Spring Intern Spotlight: Carolyn Kuzmin

One of the goals of RLF’s internship program is to offer students unique opportunities that are beneficial to their professional development. Since networking can be a great asset to young professionals, we recently developed a new program called “Mentoring with Monty.”
During each semester, our interns get the chance to have a one-on-one lunch with RLF’s CEO Monty Hagler and pick his brain about anything from current industry trends to skills valued by employers. Building connections and learning from seasoned professionals can help students tremendously as they begin their job search.
This spring, we are welcoming back former intern Amanda Limoges as a communications specialist, and introducing three new interns to the team: Carolyn Kuzmin, Marina Panagopulos and Erica Martin.
Let’s first meet Carolyn.
Continue reading “Spring Intern Spotlight: Carolyn Kuzmin”

Fewer Numbers, Bigger Goals

By Monty Hagler

We’re two weeks into 2015, and I’m proud to say I’m right on track with my New Year’s resolutions. Cynics might say it’s because I set them too low, but I have a different point of view. Rather than focusing on daily numbers and measurements, I’ve instead decided to concentrate on the ultimate objectives. Fewer numbers, yet bigger goals.
In my personal life, I’m not going to chart my weight, count my calories or clock my times in the pool this year. My goal is to be fitter, leaner and healthier. A dual-edged strategy should get me there – work out with more intensity and more often, and eat less and more infrequently.
Continue reading “Fewer Numbers, Bigger Goals”

New Client Spotlight: Camp Corral

By Alyssa Bedrosian

At RLF we have the opportunity to work with a wide variety of clients—from law firms to restaurants to financial services companies, we get a taste of just about every industry.

While we enjoy working with all of our clients, we are excited to begin working with an organization that provides a unique and important service to military families across the United States.

Camp Corral is a one-of-a-kind camp for children of military service members. This summer, Camp Corral will send approximately 3,000 children from military families to a fun-filled, week-long camp at no cost to the families. Camp Corral partners with YMCA and 4-H organizations to host 20 camps in 16 states spanning from Florida to California. Boys and girls ages 8 to 15 participate in traditional outdoor camp activities and have the opportunity to simply enjoy being kids, away from the stresses of military life. While all children from military families are invited to register, children with a wounded, disabled or fallen military parent are given priority.

Camp Corral is a 501 (c) (3) tax-exempt, nonprofit corporation and relies on donations from individuals, as well as support from corporate donors to fund its programs and operational costs. Each spring, the restaurant company Golden Corral supports Camp Corral by setting up contribution stations inside its restaurants and encouraging customers to make individual contributions. In 2013, Golden Corral guests contributed more than $1.6 million to meet the needs of campers.

RLF is honored to be working with Camp Corral, and we look forward to helping the organization continue to grow and achieve its vision.

For more information about this amazing organization, visit www.campcorral.org.

Happy 7th Birthday to RLF!

By Monty Hagler
The phrase “seven year itch” is commonly used to refer to the decline of happiness in a marriage, but it also applies to the desire to either revamp other aspects of your life or move on to perceived greener pastures. As RLF Communications celebrates its seventh anniversary on April 1, I’m experiencing the complete opposite effect. We’re just getting started on what we set out to accomplish.
I’ve spent the past few days reflecting on our first seven years and the things that I would do differently if given the opportunity. I recognize that I cannot, as the Greek philosopher Heraclites observed, “step into the same river twice.” Nor do I want to. But I have better learned how to identify the stepping stones that provide safe passage and spot the deep pools that could plunge us to the bottom.
The world has shifted and changed more than I ever imagined when we launched RLF, and as a result, the fundamental purpose for starting our agency has never been more urgent. Our mission is to help clients tell their stories in clear, consistent and compelling ways to the audiences who matter most to them. We work as a partner, taking pride in every success and feeling the sting of every setback. And while we know that tangible results need to be generated every day, we measure our progress against long-term metrics and outcomes.
I have never seen clients working harder than they are right now. Opportunities abound in virtually every industry sector, but communications and marketing professionals are doing more with less – dwindling staff, fewer resources, tighter budgets, compressed time. It makes the role of an external partner such as RLF even more critical.
Looking ahead to the next seven years we will continue to expand the scope of our work on national and international campaigns with clients who are, or aspire to be, leaders in their respective industries. Living up to that goal will require continued discipline and focus. It will require us to strengthen our expertise and depth in areas such as digital and mobile communication platforms, and necessitate the hiring of individuals who can expertly manage technologies and applications that didn’t even exist seven years ago!
From the clients who have been with RLF since the very beginning to the new clients that brought us on board in the first quarter of 2014, thank you for the trust you have placed in our team and our abilities to help you achieve your objectives. I hope you will continue to support our journey by recommending and referring us to companies that need a strong agency partner to achieve their aspirations. I look forward to the opportunities ahead.
Photo courtesy of Santa’s Village Family Entertainment Park.

