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For over a decade, Karen Olick has provided strategic counsel and media advice to Democratic candidates, advocacy groups, and companies with brand challenges. Her clients have included technology and energy companies, ballot measure campaigns, and numerous candidates for federal and state offices.
Most recently, Karen produced television, radio, digital, and print advertising for Beyond Carbon, Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids, Everytown for Gun Safety, Planned Parenthood, and Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel. Her work focused on issues ranging from climate change to women’s health and reproductive freedom to protecting kids from smoking and vaping. She was the lead strategist and media consultant on important state ballot measures that secured passage of paid family and medical leave in Colorado and gun safety laws in Washington State and Nevada.
Karen recently returned to SKDKnickerbocker after serving as Chief of Staff to the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). In this role, she helped the Biden Administration overhaul the Department’s policies and personnel and provided strategic guidance on the full range of DHS issues including COVID response, cyber-security, domestic terrorism, border security, and immigration reform.
Prior to SKDKnickerbocker, Karen served for more than a decade as Chief of Staff to Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-CA). In this capacity, Karen was deeply involved in a wide-range of high-profile legislative battles, including family and medical leave, healthcare protections for women, climate change, and the environment and workplace fairness.
In 2005, Karen founded Americans United for Change, an organization dedicated to building broad public and congressional support for protecting Social Security and addressing income inequality. Under her leadership, the organization used aggressive earned and paid media outreach, as well as grassroots and online organizing, to achieving many legislative successes.
Prior to serving on Capitol Hill, Karen managed and worked on numerous campaigns, including former Vice-President Walter Mondale’s presidential campaign; President-Elect Joe Biden’s first presidential campaign; and the winning campaigns electing Sen. Tom Harkin (D-IA), and re-electing Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ). She was also a media advisor for Mary Landrieu’s (D-LA) successful reelection campaign.Comments Off on Karen Olick
Pia is a Managing Director at SKDK and oversees the day-to-day management of the firm’s political department. Pia brings over 15 years of campaign, communications, media, and brand development work to her clients at SKDK.
After years of winning tough campaigns, Pia met U.S. Rep Gabrielle Giffords and they quickly bonded over growing up in republican families. Pia was the youngest female chief of staff in the house when she joined Gabby’s team. After the stunning and horrific Tucson shooting, Pia was recognized on the floor of Congress for her leadership role in the aftermath.
Carusone was most recently the lead strategist and ad maker for Senator Mark Kelly, who won the special election to fill Senator John McCain’s seat. Previously she served as the Assistant Secretary for Public Affairs at the Department of Homeland Security under the Obama Administration.
Carusone’s campaign work also includes guiding Ritchie Torres to victory in NY-15, defeating a powerful anti-choice, anti-equality opponent. And in New Hampshire, where her roots in politics began with Howard Dean’s presidential campaign, Carusone helped Congressman Chris Pappas secure his first re-election in New England’s most competitive district. In 2006, Carusone managed the first campaign of now Congressman John Sarbanes and then joined him on Capitol Hill as his Communications Director.
Pia has given hundreds of TV, radio, and print interviews and is frequently called to comment on the latest developments in politics and government. Originally from Saratoga Springs, NY, Pia is a graduate of Bard College and now resides in Washington, DC with her wife, daughter and their two dachshunds. Ask Pia what her favorite bourbon is – she’s the co-founder of Republic Restoratives Distillery.Comments Off on Pia Carusone
Devon is a veteran communications professional with deep experience across politics, policy and crisis communications.
Prior to joining SKDK, Devon served as communications director for New York City Comptroller Scott Stringer, where he oversaw day-to-day media operations, long-term planning and messaging, speechwriting, and advocacy campaigns across the city.
He previously worked as communications director for and senior staff to Connecticut Governor Dan Malloy, acting as the state’s chief spokesperson, managing communications for major national news stories and overseeing nearly 100 people across dozens of agencies. Devon’s earlier positions include communications director for the Connecticut Democratic Party, press secretary and head spokesperson for the New York City Department of Education, and video producer for News Corporation’s iPad newspaper, The Daily.
