SKDK Celebrates Historic Wins in 2022 Midterms, Supports Democratic Candidates

Leading media firm helps elect Wes Moore as Maryland’s first Black Governor, as well as reelecting Senator Mark Kelly in Arizona, Governor Laura Kelly in Kansas, and Governor Ned Lamont in Connecticut

Washington, DC – SKDK, the leading Democratic media and political consulting firm, served as ad-makers and strategists for many of the most successful candidates in targeted Senate, gubernatorial, Congressional, and down ballot races across the country. The firm also produced critical ballot measures on adult-use cannabis (MD Question 4), early voting (CT Question 1), and the indigent tax levy (Hamilton County, OH Issue 8). SKDK produced over 600 TV, OTT, radio, streaming audio, OOH, and print ads this cycle to secure key wins including Governor-elect Wes Moore of Maryland, Senator Mark Kelly of Arizona, Governor Laura Kelly of Kansas, and Governor Ned Lamont of Connecticut.

“Our candidates defied the odds and made history this past Tuesday in the midterms. We are incredibly proud to have supported so many successful – and strong – Democratic campaigns across the ballot, on the issues voters care most about, like lowering prescription drug costs, defending reproductive rights, supporting economic initiatives, improving education, making communities safer, and committing to making sure nobody is left behind,” said SKDK Partner and incoming CEO Doug Thornell. “SKDK served as strategists and ad-makers to tell these important stories and win in ways that buck historical midterm trends for the party in power.”

In Maryland, SKDK was proud to produce TV and digital ads for Wes Moore and Aruna Miller’s historic, high-energy grassroots campaign to become the first Black Governor and first woman of color Lieutenant Governor in the state, respectively. For Senator Mark Kelly’s reelection in Arizona, SKDK produced over 50 ads alone to beat back a flood of Republican spending and secure victory in this majority-making seat. In red Kansas, SKDK served as lead ad-makers and strategists for Governor Laura Kelly, the only top-ticket Democrat to win in a state won by Donald Trump in ‘16 and ‘20. In Connecticut, the firm served as ad-makers and strategists for Governor Ned Lamont, who defeated a well-funded opponent and nearly set a new record for gubernatorial votes in the state, and Lieutenant Governor Susan Bysiewicz.

In the House of Representatives, SKDK was proud to be part of the campaign teams that helped reelect Rep. Chris Pappas (NH-01), Rep. Jahana Hayes (CT-05), Rep. Josh Gottheimer (NJ-05), Rep. Joe Morelle (NY-25), Rep. Debbie Dingell (MI-06), Rep. Brian Higgins (NY-27), Rep. Shontel Brown (OH-11), Rep. Sara Jacobs (CA-51), and Rep. Troy Carter (LA-02); and elect new members Glenn Ivey (MD-04) and Jill Tokuda (HI-02).

In down-ballot races in Connecticut, SKDK helped successfully win elections for Erick Russell for state Treasurer, becoming the first Black LGBTQ+ statewide elected official in the country, and Sean Scanlon to serve as the state’s Comptroller. In Massachusetts, we helped secure Secretary of the Commonwealth Bill Galvin’s unprecedented eighth term. We still await final results for Kris Mayes, running for Attorney General in Arizona.

In the Senate, SKDK was proud to partner with the Senate Majority PAC to produce digital ads for New Hampshire Senator Maggie Hassan and Washington Senator Patty Murray’s successful reelection and the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee (DSCC) to advance Senator Raphael Warnock to a run-off in December. Additionally, SKDK worked with Democratic Attorney General Association (DAGA) to help re-elect Dana Nessel in Michigan and the Giffords PAC to fend off Republican candidates in Colorado and Pennsylvania. 

SKDK also served as the lead media consultant for the NAACP’s effort to turn out Black voters in key states across the country, and for Climate Power and the League of Conservation Voters’ “Climate Votes” program – a targeted digital campaign targeting young voters and people of color in key states and districts.

Notably, SKDK also worked on a number of critical ballot measures this cycle – leading the digital admaking and media relations efforts for the “Yes on 4” campaign to legalize adult-use cannabis in Maryland and the amendment to allow for a system of early voting in Connecticut’s state constitution. In Hamilton County, OH, SKDK helped pass the health and hospitalization ballot initiative to fund critical healthcare services for uninsured, underinsured, and incarcerated Ohioans. 

About SKDK

SKDK is the nation’s leading Democratic advertising and strategic communications firm bringing unparalleled experience from our experience on seven presidential campaigns, helping elect hundreds of members of Congress, senators, mayors, governors, and local elected officials.

In 2020, members of SKDK served as key advisers to the Biden for President campaign and helped to make history by electing Joe Biden as President of The United States and Kamala Harris, the nation’s first Black, Asian-American and woman, as Vice President. SKDK has won the Holmes Report’s influential North America Public Affairs Agency of the Year multiple times and was recently the recipient of six American Association of Political Consultant’s Pollie Awards in 2022. 

