I have two PR groups I want to recognize today: My staff and PR firm leaders I’ve built relationships with through Counselors Academy.

First, the Arment Dietrich team:

@dblazek Diane is our business developer extraordinare. Never have I worked with someone so laid back, easy-going, and not resistant to change in the least. She is always willing to try new things, beats herself up appropriately when something doesn’t work, and is ALWAYS pleasant to work with. I’ve never seen her say a cross word or look or act grouchy. She always jumps in to help me when I have too much on my plate, and knows exactly when to say, “I know you need help.” She also is not afraid to pick up the phone and cold call someone. She rocks!

@ChristineHeim3 Christine came to us as an intern, jeez, more than a year ago. When she decided she wanted to work with us full-time, I had THREE people from other companies tell me they were sad to see her not choose them.  Off on the right foot, to say the least! She is a great writer and a thoughtful colleague. She has a sense of humor that is so silly it’s funny. She’s always willing to go the extra mile and do more than is expected.

@ThomasShort2334 Tom also started with as an intern two years ago. He was in a summer intern group that was highly competitive and we had a really hard time deciding which one of his group to hire full-time. We had each of them present the reasons they should get the job and Tom rose to the top. When you talk about a team player, Tom is who comes to mind. He’s always in a good mood. In fact just this morning he said, “Gini! Let’s get this day started! I’m ready.” He’s a great motivator, even to me.

@JenThomas1116 Jen is a Cincinnati native who came to us last fall. When she interviewed, I was out of the office and our managing director called me and said, “We cannot let this one walk out the door. Do you think it’s alright if I chain her to a desk now?” Needless to say, I agreed we had to have Jen when I interviewed her. Since then she has earned the respect of some of our longest-term clients…clients who typically wouldn’t work with anyone but me. Now they never call me, which is the biggest compliment a CEO can get about someone on their team.

@TanyaFlynn Tanya has such a great mix of experience: Both agency (big and small) and client side. Tanya is one of those people that you look at and think, “I wish I’d thought to do that.” She’s a verocious reader and uses what she reads for innovative ideas that help advance our client’s businesses. If we could pay her just to come up with ideas all day, that would be money well spent!

@AngelaLoiacono When Angela interviewed here more than two years ago, everyone started calling her Scoop because she had such great media relations experience before she even graduated from college. She is one of the most organized people I’ve ever met…she puts even me (I’m OCD) to shame. She is one of those people that you know you can ask to do something, even though she already has a ton on her plate, and she’ll get it finished…and on time.

@CourtLawrence We interviewed Courtney as a favor to a friend of mine…and fell in love with her. She comes from the non-profit world and can put on an event like no one’s business. In the time that she’s been here, I’ve watched her become a professional presenter and someone who has earned respect of colleagues and clients as being smart and effective.

@MolliMegasko Molli was one of my very first employees, who started as an intern. She’s quickly risen through the ranks because of her willingness to change. She’s not at all risk-adverse and she’s seen us go from four employees to a multi-million firm. She understands the vision and works every, single day to help us get there. She’s always thinking of ideas to create collaboration, she’s highly creative, and she loves graphs and charts almost more than I do. She’s extremely results-oriented and takes it personally when something doesn’t go the way she thought it would.

@PattiKnight Before I hired an assistant, I couldn’t imagine what one would do for me full-time. Now, a year later, I don’t know how I lived without Patti. She, literally, is my brain. People ask me all the time if I can meet with them and I honestly can’t tell them yes or no. She knows what I’m doing before I do. A business coach once told me, “You deserve an assistant.” I certainly don’t know what I did to deserve Patti, but now I know I would die without her.

And my Counselors Academy friends:

@tg123 Tom has a PR firm in Albuquerque, home to my favorite Mexican food. He is one of those guys you like immediately…and want to tease incessantly. It might be because, when I met him, @WhenGrowthStall was teasing him and it set the stage. He claims to be a bubblegum purveyor. I don’t know what that means, but maybe he’ll tell me now. Check out his firm’s site here.

