Team Members Profile

Debra Schiff

President & CEO

Debra Schiff is the President and founder of the J Street Group, LLC. She has more than 45 years of event management and protocol expertise in the United States and abroad. Mrs. Schiff is no stranger to working with the highest level of government officials, business executives, academics, innovators, media, celebrities, entertainers, and athletes, and is valued by her clients as a trusted confidant to produce events with the utmost confidence and discretion.

J Street Group is known as one of Washington, D.C.’s premiere event production and destination management companies as highlighted in Washington Business Journal. The Washington Business Journal named J Street Group as one of the top 20 event planners in Washington, DC. Understandably, Mrs. Schiff is one of the most sought-after event planners in the United States and abroad. She has uniquely created a full-service boutique firm that specializes in providing meticulous planning services while focusing on the participant experience.

Mrs. Schiff’s prior consulting firm, Debra Schiff & Company, advised clients such as General Dynamics Advanced Information Systems, on a complete range of event management services, including event production and destination management.

Mrs. Schiff’s tenure at the U.S. Department of State, where she served as Assistant Chief of Protocol, has allowed her to become one of the few experts in the United States versed in international protocol matters and the details that go along with producing functions for world leaders by creating frameworks for successful diplomacy and engagements. Working with style and elegance and acute attention to detail, she planned and executed official and ceremonial events honoring foreign dignitaries, heads of state, members of Congress and VIPs on behalf of President Clinton, Vice President Gore and Secretary of State Albright. Mrs. Schiff was also instrumental in the planning and oversight of sensitive and highly visible events for the Middle-East Peace Talks at Wye River, Shepherdstown, Camp David and NATO 50 festivities.

Mrs. Schiff also has had the unique opportunity to be a member of the core Oval Office Operations staff in The West Wing of the Executive Office of the President of the United States. She was also liaison with the travel industry and the White House Travel Office, she traveled with the President and the White House Press Corps.

Based in Washington, D.C., Mrs. Schiff hails from the Lone Star state where she has held various management positions in the airline industry and owned a successful advertising specialty business. She also serves on the board of the Peace Entertainment Project (PEP) and is actively involved with the Lombardi Cancer Center, the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, Child Rite, American Heart Association and many other charitable organizations. She is married to James H. Schiff.

Susan Ralston

Deputy & Founding Member of International Events & Security Consultants (IESC)

Susan Ralston is an event project manager with JSG and has extensive public and private sector experience in project management, development, advocacy, grassroots organizing, coalitions, political strategy, public relations and event management.

Her event management portfolio includes corporate and non-profit high-profile events for Bloomberg Media, Coca-Cola, Univision, World Vision, the Halifax International Security Forum, Georgetown University, Red Bull, the DC Environmental Film Festival, New Yorkers United for Justice, Start Up Nation, AQR, the Embassy of Uzbekistan, and the Institute for the Study of War.

Prior to her work as a consultant, Ms. Ralston was the Special Assistant to the President and a deputy to Karl Rove, the Deputy Chief of Staff and Senior Advisor at The White House. She coordinated the development of policy, strategic planning, political affairs, public liaison activities, and intergovernmental affairs efforts of The White House. She was also responsible for coordinating presidential and major surrogate events for all domestic issue campaigns, including Education, Healthcare, Social Security, Immigration, Energy, Budget and Economy, Environment, National Security, the War on Terror, Global Diplomacy and the Gulf Coast (Hurricane Katrina). As a Filipino-American, Ms. Ralston was actively involved in the strategic planning and Asian Pacific American outreach efforts of the White House, including the creation of the President’s Advisory Commission on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders. She was a member of the Presidential Delegation to attend the Inauguration of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, of the Republic of the Philippines, in June 2004. During the 2004 re-election campaign, Ms. Ralston was the White House Liaison to Bush-Cheney ’04, coordinating the activities between the two entities. She also served on the Advisory Committee for “W Stands for Women,” the campaign’s outreach effort to women. Prior to her public service, Ms. Ralston was the Assistant Director of Governmental Affairs at Greenberg Traurig and has also worked for the lobbying firm of Preston Gates Ellis & Rouvelas Meeds, LLP.

Joe Funk

USSS Founder & Founding Member of International Events and Security Consultants (IESC)

Joe Funk, President of US Safety & Security, LLC is responsible overseeing all daily operations including all domestic investigations, physical security and executive protection.

