Meet Claire Chick

Help us welcome a new team member to the O’Keeffe team! Claire joins us with 20 years of experience in public relations, marketing, and investor relations.

Hi there, I’m the newest member of the O’Keeffe team as well as a newbie to the Cincinnati area! I relocated here for my husband’s job after I spent many years working in PR and marketing just up the road in Dayton. I’m thrilled to join such a hard-working, intelligent and fun group of people. It takes teamwork and collaboration to deliver superior results for our clients and we have a great one here.

I have a passion for communications and I have a particular interest in crisis communications and reputation management. I have worked on developing crisis plans for both large and small companies as well as nonprofits.

What’s your best piece of advice for a new marketer?

Don’t ever stop learning. This business is constantly evolving with trends, tactics and technology changing quickly, and as marketers, we need to change with them. You can learn something from people in all stages of their career, from the CEO to the intern.

If you could tell our clients one thing, what would it be?

We consider ourselves your strategic partner. And in order for us to be the best possible partner for your business, we’ll need a thorough understanding of your business, your competition and your strategic plans for growth. We can’t be effective if we don’t have the full picture.

What was the last book you read?

The Dutch House by Ann Patchett. It’s a fantastic story of two siblings, spanning five decades, and their relationship to each other and to the third character, the House. It’s a grown-up fairy tale complete with motherless children and a wicked stepmother. I can’t wait to see the inevitable movie/TV series. If you like audiobooks, Tom Hanks does a great job of narrating this one.

Favorite word?

Sweetie. I use this instead of my kids’ names when I’m talking to them. But I promise I’m not one of those people who uses it with strangers.

Least favorite word?

Moist. Isn’t that everyone’s?

What profession other than marketing would you like to attempt?

I would love to be a travel or food writer. Polly Campbell of the Cincinnati Enquirer has my dream job.

Tell me two truths and a lie.

I’ve lived overseas. I’m a great dancer. I’m addicted to Diet Coke.

Meet Kaitlyn Dwenger

Meet our new intern, Kaitlyn, and get to know her a little better.

Hi there! My name is Kaitlyn Dwenger and I just began my fall internship with O’Keeffe PR. I am a fourth year student at the University of Cincinnati and I am studying Rhetoric and Professional Writing, as well as pursuing a certificate in Copyediting and Publishing. I have loved reading and writing since I was little (thanks, Harry Potter), so after stumbling as a nursing major for a semester, I found my rightful place as an English major shortly after. I have had some amazing internship opportunities to explore the world of marketing and communications, and I’m extremely excited to now add public relations to that list.

Why did you want to intern with O’Keeffe PR?

I was excited by O’Keeffe from the beginning—I am eager to learn and I can tell these folks are eager to share their knowledge. Because I have never worked directly in public relations, I thought an internship would be a great chance to get my feet wet and broaden my skill set.

If you could tell our clients one thing, what would it be?

You’re in good hands! I’ve barely been at O’Keeffe for two weeks and I truly believe our people know what they are doing and have our clients’ best interests at heart.

What was the last book you read?

I recently finished “Where the Crawdads Singby Delia Owens. You know when you finish the last page of a book and you feel a swarm of emotions and aren’t quite sure how to describe it? That’s how I felt after completing this book. I recommend you check it out if you like mystery or romance.

Favorite word?

Shenanigans. It’s just fun to say.

Least favorite word?

Opportunity—but only because I consistently misspell it and second guess myself every time.

What profession other than marketing would you like to attempt?

I am very intrigued by the world of publishing—so maybe a career somewhere in that industry.

Tell me two truths and a lie.

I have met Taylor Swift. I fractured my skull when I was little. I crashed my car the first day I got it.

The O’Keeffe Writing Playlist

We’re sharing our best writing tips as well as our writing playlist. Find your new favorite writing music!

Ask any writer what they write to, and you’re more than likely to get a very specific answer. From jazz to techno to classics of the 1960’s, all of us have that specific playlist that helps us write. In honor of all of the writers out there, we’re sharing a few writing tips as well as our team writing playlist that help us create that perfect piece of content.

Writing Tips

Don’t be afraid to exercise the madness of your methods.

