The Team

The Team
Sullivan & LeShane Public Relations, Inc was founded in 1988 by its three original partners, Paddi LeShane, Patrick Sullivan and Gene Sheehan.


Paddi LeShane

“Call Paddi – get Paddi in here fast!”

Time and again we hear this when clients need creative solutions to problems or issues that seemingly can’t be found, and the right messages to tell their stories on their own terms. This is where Paddi shines brightest, when the missing pieces to the puzzle need to be found and that outside-the-box public affairs solution needs to be surfaced. Buoyed by her expertise in local/state government relations, message development, strategic media relations, reputation management, crisis communications and market entry strategies, Paddi thrives under pressure in delivering what clients need on a daily basis.

In addition to founding Sullivan & LeShane, Inc. (S&L) for government relations in 1983, Paddi teamed with Patrick Sullivan and Gene Sheehan to create S&L’s sister company, Sullivan & LeShane Public Relations, Inc. (SLPR), five years later. SLPR offered a new model of public affairs management in Connecticut, one that continues to thrive today on a culture of strategic thinking and problem solving to help keep clients in a positive public light. Prior to founding these two businesses, Paddi served as Director of External and Public Affairs for a highly respected statewide medical and vocational rehabilitation organization. A founding partner at SLPR, Paddi is a trusted and respected name among the state’s media, and one of the state’s most familiar presences in and around Connecticut as well as the State Capitol.

Paddi is a member of the University of Saint Joseph Board of Trustees and Vice Chair of the Washington-based Public Affairs Council, a professional association of corporate/national organizations. In 2017 she was honored as “Practitioner of the Year” by the Greater CT Chapter of the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA). Paddi holds a Master’s Degree in Healthcare Finance from the Rensselaer Lally School of Business and a Bachelor’s of Science Degree in Leadership and Community Development from Springfield College. She has received certificates from the PRSA in measurement and analytics, crisis communication and reputation risk management and has participated in select executive level programs at Stanford University and McGill University.


  • Expertise in message development, refinement and media coaching that has prepared some of the state’s most influential business and community leaders and influencers.
  • Developed and implemented several Connecticut market entry initiatives for a global banking interest, outpatient medical and behavior health facilities and a renewable energy company.
  • Led government and media relations campaigns for several multi-organizational coalitions to pass landmark legislation on scholarship funding, tort reform, energy deregulation, managed care regulation and tax initiative opposition.
  • Drives business strategy and best practices for two separate and widely respected companies.

Community Involvement

When not at work or rallying her large Irish family, Paddi volunteers at a wide range of Connecticut community organizations, leading governance, strategic planning and fundraising projects. She is a member of the leadership team of the Greater CT PRSA, the Connecticut Women’s Council, the Connecticut Chapter of the International Women Forum, the Governor M. Jodi Rell Center for Public Service at the University of Hartford and the University of Saint Joseph Women’s Leadership Center. She recently completed an 11-year tenure with the City of Hartford Parking Authority, the last five of which she served as Chair. She has been recognized and honored for her efforts by numerous organizations, universities and publications.

CELL: 860.614.3991

“I love what I do. I love puzzles. I’m curious and enjoy working with a team to find solutions to the challenges presented to us. Each day is different and I get to pull together a diverse group which shares a common goal to improve a situation. Add politics to the mix and where else could you find such a daily adventure?”


Patrick Sullivan

“What’s Patrick’s take on the bigger picture here?”

From his days as a freshly minted deputy commissioner under Governors Meskill and Grasso to today, Patrick is recognized as one of the most influential and intuitive government and public relations leaders in Connecticut. Pat has mastered the art of putting together deals and making things happen within state and municipal governments as well as framing issues to ensure they appear in the best possible public light. As a partner at Sullivan & LeShane Public Relations, Inc., (SLPR) Patrick leverages his vast experience and networks of government and media influencers on a daily basis for the benefit of clients.

