Gloria Story Dittus: Chair, Story Partners

Gloria Dittus is Chair of the strategic communications firm Story Partners headquartered in Washington, DC. She is a trusted counselor to CEOs, Cabinet Secretaries and leading business executives providing strategic communications, corporate positioning, crisis communications and public affairs strategy.  She founded Story Partners’ in 2010 following the successful acquisition in 2005 of Dittus Communications by the global management company, FTI Consulting. She has worked with executive teams at some of the world’s most recognized brands including Shell, HSBC, Home Depot, Noble Energy, Dell, Intel, Taser, Microsoft, General Motors, Southern Company, Flour, British Telecom, Playboy, and Clear Channel developing and implementing strategic communications and executive thought leadership programs.

Wired Magazine called her the nation’s first “tech public affairs PR maven.” She has received numerous awards including multiple Silver Anvil Awards and has been recognized as Public Affairs Executive of the Year, 25 Women Who Mean Business, and Public Affairs Agency of the Year. Gloria splits her time between Washington and Aspen, CO.  She has served on numerous boards, including the Ford’s Theater Board of Trustees, the National Press Foundation, the Arthur Page Society, Shakespeare Theater, the Public Affairs Council and the Society of International Business Fellows.

What do you love most about Your City?

Washington is full of smart and interesting people.  It’s also a place where you can learn so much from world renowned experts.  On any given day you can sit with top experts on cyber security at breakfast, discuss the impact of trade on the nation’s manufacturing industry over lunch and close the evening with dinner at the French Ambassador’s residence to celebrate local restaurants receiving Michelin stars.  Simply heaven for someone who was a high school nerd.  

Favorite breakfast meal & restaurant?

Breakfast spot of choice is the Four Seasons where they give me a poached egg in a bowl of grits and a few pieces of crispy prosciutto.  It’s not on the menu, but the chef knows how to make a Southern gal happy.  

What are you doing at:

6:00 AM – While sipping a cup of tea, I grab my iPhone to check Politico’s Playbook, the Washington Post’s Daily 202 and a few key industry publications.  Then I head out to walk my Shih Tzu, CeCe, before hitting my elliptical.  

10:00 AM – High-IQ meetings need to happen mid-morning.  Anything that is going to be mentally challenging:  Mapping out strategies for clients, developing thought leadership programs for CEOs, messaging sessions on critical issues, or coalition strategy sessions always take precedence for the 10 am timeslot.

12:00 PM - Favorite Power Lunch spot/meal?

Two spots are my go-to favorites.  As a long-time fan of Chef Todd Gray, Equinox keeps a regular table for me.  He was doing farm-to-table cooking before it became fashionable.  In the summer he makes a mean soft-shelled crab, an awesome coq-au-vin in the winter and the best chicken salad in town.  Tosca is a close second for some of the city’s best Italian and where I’m likely to run into tons of friends, clients and business partners.  

7:00 PM - Washington evenings are loaded with special events and it’s not unheard of to have multiple events in one evening.  You could start with a Congressional Black Caucus reception, drop by Washingtonian Magazine’s Style Setter reception and still make it to VIP opening night at either Ford’s or the Shakespeare Theater.  DC evenings aren’t for the faint-hearted.  

11:00 PM – I’m usually tucked in bed by 11 with a good book to help wind down the day.  

What drink do you need to get through the day and at the end (and how many)?

There’s always a cup of Paris tea in my hand during the day.  In the summer I opt for a glass of rosé in the evening but move to a pinot noir when the seasons change.

Most used App/Favorite Instagram Account?

Uber and Open Table are probably my most used Apps but I use Instagram to inspire me.  As a travel junkie, I am always planning another trip.  My travel inspiration comes from these feeds: luxury world traveler, Indagare travel & luxe city guides

What should everyone try at least once?

Try to overcome something fearful.  Conquering a fear helps you become courageous.  It allows you to feel vulnerable yet strong once you’ve met that fear and moved beyond it.

Where do you enjoy getting lost?

As a confirmed Francophile my favorite place to get lost is Paris.  I could wander those streets forever.

Since the early 2000s, there’s been a visit to Paris at least once a year.  In between visits, Lost in Cheeseland’s Instagram feed satisfies my soul.