Unmasking 10 to 1 Employees: Erica Fetherston

Unmasking 10 to 1 Employees: Erica Fetherston

Erica Fetherston, Senior Account Executive –

After starting my career in politics, government, and nonprofits, it’s been fun to experience what “agency life” is all about at 10 to 1 PR. From working with clients of all sizes in a diverse array of industries, to interacting with reporters and editors in media markets across the country, each day brings its own set of challenges and opportunities. I love sharing stories about others.

  1. If you didn’t work in PR, what would you do?
    In kindergarten, I aspired to be a zookeeper. In reality, if I didn’t work in PR, I might have ended up following my parents and becoming a lawyer.
  2. Best advice you’ve ever been given?
    Don’t be afraid to ask for what you want.
  3. What’s your favorite quote?
    “There is only one good, knowledge, and one evil, ignorance.” – Socrates
  4. Who’s your celeb doppelganger?
    I went as Taylor Swift for Halloween once and I think I nailed it.
  5. What’s one lesson you’ve learned from your time in Public Relations?
    It doesn’t take a lot of effort to be nice to others. Between working with clients, journalists, and other PR pros, you never know what someone else is working on or going through, so I always try to make the effort to be as supportive and understanding as I can when working with others.

Unmasking 10 to 1 Employees: Laura Slawny

Unmasking 10 to 1 Employees: Laura Slawny

Laura Slawny, Account Manager –

I was a former television reporter, news producer, and executive producer. I really like storytelling and proud to say I’ve earned four regional Emmy awards and the prestigious Edward R. Murrow award. When I’m not at work, you can usually find me outdoors playing tennis, hiking or camping, riding my bike, working in the garden, or even just reading on my patio.

  1. If you didn’t work in PR, what would you do?
    I would love to be on a writing team for a television series about a diverse group that meets new challenges with each show. I am watching the Star Trek Voyager series now and think it would be a blast to collaborate on a similar format that provides room for character development, creativity, and moral issues.
  2. What’s your favorite book?
    Right now, my favorite book is called The Food Lab, by J. Kenji Lóbez-Alt. It is a cookbook that takes a scientific approach to why some cooking methods work better than others.
  3. Best advice you’ve ever been given?
    “Never be afraid of hard work.” It was one of the many great pieces of advice my Dad gave me. 
  4. Who’s your celeb doppelganger?
    When I was younger, I was told I looked like Laura Dern.
  5. What’s your favorite quote
    My mantra is “Keep moving forward” which comes from a Martin Luther King, Jr. quote: “If you can’t fly then run, if you can’t run then walk, if you can’t walk then crawl, but whatever you do you have to keep moving forward.”  I love this quote and remind myself that no matter how bad things get, I can always do something as long as I have more time.

Unmasking 10 to 1 Employees: Josh Weiss

Unmasking 10 to 1 Employees: Josh Weiss

Josh Weiss, President and Founder –

My first job after college I worked as the Radio Coordinator for members of the Illinois House of Representatives where I effectively created radio press releases for House members.  When deciding to move to Arizona in 2000, I had a choice- choose a career in radio, politics or public relations.  I’ve been working in public relations ever since.  After leading PR efforts at a couple nationally focused public safety/first responder companies, I formed 10 to 1 Public Relations in 2012, and haven’t looked back since.

  1. If you didn’t work in PR, what would you do?
    Radio talk show host or an Ambassador to a foreign country representing the U.S.
  2. What is your most memorable PR experience?
    I’ve had the unfortunate responsibility of leading media relations during Line of Duty Death events for first responders who died as part of their job. Each experience is very intense and emotional, but also makes me very proud of the role I played in coordinating the company response and media coordination needs while ensuring the family and first responder were properly respected and honored through very tragic, and public ordeals.
  3. When you’re not at work …
    Swimming laps, watching my kids play softball and baseball, or streaming movies/shows.
  4. Best advice you’ve ever been given?
    Worry about what you can control (or influence), not what you can’t.
  5. Your favorite magazine, publication, or outlet?
    Washington Post

Why More PR Efforts Should be Coordinated Around Veterans Day

Why More PR Efforts Should be Coordinated Around Veterans Day

My PR team is always looking for opportunities to draw some media attention to our clients for doing something positive.  As part of this effort, we often coordinate media efforts around various holidays and shared cultural events. Out of all the dates on the calendar, I never expected Veterans Day to become my favorite. Both because of what it represents, and the media opportunities it has provided our clients.

