Ron Sachs, founder and CEO, and President Michelle Ubben announced the partner additions Wednesday, among the most significant growth in the 22-year history of the Florida-based public relations firm.
SMG is well-regarded as one of the top independent full-service PR agencies in both Florida and the U.S. The firm has offices in Tallahassee, Orlando, Boca Raton and Washington DC.
“We have curated an excellent, energetic and experienced leadership group whose hard work and wise counsel already are highly respected and strongly valued by our staff, clients, community and industry,” Sachs said in a statement. “Each of these wonderful friends and colleagues has demonstrated the values, skills, character, leadership and loyalty that deserve to be recognized and rewarded in this most meaningful way.”
The five newly-named SMG partners are:
Ryan Cohn, Executive Vice President. Cohn serves as a strategic adviser across many accounts and special projects, and leads digital media initiatives.
Karen Cyphers, Ph.D., Vice President of Research & Policy. Cyphers heads the firm’s internal research division – overseeing message testing, survey research and crafting policy papers.
Lisa Garcia, Chief Operating Officer. An Emmy Award-winning producer and public relations campaign leader, Garcia heads up public education campaigns, internal processes and talent.
Drew Piers, Director of Campaigns. Piers leads public affairs campaign strategy, including constitutional amendments and local referenda. He also supervises targeted media buys.
Herbie Thiele, Director of Public Affairs. Thiele leads the firm’s core public affairs practice, influencing legislative issues, procurements, and public policy at both the state and local levels.
The new partners will join other key members of the leadership team, which includes Jon Peck, Vice President, Director of Messaging and Crisis Management; Mark Pankowski, Vice President, Director of Washington Operations; Jenna Sarkissian, Deputy Director of Public Relations; and Chauniqua Major, Director of Central Florida Operations.
“In the talent business, innovation depends on forward-thinking ideas that we can deploy to help our clients adapt to a rapidly changing environment,” said Ubben, a 20-year SMG veteran who joined the firm after a successful 14-year career in state government. “This dynamic team thrives on our clients’ high-stakes challenges and has the right stuff to help take the firm far into the future.”