Lambert & Co. Expands Sales Team to Include Two Industry Veterans

Lambert is bolstering its new business operations with the hiring of Sarah Smith and Karen Keller. The duo will be responsible for strategic growth initiatives to attract and cultivate major clients across industry sectors on behalf of Lambert and its family of companies. Serving as vice president of sales, Smith brings over a dozen years of business development, strategic planning, and integrated marketing experience. She joins Lambert from Olympia Entertainment and The District Detroit. Keller brings more than two decades of experience and a balanced financial and marketing perspective as director of sales for Lambert’s capital markets and investor relations practice.


HOUSTON – Continuing to break the agency norm, 9thWonder and Lambert & Co. today announced an innovative joint venture and co-investment aimed at building the integrated agency of the future. The partnership and capital infusion aims to accelerate the growth of both companies, deepen 9thWonder’s communications, public relations and multicultural market reach, and fund future acquisitions in the U.S. and internationally.

Hispanic-owned 9thWonder is among the nation’s leading marketing and brand strategy firms with offices in Houston, Dallas, Denver, Los Angeles, New York, Argentina and Vietnam. A team of more than 180 professionals support clients in 9thWonder’s consumer, food & beverage, sports & entertainment and B2B practices, and in consumer X — its Hispanic and multicultural marketing unity. Lambert is a national, award-winning public relations, investor relations and integrated marketing firm with clients spanning the globe including the North American International Auto Show, Green Giant Fresh, Bell, The Shyft Group and Faurecia.

“Our focus over the past two years has been to acquire and integrate a collection of complementary agencies, but always with an eye toward a bigger vision of a new business-impact-centric agency model with partners invested in one another and with a shared focus on marketing and communications that deliver to the bottom line,” said Jose Lozano, CEO of 9thWonder. “We found this like-mindedness and similar track record of success in Lambert, and together we can bring best-in-class expertise to our client rosters, and new scale and significance for our teams.”

As part of the strategic investment and joint venture, Lambert acquired the PR practice of 9thWonder. The team will remain based in Houston, adding a Southern hub to the firm’s offices in Michigan, New York and Arizona. Likewise, 9thWonder adds world-class marketing, creative and ad buying firepower to Lambert’s clients and practices in automotive & mobility, consumer, education & social impact, healthcare, investor relations & capital markets, and public affairs.

Additionally, within Lambert’s family of companies is Black and woman-owned diversity, equity and inclusion consulting and diverse board development firm, EQUALSIGN, who will join with 9th Wonder’s Consumer X team to offer a full-spectrum of multicultural marketing and environmental, social and corporate governance (ESG) expertise. This is a key element in the partnership and one that both firms feel is extremely important for the future landscape of businesses and marketing.

“We are excited to invest in 9thWonder as part of the growing Lambert Family of Companies and believe this unique agency partnership and co-investment model will be another catalyst in our accelerating growth,” said Jeff Lambert, founder and CEO of Lambert. “Jose and the 9thWonder team are a perfect complement to our offerings in PR, investor relations, crisis communications and diversity consulting; their office network is a hand-glove fit with our regional hubs in Michigan, Arizona and New York, and we both have an active M&A strategy that we believe will be compelling to owner entrepreneurs looking for an alternative to the agency networks.”

As part of the agreement, Jeff Lambert will join the 9thWonder board. Joining Lambert in the deal is an investor group led by Monika Mantilla, a fund manager and capital markets leader with a proven track record of investing in minority, women-led and diverse-owned companies as well as owners and entrepreneurs located in low or moderate-income (LMI) communities. Other terms of the deal were not disclosed.

“We see tremendous potential with the 9thWonder team and their proven multi-market platform and felt the time was right to accelerate their growth with our strategic capital and connections,” said Mantilla. “Our commitment to diverse entrepreneurs and companies, coupled with a shared alignment as Hispanic founders and leaders with complementary national platforms, make this a tremendous opportunity.”

Clayton & McKervey Director of Marketing named to new Crain’s Detroit Business Notable Women in Marketing List

Southfield, Mich.—Oct. 8, 2018—Clayton & McKervey, an international certified public accounting and business advisory firm located in metro Detroit, is pleased to announce that Denise Asker, Director of Marketing, has been selected for inclusion in the Crain’s Detroit Business inaugural Notable Women in Marketing list, featuring acclaimed women marketing professionals from throughout Michigan working in the private and public sector, including professional service firms, non-profits, academia and utilities.

