Owner / Manager
Brian Mefford is the Director and Founder of Wooden Horse Strategies LLC, a boutique governmental relations and strategic communications firm 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 24 years. He is a Senior Non-Resident Fellow at the Atlantic Council think tank based in Washington, DC. In 2023 Mefford was named “Philanthropist of the Year” by the Association of Charities of Ukraine for his humanitarian aid efforts to help Ukrainians during the war.
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 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. He is currently completing work on his Masters of Arts in Defense and Strategic Studies at the Harry Truman School of Public Affairs at the University of Missouri.
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 government 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.
In 2016, Mefford incorporated his consulting business into Wooden Horse Strategies LLC, a growing consulting firm that provides governmental relations, strategic communications, and public policy analysis for primarily Western clients. Some of his clients have included the U.S. Soybean Export Council (USSEC), the International 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, Crown Agents, and other various clients. Mefford speaks English, Ukrainian, Russian, and Greek.