Generating momentum
for good is our why.
Since 1985.

SteegeThomson is a marketing, communications, and branding agency serving the non-profit world. We help mission-driven organizations strengthen reputations, change minds and behavior, and gain philanthropic support. We do this through inclusive research, insight-driven strategies, and brilliant storytelling.

We help build a more open, resilient and optimistic world.

We don’t cure cancer, or reduce carbon emissions, or pull people out of poverty. But the work we do is essential to all these urgent tasks and many more. Because our work is so important, we approach it with great care and significant joy.

 So we:

Lead with listening, because every voice matters to us.

Craft unforgettable, consequential stories and strategies.

Define sustainability as solutions that are adaptable, replicable, and affordable.

Work side by side and hand in hand with our clients, forming career-long professional partnerships.

Our expertise becomes your expertise.

We complete your team – bridging gaps, improving practice, and bringing creative and practical perspectives to key conversations.

brand + strategy

A brand is the promise you make to the world, and strategy is how you enact it. We think about your brand organically and holistically, and help match how you look, what you say, and what you do with your highest aspirations. When people’s experience of your brand aligns with your strategic purpose, that’s a powerful, — and authentic — place to be. We help clients across sectors understand and express who they are.

PR + Visibility

To build influence, you must first build trust. We gather the evidence to shape your story, prepare you to tell it, and identify the vehicles that will make your voice heard. Our team blends decades of journalism and PR experience with proactive and responsive service. We conduct media relations, craft speaking platforms, and implement multi-platform awareness campaigns. Using our bespoke strategies, you’ll gain the visibility to make the meaningful impact on the world your mission deserves.

Philanthropic Communications

Philanthropic communications are about more than just fundraising, and they are about more than glossy packaging. They bring key opportunities to connect to people in meaningful and lasting ways. They are about partnership, the hopeful future we are building together, and articulating and inspiring that legacy. So we don’t just focus on the slick package (though we do that very well) – we take a comprehensive, advancement-oriented approach to moving an organization forward.

services + skills

Admission Marketing
Advertising
Advocacy communications
Alumni Strategies
Annual Giving
Art Direction
Audits
Branding
Campaign Communications
Case-making
Change narratives
Consumer Education
Content Strategy

Creative
Crisis Communications
Design
DEI communications
Digital
Editorial Services
Event Strategies
Executive Communications
Image and Issue Campaigns
Impact Reporting
Issues Management
Market Research
Media Relations

Media and Message Training

Messaging
Naming
Paid Media
Photography
Planning
Policymaker Outreach
Positioning
Proposal Development
Research
Social Strategy
Staffing Support

Stakeholder Relations
Stewardship
Storytelling
Strategic Communications Planning
Thought Leadership
Training Workshops
Video
Visual Identity
Writing

clients

We partner with those we trust and admire to create lasting value.

We work with leading non-profits across sectors, including the world’s top colleges and universities; purpose-driven foundations and philanthropies; trailblazers in science, health, and the arts; and those hard at work changing public policy and systems.

Arts + Culture

The American Philosophical Society

The Annenberg Center

Chautauqua Institution

The Institute of Contemporary Art

The Kimmel Center

Library of Congress

The National Museum of Women in the Arts

Penn Museum

The Smithsonian Institution

The Virginia Museum of Fine Arts

The Wharton Esherick Museum

The World War II Foundation

Civic + Human Services

The Anti-Defamation League

The Barra Foundation

Camden Sophisticated Sisters

CeasefirePA

Child Guidance Resource Centers

Children’s Crisis Treatment Center

Doris Duke Foundation

The Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia

Gift of Life Donor Program

 

Girl Scouts of the USA

Goodwill NY/NJ

JEVS Human Services

Living Beyond Breast Cancer

Newman’s Own Foundation

New York Women’s Foundation

Oxfam America

Pennsylvania Public Media

Philadelphia City Fund

 

Philadelphia Corporation for Aging

Philadelphia School Partnership

Philadelphia250

The School District of Philadelphia

Simpson Senior Services

Vetri Community Partnership

Volunteers of America

Education

Achieving the Dream

Aspen Institute

The Aydelotte Foundation

Auburn University

Binghamton University

Bryn Mawr College

Binghamton University

Columbia Mailman School of Public Health

Denison University

Drexel University

Harvard Kennedy School

The Institute for Advanced Study

The KIPP Foundation

Lafayette College

Montgomery County Community College

Mount Holyoke College

Northampton Community College

Providence College

The Rockefeller University

The Stevens Initiative

Stonehill College

Swarthmore College

SUNY Westchester

Syracuse University

Temple University

Thomas Jefferson University

University of Delaware

University of Pennsylvania

  • Annenberg School for Communication
  • Athletics
  • Carey Law School
  • Graduate School of Education
  • Libraries
  • School of Arts and Sciences
  • School of Engineering and Applied Science
  • School of Medicine
  • School of Nursing
  • School of Social Policy and Practice
  • School of Veterinary Medicine
  • The Wharton School
University of Pittsburgh