The women marketing professionals were selected based on their career accomplishments, involvement in civic and non-profit activities and mentorship of others in the field. Crain Content Studio worked with advisors in the marketing field to review nominations and select the final honorees. Asker’s profile on the list can be viewed here.

At Clayton & McKervey, Asker is responsible for ensuring that the firm’s leadership teams and their staff achieve their marketing goals. Since joining the firm in 2015, she has introduced multiple new marketing programs, including extensive use of video, social media, thought leadership PR and recruitment-focused marketing. She also leads the firm’s professional development efforts as it relates to marketing training, ranging from a progressively challenging curriculum for staff and formal sales training for the management team. She coordinates the efforts of multiple external marketing agencies on behalf of the firm, including a PR agency, graphics and social media agency, a website development agency and video studio; all but one of these relationships began under Asker’s direction. She also retained and manages the firm’s outside sales coach. Prior to joining Clayton & McKervey, Asker was the Director of the Auburn Hills Chamber of Commerce, which was named Michigan Outstanding Chamber of the Year in 2015 under Asker’s leadership.

Asker is active in civic and professional activities, including the Association for Accounting Marketing (AAM), where she serves on the strategic communications committee and on the planning committee for AAM’s Winning is Everything conference. She is also a member of PrimeGlobal’s marketing industry group. Asker holds a Master of Management from Walsh College and a Bachelor of Arts in Public Relations from Wayne State University. She is a resident of Grosse Pointe.

Asker joins Clayton & McKervey colleague Margaret Amsden CPA, on the Crain’s Detroit Business Notable Women lists. In May 2018, Amsden was named to the Notable Women in Finance list. Her profile can be viewed here.

About Clayton & McKervey
Clayton & McKervey is a full-service certified public accounting and business advisory firm helping closely held businesses compete in the global marketplace. The firm is headquartered in metro Detroit and services clients throughout the world. To learn more, visit


Siren PR adds new clients, grows to a team of 5

Siren PR is growing, adding new clients to its roster and bringing on a new team member. The boutique agency has been retained by Cranbrook Institute of Science for communication strategy, media relations, advertising and collateral support, and by LJPR Financial Advisors of Troy, Mich. for media relations, social media and website management. With this growth, the firm announces the hiring of Heather Klee as senior account executive.

Klee started out with Siren PR in April as a consultant to the firm, and quickly proved valuable in obtaining media coverage for clients such as Detroit Startup Week and NKD Pizza. Her strong writing skills and relationships with the media have resulted in coverage from USA Today, WJBK-TV, WXYZ-TV and many others.

“Cranbrook and LJPR bring us the chance to represent leaders at the top of their fields, championing causes like inspiring a love of science and increasing financial literacy,” said Adela Piper, co-founder of Siren PR. “Adding these clients to our portfolio is an immense source of pride and joy, and bringing Heather on to our team makes the growth even sweeter. She’s charismatic, kind and her media instincts are unbeatable. She’s a perfect fit.”

Klee brings with her a more than five years’ experience in the PR field. Most recently, she managed PR for The Exercise Coach, a Chicago-based fitness franchise with 36+ locations nationwide. Prior to that, Klee served was an account supervisor at a Chicago-based PR firm where she lead several national accounts while managing a six-person team.

Siren PR was founded five years ago by Adela Piper and Lindsey Walenga who set out to build brands and stand behind causes they believe in. Since then, the firm has grown from a two woman shop, to a team of five, and has had the pleasure of working with more than 25 companies, ranging from nonprofits, to startups, to multi-million dollar companies.

Visit for more information.

About Siren PR
Founded in 2012 by two experienced and dedicated public relations professionals, Siren PR is a full-service firm committed to authentic communication and powerful results. From refreshing and strengthening brands, to shouting news from the rooftops, Siren PR seeks to help every client love what they hear. Genuine. Strong. Focused.

Douglas Marketing Group applauds Canada U.S. Business Association (CUSBA) for ongoing binational efforts and recent event hosting Canadian Ambassador to the U.S., David MacNaughton; DMG-sponsored think tank convenes stakeholders on cross-border issues

Douglas Marketing Group (DMG), an international marketing and communications firm with a 25-year history of award-winning creative initiatives, was pleased to take an active role in the Canada U.S. Business Association (CUSBA) event on Oct. 11, 2016 as CUSBA hosted Canada’s Ambassador to the United States, David MacNaughton, at the Detroit Renaissance Marriott.

Speaking to an audience of more than 100 business and community leaders from the greater Detroit and Windsor area, as well as Columbus, Ohio, Buffalo, New York and Niagara, Ontario, Ambassador MacNaughton affirmed the longstanding friendship and trade relationship between the U.S. and Canada and also expressed enthusiasm for the new Gordie Howe International Bridge being built by Canada to encourage further ease of trade between the two countries.

