Cassie Gaffney

Senior Strategist

As a Senior Strategist, Cassie leads lobbying, capacity building, communication, and advocacy strategy development for ACS clients. Cassie brings expertise in facilitation, governance, policy, and coalition building to the ACS team.

ACS is one of the only female and minority owned consulting firms in Ohio and has gained a national reputation for not only its communication and strategy development expertise but also a deep understanding of policy and advocacy, especially for organizations within the early childhood and K-12 education sectors. In 2011, the northeast Ohio small business chamber of commerce, Council of Smaller Enterprises (COSE), named ACS a “Ten Under 10” award winner. This COSE award is given annually to 10 small businesses with 10 employees or fewer to honor their ability to innovate, grow and reach ambitious goals. In 2015, ACS received a Platinum Award in the Communication Plan category of the MarCom Awards and was named a Weatherhead 100 Upstart Winner as one of the fastest-growing companies in Northeast Ohio. In 2011, the northeast Ohio small business chamber of commerce, Council of Smaller Enterprises (COSE), named ACS a “Ten Under 10” award winner. This COSE award is given annually to 10 small businesses with 10 employees or fewer to honor their ability to innovate, grow and reach ambitious goals. In 2015, ACS received a Platinum Award in the Communication Plan category of the MarCom Awards and was named a Weatherhead 100 Upstart Winner as one of the fastest-growing companies in Northeast Ohio.

Cassie brings more than a decade of experience advocating for organizations at the state and federal levels and building communication, electoral, and community engagement strategies throughout the country. Most recently, she served as the Director of Government Affairs at Cleveland Rape Crisis Center, where she led the agency’s government relations and public policy strategies. In this role, Cassie worked to augment government funding to increase support services for survivors of sexual violence and increase prevention programming. Additionally, her efforts influenced public policies that support survivors and promote prevention, and created strong linkages between the Center and community partners. She supported the effort to establish a City of Cleveland working group to develop legislation that will require employers to provide job-protected leave for employees that are survivors of domestic or sexual violence, and designed and implemented the Center’s advocacy efforts that resulted in securing $250,000 in funding from Cuyahoga County to support survivors of sexual violence. Cassie also supported advocacy efforts that increased funding for Ohio’s rape crisis centers from $1.5M annually to more than $4.5M annually through the state’s operating budget.

Cassie has extensive experience in the realm of politics, policy, and advocacy at the state and federal levels – and former experience on the ACS team as a Strategist from 2012-2017. During that time, she led the development and implementation of customized policy and advocacy strategies for clients, facilitated strategy and training sessions for diverse organizations and government agencies, and created and implemented strategic communication plans for organizations of all kinds. Before her time at ACS, she managed congressional campaigns and fundraising efforts throughout the state of Ohio, including serving as a spokesperson for various political candidates.

Cassie earned a bachelor’s degree in Political Science at Muskingum University and completed a Master of Urban Planning, Design, and Development degree program at Cleveland State University’s Levin College of Urban Affairs. While at Cleveland State, she was awarded the Wallace G. Teare Award in recognition of her advocacy for quality housing for low-income and elderly individuals. In November 2015, Cassie received the National Excellence in Advocacy by an Up and Coming Practitioner award at the Professional Women in Advocacy Conference in Washington, D.C. She currently serves on the Cleveland Metropolitan Bar Association’s Grievance Committee. Cassie lives in Lakewood, Ohio with her dog Bennie.