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VOL. 128 | NO. 124 | Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Obsidian Gets New Leader in Memphis Office

By Andy Meek

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After working to help grow Obsidian Public Relations’ branch in Dallas since early 2012, Kerri Guyton has returned to Memphis to take over daily management of the PR firm’s local team.

GUYTON

Obsidian founder and principal Courtney Ellett will still be involved with the day-to-day business of the agency. It’s the firm’s growth over the last few years that’s necessitated the arrangement, so that Ellett is free to focus more on things like business development and the agency’s overall strategy and growth.

“Our culture is such that really hiring someone outside our agency to come lead the team – it just wouldn’t work,” Ellett said. “Kerri was probably always on my mind as the right candidate.”

Guyton will be in the same role that Crissy Lintner held before Lintner moved south to head up Obsidian’s Dallas office. When that happened, Ellett was the primary lead on daily management in Memphis until she could find the right person to step into the role.

“What happened was after Crissy moved, we were in a transition period in Memphis, and I thought the best thing would be to take back the day-to-day duties that Crissy had been doing,” Ellett said. “So I had been doing that for about a year and a half. Kerri spent a year in Texas, and she was handling some Texas clients and some Memphis clients. She just recently moved back to physically being in Memphis. So it was just time for this.”

Like many business owners, Ellett is passionate about even the little things associated with how her business runs. While she’s been in charge of the Memphis office’s daily management, she’s been involved in everything from talking to each account representative about every client to high-level strategy, business development, accounting and editing.

Those duties now will be shared with Guyton, who this September will have been with Obsidian for three years.

“In this position, I’m basically going to be managing the team and managing our account roster, so going from the five to seven clients I handle now to really helping all of them,” Guyton said. “And really just giving a good overall PR perspective to all the clients through the management team.”

Guyton said what sets Obsidian apart from other firms is a “laser focus on PR.”

“I really love PR and we’re very PR-focused,” she said. “We do a lot of things with our clients that relate to communications. We do things like coordinate website development and branding and help with some advertising and marketing, but really that PR strategy is especially what I love.”

Clients are responding to that model, because Ellett said Obsidian landed five new clients in the past week alone. The firm itself also is continuing to expand, with recent hires including Kim Morrison, a Memphis native who just graduated from the University of Memphis journalism department with a concentration in public relations.

She has been with Obsidian since 2012, when she came on board as an intern. In addition to Morrison’s duties as an account assistant, she’ll be Obsidian’s internship coordinator to help guide future interns through the process she just completed.

Obsidian was founded in 2006 by Ellett, and the firm provides strategy and tactical deployment across the PR spectrum. The firm represents clients from across a variety of industries and service areas, including professional service firms to not-for-profits and startups.

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