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April 22, 2019

How PR is Like a Cross-country Road Trip

Written by Jordan Garegnani, MPR Project Manager and Digital Community Manager

Like I said, I write what I know and right now I’m on a week-long cross-country road trip (mobile hotspots are MAGIC!) and I can’t help but learn a few life lessons that are highly useful in marketing and PR. I can’t express how amazing it is to have an office that lets me get away with working remotely as I traverse across the country and then lets me write about it 🙂

Flexibility

You plan and plan – the best route, but the best tag line, event layout, rest stops or hotels. And sometimes it goes off without a hitch, but more likely than not, something will always go wrong. Your water pump breaks, a vendor doesn’t show up, you get stuck in Colby, Kansas on a night that you were supposed to be in Denver or a Facebook ad isn’t performing the way you’d like. If you’re not a naturally flexible person, you might want to go on a road trip to practice bending with whatever is thrown at you 🙂

Having reasonable expectations will help you be flexible as well – like not getting mad when your friend may or may not get her phone out fast enough to navigate and you miss going to Superman’s birthplace (cough, me, cough). But it’ll also help when only a few tenants participate in a promotion rather than the whole lot.

I always like to say, “Plan for the worst, hope for the best.” If you have a plan A, B and C when something goes wrong, the going wrong feels a little less terrible.

Prioritizing Goals

When things do go wrong, it’s usually not just one thing. For example, your AC might go out and when they’re investigating it, find your water pump also needs to be replaced or else you’ll end up stuck on the side of the road. Then once the pump is fixed, you might still have a rattle in your engine. You can’t necessarily fix everything at once.

So tally up all your options and strategize what’s the highest priority, keeping a deadline, pleasing the client, staying on budget, etc. From there you can take care of immediate needs and follow up with the lower-priority goals.

Ask for Help

We all like to think we can do things on our own as competent adults, but sometimes you have to give up the wheel or ask someone on your team to cover for you when you can’t be in the office. Chances are they really won’t mind as long as you give them a big thanks.

Roughing It

Not everything can be perfect and your best effort instead of your best work sometimes has to do in a clutch. And sometimes fast food will have to suffice for a meal instead of sitting down for dinner.

No Looking Back

Second-guessing your already-made decisions only causes more stress and anxiety. You’ve thoughtfully sorted through your choices and made the best decision with the information you had. What’s done is done and you can only drive forward so there’s no point in saying “we should have…”

Bonus: Are We There Yet?
No.  You’re never “there.” There’s always ways to be better, grow and expand, so stop asking if we’re there yet. A life, work, road trip lesson all in one.

5 Reasons A Pet-friendly Office is the Best Kind of Office

Written by Jordan Garegnani, MPR Project Manager and Online Community Manager

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Note the puppy barricade made of weighted trashcans…

I write what I know. And right now, my 1 ½ year old Frenchie, Eva, is next to me trying to figure a way out of my office cube.

While dogs in the workplace are becoming more common, I am extremely appreciative that the Myers PR office is flexible enough to accommodate me and what we have lovingly termed the “bat pig” or “gremlin.” So without further ado, here’s why my office is the best kind of office.

Health Benefits

5acc3012540d82395466d90062c8d56bYou see a sweet little furry thing coming at you and your body can’t help but be happy about it. (some more than others – also known as being “Dog Crazy”) You get a burst of endorphin, lowered blood pressure, raised levels of oxytocin (creating feelings of happiness and trust) and more. Now think about how all those things could be beneficial to you on a particularly stressful day. Also, when you see your little fur nugget being so relaxed, you tend to be relaxed.

Makes you Move
You know how you’re not supposed to sit all day? Yea, well, your dog doesn’t want to sit all day either, so now you have a very good excuse to take a few nice walks. Plus it’s a good time to see if anyone wants to go with you – bonus: bonding time with the coworkers!

Less Stress
IMG_2288With an hour commute at the end of my day, getting out of the office in time to free Eva from her crate is something that stresses me out. Getting stuck in the office late isn’t really an option. But if she’s with me, then I know she’s safe, happy and has had plenty of love and attention.

