Executive Vice President
📞 (860) 878-0082
“A dogged storyteller, a respected diplomat and a steady hand at the wheel.”
A skilled communicator and strategist with a successful track record crafting corporate, community, coalition, and crisis communication campaigns, Brian’s career has encompassing the corporate, association, and public policy arenas, and has equipped him with an ear for authentic communication.
As Executive Vice President at Sullivan & LeShane Public Relations, Inc., Brian helps lead the team that on his watch has recently won 13 Mercury Awards over the past two years from the Greater Connecticut Chapter of the Public Relations Society of America. He leads the SLPR on a daily basis by managing client needs and mapping out a strategic vision for them and for the firm.
Prior to SLPR, Brian served for four years as senior vice president for public policy at the Connecticut Business & Industry Association (CBIA). He directed the association’s communications, public affairs, and government affairs operations, channeling the voice of CBIA’s thousands of members to promote economic growth and a dynamic business climate. Prior to that, Brian spent 12 years building and running the national public affairs operation for Nestlé Waters North America, integrating his work with the company’s communications, facility siting, supply chain, sales, sustainability and community affairs operations.
Brian is a former eight-term a member and Deputy Minority Leader of the Connecticut House of Representatives, serving from 1989 to 2003. Upon his departure from the General Assembly in 2003, the Hartford Courant called Flaherty “one of the most influential and respected Republicans in the House of Representatives.” Brian also spent six years on the state Board of Governors for Higher Education, which was Connecticut’s higher education coordinating and accrediting body.
• Crafted and led successful multimedia initiative to define the issues critical to Connecticut’s economic vitality and engage the public to support policies to make the state a better place to live, work, and thrive.
• Oversaw and participated in continuous earned media strategy with Connecticut news outlets, including interviews, editorial board visits, and facility tours highlighting Connecticut companies and their workforce.
• Developed and led community-based campaigns to thwart punitive state and local proposals that would have disrupted company operations.
• Managed major project in 2020 for a global aerospace leader in unveiling a $40 million, state-of-the-art compressor facility, leading to overwhelmingly positive statewide media coverage.
• Cultivated a reputation as a trusted advisor and spokesperson, developed an extensive national network of allies and collaborators.
Brian is currently a member of the Watertown Board of Education and a past member of the Public Affairs Council’s Board of Directors and Executive Committee. He is a Trustee and Treasurer of the Watertown Library Association, and was honored in 2019 by the Watertown Foundation for his commitment to the Watertown/Oakville communities. He is a member of the YMCA of Greater Waterbury’s Triathlon Club, and raises money each year for the Y’s Livestrong program for cancer survivors by competing in the Hartford Half Marathon. He graduated from Holy Cross High School in Waterbury and earned his Bachelor of Arts degree at Fairfield University in 1987. He and his wife Melanie live in Watertown, Connecticut with their three children.
WHY WE ARE HERE…
“Through three decades in public affairs, I have yet to see anything more powerful than a handshake, a look in the eye, and a story well and truthfully told. Our job is to know our clients—from their products and services to their employees, customers, community partners and all who have a shared stake in their success—so we can help channel their authentic voice in the public square.”