Karen Olick

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.

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Pia Carusone

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.

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Jason Rosenbaum

With more than fifteen years of digital fundraising and media experience, Jason has led teams that have generated more than $200 million in revenue, produced groundbreaking digital creative and applied the most advanced research methodologies to advertising and marketing campaigns.

Most recently, Jason served as founder and President of Seward Square Strategies, a digital fundraising and media strategy firm based in Washington DC that served a wide range of political and advocacy organizations.

Prior to founding Seward Square, Jason led the digital advertising department for Hillary Clinton’s 2016 presidential campaign. The team was responsible for developing content, managing and negotiating media buys, and conducting research and testing for the campaign’s fundraising acquisition, voter persuasion and supporter mobilization efforts.

Before his work for Secretary Clinton’s campaign, Jason led Google’s Elections and Advocacy vertical, which builds and executes large-scale paid advertising campaigns for political campaigns, advocacy organizations and trade associations. While there he oversaw a team that managed more than $100 million dollars in media programs.

Over four election cycles Jason led digital operations for two of the national Democratic party committees: the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee and the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee; and the American Association for Justice. His work contributed to the House Democrats historic rise in the 2006 and 2008 elections and expanding the Democratic Senate Majority in 2012.

At SKDK, Jason oversees the firm’s digital fundraising and media practice for political, advocacy and corporate clients to ensure they employ the most effective strategies to grow revenue, communicate message and activate supporters.

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Devon Puglia

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.

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Oren Shur

Oren is a Managing Director at SKDK and helps lead the firm’s political department.  For the past 20 years, he has served as a media consultant, campaign manager and communications strategist on some of the most competitive Democratic campaigns and independent expenditures across the country.

Oren is the ad-maker and media strategist for numerous Democratic elected officials – including Maryland Gov. Wes Moore and Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly.  Moore’s 2022 win was historic, as he is Maryland’s first Black Governor and just the third in US history. In 2022, Gov. Kelly was the only Democrat to win a Governor’s race in a state carried by Donald Trump in 2020.

Oren also produces ads for leading advocacy organizations, including Climate Power, The League of Conservation Voters, Future Forward, Protect Our Care and Demand Justice.

In 2020, Oren served as an adviser to the Biden campaign’s paid media team.  In 2016, he was the Director of Paid Media on Hillary Clinton’s campaign, where he directed the campaign’s advertising program – overseeing the creative development and placement for all television, radio, direct mail, digital and newspaper ads in the primary and general elections.

Prior to joining SKDK, Oren spent over a decade on the campaign trail, holding positions including: Director of Independent Expenditures for the Democratic Governors Association, where he oversaw paid media programs in 11 states that totaled nearly $50 million; Campaign Manager and spokesman for Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon; Campaign Manager to New Mexico Lieutenant Governor Diane Denish; Communications Director to U.S. Sen. Ben Cardin (D-MD) and spokesman on Cardin’s competitive 2006 Senate campaign.

Oren began his career as a campaign aide to legendary former Sen. Barbara A. Mikulski (D-MD) and still proudly considers himself a “BAM’er.”

Oren graduated summa cum laude from The George Washington University, where he currently teaches a course in campaign communications.  A native Marylander, Oren lives with his wife and their twin boys in Takoma Park, MD.

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Rae Robinson

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.

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Amy Brundage

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 Braun

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.

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Josh Dorner

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.

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Stephen Krupin

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.

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