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Work experience


April 2007 - July 2008          Vice President, Media & Communications

May 2006 - April 2007          Senior Director, Media & Communications

  • Responsible for re-inventing and energizing the organization's communications function. Built the department from the ground up, consisting of a combined media and editorial team, from a staff of two to 15, in less than two years. Had nine direct reports, guiding their professional development/mentoring as well as that of the rest of the team. Managed communications budget of $3.2 million. Developed and implemented an award-winning measurement program showing Communications' role in impacting key performance indicators, including Web traffic, $5 million+ in online donations and 2007 online registrants who will be worth more than $11 million to the organization over their lifetime.
Jun 2004Apr 2006

Senior Account Supervisor/Account Supervisor

  • Managed some of the agency's largest accounts, with budgets ranging from $300,000 to $1 million+.
  • Strategized, developed and implemented public and media relations plans for a wide range of clients in the health care, food/nutrition, social marketing/advocacy, consumer and non-profit sectors.
  • Key member of account teams, supervising and administering day-to-day activities and projects; actively participated in new business development and supported organizational initiatives. Represented the Washington, D. C. office in the agency's worldwide Marketing Practice.
  • Supervised, trained and mentored junior staff.

Independent Consultant

Shonali Burke PR & Marketing Consulting
  • Development and implementation of public relations and marketing strategies for clients in the arts and entertainment, hospitality, leisure/lifestyle, technology and non-profit industries.
  • Full-service media management, including press releases, PSAs, video b-roll, media kits, calendar listings, and on/off-camera training.

Public Relations Manager/Public Relations Account Executive

Charles Zukow Associates
  • Managed PR department and external press relations for agency (formerly Browne Zukow Associates).
  • Responsible for campaign strategies for key accounts from conception to execution, including substantial interface with media personnel and promotions departments.
  • Identified new business opportunities and participated in the development of marketing plans.
  • Responsible for the supervision, training, and performance evaluation of new staff and interns.

Communications Consultant


1996 - 2000                            Communications Consultant                                        India

  • Created and executed PR and promotional strategies, special events, fund-raising, intra-corporate exercises and media training. Assignments included the scripting, management and hosting of the launch event of Seagram India's '100 Pipers' Scotch Whisky, 1999 and 1997, in Calcutta and Mumbai; management of PR events for Modi Telstra Pvt. Ltd. and ICI India Limited while on assignment with Ammirati Puris Lintas, 1996, in Calcutta.


Snapshot: Russell Simmons' Def Poetry Jam (World Premiere)

2002 world premiere of ‘Russell Simmons Def Poetry Jam;’ strategic public relations plan based on in-depth research on niche media in the African-American community and hip-hop culture resulted in steadily increasing sales. Key electronic media hits included Michael Krasny’s ‘Forum’ on KQED-FM (NPR), KTVU’s ‘Mornings on 2’ (FOX), and BET’s ‘Nightly News.’ As a result, the engagement paved the way for the show’s successful Broadway debut, winning a 2003 Tony Award® for ‘special theatrical event.’

Snapshot: 2007 Anti-Cruelty Communications for the ASPCA

Strategized and implemented internal and external communications during 2007 dog fighting-related federal investigation of National Football League (NFL) quarterback Michael Vick. Served as advisor to, and liaison for, President and key staff on related issues; coordinated communications between law enforcement authorities, the ASPCA and other involved parties; also coordinated communications with the NFL. Integrated these communications with the launch of the country's first-ever "mobile animal CSI unit" in December 2007, resulting in several key and extremely high-profile media placements including NBC's "Today," CBS' "Early Show," and NBC's "Nightly News With Brian Williams." The aggressive communications outreach resulted in a 28% increase in public awareness of the ASPCA's anti-cruelty initiatives and launch, and a 65% increase in web traffic following the launch-the key element in the ASPCA growing its membership file.



In the Media

Snapshot: U.S. Tuna Foundation

U. S. Tuna Foundation (2005-2006); managed client budget and supervised issues-related public relations outreach to consumer and trade media, as well as liaison with related industries and organizations, focusing on the issue of methylmercury in seafood, including launching a Web site focusing on this issue ( Successfully organized a roundtable on "Public Health and the Benefits and Risks of Seafood Consumption," in conjunction with the Center for Food, Nutrition and Agriculture Policy at the University of Maryland-College Park, which saw more than 80 key influencers from academia, industry and government come together for presentations and discussions on the issue.


I'm an accredited, award-winning communications consultant with more than 14 years' communications experience whose forte is measurable, results-based strategic communications.

My extensive experience and skills include research and measurement, integrated strategy development and implementation, client management, crisis/advocacy communications, internal communications, public relations, Web 2.0 and social media, event management and marketing. In short, I'm an agency of one.

In addition to consulting, I often speak at industry and training events on integrated communications, measurement, social media, crisis communications, media relations and communications strategy. I'm also adjunct faculty at  Johns Hopkins University's M. A. in Communication program, where I teach Not-for-profits in the Digital Age.

Speaking & Training

I am often invited to speak at industry and training events on integrated communications, measurement, social media, crisis communications, media relations and communications strategy.

“A delight to hear;” “great speaker, relevant information;” “[I found] Shonali Burke’s presentation and generous advice greatly helpful;” these are typical of attendee feedback on my presentations.

Select past and recent speaking engagements have included the 2007, 2008 and 2009 Vocus Users Conferences, Goodwill Industries International’s (GII) 2008 and 2009 Summer Learning Series, the 2008 Institute for Public Relations Measurement Summit, Ragan Communications’ May 2009 Corporate Communicators ConferencePRSA’s (Public Relations Society of America) 2008, 2009 and 2010 International Conferences, and Social Commerce Camp DC.

If you're interested in my speaking and training services, please contact me at info (a) shonaliburke (dot) com. You can also learn more about these services at my website.


English, Hindi, Bengali



Jul 2005Present

ABC (Accredited Business Communicator)

International Association of Business Communicators