Whether it’s earplugs, a specific huddle room, or a coffee ritual, lean into the method that helps you write your best content. Often a change of environment can reignite your writing voice, and the O’Keeffe tribe is fond of shifting to a local coffee shop or bar with strong wifi to finish a day. Pro tip: if you’re an open office like we are, over the ear headphones paired with earplugs can be your saving grace. You may look crazy, but at least you’ll be productive.

Read it aloud to edit.

This one harks back to my writing center days (shout out to the Xavier University Writing Center!). Reading your content out loud helps you catch missing words, awkward phrasing, or other strange constructions that your brain misses when you’re just reading.

Discover your writing style.

There are two primary methods of attacking a writing project: creating an outline or diving straight in. Often in a business context, you’re going to lean into the outline method because of the depth of the topic, but sometimes the best blogs come from a keyword and some dedicated creating writing time.

Find an editor.

No writer can edit their own work. It’s nearly impossible to gain the kind of distance from a piece of content that’s needed in order to effectively edit it. Even a nonwriter is better than no editor at all, and I’ve found that often someone who isn’t close to a project is more able to spot confusing sections or incomplete information.

Writing Playlist

Our writing playlist reflects music that we all write to, but it also reflects who we are as a tribe. Dan added some jazz standards, Lisa offered techno, Jocelyn gave us a grab bag, Rob had a mix of rock classics, Dale offered the country, and I included the jazz classics. We’re a bit of a mix ourselves, but somehow it works to form a strong collective. Hopefully you’ll find some new favorites, but please don’t judge us. We make no claims about how it works as a playlist overall.

Listened to our music selections and want to learn more about the people behind the tribe? Let’s connect!

Busy vs. Productive

Are you busy or productive? Lisa Dyson digs into the drawbacks of being busy.

Three Tips to Keep You Performing Without Losing Your Mind

There seems to be an unspoken badge of honor associated with being busy. When asked how work is going, often the response is something along the lines of, “Oh, I’m crazy busy right now” or, “This is our busy season, so it’s kinda bananas” or only “BUSY.” To which the individual who posed the question will often reply, “Great to hear, busy is good.” However, is it? Is merely being busy a sign of accomplishment or somehow job security? 

Busy, as defined by Merriam-Webster, is “engaged in action” or “being in use.” That makes me think of a constant state of motion with zero rest. I don’t know about you, but to me that sounds exhausting. A 2016 Fast Company article about busyness and the brain says this; “Since an overly busy life is so often linked to stress, the result of not having enough downtime could release hormonal chemical cortisol that temporarily shuts down our digestive and immune systems. This could stop us from performing at maximum potential, keeping our bodies in a constant ‘fight-or-flight’ mode.” Yikes! So maybe busy is not good?

However, this is real life, and we have work and kids and pets and friends, and how could one not be continuously engaged in action? Is there any way around this cortisol-creating way of life? I believe there is. The benefit of productivity is accomplished goals and tasks, and the opportunity to enjoy some downtime. Here are three tips to help you cut the busy and become more productive.

Make a List

There are two types of people in the world; the listers, and the non-listers. Here’s some tough love- if you’re not a lister you should be. Our brains are bombarded with millions of messages each day. If you do not write down items that need to be accomplished, those thoughts will flitter away with the wind. Losing track of what needs to be done only creates more busyness when that one thing is eventually remembered. Instead of it being a manageable task, it has now ballooned into a massive operation with a tight timeline to finish. Don’t set yourself up for this; write it down or type it up, do it!


OK, so making a list alone does no good if everything you write has equal importance. Take a look at what you have written and move the items that you need to accomplish first at the top (you can also color code or star them). Put the things that have a longer timeline below that, and the ones that you’d like to do, but it’s OK if it hangs out and collects dust for a bit, at the bottom. Now, start at the top and work your way down. Some of those deprioritized items will hang out at the bottom for days or weeks, and that’s OK! The important thing is that they have not fallen off your radar and you’re still aware they exist. So, here’s the FUN part, once you have completed an action item, make sure to move it from your to-do list to your Ta-Da list! There is something to be said for looking at your list with strikes through the items that have been completed. You are on your way to being productive, my friend!

