Archive for the 'Boston Office' Category

Inside the SHIFT Studio: Kristi Eells

1. Name

Kristi Eells

2. Hometown

Rutland, VT

3. Where did you go to college?

Assumption College in Worcester, MA – Go Hounds!

4. How long have you worked at SHIFT?

I recently celebrated my two-year SHIFT-iversary back in November!

5. Use four words to describe yourself

Enthusiastic, Passionate, Satirical and Indecisive

6. What made you enter the PR industry?

My internships.  I worked as an intern in the Marketing and PR department of a hospital when I was in college.  They treated me like a member of their team and not an intern and I fell in love.

7. When you Google yourself, what’s the first thing that pops up?

My social channels – LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook and Quora.  If you’re on Twitter, follow me!

8. What blogs or Web sites do you ready everyday?

This is a long list… but the highlights include: Twitter (my news hub), Facebook, CNN, Mashable, Pandora and (of course) People.

9. If there was a cocktail created just for you, what would you name it?

The Vermonster – simple, clean ingredients with a kick!

10. Tell us something unexpected/surprising about you

I was a junior counselor at a Conservation Camp every summer for five years, teaching outdoor safety skills and natural resource conservation.  If you need to learn what to do when you flip a canoe, I’m your girl!

Inside the SHIFT Studio: Justine Routhier



    1. Name: 

    Justine Routhier

    2. Hometown: 

    Andover, MA

    3. Where did you go to college: 

    Assumption College, Worcester, MA and no I didn’t make that college name up! 


4. How long have you worked at SHIFT:

Since October 2008 as an intern and was hired full time July 2009.

5. Use four words to describe yourself:

Vertically challenged, outgoing, loud and animated.

6. What made you enter the PR industry: 

I wanted to be a writer initially but also wanted to be involved in business so this was the perfect balance.

7. When you Google yourself, what’s the first thing that pops up: 

My Linked-In account

8. What blogs or Web sites do you read every day: 

Mashable, and NYT are my go to’s every morning, and obviously my Facebook newsfeed.

9. If there was a cocktail created just for you, what would you name it:

Just-Tini, served in a short glass.

10. Tell us something unexpected/surprising about you: 

I was named after Justine Bateman from the 80’s TV show, Family Ties.

11. What do you feel is your greatest personal success in PR thus far? 

Seeing my first lifestyle glossy piece of coverage in print. I loved seeing the product included in the gift guide, and eventually learning that it was a popular seller on the website for the client.


By Sarah Borup  (@SarahBorup)

The rumor is employee engagement is at an all-time low, but those of us at SHIFT likely wouldn’t agree.  In fact, we might scream out in protest.

Although I’ve only been here for about seven months, I’ve already had the opportunity to work out of each of our offices – Boston, New York City and San Francisco.  Looking around, it isn’t too difficult to see that 100 percent of my colleagues are motivated, abuzz with energy and loving life at SHIFT.  Since I couldn’t boil down the many reasons it’s great to work here, I opened up the floor to the entire Company.  As if we need any more reasons to SHIFT, here are a few additions (all about the people, the culture and the perks):THE PEOPLE

For me, it’s all about the people. I’ve been so fortunate to not only get an opportunity to work with some of the smartest and most creative people in the industry, but to also become friends with them. No, really – it’s true! I moved to Boston from Texas, and didn’t know a soul in the area. The SHIFTers from my office have become an incredible support network, both professionally and personally! It’s a priceless asset to have a work environment filled with people you respect and want to hang out with day after day. – Ciri Haugh (@chaugh)

I love the energy at SHIFT – from the first day I stepped in the office I was met with optimism, passion and enthusiasm for knowledge sharing! – Julie Staadecker (@jstaadecker)