A native New Yorker, Devon is a graduate of Occidental College and has a master’s from Sydney University.Comments Off on Devon Puglia
Rae Robinson leads SKDK’s Multicultural Communications and Engagement Practice, working with some of the world’s most recognized companies and nonprofit organizations committed to advancing racial, social and economic justice. She is responsible for developing corporate inclusion and diversity communications strategies and cultivating partnerships that promote and further diversity, equity and inclusion.
She has nearly two decades of leadership experience in multicultural, corporate and nonprofit communications. Rae is sought after by executives to provide expert counsel on corporate crises and diversity, equity and inclusion strategy for internal and external stakeholders. With her extensive relationships with multigenerational, multicultural and political stakeholders, Rae has a proven track record of assisting clients in developing effective communications plans and securing quality media coverage charting impactful results for corporations and nonprofits alike.
Rae has held positions at national PR firms, national nonprofit organizations and education institutions leading large-scale communications and public affairs efforts influencing key policies on corporate diversity and inclusion, child victimization, and homelessness and housing insecurity.
A Washington, DC native, Rae holds a bachelor’s degree from Spelman College in Atlanta, GA and two master’s degrees from Boston University.Comments Off on Rae Robinson
Amy specializes in helping clients inside and outside of Washington develop and execute successful communications and message strategies.
She brings years of experience in politics and communications to SKDK, with extensive experience in political campaigns, on Capitol Hill and at the White House.
Amy was most recently deputy assistant to President Obama and deputy communications director at the White House, also serving as acting White House communications director during the summer and fall of 2015. Amy held top communications roles for nearly seven years at the White House, including as the White House spokesperson for the economy and deputy press secretary. She was a key member of then-Sen. John Kerry’s staff in the Senate, serving as his national press secretary. Amy also has a background in presidential campaigns, working in the national headquarters of the presidential campaigns of Obama and Kerry.
A native of Rockport, Mass., Amy graduated from the College of the Holy Cross and resides on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C.
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Alex is an award-winning strategist who crafts communications campaigns based in research and analytics. Called a “campaign magician” by Forbes, Alex has founded and leads the research and international political practices at SKDK. He is also an adjunct professor of campaign management at George Washington University.
Alex specializes in translating research into compelling stories and actionable recommendations. He has conducted hundreds of polls, focus groups and other research instruments for clients ranging from major public affairs, nonprofit and media organizations to corporations such as Microsoft, Amazon, Pfizer, IBM, Ford and Comcast.
In the political arena, Alex has unique expertise, having worked with dozens of heads of state and other political clients around the globe. In addition to US campaigns, including Biden 2020, he has advised prime ministers in the United Kingdom, India, and Croatia and presidents in Ukraine, Mexico, and the Philippines, among others.
As a recognized industry leader, Alex has been named the American Association of Political Consultants’ International Campaign Consultant of the Year and among its “40 under 40.” He has won the Reed Award and the Polaris Award for his campaign work and frequently speaks at conferences and in the media on both sides of the Atlantic.
Alex is also involved in giving back. He co-founded Moonshot Platform, a global social impact nonprofit, and the Rising World Foundation, focused on women empowerment in India. He serves on the board of American Friends of the Czech Republic, and is active in the Aspen Young Leaders and the American Council of Young Political Leaders programs.
Prior to joining SKDK, Alex spent fifteen years in journalism, research and PR. He was a Fulbright scholar, co-authored two (soon three) academic books, and holds degrees from New York University, Central European University in Budapest, and Charles University in Prague.Comments Off on Alex Braun
Josh has more than 15 years of experience designing and executing communications campaigns and strategies for progressive issue-advocacy organizations and coalitions on a wide range of issues. He is a trusted adviser to CEOs, non-profit leaders, and others seeking to make change or manage a crisis.
He led the successful coordinated efforts to publicize the stakes involved in the Supreme Court’s landmark Affordable Care Act cases, King v. Burwell and California v. Texas. In addition, he has worked with several advocacy coalitions on approximately two dozen marquee cases before the Court on a diverse array of topics, including workers’ rights, voting, immigration, marriage equality, women’s reproductive rights, the Clean Air Act and climate change, and protecting public education.
Josh has also played a leading role in the last five Supreme Court confirmation battles, including directing the outside rapid response effort in support of Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson’s historic confirmation.
