naomi osuji

Meet Naomi Osuji: Our Newest NYC Intern

Hi everyone! My name is Naomi Osuji and I’m so glad to join the Ketner Group team as an intern.

I graduated with a bachelor’s degree in media studies with a specialization in radio and television production from Mercy College in 2016. I am currently obtaining my master’s degree at Pace University in arts and entertainment management, and I am expected to graduate in May 2023.

My work history

In terms of my career, when I graduated college, I initially saw myself being involved in entertainment or media, whether it be writing at a major publication or being involved with a television network. After college, I worked in retail and did some freelance writing.

In 2018, my friend recommended that I enter the public relations industry, and I took an interest in PR while researching the field. In 2021, I was able to secure two internships within six months, the first one at The Garnette Report, which specialized in music, fashion and entertainment news.

My path to PR

One of the reasons I got into PR is that I like making personal connections with other individuals. I always enjoy learning more about people, and I’m excited to use PR to build relationships with media.

When I discovered that Ketner Group was hiring an intern, I was excited by Ketner’s retail tech specialization. I’m looking forward to learning more about retail tech, as well as being able to work with a great team.

My favorite hobbies

I am a Jersey girl, born and raised. And I am the daughter of two Nigerian immigrants.

I love to read, and I’m always reading any form of articles, opinion pieces, books and more.

I also like to watch video essays on YouTube regarding different topics, particularly pertaining to black women, fashion, the music industry, and retail. I enjoy writing, and I am in the process of creating some content of my own.

isabel-vargas-jaros-ketner-group

Get to Know Our New Account Supervisor: Isabel Vargas Jaros

Hi Everyone! My name is Isabel Vargas Jaros and I am excited to join Ketner Group as an account supervisor!

Why I went into public relations

Having always enjoyed reading and writing, I knew I wanted to work in an industry that would allow me to story tell daily.

That led me to majoring in public relations at The University of Alabama where I learned about the exciting world of PR. As a student there, I also enjoyed watching the Crimson Tide win two football national championships!

How I ended up at Ketner Group

My career began in New York City where I developed my skills at a few agencies that focused on luxury real estate. After five years in that space, I decided I wanted to branch out into a new market of public relations.

This led me to Ketner Group. After my first interview, I had a feeling that this was going to be the right place for me.

The team at Ketner Group emphasized that professional development and work-life balance were just as important as working hard and delivering excellent client results. These qualities along with the exciting sector of retail technology made it clear to me that I wanted to join Ketner Group!

A little bit about me

While I was born and raised in Texas, I have since made pit stops in Alabama, New York, Connecticut and have now landed in Missouri.

When I am not behind my computer screen you can find me reading romance books, taking a workout class, traveling or spending time with friends and family.

maya-halabi-ketner-group-aae

Meet Our New Assistant Account Executive: Maya Halabi

Hi there! I’m Maya Halabi and I’m super excited to join Ketner Group as the newest assistant account executive.

Storytelling and writing had always been at the core of my college experiences and one of my greatest passions. Through a myriad of writing internships and positions, I learned about my love for connecting with others through words. And I enjoyed the creative process of researching and developing pitches.

It wasn’t until my great friend and mentor gave me more of a glimpse into branding and what I like to call, the “business” side of storytelling, that I learned about PR and how much I enjoy it.

Learning the ropes at Spark Magazine

During my time at UT Austin, I initially joined Spark Magazine, an independent fashion publication, as an online writer.

Developing additional interest in the visual side of the editorial world, I made my way up to the role of digital director, where I oversaw all of Spark’s digital visual content. While I was digital director, our then editor-in-chief, Joanne Xu, a PR-maven, decided it was time for the magazine’s first major rebrand.

My curiosity into this process peaked, so I hopped into the “rebrand task force”, where I learned a ton about the strategic creative process behind branding and how it plays into the way people perceive organizations and platforms like Spark.

Shortly after we completed our rebrand, I stepped up to become Spark’s next editor-in-chief at the very tip of the first Covid-19 lockdown in 2020. I strived to hone into the reputation and crisis communications side of PR amid this experience and in turn, embarked on a path towards corporate communications.

