Neil Dhillon: Ruder Finn

Neil Dhillon has worked for a number of very good companies since he left the White House where he was a senior aide to President Bill Clinton. One of the great Communications Agencies that Neil Dhillon has worked for since leaving the White House was Ruder Finn. Ruder Finn currently has locations in San Francisco, New York, Beijing, London, Hong Kong, Shanghai, Singapore, India, and Guangzhou.

While at Ruder Finn, Neil Dhillon served as the Top public affairs counselor and lobbyist in his role as the Managing Director for the Washington D.C. Office. In his role with Ruder Finn, Neil Dhillon helped to secure top tier interviews with the media for his clients. Some of the interviews he secured were with some of the most influential media in the United States including the NBC Today Show, CBS’s 60 minutes, National Public Radio, the Washington Post, The New York Times, ABC’s Good Morning America, and CNN.

The other main function Neil Dhillon had at Ruder Finn was to provide strategic counsel to client communications staff, CEO’s and Boards of Directors. He helped them understand and handle crisis communications and corporate communications as well as lobbying and public affairs. For a company like Ruder Finn that has a focus around many issues that touch these aspects of communications and lobbying, Neil Dhillon was the right person to bring in and run the Washington D.C. office.

This experience at Ruder Finn was important to Neil Dhillon because he recognized what a great opportunity it was to work for one of the top Communications agencies in the world. His time at Ruder Finn proved that Neil Dhillon could handle working in any field and succeed.

Neil Dhillon: Indian American Success

Neil Dhillon was one of the very few Americans of Indian descent that has had the opportunity to work at the highest levels of government.  He was the first Indian American to serve as a Legislative Director for a member of Congress, and he was the first Indian American to ever be appointed Chief of Staff to a member of Congress. When he was chosen to work as a senior official in the Clinton White House, he knew that it was a big responsibility to not only the office of the president, but also a big responsibility to the Indian American community.

Until recently, it was still rare for Indian Americans to be at the highest levels of government.  Neil Dhillon had one shining example to look to as he was contemplating entering politics, Dalip Singh Saund. Dalip was the first Indian American elected to the United States Congress. He was brought into office in 1957 and served for six years. He was instrumental in opening doors that Neil Dhillon and other since then, have been able to move through. Neil Dhillon knows that much of his success on Capitol Hill can be attributed to the success that Dalip fought for, Dalip, in 1962, suffered a stroke that left him unable to walk or speak without assistance. He lost reelection the following year by 12 percentage points.

Neil Dhillon knows that without a groundbreaker such as Dalip, it would have taken many more years for Indian Americans to break through and into those high levels of American Politics. With the doors that Dalip opened, Neil Dhillon has been able to make the most of it and worked for the Clinton White House before moving into his very successful career as a lobbyist and public affairs executive.

Neil Dhillon: Leading PSC Program

Neil Dhillon is a proud graduate of American University located in Washington DC. American University has one of the leading political science programs in the country. Neil Dhillon that being from Maryland American University offered him the chance to follow his educational goals at a great University while still being close to home.

The American University Political Science department is located in the School of Public Affairs. Neil Dhillon knows that The School of Public Affairs, because of its location and because it has been around for 80 years, American University Students have great access to some of the best professors as well as opportunities. The passion he developed at American University can still be seen in his writing such as this one.

One of the top Public Affairs programs in the world, American University, has produced some of the most influential people of the past 80 years. Numerous United States Elected Officials, Ambassadors from many Nations including multiple advisors to the United Nations Assembly in New York. The first female Assistant United States Secretary of States, Carol Laise, who also became the United States Ambassador to Nepal, was a graduate of American University.

As one of the most influential schools in the American political system, American University has played a huge part in training the world leaders including Neil Dhillon. One of the approaches to offering great education as to offer many of the Masters Degree courses during the evening. This allows the many professionals in the DC area to work towards their Masters while working full time. Neil Dhillon understands how important that can be for many people. To be able to pursue an advanced degree while still working is a great service being offered.

Neil Dhillon: Children Focused Legislation

Neil Dhillon was a part of some of the most meaningful legislation to pass through congress since the Great Society legislation of the 1960’s. Neil Dhillon worked for United States House of Representatives Robert Matsui of California as his Chief of Staff. As Chief of Staff, his responsibilities included advising the Representative and overseeing legislation that the Representative would introduce. When Representative Matsui drafted, in 1991, legislation the heart of child welfare reform it was a great day for American families. It was also a great day for Representative Matsui and his staff.