It Socializes Your Pup
While your dog should be fairly well-behaved before you bring it into a professional environment, bringing your dog into different social situations teaches them to be flexible and adapt easily. The world outside their house/crate won’t seem so scary to them and they’ll act out less in public.

Good Distractions
IMG_2289In a creative marketplace like a PR company, distractions can be helpful to the creative process – for example, coming up with this blog post! Plus other things I guess – but you should try it out for yourself if you can. There’s nothing like sitting at a conference table snuggling your pup while brainstorming marketing ideas

Now I understand, not all people are dog people – so be sure to be thoughtful of those coworkers and those who may be allergic!

 

Lastly – big shout out to David Cavalieri, our Graphic Designer and UX Manager on his 3rd anniversary at Myers PR. Congrats!!

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An Intern’s Take on Myers Public Relations

We hate goodbyes at MPR, but when they do happen, we write about it!

Guest Blog by Melanie Ford, Myers PR Intern 2012-14

It’s hard to believe that my third summer at Myers has already come and gone. When I first applied for the position fresh out of high school, I truly had no idea what to expect. I remember going home after my interview and thinking, “I really connected [with Billie and Kate], but I doubt I actually got the job.” Imagine my shock when I got an offer a few days later!

My seasonal work after that phone call has truly launched my career and proved to me that office work doesn’t have to be the stereotypical “daily grind” – unless that grind is coffee-related! The staff at Myers has invested in, encouraged and mentored me immensely with a friendly professionalism that pervades their positive work culture.

1664During my first summer at MPR before college, I expressed that I was most interested in graphic design work…and give me graphic design work, they did! Here is one of my first projects at Myers which involved creating advertisement material for a client’s fall festival.


Although I was an intern, I was treated as an equal and encouraged to ask questions, request projects, and participate in staff meetings and professional development events, such as the
Reston Chamber of Commerce’s ACE Awards Luncheon.

IMG_7710By the time I came back for my second summer at MPR, I had decided to declare public relations as my major at school. The project managers at MPR sought to give me an overview of client properties and projects. I independently travelled to, oversaw, and photographed on-site events.

I also helped with social media analytics and event planning research. My best memory from this summer was hands-down calling reindeer farmers across the nation regarding reindeer rentals for holiday events! Unfortunately, reindeer are restricted from many states for health reasons, but this was still a fun, once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.

reindeer

During my third summer I did extensive research reports to aid in marketing proposals, media relations, and client relations. Most of my work was independent; I was given projects and trusted to take initiative to complete them.

I remember my first day at MPR and Kate asked me to research each of our clients to familiarize myself with the type of work that we do—note: this was also the same day that one of the offices in our building gave free Ben & Jerry’s ice cream to everyone in the building (best first day ever!).

(Taken by Melanie Ford)

(Taken by Melanie Ford)

The type of work that MPR does became abundantly clear as I overheard phone calls (we work in an open floor plan for optimal collaboration), sat in on conference room meetings, and engaged in office culture; the team goes above and beyond to ensure clients’ satisfaction and success.

 

There’s no way to say it other than this: interning at Myers PR is FUN! To recognize special occasions or completion of extensive projects, the office celebrates with lunches, toasts in the conference room, ringing an “accomplishment bell,” or on occasion, a visit to the Reston Town Center Bow Tie Cinema.

IMG_1137Don’t get me wrong, there were definitely some weeks where I had painstaking research projects for which I popped my headphones in and cranked out 40+ hours of work on that project alone. When the work was done though, I was thanked and encouraged profusely, which made it all worth it.

 

The work culture here is one of respect that is unparalleled by anywhere else that I have worked. The unique work ethic of our team is modeled by our founder and fearless leader, Marion Myers. According to this Game of Thrones character quiz which I posted on my Facebook profile a while ago (and the whole office ended up taking), her character is, very appropriately, Daenerys Targaryen the Mother of Dragons – nurturing, but tough as nails.

I sure am going to miss everyone, but we will see each other again!

