Driving meaningful change through strategic communications

Driving meaningful change through strategic communications

Driving meaningful change through strategic communications

Driving meaningful change through strategic communications

Driving meaningful change through strategic communications

Driving meaningful change through strategic communications

Driving meaningful change through strategic communications

Our Values

Strategic communications succeeds when it inspires change. West End Strategy Team partners with clients we believe in to achieve results that raise national public awareness, influence policy at all levels, and drive social change. In other words, after identifying our clients’ audiences, West End Strategy Team hones both message and strategy to secure targeted traditional and online media placements. We then leverage the success of our work together to boost your advocacy, fundraising and membership. Together, we turn passion into outcomes.

Results

We understand what our clients want to achieve and we create strategies to produce results that matter.

Experience

Our strong ties with journalists and our knowledge of the media landscape allow us to achieve our clients’ goals.

Partnership

We share our clients’ passion for positive social change.

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Meet the Team

We have broad and deep experience in strategic communications, and backgrounds across such diverse sectors as media, government, political campaigns, nonprofits and the agency world. West End Strategy Team is uniquely poised to create social change for our clients.

Matt Dorf

Matt Dorf

President and Founder

Matt, a veteran Washington insider whose award-winning communications create meaningful client outcomes, serves as the quarterback for the West End Strategy Team.

As he spearheads strategic communications campaigns, Matt influences progressive politics, skillfully shifting the conversation to achieve the goals of West End Strategy clients.

His broad and deep experience informs his unique ability to understand the most complex and pressing issues of our time, including anti-torture efforts, the fight against anti-Muslim bigotry, the push for comprehensive immigration reform, and gun-violence prevention.

For more than a decade, Matt helped diverse clients across all strategic areas when he served as managing partner of Rabinowitz/Dorf Communications.

He also holds experience as a journalist, lobbyist and media strategist, and was named as one of the 50 most-influential Jews in America by The Forward newspaper. Matt worked for a decade in hard news, reporting for dailies and community newspapers in New York, New Jersey and Virginia. Eventually, he led the Washington bureau of JTA, a global news wire service.

As director of government and public affairs for the American Jewish Congress, he headed the organization’s Washington office. And he served as director of Jewish affairs and outreach for then-Gov. Howard Dean’s presidential campaign and as senior adviser to the Democratic National Committee on faith outreach.

A graduate of The George Washington University, Matt is a contributing editor to An Historical Encyclopedia of the Arab-Israeli Conflict and authored a highly regarded guide to nonprofit media advocacy.

Contact Matt Dorf

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Ari Geller

Ari Geller

Chief Operating Officer

Ari, a seasoned communications strategist, is a senior member of the firm’s leadership.

He counsels West End Strategy Team clients to develop their message and brand and then deliver it to key constituencies, with the goal of advancing their causes. He guides clients on such issues as anti-Semitism and anti-Muslim bigotry, religious freedom in the United States and Israel, LGBT equality, and guarding the separation of religion and state. He also has significant experience with crisis communications.

Ari’s experience spans government organizations, the nonprofit world and the private sector, and he has helped position elected officials, NGOs, companies and institutions to meet challenges and create opportunities.

He served as senior vice president of Rabinowitz/Dorf Communications and as director of communications and marketing at Interfaith Alliance, a nonprofit focused on protecting religious freedom.

Earlier, he spent five years on Capitol Hill first as deputy press secretary for Sen. Daniel Patrick Moynihan and then as press secretary for Sen. Russ Feingold. Ari’s time with Feingold included the senator’s passage of the McCain-Feingold campaign finance reform bill and his lone vote against the USA Patriot Act.

Ari also spent two years leading media relations in New York for the Museum of Jewish Heritage – A Living Memorial to the Holocaust.

He graduated from the University of Wisconsin at Madison, with a degree in political science and communication arts.

Contact Ari Geller

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Caren Benjamin

Caren Benjamin

Vice President

Caren brings to West End Strategy Team an additional capacity for advocacy-campaign planning, strategy and management, coalition-building, media relations, message development, and crisis management.

She collaborates with our clients to map out long-term strategies that include media opportunities and rapid-response systems. She is particularly experienced at working on D.C.-based campaigns that unify nonprofit groups across the nation around an issue or piece of legislation.