DMG President and Founder Kay Douglas serves as a CUSBA board member and, with DMG offices in Canada and Detroit, is representative of the binational initiatives CUSBA espouses and supports.

“Businesses located in an international region like ours are well positioned to find opportunity and talent on both sides of the border,” Douglas said. “CUSBA is a strong proponent of highlighting the many cross-border business ventures that exist not only in the Detroit/Windsor region, but along the entire Canada/U.S. border and is a wonderful organization for a variety of businesses currently involved in the U.S. and Canada or for those who aim to get involved.”

Immediately following the luncheon event, DMG sponsored a gathering of CUSBA members, guests and other binational stakeholders for a strategic think-tank activity focused on an in-depth review of a variety of binational issues. Two luncheon and think tank attendees, Barry Wright, Dean of the Goodman School of Business at Brock University in Ontario, and Kathryn Friedman, Research Associate Professor of Law at the University of Buffalo in New York and Global Fellow, Canada Institute (Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars), offered comments.

“Management of the Canada-U.S. relationship is complex, as much activity takes place outside of Washington DC and Ottawa in regions all along the northern border and in the heartland of both countries,” Wright said. “We have our disagreements, to be sure, yet the relationship should be lauded as the global model for how federal, provincial, state and local leaders can constructively engage with each other on issues as far-ranging and complex as trade, transportation, security and economic competitiveness.”

Friedman added insight on how to leverage potential synergies in the cross-border Detroit-Windsor and Buffalo-Niagara regions.

“Recent reports suggest that cross-border regions are becoming more globally competitive for firms and talent,” Friedman said. “This demands that we better understand both the promise and the peril presented by virtue of the fact that we live, work and play in cross-border regions.”

All CUSBA board members are committed to the goals of the organization and eager to play a part in realizing the CUSBA mission. As a communications firm, DMG was pleased to provide support for CUSBA’s Ambassador MacNaughton event with media relations and outreach.

Media from both sides of the border were present for the Ambassador’s talk and media coverage included:

Canadian broadcast coverage also included CTV and AM800.

DMG has 15 staff members and offices in Detroit, Mich. and Windsor, Amherstburg and Welland, Ontario. With an early focus on technology as well as trademarked and licensable marketing campaigns that have been launched in Mich. and Ontario, DMG has built a reputation as a cross-border marketing powerhouse.

Learn more about CUSBA at the CUSBA website.

About Douglas Marketing Group

Celebrating a quarter century of providing art- and technology-infused, relationship-based marketing solutions, Douglas Marketing Group (DMG) is the visionary behind the marketing brand management software and visual roadmap, DMG Big Picture Landscape® and its companion software, ROIAlly™, the strategic marketing return on investment budget tracker. With offices in Detroit, Mich. and Windsor, Amherstburg & Welland, Ontario, the full-service marketing and communications firm offers international reach and local appeal. Learn more at

Douglas Marketing Group hires veteran Detroit leader for its U.S. office expansion; U.S./Canada cross-border marketing initiatives define firm’s 25-year history

Douglas Marketing Group LLC (DMG), an international marketing and communications firm with a 25-year history of award-winning creative initiatives, announced Sandy Hudson has joined the firm as Vice President to lead its Detroit office. The announcement was made by DMG President and Founder, Kay Douglas.

“The hiring of Sandy Hudson is the culmination of a ten-year business relationship that has grown through trust, creativity and ongoing collaborations,” Douglas said. “He’s a confident leader and team builder with strong Detroit roots and is uniquely positioned to lead the expansion of our client base in the Detroit market and to continue building a national footprint of clients.”

Hudson has been a mainstay in the Detroit healthcare and nonprofit scene, with six years as Chief Development Officer for Henry Ford Health System and three years leading the Detroit Wayne County Health Authority, among his impressive credentials. Immediately prior to joining DMG, Hudson established the Detroit-based Wins for Warriors Foundation for Detroit Tigers pitcher, Justin Verlander, and served as the organization’s CEO and Executive Director. At DMG, Hudson will direct the activities of the Detroit office, including staff supervision, business development and community outreach.

Under Hudson’s direction, DMG USA immediately plans to roll out DMG’s Big Picture Landscape® communications management software and ROIAlly™ return on investment application to U.S. clients, while expanding the Detroit team with creative and support positions focused on technology-infused marketing.

