A Boutique Strategic Communications and Advisory Firm

Gaffney Bennett PR is a boutique strategic communications and advisory firm that helps clients build their profiles, protect their reputations, and engage with key stakeholders—including the media, government and community officials, investors, employees, partners, and both B2B and B2C audiences.

We are a group of experienced communications professionals, storytellers, content creators, digital marketers, and reputation experts who think holistically and operate proactively to support the interests of our clients. 

Founded and headquartered in the capital region of Connecticut, Gaffney Bennett PR has been a go-to strategic communications partner for over 20 years.

Today, the firm maintains offices in Connecticut and New York, with additional team members and advisors located across the United States.

Founded in 2001 in the capital region of Connecticut, Gaffney Bennett PR has been a trusted partner to clients for over 20 years.
Today, the firm maintains offices in both Connecticut and New York, servicing clients domestically and internationally across size, markets, and industry lines—from FORTUNE 500 companies to start-ups, investment managers to law firms, and trade organizations to non-profits
Gaffney Bennett PR is the strategic communications partner of Gaffney, Bennett & Associates—a leading lobbying and government affairs firm.

Founded and headquartered in the capital region of Connecticut, Gaffney Bennett PR has been a trusted partner to clients for over 20 years.

Today, the firm maintains offices in both Connecticut and New York, servicing clients domestically and internationally across size, markets, and industry lines—from FORTUNE 500 companies to start-ups, investment managers to law firms, and trade organizations to non-profits.

Gaffney Bennett PR services clients domestically and internationally across size, markets,
and industry lines. Our clients include public and private companies that range from FORTUNE 500 and global enterprises to middle market businesses and start-ups.

Beyond corporations, Gaffney Bennett PR is also a trusted advisor to private equity,
venture capital, and other investment managers, as well as law firms, industry trade groups, non-profit organizations, politicians, and high-profile individuals.

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Jay Malcynsky

Co-Founder & Executive Chairman

Jay Malcynsky, Esq. is the co-founder of GBPR and serves as both a Partner and the firm’s Executive Chairman. In this role, Jay oversees the firm’s governance. Additionally, Jay provides clients with strategic counsel and networking support, with a core focus on public affairs and government relations.

In addition to his role with GBPR, Jay is the Co-Founder and Managing Partner of Gaffney, Bennett and Associates, Inc. (“GBA”), the leading lobbying firm in Connecticut, and one of the top firms nationally with operations at both the state and federal levels. GBPR is the strategic communications partner of GBA.

In addition to GBA, Jay is also a practicing attorney licensed in Connecticut and Washington, DC, and is the Founder and Managing Partner of The Law Offices of Jay F. Malcynsky, P.C. In these capacities, Jay has distinguished himself as one of the most knowledgeable, highly respected, and capable professionals in the fields of government relations and political consulting, as well as administrative law. Clients and law makers frequently call upon Jay’s skills in negotiating agreements, forging alliances, and coordinating crisis management.

Jay has been an active and longtime political strategist. Prior to establishing the firm, Jay managed U.S. Congressman Stewart B. McKinney’s political campaigns in 1980 and 1982. He also managed the re-election bids of U.S. Congresswoman Nancy Johnson and U.S. Senator Lowell P. Weicker, in 1984 and 1988, respectively. In 2000, Jay served as campaign manager for George W. Bush for President in Connecticut, and was among the lead attorneys representing the Bush campaign during the Florida recount effort.

Jay has served on several public and private boards throughout his career, including as a Director with the Federal Home Loan Bank of Boston, President and a Director for the Nutmeg State Games, and a Director with Connecticut Legal Services.

After graduating from Bridgeport Law School (now Quinnipiac Law School), Jay served as a trial attorney in the Office of Civil Rights at the U.S. Department of Education in Washington, DC. He also served as an attorney for the U.S. House of Representatives. He holds a B.A. from Fairfield University and lives in Connecticut with his family.

Heather Hough

Senior Advisor

Heather Hough is a Senior Advisor with GBPR. With the firm since 2023, Heather is a transformative marketing executive with over 20 years of senior corporate experience across a range of industries, including finance/professional services, retail/consumer, and media. In her role as a Senior Advisor, Heather advises clients on marketing matters, including branding, revenue generation, digital channels, advertising, and sales/business development. Additionally, Heather supports GBPR with its integrated strategic communications and digital marketing engagements.

Heather currently serves as the Chief Marketing Officer for the Peace Center, a world-class indoor/outdoor event space offering a diverse mix of exceptional exhibitions and performances in downtown Greenville, South Carolina.
Prior to this, Heather was the Chief Marketing Officer of Elliott Davis, a leading U.S. accounting and financial advisory firm based in the Southeast with over 1,000 professionals in its platform. In this role, Heather was responsible for enterprise-wide marketing strategy and operations, including brand management, business development, cross-functional leadership, and recruiting.