To learn more about SKDK, visit our website at www.skdknick.com.

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Sarah Lyons, Former Communications Executive for AMC Networks & Cablevision, Joins SKDK

As Senior Vice President in Firm’s NYC Office, Lyons will support both SKDK and Sloane & Company’s corporate accounts

New York, NY – Today, SKDK announced Sarah (Chaikin) Lyons has joined the firm’s New York City office as a Senior Vice President of the Public Affairs practice. Lyons brings two decades of expertise in corporate and executive brand building, crisis and reputation management to her role at the firm, where she will support corporate, technology, and healthcare clients at both SKDK and Sloane.

“Sarah has long supported the work of SKDK’s major health care clients as a consultant, and her addition as a full-time Senior Vice President provides us with an outstanding opportunity to further deploy her expertise throughout our public affairs practice. Sarah’s exceptional client services and leadership for major brands and publicly traded entities will help support our explosive growth in corporate and private sector business,” said Mike Morey, Partner at SKDK. “Sarah’s savviness as a comms strategist is unmatched and we are grateful to have her onboard.”

Whit Clay, Co-CEO of Sloane & Company added: “I have known Sarah for 16 years, since her days leading corporate communications at Cablevision. Sarah is strategic, creative and collaborative. Her expertise in the entertainment and healthcare space will be incredibly beneficial to supporting our deep and growing work in both sectors.”

Lyons’s more than 20 year communications career spans entertainment and corporate brand building for public and private companies in entertainment, technology and healthcare. Since early 2021, Lyons has worked with SKDK’s corporate clients in a consultant role supporting its healthcare clients. Prior, she served as the Vice President of Corporate Communications for AMC Networks, where she was responsible for the development and execution of internal and external communications strategies in support of content, creative deals, advertising sales, data, distribution and new businesses. Before AMC Networks, Lyons held senior communications roles at Cablevision where she oversaw communications for high-profile PR matters involving consumer products and services, operations, critical business issues and crises, and complex regulatory challenges. Lyons also held various communications and publicity roles at Oxygen Media. 

“I’m beyond excited to join SKDK, as well as support Sloane & Company, two firms who collectively represent the gold standard for public affairs and financial communications and who I have had the privilege of working closely with for many years,” said Lyons. “I have gotten to know the teams well and am incredibly impressed by the profusion of talent at every level and I look forward to supporting our expansion in the corporate communications space.”

About SKDK

SKDK is a top national communications and political consulting firm bringing unparalleled strategic communications experience to Fortune 500 companies, nonprofits, philanthropic organizations and labor unions, as well as political committees and candidates. With offices in Washington, New York, Los Angeles and Albany, SKDK offers strategic support to managing a crisis, protecting a brand, advocating an issue or winning an election.

In 2020, SKDK was a key adviser to the Biden for President campaign and helped to make history by electing Joe Biden as President of The United States and Kamala Harris, the nation’s first Black, Asian-American and woman, as Vice President. SKDK has won the Holmes Report’s influential North America Public Affairs Agency of the Year multiple times and was recently listed by the Observer as one of the best public relations firms in America for 2022.

To learn more about SKDK, visit our website at www.skdknick.com. SKDK is a proud member of Stagwell, the challenger network built to transform marketing. Led by entrepreneurs, our 13,000+ specialists in 34+ countries are unified under a single purpose: to drive effectiveness and improve business results for their clients. Learn more about Stagwell at www.stagwellglobal.com.

About Sloane & Company

Founded in 1998, Sloane & Company is an industry-leading strategic communications firm providing seasoned expertise across corporate communications; media relations; investor relations; crisis communications, activism defense & special situations; and public & regulatory affairs. The firm’s leadership is actively involved in all aspects of client work—leveraging a deep understanding of the media, capital markets, and global political and social issues to build, enhance and execute full-service communications strategies for its clients. The company was recognized by The Holmes Report as the 2015 U.S. and Global Corporate Agency of the Year and as Crisis Agency of the Year in both 2012 and 2010.

Sloane is an independent subsidiary of SKDK and resides within the Stagwell Global network of agencies. For more information about Sloane & Company, visit https://sloanepr.com, and follow the company on LinkedIn and Twitter.

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Aoife McCarthy, Former Energy and State Department Communications Alum, Joins SKDK from Instacart

McCarthy to Serve as Senior Vice President in Firm’s DC Office

Washington, D.C. – Today, SKDK announced Aoife McCarthy has joined the firm’s Washington, D.C. office as a Senior Vice President of the public affairs practice. McCarthy brings more than 15 years of communications experience from both the public and private sectors to her new role at the firm, where she will work across corporate and advocacy accounts. 