Veterans Day has long been one of those specialty holidays recognized mostly by those who have a personal connection to the military.  It’s not part of a three-day weekend, and people often mix it up with Memorial Day which honors the fallen vs Veterans Day which recognizes the living who have served.

My team took Veterans Day efforts to an entirely new gear this year, and I want to share what we did. Not to brag, but in hopes of sparking your imagination or participation for Veterans Day next year.

The Veterans Day Giveaway Idea

We have several HVAC and plumbing clients. One of those companies was founded by a Veteran after WWII, and the company is now lead by his granddaughter (3rd generation).  Five years ago, we launched a now annual Veterans AC Giveaway Contest where the public could nominate a Veteran or their family member in need of a new AC unit or furnace. After verifying nominations and choosing finalists, the public was given the opportunity to vote for the recipient, with the prize awarded on (or around) Veterans Day.

That single contest has expanded.  In 2020 we held the contest in five different cities spanning the U.S. from Miami, Florida to Spokane, Washington. Yes, the contest is a nice thing to do and it’s generated publicity and stories in each City we’ve done it. But it’s much more than a contest.

Our goal is to share personal stories of local Veterans and active duty members that most people never hear about. These are the men and women who left their homes, their families, and their friends to dutifully serve our country across the nation and around the world. Their stories are incredible. Like an Arizona man who joined the Army after the attack on 9/11 to protect our nation and came back with a life-changing injury from a rocket propelled grenade. Or the Florida man who joined the Navy at age 17 and got to take a newly commissioned ship through the Panama Canal. Or the woman who was the first female in her family to join, and now copes with the debilitating effects of PTSD.

In our eyes, they are all heroes. They all deserve notoriety.  So we share their stories using videos, blogs, social media, and often the news media will help us reach a wider audience. These stories have helped old friends reconnect providing them with a sense of hope and some comfort during an increasingly stressful time.

It amazes me how grateful these Veterans are to be recognized. I am also impressed by their shared bond. They understand what it’s like to be too far from home, and why it’s so hard to talk about what they experienced. We are saddened by how many suffer from mental trauma and inspired by how many of them volunteer to help other Veterans heal.

The other major effort we launched was the #VetDayPledge.

The idea started in 2018, when one of our large construction related clients was looking for ways to recognize their employees that were Veterans. We suggested that the company gather employees on Veterans Day a job site or in their warehouse and simply invite all the Veterans to the front of the group to lead their co-workers in the Pledge of Allegiance.  We used smartphone video to then share it with media and post it on social media.  The response from employees who participated was so positive that the construction company expanded it to multiple cities and job sites the following year.

This year, with permission from the client we decided to expand the idea to include any company willing to participate.  Our only request was that anyone who participated include the hashtag #VetDayPledge to unify the message and make it easier for others to see and hopefully participate on their own. In addition to sharing the idea with other companies (clients and non-clients), we invited other PR firms to share the idea and created a website www.VetDayPledge.com with free resources and tips for companies to do it on their own.

I’m so proud that during this campaign’s first year going national and mainstream that we had participants from 10 states!  While some videos came from our clients, the majority of the participants were not!  In addition to several businesses, an elementary school participated, as did a senior living community!

A Wisconsin TV station even did a news story about one of the participants. You can watch the story by clicking here!

We’re excited to grow the #VetDayPledge further next year and believe that without the election (and COVID) related distractions, even more businesses and organizations will participate.  This idea has become a passion project.  We love that it’s a simple, no cost idea that anyone can do to thank our Veterans and their families.

Ultimately, the most important thing for companies to remember when doing a PR campaign around Veterans Day or Memorial Day is to do it for the right reason. We believe that the VetDayPledge and the Veteran AC Giveaway Contest fit that purpose.  Sure, it might generate some positive publicity for our clients, but most importantly, it generates recognition for those who’ve served and sacrificed- the individual veteran, and their families alongside them.