How to Successfully & Legally Promote Alcohol-Related Events

Guest Blog by Melanie Ford, MPR Intern

HappyHourHappy hour promotion can sometimes be a gray area for marketers – especially when you have clients in different states like Myers PR does. Of course every firm wants to promote the “fun, cool, hip” activities of their clients, but this gray area has complicated and varying regulation laws nationwide which we recommend you pay attention to.

So, what is considered an acceptable promotion for a client’s happy hour, bar crawl, or event with alcoholic beverage sales?

1. Research the agency that regulates alcohol retail and advertising within your country, state, and region

Control States

Laws vary on each of these three geographic levels. Within the United States, the passage of the Twenty-first Amendment in December 1933 put alcohol regulation into the hands of state legislature. Today, there are 18 “control states” in which the state government has varying degrees of monopoly on alcohol sales and advertisement while the other 32 states operate via private licensing systems.

Maryland, for example, has four counties – Montgomery, Somerset, Wicomico, and Worchester – whose alcohol sales are county alcohol-controlled.Virginia and Maryland are both control states, while DC is not. However, just to make things fun, laws and regulations, even among control states, are not standardized.

The 18 control states are listed on the National Alcohol Beverage Control Association website which is the best place to start for information on alcohol regulations within your state.

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2. Find out what types of promotions and promotional phrasing are acceptable for the event

As of January 29, 2014, Virginia restaurants and bars can legally advertise in all media forms (social, print, and broadcast) using the phrase “happy hour” and “drink specials” and the event time span.

IMG_6123Be careful though! Advertisements cannot mention specific happy hour drink types, happy hour beverage prices, or the word “discounted.” The cost and type of alcoholic beverage may only be advertised if it is the same price regardless of the time of day. If an exact amount of alcohol is specified, food and alcohol drink package pairings may be promoted.

Happy hours that last past 9 p.m., 2-for-1 drink specials, and offers for unlimited alcoholic beverages are also not legal in Virginia. Be sure to check out these current regulation examples from VA ABC for acceptable promotion ideas.

VA ABC began its regulatory review in 2011 and received approval from the McDonnell administration on its proposed changes in December 2013. “The process involved gathering recommendations from the public, alcohol industry representatives, restaurant owners and other key stakeholders, and was focused on public safety and business-friendly decisions,” former ABC Chief Operating Officer Curtis Coleburn said in a January 2014 news release.

As far as alcohol-related advertising goes, Virginia has come a long way. Prior to 2009, Virginia restaurants could not promote happy hour drink specials. In 2009, vendors were only allowed to advertise drink specials inside their establishment or on a 17-by-22-inch window sign with limited phrasing allowances. Virginia’s ban on advertising drink specials dates to the 1980s and is due to concerns about drunken driving.

Washington D.C. and Maryland don’t have laws specifically preventing the advertisement of happy hours online or on social media – which makes things much easier on those of us promoting the specials.

3. Remember, different platforms all have their own policies regarding alcohol

Social-Media-SitesAs a general rule, happy hour promotions should never target an audience or region outside of the permitted area. For example, if you want to advertise a Maryland happy hour event via Facebook ad, do not target a Virginia region or audience unless you know that the phrasing of your ad aligns with both state’s laws. It goes without saying, but just to cover all our bases: never target an audience below the legal drinking age. Same policy goes for print publications.

Google allows “brand or informational advertising for alcoholic beverages in the US” as well as “advertising for the online sale of alcoholic beverage.” For more information, see their AdWords policy page.

Twitter’s policy states: “The promotion of offline sale of alcohol and general awareness of alcohol brands is permitted in the US.”

Print publications each have their own advertising policy that should be reviewed prior to purchasing any ad spots as well.

4. Lastly, keep public safety a top priority

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While some ABC laws may seem overly strict, ABC has said in the past that excessive alcohol consumption, fatalities, and the targeting of underage drinking are the main concerns surrounding happy hour advertising. The reality of these problems should not be overlooked when it comes to event or product promotion.

