Category: SP Consulting


Introducing the SP Consulting Executive Committee

SP Consulting has added a number of extraordinary clients to its roster over the last three months.  One of the most striking features of the most successful companies and organizations on this list is the quality of their people – smart, dedicated and passionate employees always seem to be the foundation of our most outstanding clients.

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Lincoln Mitchell discusses latest book, “Will Big League Baseball Survive?: Globalization, the End of Television, Youth Sports, and the Future of Major League Baseball” in San Francisco

On Friday, January 27 at 7:00pm, SP Consulting Senior Partner and international political development expert Lincoln Mitchell, Ph.D., will discuss his latest book, Will Big League Baseball Survive?: Globalization, the End of Television, Youth Sports, and the Future of Major League Baseball at the SF Baseball Academy (SFBA) at 3010 Geary Blvd, San Francisco, CA 94118.

Dr. Mitchell’s most recent book analyzes Major League Baseball’s economic, social, and media
structures within the United
States. As the game develops beyond North America and media consumption evolves, will baseball continue in its current form as a growing global empire that offers a monopoly in the United States?

In addition to being a seasoned Senior Partner with SP Consulting and a lifelong devotee to baseball, Dr. Mitchell specializes in global democracy and governance related issues, with a specific emphasis on the former Soviet Union and Eastern Europe. Dr. Mitchell most recently served as the national political correspondent for The New York Observer until 2016 and from 2006-2013 was on the faculty of Columbia University’s School of International Affairs.

This event is free and open to the public. To RSVP and learn more information about this exciting event, please email Dr. Mitchell directly at



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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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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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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A Marathon, Not a Sprint: SP’s Nicole Duritz Discusses the Importance of Setting Goals and Teamwork

By Nicole Duritz


Gmas and Nsd at Grandmas copy

I ran my first two marathons in 1999 and 2000, then I got married and had twin boys. My life got a little crazy and as a working mom, I had to fit in my exercise where I could. I woke up at 4:00 AM and rode a stationary bike in my basement. I started distance running again in 2007 when the boys were five but didn’t enter a race until 2010.  My first race was the 2010 GW Parkway Classic 10 miler. I was 44 years old and I set my sights on another marathon. I decided to wait until my boys were a bit older and I decided on 2016 to celebrate my 50th birthday.

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From His POV: SP Consulting’s Eric Lee Runs in MuckFest MS

On June 4, SP Consulting Digital Marketing Associate Eric Lee ran in the Philadelphia MuckFest MS 5 kilometer run benefitting the National Multiple Sclerosis Society. While a 5K run may not sound too difficult, the biggest challenge is that the course is full of other runners, big obstacles, and mud. Lots of mud. With his GoPro Hero4 Silver strapped to his chest and along for the ride, Eric provides us with a unique perspective of his incredible journey through 5km of flying mud action.

As Eric tells it, “While running the mud run was exhilarating and an intense physical challenge, ultimately it was knowing that my participation helped raise awareness and fundraising to find better treatments and, one day, a cure for those with MS that made this experience so worthwhile.” Way to go, Eric!



Adrienne Walkowiak: New Hampshirite, PR Pro, and Soccer Mom

  1.  How did you connect with SP Consulting?
    • I previously worked with Paul Johnson at FleishmanHillard (FH) and had a wonderful experience. I left FH when I moved to New Hampshire and, after working as the Director of Marketing and Public Affairs for a large hospital/health system in New Hampshire and then for a smaller local communications agency, I opened my own marketing/PR consulting firm, Adrienne Walkowiak Marketing (nine years ago now). Recently, when a project wrapped up and I had bandwidth to take on more work, I re-connected with Paul and we were both excited to collaborate again.
  2. What drew you to SP versus joining other firms or agencies?
    • Honestly, it was Paul that drew me to SP. I know from experience that he is smart, effective, and good at what he does. I saw him in action at FH and know he’s the real deal. He’s passionate about winning new business, building a strong roster of talent, getting positive results, and providing clients with exceptional service. When he was at the helm at FH, it was pretty magical – we were winning great accounts, growing the company, hiring super talented people, and executing strategic campaigns. At the time, under his leadership, FH was a really exciting, dynamic place to work.After talking to Paul about the SP business model, which would allow me to work on interesting projects with a talented team of experienced professionals – virtually from my office in New Hampshire – it seemed like the perfect fit. This opportunity will give me the best of both worlds – the “big city agency” experience from my small town in NH.
  3. What prior role or professional achievement are you most proud of and want to make the SP community knows about?
    • Working on the AARP re-branding campaign was probably the most fulfilling project of my career. I was an integral part of the team that helped transition AARP from “oh my gosh, I’m so depressed that I just got my AARP card in the mail and now I feel so old,” to a more dynamic, exciting organization targeting the 50+ population. As part of this project, which aimed to make AARP more relevant and appealing to the younger Boomer demographic, I managed a 10-city triathlon tour for people 50+, which was an overwhelming success. We secured a tremendous amount of positive media, including stories in top outlets like the Today Show and The New York Times, and we also enriched the lives of people who participated in the event. Many of our participants had never done a triathlon – or any road race – in their lives, but with the training and support from the AARP, they participated in their first one at age 50, or 60 – even 70 or 80. It was very inspirational.
    • I also worked on a speakers’ bureau, where we identified and promoted amazing people – all 50+ – and had them speak at various venues about their experiences.  I had the privilege of working with a 75-year-old trapeze artist, a 60 year old nomad and others, who were living unique and interesting lives.