There are lots of great ideas that companies are doing to recognize Veterans. Share them below and help us inspire others!

Giving Back During a Pandemic

A lot of people are feeling helpless right now. We have been cooped up for months trying to do whatever we can to feel productive and hold on to some semblance of normalcy. With quarantine and social distancing protocols in place, non-profit organizations are also having a hard time keeping up with the need for their services. Many fundraising and volunteer events have been cancelled due to the global pandemic, but you can still get involved with virtual volunteering efforts.

We at 10 to 1 Public Relations took time to show how much we support the work that Teachers across the Valley are doing by writing virtual notes to a teacher through the Valley of the Sun United Way’s website. These cards will be sent to teachers and resource staff in the communities that Valley of the Sun United Ways closely works with and will remind our teachers how valued and appreciated they are. It’s an easy and fun team building exercise, which will make a huge impact to those receiving them.

In addition, our client Plexus Worldwide, a leading direct-selling health and wellness company, has been utilizing their paid volunteer time off policy to gather teams of employees together for virtual volunteer projects. At the start of the pandemic, Plexus joined HandsOn Greater Phoenix, a 501(c) 3 nonprofit organization that puts volunteers to work where they are needed most. To show appreciation to medical staff on the frontlines, Plexus employees expressed their gratitude by sending heartfelt letters, cards, and emails to HandsOn Greater Phoenix, which handed them out to medical personnel who are working tirelessly to fight COVID-19. HandsOn Greater Phoenix is still collecting letters, you can contact them directly to see how you can get involved from home – a great idea for a family activity!

In addition, Plexus team members also recorded themselves reading their favorite children’s books for the children at Ryan House. Ryan House’s mission is to embrace all children and their families as they navigate life-limiting or end-of-life journeys. During this challenging time, Ryan House is limited on the number of children and guests they are able to have at their home, but they still want to continue to provide activities that they would normally have for the children. Click on the link or contact them directly to see ways you, your family, or your friends can get involved.

So how else can you help? After months of staying indoors, most people have gone through a DIY or home improvement phase. You can put that decluttering to good use by donating any clothing items, athletic equipment, furniture, office supplies, games, bedding, and other items to charities throughout your community. Collection bins are usually located at schools or near grocery stores, so you can either look up a location online or put the items in your trunk and keep an eye out for a donation bin.

You can discover the wide range of volunteer opportunities at Family Promise, a local Valley organization determined to help homeless and low-income families achieve sustainable independence through a community-based response. Some of their events include organizing a supply drive in your neighborhood, recording yourself reading a story, or helping someone write a resume. Other local organizations that could use your help are Cancer Support Community ArizonaSt. Vincent de Paul, and The Salvation Army – Metro Phoenix, to name a few.

Afterall, just because we’re stuck inside, doesn’t mean we can’t give back.

How to Pull Off an Employee Photo Shoot During COVID

It had been a few years since my company last did head shots or team photos. Then, COVID hit and the team started working remotely. In addition, we gained two new employees in the last seven months.

I knew I didn’t want to wait to get new photos until after the pandemic was over, so I accepted that different employees have different comfort levels about gathering in a group until the risk is fully gone. The challenge became how to schedule a team photo shoot during COVID, thus creating a new library of company images that can be used both in the short, and long-term. 

Knowing a lot of other companies are going through a similar thought process, I thought it would be helpful to share our process and considerations of how to coordinate a company photo shoot during COVID.

Tips on coordinating timing and staff attendance:

  1. Give everyone plenty of notice of your plans to do the photo shoot.  This was important for several reasons. First, it allowed everyone to get comfortable with the idea of coming into the office, even for an hour or two. Second, it gave people time to schedule hair appointments, coordinate care for their kids at home, etc.,
  2. Respect their comfort level in returning.  Getting everyone together at once we knew was going to be out of the question from a distancing standpoint, so we scheduled out blocks for each employee.
  3. Take advantage of overlap times.  We purposely scheduled overlap time as one person was leaving and another arriving.  This allowed coworkers to say hello in a smaller environment, but also provided an opportunity to take some (socially distant) group photos. For example, during the overlap times we were able to spread out in an office or in a conference room to take some team interaction photos.
  4. Be smart about assigning times.  Accepting it likely a shoot may run late, we made sure the first person of the day was the individual who had the shortest available window (due to childcare considerations) to help them get out on time.  Also, the newest member of our team was hired during COVID and had never met his co-workers in person (only via Zoom).  To maximize the in-person interaction opportunity, we scheduled him accordingly between other coworkers.

