R&R Partners earned a spot on PR News’ list of Top Places to Work in PR in 2016! According to PR News, 2016 was one of its highest entry years ever and the competition was fierce, so making the list was no easy feat. We are included with an impressive list of winners, including Ketchum and Hill+Knowlton Strategies. PR News honored the selected workplaces at PR News’ Winter Awards Luncheon at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C., on December 6. Be sure to check out part of the Phoenix, Arizona office shown here!
Going into an internship, you never know what to expect. You wonder if you’re going to be fetching donuts and coffee, doing busy work, or if you’ll actually gain valuable knowledge from the whole thing. Coming out of college, I had experienced a variety of internships − all of which left me feeling almost just as unsure of what I wanted to do as before I started them. If any of you can relate, then you know that the feeling of uncertainty is pretty terrifying as a recent grad.
Luckily, I’m happy to say that R&R Partners has put my previous internships to shame, and my supervisor and mentor was ready to put me to work in helping her with both internal and external communications. While I was quite overwhelmed at first with all the new and intimidating tasks, I quickly got in the groove of my new position as an operations intern. At R&R, I particularly enjoyed my time as an intern because it was vastly different from my past internships in a few ways:
I was given responsibility in helping with real projects.
I felt that I was able to contribute to the company.
I was included in meetings and felt more involved.
I came out of the internship able to say that I’ve truly learned a lot.
I felt a sense of “this is where I want to be.”
One of my favorite learning aspects of the program was that interns from all offices had a chance to sit down as a group and learn more about the brand, creative, media and engagement departments. This helped us to really gauge how the different components of the agency work in sync to create a whole. If we were specifically interested in one particular area after learning about it, we were given the chance to shadow someone from that department to see if it’s something we want to pursue. Additionally, our chief strategic officer and principal took time to sit down with us and go over our agency’s most successful campaigns, why they worked and the strategy behind them.
Within only two months at R&R, I not only learned to develop my writing skills, but I also got a taste of the different departments, how they all work together and what the “one agency” concept really means. “One agency” is a mantra heard throughout the agency that emphasizes that, despite having nine offices across the U.S. and Mexico, we work together as one, and our culture comes together to create one big family – and this concept was brought to familiarity as all the interns worked together on our summer projects. As one of the summer interns put it:
“My main goal this summer as an R&R intern was to gain diverse, real-world and hands-on experience. The intern program helped me achieve this goal,” says Dominique Glass, Project Management intern. “From hour-long presentations from various departments to working with other interns to solve a company problem, R&R’s new intern program gave me structure to learn and challenge myself. I have learned how to be a team player, manage my time and learn how a firm operates. Going back to school this semester, I feel that I will succeed beyond measure in all group projects and will think more outside of the box. Thank you, R&R, for giving me the tools and freedom to flourish on through the next step of my career.”
The first project of this summer’s internship program involved working in groups with other R&R interns possessing different skill sets and working in other locations to solve a real business problem for R&R. Then, we presented our plans to agency leadership. The chance to make a name for yourself and receive face time from executives as an intern is rare in most internship programs, so I jumped on the opportunity to do so. We gathered feedback from employees across a variety of departments, and we were able to tailor our solutions according to real data.
The second project of the program was also an assignment for the interns across eight R&R offices in the U.S. to work together to educate the agency on how to market to Millennials. While it was challenging to meet across the geographical difference and throughout time zones, it was a great experience to interact with each and every intern. Working with a lot of different people, I learned about myself, my role and how I function with others.Overall, my intern experience was one for the books. The fact that R&R Partners is an independent agency was crucial in leading me to my current position. It allowed me invaluable face time with our team partners and leadership, and now I’m part of the R&R family. I’m excited to see the next iteration of the intern program implemented with our next round of interns, but mostly I’m excited to watch their presentations this time as an official R&R employee. ;)
I’ve attended conferences across the globe, including an education industry show in London and an energy-efficiency segment event in Kuala Lumpur. In past roles, I’ve even had the opportunity to speak at several—two highlights being at the World Energy Efficiency Congress in Abu Dhabi and at regional conference in Thailand. As a veteran to keynotes, breakout sessions, inspirational speakers, and the art of conference lanyard collection, I feel like I have experienced it all.
