RLF Communications Hires New Vice President

Experienced strategic communicator Donnie Turlington joins RLF as Vice President

RLF Communications (RLF) has hired Donnie Turlington as a vice president, where he will be responsible for providing client services and support. Turlington is the former director of communications and marketing for the City of Greensboro, where he guided the formation of the city’s first-ever communications and marketing department.

Turlington brings over two decades of experience in public relations and strategic communications to RLF. He joins the agency after helping to launch and lead Community Catalyst Partners, a national nonprofit focused on enhancing educational outcomes for young people and economic growth for communities. Prior to his work at Community Catalyst Partners, he helped lead national communications efforts, strategic communications and issue management for Say Yes to Education.

“We are thrilled to have Donnie join our agency. His communication skills and strategic planning experience will benefit our clients and bring greater depth to our team,” said Monty Hagler, president and CEO of RLF. “Donnie and I worked together in several of his past positions, including when he led communications and marketing for the City of Greensboro, and I have a deep respect for what he has accomplished in his career to date.”

“I have long admired the expertise and guidance that RLF Communications provides to its clients and I’m excited to be joining this team,” says Turlington. “One of RLF’s greatest attributes is the way the agency embraces its clients as true partners in helping them achieve their business results. I’m excited to be a part of that effort and look forward to providing strategic and critical thinking to help our partners succeed.”

Former North Carolina ABC Commission Administrator Agnes Stevens Joins RLF Communications as Vice President, Client Strategy and Service

RLF Communications (RLF) has hired Agnes Stevens as vice president, client strategy and service. In this role, Stevens will develop and lead comprehensive public relations campaigns for RLF clients based throughout the United States. Stevens joins RLF after more than a decade managing communications and serving in key positions, including chief of staff and administrator, for the North Carolina Alcoholic Beverage Control Commission.

Stevens has more than 30 years of experience as a professional communicator and leader in strategic planning, campaign execution, internal and external communications and reputation management. Prior to her leadership roles at the NC ABC Commission, she served as vice president of corporate communications at First Union (now Wells Fargo) and as an account director at Capstrat (now Ketchum). Stevens also founded and led her own boutique public relations agency for many years. She is a native North Carolinian and a graduate of St. Mary’s College and Davidson College.

“We are thrilled to have Agnes on board. Her extensive multi-channel expertise and passion for strategy will be assets for our clients and our team,” said Monty Hagler, president and CEO of RLF. “Agnes and I have worked together on numerous projects over the years, including our time together at both First Union and Capstrat. I am deeply pleased she has chosen to return to the private sector after ten years as a public servant for North Carolina.”

“It is a tremendous pleasure to join the team at RLF,” said Stevens. “I am excited to partner closely with clients and leverage my experience to deliver creative, results-driven ideas to help them meet their business objectives.”
Founded in 2007, RLF Communications is a North Carolina-based public relations firm with a national reputation for generating creative ideas and breakthrough strategies to engage its clients’ audiences. RLF clients include a mix of professional service firms, government agencies, foundations, lifestyle and consumer products and S&P 500 companies.

RLF Communications Hires Three Communications Managers To Support Client Growth

We are thrilled to announce the recent hiring of Lucy Dunham, Brianna Gillard and Calissa Holder as communications managers on the RLF team. These new hires will support a wide range of work for our rapidly growing client base.

“I am pleased for Lucy, Brianna and Calissa to join the RLF team. These women bring strong skill sets and capabilities to serve our clients’,” said Monty Hagler, president and CEO of RLF. “Expanding our team allows us to provide more depth and reinforces our commitment to be available for our clients whenever they need us.”

Dunham, Holder and Gillard will support our full range of public relations services, including media relations, internal communications, research and social media campaigns.

Dunham graduated from Villanova University, earning a dual degree in English and Sociology. She is a Greensboro native, and has held internships with local organizations such as The Cemala Foundation and also served as a court runner for Tuggle Duggins.

Gillard earned her bachelor’s degree from Miami International University of Art and Design, majoring in fashion merchandising with a minor in public relations. She is currently pursuing her master’s degree in professional studies, public relations and corporate communications at Georgetown University. Prior to joining RLF, Gillard worked as an account executive for Osei PR and Iman Hasan Creative, where she worked with clients in the beauty industry.

