Case Studies

Allegations of Disorderly Conduct: Privileged Communication supported a United States Representative who was facing accusations of disorderly conduct stemming from an incident at a downtown Washington, DC hotel.  Our work included coordinating with local law enforcement, legal counsel, and the Representative’s staff to keep a sensitive situation from escalating. We also assured that the incident did not result in any criminal charges, and that there was no public record of what transpired.

Inappropriately Leveraging Relationships: Privileged Communication engaged to support a Capitol Hill staffer who was accused by colleagues, competitors, and press of leveraging one high profile client’s interests to benefit another, resulting in unreported financial gain.  In this case, our work focused on development and execution of an ongoing internal communications strategy, which was designed to help our client preserve key professional relationships and rebuild his reputation.

Developing a Crisis Response Narrative:  We worked with a Washington, DC-based charity specializing in  health and human services when their Executive Director was accused of mismanagement.  In this case, a client upset the level of service provided went to the media to share his story.  The reporter also contacted two former board members, resulting in the Executive Director becoming the focus of some sharp, public criticism.  We worked with the organization’s internal staff to develop a crisis response message and media response strategy.

Responding to a Tragedy:  Privileged Communication provided support to a prominent social service organization in Philadelphia following the murder of one of their staff by a co-worker.  We focused on internal messaging and outreach strategies, each of which was tailored to specific stakeholder groups. Our primary goal was to better equip staff with the communication tools needed to handle questions and media inquiries about this ordeal.  On a parallel track, we crafted an external communication strategy to leverage the organization’s increased visibility to promote notable accomplishments through targeted press outreach. Privileged Communication provided ongoing support throughout the investigation and trial of the individual who confessed to committing this crime.

Leadership Transition: We assisted a prominent Washington, DC charity in the midst of an overhaul of their executive leadership. In close coordination with the Board of Director, Privileged Communication has prepared scripts, talking points and core messages to be shared with all internal and external audiences and stakeholders.   

Speech Writing: Privileged Communication has supported several nonprofit and community-based organizations with preparing speeches and formal remarks to be delivered by key staff. One of the most notable of these engagements involved writing a keynote speech delivered by Allison Vulgamore, President of the Philadelphia Orchestra, during the opening of the 2014 United Nations General Assembly.   

Financial Mismanagement:  Privileged Communication assisted staff and consultants involved with a celebrity-founded and endowed charity in the wake of serious allegations of financial mismanagement.  In this case, the individual placed in charge of the organization’s finances was embezzling funds intended for programs and services. Two years passed before his systematic, recurring fraud was detected.  We came aboard to help manage press inquiries, and develop customized messages and outreach strategies for donors, volunteers, and staff alike - all the necessary steps to assure that an organization can emerge with its reputation intact.

Career Transitions:  In the last 18 months, Privileged Communication has worked with ten business owners during the startup phase of their new companies. In each case, these individuals were transitioning from successful careers working for someone else - to a new professional pursuit as the head of their own business. We assisted these individuals with how to tell the story of their professional transition in a clear, coherent manner - a step that is vital to maintaining support from key members of their professional and personal networks.

Interview Prep:  We worked with a candidate for local office in Washington, DC in preparation for a series of press interviews during the 2014 Mayoral race.  We helped craft thoughtful and strategic messages, which helped answer a series of difficult questions about the candidate’s political history and future ambitions.

Values and Attributes:  Privileged Communication provided support to a seated elected official in Washington, DC as he prepared to initiate a campaign for a larger, more competitive office.  We conducted a detailed assessment of his reputation, including his strengths, weaknesses, challenges, and opportunities. This intensive work resulted in the development of a messaging platform, highlighted by clear issue positions, and a memorable, succinct narrative documenting his qualifications and reasons for seeking higher office.



“Brian is a critical part of our communications strategy, even when he’s not in the room. Our Office has used his training, and his guidance on issues ranging from media relations and social media to communications strategies have been a key part of our success this year." The entire team in my office has worked with Brian to help us better manage our communications strategies and capabilities, and to make sure that we’re getting an authentic message out to the people we most need to hear it. Brian is key in helping our Office maintain a positive and dynamic communication stream between our constituents and his work is invaluable.”
– Pennsylvania State Representative Brian Sims (182 – Philadelphia)

“Brian’s insight and experience was critical in assisting me to focus my priorities and pinpoint my long-term goals to better serve the community. Brian is sharp, quick, principled, and a true asset to anyone who desires to build a stronger relationship between themselves and their constituents. Brian was particularly helpful when it came to getting communication ideas off the whiteboard and into practice through both traditional means and a variety of social media strategies.” 
- Kent Boese, Commissioner, Washington, DC Advisory Neighborhood Commission 1A08

“In May of 2013, Brian gave a presentation to WWH’s Communications Executive Leadership Team, a quarterly meeting of our chief officers and department heads to discuss Communications issues. Brian’s presentation was thorough and compelling as to the need for all organizations to prepare for crises. His experience and expertise was pivotal in convincing WWH leadership that we needed to develop a crisis communications plan.”
– Chip Lewis, former Deputy Director of Communications, Whitman-Walker Health, Washington, DC (

“When we were in the planning stages of the Non-Profit Professionals Summit, Brian was very knowledgeable of what nonprofits need to think about for crisis management planning. That, in addition to his familiarity with group dynamics and nonprofit training, led to a successful session at the Non Profit Professionals Summit.”
– Ashley Tobin, Work Better Consulting and the Non Profit Professionals Summit, Philadelphia

"As a fellow co-founder of the non-profit, GO! Athletes, I have had the opportunity to work extensively with Brian Goldthorpe as we built an organization from the ground up. His expertise and strategic planning, non-profits, media/PR, community outreach, partnerships, and grant writing helped us grow into a sustainable non-profit that continues to support LGBT athletes across the nation. In addition to his leadership and consulting role with GO! Athletes, during my time as the Deputy Chief of Staff for State Representative Brian Sims, Brian Goldthorpe provided our district office staff with a series of trainings, including one that focused on crisis communications related to a government office. His insight and expertise has been essential to my professional career, and personally, as a trusted advisor."
- Anna Aagenes, Vice President of Program Development and Community Relations, You Can Play Project