THE GEORGE WASHINGTON UNIVERSITY GRADUATE SCHOOL OF POLITICAL MANAGEMENT PRESENTS

GSPM MasterClass with Ivan Zapien

About The Webinar

In partnership with Latinx Heritage Celebration, we are proud to welcome alumnus Ivan Zapien to the GSPM MasterClass stage. Ivan will share his insights and experience from a distinguished career in public service and as an advocacy leader in the private sector. Former GSPM Fellow Maria Cardona will serve as the moderator for this virtual event. Maria is one of the most influential Latina leaders in D.C. and brings her vast knowledge and experience in political strategy and communications to the conversation.

  • Ivan Zapien is well known in every facet of the government relations community in Washington, D.C. From politics and Capitol Hill to corporate America, Ivan is well respected on both sides of the aisle.

    While serving as a chief of staff in both the U.S. House and Senate, Ivan built deep networks across both House and Senate Democrats. He also drove the government relations strategy and outreach for Walmart, the No. 1 company on the Fortune 500 list. Thus, Ivan brings a unique and complex perspective to client engagements.

    Ivan is a bilingual lawyer, executive, advocate, and leader with international and domestic experience in government affairs management and campaigns. He advises clients on diverse strategies, capitalizing on the opportunities of the current environment, while minimizing risk.

    Prior to joining the firm, Ivan managed Walmart's Mexico and Central America foundation, communications, government relations, and sustainability efforts. Before moving to Mexico City, he served as the vice president for federal government relations and head of Walmart's Washington office. These experiences resulted in international management experience in government, public relations, and corporate communications. He has vast experience as a leader in Democratic politics, having served as national outreach director of the House Democratic Caucus and as executive director of the Hispanic Leadership Council of the Democratic National Committee.
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    Ivan has been recognized as one of the "Most Influential Hispanics" by Hispanic Business and as one of the top lobbyists by Latino Magazine. He received the 2015 Alumni Achievement Award for Advocacy Efforts from the George Washington University Graduate School of Political Management. In 2019, he was awarded the Hispanic Lobbyist Association's President's Award and was recognized by The Hill as a Top Lobbyist for 2019.

  • Maria Cardona has more than two decades of experience in the government, politics, public relations and community affairs arenas. Recognized among the most influential Latinos in the country, Maria is a Principal at the Dewey Square Group, leading the Multicultural and Public Affairs practices. Maria joined DSG in 2005 and founded DSG’s Latino Strategies practice, “Latinovations,” leveraging her reach in the Latino community by advocating on Latino issues, guiding clients on “best practices” for coalition building and support for their positions, products, and brands within the Hispanic community, and spearheading multicultural campaigns.

    Maria is also known for her work as a political commentator, and is currently a CNN and CNN en Español political contributor, and who appeared frequently on MSNBC, FOX, Univision and Telemundo prior to signing on exclusively with CNN. She is regarded as one of the nation’s top 100 most influential Latinos.

    While at DSG, Maria served as a Senior Advisor and spokesperson to the Hillary Clinton for President Campaign during the 2008 Democratic primary election, serving on the campaign’s Hispanic outreach team. During the 2008 general election, she was a key surrogate for the Obama for America election campaign, a role she revisited during the most recent 2012 presidential election.

    Before joining DSG, Maria led the New Democrat Network’s (NDN) outreach initiative with Hispanics nationwide as a senior vice president. Her government and political background includes service as director of communications for the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) and five years at the Department of Commerce, first as Deputy Press Secretary and later as Press Secretary. During her time at the Commerce Department, she acted as lead communications strategist for the passage of NAFTA in 1993. She also served as communications director for the Democratic National Committee from 2001 to 2003.

    Maria serves on the Boards of Directors of numerous organizations dedicated to Latino issues and youth including Hoops Sagrado, New America Media, Citizenship Counts, PODER PAC, Friends of the National Museum of the American Latino, and the National Hispana Leadership Institute.
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    She is a native of Colombia and lives in Washington, D.C. with her husband and two children.

  • Ivan Zapien

    Partner & Practice Area Leader - Government Relations & Public Affairs, Hogan Lovells | GSPM Alumnus

  • Maria Cardona

    Principal, Dewey Square Group | Former GSPM Fellow

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