Tag Archives: holidays

Giant Turkeys and Lukken’s – Here’s How Franco Does the Holidays

Each family celebrates the holidays in their own, unique (sometimes out-there) way. Here’s how some of our Franco team rings in the yuletide season with their loved ones.

Stephanie Angelyn Casola, Account Manager

Pasta! Is that a tradition? It was if you grew up in the Casola household. The holiday didn’t matter, one thing was certain: there would be pasta. Sure, we had a giant turkey, my mom’s mashed potatoes, cranberries shaped like a can. But even better? My Sicilian born-and-raised father made sure there was also a pot-full of fresh tomato sauce bubbling on the stove to top his cannelloni or spaghetti. If he had time, we started the meal with homemade meatball soup (my sisters and I would battle over who-got-how-many-meatballs). Every holiday morning I dream of waking up to those smells of him cooking in the kitchen.


Note the caption!

Pat Adanti-Joy, Vice President

There was a local department store in Dearborn by the name of Muirhead’s that had a wonderful, elaborate Christmas exhibit every year. It was a tradition for our family to see Santa there every year.


If you’re wondering, Pat’s riding shotgun.

Lauren Connor, Assistant Account Executive

When we are sitting around the table after we have finished our meal my dad will put some random item in a box and put it on the table. No one can see inside it and we then go around in a circle asking yes or no questions trying to guess what it is. The items are very random like a pen or a baseball but once someone has figured it out, they get a prize – usually money or a gift card. Last year, it was a gift card to get your car detailed. (I didn’t win and I was super bummed because my car needed it.)

LC Fam

Mary Parkinson, Assistant Account Executive

A recent tradition my family has started is traveling around the holidays. We have been to New Zealand, Salt Lake City and this year we are heading to Dubai!


Salt Lake City, 2014

Marie Stawasz, Senior Account Executive

I’m Polish. Polish people love tradition. Pierogi, kielbasa and zupa grzybowa are all part of my family’s Christmas, but another tradition that holds a close place in my heart are my Mimi’s Santa Cookies. These decorated treats are made using Aunt Chick’s cookie cutters, a vintage cutter that my grandma purchased at Hudson’s many years ago. Perfectly decorated with red granulated sugar and fluffy icing, these retro-inspired cookies are always a hit during the holidays – and it’s not hard to see why!


Notice the fu manchu and unibrow? Mine and my sister’s take on making the cookies more unique. We get our sense of humor from Mimi.


Joe Ferlito, Account Manager

My uncle raises a turkey each year specifically for Thanksgiving Day. It’s funny because a few years ago, we had a 40 pound bird and it barely fit in the oven… and took forever to cook.


Sasha Reeves, Assistant Account Executive

The past few Christmases, I’ve prepared some sort of sweet treat, packaged them up in a cute holiday themed tin and delivered them to our police and fire stations for those on duty on Christmas. It’s also nice being able to hand deliver it and thank them for their service that pulls them away from their own families in order to protect our community.


Alex Fulbright, Digital Marketing Specialist

Each year my parents make me and my siblings wait at the top of our steps as they “see what Santa brought” (We now know that means make coffee, and turn on the 24-7 fireplace channel.) To get a glimpse of the Christmas cheer that exploded in our living room the night before, we would have to ask permission to descend a step. Yes, one step at a time. Sometimes – if we were lucky – we’d get the okay to move down two! Making it to the landing was always an accomplishment, and by then our eagerness usually takes on a new form – frustration. “Can we go down two more stairs, Dad?” we’d yell down. “I don’t know ask your Mom” or the ever-popular “I saw you peeking, move up two stairs” certainly takes its toll on a kid. But it’s all worth it when we get that first glimpse of the tree. Deep gasps all around.


Note: Yes, even though my sister and I are in our early twenties and my brother is old enough to drive we still have to start at the top step and work our way down. We’ve grown to love it (not to mention almost out-grown the steps between the three of us!) and plan on keeping the tradition alive!

