At Sequal, we employ strategic communications to change hearts, minds, and policy.
Digital Marketing + Content Creation
Social Media Strategy + Management
Media + Public Relations
Movement Building + Campaign Strategy
Creative Services + Print Management
Web Design + Development
We help our clients break through the noise, get noticed, shape the narrative, and win campaigns. From storytelling to profile building, media relations to message framing, digital marketing to campaign strategy — we put our decades of strategic communications expertise to work for a more just and equitable society. Every Sequal strategist has an unwavering commitment to social and economic justice.
Our approach to policy change hinges on driving a publicly compelling narrative through the use of personal storytelling and cohesive messaging across all communications channels. We complement compelling public narratives by providing media and public speaking strategy and training for clients, conducting policy research, and building strategic relationships with reporters, thought leaders, and policymakers.
At Sequal, we’ll help you put the power where it belongs: with the people.
Who is Sequal?
At Sequal, we partner with organizations and movements to build a better world. We aren’t beltway consultants; we are passionate fighters for justice. Our founders, Jodi Hirsh and Matt Richards, are community organizers at heart, and organizing principles guide each and every aspect of Sequal’s comprehensive communications services. Since our founding in 2016, we have helped clients lead winning campaigns that fundamentally challenge systemic injustice and inequity, and build a better, more inclusive and just society.
No Thanks, Amazon
We know what’s possible when local communities drive economic development–we can create living wage jobs; our long-standing communities are able to stay and flourish; and we create greater equity for communities of color and working people. Sequal stands with clients like Pittsburgh United, who work to make all development collaborative — instead of competing to give the biggest tax breaks to companies like Google, Uber, Amazon, and UPMC. Sequal helped Pittsburgh United organize a broad coalition of opposition to the untold resources the city of Pittsburgh spent to try and woo Amazon to build their second headquarters (Amazon HQ2) in the city. Sequal worked with Pittsburgh United and its partners to hold several actions and press conferences–including one with a real live Alexa — calling for transparency and letting city leaders know that Pittsburghers deserve a voice in the city’s economic development, and backdoor development deals are not acceptable. Thanks to the visibility and power of the anti-Amazon protests, the company chose to look elsewhere for their second headquarters, ultimately winning none of the egregious corporate tax breaks they sought.
The New Frontier: Rural Organizing
To build true power for working class families in Pennsylvania, Sequal understood that Pennsylvania United and its partners had to organize in the tipping-point rural counties that elected Donald Trump by thin margins in 2016. Sequal developed and implemented a consistent messaging framework that provided a worker-centered narrative that shifted away from Trumpism and toward the fight for affordable healthcare, union jobs, and fully funded public schools. Sequal helped generate press, created and launched digital ad campaigns, and developed on-message materials to help organize in these counties for two years. In the 2018 and 2020 election cycles, PA United worked with a multiracial coalition to successfully flip counties Trump won and increase Democratic turnout.
The 2020 Election: Race/Class/Gender Narrative
In 2020, Sequal helped lead a statewide narrative campaign to ensure an election where every vote was counted, and we swore in new leaders of, by, and for the people. Voters, volunteers, organizers, and activists turned out in record numbers to make this a place of liberty and justice for all. Despite the pandemic, economic crisis, and deliberate barriers set to keep Black, young and new Americans from voting, we elected new leaders to deliver relief, distribute vaccines, and create a better future for us all.
Increasing Vaccination Rates in Allegheny County
The goal of this campaign was to test the effectiveness of micro-targeted digital ads on social media channels to increase teen vaccination rates in targeted geographic regions of Allegheny County. Sequal designed and implemented a 12-week digital marketing campaign focused on mobilizing pro-vaccine parents, health professionals, and other stakeholders to create the public demand necessary to both increase HPV rates and support HPV vaccine policy change. The campaign messaging and framework sought to reinforce the vaccine’s efficacy and to emphasize its ability to protect children from cancer.
The Fight to Keep Pittsburgh Water Safe, Affordable and Public
Sequal created and executed a comprehensive, strategic communications plan for the Our Water Campaign, a coalition committed to keeping Pittsburgh’s water safe, affordable, and public. We developed a consistent narrative for the coalition built on the idea that water is a public good and human right, and should be safe, public, and affordable for everyone. At every opportunity, campaign representatives pushed the narrative that investing in public water infrastructure and operation means their families and their communities will be able to thrive in the future. The campaign successfully worked with City Council and PWSA (the local water authority) to pass a Customer Assistance Program, a moratorium on water shutoffs, and a plan to replace all lead pipes in the area. We also drove messaging and public engagement to successfully beat back a bid from Peoples Gas to purchase and privatize Pittsburgh’s public water.
Keeping Pittsburgh Home
Sequal developed and implemented a comprehensive strategic communications plan to help Pittsburgh United and a table of regional housing advocates establish an affordable housing task force to address the shortage of more than 20,000 units in the city. By a vote of 7-0, Pittsburgh City Council established the Housing Opportunity Fund, the city’s first city-wide affordable housing trust fund. The HOF provides dedicated resources to help stabilize and improve Pittsburgh’s neighborhoods by supporting the development and preservation of affordable and accessible housing in areas with access to public transit, jobs, good schools, child care, grocery stores and other amenities. Sequal ensured that narrative about the campaign included the work advocates engaged in to ensure the HOF prioritized seniors, people with disabilities, and families with very low incomes in communities experiencing rapid growth and escalating housing costs. Since its implementation, the HOF has already helped hundreds of Pittsburghers stay in the neighborhoods they’ve always called home.
