In the News

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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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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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

Posted August 11, 2022

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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