Who am I?
I am a strategic communications professional with more than 25 years' experience working for agencies that counsel in public affairs/relations, crisis management, and marketing communications. Today, I am semi-retired and only interested in working with humanitarians, climate scientists, environmentalists, anti-poverty activists, foodies, and winos. I like work, I do it myself, and I don't charge a lot because those days are behind me.
My Professional Background
2016 April - 2018 Present
High Road Communications
Chief Communications Officer & Founder
Need a writer? An editor? A bit of wordsmithing? An objective read for clarity? A native English writer? I started High Road Communications to help those who help others. Whether you are serving the needs of women, the displaced, the impoverished, or the hungry, we will ensure that you deliver a great communication piece to your stakeholders. In addition to document writing and editing traditional formats, we also write for the web — HTML, WordPress, Joomla, Drupal (case in point: this website). We serve clients of all size and budget, from Washington DC's Columbia Cultivators Cooperative to the Red Cross and Red Crescent Climate Centre. For more details, please email email@example.com.
2013 April - 2016 May
Vice President, Communications
I lead enterprise communications, PR, and marketing for this multibillion-dollar building materials manufacturing industry whose mission is to fight regulatory restrictions, promote sustainability, educate influencers, and protect market share. In 2014, I wrote and executed the first integrated strategic marketing plan targeting consumers; it included digital advertising, social media, thought leadership, content marketing, PR, and a television celebrity spokesperson. The campaign ran for 6-months in both 2014 and 2015 and got some great results:
- Nearly doubled the click-through rate of our consumer advertising from 0.52% in 2014 to 1.00% in 2015 (note that the industry benchmark average for display ads in the U.S. Home Improvement vertical ranges from 0.03% to 0.06% ... just sayin')
- Increased traffic to the website by 190% from 2014 to 2015
- Reduced the cost of clicking through by nearly half in 2015 compared to 2014 ($1.32/visit versus $2.56/visit respectively)
- Increased content consumption of website resources by more than 96% in 2015
- More than 9% of the 255K+ site visitors (thru October) downloaded collateral
- Realized better than 8% return on investment advertising for page likes on Facebook
- More than 77.5K page fans in less than 2 years at less than $0.60/like — quality fans who engage at a rate of 9% – 13% on average each month
- Produced 8 videos in the last year for YouTube that have been viewed more than 190K times
- YouTube advertising generated 14.3% return on investment
- Successfully manage business relationships with vendors to ensure timely delivery of quality work product on budget
- Effectively manage in-house resources tasked with other communication tactics, like content development, constituent communications, PR, crisis, volunteer management, and other enterprise needs
2009 February - 2013 March
2010 - 2013 Managing Director
& Senior Vice President
2009 - 2010 Consultant
I oversaw DC operations and business development, as well as counseled C-Suite executives embroiled in high-stakes media coverage and other publicized adversarial attacks
- Regularly exposed media inaccuracies and journalist bias against my clients’ business interests and executives’ reputations
- Enlisted support from respected media critics and third-party experts
- Created communication platforms and resources for reporters, regulators, politicians, and other stakeholders seeking facts (issue microsites, blogs, testimonials, videos, white papers, Fiction v. Fact and “Myth Buster” tools, etc.)
- Used social media to challenge critics directly (tweeting, Facebook posts, Google ads)
- Oversaw adversarial research operations and developed strategic response plans
- Collaborated with legal teams on communication strategies
- Submitted FOIA requests
- Conducted media and message training
- Crisis work is often confidential; situations, tasks, actions, and results can be shared verbally, but not in writing
2001 September - 2009 April
APCO Worldwide provides strategic consulting services. During my tenure, I led the agency's multimillion-dollar marketing communications practice; provided
clients with short- and long-term integrated plans aligned
to business strategies; and motivated collaborative, cross-functional teams
to manage campaigns on time and on budget.
- Created spinoff brand for a $5 billion silicone supplier — included typography, imagery, tag line, messaging, packaging, and identity standards; strategy resulted in improved customer loyalty, thought leadership as a solutions provider (vs. chemical supplier), and increased revenue
- Rebranded a banking product to recapture 3% erosion in market share in three years; campaign exceeded goal and gained 11% share by tailoring communication strategies (different messages, images, and channels) to key audiences depending on their level of awareness
- Prepared a 20-year-old iconic brand for re-launch after a decade’s hiatus from any advertising; focused on repositioning consumer perceptions for the product as a “remedial” tool; engaged influential mommy bloggers, child development experts, and teachers throughout product development; developed a thought leadership strategy to promote (and familiarize influencers with) the product developers; widely pre-released elements of the learn-to-read system (songs, videos) on social media, all of which resulted in buzz, endorsement on opinion and review sites, media coverage, and new brand positioning known for helping children “get ahead”
- Built collaborative teams of PR and marketing communication professionals to seamlessly manage global clients and improve client satisfaction
- Won industry accolades like the Sabre Award and the Thoth Award Certificate of Excellence for Best Corporate Marketing Campaign (2008)
- Collaboratively worked with in-house practice experts to provide clients with research, creative design, digital platforms, and social media counsel to grow existing business
- Wrote, a lot — strategic plans, speeches for business leaders; communicating change to employees; converting technical jargon into readily understood copy; copy for websites that also optimize search; advertisements (print and digital); tweets and Facebook posts; blogs; sales collateral; direct mail pieces; press releases; industry presentations; new business proposals
American Red Cross
"Hillary and I worked closely together at APCO Worldwide for several years to help a major client build its brand and regain market share. She was creative, collaborative, and a great team player. She constantly showed that rare ability to be strong both at strategy and tactical execution. The client valued and trusted her judgment and her strategic marketing communications thinking." — Roger Lowe, Senior Vice President, Communications at American Red Cross
Chief Marketing Officer
"I worked with Hillary when our organization [Dow Corning] hired her firm [APCO Worldwide] for public relations and advertising and she is a top notch thinker and doer who gets results and stays within budget. She is very enjoyable to work with; she is creative, professional and very reliable. I would recommend Hillary to anyone seeking the services of a world class public relations professional." — Brian Chermside, Chief Marketing Officer, Dow Corning (retired)
Chief Operating Officer
"Hillary was instrumental in helping CounterPoint Strategies establish its DC office — from finding the location and overseeing its design and construction, to bringing on staff and managing their development. Hillary's leadership style was a role model for staff, not just in DC but New York as well; people genuinely enjoy working with her. Hillary empowered her colleagues by establishing clear performance expectations while providing appropriate oversight as needed." — Evelyn Calleja, Chief Operating Officer, CounterPoint Strategies
What I'm best at
Skills & Knowledge
Competencies and Values
Bachelor of Arts / Majors: Business and Philosophy
May 1988 with honors
HTML/CSS Page Development
(like what you see here)
ILR Level 5
ILR Level 2
Hobbies & Interests
Long hauls. Short excursions. Ambiguity drives.
The stronger, the better.
Well, let's just say eating in general. I can never resist a fresh market.
Out loud and often.
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Get in touch
There's a lot going on here, but it's not everything.
View my linked-in page
A small but powerful button connecting you to case studies and examples of previous work over the years.