Hands down… the people! We are a charismatic group and being surrounded by people who work hard and play hard make it worth it to come in every day. I know a lot of my friends aren’t as close with some of their coworkers or hang out with them outside of work, simply because they aren’t as awesome as us SHIFTers.  Also, I’ve never met a group of people who love horrible TV as much as I do.  – Justine Routhier (@jmassiello)

Speaking of TV – nowhere else will I find people as passionate about surprisingly underappreciated TV shows (The Walking Dead, anyone?) as I am. – Puneet Sandhu (@puneet86)

Cowboy Todd’s surprise appearances around the SF office. – Cathy Summers (@csumm)

Jim Joyal – ‘nuff said. – KT McGraw (@KTMcGraw_HIT)  (Linda Battaglia and Catherine Allen agreed.)


3pm stretch sessions, total request live music Fridays, impromptu pizza parties, razor scooters, SHIFT soccer/softball teams, great summer outing/holiday parties?  – Zach Servideo (@zachservideo)

We’re ballsy! – Erin Albright (@erinealbright)

Laughter every day – Lily Albin (@LilyAlbin)

Opportunities at every turn, A very clear career/growth path, belly laughs at every morning meeting, incredible talent everywhere you look, an environment that feels like home – Megan Lane (@BostonPRPro)

Lots of surprises, like Cuatro de Marcho when a Mexican beer cart went ‘round the office and celebration w/ mariachis and sombreros took place.  – Linda Battaglia (@LBattaglia)


What other company pays for you to try zip lining, in Honduras! Love Cultural Reimbursement and SHIFT! – Kristen Zukowski **SHIFT supports a healthy work-life balance and makes sure the life part is exciting by sponsoring an out-of-work activity of our choice.  Think concert tickets, sports games, plays, day trips. 

I got to use my cultural reimbursement to help get me to Bonnaroo. Seriously. Plus, since we have a NYC office, I shaved 4 hours off the marathon driving session by going down there to work before my trip. Not many companies could ever accommodate that, and it’s just another reason why SHIFT’s a special place. – Andrew Waber (@letspercolate

Ejector Seat Friday! I’m waiting for my moment and the anticipation is INSANE.  – Mallory Cloutier (@Mallory_C) **During the occasional Friday staff meeting, a name gets pulled out of a box and the chosen person is immediately ejected from the workday.  Tough life, huh?

Stocked Peapod cabinets, Ejector Seat Friday. There’s just too many for me. – Catherine Allen (@catherineallen) (Lily Albin is a fan of the 24/7 fully loaded cabinets and fridge as well.)

PR is critical to sales – A look at Pub Club NE’s Master’s Institute discussion

By Catherine Allen (@catherineallen)

The winter chill and snow that hit New England recently didn’t keep the warm crowd away from the Publicity Club of New England’s first Masters’ Institute program of the season.  The focus of the session, “Dissecting the Process of Tying Public Relations to Sales,” was too important to miss.

The passionate panel included moderator Kate MacKinnon of AT&T, and panelists Suzanne Locke of Dassault Systemes, Bernd Leger of Rapid7, Stacey Santo of Rue La La and Laura Tomasetti of 360 Public Relations.

There were three highlights that we came away with.

  •  Audience – The panelists addressed the ability of PR to build an audience.  After all, if you haven’t built an audience you have no one to sell to, or no one to build brand loyalty with.  PR can help become the pathway to purchase, especially as consumers (in B2B, B2C and professional service markets) begin their research on the Web where online articles and social media content become gold for SEO.
  •  Sales – A few panelists talked about the need for PR and social media education across the executive level.  They agreed that if you’re “at the table,” so to speak, then you will hear all the best information to use in PR, align objectives, and educate on what PR can and can’t do.  To take it a step further, some PR pros in the room shared their experiences of attending sales pitches, or helping to create sales decks, as well.  They found it invaluable to hear the sales pitch, hear the lingo and hear the pushback.  They felt it better prepped them for the next PR push.
  •  Measurement – Yes, it’s important to measure.  But first, everyone must agree on the objective, so you know what to measure.  It can also be helpful to isolate PR for certain marketing pushes – so you can truly tell the return of PR vs. an integrated marketing-PR-ad spend program.  The panelists also highlighted the importance of “knowing your numbers” at all times, to be ready to answer questions from the C-suite as needed, and to keep your PR/social teams honest with the progress.

