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  • Writer's pictureBen Finzel

Celebrating Five Years of Common Sense, Connections and Colleagues

Five years ago at this time, I was preparing to hit “send” on a flurry of emails to contacts, colleagues, former clients and friends announcing the launch of my new public relations firm, RENEWPR.

I was confident in the future, but I had no idea how terrific the next five years would be. In that time, I’ve worked with more than two dozen clients on projects large and small in areas across the country. I’ve helped clients communicate about topics as diverse as carbon capture, community solar, small wind turbines, energy efficiency, safe digging, sustainable energy, clean energy finance, LGBTQ families and adoption, LGBTQ advocacy through music, the power of local broadcast television to win elections, the importance of electing openly LGBTQ people up and down the ballot and more. I've won an award with a client and been honored as an influential leader over 50 (!) by a diversity business publication. And I've collaborated with five colleagues to build and and launch a new national diversity and inclusion consulting network. Wow. What an awesome beginning!

As I began planning a five year celebration (watch this space for an update after our anniversary on January 23rd), I identified three constants that have been at the center of this business from the moment I hit “send” five years ago: common sense, connections and colleagues. Here’s what that has meant in practice:

  • Common sense – whenever I made a decision about business operations, growth or related topics, I found the firm tagline to be an inspiration. "Restoring common sense to communications" meant determining how best to build, maintain and grow the business based on who we wanted to work with, how we wanted to work and what we wanted to work on. That’s where the Team and Partner programs came from and it’s how our Collaborations came to be. It’s why we worked with some clients and declined others. I believe that singular vision – to focus on what is right and true and effective in communications – is why we have been successful. Far more than a tagline, “restoring common sense to communications” has become both a mantra and a mission.

  • Connections – making new friends and connecting others to one another has made all the difference. As our business has grown, we’ve had opportunities to help others by making connections: in some cases, that’s been with the DC Family Communicators network I launched in May of 2018 to knit together DC’s LGBTQ communications community. In others, it’s been with the private network – The Neighborhood from RENEWPR – that links our four Team members and ten Partner agencies via LinkedIn, Slack and email to create a virtual private network of business resources that has helped all of us to grow and prosper. And in others, it's been with something as simple as introducing two people to each other or referring business from one connection to another. It all adds up to boosting our business and making work a lot more rewarding.

  • Colleagues – this business has grown by referrals from colleagues old and new and I’m so grateful for it. In the process, I’ve refreshed business relationships with colleagues from years ago and I’ve forged new relationships that have enabled me to work with new clients and on new issues. I have so much respect and appreciation for the fine colleagues who I have the opportunity to work with each day. And yes, I must add that our clients have become colleagues as well. One of the reasons I decided to launch this business was that I wanted the opportunity to build a practice around issues that move me and do that with people I respect. I have been so fortunate to work with more than two dozen clients who have become colleagues, even when we’re no longer working together.

To be sure, all of this was a lot of hard work. It wasn’t as easy as it may have looked (and it wasn’t all fun and games). But I’m so grateful for my good fortune in doing work I love with people I respect while making a difference for the planet we all call home. I can’t wait to see what the next five years (and beyond) will bring. Onward!



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