Ami Neiberger-Miller, Founder
Media relations, writing, strategic communications and social media are all part of Ami Neiberger-Miller’s daily workload. She provides clients with strategic counsel, designs campaigns, builds relationships with journalists, and crafts copy for social media, press releases, and publications. Helping nonprofit organizations, associations and businesses communicate more effectively has been Ami Neiberger-Miller’s passion and focus for more than two decades.
Getting an Early Start in Serving the Greater Good & Journalism
Ami’s work with nonprofit organizations began at an early age. When she was 20 years old, Ami joined the Board of Directors for a Habitat for Humanity affiliate. She managed public relations, served as corporate secretary, and built homes with low-income families for more than ten years.
She wrote an op-ed column for three years in the nation’s largest independent student-run daily newspaper while in graduate school at the University of Florida. Her efforts in community activism and journalism led to her career in public relations.
Work in Higher Education & Youth Development
She worked for the University of Florida (UF) IFAS Communication Services, where she co-edited the statewide disaster recovery handbook, and marketed research-based publications for consumers and agricultural audiences produced by the Florida Cooperative Extension Service. She assisted in the management of a professional organization for agricultural communicators. She edited and drafted a number of materials and publications.
While at UF, she began working for the Florida 4-H Youth Development Program, where she managed public relations, statewide accountability reporting, fundraising support, and teen communication arts and leadership development programs. She organized 4-H awareness events at the state capitol, worked to save the 4-H camping programs from a state budget crisis, managed a week-long mock legislature program for hundreds of teens, was part of the team implementing the university’s digital print-on-demand system, and organized communications, media training, youth development, and leadership training events for youth and staff.
She went on to work at the National 4-H Council in Chevy Chase, Maryland, where she managed media relations, wrote press releases and publications, assisted with the national 4-H public service awareness campaign with the Ad Council, provided media training, led website management efforts, and founded the national 4-H e-newsletter, Clover Corner News.
Founding Steppingstone LLC
Ami founded Steppingstone LLC in 2003 to provide communications and graphic design services for nonprofits, associations and small businesses. Her client roster soon included the American Forest Foundation, the National 4-H Cooperative Curriculum System, and the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children. It expanded to include NAFSA: Association for International Educators, the Nature Conservancy and many others.
From 2004-2007 while working as a consultant, Ami also served as the communications director for Sister Cities International, a national association of international city-to-city partnerships working to build understanding, education, cultural awareness and economic ties. She supervised a staff of five and was responsible for the organization’s website, public relations, advocacy, publications, and member communications. She also published her first book in 2005 with the organization, Peace Through People: 50 Years of Global Citizenship.
Advocacy Supporting Military Families
In 2007, tragedy struck when Ami’s brother, U.S. Army Specialist Christopher Neiberger, was killed in action in Baghdad, Iraq during the troop surge. Ami managed media attention on her grieving family after being notified of her brother’s death. She became a public advocate for trauma survivors and those left behind following the death of a military service member.
She served as a spokesperson and public affairs officer from 2007 through 2014 for the Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors, a nonprofit organization that assists grieving military families. Ami cultivated relationships and worked on stories with reporters from the Associated Press, Fox News Channel, CNN, ABC World News, CBS Evening News, 60 Minutes, National Public Radio, NBC Nightly News, C-SPAN, USA Today, the New York Times, the Washington Post, Bloomberg, the Wall Street Journal and many others. She coordinated media interviews for a chapter in “For Love of Country: What Our Veterans Can Teach Us About Citizenship, Heroism and Sacrifice,” by Howard Schultz and Rajiv Chandrakesan.
She played a key role in shaping news coverage on suicide in the military and issues impacting bereaved military families. Ami was part of media relations crisis response efforts to the 2013 government shutdown, the Navy Yard shooting and the Fort Hood shooting. While with TAPS, Ami supported media relations for dozens of events annually, such as the National Military Survivor Seminar & Good Grief Camp, the National Military Suicide Survivor Seminar, the TAPS Honor Guard Gala, the TAPS Team at the Marine Corps Marathon, and dozens of events around the country.