Before joining West End Strategy, she worked for several years with labor and progressive organizations on economic and social justice issues.

Notably, she was the executive director of Americans United for Change, a progressive advocacy organization specializing in rapid response and hard-hitting communications strategies. Launched originally to challenge President George W. Bush’s efforts to privatize Social Security, Americans United has played a leading role in issue campaigns working toward an end to the war in Iraq, passage of President Obama’s stimulus package, and health care and Wall Street reform, among other issues.

Earlier, she served as an adviser to Democrat Nancy Pelosi, and designed and implemented communications strategies for Democratic lawmakers in electorally vulnerable districts. She also worked as press secretary for Sen. Bob Graham of Florida and has served as a communications strategist at the AFL-CIO and at Vanguard Communications in Washington, D.C. Prior to entering the political arena, Caren was a reporter with the Las Vegas Review-Journal and the Associated Press in Washington, New York and Nevada.

Contact Caren Benjamin

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Jill Cashen

Jill Cashen

Vice President

Jill is a leading communications strategist with extensive relationships across the Washington and national media landscape. She brings to West End Strategy Team significant experience conceiving and implementing advocacy communications strategies with a hard-charging, high-impact approach.

Utilizing message development, campaign strategy, membership engagement and growth, Jill helps our clients take an innovative approach to public affairs and communications. Before joining West End Strategy Team, she led the communications department for the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union, the force behind notable public campaigns to raise wages and working conditions for workers at Walmart and Smithfield Foods.

She also developed the union’s message and communications strategy including advocacy efforts and member mobilization campaigns on critical public policy issues including immigration reform and health care.

From Tar Heel, North Carolina, to Los Angeles, California, and hundreds of communities in between, Jill has helped workers and their allies effectively tell their stories – on stage, on network news, on social media, and on Capitol Hill. Jill knows how to incorporate the systematic use of innovative digital tools in campaign planning in order to amplify messages, while keeping costs in check.

Earlier in her career, Jill led the communications work for Chicago-based Interfaith Worker Justice where she built strong relationships with reporters covering social justice and faith-based advocacy. She has a bachelor’s degree in political science from the University of Colorado-Boulder.

Contact Jill Cashen

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Samantha Kupferman

Samantha Kupferman

Vice President

Samantha, who leads West End Strategy Team’s New York operations, focuses her work on nonprofit advocacy in the realms of faith, interfaith and Jewish issues, human rights, and women’s rights, as well as cultural, philanthropic and museum public and press outreach.

She draws upon her varied experience in political and nonprofit communications, advocacy and journalism to meet clients’ immediate needs and long-term goals. Her skill set includes refining messaging on key themes, conceptualizing creative issue-based campaigns, developing public relations and member relations strategies, crafting and placing opinion pieces in media outlets of all sizes across the nation and online, and reaching new audiences across all communications platforms.

She previously served as a senior associate at Rabinowitz/Dorf Communications and worked as deputy communications director for Arkansas Governor Mike Beebe. She was a features and city desk reporter at the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette in Little Rock, focusing on coverage of the nonprofit and philanthropic sectors.

Samantha holds a master’s degree in journalism from the University of Missouri and a bachelor’s degree in international politics from Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service, where she received a certificate in Latin American Studies and during which time she studied in Chile and Spain. She has served as president of the board of Literacy Action of Central Arkansas and on the executive board of the Literacy Council of Montgomery County, Maryland – both nonprofit organizations that provide free adult literacy programs.

Contact Samantha Kupferman

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Shannon Craig Straw

Shannon Craig Straw

Senior Director

Shannon, a talented campaign, advocacy and media relations professional with extensive event planning experience, has secured media placements for clients at a range of major national outlets.

At West End Strategy Team, Shannon’s work focuses on clients at the intersection of faith and politics, as well as social change work around ending gun violence and mass incarceration.

Earlier in her career, she served as press secretary at Public Religion Research Institute, boosting its name recognition by expanding its social media presence and cultivating media relationships.

Prior to that, Shannon was the chief researcher for AARP’s 2010 Voter Education campaign and a communications assistant on the public education team that led the “Divided We Fail” health care and Social Security campaigns.

