Debra Silimeo

Debra Silimeo


Debra is the leader you want around when the pressure is on. A strategist who works best under the gun, she has a keen eye towards the big picture and an unflappable quality that guarantees success. Never one to take herself too seriously, you can always count on Debra to lighten the mood and make a tense situation much more enjoyable.

As Executive Vice President of Hager Sharp, Debra designs and manages large-scale national communications efforts including message development, creative, media and social media strategy, and working with policymakers and thought leaders. She’s played a major role in the firm’s management and growth, building an education team that continually delivers outstanding results for clients such as the National Assessment of Educational Progress, widely called “the Nation’s Report Card.” The revamped “report card” has won top national awards, as have related outreach materials and strategies.

Debra brings a reporter’s eye for news to her work at Hager Sharp, and high-level experience in public policy communications. She led communications at two Cabinet-level agencies: the Commerce Department during the highly contentious US-China trade agreement; and the Small Business Administration, where she led a re-brand of the agency.

As a member of the Senate Leadership staff, she organized communication activities involving the president, Cabinet members, and congressional leaders. She was a Bagehot Fellow at Columbia—the country’s leading fellowship for business and economics journalism. She was recognized by Washington Women in Public Relations as PR Woman of the Year, by the Washington Business Journal as a “Woman Who Means Business,” and inducted in the Public Relations Society of America’s National Capital Chapter Hall of Fame in 2015.

A communications strategist with high-level policy experience and a reporter’s eye for news, Debra’s mission is campaigns that make a difference. She loves adventure and volunteering: parachuting, hiking, or camping with Girl Scouts.