CLS News
June 18, 2019

CLS Strategies, a Washington, D.C.-based public affairs and strategic communications firm, is currently seeking applicants for a Managing Associate position.

CLS Strategies serves a range of clients – including Fortune 100 corporations, trade associations, foreign governments, international organizations and non-profits. Some are in the midst of regulatory and legislative challenges, or high-stakes litigation. Others are facing government investigations, reputational, or competitive threats. Most of our clients choose CLS because they have a terrific story to tell and wish to affect change, yet need help finding their voice, raising the saliency of their message, and engaging and persuading target audiences. All are looking for creative solutions at the intersection of politics, public policy and communications. That’s where the team at CLS Strategies comes in, and where we thrive. 

Responsibilities of Managing Associate include:

  • Contributing to strategic planning and account execution for clients
  • Assisting in the day-to-day management and client reporting for multiple account teams
  • Managing specific projects and work streams for multiple account teams
  • Drafting op-eds, talking points, memos, social media content and other communications materials
  • Pitching stories, establish / cultivate media relationships, organize press events and other media relations activities
  • Supporting firm leadership in business development, including writing proposals and participating in pitches

Qualifications: Ideal candidates are driven self-starters with the ability to grasp complex subject matter quickly and work well within teams. Candidates must possess strong writing and research skills, experience in media relations, and ability to formulate creative communications strategies and messages. Four to seven years of experience in journalism, political campaigns, on Capitol Hill, a PR agency, or association is the kind of background that helps an application stand out. 

CLS Strategies offers a competitive salary that is commensurate with experience and a comprehensive benefits package that includes:

  • 401(k) plan with employer match
  • Employer-subsidized medical/dental insurance
  • Health Care Flexible Spending Account (FSA)
  • Optional Life and AD&D Benefits
  • Paid vacation and sick time
  • Paid holidays
  • Employee stock purchase plan
  • Gym membership
  • And much more

If you thrive on the challenge of finding solutions to complex challenges and want to join our team, please apply by clicking the button below, and don't forget to attach your resume. For more information, visit

CLS Strategies. We don’t just raise the issue. We raise the game.


CLS News
April 24, 2019

Politico Playbook

How/where are you celebrating your birthday and with whom? “I’ll spend the day in D.C. with my husband, Roy, as well as my mom, dad, oldest sister and two nieces who are all visiting this week. It’ll be a touristy birthday day but super excited to have family in town.”

How did you get your start in politics? “During my junior year in college, I had the opportunity to volunteer for an American hero, the late Sen. John McCain, during his presidential campaign.”

Read more from her interview below -- and happy birthday, Ruth!

Read Full Article

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.

CLS News
March 29, 2019

Kiana is a current junior at American University majoring in Communications, Legal Institutions, Economics, and Government (CLEG) and minoring in Justice and Law. She is from Orange County, California and loves warm weather and the beach, and she is a firm believer that the West Coast is the best coast. Last semester, Kiana interned on Capitol Hill for a congressman, where she enjoyed learning about the U.S. political system.

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

Definitely my freshman year political science professor. Her expansive knowledge surrounding policy influenced my desire to learn more about public affairs. Studying a variety of disciplines, including communications and government, has also peaked my curiosity in the intersection between public affairs and strategic communications.

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

As an intern, I hope to gain hands-on experience where I can be challenged and expected to be a team player. I also aim to strengthen my ability to communicate, write, and think critically. I think that while learning about different industries through various internships is important, it is the skills that are gained from these experiences that matter the most.

3. What are your long-term career goals?

As I continue to learn new things every day, I like to keep my future career options open. Having said that, I plan to continue down a career path in the realm of public affairs and strategic communications.

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

My major in various disciplines has taught me that it is common for career paths to cross – a revelation I found not only beneficial, but unexpected.

5. Can you expand on your interest in public relations?

I did not know much about public relations up until my time with CLS. However, I have thoroughly enjoyed learning more about the various strategies used to promote and protect a company’s brand.

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

Being able to stay on top of my daily tasks such as media monitoring has been the easiest for me. At my previous internship, I was also responsible for doing media sweeps and daily clips, so I quickly got used to that. I also enjoy doing clips because I get to learn about the client.

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

My biggest challenge as an intern at CLS has definitely been knowing which projects to prioritize. While working on a handful of client accounts can be exciting, it can become hectic unexpectedly. It shows how important it is to be able to multitask and ask for help when needed.

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

I love D.C. because there is so much to do and get involved with. I love exploring the city and dining with friends, especially brunch. I’ve also been to a good amount of concerts in D.C. and get excited when one of my favorite bands or artists comes to town.

9. 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’m a bit of a music nerd and could talk about artists and genres for hours
  2. I am a twin
  3. I am Filipino, Lebanese, and Irish

CLS News
March 22, 2019

Kristie Larimer is a senior at American University majoring in Communication and Media Studies and Law and Society. Most recently, she worked as a Digital Fellow at Mothership Strategies, where she helped manage fundraising for political campaigns and organizations through writing, coding and analyzing the results of email blast testing. Originally from Rhode Island, it’s no surprise Kristie loves the ocean.

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

I have been lucky enough to be surrounded by supportive mentors throughout my professional and academic career. I would say the largest impact on my interests has been my internship in London at a soliciting firm, where I acted as a legal assistant on a high profile criminal case. The experience was extremely rewarding but made me realize that litigation was not what I wanted to do in the future. The experience pushed me to explore other fields, where I discovered my interest in public relations. 

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

In any internship experience, I look to contribute meaningful work to the organization I’m working for. Any role that offers hands-on experience in the industry with people willing to spend a little extra time to teach me has been among my favorite and most valued experiences.

3. What are your long-term career goals?

I plan to continue in the field of public relations and communications and hope to join a company that aligns with my core values. Wherever I am, I aspire to contribute meaningful work and deliver results to clients that make a difference.

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

It’s a bit cliché, but for me, it was understanding that career paths are not a straight line and that's perfectly okay. A year ago, I was planning to head straight to law school after graduation and now I can’t imagine doing that at all. Taking new classes and applying for internships in different fields were essential for me on my path to discover what got me excited about going to work every day and where I could see myself contributing a meaningful voice.

5. Can you expand on your interest in public relations?

Within public relations, I am constantly challenged and learning new things every day. I love that no two days are the same and daily projects constantly evolve. I enjoy thinking creatively and being able to work collaboratively with teams to find solutions and achieve positive results for clients.

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

I think having previous experience in communications such as writing press materials, writing summaries for clients and media monitoring helped prepare me well for this internship. In addition, I think my ability to multitask has proven very useful in tackling different client accounts and projects. 

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

I work on five different client account teams, and I think the biggest challenge has probably been learning to balance them along with evolving daily and long-term projects. Learning how to prioritize tasks and staying organized are definitely key.

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

I think my favorite thing about living in D.C. is being so close to so much history. I feel lucky that I can just metro down to the national monuments and Smithsonian museums. Even after four years of living here, it never gets old.

9. 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 in an acapella group at American University called Treble in Paradise.
  2. I studied and interned abroad in London last year.
  3. I love the outdoors and have hiked almost half of the Appalachian Trail.