During the 2009 Virginia Democratic primary, she worked as media relations coordinator for Mike Signer, candidate for lieutenant governor. In 2008, Shannon was a part of the Obama for America religious affairs team during the Democratic primary, and during the general election, served as deputy campaign manager, oversaw policy research and ran debate prep for Fred Johnson for Congress, among other roles.

Shannon holds a bachelor’s degree in political science and history from Hope College in Holland, Mich.

Contact Shannon Craig Straw

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Josh Glasstetter

Josh Glasstetter

Senior Director

Josh is a versatile and experienced strategist with a long track record of generating press coverage and driving narratives. His experience puts him at the intersection of journalism, politics and online organizing. Josh works on behalf of his clients to run integrated communications campaigns that create real impact.

 

At West End Strategy Team, Josh helps clients advance their goals and increase their visibility — whether in the press, online or in the field. His clients work on a range of issues including religious freedom, civic participation, worker rights and fighting extremism.

 

Before joining West End Strategy Team, Josh worked for a number of leading advocacy organizations in communications, digital and advocacy roles. He was the Southern Poverty Law Center’s first Campaign Director and served as Research Director at People For the American Way, where he helped found the group’s popular politics blog. He has also worked for SEIU, Amnesty International USA and Michelle Nunn’s 2014 Senate campaign in Georgia.

 

Most recently, Josh has consulted for a mix of clients on issues ranging from climate change to free speech. In addition to a strong background in strategic communications, he has deep experience with video, social media, online advertising and digital content strategy.

 

Josh studied government at Cornell University and was the first undergraduate elected to the Ithaca, NY City Council.

Contact Josh Glasstetter

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Gabe Cahn

Gabe Cahn

Senior Strategist

Gabe, part of West End Strategy Team’s New York office, brings a strong writing background and passion for advocacy to his work at West End Strategy Team, representing clients committed to social change. He also collaborates to advance clients’ goals through creative messaging, dynamic media pitching, and hands-on communications support.

Gabe generated and handled media turnout at Amnesty International’s Bringing Human Rights Home concert at the Barclays Center in New York and at the keynote address by Vice President Biden at J Street’s 2013 National Conference. He also helped to orchestrate media strategy for events such as the first one-on-one meeting between Pope Francis and a Jewish leader at the Vatican and the launch of Amnesty International’s groundbreaking report on U.S. drone strikes in Pakistan.

His efforts have landed clients on the pages of The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, USA Today, The Guardian, Financial Times, Buzz Feed and The Huffington Post; on the wires of the Associated Press, Reuters and AFP; and over the airwaves on CNN, BBC, MSNBC, NPR and PBS.

Before joining West End Strategy Team, Gabe was an associate at Rabinowitz/Dorf Communications. Gabe holds a bachelor of arts in politics from Whitman College in Walla Walla, Washington.

Contact Gabe Cahn

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Heather Cabral

Heather Cabral

Senior Strategist

Heather’s outstanding contributions to West End Strategy Team include developing strategic opportunities for clients and securing media placements that help them to achieve meaningful outcomes.

Heather works with clients that focus on human and civil rights advocacy through interfaith outreach, utilizing such tools as traditional and social media and other creative communication strategies.

Her career began at in production at ABC News. She then worked as a publicist for the National Geographic Society, helping to facilitate the Empowering Women in Africa Symposium, in partnership with the British Embassy. Next, she served as a communications specialist for
the Brookings Institution’s Africa Growth Initiative, focusing on publicizing U.S.-Africa trade, growth and development.

In addition, Heather belongs to the Diaspora African Women’s network, an organization that uplifts African women working on policy in the United States and elsewhere. She also volunteers with the Embassy of Cape Verde, assisting with special events. In December 2012, U.S. Rep. Howard Berman of California awarded her a Congressional Certificate of Recognition for her work in preserving Cape Verdean Culture in the United States.

Heather, who attended Howard University in Washington, D.C., to study television production and graphic design, is an active member of All Souls Unitarian Universalist Church.

Contact Heather Cabral

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Natalie Butz

Natalie Butz

Strategist

Natalie’s strong background in writing and nonprofit communications benefits all our clients, specifically those focused on business and human rights, sustainability, and interfaith activism.

