Olivia Alair Dalton

Senior Advisor, Human Rights Campaign; Former Press Secretary to First Lady Michelle Obama

Olivia Alair Dalton is Founder of Dalton Strategies and Senior Advisor to the Human Rights Campaign. An experienced leader in strategic communications and marketing, she has built an impressive track record advising top officials, national non-profits, Fortune 100 companies, and major issue campaigns. She draws on fifteen years at the forefront of politics, policy and media as a former spokeswoman to First Lady Michelle Obama, President Obama’s campaigns, then-U.S. Senator Joe Biden, Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood, and the Human Rights Campaign.

Prior to founding Dalton Strategies, Dalton served as Senior Vice President for Communications and Marketing at the Human Rights Campaign, the world’s largest LGBTQ civil rights organization. There, she oversaw a team spanning communications, marketing, research and consumer marketing — and helped lead HRC to new heights through bold, creative initiatives and award-winning PR campaigns. Notably, she was a top communications strategist in the fight to win nationwide marriage equality, and has been a key leader in countless other efforts, from galvanizing support for the Equality Act, to banning the abusive practice of “conversion therapy,” to fighting the Trump-Pence Administration’s ban on transgender troops, to responding to the Pulse Nightclub shooting in Orlando.

Dalton came to HRC from the public relations firm SKDKnickerbocker, where she launched a Supreme Court Communications Practice and helped launch the Barack Obama Foundation. In 2013, she led coalition communications for LGBTQ organizations that successfully defeated the Defense of Marriage Act and Proposition 8 at the Supreme Court, and in 2015, she was responsible for helping to conceive and launch HRC’s historic People’s Brief, which garnered signatures from more than 200,000 Americans in favor of marriage equality and has more signatories than any amicus brief ever submitted to the U.S. Supreme Court. Dalton also led communications campaigns on behalf of other significant civil rights victories at the Supreme Court, including successful cases challenging pregnancy discrimination (Young v. UPS) and housing discrimination (Texas v. Inclusive Communities Project).

Prior to her work at HRC and SKDKnickerbocker, Dalton served as a spokesperson for some of the nation’s leading public officials. Over the last 15 years, she has served as a spokesperson for both of President Obama’s presidential campaigns, former First Lady Michelle Obama, former U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood, and then-U.S. Senator Joe Biden.

PR News named Dalton to its annual People to Watch in PR list of rising stars in recognition of her work on marriage equality in 2013. She is a proud graduate of Georgetown University.

Her discussion group was titled, “Breaking Through: Effective Political Communications In A Time Of Chaos.”

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