Credentials

EXPERIENCE

Owner, Strategic Communications Consulting, Poughkeepsie, NY                        Jan 2015 -Current
Provide strategic communications counsel to a wide variety of clients;  ghostwrite and/or edit Op/Eds, bylined articles, blog commentary, book chapters and other thought-leadership; develop branded content for print, web sites, social media, including blog posts, video profiles, FAQs, brochures, and product descriptions; pitch stories to national and trade media outlets and identify attention-catching news angles as requested.

Director of PR & Firmwide Communications, Kaye Scholer, New York, NY        Sept 2011-Sept 2014

Led integrated marketing communications campaigns, including social media initiatives, to improve our positioning in the legal marketplace and build and strengthen client relationships by highlighting crucial business, legal and regulatory issues aimed at a variety of sectors. Within three years, targeted thought-leadership placements in top tier news outlets rose to 42% of all coverage secured versus just 10% prior to my arrival. Also wrote/edited the Firm Managing Partner’s internal and external communications as well as firmwide collateral, including web copy, FAQs, brochures, fact sheets, newsletters and annual reports. Supervised three staff members as well as outside crisis agency.

Public Relations Director, Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman, New York, NY          Sept 2006-Aug 2011
Led PR function for 800-lawyer, 10-office AmLaw 100 firm, including developing and implementing the strategy to take all PR activities in-house and devising the response to firm’s damaged reputation in the marketplace following a messy merger. Within 24 months, firm’s adverse media coverage fell from 22% to less than two percent, helping to stabilize Pillsbury’s image and allowing it to attract and acquire several large lateral groups. PR activities also led directly to at least eight new business assignments, and firm’s awards & rankings increased by 30% over four years. Supervised team of four based in three different offices.

Regional Media Relations Manager, White & Case, New York, NY                        Feb 2003-Aug 2006

Oversaw media relations program for seven offices in US and Latin America for leading global law firm. Identified, pitched and placed stories with key media outlets, ghostwrote bylined articles and other promotional materials. Counseled and prepped lawyers on how to interact with the press. Wrote content for firm’s online newsroom and worked with web manager to ensure quality and consistency. Supervised team of two.

Publicis Dialog (now MSLGroup), Seattle, WA                                                               Jan 1998-Nov 2002
Promoted three times in five years beginning as an Account Executive and ultimately rising to Account Supervisor. Originally hired for my background writing about and knowledge of healthcare and life sciences to benefit clients Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, NeoPath, Medtronic and Internet pharmacy Soma.com (now CVS.com). Expanded into advising a full-range of B2B clients as well as state governmental agencies. Provided strategic counsel, including media training, key message development, crisis communications and issue management; developed PR plans and strategies; oversaw budgeting; and built and strengthened relationships with clients and potential clients. Worked directly with agency principals to garner new business. Supervised staff of three.

Sandi Sonnenfeld Professional Writing Services, Seattle, WA                                   Jun 1989-Jan 1998

Wrote business and feature articles under my byline for Harvard Business Review, The Wall Street Journal’s National Business Employment Weekly, Media Inc., Animals Magazine, and others. Also served as a ghostwriter for local healthcare communications agency, writing white papers, bylined articles and video scripts for wide variety of health and biotech clients. Published author of a memoir and 30 short stories and literary essays.

EDUCATION & MEMBERSHIPS

  • MFA, Fiction Writing–University of Washington, Seattle, WA
  • BA, English/Dance magna cum laude–Mount Holyoke College, S. Hadley, MA

Member of PRSA (Public Relations Society of America) and the Authors Guild of America.

INDUSTRY AWARDS

  • 2014 LMA Your Honor Award: Best Media Relations Campaign for “All the Right Ingredients: Food, Beverage & Supplements Team Launch,” Kaye Scholer LLP
  • 2013 LMA Your Honor Award: Best PR Program of the Year for “Curtains Up at Kaye Scholer,” Kaye Scholer LLP
  • 2009 LMA Your Honor Award: Best Electronic Communications for the video, “New Faces of Energy,” Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman LLP
  • 2008 LMA Your Honor Award: Best PR Program of the Year for “Meet the New Pillsbury,” Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman LLP
  • 2006 LMA Your Honor Award: Best PR Program of the Year for “White & Case’s Strategic PR Campaign,” White & Case LLP
  • 2002 North American Provincial and State Lotteries Award (NAPSL) for Best Corporate Video, “We’re All About Washington.”
  • 2000 PRSA Silver Anvil Award for the launch of the Internet pharmacy soma.com (now CVS.com). Winning a Silver Anvil Award is the highest national recognition given in the PR profession.
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