Promote responsibly and ensure that the event has proper security, licensing, and transportation options before advertising.At Myers, many of our client events are metro accessible, so when advertising for these events, we encourage the use of public transit, carpooling, and cabs.

While there are hoops and loopholes to be navigated in promoting alcohol-related events, knowing what regulations you have to work with is the best way to stay ahead of the game. And to celebrate ABC as it reaches its 80th anniversary in the same year the new Virginia state legislature regarding happy hour advertising took effect, “Cheers to 80 years!”

Fairfax County Home to 100 Festivals

Guest Blog by Henrik Sundqvist, Director of Communications & Programs in the Arts Council of Fairfax County

 

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Patrons visiting the Northern Virginia Fine Arts Festival, which is produced by the Greater Reston Arts Center (GRACE). Image Credit: Greater Reston Arts Center

Not only do festivals contribute to the quality of life for Fairfax County residents, but they act as a major draw for visitors from both the region and nation. “Tourism in Fairfax County is a $2.9 billion industry,” says Barry Biggar, President and CEO of Visit Fairfax. “Our visitors have numerous opportunities to attend many arts and cultural events, including festivals, and they significantly contribute to Fairfax County’s overall tourism experience,” according to Mr. Biggar. When communities attract cultural tourists, local businesses reap the rewards. A study done by Americans for the Arts found that nearly half of arts and cultural event attendees live outside of the destination, and their event-related spending is more than twice than that of local residents.

“People come to festivals for one thing, maybe the arts and crafts, are then introduced to forms of art they never would have experienced otherwise, and often are inspired to seek out new arts experiences in the future,” said Carole Rosenstein, Associate Professor of Arts Management at George Mason University, who worked on the 2010 National Endowment for the Arts study – Live from Your Neighborhood: A National Study of Outdoor Arts Festivals.

Updated Logo for Website 3.31.14Fairfax County’s diverse offering of festivals showcases everything from the arts, to culinary, to seasonal festivities, to film, and theatre works, nearly every month of the year on an annual basis. Holly Koons McCullough, Executive Director and Curator at the Greater Reston Arts Center helps run the Northern Virginia Fine Arts Festival which will be held May 16-18. The fine arts festival showcases more than 200 juried artists nationwide and draws 30,000 patrons to Reston. “The festival provides a personal experience; visitors have the opportunity to view, purchase, and interact directly with the featured artists,” says McCullough.

Other community-wide festivals bring locals and visitors together to celebrate our ethnic diversity. The annual DMV Punjabi Mela 2014 Festival, which will be held May 25 at Bull Run Regional Park, draws over 10,000 attendees and celebrates Indian & Pakistani heritage and culture.

“Festivals offer diverse and creative venues for experiencing the arts and create opportunities for meaningful exchange of ideas,” says Linda Sullivan, President & CEO of the Arts Council of Fairfax County.

For more information on the arts and cultural festival listings for the entire 2014 calendar year, visit the Arts Council’s website at www.artsfairfax.org/resources/festivals. Fairfax County’s many events and festivals are published on Visit Fairfax’s website at www.fxva.com.

Why a Diet of Volunteering is Healthy for Your Company

WeHeartProBono_Med_SizeWhen Marion started out in business, 20-some years back, she was working part-time and volunteering for local community groups and (like many young moms) her children’s PTAs. She became recognized for her success in promoting community events and was hired to do the Public Relations for Reston Town Center. Hence – Myers Public Relations was established.

Myers PR employees are encouraged to embrace community service. Myers PR staff members have taken volunteer and leadership roles in: the Greater Reston Chamber of Commerce; Reston Association; Friends of Reston; Reston Chorale; Reston Historic Trust; the Greater Reston Arts Center.

