

So began 16 years with Rockefeller, including 11 as his chief of staff. One of the most trying periods for the five-term incumbent came after the start of the Iraq War, when Rockefeller served as vice chairman and then chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee. "We were under a tremendous amount of scrutiny," says Ates, referring to the faulty intelligence that undergirded the Bush administration's case for war.

The 45-year-old is married with three children in elementary school. "I work hard, and I parent hard," she says.

C.S.H.

Katharine Lister Monument artist: Katharine Lister (Chet Susslin)

Katharine Lister was only a teenager when Ed Rendell was elected mayor of Philadelphia in 1992, but she was mesmerized by the indomitable pol.

"It really got me, at an early age, thinking about the power of one person," says Lister, who joined the Monument Policy Group earlier this month. "He didn't fix everything perfectly, but he got Philadelphia to believe in itself again."

A former chief of staff to Sen. Maria Cantwell, D-Wash., Lister has been a Democratic communications specialist for the better part of two decades, taking part in a half-dozen presidential, Senate, and House campaigns. She was most recently deputy chief of staff at the Commerce Department.

Raised in Philadelphia, she majored in art history at Yale University. Her choice of study "really made me think about telling a story," she says. "You have to be able to communicate, not just the history of the piece but the artistic intention and the viewer's reaction"¦. You're interacting with a piece from a 360-degree perspective."

Lister, 35, has also worked for the Democratic Leadership Council, Democratic Rep. Adam Smith of Washington, and the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. In 2004, she served as deputy communications director on John Kerry's presidential campaign.

Christopher Snow Hopkins

Corporate Life

Kymberly Messersmith

Kymberly Messersmith's sanctuary is a "glass tree house" perched on a rocky outcrop near Shenandoah National Park in Virginia. The sylvan retreat was built by Jim Sanborn, who also designed the undulating "Kryptos" sculpture outside the Central Intelligence Agency headquarters, and was acquired by Messersmith after she spotted it from the highway below.

"My family has been coming to Rappa-hannock County for years," says Messersmith, who this month joined KPMG as a managing director in the government-affairs practice. "It was so upsetting to leave at the end of the day that we finally decided to buy a place."

The structure is not technically a tree house, but "it's on top of a boulder, so when you look out, you're in the middle of the trees."

At KPMG, Messersmith will "translate the importance of the accounting profession" for the public and identify regulations relevant to the profession. She will also offer scholarships to prospective accountants in conjunction with state-based organizations of certified public accountants.

Raised in Southern Illinois and South Florida, "I'm a Yankee and a rebel," Messersmith says. "And if I lived down South, I'll tell you what, I can switch right back into Southernspeak in a heartbeat."

Her father, Frank Messersmith, was elected to the Florida House when the younger Messersmith was in her teens, and he eventually became minority leader pro tempore.

"That is really what brought me into this sphere," she says. "He would take me into his office just to observe, which taught me the importance of bringing people to the table"¦. He would explain to me how he was trying to build the kind of consensus where everybody could score a win."

As for Messersmith's mother, she worked "ungodly hours" as the owner of Seven to Heaven Hairdressers, a salon in Springfield, Ill. The family lived above the business. "When I was a kid, I used to come down in my footed pajamas, wander around the store, paint my nails, and probably get into all sorts of havoc."

At her mother's urging, Messersmith studied political science at Northern Illinois University. "I actually wanted to be a scuba diver and study the biology of underwater specimens, but my mother said, "˜You're absolutely not going to school in Florida. That's too far away.' "

After graduating, Messersmith came directly to Washington, where she waited tables at what is now the Darlington House in Dupont Circle, before joining the National Governors Association as director of corporate programs. She eventually started her own company and then was hired as vice president of state-government affairs for American Express, where she helped persuade state governments to take plastic.

"At that time, we had this novel idea that states should accept credit cards for fees and fines and taxes," she says. "But you couldn't just pull a trigger and make that happen. We had to go in and pass enabling legislation. We also had to explain the economics "¦ to show them why it made sense to accept credit cards and not just checks or cash."

Messersmith, 50, was most recently a senior adviser with 3 Click Solutions. She is a certified Pilates instructor.

C.S.H.

Trade Associations

Linda Kelly NAM litigator: Linda Kelly (Richard A. Bloom)

The new general counsel and senior vice president at the National Association of Manufacturers, Linda Kelly, remembers a time when Congress actually got things done.

"When I arrived in Washington, D.C., in the early '90s, it was really a different place," she says. "There was a much greater opportunity for members of Congress not only to work together across the aisle but also for Congress and the White House to work together."

Now, however, legislative progress is beginning to seem like a relic of the past, leading policy advocates to look for new ways to make their voices heard. Kelly, a native of Syracuse, N.Y., and a graduate of Dartmouth College, is leading the charge into new territory.

In a nod to the importance of litigation in a fiercely partisan political climate, Kelly joined NAM in September to launch the Manufacturers' Center for Legal Action, which will engage in legal advocacy on behalf of the association's members.

"Congress has really abdicated its authority in terms of passing legislation and working out the details of laws — and federal regulatory agencies are, not surprisingly, filling in the blanks," Kelly says. "There's a lot of regulatory activity going on right now that affects manufacturers, so in order to have a voice in those issues, we thought it was really important to ramp up our legal activity."

The center will play both defense and offense. It will respond to litigation that could impact the manufacturing sector while also launching legal challenges of its own and weighing in on cases as a friend of the court.

Kelly, 46, is no stranger to the world of law and lobbying. Before joining NAM, the Georgetown University Law Center graduate served as senior counsel and director of chief legal officer services at the Association of Corporate Counsel, an in-house bar association for professional corporate counsel.

She has also worked at the U.S. Chamber Institute for Legal Reform and in the federal-affairs office of Ryder System, a transportation-services company.

"It's been a diverse public-policy experience," Kelly says. "I've worked on litigation in the lobbying sphere and also in education as well as issue advocacy. Now all of this is coming together at NAM, where I plan to put everything I've learned to work through our broad-spectrum advocacy efforts."

Clare Foran

Ivory Tower

Kerry Ates

As the longtime chief of staff to Sen. Jay Rockefeller, D-W.Va., Kelly Ates had not updated her résumé in over a decade, when her boss announced his retirement plans earlier this year.

"I had originally imagined that I would be part of the team that would be here to turn the lights out," says Ates, who has been named chief of staff to Johns Hopkins University President Ronald J. Daniels. "I never even flirted with the idea of leaving."

But that was before she was recruited by the 137-year-old institution in Baltimore. Not all universities have a chief of staff position, but Johns Hopkins has "quite a bit of breadth, across fields and geographic regions," Ates says.

Ates, who was raised in the greater Washington area, was imbued by her parents with a "core sense of patriotism," she says, "and a sense that the role of government was to do good." Her mother was a neonatal nurse and her father a 30-year employee of the National Security Agency.

After receiving a bachelor's degree from the University of Maryland and a law degree from the University of California (Los Angeles), Ates practiced law in Washington for a number of years to pay off her student loans. She was interviewed for her position on Rockefeller's staff by Tamera Luzzatto, his legislative director and later the chief of staff to former Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, D-N.Y.

So began 16 years with Rockefeller, including 11 as his chief of staff. One of the most trying periods for the five-term incumbent came after the start of the Iraq War, when Rockefeller served as vice chairman and then chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee. "We were under a tremendous amount of scrutiny," says Ates, referring to the faulty intelligence that undergirded the Bush administration's case for war.

The 45-year-old is married with three children in elementary school. "I work hard, and I parent hard," she says.

C.S.H.

This article is from the archive of our partner National Journal.

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