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To celebrate 60 years of Franco is to celebrate our people…and for us, “our people” aren’t just those currently working here. As part of our year-long anniversary celebration, we’re spotlighting former employees who helped shape our agency and are making waves in their current roles and communities. In the same way they left a lasting impact on our agency, there are many Franco alumni who consider their time at Franco a key element to their career success.  

Janet Tyler, president and founder of True Depth, is helping us kick things off. Janet is currently based in Novi, Michigan and, as a certified executive coach, she works with clients in the technology and professional services arenas to support growth initiatives and develop teams. 

Janet worked at Franco from 1997 to 2000 as an associate director who helped build and grow the agency’s burgeoning technology practice. She led major accounts in telecommunications, automotive, software and technology companies, including Omnipoint (now part of T-Mobile), Deloitte, the Inca Computer Company, Microsoft and Sigma 6.  

As the individual who literally got Franco online, Janet has taken her collective technology, organizational communication and public relations experience to build a unique career helping other companies thrive…including Franco! Read on to learn more about Janet’s Franco experience and how it helped shape her into the professional she is today.  

What is your favorite Franco memory?  

The post-lunch meetings of the minds I was able to listen in on! I sat near Franco’s communal space, where Detroit PR icons like Tony Petrucci, Bill Quigley, Chuck Ragan and Joyce Cusmano would gather after lunch and talk about strategy, news trends and other things they were working on. I also sat next door to Joyce for years and would get to hear how she ran her B2C accounts or how she’d artfully manage a crisis with a client. I started at Franco when I was 26, so here I was, taking mental notes and learning from these incredibly seasoned practitioners with decades of experience. I came in with a marketing background and a master’s degree in organizational communication, but hadn’t really practiced PR in an agency setting yet. That proximity and their willingness to take us younger folks under their wings was incredibly valuable to me in those early years.  

There was also (literally) bringing the Internet to Franco. I think I was one of the agency’s first Internet users. I originally met Dan Ponder when the company I was at before Franco was interviewing Franco as a potential agency partner. While we went in another direction, Dan came back to recruit me several months later. As someone who was six months pregnant at the time, I was SHOCKED Dan wanted to bring me on board, knowing maternity leave was right around the corner…but he believed in me and knew my knowledge would help develop Franco’s technology practice. One of the first things I did at Franco before the baby came was bring networked computers into the agency. I remember physically daisy chaining computers down the hallway and convincing the senior practitioners that computers weren’t scary!  

What was your biggest learning moment at Franco? 

It’s hard to sum up everything I learned…I learned so much. Beyond PR skills, I learned a lot about Detroit. I was born in Detroit, then my parents moved us to the suburbs and that’s where I worked after college. So, coming to work in Detroit was very exciting. It’s what later inspired me to become a TEDxDetroit producer for 13 years. I owe the love I have for this city to my time at Franco. There is such a sense of community that comes with working in Detroit…the Spirit of Detroit is more than a statue!  

What about your experience at Franco makes you more effective in your current role? 

My time at Franco set the foundation for my career. I didn’t feel like I had found my career before coming to Franco. Working at Franco made me realize I loved public relations. I think I had a brilliant PR career and I really owe it, in part, to Franco. Franco also gave me a strong foundation in technology because I was able to specialize in it relatively early in my career while exploring other industries.  

What did you enjoy most about working at Franco?  

It was fun! There were great parties and social time, but it was the people more than anything. I met so many great people. Working at Franco really was the golden era of my career.  

What makes Franco stand out from other agencies?  

Franco’s long history as a top PR provider in the Detroit area is special. The cultural connection is deep and readily apparent. Just think about the hundreds, maybe thousands of highly successful careers it spawned. The knowledge base of key industries like automotive, real estate and serving non-profits is unsurpassed.  

After years of working at my own firm and in other roles, it’s really exciting to be back to working with Franco as an executive coach partner! Where could someone have a full circle moment like that? Only at Franco!  

Would you like to share your Franco alum story?  

Email Senior Integrated Communications Specialist – Digital Kaiti Horn and let her know you’re interested in helping us celebrate our 60th anniversary with your story!