A corporate culture that supports volunteering is good business strategy on multiple levels:

  • It helps with the recruitment and retention of quality employees
  • It is a creative way for employees to test drive new skills
  • Volunteering helps foster job-satisfaction and good morale
  • Pro bono projects raise your company’s brand awareness
  • A reputation as a corporation that gives back increases customer loyalty
  • And…. it’s good for your community

Today, Marion averages 500 hours of service annually. She has served on the Boards of: Initiative for Public Arts – Reston; The Medical Care for Children Partnership; the Reston Historic Trust; and is a Past Chairman of the Greater Reston Chamber of Commerce. She is a current Board Director for the Fairfax County Council for the Arts and Leadership Fairfax, Inc. Combined, the MPR team donates close to 800 hours a year. Now, that’s a very healthy diet of volunteering. Bon Appetit!

Business Etiquette Around the World: North America

Guest Blog & Infographic by Sloan McKinney

The internet may have made doing business internationally easier than ever, but there is still a human element to it – especially when it comes to PR and marketing. Whether you’re creating an international partnership or trying to attract a vendor, knowing how to handle yourself and what to expect from potential clients is key to make sure that you remain in your element without offending your colleague’s sensibilities throughout negotiation.

This graphic is a small series of primers in conducting international business. Covering the major three players in North America (Canada, United States, and Mexico), this graphic will give you a better idea of how people in these businesses approach business meetings.

From what time to arrive and how to dress, to how to best negotiate and even how close to stand, being aware of cultural business norms will make your dealings go much more smoothly. Knowing how other countries do business gives you a better shot at leaving the bargaining table with both parties achieving their goals.

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Sloan

Sloan McKinney is a business enthusiast and online journalist who enjoys sharing her knowledge about the impact of globalization. She also covers the areas of business communications, technology, and marketing.

Increased Sales: How Public Relations Can Help Retailers

Guest Blog by Camille McClane

Public relations is a branch of marketing that too many small businesses overlook, and if your business is not focused on the way it is perceived by the public, then it is a sinking ship. Every business has a public image, be it the local lemonade stand helmed by the ambitious 8-year-olds or the mighty retail chain with a 1,000 stores nationwide. Both of those ideas carry an identity with it, even if it is somewhat generic and nebulous. Why leave your retail business’ identity to chance when there are several reasons why good PR can help you along the path to success?

KFCImage Courtesy of BrandFreak.com

PR Can Make You Bigger Than Your Brand
People love to feel like a part of something good, especially when it’s for a cause they believe in. When people associate these positive feelings with your brand, they’re not only likely to buy from you, they’re likely to spread the good news to others. Back in 2011, KFC decided to do away with the tired old essay for giving out their $20,000 college scholarship, and put it all down on a single tweet.

Entrants were limited to the standard 140 characters, minus the required hashtag, and were asked to convince KFC why they deserved the scholarship. In just two weeks, over 2800 tweets were submitted and their twitter following jumped 20%, garnering them positive favor and increasing their social media reach.

PR Can Make People Feel At Home
Studies have shown that people are much more likely to shop with a retail brand they are familiar with, as familiarity breeds trust and trust is any business’ key quality for customer satisfaction.

In 2010, the BALSAMS Grand Resort Hotel in New Hampshire decided to offer an online promotion to select a “resorter” — someone who would live in the hotel for two months — while posting updates about all the experiences they were having. They selected the winner via social media and online voting out of entries from around the world.

The campaign was so successful that it increased bookings for the following month by 20%. They repeated a version of the campaign the following winter and by January they were completely booked, making it their busiest season ever.

People didn’t need to win to feel like they were there, and as a result when they planned their own trip, many chose the hotel they had already seen in all it’s exciting intimacy. Transparency, in the eyes of the public, can remove some of the stiffness from your public image. A customer who is familiar with your company is a customer likely to trust you with their business.

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PR Firms Can Build Your Image For You
In retail, you have enough trouble worrying about how to stay connected to the customers you have and how to simplify the shopping process while managing conversion rates and inventory numbers. You may not have the time or resources to give your public relations the attention it deserves, at least not on your own.

Both of the previous examples, and a host of others, were not built solely on the creative in-house ideas of genius CEOs or innovative board members, but were created in collaboration with PR Firms. These firms exist solely to weave the public’s perception of brands, and you might find them a good fit for you too.

