Published on October 7, 2021, at 5:52 p.m.
by Alyssa Thomas.
In the world of public relations, there are varying paths public relations professionals can choose upon graduation. One of these paths involves working at an agency.
KC Projects, located in Homewood, Alabama, is an all-female public relations and communications firm with a mission of “telling your story and moving your business forward” for each of its clients.
The women of KC Projects strive to embody the company’s values for all of their clients and accounts. Account Director Lillian Brand described KC Projects as “an empowering group of women that help one another grow and evolve, not just in the practice of public relations but in many different aspects of life.”
KC Projects is the only all-female public relations firm in the Birmingham area. Despite this feat, KC Projects did not start out as an all-female operating PR firm.
“When I started KC Projects, there was no plan or intention to form an all-female firm; it really has simply evolved to this based on hiring the most qualified candidates. From my experience and for the work we are managing and producing, women have become the leaders of our sector of public relations,” explained Krista Conlin, founder and president of KC Projects. “I have great respect and admiration for my team. It is an honor to have the opportunity to mentor the next generation of PR experts, and just makes me love my job that much more.”
Account Executive Charlotte Brakmann and Brand both described the company culture of KC Projects as “elevated and always evolving.” Brand added, “A majority of our client accounts are male-owned businesses, but our team is able to successfully navigate that dynamic by earning their loyalty and respect based on doing what we do best for our clients.”
KC Projects offers a variety of different services for its clientele, including media relations, digital communications and social media management, crisis communication, event planning, community engagement, brand messaging, and design collaboration.
KC Projects has a very diverse group of clients with which its staff work very closely. The clientele at KC Projects spans different industries and backgrounds — from lawyer Alexander Shunnarah and Full Moon BBQ to 1818 Farms and ServisFirst Bank.
“That is one of the things that really stood out to me about KC Projects, the diversity of the clientele,” affirmed Brakmann. “KC Projects offers exposure to every industry in Birmingham, and that’s what makes every day so unique at KC Projects.”
Brakmann, Brand and Conlin all agreed that the client relationship that KC Projects creates with its clients is topnotch. KC Projects strives to earn all of its clients’ loyalty and respect. “We work with clients that are the best in their industry, and that really pushes all of us that work at KC Projects to encourage and challenge one another to produce the best work we can for our clients,” Brakmann stated.
Many of KC Projects clients have been published in big-name publications, such as People, Garden & Gun, and USA Today. In 2014, KC Projects’ campaign for Full Moon BBQ, Take Your Philanthropy to the Moon: Full Moon Bar-B-Que Sorority Challenge, was nominated for awards in two categories — Use of Social Media in a Contest/Game and Use of Facebook Communications — at PR News’ Digital PR Awards ceremony that year. This Facebook campaign challenged The University of Alabama’s Panhellenic Association to see which chapter could get the most likes and win a donation toward that specific chapter’s philanthropic platform.
The women behind it all
2021 marks the 10th anniversary since Conlin launched her public relations and communications firm, KC Projects. Conlin is the founder and president of KC Projects, but she originally didn’t start out in the public relations field. She earned her bachelor’s degree in finance at The University of Alabama and her MBA from the University of Miami with an international business and commerce focus. She had the opportunity to work for over seven years for another PR agency before launching her own firm. While she was studying to get her MBA, Conlin knew she wanted to start her own business one day. She affirmed obtaining her MBA gave her the foundation to start a successful business within the PR industry.
“Public relations was a natural fit for who I am and how I operate. But having my business background has definitely helped me navigate to where KC Projects is today,” stated Conlin.
Conlin wears many different hats at KC Projects. In addition to managing the PR team, Conlin stays very hands-on in all reporting and financial planning for the company. There isn’t a day that goes by that she doesn’t speak to her clients. She stays invested in helping her clients, team and business grow.
When Conlin was asked about her business’s culture, she described it as “a hidden gem.” “The women here at KC Projects just really know when to turn it on and really work, and they also know how to create a relaxing and proficient work environment,” she explained.
Other KC Project staff are Molly Dance Murphy and Anna Beth Standeffer, both account executives; Morgan Russell, assistant account executive; and Brakmann and Brand.
As an account executive at KC Projects, Brakmann is the lead associate on accounts like Alexander Shunnarah Trial Attorneys, 1818 Farms and Capstone Building Corp. Brakmann is a graduate of Auburn University with a degree in public relations and philanthropy. She worked in-house for a year at Lake Pajamas doing branding, social media and customer relations. “I loved my work, but I was very drawn to agency life and true public relations,” she said.
Brand oversees the growth and development of all client accounts, helping to ensure the entire team reaches benchmarks and goals. She leads a variety of accounts including Alexander Shunnarah’s personal brand, Robins & Morton, and ServisFirst Bank. Brand is a two-time graduate of The University of Alabama with a dual-bachelor’s degree in public relations and political science and an MBA degree. “I love agency life and the fast-paced nature of pivoting and adapting. During my time at KC Projects, I’ve realized the value in connecting people and ideas to develop organizations, elevate brands, and increase a business’s bottom line,” she said.
The women at KC Projects love what they do and being able to work together. Conlin and her team at KC Projects have created an elevated PR firm with diverse clientele over the years. In doing so, they have changed the game for women in the industry.