Prior to Elliott Davis, Heather served in numerous senior roles with HanesBrands, Inc. (NYSE: HBI), a Fortune 500 apparel company. At HBI, she helped modernize the brand and marketing strategy for Hanes Underwear and Intimate Apparel lines—two of the iconic cornerstones of the business.

In addition to HBI, Heather previously served as the Vice President of Corporate Marketing for Advantage Media Group (Forbes Books); CEO of Driven Associates, a marketing consultancy she founded; and Vice President/Director of Business Development for Brains on Fire.

Heather is a graduate of the University of North Carolina (Charlotte) and has also completed a Harvard Business School Executive Education program. She resides in South Carolina with her family.

Keith Walawender

Senior Advisor | Crisis Management

Chief Special Warfare Operator (SEAL) Keith Walawender medically retired from the U.S. military in 2014 after sustaining a serious injury during a combat operation. Keith is a Senior Advisor with GBPR. With the firm since 2022, Keith is a decorated military veteran and corporate executive with decades of high-level crisis management, strategy, and operational leadership experience. In his role as a Senior Advisor, he advises clients on matters relevant to crisis management and leadership.

Before retiring, Keith served 15 years in the Special Operations community, including five years at SEAL Team TWO and over eight years at Naval Special Warfare Development Group. His tenure included 10 deployments in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom, Operation Enduring Freedom, and numerous other missions worldwide. Keith’s many combat commendations include the Silver Star Medal, two Bronze Star Medals with combat valor, two Joint Service Commendation Medals with combat valor, three Presidential Unit Citations, and numerous other joint and individual awards.

After retiring, Keith founded Tomahawk Strategic Solutions, a leading global corporate security and crisis management firm. He founded the firm with fellow Chief Special Warfare Operator (SEAL) Mike Biller (ret.), to help those who are currently serving and to help corporate leaders provide safer and more secure environments for their employees and communities. As Tomahawk’s CEO, Keith has overseen the company’s incredible growth from a start-up to a global leader with dozens of ‘Blue Chip’ clients in less than 10 years (founded in 2015).

In addition to Tomahawk and GBPR, Keith is a board member for the Economic Crime and Cybersecurity Institute of Utica College. He is a native of Dunkirk, New York and enlisted in the US Navy in August of 1999, graduating from Basic Underwater Demolition/SEAL training in October of 2000. He resides in Nashville, Tennessee with his wife and family.

Ronnie Quillen

Senior Digital Strategist

Ronnie Quillen is a Senior Digital Strategist with GBPR. He joined the firm in 2022 as part of GBPR’s launch of its Digital & Social Media practice. In this role, Ronnie manages a team that provides clients with cutting-edge digital and creative solutions, including web development, SEO and paid search programs, graphic design, video/audio production, social media, and digital advertising. He works closely with GBPR’s other practice leaders to integrate digital media solutions with the firm’s strategic communications offerings.

Leveraging more than a decade of experience, Ronnie is a proven marketer and innovative storyteller and has worked on both the corporate and agency sides of the industry. Prior to joining GBPR, he founded Limit Break Media, a creative studio where he serves as director and produces graphic, audio, and video content for both in-house originals and outside client projects. In addition to Limit Break Media, Ronnie’s digital media credentials also include several years as a senior designer and marketer with Cliqpost, a digital marketing consultancy firm focused on web/app development, SEO/SEM, and advertising solutions.

Prior to Limit Break Media and Cliqpost, Ronnie held numerous marketing and customer success roles with Saatva, a leading U.S. mattress and bedding company with a sophisticated ecommerce and direct-to-consumer model. Before Saatva, Ronnie began his career in the neuroscience research field as a Senior Support Specialist with SUNY Downstate Medical Center. He regularly leverages this background in neuroscience research to help inform his data-driven planning, creative process, and strategic thinking.

Ronnie graduated with a degree in psychology from Stony Brook University. He is based in GBPR’s Manhattan office and lives on Long Island with his family.

Jeremy Peruski

Managing Director, Investor Relations

Jeremy Peruski joined GBPR in 2023 and serves as a Managing Director overseeing the firm’s Investor Relations practice. Jeremy is a senior investor relations and capital markets executive with over 20 years of banking, agency, and corporate development experience. At GBPR, Jeremy leads a team that provides clients with comprehensive ongoing, transactional, and event-driven investor relations programs. Working with both domestic and international companies, Jeremy advises clients on building and optimizing their IR functions, managing analyst and shareholder communications, marketing to investor and corporate audiences, and navigating both capital markets processes (IPOs, SPACs, M&A, etc.) and life as a public company.

Throughout his career, Jeremy has advised senior corporate executives from some of the world’s largest companies—both in the U.S. and Asia—on how to achieve and implement effective investor relations goals. His clients have included Alibaba, Weibo, VIPShop, Chunghwa Telecom, Cheetah Mobile, and many others. Prior to GBPR, he founded CatalystsOne, a boutique investor relations and executive advisory firm that counseled companies on IPOs, SPACs, and listings, as well as ongoing IR matters and crisis management. Prior to CatalystsOne, Jeremy was a Managing Director with ICR, a leading global IR and PR agency where he also served as the co-head of ICR’s Asia (/Emerging Markets) business. During his eight-plus years at ICR, he grew his practice into the largest investor relations provider focused on U.S.-listed companies in Asia, advising on dozens of IPOs and listings, and providing regular counsel to dozens of companies.

Before joining ICR, Jeremy worked with Lenovo’s corporate finance department where he established and ran the company’s global business development team. In addition, as a member of the corporate finance department he was responsible for identifying, conducting due diligence, and negotiating with global investment and M&A targets. Prior to Lenovo, Jeremy worked for the boutique investment bank, Friedman, Billings, Ramsey & Co., as a Vice President.

Jeremy graduated from Michigan State University and holds an MBA from The George Washington University School of Business. A Michigan native, he is a former candidate for U.S. Congress in the state’s 10th District. During his time with ICR and Lenovo, Jeremy lived in Asia for 14+ years. Today he is based in GBPR’s Manhattan office and lives in the Hudson Valley of New York with his wife and son.

Cat Malcynsky

Director of Content & Social Media

Cat Malcynsky joined GBPR in 2021 and serves as the firm’s Director of Content & Social Media. In this role, Cat provides clients with expert counsel and support to develop authentic, high-quality content across owned and earned platforms. Additionally, Cat develops and oversees bespoke social media strategies for clients, leveraging data, analytics, and a deep knowledge of digital trends to guide ongoing corporate and consumer programs.

A professionally trained and published writer with an MFA from the prestigious School of Writing, Literature, and Film at Oregon State University, Cat leverages her creative storytelling abilities and content development expertise in her daily client counsel and work product. She specializes in a wide range of content creation as well as broader PR and communications, including: crafting bylines and white papers; creating corporate/brand messaging and narratives; writing internal and external communications; strategizing on brand guides; developing website copy; producing social media content; and managing influencer marketing campaigns.

Prior to GBPR, Cat held multiple roles with Ruder Finn, a leading global PR firm where she started her career and worked with technology, healthcare, and biotech clients on corporate positioning, thought leadership, and social media objectives. Her work has appeared in numerous high-profile outlets, including: Techonomy, TechCrunch, Harvard Business Review, World Economic Forum, Entrepreneur, Forbes, Susquehanna Review, Broad River Review, Coup d’Etat, and several anthologies of short fiction.

An East Coast native and former New Yorker, she currently resides in Bend, Oregon with her fiancé and Aussie-doodle, Mikey. Outside of GBPR, Cat is an adjunct professor of Writing and Literature at her MFA alma mater, Oregon State University. She holds a B.A. in English from Boston College with a concentration in Creative Writing.

Kasara Philippas

Account Supervisor

Kasara Philippas is an Account Supervisor with GBPR. In this role, she is responsible for day-to-day account management and driving execution of client deliverables, including messaging and stakeholder materials, strategic research, media relations, community outreach, and social media. Additionally, Kasara supports clients with various crises and issues management activities.

Kasara joined GBPR in 2018 as an Associate. Her work spans the firm’s five practice areas, with a core focus on public relations and public affairs. Kasara holds a B.S. in Communications with a minor in Spanish from Eastern Connecticut State University. She is based in the firm’s Connecticut office and lives outside Hartford with her husband and dog.

Jake Malcynsky


Jake Malcynsky is a Partner with GBPR. With the firm since 2018, he is responsible for client strategy and execution, and supporting firm-wide growth. An expert across all key principles of modern stakeholder communications and reputation management, Jake advises clients on their positioning and engagement with media, investors, corporate, and government audiences, as well as B2B and B2C channels. Additionally, Jake leads the firm’s integrated strategic communications and digital marketing service offerings, working closely with GBPR’s Digital & Social Media practice.

Leveraging more than a decade of agency experience, Jake partners with clients to develop and implement strategic communications programs that support their larger organizational objectives—adding value to their corporate affairs, risk management, and marketing functions. Throughout his career, he has served as a trusted advisor on a wide range of corporate and financial communications, media relations, and reputation management matters. This includes helping clients navigate different crises, transactions, and other special situations.

Prior to joining GBPR, Jake held multiple roles at ICR, a leading global IR and PR agency where he was a member of the corporate communications and special situations practices. He started his career as an apprentice and intern with the NFL, NBC Universal (Sports Group), and the office of U.S. Congressman John B. Larson and House Democratic Caucus in Washington, DC.

Jake holds a B.A. in Communications from Marist College and completed the prestigious government affairs program at Marquette University’s Les Aspin Center for Government in Washington, DC. He is based in GBPR’s Manhattan office and lives in New York City.

John McKenna


John McKenna is a Partner with GBPR. With the firm since 2018, he is responsible for client strategy and execution, and supporting the management of the New York office. A leading strategic communications advisor to clients navigating high-stakes corporate and financial initiatives, John also serves as head of GBPR’s Transactions & Special Situations practice and leads the firm’s integrated public and investor relations programs.

With over 12 years of agency experience, John is an expert on a wide range of corporate and financial communications, media relations, and reputation management matters. He works with clients across industry lines to help them control narratives, manage relationships, and enhance their profiles.

His core areas of focus include corporate and market positioning, M&A, capital markets and listings, spin-offs, shareholder activism, capital raising, executive transitions, bankruptcy and restructurings, and change management. Additionally, John helps clients prepare for and respond to a host of crisis scenarios, including financial malfeasance and accounting issues, product recalls, labor disputes, litigation, data breach and IT-related issues, regulatory issues, social issues, sexual misconduct, workplace violence and natural disasters.

Prior to joining GBPR, John held multiple roles at ICR, a leading global IR and PR agency where he started his career and was a member of the firm’s corporate communications and special situations practices. He earned a B.A. from Harvard College. Based in GBPR’s Manhattan office, he resides outside New York City in Fairfield County, CT with his family.

Lynn Gresham

Senior Advisor | Internal Stakeholders & Human Resources

Lynn Gresham is a Senior Advisor with GBPR. With the firm since 2022, Lynn is a seasoned human resource executive with over 25 years of experience. Her various organizational roles include senior and executive positions across the corporate and nonprofit arenas in diverse industries. As a Senior Advisor, Lynn counsels clients on matters relevant to internal stakeholders and human resources, including talent acquisition and recruiting, team development, executive coaching, internal policies and procedures (i.e., compliance), labor issues and reductions, and crisis management.

Previously, Lynn was a Senior Vice President and the Chief Human Resources Officer with Population Services International (PSI). Headquartered in Washington, D.C. PSI is an international development organization serving over 50 markets globally. In her C-Suite role, Lynn oversaw the HR functions for a global enterprise with over 8,000 employees.
Prior to PSI, Lynn served as the Chief Human Resources Officer for PANDORA Jewelry. In partnership with the PANDORA Executive Team, Lynn was instrumental in helping expand the brand presence in the Americas with a focus on recruiting and retaining high-performing talent. Workforce oversight included the United States, Canada and Latin America, with over 3,500 wholesale and retail team members.

Prior to PANDORA, Lynn held numerous senior roles including Vice President of Human Resources for Calvert Health System, a Maryland-based healthcare system with more than 1,000 employees; Director of Human Resources for AARP, a 2,400 employee, nonprofit membership organization; and Director of Human Resources for Giant Food (Royal Ahold), a global retail grocer with over 28,000 employees.

Lynn has a B.S. in Business Management and an M.S. in Organizational Development and Learning (ODL) from St. Joseph’s University. She has also completed a Harvard Business School Executive Education program. She is certified as Senior Professional Human Resources (SPHR) and as SHRM-SCP (Senior Certified Professional) through the Society of Human Resource Management (SHRM). A leading figure in the HR world, Lynn has served on numerous boards throughout her career, including the Make-A-Wish Foundation and Meals on Wheels. She resides in Florida with her family.

Hank Spring

Co-Founder & Senior Advisor

Hank Spring is the co-founder of GBPR and served as its Managing Partner from 2001-2021. Now in his 22nd year with the firm, Hank is the architect of GBPR’s integrated service platform and operational ethos. He continues to guide GBPR and counsel clients across the firm’s practice areas as a Senior Advisor, drawing on more than 40 years of experience as a proven executive in government, industry, and professional services.

Throughout his career, Hank has mastered the full range of public relations and marketing disciplines. Before founding GBPR in 2001, Hank served as Senior Vice President and led the Corporate Practice at Ogilvy Public Relations Worldwide. His team provided media and investor relations, brand management, and crisis communications programs for global leaders in the financial services, pharmaceuticals, telecommunications, and legal markets.

Previously, Hank was a partner at Brunswick Group, an international financial communications firm, where he provided media relations, crisis management, and strategic counsel on a range of transactions. Prior to Brunswick, Hank held a variety of management positions over 15 years at Pitney Bowes, Inc., including Executive Director of Corporate Communications and Public Affairs. Before joining Pitney Bowes, Hank served as chief of staff for U.S. Congressman Stewart B. McKinney. He earned his B.A. from Fairfield University, and completed post-graduate executive training at the Wharton School. He resides outside New York City in Fairfield County, CT with his family.

Ted Novin

Partner & Head of NY Office

Ted Novin is a Partner with GBPR and head of the firm’s New York office. He is responsible for client strategy and execution, and other firm-wide operations. One of the top crisis and reputation management advisors in corporate America today, Ted also leads the firm’s Crisis Management practice.

Ted joined GBPR as a Senior Advisor in 2018 and was named a Partner in 2020. He brings 25 years of experience building bridges, shaping stories, and navigating high-stakes issues for his clients. During the course of his career, Ted has developed and executed strategic communications and crisis management protocols for dozens of corporations and nonprofit organizations, while advising executives and senior staff on matters of media, limited partners/investors, organizational management, and public affairs.

Prior to GBPR, Ted founded Kincade Communications, a high-end strategic communications consultancy that counseled private equity firms, law firms, and both public and private companies. As Managing Partner at Kincade, Ted advised some of the world’s most iconic companies and individuals, helping to control public narratives, improve market positioning, manage stakeholder relationships, and mitigate reputational risks. Ted’s clients at Kincade included organizations across numerous sectors, including consumer products, manufacturing/industrials, technology, restaurants, pharma/healthcare, professional services, and finance.

Before Kincade, Ted was the chief spokesman and practice leader (communications, public affairs, and marketing) for the Remington Outdoor Company (“ROC”)—a multi-billion-dollar private equity-owned platform composed of outdoor consumer product manufacturers. Among his responsibilities, Ted served on the executive leadership team and oversaw enterprise-wide communications, media relations, and crisis management. His work at the company supported aggressive M&A, change management, and high-profile issues.

Prior to his work with ROC, Ted held numerous senior roles with top national trade associations, where he oversaw spokesperson duties, communications/PR, crisis management, and public affairs—often in conjunction with major industry litigation and following national-level crises. Ted’s experience also includes serving as the deputy director of public affairs for Spectrum Science Communications, a healthcare-focused communications agency in Washington, D.C., where he led campaigns for clients such as the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), Pfizer, and Bristol-Myers Squibb.

Ted began his career as an associate director with the Luntz Research Companies. During this time, he developed survey questionnaires, analyzed results, and converted quantitative and qualitative research data into strategic talking points, media scripts, and speeches for clients. Ted received a B.A. degree in Political Science from American University in Washington, D.C., and splits his time between Connecticut, New York, and North Carolina with his family, including German Shepherd, Agnes.

Justin May

Partner & Head of CT Office

Justin May is a Partner with GBPR and head of the firm’s Connecticut office. He is responsible for client strategy and execution, and other firm-wide operations. Additionally, Justin also leads the firm’s Public Affairs & Issues Management practice. He joined GBPR in 2008 as an Associate and was named a Partner in 2018.

For 15-plus years, Justin has been a trusted strategic communications advisor to clients, specializing in media relations, public affairs, developing messaging, storytelling, and crisis management. Throughout his career, Justin has counseled clients across a range of industries and sectors, including healthcare, energy, utilities (electric, gas, water), insurance, financial services, telecommunications, technology, trade associations, real estate, construction, labor, professional services, and nonprofits. To advance his clients’ objectives, Justin works closely with a variety of influential stakeholders, including: the media; elected officials, agencies, boards, and committees at all levels of government; leaders of for-profit and nonprofit organizations; and community/special interest groups. His work has been recognized with awards from PRSA and other industry publications and organizations.

Justin earned his B.A. in English with a concentration in Creative Writing from the University of Connecticut. Outside of GBPR, Justin is a Board member for KNOX, Inc., a Hartford nonprofit that actively supports the local community through horticulture and environmentally-centered programs. He previously served as the President of the Board of Directors and volunteered as an English as a Second Language (ESL) tutor for the Literacy Volunteers of Central CT (LVCC). An avid soccer (and Manchester United) fan, Justin was also an assistant coach for the Elms College men’s soccer team in Chicopee, MA. He resides outside Hartford, CT with his family.