At this point, it ought to be apparent that PR Firms can do a lot for you in the right situations, but it would be worthwhile to take some time and determine if it’s the right choice for your business.

Ask yourself these questions:

  • Do you know what your specific PR needs are? You should, otherwise you might not need a firm yet.
  • Can you afford to spend money that doesn’t make you money if a campaign is unsuccessful?
  • If you’ve taken some meetings, are the ideas original enough or do they feel boring to you?
  • Do you have the time to commit to a PR campaign?

camilleCamille McClane is a writer, researcher and editor, who frequently blogs about about web hosting and social media. Her favorite subject to focus on is emerging technology trends and its overall effect within business expansion and relations. She hopes the readers of Myerspr.com enjoy this article as much as she enjoyed writing it.

The Importance of Social Media in Public Relations

Guest Blog by Camille McClane

 

Public relations, like all other types of communication, needs a medium.

For many years the media was simple: Word of mouth, the newspaper, phone calls and the occasional public forum. Not only has social media upended those platforms, but they now depend heavily on social media for their distribution.

Additionally, the use of social media as a PR tool is far more complex and effective than previous systems.

The connectedness and the speed with which the Internet makes information available has given those who work in PR far more platforms and methods by which to reach their target audience and the public at large.

Now the task is to understand which mediums to target and how to effectively use them.

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Image Courtesy of Shutterstock.com

Understanding Where Your Target Audience Hangs Out

Social media has grown to the point where there are more than just a few options available, with each platform having its own strengths and weaknesses that a smart PR representative will know how to optimize.

Twitter and Facebook are still primary, covering a broad range of people and age groups.

But if you can narrow down your target audience, you might want to consider targeting different social media platform based on the following factors:

  • The age range of your audience.
  • The shared interests of your audience.
  • Where your audience spends the bulk of their time online.

A lot of this will depend on what you know about the people you’re trying to target; so it stands to reason that the more you know and the better you understand them, the more productive and efficient you can be in terms of which social media accounts to use.

SM user ages

Image Courtesy of http://optimiseblog.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2013/04/ukstats3-550×507.png

When You Should and Should Not Use Certain Platforms

For example, if you’re targeting middle aged folks in the business community, LinkedIn might be a better focus than Google+. At the same time, if you’re targeting a female audience primarily in their 20s and 30s, Pinterest might be a better choice.

You simply can’t target all of the social media platforms in existence. There are just too many of them, so you’re way better off figuring out which demographic you’re targeting and communicate with that audience on their preferred platform.

Besides, you wouldn’t want to target all social media platforms if you have a specific audience in mind, because as the graphs show us, different people tend to congregate within different platforms.

It may take time to narrow down your targeted audience, but in the long run it will make your marketing more effective.

What Platform for What Brand?

If you’re working for a particular brand, you need to be aware of not only an optimal platform choice, but also be ready and able to choose the correct tools within each platform.

For example, do you need to use Facebook ads or simply status updates on a fan page? How about StumbleUpon campaigns or conventional curating?

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http://www.marketingpilgrim.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/05/campalyst-infographic-facebook.png

A more obvious way to answer that question is whether or not the company you’re doing PR for (yours or someone else’s) has money in the budget to spend on advertising and social media. If not, then ads quickly become a poor suggestion, but this is something that needs to be established up front so you know your options.

Determining if a particular brand can utilize a platform should consider the following:

  • Does the brand have a preexisting, established presence on certain social media accounts?
  • Does the company intend to spend money on the campaign?
  • Where does the brand’s typical audience tend to congregate?
  • The brand’s reputation (Organic business methods, personal, known for their blog, etc.).

The Importance of Strategy

PR campaigns certainly involve an element of luck, but a good campaign manager knows how to plan, strategize and set themselves up to have the best luck possible. Make sure that you don’t leave things to chance but take the time to understand the basics of your brand and target audience, in order to roll out the optimal social media PR strategy.

camilleCamille McClane is a content creator and marketer who enjoys blogging in her spare time. She particularly enjoys writing about social media, infographic design and online marketing.