RLF Internship Program Gives Students Tangible, Hands-on PR Experience

By Alyssa Bedrosian

Just a few decades ago, attending college and having a decent GPA were enough to begin a career at a solid company. Fast forward to 2014, and the world of entry-level positions is more competitive than ever before, with companies seeking out college graduates who have significant, real-life work experience.

For public relations and communications majors, this means finding internships that allow students to do more than just pick up coffee and make copies. Public relations agencies, nonprofits and corporate communications departments are looking for individuals who know how to write, pitch, think strategically, manage social media, maintain a brand’s reputation and work collaboratively within a team. At RLF, we understand the importance of providing students with a quality, hands-on internship that prepares them to enter the ever-changing world of PR.

RLF is a small, full-service strategic communications agency, and because of the size and scope of our work, interns have the opportunity to experience the day-to-day activities of client account teams (starting with the signing of a confidentiality agreement). Under the close supervision and mentorship of RLF staff, our interns have the opportunity to write press releases, create ad copy, compile media lists, pitch reporters, attend brainstorming sessions, manage social media accounts, conduct client research and assist with the implementation of special events. Interns are also compensated for their work upon successful completion of the program.

We are proud to say that many of our former interns are already excelling in the industry. One former intern recently had an article featured in PR Daily, a leading public relations outlet, while another is working for a top public relations agency in New York City.

Finding the right job requires an intricate balancing act of maintaining a high GPA, gaining quality leadership and career experience, preparing for interviews, and knowing the right people. Yet in the end, hands-on experience in the industry trumps all. Our goal is to transform classroom lessons into tangible work for our interns – and ultimately lead them down a successful career path.

To apply for an internship at RLF, send a resume, cover letter and writing samples to interns@rlfcommunications.com.

New Team Member Spotlight: Steffany Reeve

Steffany Reeve recently joined the RLF team as a Director of Lifestyle & Consumer Brands. She previously served as the manager of marketing and advertising at the Greensboro Science Center.
To get to know her a little better, we asked her a few questions:

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

I have worked in a variety of leadership positions in marketing, public relations and advertising in both nonprofit and corporate organizations for the last 15 years. My career began in the field of market research where I was responsible for creating surveys, analyzing results, testing ad copy and provided consulting to clients in the tourism industry and in higher education. I left my position at D.K. Shifflet & Associates to join MCI WorldCom where I worked with the company’s in-house ad agency to improve ad creative and later joined the Gannett Corporation where I worked as a marketing consultant and researcher for the company’s Broadcast Division. In 2007, my husband and I moved to Greensboro and I found my skills in marketing, media relations and advertising a perfect fit for the director of marketing and community relations position at the Greensboro Children’s Museum. In this role, I was responsible for developing and implementing marketing campaigns that rebranded the organization, rolled out a new website, launched the Edible Schoolyard and increased awareness of the Museum.
Most recently, I served as the manager of marketing and advertising at the Greensboro Science Center where I developed and executed strategic marketing campaigns for the organization.  This position was both rewarding and challenging, in that it required working with a variety of teams and partners, managing multiple projects and tapped into my skills and experience in creative design, advertising development, writing, media buying, public relations and social media outreach. While I worked on multiple campaigns in this role, my favorite was the launch of the Carolina SciQuarium that attracted a record number of visitors and garnered national media coverage.
My passion for developing marketing and public relations strategies to help businesses grow and strengthen their brands ultimately led me to RLF Communications. Having worked with Monty and several of the other staff while at the Science Center, I was impressed with the team’s pool of talent and the level of expertise and commitment RLF offers clients. As a new member, I look forward to adding to the staff’s arsenal of knowledge and experience and to working with the company’s Lifestyle and Consumer clients.