Prior to joining SKDK, Josh served as communications director for Sen. Debbie Stabenow and the Senate Committee on Agriculture, where he focused on issues as diverse as farm bill implementation, energy, health care, tax policy, international trade and financial regulations. Before working on Capitol Hill, Josh led communications and strategy for several national advocacy organizations, including the Center for American Progress/Action Fund and Sierra Club.Comments Off on Josh Dorner
Stephen Krupin has served as a top communications advisor to the President of the United States, U.S. Secretary of State, and U.S. Senate Majority Leader, and has written for and coached the heads of iconic brands and philanthropies, winners of the Nobel Prize and Grammy Awards, and everyday people advocating for important causes.
Stephen served in the White House as a senior speechwriter to President Barack Obama, director of speechwriting on Obama’s re-election campaign, chief speechwriter to Secretary John Kerry and chief speechwriter to Senator Harry Reid, for whom he was also an on-record spokesman. He worked in the press and writing operations on the 2008 Obama campaign and at three Democratic National Conventions.
In these roles, Stephen has helped leaders frame the fights of our time from both ends of Pennsylvania Avenue and at the United Nations, in communities across the country and in capitals around the world, as well as before large audiences on “60 Minutes,” the TED Talk stage, and the New York Times opinion page.
As the head of the executive communications practice he launched at SKDK, Stephen partners with C-suite executives, elected officials, and nonprofit leaders to help them achieve their strategic objectives through research-driven message development, keynote speeches, interview preparation, media relations, crisis communications, and advertising. Stephen also teaches the graduate-level speechwriting course at Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government.
In addition to his extensive ghostwriting experience, Stephen’s own bylined commentary has been published in outlets including The Washington Post, New York Magazine and Sports Illustrated; he has appeared on HBO, CNN, NPR, and the BBC; and he speaks frequently at communications conferences around the globe.Comments Off on Stephen Krupin
Cecelia Prewett focuses on strategic communications involving crisis, litigation, brand reputation and issues management. Her biggest strength is strategy—with a keen ability to see around corners and think five to 10 steps ahead on how that strategy will land for a client. At SKDK, she spearheaded the formation of the Litigation, Regulation, Investigation practice.
She has a proven record of giving strategic counsel to C-suite decision makers and senior government officials. Cecelia is an expert at marrying public policy issues with strategic communications, drawing on her experience at every level of public affairs: executive, federal, state, local and advocacy organizations.
A testimonial from a long-time client said: “Cecelia has tirelessly guided our PR and GR teams to inform the public about an issue of the utmost importance to our nation’s finance system. Cecelia’s work has exposed grievous misconduct, spurred government regulators into action, resulting in fines, penalties, and much needed accountability by the wrongdoer. Cecelia’s work is exemplary, effective, and compelling.”
In addition to working for the Obama administration, she’s served as a top policy adviser and spokesperson for three members of Congress, a governor, and her home state legislature. Cecelia was the director of public affairs and senior policy adviser to the chairman at the Federal Trade Commission. During her time with the American Association for Justice and AARP, Cecelia created media campaigns with a focus on crisis work. On Capitol Hill, she was communications director for former Representatives Rahm Emanuel, Carolyn McCarthy, and Bob Filner.
The child of an Army officer, Cecelia holds an undergraduate degree from the University of Tennessee, and a master’s degree in political management from The George Washington University, where she is an adjunct professor.Comments Off on Cecelia Prewett
Morgan has a deep understanding of the intersection of press, politics and policy that is critical to navigating electoral and legislative campaigns. He helped launch SKDK’s Albany, New York, office in November 2011, after serving as a senior communications manager in New York and working as an award-winning television journalist in media markets across the country.
Since joining SKDK, Morgan has provided strategic media advice for a variety of clients in New York and has successfully advocated for clients in the areas of the environment, health care and education, among others.
Before joining SKDK, Morgan oversaw communications for the State University of New York (SUNY), serving as chief spokesperson for Chancellor Nancy Zimpher. Previously, Morgan was the communications director for New York Governor David Paterson.
Morgan has extensive experience as a news anchor and reporter and was nominated for an Emmy by the Washington, D.C., chapter of the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences for his work as a documentary producer.Comments Off on Morgan Hook