August 02, 2011

Top DHS Flack Smith Joins Porter Novelli

Sean Smith, the outgoing Assistant Secretary for Public Affairs at the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has joined international PR firm Porter Novelli as Senior Vice President on the firm’s global crisis communications team.

Porter Novelli While at DHS, Smith was responsible for developing and implementing the department’s strategic communications initiatives and major Department activities. Smith managed a 300-person public affairs staff at a diverse array of agencies under DHS including the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), the U.S. Coast Guard, the U.S. Secret Service, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA), Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).

Sean Smith Smith will report to Kiki McLean, the agency’s global head of public affairs, and will divide his time between Porter Novelli’s Washington, D.C. and New York offices, providing service to Porter Novelli’s global network.

While at DHS, Smith helped lead the Obama administration’s public response to the H1N1 outbreak, border violence in Mexico, attempted terrorist attacks, the Gulf of Mexico Oil Spill and dozens of other breaking news incidents. Additionally, he initiated the administration's effort to update the formal system of communicating to the American people in times of a national incident, specifically the elimination of outdated color coded threat warnings and the implementation of a new system based on real-time alerts to communicate specific, actionable information. 

Prior to joining DHS, Smith served as a spokesman for then Sen. Barack Obama’s (D-IL) 2008 presidential campaign and spent the general election as the Communications Director for Pennsylvania. Over the past 15 years, he has served as Communications Director and Campaign Manager for other statewide campaigns and as a consultant to dozens of clients. His experience includes working with major multinational corporations in the banking, insurance, chemical and telecommunications sectors, national and international non-profits, trade associates, labor unions and issues campaigns.

Smith earned his M.A. in public administration from Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government, and his B.S. in political science from the University of Oregon. He has lectured at the United States Military Academy at West Point and Johns Hopkins University, and currently teaches at Yale University.  (PF tipster)

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