We are a boutique consulting firm helping nonprofits and socially responsible companies to navigate Washington policy processes to achieve measurable goals. From drafting legislation to pitching Congress to planning Congressional events and fundraisers, GCS offers a full range of government relations and public affairs services, making us a one-stop-shop for all strategic needs, expediting and achieving clients’ legislative and regulatory objectives.
Guide Consulting Team
President & Ceo
Alfonso Guida Jr., J.D.
With more than three decades of experience in health public policy and government relations, Al is a top strategic thinker in the field. He is adept at advancing legislation and public policy, and impacting government and regulatory issues. Most notably, Al secured $15 million funding for Mental Health First Aid and the 2014 inclusion of the Excellence in Mental Health Act during a period when few mental health legislations were passed. Additionally, he has secured four amendments in both the Senate Finance Committee and House Energy & Commerce Committee including amendments for medical homes and structure of insurance exchange benefits. Al also led Medicaid Reform by initiating a mental health, disability and child welfare coalition in 2007 to stop $6 billion in Medicaid funding cuts as well as worked with Eli Lilly Co. to insert strong language into a veterans spending bill, prohibiting the Department of Veterans Affairs from instituting policies and procedures that restricted access to vital medicines for veterans with severe mental illness.
Before starting Guide Consulting Services, Al served as the Executive Director of the National Mental Health Awareness Campaign, (NMHAC), which addressed the stigma associated with mental illness. Prior to the Campaign, Al served as Senior Vice President for Government Relations and Public Policy at the National Mental Health Association – now called Mental Health America – where he coordinated state and federal government affairs and helped to start NMHA’s State Health Care Reform Department. In his seven-year tenure, he fought for mental health parity legislation, Medicaid expansions, the inclusion of mental health care in the State Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP), and additional federal funding for the Children’s Mental Health Services Program.
SOUTHWESTERN UNIVERSITY SCHOOL OF LAW
B.A., Political Science
Vice President of Government Relations
Katrina Velasquez, Esq., M.A.
Over the last decade, Katrina worked with the public and private sectors to advance their legal, public affairs and government relations needs. Katrina specializes in attentively guiding her clients from all resource levels through every step of the legislative process, identifying their underlying stakeholder goals, mobilizing grassroots networks, strategizing bipartisan initiatives, drafting carefully articulated legislation, and getting legislation over the finish line. Her leadership has led to the historic passage of eating disorders legislation within the 21st Century Cures Act, $5 million dollars in new research funding under the Department of Defense, collaborative initiatives with the White House, Health and Human Services (HHS), and the Department of Labor (DOL), and media interviews including ABC. Her work has been internationally recognized, with Katrina most recently receiving the 2017 Meehan/Hartley Award for Public Service and Advocacy in Prague, Czech Republic.
Prior to her work with Guide Consulting Services, Katrina held roles throughout the United States, Latin America and Asia, including work with the International Organization for Migration, the United States Department of Commerce, and Equal Justice Works amongst other international nonprofits and law firms, managing advocacy and federal grants from CNCS, DOJ, DHS, USAID, and DOS. She also founded The Cultural Component, a Guatemalan consulting firm providing trainings and consulting services for attorneys and business professionals in the US and Latin America with clients such as Microsoft and Booz Allen Hamilton. Katrina also served as Visiting Professor at the Universidad de Francisco Marroquin and Georgetown International Law Institute.
COLUMBUS SCHOOL OF LAW
SCHOOL OF INTERNATIONAL SERVICE
M.A., International Politics
B.A., Public Relations, Law & Society
Minors: Spanish Language, Political Science
Activities & Affiliations
• Women in Government Relations
• Eckington Civic Association
• Catholic Charities, Pro Bono Legal Services
• District of Columbia
PUBLIC AFFAIRS & POLICY ASSOCIATE
Sarah Zakrewski, M.S.
Sarah Zakrewski joined Guide Consulting Services in January 2016 as a Public Affairs and Policy Associate to aid clients with their public affairs and government relations strategy. Previously working in Senator Kirsten Gillibrand’s office as well as North Shore Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine, she offers inside experience within the government relations and health care industry.
Sarah holds a Bachelors of Arts in Biology from Hofstra University and a Masters of Science from American University’s School of Health Studies in Health Promotion Management with a concentration on Communication and Policy.
Activities & Affiliations
• Women in Government Relations
M.S., Health Promotion Management
Courtney Wang joined Guide Consulting Services as a Policy Assistant in June 2017. Prior to working with Guide Consulting Services, Courtney has experience working with nonprofits and social impact organizations, including CAN DO Houston and Verb Inc. She specializes in conducting research on social inequalities, including health disparities and healthcare.
Courtney is a rising senior at Rice University in Houston, Texas, pursuing a Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology and Sociology, with an expected graduation in May 2018.