University of the Arts

University of the Sciences

Ursinus College

Vanderbilt University

Washington College

Western Kentucky University

Yale Law School

York College, CUNY

INDEPENDENT SCHOOLS

The Agnes Irwin School

AIM Academy

The American School of Paris

The Baldwin School

DVFriends

The Episcopal Academy

The Foxcroft School

 

Germantown Friends School

The Haverford School

The Hotchkiss School

The Lawrenceville School

Mercersburg Academy

The Miquon School

Newark Academy

Perkiomen School

 

Princeton Day School

Ranney School

Shipley

Solebury School

St. Peter’s School

University of Pittsburgh

William Penn Charter School

Environment + Sustainability

American Public Gardens Association

Bartram’s Garden

Brandywine Red Clay Alliance

Brandywine Conservancy and Museum of Art

Cornell Lab of Ornithology

Morris Arboretum

Museum of Science, Boston

Science + Health

The American Neurological Association

The American Nurses Foundation

The American Occupational Therapy Association

Columbia Mailman School of Public Health

Harvard Medical School

Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health

Independence Blue Cross

International Consortium for Health and Wellness Coaches

The Jackson Laboratory

Lankenau Institute for Medical Research

Leonard Davis Institute of Health Economics

Living Beyond Breast Cancer

Main Line Health Foundation

The National Board of Medical Examiners

The National Comprehensive Cancer Network

Nemours

Penn Medicine

Robert Wood Johnson Foundation

Stanford Lucille Packard Children’s Hospital

Temple Health

UConn Health

University of Maryland School of Medicine

Weill Cornell Medical College

The Wistar Institute

OUR TEAM

Of counsel. And creative as heck.

Partners

Denise Portner

PRINCIPAL

As Co-Principal, Denise helps lead client relationships, manages and mentors our team, and keeps an eye on SteegeThomson’s operations and growth. While Denise started her career as a reporter, she eventually found her way to the agency side, bringing a holistic understanding of what stories need to stick.



An award-winning writer and media strategist, Denise integrates the art and science of public relations to create unique, profile-raising visibility programs and to position clients as thought leaders, community builders, and conveners of important conversations. With perspective drawn from the newsroom, university, foundation, corporation, and agency settings, she has the flexibility to imagine solutions across traditional boundaries. Clients who have benefited from her extensive experience and personalized attention include the Stevens Initiative of the Aspen Institute, Penn Medicine, Living Beyond Breast Cancer, the American Neurological Association, Temple Health, and Pennsylvania Public Media.



Civically engaged, Denise sits on the boards of JEVS Human Services and Philadelphia’s WHYY, and is part of the team planning Philadelphia’s celebration of the 250th anniversary of American independence.



Denise received her BA in History from Brown University.



Trying new things is Denise’s modus operandi. Outside of work, you’ll find her on stage at Philadelphia’s Kimmel Center with the Kehillah of Old York Road Choir, rowing with fellow breast cancer survivors, or building her skills as an artist.

Jill Wacker

PRINCIPAL

As Co-Principal, Jill helps lead the agency, its clients and a team of talented creatives and strategists. Jill brings an honest, empathic and ambitious perspective to every engagement. An award-winning writer and creator, Jill also oversees design at SteegeThomson, and typically focuses on large and complex client engagements.

Prior to joining SteegeThomson, Jill worked in healthcare marketing, where she honed her skills in bringing ideas to life. Today, she guides strategy, editorial and visuals to ensure that ideas can be realized across different channels and media to reach multiple audiences. Public awareness and advocacy campaigns are her sweet spot.

Her backgrounds in healthcare and higher education have helped drive insights for clients as diverse as the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, Yale Law School, the Harvard Chan School of Public Health, The Jackson Laboratory, Pre-K Counts, Bryn Mawr College, and Independence Blue Cross.

Jill graduated from Columbia University with a BA in History and received her PhD in English from the University of Pennsylvania.

When she’s not pushing to expand the firm’s practice or try a new approach, her happy place is on a bike on a towpath or rail trail, or exploring the streets of a new town.

Team

Patricia LePera

PRESIDENT EMERITA AND SENIOR CONSULTANT

A messaging maven, Pat has been a leading voice in development communications for decades. Her genius combines a deep understanding of inclusive case-making and a clear vision for how to do it. Dozens of organizations and institutions worldwide have turned to her for help articulating their visions and the compelling difference they make in the world.

