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Industry Public Relations
Founded 1999 (1999)
Founder Donna (Sokolsky) Burke and Chris Hempel
Headquarters San Francisco, CA, USA
Number of employees

Spark Public Relations is a public relations and integrated marketing communications agency headquartered in San Francisco, California, with offices in New York City. The firm focuses on the technology and consumer markets.[1]


Spark Public Relations was founded in 1999 by Donna Sokolsky Burke and Chris Hempel,[2] who started the firm after working at Netscape. Its early clients were Silicon Valley start-ups and former Netscape colleagues.[2][3][4][5][6] It signed one-year contracts to help with startup launches and IPOs, in exchange for equity in the company. It supported VA Linux's IPO in December 1999.[2][3]

A price comparison website,'s hired Spark in 2004.[7] The following year, it began supporting and MyYahoo.[8] In 2007, it founded SPR Europe, a London-based affiliate for the European market.[9] An office was opened in South Africa in 2008[10] and in New York in 2012.[11]

In 2015, Spark announced its suite of services called Agile Narrative[12] with the hiring of Tobin Trevarthen as Chief Narrative Officer.[13] In 2016, Spark hired Stowe Boyd as Head of Research in order to support these efforts.[14]

Spark's co-founder Donna Sokolsky Burke has been named one of the Top Women in PR by PR News in 2016.[15]


  1. ^ "Winners of the 2012 Bulldog Digital/Social PR Awards for Outstanding Achievement by Agencies and Individuals in PR and Corporate Communications" (PDF). Bulldog Reporter. January 14, 2013. 
  2. ^ a b c Boutin, P. (November, 1999), "Lack of Flacks", WIRED Magazine, Vol. 7, Issue 11. Retrieved 2008-10-23.
  3. ^ a b Clarkson, B. (March 14, 2001). "P.R. agents to startups: Keep quiet!". Computerworld. Retrieved October 23, 2009. 
  4. ^ . August 16, 2003  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  5. ^ "A Tiny Company Without Profits Goes Public With a Bang". The New York Times. 
  6. ^ "Our Story". Sparkpr. 
  7. ^ Gordon, Andrew (February 2, 2004). "Sparkpr to deliver to a broader audience". PRWeek. Retrieved November 11, 2008. 
  8. ^ Gordon, Andrew (October 13, 2004). "Yahoo selects Spark for 'front door' assignments". PRWeek. Retrieved December 1, 2008. 
  9. ^ "SparkPR Expands to London". PRWeek. July 30, 2007. Retrieved November 20, 2008. 
  10. ^ Shah, Aarti. "Sparkpr opens South Africa office, adds clients". PRWeek. Retrieved December 1, 2008. 
  11. ^ Krietsch, Beth (April 26, 2012). "SparkPR opens New York office". PRWeek. Retrieved October 29, 2013. 
  12. ^ "Sparkpr Rolls Out "Agile Narrative" Services, Brings On Chief Narrative Officer". Retrieved 2016-12-14. 
  13. ^ Sparkpr. "Spark Hires First Chief Narrative Officer, Toby Trevarthen". Retrieved 2016-12-14. 
  14. ^ Spark. "Spark Welcomes Futurist Stowe Boyd as Head of Research". Retrieved 2016-12-14. 
  15. ^ "Celebrate the 2017 Top Women in PR honorees Jan. 24 in NYC!". PR News. Retrieved 2016-12-14. 

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