Lori Cook, Office Manager

In my family, every Christmas, we make a Belgian cookie called Lukken.  These cookies look like and taste quite a bit like sugar ice cream cones but are flat discs made one at a time on a metal iron that sits on the stove. It’s a daylong event that begins around 9 a.m. with Grandma Pat, my daughter Michelle, nieces Chris, Sarah, Tracy and Rachel all working together to turn three big bowls of dough into quarter-sized balls that will then be cooked individually.  During the six or so hours it will take we all take turns manning the two irons that have been passed down from my grandparents to my parents. My dad started making these cookies as a boy with his dad.  We take this very seriously and if anyone burns a cookie it comes out of their allotment at the end!


Sarah Kornacki, Assistant Account Executive

Since my parents always like to buy clothing as Christmas gifts for me and my sisters, every year on Dec. 26, my sisters and I try on and model our new outfits.


John C. Mozena, Account Director

For us, the holidays involve the kind of organizational planning and negotiations usually associated with a major amphibious invasion. Juggling family, church, school pageants, and work-related events keep my family on their toes. But that makes the time that we do get to spend together (even if it is in the car driving to our next stop) that much more meaningful.


How does your family celebrate the holidays? Share your traditions in the comments!

Holiday season means more media attention for PR professionals, clients

We can all associate the changing seasons to some of our favorite products (pumpkin spice latte, anyone?)  and fondest memories (cider mills and hayrides!).  And while the holidays mean busy social calendars, they also offer the opportunity for businesses to engage consumers, and to land some great media coverage – if they plan ahead.

That’s where the right PR agency can help.

With guidance, businesses can leverage this time of year as an opportunity to engage consumers on a rational and emotional level. For many business owners, pre-holiday sales translate into a big percentage of their bottom line. These become opportunities for a PR professional working with consumer-reaching clients who also knows how to capitalize on the season, in a strategic way.

There are a few key items every business needs to have in place to make the most of this time of year:

Find your spokesperson – From non-profits to small business owners and beyond, do you have a spokesperson who can share his or her expertise on a timely topic related to the holiday season? Place a spotlight on your client and offer him up for interviews. Will fundraising be impacted by the economy this year? Are businesses selling more compared to last year as shoppers’ confidence has improved? If you have just the right person to comment, let the media know.

Get ahead of the story – There are some stories that return each year (Black Friday, anyone?) The best reporters are always looking for a new way to tell them, to make them relevant to an audience. A solid PR professional will see those opportunities coming weeks, months in advance, and provide the content, interviews, photos and videos to make those stories possible – and possibly easier to execute.

The streets of downtown Milford will be filled with holiday cheer soon enough when Christmas Open House comes to the Village. It’s the perfect PR opportunity when planned ahead.

Don’t forget social opportunities – In addition to PR, advise your clients to show the same mindfulness and expertise on the brands’ social networks. Link to the best keywords, stories and images for the season.

Share those community ties – Your clients’ may contribute to charitable causes at any time of year, which can be a reason to connect with organizations and the media. During the holidays these community ties may also be a newsworthy opportunity and should be considered.

Track your success – Once you’ve strategized your way into the holiday season and positioned your clients appropriately, appropriate media coverage will come. Be sure to monitor, collect and track it. Compare it to your success in previous years if you’re working with a long-term client and share your results. It’s sure to show that you have the clients’ best interest in mind.
What other ways do you incorporate the holidays into PR and social media opportunities for your PR clients? Share them with us in the comments section.

Stephanie Angelyn Casola really only enjoys seeing decorated Christmas trees during the month of December, but that doesn’t stop her from pitching holiday stories months in advance whenever a deadline calls. She is a consumer and social media manager at Franco PR Group. Reach out to her at casola@franco.com, @StephCasola on Twitter or Facebook.com/StephanieAngelynCasola. Call 313.567.5048.

Reflections of a first year at Franco

My, how time flies! It’s hard to believe the year is already coming to an end. As I complete my first year as an official full-time employee, it seems like an appropriate moment to reflect upon the year.