Smiles appeared around the room on one of the final topic of the morning: “What happens if we win?” 

 It’s a great place to be – to have planned a successful PR program or campaign, and been able to measure flawlessly and support sales or another objective.  One panelist said, “We don’t just get the word out, we support the business holistically.”  And another, “PR has been critical to opening doors for sales.”  The rewards of success for these panelists have taken many forms, from increased headcount, to having the success presented to a company’s board and earning that recognition, to earning a higher budget or the incremental dollars to explore new PR opportunities for increased visibility for their company or organization.

And that’s a beautiful thing.  Here’s to your success!

Inside the SHIFT Studio: Andrew Waber

  1. Name: Andrew Waber
  2. Hometown: Philadelphia
  3. Where did you go to college? Bentley University
  4. How long have you worked at SHIFT? 2 years on November 16!
  5. Use four words to describe yourself. The Zen in Simplicity
  6. What made you enter the PR industry? I love people and honesty, and both are inherent parts of good public relations.
  7. When you Google yourself, what’s the first thing that pops up? My Twitter profile (under the name @LetsPercolate)
  8. What blogs or Web sites do you read everyday? CNN, Mashable and ESPN
  9. If there was a cocktail created just for you, what would you name it? Ragged Plaid (I’m a big grunge and Neil Young fan! My cocktail would somehow express this.)
  10. Tell us something unexpected/surprising about you. I am an Adirondack 46-r, meaning I’ve climbed all 46 peaks in the Adirondack mountain range over 4,000 ft.  If/when I get the chance, I’d love to complete my second round.

Speaker Spotlight Series with Rue La La: The Value of 210,470 Facebook Likes

By Sarah Borup ( @SarahBorup)

Rue La La’s fan base is nothing to turn your nose up at. With 210,470 Facebook likes and 23,149 followers on Twitter, they’re doing okay. But, what happens when you put those numbers into context?

Competitors HauteLook, with 70,820 Twitter followers and 388,655 Facebook likes, and Gilt Group, with 136,568 followers and 342,673 likes, come out on top – if numbers alone is your metric.

Tuesday night, a few of us Beantown SHIFTers listened in on Millennial Branding’s Speaker Spotlight Series as Stacey Santo and Colin Hynes acknowledged the numbers game, and reminded us about that good ‘ol truism: quality over quantity. Mary Sullivan (@marys213) left thinking,

“What really became clear was that Rue La La gets social media. It recognizes and understands that having engaged fans is more valuable than having a large number of fans. As PR pros, I know we constantly stress this to our clients, but it’s nice to hear it from the brand perspective.” 

I couldn’t agree more. As a company self-proclaimed as not only using social, but being social, Stacey and Colin had a few more words of wisdom to share.

  • Curation – Branding is about curating a lifestyle. For Rue La La, this translates to making shopping easier and more interesting, and life more stylish.

PR Takeaway: The brand is powerful across all industries, including tech and B2B. Content being shared, conversations carried on and everything in between create a company lifestyle. All PR activities should map back to those pillars, as well as the life the company wants to lead.

  •  Social ROI – Clear objectives lay the foundation for ROI. Rue has an additional customer service Twitter handle, measured on how fast they reply and resolve customers’ issues.

PR Takeaway:  Without a clear vision of what a social channel is being used to accomplish, there’s no chance at quantification. This was a great reminder that numbers aren’t the only metric. Sentiment and engagement count, big time.

  •  Audiences – Knowing your audiences and keeping them happy is at the heart of business, hence Rue’s monthly member focus groups. User experience is a concentration for companies across the board.  