She is in daily contact with journalists, and a key player in our creative campaign process, thinking inventively about how to get attention for clients’ advocacy and other initiatives.

At West End Strategy Team, Natalie identifies clients’ areas of expertise and optimizes media opportunities and online tools. She also helps organizations coordinate press logistics for large-scale and historic events.

Previously, Natalie served in myriad communications roles at Amnesty International USA, including manager of its national blog. While at Amnesty, her media pitches resulted in major placements, and she solidified her expertise in press advance work, large-scale event planning, collaboration with high-level officials, celebrity media teams, and connecting the organization’s experts with broadcast opportunities.

Natalie graduated Phi Beta Kappa from Washington College in Chestertown, Md.

Contact Natalie Butz

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Sarah Garfinkel

Sarah Garfinkel

Strategist

Sarah brings to West End Strategy Team a strong background in journalism and nonprofit communications. She works with clients focused on social justice, human rights and international relations.

With strong writing and digital communications skills, Sarah is an asset to her clients as she focuses on helping them convert their passions into successes. Her varied experience and creativity allow her to help clients meet short-term goals while focusing on developing a long-term strategy.

Previously, Sarah worked at the Lupus Foundation of America where she played a key role in the organization’s digital communications and content marketing strategies, as well as assisting with the launch of a national multi-media awareness campaign and public policy efforts. Earlier in her career, she worked on the policy communications team at the Consumer Technology Association, and as an intern and freelancer for the (Peoria) Journal Star.

Sarah holds a master’s degree in media and public affairs from The George Washington University and a bachelor’s degree in journalism from Bradley University located in her hometown of Peoria, Illinois.

Contact Sarah Garfinkel

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Alexandra De Luca

Alexandra De Luca

Associate

Alex comes to West End Strategy Team as a former intern, where she worked with many of the firm’s clients to develop and implement successful communications strategies. Her strong writing skills, tireless work ethic, and passion for progressive causes allow her to think creatively to help clients create social change. In addition to her work with clients, Alex is the assistant to Matt Dorf, West End Strategy Team’s president.

Before coming on board with West End Strategy Team, Alex worked as a research assistant for Democratic National Convention Vice Chairwoman and political analyst Donna Brazile, as an intern with the Eleison Group, and in the office of Sen. Richard J. Durbin.

Alex received her bachelor’s degree in government from Georgetown University, where she spent much of her academic career focused on the changing role of religion in American government and politics. In 2014, she was inducted into the Theta Alpha Kappa national honors fraternity for excellence in religious studies. A Washington transplant from London, Alex holds both U.S. and British citizenship.

Contact Alexandra De Luca

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Meredith MacKenzie

Meredith MacKenzie

Consultant

Meredith has a passion for social justice that she developed as a volunteer in South America. At West End Strategy Team, she channels this commitment by working closely with clients in the fields of human rights, fair labor and immigration policy, leveraging media to raise awareness and funds and to achieve advocacy goals.

She maintains a dedication to progressive causes at the intersection of faith and social justice and uses her years of political communication experience to turn media coverage into policy results.

Her experience includes leading strategy to determine funding for the reconstruction of historic landmarks affected by the 2011 D.C. earthquake and managing the rollout of a high-profile report monitoring labor conditions in Chinese manufacturing.

Meredith also is gifted at creating narratives of real people affected by the country’s broken immigration system; her aim is garnering the attention of policymakers.

She previously worked as a senior associate at Rabinowitz/Dorf Communications, handling domestic and international clients and building a network of media contacts she continues to use for innovative placements.

In addition, she served as press secretary for Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, directed fieldwork for the Obama for America campaign in the battleground state of Virginia, and reported for United Press International and Talk Radio News Service.

A fluent Spanish-speaker, Meredith volunteered in southwestern Ecuador at a public health clinic and taught elementary-age children at a scholarship school after she graduated from the University of Missouri School of Journalism.

Contact Meredith MacKenzie

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Elaine Monaghan

Elaine Monaghan

Consultant

Elaine, a seasoned journalist, foreign correspondent and writer, works with West End Strategy Team’s full range of clients, focusing on media relations and strategy, crisis communications, message development, writing and media training.

