The CCS Team
Brenda Considine has held professional positions in the field of government relations and policy development since 1985.
She began her career at the Center for Outreach Services to the Autism Community (now Autism NJ), where she was ultimately appointed its first Director of Legislative Affairs, influencing policy development at the state and federal level and creating the first grassroots initiatives in support of improved disability policy in New Jersey. She edited and produced the agency’s clinical and political communications, consumer guides and resource directories, and established the agency’s robust information and referral capacities.
Later, as Director of Government Affairs at the Arc of New Jersey, Brenda coordinated statewide grassroots education and activism programs, and get out the vote campaigns. She lobbied successfully for the passage of New Jersey’s Family Support Act, positively shaped the adopted Comprehensive Educational Improvement Act (CEIFA), and coordinated a successful campaign for a New Jersey bond referendum.
She is the principle author of influential legislative and administrative policy reports in the area of education and human services, and currently authors and edits several periodic publications.
Brenda’s client work with CCS is as a marketing and communications planner, editor and writer, trainer, and policy consultant.
Rick Considine has been a professional communications planner, program developer, marketer, producer, and constituent organizer since 1990. He has held senior administrative positions at Rutgers University, New Jersey Protection and Advocacy, The Hun School of Princeton, and Island Trading/Island Records. His professional positions have involved extensive program planning, development and implementation.
As Director of Advocacy Programs at Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey, he was a member of the university’s Strategic Communications team, and had primary responsibility for the development and operation of the university’s advocacy program.
Rick planned and directed all communications, outreach and training programs, media development, and legislative activity for New Jersey Protection and Advocacy (now Disability Rights NJ), a federally-funded statewide non-profit. He also served as the agency’s spokesperson and legislative liaison, leading successful legislative initiatives related to health care, disability rights and voting reform. He has drafted curricula and conducted trainings for national associations on organizational crisis management and media relations, and has consulted directly with organizations facing crisis situations.
Rick’s client work with CCS is as a marketing and communications planner, policy consultant, writer and producer for print, and designer and programmer for web and web-based applications. He also has primary responsibility for CCS’s creative development and production.
Debra J. Horowitz, Esq.
Deb Horowitz holds a BS in speech communication (cum laude) from Millersville University of Pennsylvania and a Juris Doctor (magna cum laude) from Widener University School of Law.
Deb has been practicing law for 12 years with a background in family law and domestic violence. Her practice now includes consulting with parents and service providers regarding special needs, including food allergy management plans in schools, individualized health plans and individualized education plans.
She started her career at Drinker Biddle and Reath where she worked in the corporate and securities department. She then went on to be a law clerk for a family law judge. She served as a staff attorney for the Women’s Law Project in Trenton, New Jersey where she represented victims of domestic violence in family court actions and cultivated relationships with community-based service providers
Deb has volunteered her time to present seminars and workshops on dating violence, domestic violence and the law. She is a Councilwoman in Hopewell Borough, where she was elected to office in 2009. She is also on the board of trustees of the Hopewell Public Library.
Her work at CCS is focused on research, writing and advocacy support.
Fredric K. McCaffrey, APR (Research, Writing, and Media Development)
Fred McCaffrey brings more than 20 years of effectiveness in health care marketing communications and strategic public affairs. He has worked with many of America’s most successful organizations, including the United States Senate, Albert Einstein Medical Center, NYLCare Health Plans (now Aetna), Independence Blue Cross, Rhône-Poulenc, Inc., AstraZeneca, Merck, Pfizer and The CIGNA Companies. McCaffrey conceptualizes and executes large-scale marketing, advertising, and outreach programs to enhance corporate/client image and deliver results in visibility, recognition, sales and market share.
McCaffrey’s communications programs have been recognized with two first place Pepperpot Awards from the Public Relations Society of America – Philadelphia (PRSA), including the coveted Best of Show.
In Washington, McCaffrey served as assistant press secretary for the late Senator John Heinz, chairman of the Senate’s Special Committee on Aging, where he handled broadcast media relations and developed Pennsylvania’s first live statewide call-in program, airing on cable TV. McCaffrey also served as Press Secretary for the Committee on Governmental Affairs under Senator Bill Roth of Delaware and later was appointed by Senator John Chafee of Rhode Island as Director of Broadcasting for the Senate’s in-house radio/TV news bureau.
He is a magna cum laude graduate of Temple University’s School of Communications with a bachelor’s in advertising/journalism. In addition, he has studied international economics at the University of Fribourg in Switzerland, and has taken courses in organizational behavior and international business toward a master’s in business administration at Pennsylvania State University. McCaffrey has earned accreditation (APR) from the Public Relations Society of America and is a former director of the Philadelphia Chapter.
