American Benefits Council


The American Benefits Council advocates for employers, connecting public policy and private-sector solutions to shape employee benefits for the evolving global workforce.

James A. Klein


James A. Klein is president of the American Benefits Council, an employee benefits trade association based in Washington, D.C.  The Council’s members include over 220 of the world’s largest corporations, as ranked by Fortune and Forbes.  Collectively, the Council’s members directly sponsor or administer health and retirement benefits for virtually all Americans covered by employer-sponsored plans. Jim is frequently quoted in both the national and benefits media on retirement, health and other employee benefit topics.

Jim is a Fellow of the American College of Employee Benefits Counsel and he was the 2018 recipient of the International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans’ Public Service Award.  In 2023 Washingtonian magazine, citing his accomplishments in the health policy legislative world, named him one of the 500 Most Influential People Shaping Policy.  

In the global benefits arena, Jim serves as a private-sector advisor to the U.S. government’s delegation to the Paris-based Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). The Council is also actively engaged with several international organizations that address issues for U.S.-based companies operating outside the United States.  



Lynn D. Dudley

Senior Vice President, Global Retirement & Compensation Policy

Lynn Dudley is senior vice president, global retirement and compensation policy, for the American Benefits Council. In this role, Lynn directs the Council's advocacy efforts regarding retirement and compensation policy, including defined benefit and defined contribution plans and executive and non-qualified deferred compensation. Lynn also coordinates the Council's efforts and outreach in the international arena, including the Benefits Passport informational series.

Lynn has held senior positions at the Council since 1991, including stints as Vice President, Retirement Policy; Vice President and Senior Counsel and Senior Vice President, Policy. Prior to joining the Council, Lynn was a Legal Consultant for Sungard Employee Benefits Systems in Birmingham, Alabama. In addition, she was engaged in the private practice of law for several years with the firm of Berkowitz, Lefkovitz, Isom and Kushner of Birmingham. After earning her undergraduate degree at Vanderbilt University, Lynn received a L.L.M. in taxation from the University of Florida in 1983 and a law degree from Cumberland School of Law, Samford University in 1982. Lynn is active in numerous information sharing organizations, is a fellow in the American College of Employee Benefits Counsel and a member of the Alabama and Georgia state bars. Lynn is a frequent speaker domestically and internationally on retirement and compensation policy issues.


Ilyse Schuman

Senior Vice President, Health & Paid Leave Policy

Ilyse Schuman is senior vice president, health &apm; paid leave policy, for the American Benefits Council. In this role, Ilyse directs the development and advocacy of the Council’s health policy priorities. Before joining the Council staff, Ilyse was the Council’s Policy Board of Directors Advisory Council representative from Littler Mendelson, P.C., where she was co-chair of the Workplace Policy Institute. In this role, Ilyse provided strategic counsel and representation to clients on a broad array of workplace issues and developments in Congress and executive branch federal agencies. She was also a member of the firm’s ERISA/Employee Benefits practice and co-led the firm’s Legislative and Regulatory practice.

A former top congressional staff member and policy advisor, Ilyse worked on the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions from 2001 to 2008, culminating in her role as minority staff director and chief counsel. She began her work in the Senate as chief labor counsel for Senator Mike Enzi (R-WY) on the Subcommittee on Employment, Safety and Training. After leaving the Senate, Ilyse served as managing director of the Medical Imaging and Technology Alliance. Ilyse also has served as in-house counsel at a manufacturer and market and technology leader. She holds a bachelor’s degree from Tufts University Jackson College and a law degree from Georgetown University.


Diann Howland

Vice President, Legislative Affairs

Diann Howland is vice president, legislative affairs for the American Benefits Council. Diann supports the legislative and policy staff on a variety of issues while focusing specifically on retirement policy. Diann previously served the Council as Vice President, Retirement Policy, from February 2004 to March 2005.

