CLS News
January 9, 2019

Firm Also Adds Bo Bartley, Reporter with Experience 
on Legal Matters, to Its Ranks 

WASHINGTON, D.C.— CLS Strategies is thrilled to announce that Emily Pierce has joined the firm as a Senior Vice President, reflecting the continued growth of the strategic communications firm and its crisis and litigation practice. Pierce previously served as Deputy Director of Public Affairs at the Department of Justice (DOJ) under President Obama. 

While at the DOJ, she advised on policy and law enforcement matters and counseled Attorneys General Eric Holder and Loretta Lynch as well as senior department leaders including Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates on communications strategy. Most recently, Pierce served as a Senior Vice President at Vrge Strategies, where she led strategic communication efforts in high-stakes legal disputes and influential policy debates involving pharmaceuticals, antitrust policy, trade, cryptocurrency, and the tech industry over the last three years. 

Pierce also spent 17 years as a reporter and editor at Roll Call and Congressional Quarterly, where she covered major regulatory battles and policy debates.

“Emily is an exceptional addition to our rapidly growing crisis and litigations communications practice, advising Fortune 500 companies, individuals and the nation’s top attorneys as they face complex litigation, government investigations and other reputational challenges,” said CLS Partner Bob Chlopak.

CLS was a pioneer in the litigation communications arena, having begun its work 24 years ago helping parties manage communications issues arising from litigation. In the more than two decades since, CLS has become an industry leader working with companies, individuals and trade organizations, and many of the country’s best-known law firms, on hundreds of legal matters including the nation’s largest multi-district litigation, merger and acquisition reviews, securities litigation, class actions, intellectual property disputes, as well as appellate work, including Supreme Court cases.

“Throughout my career, I have been proud to steer both public and private sector clients through some of the most challenging public crises they’ve faced,” said Emily Pierce. “I am excited to now bring my deep experience in journalism, government and strategic communications to the already stellar CLS team at a time when the firm’s legal and crisis communications clientele is growing and its outstanding reputation for tackling the toughest issues is only increasing.”
 
In addition to Pierce, Robert “Bo” Bartley has joined the firm as a Managing Associate. Prior to CLS, Bartley was an editor at the political consulting firm Anne Lewis Strategies and worked as a reporter for The Capitol Forum and Fierce Markets where he covered many high profile antitrust and other legal matters. 

CLS is also proud to announce the promotion of Lauren Wiggins and Stephanie Wolf to Senior Associates. 


NadiaNadia Kendall is an entrepreneur and designer who uses her creative and artistic strengths as a hobby, career choice, and ultimately a voice. Nadia attends Howard University as a senior, electronic studio art major. Her extracurricular activities include Assistant Designer for the Hiltop, Howard University's Newspaper, designer for Howard University’s Resfest,  VP of Marketing for Alpha Kappa Psi Professional Business Fraternity, and a Multimedia Volunteer for WHBC 96.3 HD3. Nadia has also interned with The White House Historical Association, For our Future Super PAC, Morehouse College, and Public Company Accounting Oversight Board. In addition to her extensive graphic design and social media experience, Nadia owns an apparel line, The Balloon Effect.

Who/what has had the most impact on your academic or professional interests?

In first grade, my teacher made us write narratives and add clipart to accompany the stories. My favorite part was adding the art. That was when I discovered my love for graphic design, and I believe my experience at Howard University has given me the strength to pursue my entreprenuial goals.

What do you look for in an internship experience, and how has this shaped your career goals?

I look for internships that will help build the strongest portfolio possible, so when it’s time for me to look for an actual job my portfolio will be at its fullest potential.  I also look for internships that I will enjoy and learn from.

What are your long-term career goals?

After graduating, I plan on pursuing my entrepreneurial endeavors. I want to design sneakers and streetwear apparel as well as open a chain of shoe stores.In 10 to 20 years, I plan on building recreation centers in under privileged communities that emphasize sports for kids to experience. My last goal is to build an amusement park!

What has surprised you so far about your journey towards your career goals? 

The number and variety of industries I can work in with my major has surprised me the most.

Can you expand on your interest in public relations?

My interest in public relations stems from the fact that I can design for multiple companies and clients.

What comes easiest to you as an intern at CLS Strategies?

I think my ability to come up with design ideas from what’s explained to me is the easiest.

