President and Founder
Scott is an internationally recognized consultant and has built The Advance Group into one of the country’s leading strategic consulting firms. Scott created The Advance Group following a decade of community organizing and labor union organizing, which included serving as the lead advance person for Jesse Jackson’s Presidential Campaign in 1988 and as Director of Advance for David Dinkins’ mayoral campaign in 1989.
Scott ran Mark Green’s successful 1993 race to become New York City’s first elected Public Advocate, and from 1994 through 1999, he served as Chief of Operations for the Office of the Public Advocate of the City of New York. Scott also served as the Campaign Director for both Mr. Green’s 1998 run for the U.S. Senate and Ruth Messinger’s 1997 campaign for Mayor of New York City.
Scott is a national commentator on New York City and national Democratic politics. He can often be seen on television, radio and in print media. Scott is a trained organizer and campaign veteran with a national reputation. A Political Science major with a specialty in African Studies at Boston University, Scott has a son, Sebastian, and lives in Forest Hills, New York.
For over 20 years, Michael has been a sought after advisor and strategic consultant to elected officials, corporations, not-for-profits and other individuals of significance. He is an entrepreneur with strong business acumen and has been with the Advance Group from its inception.
VP of Campaigns & Elections
Jonathan comes to The Advance Group having served as Executive Director of the Brooklyn Democratic Party for a number of years. Prior to that, Jonathan served as Deputy District Director and Campaign Manager for Congressman Michael E. McMahon. Jonathan has an extensive history managing political campaigns on all levels of government throughout New York State. He is an avid sports fan, rooting for the Mets, Nets, Islanders, and Bills. In fact, it is widely believed that, prior to the Nets move to Brooklyn, he was the only actual Net fan in the borough. And while one might wonder why any down-state New Yorker in their right mind would root for the Buffalo Bills, it was Jonathan’s education at SUNY Buffalo that also educated him in the ways of the Buffalo Bills. He has been missing field goals wide right ever since, but thankfully has had far greater success in the political arena.
Chief of Staff
Katie, a Virginia native, joined The Advance Group in 2010, after spending the election cycle working on a New York State Senate race. Katie keeps the office running smoothly, handling scheduling and administration for the office and our clients. Prior to joining The Advance Group, Katie worked as a Congressional Intern for Rep. Shelley Berkley in Washington, DC and for a non-profit, Children, Inc. in Richmond Virginia. Katie received her BS from Virginia Commonwealth University and currently resides in Manhattan.
Director of Communications
Frank Baraff brings to The Advance Group the unique perspective of dual careers as a strategy and media consultant to leading public officials, governments and public affairs organizations and as a business strategy and marketing consultant to start up technology and communications companies. Frank has served as media consultant and strategist for former New Jersey Governor Richard Codey and the cities of Hoboken, N.J., Orange, N.J., Mount Vernon, N.Y. and New Rochelle, N.Y.
In 2014, Frank Baraff was the Communications Director for Ras Baraka’s winning campaign for Mayor of Newark, N.J.. Previously, Frank served as the media consultant for the successful first-time Congressional or U.S. Senate candidacies of Charles Rangel, Charles Schumer, Geraldine Ferraro, John Lewis, Warren Rudman, John Hall, Floyd Flake, Robert Torricelli, Maurice Hinchey, Roy Dyson, John Larson, Robert Menendez and Frank Pallone. Frank also served as the consultant to hotly contested races of Congressmembers Bella Abzug, Fred Richmond, Joesph Addabbo, Les Aspin, Major Owens, and Tom Downey.
As a business strategy consultant, Frank Baraff developed business plans and marketing strategies for companies creating live webcasting software, dynamic email technologies, pre-paid credit cards and diet control systems.
Deputy Dir. of Lobbying & Government Affairs
Lindsey Melfi joined The Advance Group in the Fall of 2011 as an intern and became a full time staff member in January, 2012. Lindsey received her BA from Bucknell University in 2011 where she majored in Economics and Political Science. Prior to joining The Advance Group, Lindsey worked as a legal assistant at a Tax Law Firm in New Jersey. Lindsey is originally from New Jersey, and currently lives in Manhattan.
Deputy Dir. of Development
Brena brings extensive fundraising and legislative experience to The Advance Group. Prior to joining the team, Brena directed fundraising activities on numerous successful City, State and issue based campaigns. Having previously worked in the New York State legislature for Assembymember James F. Brennan, Brena has significant knowledge of multiple aspects of the political process.
Brena has a Masters in Political Science from the New School for Social Research, and received her BA in Political Science and Philosophy from Union College. A native of upstate New York, Brena currently resides in Manhattan.
Ana is an award-winning Graphic Designer who has a Bachelor’s and Master’s Degree in Graphic Design. She has written and spoken on the topic of design and has served as a judge for several design competitions. Her work has been featured in various exhibitions and in two books published by Harper Collins. Ana’s interest in politics led her to run a successful campaign for District Leader as well as focus her graduate thesis on political packaging.
Raised into the business at an early age, Sebastian began officially working for The Advance Group after graduating from Utica College in 2012 with a BA in Political Science. Sebastian worked in several grassroots organizations, such as ACORN and New York Communities for Change. He has also done work for the New York Hotel Trades Council and assisted in the 2010 Mark Levine for Senate campaign. Since joining The Advance Group, Sebastian has been responsible for internship program, as well as assisting the needs for several different candidates for elected office. In his down time, Sebastian enjoys the being a nerd, often found either reading, writing or illustrating comics.
Louis joined The Advance Group in 2013 after spending the election cycle working on President Obama’s reelection campaign and NJ Congressman Donald Payne, Jr’s primary election campaign. Louis received his BA from the University of Michigan where he majored in Political Science and Sociology. Prior to joining the Advance Group, Louis worked as a fundraiser for the University of Michigan Telefund raising scholarship and financial aid funds for students. Louis is originally from New Jersey.
Rachel comes to The Advance Group from Scottsdale, Arizona bringing considerable inter-governmental relations skills and public policy experience. Prior to joining the firm, Rachel was a Senior Associate at Kyle Moyer & Co in Arizona, where she oversaw all aspects of the firm’s government relations programs and political campaigns. Rachel is an Honors graduate from Arizona State University with a B.A. in Political Science. She also served as a Junior Fellow for two years while she completed and published her thesis on the Arizona Territorial Legislature.
Christine received her BA in International Relations from Oswego State University in 2011. Christine interned for Hearts & Minds, a non-profit, focusing on their social media and political outreach. She continued growing experience as a social media manager with an online news journal start-up company in Midtown. After interning at The Advance Group in the fall of 2012, she was recruited as office manager.
Assistant to the President
Carla received a BFA from the Fashion Institute of Technology, where she supplemented her design education with political science classes. As she went through college, her interest in politics grew exponentially and she set out to pursue that path. She got her start in politics as a volunteer for Obama for America during the 2012 presidential election cycle. She then went on to intern with Ben Kallos’ City Council campaign. After interning with The Advance Group during the fall of 2013, she was brought on to be the Assistant to the President. Carla is a lifelong New Yorker, and resides in Brooklyn.