Managing Director & President of D.C. Public Affairs
Jill Zuckman specializes in public affairs and crisis communications at SKDKnickerbocker, working with many of the country’s best known corporations and managing complex issue campaigns. She is well known for leading the communications effort to free Alan Gross, an American imprisoned in Cuba for more than five years. Over the course of his imprisonment, Jill kept the media engaged in Alan’s case – building public pressure to force the U.S. government to strike a deal with Cuba and bring Alan home.
For that and other work, Jill was named by PR News as one of 2015’s “Top Women in PR” and received the Holmes Report’s SABRE Award for PR Agency Citizenship.
Before joining SKDK, Jill was an award-winning political correspondent and served as assistant to the secretary and director of public affairs for Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood.
At the U.S. Department of Transportation, Jill was responsible for developing the secretary’s nationally acclaimed campaign against distracted driving, as well as managing numerous high-profile crises spanning multiple modes of transportation. In addition, she crafted the secretary’s media response to Congress when it partially shut down the Federal Aviation Administration, leaving tens of thousands of employees, contractors and construction workers out of work, resulting in a rare reversal by Congress during an August recess.
At the Transportation Department, Jill oversaw a high-impact social media operation, communicating the benefits of transportation investment on job creation, as well as the need for airlines to respect passengers’ rights. When she left the department, Secretary LaHood told POLITICO: “She really put DOT on the map, not only in Washington, but also around the country. She has raised the profile of DOT to a level that most people can never remember.”
Prior to serving in the Obama administration, Jill worked as a national political correspondent for the Chicago Tribune and before that, The Boston Globe. She covered four presidential elections, as well as the Republican takeover of Congress in 1994 and the subsequent Democratic comeback in 2006. Jill is a recipient of the Everett McKinley Dirksen Award for Distinguished Coverage of Congress and the New Hampshire Primary Award.
At SKDK, Jill co-chairs the firm’s cyber security practice, working with companies to prevent and prepare for the worst, or to handle the ensuing public relations crisis. She also serves as the chief spokesman for the Partnership for Open and Fair Skies, a coalition consisting of American Airlines, United Airlines and Delta Air Lines, along with seven labor unions.