Diann brings to the Council over 25 years of legislative experience in the U.S. Senate, the U.S. House of Representatives and the DOL. Most recently she served as Pension Policy Director for the Senate Health Education Labor and Pensions Committee when the Pension Protection Act (PPA) was developed and enacted. Earlier in her career, Howland was the Pension Policy Advisor of the Senate Finance Committee. During her tenure on the Senate Finance Committee she worked on the development of legislation that led to the passage of the Economic Growth and Tax Relief Reconciliation Act of 2001 (EGTRRA), as well as specific provisions in other legislation.







Katy Johnson

Senior Counsel, Health Policy

Katy Johnson is senior counsel, health policy at the American Benefits Council. Katy assists Council members on a wide range of health policy and issues and directs the Council’s activities with respect to health care reform, ERISA and other federal regulations impacting employer-sponsored health benefits.

Prior to joining the Council in 2019, Katy was an attorney advisor in the Office of Benefits Tax Counsel at the U.S. Department of Treasury. Before that, she served as an attorney in the health and welfare branch of the Office of Chief Counsel at the Internal Revenue Service. In these positions Katy had lead responsibilities in crafting guidance related to several employer plan sponsor provisions of the ACA. She also played a key role representing Treasury in coordinating health care guidance with the U.S. Department of Labor, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and other executive branch entities. She also provided technical assistance to members of Congress in the development of health care legislation, including measures related to health savings accounts.

Katy is a Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Middlebury College and graduated Stanford Law School, where she served on the managing board of the Stanford Law Review. Earlier in her career she worked at the U.S. Department of Justice, was a judicial clerk at the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit and was in private law practice where she advised clients on health, retirement and executive compensation matters.


Kathryn Spangler

Senior Advisor, Health Policy

Katy Spangler is senior advisor, health policy, for the American Benefits Council, advocating to advance initiatives supporting innovative health benefit purchasing strategies and other legislative efforts. Katy is a principal at Spangler Strategies, a boutique consulting firm based in Washington, D.C. and focused on health policy, advocacy, and coalition building. In this role, Katy advises clients on how to achieve their goals by successfully navigating Capitol Hill and the Executive Branch. Katy is frequently quoted in both the national and benefits media on health care topics, and is often a featured speaker on health care policy. Katy also serves on the Advisory Board to The University of Michigan Center for Value-Based Insurance Design.


Richard Hinz

Senior Advisor, Retirement Policy & Research

Richard Hinz is a senior advisor, retirement policy & research, for the American Benefits Council, examining the legal and economic impact of employee benefit proposals to enhance and expand the Council’s policy analysis and global benefits activity. He spent more than a decade as Director of Policy and Research at (what is now) the Employee Benefits Security Administration of the DOL, conducting research and economic analysis of legislation and regulations concerning both health and retirement matters. During this time he also chaired the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development's Working Party on Private Pensions.

From 2003 to 2013, Richard was a Pension Policy Advisor, leading of the Pensions Team at the World Bank and Program Manager for the Financial Literacy and Education Trust Fund. During his tenure at the DOL and the World Bank, Richard worked on the reform of both public and private retirement systems in more than 30 countries.


Jill Randolph

Senior Director, Legislative & Political Affairs

Jill Randolph is senior director, legislative and political affairs, for the American Benefits Council. Jill works closely with the Council's health and retirement policy teams, particularly in the areas of long-term care, disability coverage, supplemental benefits and other retirement savings issues. She also works with member companies on policy roundtables and other special projects. Jill directs all activities for the Council's political action committee (PAC) and oversees interactions with member companies' Washington Representatives. Jill also serves as one of the Co-Chairs of the Long-Term Care Discussion Group – a voluntary, independent group that meets to educate the policy community on all facets of long-term care. She previously served the Council as Legislative Assistant for Retirement Policy from 1990 to 1997 and rejoined the staff in her current capacity in 2006.

Between her tenures at the Council, Jill was a Project Director at the Center for Health Transformation in Washington D.C. (led by former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich) and prior to that served for five years as Federal Programs Coordinator for the Agency for Health Care Administration, as part of Governor Jeb Bush’s Health and Human Services Policy Team in Washington, DC. She received her bachelor's degree in political science from Denison University in Granville, Ohio, and her master’s degree in public administration from the University of Washington in Seattle. Outside of the Council, Jill is an active member of St. Peter’s Episcopal Church in Arlington, Virginia.


