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.

International Connectivity in the Age of COVID

by Monty Hagler

One of the defining traditions of being a partner in the Worldcom Public Relations Group is gathering every spring with more than 100 other agency leaders to share best practices, collaborate on projects and jointly fund research projects such as the Worldcom Confidence Index, which deploys artificial intelligence to analyze sentiments from 54,000 global CEOs and CMOs.

Worldcom Zoom call

As with all other traditions over the past year, the 2020 Worldcom meeting scheduled in Malaysia was cancelled and our recent 2021 global meeting was held virtually. Partners logged onto Zoom from nearly every time zone and there was robust discussion on important initiatives as we reconnected with old friends and welcomed new partners.

RLF Communications joined Worldcom in 2010 because of a compelling need to help our clients understand local markets in other parts of the globe and access a broader variety of resources to accomplish their business objectives. Those needs have only increased over the past decade as we become an even more global society. I’m currently serving on the Global board and as chair of the Americas region which stretches from Chile to Canada. I learn something new in every conversation, every interaction I have with my partners, and that makes me a better counselor and strategic advisor to my team and clients.

The annual meeting and regional meetings in the fall are important because Worldcom is made up of more than dots on a global map. We know, trust and value our partners. I’ve met with virtually every agency head, and spent time getting to know them and what they represent. I count on them to respond when I reach out. And they know they can count on me.

Because of the pandemic, one of the biggest shifts taking place is discussion about physical offices and remote working. Virtually every large company in the US has kept employees home for nearly a year, and many of them have no plans to bring staff back to the office for at least another six months. Many studies, such as a recent McKinsey white paper, are showing that for highly skilled professionals that utilize technology, there will likely be a permanent shift in how, where and when we reengage in office settings.

We cannot and should not try to put the remote workplace genie back in the bottle, but I believe there are significant drawbacks to moving to an all-virtual workforce in industries where in-person collaboration, cooperation and trust are the glue that holds the work together. The longer we create distance between teams, the more cracks are going to appear in the system. We found that to be true at RLF after 3 months working remotely, which is why I made the decision to bring everyone back to the office in June. We social distance in meetings, we wear masks when sitting close, we have glass panels between workstations, and we sit in separate rooms for client calls. But we are together to brainstorm, debate, laugh, plan, encourage, proofread and engage. It makes a world of difference. It makes us better for our clients and each other.

One of my favorite Harvard Business Review articles by Alan Webber back in 1993 drilled the point that in a knowledge economy, the most important work is conversation. Something important is lost when conversation only happens at a distance, no matter how easy it is to meet virtually through Zoom, Teams, Meets, Slacks and other such platforms.

For my part, I look forward to reconnecting – face-to-face — with my Worldcom partners when it is safe and appropriate to do so.

Summer Intern Spotlight – Piper Anderson

RLF offers a competitive internship program every summer and semester that teaches aspiring PR professionals the skills necessary to succeed in a career in strategic communications. From writing news releases and pitching reporters to compiling media lists and drafting social media posts, our interns do it all. This summer, we welcome Jenna Barone and Piper Anderson. Our second intern spotlight is on Piper.

“I was born in Long Beach, California, and moved to North Carolina in 2006. I love both coasts; the wild beauty of the Pacific is just as much a part of me as the peaceful waters of Lake Norman. I adore food, reading, clothes, and expressing my creative side– whether that be through making a poster in Photoshop or writing a short story. I attend UNC-Chapel Hill, where I major in English and minor in public relations and creative writing. As my specializations might indicate, I love writing, and plan on going into public relations or the magazine industry after graduation.”

Continue reading “Summer Intern Spotlight – Piper Anderson”

Spring Intern Spotlight – Chelsea Korynta

RLF’s internship program strives to offer students a holistic agency experience that exposes them to both the challenging and rewarding aspects of public relations. Throughout the course of a semester, interns enhance their skill sets, gain firsthand experience and acquire new knowledge to prepare for a career in public relations, marketing or advertising.

This spring, two new interns have joined the RLF team: Erin Reilly and Chelsea Korynta. Our second intern spotlight is on Chelsea Korynta.

“Hello! I moved to Greensboro for school in the fall of 2014 and have grown to love my college town. I am majoring in English and media studies at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro and will be graduating in May! I grew up in a few different small towns throughout the Midwest, but I feel like I belong in North Carolina where the beach and mountains are both a short drive away. When I’m not working or at school, I love going to concerts, thrift shopping, or taking my dog for a run through my neighborhood.”

What has been your favorite part about working with RLF?

I have a few favorite parts! Above all I am very grateful for the opportunity to work on my writing skills in an environment like RLF. The internship coordinators and account leads are always available to workshop my writing and give thorough feedback, which is crucial for any developing writer. The work itself is engaging and interesting, too. Through the specific clients I’ve been assigned to, I’ve been exposed to some fascinating industries I probably would have never thought to look into on my own. For example, I’ve gotten to do some research on esports players that compete in world-class video game tournaments. It was fun to read about how insanely good these players are at their chosen game – and how invested fans are in stats and rankings, just like a non-virtual sport! Some other obvious perks of working with RLF are the fluffy dogs that are always roaming around and the beautiful rooftop workspace. I can’t wait for the weather to warm up so I can spend more time up there – the view is beautiful!

What is your favorite movie?

Wes Anderson’s “Fantastic Mr. Fox” is absolutely my favorite movie. The creativity and time that went into the production of the film is unreal! For those who aren’t familiar with the movie, it’s a stop-motion animation adaptation of Roald Dahl’s original story. The characters are very detailed clay models of forest animals, and every frame had to be constructed extremely carefully by the production team to maintain continuity. The story is fast-paced and funny, with some great quotable moments throughout. Plus, Wes Anderson is a master of film aesthetics. The colors and music in “Fantastic Mr. Fox” give it a retro storybook feel!