Striking work-life balance at Ketner Group

After I learned about Jeff and Catherine’s focus on work-life balance and their dedication to their employees’ career growth, I knew I wanted to be a part of Ketner if given the chance. I’m also stoked to be doing PR in an innovative and quickly growing sector such as retail tech.

Outside of work, I’m usually jamming with my band, reading about bands, or listening to and discovering new ones.

In the other bulk of my time, you can find me working on my Substack newsletter about vintage and rare antiques, or hanging with my mini-schnauzer, Dotti.

susan nam ketner group intern

Meet Susan Nam: Our Newest Austin Intern

Hi! My name is Susan Nam and I have the privilege of being Ketner Group’s newest intern for the summer, based in Austin.

I’ll graduate from the University of Texas at Austin this summer with a degree in public relations as well as communication and leadership. Sounds like three majors, but thankfully it’s only two. 

A little about me

I’m a second generation Korean American born and raised in College Station, Texas. After living in Aggieland my whole life, I was ready to move somewhere new for college.

My time at UT Austin gave me two precious things: identity and community. Through meeting my tribe of friends in college, I’ve grown to cherish my Asian American heritage and forge my values with a group of people. It’s also been nice to struggle through post-grad life together with them.

When I’m not struggling with adulting, you can catch me drinking boba with friends, adding books to my TBR list, or curating my 19-hour Spotify playlist for the summer. 

Why I choose PR

I stumbled across the world of public relations while searching for a major that had a definitive career path and could provide me with technical skills to stand out.

PR not only meets those criteria, but it also combines relationship building with storytelling. As a self-proclaimed people person who loves creativity, PR is the ideal career field for me. 

Despite half of my college experience occurring during a global pandemic, I’ve had incredible opportunities to intern in a wide variety of places – a nonprofit, a grassroots organization, a tech company, and my own university to name a few.

Although I gained extensive experience in internal and external communications at these organizations, one experience I felt that I lacked was work in an agency setting. Enter Ketner Group!

Why I choose Ketner Group

Out of all the PR agencies I explored, Ketner Group stood out to me in that it emphasizes work life balance alongside serving its clients.

Agencies tend to be known for being all-encompassing work environments. As a new communications professional, I wanted to experience working at a place that balances spontaneity and hard work with respect and protection for employees’ personal lives. 

Ketner Group also serves a niche clientele, retail tech companies, which allows the agency to become experts for its clients.

I look forward to learning the ins and outs of the retail tech industry niche. Already I’m learning a lot from my coworkers who talk excitedly about all the cool aspects of retail tech! 

What I’m looking forward to

After working one week at Ketner, I feel encouraged by the work I’ve been trusted with and the support offered to me by Team Awesome.

While interning at an agency does feel a little intimidating, I look forward to challenging myself to grow in my PR skills and soaking up as much wisdom as I can while I’m here.

Ketner Group Remote Work Day in the life SAE

A Day in the Life of a Senior Account Executive: Working Remotely

It’s hard to believe that it’s almost been five years since I joined Ketner Group! I’ve grown a lot during my time here — from a new graduate entering the world of PR to a senior account executive embracing the fun and exciting challenges the industry brings.

A lot has changed in my personal life as well. Due to family circumstances, my husband and I recently decided it was time for us to move from Austin back to the suburbs of Dallas. Ketner Group was incredibly understanding and flexible, allowing me to continue working remotely.

So, if you’ve ever wondered what it’s like to be a senior account executive (SAE) at Ketner Group, here is a peek into the day in my life — remote work edition!

Emails, meetings and a smoothie break

Today is Monday, so I started off the week by catching up on emails and newsletters. I also put together weekly tasks and assignments for the client accounts I’ve started project managing. Ketner Group is great about providing these types of opportunities for us to step up and take on new responsibilities.

Ketner Group Day in the Life SAE

As my other teammates have pointed out, there’s not a dull day in PR. Every day, we are working on different pitches, content and campaigns.

This week, my calendar is filled with client update meetings, webinars to attend, and a client’s quarterly marketing sync. After getting organized for the week, I worked on scheduling a media briefing, reviewing blogs and bylines and following up on pitches.

It’s been a busy day, so in the afternoon, I decided to get a little pick-me-up. Ketner Group offers a snack budget each month. Today, I used the budget to pick up a smoothie from a Tropical Smoothie Café that just opened near my house — just what I needed as I write this blog!

