Power Lists

The 2022 Political PR Power 50

The communications pros winning elections and burnishing reputations across New York.

City & State presents the Political PR Power 50.

City & State presents the Political PR Power 50. wellphoto/Shutterstock

In politics, it’s never enough to simply pass legislation, shape policies or deliver on pledges to voters. It’s just as important – if not more so – to communicate to constituents what you’ve accomplished and why it matters. Fortunately for politicians in New York, there are plenty of experienced professionals here who can ensure that the right message gets delivered to the right people. City & State’s Political PR Power 50 list highlights the top public relations pros in New York politics and government, from the communications experts propelling candidates into elected office to the key spokespersons burnishing the reputations of leading companies and nonprofits at the local, state and national levels.

1. Evan Thies & Alexis Grenell

Co-Founders, Pythia Public
Evan Thies & Alexis Grenell / Corey Torpie

Since its founding five years ago, Pythia Public has consistently punched above its weight. Alexis Grenell has been driving changes in how the state responds to sexual harassment and highlights the need for good government reforms. Her business partner, Evan Thies, has been in the spotlight playing a crucial role in the ascension of New York City Mayor Eric Adams, perhaps the most significant election outcome in the country in 2021. The small firm, which also has Becky Stern on board as communications director, notched another major win at the polls last year with Brad Lander’s victory in the New York City comptroller’s race. 

Other key employees: Becky Stern

Notable clients: New York City Mayor Eric Adams, Common Cause, SUNY, Safe Horizon, Hotel Association of New York City, Phoenix House

Company highlights: We are very proud of our work this year to help elect Eric Adams as our next mayor and Brad Lander as our next comptroller, while winning fights for sexual assault survivors, voting rights, homeless New Yorkers and industries critical to the success of New York City as we recover from the pandemic.

2. Kerri Lyon, Mike Morey & Morgan Hook

Partner; Partner; Managing Director, SKDK
Kerri Lyon & Mike Morey / SKDK

As one of New York City’s public relations firms that have a truly national profile, SKDK is a major player in the five boroughs and in both Washington, D.C., and Los Angeles. Kerri Lyon and Mike Morey drive the company’s PR campaigns as partners in its New York City office, while Albany veteran Morgan Hook oversees its operations in the state capital. The Democratic firm, which is run by U.S. Sen. Chuck Schumer alum Josh Isay, is owned by Stagwell, a New York City-based marketing and advertising company.

Notable clients: Robin Hood Foundation, Women in Need, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, Mount Sinai, Columbia University, Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney, Rep. Joseph Morelle, House candidate Matt Castelli

Company highlights: As the nation’s leading public affairs and political consulting firm, SKDK continues to work with major brands, organizations and political candidates – some examples listed above. Of course, these are just a few highlights from the past year. In terms of hires, the firm recently brought on a new managing director in our New York office, as well as a new chief operating officer and a deputy operations chief. SKDK also welcomed partner Anita Dunn back to the firm in the fall after she served as a senior adviser to President Joe Biden.

3. Steven Rubenstein

President, Rubenstein
Steven Rubenstein / Rubenstein

Steven Rubenstein leads the venerable public relations firm Rubenstein and also chairs the Association for a Better New York, which helped boost census turnout. The PR firm, which opened a new West Coast office in 2021, has continued to represent a long list of marquee companies and attractions in New York City and assisted the city’s business and civic leaders as they contend with the persistent threat of COVID-19. Rubenstein also co-led New York City Mayor Eric Adams’ transition communications committee.

Other key employees: Alice McGillion, Chris Giglio, Gary Lewi, Iva Benson, Wiley Norvell, Kate Blumm 

Notable clients: New York-Presbyterian, NYC & Company, Partnership for New York City, Tishman Speyer, Citizens Budget Commission, Vornado Realty Trust, New York Cares, Uber

Company highlights: At Little Island at Pier 55, Rubenstein was the agency of record, leading a multichannel communications campaign to open the highly anticipated, 2.4-acre public park and performance venue created by Barry Diller and Diane von Furstenberg on the Hudson River in May. Rubenstein supported the global legal advocacy organization the Center for Reproductive Rights in the most consequential abortion rights case to reach the Supreme Court in nearly 50 years. The firm continued its long-standing relationship with NewYork-Presbyterian, supporting the health care system across a range of initiatives in the ongoing fight on the front lines of the pandemic. Efforts included a communications program around the rollout of the COVID-19 vaccine to the public and the implementation of an employee vaccination program. Among the firm’s key hires in 2021 are Bryce Tom, James Allan, Kate Blumm, Lindsey Green, Jeff Mutterperl, Omar Bourne and Hudson Pitts.

4. Jon Silvan & Justin Lapatine

Founding Partner and CEO; Partner, Global Strategy Group
Jon Silvan / Ali Garber

Global Strategy Group continues to build on its expertise in polling while expanding its clientele at the intersection of business and politics. The firm, which has assisted a long list of Democratic politicians in the state, helped the Metropolitan Transportation Authority secure federal relief funds during the COVID-19 pandemic and helped RXR Realty win approval of its 175 Park redevelopment plan for the Grand Hyatt next to Grand Central. 

Notable clients: Metropolitan Transportation Authority, Newsela, Maimonides Medical Center, RXR Realty, New York State Health Foundation 

Company highlights: GSG’s communications and public affairs practice is helping more corporate clients achieve their reputation and public affairs goals than ever before, with a notable roster of Fortune 100 companies. The firm’s political and campaign business is as big as it has ever been – built on a blockbuster 2020 political cycle working for Democratic political campaigns, as well as with progressive causes and companies taking positions in the hypercharged political environment. 2022 is already shaping up to be a record-breaking year. GSG launched The L@B this year – a new agency offering high-level creative direction, full-service video and content production and powerful digital media strategy, planning and buying capabilities. We’ve recently brought on Rob Lee, formerly of Newsweek and a veteran of the New York ad and creative space, as creative director, to co-lead this new agency along with Media Director Emily Williams.

