Since its inception in 1987 Leonine Public Affairs has fostered a team of professionals with a diverse and complementary set of skills. While rooted in policy, politics and strategic communication, our team includes everything from former legislators to musicians, athletes to web developers, artists to business owners.
These varied experiences enrich our collective expertise and are key to our unparalleled success spanning over 35 years. We eagerly anticipate the opportunity to acquaint ourselves with you and explore how our team can collaborate to achieve your goals. Welcome to the Leonine family!
Leonine is always looking for ways to utilize the skills and interests of individual employees to strengthen and broaden the scope of services provided to clients. This approach, along with a staff age range of early 20s to early 60s, is how Leonine provides the diverse array of services and perspectives to each individual client. While all are public relations professionals, Leonine’s staff includes everything from lawyers to musicians, athletes to web developers, artists to anglers. It’s a business model in which Leonine takes pride, and which has led to 30 years of unmatched success. MEET THE TEAM
A RICH HISTORY
Leonine Public Affairs was founded in 1987 by Steve Kimbell and Bob Sherman, two former cabinet members of Vermont’s first female governor – Madeleine Kunin. The firm, then called Kimbell and Sherman, provided lobbying and public relations services to clients with interests in the state of Vermont. As their book of business grew, Kimbell and Sherman quickly recognized the opportunity to expand their scope and geographic reach as the internet revolutionized commerce (and how commerce was regulated) across the country. They also utilized the diverse skillsets and interests of their growing staff to expand their business and the services they provided, an approach that remains the cornerstone of success at Leonine today.
By the mid-1990’s, the firm, now called Kimbell Sherman Ellis and known as KSE, was operating throughout New England, Eastern Canada and in Washington DC. Through their regional work, KSE was already working with many of the large national corporations and associations that would become staples of their 50-state business in the next decade. In 1999, KSE began working on the effort to legalize gay marriage in Vermont, 16 years before gay marriage would become recognized nationally. The effort resulted in the landmark Vermont civil-union law that passed in 2000 and culminated in the first legislature-approved gay marriage law in the country in 2009.
In the early 2000’s, KSE founded FOCUS, a 50-state government affairs consulting and legislative tracking service that has become one of the premiere services in the country. FOCUS increased its role in the coalition and association management sector by managing and consulting for corporations and national trade associations, including the rapidly evolving internet and wireless industries. FOCUS serves clients throughout the United States and internationally, including management of The Advocacy Group.
KSE also began developing its strategic communications practice in the early 2000’s. Born in the effort to legalize gay marriage, KSE communications quickly expanded to manage public relations campaigns for everything from higher learning institutions and communications companies, as well as coordinating the development of renewable energy projects.
In 2011, Steve Kimbell retired, beginning a period of transition at KSE to a new generation of public affairs professionals. By this time the firm changed its name to KSE Partners, and had grown from two partners and an administrative staffer to seven partners and thirty-five employees. Bob Sherman retired in 2014, completing the transition and in 2016 KSE Partners changed its name to Leonine Public Affairs.
Leonine Public Affairs continues to be a preeminent, one-stop public affairs shop for organizations from large corporations to small nonprofits.
In 2020, like many companies around the world, our organization faced unprecedented challenges due to the COVID-19 pandemic. As we navigated the rapidly changing landscape, we made the difficult but necessary decision to transition to a work-from-home model to ensure the safety and well-being of our employees. Despite the initial challenges of adapting to this new way of working, our team rose to the occasion and demonstrated incredible resilience, creativity, and determination. Through hard work and collaboration, we were able to overcome the obstacles and emerge stronger than ever. As we look to the future, we are filled with hope and optimism.