“Aoife is a deeply talented and dynamic communications strategist – with expertise that spans every area of public affairs,” said Jill Zuckman, Partner at SKDK. “We are thrilled to welcome her to the firm, and look forward to the leadership and brilliance she will bring to our diverse portfolio of advocacy and public affairs clients.”

Prior to joining SKDK, McCarthy was most recently leading federal policy communications at Instacart, where she advised national communications campaigns to educate stakeholders about key policies, regulatory issues, and legislation. Before Instacart, McCarthy served in a number of senior communications roles for the U.S. Department of Energy, the U.S. Mission to the United Nations, the Global Climate Action Summit, Obama for America, as well as several private sector entities.

During her time in the Obama Administration, McCarthy served as the Director of Public Affairs for the U.S. Department of Energy, where she was the lead advisor to the U.S. Secretary of Energy on all strategic communications issues, as well as message development in key subject matter areas. She also served as the Communications Director at the U.S. Mission to the United Nations in New York. There, she oversaw the Press and Public Diplomacy section of the Mission and the messaging surrounding the long-term communications priorities of the Administration.

“I have long admired SKDK and I feel honored to be joining the best political consulting and communications firm in the business,” said McCarthy. “There is truly no company that brings together the intersection of press, politics and policy better than SKDK, and I look forward to supporting the team.”

About SKDK

SKDK is a top national communications and political consulting firm bringing unparalleled strategic communications experience to Fortune 500 companies, nonprofits, philanthropic organizations and labor unions, as well as political committees and candidates. With offices in Washington, New York, Los Angeles and Albany, SKDK offers strategic support to managing a crisis, protecting a brand, advocating an issue or winning an election.

In 2020, SKDK was a key adviser to the Biden for President campaign and helped to make history by electing Joe Biden as President of The United States and Kamala Harris, the nation’s first Black, Asian-American and woman, as Vice President. SKDK has won the Holmes Report’s influential North America Public Affairs Agency of the Year multiple times and was recently listed by the Observer as one of the best public relations firms in America for 2022.

To learn more about SKDK, visit our website at www.skdknick.com. SKDK is a proud member of Stagwell, the challenger network built to transform marketing. Led by entrepreneurs, our 13,000+ specialists in 34+ countries are unified under a single purpose: to drive effectiveness and improve business results for their clients. Learn more about Stagwell at www.stagwellglobal.com.

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SKDK Candidates Win Big on New York Primary Night

Leading political consulting firm served as strategists and ad makers to numerous Democratic primary candidates in Tuesday’s Hotly-Contested Primary

New York, NY – SKDK, a leading Democratic communications and political consulting firm, congratulates five New York Democratic candidates – Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney (NY-17), Rep. Brian Higgins (NY-26), Robert Zimmerman (NY-3), Josh Riley (NY-19), Matt Castelli (NY-21) – on their primary victories. SKDK served as ad-maker and strategist across all of these campaigns.

“Tuesday was a very big day for Democrats in New York. Up and down the state, Democrats turned out to support the strongest possible candidates to win in competitive environments in November,” said Mike Morey, SKDK Partner. “SKDK is proud to have served as a strategic partner and ad maker for candidates throughout the state who ran in newly drawn congressional districts and were competing in some of the most competitive primaries.”

SKDK produced ads for the Rep. Maloney (NY-17), Rep. Higgins (NY-26), Zimmerman (NY-3), Riley (NY-19), and Castelli (NY-21) campaigns and served as strategic advisors, and in some cases, managed media relations. 

Some sample television advertising includes: 

Sean Patrick Maloney for NY-17

Robert Zimmerman for NY-3

Josh Riley For NY-19

Matt Castelli for NY-21

About SKDK

SKDK is a top national communications and political consulting firm bringing unparalleled strategic communications experience to Fortune 500 companies, nonprofits, philanthropic organizations and labor unions, as well as political committees and candidates. With offices in Washington, New York, Los Angeles and Albany, SKDK offers strategic support to managing a crisis, protecting a brand, advocating an issue or winning an election.

In 2020, SKDK was a key adviser to the Biden for President campaign and helped to make history by electing Joe Biden as President of The United States and Kamala Harris, the nation’s first Black, Asian-American and woman, as Vice President. SKDK has won the Holmes Report’s influential North America Public Affairs Agency of the Year multiple times and was recently listed by the Observer as one of the best public relations firms in America for 2022.

To learn more about SKDK, visit our website at www.skdknick.com. SKDK is a proud member of Stagwell, the challenger network built to transform marketing. Led by entrepreneurs, our 13,000+ specialists in 34+ countries are unified under a single purpose: to drive effectiveness and improve business results for their clients. Learn more about Stagwell at www.stagwellglobal.com.

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SKDK Names Doug Thornell Next CEO

Josh Isay To Take New Role As Senior Counsel

Washington, D.C. – Doug Thornell will become the new CEO of SKDK at the end of the year as Josh Isay, the current CEO, assumes the role of senior counsel, advising the firm’s leadership. 