Say No or Ask for Help

This last one is the hardest. Most people who are busy are that way because they are not lazy. They take additional tasks on and desire to make the most of their time. These same folks who take on too many jobs are (generally speaking) the same people who do not like to say no or ask for help. This can lead to excessive busyness and eventually burn-out. My advice is to take a look at your list when asked to take on a new project or task. Assess your priorities and see where you’re not the best person to tackle the job, or if others can come alongside you to work toward the goal. While this may take some pride-swallowing, it will make you more productive at the end of the day.

While these tips might not be earth-shattering, if put into practice, they will work. If you’re struggling and feel like there is never enough time to do the things you love to do, give this a try for a week and let me know your thoughts. That is, if following up is on your to-do list, of course!

Need help prioritizing your communications? Let’s connect!

Meet Morgan King

Meet the newest O’Keeffe intern, Morgan King. Morgan is a recent graduate from Ball State University and has a BS in Public Relations.

Hello there! Morgan King here, O’Keeffe’s new PR and Marketing Intern. I am a recent graduate from Ball State University in Muncie, IN. When arriving at college, I was slumped with the thought of “how the heck am I supposed to know what I want to do the rest of my life.” I was involved with journalism classes throughout high school, and introduced to the public relations world in my sophomore year of college. I quickly became interested in all areas of public relations such as event planning, writing, and social media. And to think there’s even more to PR!

Why did you choose this industry?  

Before being introduced to the public relations world, I first thought I was going to put my journalism skills to the test in the world of news and broadcasting, but I soon learned that being behind the scenes of things interested me more. I love being able to see things finally come to life at the end of the project.

What advice would you give to someone trying to break into the industry?

Networking. Networking is crucial in today’s world. Along with networking, I would also say another critical point when coming into the industry would be to know your brand and stand for it. Being able to represent your brand to others right away is helpful when trying to connect.

What’s the last book you read?

The last book I read through definitely had to be a college textbook. I am currently reading “You are a Badass,” by Jen Sicero. From someone who just recently graduated from college, this self-help book gives me the confidence to tackle anything in the real world.

Favorite word?

Garlicky. Just the thought of this word can make me hungry!

Least favorite word?

“Umm.” For some reason, I can always point this word out when someone starts using it over and over again. It is most definitely a pet peeve of mine.

What profession other than PR would you like to attempt?

I have a love for dogs, so it would be a dream to be able to open up my own shelter one day. I mean, who wouldn’t want to hang out with dogs every day?

What’s the best thing about our line of work?

The best thing about O’Keeffe’s line of work is seeing the array of talent from the team members that are brought to life for each of the client’s needs. You can most definitely see the passion that is put into all of their work.

Tell me two truths and a lie.

I have a twin sister. I was born in Orlando, Florida. I was the first to graduate from college in my family.

Improv With the Tribe

The O’Keeffe tribe attended an improv workshop. Here’s what we learned.

Last week, the O’Keeffe team nervously trudged over to Rebel Pilgrim for an improv workshop hosted by Joe Boyd himself. Most of the group went in blind save for our fearless leader, Dan O’Keeffe (who is both a PR mastermind and an actor), and myself (a former theater kid hailing from California, land of mime workshops and bad productions of Othello set in space). Lisa also professes some theater background, and we bonded over our introduction to the National Thespian Society back in high school. Which is to say that about half the team had some idea of what was about to happen and the other half was willing to trust me on all of this.

I say nervously because I actually hate improv. It’s a personal thing. It’s like jumping off a cliff, and the only way to not die is to shut off your brain and fervently ignore anything past the fourth wall. I also desperately seek approval which means that I was willing to volunteer as long as someone patted me on the head afterward (It me, amirite?).

Thanks to the kind tutelage of Joe, the tribe was soon off and running on a series of energy exercises and mind reading. We had a fantastic time, and Rebel Pilgrim is the kind of relaxed, nonchalant but utterly genius company that you can’t help but love.

Like the marketing nerd that I am, I begged the team for lessons learned for a blog. This blog. Because content. Here’s what we learned.

Lessons from Improv

– We learned how to think and step outside of our comfort zones, which of course fuels our creativity. Our clients depend on us to be more creative than they are or think they are.
– We learned how to spark creativity in others. Of course, that’s a benefit in collaborating amongst ourselves and within our client teams.
– We learned how to work as a team, especially when under pressure and without much or any direction. To work efficiently and effectively, we must know how to read each other’s actions and intentions.