And I was wrong. Attending a leadership conference specifically geared to the inspiration, celebration and development of women was a new experience. Celebrating its 10th year and hosted by the MGM Resorts Foundation, this week’s Women’s Leadership Conference (WLC2016) in Las Vegas was a dynamic event with a full agenda for its sold-out crowd of 1,000 women (and a few men). I could wax poetically about the powerful lineup of amazing women, like Phyllis A. James (MGM Resort International’s chief diversity officer), who left me with this thought—that “women have multiple glass ceilings, yet each of us has a hammer.” Yet, I thought I’d rely on the experiences of my talented colleagues who also attended WLC2016, all of whom were invited guests of the R&R Foundation, a proud WLC2016 sponsor.
MGM Resort’s Phyllis A. Jones
Donna Brazile Charms and Inspires
Dr. Lalia Rach’s “Business Leadership: For Adults Only”
“The big theme I took away was leaning in to fears,” says Julie Teasley, director of operations. Several speakers directly mentioned the ideology that Facebook’s Sheryl Sandberg made famous in a TED Talk, and others emphasized that instead of waiting to be recognized, women should move forward to success. Donna Brazile, a favorite of attendees who made an impact on several of us, quipped, “Why are you still waiting to be asked to lead? Why not you? There is no one better.”
Donna is a veteran democratic political strategist and most recently named interim chair of the DNC. Her hilarious sense of humor and words of wisdom also resonated with Yanick Dalhouse, account director from R&R Resources+ in Washington, D.C. She recalls Donna saying, “We don’t have to check the boxes that others give us; we can check our own.” And this author giggled along with the entire room to this Donna-ism: “I’ve always told the men I’ve worked with … when I come through the door, I’m not asking you to leave. I’m just saying scoot over!”
R&R’s Chantel Perreault, operations supervisor, recalls several speakers talking about focusing on the important priorities, and breakout speaker Judi Holler added that the master of all fears is the fear that one will succeed. Judi, a former improv comedian at Chicago’s famous Second City, had a quote that resonated with Chantel: “Make fear your homeboy.”
Jeanette Schneider Charges WLC Attendees to Take Charge of Our Destinies
Yanick Dalhouse, Joan Jungblut, Julie Teasley, Shan Bates-Bundick, Karyn Hearn-Phillips, Chantel Perreault, Sara MacFarlane
Alison Levine: Adventure Grand Slam Designee Who Has Climbed Highest Peak on Every Continent
Something that resonated with Joan Jungblut, corporate media director, from several of the speakers, was best articulated by Donna Brazile: “No matter how you got in the room, bring others with you,” which is to say seize the opportunities that arise for you, as well as create opportunities for others to rise. Another point that was covered in sessions by both Dr. Lalia Rach and Eric Boles was that mediocrity is contagious. Joan says, “It’s easy and ‘safe’ to be average, and so we don’t set goals high enough. We have to set high expectations for ourselves and our teams so we rise to those expectations.”
“Overall, I came away with mixed emotions: on the one hand, we’ve come so far,” shares Sara Macfarlane, director of insight. “But on the other, you could see how even among some of the monumental women on stage, we continue to struggle with the duality of being a professional woman and that we continue to limit ourselves.” Karyn Hearn-Phillips, project supervisor, recalls Judi Holler’s “There are no mistakes, only gifts,” and this advice that sums up the elegance and professionalism that we all hope to be, shared by Donna Brazile: “Be a woman of grace, valor and tenacity.”
Lindsey Patterson, media director, recalled this additional Donna gem that I will leave you with: “Relationships matter. Even when you have staunchly different views, it’s important to play nicely.” With such an outstanding leadership conference under our belts, and with the wisdom by such incredible leaders at our fingertips, we are inspired. And I hope this recap and the learnings of several women leaders at R&R Partners serve to inspire you, as well.
The R&R Phoenix office hosted an open house to celebrate its recent move to Phoenix’s historic Warehouse District and to unveil its newly renovated home. What ended up happening was much more than a typical ribbon-cutting with an open bar.
At the heart of the celebration was 92-year-old Henry Ong Jr., whose father originally owned the warehouse in 1926 in what was then known as Phoenix’s Chinatown.
Mr. Ong spoke emotionally about his father’s legacy and what the revitalization of the warehouse meant to him and his family.
The audience was not only left teary-eyed, but also left with a greater respect for the rich history that the Warehouse District holds.
