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

Todd R.: Billions – a show about two middle class families struggling with the problems of daily life in 2019 – is back on Showtime. I just started Preet Bharara's book Doing Justice about a young and struggling artist trying to break through. I saw First Man, which was fine but not great. It made me want to see the Apollo 11 documentary that was just released. I only got 10 of 16 right in my NCAA pool, too.

Todd S.: This month, my wife and I decided we could use a good laugh, so we saw comedian Jim Gaffigan perform at the State Theatre in downtown Minneapolis. There were too many funny lines to pick a favorite, but his story about a close encounter with a bear was a classic. And, Gaffigan said, it was mostly true – “except that there was no bear,” he whispered.

Rich: Everyone else is reading about Hamilton, but I’m reading a biography of John Adams by David McCullough. I’ve always been fascinated with Adams – he was never as prominent as other leaders like Washington, but played an important role in the history of our country. I’m also watching NCAA basketball and hoping North Carolina comes out on top.

Sarah: My spring fever has hit in full force and I’ve been buying house plants left and right. I’ve truly got the millennial plant fever, but I like to think I come by it honestly as my mom and grandmother have green thumbs. Jenna Marbles dropped a half-hour long houseplant tour and that led to a click-hole of houseplant videos – Betsy Begonia, Kaylee Ellen, Summer Rayne Oakes and many others. I’m also working on planning and planting a veggie garden with my best friend and have been watching a lot of One Yard Revolution to get beginner tips. To top off the plant-obsessed month I’ve been listening to Bloom and Grow Radio with Maria Failla. Her episode with Chris Stach on plant Latin was super informative and something ever plant-lover should listen to.

Anna: I returned to one of my favorite authors, Susan Meissner, and enjoyed her beautifully written novel As Bright As Heaven, which gives a poignant glimpse of the 1918 Spanish Flu epidemic through the eyes of a mortician’s three daughters. I also read The Round House by Minnesota’s own Louise Erdrich about a boy coming of age on a Native American reservation and his quest to avenge a brutal attack on his mother – gritty, arresting and devastating. I also listened to The Art of Hearing Heartbeats by Jan-Philipp Sendker, where I could escape from the unending winter to a love story in the mountains of Burma.

Andrea: Latino USA is one of my favorite podcasts to listen to when I’m cleaning or cooking. This month I listened to “You Are Cordially Invited to Hailey’s Quinceañera,” an episode that walks through the cultural and social impact of having a Quinceañera, what it means to take the next step in womanhood and what it takes to have “a really fun party.” It reminded me of my Quinceañera, and how everyone I love pitched in to make my Quince the most extravagant birthday I’ve ever had.

Rapp Strategies, Inc.
Staff Spotlight: Todd Stone
Todd Stone.jpg

As Senior Director at Rapp Strategies, Inc., Todd Stone provides strategic counsel in the areas of media strategy, public affairs, risk management and strategic communications. He oversees the day-to-day tactical work of the Rapp Strategies team, emphasizing collaboration and creative thinking.

Todd joined the Rapp Strategies team in May 2018 after working almost three years in Texas as a senior leader at the Houston Chronicle, where he helped lead new content and product initiatives for its digital and print operations. From 2010 to 2015, Todd was the Star Tribune's Business Editor, directing news coverage of the Twin Cities' most celebrated companies, major developments, business innovations and trends.

“My wife and I loved our time in Minnesota, and we decided that this was the place to raise our kids,” Todd said.

After working 20 years in management positions with various news organizations, Todd offers strong knowledge of traditional media, social media and digital news reporting. He is an accomplished editor and writing coach. He earned his BA in journalism and MBA at Texas A&M University.

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

I have come to appreciate the deep process and the hard work that goes into strategic planning and problem solving. There’s no single playbook to follow. You have to embrace that process and be willing to start from scratch every day to find the best approach for each of your clients. It’s challenging, but it’s also incredibly satisfying.

What is your favorite aspect of your job?

It’s probably no surprise given my previous answer, but I enjoy working on the strategic elements of our work – assessing the challenges and opportunities that our clients face, then working with them to accomplish their goals. Over time, there’s a satisfying camaraderie that can build between your team and the client. That has been a nice surprise.

What is one habit that makes you more successful?

I’m naturally curious, which, of course, is what steered me toward journalism. I’m not always satisfied with the first good idea or first interesting thing that I find in my research. I want to know what else is out there.

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

When I was five years old, I wanted to be the “Six Million Dollar Man.” Lee Majors was a big star, and his character had the most awesome name, “Steve Austin” (unlike “Health Barkley” from “The Big Valley” days). But soon it occurred to me that you had to crash in a jet and be dismembered to get the cool skills and powers that come with being the Six Million Dollar Man … I finally wised up and moved on. 

What do you consider your greatest accomplishment?

Well, that’s a no-brainer: My wonderful marriage with my wife, Kim, and our two goofy sons. Beyond my family, I would say it was simply the opportunity to work as a journalist for more than 20 years. Journalism is an important form of community service. We need a free and vibrant press to help sustain American democracy.