Thornell, 46, will lead the political consulting and public affairs firm, overseeing day-to-day operations alongside partners Bill Knapp, Kerri Lyon, Mike Morey, and Jill Zuckman. He has spent more than two decades advising Democratic lawmakers, as well as Fortune 50 companies, and progressive and civil rights organizations. Thornell joined SKDK 12 years ago as a senior vice president in the public affairs practice. He was elevated to managing director in 2016 and named a partner in 2020. He currently oversees the firm’s highly successful paid media and political consulting practice. National Journal wrote that he “is one of the most plugged-in public affairs professionals in Washington.” He will become one of the few Black CEOs of a major public relations or political consulting firm in the US and globally. Thornell will continue to advise the firm’s political, corporate, and non-profit clients.

“Doug Thornell is a brilliant communications professional who combines a deep understanding of our business with exceptional motivational and leadership skills,” Isay said. “Doug has been an insightful and thoughtful adviser and confidante to me for over a decade and I know that SKDK is in great hands with him and all of SKDK’s partners — Bill, Kerri, Mike, and Jill. While I am proud of so much that SKDK has accomplished — from political victories to our corporate and philanthropic work — I consider the diverse and inclusive company that we have built together to be our greatest achievement and our most long-lasting legacy.”

Isay helped lead the company for 20 years — along with founding partners Bill Knapp, Anita Dunn, Jennifer Cunningham, and Hilary Rosen — as it expanded from political consulting into public affairs, adding DE&I strategy, crisis and executive communications, content creation, digital advertising, research and, with the acquisition of Sloane & Company, corporate and deal communications. The firm has grown to approximately 215 employees with $90 million in annual revenue.

Said Thornell: “I want to thank Josh Isay, my partners, and our parent company Stagwell for trusting me to lead this amazing company. SKDK is where it is today thanks to Josh’s and our team’s leadership and vision. I am grateful that he will remain with us as senior counsel. What makes SKDK so special is our talented and diverse team of strategists, creators, and problem solvers who provide our clients with the highest quality of work. SKDK is going to continue to grow and grow in a way that reflects the values of our firm. I’m committed to maintaining our top-notch quality and senior-level attention to candidates, causes, and clients.”

Jay Leveton, President of Stagwell, said, “I am delighted to see Doug Thornell lead SKDK, which has become the nation’s go-to Democratic public affairs and political consulting firm, handling the greatest causes and challenges of our time. The sky is the limit for SKDK.”

About Doug Thornell:

Doug was named the next CEO of SKDK following 12 years helping to build both the public affairs and paid media practice. Most recently, he led SKDK’s paid media and political practice during a period of historic growth and hard-fought victories.

He is one of the few Black media consultants in Democratic politics and has served as a top adviser to Presidential, House, Senate and gubernatorial campaigns, Fortune 50 companies, trade association, start-ups, and progressive and civil rights organizations. National Journal named him to their list of “50 People Changing the Game in Washington” and wrote that he “is one of the most plugged-in public affairs professionals in Washington.”

Over his 20-year career, Doug has been a lead media strategist to the Democratic National Committee, the top spokesman for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, a senior aide at the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, and a top adviser to both Senator Chris Van Hollen and the Congressional Black Caucus, as well as the traveling spokesman for Governor Howard Dean’s 2004 presidential campaign.

Doug resides in Maryland with his wife, Katie, and their two dogs, Sam and Ernie. He graduated from Cornell University where he played varsity football and earned a degree in government.

About SKDK

SKDK is a top national communications and political consulting firm bringing unparalleled strategic communications experience to Fortune 500 companies, nonprofits, philanthropic organizations and labor unions, as well as political committees and candidates. With offices in Washington, New York, Los Angeles and Albany, SKDK offers strategic support to managing a crisis, protecting a brand, advocating an issue or winning an election.

In 2020, SKDK was a key adviser to the Biden for President campaign and helped to make history by electing Joe Biden as President of The United States and Kamala Harris, the nation’s first Black, Asian-American and woman, as Vice President. SKDK has won the Holmes Report’s influential North America Public Affairs Agency of the Year multiple times and was recently listed by the Observer as one of the best public relations firms in America for 2022.

To learn more about SKDK, visit our website at www.skdknick.com. SKDK is a proud member of Stagwell, the challenger network built to transform marketing. Led by entrepreneurs, our 13,000+ specialists in 34+ countries are unified under a single purpose: to drive effectiveness and improve business results for their clients. Learn more about Stagwell at www.stagwellglobal.com.

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SKDK Partners With Progressive Pipeline to Invest in Next Generation of Industry Leaders

Washington, D.C. – SKDK is investing in the next generation of industry leaders through a new partnership with Progressive Pipeline, which will expand growth opportunities for underrepresented talent by broadening the candidate pool for the firm’s internship program. Progressive Pipeline provides training, mentorship, and support to a diverse pool of more than 7,000 candidates and has deployed 220 fellows across 73 organizations.