@LisaGerber Lisa was a Counselors Academy “newbie” this year and immediately gained our love. She wasn’t afraid to jump in and talk to people she didn’t know, and was happy to join a big group of us for dinner on the first night. I love her because she’s a skier and a cyclist. Now if she just lived closer. Check our her firm’s site here.

@AbbieF I’ve recommended people follow Abbie before because I LOVE her! She is what public relations represents – smart, strategic, kind, without ego, and straight-forward. With Abbie you never get any spin. She’s in Phoenix at HMA. You can check out her firm’s site here.

@Scott_Farrell I’m lucky to be growing a communication business in Chicago, the land of the big agencies. Some would think that’s not so lucky, but I have access to the best and the brightest minds in the industry, without having to pay their huge salaries. That’s how it is with Scott. He and I have served on the PRSA Chicago board together for a couple of years now. We’ve become very good friends, mostly because we think the same and can bounce ideas, issues, and challenges off one another. Even though everyone probably already knows Golin-Harris, you can check out their site here.

@MartinWaxman Martin is, by far, my favorite Canadian PR person. He is one of the most funny people, online and in real life, people I’ve ever had the pleasure to work with. He’s an author, a comedian, and a wicked smart communciation strategist. He’s as down-to-earth as they come and someone everyone should know. See his firm’s site here.

@BenHWheatley Even though you might follow Ben from this, he may not follow you back, just because I convinced him to get on Twitter two weeks ago. We downloaded Tweetie to his iPhone so he’ll at least know you’re following him. Ben and I work on the Counselors Academy committee together; so much so that @JRHipple calls us Frick and Frack. Ben is in Houston and just launched his own PR firm (yes, in this economy). Check out his site here.

@JRHipple Speaking of J.R. … J.R. lives in Atlanta, he’s really tall, and very distinguished-looking. He’s one of those men that looks kind, but you’re intimidated to talk to because he has such a presence and charisma when he walks into the room. But he’s not intimidating at all. In fact, he is a Southern gentleman who is witty and smart and fun to hang around. Check out his site here.

@JayBaer Jay isn’t in the PR industry, but he helps PR firms develop social media strategies for their clients. He spoke at Counselors Academy this year and everything he said, I just kept nodding my head. He knows what he’s doing so if you ever need help, I suggest you look him up here. Plus, his business card is a bottle opener so it’s worth meeting him just for that.

@EliseMitch Elise was the Counselors Academy Chair this year and put together the entire conference. Her team says she’s a force to be reckoned with, and no truer statement has ever been made. I’ve never seen a conference come together so quickly and so well. And…she’s one of the best speakers I’ve ever heard. She can get up in front of a crowd with such ease and really motivate them. She’s a runner and loves her motorcycle. The only thing going against her is she lives in Arkansas (alright, alright…Bill Clinton is from there too). Check out her firm’s site here.

@ShelbyO Michelle and I hit it off because we’re both cyclists and there aren’t many women who run businesses AND ride at the levels we ride. We rode together at this year’s conference and it was the most fun ride I’ve had. I probably shouldn’t make this public, but we were having so much fun that we missed the breakfast we paid for and the first session, just so we could ride a bit longer. Michelle also has a really successful business in Phoenix. She made an acquisition last year and did it with such grace that it was never apparent the other firm was ever not a part of them. See her firm here.

@RAReed I met Bob in Naples last year…even though he has a PR firm in Chicago. And I only ever see him at Counselors Academy, but it’s as if we saw each other just yesterday. Maybe that’s because we talk online all the time.  See his firm here.

@sixstringsnc Roger is, by far, one of the nicest PR people in the world. He knows who is he is, he does what he loves, and he’s always excited to talk to you about anything under the sun. He has a PR firm in Raleigh, he is a music buff, and his blog quotes lyrics from a song before every post (which I love). Check it out here.

Gini Dietrich

Gini Dietrich is the founder, CEO, and author of Spin Sucks, host of the Spin Sucks podcast, and author of Spin Sucks (the book). She is the creator of the PESO Model and has crafted a certification for it in partnership with Syracuse University. She has run and grown an agency for the past 15 years. She is co-author of Marketing in the Round, co-host of Inside PR, and co-host of The Agency Leadership podcast.

View all posts by Gini Dietrich