Catalyst brings on former agency leader to run digital

NEW YORK: Catalyst Public Relations has tapped Valerie Tyson, who previously ran digital agency Strategic Playground, to lead the firm's digital team as VP.

NEW YORK: Catalyst Public Relations has tapped Valerie Tyson, who previously ran digital agency Strategic Playground, to lead the firm's digital team as VP.

Tyson, who is in her second week at Catalyst, is reporting to Bret Werner, managing partner and MD. She is based in the firm's New York office.

Before Tyson joined the firm, Shripal Shah ran the digital division as SVP. Shah left Catalyst last July to rejoin the NFL's Washington Redskins, where he worked from 2005 to 2010, as SVP and chief strategy officer.

Werner said that while Tyson is taking on the lead digital role that Shah previously handled, the firm has added senior leadership and depth to the division in the last year, expanding the position.

The firm is handing digital work for clients such as Dick's Sporting Goods, Timex, and Purina, with projects ranging from influencer programs and social media to analytics and strategy.

“With digital in the communications realm, the importance is for agencies to evolve in social, but they have to evolve past that, too, and have true digital backbones to truly prosper,” he explained.

Tyson is responsible for overseeing the “strategic path of the digital division,” as well as bringing on talent and working with clients, Werner added.  The firm hired Tyson because of her digital insights, background in the sports and entertainment industries, and experience running an agency.

During her three-year stint running Austin, TX-based Strategic Playground, Tyson led all digital efforts, including web optimization and development, mobile engagement, social media marketing and networking, and database aggregation. Her clients included Madison Square Garden, Chrysler, and Dell.

The firm has “dissipated” since her departure, but Werner said Catalyst is talking to members of its team to recruit them.

Tyson also previously worked for the NBA's Charlotte Bobcats, CBS Radio, and digital firm Tocquigny.

In January, sports, fashion, and media company IMG Worldwide acquired Catalyst. It operates under IMG's consulting division. 

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