“SKDK is made stronger by the diversity of our team – a commitment to equity, inclusion, and racial justice is at the core of who we are and the work we do,” said Rae Robinson, Chief Equity and Inclusion Officer of SKDK. “We are building a workforce that reflects the diverse experiences, perspectives, and identities of the world and fostering a culture that creates opportunities for everyone. SKDK’s partnership with Progressive Pipeline has been, and will continue to be, a key part of advancing those values.”

“By investing in this program and in our fellows, SKDK is a leader in building a diverse talent pipeline into consulting and communications,” said Michael Michaelson, Executive Director of Progressive Pipeline. “They’ve done real work to sustain an inclusive and equitable organization, and we consistently recommend them to folks from underrepresented backgrounds looking to launch their careers.”

“As an intern, I was able to get a feel for the public affairs work being done for clients in education, political advocacy, and the corporate beverage industry. I appreciated how each team included me in the projects and assignments, and I wanted to continue learning from these industry professionals. I hope to eventually become an industry leader and learn how to develop messaging for a campaign I want to support,” said Christian Hernandez, Former SKDK Progressive Pipeline Intern and Current SKDK Associate.

“I have been interning at SKDK since November 2021 thanks to their partnership with Progressive Pipeline. I was a recent college graduate in the middle of a pandemic who was looking for a start to my career in politics with no connections or even a place at the starting line. Now, I feel like I am contributing to something bigger than myself. I have improved my writing skills. I have learned to write press releases, social media toolkits, how to pitch to reporters, and how to navigate the most competitive media market in the country. I see multiple directions that my future can go. It’s my time to explore and see what I can do,” said Esmeralda Orozco, Current SKDK Progressive Pipeline Intern.

About SKDK

SKDK is a top national communications and political consulting firm bringing unparalleled strategic communications experience to Fortune 500 companies, nonprofits, philanthropic organizations and labor unions, as well as political committees and candidates. With offices in Washington, New York, Los Angeles and Albany, SKDK offers strategic support to managing a crisis, protecting a brand, advocating an issue or winning an election.

In 2020, SKDK was a key advisor to the Biden for President campaign and helped to make history by electing Joe Biden as President of The United States and Kamala Harris, the nation’s first Black, Asian-American and first woman, as Vice President. The influential Holmes Report once again named SKDK as the North America Public Affairs Agency of the Year in 2019, following wins in 2015, 2016, and 2018. To learn more about SKDK, visit our website at www.skdknick.com.SKDK is a proud member of The Stagwell Group, a collaborative group of agencies who are out to “reinvent the holding company,” according to the Wall Street Journal. The Stagwell Group portfolio includes more than a dozen best-in-class, digital-first agencies who are focused on what modern CMOs need. Learn more about Stagwell at www.stagwellgroup.com.

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SKDK Announces Key Senior Leadership Promotions

New York, NY – Today, SKDK announced a number of promotions to the senior leadership team, including a DC Chief of Staff, three Managing Directors and three Executive Vice Presidents. Together with the firm’s partners and current leadership, these new senior executives will focus on overseeing and growing the firm’s diverse portfolio of public affairs and cause-oriented clients.

“The talent at SKDK is unmatched and I have never been prouder of the team than I am today,” said CEO Josh Isay. “Despite the ongoing challenges of the pandemic, the individuals we are promoting today have continued to deliver exemplary work for our clients and be leaders at the firm. I look forward to the year ahead with this roster of talented communicators.”

This week, the Observer named SKDK one of the top PR firms in America, citing its work advocating for President Biden’s climate agenda with the political advocacy organization Climate Power; representing more than 1,000 victims of the Boy Scouts seeking justice for alleged abuse; and partnering with New Yorkers United for Justice to reduce incarceration and racial justice in the parole system.

The senior leadership promotions are as follows:

Cameron French takes over as the new DC Public Affairs Chief of Staff, the first person of color to hold the position. French, who continues to serve as a Senior Vice President in Public Affairs has been with the firm since 2018 where he has led teams across sectors in technology, housing and progressive advocacy. He previously served as a senior spokesperson for the Biden-Harris Transition and worked as an Obama appointee including time at the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and with the 2008 and 2012 Obama-Biden campaigns.

Michael Czin has been promoted to Managing Director in the DC office. Czin has been with the firm since 2016, where he has helped clients navigate complex crises and led campaigns for progressive advocates, companies and trade associations. Michael recently returned to SKDK after taking a leave of absence to serve as a Senior Advisor in the White House Counsel’s Office. He previously served as DC Mayor Muriel Bowser’s communications director, and as national press secretary for the Democratic National Committee.

