Tag Archives: Crain’s Detroit Business

Leonhauser to Retire in December, Kozak to Succeed Her as President

Franco President Maria Leonhauser will retire at the end of 2013.

I am pleased to announce that after more than a year of planning and transition, Franco President Maria Leonhauser will retire at the end of this year. Franco Executive VP and Chief Operating Officer Tina Kozak will succeed Maria as president effective January 1. Maria will continue as a consultant with Franco, as well as take her words and ideas in another direction—writing mysteries.

Maria joined Franco as president in 2000 after 25 years in journalism and corporate communications.  During her tenure, she focused on diversifying Franco’s client base and imbuing its culture with creativity and passion. She also championed Franco’s social media discipline. Among her awards, Maria was named one of Detroit’s 100 Most Influential Women by Crain’s Detroit Business and a Leader and Innovator by Lawrence Technological University and Grant Thornton.

Tina Kozak, executive vice president and COO for Franco, will succeed Leonhauser as president effective Jan. 1, 2014.

Tina joined Franco in 2007 as an account manager overseeing the firm’s automotive practice. In her most recent role as executive vice president and chief operating officer, she has led client service, talent retention and business development. She counsels a range of clients in the auto/tech, healthcare and professional service industries in areas including corporate positioning, community relations and reputation management. She also consults on brand development, crisis communications and strategic planning.

Franco’s priority has always been service excellence. Maria instilled a new energy and enthusiasm into its delivery. I’m confident that Tina will not only advance our commitment to service excellence, but also identify other relevant initiatives to better serve our clients and employees.

It’s an exciting time at Franco. Please join me in congratulating Tina and in wishing Maria all the best in our comments section below.

Dan Ponder is the CEO at Franco Public Relations Group.


How to get started: Video ideas for web and social media

Businesses and organizations can effectively engage their audience by using online videos.  As Franco PR’s “video guy” I sometimes get asked by clients and colleagues what types of videos they should create. The options are endless. Here are a few ideas to get you started:

How to video

You can learn how to do pretty much anything by going to YouTube. Then practice and get your brand involved. Teach people how to use your products, how to assemble something or how to perform a task. Here’s a good example from Edsel & Eleanor Ford House.

Tell a story

People are always interested in hearing a good story. It’s even better to see a good story. Highlight a customer or employee. A heartfelt story is always a good bet as demonstrated by Stand Up To Cancer’s patient story.

New products

Create a video to promote a new product. Share its features and what’s unique about it. Apple does this for most of its new products. Here is one for the iPad mini.

Educational Video

Teach your audience something. If you’re a real estate agent, maybe it’s “red flags to look for when house hunting” (and include visual examples). Or it could be something as simple as showing people where to park in downtown Detroit.

Event Recap

Share a recap of an event with your audience. If they were unable to attend or just plain weren’t invited, they’ll appreciate an inside look at what took place. The Detroit Historical Society shared this type of video prior to the opening of Detroit Legends Plaza. Here’s Gordie Howe making a hand cast for a plaza tile..


A video tour can be a fantastic way to give your audience an inside look at a building – perfect for a historic landmark, a factory or a museum. Crain’s Detroit Business created this tour of the Detroit Historical Museum after a renovation.

If a photo speaks 1,000 words, a video can be worth at least twice that. Give it a try and let us know how it works out.

Joe Ferlito is a senior account executive at Franco Public Relations Group. You can reach him at (313) 567-5031 or ferlito@franco.com.