“We not only know the right questions to ask, we provide answers that make sense.”
Melissa Schwartz joined The Bromwich Group as the Chief Operating Officer in April 2012. She has two decades of 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 has managed 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:
- 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 an organization;
- Facilitated communications strategies for coalitions that have spanned the globe;
- Provided strategic and tactical advice in the face of adverse media coverage;
- Led rapid response for beltway-focused advocacy efforts;
- Created diverse media strategies to complement litigation settlements; and
- Organized and directed media relations for major events.
In addition to an active portfolio of non-crisis related advocacy-focused projects, Ms. Schwartz manages a crisis communications practice and serves as spokesperson for clients dealing with regulatory, congressional and media investigations. Most recently, she has represented former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe and served on the media team supporting the testimony of Dr. Christine Blasey Ford as part of the confirmation hearings for now-Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh.
Ms. Schwartz has spent more than a decade working on issues of sexual and domestic violence. As a long-time consultant to the Joyful Heart Foundation – created by actor, producer and advocate Mariska Hargitay – she has led advocacy-focused media strategy and public relations since 2013, including managing a multi-year Executive and Legislative Branch-focused advocacy campaign to federally fund efforts to clear the nationwide rape kit backlog. She also served on the publicity team for the Emmy Award winning HBO Documentary I AM EVIDENCE on the topic. She has worked as a communications strategist for the NO MORE coalition, most notably as a spokesperson for the national “NO MORE” PSA series on domestic violence and sexual assault, which exceeded 3 billion media (broadcast, outdoor, print) impressions. She also developed a college campus tour for the Department of Justice to honor the 20th anniversary of the Violence Against Women Act.
Prior to joining The Bromwich Group, Ms. Schwartz spent seven years in the federal government. She was tapped by the Obama administration 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 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.
As Communications Advisor to U.S. 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 U.S. 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.
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. 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 government, 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 also spent several years in the nonprofit advocacy arena in Washington, D.C. and the San Francisco Bay Area.
Ms. Schwartz is an Adjunct Professor who teaches for Johns Hopkins University’s Master of Arts in Communication program in Washington, D.C. and the University of Washington’s Communication Leadership graduate program in Seattle. She has also provided instruction at the University of California, Washington Center. She has published chapters in PR News Guidebooks focused on PR Measurement, Crisis Management, Media Training, and Corporate Social Responsibility.
She earned her M.A. in Political Communications from Johns Hopkins University and a B.A. in American Studies from the University of California, Berkeley.