5. Neal Kwatra

CEO and Founder, Metropolitan Public Strategies
Neal Kwatra / Laura Jane Brett

After making a name for himself during stints in the state attorney general’s office and with the Hotel Trades Council, Neal Kwatra has delivered for candidates for elected office and for groups advocating for various causes – raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour, legalizing driver’s licenses for undocumented immigrants, boosting census turnout – in his role as the head of his consulting firm, Metropolitan Public Strategies. A former political director at the Hotel Trades Council, Kwatra worked with the influential union on a multimillion-dollar independent expenditure supporting New York City Mayor Eric Adams. If you’re a reporter, you already talk to Kwatra and know he’s one of the best around town at shaping a story. A key staffer at the firm is director of operations Jason Heard.

Notable clients: Building Decarbonization Coalition, New York Offshore Wind Alliance, Ørsted, Hotel Trades Council, The Witkoff Group

Company highlights: We continue to shift the focus of our work to concentrate on key climate campaigns, including the expansion of offshore wind in New York and the decarbonization of buildings, the largest source of emissions in New York.

6. Valerie Berlin & Alex Navarro-McKay

Principal and Co-Founder; Managing Director, BerlinRosen
Valerie Berlin & Alex Navarro-McKay / CEOPortrait

BerlinRosen’s longtime ally Bill de Blasio has left City Hall, but the public relations firm has helped propel dozens more progressive candidates to victory all across the state – including as part of the team behind New York City Comptroller Brad Lander’s major upset victory. The New York City firm, which also has offices in Los Angeles and Washington, D.C., is expanding its national footprint as well. It helped elect Pittsburgh Mayor Ed Gainey and reelect Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner and joined the New Georgia Project. Staffing at the company rose to 253 strategists in 2021, a 25% increase.

Notable clients: New York City Comptroller Brad Lander, state Sen. Elijah Reichlin-Melnick, New York City Council Member Farah Louis, Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone, Associate Judge Madeline Singas, state Sen. Todd Kaminsky, state Sen. Michelle Hinchey, state Sen. Sean Ryan, Assembly Member Rodneyse Bichotte Hermelyn, former Nassau County Executive Laura Curran, Ulster County Executive Pat Ryan, New York City Council Member Ari Kagan, New York City Council Member Erik Bottcher, New York City Council Member Keith Powers

Company highlights: Brad Lander’s campaign for New York City comptroller. Lander started off 19 points behind the front-runner and ended the Democratic primary 9 points ahead – with zero spending advantage. As media consultants for Lander’s come-from-behind campaign, we produced a series of ads for TV and digital platforms that won praise from press and pundits, and we were fortunate to work with Jefrey Pollock, Will Jordan and Kathryn Rivera from Global Strategy Group, who managed the campaign’s polling and ad testing and let us know that our ads for Brad were the best testing ads they had seen this cycle so far.

7. Rachel Noerdlinger

Equity Partner; President Actum; Noerdlinger Strategies
Rachel Noerdlinger / Terrence Jennings

After becoming the first Black female partner at Mercury in February, Rachel Noerdlinger this month departed the consulting firm to pursue two other professional paths. One is with the new consulting firm Actum and the other is with Noerdlinger Strategies. The former City Hall aide is continuing to work for some of the same clients, most notably the Rev. Al Sharpton and National Action Network, which has been in the spotlight in recent years amid the rise of the Black Lives Matter movement. She recently was part of a meeting of Black female leaders convened by Vice President Kamala Harris to discuss voting rights and the federal Build Back Better Act.

Notable clients: the Rev. Al Sharpton and National Action Network, Federation of Protestant Welfare Agencies CEO Jennifer Jones Austin, Charter Communications, Uber

Company highlights: Rachel Noerdlinger is an equity partner at Actum, a newly formed global consultancy firm where she is an expert in communications strategy, coalition building, crisis management, narrative development, advocacy mobilization, political consulting and much more. She is also president of Noerdlinger Strategies, a firm that specializes in diversity, equity and inclusion consultation and high-level media strategy. Actum colleagues include former Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, Fabian Núñez, former Sen. Barbara Boxer, Peter Villegas and New York coalition building expert Paul Persaud, among others. In 2021, Rachel became the first Black woman to hold the role of partner at her former firm Mercury, where she led strategic communications, crisis management and specialized in public affairs and community engagement.

8. Jennifer Burner Barden, James Yolles, Linden Zakula & TJ Ducklo

Senior Vice President; Managing Director; Senior Vice President; Senior Vice President, Risa Heller Communications
Jennifer Burner Barden, James Yolles, Linden Zakula & TJ Ducklo / Don Nixon

Notable clients: Marblegate Asset Management, Airbnb, Lyft, Citi Bike, Blackstone, New York Blood Center

Company highlights: This New York City public affairs fixture has more than doubled in size since 2020 and its clients remain at the center of high-profile events shaping the city’s future. In 2021, that included advising private equity firm Marblegate as it addressed the taxi medallion debt crisis and ultimately reached a landmark accord with the city, U.S. Sen. Chuck Schumer and the Taxi Workers Alliance. At the same time, the company remains a go-to for real estate issues across the city, and last year, led communications on behalf of successful land use reviews for the Howard Hughes Corp., Trust for Governors Island and the Brooklyn Navy Yard Development Corp., park openings for the Hudson River Park Trust, new affordable housing developments by L+M Development Partners, the Hudson Companies and Phipps Houses and office marketing campaigns by Nuveen Real Estate and Taconic Partners. Its tech sector work includes longtime client Airbnb, and DoorDash, which recently announced its partnership with the United Way and delivery expansion. And it helped shepherd the League of Voluntary Hospitals and Homes, which represents more than 90 New York City hospitals and medical providers through successful contract negotiations with 1199SEIU.

