From The Rock

Staff spotlight: Lauren Hannaford!

By | February 15, 2021

Do you want to know a fun fact about Obsidian? Most of our team started out as interns, including one of our directors – Lauren Hannaford! Through her time at Obsidian, Lauren’s been a part of some legendary projects, guided our team toward success and has had some major fun in the sun along the way! 

You may think you know a thing or two about Lauren already, but this go-round, we do a little bit of a deeper dive. She shares some tidbits about how she’s been dealing with quarantine, some of her most memorable OPR projects and more in this month’s staff spotlight.   

It’s Obsidian’s birthday month! You started at OPR as an intern and have worked your way to senior director of client services. Over your tenure, what’s been your favorite client or project you’ve worked on and why does it stick out? 

  • There are so many! But the Obsidian team always knows my answer to this question – the 2016 Habitat for Humanity Jimmy & Rosalynn Carter Work Project. I joke that this was my career “peak.” We were able to partner with Habitat for Humanity of Greater Memphis, who we had worked with for years prior, to plan and execute all of the communication and PR efforts surrounding this monumental event in Memphis. To have a photograph with former President Jimmy Carter and first lady Rosalynn Carter will always be something I treasure. But to have been a part of something with such great impact on both the Habitat organization and the Memphis community is something I will never forget. And, I’d say working with NBC Nightly News was pretty cool too!

Summer is just around the corner! What does your ideal trip look like, even if it’s more than a few months out?

  • Get me anywhere! If I could just go somewhere I can relax and take a break from the craziness of the last year, that would be nice. 

Senior director of client services sounds like a client-facing role, but you’re simultaneously one of our team’s internal pillars of support. What is a piece of advice you’ve given to a team member that could help future PR practitioners?

  • Go above and beyond. Take care of your clients’ needs, and if you can’t, find a way for it to get done or find someone who can help. Be a problem solver. 

Lunch spots: I know we’re all missing Grecian Gourmet and South Main eats right about now. What’s been your go-to lunch since you’ve been working from home in Olive Branch?

  • If I do order out for lunch, I usually go with Chicken Salad Chick, Wolf River Brisket or good ol’ Chick-fil-A. Those are the quickest and easiest near me! 

What is one thing that you think Obsidian does differently than other agencies?

  • We don’t take a cookie-cutter approach to PR, and even marketing and advertising. We structure our retainers and services so that we can adapt on the fly. Clients are never restricted by knit-picky contracts.

This is becoming an age-old question, but I find that it changes depending on the season (of quarantine). What are you most excited about doing again once the pandemic ends?

  • Being able to get together with friends and my co-workers for parties, fun events and girls’ nights! 

Working in PR means keeping up with the latest trends. What is one trend you wish would go away and never return? 

  • I don’t know that I’d call this a trend exactly but the belief that PR equals sales. There’s PR and then there’s sales and marketing. They can go hand-in-hand, but they aren’t one in the same.