Strategic Advocacy Group has been proud to represent the state governmental advocacy interests for various groups and organizations for many years.  Since the early 1990’s, the principals and strategic partners of our firm have demonstrated an understanding of a wide variety of complex public policy issues and carefully cultivated and built the relationships necessary to successfully advance both legislative and executive branch agendas.

But what makes Strategic Advocacy Group so unique is not only its history of accomplishment, but also its broad-based service philosophy.  

Our primary service offering is traditional, direct lobbying of Illinois state government, and/or members of the Illinois-based delegation to the United States Congress.   

However, in an age of rapid information flow, heightened public engagement, and a rapidly changing multimedia environment, advocacy itself is a field that rapidly evolving.  Strategic Advocacy Group prides itself on providing a full array of services intended to broaden and deepen the influence of our clients.  



Autism Speaks
American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network
American Express
Illinois Association of Wastewater Agencies
Illinois Directors and Owners of Childcare Centers
Kreider Services
Lake County, Illinois
Lake County Forest Preserve District
Partners for Environmental Responsibility
Solid Waste Agency of Lake County



Ackerman Tile
BACH Soccer League
Christ Church Episcopal
Dave Bourland Gallery
Downtown Springfield, Inc
Illinois Chapter of the United Postmasters and Managers of America
Illinois Democratic County Chairs’ Association
John Shafer Architects
Laser Light Technologies
SIU School of Medicine
Smashtoast, Inc
Springfield Men’s Soccer League
The Hope Institute for Children and Families


Mike Grady

President & Founder

Mike Grady has been involved in Illinois government and campaigns for over 25 years. He began his professional career as a policy analyst for then-Treasurer Patrick Quinn in 1993 before joining the Issues Development staff of Speaker of the House Michael J. Madigan. In this role he learned both the nuts-and-bolts of the legislative process and managed some of the highest profile legislative races in Illinois during the late 1990’s.

In 1999 he joined the new administration of Secretary of State Jesse White as his first Chief Liaison to the Illinois House of Representatives. In that role he managed passage of a wide variety of laws impacting vehicle and driver safety, business regulation, public libraries, and financial securities. Most notably, he drafted and guided to passage the first law in Illinois to levy tougher penalties on DUI offenders that drive under the influence at twice the legal limit.

In 2006 he moved outside the halls of government service to become the Director of Public Policy and Government Relations for the American Cancer Society in Illinois. It was in this role that he managed the statewide public policy campaign to pass the Smoke Free Illinois Act — the strongest clean indoor air law in the nation.  His groundbreaking campaign strategy earned him national recognition from the Society as their Government Relations Professional of the Year in 2007.

In 2010, he moved into private practice forming his own firm, MG Consulting, independently serving clients in the areas of public health, health care, workers compensation reform, service to the disabled, and clean energy; as well as training many organizations on how to leverage grassroots strategies to enhance advocacy efforts.  In 2015, he merged his business with the former Kolkmeier Consulting firm to create Strategic Advocacy Group. 

In 2018, Strategic Advocacy Group merged with the website, social media and graphic design firm BH Design to further expand the firms offerings to clients looking to pursue more robust and fully formed public policy advocacy strategies.

Grady was born in Mattoon, Illinois; received his B.A. from Eastern Illinois University in 1992, and has lived in the Springfield area for 25 years. He lives with his wife, Alyson, and their three children, Justin, Aidan, & Clare.

Barnabas Helmy

Partner & VP, Marketing and Social Media

Barnabas Helmy has straddled the design world and the political world, in one way or another, for over two decades.  After years of handling in-house campaign messaging, direct mail development, and graphic design for the Illinois Senate Democratic Leadership fund, Barnabas launched his own firm, Barnabas Helmy Design (or BHD) in 2010.  A renowned artist, graphic designer and web designer, he’s learned the art of making “function” look good.  