9. Frank Marino and John F. Marino

CEO; President, Marino
Frank Marino and John F. Marino / Marty Berman/Marino

The father-and-son duo of Frank and John Marino run a leading public relations firm in New York City, with a notable specialty in serving top real estate developers in the five boroughs along with clients in the nonprofit, health care, labor and higher education spaces. 

Notable clients: New York City Hospitality Alliance, Turn 2 Foundation, McDonald’s New York Metro Region, Chelsea Market, Jamestown, New York University Tandon School of Engineering, Building and Construction Trades Council of Greater New York

Company highlights: In 2021, Marino not only continued to position the NYC Hospitality Alliance as a constant presence in local and national media, but the firm’s aggressive communications campaign also helped the trade organization secure major legislative and regulatory victories critical to the survival of the city’s hospitality sector. 2021 was also a landmark year for the local cannabis marketplace, and Marino continues to be on the front lines of educating New Yorkers about its benefits and economic value. Momentum from the legalization created the perfect opportunity to introduce The Stone Age, NYC’s first interactive event designed to educate visitors about the plant and social justice issues related to cannabis. In June, Marino won unanimous approval in the state Legislature for the bipartisan Pharmacy Rescue Package: four pieces of legislation intended to fix New York’s prescription drug system and save independent pharmacies. The victory was the result of FixRx, the David vs. Goliath advocacy campaign Marino conceived and launched three years ago on behalf of the Pharmacists Society of the State of New York to take on a group of Fortune 25 corporations known as pharmacy benefit managers.

10. Stephanie Miliano & Will Chabot

Chief of Staff; Senior Media Strategist, Stu Loeser & Co.
Stephanie Miliano & Will Chabot / Stu Loeser & Co.

Stu Loeser has established his public relations firm as a leader in the technology space, among other areas. Stephanie Miliano, a former national organizer for political engagement for the Women’s March in Washington, D.C., and media strategist Will Chabot play key roles in the company’s communications efforts. 

Other key employees: Owen Stone, Jeane MacIntosh, Jennifer Blatus, Bobby Familiar, Madeline Saunders, María Navarro Gallegos, Kelsey Jones, Yakira Kellman, Stu Loeser

Notable clients: Google, Tech:NYC, Revel, Bloomberg Philanthropies, Fix the Sixth Amendment Coalition with National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers

Company highlights: Since returning to the company after the Bloomberg 2020 campaign, Stu has reshaped his company around running projects and campaigns for people and companies, in addition to securing elite media attention. Stu Loeser & Co. opened a digital practice based out of Portland, Oregon, headed by Peabody Award-winning strategist Kelsey Jones and is creating bespoke content as well as targeted advertising for a range of clients. Nationally, we helped organize a coalition spanning the ideological spectrum to protect the Sixth Amendment and amplify the “trial penalty” as a key issue in the criminal justice reform discussion. We have also expanded our work for Google nationally, while still also working for them locally, leading efforts to communicate its commitment to New York City. Their purchase of St. John’s Terminal, which was the biggest real estate transaction in the city (or anywhere) since the start of the pandemic, was A1 in the print editions of both The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal on the same day – not an easy thing to accomplish anymore given both outlets’ focus on exclusives and enterprise reporting.

11. Monica Klein

Co-Founder, Seneca Strategies
Monica Klein / Margarida Malarkey

Notable clients: Invest In Our New York, New York Working Families Party, Strong Economy for All Coalition, New York Caring Majority, Arena

Company highlights: This year, Seneca Strategies led communications strategy for the successful state legislative campaign to raise taxes on the wealthiest New Yorkers, winning over $4 billion in new annual revenue to fund education, housing and health care.

12. Anat Gerstein & Jeff Simmons

President; Executive Vice President, Anat
Anat Gerstein / Jean-Pierre Uys Photography

Other key employees: Zac Roy, Jake Oliver

Notable clients: AARP New York, Girl Scouts of Greater New York, The Fortune Society, Brooklyn Community Foundation, BronxWorks

Company highlights: We added a lot of new clients – Fortune Society, Green-Wood Cemetery, Brooklyn Community Foundation, Rippel Foundation, Encore Community Services, etc. – and we continue to have extremely high client retention rates – the Girl Scouts, for example, just signed on for their 10th year of work with us. We added several new staff members, including Reggie Vikram, the longtime NY1 planning editor. We saw an approximate 30% growth in revenue. We also had big wins for clients. A new state policy threatened to disrupt health care for clients of Amida Care and Alliance for Positive Change. Our media campaign pushed the governor to delay implementation (340B policy). Our advocacy communications were also integral to saving the Associated Medical Schools of New York’s Diversity in Medicine funding, which was on the governor's chopping block.

