Staff Spotlight: Karen Mohn
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With over twenty years of experience in public relations, Executive Assistant and Project Coordinator Karen Mohn has seen how the nature of the industry has evolved – the days of mailings are over as digital media has taken the lead.

“I love that every day is different,” Karen says. “Today, you have to plan for everything and anything that could possibly happen – this helps eliminate any surprises that may come up.”

Karen began her public relations career at Himle Horner, Inc. in 1997 and has seen the company evolve into Himle Rapp & Company, Inc. and now Rapp Strategies, Inc. In the ever-changing world of the information age, Karen continues build and hone her skills to stay ahead of the digital curve.

“Everything is faster paced, and information is more readily available,” Karen says. “I enjoy working with the younger staff and the energy they bring to the team.”

How have you grown as a professional since you started working at Rapp Strategies?

I’ve learned to adapt to new technology and the fast-changing way information is shared. In the early days newsletters and fact sheets were laid out in Word, today those same documents would be designed in InDesign. I’ve always been eager to learn new things. I am always working on ways to make my work more visual and interesting. My latest conquest was to learn about Geo mapping — I’m still a novice but improving as time goes by. 

What is your favorite aspect of your job?

Every day is different and brings a new challenge. I enjoy that I can use my art background to create presentations, newsletters and fact sheets for clients.

What is one habit that makes you more successful?

I’m extremely organized and stay on top of things.

As a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up?

An artist or interior designer.

What do you consider your greatest accomplishment?

Being a strong independent person.

What is one thing about you few people know?

I love history and architecture of the gilded age.

What is the best advice you have ever received?

Being true to myself.

What is one piece of wisdom you would give your younger self?

Take each day as is comes, every day is special and a gift.

RSI Staff
Rapp Strategies Rundown – October 2018

What we’re reading, listening to and thinking about this month.

Todd R.: Just finished John Sandford’s latest book in his Virgil Flowers series. I’ve also been enjoying Preet Bharara’s “Stay Tuned” podcast. In addition, I got to see Hamilton and the dunes of Oregon in the same week… both awesome.

Todd S.: In October, I plan to read Work Happy: What Great Bosses Know by Jill Geisler, who is a senior faculty member of the Poynter Institute and heads its leadership and management programs. I met Jill once at a professional workshop about six years ago. She offered several insights and good advice on the art of managing other human beings. I’m looking forward to reading about her thinking in greater detail.

Sarah: A third season of a previous rundown mention – “Man in the High Castle” – came out with a third season this month and it was everything my binge-loving self could have asked for. The shows gets more and more strange each episode, but it kept me glued to my screen.

Aaron: This October, I’ve had the pleasure to return to one of my favorite childhood book series, R.L. Stine’s Goosebumps. Over the years I’ve managed to keep all original copies 1-62 and have since finished Night of the Living Dummy #7, Welcome to Camp Nightmare #9 and The Horror at Camp Jellyjam #33.

Anna: I enjoyed the moving and magical book The Snow Child by Alaskan author Eowyn Ivey and am now halfway through Frankenstein, the perfect late autumn read. I also just finished binging the fourth season of Poldark.

Andrea: Recently, we heard about the close-to-home tragedy of Mollie Tibbetts and the unfortunate political polarization of her death. In Latino USA’s podcast episode “A Tragedy in Iowa Turned Political,” they discuss the stereotype of the “criminal immigrant,” how Mollie’s death played a role in the argument for stricter immigration laws and whether it affected our neighbor, Iowa.

RSI Staff
Staff Spotlight: Andrea Magaña
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Assistant Account Executive Andrea Magaña enjoys the opportunities she has been given to grow professionally at Rapp Strategies – from developing social media analytic reports to pitching new ideas for client’s social media content.

“My coworkers are always open to new ideas and encourage me to work on projects that excite me,” she said. “That’s a rare trait in the agency world.”

Prior to joining Rapp Strategies, Andrea studied at the University of Northwestern – St. Paul where she gained journalism and marketing experience through her work as intern at the Office of the Minnesota State Senate and as the Director for the student-led paper, The Examiner.

Outside of the office, Andrea has started her own social media and a community project called Humans of Worthington that shares the narratives of her home town citizens of Worthington, Minn.

“I’ve had the great opportunity to go to my home town [Worthington] to do voter outreach with the communities of color – hands-on grassroots!”

How have you grown as a professional since you started working at Rapp Strategies?

I feel like I’ve grown in many ways. First, my knowledge of the digital world has expanded greatly. I give a lot of the credit to my coworkers, who have taught me the ins and outs of the internet, social media [keyboard shortcuts are a lifesaver.] and graphic design. I’ve also grown in my ability to pitch ideas. Many times, as the youngest staff member, I felt my ideas/feedback weren’t important, but I’ve grown to be more confident in the knowledge and understanding I have to offer to Rapp Strategies.

What is your favorite aspect of your job?

On Friday’s we have breakfast as a team. It’s a great way to start the weekend. I also love the fact that I can grow in the areas that I want.

What is one habit that makes you more successful?