 PR Takeaway:  We have so many audiences in a single day – clients, coworkers, reporters, bloggers, Twitter followers, so on and so forth. While we don’t hold focus groups, we know how to best give the experience our audiences want when interacting with us.

  • Change – Industry change is lightning fast and competitors introduce new things…often.  Another SHIFT PR gal, Linda Battaglia (@LBattaglia), listened closely as Stacey said, “competition makes you stronger and better, and keeps everyone moving forward.”  In Linda’s words, “She put a positive spin on having competition – pretty motivating!”

PR Takeaway:  Learning is continuous, and it happens through curiosity, formal training, experiences and sometimes morphing competitors’ success and making it your own.

All in all, we walked away with new ideas and validations on old ones, as well many reminders that a company must do what works for them. It’s about wearing many hats, but only if you can wear them all well.

Why Social Media Will Save Us From Information Overload

By Amanda Guisbond (@agbond)

There’s no dearth of news these days.  Let’s take the most recent earthquake (ahem, aftershock to Boston and NYC) on the East Coast as an example of a “news event” that was sliced, diced and spun 100+ ways in a matter of 24 hours, including:

And my favorite:

The point here is, there have been many different perspectives on the news, whether brief or in-depth, and much, much more beyond what I’m sharing via links.  I’ve curated the news based on what leapt out to me from a simple Google News search, and now you get a more digestible sample of some of the “kookier” takes.

Really, to me, the earthquake was a small experience that I felt for a matter of seconds while at my desk at work, and my Facebook commentary was something along the lines of… “Now I have no excuse not to move to California.” (Engagement: 5 likes, 8 comments)

There I did it again, “curating” the news for my Facebook friends, who by the by, are sometimes my GO-TO source for a major event.  After the “shaking,” I jumped on Facebook, only to discover status updates from several friends from all over the East Coast assuring me that either a) they were being evacuated OR b) it was just aftershocks, and they were at a food truck stand when it happened.

The reason I went immediately to Facebook and not to Google News is because lately, Google News terrifies me with its overwhelming choices of publications, blogs and “in-depth” repurposed sub-pieces about major news events.  I just don’t know where to click and so I revert to my friends, who I know and trust.

There continues to be a major opportunity for brands to curate world news and events that are relevant to their industry, community and customers, via platforms like Twitter, Facebook and now… Google+!  So, as brands look to build out their own platforms – corporate blogs, branded communities – they should continue to identify opportunities like the “earthquake” to engage their audience and have a relevant, real-time conversation with them.

My favorite recent example?  Cape Cod’s Wellfleet Beachcomber (a beach bar with live music) took to Facebook with the following update this week – regarding the next weather disaster – honest, humble and totally upfront.  It’s not good news but… you can’t help but love ‘em.

Wellfleet Beachcomber:  Sucky News Alert Number One: Gene Ween and Dave Dreiwitz has been cancelled. There is no way we could talk Gene into driving 8 hours in a hurricane, even for the ‘Comber. Tickets (300 of ‘em sold) will be refunded over the next 48 hours. Cold blows the wind…………

Why Awards Matter – SHIFT and the Bell Ringers

By Derek Lyons (@dwlyons)

At SHIFT we like to believe we are different from other PR firms.   Those differences take on a few distinct forms:

  • The creativity we bring to the table each and every day for client programs
  • The way we use social media as a transformative element for ourselves and our clients
  • How we are a talented bunch who value dedication and determination

Now, I’m not saying you need a shiney plaque sitting up on the wall to affirm these beliefs.  But having some external recognition doesn’t hurt right?

As an 11 year veteran of SHIFT, I was proud to see all of the above attributes on display in the multiple awards the agency and individuals took home at the recent Publicity Club of New England’s annual Bell Ringer awards.  Whether it’s a Gold Bell for Rapid 7’s Organizational Identity Campaign, the company’s employee-driven Slice blog taking home the only win in the Agency Blog/Social category or our own Amanda Munroe being bestowed with the inaugural Ringer Award, it was a banner night for SHIFT’s Boston office.