As President of SteegeThomson, Pat deepened and extended the firm’s ability to bridge the gap between institutional brands and key moments in a constituent’s journey through integrated strategy, design and experiences.  As President Emerita, Pat continues to strengthen the firm’s vision, and to serve select clients. Perhaps most importantly, Pat sets the standard for the quality of our work and the tone for how we go about it. Her impressive body of work includes developing campaign cases and  brands for The Smithsonian Institution, The Library of Congress, The University of Pennsylvania, Girl Scouts USA, Volunteers of America, Auburn University, and many more.

A proud graduate of Temple University, Pat also holds an MS in Library Science from Drexel University. When not crafting your next unforgettable messages, Pat is deep in the latest 1,000-page historical biography or exploring a new corner of Europe with husband Arnie.

Luise Moskowitz

SENIOR ASSOCIATE

Short stories with long tails: that is just one piece of the singular talent Luise brings to her work with our clients. A seasoned media relations expert, Luise manages to keep every engagement fresh and finely tuned to an institution or organization’s needs and goals.  Her approach is thorough, methodical and completely original. √ Luise’s PR and visibility work taps the broader visual and creative skills of our team, and incudes out-of-the-box tactics such as illustrations, comic strips, and collaborations with popular authors. She has led stellar creative efforts for clients that include Newman’s Own Foundation, National Museum of Women in the Arts, Philadelphia City Fund, Ursinus College, The Agnes Irwin School, and Binghamton University.

Luise came to SteegeThomson after working in communications roles at the University of Pennsylvania and Pennsylvania Ballet, so has a special affinity for crafting winning stories about education and the arts, but her expertise has also supported complex storytelling in health and medicine for clients such as National Board of Medical Examiners, Thomas Jefferson University and the Doris Duke Foundation.

Luise received her BA in Classical Studies and her Master of Liberal Arts from the University of Pennsylvania.

When not devising brilliant stories, Luise is beading beautiful earrings in her purple house in Philadelphia’s Fitler Square or spending time in her native Washington, D.C.

Togo Travalia

SENIOR ASSOCIATE

For over three decades, Togo has been at the forefront of philanthropic communications. His experience working with development teams has given him unique perspectives on case-making, campaign launches, stewardship, and the role they play in building stronger institutions.

A gifted writer and creative, Togo maintains long and fruitful partnerships with clients. His sensibility and his team-building frequently enable him to chart a holistic approach that erases the boundary between fundraising and admission marketing. An independent school expert, Togo has worked with a long list of schools that includes Mercersburg Academy, William Penn Charter School and The Hotchkiss School. Clients such as the Anti-Defamation League, University of Pennsylvania School of Law, SUNY Westchester, Stonehill College, and Cornell Lab of Ornithology have benefited repeatedly from his campaign and stewardship expertise.

Togo received his BA in Classics from Swarthmore College, and began his career as a Latin teacher.

When not burning the midnight oil at the office, Togo can be found managing the Off the Wall gallery at Philadelphia’s legendary Dirty Frank’s.

John McWilliams

BUSINESS MANAGER

An oasis of calm at the heart of our busy agency, John blends the focus and experience of a seasoned financial professional and CPA with the insights and empathy of a clinical social worker.

John’s unique blend of skills helps us be more intentional both internally and externally in all that we do. He has helped SteegeThomson transition to new operational platforms and boosted the benefits we are able to offer to our team.  Before joining SteegeThomson, John shared his financial and managerial acumen to major corporations and local non-profits.

John holds a BS in Business Administration from the University of Tennessee and a Master of Social Service degree from Bryn Mawr College.

When he’s not holding down the fort at SteegeThomson, you can find John providing counsel as a therapist in private practice.

Anna Schneider

GRAPHIC DESIGNER

As a designer, Anna works alongside our writers and strategists to bring ideas to life. For Anna, design is about more than merely creating something beautiful or eye-catching: it’s about problem-solving. Her favorite aspect of her work is providing solutions that capture both hearts and minds, leading to better understanding.

A strong systems thinker, Anna brings a multidisciplinary approach and a wealth of experience to the practice of design. Her diverse work has served clients in sectors as varied as retail, tech, fine art, and children’s publishing. Before joining SteegeThomson, she worked at the Seattle Art Museum, where she had a hand in everything from exhibition branding and environmental graphics to SAM’s member magazine. At SteegeThomson, Anna has worked with clients including the Harvard Chan School of Public Health, Denison University, the Museum of Science, Temple Health, and the Philadelphia City Fund. She also plays a lead role in visualizing the SteegeThomson brand.

Anna holds a BA in Design (with a minor in Art History) from Western Washington University.

When she’s not visualizing your brand, you might find Anna hitting local farmers’ markets for fresh, seasonal produce.

Bradley Joseph Sinkaus

ASSOCIATE

A deft project manager and thoughtful creative with a subtle talent for client relations, Brad helps to push our thinking beyond traditional communications to systems and policy change.