13. Phil Singer

Founder and CEO, Marathon Strategies
Phil Singer / Marathon Strategies

Other key employees: Liz Benjamin, Anthony Hogrebe, Raymond Hernandez

Notable clients: 32BJ Health Fund, New York Independent System Operator, New York Housing Conference, New York Medical Cannabis Industry Association, New York State Association for Affordable Housing, New York State Bar Association, Supportive Housing Network of New York

Company highlights: Over the last year, Marathon has helped clients navigate the ever-shifting waters in both Albany and at City Hall. We supported the NYMCIA in its final and successful push to see recreational cannabis legalized in New York, with access to life-changing products protected and expanded for medical cannabis patients. Our team also drove media coverage for the United for Housing coalition, helping the group secure a historic promise from all eight leading mayoral candidates – including Mayor Eric Adams – to double the city’s capital spending on housing to $4 billion if elected. In Albany, we secured an additional year of funding for the Empire State Supportive Housing Initiative through our work with the Supportive Housing Network of New York.

14. Eric Mower, Stephanie Crockett, Gary Holmes & John Lacey

Chair and CEO; President and Chief Operating Officer; Vice President and Director of Public Affairs; Senior Vice President and Director of Public Affairs, Mower
Eric Mower, Stephanie Crockett & Gary Holmes / Mike Wheeler; Cindy Bell; Brendan Kennedy

Other key employees: Mary Gendron, John O’Hara, Brendan Kennedy, Austin Philleo 

Notable clients: The Business Council of New York State, EDF Renewables, Helio Health, National Grid, Transmission Developers Inc., Westchester County Tourism & Film 

Company highlights: Gary Holmes, former assistant commissioner for public affairs, New York State Department of Health, joined Mower in July 2020 to lead the agency’s Albany office. During more than four years at NYSDOH, he led all internal and external communications, served as the department’s primary spokesperson for local, national and international press inquiries and served as the department’s chief liaison to the governor’s press office during the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic. Stephanie Crockett, a 17-year member of the Mower organization, was appointed president/chief operating officer. She also leads the agency’s energy and sustainability practice group. Mower is a fully integrated marketing firm that offers public relations, public affairs and advertising services to clients from Mower locations in Buffalo, Rochester, Syracuse, Albany and New York City, as well as Boston, Charlotte, Atlanta, Cincinnati and Chicago. Agency growth in 2021 was derived from clients in renewable energy, health care, manufacturing, banking, tourism and crisis communications.

15. Daniele De Groot, Hayley Brundige & Chris Fleming

Senior Communications and Campaigns Associate; Communications and Campaigns Associate; DC Director, Red Horse Strategies
Daniele De Groot, Hayley Brundige & Chris Fleming / Red Horse Strategies

Notable clients: New York City Mayor Eric Adams, Brooklyn Borough President Antonio Reynoso, Manhattan Borough President Mark Levine, Be A Hero, Child Tax Credit Alliance 

Company highlights: We were proud to play a role in electing a new mayor, two borough presidents and over a dozen members of the City Council in New York City and reelecting George Latimer as Westchester county executive. We’re excited for another busy year of supporting progressive Democrats up and down the ballot. Beyond candidates, we are working with multiple labor unions as well as progressive interest groups like Be A Hero, Child Tax Credit Alliance, Climate Power and TenantsPAC fighting for home care, the child tax credit, investments in climate change in President Biden’s agenda and tenants’ rights. And outside our home state of New York, we're elevating strong candidates and causes in Pennsylvania, D.C., Florida and California.

16. Spencer Lee, Tess McRae & Tim Costa

Managing Director; Vice President; Communications Account Executive, The Parkside Group
Spencer Lee, Tess McRae & Tim Costa / The Parkside Group

Notable clients: SCO Family of Services, Allied Building and Metal Industries Inc., Freeport Public Schools, Apicha Community Health Center, Farrell Fritz 

Company highlights: From working with national partners to promote the climate programs in President Biden's Build Back Better Act to highlighting local COVID vaccination efforts across New York City, Parkside has been securing press coverage for our clients on the most topical issues of the day.

17. Chris Coffey & Eric Soufer

Co-CEO; Executive Vice President, Tusk Strategies

Other key employees: Erika Tannor, Jake Sporn, Alex Sommer, Henry Greenidge, Matt Munsil, Ricky Soto

Notable clients: TransPerfect employees, Ronald Lauder, eToro, Pymetrics, StudentsFirstNY

Company highlights: Chris Coffey took over as co-CEO in October. We now have 32 people. Eric Soufer was promoted to head New York practice and executive vice president. We launched New York’s first crypto and fintech practice to serve the overwhelming interest and demand we’re seeing in the space.

18. Jon Reinish & Michael Nitzky

Managing Directors, Mercury
Michael Nitzky / City Headshots

Other key employees: Karen Mustiga, Kim Winston, Gael Black, Erica Dumas, Greg Drilling, John Tomlin, Jake Dilemani, Eric Hersey

Notable clients: Justice Action Network, Tax Equity Now New York, Coalition for Public Safety, Elizabeth Seton Children’s Center, Rebuild New York Now 

Company highlights: Under partners John Gallagher and Dan Bank, Mercury’s New York media relations and communication practice continues to grow and expand. Notably, we have increased crossover work with Mercury's lobbying and GR teams, which has diversified our media relations portfolio. The media relations team has grown this year as well, with Jon Reinish and Michael Nitzky joining the firm as managing directors. Prior to Mercury, Reinish spent 10 years at SKDK and before that, served as a communications and political aide to U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand on Capitol Hill and in New York. Nitzky joined the firm after leading communications for StudentsFirstNY. He was also communications director for Comptroller Scott Stringer’s office and was producer of “Inside City Hall.” Other key hires this year include Eric Hersey, Gael Black and Aaron Siegel.