The other part is figuring out what photos you need- not only now, but for the next year or more. We knew we needed individual headshots, but we still wanted team shots, candid photos, options for social media images, our websites, etc.  We also didn’t want our photo shoot to become obviously dated by COVID to the point a new photo shoot would be needed post vaccine.

Tips for the Actual Photo Shoot:

  1. Set Up Reusable Backdrops: Setting up and testing lighting takes a lot of time, so pre-designate key backgrounds that can be used flexibly, and repeatedly. We had two key backdrops. One was in our main Lobby where our company logo is on the wall. The second we set up all-white backdrop with paper to take general photos. The white backdrop was ceiling to several feet on the floor for team members to literally stand on during their photos. This was designed to allow for easy cropping, adding of backgrounds, colors, etc. 
  2. Head Shots: This was relatively straightforward, but we wanted options. We had each employee take headshots in two locations, with both a formal and business casual outfit. This was designed to give us options and alternatives based on the need.
  3. Extra Headshot tip: Make sure at least one of your headshot backdrops are easy to replicate in office without the professional photographer.  The thinking is if you add new employees, you will want the option to take a photo on your own and still have it generally match your other team members without having to hire a photographer to come out and try to copy the earlier set of headshots.
  4. Mask photos:  In addition to normal photos, we also had each employee take a headshot wearing a mark, and some with it half-off (including one making a face).  The idea being we could do a quick slide/Instagram slide of 3 from mask on to mask off. 
  5. Group Photos:  This was particularly hard since we weren’t going to all be together at the same time.  Working with the photographer (we used Rick D’Elia who did an awesome job), we came up with a few ideas that worked. One was a layer approach- where a background with chairs was set up and wouldn’t be moved. Each team member was then photographed in a different spot and everyone was layered together afterward to make up the complete photo.  The second idea was what we called the Album Covers.  On the all-white backdrop, we tried to copy some iconic group images. One easy example would be the cover of the Abbey Road album cover. We all pretended to walk down the street, and we’ll be cropped and layered onto a street scape. The hope is when people see it, they’ll immediately think of the Beatles cover. 
  6. Prop Shots: We had about a dozen different props.  Each member took photos with them on the white background. The idea of these photos was that they’d be great for social media.  A prop example is we had several American flags.  We’ll now have several photos of co-workers holding flags which we will have the option to use for holidays and events like July 4th, Veterans Day, Election Day, etc.  Another example was everyone brought their favorite piece of sports equipment (a tennis racquet, swim goggles, etc.)
  7. Multiple Outfits: Each employee was encouraged to have 4 outfits (one formal, 3 casual).  The idea was to switch out outfits for the “prop shots” and office candids so that it didn’t look like every photo was taken at the same time on the same day. 
  8. Fool Around and Have Fun: The best photos aren’t always planned. Make sure you tell your photographer to have fun and take candids.  A great example is while taking photos of an employee at her desk, the photographer saw some animal slippers below her desk (yes, she wears them sometimes at work).  The photog loved that, so he took a photo of her at her desk in her animal slippers creating a really fun image.

While a ton of work getting it set up, the entire team agreed it was a great experience and great to come back into the office, even temporarily, after six months working at home.

As to the pictures themselves- they came out great! You’ll start seeming us slip them into our social media posts and website soon.  We’ve now got great library of individual and team photos that can be utilized both during COVID, and afterward.

-Josh Weiss, President of 10 to 1 Public Relations

10 to 1 Public Relations Receives New Review!

At 10 to 1 Public Relations, we know it’s your reputation on the line, so we help clients build and protect their credibility before, during, and after a crisis. It doesn’t happen overnight. You need 10 good things to be said about your company for one bad thing said. That’s why we focus on creating a bank of genuine, positive awareness to build trustworthiness – so you can grow your business today and be more resilient in the future, because your reputation is your credibility. We believe that the best results are those intentionally delivered, working overtime to control the story.