Patrick began with the Hartford Chamber of Commerce, and then with Connecticut’s largest beverage trade association. After founding his Sullivan & LeShane, Inc. (S&L) government relations firm in 1983 with Paddi LeShane, they and Gene Sheehan founded SLPR five years later, creating Connecticut’s first and still-most effective integrated model for strategic government and public affairs. Today, Patrick is continually sought after by business and community leaders, professional associations, media leaders and elected officials for his institutional knowledge, extensive network and keen insights into national, state and local politics. Patrick’s deep knowledge of how things work between the media and political sectors allows him to deliver for our clients in the most challenging of public relations scenarios.

A veteran political strategist, Patrick played key roles in the presidential campaigns of Gerald Ford, Ronald Reagan and former Senator Robert Dole, as well as former Congresswoman Nancy Johnson, Senator Joseph Lieberman and several Connecticut governors. Most recently, he has served as a senior policy and media adviser for two U.S. Senate campaigns. He is a graduate of Fairfield University with a BS in Sociology.


  • Secured the initial state funding needed for UConn to build Gampel Pavilion.
  • Led the government and public relations teams for several industry mergers requiring approvals from the Office of the Attorney General, State Legislature and other regulatory bodies.
  • Created special taxing district and secured authorizing legislation for a major urban renewal project at Harbor Point in Stamford, resulting in $240 million in infrastructure funds.
  • Sought after political and media strategist with close ties to every major statewide and local political leader in the state.

Community Involvement

Patrick founded and coached the Connecticut Basketball Club (CBC) to bring together the state’s top high school basketball prospects, several of whom are now playing in the NBA. CBC has become one of the top Amateur Athletic Union (AAU) programs in the country, including two recent Final Four appearances. Additionally, Patrick is a longtime member of the National Association of State Lobbyists and several other professional organizations. He lives with his wife and business partner, Paddi LeShane, in the historic West End of Hartford. They have three adult sons and eight grandchildren.

CELL: 860.614.4223

“We’ve been nationally recognized for our integrated public relations/government relations services as well as leveraging social media to impact government actions; we set the tone for building a prosperous future for our clients. Any problem can be solved and any issue can be resolved with strategic thinking and bringing the right people to the table. That is our culture at Sullivan & LeShane.”


Brian Flaherty
Executive Vice President

“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 encompassed 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 recently won seven Mercury Awards in 2019 from the Greater Connecticut Chapter of the Public Relations Society of America.

He came to SLPR after 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.
  • Secured editorial, community, and third-party support for new and expanded facility construction and operating permits in several states.
  • Developed and led community-based campaigns to thwart punitive state and local proposals that would have disrupted company operations.
  • Cultivated a reputation as a trusted advisor and spokesperson, developed an extensive national network of allies and collaborators.

Community Involvement

Brian is a past member of the Public Affairs Council’s Board of Directors and Executive Committee. At home, he is a Trustee and Treasurer of the Watertown Library Association, a former leader in the Boy Scouts of America, a member of the YMCA of Greater Waterbury’s Triathlon Club and recently named member of the Board of Trustees of the Watertown Foundation, which in 2019 honored him for his service and commitment to his hometown. 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.

CELL: 860.878.0082

“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.”


Dan Tapper
Senior Account Manager
DT Headshot

“Dan won’t rest until he can say, ‘Mission Accomplished.’”

Having worked on both sides of the Connecticut media as both a daily news reporter and communications officer for several statewide elected officials, Dan has earned a reputation as a trusted advisor with deep knowledge of the news business and how best to manage issues of public importance. Possessing expertise in executive media coaching, message development, positive media relations campaigns and crisis communications management, Dan credits his early journalism days with helping him refine his writing skills and calmly manage tight, high-pressure deadlines.

Prior to coming to SLPR, Dan was Communications Director for two prominent Connecticut elected officials, and worked for several years as a press secretary in the Connecticut General Assembly. He spent the prior seven years as a daily reporter for the Hartford Courant and then the Journal Inquirer.

As Senior Account Manager at SLPR, Dan manages client needs on a daily basis, taking the agency lead in public media events, media partnerships and on-the-spot, fast-breaking media coaching sessions. Clients have easily spent thousands of hours with him understanding how to better get their message delivered to and understood by the public.