 

Saying Farewell to Kate

Today we post with sad/happy hearts. Tomorrow is Kate Meier’s last day as she moves to Charlottesville on a grand new life adventure. We’ve put together a little saying goodbye post so she knows how deeply she’s touched the people and institution of Myers PR.

MPR on the dance floorKate, you are hereby nominated for an award in the category of Amazing Co-Worker and All ‘Round Beautiful, Fun Person:
Kate has been with Myers PR since 2008, and came with a strong grasp on the PR industry from her experience in managing communications with regional, state, national, and international associations. Kate is a graduate of the University of Virginia and the Emerging Leaders Institute of Leadership Fairfax, Inc., and also a talented artist. Now this is where it gets really interesting. In her personal life, Kate is actively involved in improv comedy, a cappella, community theater (including a production of Equus), a former board member of the Bite Me Cancer Foundation, and earned the title of Miss Virginia Pole Fitness Champion in 2012. She is a pole fitness instructor, and gave a phenomenal performance on April 13, 2013 prior to a new development: she and her husband had their first child in July.
– Carol Nahorniak with a heavy heart ‘cause Kate’s leaving us 🙁

Carol Brandy Kate at TW 4 15 2013Kate had me at “Charlottesville.” During our very first conversation we discovered our mutual love of my home town and shared hangouts. When Kate told me she was moving to Charlottesville my instant jealousy was overcome by the thought of losing such a valuable team member in our office. Kate and I worked closely on events for clients and she always had an innate way of embracing my event ideas and sparking creative thinking. Her spark in the office was infectious. It is rare to find a work environment where everyone’s personalities mesh well, so it is difficult to see Kate go. However, I am excited to have a new partner in crime whenever I visit Charlottesville.
– Brandy Walker

IMG_3783If you put all the “hats” Kate wears into a pile, it would be a sizable mound. She is a wife, mother, project manager, event organizer, fitness instructor, award-winning athlete in a surprising discipline, singer, dancer, jokester who can speak in hilarious voices, one of the warmest people I’ve ever known–I know I’ve forgotten some of the “hats.” The combination of abilities and traits that is Kate will probably never come again. I treasure knowing her.
– Arja Sahramaa

photo 1 (2)Funny enough, I always seem to be following in Kate’s footsteps (and I’m OK with that). I’ve known her since middle school, through theater in high school and again at Myers PR. It’d be impossible to say how she’s shaped a lot of my life in just a few sentences, so I will stick to just Myers PR.

Kate was the one who found me and brought me to Myers PR as the Social Media Manager. Over coffee, it went something like this, “You work at a small PR firm in Reston Town Center? I work at a small PR firm in Reston Town Center. Your office has a red wall? OUR office has a red wall. You do social media? We need a social media person!” You get the gist 🙂

JordanWedK&K&cakeI am grateful for being brought into an office with so many wonderful qualities – her being one of them. Kate took me under her wing and set me in motion. I worked with her on projects and she mentored me in life, work, mistakes, love, and growth. In less than two years, Kate completely changed my trajectory and taught me to always keep moving toward something. Needless to say, our friendship also flourished – she and her husband even made my wedding cake! So without thinking about it too hard lest there be tears, there will be a big hole without Kate but we will do our best to keep her spirit always in the office. And if our history is any indicator, I’m certain our paths will cross again.
Always – Jordan Garegnani

MPR at FC Arts Council awards 2012_FCEDA_1040It’s been six amazing years since the day I, a dorky high school intern, met Kate, the forever-smiling manager. The two of us were at constant odds as I annoyed her to give me more work to do, but I, apparently, “worked too quickly.” She says, that I “wasn’t the typical intern,” but I say that she wasn’t the typical manager. From the beginning, Kate has been the best mentor anyone could ask for and I owe my career to her. Opportunities were only presented to me thanks to Kate’s belief in the person I could become.

I’m overjoyed for the possibilities that have opened for Kate and wish her and her family the best of luck in everything.
The only thing I ask is that time doesn’t make us strangers, but, knowing Kate, I’m not worried.