DMG has been a committed civic partner in Detroit for the last 15 years, providing support to numerous nonprofits. Douglas, who has led a variety of Detroit and Windsor initiatives, including serving as Past President of Executive Women International Detroit – Windsor Chapter, expressed her enthusiasm for strengthening DMG’s ties in the U.S. during the firm’s 25th anniversary year.

“We are pleased to continue serving our long-time U.S. clients and are excited about the growth opportunities here in Detroit,” Douglas said. “Douglas Marketing Group has a strong foothold in the Detroit/Windsor region, and it’s one of the many unique distinctions that set us apart. When the business launched in 1991, it did so by thinking big, never pigeonholing DMG as a small, Windsor-based firm. Instead, DMG was positioned as an asset to an international region, and our longstanding client relationships on both sides of the border support that view.”

DMG has 15 staff members and offices in Detroit and Windsor, Amherstburg and Welland, Ontario. With an early focus on technology and trademarked and licensable marketing campaigns that have been launched in Michigan and Ontario, DMG has built a reputation as a cross-border powerhouse. Hudson welcomes the opportunity to lead DMG USA as the firm enters its next evolution.

“Detroit is ripe for a marketing and communications firm that can leverage its top-notch creative talent and a tech innovation focus with extensive knowledge of cross-border business development with clients that see business opportunity within this international region,” Hudson said. “I am honored to be a part of a company that has such strong business and community relationships, and we will build on that success to bring our talents and expertise to even more clients throughout the next 25 years.”

Hudson holds a master’s degree in health services administration from the University of Michigan and an undergraduate degree in political science from Union College. He is a resident of Grosse Pointe Woods.

About Douglas Marketing Group

Celebrating a quarter century of providing art- and technology-infused, relationship-based marketing solutions, Douglas Marketing Group (DMG) is the visionary behind the marketing brand management software and visual roadmap, DMG Big Picture Landscape® and its companion software, ROIAlly™, the strategic marketing return on investment budget tracker. With offices in Detroit, Michigan and Windsor, Amherstburg & Welland, Ontario, the full-service marketing and communications firm offers international reach and local appeal. Learn more at

Heather Zara, Founder + CEO of Zara Creative, recognized by DBusiness; 30 in Their Thirties

Founder and CEO | Zara Creative, Troy | Employees: 9 | Revenue: NA | Michigan State University

Heather Zara’s friends thought she was crazy to quit her 10-year sports broadcasting career to open a video company that specializes in TV commercials, branding videos, philanthropic films, and weddings.

“It’s funny because I never thought I’d be an entrepreneur, but I was always fascinated with why people became successful,” Zara says.

She started with zero funding but, in just over three years, Zara Creative has grown to serve more than 500 clients ranging from nonprofits to Fortune 500 companies. It has nearly doubled its sales every year.

Zara estimates that weddings make up about 35 percent of her business. They’ve taken her and her crew to far-flung destinations like Cancun and Miami, and in Michigan to Petoskey and Glen Arbor. Because her business has grown so much, Zara recently turned over supervision of the wedding portion of her firm to one of her employees.

Zara, meanwhile, maintains direct responsibility for the rest of the business. “It’s really cool because it almost ties back to my days as a reporter,” she says. “Every time I work with a client I get to learn about their business.”

The video storyteller prides herself on always trying to push the creative envelope for clients. One client, a lawyer, wanted a commercial shot in his library, with him standing in front of shelves of law journals.

“After he told us what he was looking for, I asked him if he was married to that idea,” Zara says. “I just thought we could do something more creative.”

Instead, she made a commercial intended to make the attorney’s target audience laugh. “The lawyer wasn’t even in it,” she recalls. “He ended up getting a ton of new business and we won a national award.”

Zara says her philanthropic efforts are a driving force in her life: She works with more than 30 Detroit-area nonprofits, serves on committees for the Boy Scouts of America, and is one of the sponsors of the newly-relocated Ronald McDonald House at the Detroit Medical Center.

Franco President Maria Leonhauser to Retire in December

DETROIT (Nov. 11, 2013) – Detroit-based Franco Public Relations Group today announced that President Maria Leonhauser will retire at the end of 2013. Native Detroiter Tina Kozak, executive vice president and chief operating officer, will succeed Leonhauser as Franco’s president effective January 1, 2014. Leonhauser will continue as a consultant with Franco.

Leonhauser joined Franco as president in 2000 after 25 years in journalism and corporate communications. During her tenure, she focused on diversifying Franco’s client base and imbuing its culture with creativity and passion. She also championed Franco’s social media discipline.