What has been your biggest challenge as an intern at CLS Strategies? How do you address that?

Although it’s easy for me to come up with ideas, they don’t always align with the brand. I made an effort to incorporate the necessary constraints so the message could be communicated effectively.

What is your favorite thing about living in Washington, D.C.?

I enjoy the vibes that my school and the surrounding areas bring. I also appreciate the numerous opportunities.

On our website we ask all of our staff to share three things about themselves. What are three things about yourself that we might not know?

  1. I won a free trip to study in the Galapagos Islands.
  2. I came in 2nd place at my first tennis tournament.
  3. I was the star of a local television commercial.

DanaDana was born in Seoul, South Korea, and came to the United States when he was four months old. He was raised an hour south of Boston and is currently pursuing a Master’s degree in Political Science from Suffolk University after earning his undergraduate degree in history. Previously, he was a Communications Director in the Massachusetts State Senate before leaving the position to go to graduate school full-time. Dana is a self-described a history nerd, and a huge Boston sports fan.

Who/what has had the most impact on your academic or professional interests?

I’ve had some pretty influential professors and teachers that have shaped my goals. I think the most influential was my AP European History teacher in my sophomore year that got me hooked on history, which I would go on to major in for my undergraduate degree. He pushed me to not only learn about history, but also to apply the lessons it can teach to current issues. Political history continues to fanscinate me, especially as it relates to how social movements have led to legislation.

What do you look for in an internship experience, and how has this shaped your career goals?

When I started looking for an internship I wanted to go somewhere I could build upon my previous experience. Coming from the government side of things, I was excited to see what communications strategy looked like from the other side of the fence.

What are your long-term career goals?

I don’t have specific goals in mind as of yet but definitely want to do something in the political sphere. I’m kind of a policy nerd so whether it’s from a private sector or governmental side of things, I definitely want to do something that involves affecting policy for the better.

What has surprised you so far about your journey towards your career goals? 

I wasn’t planning to look for an internship in DC until I spent two weeks here for a seminar with The Washington Center back in May. I really enjoyed my time in the city and took advantage of the internship requirement for my degree to come back. I’ve always wanted to end up in DC but never thought I’d be here this soon!

Can you expand on your interest in public relations?

My first experience with public relations came with my position in the Massachusetts State Senate. I had gotten into the office as an intern and I really wasn’t expecting to get a full-time position but they needed someone to fill the role. I really enjoyed the job which ranged from running my boss’ social media, drafting press releases, and organizing interviews with media outlets. When I left the position to get my graduate degree, I took a class in how lobby affects legislation and decided that I wanted to get experience in public relations from the other perspective.

What comes easiest to you as an intern at CLS Strategies?

With my previous experience in political communications, I was generally familiar with some of the media monitoring and lobbying aspects of the internship. It really helped lessen the learning curve.

What has been your biggest challenge as an intern at CLS Strategies? How do you address that?

The biggest challenge has been the shift in mindset away from working for a legislator and toward working for our private sector clients. The main difference I’ve found is that the audiences that the communications strategies are directed toward are totally different. While in my previous experience, the audience was the voting public in general, the work that CLS does is often for a far more targeted and niche audience.

What is your favorite thing about living in Washington, D.C.?

I love the feeling that things are happening around me. I’ve spent most of my life in a small town where nothing ever happens so I’m really enjoying that change of scenery. All of the activity combined with the history of the city make for a unique experience that I’m doing my best to soak in.

On our website we ask all of our staff to share three things about themselves. What are three things about yourself that we might not know?

  1. I am a huge Harry Potter fan and a proud member of Ravenclaw House.
  2. I once waited 12 hours, overnight, in the rain to get tickets to SNL.
  3. My three favorite TV shows are: The Office, Breaking Bad, and Bojack Horseman.

Christopher Stein is a third-year student at Georgetown University’s Walsh School of Foreign Service (SFS), majoring in Global Business and minoring in Mandarin Chinese. He is originally from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Before joining CLS, he interned with Chevron Corporation’s Policy, Government & Public Affairs function in San Ramon, California. At Georgetown, he serves as Director of Digital Operations at The Caravel, a student-run international affairs newspaper, and the treasurer of The Anthem, a literary and arts magazine.