My goodness, Kate, I’m going to miss you.
With Love – David Cavalieri

photoI found a miniature ceramic bust of the composer Wagner on my desk this week. On it was a note, “Thanks kid. It’s been real.” His hard stony glare made me want to both laugh and cry… The roots of this bust’s presence at Myers date back to my early days at MPR, when Kate introduced me to online SNL videos. Our favorite became the segments about “ceramic busts,” with Scarlet Johansson describing in a gaudy New Jersey accent, how ceramic busts add extravagance and chicness to any lifestyle. Many an owah was spent tawkin like we wuz like Scahlet and wuhkin’ with swimmin’ pools undah owah desks! (all possible with the presence of a ceramic bust!). Little did Kate know that I was the proud owner of roughly 15 miniature classic composer ceramic busts (don’t ask). Each and every one of those little dudes made their way to her desk one fine morning to welcome to her to a cubicle which now dripped in grandeur…

Where's my headThis is just one example of many, about how Kate has the innate ability to create community, and inspire others to create it. She brings people together by inserting fun and hilarity to any environment – especially when working in marketing there just HAS to be some fun! She offers so many things that make all of us better. Her creativity is so boundless that it cannot be contained. Her big ideas reach up to the cosmos and beyond, pushing through the steel cage boundaries that so many of us see like they are nothing more than silly string. Her spontaneity in both thought and action encourages freshness and excitement. Around Kate, boxes simply don’t exist. She makes all of us better and brighter because she herself emanates a brightness that you can’t help but want to follow.

Kate has more than anything been a wonderful friend. I am going to miss the jokes and fun that we shared… “Thomas!,” Rick-Roll Fridays, getting ready for Best of Reston – make-up always looks better when you apply after sharing a bottle of wine!… These memories are now molded tightly into the shape of a tiny ceramic bust of an angry German man, whom will sit proudly on my desk knowing that he represents so much more, that he represents Kate.

Thank you Kate, for all that you’ve given me, and good luck on your new adventure!
– Liz Bush
Kate,
MyersPR on IceYour tremendous enthusiasm and spirit will be missed, and I am thankful to know such a delightfully quirky, creative, think-in-pictures person. What a gift it is to know you, and to know you is to love you. I can’t wait to witness the amazing things you will create and discover as you continue to grow as a person, a wife and a mother. Wishing you the very best along your journey, and I look forward to the day our paths cross once again.
With love and hugs – Billie Nicolotti

Jordan's engagement party at MPRI met Kate when she’s joined the Chamber staff as Communications Director in 2008. Coincidentally, I had held the same position 10 years earlier in a much less complex time for Marketing and PR. We had no email, World Wide Websites were all the new rage and Social Media was non-existent. People actually used beepers, faxed each other and took their film to the drug store to be printed. Archaic! By the time I met Kate, we had been launched into a world of communications technology never experienced before: GPS, Flash, iPhone 3G, Androids, Apple’s App Store, and Social networking in a Web 2.0 world. I needed someone who knew how all that stuff worked.

Enter Kate Meier – Technology Nerd Extraordinaire! She had everything we needed and wanted – technological curiosity, great personality and a maturity way beyond her years. She fit right in with our quirky little staff and the clients loved her. She never backed away from a challenge. She strove to learn new things, take on more responsibilities, wow the clients and moved up to Senior Project Manager in a few short (albeit busy) years.

image001Now, the same qualities that brought her to MPR five years ago are taking her to the next stage in her journey. It is bitter sweet to see a cherished bird leave the nest, but this is no fledgling, and she will flourish. I wish Kate and her family all the best that life can bring. Thank you Kate for everything you did to make MPR such a special place to work and be.
– Marion Myers

In summation, Kate means a lot of different special things to all of us and her continual presence will be very sorely missed. But we know that she will never really leave us; we will always have memories and are overjoyed for her new life in Charlottesville and can’t wish her enough happiness. As David said, “My goodness Kate, we are going to miss you.”

Dance