Steve has responded to dozens of RFPs over the course of his 25+ career and led numerous PR agency searches as both a corporate communications executive and an independent consultant. Before launching RFP Associates, he ran his own corporate communications consultancy, Steven Drake Associates, LLC, where Steve offered services designed to help clients effectively communicate with audiences and achieve their organizational objectives. During the course of that work, he found that many of his clients would seek his help in identifying, evaluating and hiring PR agencies both for short-term assignments as well as ongoing retainer work. That PR agency search experience included both domestic and international assignments in the education, publishing, technology and healthcare fields – and helped spawn the decision to launch RFP Associates.
Previously, Steve held senior executive positions in the corporate and public relations agency sectors. As vice president, communications with Laureate Education, Inc., formerly Sylvan Learning Systems, Inc., Drake built and managed the first comprehensive corporate communications function for the $1 billion, then-publicly traded global provider of education services.
Before that, Steve held positions of increasing responsibility with Fleishman-Hillard, Inc. There, over a 12-year span, he served the marketing and public affairs needs of clients in many sectors, including telecommunications, financial services, consumer products, transportation and retail. In the mid- to late-1990s, he launched and managed the firm’s presence in China, opening offices and serving clients in Beijing, Shanghai, and throughout Asia. Upon his return to Washington, DC, Drake directed Fleishman-Hillard’s international practice.
Drake holds both a Master’s and Bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Maryland, where he currently serves as an adjunct professor in the Department of Communication and in the executive MBA program at University of Maryland University College. He teaches, speaks and writes on a range of communications topics, including public relations in China, international public relations, and strategic thinking.