Holmes Report 01 Dec 2011 // 12:00AM GMT
Michael Gordon founded Group Gordon six years ago after a diverse career spanning politics, communications and law, serving in the Clinton Administration as spokesperson for Attorney General Janet Reno and as a special assistant on education policy. The diversity of his background is reflected in the difficult-to-pigeonhole nature of the firm’s work. Group Gordon works across the corporate and financial, public affairs and crisis communications categories, but is differentiated more by its approach than by its practice areas.
Every client engagement begins with comprehensive due diligence, including interviews with principals and stakeholders, review of business plans and other key documents, media audits, industry analyses and messaging. That strategic preparation informs all subsequent work, keeping efforts in sync and on message. With a client service ethos that balances strategy and execution and focuses relentlessly on business results, the firm has developed strong relationships with clients in categories including asset management, law, professional services, real estate, Internet, microfinance, education policy and affordable housing.
Gordon’s leadership team comes from a similarly diverse and non-traditional background. Principal and chief operating officer Jeremy Robinson-Leon has a background that spans corporate and public policy roles—he came to GG from Enterprise, a leading financier of affordable housing and a longtime client—and expertise in traditional and social media, as well as crisis communications. New additions in 2010 included Alexis Stoller, former consultant to the Democratic Attorneys General Association, the Democratic Leadership Council, Mark Warner for Senate, and Katharine Walker, formerly marketing director for a green tech company, and now head of social media for the firm.
Fee income was up by about a third in 2010, thanks to continuing work for Tilson Funds, a value-based family of investment funds; equity management firm Gotham Asset Management; L+M Development Partners, a leader and innovator in real estate; Enterprise Communities, a leading provider of development capital and expertise for affordable homes; Acumen Fund, a nonprofit global venture fund; and online charity DonorsChoose.org. New business, meanwhile, came from Ropes & Gray, a leading global law firm; Hudson Clean Energy Partners, a global private equity firm; Foundation Source, a leading provider of support services for private foundations; Magnitude Capital, a financial services firm that manages over $2.1 billion in assets; American Human Development Project, a nonprofit organization that developed a proprietary Index to supplement the GDP as a leading indicator of America’s well-being; and Plastic Jungle, the web’s largest secured gift card exchange.
Among highlights from the firm’s 2010 work: L+M Development Partners was featured in top tier national and local outlets, including major pieces in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, NY Daily News, and many real estate trades; New York Lawyers for the Public Interest brought suit against New York City to force the removal of toxic chemicals found in public schools, supported by Gordon’s efforts to highlight the dangers of PCBs and bring pressure to bear on the Bloomberg administration; and the firm helped launch of the American Human Development Project’s second report, The Measure of America, which ranks well-being in America by Congressional district.
“When we needed to reach policymakers, thought leaders and advocates, we called Group Gordon,” says Sarah Burd-Sharps, co-director of the American Human Development Project. “Their sophisticated understanding of health, education and economic issues was instrumental in raising our profile and making our work integral to the national agenda.” Adds Whitney Tilson, managing partner of T2 Partners and Tilson Mutual Funds: “Group Gordon is the best at what they do, period. They are aggressive, smart and their understanding of financial markets gets results that matter for my businesses.”