Welcome to my home office

Where do I spend my day working? My husband and I put together a home office where I spend the majority of my time.

We painted the room a dark and moody color to create a space that feels separate from the rest of the house. It’s also one of the rooms that get the most natural light in the house, so my desk is surrounded with plants!

Ketner Group Day in the Life Remote Work

Since I share the office with my husband, we’ve also put together a “conference room” where I can go and take meetings throughout the day. Today, the weather was particularly nice, so I decided to go work outside on my patio for a bit. It’s always nice to have a change of scenery and a breath of fresh air.

Tips on working remotely

Now that I work remotely, here are a few lessons I’ve learned that are helpful to stay connected:

  1. Zoom meeting are still important – We may all have Zoom fatigue, but really, Zoom is still a powerful tool to help me collaborate and stay connected with my team!
  2. Slack is key to connecting – Our team stays active on Slack. Not only do we discuss projects on there, but we also have fun sharing funny TikTok trends.
  3. In-person events are valuable – Even though I live remotely, I still love getting to see the Austin office every so often for events, client meetings, etc. We also had a Ketner Group get-together in Austin recently so that the whole team could bond!
Ketner Group Day in the Life Zoom

If you’re looking for a place to grow professionally while living your life your way, then visit our career page for opportunities to join our team! We’d love to meet you!

Ketner Group Domain ATX

Deep in the Heart of Retail: Ketner Group’s New Home

Moving into a new home is a lot of work—boxes to pack, movers to coordinate, juggling a seemingly endless array of details. However, it’s also a cause for celebration, full of excitement and new possibilities.

That’s certainly the case at Ketner Group these days. We moved to a new office in Austin last month, and it already feels like home. Our Austin team feels we’re right where we belong, in the middle of one of the best retail developments in the country.

Ketner Group’s Austin office is located in the Domain, the landmark mixed-use retail development that has helped make Austin one of the most desirable retail markets in the country.

With Ketner Group’s focus on retail technology PR for 20+ years, it’s the ideal location. Our clients have been on the forefront of retail tech trends for over two decades, and many of the most innovative brands in the business are right outside our door.

Austin’s Domain is retail at its best

Remember how the so-called retail apocalypse was supposed to put an end to physical retail? The Domain is a prime example of why that prediction never came true. Experiential or destination retail has been all the rage in the industry the past few years, and the Domain is a case study of experiential retail at its best. People actually love to work shop, dine and live here.

Here’s a quick rundown of the numbers:

  • 38,000 residents, making the Domain its own mini-city.
  • Well over 2 million square feet of office space, with major employers such as Meta, Amazon, Indeed,  Vrbo and hundreds of smaller companies.
  • Over 50 restaurants and nearly 200 luxury and exclusive retail stores and brands, with more on the way.

Austin is on every list of the fastest growing metro areas in the country, and retailers are paying attention. Last month Gucci opened a store at the Domain, joining other top retail brands including Neiman-Marcus, Nordstrom, a flagship Restoration Hardware, and many more­—running the gamut from A (Apple) to Z (Zara).

As a local real estate analyst said, “if you’re a retailer I don’t know of a place you’d rather be than in Austin.”

An ever-changing retail innovation lab

For Ketner Group’s Austin team, the Domain is a retail innovation lab that showcases the best in  modern retail, and it’s right outside our door. As an agency that lives and breathes retail technology PR, it’s the ideal location.

On a recent Tuesday afternoon I visited the Herman Miller store at the Domain and was immediately greeted by an employee who was busily sketching store layouts and designs. She’s a staff architect at Herman Miller and is using as the store as inspiration to study and imagine new store concepts.

Herman Miller calls its Domain Store an “experiential retail concept,” one of only a handful of company branded stores. The staff was friendly, accommodating and excited to work at the Domain. One associate I talked to has lived at the Domain for several years and is glad to be able to walk to work.

With thousands of high-tech office workers within walking distance, it’s a smart location for the iconic office furnishings designer and retailer.

Herman Miller Domain ATX

Directly across the street is the first Texas location of The RealReal, the popular online marketplace for authenticated, resale luxury goods.

