Government Relations Team

Government Relations Team

The Government Relations team represents CRS and its policy positions to the U.S. Congress, White House, Department of State, and other U.S. Government entities to advance public policy that supports humanitarian and development work overseas.

The Government Relations team also leads Mission and Mobilization’s efforts to cultivate grasstop Catholic leaders around the country to advocate CRS priorities with their elected officials.

Myron Meche

Myron Meche

Director of Government Relations

Myron serves as Director of Government Relations in the CRS Washington, D.C. office. He oversees CRS’ overall advocacy strategy, advancing priority issues with Congress and the administration. He also directs the agency’s engagement with influential advocates in support of the organization’s outreach to policymakers. Prior to joining CRS, he served as director of congressional relations and public liaison in the Office of the Global AIDS Coordinator at the Department of State. His career has included positions with the U.S. Global Business Coalition on HIV/AIDS Tuberculosis and Malaria and Senate staffer on the Committee on Energy and Natural Resources. Myron holds a B.A. in political science from Louisiana State University.

David Cronin

David Cronin

Senior Policy and Legislative Specialist

Dave is a senior policy and legislative specialist based in Washington, D.C. He works with Congress and the administration to advance CRS’ public policy and advocacy efforts related to foreign assistance appropriations, Latin America and the Caribbean, and vulnerable people on the move. Prior to CRS, David worked in campus ministry at St. Joseph’s University in Philadelphia and served as a Jesuit volunteer at Homeboy Industries, the largest gang intervention, rehab and re-entry program in the world. He holds an M.A. in development economics and human security from the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University and a B.A. in theology and history from Boston College.

Teresa Dunbar

Ari Shaw-Obasogie

Senior Policy and Legislative Specialist

Ari is a senior policy and legislative specialist with Catholic Relief Services. She supports a portfolio that includes food security and climate change issues. Prior to joining CRS, Ari worked for Food for the Hungry and Bread for the World. She holds a B.A. in Political Science and Government and a B.M. in Viola Performance from the University of Michigan.

Cheryl Mrazik

Cheryl Mrazik

Advocacy Advisor

As the advocacy advisor, Cheryl develops and mobilizes CRS’ network of influential advocates who engage members of Congress and the administration on policies and legislation relevant to the mission of CRS. From 2011-2017, she served as a relationship manager in the CRS Northeast/Mid-Atlantic Regional Office, supporting Catholic individuals and institutions to live their faith in solidarity with those in need around the world. She holds B.A. degrees in English and philosophy from the University of Scranton and a M.A. in international development from the University of Pittsburgh.

Leila Nimatallah

Leila Nimatallah

Senior Policy and Legislative Specialist

Leila has been advocating for poverty alleviation for over 20 years. Since 2015 she has been with Catholic Relief Services in its government relations department. Her portfolio includes global health, basic education, early childhood development and CRS country programs in Central and Southern Africa. Leila graduated from Boston College and Villanova Law School and is a member of the Maryland, Pennsylvania and D.C. Bar Associations.

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Marilyn Shapley

Senior Policy and Legislation Specialist

Marilyn is a senior policy and legislative specialist with Catholic Relief Services. She is part of a small team based in Washington, D.C. that focuses on crafting policy and advocacy recommendations, and supports a portfolio that includes food security and climate change as well as regional issues in East Africa. Marilyn has 15 years of work experience, including positions at Mercy Corps, InterAction, the Alliance for Peacebuilding, and in the office of U.S. Representative Dennis Cardoza. She holds an M.A. in international relations and international economics from the Johns Hopkins University’s Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies and a B.A. in international studies from the University of California San Diego.

Craig Swandby

Craig Swandby

Senior Policy and Legislative Specialist

Craig is a senior policy and legislative specialist with Catholic Relief Services and has worked at the intersection of humanitarian programs and Washington, D.C., for the last 9 years. Craig partners with offices around the world to identify barriers to programmatic success, develop policy and legislative solutions, and lead advocacy strategies to influence the US government and achieve greater humanitarian impacts. Craig supports CRS’ programs in the Middle East and focuses on humanitarian and conflict settings, compliance, and peacebuilding. Prior to joining CRS Craig worked for World Vision, where he supplemented D.C.-based advocacy efforts with assignments and consultations in the West Bank and Gaza, Iraq, South Sudan, and their Syria Response in Jordan. Craig holds a B.A. in anthropology from Wheaton College.

Hailey Wellenstein

Denali Drake

Advocacy Assistant

Denali is an advocacy assistant working on the Government Relations Team in Washington D.C. to advance CRS' priority issues with Congress and the administration. She assists with overall advocacy strategy, knowledge management, and general office support. Prior to joining CRS Denali worked for the United Nations Foundation on the United Nations Association-USA campaign. Denali holds a B.S. in political science and English from Northern Michigan University.