How the Current Political Environment is Affecting the Practice of Public Relations (On-Demand Video)



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Event Overview

It would be a challenge even for the most learned of historians to recall a time in our history when the political parties in the U.S. have been more polarized. It also would not be considered as hyperbolic to say that the image of the media as a reliable source of information, seekers of the truth and a critical check on the actions of our lawmakers in Washington as being under attack and as such the victims of an erosion in the esteem in which the best of them — think Walter Cronkite — were once held. Given these hard facts, what impact has this erosion in the confidence of the public’s perception of the media had on the practice of public relations?


Lanny J. Davis
Co-founder and Partner
Trident DMG |  Davis Goldberg & Galper PLLC

Lanny is a lawyer, crisis manager, consultant, author, and television commentator providing strategic counsel to clients under scrutiny on crisis management and legal issues by combining legal, media, and political strategies. He develops and manages communications programs around litigation and crises to protect brands and reputations. He is often called to serve as an on-camera spokesperson on behalf of an individual or corporation.

Lanny represents individuals, countries, and companies in high-stakes global crises, litigation, government investigations, and crisis management. He has conceived, created, and led media strategies for clients that have included CEOs, sports celebrities, political leaders, world leaders, and both U.S. and international companies. He has handled the cases of public figures from Martha Stewart to Dan Snyder, companies from Whole Foods to Starbucks, and political figures from President Bill Clinton to Representative Charlie Rangel.

Although a Democrat, Lanny has friends on both sides of the aisle. During the Clinton administration, Lanny served as Special Counsel to President Bill Clinton and was a spokesperson for the president and the White House on matters concerning campaign finance investigations and other legal issues. In 2005 President George W. Bush appointed Lanny to serve on the five-member Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board, created by the U.S. Congress as part of the 2005 Intelligence Reform Act.

For 25 years prior to 1996, before his tenure as Special Counsel to President Clinton, Lanny was a commercial, antitrust, government contracts, and False Claims Act litigator (representing both defendants and plaintiffs). He has also argued numerous appellate cases and has experience in securities fraud and SEC investigations, and congressional, state attorney general, and regulatory investigations. Throughout his career, he has found that using integrated legal/media/lobbying approaches can frequently lead to quicker and less expensive settlements or even successfully litigated outcomes. Senior officials of public companies have also hired Lanny and his colleagues to defend themselves successfully against “short and distort” attacks and other market manipulations.

Lanny has participated in national, state, and local politics for almost 30 years. He has served three terms (1980 to 1992) on the Democratic National Committee representing the state of Maryland, and during that period he served on the DNC Executive Committee and as chairman of the Eastern Region Caucus. In Montgomery County, Maryland, he served as chairman of the Washington Suburban Transit Commission.

Lanny has lectured throughout the United States and Europe on various political issues and has authored several books, including “Scandal: How “Gotcha” Politics Is Destroying America,” and “Truth To Tell: Tell It Early, Tell It All, Tell It Yourself: Notes from My White House Education,” “Crisis Tales – Five Rules for Handling Scandal in Business, Politics and Life.” His most recent book is “The Unmaking of the President 2016.”

Lanny graduated from Yale Law School, where he won the prestigious Thurman Arnold Moot Court prize and served on the Yale Law Journal. A graduate of Yale College, he served as chairman of theYale Daily News. Lanny is admitted to practice in the District of Columbia and Connecticut and before the Supreme Court of the United States and the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit.

He has been a regular television commentator and has been a political and legal analyst for MSNBC, CNN, CNBC, and network TV news programs, and has published numerous opinion and analysis pieces in the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, the Washington Post, and other national publications. His “Purple Nation” column appears regularly in The HillThe Huffington Post,, The Daily Caller, and Newsmax. He can be followed on Twitter @LannyDavis


Richard Levick - When We All Vote: A Chance To Do Something Truly AmericanRichard S. Levick, Esq.
Chairman & CEO

Under his leadership, LEVICK has set new standards in global communications and brand protection for corporations, countries, and major institutions. Mr. Levick is one of the communications industry’s most important spokespersons and thought leaders.

