Escape from non-compete deal lets Wolf open Spitfire

WASHINGTON: Kristen Wolf, former president and COO of Fenton Communications, opened the doors to her own firm last week, Spitfire Communications.

WASHINGTON: Kristen Wolf, former president and COO of Fenton Communications, opened the doors to her own firm last week, Spitfire Communications.

Wolf, 33, left Fenton only eight months ago, but recently secured an early release from her non-compete agreement with the agency. That release was critical to the opening of Spitfire, which Wolf envisions as a place very similar to Fenton.

"I've always worked in the field of public interest PR, and when I wake up in the morning, that's what I really want to do, Wolf said.

Wolf intends to populate Spitfire's client list with environmental, non-profit, civil rights and advocacy organizations - much like her former employer. Debut clients include The Packard Foundation, The Ford Foundation, and the Vietnam Veterans of America.

The public interest sector has seen increasing competition over fewer clients in the past year, as larger shops have begun to go after less-profitable non-profit contracts they would pass over in better economic times.

In addition, many liberal advocacy groups have been hesitant to criticize President Bush while his approval ratings remain so high.

"But I've been in this field 11 years, and luckily I have a lot of good contacts, Wolf said.

See Analysis, p. 9.

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