Clarion Strategic Communications President David Early likes a challenge.

In his last interview on the way to becoming the director of public affairs and communications at the U.S. Institute of Peace (USIP), the executive vice president asked, “Why would you willingly pursue a job with an organization Congress has targeted for zero funding and that may not exist in six months?”

Why indeed!

“I believe USIP has an important mission in preventing violent conflict and I’d like to be part of ensuring that the organization is here for years to come.”

Challenge accepted!

From day one on the job, David led the effort to recast the messaging around USIP’s mission and on-the-ground work.  And it produced results.  A year after initially voting to eliminate USIP’s appropriation, Congress reversed course and increased the Institute’s funding.

Under David’s leadership and direction, USIP’s public affairs team:

  • Coordinated and managed the promotion and media coverage of approximately 100 public events a year. With heads of state, Cabinet secretaries, diplomats – even a Nobel Peace Laureate – regularly appearing on USIP’s stage, this often involved coordinating with the Secret Service, Diplomatic Security, and embassy personnel.
  • Exploded USIP’s social media presence – by 300 percent – and engaged key influencers in the march to building a stronger brand for the organization.
  • Redesigned and re-launched USIP’s 18,000-page website.
  • Secured strategic placements of op-eds and interviews highlighting the expertise of USIP staff – both domestically and internationally.

David brought to USIP plenty of experience navigating challenges.

The Abraham Lincoln Bicentennial Commission, where he served as communications director, was established by Congress but given very little funding – especially for achieving the congressional mandate to create a national celebration of the 16th president’s 200th birthday.  David developed a creative communications plan that leveraged strategic partnerships with organizations across the United States. Through those relationships, the Commission’s website, public events, and the use of nascent social media platforms, the ALBC built a national – and international – dialogue around Lincoln’s legacy of freedom, democracy, and equality of opportunity – the Bicentennial’s key theme.

As a member of the media relations staff at the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), the world turned upside down with The Boston Globe’s investigative reporting of sexual abuse of minors by Catholic clergy. Their stories on January 6, 2002, unleashed more than 20,000 news stories in the top 50 U.S. media outlets that year. David participated in the twice-daily staff meetings where the media strategy was hashed out.  He wrote background papers and organized media briefings in Washington and Rome and at the national meeting in Dallas where the bishops adopted their plan to confront the issue.  He spoke with scores of reporters – on and off the record.  When the 350 U.S. bishops met in Dallas, broadcast and cable television channels interrupted regular programming to cover the conference live.  David was there, coordinating 800 reporters, cameramen, and photographers crammed into a 15,000 square foot ballroom.  It took the better part of a year, but the strategy David helped create began to work, and the storyline finally began to turn.

Your communications challenges are unique and require a unique response.  You can be assured, though, that David Early brings season experience to the table.  He will listen and learn your circumstances and develop a strategy that produces results for you.