Deanna Johnson

Vice President, Membership

Deanna Johnson is vice president, membership, for the American Benefits Council. Deanna focuses on maintaining and improving services for the Council's more than 430 member companies, working with Council staff and the Board of Directors to develop products and materials to cultivate new membership opportunities.

Deanna joined the Council staff in 1998 as director, communications, a position she held until 2007. Before joining the Council, she was a senior editor at Thompson Publishing Group (now Thompson Information Services), supervising the writing and production of four handbooks on pension and fringe benefits issues. Her pension communications background began at the ICMA Retirement Corporation (now MissionSquare Retirement), where she produced 401 and 457 defined contribution plan materials and managed the company's advertising program. She also served as the public relations department for The Chrysler Museum of Art in Norfolk, Virginia, and as a features reporter and copy editor for several daily and weekly newspapers.

Deanna holds a bachelor's degree in news/editorial journalism from the University of Colorado at Boulder and earned her master of science in human resource management from Boston University. She is an accredited public relations (APR) practitioner from the Public Relations Society of America and is CEBS certified. She has served as a docent at The Kreeger Museum since its opening in 1994 and is also a docent at the National Air and Space Museum and Hillwood Museum.


Jason Hammersla

Vice President, Communications

Jason Hammersla is the vice president of communications for the American Benefits Council. Jason directs the American Benefits Council's communications strategy and serves as the liaison for media inquiries.

Since joining the Council as a public relations associate in 1999, Jason has held a variety of roles in the communications department, maintaining primary responsibility for internal and external communications such as the Council's Benefits Byte membership newsletter and media releases on the full range of Council issues. He also has responsibility for the Council’s webinar production, website, social media streams and desktop publishing. He also leads the Council’s 50th Anniversary celebration and marketing activities.

Jason earned his bachelor's degree in psychology after four years at the University of Rochester, during which he served as editor-in-chief of the Campus Times student newspaper. He has co-written a song for Norah Jones, written jokes for Steve Martin and now is only waiting to catch a touchdown pass from Peyton Manning.










Richard D. Polak

Senior Advisor, Global Affairs

Richard Polak is senior advisor, global affairs, for the American Benefits Council, working with the Council and its multinational employer members on a broad range of global activities. Richard has more than 35 years of experience consulting for multinational companies, with a specialty in Global Human Resources and Labor. He has worked with firms to select locations, increase productivity and provide benefits to a global workforce. Richard has served as a subject matter expert for SHRM’s GPHR Learning System and has presented at many conferences for organizations around the world. He curated and produced a leading HR conference in Europe for over 25 years. Richard holds a bachelor's degree in business management and mathematics from Alfred University in New York, with continued studies at Columbia University, The New School for Social Research and UCLA. He is also a published playwright, having seven plays produced internationally.

Sondra Lynnette Williams

Manager, Member & Staff Engagement

Sondra Williams serves as manager, member & staff engagement for the American Benefits Council, with responsibility for information technology and all meeting planning for the Council's committees and Board of Directors. Sondra has served the Council in various membership services capacities since 1991. She volunteers for various charitable organizations in her free time.


Ralph Kass

Controller & Office Manager

Ralph Kass has served as the Council’s controller and office manager since 1990. Ralph is a C.P.A., responsible for the Council’s accounting and for dues processing and database maintenance. He also administers the Council’s own employee benefit plans. Prior to joining the Council, he served 24 years in the U.S. Air Force as a cellist and supervisor in the Air Force music program. Ralph enjoys classical music, woodworking and attending soccer matches.


Mary Lindsay

Executive Assistant

Mary Lindsay joined the American Benefits Council staff in 2013 as the receptionist, greeting visitors to the Council’s office, maintaining the phones and fulfilling numerous administrative functions. She now serves as executive assistant to the Council staff. She began her career as a Human Resource Assistant at the Library of Congress where she continued her education and received a certificate as a Records and Management Analyst. Before joining the Council, she worked for several for-profit and not-for-profit associations as an Operational Manager dealing with HR, accounting, event planning and memberships.