19. Tom Meara, Rachel Roseneck & Brad Weekes

Managing Director; Associate Director; Principal, Kivvit
Tom Meara, Rachel Roseneck & Brad Weekes / Kivvit

Other key employees: Shea Savaria, RoseMarie Terenzio, Zach Silber, Molly Scherrman, LC Hodges 

Notable clients: New York League of Conservation Voters, FWD.us, Anheuser-Busch, New York State of Health, Goldman Sachs Foundation, New York City District Council of Carpenters

Company highlights: We launched a new brand strategy team and doubled the size of our digital and insights teams. We expanded headcount firmwide by 10% and created a new talent team led by LC Hodges, formerly of SL Green. In a year where significant changes occurred in the New York landscape, Kivvit remains involved in the top issues of our time – from public health to energy to criminal justice reform – impacting change at every level and adapting to meet the needs of the fast-changing media landscape in 2021 and beyond. Kivvit achieved record business performance in 2021 and was recognized as Public Affairs Firm of the Year by Campaigns & Elections magazine’s Reed Awards.

20. Lupe Todd-Medina

President, Effective Media Strategies
Lupe Todd-Medina / Regina Fleming Photography

Notable clients: Gov. Kathy Hochul, Rep. Hakeem Jeffries

Company highlights: Have expanded the business to include national mail services and consultancy through a partnership with Blue Wall Mail, which helped Biden-Harris to victory.

Editor’s note: Lupe Todd-Medina is a member of City & State’s advisory board.

21. Andrew Kirtzman & David Weiner

President; Partner, Kirtzman Strategies
Andrew Kirtzman & David Weiner / Kyle Froman; Erin Weiner

Notable clients: Brooklyn Botanic Garden, CUNY, numerous political candidates and crisis clients

Company highlights: Kirtzman Strategies ran the communications effort behind Brooklyn Botanic Garden’s successful “Fight for Sunlight” campaign, which defeated plans for a luxury tower complex whose shadows posed an existential threat to the 52-acre site. We also fought on behalf of the Yeshiva University Pride Alliance, which filed suit against the university for refusing to recognize LGBTQ student organizations, a case potentially headed to the U.S. Supreme Court.

22. Juanita Scarlett

Partner, Bolton-St. Johns
Juanita Scarlett / Roger Archer

A partner at the top lobbying firm Bolton-St. Johns since 2019, Juanita Scarlett is also a political strategist and communications professional who still has the ear of top candidates. She’s known to be close to New York City Mayor Eric Adams, who just ascended to one of the most influential posts not just in New York but nationwide.

Notable clients: Quest Diagnostics, United Way, Black AIDS Institute, Waterfront Alliance

Editor’s note: Juanita Scarlett is a member of City & State’s advisory board.

23. Michael Woloz & Danna DeBlasio

President and CEO; Managing Director, CMW Strategies
Michael Woloz & Danna DeBlasio / Lisa Berg

Other key employees: Skip Piscitelli, Matt Walsh, Kathy Cudahy, Evie Pope

Notable clients: New York State Latino Restaurant, Bar and Lounge Association, National Supermarket Association, Metropolitan Taxicab Board of Trade, Center for Science in the Public Interest, Hotel Association of New York City

Company highlights: Danna DeBlasio was elevated to managing director. CMW was able to revive and pass significant legislation on behalf of the Center for Science in the Public Interest requiring sugar warning labels in fast-food chain restaurants, and there will be more to come in 2022 to help combat obesity, diabetes and other disease through smart public policy.

24. Cristyne Nicholas & George Lence

CEO; President, Nicholas & Lence Communications
Cristyne Nicholas & George Lence / Jill Singer Graphics; EB Martin

Other key employees: Shin-Jung Hong, Laura Rothrock, Joshua Knoller, Wendell Jamieson, Nick Nicholas

Notable clients: Times Square Alliance, Fireman Hospitality Group, City Experiences by Hornblower, Gary Sinise Foundation, Travis Mills Foundation, Tuesday’s Children

Company highlights: Nicholas & Lence Communications has spent the past year working hand-in-hand with City Hall, Albany and Washington, as well as with business and community leaders, on behalf of the firm’s many travel and tourism, real estate, restaurant, Broadway, destination, sports and BID clients, on New York’s comeback from COVID-19 and also positions clients as thought leaders on crucial issues of the day, helping them write and place op-eds, essays and letters to the editor in major publications around the country. CEO Cristyne Nicholas this past year also began hosting a weekly radio show on Friday nights about New York’s recovery, highlighting the positive work that many companies and nonprofits are pursuing on a daily basis to revitalize New York.

25. Peter Kauffmann

Founder and Principal, Bluejacket Strategies
Peter Kauffmann / Bluejacket

Notable clients: Blue Collar Coalition, Family Equality Council, North Atlantic States Regional Council of Carpenters

Company highlights: In April, Bluejacket’s principal, Peter Kauffmann, was asked to serve as senior adviser on New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio’s COVID-19 task force. In that capacity, he managed day-to-day operations at City Hall during the height of the pandemic. Kauffmann, a former Navy intelligence officer, is vice chair of VoteVets and a frequent commentator on national security issues, on cable news and in print. Bluejacket went 3-0 on Albany legislative campaigns in 2020, with three big wins: expansion of prevailing wage (Blue Collar Coalition), legalizing surrogacy/Child-Parent Security Act (Family Equality Council) and the Elevator Safety Act (elevator mechanics union).

26. Andrew Mangini

Senior Director and Public Affairs Lead, The Martin Group
Andrew Mangini / The Martin Group

Other key employee: John Mackowiak

Notable clients: New York State Restaurant Association, Niagara Falls Bridge Commission, Vireo Health, Grow NY Farms, Danskammer Energy

Company highlights: Since acquiring Gramercy Communications in February 2021, The Martin Group – a leading New York state integrated communications agency – has continued to rapidly expand its public affairs portfolio. The firm has recently tackled various education, energy, health care and infrastructure issue campaigns and assignments at both the state and federal level. Former Gramercy Communications partner Andrew Mangini leads the firm’s public affairs practice, and founder Tom Nardacci continues to consult with The Martin Group as a senior advisor.

