Ten Rising Stars: Lauren Poplawski

Senior associate, Qorvis Communications

Senior associate, Qorvis Communications

Lauren Poplawski
Lauren Poplawski

Election year or not, Americans are constantly inundated with political messages. Advocates and candidates are searching for the magic words that will cut through the chatter and get them heard.

Of course, there's no perfect recipe. But a good plan goes a long way.

"Politics has been a passion of mine," says Lauren Poplawski, 28, senior associate for Qorvis Communications. "I'm like a dime a dozen here in DC. But it's pretty easy to love my job when it affords you the opportunity to become a part of the process and work on issues you care about."

Poplawski approached her two major accounts in a campaign style.

The Agricultural Coalition for Immigration Reform (ACIR), represents farmers who want to see immigration reform legislation, including a guest worker program. Without it, they feel the farm system will not survive.

In April 2006, Poplawski organized a 500-person rally and "Farmers Market" on Capitol Hill for the ACIR, attracting three members of Congress and news media from all over the world. The event even inspired other rallies in New York, Los Angeles, and Chicago. The firm was hired just ten days before the ACIR stepped up a major portion of their campaign.

"Within four days, she understood the nuances of this intense public policy debate," says Rich Masters, managing director at Qorvis. "She was in the first meeting with the client, participating and showing she had a lot to offer."

Poplawski has also worked with The Sugar Association (representing sugar farmers) and their campaign, "The Truth About Splenda," which sought to teach consumers about the differences between the artificial sweetener and real sugar. In a month, Poplawski coordinated the national "Nothing is Sweeter than the Truth" press conference, helped spur activists across the country, and developed the "Truth about Splenda" web site. All together, the campaign generated 100 million media impressions.

"Splenda was approved by the FDA, but there wasn't much information out there," says Poplawski. "We decided that we were going to become the authority on it and educate people about what Splenda really is."

Poplawski started with the firm two years ago after first working in advertising sales at the Wall Street Journal's DC office and handling marketing strategies for small business clients at Roll Call. She had to start from scratch with Qorvis, learning the basics of communications.

But she credits the agency's lack of silos for her success, allowing for work on an array of issues.

"We want to not just delegate things down, but engage [young staffers] in the whole process," says Masters. He says Poplawski understands the campaigns as well as he does and lends a creative edge to the firm's work.

While successful, Poplawski is humbled by the road ahead.

"I feel like I have so much to learn," she says. "But I believe I've found what I'm supposed to do and I'm thrilled about it."

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