Why do you enjoy working in public relations?

I enjoy helping organizations discover better ways to connect with their target audience, identify ways to grow and improve their brands and get recognition for things they are doing right. Whether this involves working with companies to enhance their social media outreach, improve media coverage, develop creative messages and collateral pieces, assist with rebranding or to plan special events, I like it all. Additionally, I enjoy being a counselor to companies and take this role very seriously. I feel privileged to be entrusted with this role and always have client’s best interests in mind. It’s rewarding to help others reach their goals and an exciting challenge to find creative, resourceful and out-the box ways to do to this.

What is your favorite way to spend your free time?

Free time….ha!  What’s that?  No really, I have free time, but it is just classified differently now that I have three amazing, but very active children ages 5 and 2 1/2 (twin boys). I love spending time playing with all of them and capturing photos of their precious moments, but I also love to travel, scuba dive, hike, run, read and go on romantic dates with my husband David.

Are you involved in any community organizations, nonprofits or industry associations? If so, which ones and in what way?

I am a member of the PRSA Tarheel Chapter and belong to several online advertising and marketing groups such as ADPRO, Marketing Directors Support Group and the Content Marketing Support Group. I believe it’s important to be knowledgeable of current trends and stay connected with others in the field who can be great resources, potential partners, collaborators and clients.

What is the last book you read?

The last book I read was The Glass Castle by Jeanette Walls. It is a fascinating memoir that recounts the unconventional life of the author and her deeply dysfunctional family. I admire Walls for sharing the details of her poverty-stricken and eccentric life and think she is an inspiration to anyone who seeks a better life.  Instead of letting the multitude of challenges she faced take her down, she used these experiences to make herself a stronger person and a successful businesswoman. The book is a powerful and heart-wrenching story of triumph against all odds and a wonderful read. I would highly recommend it to anyone.  You won’t think your family is dysfunctional after reading this story!

If you had a theme song, what would it be?

Picking just one theme song is difficult, but I would say U2’s “Beautiful Day” is a good one.  Every time I hear it, it makes me smile and brightens my day no matter what has happened. I would classify myself as an eternal optimist, which is a trait that can work for and against me – but I wouldn’t have it any other way. Life is too short not to cherish every moment. Other possible them songs could be ABBA’s “Dancing Queen” (I love to dance) and Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believing” (I have faith that life gets better with each passing day and if something gets you down, you can’t stop believing that things will improve).

If you could have dinner with any one person, dead or alive, who would it be and why?

This is a hard question to narrow down, so instead I’d like to tell you my top three choices. If we were all together at once, it would make for one fascinating and memorable evening!

  • Albert Einstein – to get a sense of how his mind works and to ask him what he thinks of the world today.
  • Dr. Seuss – to tell him how much I enjoy his brilliance and the creativity of his books that I read to my children every night.
  • Ellen Degeneres – I find her such a fascinating and hysterically funny woman; I know she would keep me laughing the entire dinner. There is something to be said for a woman who believes in the power of laughter and dance to lift your spirits.

RLF and the N.C. Medical Society Honored for Annual Report

By David French

The North Carolina Medical Society (NCMS) and RLF Communications have been awarded first-place in the Annual Report category of Association TRENDS newspaper’s 2013 All-Media Contest.
The award will be presented at the 35th annual “Salute to Association Excellence” on Feb. 20 at the Capital Hilton in Washington, D.C. Our winning entry will be on display at the event, along with the other winners, and will be featured in the January issue of TRENDS and on the publication’s website.
The NCMS challenged RLF to produce a report to serve several purposes and audiences. Through a striking design and peer testimonials, we were able to accomplish the objectives of: reporting on the organization’s latest developments to members; educating non-members on the value of the Society; and acknowledging the organization’s long history in representing N.C. physicians and patients. The report was titled Past/Future: North Carolina Medical Society Community Report.
The contest is an annual competition held by Association TRENDS, the national newspaper for executives, professional staff and suppliers of international, national, state, regional and local associations. The 2013 competition included a record 467 entries in 22 categories.
North Carolina Medical Society Executive Vice President and CEO Robert Seligson said: “We are honored to have received this award. RLF was a great inspiration and partner throughout the Community Report project and we look forward to future work with the RLF team.”