Mr. Funk is a twenty-one year veteran of the United States Secret Service, completing his career as the Assistant to the Special Agent in Charge of the Washington DC Field Office. Mr. Funk’s career with the U. S. Secret Service was equally divided between criminal investigations and executive protection.

During his career Mr. Funk spent over eight years assigned to the protection details of Presidents George H. Bush and William J. Clinton. He was assigned to the protection of numerous foreign Heads of State. Mr. Funk spent three & half years assigned to the elite Secret Service Counter Assault Team attaining the rank of Team Leader. He has extensive experience and knowledge in providing executive protection and conducting complex security assessments and surveys. Mr. Funk has received extensive training and experience in counter terrorism tactics. Among his accomplishments was the security director for the 50th N.A.T.O. Conference and two Presidential Inaugurations. His latest clients include Senator Barack Obama and Governor Mitt Romney.

Mr. Funk also gained valuable experience, training and knowledge in conducting complex multi- jurisdictional criminal investigations. At the time of his retirement Mr. Funk was the supervisor for the Washington Field Office Metro Area Fraud Task Force. For his efforts Mr. Funk has received numerous awards from the U.S. Secret Service, local financial institutions, the U.S. Attorneys office’s in Maryland, Washington and Virginia as well as numerous civic organizations.

Maggie Olaimey Jones

Senior Consultant

With over 25 years of experience working with nonprofits, corporate government affairs, and the legislative and executive branch, Maggie Olaimey Jones is uniquely qualified to manage multifaceted events and offers an invaluable asset to assembling the best possible team and resources for each event.

From 2004 to 2018, Ms. Jones served as the Program Director for the American Academy of Achievement, a nonprofit organization based in Washington, D.C., where she was responsible for producing their annual International Achievement Summits in New York, Los Angeles, Washington, D.C., San Francisco, Kona, HI, Cape Town and Kruger National Park, South Africa, and London, England. The multi-day summit hosts hundreds of guests including Presidents, Prime Ministers, U.S. Supreme Court Justices, Fortune 500 CEOs, Oscar, Grammy, Nobel and Pulitzer Prize recipients, leaders in medicine and education, sports legends and countless others who represent the pinnacle of achievement in their respective fields. Additionally, Ms. Jones provided valuable on-site logistical and program management support for special partnership events with Ford’s Theatre Society, National Geographic Society, The Newseum, and The National Portrait Gallery. Ms. Jones also managed all aspects of the Academy’s multi-million dollar program budget and foundation operations.

Ms. Jones began her career in 1992 in Washington, D.C. working as a staff assistant on Capitol Hill for U.S. Senator David Pryor and then joined The Walt Disney Company’s Office of Government Relations organizing special events. In 2000, she returned to public service with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). After HUD, she worked for three years in the Federal and International Affairs division at Weyerhaeuser Company focusing on efforts to develop industry relationships within the trade association community and coalition activities.

Ms. Jones’ newly launched Olaimey Jones, LLC partners with each client to execute a unique and seamless event specifically designed to your needs. Through her many years of organizing events and building trusted relationships, Ms. Jones has maintained a network of talented and reliable vendors with whom she partners to create exceptional experiences for clients and their guests.

Olaimey Jones, LLC specializes in managing all conceptual and logistical elements of events ranging from board meetings, conferences, fundraising galas, intimate dinners, and more. Ms. Jones’ demonstrated work and understanding of special events, along with her gracious style and attention to detail, is sure to deliver a memorable experience for all.

Trish Reilly

Senior Consultant

Trish Reilly is a Senior Consultant to the J Street Group, LLC, the premier events planning and production company based in Washington, DC. She works in a variety of operational functions, including assisting clients with their “DC fly in” day logistics, scheduling visits on Capitol Hill and advising attendees on how to best facilitate their meetings with Members of Congress and staff.

Having worked on Capitol Hill for 20 years as a Communications Director and Chief of Staff, she advises clients in business development and public affairs in addition to legislative affairs. A veteran campaign strategist, she has experience in messaging, grassroots organization and fundraising.

Most recently, Ms. Reilly is part of the team that launched the Peace Entertainment Project, Inc (PEPSTAR). PEPSTAR is a nonprofit that supports filmmakers, artists, educators, and peace builders who create uplifting content by offering a fiscal sponsorship program.

She currently serves on the Board of Directors for The Pennsylvania State Society of Washington, DC.