Strategic Partnerships; Strategic Insights


Bringing Work/Life Balance Into The Workplace

By Rhonda Poirier, Managing Senior Partner

There’s good news this week for the laboring masses, which is just about everyone in my estimation. “Simple pleasures,” defined as socializing, good food, entertainment and romance, to name just a few, facilitate goal achievement and can even negate the effect of those petty annoyances we encounter every day.  It’s true, according to a study reported in the Journal of the Association for Consumer Research by researchers from the University of Houston Bauer School of Business and the University of Cologne Social Cognition Center. Of course, the research findings are much more specific and nuanced. There’s a very nice summary of the findings, and the interpretative limitations, at

Imagine the possibilities if these research findings were to become widely embraced in the workplace. We might find agility derbies for our canine-buddies in the hallways, weekly open-mic stand-up comedy opportunities, movie afternoons, and virtual reality arcades in every business and industry. Slow adopters might start with bright, comfortable and inviting break rooms designed for socialization and chock full of catered goodies. The early adopters would quickly add shopping to their employee benefits package. This very entertaining and therapeutic pastime would garner paid time off and mental health coverage. I could go on and on. Working remotely could quickly become a thing of the past – who would opt to work from home when the office offers so much?

The ROI for this new investment in “simple pleasures” work environments? Nothing less than hockey stick growth curves for business and industry as employees achieve work objectives at the speed of light. And just think what might be accomplished with the feds working at lightspeed.

Such imaginings far exceed the interpretative limitations of the research to be sure. Though I found them to be quite entertaining and now, suddenly, I have a tremendous urge to get back to work! I think I’m off to a good start for 2017. Happy New Year!




Happy Holidays and Happy New Year!

Happy New Year to all of our Senior Partners! We hope you have a lovely, relaxing holiday season and are getting ready to embark on another busy (and prosperous) new year.

I first want to send my sincere thanks to all of you that made 2016 such a success for SP Consulting. I’m pleased to share that 2016 was a banner year for our firm, as SP experienced our largest growth in revenue ever in our 38-year history. We’re pleased with the diversity of truly reputable brands that we on-boarded this year, including athenahealth, Johns Hopkins Medicine, the National Park Foundation, Nugget Markets, Trust for the National Mall, and more.

We also expanded our roster of talented Senior Partners across the country. Our approach to recruitment is to leverage our network – our colleagues have been instrumental in attracting the best and the brightest to our firm. We’re proud to have galvanized such a diverse and strategic team, who possess strong experience across key industries – from healthcare and government to tech and beyond.  As we’ve grown our bench strength over the past 12 months, we’ve been able to deploy cross-functional account teams that can provide smart, thoughtful strategies and then skillfully implement customized campaigns to help each client reach their specific goals.

Our vision for the future is to continue crushing the competition and setting a new standard for high-end consulting services. Now that we have the reach, talent and experience across our service offerings – and the nation – we’re ready to take the next big leap in our evolution. We will continue doing great work for select clients that we’re passionate about serving. We will continue attracting talented, experienced Senior Partners as we expand and strengthen our network across our Centers of Excellence. We will continue collaborating with those who take their work seriously – but not themselves. We love challenges – and this is tough business – but nobody said we can’t have some fun along the way, too.

As our colleagues nationwide know, there’s a special satisfaction that comes from making a measurable difference.  Let’s continue our upward trajectory – the sky’s the limit in the new year.



SP Spotlight: Irakli Alasania



Irakli meeting Georgian military cadets

  1. How did you connect with SP Consulting?
    • I have known Paul Johnson and Lincoln Mitchell from my previous experience in the 2012 election campaign in Georgia.
  1. What drew you to SP versus joining other firms or agencies?
    • Reputation, professionalism based on a firm moral foundation.

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Senior Partner Sue Schram Featured in AAA Photography Contest


Photo by Sue Schram

We are excited to announce that Senior Partner Dr. Sue Schram is featured in the 2016 AAA World Photo Contest. Her image, titled “Feeling Blue,” is one of five finalists competing in the People category. With nearly 4,000 entries, Sue’s image has stood out with its vibrant blues circling throught the photograph. In Sue’s words:

“This photo was taken while walking through Chefchaouen, Morocco. This hill town has wonderful architecture, but is most famous for the medina walls that are painted a variety of shades of blue and/or white. Local “lore” says that the color was the idea of Jewish refugees in 1930, who considered blue to symbolize the sky and heaven. They also believed that the color blue would repel mosquitoes, which dislike clear and moving water.

It is not difficult to take interesting photos in Chefchaouen. I just happened to turn around and this woman was coming out of her door, seemingly dressed to match the town! Someone was moving toward her to help her down the stairs but I snapped this just in time!”

Please be sure to vote for Sue’s photo by going to the AAA photo website and selecting “Click to Vote.” Then select the image titled, People 5! We encourage you to share with friends and family. Way to go, Sue!



Memorializing General George Washington’s Gallant Charge

SP Consulting (SPC) continues to assist preservation groups fighting to protect a historically significant Revolutionary War battlefield in Princeton, New Jersey, from destruction. Recently, SPC was able to persuade a powerful ally to join the fight.


