Meet Cynthia Ham, a friend of Harold Burson, a dog-loving, zoot- suit-wearing EVP, and one of the few people to get on the bad side of the Hari Krishnas.
Describe the company you work for. Archer Malmo is a marketing services agency that has been having fun for 50 years with 90 people, billings of $65 million, and offices overlooking the Mississippi River in downtown Memphis.
What do you do? Executive vice president and principal. I oversee PR and head up new business development.
Tell us something amusing interesting about your company We celebrate "Take Your Dog to Work Day" every June. We have our own beer. We have our own band, The Revisions, comprising musicians from our creative department. We just had an indoor golf tournament. Our building, the Cotton Exchange, was the set for the movie The Firm, based on John Grisham's book.
How did you get into PR? By understanding that my own success depended on relationships with different publics, and realizing that all everybody wants is attention, respect, and recognition.
What was your biggest screw-up? Making a smart-aleck comment to a reporter about Hari Krishnas and having them subsequently show up on my doorstep with a newspaper photographer. The picture ran on the front page the next day.
What's the most daring thing you've ever done? Got married for the second time.
What are you working on this week? Planning the PR campaign for Colgate's Murphy's Oil Soap, planning an Elvis tribute party for clients and friends, planning a world-class opening of the Memphis Performing Arts Center with the Queen of England's royal event producer, fine- tuning the agency's database, and presenting a campaign for the National Civil Rights Museum.
If you could work on one account, what would it be? I couldn't work on just one account. I need to change subjects a lot.
What is the biggest item you've ever put on expenses? Cash advance on my credit card of $20,000 to make payroll when I was executive director of the Memphis in May International Festival. We had had a rough festival due to rain, and the bank wouldn't loan us money. So I got the cash advance on my company credit card - from the same bank - so I could make the payroll before some sponsor money came in.
What's your party trick? I wore a green zoot suit and silver platform sandals to the opening of the Smithsonian's Rock 'n' Soul Museum. Sam Phillips, founder of Sun Records, loved it.
Which historical figure would you most like to represent? Rosa Parks.
She was a brave woman not to move to the back of the bus. She did the right thing when everybody around her on that bus was telling her she was wrong. Many companies could take a lesson from her.
Who would you most like to work with? Sherry Lansing, chairman of Paramount Pictures. I've been following her for years. And Harold Burson. He's a friend, and he's originally from Memphis.
Write the headline for the story you would most like to read in PRWeek Archer Malmo acquires Burson-Marsteller.