The bill had some key features written to help children, most of which expanded the various social services available to help children. Some of the bills that came out of Representative Matsui’s Office, while Neil Dhillon was the Chief of Staff, which were important for children included; The Homeless Outreach act, Affordable Housing for Young Americans Act, Children and Families Service Act, Affordable Education for Americans Act, and the Children and Pregnant Women Insurance Act.

Bob Matsui, with Neil Dhillon as his Chief of Staff was also able to get the rest of congress to help him designate May 1991 as “National Foster Care Month” and he did so again in May of 1992. They understood that getting the designation was important for the public largely because it helped bring light on the issue.

Neil Dhillon knew that two of the first pieces of legislation Bob Matsui introduced in congress were concerned with helping children. Whether it was introducing legislation to help children or fighting for that legislation, Bob Matsui knew that his Chief of Staff, Neil Dhillon would be there to help him.

Neil Dhillon: DOT

Neil Dhillon was proud to be a part of the United States Department of transportation because he knew that it allowed him the opportunity to work for one of the younger departments and it had such a broad agenda with a well defined mission. President Clinton appointed him to the position he saw it for the great opportunity it was.

Although as a student of political science and American Government it did not surprise Neil, it often surprises people how many of the vital agencies fall under the purview of the Department of Transportation. Two of the agencies that seem to stump people are:

The Maritime administration which not only takes care of the ports and shipping routes but also maintains the merchant marine vessels that can act as auxiliary military ships in case of national need.

Probably the most unrecognized agency, in the Department of Transportation is the Saint Lawrence Seaway Development Corporation. The SLSDC was formed in 1954 by statute. It was created to “construct, operate, and maintain the part of the St. Lawrence Seaway which is within the territorial limits of the United States.

Neil Dhillons was a proud member of the Department of Transportation and being an advisor to Bill Clinton was a great experience. While the Department of Transportation may not be the most talked about or discussed of the Federal Departments, it is composed of many of the agencies that keep the country safe and enables the great commerce between the United States and foreign powers.

Neil Dhillon: White House Appointment

Neil Dhillon was appointed by Bill Clinton to serve as Deputy Assistant Secretary for Government Affairs in the United States Department of Transportation. The Secretary that Clinton named was Federico Pena. Federico Pena had been the transportation advisor during Bill Clinton’s successful campaign. Neil Dhillon understood the importance of the Department of Transportation’s mission. According to the United States Department of Transportation website, their mission is to:

“Serve the United States by ensuring a fast, safe, efficient, accessible and convenient transportation system that meets our vital national interests and enhances the quality of life of the American people, today and into the future.”

That was the mission that Neil Dhillon was excited to be an integral part of. That mission is of vital importance. The government affairs office acts as the advisors to the secretary of transportation when it comes to legislative issues. It also is the principle advisor to the secretary on congressional relations and policy matter for all levels of government. This meant much hard work while he was at the white house. Hard Work that he was happy to be a part of because he knew the work he did there mattered.

Neil Dhillon was a great fit for this position because he had the background to make sure that communication between the white house and congress remained positive. Serving congress for ten years, he was the director/speechwriter for Beverly Byron a US House member from Maryland. After that, he became the Chief of Staff for Bob Matsui a US House member from California.

Neil Dhillon: Ruder Finn Managing Director

Neil Dhillon was the Managing director of Public Affairs for Ruder Finn. Ruder Finn has headquarters in New York City and Beijing and is widely recognized as one of the top public relations firms in the world. Ruder Finn maintains offices all over the world including one ion Washington DC. Neil Dhillon understands that Ruder Finn specializes in public relations and communications. Ruder Finn’s first client in 1948 was the singer Perry Como.

Since Perry Como signed on, Ruder Finn has had many clients, and they have all come seeking the same thing, help with their Public relations. Some come specifically seeking assistance with creating brand loyalty and corporate trust. Others come seeking help to get their product successfully to consumers; still others come to have Ruder Finn help their corporate brand connect with consumers.