Sharing the stage with Mr. Ong, R&R Partners CEO and Principal Billy Vassiliadis and Vice President and Managing Director Matt Silverman discussed the impact the project is making to help breathe new life into Phoenix’s Warehouse District.
The party was a full house with more than 300 attendees, including elected officials, clients and community members invested in the preservation of the neighborhood. Executives from across all R&R offices flew in to join the festivities and celebrate the past, present and future of R&R’s new space and the Warehouse District.
The majority of the party took place in the warehouse parking lot, which was transformed into an upscale block-party atmosphere.
A local Fox Concepts food truck served pizza straight out of the oven, while guests enjoyed music by a local rock band, played ping-pong and captured memories in a photo booth.
Inside the warehouse, guests were able to take a self-guided tour that highlighted the most interesting and historic features inside the 25,000-square-foot building.
In true R&R spirit, the Phoenix office has fully immersed itself into the community it lives in, and will continue to be a leading player in breathing new life into Downtown Phoenix.
Office will serve as full-service agency, with emphasis on diversity marketing
Increasing diversity marketing reach through authentic and empowering voices isn’t just a win for R&R Partners. It’s an essential and exponentially beneficial victory for the people who matter most – our clients and their customers.
When we launched CMV/R&R Partners in Mexico City, it was more than a move into an international marketplace. It also marked the beginning of an agencywide focus to become an authority on diversity marketing.
To do that, we need some of those key voices. The exciting addition of former Nevada Congressman Steven Horsford to our Washington, D.C., office is another leap forward in the diversity space, giving R&R Partners a unique position in Washington, and indeed, in the national communications marketplace.
R&R Partners and Horsford’s company, Resources+, have joined forces to establish a full-service agency with integrated services, specializing in diversity marketing, media training and corporate communications, workforce and vendor/supplier engagement and international affairs. Horsford will serve as senior vice president of strategic integration and partnerships for R&R’s nine offices throughout the United States and Mexico City. He will also serve as managing director of our Washington office.
“Steven started his career with R&R, and in the many years since his departure, he has gained incredible experience in business and through public service,” said Billy Vassiliadis, CEO of R&R Partners. “The changing demographics of the U.S. coupled with today’s global interconnectivity make it essential that marketers speak to their customers in a voice that is credible. Our recent opening of a Mexico City office, combined with Steven’s strengths in diversity marketing, places us at the forefront of this new space in marketing communications, and will place our clients at the forefront of the diversified consumer and employee base.”
Steven will also chair the board of directors for Nevada Partners, Inc., a nonprofit workforce training, youth development and housing assistance agency. He served as president/executive director of Nevada Partners from 2001 to 2008, and was the CEO of the Culinary Academy of Las Vegas, its sister agency, from 2001 to 2012.
Digital Content Developer Sal DeFilippo contributed to this article.
2014 was a banner year for the R&R Partners Foundation. Across our nine offices, the Foundation helped more than 20 pro bono clients, each selected based on the passion and interests of our employees.
We volunteered our time. We donated money. We even altered our own appearances, whether it was by cutting hair (Pat Carrigan shed his signature mullet for charity and raised $10,000), or growing it (Movember mustaches netted more than $1,600).
In other words, we did what we do best: Give. Help. Love. It’s what we do.
Hey you! Yes, you, the one reading this blog entry in between checking your Twitter stream and Facebook and all of the other things that you probably are not paid to do, but weave into your workday to keep it interesting.
We’re not knocking you. Social media and surfing the web ARE part of the workday in some ways, because they’re great tools to use to keep up with industry news, trends, and engage in discussion with both clients and other ad folks. At least that’s how you justify it to your boss while you look at pictures of cats using bad grammar.
Since you’re online all day anyway, make it productive — join us Friday from 3-4 p.m. Pacific time for our weekly Twitter discussion about all things advertising. Follow @rrpartners on Twitter and each week, you can give us your thoughts and insight on three short marketing-themed questions. Be sure to use #RRchat in your replies so we can retweet and holler back.
To give you a head start, here are the questions we’ll be tossing out to the Twittersphere this week. Read over them, formulate your responses and get ready to have some fun banter with other marketing agency tweeps!
Question 1: Do you think if a brand has a social presence, you are more likely to purchase from that brand over one that doesn’t? What’s the value in a brand name?