Regina A. Smith (Writing and Editorial Support)
Regina A. Smith holds a BA (cum laude) from Providence College in Rhode Island. She has more than a decade of specific experience in all aspects of publication production. She has worked with authors, translators, lecturers, vendors, and the press, and has copy edited, coordinated and assembled successful grant applications. Gina began her career at the Miami Art Museum as a curatorial assistant, where she worked with photographers and printers to produce brochures and catalogues on contemporary art. She then worked at the Americas Society in New York where she developed, wrote, edited, proofread and translated texts in English and Spanish, and oversaw the production of bi-lingual publications. Gina has directed the marketing and advertising of exhibitions and educational programming, headed successful collaborations aimed at marketing to new audiences, and planned and coordinated special events.
Gina has significant volunteer service coordinating literary and arts-oriented fundraising events when she served on the board of Directors of the Friends of the Hopewell Public Library in Hopewell, New Jersey.
She also works actively with Womanspace, in Princeton, NJ, and has worked at the American Embassies in Rome, Italy, and in Caracas, Venezuela. She speaks, reads and writes Spanish fluently, and is conversational in French and Italian.
Rebecca Shavulsky (Photography)
Rebecca Shavulsky attended Emerson College in Boston, and continued her studies at The International Center of Photography (ICP) in New York City, the pre-eminent institution for photographic studies. ICP’s faculty and alumni include many of the world’s foremost photographers, filmmakers and artists.
Rebecca established her professional credentials at Magnum Photos where she honed her craft working with Susan Miselas, recipient of the MacArthur Fellowship Award. Subsequent professional training included positions working with many world-renowned photojournalists such as Mary Ellen Mark and portrait photographers including Andrew Eccles.
The full breadth of Rebecca’s twenty years of experience in the healthcare industry has included national and international engagements with organizations such as Doctors Without Borders, The Red Cross, The George Soros Foundation, Special Olympics, The New Jersey Council on Developmental Disabilities, UNICEF, United Way, The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, United Nations Refugee Agency, and others. Engagements with news organizations have included the Associated Press, The New York Times, The Baltimore Sun, and others. Her assignments have spanned five continents.
Rebecca’s images capture the subtle blend of each subject’s unique, authentic narrative and the basic humanity that is immediately familiar and common to us all. Her experience and sensitivity working with children and adults living with a wide array of social, economic and physical challenges and settings has enabled her to identify and convey her subjects distinct characters through her images.
Rebecca is a consummate visual storyteller, and CCS is pleased to have her on our team to tell the real story of individuals, families and organizations in our communities. Visit Rebecca’s website now.
Joanne De Simone (Outreach, Writing, Editorial Support)
Joanne graduated summa cum laude from Hunter College in New York with degrees in Dance and Special Education. She has counseled families and taught children with special needs for the past twenty-two years. Joanne’s passion for special education advocacy intensified when she became a mother of two children with completely different but equally challenging disabilities. She has written about her parenting experiences for several publications including The Washington Post, The Huffington Post, and Brain, Child Magazine’s blog. She is also a contributor in Temple University Press’ forthcoming book titled Barriers and Belongings: Autoethnographies of Disability. Follow her at Special-EducationMom.com.
Nancy Skreener (Art Direction, Design, Production Support)
A graduate of the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York City, Nancy is an award winning graphic designer with more than 20 year of experience. She has produced advertising & promotional materials, training & meeting planning collateral, publications, catalogs, media kits, books, and brochures.
Mary Campagna (Event Planning, Media, Administrative Support)
For her entire professional life, Mary has been a self-employed business woman, first as a store owner in Hoboken New Jersey, and later as an independent visual artist. She has three decades of experience promoting these successful businesses through both traditional and non-traditional marketing, including trade shows, Facebook, Constant Contact and direct outreach. Detail-oriented and deeply committed to mission-driven work, Mary has planned, organized and promoted events including in-store events, fine art shows and a support network group. Born and raised in north Jersey, Mary is the mother of two teenaged boys, and the aunt of a three nephews on the autism spectrum.
Jill Abrahamsen (Art Direction, Design, Production Support)
Jill Abrahamsen holds a B.A. in Media Studies from SUNY New Paltz, and continuing academic concentration in photography at Fashion Institute of Technology.
Jill’s most recent professional experience is as Art Director/Graphic Designer for Arant Creative Group and Design NJ Magazine, Merril Lynch, and Family Publishing Group. She had earlier design and consultation work at several national publishers including International Masters Publishers, Hachette Filipacchi Magazines, and Metro Creative Graphics. She also volunteers her time and talents locally for Orchard Hill Elementary School, and Blawenburg Village Preschool. Jill also served as an adjunct instructor in Computer Design at Sanford Brown (formerly Gibbs College).
Her work at CCS is focused on art direction and design, concept development, and production for print.