Lauren Hannaford: From Intern to 7 Years with OPR

LaurenHannaford_front_vert1. Lauren, tell us the most memorable moment you’ve had at Obsidian since joining the firm seven years ago?
Wow, this is hard because there are so many! I’ll go with one funny and one serious memory.Not a month into my internship at Obsidian in 2008, the team set off for a company trip to Jamaica and “left” me with a huge project. I had to tie 1,000 or more gold keys to an invitation for a client’s grand re-opening by the end of the week. I think I tied keys for the three days that they were gone. I even watched movies while I was tying those keys. My fingers were red after I finished, and I like to remind everyone “when I was intern, I had to tie 1,000 keys while everyone left me to go to Jamaica!”

Seriously, though, one of my most memorable moments was when Courtney asked me to be the firm’s culture ambassador this past year. I was thrilled to join the leadership team and get the opportunity to develop ideas that benefit each and every one of us.

2. Seven years is such a long time to stay in one place these days – especially considering OPR has been your only career home since graduating! Why have you chosen to remain at OPR? (P.S. we are SO glad you’re part of our team!)
From my very first day, I’ve always appreciated how Courtney involves the entire team in decisions, what we do and how we operate. Whether large or small, opinions and ideas matter here. We even decide on our potluck theme for the month as a team. We may be “employees,” but it’s evident that Obsidian as a company is dedicated to not only our professional growth, but also our personal happiness. We all care about each other and don’t have to compete when we come to work. It’s all about collaborating and helping one another. The positive environment that Obsidian was founded on continues 10 years later.

3. What major changes have you seen in the PR industry during your time at OPR?
Where do I begin? It is constantly changing. One of the biggest changes I’ve seen is how we work with the media to keep our clients in the news. In 2008, there may have been five different ongoing or regular opportunities with one publication, whereas today, there may be only one. We’ve had to adapt to better serve both our friends in the media and our clients. On the client side, it’s not only media relations anymore. It’s media, social media, digital communication strategy, event support…the list goes on and on! Crisis communication services have increased, thanks to social media.

4. Looking ahead, what is your hope for the next 10 years at our firm?
My hope for the next 10 years is to be able to look back and say, “Wow, look what we’ve accomplished.” We’ve already been part of so many amazing projects for clients that could go down in the record books. After 20 years, I’d like to think we will have a room full of those examples.

5. Any funny anecdotes to share or a favorite moment?
This really is an inside joke, but the team will make it to Hawaii one day to see real obsidian lava rock, if it’s the last thing I do! Also, I can remind you once more about the time I had to tie 1,000 keys to invitations while everyone else was doing it big in Jamaica…

6. What makes Obsidian PR unique?
Simply put, it’s a great place to work. I know many can say that about their employers, but it truly is. We are set up to succeed, learn, grow and be engaged in our work and with our team. Everyone is committed to being great PR professionals who produce meaningful work. Other companies care about their employees, but I’ve never seen another company put that into action as much as Courtney and the leadership team at Obsidian.