She is a member of the boards of the College for Creative Studies and Inforum. She has also served on numerous committees including The University of Michigan – Dearborn Citizens Advisory Committee and the American Heart Association Go Red for Women campaign. Among her awards, Leonhauser was named one of Detroit’s 100 Most Influential Women by Crain’s Detroit Business and a Leader and Innovator by Lawrence Technological University and Grant Thornton.

Before joining Franco, Leonhauser was communications director for Volkswagen and Audi in North America. As a journalist she worked at The Bulletin in Philadelphia, The Sacramento Bee and Time and People magazines.

“Franco’s priority has always been service excellence,” said Dan Ponder, Franco’s chairman and chief executive officer. “Maria instilled a new energy and enthusiasm into its delivery. I’m confident that Tina will not only advance our commitment to service excellence, but also identify other relevant initiatives to better serve our clients and employees.”

Kozak joined Franco in 2007 as an account manager overseeing the firm’s automotive practice. In her most recent role as executive vice president and chief operating officer, she has led client service, talent retention and business development. She counsels a range of clients in the auto/tech, healthcare and professional service industries in areas including corporate positioning, community relations and reputation management. She also consults on brand development, crisis communications and strategic planning.

Before joining Franco, Kozak served as corporate communications manager for global auto supplier Metaldyne. She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree with a dual major in Public Relations and Spanish from Wayne State University. She is also a graduate of the Detroit Regional Chamber’s Leadership Detroit XXXIII. She is an active member of the Detroit Economic Club and the Automotive Press Association. Kozak serves on the board of directors for the Michigan Chamber of Commerce and the March of Dimes Metro Detroit. She chairs the Belle Isle Conservancy’s marketing committee and is on the PR Advisory Council at the Detroit Regional Chamber. She resides in Grosse Pointe Park with her husband and two daughters.

“I am honored to have the opportunity to step into this leadership role as the agency enters its 50th year,” said Kozak. “I have enjoyed working with Maria as we’ve implemented this transition plan over the last year and a half. Maria’s commitment to excellence is a hallmark of the Franco culture, and it will continue under my leadership.”

“In 2014 Franco will celebrate 50 years in business in Detroit,” said Leonhauser. “It’s the right time for me to hand my agency responsibilities over to Tina. It’s been a great experience supporting our clients and the Franco team. And while I will continue to support the agency and its clients as a consultant, I will also take my words and ideas in another direction – writing mysteries. “

About Franco
Established in Detroit in 1964, Franco is a full service public relations agency that represents clients in the manufacturing, technology, nonprofit, professional services, health care and consumer industries. Through media outreach, community relations, social media and events (and always with a heavy dose of creativity), Franco helps its clients build their brand, raise awareness and connect with their audiences. For more information, visit

MCCI Expands PR Team, Names Rosemary Tokatlian as Senior Communications Supervisor

SOUTHFIELD, Mich., November 11, 2013 – Integrated marketing agency MCCI has named Rosemary Tokatlian as a senior communications supervisor as part of the company’s continued growth. She is responsible for strategy and execution of public relations, marketing communications and social media for a number of the firm’s accounts. She reports to Rich Donley, MCCI senior vice president, PR/marketing communications.

“The expansion of our public relations team has been a priority for MCCI as demand has continued to grow for our PR service offerings,” said Terrence Oprea, president and CEO. “As a result, we have made a number of strategic hires in the past few months. Rosemary has been a great addition to the team.”

Most recently, Tokatlian was a business development manager for Detroit-based law firm Honigman Miller Schwartz and Cohn LLP. Prior to this, she was responsible for fundraising communications at Children’s Hospital of Michigan and was the managing editor of the award-winning About Children’s magazine.

Previously, she was the membership director for the Detroit Yacht Club where Tokatlian created a successful media and public relations campaign. She also held various director positions at the Detroit Regional Chamber.

Tokatlian serves as the board secretary for The Lake House, a St. Clair Shores, Mich. non-profit, which provides a safe harbor to support, educate and empower those touched by cancer. She earned a bachelor’s degree from Michigan State University and is a resident of Grosse Pointe Park, Mich.

About MCCI
Founded in 1993 as Mort Crim Communications, Inc., MCCI is an award-winning integrated marketing agency that specializes in PR/media relations, video, web/digital, social media and marketing/advertising. MCCI’s clients represent various industry sectors, including automotive, education, energy, government, health care, nonprofit, supply chain and technology. The firm has offices in Detroit; Southfield, Mich.; and Washington, D.C. For more information, visit, or