Principal: Amy Binder, CEO and founder
Offices: Boston; Chicago; Los Angeles; New York; Oklahoma City; and West Palm Beach, Florida
Revenue: $12.7 million
With a mere $100,000 uptick in revenue last year, RF|Binder Partners fell short of growth targets, which CEO and founder Amy Binder attributes to several clients facing budgetary reductions.
But the agency had a strong year in terms of client wins, which accounted for 60% of growth. Wins included Rockefeller Foundation, Pax World Management, Wines of Germany, Voyager Sopris Learning, and former longtime client McGraw-Hill Education, won back from Ogilvy PR after a short hiatus.
"We did some projects for them in the fall. Then they moved the business back," says Binder. "I’m running the account — we are incredibly committed to this business."
McGraw-Hill and Voyager will boost RF|Binder’s education practice to at least $2.2 million this year, up from $1.3 million at the end of 2015. The agency maintained year-over-year revenue, but its employee count dropped by nine from 77 to 68.
"We had some roles we were looking to fill as we shifted things around," she adds.
New offices were opened in 2015 — Oklahoma City in February and Los Angeles in March.
Recent hires include Scott Beaudoin, chief strategy officer and executive MD of corporate and brand purpose. He previously led the CSR and sustainability practice at MSLGroup.
"I’d been looking for a year for the right person, so when Scott became available, it was a perfect fit," says Binder, who has targeted practice billings of $3 million within two years — currently it does about $1 million in CSR and sustainability.
In March this year, Marcy Massura was also recruited from MSLGroup as senior MD and chief integration officer. She will help build influencer programs for clients, which are split evenly between consumer and B2B/corporate.
Creating an environment for talent to grow
Kathryn Seidenstein, the firm’s third big hire in the past 16 months, joined in March as chief talent and culture officer from Bloomberg Philanthropies. "She will help create an environment for talent to stay and grow," says Binder.
The firm launched Binder University, a 70-course training curriculum, last year. It also formalized a mentorship program, overhauled its performance review process, and established a corporate culture committee, which has organized a softball team and employee appreciation awards, among other initiatives.
Six of the agency’s 11 C-suite execs are women. "We looked at gender parity, and found our women get paid more than men," she says. "So I announced, ‘We want to make sure our men get paid the same,’ so it was a bit of a reverse on everywhere else."