Our Team

Eugene Benavides, Political Advisor

Eugene Benavides is the Founder and Principal of Benavides & Associates; a public relations, political affairs and strategy company; specializing in developing public affairs, communication, political and relationship strategies for the private sector, government agencies, national non-profit organizations, campaigns, elected officials, and political institutions. He is also an expert in land use politics and has landed victories in some of the toughest land-use battles in the United States.

As a political strategist, Eugene has worked on several national, statewide and local campaigns. On the national level, Eugene has worked on five Presidential Campaigns. He was appointed to serve President Bill Clinton as a Writer at The White House.  He went on to serve the Clinton Administration in various detailed duties through advance work and media relations.

Eugene has taken political roles due to his knowledge and experience in developing relationships with statewide, local and federal  leaders; integrating national and statewide outreach strategies, developing voter contact plans, utilizing ethnic media, developing internet based strategies, and mobilizing diverse constituencies.  Eugene served as the California Primary Director for the Clinton/Gore Re-election Campaign and as the Nevada State Field Director for the Kerry/Edwards Presidential Campaign. In 2008, on behalf of the Democratic National Committee sponsored by DNC Vice Chair Mike Honda, he served as Political/Constituency Director for the Nevada State Democratic Caucus Primary.  

During the expansion of the business-to-business trade development via the Internet, Eugene served as the Director of Global Alliances for MeetWorldTrade, Inc (MWT).  In this role, Eugene initiated, cultivated and managed business development relations between MWT’s senior representatives, investors and potential partners.  He directed the company’s global public relations activities; coordinated media events in the United States, Asia Pacific and Europe.  His significant accomplishments were to negotiate and coordinate several multi-party joint venture agreements in China, Japan, India, Philippines and Vietnam.

With his passion in the International arena, Eugene established a business presence in the Philippines. He was President and CEO of Benavides-Ancheta International, LLC. He was the owner of Caffe’ Americana franchise; restaurants featuring American cuisines and local grown coffee.

Eugene currently serves as a Political/Communications Adviser to former Cabinet Secretary Norman Mineta’s Political Action Committee (PAC), America’s Opportunity Fund.  He advises and identifies candidates for the PAC to support. In the 2008 Presidential Election, Eugene organized a multi state Voter Contact Program that consists of; ad buys, direct mail and phone banking activities in support of Presidential Candidate Barack Obama and Democratic Candidates in the states targeted—Colorado, Florida, Nevada, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Virginia.

In addition, he serves as one of the PAC’s facilitator for training potential candidates to run for political office throughout the country. In 2010, Eugene served as a media consultant to the Democratic National Committee in media (print and radio) placement throughout the country. In the same year, he assisted in the State of Hawaii’s electoral campaigns that resulted in both Gubernatorial and Congressional victories.

Vida Benavides, Leadership Advisor

Vida Benavides is a principal in the Dewey Square Group's state, local and multicultural practice, developing third party outreach strategies inclusive of multicultural constituencies and consumers, as well as advising national, state and local leaders on political, policy, constituent outreach and public relations strategies.

An expert on electoral politics, Benavides' career includes providing strategic counsel to campaigns, policy initiatives, voter education and mobilization, political leadership and civic engagement. Benavides co-founded APIAVote, a national nonpartisan, nonprofit organization that encourages and promotes civic participation amongst Asian American and Pacific Islanders in the electoral and public policy processes. As Executive Director she oversaw the organization's 2008 unprecedented national field, public education, and communications program that helped to increase the visibility and capacity of the Asian American and Pacific Islander community's participation in the electoral process.

Prior to APIAVote,  Benavides spent 15 years as a political and public affairs consultant, developing political, policy, fundraising, public relations, and communication strategies focused on developing diverse and alternative outreach approach to multicultural communities.  As a consultant, Vida served as a top advisor to the Kerry-Edwards and Gore-Lieberman campaigns.  And as a pro-bono Campaign Adviser/Strategist, she designed the coalition infrastructure and developed successful grassroots and grass top strategies for the National Alliance for Filipino Veterans Equity (NAFVE), the coalition that pursued passage of Filipino WWII Veterans Benefit Enhancement legislation.  President Obama signed the bill as part of the Recovery and Reinvestment Act in 2009.

Benavides served as the Director of Public Liaison of the Department of Public Liaison, Voter Education, & Training for Democratic National Committee under Chairman David Wilhelm.  She helped develop base vote outreach strategies, utilized an aggressive use of specialty media, monitored and recruited minority & women candidates, facilitated training programs, and implemented a surrogate speakers program for the Party and the administration. Vida also served as political aide of the Clinton/Gore Presidential Transition Team and '92 Clinton/Gore Campaign.

Benavides served as a board member of Asian Law Caucus of San Francisco, APIAVote of Washington, and for the Presidential Nomination, Timing and Scheduling Commission for the Democratic Party. She dedicates her time to fostering emerging talent through leadership development activities.  Over the past decade she has trained and mentored public servants, electoral and campaign practitioners and continues to promote leadership among youth, women, and minority communities.  She has also worked with community leaders and public officials to establish civic and electoral engagement entities such as America's Opportunity Fund, National Alliance for Filipino Veterans Equity, and Asian Pacific American Institute for Congressional Studies.

Vida was an Asian Pacific American Women's Leadership Institute Fellow, US-German Marshall Fund Fellow, and is listed as one of 100 Influential Filipina American Women. She received the Ron Brown Center for Civil Rights and Economic Center Award for her work in promoting civil rights and civic engagement in 2010.

Madalane Mielke, Finance Advisor

Madalene Mielke is the Founder and Principal of the Arum Group, LLC as well as a Partner in Navigare Strategy Group.  She has over 15 years of experience working in political campaigns.  Madalene specializes in political and non-profit fundraising and political training.  

The Arum Group’s clients have included such organizations and campaigns as NAACP National Voter Fund, Underwood for Governor, Democratic National Committee, John Kerry for President, Mike Honda for Congress, Friends of Hillary, New Vision America (Rep. Mike Honda’s leadership PAC), CHC BOLD PAC, Leadership for Today and Tomorrow (Rep. Xavier Becerra’s leadership PAC), Jackie Speier for Congress, Friends of Alan Grayson, America’s Opportunity Fund (Secretary Norm Mineta’s leadership PAC), Friends of Mazie Hirono and numerous other progressive organizations.

Madalene’s previous experience includes working as the Director of Training and Curriculum for the Ron Brown-Paul Tully Institute for Political Action (BTI), the Democratic National Committee (DNC), the New Democrat Network (NDN) and several coordinated and presidential campaigns.   

As the Director of Training and Curriculum for BTI, Madalene was responsible for the development of training materials for all disciplines of a campaign and traveled throughout the United States to train campaign professionals as well as state party officials, candidates and Democratic activists.  She served as the Lead Trainer for the Finance Director trainings.  Participants included campaign finance directors and national committee staff.  

At the New Democrat Network (NDN), where Madalene served as Membership Development Director, she worked in collaboration with Congressional Members from the New Democrat Coalition (NDC) as well as the founding Co-Chairs of NDN, Senators John Breaux and Joseph I. Lieberman.