A powerful advocate for the strategic initiatives that companies must pursue in today’s perilous environment, he regularly addresses corporate boards as well as industry and government leaders around the world, providing guidance on their most complex communications and reputation management challenges. He is featured in, and authors, countless articles, and is a frequent guest on prime time national and international television programs.

Mr. Levick is a much-sought after keynote and graduation speaker and is a columnist for the top business blogs including Forbes.

Mr. Levick has co-authored five books including, The Communicators: Leadership in the Age of Crisis; Stop the Presses; The Crisis and Litigation PR Desk Reference365 Marketing Meditations; and Lessons for Absent Children. He can be followed on Twitter @richardlevick 


KayAnn Schoeneman
Head of Washington D.C. Marketplace and Public Affairs

KayAnn Schoeneman is a veteran corporate communications professional with nearly 20 years of experience in public affairs, public policy, grassroots campaigns, market research and consumer advocacy. She currently serves as senior vice president and practice director of Ketchum’s public and corporate affairs team and is based in Washington D.C. Schoeneman creates innovative, data-driven campaigns for global clients including Fortune 100 companies, governments and leading trade associations. 

Prior to Ketchum, Schoeneman spent more than a decade in the political and public policy arena with experience in global, federal, state and local public affairs. She served as public affairs director for a top grassroots firm and was director of research for a boutique state and local procurement firm.  She also served as vice president of communications for the Northern Virginia Chamber of Commerce, promoting the positive business climate and working with various stakeholders in the region. Schoeneman served as a campaign field analyst for the National Republican Congressional Committee’s $50M issue advocacy effort during the historic 2002 midterm election cycle, only the third time in the last 100 years that the president’s party gained House seats in a midterm election.  

Schoeneman was an adjunct professor at The Johns Hopkins University for the Master of Arts in communication program. She is a graduate of The George Washington University with a degree in international affairs and political communications.  She lives in Northern Virginia with her husband and son.  She can be followed on Twitter @KSchoeneman



Art Stevens
Managing Partner
The Stevens Group

Art Stevens literally knows the PR industry at every level and in every aspect, from the inside out and from foundation to pinnacle. Art knows what makes a PR business successful, profitable and valuable. A prolific writer as well as a dynamic executive, Art is subtle, observant and quietly creative, yet not opposed to a good measure of “brandstanding” when appropriate.

He has been valuing agencies, brokering mergers and acquisitions, and providing strategic advice for ten years. Art is a former owner and CEO of LobsenzStevens, a Top-20 independent PR agency, which Publicis Groupe acquired.  He can be followed on Twitter @ArtS1735


Rich Jachetti
Senior Partner
The Stevens Group

Rich joined the firm as Senior Associate in January 2015 and in October of the same year was named Senior Partner. Rich owned his own public relations agency for eight years and in 1987 merged his firm with LobsenzStevens. For nearly a decade, Jachetti served as an executive vice president and group manager of LobsenzStevens where he worked side-by-side with agency founder and CEO Art Stevens on, among other things, the selection and due diligence of L-S’s subsequent multiple PR agency acquisitions.Before joining TSG, Rich founded emotionmapping, LLC, an integrated marketing communications company based in Westchester, New York that specialized in providing advertising, PR, sales promotion and digital marketing consultation and services.

In 1996, he joined one of the country’s leading, and award-winning sales promotion agencies, DVC Worldwide, and served for eight years as part of that agency’s team of senior executives responsible for new business development and the expansion of business among the firm’s existing client base.

In his career, Rich has helped companies in multiple industry categories become wealthy, famous, respected winners. Advertising, promotional marketing and public relations campaigns he has developed over the past 40+ years have helped convince customers/stakeholders to choose, trust, try, recommend, respond, read, write, stop smoking, start exercising, contribute, vote, take their medicine, travel, merge, hire and buy depending on the clients’ business objectives. He can be followed on Twitter @ArtS1735


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