Maia Comeau is a public affairs leader with over seventeen years of experience in international government affairs strategy, institution building, leadership development and event planning in Washington, DC. Maia served for twelve years at the German Marshall Fund of the United States where she founded both the Congressional Affairs department, in 2004, and the Richard G. Lugar Institute for Diplomacy and Congress in 2013. Under her leadership, the congressional affairs department grew to include seven professional staff, with an operating budget of 1.2 million. The department handled a variety of programs designed to educate Congress on transatlantic policy. She regularly visited Europe on issue focused study tours and was a key member of GMF’s senior external relations team working on fundraising, communications, and major conferences. In addition to her role as Director of Congressional Affairs, she founded, in 2013, the Richard G. Lugar Institute for Diplomacy and Congress which worked to build bridges between foreign diplomats and the US Congress. While at GMF, Ms. Comeau spearheaded an organization wide effort to develop diversity and inclusion best practice policies, including the creation of the first affinity group on women and leadership which offered professional development and mentoring opportunities for GMF employees.
Her time at GMF helped illuminate that Washington DC was unnecessarily opaque. In 2016, she founded Disruptive Strategies, now called Comeau and Company, with the goal of lifting the veil on the industry of influence—giving clients simple, effective and human strategies for developing an influential presence with federal policymakers and all who support them. She now advises countries, companies, foundations and nonprofit organizations on how best to develop a presence and network of influencers who can eventually support any action to petition the US Government.
As opposed to most of her colleagues in the government affairs consulting world, Maia never worked in Government. She learned how it worked from the outside, which has given her a distinct advantage in advising other outsiders. Her first job out of college (Penn State graduate) and after a first career (see below) was at the Government Affairs Consulting firm Bergner, Bockorny, Castagnetti, Hawkins & Brain where she learned from some of the best lobbyists on how the influence business worked. She studied there for four years helping to represent a diverse group of corporations, trade associations and foreign nations before Congress and the Executive branch. She then jumped to GMF in 2004.
She’s been lucky enough to participate in a variety of amazing leadership development opportunities. She is graduate of the 2016 class of Presidential Leadership Scholars, led by President’s Bill Clinton and George W. Bush. She has been awarded fellowships with the Bucerius Young Leader Summer School on Global Governance; American Council on Germany; the Draeger Foundation; and, the American Israel Education Foundation. She currently serves on the Board of IMMAP and is a Senior Fellow with the Center for the Study of the Presidency and Congress and The Lugar Center.
And prior to all this Washington, DC business, she was a professional ballet dancer with Complexions Dance Company in New York. She is the proud new owner of a historic farm in central Pennsylvania where she is collecting a barnful of animals and tools.