She has led coverage for some of the world’s leading news stories at times of crisis from locales that range from Northern Ireland to Kosovo; she possesses deep professional knowledge of media operations and a wide network of relationships.

A native of Scotland, Elaine moved to the United States in 1999 to become a State Department correspondent for Reuters, and spent three years traveling with Secretaries of State Madeleine Albright and Colin Powell.

Prior to that post, she ran Reuters’ news operation in Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland and reported on Slobodan Milosevic’s expulsion of Kosovar Albanians and the entry of NATO troops to Kosovo. As chief correspondent for Reuters in Kiev, she reported on President Alexander Lukashenko’s rise to power as well as the intricacies of Ukraine’s fledgling markets and political jostling.

She then worked as a Washington correspondent for The Times of London, corresponded on foreign policy for Congressional Quarterly and co-authored a successful CIA memoir.

Before her recent shift to strategic communications, she served alongside her husband Ambassador Lee Feinstein in Poland for three years.

Elaine has a master’s degree in Russian and German languages and literatures from the University of Glasgow and speaks French, German, Polish and Russian. She has lived in nine countries and worked in many more.

Contact Elaine Monaghan

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Join the Team

Join the Team

Executive Assistant
Strategist
Spring and Summer 2016 Internships

Executive assistant

Location: Washington, DC

West End Strategy Team is looking for a skilled executive assistant with a minimum of two years of experience in a similar position to work alongside the firm’s president to provide the professional support necessary to lead the company efficiently and effectively. The individual in this role will contribute to a team of people committed to creating social change through the firm’s work in strategic communications. A successful candidate will pair the administrative skills necessary to keep the firm’s leadership on task with a commitment to a progressive agenda on social justice issues including immigration, human rights, the advancement of women and girls, LGBT equality, peace in the Middle East, and interfaith cooperation, among others.

West End Strategy Team is a full-service strategic communications firm that offers clients a comprehensive approach that includes message development, media relations, online strategy, marketing and crisis communications

Qualifications:

    • Two to three years of experience as an executive assistant
    • Experience working with a business executive
    • Strong writing skills
    • Sharp attention to detail
    • Exceptional organizational skills
    • Comfort speaking directly with clients, vendors and business associates
    • A self-starter with the ability to manage multiple priorities at the same time
    • Organizing and planning skills
    • Strong problem-solving abilities
    • Ability to be assertive when necessary
    • Creative thinking and a good sense of humor
    • Familiarity with Asana or other task management systems a plus

Responsibilities:

    • Serve as the point of contact for those trying to reach the firm’s president including clients, vendors and others
    • Manage the president’s schedule and contacts.
    • Track status of deliverables owed to and expected from the president
    • Administrative support on a range of firm-wide office functions
    • Liaise with internal staff at all levels
    • Work with other staff to manage the flow of papers the president is expected to review

Compensation is commensurate with experience. Benefits include health, dental and a 401k plan.

West End Strategy Team is an equal opportunity employer and strongly encourages applications from people of color, persons with disabilities, women, and LGBT applicants.

Application process:

Please submit a resume, cover letter, salary history, and a writing sample. Materials should be submitted to jobs@westendstrategy.com. Please write: “executive assistant” in the subject line. Only complete applications will be considered. All applications will be kept confidential. The position is available immediately.

 

STRATEGIST

Location: New York City

Are you committed to creating social change? Do you understand the critical role the news media – and the public – can play in raising national awareness and influencing policy at all levels?

West End Strategy Team’s New York office is seeking a media professional with at least three years of experience who understands the modern media landscape and is interested in using that experience to advance a positive progressive agenda on social justice issues including immigration, human rights, the advancement of women and girls, LGBT equality, and interfaith cooperation, among others. An understanding of the Jewish community and national sphere of Jewish communal organizations, Israel and the Middle East is a plus.

West End Strategy Team is a full-service strategic communications firm that offers clients a comprehensive approach that includes message development, media relations, online strategy, marketing and crisis communications. A successful candidate will join a team drawn from politics, government, journalism, the nonprofit world, and business.