Kendra Barkoff Lamy has been promoted to Managing Director in the DC office. Lamy joined SKDK in 2016 after serving as press secretary to then-Vice President Biden. While at SKDK, Lamy has worked on a number of high profile matters ranging from climate change and Native American issues to government whistleblower cases, as well as representing victims of sexual assault and abuse. More recently, she served as senior adviser to Administrator Regan at the Environmental Protection Agency during a leave of absence from the firm.

Devon Puglia has been promoted to Managing Director in the New York office. Previously the Communications Director for Connecticut Governor Dan Malloy, Puglia has been with the firm since 2018 and leads political campaigns, education projects, and public affairs accounts, advising Governors, elected officials, advocacy campaigns, and education leaders nationwide on communications.

Liz Kenigsberg has been promoted to Executive Vice President in the DC office. Kenigsberg has been with the firm since 2015 and runs public affairs and crisis communications for a diverse portfolio of clients, with an emphasis on cybersecurity and technology. She previously worked on Capitol Hill, campaigns and with the Office of the First Lady.

Alex Bloom has been promoted to Executive Vice President in the New York office. Over the past five years with SKDK, Bloom has led a broad range of public affairs campaigns and crisis engagements, working closely with Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, Win, Open Society Foundations, the Hewlett Foundation, and Columbia Business School. He has a background as a newspaper reporter and has worked on multiple New England political campaigns.

Stephanie Reichin has been promoted to Executive Vice President in the New York office. Reichin, who continues to serve as NY Public Affairs Chief of Staff, has been with the firm since 2015 leading public affairs campaigns and profile elevation efforts for a broad range of nonprofit, philanthropic and arts and culture clients including The Rockefeller Foundation, the National Institute for Reproductive Health, Jazz at Lincoln Center, The Shed, Girls Who Code, Girl Scouts, and Bloomberg Philanthropies.

About SKDK

SKDK is a top national communications and political consulting firm bringing unparalleled strategic communications experience to Fortune 500 companies, nonprofits, philanthropic organizations and labor unions, as well as political committees and candidates. With offices in Washington, New York, Los Angeles and Albany, SKDK offers strategic support to managing a crisis, protecting a brand, advocating an issue or winning an election.

In 2020, SKDK was a key advisor to the Biden for President campaign and helped to make history by electing Joe Biden as President of The United States and Kamala Harris, the nation’s first Black, Asian-American and first woman, as Vice President. SKDK has won the Holmes Report’s influential North America Public Affairs Agency of the Year multiple times and was recently listed by the Observer’s as one of the best public relations firms in America for 2022.

To learn more about SKDK, visit our website at www.skdknick.com. SKDK is a proud member of The Stagwell Group, a collaborative group of agencies who are out to “reinvent the holding company,” according to the Wall Street Journal. The Stagwell Group portfolio includes more than a dozen best-in-class, digital-first agencies who are focused on what modern CMOs need. Learn more about Stagwell at www.stagwellgroup.com.

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Senior Biden Communications Advisor Mariel Sáez Joins SKDK

Sáez will serve as a Senior Vice President in firm’s DC Office

Washington, D.C. – Today, SKDK announced Mariel Sáez will join the firm’s Washington D.C. office as a Senior Vice President of the public affairs practice. Sáez comes to SKDK from President Biden’s White House communications team, where she served as the Director of Broadcast Media. With over a decade of DC experience in senior roles in the Legislative and Executive Branch, Sáez will work across the firm to support public affairs and corporate clients.

“Mariel is one of the brightest talents in communications and broadcast media,” said Jill Zuckman, Partner. “From serving at the White House to Capitol Hill, she has worked at the highest levels of government and politics and will be an incredible asset to advising our clients. We couldn’t be happier to have her join our team.”

As White House Director of Broadcast Media, Sáez served as the Administration’s point person for over 2,700 interviews in the first year of the Biden presidency. As the Administration worked to communicate about the economic recovery, COVID-19, national security, and other top policy priorities, she developed and implemented the broadcast media strategy; worked closely with the networks to shape coverage of the Administration and negotiate interviews, town halls, and special events; and briefed Senior Administration Officials and Cabinet Secretaries ahead of their media appearances. Prior to her role at the White House, Sáez served as Deputy Communications Director for the Presidential Inaugural Committee and as Women’s Media Director for the Biden-Harris presidential campaign. For over a decade prior to that, Sáez worked on Capitol Hill for House Majority Leader Steny H. Hoyer, serving in a variety of roles to include his Deputy Communications Director. In that role, she served as his spokeswoman, helped communicate the House legislative agenda and coordinate the messaging strategy for the House Democratic Caucus, and provided strategic and crisis communications advice. Originally from Maryland, Sáez earned a bachelor’s degree in economics at St. Mary’s College of Maryland.

“It’s been an honor to work in government and politics for over a decade, and I’m very excited to bring my experience to SKDK, which has earned a reputation as one of the most effective and respected public affairs firms in the country,” said Sáez. “I have long admired the talented and diverse team at the firm, and I’m honored to be working alongside them to deliver results for our clients and shape the way some of our country’s most important organizations and businesses tell their stories.”