The Franco family grew this year, adding several new faces to the mix. Our culture is truly unique. We’re a closely knit group of individuals that is as committed to working with each other as we are to our clients.

Just last month we celebrated the people and businesses that keep us busy daily. We hosted our second annual client appreciation event at Hard Rock Cafe Detroit with an evening of snacks, libations and heartfelt thanks to all the people who make our jobs so enjoyable.

Franco PR Group President Maria Leonhauser (center) greeted (left to right) Anil Hari, Sridhar Kodati, Krishna Kallakuri, Ravi Vallem and Venkat Goneduring of DataFactZ during the Client Appreciation event on Nov. 13.

It was great opportunity for everyone to meet and mingle with their clients, as well as meet other team members’ clients.

Earlier this month, the entire Franco staff joined together for a delicious champagne lunch, complete with decedent desserts at Joe Muer Seafood. The afternoon presented us with the opportunity to enjoy each other’s company away from the desk and celebrate the great culture we’ve developed in our office.

Happy Holidays from all of us at Franco Public Relations Group!

As this year comes to a close, best wishes in 2013 and happy holidays from all of us at Franco!

How are you celebrating the year’s successes?

Marie Stawasz is an assistant account executive at Franco Public Relations Group. You can reach her at (313) 567-5201 or stawasz@franco.com. Follow Marie on twitter @MarieStawasz.


‘Tis the season to be jolly – and healthy

Photo by Nationaal Archief via Flickr.com | Lacing up some old skates and a taking few laps around the pond can help burn extra holiday calories.

The holiday season has kicked off which means plenty of parties where it’s absolutely required to indulge in the abundance of tasty treats. I’m sure you made plans to work it off at the gym over the weekend but after a trip to the local bar with some long lost friends, the work week is back and you just didn’t find the time. Welcome to the holiday health hazard.

Let’s get real, it’s December in Michigan and for the next few months the weather is only going to get worse, the flu and other bugs may invite themselves to parties, and you will be running on empty due to your packed social calendar.

It’s time to add some healthy habits to your holiday to-do list to avoid packing on an extra layer or getting sick this winter.

Here are a few simple suggestions to get you through the season:

Eat healthy

Sure, fast food is quick, convenient and tasty but is it worth sacrificing your health? According to Livestrong.com eating meals loaded with calories, fat, cholesterol, sugar and salt creates nutritional deficiencies, causes weight gain and shortens your life. Take a couple extra minutes each day to pack a healthy lunch. Choose fruits and vegetables instead of burgers and fries. Eating out less will likely ease the burden on your pocketbook, too.

Work it out

Big or small, having a daily exercise routine is key to maintaining a healthy body. This is especially important if you sit at a desk all day like me. As former Franconian Angela Hernandez so eloquently explains in her blog, there are many opportunities to be healthy at work. It’s time to stand up people! Avoid phone calls to coworkers; walk to their desk. Take a stroll during lunch or a periodic lap around the office when you need a break. The opportunities are there, take the initiative and be more active at work.

Wash your hands

According to this Time Magazine article, during the winter people spend more time indoors in close contact with others. This leads to an increased risk of infection from germs and viruses. Wash your hands regularly to help prevent the spread of bacteria and those annoying winter illnesses.

Rest up

Staying healthy might be as simple as getting some rest. The holidays are a hectic time of year filled with late nights at the office, family parties and weekend celebrations. You sacrifice sleep and rely on caffeine to get you through the day. According to hypochondriacs’ favorite website, WebMD, sleep deprivation can lead to serious health problems including heart disease, heart attack, high blood pressure, stroke and diabetes.

So, when you bundle up and head out the door to your next holiday party remember to stay away from the pie, wash your hands, choose celery and make it home in time to watch A Christmas Story while you fall asleep at a reasonable hour.

…and to all a good night!

Dan Stocking is an assistant account executive at Franco Public Relations Group. You can reach him at (313) 567-5094 or stocking@franco.com.  Follow him on Twitter @danielstocking.