The RealReal exemplifies one of the retail trends that are most prominent at the Domain—online brands that have opened physical stores. It’s a colorful, well merchandised boutique that invites shoppers to stick around and browse.

Harmonized retail with an Austin vibe

The best retailers today are moving beyond omnichannel to what our friend Steve Dennis calls “harmonized retail,” putting the customer at the center of the experience regardless of where and how they shop.

The Domain is a successful case study in harmonized retail—a totally immersive experience where you can work, live, shop and dine.

No wonder it’s on the radar screen for the best retailers in the business. Even as it’s grown, though, the Domain has managed to retain an “Austin vibe,” even offering its own version of Austin’s famed Sixth Street entertainment district.

Our team loves the opportunity to explore great restaurants and retailers that are just a short walk from our office. Like many PR agencies and professional services firms, we’ve adopted a hybrid office model that gives everyone an opportunity to work from home, a coffee shop, the office—whatever works best for them.

However, there’s an extra incentive to show up at the office now. Ketner Group’s Austin team is thrilled to be in our new home at the Domain. Reach out to schedule a time to come see us and we’ll show you around!

Stacee Collins Day in the Life KG Blog Image

A Day in the Life of an Account Executive (aka PR Power Ranger)

A day in the life of a PR professional is, by nature, unpredictable. And that’s what I love most about being an account executive (AE) at Ketner Group.

Every day is a new day. The news cycle is fluid and every client need is different. So while it’s tough to pinpoint a concrete 9-5 experience, I’ll dive into some of the best parts of my day as a PR Power Ranger – my official unofficial title. 

A typical day as an AE

I start my day by checking my inbox, listening to NPR News Now and catching up on the latest trends via newsletters from Retail Dive and Retail Brew.

Since I lead media relations for several accounts, it’s important to keep a pulse on the retail space and weave client perspectives into the mix. For example, I might notice fashion reporters are focusing on red carpet looks at the Oscars, and then deliver a tailored pitch to Women’s Wear Daily leveraging relevant insights from a fashion market intelligence client. 

Depending on the day of the week, I attend a few client check-in Zoom calls to align on active projects. This could include brainstorming the media strategy for an upcoming product launch, finalizing an award submission in real time or solidifying next steps for onsite conference interviews with press. 

Stacee Collins Day in the Life AAE

Regardless of the internal or external project that I’m working on, one thing stays the same. We’re in the business of relationships, and that’s one of the most rewarding parts of PR.

Whether I’m bringing a reporter helpful sources for stories or catching up with a client about the latest Wordle, nurturing relationships is key in my day-to-day life as an account executive.

Developing great friendships in Austin

Speaking of relationships, one of my favorite parts about my job is that its allowed me to develop great friendships with the Austin-based team. Transitioning from a fully remote job to Ketner Group’s hybrid environment has been so fulfilling.

When I’m not working from home alongside my favorite furry co-worker Odie, it’s nice to make the short 15-minute commute to our WeWork space and experience real human interaction. Everyone else has full length conversations with their pets… right? 

WeWork Ketner Group Day in the Life

Our WeWork building is located near The Domain, a shopping hub with all the best local lunch spots. My sources say that every now and then, after the Austin team collaborates to drive client success at the office, you can most definitely find them eating way too many pretzels at Culinary Dropout. 

Whether we’re putting our heads together to craft a new business proposal or debating whether there are more doors or wheels in the world via our #WaterCooler Slack channel, the Ketner Group team is full of collaborative, fun and curious minds that I’m so thrilled to work with every day.

Three valuable lessons

My time as an account executive at Ketner Group has taught me three very valuable lessons:

  1. Don’t ask questions, just eat the bell pepper – At my first official Ketner Group team dinner, I learned of a very odd company-wide tradition, in which new employees have to take a bite of a bell pepper. So that’s why they say, keep Austin weird!
  2. Collaboration is king – Every account structure is designed with collaboration at the core. As an account executive, I can always depend on my directors for strategic guidance and assistant account executives (like my lovely friend Jenny) for support. 
  3. PR is a highway – Much like the Rascal Flatts hit from critically-acclaimed blockbuster film “Cars,” something new and exciting always lies ahead in the world of PR. I knew I loved the industry before, but my time at KG has made me love it even more.
Ketner Group Team Day in the Life

Kachow,

Stacee Collins
PR Power Ranger
Ketner Group Communications

P.S. Interested in working with us? We always post our open positions on our website. Check them out!