Happy Birthday RLF

Today is RLF’s four-year anniversary. No fooling. It has been a fun, wild, white-knuckle ride that has only just begun to take us down the road we decided to explore in 2007. 

There are many things I am proud of — the outstanding work of our employees, our contributions to our professional and civic communities, our ability to navigate tough economic times, the national recognition and the successful campaigns we’ve been part of. There are even more things that I am thankful for – clients who have entrusted us with their brands and reputations, employees who have left secure jobs to help build our young agency, friends and family who have provided steadfast counsel and support.
We have evolved significantly in just four years. We’ve added global capabilities and depth with our partnership in the Worldcom Public Relations Group, the oldest and strongest of the global networks. We now have more than 110 partners in the United States and around the world that we can (and already have) call upon for expertise, advice and assistance to better serve our clients. We have also significantly expanded our creative and production capabilities to meet client needs. 

Along the way, we’ve never wavered from the core principles that gave us the courage (and audacity) to think we could build a better agency. Those principles include:
– Clients always define success.
– Only good surprises.
– Work with clients who are industry leaders, or who seek to become one.
– Be dedicated to Ideas, Strategy and Service.
To all those who have supported, encouraged, referred, cajoled or counseled us to help us get better and stronger – Thank You.

RLF Communications Named Finalist for Prestigious PRWeek Award

When RLF Communications undertook the assignment to promote the International Civil Rights Center & Museum’s historic Feb. 1, 2010 opening, our objective was to capture national recognition for a civil rights landmark. We were extremely pleased with the campaign’s results and honored PRWeek has named it
one of the year’s top five promotional campaigns. RLF Named 2011 PRWeek Award Finalist
The list of PRWeekAward finalists represents some of the biggest and best public relations companies in the world (Fleishman-Hillard, Golin Harris, MS&L, Ogilvy Public Relations Worldwide) advocating causes both serious (bringing clean water to 1 billion people, celebrating the Boy Scouts of America’s 100th anniversary) and fun (Pop Tarts in Times Square and Christmas Caroling to Celebrate the Holidays). It will be a pleasure to share the stage with these agencies and their clients at the awards ceremony in March. We also look forward to celebrating with our Worldcom Public Relations Group partners who are finalists in other categories, such as Padilla Speer Beardsley and Marina Maher Communications.
To learn more about the PRWeek Awards, and the list of 2011 finalists, click here. And if you haven’t made plans
to visit the International Civil Rights Center & Museum, we hope you will journey to North Carolina soon to see this
national treasure and visit the RLF office just a few blocks away.

International Civil Rights Center & Museum
Feb. 1, 2010 Grand Opening of the International Civil Rights Center & Museum shortlisted for 2011 PRWeek Award - Promotional Event of the Year.

And the Winner Is…..RLF Communications

RLF Communications, led by its Creative Director Ron Irons, had a big night at the AAF Triad’s Addy Awards on Saturday. More than 150 people representing advertising agencies throughout the Triad attended this annual event honoring the best creative work in the region. Though it was RLF’s first time  entering this competition, it sure wasn’t beginner’s luck that we ended the night with 14 awards – all for  work done on behalf of our client, the International Civil Rights Center and Museum.

RLF won the “Best of Show”, the evening’s highest honor, for the following ad:

RLF won a “Judge’s Choice” award (one of two) for the following ad:

In addition, RLF took home eight Gold ADDY awards and four Silver ADDY awards for other creative work on behalf of the International Civil Rights Center & Museum. Congratulations to Ron Irons and everyone at RLF Communications for these well-earned honors

Click here to see more creative work for the International Civil Rights Center & Museum.