Press Release

August 12, 2019


Former Senior Obama White House Advisor to Lead Team of Seasoned Public Policy and Communications Professionals

NEW YORK - Department of Financial Services (DFS) Superintendent Linda A. Lacewell today announced new executive appointments to the External Affairs and Strategy team.

“I am pleased to welcome these talented individuals, with their invaluable and extensive external affairs and communications experience, to the Executive Team at DFS,” said Superintendent Lacewell. "The new team will allow DFS to further engage and build relationships with our external stakeholders in support of our mission to protect New York consumers and markets.”

Nate Turnbull has been appointed Executive Deputy Superintendent for External Affairs and Strategy. Mr. Turnbull brings with him more than 15 years of experience in public policy and external affairs. Most recently, Mr. Turnbull served as the Vice President of Public Policy for CONNECT. He was responsible for developing CONNECT’s strategic policy initiatives focused on growing the innovation economy and scaling startups. Prior to CONNECT, Mr. Turnbull served as Special Assistant to the President during the Obama Administration at the White House, where he led the team that collaborated with the National Economic Council, the Council of Economic Advisers, and Domestic Policy Council to appoint and manage individuals with oversight over the nation’s economic policy and financial security. Prior to the White House, Mr. Turnbull served as White House Liaison at the U.S. Department of Transportation where he was part of Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood’s senior leadership team that was responsible for managing a critical $70 billion agency. Mr. Turnbull holds an M.B.A from Bentley University and a B.S. from Salem State University.

Sophia Kim has been appointed Press Secretary. Before joining DFS, Ms. Kim was a director in the public affairs practice at SKDKnickerbocker’s New York office. Prior to this role, she was a spokesperson for the Fire Department of the City of New York (FDNY), the largest fire department and emergency medical service provider in the United States, where she worked with senior leaders on crisis communications, media relations and rapid response during fires and emergency incidents. She was also a presidential appointee in the Obama Administration serving as deputy press secretary at the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA), a cabinet-level agency. Ms. Kim received a B.A. in international relations from Syracuse University. She is an M.P.A candidate (2020) in public and nonprofit management at New York University with a specialization in public finance and financial management.

Ciara Marangas has been appointed Assistant Deputy Superintendent for External Affairs. Previously, as Deputy Director for Communications, Ms. Marangas assisted in planning and coordinating DFS’s strategic communications and media operations with the Executive Chamber, other state agencies, relevant external entities and elected officials with respect to press and public events of the Department’s senior leadership team. She oversaw the day-to-day operations of DFS’s internal and external communications programs to support and promote the agency’s mission, communicate the Department’s accomplishments in the media, and facilitate the Department’s interaction with the public. Prior to joining DFS in 2015, Ms. Marangas served as a constituent coordinator and staffer on a targeted Congressional campaign, working to increase and maintain a grassroots movement to register and mobilize voters, focusing within the female and regional community groups. Before that, she worked in public relations and as a Legal Assistant at Wilson Elser. Ms. Marangas holds a B.A. in communications from Marist College.

Michael Drake has been appointed Speechwriter. Mr. Drake most recently served as head speechwriter and communications advisor to Assembly member Michael Blake during his campaign for New York City Public Advocate. Before this role, he worked as a Program Analyst coordinating the New York City Mayor’s campaign to end veteran homelessness from the Mayor’s Office of Veteran’s Affairs. He also served as a former combat medic with the U.S. Army. Mr. Drake was deployed to Afghanistan during Operation Enduring Freedom VIII with the 82nd Airborne Division and was awarded the Army Commendation Medal with Valor for rendering medical care while under hostile enemy fire. He received a B.A. from the University of California at Berkeley and his M.P.A from Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs.

Bernadette Pichardo has been appointed Director of Social Media. Ms. Pichardo was formerly a Social Media Manager for a multidisciplinary firm that specializes in the planning, design, and production of experiences. Before this role, she was a member of the editorial and branded content team at The Weather Company/IBM, where she produced lifestyle social-first videos for their digital verticals and supported them with Spanish language coverage of severe storms like Hurricane Matthew, Harvey, Irma, and Maria. Ms. Pichardo holds a B.A. in Film and TV Studies from the City University of New York - Lehman College.