27. Ronnie & Michael Oliva

CEO; President, Sykes Global Communications
Ronnie & Michael Oliva / Aidan Grant

Notable clients: Kings County Supreme Court Judge Rosemarie Montalbano, state Sen. Cordell Cleare, New York City Council Speaker Adrienne Adams

Company highlights: In many ways, we are the ultimate boutique firm, because we continue to surprise year after year. We have opened up a division just for judicial races. We are currently in transition to refocus more on corporate clients with some political surprises, and our client roster is set to expand very soon. We are expanding from mostly city-centric to city, downstate and statewide. We are very proud of the great success of several of the remarkable women we represented this past year. Rosemarie Montalbano will be Kings County's next surrogate court judge. Cordell Cleare will be Central Harlem's state senator, and Council Member Adrienne Adams will be the first Black woman to serve as speaker of the New York City Council.

28. Andrea Hagelgans & Eric Phillips

Managing Director of Corporate and Public Affairs, New York Office; Executive Vice President, Edelman
Andrea Hagelgans & Eric Phillips / Michael Appleton

Company highlights: In the past year, Andrea Hagelgans has supported clients addressing critical policy initiatives, including the caregiving crisis in the United States, the expansion of electric vehicles and the intersection of business with societal issues, among others. She was recently named a member of the communications transition committee for Mayor Eric Adams and serves on the board of Coro New York. Earlier this year, Eric Phillips was promoted executive vice president and head of Edelman’s New York crisis management practice, where he counsels C-suite executives involved in high-profile leadership transitions, governance reforms, mergers and acquisitions and internal investigations. Additional new hires to Edelman NY’s Corporate and Public Affairs team include Abigail Barker, Guy King, Djenny Passe and Tiffany Telemaque, adding more depth in state/federal politics and issue campaigns.

29. Thomas Butler

President, Butler Associates
Thomas Butler / Butler Associates

Other key employees: Richard William Thomas, Michelle Loeb

Notable clients: Siebert Williams Shank & Co, Home Healthcare Workers of America, FDNY EMS Local 2507, Barasch & McGarry, Kenya Education Fund

Company highlights: Butler Associates is a multidisciplined strategic communications firm with offices in New York City and Stamford, Connecticut, and clients across the nation. In fall 2021, Butler Associates was honored with the Public Relations Society of America-NY’s 2021 best reputation and brand management campaign award for its work on its “A Pandemic of R-E-S-P-E-C-T for NYC’s Medical First Responders,” a very successful year-long national earned media campaign to elevate recognition for the critical work of the New York City’s medical first responders – our FDNY EMTs and paramedics.

30. Paul Larrabee

Managing Director, Corning Place Communications
Paul Larrabee / Corning Place Communications

Other key employees: Andrew Gregory, Josh Poupore, Chyresse Wells

Notable clients: New York State Conference of Blue Cross and Blue Shield Plans, New York State Professional Fire Fighters Association, Northeast Dairy Producers Association, Retired Public Employees Association, Association of Proprietary Colleges

Company highlights: In 2021, Corning Place Communications teamed with the Adirondack Mountain Reserve to manage the rollout of the first-ever parking reservation system in the Adirondacks and supported the 4201 Schools Association's efforts to secure $30 million in capital funding for health and safety projects at its 10 member schools. Additionally, CPC worked with the New York State County Highway Superintendents Association to advocate and access nearly $1 billion in transportation infrastructure investments. In 2022, CPC's Senior Vice President Josh Poupore will serve on the Public Relations Society of America National Board of Directors.

31. Jen Fermino

Managing Director of Communications, Moonshot Strategies
Jen Fermino / Jefferson Siegel

Other key employees: Jason Ortiz, Jenny Sedlis

Notable clients: New York Hotel and Motel Trades Council, StudentsFirstNY, Innocence Project, Vera Institute of Justice, New York Mets owner Steve Cohen, #BEYONDrosies 

Company highlights: Firm was just founded in 2021.

32. Sarah Berman, Dane Wisher, Karyn Houde & Kate Harrington

President; Managing Directors, The Berman Group
Sarah Berman / The Berman Group

Other key employees: Chris Hopkins, Director of Technology; Michelle LaRocca, Creative Director

Notable clients: New York Power Authority, The Howard Hughes Corp., Marcus & Millichap Capital Corp., RXR Realty, Brookfield

Company highlights: Expanded our team and office to include Boston and Washington, D.C., locations. Helped launch the national Stand with Cities campaign in 2021 to bring together landlords and political figures to stop migration away from large cities following the pandemic.

33. Ronn Torossian

Founder and CEO, 5W Public Relations

The veteran PR executive is known for his no-holds-barred approach to representing his clients and it often works. He has garnered attention recently for appearing at the side of New York City Mayor Eric Adams, including at an election victory party at the Manhattan club Zero Bond. 5WPR, which Torossian founded in 2003, has worked with such clients as Sinclair Broadcast Group, CoinFlip, Columbia Care and, briefly last year, Chris Cuomo. 

