Former White House press aide joins Edelman in DC

Edelman has added Jamie Smith, former special assistant to President Barack Obama and deputy White House press secretary, to its office in Washington, DC. She will serve as EVP, overseeing media strategy and services.

WASHINGTON: Edelman has added Jamie Smith, former special assistant to President Barack Obama and deputy White House press secretary, to its office in Washington, DC. She will serve as EVP, overseeing media strategy and services.

The firm also hired Sean Neary, former Senate Finance Committee communications director, as EVP, managing its financial communications practice in Washington in coordination with teams in New York, Chicago, London, and Hong Kong.

Both Smith and Neary recently left their government roles.

In the newly created position, Smith will oversee a team of media relations professionals and provide counsel to a range of Edelman clients. She will also manage the office's “creative newsroom” to provide rapid-reaction media relations across traditional, social, and hybrid channels, the firm said in a statement.

Neary started on Tuesday, and Smith's first day is set for February 24. Smith will report directly to Edelman Washington president Rob Rehg, while Neary is reporting to general manager Jere Sullivan.

“Both of them bring terrific communications skills and their ability to work with reporters,” said Rehg. “They have great contacts and understand what media are looking for.”

Smith's duties will include working with the digital and social media team and with the research and analytics group to effectively tell proactive stories and respond to breaking news. Meanwhile, Neary will lead the financial group at the firm.

“We knew of them and were high on them,” Rehg added. “I think it adds to our existing capability. They're two really polished, smart, energetic people.”

While Smith most recently served as special assistant to the president and deputy White House press secretary, she has also worked as director of public affairs for the office of the director of national intelligence. Before that, Smith was communications director for Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-WV) and was traveling press director for Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton's 2008 presidential campaign.

Prior to joining Edelman, Neary was senior adviser to Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucas (D-MT) and chief communications strategist for the committee. He has also served as communications director to former Sen. Kent Conrad (D-ND).

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