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Leading Strategic Communications Firm Appoints Public Affairs Presidents, Promotes Five New Managing Directors and Expands Los Angeles Office

SKDKnickerbocker, the nation’s leading strategic communications firm, today named Managing Director Jill Zuckman as President of Washington, D.C., public affairs and Managing Director Kerri Lyon as President of New York public affairs, promoted five new Managing Directors and increased capacity in its Los Angeles office as the firm continues to grow its capabilities and its client base.

“We are proud to have been named the Public Affairs Agency of the Year and the Crisis Agency of the year by the Holmes Report in 2016 and 2017. Jill and Kerri have been instrumental in our success. This team has demonstrated that great strategy, hands-on creativity and a passion for the work are the key to success,” said Hilary Rosen, Managing Director. Lyon and Zuckman are former journalists with long experience in government and politics who have broad expertise advising corporate and nonprofit clients facing strategic challenges. “Whether it’s managing a communications crisis, addressing a long-term strategic challenge or advancing a cause, Lyon and Zuckman are representative of the best team in the business.”

SKDK also announced the expansion of its California based capabilities with the hiring of Heather Wilson as Managing Director in the Los Angeles office to advise companies on corporate and financial communications, crisis management, public affairs, litigation and media strategy. Wilson is a former journalist for CBS MarketWatch who recently ran the San Francisco office of Abernathy MacGregor.

In addition, the firm named five new managing directors:

Greg Minoff, Director of the Content Studio and the head of the broad portfolio of creative advertising and digital services offered by SKDK

Cecelia Prewett, former Federal Trade Commission official who leads the firm’s Regulatory, Investigations and Litigation practice

Morgan Hook, former journalist and former chief communications officer for the State University of N.Y. and head of SKDK Albany

Stephen Krupin, former White House speechwriter for President Barack Obama and head of SKDK’s Executive Communications practice

Nell Callahan, former press secretary for Senator Jeanne Shaheen, head of the Woman’s Practice and Chief of Staff in the Washington, D.C., Public Affairs office

“The talent we have across the country is what has made SKDK the go-to firm for CEOs, candidates for office, litigators, progressive organizations and others seeking to grow their business, advance an agenda, win an election or avert a crisis,” said Managing Director Josh Isay.

SKDKnickerbocker provides the full range of communications services, including public relations, digital communications, executive communications, litigation support, television advertising, direct mail and research.

 

Time’s Up

Posted January 11, 2018

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The New York Times profiled the launch of Time’s Up, describing the “ambitious, sprawling initiative to fight systemic sexual harassment in Hollywood and in blue-collar workplaces nationwide.”

Called Time’s Up, the movement was announced on Monday with an impassioned pledge of support to working-class women in an open letter signed by hundreds of women in show business, many of them A-listers. The letter also ran as a full-page ad in The New York Times, and in La Opinion, a Spanish-language newspaper.

“The struggle for women to break in, to rise up the ranks and to simply be heard and acknowledged in male-dominated workplaces must end; time’s up on this impenetrable monopoly,” the letter says.

A major part of the Hollywood effort was the creation of the Time’s Up Legal Defense Fund housed at the National Women’s Law Center. This fund is helping survivors of sexual harassment, abuse and assault in all industries across the country get legal and communications assistance with their individual cases. The full New York Times Story can be found here.

Join us. Go to NWLC.org and contribute to the Times Up Legal Defense Fund. The Time’s Up Legal Defense Fund leadership team can be found below:

CHRISTINA M. TCHEN

Tina Tchen, former Chief of Staff to First Lady Michelle Obama, heads Buckley Sandler’s Chicago office, and draws on more than 30 years of experience at the highest levels of private practice and government service. She provides corporations, boards of directors, and individuals with unique litigation, counseling, and crisis management skills.

Over the course of her extensive career, Ms. Tchen has handled complex civil litigation and enforcement matters in both state and federal courts in Illinois and across the country. She has represented major global corporations and their officers and directors in a wide range of matters, including consumer class actions, corporate investigations, government enforcement actions, executive compensation, and breach of contract litigation. Ms. Tchen also has represented public agencies in state and federal class actions, and successfully argued before the United States Supreme Court on behalf of the State of Illinois.

