CEO & FounderMarsha Friedman doesn’t like sitting still. As a prominent business woman, she has run her public relations firm successfully through prosperity and adversity, ironically having one of her best revenue years in the midst of 2009’s recession. As a publicity expert, she has authored the book Celebritize Yourself.
Marsha Friedman launched EMSI in 1990. Her PR company represents corporations and experts in a wide array of fields such as business, health, food, lifestyle, politics, finance, law, sports and entertainment. Some of the more prominent names on her client roster are Sergeant’s Pet Care Products, Former National Security Advisor Robert McFarlane and the famous Motown Group, The Temptations.
She consults individuals and businesses on a daily basis, and is frequently asked to speak at conferences about how to harness the power of publicity.
As a radio personality and public speaker, Marsha can be heard weekly on her Blog Talk Radio Show, EMSI’s PR Insider. Marsha and EMSI’s VP of Media Operations, Alex Hinojosa talk about different aspects of PR and how to “Celebritize Yourself”. On her previous talk radio show, The Family Roundtable, Marsha enjoyed interviewing celebrities such as Tony Curtis, Ed Begley Jr., Augusten Burroughs, Faith Evans, Vicki Lawrence, Denise Jackson, Janine Turner and Rose Rock, to name a few.
PartnerThe phrases “people person,” “good communicator” and “people skills” could have been coined to describe Steve Friedman. Prior to joining his wife Marsha in running EMSI, Steve pursued a sales career in industries spanning from insurance to home security. His real passion in life and business is to help others to realize their goals and dreams, and he loves the opportunity afforded at EMSI to assist other business owners, authors and professionals to flourish and be known in their fields.
For the EMSI family of clients, Steve takes this caring approach to a level rarely seen in business. With each client, he strives to find the most optimum solution to help them achieve celebrity though excellent PR.
The EMSI staff is family to Steve as well. The well-being of the team here at EMSI matters to him as though they are family – indeed, he considers them as such.
Vice President of Business DevelopmentAs VP of Business Development for EMSI , Damon works with individuals and corporations who are interested in the power of publicity to build their brand. He joined the EMSI team in 2005 and one of his greatest joys is helping his clients build their visibility and credibility by appearing on radio and TV shows, being written about in newspapers and magazines and developing large followings through social media.
Damon spent nearly 18 years as a top DJ/MC entertaining thousands at large venues such as Universal Studios, Planet Hollywood, Hard Rock Live and House of Blues. He ensured the success of events for major corporations by providing their guests with great entertainment. Damon was one of the most sought after DJ/MC’s in the Orlando area.
Growing up in the Friedman family, Damon was immersed in the PR business from a young age. While he pursued his independent aspirations at a young age, he always knew he wanted to join the family business in some capacity.
V.P. of Media OperationsRachel came to EMSI in 2006, fresh from her 5 years as an international corporate trainer for a well-known food service brand. This position taught her vital skills in relationship management, information management and customer care, to name a few. In addition, this role provided her with fantastic exposure to the international marketplace.
Rachel started with EMSI in the position of Print Campaign Manager, where she revolutionized the execution of our clients’ print campaigns. After fine-tuning her skills under the wing of EMSI’s CEO, she was able to push the successes of each campaign into a new realm. Over the years, she has worked in every medium of our News and Experts division, as well as in our sales division, and has a client-care focus second to none.
As EMSI’s V.P. of Media Operations, she oversees the day-to-day management of the News and Experts division toward delivering the best results for our clients’ publicity campaigns.
Rachel is married to Damon Friedman, EMSI’s V.P. of Business Development, and they have two children, Mason and Daniella.
Senior Digital Marketing StrategistJay York is an internet marketing expert with extensive experience in social media marketing dating back to the early days of MySpace and LiveJournal. Since graduating from the University of South Florida Business School, Jay has worked as marketing coordinator for an international IT training company; business development and branding manager for a startup restaurant management group; and CEO of his own social media management firm. He’s learned the ins and outs of internet marketing, including the mysterious and sometimes shady world of SEO, content marketing and blogger outreach. He’s vice president of the Business Guild of Seminole Heights (Tampa) and previously served on the marketing board of Tampa Bay’s Keep America Beautiful Affiliate.