– Dan O’Keeffe

I anticipated the improv session would involve comedy, and many interactions between teammates were hilarious. However, the exercises Joe guided had much deeper motives. We were guided to interact and work together in ways none had ever experienced before. Working together in very unfamiliar situations forced us to define individual roles quickly.
The exercises demanded collaboration. What I learned was that our objective performance (achieving the immediate goal) improved, but also our subjective performance (our view of our personal performance in helping to achieve the goal). As we gained empathy for one another, we gained self-confidence as individuals.
One particular exercise was to answer any opening interaction with the word ‘Yes,’ to be open to new experiences, dialogues, and situations. We were guided to build new interactions spontaneously. Rather than individuals focusing on their performance only, success demanded empathy, collaboration, spontaneity, and interaction with others. We built trust among ourselves and had a lot of fun in the process. I highly recommend Joe’s program.

– Dale Justice

The improv class taught me a lot about client relationships and teamwork.
It’s about entering into a situation, about which you have very little control or previous knowledge, and going with the flow. By surrendering to it and affirming external suggestions (“yes, and…”), you can steer the situation toward your desired conclusion.
Also, being thrown into an improvisational situation with my team members was a huge trust builder. Think boot camp for non-verbal and other communication skill nuances, giving your teammates permission to take a chance on things and helping them to succeed with your own creativity.

– Rob Dietrich

– We were encouraged to “play.” This perspective helped lighten the mood and encouraged us to keep the conversation or idea moving, even if we made a mistake.
– The random scenarios put us in situations where we had limited information or context. We had to think on our feet and rely on each other to tell a story that made sense.
– In PR we often work within our team and with clients to tell a story. Using the phrase “yes, and” to build on ideas with clients will help creative solution to fit their unique needs.

– Jocelyn Summers

– The space was open and bright and allowed for freedom in creativity.
– Joe was thoughtful and relaxed and encouraged a “safe space” to express.
Take Aways:
– Be mindful when listening and let the other person know that you hear what they’re saying and together you will find a solution. Take their thoughts and build on them.
– Slow down and focus on the goal – together.
– Three in a row of anything is funny, after that it’s overkill.

– Lisa Dyson

Love working with collaborative folks who can do a mean improv scene? Reach out so we can tell your story together.

Chasing Confidence and 4 Tips to Catch It

Breaking Through Imposter Syndrome

I remember my first agency job and the butterflies that never really seemed to go away. I remember thinking, “I’m too inexperienced for this” and “don’t they know I have no clue what I am talking about?” I marveled at the fact that super-sharp professionals were asking for my thoughts and feedback. I had an overwhelming case of Imposter Syndrome. For those of you who have abounding confidence, you may not be familiar with this condition. Wikipedia defines Imposter Syndrome as:

a psychological pattern in which an individual doubts their accomplishments and has a persistent internalized fear of being exposed as a “fraud.” Despite external evidence of their competence, those experiencing this phenomenon remain convinced that they are frauds, and do not deserve all they have achieved. Individuals with impostorism incorrectly attribute their success to luck, or as a result of deceiving others into thinking they are more intelligent than they perceive themselves to be.

Yikes! No wonder the butterflies were in a constant flutter. While I’d like to say that it eventually went away and I got into a rhythm and everything fell into place, that’s not quite how it happened. I had a few rough years and some not-so-great work experiences. I was told on more than one occasion that I needed to speak up and talk more in meetings. I was also told there was no place in the agency world for wallflowers. I was also once told that I needed to laugh more in the office, but that’s another blog post entirely #amIright?

I’m happy to report this is no longer an issue for me. Work confidence isn’t a problem; I can lead a meeting and a client with ease and yes, I can now laugh freely in the office. So, if you’re currently in the position that I was many moons ago, and you’re wondering how I did it; I’m going to let you in on four small tips that worked for me.

  1. Watch/ Learn from Those In Your Agency You Admire

This is obvious, but I studied people. I watched how they approached each client, I paid attention to their body language in meetings, and I observed how they would walk into a room. I would note how they took notes, leaned in, twirled their pen and shook hands. I WATCHED EVERYTHING. And after this creepy phase, little by little, I imitated them (this still may have been part of the creep phase…). I would incorporate some of the same behaviors in my work style. When a situation or a meeting came up, I would think to myself, “What Would ‘Work-Idol’ do.” Eventually, this roleplay became a way of life, and the line between my “act” and my actions became blurred.

