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Seal of the Governor
For Immediate Release: October 4, 2019
Contacts: Office of the Governor: Alena Yarmosky,

Governor Northam Announces Administration Appointments

RICHMOND—Governor Ralph Northam announced additional appointments to his Administration today.

Office of the Governor

Grant Neely, Chief Communications Officer
Grant Neely has been appointed Chief Communications Officer. He has led strategic communications and sustainability strategy for Dominion Energy, served as Chief of Staff to former Richmond Mayor Dwight Jones, and has advised corporate clients around the world, including CEOs of Pfizer. He has taught communications at the City University of New York, and he previously worked as Chief Speechwriter in Governor Mark Warner’s administration. He graduated from the College of William & Mary and holds a master’s degree in comparative religion from Miami University of Ohio.

Natalie Chapman, Executive Assistant to the First Lady of Virginia
Natalie Chapman has been appointed Executive Assistant to First Lady Pamela Northam. Natalie previously served as Special Assistant to the Chief Workforce Development Advisor and was a 2018 Governor’s Fellow in the Office of the First Lady of Virginia. Natalie is a native of Wise County and graduated from the University of Virginia’s College at Wise with a Bachelor of Science degree in Economics.

Secretariat of Commerce and Trade

Cathy Stephens, Executive Assistant to the Secretary of Commerce and Trade
Cathy Stephens has been appointed Executive Assistant to the Secretary of Commerce and Trade.  Prior to her appointment, Cathy served for many years as a Legal Administrative Assistant for Williams Mullen in Richmond.

Secretariat of the Commonwealth

Danielle Campbell, Special Assistant for Advisory Board Administration
Danielle Campbell has been appointed as Special Assistant for Advisory Board Administration. She most recently served as Confidential Assistant to First Lady Pamela Northam. Danielle previously served in the McAuliffe administration as the Programs Assistant to the Secretary of Public Safety and Homeland Security and was a Governor’s Fellow for the Secretary of Agriculture and Forestry. Danielle, a Loudoun County native, earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from Norfolk State University, where she served as Vice President of the Student Government Association and Chair of Virginia21.

Maribel Castañeda, Director of Latino Outreach
Maribel Castañeda has been appointed Director of Latino Outreach. In addition to this role, Maribel will continue to serve as Director of Appointments. Maribel is a graduate of James Madison University, where she studied International Affairs, and the Sorensen Institute for Political Leadership. Maribel previously worked at Richmond Public Schools as the Administrative Office Associate for the Department of Student and Family Services.

Board Appointments

Advisory Board on Service and Volunteerism

  • Lily Beres* of Falls Church, Class of 2022, University of Virginia

Behavioral Health and Developmental Services Board

  • Varun Choudhary, MD, MA* of Glen Allen, Distinguished Fellow of the American Psychiatric Association
  • Jerome Hughes, Sr. of Woodbridge, Executive Director, Recovery Program Solutions of Virginia 

Board for Architects, Professional Engineers, Certified Interior Designers, Land Surveyors and Landscape Architects

  • Mel Price* of Norfolk, Principal, Work Program Architects

Board of Dentistry

  • Mike H. Nguyen, DDS of Ashburn, Dentists of Sterling and Dentists of Gainesville

Board of Medicine

  • Dr. Alvin Edwards* of Charlottesville, Senior Pastor, Mount Zion First African Baptist Church
  • Jane D. Hickey* of Richmond, Former Senior Assistant Attorney General
  • Joel J. Silverman, MD of Richmond, Physician, School of Medicine, Virginia Commonwealth University

Board of Trustees of the Virginia Foundation for Healthy Youth

  • Dr. Keith Newby, Sr., MD of Norfolk, Cardiologist, President and CEO, Fort Norfolk Plaza Medical Associates

Board of Trustees of the Virginia Land Conservation Foundation

  • Glenda Booth* of Fairfax County, Freelance Writer
  • Dr. James F. Casey of Lexington, Professor, Washington and Lee University

Data Sharing and Analytics Advisory Committee

  • Rowley Molina* of Ashland, Director, Cyber Risk Management, ICMA-RC

Local Government Advisory Committee to the Chesapeake Bay Executive Council Appointment

  • Robin Rich-Coates of Franktown, Director, Eastern Shore Soil and Water Conservation District

Virginia Soil and Water Conservation Board

  • Kristen Saacke Blunk of Richmond, Principal and Field Liaison, Headwaters LLC
  • Kat Maybury of Charlottesville, Retired Conservation Professional
  • Dr. Dahlia O’Brien of Moseley, Associate Professor and Small Ruminant Specialist, Virginia State University

*denotes reappointment

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