A December 2020 graduate of Elon University, Holder majored in strategic communications and Spanish. During her time at Elon, she served as a communications assistant for the School of Education and as a marketing intern for the Greensboro Chamber of Commerce.

My Journey as an Intern in the PR World: What I Have Learned

By Lindsay Silverman

I never knew what I wanted to do with my life. As a child, I was one of those kids who ran around the house pretending to be an FBI agent or recording news segments on my desktop computer (does anyone have those anymore?). I played every sport and never stuck with just one. But one thing remained consistent, and that was my ability to read a room and connect with people. When I got to college, I once again was on a path of not knowing what I desired for a career. The pressure was astounding. But when I walked into my very first PR class junior year, I knew: I am supposed to tell people’s stories.

During spring break, I applied to 80 internships (Yeah, I know, the Gen Z mentality is a bit hyperbolic.) I made sure to personally email all of the places I wanted to apply to — no job boards allowed.lindsay silverman, intern, pet friendly office, RLF Communications

However, when I first stumbled upon RLF’s website, I knew it was the place for me. From its motto of being respected, liked, and feared, to its design work — I was obsessed, to say the least; and I hadn’t even met these people yet!

And then the interview happened. I was completely out of my comfort zone, this being the first virtual interview I had ever done. My voice was shaking and I was unsure of my answers, speaking to the 4 faces on the screen in front of me. All of these faces were so kind and engaged, and I felt like a fish out of water.

Towards the end of the interview, it was just me and two Communications Managers. I asked them why they do what they do, and they said: “Because we yearn to tell people’s stories. The look on someone’s face when you impact them can’t be compared.” And that’s when I knew: I had to work at RLF. I made sure to narrate that I felt the same way, and in those moments, I had never felt more connected to people through a screen then I did right then.

My experience at RLF has proven how important storytelling ties into the work that we do. Our clients give us the opportunity to shape narratives and change lives. I’ve really examined that in my coworkers here at RLF, in that each of them has an intense desire to make positive change. It is truly inspiring to work with such a dedicated, intellectual bunch who genuinely care for each other and their clients.

Throughout my first time at RLF, I have uncovered new skills and elaborated on my existing ones. I have discovered the hidden mysteries of pitching to national media, and how to pick the brains of journalists. I have learned how to use media database Cision to do extensive research and keep track of media coverage, which is something I didn’t know I would enjoy. I have perfected my writing skills by writing press releases and extending my creative freedoms with our social media postings. All of these things, I have done with success thanks to the confidence that the environment of RLF instills. In the time remaining with RLF, I hope to become as respected, liked, and feared as the rest of my coworkers at the hardworking agency I now call a temporary home.

Note: Lindsay has accepted a part-time position at RLF as she completes her senior year at Elon University.

New Team Member Spotlight: Carolyn Kuzmin

carolynOur second recent hire is Carolyn Kuzmin, who has joined RLF as a communications manager, supporting a variety of clients through media relations and research.

Tell us a little about your work experience and what attracted you to RLF.

I graduated from Elon University this past May with a degree in marketing and a concentration in communications. Last summer, I interned for fashion designer Elie Tahari in the marketing department. During my junior and senior years in college, I was also involved in Live Oak Communications, Elon’s student run agency where I got the opportunity to work with clients and become exposed to agency life. This spring, I interned with RLF and was immediately attracted to the people, size and culture of the office as well as the work. It turned out to be the perfect fit post-grad as well, so here I am!
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New Team Member Spotlight: Marissa Pierre

IMG_0176Marissa Pierre recently joined RLF Communications as a communications manager, supporting a variety of clients through social media and media relations efforts.

Tell us a little about your work experience and what attracted you to RLF.

I recently graduated from High Point University with a degree in strategic communication. While in college I held several internships where I honed my PR and marketing skills, and by senior year I knew I was prepared to pursue a full-time career in communications. During my job search I spoke with a classmate who told me about her rewarding experience as an intern at RLF. I was immediately interested, so she connected me with the agency, and everything fell into place. Company culture was a big factor for me when deciding on a workplace, and when I visited RLF, I was immediately drawn to its welcoming, professional and enthusiastic atmosphere. I couldn’t ask for a more fitting place to work.
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