Rapp Strategies Rundown – January 2019

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

Todd R.: I’m working my way through Season 2 of “The Wire,” and just finished Season 6 of “House of Cards”– a confusing season, but still underrated. I also purchased my first subscription to a podcast: “CAFE Insider” with Preet Bharara and Anne Milgram. It’s the best Monday-morning analysis of what’s going on in D.C. And one of these days I need to watch “Ocean’s 8.”

Todd S.: I have been trying to catch up on movies nominated for Oscars, because it’s always fun to have an informed opinion on the nominees. While I have seen several of the films who have received nominations, I still need to watch “Roma,” “Bohemian Rhapsody” and “If Beale Street Could Talk,” among a few others, before Oscar night next month.

Sarah: The cold weather has kept me indoors and on a Netflix kick. First, I tidied up with Marie Kondo and got rid of anything in my apartment that didn’t bring me joy (aka, way too much stuff). Next, I watched the inspiring documentary “Meru” which follows an elite team of mountaineers as they set out to conquer Meru Peak’s Shark’s Fin Route, “one of the most coveted lines in the entire Himalaya.” This doc sent me down a serious Google rabbit hole about mountaineering, Conrad Anker discovering George Mallory’s body on Everest, the team, the stunning photos from the expedition and all the crazy things that happened while they conquered a life-long dream.

Aaron: The new year brings a new annual reading challenge. In 2019, I hope to read two books a month. In January I’ve read “Wabi Sabi,” Francesc Miralles Contijoch’s 2014 sequel to Love in Lowercase and will end the month finishing the Minnesota Historical Society-funded “Thank You for Shopping: The Golden Age of Minnesota Department Stores” by Kristal Leebrick.

Anna: This month, I devoured Katie Ganshert’s three-book series, The Gifting, which tackles a 1984-esque America, the supernatural battle between good and evil, and coming of age all in one unputdownable package. I also enjoyed “When the English Fall” by David Williams, which features an apocalypse through the eyes of an Amish farmer and his family.  

Andrea: At the end of the year, Spotify creates a playlist of your most-listened to songs of the year. I’ve been playing my 2018 playlist on repeat for a couple weeks now. With artists like SZA, Jorja Smith, Sabrina Claudio, Xavier Omar and Kendrick, how can you not? I’ve also been doing extensive reading and research on physical therapy practices for lower back pain, and I’m continually amazed by the complexity and adaptivity of the human body.


RSI Staff
Rapp Strategies Rundown – December 2018

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

Todd R.: Our Christmas Eve movie pick was "When Harry Met Sally…," and even the kids were impressed with the dialogue. On Christmas night, we watched "A Simple Favor," which was quite good. Now we're diving into “The Wire” for our binge show. I'm also about to start the "Believed" podcast from Michigan Radio and NPR on the Larry Nassar assaults.

Todd S.: As a new movie focuses on the life of Freddie Mercury and the music of Queen, I’m going to explore the group’s early live performances, including “Live at the Rainbow Theater ’74” and “A Night at the Odeon – Hammersmith ‘75.” Should make the commuting to work more fun.

Sarah: My December was dominated by the (bad?) Netflix Christmas movies I’ve come to love. Of note were “The Princess Switch,” “The Spirit of Christmas” and “The Holiday Calendar.” So much cheesy goodness. I received “Homebody” by Joanna Gaines and spent much of the holiday flipping through the gorgeous photographs and dreaming of decorating my next space.

Aaron: This December, I enjoyed reading Francesc Miralles’ “Love in Lowercase,” a story about an eccentric, language-loving bachelor and the cat that opens his eyes to life’s little pleasures. I’m looking forward to reading the sequel “Wabi-Sabi” in the new year.

Anna: My favorite read from the month was Eowyn Ivey’s “To The Bright Edge of the World,” a delicate and yet sweeping saga of a man’s journey into the Alaskan wilderness in 1885 and his wife’s equally captivating story as an emerging photographer. I also enjoyed the splendid “Les Misérables” at the Orpheum and the timeless “Beauty and the Beast” live in concert with the Minnesota Orchestra.

Andrea: This month has been spent watching a series on Netflix called “Chef’s Table,” an extremely well-done documentary series featuring high-ranking chefs around the world and how they’re changing the culinary world. Unlike other food shows, this series takes you beyond the kitchen and into the heart of the chefs and their individual and powerful stories. It’s both intimate and inspiring…even if you’re not into cooking.  



RSI Staff
Rapp Strategies Rundown – November 2018

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

Todd R.: Cruising up and down the dial on Saturday night, I’ve found re-runs of Hill Street Blues on Xfinity, which is greatly appreciated. I’ve also been listening to Jeff Diamond on his Viking insider podcast with Jim Souhan, but only after listening to Cheryl Reeve’s show. I’m also trying to pick out a movie for my family to watch together on Christmas Eve – this will be Year 12 of this tradition.

Todd S.: I am going to see the movie The Front Runner, which focuses on Gary Hart’s time as a leading presidential candidate and his fall from grace over rumors of infidelity. In terms of media and politics, Gary Hart's story was as a turning point – the moment when journalists began more closely examining the private lives of political candidates. I am curious to see how the film addresses the ethical questions.

Sarah: I'm currently reading The Great Alone by Kristin Hannah, which is making me very grateful we don't have 18 hours of darkness during Minnesota winters. Since we're post-Thanksgiving, you know my Christmas playlist is on repeat! A favorite Christmas album is Glow by Brett Eldredge.

Aaron: I was able to see an early showing of the Guthrie Theatre’s annual A Christmas Carol which was a great way to jumpstart the holiday season. Following watching CREED II in theatres (the sequel to the 2015 boxing drama CREED) I’m looking forward to re-reading Undisputed Truth the biography of one-time heavyweight boxing champion Mike Tyson.

Anna: One of my favorite authors (and my former boss), Julie Klassen, has the last book in her Ivy Hill series releasing this week – The Bride of Ivy Green. I’ve already gotten a sneak peek, but I can’t wait to read the finished product. Now that the holiday season is in full swing, I’m also listening to Michael Bublé’s classic Christmas album.

Andrea: I’ve been binge listening to NPR’s TED Radio Hour. There are so many interesting topics, opinions and people, including the co-creator Guy Raz. You go into an episode expecting one thing and come out with so much more. One of my favorites is “Decisions Decisions Decisions.” It talks about how we make decisions, why we’re paralyzed by too many options and what we can do to overcome our indecisiveness. If you’re an indecisive person like me, make the decision to check this episode out.



RSI Staff
Staff Spotlight: Karen Mohn
Karen Mohn.jpg

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