Staff Archives - CDIA

Our team

  • Dan SmithPresident & CEO

    Dan Smith is president & CEO of the Consumer Data Industry Association (CDIA), a trade association representing the U.S. consumer reporting industry.

    At CDIA, Dan is responsible for the leadership, direction, and overall management of the organization. Dan guides CDIA’s efforts to enhance the public’s recognition and understanding of the consumer reporting industry and its vital importance to consumers nationwide.

    Dan is a leading authority on federal and state legislative and regulatory processes and has an in-depth knowledge of consumer financial protection laws and regulations.

    Dan joined CDIA from the Consumer Bankers Association (CBA), where he was Executive Vice President and Head Regulatory Affairs.

    Previously, Dan was Senior Vice President and Executive Director of the American Bankers Association’s (ABA) Card Policy Counsel. There, he represented the top credit card issuers and networks in front of Congress and regulatory agencies on all issues impacting the credit card market. These included interest rate cap proposals, interchange, Regulation Z, modernization of disclosures and e-sign legislation.

    Prior to joining ABA, Dan was the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s (CFPB) first Assistant Director for the Office of Financial Institutions and Business Liaison. In building the office, Dan managed the Bureau’s relationship with more than 40 trade associations and senior executives at major financial services companies to facilitate constructive dialogue.

    Before joining the CFPB, Dan spent four years at Freddie Mac serving as the Director of Industry and State Relations. He was responsible for legislative, regulatory, and industry issues in all 50 states. Dan managed Freddie Mac’s relationships with the National Association of Realtors (NAR), the minority realtor groups, and state realtor associations.

    Earlier in his career, Dan spent 15 years lobbying governors, attorneys general, state agencies, and legislative bodies in all 50 states. As Vice President at Dehart and Darr Associates, he advocated on behalf of direct marketers and publishers, Fortune 500 companies, international publishers, and three trade associations.

    Dan received his Master of Business Administration and undergraduate degree in Political Science from Mount Saint Mary’s University in Emmitsburg, Maryland.

  • Eric J. EllmanSenior Vice President, Public Policy & Legal Affairs

    Eric J. Ellman is Senior Vice President for Public Policy and Legal Affairs at the Consumer Data Industry Association (CDIA) in Washington, DC. He also served for eight months as Interim President and CEO of the Association.

    At CDIA, Eric leads the federal regulatory affairs program, runs the legal department, and serves as liaison to the format teams for credit data reporting.  He participates in the management of the Association as well. With CDIA since 1998, Eric’s work has been highlighted on the front page of the USA Today Money section (June 2007), where he was called a “warrior” who is “always well prepared for battle”.

    Prior to joining CDIA, Eric worked for five years for the Direct Selling Association. A native New Yorker, he has been in and around government and public service and politics for most of his life. In 1989, he became the youngest elected official in Maryland, winning a seat on the Friendship Heights Village Council, on which he went on to serve four terms. Eric also made a bid for the Maryland state legislature in 1994.

    From 2006-11, Eric sat on the Board of Directors for Wonders Child Care—one of the largest non-profit childcare organizations in the DC-metro area.  From 2011-2020, he served as a member of the Board of Directors for Congregation B’nai Tzedek in Potomac, Maryland. Eric has served on the board of Credit Builders Alliance since 2016, and he was elected vice chair of that Board in 2022.

    Eric holds a B.S. from American University in Washington, DC, and a law degree from the University of Baltimore.  He is a member of the bar in Maryland and Pennsylvania, and is CIPP/US certified by the International Association of Privacy Professionals (IAPP).


  • Sheila M. GreenwoodSenior Vice President of Congressional Affairs and Chief of Staff

    Sheila M. Greenwood is the Senior Vice President of Congressional Affairs and Chief of Staff at the Consumer Data Industry Association (CDIA), a trade association representing the U.S. consumer reporting industry.

    At CDIA, Sheila leads federal government relations and connects Capitol Hill with CDIA’s advocacy efforts. As Chief of Staff, Sheila executes strategic planning, operations, and budgeting.

    Sheila is an experienced senior executive with over 25 years of extensive federal government, management, public affairs, public policy, and legislative experience.  Her government experience includes senior roles at the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA), the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) and at the U.S. Department of Housing & Urban Development (HUD) as the agency’s Chief of Staff.

    Sheila’s private sector experience has primarily centered on financial services, housing, insurance, and consumer banking for various Washington, DC-based corporate offices, and trade associations, including Citigroup, Prudential Financial, and the National Association of Professional Insurance Agents.

    A native Louisianian, Sheila holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Louisiana at Lafayette. She and her husband live with their son in Alexandria, Virginia.

  • Anita Appel (Popwell)Vice President, Education Services

    As Vice President of Education Services, Anita Appel (Popwell) oversees all operational aspects of the Department. She focuses on keeping the Association’s audiences abreast of the latest developments in regulatory compliance by managing the development and maintenance of CDIA’s educational training programs, identifying new education projects and priorities, and partnering with leading law firms to develop events covering current issues and industry best practices.

    With CDIA since 2000, Anita has played a key role in growing CDIA’s compliance training programs, expanding the education services offered not only to the Association’s members, but also to financial institutions such as data furnishers and data users.

    Anita holds a MBA from Johns Hopkins Carey Business School and a BS in Global Business/Public Policy from the University of Maryland University College.

