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.
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!
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.
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.
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!
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:
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!
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.
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!
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!
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.
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).
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.
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!
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 Diveand 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 Dailyleveraging 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.
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?
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:
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!
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
AUSTIN and NEW YORK CITY – Feb. 3, 2022 – Ketner Group Communications, the leading public relations agency for innovative retail technology companies, today announced significant growth in 2021, culminating in 20% year-over-year revenue growth for the agency, the creation of a net-new leadership role and multiple industry recognitions throughout 2021. Ketner Group’s momentum this past year is a result of the agency’s continued specialization in retail technology, which resulted in the onboarding of nine new clients in the retail technology ecosystem.
Specializing in retail technology has allowed Ketner Group to play a continued role in retail’s fast-paced evolution by representing a wide range of innovative clients, from omnichannel commerce to online marketplaces, hospitality, adtech and supply chain solutions. Moving into 2022, Ketner Group is expanding its portfolio of clients, offering its depth and breadth of experience and leadership in retail technology PR and adding additional services including lead generation to its current PR and content development offerings.
“The retail industry came roaring back in 2021, setting a YOY record in holiday spending,” said Jeff Ketner, CEO, Ketner Group Communications. “Ketner Group experienced a very strong year as well, as we supported our retail technology clients. Retail innovation has accelerated rapidly in the wake of COVID-19, creating significant opportunities for retail tech companies to tell their stories. Ketner Group is the only U.S. PR agency focused exclusively on retail tech, and we have the domain expertise and team to help our clients succeed.”
Adrienne Newcomb Is Promoted to VP of Operations
Following its notable momentum as an agency in 2021, Ketner has created a new executive position, vice president of operations, promoting Adrienne Newcomb to fulfill this position. She has been with Ketner Group since 2015, serving as account manager and supervisor, and most recently as director of New York. In her new role, she will be responsible for overseeing and supporting all aspects of Ketner Group operations and HR, continuing to manage the agency’s New York City office, and supporting new business and market development, marketing and more. Additionally, Newcomb will continue to contribute to the overall strategic direction of the agency.
“As a part of our senior leadership team, Adrienne has done an amazing job strengthening our operating and HR procedures as well as providing invaluable support for our new business and marketing teams,” said Catherine Seeds, president, Ketner Group. “She is a strong and results-oriented leader, and as VP of operations, will help drive further process improvement and increased revenue for the agency. This is an exciting time for Ketner Group with the expansion of our executive team, our focus on retail tech, and a rebrand we plan to launch in Q4.”
Ketner Group Receives Industry Recognition
In 2021, Ketner Group was ranked as one of Ragan’s Top Places to Work: Class of 2021, which recognizes organizations with great company cultures that are true to their mission and vision and provide a top working environment for each of its employees. As well, the agency was named to the 2021 Inc. 5000 Regionals Texas list, which recognizes the fastest-growing companies in the state of Texas and is an extension of the Inc. 5000 nationals list. These accolades followed the agency’s celebration of its 30th anniversary at the beginning of 2021.
To learn more about Ketner Group’s services and career opportunities, visit ketnergroup.com.
About Ketner Group Communications
For more than 20 years, Ketner Group has helped retail technology companies build brand, drive demand and grow shareholder value through strategic PR programs. We’re widely recognized as one of the leading PR agencies in retail technology. With a range of clients, from omni-channel commerce to AdTech, CPG and supply chain solution providers, our team knows and understands retail technology like no other PR agency. Core services include media and analyst relations, content development, PR messaging and communications strategy, demand generation, social media management and more. Ketner Group has offices in Austin, Nashville and New York City, working with clients located in North America, UK and Europe. For more information, please visit www.ketnergroup.com
Mariana Fischbach, Director of Media Relations Ketner Group Communications [email protected]
Hi! My name is Jenna Gibson, and I’m so excited to be joining the Ketner Group team as an assistant account executive.
Growing up, I knew that no matter what job I would have, I wanted to do at least one thing: write. When I was little, I wanted to be an author or a journalist, but through experience, I’ve found my niche in PR.
From journalism to PR: I love to write
In 2019, I graduated from Millsaps College, where I majored in Communication Studies and English Literature. I started writing for the college newspaper and freelancing locally, but I quickly realized that marketing and PR piqued my interest in journalism.
After graduating, I started working as a copywriter at Creative Distillery, a boutique advertising agency in Jackson, Mississippi. My past experience has primarily centered on content development and social media for nonprofits and retail businesses.