About SKDK

SKDK is a top national communications and political consulting firm bringing unparalleled strategic communications experience to Fortune 500 companies, nonprofits, philanthropic organizations and labor unions, as well as political committees and candidates. With offices in Washington, New York, Los Angeles and Albany, SKDK offers strategic support to managing a crisis, protecting a brand, advocating an issue or winning an election.

In 2020, SKDK was a key advisor to the Biden for President campaign and helped to make history by electing Joe Biden as President of The United States and Kamala Harris, the nation’s first Black, Asian-American and first woman, as Vice President. The influential Holmes Report once again named SKDK as the North America Public Affairs Agency of the Year in 2019, following wins in 2015, 2016, and 2018. To learn more about SKDK, visit our website at www.skdknick.com.SKDK is a proud member of The Stagwell Group, a collaborative group of agencies who are out to “reinvent the holding company,” according to the Wall Street Journal. The Stagwell Group portfolio includes more than a dozen best-in-class, digital-first agencies who are focused on what modern CMOs need. Learn more about Stagwell at www.stagwellgroup.com.

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SKDK Expands Advertising Team with Key Paid Media Strategists

Washington, D.C. – Today, SKDK, the leading public affairs and political advertising firm in the country, announced the hiring of several creative, paid media and political team members. Ryan Rose joins SKDK as Political Creative Director, Andy Yazdani is an Art Director, Mackey Reed is a Senior Vice President, Lucy Macintosh is a Vice President and Ileana Astorga is a Senior Associate on the Paid Media team in DC. This quintet joins a talented and diverse group of SKDK strategists who are involved in some of the most closely watched 2022 campaigns. 

“I’m very excited to welcome this dynamic and diverse group of professionals to our team. More than anything, SKDK prides itself on the people who work here,” said SKDK Partner Doug Thornell. “We know that our firm is only as strong as our team members and we couldn’t be happier with the additions of Ryan, Andy, Mackey, Lucy, and Ileana. Each of them brings their own unique skills to our firm that will complement the talented team we have already assembled,” said Thornell.

As Political Creative Director, Ryan Rose will be responsible for executing compelling creative ads for SKDK’s political clients ahead of the 2022 midterms. He is an experienced media and communications professional. Prior to SKDK, Rose worked as a producer and assistant director, serving political, corporate, and creative clients in the New York and Philadelphia metropolitan areas. As a freelancer, he worked on productions for the DNC and then-candidate for New Jersey governor, Phil Murphy.

As Art Director, Andy Yazdani will help bring to fruition creative work products for SKDK’s public affairs, political, non-profit clients. He comes to SKDK from the international membership organization, Community Associations Institute (CAI) in Fall Church, VA where he served as Art Director producing creative across a large span of the organization’s seminars, workshop, conference, publication offerings. 

Mackey Reed is joining SKDK’s advertising team as a Senior Vice President, where she will help lead some of the firm’s most prominent advertising clients. She comes to SKDK having served as Deputy Director of Paid Media for the Michael Bloomberg 2020 presidential campaign where she oversaw the day-to-day creative and production process for over $400 million in TV advertising. She previously worked for Everytown for Gun Safety where she served as an official spokesperson developing and executing state-by-state press relations strategies advocating for common sense gun laws and also helped oversee the major donor fundraising effort.

Lucy Macintosh is joining as Vice President on the Political team. Macintosh comes to SKDK as a longtime campaign strategist with experience managing candidate and advocacy campaigns. Previously, she was the Associate Director of Campaigns at the Hub Project and has managed some of the toughest campaigns in the country, including Representative Anthony Brindisi’s re-election. A Clinton presidential campaign alum, she has also served as Chief of Staff to VA Delegate Hala Ayala Lucy and as a member of the DCCC’s Political Department in the historic 2018 cycle.

Ileana Astorga is joining as a Senior Associate in Paid Media, where she will support political campaigns. Prior to joining SKDK, Astorga served as a Legislative Correspondent for Senator Bennet’s (D-CO) office focusing on education, foreign affairs, and infrastructure. She has experience working on local and national campaigns where she developed a deep passion for campaign work.

SKDK remains the leading political advertising firm in the nation. In 2021, SKDK advised Rep. Troy Carter on his hard fought special election victory in Louisiana’s second congressional district. SKDK’s paid media team worked closely with Rep. Shontel Brown on her amazing come from behind victory in Ohio’s 11th congressional district. The firm also helped elect Aftab Pureval as mayor of Cincinnati, the first Indian American to lead the city. In addition, SKDK has been the leading ad maker for Climate Power, which has been fighting hard to help pass President Biden’s Build Back Better bill.  In 2020, SKDK partner Anita Dunn was a top advisor to the Biden for President campaign and helped to make history by electing Joe Biden as President of The United States and Kamala Harris, the nation’s first Black, Asian-American and first woman, as Vice-President.  