In her role as a spokesperson, Ami appeared on the NBC TODAY show, National Public Radio, CNN, NBC News, CBS Sunday Morning, C-SPAN, ITN, and other networks. She has been interviewed by the Associated Press, USA Today, the Washington Post, the New York Times, and many others. She appears in the Emmy-nominated HBO documentary Section 60: Arlington National Cemetery.
Steppingstone LLC Continues to Expand
While working for TAPS, Ami continued to build and grow her consulting practice with Steppingstone LLC. She worked for several years on a grant funded project managed by the American Association of Community Colleges that supported thousands of older adults going to colleges around the country to re-train for new jobs during the Great Recession.
In 2008 she began working for the National Veterans Legal Services Program (NVLSP), which provides pro-bono legal assistance to veterans and military service members seeking disability benefits. She managed media relations on behalf of NVLSP for the class action lawsuit, Sabo v. United States, which successfully won retirement benefits for thousands of service members with post-traumatic stress disorder who had been discharged without the federal benefits to which they were entitled. She continues to represent NVLSP in 2018 and works with national and local reporters covering the military and veterans issues.
She has worked on projects for Epsilon Sigma Phi, the Council for a Stronger America, the Episcopal Center for Children, SQN Branding, the Veterans Consortium Pro Bono Program, Teens for Gun Reform, the National Association of Drug Court Professionals, Justice for Vets, and many others.
Ami is affiliated with Four Leaf PR, where she serves as a senior counselor managing public relations outreach and media relations for professional associations in the outdoor power equipment and professional landscape and lawn care industries.
Writing, Blogging & Publishing
Ami is a prolific writer and blogger. Her writing has been published in Writer’s Digest, PRSA Tactics, Exceptional Parent, InSite Magazine (Christian Camp & Conference Association), Rural Telecom (NTCA, the Rural Broadband Association), TAPS Magazine, Rescue (Association of Gospel Rescue Missions), the Forum Quarterly (Association of Death Education and Counseling), Open to Hope, Loudoun Magazine, and many others.
She wrote the national 4-H service learning curriculum series, and led the 2005 re-design and expansion of the bestselling 4-H horse youth development series – both of which are still in use. She has also written curricula in energy and water conservation, and designed a curriculum on organizing pet-friendly evacuation shelters.
Public Speaking & Training
Empowering others to communicate and lead nonprofits, associations and businesses more effectively is the focus of Ami’s speaking and training engagements. Ami has spoken on media relations, branding, writing and social media.
She has provided training and delivered presentations for the Maryland LEAD Foundation, the Coalition for Iraq & Afghanistan Veterans, the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children, the National Association of Drug Court Professionals, DC Serves, the National Association of Extension 4-H Agents, Sister Cities International, the Association of Death Education and Counseling, the History of Education Society, PRSA-NCC and the PRSA Mid-Atlantic District.
Testifying for Congress may be one of the most challenging public speaking assignments anyone can accept. Ami testified for Congress several times between 2011 and 2014 (6/2011, 4/2013, 10/2013, 12/2014) concerning Arlington National Cemetery and the national cemetery system managed by the VA while representing TAPS.
She has also spoken several times on media engagement and trauma survivors for graduate level journalism students at Columbia University. She spoke at the Carter Center in Atlanta for a conference on covering veterans issues organized by the Dart Center for Journalism and Trauma. She has also spoken for students at American University, George Washington University, Shenandoah University, and Marymount University.
Education, Accreditation & Professional Affiliations
She holds bachelor of arts and master of arts degrees in history from the University of Florida. She also took coursework for a doctorate in educational leadership for K-12 and passed qualifying exams but like about half of all doctoral candidates, did not finish her dissertation. She hopes to complete a doctorate later in her career.
Ami is accredited in public relations and holds a current APR designation.She is a member of the Public Relations Society of America – National Capital Chapter, which profiled her on its website.
She is a past member of the Board of Directors for the Loudoun Abused Women’s Shelter/Loudoun Citizens for Social Justice, a former member of Military Reporters & Editors, and a former member of the executive committee for the Independent Public Relations Alliance.
Email Ami at ami at(@) steppingstonellc.com