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Intern Spotlight: Ziya Smallens

Posted August 24, 2016

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To those who are unfamiliar with the industry, strategic communications is a fairly vague concept. To work in communications is to immerse oneself in the development of narratives, whether in the media, among business leaders, or within the policymaking community. At its core, the industry orients itself around the process of personalizing current events; transforming that issue into our issue.

"At SKDKnickerbocker, I stand at the nexus of political, cultural and corporate influence."

“At SKDKnickerbocker, I stand at the nexus of political, cultural and corporate influence.”

At SKDKnickerbocker, I stand at the nexus of political, cultural and corporate influence. I’ve had the pleasure of working alongside exceptionally talented minds, industry leaders who effortlessly sculpt the issues of the day into bite-sized narratives that are then distributed to different pockets of the American family. Our messaging serves to consolidate the interests of seemingly disparate communities, a mission of vital importance in today’s era of intense partisanship.

What’s more, SKDKnickerbocker has stood at the forefront of the progressive movement. Whether it be working to secure marriage equality or leading the pro-choice charge, several of the movement’s recent achievements can be partially attributed to the work we commit ourselves to every day.

My workday moves at a rapid pace, which, as a New Yorker, I warmly welcome. At any given moment I may be asked to write a memo for a corporate client or dig deep into policy for one of our congressional candidates. My tasks are almost always relevant to the day’s headlines, which is befitting of an organization that excels in fomenting public support.

Thanks to SKDKnickerbocker, I will walk away with the skills necessary to endow marginalized communities with the strategic aptitude of leaders in the public and private sector. My time spent here has undoubtedly enhanced my capacity to build a better tomorrow and bolstered my appreciation of balancing the interests of one group with the needs of a larger community.

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SKDKnickerbocker has made several new hires: Danielle Moodie-Mills is joining the firm as a vice president in the New York City office after founding and running the communications and media strategy firm Politini Media in D.C. She’s advised clients including GLAAD, Ms. Foundation for Women and helped to organize and host the Human Rights Campaign’s first Congressional Black Caucus Summit. She’s also worked for the Center for American Progress, National Wildlife Federation, City of New York’s Office of Federal Affairs and Congresswoman Yvette Clark. Also new: Desiree Vodounon, who is joining SKDK as a senior associate from RLM Finsbury, and Yasmin Gagne, who is joining SKD as Josh Isay and Jennifer Cunningham’s assistant, after working as an Atlantic Media Fellow for Quartz.

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By SKDK Senior Vice President Jon Reinish

We are here.

We have arrived here. Donald Trump last week called for Russia to hack Hillary Clinton and commit rogue state espionage against a political leader. That was treasonous in my mind. That was beyond all reason. America reeled. He has thrown such insanity at us repeatedly that it’s become normalized.

Mexicans are rapists. Muslim Americans and refugees alike are terror threats. Women should be punished by law for seeking to end a pregnancy. Build the wall. Round up Latino American families in the night like rabid dogs.

This was all most foul. This week it got worse. On Tuesday, August 9, Donald Trump, the Republican Party’s nominee to be leader of the free world, outwardly promoted “Second Amendment” solutions against Hillary Clinton: her body, her campaign, potential judicial nominees.

There is no gray area. This is exhorting gun violence. This is pushing his followers to take up arms and inflict harm. Grievous harm. Civil war.

Say no. If you are sane, if you stand with life, if you care about this nation, our character and our survival, this is when you get off the sidelines and say no. This is the line in the sand. Our psychological Maginot Line has been breached.

Read more at the Observer.