An official website of the United States Government Here's how you know

Official websites use .gov

A .gov website belongs to an official government organization in the United States.

Secure .gov websites use HTTPS

A lock ( ) or https:// means you’ve safely connected to the .gov website. Share sensitive information only on official, secure websites.



SUBJECT:            Ambassadorial Nomination:  Certificate of Demonstrated Competence — Foreign Service Act, Section 304(a)(4)

POST:                  Republic of Fiji, Republic of Kiribati, Republic of Nauru, Kingdom of Tonga, and Tuvalu

CANDIDATE:       Joseph James Cella

Joseph James Cella, a respected businessman and committed community leader, has served since 2010 as Principal, The Pontifex Group in Augusta Township, Michigan, a consulting firm whose practice areas include strategic and tactical counsel, communications, crisis management, public relations, political consulting, public policy, operational launching and enhancement, donor and investor prospecting, and media advocacy.  For nearly two decades, Mr. Cella worked in the United States Senate, the United States House of Representatives, the campaign trail, founding and leading non-profit organizations, and serving as a confidential advisor to elected officials, political candidates and business leaders.  His demonstrated leadership, management expertise, consensus-building skills and political savvy make him an outstanding candidate for Ambassador to five nations in the South Pacific.

Mr. Cella served as Communications and Marketing Consultant at Hillsdale College in Michigan (2008-2013) and as Founding Executive Director, Ave Maria List in Ann Arbor, Michigan (1999-2005).   In 2004, he co-founded a leading Catholic advocacy organization, Fidelis (Catholic Vote), which has grown to over 700,000 members.  He also founded and serves on the board of the National Catholic Prayer Breakfast, an annual event in Washington, D.C. which is attended by nearly 2,000 people and has featured President George W. Bush as a speaker, while hosting Chief Justice John Roberts, Justice Samuel Alito, and the late Justice Antonin Scalia.  In 2016 Mr. Cella served as the Catholic Liaison for the Donald J. Trump for President Campaign and managed the campaign’s Catholic Advisory Group.  He also served on the Presidential Transition Team.  He has been a consultant to at least 16 social service organizations.

Mr. Cella earned a B.A. from Hillsdale College.  He speaks basic French.

U.S. Department of State

The Lessons of 1989: Freedom and Our Future