Ceisler Media’s Newest Directors Ready for Expanded Role in 2021
Following an extensive firm-wide restructuring, Elise Corbett and Michael Rodriguez were recently named directors at Ceisler Media & Issue Advocacy. While reflecting on an eventful, yet productive 2020, the pair remains focused and optimistic about firm-wide opportunities in the coming year.
Recapping 2020: A Year of Unique Challenges and Considerable Progress
Michael: Despite facing an unprecedented global crisis that impacted all facets of our personal and professional lives, Ceisler Media answered the call and instituted several initiatives in 2020 that allowed staff to better focus on work/life balance, stay connected in meaningful and productive ways, and strengthen internal communication among staffers. It made me proud to know that clients I work with, such as Walmart and Ben Franklin Technology Partners, supported frontline efforts to combat COVID-19 and kept our communities strong. I also began working with Western Governors University, an accredited, online nonprofit university with more than 129,000 students and 214,000 graduates across all 50 states. Seeing first-hand how my clients improved the lives of others was inspiring and made me excited about what 2021 will bring.
Elise: With every new punch 2020 threw, I was grateful to be working alongside team members who quickly figured out how to overcome the challenges and provide unique solutions. As a team, we found ways to be more transparent, flexible, and open to leaning on one another when someone had to attend to personal matters, run errands, or simply needed to take a step back from the world. I am proud to help my clients step up in meaningful ways – including the Chester Housing Authority, which continued to accept new applicants and provide shelter for vulnerable people; and Comcast, a lead partner in PHLConnectED, a program connecting low-income K-12 public and charter school student households with internet service, laptops, and digital skills training at no cost. I am excited to approach this year with a firmer footing to keep meeting the moment and delivering for our clients.
Bringing Unique Perspectives to the Role of Director
Elise: During my time with the firm, I have been able to grow from an entry-level associate to senior associate and now, director. With each different title, I have worked on a range of clients, from statewide coalitions to national foundations to Fortune 50 companies in supporting and leading roles. That gives me a unique perspective when scoping projects and building client teams to truly understand what we need to do on our end to ensure client success – anticipating both external and internal needs.
Michael: During the last 15 years, I have led the communications office for the fifth-largest school district in the nation, spearheaded statewide community affairs initiatives for a Fortune 500 company, and served as a policy director and deputy communications director for the Governor of Pennsylvania. As a result, I have engaged in a wide variety of campaigns on numerous issues, aimed at diverse representation of stakeholder audiences. My experience is applicable to not only my portfolio of clients but also serves as a valuable resource for my teammates.
The Firm’s Direction is Stronger than Ever
Elise: Again, having this new mission and values statement is really exciting for our team. In many ways, 2020 forced all of us to stop and ask whether our old way of doing things was still sustainable. For our firm, we found that to keep growing through 2020 and beyond, we needed to give a thoughtful look at our operations and figure out how to strategically make smart changes for the benefit of everyone, including our clients. We are entering this year with a completely new outlook and direction, and it is all refreshing and encouraging.
Michael: Our line of work is evolving all the time and we have a professional responsibility to evolve with it. Whether it’s adapting to emerging issues or embracing new technology and techniques, we need to stay ahead of the curve if we want to remain as an industry-leading firm. I believe that we are poised to do just that. I have been here for more than five years and I cannot recall a time when there was this much excitement about the firm’s future. Considering the uncertain times in which we operate, that is nothing short of remarkable.
Restructuring Will Set the Tone for 2021
Michael: Ceisler Media features elite, veteran talent mixed in with blue-chip, emerging professionals who are poised to be leaders in the communications and advocacy industries for decades to come. We have worked hard to find this balance. Restructuring brought many necessary changes, but the process is about more than titles. It is about giving talent the support and resources necessary to help the causes we take on as a firm and deliver the best possible outcomes for our clients. As our staff continues to grow professionally, their progress will instill greater confidence and provide additional value to the work we do.
The best truly is yet to come!
Elise: When I was first starting at Ceisler Media, the hiring manager wrote that the firm is an organization in which hard work and dedication are always recognized and rewarded. I agree, and I believe this restructuring will ensure that continues to hold true. This new structure will be beneficial in so many ways, but perhaps most importantly, it will allow for employees to see more career opportunities for themselves within the firm as the company continues to evolve. Having a purpose and a sense of growth is vital for success, on an individual and broader firm-wide level. I think everyone is excited about these new opportunities and to show all that we can do.
As America’s new president said recently: “Let’s get to work.”
Elise Corbett is a Director in Ceisler Media's Philadelphia Office.
Michael Rodriguez is a Director in Ceisler Media's Harrisburgh Office.