34. Minda Conroe, Ashlee Palmieri & Adam Morey

Managing Director; Managing Director; Senior Vice President, J Strategies
Minda Conroe, Ashlee Palmieri & Adam Morey / J Strategies

Other key employees: Francisca Cruz, Erin Hearn, Michelle McCarthy, Jeff Quain, Tess Morrissey, Carly Andersen, Gabriel Torres

Notable clients: PhRMA, Compassion & Choices, Unchained At Last, GRAIL, BCW Global, Chamber of Progress

Company highlights: In 2021, J Strategies grew its team of talented communications professionals in order to service our expanding roster of high-profile clients in the life sciences, health care, technology, financial services and nonprofit sectors. As our team grows, so has our reach, providing national campaign support and adding clients in New Jersey and New Hampshire. We're also launching dedicated practice groups in areas including cannabis, digital technology and consumer brand management. J Strategies is extremely proud to have supported the work of Unchained At Last in advocating for the enactment of legislation ending child marriage in New York. The bill passed both houses and was signed into law in 2021.

35. George Arzt, Bob Liff, Brian Krapf & James Christopher

President; Senior Vice President; Executive Vice President; Managing Director of Social Media and Online Marketing, George Arzt Communications
George Arzt / George Arzt Communications

Other key employees: Maya Gelfand, Shawna Baratta

Notable clients: Association of Supreme Court Justices of the State of New York, Extell Development Co., Kings County Democratic County Committee, JCDecaux North America Inc., Lendlease

Company highlights: When the state court system administrators took the extraordinary step of refusing to recertificate 48 Supreme Court justices for continued service, the associations representing city and state justices reached out to George Arzt Communications for guidance to help make the case why the actions were unwise, unfair to litigants and judges alike and in apparent violation of the New York state Constitution. Working with reporters throughout the state, we helped craft a narrative that led the court system to reverse its action and worked with the associations to ensure that appellate justices were reappointed to continue their service as well.

36. Hannah Arnold & Lisa Linden

President and CEO; Media Strategist, The LAKPR Group
Hannah Arnold & Lisa Linden / Andrejka Hirschegger; Ronald L. Glassman

The LAKPR Group, which boasts PR veterans Hannah Arnold and Lisa Linden on its team, often stays behind the scenes but is known among insiders for guiding corporate clients and political figures through media firestorms.

Notable clients: Hotel Association of New York City, Clearview AI, Salk Institute for Biological Studies, Quiznos, FMG Leading

37. Joe Bonilla

Managing Partner and Senior Media Director, Relentless Awareness
Joe Bonilla / Konrad Odhiambo

Other key employees: Mike Allen, Sam Moskowitz, Sabrina Flores, Brooke Pominville, Ariah Matias

Notable clients: Deloitte, Commission on Independent Colleges and Universities, National Association of Theatre Owners of New York State, Discover Albany, City of Troy, Nine Pin Cider, Waste Management, Delivery.com, Maria College, Albany Mayor Kathy Sheehan, PowerVision Robot 

Company highlights: Our team has invested additional resources in commercial production for digital and television advertising, digital and social strategy, DEI consulting and media buying. The hiring of Mike Allen as director of production, coming off a decade in television news, strengthens the firm’s overall capabilities. The firm looks to hire more for our Albany office, looking to hire more in the New York City area, and add additional personnel in branding and creative strategy out of our Las Vegas office.

38. Nicole Epstein, Bradley Gerstman & David Schwartz

Senior Associate; Partner; Partner, Gotham Government Relations and Communications

Education 853/4410 School Coalition, New York Association of Grocery Stores

Company highlights: Placing critical stories in the press to bring much needed attention to the serious issue surrounding the lack of parity in education funding for kids with disabilities in New York.

39. Michael Skelly

President, Skelly Strategic Solutions
Michael Skelly / Skelly Strategic Solutions

Notable clients: New York City Correction Officers’ Benevolent Association, New York State Troopers PBA, Subway Surface Supervisors Association, Suffolk County Association of Municipal Employees, New York State Supreme Court Officers Association

Company highlights: My firm continued its vigorous advocacy in the media on behalf of our uniformed and civilian public sector union clients, facing a myriad of high-stakes political challenges. One of our more notable accomplishments this year was our successful effort to assist the Correction Officers' Benevolent Association in its existential fight to prevent the de Blasio administration from illegally privatizing the jobs of hundreds of NYC Correction Officers. If the city's efforts were successful, there would have been significant negative ramifications for other public sector unions. We enlisted the public support of many law enforcement and civilian unions throughout the city of New York, as well as the Municipal Labor Committee and the New York State Public Employee Conference and our united labor coalition prevailed. No correction officer jobs were privatized! We also helped lead a public awareness campaign to assist the Suffolk County Association of Municipal Employees in passing the “first responder bill,” which was signed into law by Gov. Kathy Hochul and for the first time ever, recognized 911 emergency operators and dispatchers throughout New York state as first responders.

40. Steven Greenberg

Owner Greenberg, Public Relations

Notable clients: Compassion & Choices, Siena College Research Institute, New York State Industries for the Disabled, New York eHealth Collaborative, UFC

Company highlights: The firm has helped several issue campaigns advance their objectives and position those issues for the opportunity of success in the 2022 legislative session.

41. Bob Bellafiore

Owner, Stanhope Partners
Bob Bellafiore / Eileen Spath/Catholic Charities of the Albany Diocese

Notable clients: New York State Industries for the Disabled, which facilitates jobs statewide for people with disabilities; the Archdiocese of New York; CAMBA; New York eHealth Collaborative; PhRMA

Company highlights: Past year has seen growth in high-stakes strategic planning and positioning for several large and small organizations, as well as more traditional communications and media relations.