The best product launch PR plan starts with experience. Strategy, execution, media relations – we’ve done it.

Making sure we provide our clients with the best services possible is our number one priority. That’s why we decided to create a profile on Clutch, a B2B ratings and reviews site. This makes it easy to browse real reviews from our clients on their experience with us! In fact, we just received another 5-star review on our profile! An excerpt of the review, along with a project summary can be found below:

“10 to 1 Public Relations’ professionalism and punctuality were impressive.” –Production Manager, Afterthought

Our team helped Afterthought manage a crisis by drafting PR statements that would help to improve the negative situation. We also assisted with customer and community interactions.

Here are some other recent reviews on our profile:

“I have complete confidence in their ability to write content that matches our tone.” –VP Sales & Marketing, Worzalla

“They truly are a team of good people – they’re in it for the long run to get the best results.” –CEO, Envoy America

The value of creating a positive brand image and perception is impossible to calculate, but possible to make the difference when clients are deciding whether to hire you or a competitor. Clutch’s sister site, The Manifest lists top companies and agencies to help you with your search for the perfect partner. Browse through PR firms and read through company descriptions, former clients, and notable projects to find the best fit for your business. See why The Manifest listed us as #2 among 100 of the top PR firms around the world.

Ready to get started or simply looking for more information? Fill out the contact form on our website and someone from our team will get back to you shortly!

Breast Cancer Awareness Month

Chances are you’ll be seeing a lot more pink this month, as October marks Breast Cancer Awareness Month, an annual campaign to increase awareness of the disease. According to the National Breast Cancer Foundation, 1 in 8 women in the United States will develop breast cancer in her lifetime, and this year alone, an estimated 325,000 new cases of breast cancer will be diagnosed in women in the U.S.

1 in 8 women in the United States will develop breast cancer in her lifetime

Our client, Plexus Worldwide, has been supporting women’s health since its inception, with its flagship product the Plexus Breast Chek Kit, designed for women to easily perform monthly self-examinations to help detect changes in their breasts. The company is supporting and recognizing Breast Cancer Awareness Month with pop-up giveaways in the month of October and as part of the Plexus Worldwide Breast Cancer Awareness Month Campaign. The “Pink Wednesday Pop-Up Giveaways” are a social media campaign designed to engage their community and create awareness about self-check breast exams.

Starting Wednesday, October 7, their “Pink Wednesday Pop-Up Giveaways” will occur every Wednesday in October. Followers can participate in their first pop-up giveaway on their Plexus Worldwide Brand Page on Facebook and every other week on their Plexus Worldwide Instagram account. All winners will receive a Breast Chek Kit, in addition to other prizes such as Kate Spade brilliant statements tri-prong stud earrings, Fujifilm Instax Mini 11 Instant Film Camera, Nike Brasilia Just Do It Mini Backpack, and Beats by Dr. Dre Powerbeats Pro Totally Wireless Earphones.

In addition, Ambulnz, an industry leading on-demand ambulance services provider, is drawing attention to Breast Cancer Awareness Month by providing pink ribbon magnets for some of their 350 vehicles in their fleet across the country. In addition, they’re providing pink ribbon lapel pins for their employees to wear and encouraging them to educate themselves and their loved ones on the importance of breast health.

Like these companies, and so many others, October is the perfect time to think about breast health, and the National Breast Cancer Foundation is dedicated to providing educational information from understanding the importance of early detection, to knowing how to prepare for a mammogram. The Foundation has online resources and guides aimed to empower women and men with useful information. In addition to information, there are several different ways you can help, including becoming a community ambassador, sharing your story, or supporting local groups helping to educate the public. Either way, take a moment to read up on breast cancer and encourage the people in your life to do so as well, because when breast cancer is detected early, it can be treated more successfully.

We’re the 2020 Agency of the Year!

Each year, the Public Relations Society of America Phoenix Chapter hosts the Copper Anvils awards to recognize the best public relations campaigns, tactics, agencies, and teams in the Greater Phoenix area. While the event was virtual this year, we were still happy to join colleagues in the industry to celebrate the great work we had done over the last year.

