Hilary Rosen is a well-known Washington, D.C., strategist who navigates the intersection of communications, media and politics. She is currently an on-air CNN political analyst and a partner at SKDKnickerbocker, the 2016 Holmes Report Public Affairs Agency of the year. She is a well-known advocate for women’s issues, LGBT issues and progressive causes. She is a founding co-chair of the Times Up Legal Defense Fund, the organization created in January 2018 by women in the entertainment industry to help survivors of sexual harassment in the workplace.
Hilary is the former chairman and CEO of the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), the leading trade association of America’s record companies, where she served from 1987 to 2003 and helped the music industry navigate the rocky waters of the digital transition. She left RIAA and helped to start the D.C. bureau of the Huffington Post as political director and editor-at-large for two years. She also consulted for several tech and media companies expanding into online entertainment, such as Facebook, Showtime Networks, MTV and Apple. Prior to CNN, she was a political commentator at CNBC and MSNBC.
She previously worked as Chief of Staff for Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-CA, as an assistant to New Jersey Gov. Brendan Byrne and has been an advisor to many Democratic elected officials over the years. Rosen’s close association with Senator Feinstein goes back to her days as the City of San Francisco’s Washington representative when Feinstein was mayor, and Rosen started her career at Liz Robbins Associates.
At SKDKnickerbocker, she specializes in clients and issues that need high-octane assistance for a variety of public affairs challenges, such as creating and executing large-scale campaigns, reputation management and crisis communications.
For example, SKDKnickerbocker was selected by Edie Windsor’s legal team to lead the public relations efforts behind the successful challenge to the Defense of Marriage Act (United States v. Windsor, 2013). SKDK was recognized by Out Magazine, which placed Hilary on its 2013 Out100 list, and the team won several awards for their work. Notably when the Obergefell case went to the Supreme Court two years later and legalized same-sex marriage, Hilary and SKDK led the communication efforts. Planned Parenthood hired Rosen to help manage the 2015 undercover videos controversy. Her work extends to important corporate efforts as well. Rosen was the lead D.C. strategist guiding the public affairs issues for the merger between American Airlines and US Airways and when a nutrition company was being attacked by a Wall Street short-seller, Rosen led the political defense in Washington and across the states.
Hilary’s ability to lead issue campaigns in Washington is profiled in the book “Pennsylvania Avenue: Profiles in Backroom Power” by The Wall Street Journal and New York Times reporters Gerald Seib and John Harwood. Throughout her career, Hilary has regularly been featured on power lists in a variety of sectors, including the New York Post’s Ladies Who Launch Entertainment Trends, Entertainment Weekly’s Annual Power List, The Hollywood Reporter’s Power 50 Women and The Washington Post’s Power 20.
She is the founder of Business Forward, the progressive network of leaders seeking change in Washington, and Rock the Vote, the voter mobilization organization credited with increasing voter turnout among young people. She currently serves on several nonprofit boards including the Center for American Progress Action Fund.
Hilary is a graduate of George Washington University with a degree in international business and lives in Washington, D.C.