  1. Prepare

Know your stuff. When you do your homework and know your client and their business backward and forwards, you can rest easy in your expertise. Your client hired your agency because you can provide a service that they cannot do for themselves. They’re great at producing widgets, and you’re great at telling the widget story. Rest easy in that, but also make sure that you do indeed know what you’re talking about. Don’t be afraid to ask questions but also be sure you’re proactive, too.

  1. Dress the Part

Ok, this isn’t going to win me any new fans. I know one of the perks of working at an agency is the option to look like you’re an unaware college freshman who bought into the myth that people wear their pajamas to class. (Side note, if you’re a high school senior, THIS IS NOT A THING, get dressed before you leave your dorm room.) For those of us who are in the agency world, it may be easy to fall into the trap of sporting “loungewear” if we do not have a client meeting. I would caution you against this. Whether we like it or not, how we present ourselves outwardly says something about us to the rest of the world. Unconsciously, it may be difficult for our coworkers and counterparts to take us and our work seriously if we look like we got dressed in the dark. And even beyond others, think about how dressing “smart” makes you feel about yourself. If you know you look like you should be there, you’ll work like you should be there. So, unless your Mark Zuckerberg (and even then, it’s questionable) leave the hoodie on your futon, freshman.

  1. Fake Confidence Until You’re Confident

This may seem silly or easier said than done, but it is true and actionable. Early on in your career, or if you find yourself in a new job or a new company, it’s okay to be nervous. New things can be scary. Rest easy that you are smart, thoughtful and have the brainpower needed to do the job. As noted above, if you need more information to prepare, ask questions and then make notes of what you are told. Speak up and let others know your thoughts and ideas. The more you throw out there, the more those around you will see and know that you have insights to offer. Even if you don’t always knock it out of the park, you have demonstrated thought leadership.

Chasing confidence takes time. Some of us exude it from the get-go, and some of us need to practice. For me, it didn’t come naturally, but I kept speaking up, kept learning more about my clients and their industry, kept preparing each day both internally and outwardly, and I found something amazing happened. I forgot I felt like an imposter, the butterflies packed up and move elsewhere, and I realized I was a valued member of my team who had the talent to be there. I hope that you’re able to evict your fluttering friends, too.

We work collaboratively with our clients to empower them to do the best work they can. Ready to meet your new PR best friend? Let’s connect!

Meet Rob Dietrich

Greetings! I’m the newest addition to the O’Keeffe tribe. My 14-year PR career has been primarily focused on B2B clients- from massive industrial processes to minute imaging devices. I’ve spent time in a mix of corporate and agency positions, gaining experience in a wide range of industries and applications. I’m fascinated with learning the stories behind these products and processes and communicating them to the world.

O’Keeffe is an incredibly gifted and versatile agency, which attracted me from the start with its “do anything” attitude. The culture teems with creativity and a supportive tribe mentality that makes me want to contribute my very best work.

Why did you choose this industry?   

PR chose me! I believe I descended from a long line of oral historians, as our family gatherings involve retelling every embarrassing story from years past. I’ve always enjoyed writing creatively and finding the interesting bits in every application- so PR seemed a natural fit.

What advice would you give to someone trying to break into the industry?  

Treat every client like they’re your top client. Also, tell the truth. It isn’t a “vertical transportation device”- it’s a ladder. But it’s a perfect ladder and here’s why.

If you could tell our clients one thing, what would it be?

These people genuinely care about your success. They take ownership of their work and contribute their best, day after day.

What’s the last book you read?

Medium Raw: A Bloody Valentine to the World of Food by Anthony Bourdain.

Favorite word?


Least favorite word?

Literally. Like literally.

What profession other than PR would you like to attempt?

There’s so much that interests me. Maybe author/ historian? National park ranger? Pilot? Astronomer? I could go on.

What’s the best thing about our line of work?

No matter how many years you work in this industry, there are always so many new things to learn. Every day is new and different and weird in all the right ways. I also enjoy the feeling when a story I’ve crafted catches on and spreads like wildfire.

Tell me two truths and a lie.

I’ve climbed two different mountains on the Appalachian Trail. I appeared as an extra in the movie Milk Money. I can play guitar, bass, banjo, drums, and piano.