I can tell you the office was buzzing and we’re proud that both our clients and industry peers know and respect our work.  Congrats to all the SHIFT winners, and we’re already planning on taking home even more next year!

For the Love of the Game

By Matt Trocchio (@Trochman)

Ah, the summer… It can really only mean one thing: softball season has begun again! Although the mighty SHIFT squad is once again off to a slow start, it isn’t always about the Ws and Ls on the record, it is what you take away from the game. Don’t worry, I’ll try not to be too warm and fuzzy. You can read last’s years post for that (Team Building: It Takes More than Just Trust Falls).

I’m often surprised at how often you can find direct comparisons of sports and PR.  Perhaps it’s because these analogies are universally understood, or maybe it’s because they just plain make sense.

I was speaking recently with another PR pro regarding PR career paths and the changes to expect along the way.  It’s something I think about quite a bit.  Not always for the reasons you may think either –not about increases in money, increases in control/power or if I get that new office with a window.  No, I am usually trying to get a grip on what I should be doing and what I should be letting go of.  Sometimes when you get so used to what your role is on a team, when it changes it can be hard to adjust. You are so used to certain projects and pitches that you just roll with it.  However, you need to remember there are hungry staffers working with you that are still looking to get these opportunities.  When do you learn to just let go?

The conversation I had was very interesting as he went on to describe how he views himself now compared to when he was in more junior positions.  When you first break out into PR you are like a starting pitcher.  You keep the pace for your team and you get the opportunity to throw some real heat at some tough tasks.  As you grow you move more into the closer position.  You are brought in to really take on some of the elite batters (pubs, contacts, etc) and ensure the win for your team.  You are also responsible to teach the bullpen along the way, allowing them to hear what you’ve learned since your days as a starter.  You show them your pitch techniques and tips and let them know how certain batters like to be pitched to or how to pitch around them.

However, is you move on to even higher levels you remove yourself from pitching altogether and become more like a catcher for a baseball team.  You are now behind the plate looking at the whole diamond, seeing every play unfold.  Your job is now to call the pitches letting your pitching staff know when to throw the heat, when to look for a curve or when to walk that batter altogether.  Your job is also to protect that pitcher – whether that be from a batter charging the mound or giving advice after a wild pitch.

This analogy could go on and on as you make your way to coach building and running your own team to someday perhaps owning your own ball club.  I think this description paints a pretty accurate description of the path through Agency life and what’s expected of you along the way.  If nothing else it reminds you that Agency PR is a lot like playing ball – it’s all about patience, experience and team work.

See you out on the field gang….

Inside the SHIFT Studio: Amanda Grinavich

  1. Name:  Amanda Grinavich (@agrinavich)
  2. Hometown:  Born in Houston, raised right outside of Scranton, PA
  3. Where did you go to college?  Boston University
  4. How long have you worked at SHIFT?  I did two tours as an intern (Summer of ’09 and spring of ’10) before being hired in the beginning of April 2010!
  5. Use four words to describe yourself:  Red-headed (an adjective in itself, trust me), independent, ambitious, loyal
  6. What made you enter the PR industry?  The ability to write, be creative and build relationships with people. It combined everything I was looking for in a career.
  7. When you Google yourself, what’s the first thing that pops up?  My Twitter page!
  8. What blogs or Web sites do you read every day?  I have over 200 RSS feeds, so I read quite a bit. My favorites are: the New York Times, Politico, Seth Godin’s blog, Lifehacker, Mashable, Deadspin, Puck Daddy and, TechCrunch.
  9. If there was a cocktail created just for you, what would you name it?  The Firecracker
  10. Tell us something unexpected/surprising about you.  I geek out on hockey like no other.


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