From my experience with journalism to my current work in PR, I have loved getting the chance to tell a client’s story, and I’m so happy to put my skills to good use at Ketner Group, diving head first into the retail technology industry.
From Mississippi to Austin: exploring a new city
I moved to Austin from Mississippi in June 2021, and it’s been so fun getting to explore the city.
Over the last few months, I’ve enjoyed spending time at different parks, visiting the library, taking kickboxing classes, and trying new restaurants and coffee shops.
When I’m not out and about, I’m spending time with my chihuahua Raymond, reading celebrity memoirs and contemporary fiction, or watching late-night sitcoms on TV.
I’m thrilled to be joining the Ketner Group team as the newest account executive. I come from an agency background, and am so excited to dive deeper into the world of retail tech. But when I was a freshman in college, I had no idea PR would become my career path.
At Texas State University, I pursued a degree in journalism — reporting, copy editing and running social for the university’s newspaper. It wasn’t until my sophomore year that I was introduced to PR, and when I took my first intro class, I knew I was passionate about it. So, I transferred to The University of Texas at Austin as a junior and began building up my experience in the field.
Throughout my internships, I learned more about PR for sustainable energy, food and beverage and advertising technology. I ultimately landed a full-time role after graduation at Blast PR, where I spent the last three years driving success for adtech clients through media relations, speaking and awards and content management.
Making client stories come to life
What I learned throughout all of those experiences is that I absolutely love making client stories come to life.
Whether it’s sifting through mounds of data to find the most compelling pieces of the puzzle, crafting engaging award nominations to establish clients as thought leaders or simply cultivating relationships with clients and reporters alike — I love the world of PR and am beyond happy and thankful I get to do this work every day.
Enjoying my spare time
Other things that make me happy include: growing my frog collection, hiking with my sweet dog Odie, playing Donkey Kong on my Super Nintendo, discovering new music, taking care of my succulents, exploring Austin’s best happy hour spots and spending the weekend working on a good puzzle.
I may or may not be a grandma trapped inside a 24-year-old body, but at least I’m a grandma who is a part of Team Awesome now!
AUSTIN, Texas, – Mar. 17, 2021 – Ketner Group Communications, a public relations, marketing and communications firm for innovative technology companies, today announced it has been named to the 2021 Inc. 5000 Regionals Texas list. The Inc. 5000 Regionals: Texas recognizes the fastest-growing companies in the state of Texas and is an extension of the Inc. 5000 nationals list.
Being named to the list is a local honor with national recognition and one of the most esteemed honors a privately held business can receive. Ketner Group joins this year’s list alongside innovative companies including Urban Betty, Red Fan Communications, SEI- Dallas and CKP among others.
This recognition comes on the heels of Ketner Group announcing its 30th anniversary as a B2B PR agency. Serving clients throughout the U.S., Canada and the U.K., Ketner Group has established itself as a trusted partner to clients ranging from publicly traded companies to high-growth startups. Ketner Group has achieved many milestones throughout its 30 years as an agency, including reporting consistent growth in revenue, employees and client portfolio and naming Ketner Group’s longtime leader Catherine Seeds as agency’s president and partner in 2019. In recent years, the agency has expanded office locations beyond Austin, opening offices in New York City and Nashville.
Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, the Ketner Group team has continued to provide the highest levels of support and results for clients, securing media coverage in publications like Reuters, Variety Magazine, Forbes, CNBC, MarketWatch and more. It has guided clients on the best practices in communications during the pandemic and officially launched the agency’s first webinar series, KG Connects, bringing together influencers and industry experts to discuss trends in PR and marketing.
“It’s an honor to be recognized in the 2021 Inc. 5000 Regionals Texas list,” said Jeff Ketner, founder and CEO. “Even in the midst of a global pandemic that affected all of us professionally and personally, our team demonstrated exceptional resilience, focus and dedication to Ketner Group and our clients. This award recognizes our team’s hard work, and we anticipate that 2021 will be our best year yet.”
To learn more about Ketner Group’s capabilities and career opportunities, visit ketnergroup.com.
About Ketner Group Communications Ketner Group Communications represents innovators that are reshaping the world we live in, including high-growth companies in retail, e-commerce, grocery and CPG, advertising and marketing, social media and consumer technology. We work with clients throughout the U.S., Canada and the U.K, and our core capabilities include media and analyst relations, content development, social media strategy and implementation, and digital content marketing. Ketner Group has called Austin home for close to 30 years and expanded in 2019 with the addition of offices in New York City and Nashville. For more information please visit www.ketnergroup.com.
Media Contact Mariana Fischbach, Director of Media Relations Ketner Group Communications [email protected]