Qualifications:

    • A minimum of three years of work experience in communications with an agency, a nonprofit, in government and/or on a political campaign. This is not an entry-level job; we are looking for someone ready to move to the next stage in his or her career.
    • Established contacts with the national media and a working knowledge of the national media landscape
    • Strong written and oral communication skills with attention to detail
    • Experience developing strategic media and communications outreach plans
    • A self-starter with the ability to manage multiple priorities at the same time
    • A desire to learn new skills that can be used to help clients create social change
    • An understanding of the Jewish community, Israel and the Middle East
    • Creative thinking and a good sense of humor

Responsibilities:

    • Serve as primary point of contact for assigned clients
    • Work as a team member on assigned accounts,
    • Act as a liaison between your clients and the media
    • Conceptualize and draft written materials to support clients’ communications goals including press releases, media advisories, pitch notes, op-eds, talking points, and social media and other online content
    • Create and implement media outreach strategies including researching target media, building press lists, and communicating directly with reporters
    • Build marketing campaigns using social media, advertising, and other tools to advance clients’ goals
    • Serve as the primary point of contact for assigned clients.

Compensation is commensurate with experience and includes a bonus structure for business development. Benefits include health, dental and a 401k plan.

West End Strategy Team is an equal opportunity employer and strongly encourages applications from people of color, persons with disabilities, women, and LGBT applicants.

Application process:

Please submit a resume, cover letter, salary history, and writing samples. Your samples should include a press release or op-ed, and a strategic memo. Materials should be submitted  jobs@westendstrategy.com. Please write: “Strategist” in the subject line. Only complete applications will be considered. All applications will be kept confidential.

 

Internship

Location: Washington, DC or New York City

West End Strategy Team is a full-service strategic communications firm with offices in Washington and New York. We offer clients a comprehensive approach that includes message development, media relations, online strategy, marketing and crisis communications. We work to achieve legislative, media and fundraising goals for clients who work in progressive domestic and foreign policy, social justice, human rights, faith-based advocacy, health care, conservation, women’s rights and arts and culture. We are currently accepting applications for paid internship positions for the Spring and Summer of 2017.

Interns have the opportunity to gain hands-on experience working closely with progressive, nonprofit, and international organizations in a professional setting. Responsibilities include writing and editing news releases, opinion pieces and other materials, researching client organizations and their issue areas, conducting media outreach, researching target journalists and compiling media lists, aggregating news content, and carrying out various clerical duties. Through this experience, interns will cultivate a working knowledge of highly relevant political and advocacy organizations and the media.

Please email a resume, cover letter, brief writing sample and list of 2-3 references to internship@westendstrategy.com. No phone calls, please.

West End Strategy Team is an equal opportunity employer and strongly encourages applications from people of color, persons with disabilities, women, and LGBT applicants.

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Services

Crisis Communications

When crises inevitably occur, we swiftly develop and implement an action plan that yields the best possible solution that often includes creating opportunities. We also help our clients anticipate – and ultimately, avoid – potential challenges as they pursue their goals.

Media Relations

By securing strategic media placements through our extensive relationships with media, we reach targeted, influential audiences. Then, West End Strategy Team leverages this media coverage to help our clients in effecting meaningful change.

Message Development

Authentic, consistent and focused messaging is central to any communications strategy. We collaborate with our clients to create deliberate communications that raise public awareness and inspire action.

Online Strategy

We harness the power of online and social media to reach specific audiences and to create opportunities for our clients in advocacy, membership and development.

Public Affairs

West End Strategy Team has deep ties in the administration, on Capitol Hill, in state government, in the progressive community and throughout major political entities. We help our clients navigate these worlds so that they can create strategic alliances, amplify their messages, bolster advocacy efforts and achieve outcomes.

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Clients

Our team works with diverse clients seeking to enhance their influence in the progressive public policy arena, with a strong focus on social and economic justice, human rights, civil rights, faith-based advocacy, and sustainability. We never forget that our work with our clients impacts the lives of real people – women and children, the LGBT community, racial and religious minorities, people affected by gun violence, immigrants, working families and so many others.

Contact

West End Strategy Team

Washington, DC
2101 L Street, NW
Suite 440
Washington, D.C. 20037
202-776-7700

New York City
349 Fifth Ave.
5th Floor
New York, NY 10016
212-498-9300

info@westendstrategy.com