Prior to joining Buckley Sandler, she served as an Assistant to President Obama, Executive Director of the White House Council on Women and Girls, and Chief of Staff to First Lady Michelle Obama.

Ms. Tchen spearheads Buckley Sandler’s Workplace Cultural Compliance Practice, counseling companies on issues related to gender inequity, sexual harassment, and lack of diversity in the workplace. She guides companies in approaching cultural compliance issues with the same rigor and vigilance — and the same compliance-management systems and controls — that they devote to other risks.

Ms. Tchen has received many awards in recognition of her work, including the Leadership Award from the Women’s Bar Association of Illinois, the “Women of Achievement” award from the Anti-Defamation League, and was named Chicago Lawyer’s “Person of the Year.” She has also been recognized as a Business Leader of Color by Chicago United.

Ms. Tchen serves on numerous strategic advisory boards for organizations, businesses, and nonprofits, including the U.S. Afghan Women’s Council, Quantum Leaps, Inc., Civic Nation, the United State of Women, Women in the Service Change Initiative, and Gender Equity is Common Sense.

ROBERTA KAPLAN

Roberta (Robbie) Kaplan, the founding partner of Kaplan & Company, LLP, one of a handful of women-led elite litigation boutiques in the country, has been described as a “pressure junkie” and “powerhouse corporate litigator” who “thrives on looking at the big picture.

In addition to working with clients like Columbia University, Airbnb, Vice Media, and T-Mobile, Robbie represented Edith Windsor in the landmark case of United States v. Windsor, in which the Supreme Court held that a key provision of the Defense of Marriage Act was unconstitutional, leading to marriage equality nationwide. Together with Tina Tchen, Robbie helped to launch #TimesUp, a new charitable organization that will provide legal representation to women who have experienced sexual harassment. Robbie currently represents Melanie Kohler, a woman who Hollywood producer, Brett Ratner, sued for defamation. Along with the new non-profit Integrity First for America, Robbie is also suing more than two dozen Neo-Nazis and white supremacists who are responsible for coordinating the violence that took place in Charlottesville, VA in August 2017.

Robbie is the author of “Then Comes Marriage: United States v. Windsor and the Defeat of DOMA” (W.W. Norton 2015), chosen by the L.A. Times and Ms. Magazine as one of the top 10 books of 2015. Robbie has received numerous awards, including the New York Law Journal Lifetime Achievement Award, the Financial Times Legal Innovator of the Year and the Columbia Law School Medal of Excellence.

HILARY ROSEN

Hilary B. Rosen, is Partner at SKDKnickerbocker and is a well-known strategist who navigates the intersection of communications, media and politics. She brings a wealth of experience to clients needing high-octane assistance in a variety of public affairs challenges such as creating and executing large-scale campaigns, reputation management and crisis communications. SKDKnickerbocker, the leading national communications firm, has a specialized Women’s Advocacy practice led by a powerhouse team of some of the most influential women in strategic communications in the country. SKDK has extensive experience advocating on behalf of women leaders and some of the most high profile causes and issues that matter to women. Whether you’re fighting to protect a woman’s right to choose, for marriage equality, for education, saving healthcare or to stop the scourge of guns on our streets, SKDK crafts messages, devises winning strategies and deliver award winning creative for issues, candidates and organizations across the county.

Hilary was chairman and CEO of the Recording Industry Association of America and served that organization from 1987 to 2003. She is the former Political Director and Editor-at-Large of HuffingtonPost.com and current on-air contributor at CNN. Earlier in her career she worked on Capitol Hill for Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., and New Jersey Gov. Brendan Byrne.

Throughout her career, Hilary has regularly been featured on power lists in a variety of sectors, including Entertainment Weekly’s Annual Power List, The Hollywood Reporter’s Power 50 Women and The Washington Post’s Power 20 Women. Hilary’s ability to lead issue campaigns led to a profile in the book “Pennsylvania Avenue: Profiles in Backroom Power” by noted Wall Street Journal and NY Times reporters Gerald Seib and John Harwood.

Hilary is a founder of Rock the Vote in which mobilizes young people to make their voice hear in the political process. She is also the founder of Business Forward a progressive organization of Fortune 100 companies and small businesses. She currently also serves on several nonprofit boards including the Center for American Progress Action Fund and LPAC. Hilary lives in Washington, DC.