Dan graduated from the University of Connecticut with a BA in English. He is a graduate from Leadership Greater Hartford’s Executive Orientation Program, and has led the SLPR team that has won 13 Mercury Awards over the past three years from the Greater Connecticut chapter of the Public Relations Society of America.


  • An excellent writer and trusted media relations professional who has built a solid network with key media figures in every corner of the state.
  • Leverages media relations efforts into Earned Media Value that well-exceeds client expectations.
  • Managed the successful public introduction of a first-of-its-kind partnership between a leading senior care community and one of Connecticut’s top four-year-colleges.
  • Led successful public relations campaign which resulted in landmark legislation entering Connecticut into the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact.

Community Involvement

Dan is a member of the Board of Directors of Hartford’s Camp Courant and the Board of Governors of The Hartford Club, and most recently was elected to the Board of Directors for Capital Workforce Partners, the region’s leading workforce development agency. He also serves as Vice President of the Connecticut Brain Tumor Alliance and is a member of the MetroHartford Alliance Regional Marketing Working Group, as well as past president of the Greater Hartford Chapter of Business Networking International. He is an active leader in St. Mark’s Episcopal Church (East Longmeadow, MA) and for years was involved in youth sports leagues in Suffield, where he lives with his wife, Doreen and college-age son, Sam.

CELL: 860.573.4236

“I came to Sullivan & LeShane Public Relations (SLPR) to be with the very best – this is a team without peer in understanding the Connecticut media and helping clients deliver the right messages on their own terms. SLPR’s hallmark is providing calm and trustworthy counsel to clients facing a highly discerning public – for someone who has worked in media in Connecticut since 1990, there is no better place to be.”


Chris Zaccaro
Public Relations Associate

TA Headshot

“Chris provides the creative thinking and execution our clients need to remain one step ahead.”

Known for his limitless creativity and his relentless enthusiasm for coming through for clients, Chris has spent his career finding new, outside-the-box ways to use his wide range of multi-media skills across all media platforms. His expertise in social media, advertising, graphic design, research and copywriting makes him an asset to our clients as they consistently seek out new and innovative ways to tell their stories to the public.

Chris has gained invaluable experience in the non-profit, corporate, quasi-public, broadcasting, education, tourism and transportation sectors, and has an impressive track record of making things happen. Prior to coming to SLPR in 2018, Chris served as the Marketing Manager for a Hartford-based non-profit, where he oversaw marketing efforts for multiple entities within the organization. He has also held communications and community outreach positions with several Connecticut-based companies.

Chris received a BS in Communication, with a concentration in Advertising & Promotions, from Southern Connecticut State University, and a MS in Education from the University of New Haven. As he was wrapping up his first degree, Chris interned for a well-known national talk radio show in New York City. For the past two years he has been part of the team which won 10 Mercury Awards from the Greater Connecticut Chapter of the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA-CT). Chris currently serves in a leadership capacity with the PRSA-CT, and was awarded a certificate from the PRSA’s National Chapter for content marketing.


  • Oversaw successful rollouts and thorough transitions for multiple rebranding campaigns, including a new TV graphics package.
  • A creative communications professional experienced in managing social media assets and creating engaging content tailored for specific platforms.
  • A proven multitasker who has successfully and concurrently managed marketing and public relations efforts for as many as six business entities at a time.
  • A skilled graphic designer who creates effective and appealing presentations, infographics, marketing materials and digital/social media visuals.

Community Involvement

Chris enjoys attending Hartford-area networking meetups for professionals interested in museums, the arts, civics and the local business community. Proudly born, raised, and educated in Connecticut, Chris is a resident of East Hartford where he lives with his wife Kirsten and their black lab, Friday. In his spare time, when he’s not scrolling through his many social feeds to keep on pace with the news of the day, you can find him enjoying local restaurants, breweries, wineries and sporting events.

CELL: 860.214.1631

“I came to SLPR because of our reputation of being one of the hardest working and most respected firms in Connecticut; a team that never rests in advocating for and succeeding on behalf of our clients. If you’re working in the realm of public relations in this new, expansive media age, this is the place to be.”