Sachs Media lays out succession plan, describing it as a ‘family affair’

Sachs Media, the 26-year-old Florida communications firm, today announced its plan for succession of ownership and operation to five senior partners in a multiyear process that is now underway.

Founder and CEO Ron Sachs and President and Senior Partner Michelle Ubben will entrust five younger partners — Lisa Garcia, Herbie Thiele, Ryan Cohn, Drew Piersand Karen Cyphers — with the company’s next era of ownership and operation. Each has been with the firm for nearly 10 years or longer.

This month marks 26 years since Sachs left the Executive Office of Gov. Lawton Chiles to open the doors of what at first was called “Ron Sachs Communications.” His startup capital: some family savings, a wealth of political knowledge and statewide relationships.

From a one-man band operating out of a 600-square-foot office on Jefferson Street facing Florida’s Capitol Complex, Sachs grew the company to two employees a few months later. And in the quarter century-plus since, Sachs Media has morphed into a dominant, respected, and influential statewide and national public relations force, with about 40 full-time employees, a 7,000-square-foot downtown headquarters in the shadow of the Capitol , and a deserved reputation for being among the very best independent communications companies in the country.

Ubben has been at Sachs’ side for 24 years, helping to lead and grow the company. She has received local, statewide, and national honors in the professional and business world; Sachs calls her “my best friend, every day, and the most talented person I’ve ever worked with.”

The leadership duo invested in talent as they grew the business with a diverse staff of professionals who consider the rhino their mascot for its strength and ability to break through — giving rise to the tagline that Sachs Media is “The Breakthrough Agency (™).

In its early years, the company was a go-to traditional public relations/public affairs firm but has since evolved into offering every communications service a client may need for their high-stakes challenges: research, crisis management, advertising, digital/social, web, graphic design, and Emmy Award-winning video production. The firm also has a dedicated culture of community service — regionally and statewide — typified by its creation of Tallahassee’s “Best & Brightest” scholarship program, which honors high school seniors for academic excellence, with a strong emphasis on community service, and their statewide and national initiatives on subjects as diverse as highway safety, hurricane preparedness and financial literacy.

The firm has regularly earned top industry honors, with Forbes proclaiming Sachs Media as one of America’s Best PR Agencies in 2021 and PRNews including the firm on its list of the Top 100 PR agencies nationally in 2020. The company is often the choice of Florida government agencies with high-stakes challenges, including impactful work connecting children with health insurance, helping Floridians access hurricane relief, making sure veterans get their earned benefits and services, increasing child abuse reporting, and finding homes for children in foster care.

Over the years, Sachs and Ubben were repeatedly courted with merger and acquisition of interest from larger national companies but always resisted those efforts in the interest of remaining independent.

In 2017, with a focus on the future of the company, Sachs and Ubben named the five veterans as partners. They set in motion a seamless way to smartly advance those talented five friends into the next generation of leadership for the company.

“Unlike the popular television series ‘Succession,’ this one has no cutthroat aspect to it,” said Sachs. “Instead, this is a natural process that involves love, trust, respect, and appreciation for these five wonderful friends’ many contributions to our success and growth. I’m healthy, and I’m not retiring — but these great people have earned the right to run this company.”

Added Ubben: “We have always been a family at work — seeking excellence in all that we do for every client and doing it with people we truly and deeply care about. This is the best and most natural direction for our future — a transition to our work family.”

Sachs and Ubben have chosen a path forward that ensures Sachs Media will continue to be a relevant giant in its work for public, private, and nonprofit sector clients. The pair will continue to serve as CEO and president, respectively — and next year, Sachs will become the chair of the firm and Ubben its CEO as the other partners ascend into collaboratively directing the business.

This plan benefits from the fact that beyond Sachs and Ubben, the other five partners have been critical leaders at the firm for many years — and they are respected and trusted by the entire staff and the firm’s healthy roster of clients.

Here’s a little more about and from the Sachs “family” succession leaders:

Lisa Garcia, Chief Operating Officer

The Emmy Award-winning producer is in her 17th year with Sachs Media. Her expertise lies in the production of state and national public-purpose initiatives, strategic communications, and leadership in implementing public relations, public affairs, and crisis management initiatives, as well as overall project management. Before joining Sachs Media, Garcia directed campaigns for diverse nonprofit organizations in Washington. She has a bachelor of arts degree in International Studies from Frostburg State University.

“Our partnership represents a strong bond of family friendship, shared values, work ethic and devotion to the firm, its people and their families, our clients, and our community.” LG.

Herbie Thiele, Director of Public Affairs

Thiele has established himself as a leading communications and public affairs professional at Sachs Media. He joined the firm in 2009 and is now a partnering overseeing the public affairs team. Political insiders and public officials often seek Thiele’s counsel when navigating the state’s political environment. While Thiele has spearheaded countless successful policy outcomes for clients in Florida, he has also led efforts spanning multiple states and worked on a wide range of pressing issues at the federal level.

“No matter who is in power in Florida, the firm has always been the most relevant and credible leader in our industry. When Ron and Michelle expanded the leadership team four years ago, they made sure we are perfectly positioned to adapt to anything the future brings while providing the same exceptional service our clients and communities have come to expect.” HT.

Ryan Cohn, Executive Vice President

Cohn serves as a senior communications adviser and media strategist for some of the nation’s most respected companies and thought leaders. A skilled storyteller with more than 15 years of communications experience, he has helped shape the national conversation around many important issues and ideas. Cohn simultaneously directs Sachs Media’s digital media practice, forecasting and navigating the changing communications landscape for the firm’s clients. Before joining Sachs Media, he led What’s Next Marketing, a social media marketing agency, from launch to acquisition.

“Ron and Michelle have established the highest standard for excellence that’s woven throughout everything we do for clients and the firm. We’re excited for this opportunity to build upon that history of positive impact for many years to come.” RC.

Drew Piers, Managing Director

Piers provides counsel and directs strategy for the firm’s political, public affairs, and crisis management clients. Piers is in his 10th year with the firm and brings a wealth of experience developing and implementing effective advertising and messaging campaigns designed to achieve public affairs outcomes. He has led the firm’s efforts on behalf of local, statewide, federal, and even international clients and is an invaluable resource for those seeking to win in the court of public opinion. He earned a bachelor’s degree in public relations and political science and a master’s degree in applied American politics and policy, both from Florida State University.

“In their decades of dedication, Ron and Michelle have built such a healthy culture that empowers breakthrough outcomes for important causes and clients, and the result is an innovative and evolving company with an outstanding all-star team. We feel tremendous enthusiasm about the opportunities to continue telling great stories that change communities for the better.” DP.

Karen Cyphers, Director of Research

Cyphers has been with Sachs Media for nearly a decade, leading the firm’s Breakthrough Research division. She has worked in Florida’s political process for 20 years and delights in data analysis, public policy analysis, and polling. Cyphers earned her Ph.D. from Florida State University, where she teaches graduate public policy courses.

“The five of us complement each other, like each other, and share a vision for the future of Sachs Media. I’m forever grateful to Ron and Michelle for bringing us all together.” KC.


Post Views:
0

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *