Robert Thomas Shepardson, member of the President's Council on Fitness, Sports & Nutrition, is a Partner with SS+K. As one of the founders of SS+K, Rob has spent over 25 years working in public affairs, advertising and marketing.
Rob currently leads the firm’s work for FWD.us, the new advocacy organization established by Mark Zuckerberg and other Silicon Valley leaders. In addition, Rob leads SS+K’s work for the AFL-CIO, the College Board, MSNBC, NBC’s TODAY Show, HBO, the Markle Foundation, and Sandy Hook Promise, the organization dedicated to reducing gun violence in the wake of the Newtown, CT, shootings.
He led SS+K’s assignment for the Obama for America campaign in both 2008 and 2012. He served on the paid media team and oversaw the multiple creative campaigns to persuade, register and motivate young Americans to vote for President Obama. Despite predictions to the contrary, 1.25 million more young Americans voted for the President in 2012 than in 2008. SS+K also designed the brand for the 2012 Democratic convention.
In the recent past, Rob led the firm’s work for Let’s Move!, First Lady Michelle Obama’s anti-childhood obesity campaign, and Joining Forces, her initiative to encourage Americans to help military families; the rebranding of the Democratic National Committee; the campaign to educate Americans about the benefits of President Obama’s historic healthcare reforms; and the youth-focused advocacy campaign to support the President’s energy reform legislation.
He led SS+K’s long-time work for the Lance Armstrong Foundation. Originally tasked with branding the then-nascent foundation, SS+K was in charge of developing the LiveStrong brand, marketing the phenomenon that was to become the Yellow Band and helping the Foundation redefine cancer survivorship. Through the Foundation, Rob led a recent assignment for the World Health Organization’s efforts on noncommunicable diseases.
In addition, he led the firm’s work for the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, working closely with the Foundation’s leadership on helping bring resources and attention to reduce the transmission of HIV/AIDS and vaccine-preventable diseases, as well as establishing the Foundation’s initial advocacy strategy.
He has led the firm’s work for ENOUGH! [The Campaign to End Mass Atrocities and Genocide]; the Association of Schools of Public Health; DATA and the ONE Campaign [Bono’s advocacy organizations]; various UN agencies including the establishment of the UN Millennium Development Goals campaign; Share our Strength’s No Kid Hungry brand and campaign; and Bread for the World, among others.
He has led SS+K’s assignments for General Electric, Blue Cross Blue Shield Association, Microsoft, Anheuser-Busch, Goldman Sachs, Dell Computer, Time Warner, and the New York Jets, among others.
Prior to co-founding SS+K, Rob worked at the Sawyer Miller Group, where he advised corporate clients, several heads of state [Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador + Panama], presidential campaigns in the U.S. and abroad, and one emergent political party [Hungary]. During his work in Colombia, he helped the Administration of then-President César Gaviria secure U.S. support to dismantle the Medellín drug cartel.
Rob is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations. For more than 15 years, he has been a member of the New York advisory board of Enterprise Community Partners, a leading provider of capital and expertise to create affordable homes and vibrant communities. He is a founding board member of Business Forward, a membership organization focused on helping Fortune 500 executives, entrepreneurs, small business owners and investors participate in the federal policymaking process. He is on the board of Hip-Hop Public Health, an innovative and proven program that educates grade-school children about nutrition and exercise through hip-hop. Also, he is on the advisory board of Share Our Strength.
In addition to his client work in healthcare and public health, Rob designed and taught for two semesters a graduate-level course on health issue advocacy at Columbia’s Mailman School of Public Health. He currently is on the advisory board of the Center for Health Communication at Harvard’s School of Public Health.
Rob has a Master’s degree in Public Policy from Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government. He holds a B.A. from Franklin and Marshall College, where he graduated with a double major in government and biology. At F&M, he was a four-year starting quarterback and Academic All-American. Short Bio