Spitfire Strategies

Spitfire Spotlight: Sydney McKenney

Where were you before Spitfire?bio-pic-template

I was trying to gain as much experience working with different nonprofits and issues as possible – the most exciting of which was probably the year I spent as a program director with Manna Project International in Ecuador. This holistic, service-based nonprofit taught me a lot about expanding an organization by focusing on how to define our objectives and our role in the community. As a director, I was able to do everything from international public relations to teaching nutrition to children. During my time in Ecuador, some of my favorite things were coordinating our volunteers, teaching English, salsa dancing (with very little grace) and eating copious amounts of fresh avocado.

As an intern at Spitfire, you went through our Communications Bootcamp. What “Friend of Spitfire” did you work with? 

Bootcamp is definitely the appropriate term. During Bootcamp, I worked with the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) to develop a communication plan designed to reconstruct their messaging in target states. Wind energy was a completely new issue to me but it was great to learn so much about the debate and players in this space.

When developing a messaging platform, we wanted to hone in on the many positive benefits of wind energy for local communications and the environment as a whole. Bootcamp was also a powerful learning experience in developing a communication plan all the way from the initial researching stage to the final messaging platform.

What issues motivate you to spark change?

One thing I have loved about working at Spitfire is that I am constantly finding new issues I am passionate about! Just this week I discovered the importance of creating and maintaining wetlands along the coast of Louisiana. A few months ago I was introduced to the many aspects of internet freedom and how important they will be in shaping communication and privacy rights for the future.

After graduating from James Madison University in 2013, I was very focused on international human rights and international law, but when I was working in South America I learned a great deal about the importance of access to quality education, access to health care and gender equality. Since beginning with Spitfire, I have loved continuing my work on many of these issues while also expanding my knowledge on environmental issues, education standards and more.

Favorite Movie:

While I’m tempted to say the “Princess Bride,” “Back to the Future” and, of course, “Titanic,” I will go with: “Good Will Hunting.” My favorite line? “Your move, chief.”  

“This truly is the gold standard of executive training.  I have benefited greatly.”

- Roland Stringfellow, Director of Ministerial Outreach, Center for Lesbian and Gay Studies

Getting Your Story Covered: Tips for Top-Notch Media Pitching Part Two

Mike Carter-Conneen

By Mike Carter-Conneen
Director

  In the first installment of this two-part series, I shared some insights from my years working in TV news and media relations, focusing on the best methods to get your pitches seen by reporters. In this part, I review some strategies for increasing the odds those reporters will actually… (read more)

Making Your Pitches Count: Tips for Top-Notch Media Pitching Part Three

Hannah Ross

By Hannah Ross
Account Executive

  Communication professionals are no strangers to the challenges that journalists are facing today, from the demands of the 24-hour news cycle to budget shortfalls and understaffed newsrooms. We respect them for their tenacity and commitment to uncovering the truth, and we value being able to build relationships with them… (read more)

Finding the Words to Champion the Greater Good

Kristen Grimm

By Kristen Grimm
President

  An interest in politics isn’t new to Paige Swanson, a Karel Fellow who is working at Spitfire this summer before returning to Yale University for her senior year. But what is new to Paige is using strategic communication to make the case for political and social change. “I’ve worked… (read more)

Sign up to receive Spitfire Sparks

You’ll receive our latest smarts on the causes you care about and updates on our free tools.