Susan Polakoff Shaw is a leading expert in press operations and media relations who has worked 14 Olympic Games as well as other events around the world in a career that spans 30 years.
The International Olympic Committee chose Susan to join its press operations staff for the 2016, 2014, 2012, 2010, 2008 and 2006 Olympic Games—the only American woman on staff. In addition to the Olympics, she has managed venue press operations at events around the world including for the world’s largest marathon— the TCS New York City Marathon, the Pan American Games and World Championships for figure skating, speedskating, gymnastics and swimming. She has managed publicity and press operations for dozens of domestic multi-sport events, including several U.S. Olympic Trials, national championships and U.S. Olympic Festivals.
At the 2012 Super Bowl in Indianapolis, she assisted the President & CEO of the local host committee with special media projects. In addition, Susan has assisted the White House with press operations during two visits to Cleveland by President Obama.
At the 2012 New York City Marathon, she managed the ever-changing press operations plan resulting from Hurricane Sandy. At the 2010 marathon, she organized a press conference featuring Chilean miner Edison (“The Runner”) Peña, for 200 international media in less than 48 hours.
In May 2007, with just one week to go before the start of the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) v. Floyd Landis hearing, Susan was hired to manage press operations for the nine-day arbitration at Pepperdine University. This was the first time a USADA hearing was open to the media. In just a few days, she implemented an accreditation system, created a media policy and organized a media workroom for more than 50 international journalists.
Throughout her career in sports administration, she has managed public relations and press operations for national governing bodies such as USA Swimming, USA Gymnastics, U.S. Speedskating, USA Cycling, National Archery Association, USA Table Tennis and U.S. Water Polo.
In 1995, she was Chief of Research for ESPN’s inaugural Extreme Games in Newport, Rhode Island. For the 1994 Goodwill Games, she spent five weeks in St. Petersburg, Russia, where she managed press operations for a variety of sports and venues. In addition to working for ESPN on several international events, she served as research room manger for NBC at the 1996 Olympics.
Susan worked as publicist for the 1990 Goodwill Games in Seattle, Washington. While at TBS, she was promoted to Public Relations Manager for Turner Sports and coordinated publicity efforts for TNT during the 1990 World Cup from several cities in Italy.
Susan began her career in Indiana, working at Indiana Sports Corporation as Public Relations Director and still maintains a professional relationship with the organization. In addition, she worked for the Shelbyville (Ind.) News as general assignment reporter and chief photographer. She won two United Press International (UPI) photo awards and served as a stringer for Scripps-Howard News Service and UPI. She received her B.A. in journalism and political science from Indiana University in May, 1981.
She serves on the board of directors of Kids In Flight ™ (www.kidsinflight.org). She was board of trustees member of the Cleveland chapter of WISE (Women in Sports and Events )and a member of the Community Leadership Board of the American Diabetes Association. She also donates her services to several charitable organizations including the Animal Protective League and the Northeast Ohio chapter of the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation. In 2006, she served as co-chair of the JDRF Dream Gala that raised more than $500,000 for diabetes research.
She lives with her husband, Bud Shaw, a sports columnist for the Cleveland Plain Dealer.
The couple share an unhealthy obsession over their two rescued dogs, Ike, a Boston terrier mix and Indy, a boxer.