Who/what has had the most impact on your academic or professional interests?

I can thank many of my high school teachers for putting me on the path to study international politics, economics, and law. Several of my academic advisors, faculty mentors, and teachers first stoked my interest in world affairs and encouraged me to apply to the SFS at Georgetown. My professors in the SFS have only honed this academic interest in the world and expanded its scope.

What do you look for in an internship experience, and how has this shaped your career goals?

When looking for an internship, I was really looking for a job culture. Some of my previous experience has been in volunteer-run organizations and at a large multinational, so in choosing CLS, I wanted to experience what it’s like to work with a small, nimble team doing fast-paced, dynamic work. My internships have showed me many different sides of the private sector, given me a better understanding of how different companies do business, and taught me how to operate in a professional environment.

What are your long-term career goals?

I want to work abroad someday with a strong preference for China, Taiwan, or the United Kingdom. As for what I want to do, I am interested in management or human capital strategy consulting for a multinational or foreign corporation with significant and complex operations abroad.

What has surprised you so far about your journey toward your career goals? 

I’ve been most surprised by how corporate culture shapes every aspect of how a company operates. Some companies are, by nature, agile, creative, and risk-taking while others are careful and conservative. Adapting to these different cultures at different companies enables you to be effective, but I’ve found that some companies’ cultures do not suit all people.

Can you expand on your interest in public relations?

There is a lot of power in words and in perception. Some 83 percent of the value of the top U.S. firms can be attributed to intangible assets like brand, so I’m fascinated by how PR tools can be used to protect, transform, and build brand value and public support.

What comes easiest to you as an intern at CLS Strategies?

I’m a very thorough person. At CLS, I’ve brought this thoroughness to bear on research projects for our clients to make sure we don’t miss any relevant information and that the research is placed in the proper context, thus enabling our clients to make better decisions.

What has been your biggest challenge as an intern at CLS Strategies? How do you address that?

My biggest challenge at CLS has been to stay in-the-loop on fast-changing client needs while only working part time. I’ve addressed this problem by carefully reviewing all communications from days I wasn’t in the office. I’ve been able to keep up to date this way.

What is your favorite thing about living in Washington, D.C.?

The best thing about D.C. is the fact that most of its cultural institutions are free admission. I love to go study in the courtyard of the National Portrait Gallery or slip into the National Gallery of Art for a quick trip. There is such an amazing concentration of incredible art and culture in D.C., and most of it is accessible free of charge.

On our website we ask all of our staff to share three things about themselves. What are three things about yourself that we might not know?

  1. In high school, I broke my school’s community service record with more than 200 hours of service a year during both my junior and senior years. I was a 2016 recipient of the President’s Volunteer Service Award.
  2. Next year I will study abroad for three months at National Chengchi University in Taipei, Taiwan. I have previously been to mainland China, but this will be my first time in Taiwan. I am business proficient in Mandarin Chinese.
  3. I’m both an Eagle Scout and a first degree brown belt in Kenpo karate.

CLS News
November 12, 2018

New, specialized consultancy will focus on assessing and mitigating threats to brand reputation related to the transformational changes on the horizon caused by artificial intelligence (AI)

NEW YORK (November 12, 2018) – Omnicom Public Relations Group (OPRG) today announced the launch of the AI Impact Group, a specialized consultancy that helps clients assess and mitigate the risks to brand reputation arising from the introduction of artificial intelligence (AI) technologies. The launch of the AI Impact Group coincides with the release of the first comprehensive AI Risk Index, which integrates several layers of research to identify and score the reputational risk of industries and companies adopting AI.

The AI Impact Group will offer strategic consulting engagements to assess the communications challenges, brand vulnerabilities and other internal and external risks associated with a company’s adoption of AI. The cross-agency team can apply robust research and advanced analytics to create proprietary reputation-focused risk assessments for any company deploying AI. Armed with research and a deep knowledge of AI across a variety of industry sectors, the Group’s consultants and communications experts can also craft a tailored AI Roadmap for any business.

Led by Andrew Koneschusky, partner at CLS Strategies, the AI Impact Group fuses the collective experience and subject matter expertise of several OPRG agencies: CLS Strategies, FleishmanHillard Ketchum, Maslansky + Partners, Porter Novelli and VOX Global.  The group is fuelled by a passion for technology, deep understanding of the perceptions of AI and world-class capabilities to meet any communications challenge.

