In the News

Former Special Assistant to President Biden and longtime chief speechwriter to First Lady Dr. Jill Biden will co-lead SKDK’s Best-in-Class Writing and Media Training Team

Washington, DC –  SKDK, the award-winning public affairs and political consulting agency, announced today that Amber Macdonald, former Special Assistant to President Biden and longtime chief speechwriter to First Lady Dr. Jill Biden, is joining the firm’s Executive Communications practice. Macdonald will co-lead the message development, ghostwriting, and media training team alongside Stephen Krupin, a former senior speechwriter to President Obama.

Before her service in the administration, on the 2020 presidential campaign, and at the Biden Foundation, Macdonald served as the director of speechwriting to Secretary of Health and Human Services Sylvia Burwell and deputy director of speechwriting to Secretary Kathleen Sebelius. She has collaborated on speeches, books, and op-eds for heads of international corporations, award-winning actors, members of Congress, and advocates who have become household names.

A former actor and playwright who has performed at the renowned improv comedy theater Upright Citizens Brigade, Macdonald also draws upon her stage expertise to coach principals for their moments in the spotlight.

“With Amber’s extraordinary talent and invaluable experience, we will continue to shape powerful messages for a diverse range of corporate, nonprofit, and political leaders,” SKDK CEO Doug Thornell said. “Her arrival reinforces our dedication to providing unparalleled executive communications services, and we are proud to have two former senior presidential speechwriters leading the team.”

“I’m honored to join Stephen and the world-class communicators at SKDK. We share a commitment to helping leaders shape local, national, and international conversations with compelling and persuasive storytelling,” Macdonald said. “I’m excited to help grow this unique Executive Communications practice, which offers the personalized touch of a boutique firm alongside the expertise of a full-service public affairs powerhouse.”

SKDK’s Executive Communications team has worked with high-profile leaders who have won the White House, the Nobel Prize, and the trust of their communities. Its writers and coaches have translated complex ideas into compelling messages on behalf of philanthropists, civil rights leaders, and entrepreneurs, and have developed thought-leadership platforms for CEOs of blue-chip companies, heads of global foundations, professional athletes, and advocates on the front lines of today’s biggest policy debates.

Working alongside SKDK’s experts in media relations, advertising, opinion research, digital strategy, financial communications, and C-suite advisory, the Executive Communications practice offers the following best-in-class services:

  • Message Development
  • Thought-Leadership Strategy
  • Speechwriting
  • Bylined Articles
  • Message & Media Training
  • Presentation Coaching
  • Writing Workshops
  • Story Banking
  • Conference Design

For more on SKDK’s Executive Communications services, please visit https://skdknick.com/our-services/exec-comms/

About SKDK

SKDK is a top national communications and political consulting firm that brings 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, Boston, Los Angeles, Miami, and Albany, SKDK offers strategic support to manage a crisis, protect a brand, advocate for an issue, or win an election. 

In 2022, SKDK served as strategists and admakers for winning campaigns including Governor Wes Moore of Maryland, Senator Mark Kelly of Arizona, Governor Laura Kelly of Kansas, and Governor Ned Lamont of Connecticut – and in 2020, was a key adviser to the historic Biden-Harris campaign. SKDK has won the Holmes Report’s influential North America Public Affairs Agency of the Year multiple times and was listed by the Observer as one of the best public relations firms in America for 2023. To learn more about SKDK, visit our website at www.skdknick.com.

SKDK and its subsidiary businesses, Sloane & Company and Jasper Advisors, are proud members of Stagwell, a digital-first global marketing network that delivers scalable, seamless solutions through a unique combination of culture-moving creativity and leading-edge technology.

Bringing Experience from Years Working on Political Campaigns and for Major Tech Companies, Nunes will Serve as Executive Vice President and Head of Paid Digital

Washington, DC –  Today, SKDK announced that former Pete for America Director of Paid Media, Maxwell Nunes, has joined the firm’s Washington, D.C. office as an Executive Vice President and Head of Paid Digital. With over a decade of experience in digital strategy and managing media budgets exceeding $100 million, Nunes brings a wealth of knowledge and insight to enhance the firm’s digital capabilities for its political, corporate, and non-profit clients.

“We’re delighted to welcome Maxwell to our team,” said Doug Thornell, CEO of SKDK. “His strategic thinking and creative approach have earned him recognition as one of the most well-regarded digital strategists in Democratic politics. We know that Nunes and our exceptional Digital team will help our candidates win races and help our corporate and non-profit clients reach their audiences in the most targeted, strategic, and creative ways possible.”

Before SKDK, Nunes co-led his advertising and digital media firm for over three years. In 2020, he served as Pete for America’s Director of Paid Media, where he built the in-house team and oversaw online acquisition, persuasion, and mobilization efforts. Nunes has also held senior roles in digital media strategy for Terry McAuliffe for Virginia and Hillary for America and enriched his skill set by leading advertising and policy campaigns with major brands such as Airbnb and Google.

At SKDK, Maxwell Nunes will lead our award-winning digital team, building upon the firm’s 2022 successes, including spearheading Governor Wes Moore’s campaign’s digital efforts in Maryland, driving Senate Majority PAC’s ad campaign supporting Senator Maggie Hassan in New Hampshire, collaborating with Climate Power and the League of Conservation Voters’ “Climate Votes” initiative to mobilize young voters in key states.