As the awards for campaigns and tactics were coming to an end, it was time to announce the 2020 Agency of the Year (or the public relations agency with the greatest accomplishments of the past year).

And the winner was… 10 to 1 Public Relations!

We are truly honored to be recognized by our industry peers with this award, as we are very proud of how far we’ve grown as a firm in just the last couple of years. Here are just a few highlights:

  • Grew our client list to more than 20 clients
  • More than doubled our staff count since 2017
  • Moved into larger offices in a prime location in 2019
  • Generated more than 2,500 news stories for our clients in 2019 (not wire stories, but direct placements)
  • Handled crisis issues for numerous clients, including one being attacked by Presidential candidates
  • Won the 2019 The Greater Scottsdale Area Chamber of Commerce Sterling Award for top local business
  • Won 4 AMA-Phoenix Chapter Spectrum Awards in 2019, sweeping the public relations category
  • National third-party review website Clutch.co named 10 to 1 PR to the top if its Leaders Matrix of top PR firms, including several individual categories including Healthcare and Crisis Communications

In addition to the recognition of Agency of the year, we walked away with an additional five Copper Anvil awards, a record for our firm! Here they are:

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A Copper Anvil Award of Merit for our community relations campaign for Worzalla to build a better relationship and recognition between the 125-year-old book printer and the local community.
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A Copper Anvil Award for our crisis communications work to help a group of Mesa police officers oust a sexual predator from the department.
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A Copper Anvil Award of Merit for our crisis communications campaign for Havenpark Communities to correct the record and rebuild their reputation.
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A Copper Anvil Award of Merit for our reputation management campaign for Rosendin, building the company’s reputation in key markets across the country as they celebrated their 100-year anniversary.
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A Copper Anvil Award of Merit for our reputation management campaign for Platinum Living Realty, helping the independent real estate brokerage to build and maintain its reputation under a new brand.

Thank you again to PRSA Phoenix and our fellow public relations professionals for all this recognition given to our agency and clients. And our heartfelt congratulations to all our peers and fellow agencies that were recognized with a Copper Anvil award at this year’s event.

Surviving the Election News Cycle

With fewer than 50 days to go until the 2020 General Election, PR pros and casual news consumers alike will have noticed the continued focus on the election during each news cycle. Election-related stories will continue to be a major part of our daily news diet, even amidst a continuing global pandemic, raging wildfires in the west, discussions about social justice, and other pressing issues.

Local and national media alike have been doing a great job to help voters get the information they need to participate in the electoral process. This is despite documented outside efforts to spread misinformation about the election.

At 10 to 1 Public Relations, we’ve been doing our part to build confidence in the electoral process by helping our client Runbeck Election Services, an elections services company focused on delivering election printing, equipment and software solutions, explain the technicalities of how the vote-by-mail process works. This year, Runbeck is planning to print 15 million vote-by-mail packets, four times more than they produced in 2016, as demand for vote-by-mail soars as a safe method of voting during the pandemic.

In the past few months, we’ve helped connect Runbeck to local and national media to explain how vote-by-mail is a safe and secure process which can be trusted by the voters to deliver legitimate results. Here are just a few recent stories featuring Runbeck:

As we have been working on these stories, we believe there is really one way to survive the oncoming onslaught of election news coverage as we get closer to November 3. Make sure you are paying attention to trusted and verified sources on the election.

Here in Arizona, according to the Arizona Secretary of State, you must register to vote or update your voter registration on or before Monday, October 5 to participate in the 2020 General Election. If you plan to vote by mail, you must request a ballot or join the Permanent Early Voting List (PEVL) on or before Friday, October 23. It is recommended that you mail back your ballot as soon as possible and not after Tuesday, October 27. If you still have your vote-by-mail ballot after October 27, you can drop it off at a voting location or drop box before 7:00 p.m. on Tuesday, November 3.

All Arizona voting information can be found at Arizona.Vote, or visit Vote.org for other state-specific voting information, deadlines, and instructions.

Because one thing is for sure: You can’t complain if you don’t vote.

By Erica Fetherston, Sr. Account Exec. at 10 to 1 Public Relations