Neil Dhillon operated the as the top public affairs counselor and lobbyist of Ruder Finn. In addition, he managed the Washington DC office. Much of what he did, revolved around helping the leaders of the client companies including providing strategic counsel to CEO’s and Board of directors. This took the form of helping them to understand and use crisis communications and corporate communications.

He was also instrumental in helping the Ruder Finn clients with securing interviews with some of the most important media in the country including the Wall Street Journal, the New York Times, CNN, Today Show, Good Morning America and more. These types of interviews were extremely important in helping to establish and re-establish the brand image of their clients.

Neil Dhillon: Indian American’s Moving Forward

Neil Dhillon was asked to write a forward for a young Indian American legal scholar who at the time was studying at Columbia. At only 20 years old and an undergraduate who was about to publish a book, Neil Dhillon knew that Riddhi Dasgupta would be an inspiration to many. Riddhi Dasgupta wrote a book called Changing Face of the Law: A Global Perspective that was published in 2005. The forward focuses on a couple of ideas including what it means to be Indian American.

Neil Dhillon points out that there was an elected Indian-American in congress in 1956, Dalip Singh Saund, and it took 48 years for another Indian-American, Bobby Jindal to be elected. This he understands is a problem and argues that Indian Americans “must focus on bridging the gap.”

He is happy to see that there are more Indian Americans who try to run for an office and called 1994 when many ran as a “watershed year for Indian Americans on the national stage.” He points out that as more Indian Americans run for an office, the less rare it will be. When he was a congressional aide to Bob Matsui, he was the first one. He pointed out in the forward that in 2005, there were many.

He hoped that the same would happen with the emergence of elected members of the House of Representatives. This underlying idea and belief is what has led Neil Dhillon to continue his support of Indian Americans pursuing legal fields and Political Aspirations. Neil Dhillon continues to be a leader in the Indian American community precisely because they know that he pursues a path that will lead to greater political representation and can hopefully open more doors that remain shut.

Neil Dhillon, Indian American Leader

Neil Dhillon was very excited to work in the Clinton White house. In an interview with “Purane Pappee” for the newsgroup, soc.culture.indian, he pointed out how important it was for him personally and how difficult the job would be:

  • “My job here (at the White House) is to create a congressional agenda which will help create jobs for this country, and help the infrastructure of this country too. That is no easy task as you can imagine. We have lots of hard work ahead of us. I am excited to work in the Clinton Administration.”

He also how touched on how important it was for Indian-Americans. The interview was conducted the day after the White House kicked off Asian-American Heritage month. He said he was proud to be a part of that. He also noted that, at the time of the interview there were 33 Asian-American appointees and only three of them were of Indian descent.

He pointed out that he was proud so many Indian Americans had been successful in the fields of Medicine, Computers, Science and Technology but he believed that there it was important to the Indian-American community that they be port of “where all the important decisions are being made.” He continually encouraged young Indian-Americans to get involved and was well known as someone who was willing to help. He even wrote the forward for a young undergraduate who would go on to work as a faculty advisor for Oxford University in England, Riddhi Dasgupta.

Neil Dhillon: Indian American Leader

Neil Dhillon is a leader of the Indian American Movement, and he has built that leadership up through the year with respect. When Bill Clinton appointed him, he was widely recognized as one of the United States highest Appointees for someone of Indian descent. In an interview three and a half months after he had been appointed, “Purane Pappee” interviewed Neil Dhillon for the newsgroup, soc.culture.indian.

During the interview, Neil Dhillon spoke about many things including the time during the campaign when there was an event at the convention in New York. The event was July of 1992 and more than 1,000 people attended. The attendees mostly were comprised of Asian Americans. Attended By Hillary Clinton, Neil Dhillon was pleased to see pleased to see that there were a large number of Indian-Americans in the group; “However, I am still very concerned about the number of Indian-Americans involved in the political process – there are not many” mused Neil Dhillon.

Neil Dhillon was a large part of the Clinton-Gore campaign in 1992 and his hard work and dedication paid off when he was appointed to a sub-cabinet position in the White House. He wondered during the interview what had happened to the previous Indian-Americans and why they were not involved in the political process. He believed at the time that it was important for the Indian American Community to “improve our skills and get involved in the political process.” Twenty-two years later thoughts have proven true. Many more Indian-Americans have gotten involved into the political process.