Shepard Strategic Communications

This article appeared in the National Journal on February 23, 2008.

PAUL SHEPARD has started his own firm, Shepard Strategic Communications, which he hopes will be a resource for nonprofit organizations. “D.C. is full of smaller nonprofits that I think want to get their message across, have interesting things to say…but just don’t know how to make it happen. So I just want to be [the] conduit,” says Shepard, 44.

Most recently a vice president with public relations firm GMMB, Shepard entered the nonprofit world in 2002 at the Milton S. Eisenhower Foundation, a Washington-based group, where he promoted after-school programs and worked to reduce prison recidivism. Before that, he worked as a journalist for some 20 years, most notably as a national reporter covering race relations for the Associated Press. He did similar reporting at the Plain Dealer in Cleveland.

In his journalism career, he also covered urban development policy, street gangs and other beats.

One highlight was traveling to Cuba with a Congressional Black Caucus delegation to interview Fidel Castro in the late 1990s. Castro is “known for keeping people, literally, six or seven hours at the table and just talking,” Shepard says. “And our flight was in six or seven hours so we figured, he’ll know to keep this one short. But we got up to three, four hours. And it was fascinating, and you don’t want it to end, but we had to catch our plane,” he jokes. Shepard also went to South Africa for Nelson Mandela’s historic election in 1994 and was nearby when a car bomb went off outside the African National Congress headquarters.

“We forget now how tense and how dramatic that [election] was,” he says.

Shepard hails from the Spanish Harlem section of New York City. He graduated from Rutgers University and started as a sports reporter in New Jersey.

His lifelong passion is horse racing. As a kid, he watched races at Belmont Park in New York and the Meadowlands in New Jersey. And now, he’s in a horse-owning syndicate called Winners Circle Partners.

“I just wanted to get a picture of me and my horse in a winner’s circle,” he says with a laugh. “And I’ve been lucky enough to have a few winners.”

P/F 301.445.1654 | C 202.352.0377 |