About SKDK

SKDK is a top national communications and political consulting firm bringing unparalleled strategic communications experience to Fortune 500 companies, nonprofits, philanthropic organizations, and labor unions, as well as political committees and candidates. With offices in Washington, New York, Los Angeles, and Albany, SKDK offers strategic support to managing a crisis, protecting a brand, advocating an issue, or winning an election.

In 2020, SKDK was a key advisor to the Biden for President campaign and helped to make history by electing Joe Biden as President of The United States and Kamala Harris, the nation’s first Black, Asian-American and first woman, as Vice President. The influential Holmes Report once again named SKDK as the North America Public Affairs Agency of the Year in 2019, following wins in 2015, 2016, and 2018. To learn more about SKDK, visit our website at www.skdknick.com. SKDK is a proud member of The Stagwell Group, a collaborative group of agencies who are out to “reinvent the holding,” according to the Wall Street Journal. The Stagwell Group portfolio includes more than a dozen best-in-class, digital-first agencies who are focused on what modern CMOs need. Learn more about Stagwell at www.stagwellgroup.com.

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Veteran Public Affairs Strategist Marissa Shorenstein Joins SKDK; President of NY Public Affairs Loren Riegelhaupt Promoted to Principal

NEW YORK, NY – Today, SKDK announced the appointment of Marissa Shorenstein and the promotion of Loren Riegelhaupt to Principal in the firm’s New York City office. Shorenstein, a well-known political and corporate public affairs strategist, most recently served as Director of the Executive Transition for Governor Kathy Hochul. Alongside the SKDK senior leadership team, Marissa will be responsible for strategic planning and business initiatives across the firm.

Marissa Shorenstein
Loren Riegelhaupt

“Marissa is one of New York’s savviest communication and political strategists,” said Josh Isay, Chief Executive Officer of SKDK. “She has worked at the highest levels of government, politics, and business and is widely recognized as one of the most accomplished communications and public affairs professionals in the state. She will play a critical role in SKDK’s growth and leadership, and we couldn’t be happier to have her join our team.”

Shorenstein has a long and seasoned career in public affairs, corporate communications, campaign politics, and government. Most recently, she served as Director of the Executive Transition for New York State’s first female governor, Kathy Hochul. In that role, Shorenstein oversaw a seamless transition for Governor Hochul, helping navigate the executive appointment process and to build a first-class team of professionals to lead the State of New York.

Prior to her work with Governor Hochul, Shorenstein served as Global Chief Communications Officer for WeWork, after spending more than eight years at AT&T where she served as President – Northern Region, overseeing the company’s external affairs for seventeen states from Maine to Illinois, as well as Washington, DC. In addition to her work leading state and federal campaigns, Shorenstein also served as Senior Manager for Strategic Planning and Corporate Communications for the New York Jets.

“SKDK is one of the most respected and successful public affairs firms in the country. I couldn’t be more excited to work with some of the country’s most accomplished strategists,” said Ms. Shorenstein.

SKDK also announced the promotion of Loren Riegelhaupt, a Managing Director and the President of New York Public Affairs to Principal. Riegelhaupt will retain his President of Public Affairs duties continuing to oversee the New York public affairs division and lead the healthcare vertical. In his role as President, Riegelhaupt has played a critical role in the growth of the New York office, while also creating and co-leading the firm’s healthcare division and leading national and regional public affairs campaigns for a wide variety of clients including Mount Sinai Health System, Columbia Business School, Ernst and Young (EY), just to name a few.

“Loren has been instrumental in managing the expansion of our New York public affairs division over the past decade. His promotion to Principal is a recognition of how critical he is to this firm and its long-term growth,” Isay added.

About SKDK

SKDK is a top national communications and political consulting firm bringing unparalleled strategic communications experience to Fortune 500 companies, nonprofits, philanthropic organizations, and labor unions, as well as political committees and candidates. With offices in Washington, New York, Los Angeles, and Albany, SKDK offers strategic support to managing a crisis, protecting a brand, advocating an issue, or winning an election.

In 2020, SKDK was a key advisor to the Biden for President campaign and helped to make history by electing Joe Biden as President of The United States and Kamala Harris, the nation’s first Black, Asian-American and first woman, as Vice President. The influential Holmes Report once again named SKDK as the North America Public Affairs Agency of the Year in 2019, following wins in 2015, 2016, and 2018. To learn more about SKDK, visit our website at www.skdknick.com. SKDK is a proud member of The Stagwell Group, a collaborative group of agencies who are out to “reinvent the holding,” according to the Wall Street Journal. The Stagwell Group portfolio includes more than a dozen best-in-class, digital-first agencies who are focused on what modern CMOs need. Learn more about Stagwell at www.stagwellgroup.com.

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