“We not only know the right questions to ask, we provide answers that make sense.”
Melissa Schwartz joined The Bromwich Group as the Vice President for Strategy and External Affairs in April 2012. Ms. Schwartz has significant strategic and crisis communications experience in government, the private sector, and at nonprofit organizations. She has developed and implemented strategic communications planning on local, state, federal and international levels. In addition to her communications experience, Ms. Schwartz has substantial expertise in media training, message development, and media relations.
At The Bromwich Group, Ms. Schwartz manages an active portfolio of clients including private companies; local, federal and international governmental entities; nonprofit organizations; and individuals at risk of grave reputational harm. She has:
- Provided strategic and tactical advice in the face of adverse media coverage;
- Served as spokesperson for clients dealing with regulatory and congressional investigations;
- Developed comprehensive communications plans, messaging and materials for large-scale communications initiatives;
- Built and implemented media, internal, external and online communication and outreach strategies to tell a client’s story and shape public perception of the organization;
- Created diverse media strategies to complement litigation settlements; and
- Organized and directed media relations in connection with events.
Ms. Schwartz was tapped to manage crisis communications for the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement (formerly the Minerals Management Service), the federal agency responsible for the regulation and oversight of offshore drilling in U.S. federal waters, following the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill and subsequent reorganization into three independent bureaus.
As Deputy Chief of Staff and Communications Director, she served as senior advisor to then-Bureau Director Michael R. Bromwich, facilitating stakeholder, press, congressional and online communication and outreach strategies structured to restore the public’s confidence in the offshore regulator, while also rehabilitating bureau morale in the wake of significant media, congressional and public criticism. This included a focus on community engagement in Gulf of Mexico communities including New Orleans and Lafayette, La., Mobile, Ala., Pensacola, Fla., Biloxi, Miss., and Houston.
As Communications Advisor to Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar following the successful reorganization of the bureau, Ms. Schwartz continued to serve as the department’s spokesperson for offshore oil, gas and renewable energy issues. She managed the external and public affairs portfolios for the bureaus to succeed BOEMRE – the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management and the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement – including national media, congressional and international communication and outreach strategies.
Previously, Ms. Schwartz was the Senior Public Affairs Officer at the Department of Justice. Her portfolio included serving as advisor to Associate Attorney General Thomas Perrelli, primary liaison and national spokesperson for the 94 U.S. Attorneys’ offices, and agency spokesperson on political nominee confirmations, budget and appropriations. She also managed public affairs for agency-wide initiatives including the 15th anniversary of the Violence Against Women Act, the department’s tribal justice initiative, and joint task forces on Healthcare Fraud and Puerto Rico’s legal status.
Prior to her work in the Obama Administration, Ms. Schwartz served as a Vice President in the D.C. offices of Powell Tate | Weber Shandwick, providing strategic communications counsel for nonprofit clients, including the Thomas Jefferson Foundation at Monticello, Corporation for Public Broadcasting, and Best Buy Children’s Foundation.
She spent more than three years as Communications Director to U.S. Senator Barbara A. Mikulski, serving as chief spokesperson and media strategist for the senior woman in the U.S. Senate. As a member of the Senator’s senior staff, Ms. Schwartz developed and executed strategic plans to maximize coverage in national, local and specialty media markets, and worked to coordinate long-term message strategy and integration of legislative goals. Ms. Schwartz also coordinated major media opportunities for the “Women of the Senate,” including the launch of the Checklist for Change, their appearance at the 2008 Democratic National Convention, and joint interviews on Good Morning America and Larry King Live.
Prior to her work in the U.S. Senate, Ms. Schwartz spent several years in the nonprofit advocacy arena.
Ms. Schwartz is an Adjunct Professor who has provided instruction at Johns Hopkins University’s Master of Arts in Communication program and the University of California, Washington Center. She is a regular speaker on panels for young professional audiences on topics ranging from career and professional development to public affairs and crisis communication. She has published chapters in PR News Guidebooks focused on PR Measurement, Crisis Management, and Media Training. She also writes a column for the Huffington Post.
Ms. Schwartz earned her M.A. in Political Communications from Johns Hopkins University and a B.A. in American Studies from the University of California, Berkeley.