Rachel Smolkin – Executive Editor of CNN Politics. Rachel oversees CNN’s coverage of Washington, politics and elections across CNN’s global digital platforms. She led the creation of CNN’s politics brand in the digital space, hiring and building a team of more than 50 reporters, editors and social producers into the No. 1 politics site for three years and counting, per ComScore. She partners on industry-leading television-digital integration in CNN’s Washington bureau and also oversees the KFile investigative unit. Rachel is a graduate of the Sulzberger Executive Leadership Program at Columbia University. Before coming to CNN, she was managing editor at Politico, where she oversaw the daily news report. She has also worked as an editor at USA Today and managing editor of American Journalism Review magazine.
On the panel:
Samantha K. Dravis (R) – Attorney and public affairs consultant with Clout Public Affairs in Washington, DC. Samantha served as Associate Administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency during the first two years of President Donald Trump’s term, where she was responsible for energy and environmental policy. Dravis also served in President George W. Bush’s Administration at the White House as Associate Director of Political Affairs. She has worked and consulted for numerous political campaigns including the campaigns of Sen. Ted Cruz, Mitt Romney’s 2012 presidential campaign, and many others.
Denise Gitsham Jones (R) – Attorney and public affairs consultant. Denise served in President George W. Bush’s Administration at the White House and the US Department of Justice, and also worked in the US Senate. In 2016, she ran for Congress in California’s 52nd Congressional District, and was designated one of the top candidates in the nation. Today, she represents America’s largest Federally Qualified Health Centre, and serves on local and national non-profit boards focused on eradicating human trafficking.
Johanna Maska (D) – Host of Pod is a Woman, CEO of Global Situation Room. Johanna served President Barack Obama for more than eight years, as Director of Press Advance in the White House, playing a critical role in his 2008 campaign. Since leaving the White House in 2015, Johanna has worked with media companies, technology firms and non-profit organisations, applying her unique touch to projects across sectors. She is also a host of the podcast Pod is A Woman.
Darienne Page (D)- Host of Pod is a Woman, Regional Community Affairs Manager for Lyft. Page was raised in a family with a rich military history, and joined the US Army, following her family’s tradition. Her unit was one of the first deployed to Iraq. She served on the Obama campaign, and eventually landed a role as White House ROTUS (Receptionist of the United States) and later Director of Veterans and Military Families Outreach.