Diana Banister serves as the Vice President and Partner of Shirley & Banister Public Affairs.
After joining the firm in 1997 and successfully managing a number of accounts, Ms. Banister was promoted to Vice President of the firm then was named a partner by Craig Shirley in 2001. Ms. Banister oversees the daily activity of the SBPA staff and works closely with the firm’s diverse clientele to develop and implement effective political and media relations strategies. With a special emphasis on pro-active marketing and communications strategies, the firm is highly regarded by the national media and public opinion leaders in Washington, D.C.
Prior to joining SBPA, Ms. Banister served as a consultant to the Republican Party’s “Victory ’96” and Dole for President campaign in Southern California during the final months of the election cycle. She supervised get-out-the-vote activities for the Dole campaign, organized campaign events, ran the local campaign office, and collaborated with state and local candidates on campaign activities.
As Deputy Political Director for the Buchanan for President campaign in 1995 and 1996, Ms. Banister developed grassroots strategies and organized volunteers and campaign supporters in the first Caucus State of Alaska. The momentum gained in that first primary victory in Alaska launched the campaign into victories in Louisiana and New Hampshire and a close second place in Iowa. Ms. Banister continued to travel around the country and directed field operations in the other key primary states of Iowa, Arizona, New York, California, and New Jersey. In addition, she served as Deputy Press Secretary during the Republican National Convention and garnered media attention for the Pat Buchanan rally in San Diego.
In 1994–1995, Ms. Banister worked as Communications Director for the Coalition on Urban Affairs. She directed daily press operations for the non-profit organization and development activities as well as promoting its President, Star Parker. Ms. Banister also worked as producer for Mrs. Parker’s three hour daily radio talk show assisting in booking guests and developing story ideas for the program.
Ms. Banister was elected to the Republican Party of Orange County Central Committee garnering more than 11,000 votes in the 48th Congressional District of California. After serving on the committee for a short time, Ms. Banister ran for Secretary of the Executive Committee of the party and served in that position for the ’95–’96 election cycle. As a member of the California Republican Party, Ms. Banister served on the Platform Committee and the Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee for the state body.
Ms. Banister attended Oral Roberts University in Tulsa, OK where she graduated Magna Cum Laude with a Bachelor of Arts degree.
She has been involved in campaigns for more than 15 years from the local school board level to statewide and national races. She was a spokesperson for Proposition 174; the California school voucher initiative and traveled throughout Southern California speaking to medical groups in opposition to President Clinton’s 1993 health care proposal.
In addition, Ms. Banister is an occasional guest lecturer for Campaigns & Elections Magazine campaign schools, The Leadership Institute, Georgetown Journalism School, the Conservative Political Action Conference, as well as a number of other venues.
As a pianist and vocalist, Ms. Banister directs music for several churches in the Washington DC area. Ms. Banister actively supports a number of ministries and non-profit organizations with a focus on the sanctity and dignity of human life. She is a freelance writer on cultural and religious issues.