With the growth of social media and the general influence of the Internet, Barnabas has become a leader in designing online marketing campaigns for various interests; specializing in micro-targeting, message testing, and analytics across multiple online platforms.  In addition, he has become a leader in the field when it comes to identification and awareness of online security threats, and using his knowledge to manage the back end security of client websites.

In 2018, recognizing the opportunity to leverage his web based services with emerging advocacy strategies in the public policy world, he merged BHD with his longtime collaborator, Strategic Advocacy Group where he is a Partner and serves as Vice President of Marketing and Social Media.

In addition, in 2015 he launched his own Tech Start-Up, Smashtoast, Inc, where he invented, designed and launched the PUCK ™️, a patented product that allows infrared controlled devices to be controlled from any smartphone.  This invention and his business has received multiple awards, and continues to grow and succeed.

He enjoys playing soccer, fishing and spending time with his lovely ladies, his wife Heather and daughter Bijoux.

Grainne Mahoney

Legislative & Client Relations

 Grainne Mahoney joined Strategic Advocacy Group in 2018 to help lead the firm’s merger with BHD as our Legislative and Client Relations specialist.  Grainne comes to our team with over 20 years of expertise in state and local government, campaigns, not-for-profit development and fundraising.  Her diverse background, strong communication skills and general knowledge of client needs make her an ideal point of contact for a partnership with the Strategic Advocacy Group.  

Grainne’s love of politics started at a young age as she marched in numerous parades for various politicians with her parents and older siblings beginning at the ripe age of two.  She interned in the Illinois House of Representatives and the United States Senate during her college years.  After college she ran regional field operations for then-U.S. Senate candidate Dick Durbin, and later for the state-wide gubernatorial campaign of former US Congressman Glenn Poshard.  Mahoney entered the not-for-profit world shortly thereafter but always maintained a strong presence in local and state wide politics.

Grainne has been an active volunteer for numerous organizations in the Springfield community, has served on the boards of the Kidzeum and the City of Springfield Historic Sites Commission, and is a strong advocate for the historic neighborhood in which she and her husband Mark reside with their four children.  She has a B.A. in Political Science and English from the University of Iowa.


Specifically, engagement with Strategic Advocacy Group includes any or all of the following primary services:

State Legislative Consultation

We offer deep, long-established, bipartisan relationships with both Illinois House and Senate members.  We offer four decades of experience in participating in the intricate process of the legislature.  We monitor and report bill introductions and amendments, manage the committee process, ensure your positions are known and communicated to legislators, and provide official testimony on behalf of our clients whenever needed.

Grassroots Advocacy Consultation

Strategic Advocacy Group is one of the few firms that also specializes in grassroots advocacy, perhaps one of the most important and overlooked parts of government relations work. We help clients devise strategies to determine with whom to communicate and how to mobilize the general public on behalf of its public policy and legislative agendas. We also have a long history of conducting organized grassroots advocacy trainings for trade associations.

Marketing/Public Relations & Online Advocacy Strategies

Illinois government enshrines extensive powers in its executive branch offices, and effective advocacy requires the ability to perform in this space. Our partnership offers extensive understanding of how the executive branch operates and long-standing relationships with constitutional officers and their key staff members.

Executive Branch Consultation

Illinois government enshrines extensive powers in its executive branch offices, and effective advocacy requires the ability to perform in this space. Our partnership offers extensive understanding of how the executive branch operates and long-standing relationships with constitutional officers and their key staff members.

This comprehensive approach has continuously produced results for a broad range of our clients, from local governments, to non-profit organizations, to private corporations.

Strategic Advocacy Group is a Limited Liability Company headquartered in Springfield, Illinois.  Our corporate structure allows us to partner with specific clients to ensure that we provide optimum service for every entity that we represent.

Please contact us at info@strategicadvocacy group, or at (217) 622-0309 for a specialized quote for service.


Strategic Advocacy Group, LLC
2309 Mariners Point Lane
Springfield, IL 62712
(217) 622-0309