Andre Lenartowicz KG Blog Image

Meet Our New Content Specialist: Andre Lenartowicz

Hello!

I’m Andre Lenartowicz and I’m thrilled to join Ketner Group (i.e.: Team Awesome) as a content specialist. One thing I get asked a lot is why I chose to write for a living. It’s a bit of a long story so I think the best way to introduce myself is to explain that journey.

There’s beauty everywhere

Words are more than character sequences to me. I always try to find the most impactful way to say something. A client’s brief or style guide may not always lend itself to allowing that. But when possible, I thoroughly enjoy either finding beauty in words or, at the very least, having fun with them. For example, one of my all-time favorite headlines is: “Big rig carrying fruit crashes on 210 Freeway, creates jam.”

One thing I love doing in my spare time is traveling. Everywhere I go, I can always find something so beautiful or different or unique that I realize there’s so much to see and experience in the world. In some ways I experience something similar when I read or write something that’s relatable on some level – it’s like finding beauty in words.

Andre Lenartowcz KG Content Specialist

From journalism to PR (via a dentist office)

It always seemed like journalism was in the cards for me: childhood memories include recording myself reading the newspaper onto my My First Sony and feeling excited about getting the newspaper from the front door every morning. After being told by teachers that I was a good writer I figured I should do something with that skill.

However, journalism never felt right. It wasn’t until a chance encounter with an issue of PR Week – a trade publication about the PR and communications business – at a dentist’s office that it seemed like I found something else to do with that skill. I don’t know why an issue of PRWeek was at a dentist’s office, but perhaps it was simply the the universe nudging me onto this career path.

Andre Lenartowicz KG Public Relations

Fútbol is life!

When I’m not writing, I enjoy reading about, playing and watching soccer. This ranges from watching my favorite player, my daughter, to any match on TV. As mentioned, I love traveling – whether it’s alone or with my favorite partner-in-crime, my partner Jess. We recently got a dog named Harrison who occasionally photo bombs video calls. I’m also always on the hunt for a good espresso, craft beers and exotic potato chip flavors.

Another thing I’ve been asked by friends and family is, why the switch? This one’s simpler to answer: during the interview process, I asked people why they thought so many employees stay at the agency for so long. The answer was universally the same: Jeff and Catherine cultivate a workplace culture laser-focused on work-life balance. After hearing this, I knew if given the chance I had to join.

KG Day in the Life AAE blog

A Day in the Life of an AAE: From Bagels to Broadway

When you ask a PR professional about what they do on a daily basis you almost always get the same frustrating answer, “no two days are ever the same in PR!” At least, that’s what I always heard when I was in college and trying to get a sense of my future in the industry. And if you’re reading this blog, you’re probably looking for a better answer than that.

I plan to do my best to describe an actual day, start to finish, that I’ve had as an assistant account executive (or AAE for short) at Ketner Group Communications – even though it is true… no two days are the same in PR.

A day in the life at the NYC office

So a little bit about me – I joined Ketner Group as an intern in the spring of 2020 and upon my graduation from Marist College in May of 2021 I became a full-time AAE! (Check out my previous blog entries to learn more about what I do outside of the 9:00-5:00.)

aae day in the life ketner group office

I work in Ketner Group’s NYC office which sits right across from Lincoln Center and is even closer to the set of Live with Kelly and Ryan on ABC. I work from the office about two times a week and the other days I work from my apartment or a local coffee shop.

On this cold winter Monday, I started my day as every New Yorker should, with a bagel (paid for by KG’s monthly snack budget – we all get to spend $15 a month on snacks!).

Starting the workday

One of my favorite things about working for Ketner Group is that my role changes on every client account.

For example, sometimes I am primarily in charge of media relations while other times I lead content development, and other times I support my more senior team members with miscellaneous tasks as they come up. My account managers send weekly tasks lists on Mondays and are always one email or Slack message away for any questions I may have.

aae day in the life ketner group account

After checking my email and reading up on retail tech news, which I do every day, I began my first item on my to-do list: sending out a pitch. I used Cision to help build the media list with relevant editorial contacts at both trade and top-tier publications.