FATIMA GRAVES

Ms. Goss Graves, who has served in numerous roles at NWLC for more than a decade, has spent her career fighting to advance opportunities for women and girls. She has a distinguished track record working across a broad set of issues central to women’s lives, including income security, health and reproductive rights, education access, and workplace fairness. Prior to becoming President, Ms. Goss Graves served as the Center’s Senior Vice President for Program, where she led the organization’s broad program agenda to advance progress and eliminate barriers in employment, education, health and reproductive rights and lift women and families out of poverty. Prior to that, as the Center’s Vice President for Education and Employment, she led the Center’s anti-discrimination initiatives, including work to promote equal pay, combat harassment and sexual assault at work and at school, and advance equal access to education programs, with a particular focus on outcomes for women and girls of color.

Ms. Goss Graves has authored many articles, including A Victory for Women’s Health Advocates, National Law Journal (2016) and We Must Deal with K-12 Sexual Assault, National Law Journal (2015), and reports, including Unlocking Opportunity for African American Girls: A Call to Action for Educational Equity (2014), Reality Check: Seventeen Million Reasons Low-Wage Workers Need Strong Protections from Harassment (2014), and 50 Years and Counting: The Unfinished Business of Achieving Fair Pay (2013). Ms. Goss Graves received her B.A. from UCLA in 1998 and her J.D. from Yale Law School in 2001. She began her career as a litigator at the law firm of Mayer Brown LLP after clerking for the Honorable Diane P. Wood of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit. She currently serves as an advisor on the American Law Institute Project on Sexual and Gender-Based Misconduct on Campus and was on the EEOC Select Task Force on the Study of Harassment in the Workplace and a Ford Foundation Public Voices Fellow. She is widely recognized for her effectiveness in the complex public policy arena at both the state and federal levels, regularly testifies before Congress and federal agencies, and is a frequent speaker at conferences and other public education forums. Ms. Goss Graves appears often in print and on air as a legal expert on issues core to women’s lives, including in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, AP, Chicago Tribune, LA Times, San Francisco Chronicle, CNN, MSNBC, and NPR.

LOS ANGELES – Today, SKDKnickerbocker (SKDK) announced that Heather Wilson, a seasoned crisis management and strategic communications executive, will join the firm on January 3, 2018 as managing director. Heather will help lead the firm’s advocacy, corporate and crisis communications capabilities on the West Coast and nationwide.

She has worked with a variety of industries, including technology, consumer brands and financial services, providing corporate and financial communications, crisis management and executive positioning strategy. Heather also has a strong background in cybersecurity prep and response and litigation communications.

“We are really excited to have Heather join the team and help us continue to grow our California presence,” said Hilary Rosen, managing director. “She has a wealth of experience in crisis management and corporate reputation and a proven record of success handling some of the most sensitive and complex issues. Her background working with C-suite executives and other high profile clients in Silicon Valley and beyond will be a real asset.”

“Heather is an incredibly talented individual and I could not be more excited to be working with her. She has excelled working with some of the largest global brands and on some of the highest-profile crises in the last decade,” said Bill Burton, managing director. “As an experienced communicator and strategic advisor, she will be an invaluable partner as we grow SKDKnickerbocker in the West.”

“SKDKnickerbocker is such a distinguished firm with a deep understanding of what it takes to truly move the needle, be it with the media, with brands or in the political arena. I look forward to working with Bill and the team to expand our footprint and our corporate and public affairs practice on the West Coast,” said Wilson.

Prior to joining SKDK, Heather was an executive vice president and managing director of MWW Group’s National Crisis Management and Strategic Communications Group and led the San Francisco office of Abernathy MacGregor. She was previously with Weber Shandwick and was a journalist with CBS MarketWatch before moving into public relations.

Heather received her B.A. in political science from Southern Methodist University and has a master’s degree in journalism from the University of Southern California’s Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism.

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SKDKnickerbocker was named to the Observer’s 2017 PR Power 50, a list of the most influential PR agencies. The Observer recognized SKDK’s work around healthcare and reproductive rights, among other areas.

SKDK’s full blurb, along with information on the other members of the list, can be found at the Observer.