Paid Sick Days
Sequal worked with Pittsburgh United and their labor union allies to pass city council legislation that guaranteed employers paid sick days for all workers in the city of Pittsburgh. Our work included media relations for several public rallies, placement of key Opinion Editorials, and actions that highlighted the public health consequences of not providing paid sick time to employees, particularly those in the service industry. The ordinance was challenged in the courts, but the PA Supreme Court upheld Pittsburgh’s authority to enact the ordinance and we are now working with Pittsburgh United to make sure workers are aware of their new benefit.
Economic Justice Circle
Sequal worked with organizations throughout Pittsburgh to help create and manage the communications strategy for the Economic Justice Circle, a grassroots coalition of community leaders, activists, organizers, and advocates committed to creating an economic justice agenda for Pittsburgh through a racial equity lens.
A Fair Contract for Giant Eagle Workers
As United Food and Commercial Workers 1776 Keystone State began negotiating a new contract, Sequal worked with the union and several coalition partners to generate and amplify a report detailing the history, conditions, and standards of Pittsburgh‐based retail grocery employers, finding that the impact of low wages went well beyond grocery companies; their workers, and consumers. The report findings caused significant concern about the negative impact low‐wage employment standards in the retail food industry have on Pittsburgh communities, and put pressure on the company to negotiate a new contract with improved wages and working conditions. Sequal worked with labor partners and Pittsburgh City Council to reconvene the Pittsburgh Wage Review Committee, asking that the Committee focus on the retail food industry in Pittsburgh. At the hearing, Sequal prepared retail grocery workers, service workers, economists, area academics, urban development experts, labor leaders, and many others to give oral and written testimony demanding better working conditions. Ultimately, the public pressure and visibility actions resulted in a $67M new contract for UFCW workers at Giant Eagle, one of the retailers who were paying poverty wages.
Congratulations West Penn Nurses!
Sequal worked with nurses at West Penn Hospital who worked to form their union in 2020. By forming a union, West Penn nurses decided to invest in patient care, increase standards that help recruit and retain dedicated caregivers, guarantee safe staffing levels, and ensure wages that reward years of service, and quality, affordable healthcare. Sequal, along with our union clients, believes that with a strong voice, the new West Penn nurses’ union can make West Penn the very best hospital to practice nursing and to receive care in the region.
Principal & Co-Founder
Jodi Hirsh, MPPM, is a Co-Founder and Principal Consultant. Jodi specializes in communications strategy for issue advocacy, including message development, media relations, digital strategy, and coalition-building. Jodi comes to Sequal following a long career in reproductive justice. Jodi serves on Governor Tom Wolf’s Pennsylvania Commission on LGBTQ Affairs, and the city of Pittsburgh’s Urban Redevelopment Authority. Jodi holds a Bachelor’s Degree from the University of Rochester, and a Master of Public Policy and Management from the University of Pittsburgh.
Principal & Co-Founder
Matt Richards, MPH, is a Co-Founder and Principal Consultant. Matt specializes in helping economic justice organizations utilize data and technology to drive modern communications. A union organizer at heart, Matt’s experience in the labor movement spanned more than 16 years. Matt sits on the local Democratic Committee. Matt holds both a Bachelor’s degree and Master of Public Health degree from the University of Pittsburgh.
Amelia Abromaitis is a Senior Communications Associate specializing in campaign communications strategy and graphic design. Amelia has more than ten years of experience in the labor movement in a variety of legislative, electoral, contract, and community campaigns. She is also passionate about conservation and international development work. Amelia holds a Bachelor’s degree in Environmental Studies and attended Moore College of Art and Design.
Virginia Alvino Young
Sr. Communications Associate
Virginia Alvino Young, MBA, is a Senior Communications Associate specializing in strategic media relations, and is passionate about amplifying marginalized voices through storytelling. She comes to Sequal with ten years of journalism and communications experience following her career as an NPR member-station reporter, covering race, identity and equity in communities around the country. Virginia holds a Bachelor’s Degree in philosophy from Willamette University, and a Master of Business Administration from Willamette’s Atkinson Graduate School of Business.
Jenn Wood, MSW, is a Senior Communications Associate who specializes in campaign communications and media relations. Prior to joining Sequal, Jenn worked as the Policy Director for the office of State Representative Dan Miller. Jenn holds a Bachelor’s degree from Allegheny College, and a Master’s degree in Social Work with a focus in Community Organization and Social Administration from the University of Pittsburgh.
Jamilah Lahijuddin is Sequal’s Operations Manager. She specializes in managing logistics for social justice organizations engaged in grassroots community organizing. Her passion is to foster inter-community communications as well as environmental justice campaigns that rally around racial injustices. Prior to joining Sequal, Jamilah worked as a Community Programs Manager, Campaign Manager, and Environmental Justice Organizer at the Hill District Consensus Group.
Digital and Design Associate
Tye Clarke is Sequal’s Digital and Design Associate. After studying at Parsons School for Design and receiving her BS in Fashion Merchandising from Kent State University, Tye went on to work in the fashion, non-profit, social justice arts & culture and media arenas. Tye has worked both for corporate brands and organizations over the years focusing on branding, graphic design, social media management, PR, marketing and arts administration. An advocate for Black creatives, Tye designs with the bigger picture in mind. She specializes in managing logistics for social justice organizations engaged in grassroots community organizing. Her passion is to foster inter-community communications as well as environmental justice campaigns that rally around racial injustices.
Ben Case, PhD, MPA, is Communications Associate with a background in strategic messaging, group facilitation, and community outreach, and twenty years of experience in community, labor, and political organizing. Ben holds a PhD in Sociology from the University of Pittsburgh, where he studied social movement strategy, and a Masters in Public Administration from NYU.