About Us

We’re happy to have served our clients for 15 years. Below, hear our co-founders Lori McClung and Scarlett Bouder reflect on why the work we do at ACS is so crucial and why they work so well together.

15 Years of Impact: An Interview with Lori McClung and Scarlett Bouder
15 Years of Impact: An Interview with Lori McClung and Scarlett Bouder

Advocacy & Communication Solutions, LLC (ACS) is a national communication, advocacy and strategy development consulting firm that helps nonprofits, for profits, government agencies, and philanthropic organizations successfully share their messages about target issues with key audiences, advocate for policy change, and position themselves as leaders in their respective fields.

Incorporated in 2004 and headquartered in Cleveland, Ohio, ACS is one of the only female and minority-owned certified Small Business Enterprise (SBE) consulting firms in Ohio. ACS is a recipient of the Council of Small Enterprises (COSE) “10 under 10” Award. ACS has gained a national reputation for its communication and strategy development expertise and its deep understanding of policy and advocacy.

In 2021, ACS received Company of the Year:

Advocacy & Communication Solutions, LLC takes Silver in coveted Stevie® Awards International Business Award for Company of the Year

Advocacy & Communication Solutions, LLC (ACS) was selected out of more than 3,700 nominations to receive a Silver award for Company of the Year in the Small Business or Professional Services category.

ACS, an Ohio-based minority and women-owned firm that has been in business for almost 20 years, received the award for its work in helping non-profit organizations, government agencies, philanthropic organizations and for-profit companies advocate for policy change and communicate effectively with audiences that have the power to effect change. ACS previously won the Bronze Company of the Year Stevie® Women in Business Award in 2018, 2019, and 2020.

One judge commented, “Highly impressive submission clearly and concisely articulating the inspiration and impact of this regional powerhouse gaining national recognition.”

The International Business Awards are the world’s premier business awards program. All individuals and organizations worldwide – public and private, for-profit and non-profit, large and small – are eligible to submit nominations. The 2021 IBAs received entries from organizations in 63 nations and territories.

ACS is one of four US small businesses honored with the award; other winners are located in Australia, the United Kingdom, India, Cyprus and Canada. It is an honor for ACS to be acknowledged among such a large field of impressive companies from around the world. The winners were announced by the Stevie® Awards on Monday, August 16 as part of the 18th annual International Business Awards®.

In 2020, ACS received Company of the Year:

Advocacy & Communication Solutions, LLC (ACS) was selected out of more than 3,800 nominations to receive bronze for Company of the Year.

ACS, an Ohio-based minority and women-owned firm that has been in business more than 15 years, received the award for its work in helping non-profit organizations, government agencies, philanthropic organizations and for-profit companies advocate for policy change and communicate effectively with audiences who have the power to effect change. ACS previously won the Bronze Company of the Year Stevie® Women in Business Award in 2018.

One judge commented, “Being able to provide end-to-end consulting, from policy to communication to implementation, ACS provides convenience of both doing business as well as competitive costs to its customers (by reducing overheads required to get various consultants on the same page about the client’s journey – something that is not necessary with a single consultant). The company’s recent growth is also remarkable. ACS has indeed found its niche! The company is poised for great success in the future.”

The International Business Awards (IBA’s) are the world’s premier business awards program. All individuals and organizations worldwide – public and private, for-profit and non-profit, large and small – are eligible to submit nominations. The 2020 IBAs received entries from organizations in 63 nations and territories.

ACS is one of three US small businesses honored with the award; other winners are located in Australia, Italy and Canada. It is an honor for ACS to be acknowledged among such a large field of impressive companies from around the world. The winners were announced by the Stevie® Awards on Thursday, September 10th as part of the 17th annual International Business Awards®.

In 2019, ACS was awarded three regional and national awards:

  • Hermes Creative Award

ACS won a Gold Hermes Creative Award in the Communication/Marketing Campaign category for its work with the Franklin County Department of Job & Family Services (FCDJFS). From a pool of thousands of entrants, the international competition honored the public awareness campaign that ACS conceptualized and executed for FCDJFS.

  • The Corporate College Smart 50

The Corporate College Smart 50 Awards, presented by Smart Business magazine, recognizes the top executives of the smartest companies in Northeast Ohio for their ability to effectively build and lead savvy organizations. This year, Lori McClung, ACS CEO, and Scarlett Bouder, ACS president, were named Smart 50 winners.

  • Crain’s Cleveland Business Women of Note Award: Lori McClung, ACS CEO

Each year, Crain’s Cleveland Business honors a group of exceptional women who have demonstrated commitment to Northeast Ohio and its people. A panel of Crain’s editors select the honorees, which this year includes ACS CEO Lori McClung.

  • The Stevie® International Business Awards

The Stevie® International Business Awards awarded ACS with the national bronze medal for Company of the Year – Business Services – 10 Employees or Less.  The International Business Awards are the world’s premier business awards program.

  • PR Daily’s 2019 Content Marketing Awards – Content Marketing for the Purpose of Brand Awareness

PR Daily’s 2019 Content Marketing Awards gave ACS an honorable mentioned in Content Marketing for the Purpose of Brand Awareness for our work with Franklin County Board of Commissioners—Department of Job and Family Services.  Review the case study “Encouraging Preschool Providers to Improve Quality”.

ACS was awarded a bronze medal for the Stevie Award for Women in Business in 2018.

In 2015, ACS was honored with two major awards.

  • ACS received a Platinum Award in the Communication Plan category of the MarCom Awards for its two-year strategic communication plan for PRE4CLE, Cleveland’s plan to expand high-quality preschool to all children in the city of Cleveland. An international creative competition that recognizes outstanding achievement by marketing and communication professionals–this year’s MarCom awards had 6,000 entries from 34 countries. See the press release about this award here: marcom awards press release.

 

ACS is also proud members of the following associations:

  • Communications Network
  • Council of Small Enterprises (COSE)
  • Council on Foundations
  • Ohio Lobbying Association
  • National Network of Consultants to Grantmakers
  • Native Americans in Philanthropy

Founding partners Lori McClung and Scarlett Bouder have worked together as staffers, business partners or coordinated stakeholders since 1999. Their experience, combined with the rest of the ACS team, reflects more than 50 years as legislative and communication experience within the early childhood, K-12 education, health and human services, workforce, and Medicaid, at the local, state and national levels.

ACS has applied this expertise to engagements with dozens of public, private, nonprofit, and philanthropic organizations throughout the country, successfully lobbying for policy change; developing and implementing advocacy and communication strategies; conducting research and training; and building successful public awareness, political, policy, marketing and communication campaigns. As a result, ACS has successfully shifted public opinion, garnered community support, and secured funding for important issues that affect vulnerable and at-risk individuals.

With deep roots and connections in the fields ACS serves, the team brings knowledge, insight, and relationships combined with subject matter expertise that are unmatched by other firms. ACS’ efforts have shined a light on organizations doing life-changing work, bringing attention to and support for the most vulnerable and at-risk individuals who have may not have a voice. The bottom line is that ACS helps its clients identify and address issues, build their own capacity, and sustain their efforts around the work that matters most to the vitality and health of their communities.