Congressional Coalition on Adoption Institute Names Its 2022 Board Chair and Officers

WASHINGTON, D.C., January 10, 2022 – The Board of Directors of the Congressional Coalition on Adoption Institute (CCAI) has named its officers for 2022: Susan Neely (Chair), Rita Lewis (Vice Chair), Brian Graff (Treasurer), and Susan Hirschmann (Secretary).

CCAI is grateful to its co-founder and outgoing Board Chair, the Honorable Mary Landrieu, for her commitment to CCAI and its belief that every child deserves a safe, stable, and nurturing family. While in the Senate, she led the charge with her Congressional Coalition on Adoption co-chairs to establish CCAI as a resource on adoption and foster care. Senator Landrieu has played an integral role in CCAI’s mission throughout its 20-year history, including the past three years as its Chair. CCAI is delighted she will remain a member of the Board of Directors and continue to support policies that make a difference in the lives of vulnerable children and families.

“It’s been my honor to serve with a terrific Board, advisory council, and very dedicated Members of Congress including my dear friends Senators Roy Blunt, Amy Klobuchar, and others these last three years as Chair,” said Senator Landrieu. “I look forward to serving on the Board in a different capacity and helping with the challenges ahead. CCAI’s mission of building solid bipartisan consensus and progress on the best family supports with this country’s child welfare policies remain an important goal for all of us.”

Susan Neely has served on the CCAI Board of Directors since 2016 and was the organization’s Vice Chair in 2021. Since September 2018, Ms. Neely has served as the President and Chief Executive Officer of the American Council of Life Insurers (ACLI). Before joining ACLI, Ms. Neely led the American Beverage Association, where she helped companies like Pepsi and Coca-Cola navigate the sugar wars by forging unlikely partnerships with President Clinton’s Global Initiative and First Lady Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move Campaign. Before that, Ms. Neely was special assistant to President George W. Bush on the frontlines of creating the Department of Homeland Security after 9/11, serving as the first DHS Assistant Secretary for Public Affairs. In addition to her work with CCAI, she is a director on the Board of the Global Child Nutrition Foundation. Ms. Neely is the mother of two adult children, Eve and Ben.

“I thank Senator Landrieu for her leadership as CCAI Chair and her tireless work in support of its mission,” said Ms. Neely. “For two decades, CCAI has worked with Members of Congress from both sides of the political aisle to help children in need of a nurturing and loving home. I am honored to be named Chair of CCAI and look forward to building on the organization’s efforts that have helped millions of children find a forever family.”

For 20 years, CCAI has been an established resource for the Congressional Coalition on Adoption, the largest bicameral, bipartisan congressional member organization. CCAI works to engage Members of Congress on issues pertaining to children in need of permanency, domestic, and international child welfare, as well as to advocate for every child’s right to a safe, stable, and nurturing family. CCAI works to provide federal policymakers with the information and resources needed to make the dream of a forever family for every child a reality through its core programs, including the Congressional Resource Program, Angels in Adoption®, Foster Youth Internship Program®, and 20/20 Vision Program.

CCAI is governed by a Board of Directors whose members include Susan Neely, President and CEO of American Council of Life Insurers; Rita Lewis, President of RML Strategies; Brian Graff, CEO of American Retirement Association; Susan Hirschmann, CEO of Williams & Jensen; Kim Carver, Vice President Governmental Relations of Gulf Coast Bank; Kelly Gage, Director of Advancement of Nomi Network; Sarah Gesiriech, Principal of 127 Strategies and Former U.S. Government Special Advisor on Children in Adversity; The Honorable Mary Landrieu, Senior Policy Advisor at Van Ness Feldman and former U.S. Senator from Louisiana; Joyce Rogers, Vice President of U.S. Policy & Public Affairs at Pfizer; Rick Spielman, General Manager of the NFL Minnesota Vikings;  and Russell Sullivan, Shareholder of Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck.


The Congressional Coalition on Adoption Institute is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization dedicated to raising awareness about the millions of children around the world in need of permanent, safe, and nurturing homes and to eliminate the legal, social, and financial barriers that hinder these children from realizing their basic right of a family.

For more information or to learn about the work of the Congressional Coalition on Adoption Institute, visit or contact or (202) 544-8500.