Edie Ousley has spent the past 20-plus years using communications strategies to help “job creators” succeed in public affairs positions with the Florida Chamber of Commerce and the Florida Home Builders Association.
Today, Ousley announced she’s launching the “second half” of her career with the opening of her own firm, Yellow Finch Strategies.
“I’ve had the pleasure of influencing audiences with communication strategies that have helped entrepreneurs — job creators — to succeed,” she said. “And now I am literally jumping into the ring and have become my own entrepreneur.”
While launching a new business during a time of economic disruption brought on by the coronavirus might sound risky, Ousley said she believes when the upheaval is over, it will provide opportunities for businesses and nonprofits.
“2020 has been a year like no other. I believe Florida needs an army of professional communicators that have talent, instinct and original ideas doing their part to influence public policy so that we can rebound and re-imagine our economy,” she said. “There are an abundance of public policy issues that range the gamut from education to infrastructure, to trade, to quality of life, and every single one of those issues needs a great communicator to help them to be able to better tell their story … and that often requires building coalitions to strengthen the depth and the reach.”
Her newly launched website includes glowing testimonials such as this one, from John Sowinski, founder of Consensus Communications and an expert on Florida ballot initiatives: “Edie Ousley is a consummate professional, brilliant communicator, and a valued member of any team,” he said. “Edie is a veteran of the legislative and political processes and has decadeslong relationships with members of the press, industry leaders and key Tallahassee insiders.”
A self-admitted “bird geek,” Ousley said the company’s name reflects the peacefulness that comes from watching wild birds with yellow symbolizing “the importance of positivity and optimism, abundance and prosperity.”
“I think all of those are exactly what we need to emerge from COVID,” she said. I genuinely want to be able to move the needle even further to help ensure that our economy reemerges stronger than ever. And I am an absolute 100% believer that businesses of all sizes are going to be the key to making that happen.”
Born and raised in Arkansas, Ousley came to Tallahassee shortly after graduating from the University of Arkansas at Monticello. Her first job experiences were in the political realm, starting with working for then-DEP Secretary Virginia Wetherell. Ousley would spend a year as press secretary to Gov. Lawton Chiles and move on to communications director for Sen. Toni Jennings when she served as Florida’s first President of the Senate. After a short stint at Herrle Communications Group (now Salter Mitchell PR), she began working for the builders’ association and then the Florida chamber.
“I have worked on both sides of the political fence and I have worked for large statewide organizations and led statewide initiatives, including constitutional amendment initiatives; owned media; public policy issue campaigns; coalition leadership; and legislative, executive, executive and regulatory initiatives in my roles with all of those organizations,” she said.
The 53-year-old said she was inspired to make a change after studying “Halftime,” a self-help book by Bob Buford. “It helps to put perspective on what you did for the first half of your career and where you want to be for the second half of your career,” she said.
“Opening my own business has been speaking to me for a very, very long time. I have had the pleasure of being able to work with small businesses as well as Fortune 500 companies,” she said. “I want to take all of that skill set and break through the clutter so that we can ensure Florida’s economy rebounds and businesses are stronger for it.”