Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety Announces Leadership Transition

  • November 27, 2017
150 150 Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety


November 27, 2017

Contact: Eric Naing 202-408-1711, cell: 217-493-8294,

Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety Announces Leadership Transition

Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety (Advocates) announced today that Jackie Gillan, President and Founding Board Member, will be transitioning to become President Emeritus beginning in January 2018. Cathy Chase, Advocates’ Vice President of Governmental Affairs, has been selected by the Board of Directors as the new President. Formed in 1989, Advocates is an alliance of consumer, medical, public health and safety groups, and insurance companies and agents working together to prevent motor vehicle crashes, save lives, reduce injuries, and contain costs.

Jackie Gillan initially served as a consumer board member and helped to launch Advocates nearly three decades ago. She co-led the organization beginning in 1990 and has served as President since 2011. Her extensive public policy and lobbying accomplishments have resulted in the successful enactment of numerous federal and state laws advancing motor vehicle and motor carrier safety standards, improving child safety, strengthening impaired driving laws, requiring safety belt, child restraint and motorcycle helmet use, establishing teen driver programs, and providing adequate funding for highway and auto safety programs. Prior to joining Advocates, Ms. Gillan worked in senior policy positions in the Office of the Secretary of the U.S. Department of Transportation, the United States Senate, the Washington, D.C. office of the Governor of Ohio, and the California and New Jersey state transportation agencies.

Cathy Chase first joined Advocates in 1996 as Legislative Assistant and was subsequently promoted to Director of State Programs, a position she held until 2003. She returned to Advocates in 2012 to serve as Senior Director of Governmental Affairs and soon after was elevated to Vice President of Governmental Affairs. In this role, she has served as a key advisor to the President on public policy and program decisions. She also develops, directs, and executes Advocates’ legislative efforts.

Ms. Chase brings a wealth of experience and expertise to the leadership position. She is a graduate of George Washington University Law School and Rutgers College. In 2016, she was selected to participate in the prestigious Women’s Executive Leadership Program of the Impact Center. Ms. Chase’s past experiences include working for nonprofit organizations, a private law practice, several U.S. Senate campaigns, and the New Jersey State Assembly.

Joan Claybrook, Advocates’ Consumer Co-Chair, President Emeritus of Public Citizen, and former Administrator of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, has worked with Ms. Gillan on highway and auto safety issues since the Carter Administration. “Jackie is one of the most remarkable advocates I have ever known,” she said. “Her impressive record of legislative accomplishments has resulted in the enactment of safety laws and standards that have saved thousands of lives and prevented countless devastating injuries due to motor vehicle crashes. Jackie has led Advocates with extraordinary vision, dogged determination, and keen political judgment. Cathy has been right at Jackie’s side in these efforts and shares her safety, passion, and advocacy skills. Having worked closely for many years with Jackie and Cathy as well as the talented staff of Advocates, I know this organization will continue its significant and influential role in federal and state policy debates on highway and auto safety.”

Bill Vainisi, Senior Vice President and Deputy General Counsel of Allstate Insurance Company and Advocates’ Insurance Co-Chair, stated, “The Board of Directors greatly appreciates Jackie’s numerous contributions to Advocates. Her leadership and advocacy have made Advocates the highly successful and well-respected national safety organization it is today. Among Jackie’s many talents is her ability to bring together lawmakers from both sides of the political aisle, board members representing consumer and business interests, and organizations with diverse viewpoints in support of advancing highway safety solutions. Advocates’ Board is extremely pleased that we will continue to benefit from Jackie and Cathy’s outstanding experience as it nears our 30-year milestone of successfully advancing safer roads, safer cars, and safer drivers.”