Creating lists and setting goals. Having a clear vision, whether it’s daily tasks that need to be completed or a year-long goal, has played a huge role in my success.  I enjoy giving myself a challenge or task and being able to complete it to the best of my abilities.

As a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up?

I had many dreams of careers as a kid. First, I wanted to be an immigration lawyer. I saw how much help my Latino community needed when it came to the ability to afford legal help and understanding legal jargon. I then wanted to become an art or English teacher because I enjoyed tutoring younger kids when I was in Middle school. I finally decided on PR because I enjoyed writing, public speaking and narratives. There’s something about the power of communicating to each other, especially through narratives that pull at my heart strings.

What do you consider your greatest accomplishment?

I think my greatest accomplishment so far is graduating college two years early and saving money and getting an early start in the workforce.

What is one thing about you few people know?

I’m currently studying to become a personal trainer with a specialization in performance enhancement and am also studying to become a certified nutrition specialist. I also taught Taekwondo for ten years as a second-degree black belt.

What is the best advice you have ever received?

Your early twenties are meant for risk-taking, and it’s okay to fail.

What is one piece of wisdom you would give your younger self?

When choosing a career path, don’t choose something to please your parents or mentors and don’t choose something for the money. Choose something that you would do regardless of pay. Take time to reflect daily.

Rapp Strategies, Inc.
RAPP STRATEGIES RUNDOWN – SEPTEMBER 2018

What we’re reading, listening to and thinking about this month.

Todd R.: I recommend the book Where Did You Get This Number?: A Pollster's Guide to Making Sense of the World by Anthony Salvanto, a look at the disappearing art of accurate political survey research. Also, Better Call Saul is back! So are the Vikings. And how about Nick Lowe’s Labour of Lust?  What a pop album!

Todd S.: The Great Recession officially ended in June 2009, though recovery would be years away. As the 10th anniversary of the recession’s end approaches, I think it would be a great time to get to a book that I have always meant to read — The Big Short: Inside the Doomsday Machine by Michael Lewis. The book is considered one of the most insightful takes on the build-up of the housing bubble during the 2000s that led to the near-collapse of the U.S. economy.

Sarah: I recently watch the documentary Three Identical Strangers and you should watch it ASAP. Right when you think you have it figured out, it takes a few more twists. Each morning after I tune into my news podcast (“Up First” by NPR) I’ve begun tuning in to “This Day in History Class” by the ladies at “Stuff You Missed in History Class.” Tracy and Holly have been delighting my inner history nerd with their well-researched episodes for years, and their daily installments live up to that standard.

Aaron: I am currently finishing The Distracted Mind: Ancient Brains in a High-Tech World by neuroscientist Adam Gazzaley and psychologist Larry Rosen. Each chapter explores the human mind and explains why our brains aren't built for multitasking and suggests better ways to live in a high-tech world without giving up our modern technology.

Anna: I just finished A Man Called Ove by Swedish author Fredrik Backman, a book about a loveable curmudgeon that had me laughing out loud in my car. Next up is Americanah by Nigerian novelist Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, which so far is as richly layered as her unforgettable Half of a Yellow Sun.

Andrea: "Latino USA" has been reporting on the recent "zero tolerance" policy of the Trump Administration and its effects on families. Their podcast episode, "Torn Apart 2: The Moral Dilemma of Juan Sanchez," took an interesting look at this crisis when they interviewed Juan Sanchez, a social justice champion well-known in the Latino advocacy circle, BUT who is also the CEO of Southwest Keys Programs, the organization making money from sheltering immigrant minors in the U.S.

 

Rapp Strategies, Inc.
Staff Spotlight: Anna Paulson
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Account Executive Anna Paulson brings sharp writing and editing skills to clients at Rapp Strategies. Anna also helps manage digital development, grassroots campaigns and media relations. 

“One day I may be writing content or creating a social media plan and the next I might be out in the field doing interviews, but all of it centers around core strategy,” Anna says. “There’s always purpose behind the work we do.”

Before joining Rapp Strategies, Anna worked as research and writing assistant to bestselling author Julie Klassen. She earned her bachelor's degree in English from Concordia University, St. Paul. 

“Having a background that encouraged creativity as well as analytical thinking gave me a really solid foundation to stand on,” Anna says. “People told me I couldn’t do anything with an English major. I'm proving them wrong.”

How have you grown as a professional since you started working at Rapp Strategies?

Collaborating with colleagues and clients on complex projects has challenged me to dig deeper into strategy and look at issues from different perspectives.  

What is your favorite aspect of your job?

The best part of my job is bringing powerful ideas to life. Writing well is hard work, but I love it. 

What is one habit that makes you more successful?

I read. A lot! 

As a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up?

First a veterinarian, then a pediatrician and then an author. I still plan to be an author someday.

What do you consider your greatest accomplishment?

Earning the respect and trust of wonderful mentors in my life, both personally and professionally.

What is one thing about you few people know?

I once met Julie Andrews when she was in town for a book signing. She was as elegant as I imagined while rocking blue eye shadow.

What is the best advice you have ever received?

Something my dad told me every day when I was younger: “Work hard and get smart.”

What is one piece of wisdom you would give your younger self?

Don’t worry so much. God’s got this.

RSI Staff