CLS News
February 22, 2021

CLS Strategies is a Washington, D.C.-based strategic communications firm with more than a 25-year track record of helping clients manage complex, high-stakes environments. We specialize in public and government affairs, regulatory, legislative, legal and crisis matters. 

We are looking to hire an energetic, hardworking and organized individual for an opening as an entry-level Associate. Prior internship/work experience in public relations, public affairs, or politics is preferred, though not required.

The right candidate will bring to our team an ability to juggle a broad range of tasks and excellent attention to detail. The Associate will need to conduct extensive research with thoughtful analysis, write persuasive materials, assist with pitching media, create social media content, and monitor news coverage and social media conversations. Spanish language skills are a plus.

CLS Strategies has a long and proud record of promoting within, therefore your entry level opportunity with us may lead to more responsibility and advancement. If you thrive on the challenge of finding solutions to complex challenges and want to join our team, please apply by emailing your resume and cover letter to careers@clsstrategies.com with “Associate Job” in the subject line.

Our company continues to work-from-home during the COVID-19 pandemic, therefore this full-time position will be a remote opportunity. In the future we expect to return to an office environment, but in a more flexible fashion. 


April 10, 2019

MediaPost | Andrew Koneschusky

As artificial intelligence and machine learning advance at breakneck speed, almost no other industry has invested in the technologies as heavily and aggressively as automotive manufacturers. With outlays second only to the tech sector, automakers see AI as a fundamental component of transformation across four critical pillars—autonomous driving, connectivity, electrification and shared mobility—with a projected value of $215 billion by 2025.

And though the auto industry has already spent tens of billions of dollars on AI development, a new survey reveals that this massive investment may be subject to previously unforeseen risks to brand reputation. 

A third-quarter 2018 review by a new industry AI Risk Index developed by the Omnicom Public Relations Group reveals poor stakeholder engagement is driving negative sentiment that will have a direct impact on brand reputation if left unaddressed. While automakers rightly focus on improvements in the technology itself, many are overlooking or undervaluing the importance of a communications strategy grounded in data-driven research and seasoned insights, an oversight that could prove to be extremely costly.

Even the most cursory scan of headlines will reveal the risks of researching and developing these technologies in the spotlight, with no communications policy to support them. From the fatalities caused by self-driving vehicles, to concerns about AI’s impact on jobs, data privacy and the economy, the risks span from the individual to the global.

Whether due to a lack of understanding of the stakeholder landscape, insufficient focus on brand perception or lack of expertise required to effectively address the public’s concerns, the auto industry has done a poor job communicating the benefits and managing the risks of AI adoption.

As a result, the industry has created a void which has allowed media, consumers, activists, legislators and other stakeholders to shape the narrative surrounding these billion-dollar investments. And even when auto companies strive to communicate effectively, their messages are often not received by stakeholders as intended.

The AI Risk Index reflects a substantial gap between what is intended and what is perceived by critical stakeholders. The results are stark—especially in the context of substantial investment and many more years of public scrutiny as AI is improved—and reveal a growing crisis of trust.

Though an average of 62% of Americans are familiar with companies in the transportation industry, only 35% have a positive opinion of them (compared to 43% for non-automotive manufacturing and 41% for retail companies) and only 37% trust them (compared to 44% for manufacturing and retail companies).

Even more concerning is that the transportation companies most heavily involved in AI technology drive this sense of distrust, more so than traditional carmakers. That may explain why only three out of eight transportation companies analyzed during the third quarter of 2018 mentioned advancements in AI at all—indicating that auto companies are either communicating poorly or not communicating at all. Avoiding the conversation  will only compromise the opportunity that automakers have to undo negative sentiment and influence neutral perceptions.

Over the next several years, automakers will have to introduce extremely complex, transformative technologies to a public that is deeply skeptical about the innovations themselves, and even more wary of the companies creating them. Only about one-third of Americans think that companies in the transportation industry are visionary (39%), innovative (41%), create more jobs (38%), will use automation to be more efficient (39%), will use AI to be more efficient (36%), care about people’s safety (41%) and can be trusted with their personal data (32%). Just 39% think that AI generally will have a positive impact on companies in the transportation industry.

That is a tough sell for any industry, much less one that has spent nearly a century associating their products with personal freedom and a defining sense of self expression. As AI is further developed for commercial and consumer automotive use, it is critical that automakers close this chasm of engagement. Like any effective communications strategy, this begins with a deep immersion into data-driven research that maps and contextualizes the relationship between carmakers and their stakeholder audiences to identify gaps and misperceptions. And not only must this communications strategy address perceptions of automakers, it must also gauge sentiment around tech companies, and the alignment of the two industries. It is a communications landscape as complex as the technologies they hope to align and deploy.

Over the past several years, a global audience has grown intensely wary of a technology industry that prided itself on moving fast and breaking things. As automakers increasingly partner with tech companies to realize the benefits of their substantial AI investments, they will need a much more intelligent, informed and insightful communications strategy if they hope to persuade consumers to strap themselves into products that are moving fast. Regardless of how much the auto industry believes in it, without consistent, effective stakeholder engagement, AI could remain a risk most drivers aren’t willing to take.


Client News
February 7, 2019

Wine Enthusiast’s 19th annual Wine Star Awards were held Monday night at the Nobu Eden Roc in Miami Beach. The black-tie gala honored innovators and stalwarts who are shaping the present and future of the wine, spirits and beer industry. The themes of the evening were stewardship of the land and support of women in wine.

An outdoor cocktail reception gave guests the opportunity to taste wines from various winners, as well as jamon brought by European Winery of the Year winner, González Byass, plus a daiquiri and a rum-based Old Fashioned riff by Spirit Brand of the Year winner, Diplomático Rum. The step-and-repeat, poolside setting and beachy backdrop presented plenty of good photo opportunities.

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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.

CLS News
December 6, 2018

WASHINGTON, D.C.—  This week, PR News recognized two Managing Associates at CLS Strategies, Natalie Pavlatos and William Moore, as 2018 PR News' Rising Stars 30 & Under at an awards ceremony at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C. This honor is awarded to budding PR professionals who demonstrate exceptional achievement in the field of public relations.

“Everyone at CLS Strategies is proud of Natalie and William for receiving the PR News' Rising Star award, which recognizes something we see from them at CLS each day – their hard work and dedication to their craft, our clients and fellow teammates,” CLS partner Juan Cortinas said.

Natalie Pavlatos began her career as an intern at CLS Strategies in 2014 and quickly rose through the ranks to Managing Associate. She specializes in public affairs and international work, with an expertise in digital communications and media relations.

Since joining CLS Strategies in 2016, William Moore has become a key member of CLS Strategies’ international and high-stakes litigation communications teams. Moore began his career in strategic communications in Bogota, Colombia, before his move to CLS Strategies. 

CLS Strategies has a long history of PR News' Rising Stars 30 & Under honorees. Managing Director Meghan Keane and Managing Associate Dan Smith were honored in 2017, Managing Director Tim Hogan was honored in 2016 and Partner Ray De Lorenzi was honored in 2015.  Read more about the PR News Award ceremony here.