H. Brian Mefford is a business and political consultant who is based in Kyiv, Ukraine. Named by the Kyiv Post Newspaper as one of the 20 “Most Influential Expats in Ukraine”, Mefford has lived and worked in Eastern Europe continuously for more than 17 years. His experience, skills and network of contacts make him an asset and resource to any business, government, individual or organization that wants to work successfully in the region.
Born in Barstow, California, he is a graduate of Southern Arkansas University in Magnolia, Arkansas with a Bachelor’s of Business Administration degree with an emphasis in finance. After the university, Brian worked in the banking and financial sector while building a political career. Mefford began his political work at the age of 16 and won his first elective office as a City Alderman at the age of 18. He won his second office the following year to serve as a School Board Member. His political activities and campaign experience later resulted in his appointment by, then Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee, as a member of the Governor’s Advisory Council for Gifted and Talented Education in 1997.
In the spring of 1999, Brian joined the International Republican Institute (IRI) as Resident Program Officer in Kyiv, Ukraine. For over a decade, Mefford trained, advised and consulted thousands of political activists and governmental officials in Ukraine, Georgia, Azerbaijan, Moldova, Belarus, Kyrgyzstan, Romania, Croatia, Serbia, and Macedonia on topics including political party development, grassroots organizing, membership recruitment, fundraising, communications, public relations, and public opinion research. He also conducted in-depth political assessments in numerous countries including Iraq, Macedonia and Bangladesh. Brian served as the Ukraine Country Director, worked in every region of the country and also opened IRI’s Odesa, Ukraine regional office in 2008.
In 2009, Mefford managed an international consulting team working for Ukrainian President Victor Yushchenko. After Yushchenko’s term as President was completed, Brian established The Committee for Open Democracy, a non-profit organization that monitors international elections for their adherence to democratic norms. As a veteran international election monitor, Mefford has officially observed more than 30 foreign elections in 9 countries including Ukraine, Georgia, Lithuania, Moldova, Macedonia, Slovenia, Albania, Sri Lanka and Mongolia. The Committee for Open Democracy has quickly become a leader in election observation work in Eastern Europe and Brian serves as the Executive Director of the organization.
In addition to his political and charitable work, Mefford runs a successful business consulting firm that advises non-governmental organizations (NGO’s) on working in Ukraine, helps Western business overcome barriers to working in Eastern European, and provides risk analysis and governmental relations services. Some of his clients have included the U.S. Soybean Export Council (USSEC), theInternational Research and Exchanges Board (IREX), International Relief & Development (IRD), Management Systems International (MSI), the Swedish Institute for Public Administration (SIPU), the Center for International Private Enterprise (CIPE), Forum of Federations and various Ukrainian political groups and business organizations. In October 2014, Brian was named a Senior Non-Resident Fellow at the Atlantic Council’s Dinu Patriciu Eurasia Center.