2 Arkansas Pros Make Noise in National PR

2 Arkansas Pros Make Noise in National PR
Natalie Ghidotti, president and founder of the Ghidotti marketing firm, and Sharon Tallach Vogelpohl, president and CEO of MHP/Team SI, both of Little Rock

Natalie Ghidotti was deeply honored to be recognized as one of the nation’s 89 Top Women in PR by PRNews, but it wasn’t her only highlight of the holidays.

The founder and president of Ghidotti, a Little Rock public relations and content marketing firm, also got great news from First Security Bank on government forgiveness for her company’s $104,600 Paycheck Protection Program loan from April, when business dropped off significantly in the pandemic.

“It was awesome news a few weeks ago when we found out that was forgiven, and I got a letter from the bank that said it’s all taken care of, which is awesome,” Ghidotti said in a phone interview.

Good cheer in the office was welcome after the discord of 2020, Ghidotti said, describing how her shop had shifted to crisis communications as the pandemic choked other revenue streams. In particular, it helped its many McDonald’s owner-operators and co-ops with messaging on drive-through dining and employee and customer health.

PRNews noted Ghidotti’s work for the fast-food giant in naming her one of 89 women leading the PR industry. “It recognizes women in PR that they kind of counted as the most influential in the communications industry,” Ghidotti said. “So gosh, to be named as part of that is such an honor.”

The award citation from PRNews notes Ghidotti’s McDonald’s clients in Arkansas, Louisiana, Tennessee and Mississippi, as well as Arkansas Children’s Hospital and Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art in Bentonville. Ghidotti also gets plaudits for her campaign recruiting minority officers for the Little Rock Police Department and her work for the Public Relations Society of America.

Ghidotti is also on the board of the Rotary Club of Little Rock, the state’s largest and oldest civic group, and will be its president in 2022.

By then she hopes the economy will have stabilized. Even as her team racked up Prism Awards at the 2020 ARCom Arkansas Marketing & Communications event, as well as two Platinum Awards from PRNews, Ghidotti spent much of 2020 adjusting, she said.

“When COVID first hit in March, thankfully we didn’t lose any clients,” Ghidotti said, though she added that new business leads completely dried up for a time. “We stayed really busy, though, with crisis communications. McDonald’s had to close their dining rooms and go to drive-through only, and of course we work for CHI St. Vincent. Joshua Cook, who’s the main lead on that account, has stayed busy through the whole pandemic helping them.”

Ghidotti isn’t the only woman running an Arkansas company collecting PRNews recognition and other glories for her firm. Sharon Tallach Vogelpohl, president and CEO of MHP/Team SI in Little Rock, was named to PRNews’ 2020 “People of the Year” list, which honors big-impact communicators.

Vogelpohl told Arkansas Business she’s delighted to be recognized, but she emphasized company achievements in 2020. Noting that she calls agency business the ultimate team sport, she said the past year was full of “curveballs for our industry and my partners.” She expressed pride in leading “an incredible team that has excelled in the face of those challenges.”

MHP/Team SI was ranked third by the industry magazine AdWeek on a list of the country’s fastest-growing agencies that have been in business 20 years or more. The firm was 60th on AdWeek’s fastest-growing agencies list overall. “I’ve had an AdWeek magazine delivered to my desk for 25 years, so seeing our firm among the top 100 was powerful,” Vogelpohl said.

Heide Harrell, director of marketing and business development for the Rose Law Firm in Little Rock, told Arkansas Business the state is fortunate to have two of the national industry’s top women.

“Sharon and Natalie are two of the state’s PR powerhouses, and each of their national recognitions are beyond well-deserved,” said Harrell, who is a national PRSA board member. “They continually raise the bar for our industry, and their accomplishments are another example of the high caliber of talent within Arkansas.”

Meanwhile, the Arkansas PRSA chapter announced last week that three members have earned Accreditation in Public Relations, or APR, according to Denver Peacock of the Peacock Group in Little Rock, the chapter’s APR chair. They are:

  • Carson Horn of The Communications Group in Little Rock;
  • Libby Doss Lloyd of the Little Rock Convention & Visitors Bureau; and
  • Casey Pearce of the NYIT College of Osteopathic Medicine at Arkansas State University in Jonesboro.