      Adrienne with her husband and two daughters in New Hampshire

      Additionally, I helped identify inspirational older adults who were living life on their own terms – re-careering in their 50’s, adopting babies later in life, climbing mountains, etc. These people were featured in an ad campaign that was totally unlike anything AARP had ever done before. We wrapped the AARP HQ building with giant photos of these diverse individuals and the unveiling of the building in the middle of downtown DC was one of those powerful, I-have-the-chills moments.The entire campaign was exciting and a completely new approach for AARP, and it was wonderful to be a part of that. While working on this robust, multi-faceted initiative, I was able to use my strengths and experience – media outreach, branding, writing, event planning – to contribute to the campaign’s success.

  4. Have you been working in the same career field the majority of your career or have you experienced a variety of professional fields?
    • I’ve worked in PR/marketing for my entire career. It suits me – I love the fast-paced world, where every day is different. I like the challenge of creating customized, strategic plans for each client, and figuring out how to build a “buzz” for them.
    • After graduating from Boston University, I worked for Collegiate Advantage, organizing and promoting events on college campuses, which the best job ever in my early/mid 20’s! From an early point in my career, I was fortunate to work with major clients like Reebok, Sprint, Timberland and Rolling Stone Magazine on marketing/PR efforts targeting the college demographic. From there, I worked in entertainment PR for several years, representing major movie studios like Columbia Pictures, Paramount Pictures, New Line Cinemas and Fox Searchlight.  I organized/managed press junkets, held movie screenings, worked with regional media, and took celebrities to their DC interviews, movie premieres and other events.
    • Then I joined the FH team, where I managed projects for major clients like AARP, the United States Mint and Vision Council of America. In addition to working on the AARP re-branding campaign, I helped launch the U.S. Mint’s Golden Dollar, through a variety of initiatives, including securing a Golden Dollar float in the Macy*s Thanksgiving Day Parade, coin giveaways in major cities nationwide, and a huge media campaign. I also worked on the Vision Council of America, promoting eye care and eyewear, managing Jeopardy! host Alex Trebek as the company’s celebrity spokesperson, spearheading editors’ events in NYC to spotlight eyewear, conducting “eyewear makeovers” as a publicity stunt, and conducting ongoing media outreach.
    • When I moved to NH in 2003, I worked as the Director of Marketing and Public Affairs for a large hospital/health system before opening my own consulting business. And now I’m thrilled to join the SP team as a Senior Partner!
  5. What are three words you would use to describe your personality?
    • Um… dazzling, goddess, perfect?? OK, just kidding. I’d say determined, persistent, and funny.


      Adrienne with her daughters during the Holidays!

  1. If you could go back 20 years and give yourself advice, what would you tell yourself and why?
    • I think I’d tell myself to relax and enjoy the ride. Like many Type-A people, I’ve always looked ahead at the next milestone, striving for the next promotion, and working very long, stressful hours. Now, in my mid-40’s, I still work hard and deliver great results, but I try not to be as stressed about things like office politics. I also make it a point to enjoy time away from work – spending time with my family and friends, getting outside, etc. My younger self could have used more downtime.
  2. What do typical weekends look like for you?
    • So. Much. Soccer. I have two active daughters, ages 10 and 12, and they are heavily involved in sports. They both play soccer on multiple teams.  In fact, this fall, my older daughter, Julia, was on three different soccer teams, which was complete insanity! They both also play softball, which consumes each spring. My younger daughter, Emma, is on a competitive jump rope team, which travels around New England for shows and competitions. As if that wasn’t enough, Emma recently started golf lessons, with the goal of becoming a better golfer than my husband. There are constantly games, practices, and carpools. Besides driving kids places, I enjoy spending time with family and friends. Last weekend, we skipped all of the sports and spent a few days with close friends up in the White Mountains, where we hiked, took the girls zip-lining, and played mini golf/laser tag with the kids. While that might not have been a “typical” weekend, it was definitely a lot of fun.