Before joining SteegeThomson, Brad spent five years at the Congressional Management Foundation, where he worked with Congressional offices to increase effectiveness through research, training, and identifying best practices. A government and policy aficionado, Brad has also worked with the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources and the Nexight Group, and interned with the Australian Parliament and the Australian Embassy.

Brad brings an inherent understanding of what drives relationships between people and institutions to work with clients such as Denison University, Seton Hall University, and Yale Law School. His insights into how data drives national conversations inform our work in health system change with clients such as the Doris Duke Foundation.

Brad received a BA in Political Science from the University of Pennsylvania (where he is an engaged alum who shares his skills through pro bono work) and an MA in American Government from Georgetown University.

When he’s not fine tuning a strategy, you can find Brad visiting art museums and enjoying being back in Philadelphia after eight years in Washington, D.C.

Julia Fleisher

ASSOCIATE

Quick on the uptake and rigorously organized, Julia offers our clients and our internal team a strong anchor for a variety of accounts. She loves the way telling a client’s story enables her to tap her wide variety of interests and step into other worlds and other roles, while at the same time achieving meaningful goals.

She’s passionate about work with community impact, and comes to SteegeThomson after stints at non-profit organizations where she “did it all,” from communications and fundraising to advocacy, events and operations. You can see this ability to pitch in on multiple fronts in her work with clients such as Independence Blue Cross, Temple Lung, and Living Beyond Breast Cancer. She also brings a keen understanding of data and statistics – as well as how to use them – to her work.

Julia received her BS in Psychology from Bryn Mawr College and earned her MPP with a Certificate in Nonprofit Management & Leadership from the University of Maryland School of Public Policy.

When she’s not telling a story with data, Julia’s finding inspiration in her extensive cookbook collection.

Audrey Lee

CREATIVE STRATEGIST

A hybrid designer, Audrey focuses on the intersection of branding and user experience design to create impactful experiences. Her openness to new challenges and ways of thinking makes her a key contributor to any project.


A believer in the power of design for social change, working at SteegeThomson provides Audrey opportunities to put those values into action every day. As a student, her work with social impact design and visual storytelling won awards with organizations like Cohere, AIGA Philadelphia, and Temple University’s Entrepreneurship and Innovation Institute. Audrey also grew up with a passion for science, and likes to use research methods in her design work. This inclination to understand has informed her work with clients such as the University of Illinois Cancer Center and Cornell Lab of Ornithology.


Audrey graduated from Temple University with a major in Graphic and Interactive Design and a minor in Art History.


When she’s not harnessing the power of hybrid design to create new solutions, you’ll find this Vermont native appreciating life in “a city full of radically creative people that also includes 2,000 acres of forest.”

awards & recognition

2023

Pepperpot Award

The Philadelphia City Fund
Moving Past Scandal to a New Chapter of Service and Success

Reputation/Brand Management

2023

Pepperpot Award

Independence Blue Cross
How I Know My Mind

Public Service

2023

Summit Creative
Bronze Award

The Philadelphia City Fund
Old Scandal to Fresh Relevance

COMPLETE REBRAND/REDESIGN

2023

Hermes Creative
Gold Award

The Philadelphia City Fund
Old Scandal to Fresh Relevance

BRANDING

2023

COMMUNICATOR AWARDS
AWARD OF EXCELLENCE

Living Beyond Breast Cancer
Bringing Sex Into the Breast Cancer Conversation

MEDIA RELATIONS

2022

Hermes Creative
platinum Award

Independence Blue Cross
Know Your Mind/
Cuida Tu Salud Mental

Strategic Public Relations

2022

HERMES CREATIVE HONORABLE MENTION AWARD

Newman’s Own Foundation
Serious Fun Camps Comic Strip Series

SOCIAL MEDIA CAMPAIGN

2020

PEPPERPOT AWARD

Independence Blue Cross & the City of Philadelphia
#mindPHL Mental Health Campaign

SOCIAL CAMPAIGN

2019

AIGA PHILADELPHIA DESIGN AWARD

University of the Arts
Uniquely UArts: The Campaign for Creative Capital

design

2019

HERMES CREATIVE PLATINUM AWARD

Basser Center for BRCA at Penn Medicine’s Abramson Cancer Center Celebrating Five Years of Progress and Hope: 2017 Progress Report

Print Media, Publications, Annual Report

2019

HERMES CREATIVE PLATINUM AWARD

University of the Arts
Uniquely UArts: The Campaign for Creative Capital

Print Media, design, Publication overall

2019

CASE DISTRICT II BRONZE ACCOLADE AWARD

Penn Medicine
A Remarkable Thing Happened

Fundraising, Print Brochure

2019

HERMES CREATIVE gold AWARD

Institute of Contemporary Art at the University of Pennsylvania
Institute of Contemporary Art: Encounter the Unexpected

Print Media, design, Marketing Materials

Let’s make something
brilliant together.
Let’s make something
brilliant together.
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