Communications Counsel, Inc. is a national communications consulting firm based in Columbus, Ohio led by Mark R. Weaver, Esq., Sheryl Stecker, and Matt Dole.
Our clients have included major universities, government leaders, major national corporations, and non-profit associations. Our work has spanned 17 different states.
Our services include advertising, public relations, crisis communications, media training, public records law training, and confidential counsel on issues found at the intersection of government, law, and media. Our work has earned several national awards including three Telly Awards and four Pollie Awards.
We've earned a reputation for excellence, integrity, and getting results.
Mark R. Weaver
Mr. Weaver is a crisis communications expert with three decades of national experience. He has extensive experience advising public and private sector clients on crisis communications, executive speech coaching, and news media relations. He’s counseled clients in 20 states. NBC News in Charlotte, North Carolina called Mr. Weaver “one of the nation's foremost experts in crisis communications.”
In 2017, Weaver authored the book A Wordsmith's Work, which features various high-profile writings from his career and shares tips for different styles of writing such as ghost-writing, crafting op-eds, messaging during a crisis, and writing speeches. The book is available here.
Prior to founding Communications Counsel, Mr. Weaver was the Deputy Attorney General of Ohio, where he was responsible for crisis management, strategic counseling, and all communications for an agency with 1,400 employees and 50,000 cases. He also served on the Attorney General's four-member Executive Staff and acted as a senior policy advisor and chief spokesman. While there, he co-authored a National Association of Attorneys General Management Study on communications management in five different state attorney general offices.
His past professional assignments include serving as the Assistant Director of Public Affairs for the U.S Department of Justice, Public Information Director for a large Pennsylvania municipality, and Vice President of a national communications firm in Washington, D.C.
He has several years of experience as a criminal prosecutor, litigating felony jury trials and arguing appeals to put or keep murderers, child molesters, and violent criminals in prison. He’s served as a special prosecutor in ten Ohio counties, including a capital murder prosecution of a serial killer.
Mr. Weaver has lectured around the country on a wide variety of communications topics. He spent 20 years as an Adjunct Professor at The Ohio State University College of Law and the Bliss Institute of Applied Politics at the University of Akron. He is now an Adjunct Professor at the School of Government at the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill.
He has provided media advice to thousands of government officials, CEOs, and university officials. He's written hundreds of PR plans, conducted media coaching, and supervised countless polls and focus groups. His media production skills have earned him more than a dozen national awards. In 1993, as a young media professional, he wrote, produced, and directed the TV special An American Story, hosted by former President Ronald Reagan.
Mr. Weaver regularly lectures for national clients such as the Jo Ann Davidson Leadership Institute, the Ann Anstine Excellence in Public Service Series, the John Glenn School of Public Affairs at The Ohio State University, the Ohio Association of Chiefs of Police, the American Bar Association, the National Fraternal Order of Police, the Pennsylvania District Attorneys Association, and the Michigan Supreme Court.
Early in his career, Mr. Weaver was a Communications Director with the Pennsylvania House of Representatives. He also ran a Philadelphia-area communications consulting firm serving more than 100 clients.
Mr. Weaver earned Bachelors and Masters degrees in Public Administration from Kutztown University in Pennsylvania, where he has received more alumni awards than any other graduate of that institution.
He earned his Juris Doctorate from the Delaware Law School of Widener University, where he graduated in the top 15% of his class. In 2004, the University of Akron awarded Mr. Weaver an honorary degree in Applied Politics. In 2012, Mr. Weaver was named Distinguished Chair of that university’s Bliss Institute of Applied Politics.
His op-ed writing has been featured in several major U.S. newspapers and he has been interviewed by every major national media outlet including 60 Minutes, Nightline, ABC News, CBS News, NBC News, MSNBC, CNN, FOX News, NPR, BBC, USA Today, Newsweek, Time, New York Times, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, and the Associated Press.
He has an active Twitter presence at @MarkRWeaver.
Mr. Weaver and his wife Lori reside in Central Ohio and they are the proud parents of two children.
Mr. Matt Dole has 15 years experience as a communications and media consultant. He’s worked with corporations, school districts, universities, government agencies and non-profits on addressing communications challenges ranging from responding to a crisis to effectively advocating for regulatory or legislative solutions.
Dole has extensive experience to draw upon in helping clients communicate efficiently with stakeholders. He previously worked as a news reporter for a radio station in Southeast Ohio and continues to serve as a frequent commentator on current events. In the digital arena, he published a well-regarded Ohio political blog for several years and stays current on social media trends, new tools and opportunities that will help clients communicate efficiently with stakeholders.
He has also played an integral role in producing award-winning public affairs campaigns, television advertising, radio advertising, digital advertising and printed material meant to inform and sway public opinion.
He lives and is active in Newark, Ohio civic affairs and in 2016 the Newark Advocate named him one of Licking County's "20 under 40" young leaders.
Sheryl Stecker has a diverse background in the communications, grassroots issue advocacy, campaign, governmental and social media fields.
Prior to joining Communications Counsel, she was a senior Aide in the Ohio House of Representatives, working for several members including Representative Bill Coley, then Speaker Pro Tempore Gary Cates, and she worked closely with Representative John Willamowski, while he was Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee.
Ms. Stecker has presented, coordinated and attended dozens of workshops on topics such as grassroots advocacy, issue advocacy, public speaking, and social media techniques to business, non-profit and public sector audiences.
She has unique and lengthy experience with grassroots issue advocacy. She's actively involved in furthering the issue strategy for two different statewide advocacy groups. In this capacity, she had the honor of working on the Reed Award winning top public affairs campaign for My School, My Choice, advocating for school choice in Ohio.
While directing the digital advocacy strategy for these advocacy groups she has been responsible for writing blog posts and soliciting content from others. In addition, she helps to identify and create content for social media channels such as Facebook, Twitter and YouTube that are used to help create and foster discussions of important issues.
She has been creating and maintaining web content since she worked in the Web Development section of her college’s Technology Services Department through her whole 4 years of schooling. She has a wide range of experience creating online content across numerous platforms from social media to blogs to traditional websites.
Ms. Stecker is an alumna of Geneva College (Beaver Falls, PA) where she earned a degree in Political Science. She is a member of the Jo Ann Davidson Ohio Leadership Institute, a program designed to encourage and prepare women to take on more major roles in the community.
Alex Pavloff is a communications and public relations consultant with experience creating a wide range of media and communications strategies, allowing for flexibility to adjust to client needs.
His experience ranges from drafting long-term strategic communications plans to monitoring media and grass roots impact during crisis situations. Alex has experience with public opinion polling, grassroots advocacy, and took a turn as a radio correspondent during the 2016 Republican National Convention in Cleveland, Ohio.
He is a graduate of the Ray C. Bliss Institute of Applied Politics at The University of Akron, and should defend his Master’s Thesis shortly. Alex’s academic work focuses on the efficacy of grass-roots contact in local elections, and he seeks to synthesize the academic and applied worlds of communications for clients.
Alex lives in Akron, Ohio, where he is actively involved, including service on the Community Affairs Board of Ideastream, and in the heroin addiction recovery community.