Then I switched hats, so to speak, and drafted a bylined article for another client based on an e-book they created. Bylines are my favorite projects. I really love working with our client thought leaders and compiling their ideas into a compelling story.

My after lunch to-do’s

After lunch, the diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) committee met to discuss our plans for a company survey. Our committee works with The Courage Collective to make sure we are creating a supportive space for everyone and are living up to our company values. The committee is open to anyone so everyone has the chance to have their voices heard.

After the DEI meeting, I attended a client PR Update call. These calls occur regularly with each client as a way to catch up on ongoing tasks and strategy. My colleagues and I met with our client on Zoom and discussed current and future PR initiatives. After the call, our internal Ketner Group team met to make sure everyone knew their roles and responsibilities for the week.

Finally, I signed off at the end of the day and went to see a Broadway show (thanks to the Broadway lottery!).

What two years at Ketner Group taught me

While no two days are the same, there are certainly a few overarching takeaways from my time at Ketner Group. These include:

  1. The title change from ‘intern’ to ‘AAE’ is a big deal – Since I joined full time, my responsibilities have grown tremendously. But, my previous intern experience (both at KG and elsewhere) set me up for success.
  2. My team is always there to support me – Whether it’s on a project or with a personal matter, I can always count on my KG team to help.
  3. Reading the news is essential – I listen to a news podcast every morning and spend about twenty minutes each day perusing the industry newsletters in my inbox. This helps me stay up to date on the happenings in retail tech!
  4. Fun is just as important as work – At Ketner Group, we know how to have fun. We go to lunches and happy hours, take part in virtual celebrations like Halloween pumpkin painting and hold some great pop culture conversations in our #watercooler channel in Slack.
aae day in the life ketner group team

I couldn’t imagine a better place to have started my full-time career in PR and I would recommend Ketner Group to anyone.

If you’re interested in an AAE role, check out our hiring page or reach out to us today. I hope to work with you one day!

Get to Know Elizabeth Wiltshire: The Spring 2022 NYC Intern

Hello everyone! My name is Elizabeth Wiltshire and I’m a senior media studies student at Fordham University in New York City.

I was born in New Jersey but spent most of my time growing up in a suburb about 30 minutes south of Boston. When I’m not on my campus in the Bronx, I split my time between New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Massachusetts.

A little about me

Ever since I started high school, I knew I wanted to go to college in a big city. I had always been drawn to the hecticness and opportunity of New York and made it my mission to go to a university here.

Although my college experience hasn’t been nearly what I expected due to the COVID-19 pandemic, I’m incredibly grateful for the opportunities and adventures that I’ve had during my time in NYC.

When I’m not in class or working, one of my favorite things to do is to go to concerts! I’ve done concert photography and journalism since 2017 and it’s one of my biggest passions as it combines my love for music and photography. I’ve photographed over 100 shows, but some of my most memorable ones were Kiss, Green Day, and Billie Eilish.

Aside from photography, I love to read. My most recent book that I’ve finished is Dave Grohl’s “The Storyteller: Tales of Life and Music.”

elizabeth wiltshire ketner group intern photography (1)

My previous experience

Prior to interning at Ketner Group, I mainly worked in the entertainment side of media and public relations.

I’ve interned at two music management agencies, worked with a renowned live music and portrait photographer, and spent a year at a larger PR agency working in the sports and entertainment sector before moving to the tech and finance team.

That was my first experience working in anything other than entertainment, and while it was a challenge to pivot to a completely different industry, I loved it.

Why I choose Ketner Group

Because of my experience at a previous PR agency, I was incredibly interested in working at Ketner Group. I was a bit nervous due to not having much experience in technology PR, let alone retail tech. But after interviewing for the intern position and learning more about both retail tech PR and the company, I knew that Ketner Group was the place to be for me!

elizabeth wiltshire intern

I’ve only been here for three weeks and already feel that I have learned so much about the industry and how conducting public relations for retail technology companies differs from other industries.

With all of that being said, I’m incredibly grateful to be a part of the wonderful team at Ketner Group! I know that being surrounded by such a strong, knowledgeable group of people that I’m bound to challenge myself and grow as a PR professional.

I am very excited to be here and can’t wait to see what the rest of this internship holds for me!