PORTLAND, OR—Waggener Edstrom Strategic Communications has formed a new public affairs practice has hired two senior vice presidents. Matthew Reid, formerly of Fleishman-Hillard, and Diane Aboulafia-D’Jaen, previously with APCO Worldwide, have joined the agency to build the new practice from the ground up, leading initiatives for existing agency clients.
“Matt and Diane bring decades of combined experience and immediate power to our new public affairs efforts, on both a domestic and international level,” says Melissa Waggener Zorkin, founder, president and CEO of Waggener Edstrom. “They will provide a valuable resource for our clients as we work with public leaders and their constituents around the world.”
Aboulafia-D’Jaen will focus on the development of international public affairs work. At APCO she handled corporate communications and reputation management programs, advising clients on effective communication strategies for mergers and acquisitions, corporate positioning, and international media relations.
Reid will focus on developing the agency’s U.S. public affairs presence. He brings to Waggener Edstrom an array of experience in government affairs, corporate communications, corporate reputation management and issues management for some of the world’s leading companies and brands. He has held senior public affairs and corporate communications positions with Fleishman-Hillard, GCI Group and San Francisco-based Kamer-Singer & Associates.
“This is an opportunity to help some of the world’s best companies tackle issues that affect many different industries,” Aboulafia-D’Jaen says. “Companies understand that by working with government, nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) and other stakeholders, they can help develop policies that contribute to economic development and the well-being of employees and customers in the countries where they operate.”
For years, technology companies ignored the public affairs realm, but in recent years they have been more active participants in the political process, concerned about issues ranging from Internet privacy to immigration. Several tech PR firms, including Brodeur Worldwide, FitzGerald Communications, and most recently start-up Shift Communications, have opened Washington offices to assist them in managing those issues.