As an advocate for white hat approaches and organic networking, his work leads to long lasting and profitable relationships.
Radio Campaign ManagerRich Ghazarian came to EMSI with a strong broadcast media background. For 15 years, he enjoyed much success in radio and television for 15 years as an on-air personality, program director and music director in stations from California to New York City. Ghazarian has led several stations he programmed to #1 ratings.
After leaving the broadcast medium, Ghazarian worked for several advertising agencies in New York City, in multiple capacities for clients: account representative, creative director, copywriter and media planning and execution. Ghazarian joined EMSI in 1998 as a Radio Campaign Manager and has been with the company ever since.
As a result of his being on the “other side,” Ghazarian understands what makes for good programming and how to present his clients’ messages attractively to producers. His professionalism has earned EMSI many accolades from producers and show hosts.
Radio Campaign AssociateAfter 11 years managing shipping for an Inc. 500 direct mail marketing company, Elon brought his talent for developing efficient systems and processes to the family business. Today, his focus is on ensuring the timely delivery of communications and services to EMSI clients, and streamlining processes within EMSI’s Radio Division.
Elon has a passion for customer service and is a fan of the team approach to meeting challenges – a hallmark of the EMSI culture. Deadline-sensitive and detail-oriented, he’s known for “keeping the trains running on time.” He’s also an avowed foodie who loves nothing more than finding awesome food at restaurants.
Elon, son of Marsha and Steve, was excited to become the fifth Friedman at EMSI, a business he has always proudly supported.
TV Campaign ManagerHeather Gordon joins the team at EMSI as a former producer for the ABC affiliate in Tampa, Florida. Her years of newsroom experience give her special insight into what producers are looking for when booking guests and experts, and she uses that knowledge to connect clients with coverage.
Heather graduated summa cum laude from the University of South Florida, with a bachelor’s degree in Mass Communications and a minor in British and American Literature, and she was the 2011 recipient of the School of Mass Communications’ Kappa Tau Alpha Top Scholar award. She is friendly, positive and energetic, has a passion for movies and travel, and believes in doing her best no matter what the task.
Print Campaign ManagerGinny has been with EMSI for over seven years and has worked with our clients in every phase of their publicity campaigns.
As EMSI’s Print Campaign Manager, Ginny’s experience of working with print media gives her a vital perspective of knowing what interests them and how best to position our clients, so as to be included in their publications. This keen insight has enabled Ginny to obtain broad coverage in key offline and online periodicals and news sites for our clients.
Ginny’s years of experience, media savvy and understanding of the entire PR process, provides our clients with a highly-skilled and qualified professional representing them to the media.
Ginny is the daughter of Cheryl Smith in Administrative Services.
Print Campaign AssociateToni joined EMSI with a background in the entertainment industry where she advanced from the CEO’s executive assistant to talent management to passionate filmmaker.
She brings to the table creativity, an unstoppable attitude and communication skills honed through her work experience as well as her studies toward a bachelor’s degree in psychology.
She provides integral administrative support for the company and enjoys collaborating internally with the EMSI team and externally with EMSI’s diverse array of expert clients.
Print Campaign AssociateBrittany Thomas brings a little pep to the EMSI office because her eclectic career history includes eight years as a professional cheerleading instructor, creating elaborate routines and coaching youngsters ages 5 to 15 at competitions.
As a print campaign associate here at EMSI, Brittany assists in distributing articles about our clients to print publications far and wide.
Brittany and her husband are movie buffs who enjoy all genres of cinema, although their theater going has been curtailed somewhat because they recently became the proud first-time parents of a baby boy.
Social Media StrategistBrittany Vaill is a recent cum laude graduate of the University of South Florida where she received her degree in Public Relations with a minor in Communications. At USF she served multiple leadership roles for Delta Gamma Women’s Fraternity and was a part of an all women’s honors society, Rho Lambda.
As a Social Media Strategist for EMSI, Brittany brings her extensive knowledge of social media platforms to clients’ campaigns. Her experience working in the healthcare and non-profit industries and a background in agency and corporate settings lets her bring an array of ideas to the table.
