(Left to right: Antonice Strickland, Kelsey Hartung, Jerel Jones and Sabira Rahman)
After the initial announcement of Van Dyke Horn Public Relations (VDH) and Lambert joining forces on March 30, we asked, what’s next? VDH today announced the hiring of four seasoned staff who make up the agency’s 11-member team.
VDH announced a strategic partnership with Lambert, a national integrated communications agency, on March 30, joining two of Michigan’s top PR agencies. VDH remains a Minority Business Enterprise (MBE) business as it has for the last 24 years. The new alliance provides both firms with new opportunities and capabilities, including creative services, multimedia production, website, social media management and digital marketing. Both firms are already bringing shared assets and services to the table for their clients to help achieve goals. VDH plans to rename and rebrand in the next few weeks.
Kelsey Hartung and Antonice Strickland, MPS, join VDH as Senior Account Executives. Jerel Jones and Sabira Rahman have both joined as Account Executives.
Hartung has nearly 15 years of experience in public relations, community engagement, and event planning and management. Before VDH, Hartung handled corporate communications for Ilitch Holdings, Inc. in Detroit. Prior to that, she led communications and event planning for the legal staff at General Motors, served as director of communications and public affairs for the Public Lighting Authority, and worked at VDH from 2011 to 2014, when the agency was Berg Muirhead and Associates. She is eager to return to the storied agency where commitment to the community is the cornerstone of its work. Hartung received a Bachelor of Arts in journalism from Oakland University. She is a member of the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) Detroit and the Rotary Club of Detroit.
Strickland is an award-winning public relations and communications professional with experience across nonprofit, fortune 500, and entertainment industries for a decade. In her previous roles, Strickland headed up marketing and public relations for the Boys & Girls Clubs of Southeastern Michigan, served as a senior account executive with Truscott Rossman, and was the communications manager for Black Women’s Health Imperative from Washington, D.C. She holds a Master of Professional Studies in Public Relations and Corporate Communications from Georgetown University and a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism from Michigan State University. Strickland is a board member of PRSA Detroit and formerly served as Washington, D.C. chapter president of the National Black Public Relations Society.
“Our new hires join our existing staff and senior leadership, bringing more skills and talents into the fold,” said Georgella Muirhead, APR, founder and CEO of VDH, “We continue to break down walls, and barriers to serve our employees, clients and community. This is our home.”
Rahman is an experienced communicator with a concentration in PR, digital marketing, content creating and writing. She earned her Bachelor of Arts in communications and public relations, summa cum laude, from Wayne State University. Prior to VDH, she supported Featherstone, the Children’s Foundation and Beaumont Health with PR, digital marketing and media relations. Rahman is fluent in English, Bangla and Arabic.
Jones previously worked as a freelancer for Upwork and supported the Detroit Health Department with communications and social media before joining VDH. He has experience leading media relations and marketing campaigns for diverse clients through Lovio George, a communications and design agency. Jones received a Bachelor of Arts in communication from the University of Michigan-Dearborn.
“We remain committed to providing the highest quality of services to our clients and our community,” said Marilyn Horn, president and CFO of VDH. “We are eager to bring new capabilities to the table alongside Lambert–including creative services, video production, website design and more. VDH continues to grow in size, services and spirit. We are going back to our roots, which will be at the core of our new name and brand.”
Hartung and Strickland will serve as day-to-day contacts for clients and teams in their new roles. They will lead the development of communications plans, reporting and analytics, communications campaigns, and marketing strategies. Jones and Rahman will play a critical role in implementing program strategies, assisting in PR and marketing plans, while conducting thorough research, media monitoring, and drawing analytics.
“The team keeps knocking it out of the park to attract top talent to the agency,” said Lambert CEO Michelle Olson, APR. “And, our partnership has already opened the doors to opportunities and clients we both would have walked away from alone. The two agencies have skills that continue to set each other apart — and together, we make a stronger team.”