“We are in the midst of the biggest technological change in recent history,” said Koneschusky. “Companies that plan for AI and communicate effectively around it will be well positioned to take advantage of the many benefits the technology brings, including cost savings, improved customer service, rich data insights and other efficiencies. On the other hand, there are serious consequences for those who blindly chase the benefits of AI without understanding the risks. We are already seeing examples of backlash against AI, and the technology is still in its infancy.”

“AI and machine learning present many exciting opportunities that organizations will want to consider and take advantage of – now and into the future. At the same time, these developments represent a new and relatively unexplored threat to brand reputation, and many companies and brands aren’t sure how to assess their risk,” said Karen van Bergen, chief executive officer, Omnicom Public Relations Group. “The AI Impact Group brings together top AI talent from across OPRG communications agencies, delivering a seamless, specialty solution to clients who need to equip themselves for AI’s future. We’re proud to bring this first-of-its-kind offering to market and look forward to helping our clients navigate this uncharted territory and set themselves up for success when it comes to AI.”

According to the International Data Corporation (IDC), worldwide spending on AI will reach $57.6 billion by 2021 – more than quadruple the $12 billion spent in 2017. As businesses large and small make significant investments in AI and race to embrace its benefits, they need to assess and plan for the risks lurking in the shadows. Given the massive changes afoot, Forrester Research, in a November 2017 report on AI-enabled automation, recommended that companies invest in change management internally and PR externally.

To coincide with the launch, the AI Impact Group has released topline findings from its first comprehensive AI Risk Index. This initial index is focused on the retail, manufacturing and transportation industries; future studies will examine other industries. The inaugural study quantifies a brand’s risk based on the company’s positioning related to AI and the perceptions of various stakeholders – consumers, industry employees, policymakers, activists and industry analysts. It also provides guidance to help business leaders understand where top companies are performing best and where those at risk of falling behind are failing. Scores range from 0 to 100, where 0 indicates less risk preparedness and 100 indicates higher risk preparedness.

Overall, the study data revealed that while some industries and companies have less reputational risk than others, no industry or company is fully prepared for the transformational changes on the horizon. AI poses serious risks for all three industries studied—and even the most forward-thinking technology companies still have work to do.

The retail industry is the least prepared for the impacts from AI, earning the lowest overall industry score of 44.0, followed by the manufacturing industry at 49.3 and transportation industry at 55.3. Within each industry there is considerable variation amongst companies:

  • Retail: the company least prepared for the risk earned a 27.9, the most prepared for the risk a 52.6
  • Manufacturing: the company least prepared for the risk earned a 33.3, the most prepared for the risk a 62.0
  • Transportation: the company least prepared for the risk earned a 37.7, the most prepared for the risk a 68.8

For more information or an in-depth briefing on the work of the AI Impact Group and the AI Risk Index results, please contact Tricia Whittemore or Allison Haley.

About AI Impact Group

The AI Impact Group, comprised of specialists from CLS Strategies, FleishmanHillard, Maslansky + Partners, Ketchum, Porter Novelli and VOX Global, is a specialized consultancy with the capabilities and experience to meet any AI communications challenge. In a world where AI is everywhere around us, the human impact of this technology continues to take shape. We help companies begin or continue their AI journey, armed with proprietary data and risk analysis, so they can identify, plan for and mitigate challenges to brand reputation that may occur along the way. To learn more, please visit: http://www.ai-impactgroup.com.

About Omnicom Public Relations Group

Omnicom Public Relations Group is a global collective of three of the top global public relations agencies worldwide and specialist agencies in areas including public affairs, marketing to women, global health strategy and corporate social responsibility. It encompasses more than 6,300 public relations professionals in more than 370 offices worldwide who provide their expertise to companies, government agencies, NGOs and nonprofits across a wide range of industries. Omnicom Public Relations Group delivers for clients through a relentless focus on talent, continuous pursuit of innovation and a culture steeped in collaboration. Omnicom Public Relations Group is part of the DAS Group of Companies, a division of Omnicom Group Inc. (NYSE: OMC) that includes more than 200 companies in a wide range of marketing disciplines including advertising, public relations, healthcare, customer relationship management, events, promotional marketing, branding and research.