2014 was a big year for us. Not only was it Franco’s 50th anniversary year, but last January, I transitioned into the role of president, succeeding Maria Leonhauser, who retired after more than a decade with the agency. I knew that at times the role of president would be challenging, but anyone who knows me knows that I love a good challenge.
Throughout the year, we worked to reenergize Franco culture, redefine excellent client service, and realign our pro-bono efforts to better support the region we love. And we did this all while achieving more than 20 percent revenue and employment growth.
I couldn’t be any more proud to lead this amazing agency, and more specifically, this amazing team.
We added an assistant account executive, a manager and a director, as well as two interns, growing our team to just over 20 employees, while further expanding our capabilities to extend past traditional public relations and marketing. With services like content generation, social media and design, we’ve also been able to expand clientele, adding high-profile accounts like Punch Bowl Social, Jolly Pumpkin, Deloitte LLP, the Belle Isle Conservancy and the Steel Market Development Institute.
Sure, the City of Detroit has seen its share of ups and downs throughout history, from economic recessions and a thinning population to the nation’s largest municipal bankruptcy; but, through it all Franco has not only remained in the city, the agency has always played a key role in shaping the region’s business and community landscape through our client work and volunteer leadership.
Perhaps best put by our founder, Anthony M. Franco, whose decades-old definition of public relations stands the test of time, “Public relations is the art and science of analyzing trends, predicting consequences, counseling leaders, and implementing professionally planned programs of action which will serve both the organization’s and the public’s interest.”
I’m proud to say that today, we’re still living up to the standards Tony laid down, while building a legacy of our own. 2014 has been a wild ride, and it would not have been possible without our incredible team.
So, in October we decided it was time to celebrate our 50th anniversary and our team during a Franco Fun Day. We took to the city in a sweet ride from the Detroit Bus Company and visited some of the city’s most iconic landmarks. From bell ringing for The Salvation Army in Campus Martius and visiting Belle Isle Aquarium to enjoying lunch at the home of Detroit’s original square pizza and a celebratory “cheers” at Two James Spirits, we made our way around the D for one fun-filled day with the Franconians.
And like any good year, our nonprofit and automotive teams kicked it in high gear in November and December, pulling long days and long nights to support the red kettle campaign and North American International Auto Show, among others. And now that the NAIAS media days have come to a close, it’s safe to say we’ve had another successful year with our great team.
So, as we reflect on 2014, we raise a Jolly Pumpkin sour beer to toast the past 50 years – let’s take the next 50 by a storm!