42. Eric Koch

Founder, Downfield
Eric Koch / Eric Koch

Notable clients: Maya Wiley for Mayor, Met Council on Jewish Poverty, Coro Fellowship, 32BJ SEIU, New York City Council Member Carlina Rivera 

Company highlights: Downfield was founded this fall and is a firm specializing in strategic, crisis and political communications. Off the bat we’ve had some good wins, including James Solomon for City Council in Jersey City, helping 32BJ’s national airports campaign around Thanksgiving and continued work highlighting the incredible job the Met Council on Jewish Poverty does to ensure people have hot meals. In 2022, we will be working with even more candidates in New York and nationally and great organizations doing important work.

43. Stuart Marques

Founder and President, Stuart Marques Communications

Notable clients: 1199SEIU, Chashama. Past clients include 32BJ SEIU, RWDSU, Pratt Center for Community Development

Company highlights: We played a key role in various successful campaigns for 1199SEIU, including nursing home reform legislation and contract negotiation wins for the union’s health care heroes with the League of Voluntary Hospitals and Homes as well as with the two major associations representing some 33,000 workers at 250 for-profit nursing homes across the state. We also did major writing projects and op-eds on the New York City mayoral race, and for clean energy groups and on various state issues.

44. Jonathan Davis

Managing Director, Northside Research + Consulting

Insiders in New York politics know that Jonathan Davis is one of the best in the business when it comes to opposition research, which is a discreet way of getting a certain message out on behalf of clients. But Davis – who declined to divulge any details about his work for this list – likes to keep a low profile. Public records indicate that he has worked for the likes of Rep. Ritchie Torres, Manhattan Borough President Mark Levine, Corey Johnson’s New York City comptroller bid and Scott Stringer’s mayoral campaign.

45. Alyssa Cass

Partner, Slingshot Strategies

Other key employees: Sam Haass, Evan Roth Smith

Notable clients: Jumaane Williams for New York governor, Open New York, Andrew Yang for New York City mayor

Company highlights: Slingshot Strategies, led by partners Alyssa Cass, Sam Haass and Evan Roth Smith, made a splash this year through their work on campaigns for Jumaane Williams, Vanessa Gibson, Jo Anne Simon and Andrew Yang. Cass, who joined Slingshot this year from New Deal Strategies, was a senior communications advisor to Jamaal Bowman’s 2020 campaign and worked on Sandy Nurse’s special election. Slingshot’s polling and communications practice is supplemented by national work on donor advisory, particularly in the nonprofit and civic engagement space. One of the newer firms in New York politics, Slingshot’s fast-growing client list shows a preference for progressives and historic first-and-only candidates that are remaking the city and state’s political landscape.

46. Kim Wilson Marshall

Founder and Director, Wilson Marshall PR + Special Events

Other key employees: Jervelle Frederick, project and creative director

Notable clients: EatOkra, Harlem Shake, 5001 Flavors Clothing Co. / Harlem Haberdashery / HH Bespoke Spirits, Larry Blackmon / FreshDirect, Harlem Commonwealth Council, New York Urban League, The Knowledge House

Company highlights: Wilson Marshall PR + Special Events has hospitality and lifestyle division – WM Experiences highlighting the services we provide to hospitality and lifestyle businesses. We offer several packages for small to midsize businesses and nonprofits. Jervelle Frederick is now project and creative director.

47. Liane Ramirez Swierk

Executive Vice President, Goodman Media International Inc.

Notable clients: FreshDirect, Ballet Hispánico, HANAC, Student Leadership Network, Columbia Business School

Company highlights: Goodman Media International Inc. is celebrating its 25th year anniversary. Throughout my 20-year tenure at GMI, it has been a privilege to work with client partners from various sectors of business who are leaders in their respective industries and serving diverse communities with important and impactful missions and purpose.

48. Todd S. Shapiro

President and CEO, Todd Shapiro Associates Public Relations
Todd S. Shapiro / Todd Shapiro Associates Public Relations

Todd Shapiro is the president and CEO of Todd Shapiro Associates Public Relations, which is headquartered in New York City with offices in Nassau and Suffolk counties. Shapiro’s clientele includes public figures, business executives, health care professionals, first responders and emergency services, public officials and municipalities. Among the clients he has worked with are New York State Democratic Party Chair Jay Jacobs, the Nassau County Democrats, 77 WABC Radio, the village of Hempstead and the village of Freeport and various labor unions. 

49. Krysten Copeland

Founder, KC & Co Communications
Krysten Copeland / Carletta Girma

Company highlights: Krysten Copeland’s past clients have included Rep. Yvette Clarke and former Assembly Member Michael Blake, and she also worked for Dianne Morales as communications director during the 2021 mayoral election. She is currently working on supporting communications for marijuana legalization and equitable access to capital for small cannabis businesses. 

50. Yuridia Peña

Founder, Alta Consulting
Yuridia Peña / Izabela Egner

Notable clients: Shaun Donovan for New York City mayor, Exalt, Hartford Public Library, FoodStream Network, GreenPoint EARTH, Diana Reyna Strategic Consulting  

Company highlights: Alta’s diverse portfolio includes issue-based organizations and campaigns laser-focused on social impact and progressive initiatives. This election season, Yuridia represented former HUD Secretary and OMB Director Shaun Donovan for his New York City mayoral bid. In the social impact space, she is supporting communications for FoodStream, a tech platform that easily connects leaders in the food industry with local groups to distribute fresh produce and hot meals to food insecure communities, and is helping GreenPoint EARTH highlight multistakeholder activations with artists to create street art that raises awareness about climate change solutions in public spaces. On criminal justice reform, Yuridia works for Exalt, a nonprofit that works to reduce and vacate sentences for court-involved youth and provide academic and skills training capacity support to internal communications and leadership teams.