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VOL. 129 | NO. 80 | Thursday, April 24, 2014

Wilson Joins Inferno as PR Manager

By Andy Meek

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After several years working in Memphis for companies like Varsity Brands and Mahaffey Tent and Party Rentals and Mahaffey Fabric Structures, Beth Wilson’s mind began to turn to the possibility of agency work for the next phase of her public relations career.

WILSON

As luck would have it, Memphis-based advertising, marketing, design and PR firm inferno had a spot open, and Wilson – who’s also finishing up the executive MBA program at the University of Memphis – seized the opportunity. She joined inferno as its new PR manager, reporting to agency partner Dan O’Brien, partly because of her admiration of the company’s culture.

“The people here and the culture are really what drew me to inferno,” said Wilson, who will oversee the firm’s PR team, develop content, manage press releases and supervise event coordination and planning for agency clients.

She’ll also direct social media efforts for clients and the agency as well as provide strategic direction for new business opportunities.

“I started on lucky St. Patrick’s Day, and it’s an honor to be working for such an established and respected agency,” she said. “There’s also this whole ‘fuelanthropic’ initiative where they focus on giving time back to the community, where they give staff members a week of paid civic time to do whatever fuels them, whether volunteering in the local community, pro bono work, things like that.

“Being at an agency or place in general that gives so much back to the community and that’s so involved in the community is something that really pulled me here. I feel like everything I’ve done in my career so far has led me to this point, and I couldn’t be happier to be at inferno.”

That career so far has included stints working as the website content editor for Varsity Brands and developing and leading the marketing department for Mahaffey. O’Brien said Wilson’s “history of success in generating positive publicity, managing client events and developing innovative strategies is the perfect fit for the agency and our client mix.

“She’s also leveraging her interpersonal skills and leadership abilities to help our extremely talented team reach its fullest potential,” he added. “Beth is just the person we were looking for.”

Wilson’s background is in PR, business development and strategic planning. She graduated from the University of Memphis in 2004, majoring in journalism with a PR emphasis. She’s also an avid runner, with membership in the Memphis Runners Track Club, and she holds a board position with the Memphis Regional Chapter of the U.S. Green Building Council.

Her new employer is a full-service agency that serves clients in a variety of industries, including health care, relocation, logistics, retail banking, agriculture, the nonprofit world and entertainment. The company is based in Memphis and has satellite offices in Arkansas and Michigan.

In walking The Daily News recently through how the company approaches its business and its client work, agency partners O’Brien, Michael Overton and Tim Sellers explained that rather than pushing a button to make creativity an instantaneous thing, it starts way back at the beginning, with hiring people like Wilson.

The agency, O’Brien said, tries to hire well and assemble enough talented people that it fosters a culture of creativity. With that foundation, inferno also is a meritocracy in the sense that the firm allows good ideas to come from anywhere in the organization.

Wilson said that before taking the job she’d heard about inferno and by happenstance had run into one of its account executives at an event.

“We got to talking, and I told her I was looking around,” Wilson said. “She said the PR position had come open, I sent her my stuff, and the rest is history.”

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