What would your dream job be?

My dream job is to work with NPR! I listen to its programming all the time. The news coverage is reliable, and I can tell they report with integrity. My favorite segments have always been the on-air interviews. I love hearing a good story, and I’m always practicing asking good questions! All things considered, I’d love to work somewhere where I’m always writing!

Do you sing in the shower? If so, what is your favorite song to sing?

I have a pretty consistent rotation of Fleetwood Mac songs I like to sing in the shower. “Dreams” and “Rhiannon” are my current favorites.

Do you have any pets?

I am a dog mom to two pups! I adopted my first dog, Delilah, from the Guilford County Shelter about a year ago. She is a two-year-old pit-bull/lab mix who loves to cuddle and cause trouble. I also have an English bulldog named Heaven, who is a grumpy old man living in a dog’s body.

Spring Intern Spotlight – Erin Reilly

These days, even entry-level positions in public relations require real world experience. That is one of the reasons RLF strongly believes in hosting an internship program that exposes college students to the what agency life is really like on a daily basis. Over the course of the semester, local college students gain practical experience and firsthand knowledge by working closely with qualified professionals on a variety of client accounts.
This spring, two new interns have joined the RLF team: Erin Reilly and Chelsea Korynta. Our first intern spotlight is on Erin Reilly.
“I’m a Boston native who made her way down south for school. I’m a senior at Elon University majoring in strategic communications with a minor in business administration. I love cooking and travelling, but I love dogs most of all.”
If you could live in any country, where would you live?
If I could live in any country, it would be Italy. I come from an Italian family, so the culture and traditions are close to my heart. I also studied abroad in Florence for a semester and fell in love with it! There are so many beautiful places to visit in Italy and I can’t wait to go back and explore more.
Continue reading “Spring Intern Spotlight – Erin Reilly”

The Art of the Pitch

By Taylor Lord
Pitching. It’s the reason that reporters have a love-hate relationship with PR specialists. A trick to improve your media relations lies in effectively pitching media outlets without hounding reporters. When thinking of a story idea, make sure you remember to consider tactics to accomplish the three pitching steps: the “before,” the “during,” and the “after.”
Media relations don’t begin by picking up the phone to call an outlet about an intriguing story. You need to establish a relationship first. Just think of the name: “media relations.” It implies a connection between you and the reporter. Before even thinking about dialing or clicking send, plan for the pitch.


1. Research

Imagine that you are working on a pitch for a new hire release. You create a media list and settle in for a long day of calling. The first outlet answers and, whoops, they only want product releases. If you keep contacting this publication to pitch new associates rather than new products, the reporter begins to think you are simply wasting their time and will ignore you when you do have a new product to pitch.
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What’s All the Buzz About Personal Branding?

By Taylor Lord
Ever called a tissue a Kleenex? Or asked a friend to borrow Chap Stick? Brands have infiltrated every aspect of normal life and each one of us is guilty of referring to an object by a trademarked brand name. In a culture that is branded to a T, it’s not surprising that the idea of creating unique and distinctive labels for individuals is a topic that seems to come up constantly.
From seasoned industry professionals to untried college students, people are concerned with their personal brand and how they can stand out from the crowd. Even if you say that you don’t have a personal brand because you don’t post three to five times a day on Twitter, guess what? That reluctance to be active on social media is an integral part of how people perceive you, and thus part of your brand.
Continue reading “What’s All the Buzz About Personal Branding?”

Fall Intern Spotlight – Camille Vargas

Classrooms are an effective way to learn the basics of the communications industry, but companies are always looking for applicants with practical, demonstrated industry experience. This is part of why RLF likes to engage students in our immersion-style internship program. Students can apply their skills on real client accounts, work with both mid-level and senior communications professionals and bring new strengths to the RLF team.
This fall, we welcomed two new interns to our team: Taylor Lord and Camille Vargas. Our second intern spotlight is on Camille Vargas.
“I am majoring in political science and media and journalism, while pursuing minors in Islamic and Middle Eastern studies and medieval and early modern studies at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. I grew up in an extremely tight-knit Italian family in Edison, New Jersey. I love national parks, horses, autobiographies, the ocean and just about anything that involves the word cheese.”
Continue reading “Fall Intern Spotlight – Camille Vargas”

Fall Intern Spotlight – Taylor Lord

RLF’s internship program gives college students the opportunity to gain real world experience in an integrated communications agency. Over the course of the semester, interns learn practical knowledge by working closely with qualified professionals on a variety of client accounts.
This fall, RLF has two new interns that have joined the team: Taylor Lord and Camille Vargas. Our first intern spotlight is on Taylor Lord.
“I’m a native of the Tar Heel state, born and raised in Raleigh. I am a senior at High Point University, majoring in Spanish and strategic communication.”
Continue reading “Fall Intern Spotlight – Taylor Lord”

Summer Intern Spotlight – Bennett Marlow

By Madison Croxson
As the summer season rages on at RLF and new projects emerge daily, we are grateful to have our innovative, hardworking interns on hand. They have now reached the midway point of the internship program, and we have enjoyed watching them sharpen their skills and become more entwined in our company culture.
Each of our interns has the opportunity to work in different disciplines on a variety of client accounts. Learn more about them and their experience thus far at RLF in our 2017 Intern Spotlight Summer Series.
Our second featured intern of the summer is Bennett Marlow.
“I’m a junior at North Carolina State University and I’m majoring in communications with a concentration in media. I’ve lived in Greensboro my whole life and I love dinosaurs.”
Continue reading “Summer Intern Spotlight – Bennett Marlow”