Jessica Lawrence-Vaca is a Senior Vice President with the McKeon Group and joined our team in October 2015. She is a former Capitol Hill staffer and senior government relations professional with over a decade of experience in government and the private sector in Washington, DC.
Prior to joining McKeon Group, Jessica was a Vice President at the Podesta Group where she worked with clients in the global, defense, trade, energy, education, and appropriations sectors. As a seasoned lobbyist and government relations strategist, she has the proven ability to develop and execute tailored government relations and advocacy strategies, interface with high-level government officials, build coalitions of third party validators, and craft messaging and supporting materials in furtherance of advocacy efforts.
“I enjoy finding creative solutions to help my clients address both simple and complex government relations issues,” said Jessica. “I’ve learned over time that best lobbyists work with their clients to understand the issue and then game out a multipronged approach to get the job done. This could be anything from traditional legislative and executive branch lobbying to finding third-party validators, grassroots advocates, and developing a comprehensive press strategy.”
Jessica maintains a comprehensive knowledge and understanding of both the legislative and political process with a track record of success for high profile clients. She has worked with a dozen foreign sovereigns, multinational defense companies, a large South Asian diaspora organization, a US solar raw materials manufacturer, and a coalition of over 80 solar companies.
“I really enjoy working with foreign governments and international groups helping them to understand to best way to approach the U.S. political system,” notes Jessica. “In my experience, I’ve found that things in diplomacy can get lost in translation without someone that understands the process.”
Jessica draws on her experience working on Capitol Hill for two members of the Appropriations Committee and a member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee. Prior to entering the private sector, Jessica started her career with former Rep. Steven Rothman (D-NJ), and then worked for Senator Patty Murray (D-WA) and Rep. Albio Sires (D-NJ), where she focused on foreign policy and national security issues. She maintains extensive bipartisan relationships on Capitol Hill, in both the House and Senate.
“Drawing on your experiences as a staffer helps inform how you approach the policy, strategy and messaging,” said Jessica. “I’m always thinking, ‘What would the person I’m meeting with need to best understand this issue and to help in a constructive way?’
As a native of Washington State, Jessica graduated from the University of Washington with a BA in political science and French, and holds a MA in national security studies from The Johns Hopkins University. She is also a member of the Michael J. Fox Foundation’s Public Policy Committee, and a former member of the Board of Directors of the Parkinson’s Action Network. Jessica is married to Santiago “Rico” Vaca, a lobbyist and retired Air Force Lt. Colonel, and lives in Maryland with their three boys.