On September 1, 2016, the Philadelphia Inquirer editorial board weighed-in with an editorial titled “George’s gem worth saving” regarding the preservation fight over Maxwell’s Field adjoining the Princeton Battlefield State Park. The field is where then-General George Washington led a daring and decisive charge that turned the tide, not only of the battle, but also that of the Revolution: Only weeks earlier, the war was thought to be irreversibly lost.

SPC reached out to the Philadelphia Inquirer to make a case for the paper to editorialize in support of preservation noting the historical significance of the site, the paper’s close proximity to Princeton and the editorial board’s prior work taking positions on issues related to the Gettysburg battlefield. SPC assisted the paper in securing the information needed to take an editorial position.

At issue is a faculty housing project under development on the land by the Institute for Advanced Studies (IAS) – which is not affiliated with Princeton University. The IAS continues to bulldoze earth and build on the site and continues to ignore pleas from local and national preservation groups and historians to halt construction and sell the land at a premium price to preserve the treasured site.

Earlier in the summer, SPC was also able to secure valuable placement of a guest commentary – “The new battle of Princeton” – that the Philadelphia Inquirer graciously ran July 7. That piece provided the historical context of the Battle of Princeton during the Revolution and the current battle underway to preserve the site. Join the fight to save this historic site!


SP Spotlight: Meet the Summer Associates

This summer, SP Consulting was lucky to work with 3 rock star summer associates: Kelly, Suzanne, and Anna in our Washington, D.C. office. Through record heatwaves (up to 113 degrees with humidity!), a surge of D.C.’s subway shutdowns, and a fiery political race for the White House, our summer associates made the most of their 3 months with SP. Get to know who they are, what they gained from their experience with SP, and what else they’ve been up to this summer.




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JAG Finds Success for Opportunity Youth

By Kathleen McDonnell, Program Manager, Jobs for America’s Graduates


How do you define success? Reaching a goal? Breaking a record?

At Jobs for America’s Graduates (JAG), we define success as consistency. For the past 36 years, JAG has consistently achieved 90% graduation rates for one of the most challenged populations of students, those who face multiple barriers to high school graduation. This year, not only did JAG reach its graduation goal across our national network, but we also set a new record of achieving our “5 of 5” award for the first time on the national level. “5 of 5” is given to programs that reach high standards for graduation, post-graduation employment, and post-secondary educational enrollment. JAG has collected performance outcomes for our national network of affiliates at the close of each 12-month follow-up period (a full year after students graduate from high school) and, since 1981, the JAG model has ensured that high risk high school students receive the support needed to turn their academics and career pathways toward success.



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Snapchat Earns a Gold Medal

While the upcoming Summer Olympics in Rio, Brazil have gained an unusual amount of less-than-positive media around issues like the Zika outbreak and banning of the Russian track and field team, one news cycle marketers may have missed is the partnership between Snapchat (and BuzzFeed) and the 2016 Summer Olympics.


Some may argue that platforms like Twitter and Instagram would better service the needs of brands during the Olympic Games due to their number of users, demographics, and user experience; however, in early June, it was reported that Snapchat surpassed Twitter (and Instagram) in the number of daily users to over 150 million. As Twitter is slowly declining in active users, Snapchat is becoming a platform that can’t be (and shouldn’t be) ignored anymore.

BuzzFeed earned a major win in this partnership as well due to (major Buzzfeed investor) NBCUniversal’s exclusive U.S. distribution rights to the Olympics. It’s in both NBC and BuzzFeed’s best interests to partner together and be able to produce and share quality content due to the fact that BuzzFeed is currently receiving seven billion monthly global content views, 70% of which come from mobile devices and 75% from social platforms.


How will Snapchat affect Olympic viewership? What about audience reach and diversifying? However the data plays out, this will definitely alter how agencies and brands strategize, target, produce, and distribute content in the very near future.


Big Pharma and Co-Pay Charities: No good deed goes unpunished…or is it pay to play?

By Erik Foehr, Ph.D.


Picture13Pharmaceutical companies cultivate relationships with non-profits and patient advocacy groups. These so-called co-pay charities help get patients access to important medicines. They provide assistance to pay for the initial prescription co-pay and access to government and private drug program benefits. However, these programs often result in taxpayers (via Medicare) paying drug companies huge sums of money and may be one of the reasons why drug prices continue to skyrocket. The federal government took notice and recently subpoenaed several drug companies and charities. What can charities, pharma companies, and taxpayers do?

Prescription medicines are of central importance to managing disease. However, over 50 million Americans still lack health insurance and, many who have it, do not have prescription drug coverage. In 2003 Congress expanded Medicare to cover prescription drugs. Drug companies can help patients afford pricey prescriptions via discount cards and, if they are on Medicare, they need to utilize charities to gain access to pharmaceuticals. These changes kicked off a rapid expansion in prescription assistance programs and co-pay charities.

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The Star [SP]angled Banner!

How did SP Senior Partners around the country celebrate the Fourth of July? With festivities like parades, fireworks, and time spent with family and friends of course! See how staff, Senior Partners and even our CEO, Paul Johnson, spent their time enjoying the holiday weekend.

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