Outgoing secretary of state lands new gig with communications firm

Just days before departing the Statehouse at the end of her term, Indiana Secretary of State Holli Sullivan has announced that she has landed a leadership role with a regional public relations firm.

Sullivan has been tabbed to lead business operations in Indiana for Louisville-based C2 Strategic Communications. In the post, she will lead the creation of an Evansville office (the firm has a local headquarters on Monument Circle) and oversee the firm’s Indiana clients, including the Indiana Department of Transportation, AES Indiana, Caesars Southern Indiana Casino and the River Ridge Commerce Center in Jeffersonville.

Sullivan joins C2 following a stint as secretary of state that began with her appointment by Gov. Eric Holcomb in 2021. She was defeated at the Republican state convention by Diego Morales, who went on to win the general election and will be sworn in on Jan. 3.

“I’ve become a student of the state of Indiana, traveling to all 92 counties. And one of the key factors of policy truly for Hoosiers is the communication of [how money] is spent in the state and all those hours that the legislative and executive branch pour into public service,” Sullivan told IBJ.

“If we don’t have strong communication with the people of the state, it’s all for naught. So I’m extremely excited to work with C2 to help in their business development and growing their presence here in Indiana.”

C2 has 30 employees across three offices—Indianapolis, Louisville and Lexington—and offers services including strategic planning, crisis communications, marketing, advertising, media relations, videography and photography. Many of its clients are local and state government agencies, but the roster also includes some businesses and not-for-profits.

“Our team thrives on telling success stories for clients that are improving and growing communities we serve,” C2 Strategic CEO Chad Carlton said in written remarks. “Holli’s understanding of advanced manufacturing, workforce development, higher education and infrastructure are directly connected to the work we are doing at C2 to inform and prepare communities for growth.”

Sullivan said she hopes to use her experience in state government to give C2 opportunities to partner with more agencies across Indiana, at both the local and state levels, allowing the company to “really tell the story of our state.”

Prior to her appointment as secretary of state, Sullivan represented parts of Evansville and Newburgh in the Indiana House for more than seven years, including four as the vice chair of the Indiana Republican Party.

Sullivan also worked in the private sector as an industrial engineer in roles for General Motors and Toyota, later starting an engineering consulting firm that held a contract with the University of Southern Indiana.

Her plans at C2 include building a second office in Indiana—this one in her hometown of Evansville. She said she plans to split her time between Indianapolis and Evansville, where her family still resides.

Sullivan confirmed to IBJ that she does not plan to seek any public office in 2024.

“My family and I are extremely thankful for the years that we’ve spent serving the state in [various] roles, but I think it’s healthy to go back to the private side after a while, continue to pour into the state in a different way,” she said.

“I couldn’t imagine not taking this opportunity, quite honestly. I’m very excited to be back in a role where I can be in the private industry. I’m never going to say never about public service in the future, but right now I’m very thankful and excited for the next steps. I’m not considering a run in 2024.”

Also joining C2 is Tom Spalding, who has worked in communications at OneAmerica for seven years. He will work largely on transportation-related projects across the state.

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4 thoughts on “Outgoing secretary of state lands new gig with communications firm

  1. Secretary of State Office is getting a major downgrade with her departure. Her replacement by a Republican Party gadfly caused the creation of an appointed Chief Deputy Secretary of State position to put a minder in place to run the Secretary of State Office. I wonder how much that is costing the taxpayers ?

    1. Putting aside the train wreck that will be the Diego Morales era, which will cause the Legislature to strip the power to do anything outside of paying for an Ultimate wash at Crew Carwash from the office …

      Shouldn’t there be some kind of cooling off period?

  2. Public records reported on in the media revealed Morales voted twice in 2018 in Hendricks county while claiming a homestead property tax credit for his primary residence in Marion county. What happened to Former Secretary of State Charlie White for violating election law so also happen to Morales ousted for violating the election law . Are the Republicans one party government trying to squash and cover up the mess they elected to the Secretary of State Office ?

  3. Quality people and good government are no longer important to Republican voters. Blind adherence to serial liar Trump is the new litmus test for Republican candidates. Shame on Indiana voters who deliberately put an unqualified man in public office and rejected a decent public servant.

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