Digital Design CoordinatorBecky Lofgren is the former creative director of Family Time Magazine and lead graphic designer at Physicians Cooperative, both located in Chicago. Equally adept in digital and print media, she excels at capturing a brand’s personality and message through engaging visuals and memorable marketing material designs.
A cum laude graduate of Illinois State University with a bachelor’s in visual communications, she also has extensive training and experience in graphic design, journalism, social media, art and photography.
Senior Creative Communications StrategistRonnie Blair came to EMSI as a veteran journalist with more than three decades of daily newspaper experience, including 20 years in writing and editing positions at The Tampa Tribune. During his time in the newspaper trenches, he covered such varied subjects as education, business, crime, health, government and many others. With his years of newsroom experience, Ronnie knows what newspaper editors look for and puts that knowledge to work when writing articles and pitches for clients.
He holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in journalism from Morehead State University in his home state of Kentucky.
Creative Communications StrategistHarold Valentine joins EMSI with several years of editorial experience, including three years as a general assignment staff writer with The Tampa Tribune and affiliated publications. He then spent two years at an SEO firm, writing content for web pages, press releases, and articles to generate organic traffic to client websites. His career is rooted at the University of South Florida’s student-run paper, The Oracle, where he worked as an editor.
As a lover of the written word, including news and classic literature, Harold adds perspective to the issues circulating in today’s media. He enjoys putting his passions to work by connecting a client’s message to the rest of the world.
Marketing DirectorWill Candler came to EMSI with a strong background in radio and marketing. For more than 10 years, Will worked with radio stations as promotions director, website administrator, operations manager, graphic designer and on-air host. Will began his career in radio immediately after his graduation from Western Carolina University with a degree in Communications and Marketing. From day one, he has always tried to keep marketing and branding closely tied to whatever position he held.
As Will’s career in radio advanced, so did his love for all aspects of marketing. He quickly began exploring graphic design, photography, writing, and building websites. As his experience grew, he found himself incorporating more of his marketing skills into his radio positions and freelance projects.
After his relocation from North Carolina, Will was thrilled to join the EMSI team as Marketing Director. Will and his wife recently welcomed their first baby to the family.
CEO’s Executive Assistant & Office ManagerMarti brings a wealth of skills and experience to EMSI that helps to streamline operations for greater results, internally and for our clients. With a Bachelor of Science degree from Iowa State University and over 15 years in public relations, including supervision of national social betterment programs and PR personnel training oversight worldwide, Marti complements the EMSI team extremely well.
Prior to joining EMSI, Marti enjoyed extensive Executive Assistance experience in a variety of industries that includes investment, real estate and technology. This experience gives Marti the foundation to ensure that the daily details needed for a successful operation are met.
As Executive Assistant, besides managing the many activities of CEO Marsha Friedman, she also oversees Human Resources, IT and infrastructure support and maintenance. Her daily tasks provide the support necessary that guarantees our Campaign Managers (TV, radio and print) provide our clients the very best service possible.
Administrative ServicesCheryl has been with EMSI almost since the company was founded. Marsha affectionately refers to her as “the memory” of the firm. And it is true—there is virtually no detail about the operation of EMSI, going back twenty years, that Cheryl does not recall.
Cheryl currently wears a number of vital hats that keep the gears turning smoothly, including database management, tracking all the statistics for print production and also for the marketing department. She also is very nimble as Marsha’s Internet researcher.
Over the years, Cheryl has worked in most every area of EMSI, and so is uniquely able to quickly and accurately pull up arcane (but valuable) bits of information that often save the day.
Cheryl is also the mom of Ginny Grimsley, EMSI’s Print Campaign Manager.
Company Mascot and Chief Security OfficerWe are lucky at EMSI to have Nico watching over us and ensuring the safety and security of our offices!
Nico’s mommy and daddy are Rachel and Damon Friedman, and Nico has accompanied them to the EMSI offices over the years. He is a mini schnauzer, and as lovable as they come! We’re hoping that if the day comes when he actually has to enforce office security, he can scare off an intruder, but it is hard to imagine!
He is friendly to one and all, and makes the rounds to the office of every member of the team, to say hello and make sure all is well. And of course, get some petting, too!