PLEASANTVILLE, NY: Ketchum vet Jackie Burton has launched Concordant Communications, a consultancy based in Pleasantville, New York, that will provide PR support to school districts throughout Westchester County.
Concordant's services include strategic planning, issues management, preparedness plans, message platforms and media training, the firm said in a statement.
Burton is also buying out Mack Digital Communications and taking on its clients. The deal was "serendipitous," Burton said, because she wanted to launch her own agency doing work for school districts and Mack’s proprietor, Evelyn McCormack, wanted to retire.
McCormack will serve as a consultant until the end of 2019, while receiving a percentage of Concordant’s earnings, Burton said. All four Mack Digital Communications employees will work on Concordant projects as necessary.
Burton said she may hire more freelancers as necessary.
"I've had a wonderful career and thoroughly enjoyed my time proving communications support to schools," McCormack said in a statement. "Now I am moving to the next chapter and retiring, although I will remain active in [the National School Public Relations Society] and be a consultant to Concordant. I know that [Burton] is up for the challenge of running her own agency and will give fantastic support to the districts with which she is working."
Burton, a mother of two students in a Westchester County school, has worked for the Pleasantville School District, while serving on an action committee for strategic planning. She said she has verbal commitments from five more client prospects.
Schools in Westchester are prestigious and must compete for high-achieving students. With Concordant, Burton said she can leverage her corporate experience for school district messaging.
"What I could do is bring some of those learnings and tools from the corporate side to the schools who are relatively new at strategic planning and what the vision is for the school," Burton said. "Schools are finding they have to share a ton of information on a daily basis [and] they need to engage in a dialogue. That is new for them."
Much like corporations, schools are facing technological changes. They’re being forced to communicate in new ways to parents, students, faculty and other stakeholders, whether that be through visual storytelling or PTA meetings, said Burton.
"Education is expected to change more in the next decade than it has in the past century," she explained. "Many schools are embracing these changes but need to find ways to communicate about this evolution effectively and engage in a dialogue on important topics."
Most recently, Burton was SVP of corporate comms at MWWPR, where she handled work for Deloitte Consulting, according to her LinkedIn profile. She also served as SVP of marketing for North America for Wunderman.
Before that, she served for almost two decades at Ketchum, most recently as SVP of the corporate practice.