While in college at the University of Virginia, Abigail Gardner was bitten by the campaign bug. She loved the fast pace, the challenge of engaging with press, the do-or-die urgency that motivated everyone through Election Day. She went on to work for Democratic candidates up and down the ballot for several cycles, including two presidential races, statewide races, and congressional races.
In addition to campaigns, she also served in government. Abigail worked in the New York City press office of Governor Eliot Spitzer during his brief but memorable tenure, and was the communications director for Congressman Dan Maffei (D-NY) in his Washington, D.C., office from 2008–2010.
After leaving Capitol Hill in 2011, Abigail joined the award-winning political and communications consulting firm SKDKnickerbocker. As a vice president, she used all the strategic communications skills she learned from campaigns and government to help clients with a range of issues, while continuing to consult for political campaigns and elected officials. Abigail also created and led a staff development program for SKDKnickerbocker.
As a consultant, Abigail’s clients ranged from start-ups grappling with regulatory issues to very public figures navigating national media attention. She worked with trade associations on reputational challenges, groups trying to raise awareness for an issue, and thought leaders competing for ink in a crowded media environment. Notable press placements for her SKDK clients included Last Week Tonight with John Oliver, 60 Minutes, Vogue, Daily News, Time, and NPR.
In 2015, Abigail moved home to Pittsburgh to continue consulting under a new venture: Scottie Public Affairs. Why call it Scottie? Because Abigail has some terrier like qualities, including being tenacious and a fighter. And her family is of Scottish descent.
Providing strategic counsel, managing press relations, writing, editing, web development, speech preparation and more all happen in the typical day at Scottie. In 2019, Scottie added an in-house graphic designer to help clients with branding, visual identities, and graphic design for print and digital collateral. Clients include national issue advocacy coalitions, candidates, public figures, corporate entities, authors, and more.
Scottie Public Affairs is proud to have been a part of a number of winning Democratic races in Pittsburgh and Allegheny County since we opened in 2015, including Erika Strassburger for City Council, Lindsey Williams for State Senate, and Pam Iovino for State Senate. Abigail is on the board of Emerge Pennsylvania and the Greater Pittsburgh Women’s Center and Shelter. In 2018 she was elected to both the Allegheny County Democratic Committee and the Pennsylvania State Democratic Committee.
Abigail lives in Friendship with her husband Ryan (who she met on the campaign trail in 2010 —it is a very cute story if you want to ask her about it) and their two Beagle-ish rescue dogs, Hazel and Humphrey.