    A native of Austria, she is a great outdoors enthusiast and typically spends her vacation on remote long-distance camping trips with her husband, Vince.

  • Jackie GulleyVice President, Communications and Public Affairs

    Jackie Gulley is Vice President for Communications and Public Affairs at the Consumer Data Industry Association (CDIA).

    Jackie Gulley is an experienced executive in strategic communications, public policy and legislative/government affairs, brand and reputation management and policy issue campaign strategy.

    Previously, she held roles in communications and government affairs with Moody’s, S&P Global, and Verizon, leading messaging, developing coalitions and partnerships, and award-winning advocacy campaigns.

    Jackie is a trained executive coach, focusing on brand, career advancement and wellness. She works with businesses and high achieving executives looking to expand their presence and create strategies to thrive, employers who want to increase productivity and visibility for their business, and entrepreneurs who want to grow and expand.

    A sought-after speaker and brand consultant, she regularly joins corporations, associations, and conferences on panels and keynotes focusing on brand identity, communications, networking, and goal planning.

    For media inquiries, please contact her at

  • Sarah M. OhsVice President, Government Relations

    Sarah M. Ohs joined the Consumer Data Industry Association (CDIA) in 2016 and has over 20 years of experience in government relations at the federal, state, local and international levels. As Vice President of Government Relations, Sarah leads CDIA’s state government affairs program.

    Prior to joining CDIA, Sarah served in senior roles in both trade associations and private sector companies, dealing with a wide variety of legislative and regulatory issues.

    Sarah has served as Senior Director of Government relations for GTECH—a global gaming company based in Rhode Island—and Director for External Affairs at the Edison Electric Institute (EEI) in Washington, DC. In addition, Sarah has held government relations positions at the International Bottled Water Association and Feld Entertainment, Inc., the parent company to Ringling Bros. and Barnum and Bailey®, Feld Motorsports and Disney on Ice.

    Earlier in her career, Sarah spent three years as a policy advisor for Her Majesty’s Government at the British Embassy in Washington, DC working in the global issues group. She began her career in Washington, DC as a Capitol Hill staffer for Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell.

    Sarah holds a Master’s degree in International Relations from the University of Wales, Aberystwyth and a Bachelor’s degree from Boston College.

  • Kristine Poplawski ThomasDirector, Marketing & Events

    Kristine Poplawski Thomas came on board at the Consumer Data Industry Association (CDIA) in March 2018 and serves as the Director, Marketing & Events. As part of CDIA’s Education Services team, Kristine plays a vital part in the success of CDIA’s educational offerings and events. Under her leadership, CDIA has grown our Law and Industry Conference from an experiment to a successful and well recognized event. During the pandemic, she played an integral part in the transition from in-person to virtual meetings thus ensuring the continuity and success of our meetings and events.

    Prior to joining CDIA, Kristine worked as an event manager planning both social and corporate events including conferences, nonprofit galas, and weddings. In addition, Kristine worked as a social worker and nonprofit director both domestically and throughout Eastern Africa, focusing on international relations, refugees, and child protection.

    Kristine holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from Fairfield University and a Master’s in Social Work from Fordham University.  She lives with her husband and daughter in Newtown, Pennsylvania.

  • Zachary TaylorDirector of Government Relations

    Zachary Taylor is the Director of Government Relations for the Consumer Data Industry Association, representing membership and advancing industry priorities before state legislatures, regulators, and executives across the country. With more than a decade of experience in public affairs strategy, Zachary brings a deep experience in government relations, public relations, and communications at the federal, state, and local levels to the CDIA team.

    Before joining CDIA, Zachary led the American Recyclable Plastic Bag Alliance (ARPBA) at the Plastics Industry Association (PLASTICS) where he directed the alliance’s advocacy efforts to promote, defend, and protect America’s plastic bag manufacturers—a 15-billion-dollar industry employing more than 30,000 Americans. He worked with state policymakers across the country to protect consumers from unfair taxation, defeat counterproductive bags bans, and with the media to highlight the sustainability advantages of plastic bags and industry-supported recycling programs.

    At RunSwitch PR, one of the largest public relations firms in the Midwest, Zachary provided strategic counsel and led public affairs campaigns at the local, state, regional, and national levels. His clients included high-profile consumer and entertainment brands, global manufacturers, foreign embassies, and a variety of advocacy groups who trusted his counsel to navigate the intersection of business and government.

    Earlier in his career, he worked with the Global Business Alliance (GBA), a trade association representing the interests of more than 200 global companies who invest and operate in the United States before Congress, the Administration, and regulatory agencies. His issue portfolio covered tax reform, trade policy, international treaties, national security, and investment competitiveness.

    Prior to working with GBA, Zachary served on the public affairs team for the Retail Industry Leaders Association (RILA), supporting communications, grassroots, and state government affairs functions as well as the Retail Litigation Center.

    Zachary is a Buffalo, New York native and a Boston University alumnus.

  • Ally ZimmelManager, Education Services

    Ally Zimmel joined the CDIA Education Services team as a consultant in March 2020 to support the team with her distinct experience in customer communications. Since October 2022, she serves as Manager, Education Services, and can be considered the backbone for all and any CDIA ES functionalities.

    A native Austrian, Ally previously has been active in the field of public relations and customers communications in Vienna/Austria. Having her professional roots in the educational field, Ally holds a degree in pedagogics, where she specialized in educating highly gifted children.

    Ally and her husband enjoy country living just outside the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex.