Jon Silvan is Founding Partner and CEO of Global Strategy Group (GSG), named 2014 Public Affairs Agency of the Year by leading PR industry trade journal The Holmes Report. Recently recognized by PR Week’s 2015 Global Power Book as one of the most influential communications strategists in the U.S., Jon has guided GSG’s growth over the last 20 years from a boutique market research agency into a full-service public affairs firms with an award-winning team of 100 professionals in four offices across the U.S.
With a background in communications, research and politics, Jon provides strategic guidance to GSG’s clients on a wide range of issues including public affairs, political strategy, corporate positioning, and reputation management. Jon’s clients include Fortune 500 companies, national advocacy and nonprofit organizations, and some of the country’s top political candidates and government officials. Jon is a member of the Arthur Page Society. He currently serves on the Steering Committee of the Association for a Better New York (ABNY), and the Storahtelling Board of Directors for LAB/SHUL, a nonprofit organization that advances Jewish literacy through the arts. He lives in New York City with his wife Marnie and their three children.
How did you get into the PR industry?
I grew up in and around politics and never wanted to leave it. When it became time to make a living, I was determined to create a life that allowed me to do that. PR isn’t an industry to me, it is a tactic to solve problems and build and protect reputations. That’s what we do for organizations at the intersection of media and government and for those who want to serve as elected officials.
Tell us about Global Strategy Group. What inspired the idea and what is your vision for the company?
Global Strategy Group is a place where really smart and ambitious people come together to be a part of the big fights that go on in our world—the ones that shape public policy, that excite and motivate, and the ones that matter to all of us. This past summer three of our clients and the work we were doing on their behalf were on the front page of the New York Times on the same day. That tells you a lot about the work we do and the people we work with and for.
What strategic partnerships/marketing strategies have you implemented that have contributed to Global Strategy Group's success?
Do good work and make sure your clients understand you are willing to walk over cut glass for them. Happy clients are your best advocates.
Life is long
Your greatest success as Founder/CEO of Global Strategy Group?
My greatest success was celebrating 20 years in business with many of the same folks who started with me in my grandmother’s rent controlled Greenwich Village apt.
Most difficult moment-how did you overcome and what did you learn?
Your advice to an aspiring entrepreneur?
Make sure you truly love what you do and find partners who you respect and admire to share the load. If you start with that, success will follow.
Describe the ideal experience using Global Strategy Group.
You come to us with a problem or a challenge and we work with you to develop a road map that gets you a “win.” We’re a company filled with communicators, strategists, researchers, and analysts who understand your problem, adopt it as our own, and work with you side by side to solve it.
How do you motivate your employees?
Give them trust, support and autonomy to grow and succeed. In an industry with high turnover rates, attracting and retaining talent is one of the biggest challenges facing our profession. Simple fact is that everyone wants to learn, get better at what they do, and work with super smart and talented individuals who can help them do both (and it doesn’t hurt having a fun and unique company culture on top of it.)
What's next for Global Strategy Group?
Watch this space!