What is one thing about you few people know?

That’s between me and those “few people” who better keep quiet.

What is the best advice you have ever received?

If you decide a rule is worth bending, you might as well break it.

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

Slow down … The journey is just as interesting as the destination.

Rapp Strategies, Inc.

February 28, 2019

Contact: Todd Rapp

Rapp Strategies, Inc., a Minneapolis-based public affairs firm specializing in strategic communications, issue management and reputation management, today announced that Richard A. Forschler will join the firm as its Senior Counselor, beginning March 1st.

"For more than thirty years, Rich has played a pivotal role in developing strategies to address many of Minnesota’s most important public affairs challenges," explained Todd Rapp, CEO and President of Rapp Strategies. "I am thrilled he has agreed to join the firm, and excited that he will be sharing his perspective on issues with our clients as well as assisting me with business development strategies."

Starting in 1989, Forschler was a partner at Faegre & Benson LLP and its successor, Faegre Baker Daniels LLP, leading its government affairs practice. He represented some of Minnesota’s most high-profile businesses, including IBM, Minnesota Wild, Target, Mortenson Construction and Wells Fargo. He also provided counsel to important civic organizations such as Minneapolis Downtown Council, Minneapolis Home Field Advantage, the Ordway Theatre and the Minneapolis Foundation. He retired from the law firm on December 31st.

Forschler also served two terms on the board of the Minnesota Chamber of Commerce and three terms on the board of the Minneapolis Chamber of Commerce, serving as chair in 1991. He has a J.D. from the Georgetown University Law Center and a B.A. from the University of Minnesota.

"For the past thirty years, I have worked with an outstanding team of attorneys and government affairs professionals at Faegre Baker Daniels," said Forschler. "I am looking forward to my new work with an equally outstanding public affairs firm. This is a very different opportunity for me, but I plan to make a quick transition from my long career in lobbying and legal counsel to my new mission to assist Todd, his team and their clients."

"Rich will help Rapp Strategies deliver high-quality strategy to our clients in the areas of complex issue management, strategic communications, assessing risk and protecting reputation assets," Rapp concluded. “Rich has left his lobbying career behind, but he brings tremendous knowledge that will strengthen our senior-level strategic counsel in the core areas of our business."

Rapp Strategies Inc., formerly known as Himle Horner and Himle Rapp, provides strategic counsel and communications services to business, non-profit and government clients. Its mission is to help clients shape understanding, strengthen reputation, manage risk and advance good ideas. More information can be found at rappstrategies.com.

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

Todd R.: We watched the documentary “Blondie’s New York and the Making of Parallel Lines” which was further proof that 1978 is the greatest year ever for rock albums. I’m enjoying the Zinio app for online magazine subscriptions, it’s really easy to use. Is “eating” a category? If so, the breakfast burger on the lunch menu at Red Cow North Loop – upgrade to the tater tots. I’m also enjoying the last year with my 18-year-old twin shovelers before they go to college. Thank goodness we had the serious February snow this year.

 Todd S.: My wife and I are catching our first show at the Dakota Jazz Club this month. It’s a great lineup for a pair of transplants from the South enduring another tough Minnesota winter — Sonny Landreth, a virtuoso slide guitarist and bandleader, and Marcia Ball, a brilliant R&B singer and pianist. Should be quite a performance in such an intimate venue. And, of course, there’s no way our two sons, ages 6 and 8, would let us miss “Science Fiction Day” at the Science Museum. It used to be called “Star Wars Day,” though I suspect there was a copyright issue as guests are now encouraged to bring their “plasma swords.” Regardless, my dudes will be looking for Rey and Chewbacca, while I check out the new exhibit on the history of video games.

 Sarah: I finally watched “Crazy Rich Asians,” which lead to a binge of Constance Wu’s “Fresh Off the Boat.” I’ve also set out on a quest to watch all of the Marvel Universe movies. I’m undertaking this “Spaghetti Order” during blizzards and cold snaps.

 Aaron: Along with keeping my reading challenge on course, I have started to catch up on the laundry list of television series I’ve been putting off. The shows I began with include: “Ozark’s Season 2,” “True Detective Season 3” and “Atlanta Season 2.

 Anna: I’ve been enjoying season three of the romantic and historically rich “Victoria,” featuring the young queen who changed history when she ascended to the throne at age 18. Looking ahead to my tropical vacation, I’m searching for a good beach read – perhaps “Where’d You Go, Bernadette” by Maria Semple, about a woman who mysteriously disappears and her daughter’s journey to find where her mother’s secret past has led her.

 Andrea: In February, I decided to re-watch “Chicken Little,” the great cartoon movie of my elementary years. If I’m being honest, it was so bad I didn’t finish it. On the other hand, I watched “Ant Man and the Wasp” and “Avengers: Infinity War” for a second time, and they were both amazing. Thank you Marvel, for bringing me some of my favorite movies.

Rapp Strategies, Inc.
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