As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up? Brenda Starr, star reporter.  She had a fabulous big city newsroom job, adventurous assignments, and, oh yes, the mysterious Black Orchid guy. 


Proudest career accomplishment: Forging long lasting client relationships that have made our clients shine and helped our firm grow dramatically in size and revenue; rebranding an entire federal agency (really!); and leading communication efforts that helped pass an increase in the minimum wage, helping millions of working families.

 

 

Biggest “aha” moment: The story-telling ability you hone as a reporter translates into so many opportunities outside the newsroom. 


Previous work experience: Packing donuts, bartender, rock concert support, radio/TV reporter in Washington, U.S. Senate leadership staff, and communications advisor in Clinton Administration. You decide what’s most relevant to today’s work.

Debra Silimeo

Debra is the leader you want around when the pressure is on. A strategist who works best under the gun, she has a keen eye towards the big picture and an unflappable quality that guarantees success. Never one to take herself too seriously, you can always count on Debra to lighten the mood and make a tense situation much more enjoyable.

As Executive Vice President of Hager Sharp, Debra designs and manages large-scale national communications efforts including message development, creative, media and social media strategy, and working with policymakers and thought leaders.  She’s played a major role in the firm’s management and growth, building an education team that continually delivers outstanding results for clients such as the National Assessment of Educational Progress, widely called “the Nation’s Report Card.” The revamped “report card” has won top national awards, as have related outreach materials and strategies, and high school student participation in the assessment rose 13 percentage points. Debra also provides strategic counsel for a range of clients, including the US Department of Health and Human Services’ Office on Women’s Health.

Debra brings a reporter’s eye for news to her work at Hager Sharp, and high-level experience in public policy communications. She led communications at two Cabinet-level agencies: the Commerce Department during the highly contentious US-China trade agreement; and the Small Business Administration, where she led a re-brand of the agency.  As a member of the Senate Leadership staff, she organized communication activities involving the President, Cabinet members, and Congressional Leaders. She was a Bagehot Fellow at Columbia —the country’s leading fellowship for business and economics journalism. She was recently recognized by Washington Women in Public Relations as the PR “Woman of the Year.”

As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up? Brenda Starr, star reporter.  She had a fabulous big city newsroom job, adventurous assignments, and, oh yes, the mysterious Black Orchid guy. 


Proudest career accomplishment: Forging long lasting client relationships that have made our clients shine and helped our firm grow dramatically in size and revenue; rebranding an entire federal agency (really!); and leading communication efforts that helped pass an increase in the minimum wage, helping millions of working families.

 

 

Biggest “aha” moment: The story-telling ability you hone as a reporter translates into so many opportunities outside the newsroom. 


Previous work experience: Packing donuts, bartender, rock concert support, radio/TV reporter in Washington, U.S. Senate leadership staff, and communications advisor in Clinton Administration. You decide what’s most relevant to today’s work.