WASHINGTON, D.C.— Michael Shellenberger and Erik Curren, formerly of Communication Works and Fenton Communications, have founded a new consulting firm, Lumina Strategies, that will offer research, strategy consulting and communications services to progressive advocacy and education groups and those who fund them.
The firm will be focused on helping non-governmental organizations develop and implement more effective campaigns to advance their issues.
“We want to see public interest PR go beyond media relations and advertising to include more other strategic services including research, grassroots organizing and Internet campaigns,” says Shellenberger, the firm’s president. “We are struck by the success NGOs have experienced moving entire
industries—from forest products to apparel manufacturing—to support environmental sustainability and human rights. We¹d like to help bring those creative market strategies to other arenas.”
Shellenberger was co-founder and executive director of Communication Works, one of the largest public interest PR firms in California. In 2001, Communication Works merged with Washington, D.C.-based Fenton Communications—best known for its work with the Natural Resources Defense Council publicizing the alar in apples scare—and Shellenberger was named western division director and chief operating officer.
His experience includes work on campaigns that targeted Nike’s use of sweatshop labor, Maxxam Corporation’s logging of redwoods in California’s Headwaters Forest, and advertisers on Dr. Laura’s radio show following anti-gay slurs.
Curren worked with Shellenberger at Fenton in both Washington and San Francisco. Previously, he held positions at Wells Fargo Bank and with mainstream public relations firms including The Horn Group and Hill & Knowlton.
The firm launches with work on three initial projects. It will produce a guide for NGOs, unions and foundations on designing and executing campaigns that use the power of the marketplace to move whole industries toward sustainability and human rights. It is researching and designing two separate campaigns for coalitions of NGOs, one in the area of media concentration, free speech and Internet choice, and the other on making industrial manufacturing environmentally sustainable. And it is producing and distributing a brochure for parents to educate their kids on issues of sexual orientation, prejudice and bullying at school, supported by a major national healthcare association.