About us

 

We are a nimble, senior team of former PR agency, nonprofit, Capitol Hill and Administration executives dedicated to helping clients meet their communications goals.  Whether it’s a comprehensive strategic plan, a local media relations campaign or ramping up internal communications capacity, we draw on our decades of experience to provide high quality deliverables that last. We pride ourselves on integrating with existing teams, providing seamless support and valuable guidance.  We build communications strategies that begin with sound research, create innovative media tactics and end with results.

The WPS competitive advantage: our business model eliminates much of the costly overhead and over-staffing traditionally associated with large communications firms. In short: when you hire us, we are the individuals who do the work. For every project, we use sound research to inform creative and innovative strategies.

 

 

What We do

Communications Planning: We develop communications plans that are inclusive, effective and manageable – not tomes that sit unused. We know that any communications effort is more powerful when it’s linked to broader organizational goals and objectives and designed to fit existing organizational resources and staffing.

Media Relations and Digital Media:  From preparing leaders of organizations to talk with reporters through media training to creating compelling social media campaigns and strategies, we get results and measure impact.

Crisis Communications: We have extensive experience in crisis communications and reputation management on a range of issues and situations—from administrative and legislative threats to media image campaigns.

 

Messaging:  We create content that inspires. Our messaging and content is easy to understand, resonates with target audiences and holds up over time. We bring tough issues to life through personal stories, relevant research and data. Our full complement of writing services includes speeches, op-eds, letters to the editor, press releases, how-to guides for advocates, web and digital content and more.

Issue Advocacy Campaigns: We move the needle through our decades of expertise in coalition building, media relations, event creation and execution and digital strategy. Dynamic messaging is only as good as its execution. We identify and connect our clients with the right people, at the right time, in the right way—to influence the media, leaders on Capitol Hill and in state legislatures—and, ultimately, the public. Who you talk to—and who talks about you—can change how you are perceived and what you can accomplish .

 

Who We Are

 

Jeannette O’Connor

Managing Partner

Jeannette specializes in creating and implementing communications campaigns that make complex issues understandable and move people to act. She has applied her skills in strategy and mobilization to issues as diverse as health care and children’s health, reproductive rights, workforce development, employee benefit packages, homelessness, disability rights, poverty, child welfare, civic engagement and workers’ rights. Prior to joining WPS Jeannette was a vice president at GMMB, a communications firm where her focus was the planning and execution of issue advocacy campaigns, including public relations, partnership development and coalition building. Jeannette also directed several projects on children’s health at the Children’s Defense Fund (CDF) and served as a regional political director at the AFL-CIO and Emily’s List. Before landing in the District of Columbia she also worked on numerous national and state political campaigns. For more than two decades Jeannette has worked with nonprofits, foundations, members of Congress and labor unions.


 

Ranit Schmelzer

Partner

Ranit has worked for more than two decades at the intersection of politics and policy as a lead strategist and spokesperson in the Executive Branch, in Congress and in the advocacy world. Today she advises nonprofit organizations, think tanks and foundations on complex public policy advocacy and legislative challenges, developing and implementing high-impact communications strategies. Prior to entering private practice in 2011, Ranit led public affairs at the Corporation for National and Community Service in the Obama Administration and before that, she worked in the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives, including 10 years as Communications Director for U.S. Senate Democratic Leader Tom Daschle. In the nonprofit world, she served as Vice President for Communications at the National Women’s Law Center. Ranit has developed and executed communications campaigns for a wide range of domestic and foreign policy issues and has led numerous crisis communications efforts.


 

Marla Viorst

Partner

Marla has worked with clients on a host of public affairs, policy and consumer issues. She has a particular strength in the development of unique content—from press releases to op-eds to websites and blogs—for dissemination across digital and traditional channels. Marla has worked at some of the top PR agencies in large markets, including Hill and Knowlton, Fleishman-Hillard and Golin-Harris. Her work has helped clients increase their share-of-voice in key media channels across a variety of industries and interests, from Ronald McDonald House Charities to PepsiCo to Weight Watchers. Marla also spent time on Capitol Hill as press secretary to Lois Capps (D-CA), handling statements and announcements on key pieces of legislation and district activities.


 

Alice Coleman

Writer, Editor, Strategist

Alice (Allie) Coleman writes and edits diverse content that fuses the ideas, experiences and recommendations of experts and helps a wide range of people become informed advocates. Allie served as a vice president at GMMB, working mostly on coalition building, media outreach, and continuing education for medical professionals.  Since her departure, she has worked extensively with organizations in the fields of higher education, health care, wellness, and disability rights. In addition to web content, email marketing and media materials, Allie has helped leaders in politics, health care, education and advocacy share their thoughts through speeches and correspondence.

Check out our Recent Work

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