“I am beyond excited about stepping into this new role and working with such a talented and dynamic group of creative, paid media, political, and public affairs strategists,” said Nunes. “Together, we have an incredible opportunity to drive impactful and creative digital strategies that tackle the most pressing issues and authentically communicate with the audiences our clients need to reach.”

About SKDK

SKDK is a top national communications and political consulting firm that brings 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, Boston, Los Angeles, Miami, and Albany, SKDK offers strategic support to manage a crisis, protect a brand, advocate for an issue, or win an election. 

In 2022, SKDK served as strategists and admakers for winning campaigns including Governor Wes Moore of Maryland, Senator Mark Kelly of Arizona, Governor Laura Kelly of Kansas, and Governor Ned Lamont of Connecticut – and in 2020, was a key adviser to the historic Biden-Harris campaign. SKDK has won the Holmes Report’s influential North America Public Affairs Agency of the Year multiple times and was listed by the Observer as one of the best public relations firms in America for 2023. To learn more about SKDK, visit our website at www.skdknick.com.

SKDK and its subsidiary businesses, Sloane & Company and Jasper Advisors, are proud members of Stagwell, a digital-first global marketing network that delivers scalable, seamless solutions through a unique combination of culture-moving creativity and leading-edge technology. 

August 2023 — Jacqui Newman, Chief Operating Officer, SKDK

April 2023 — Lucy MacIntosh, Vice President, SKDK

March 2023 — Quincy Mix, Operations Advisor, Sloane & Company

February 2023 — Valerie Keys, Senior Associate and DC Intern Coordinator, SKDK

Lesswing to Serve as Senior Vice President in firm’s Public Affairs Practice in New York

New York, – Today SKDK announced Bryan Lesswing joined the firm’s Public Affairs practice in New York as a Senior Vice President. Lesswing comes to SKDK after serving as a Senior Advisor to Governor Kathy Hochul (D-NY). In his new role at SKDK, he will support the firm’s corporate, crisis and advocacy clients, as well as contribute to its strategic growth. Lesswing brings over a decade of communications expertise to his role at SKDK, spanning politics, government, and advocacy.

Since 2019, Lesswing has served New York State Governor Kathy Hochul in a number of capacities, most recently serving as a Senior Advisor, providing strategic communications guidance on a host of issues and collaborating with the Governor’s senior staff and top Administration officials. In this role, he led communications for the Governor’s pandemic response, tackled other crisis communications, acted as an advisor to elect New York State’s first female Governor, and supported then-Lieutenant Governor Hochul’s transition to becoming Governor. In 2023, Lesswing was named in City & State New York’s Albany Power 100 list.

“We are excited to welcome Bryan to the SKDK family,” said Doug Thornell, CEO of SKDK. “His experience at the highest levels of state government and expertise in communications, politics, and advocacy makes him a perfect fit for SKDK and our clients. With Bryan’s addition, our firm continues to build the deepest roster of talented and connected strategists in public affairs and political consulting,” said Thornell.  

Marissa Shorenstein, the former director of the executive transition for Governor Hochul and a principal at SKDK, added, “I have witnessed firsthand the exceptional leadership and dedication Bryan brings to any challenge. His qualities will make him an invaluable asset to the team at SKDK.”

Prior to his time on Governor Hochul’s team, Lesswing worked as a seasoned campaign operative on competitive federal and state campaigns in Illinois, Pennsylvania and New Hampshire. During the 2018 election cycle, Lesswing served as a communications director for U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin’s (D-WI) first re-election campaign after advising winning candidates across the country for EMILY’s List and serving as the Northeast Regional Press Secretary for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. 

Lesswing volunteers in his spare-time with Blue Leadership Collaborative, an organization dedicated to retaining and developing diverse campaign leaders. Lesswing graduated from DePauw University with a dual bachelor’s degree in Political Science and History. He lives in New York City.

“It has been the honor of a lifetime to work for Governor Hochul and serve alongside her talented team, and I could not be more excited to start this next chapter with the best and brightest at SKDK,” said Lesswing. “There is no better firm on the pulse of press, politics and policy and the progressive change happening across the country.”

About SKDK

SKDK is a top national communications and political consulting firm that brings 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, Boston, Los Angeles, Miami, and Albany, SKDK offers strategic support to manage a crisis, protect a brand, advocate for an issue, or win an election. 

In 2022, SKDK served as strategists and admakers for winning campaigns including Governor Wes Moore of Maryland, Senator Mark Kelly of Arizona, Governor Laura Kelly of Kansas, and Governor Ned Lamont of Connecticut – and in 2020, was a key adviser to the historic Biden-Harris campaign. SKDK has won the Holmes Report’s influential North America Public Affairs Agency of the Year multiple times and was listed by the Observer as one of the best public relations firms in America for 2023. To learn more about SKDK, visit our website at www.skdknick.com.

SKDK and its subsidiary businesses, Sloane & Company and Jasper Advisors, are proud members of Stagwell, a digital-first global marketing network that delivers scalable, seamless solutions through a unique combination of culture-moving creativity and leading-edge technology.