FAIRFAX, VA: Brandon Friedman has noticed the dearth of veterans in the PR industry during his time in the private sector, and he sees an opportunity to help more former members of the military join the fold.
"Veterans feel short-changed. They have a lot of experience but they have trouble transitioning," he said. "If you can show me a combat veteran who knows how to write, I can get them doing PR."
Friedman noted that combat veterans in particular are especially scarce in the industry.
Helping veterans is one reason Friedman, a former Obama administration official, and Lauren Bailey co-founded the McPherson Square Group, which launched on Monday. The duo worked together for the first time at the US Department of Veterans Affairs.
Friedman is serving as the firm’s CEO, while Bailey is its COO. Both are founding partners.
Its services include strategic planning, reputation management, media relations, writing and editing, website design and branding, social strategy, and crisis response, according to the shop’s website. The agency is looking to work with clients in the defense, international business, foreign policy, veterans affairs, housing, urban affairs, and community development areas.
Friedman said the firm’s commitment to hiring veterans will dovetail with the firm’s specialties.
"We want to be a full-service PR and communications firm. We know how to help people communicate regardless of what field they’re in," Friedman explained.
He added that a goal is to have upwards of a dozen staffers by next year.
Friedman was previously deputy assistant secretary for public affairs at the US Department of Housing and Urban Development. He has also served as a VP at FleishmanHillard, director of digital media at the VA, and vice chairman at VoteVets.org, according to his LinkedIn profile. In the US Army, Friedman was an infantry officer in the 101st Airborne Division.
Bailey was previously a digital strategist at CDR Fundraising Group, a digital project manager and managing supervisor at FleishmanHillard, and director of online communications at the VA. She also worked at the Association of Corporate Travel Executives, according to LinkedIn.