Meet Jocelyn Summers

Hi everyone! My name is Jocelyn Summers, and I am the newest member of O’Keeffe PR. I love storytelling and exploring the impact of the written word on people’s attitudes. I am a fanatic of all things digital but have a love-hate relationship with HTML. I have experience in corporate communications and have developed public relations strategies for local non-profits. I approach every day as an opportunity to learn a new skill.

What drew me to O’Keeffe was their culture. From the moment I stepped through the door, I knew they were passionate about their team and equally passionate about their clients. I am excited to be a part of the tribe!

Why did you choose this industry? 

I have a passion for writing. When I was a kid, I convinced myself that I was going to be the next J.K. Rowling. But through the years I learned that you don’t need to write a novel to tell a story. So, here I am!

What advice would you give to someone trying to break into the industry?

Be tenacious. I know that this is easier said than done, but if you fall, get right back up, take a lesson from it and try again. If you listen to feedback and constructive criticism, you will be amazed at the skills you develop.

If you could tell our clients one thing, what would it be?

We do care about each of our clients. The passion I sensed my first time meeting the team has only grown since I’ve joined O’Keeffe.

What was the last book you read?

A friend of mine gave me “You are a Badass,” by Jen Sincero for my birthday and I have read half way through it. It’s a fact I already knew, but I appreciated the reminder.

Favorite word?

Cattywampus. Say it out loud; you’ll love it too…

Least favorite word?

Definitely. I spelled it wrong in the 3rd-grade spelling bee, and I have second guessed myself on it ever since.

What profession other than marketing would you like to attempt?

As you may have guessed from other information in this post, an author. Move over J.K. Rowling, J. Summers is the new kid in town!

What is the best thing from your line of work?

I love that I don’t know exactly what my day is going to look like when I walk into the office. I thrive off of the energy and fast pace of being a part of an agency.

Tell me two truths and a lie.

I have a great sense of direction. I am allergic to cats. I am a vegetarian.

Meet Tiffany Ridenour

Hello! My name is Tiffany Ridenour, and I’m one of the bright, new faces here at O’Keeffe. I just graduated from Miami University with a dual bachelor’s degree in Professional Writing and Strategic Communication. During my time there, I was an active member of PRSSA, where I learned a lot about public relations and other career paths. I have a passion for writing and connecting with people, two things that just may come in handy.

I found my way to O’Keeffe PR by not listening to everyone who said the only way to get into the business is networking, even though it’s essential. I’m the first in my family even to attempt college, so giving up wasn’t an option. I found the firm by seeing what was out there and so far, I love what I found. I can’t wait to see where this tribe takes me. 

Why did you choose this industry?

I love writing. I know PR is more than that, but it’s one of the critical things to succeed. You have to be a great writer. Of course, I didn’t like it at first, but it grew on me. After taking a few classes in college that had me create PR campaigns and press releases, I knew it was what I wanted to do.

What advice would you give to someone trying to break into the industry?

Don’t wait around for jobs to appear on those career websites. Go out, research companies, network. You don’t need to know someone to get into this industry, even though it helps A LOT. Figure out who you want to work for and reach out to them. The worst that could happen is they say no.

What are some projects you have worked on?

While at Miami, I created a mini social media campaign and content strategy plan for my hometown, the City of Hamilton. I also created a public relations campaign for a local business in Oxford, Ohio where I created and designed a website for a client.

What was the last book you read?

Besides all those dreaded books that college classes make you read? “Jane Eyre” by Charlotte Bronte. Next on my list is “Sense and Sensibility” by Jane Austen.

What’s your favorite movie genre?

I enjoy horror movies. Like public relations, horror movies have twists that you could never expect or when something will pop up and cause a crisis. It’s hard to predict how everything will turn out, and that’s what fascinates me.

Where do you get your news from?

Like most millennials, I look at Facebook. I use Yahoo when I’m on the go, don’t have time for social media or something important is happening. When I’m home, I’ll probably turn on a local news station.

What is your least favorite word?

Musk. It’s my equivalent to moist.

What profession, other than public relations, would you like to try?

Nursing. I like helping people and making those personal connections is what means a lot to me. Plus, I very rarely get grossed out by things.

Tell me two truths and a lie.

I’ve never been out of the country. I have two dogs. I have a daughter.