About The Zoldak Agency
After a decade in the public relations agency world, Sue Zoldak founded The Zoldak Agency in 2014 to provide individualized consulting services. The Zoldak Agency serves organizations, trade associations, grassroots coalitions, and campaigns to further their communications and outreach goals.
About Sue Zoldak
Who knew that the effort to pass comprehensive health care reform in the early ‘90’s would become a pivotal event for Sue Zoldak? Here’s the story. While studying for her Master’s degree, Sue ran into the case study of “Harry and Louise” as part of her coursework. Intrigued by the fictional couple whose television ads are credited with launching the genre of advocacy advertising, Sue sought out the creator, Ben Goddard, for an internship at his public affairs firm. Sue had one goal in mind – to learn about issue advocacy and marry her passion for advertising and public policy. The rest is history.
Rising quickly in her field, Sue went from intern to Vice President at Goddard Claussen. In the interim, Sue led award-winning teams of strategic and creative talent for clients in industries including pharmaceuticals, transportation, energy, education, health care, consumer electronics, and food and beverage. In 2009 and 2010, Sue’s stewardship of the “Harry and Louise” brand led her to manage two new ad campaigns as the public policy pop icons advocated for health care reform the second time around. Sue modernized Harry and Louise by launching Twitter and Facebook campaigns, resulting in a National Journal interview for the article, “Mystery of who tweets for Harry and Louise solved.”
Next, Sue Zoldak was a Senior Vice President at Adfero Group, a Washington, DC strategic communications firm. In that post, she led business development efforts and was a key member of the senior leadership team. During her tenure, the staff grew from 18 to over 30 team members. She led efforts for major trade associations, government contracts, and grassroots advocacy campaigns.
Sue creates ground-breaking digital and social media campaigns, builds grassroots coalitions, and provides leading-edge advertising and media strategy. She succeeds by bringing a Madison Avenue mentality to public affairs, unafraid to bring uncommon ideas to the table. Determined to get inside the mind of audiences and find out what gets them to act, Sue tirelessly seeks to deploy the right tools, but only as part of a sound strategy.
Sue earned a Master’s degree in Public Policy from the Georgetown Public Policy Institute. She earned a B.A. in Economics from the University of Michigan, where she also completed the Teaching Certification program in Secondary School Mathematics. She considers Cleveland, Ohio her hometown but on college football Saturdays can be found wearing Maize and Blue while rooting for the Michigan Wolverines.
2018 Reed Award Finalist
- Public Affairs Firm of the Year
- Best Online Advertising Campaign in Overall Division
- Best Advocacy Advertising Campaign
- Best Advocacy Social Media Campaign (x2 campaigns)
- Best Use of Online Targeting for a Public Affairs Campaign
- Best Use of Display Advertising
2017 AAPC Gold Pollie Award Winner – Best Digital and Internet Campaign in Public Affairs Division
2017 Reed Award Winner – Best Use of Social Media for Public Affairs Campaign
2017 Reed Award Finalist
- Best New Firm
- Best Use of Online Targeting for Public Affairs Campaign
- Best Online Advertising Campaign in Overall Division
- Best Public Affairs Campaign in Overall Division
- Best Advocacy Social Media Campaign in Grassroots Division
"Sue gets the client to focus on the project objective and then consults with them on specifics so that the final product is effective. She is creative. Her many years of experience enable her to use that creativity to achieve results. She is a hands on person who always gets the job done when the client wants it and with the highest integrity."
-- Judith T., SVP of Government Relations and Public Policy, Major Trade Association, Past Client
"When it comes to strategic communications, there is no one better than Sue. What makes Sue the best is her ability to not only understand the problem, but to provide a clear, succinct and forward thinking solution. Few people come close to matching Sue’s knowledge of the industry and tools available when it comes to addressing a communications challenge."
-- Ben T., Public Affairs Manager, Major Trade Association, Past Client
"Sue is the Swiss Army Knife of the advocacy scene. Her knowledge, expertise and experience of the many different tactics it takes to penetrate a message, be it, advertising, use of social networks or good old fashioned PR can't be matched. She not only does it all, but does it as well as anyone. Her analytical insights and creative forward-thinking make her the whole package."
-- Nathaniel K., Media Director
Ashley Mancheni, Campaign Director
As a Campaign Director, Ashley collaborates with clients on public affairs programs and builds strategic communication plans to meet advocacy objectives. Her specific expertise is on using social media to advance policy objectives and build online communities. At the state level, Ashley has directed communications for ballot initiatives, legislative battles and coalition outreach and development. She’s done work for industries which include energy, natural resources, education, and telecommunications.
Ashley’s worked for a public affairs agency, a Foundation and a non-profit. During her time in D.C., Ashley built and led the communications and social media area of expertise for the Public Affairs Council. She advised corporations, associations and non-profits on using social and traditional media at the state, federal and international levels for grassroots advocacy, direct lobbying, reputation management and corporate social responsibility initiatives.
After spending nine years in Washington, D.C., Ashley has returned to her native roots in the Pacific Northwest, where she’s able to work on both state-level issues and federal advocacy.
Kelsey Dentinger, Lead Writer
A former journalist hailing from up and down the Midwest, Kelsey Dentinger’s media background spans national and local media as well as print, radio, and broadcast. However, at her first post-graduate job on the breaking news desk of a St. Louis, Missouri TV station during the Ferguson riots, she witnessed the need for smart policy delivered through clever communications. Just months later, Kelsey moved to Washington, D.C. to pursue issue advocacy. Her first stop in D.C. – a fellowship at a top-tier crisis communications firm where she met Sue Zoldak.
She is driven by a fortuitous meshing of her innate love of the writing craft and power of words with an ingrained passion for politics and strategy – an ardor born from a youth filled with countless family dinner table debates that she had too frequently lost. She also works as a public affairs account executive for a D.C. firm, designing and implementing communications strategies to affect federal policy. Kelsey has a Bachelors of Arts in Political Broadcast Journalism from DePauw University. She is also an avid Cardinals baseball fan and lover of dogs (particularly her own, Callie Ruth Washington).
Herbie Walker Zoldak, CCM
Herbert "herbie" Walker Zoldak is our Chief Company Mascot, because every company needs a mascot.