Marsha Friedman, Founder & Chief Executive Officer
Marsha Friedman doesn’t like sitting still. As a prominent business woman, she has run her pay-for-performance 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 every Thursday at 3:00 PM EST. 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.
Steve Friedman, President
The 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.
Damon Friedman, Vice President of Business Development
As 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.
Alex Hinojosa, Vice President of Media Operations
Alex Hinojosa, a Texas Tech University graduate in telecommunications and marketing, joined EMSI as our Vice President of Media Operations with an extensive background in media, specializing in radio for over 15 years. His experience includes being a national talk-show radio host and executive producer in major markets like Washington, D.C.; Atlanta, GA; Detroit, MI and Tampa, FL. Also, Alex has been a media coach and an instructor at the Connecticut School of Broadcasting.
This insight allows Alex to tip the scales in favor of our clients, by structuring media pitches and campaigns that provide solutions for the producers and hosts, while delivering results for our client.
When Alex was asked about his role at EMSI, he replied, “Radio and TV shows are powerful media that opens doors like no other form of PR. Understanding what a producer and host want, combined with EMSI’s powerful team of media specialists, will make us our client’s most powerful advocate.”
He is married to our Social Media Campaign Manager, Jeni Hinojosa, and they have a new baby daughter.
Rich Ghazarian, Radio Campaign Manager
Rich 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.
Ginny Grimsley, Print Campaign Manager
Ginny 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.
Jennifer Lee, Print Campaign Associate
Jennifer excels at communications, customer service and administration, thanks to years of experience as a claims management supervisor at a Tampa insurance subrogation firm. A self-professed news junkie, she enjoys providing administrative support for our print media contacts as well as our print campaign clients.
Jennifer’s an animal lover who volunteers for the Tampa Bay Humane Society and works with rescue groups, which were the source of her two dogs and one cat.
Russ Handler, Television Campaign Manager
Russ Handler is a veteran of broadcast media and brings his diverse experience and talents to EMSI as the Publicity Campaign Manager (TV Specialist). His industry insider’s view has helped Russ deliver huge results for our clients.
Russ got his start in radio over 20 years ago and while in college at the University of Maryland. This led to on-air news and production positions at radio stations in Annapolis, Baltimore and Tampa.
In addition to being the Assistant Director of Operations for Westwood One in Tampa, he was also a news writer, producer, anchor and traffic reporter. For nearly a decade, Russ was a well-respected television traffic anchor and producer. As a result of his experience, he truly knows what producers and show hosts want and don’t want when it comes to guest and product pitches.
Among other accomplishments, Russ is also a freelance voice-over specialist and a published writer for Associated Content, Examiner.Com and other media outlets.
Russ’ in-depth media and television experience, combined with his writing skills, make him an effective Campaign Manager (TV Specialist) that gets results for EMSI clients. When Russ was asked about his philosophy, he said, “It’s really a great feeling servicing our clients and getting them the exposure they expect. It’s a personal satisfaction for me, because their success is my success.”
Jeni Hinojosa, Social Media Campaign Manager
Jeni Hinojosa graduated from the University of South Florida with a degree in anthropology, focus in cultural/applied anthropology. Her graduating thesis was on the socio-cultural impact of social media as a developing subculture. Additionally, Jeni has conducted market research as an ethnographer/consultant for SmartRevenue Research.
Jeni uses this background to study online trends and to properly capture the “voice” of her social media clients for posting in the socialsphere. Her specialty is immersing herself into her clients’ messages and then targeting the appropriate audiences for social media marketing. As a writer for Associated Content, which is now a Yahoo! Contributor, she is also able to write high quality blogs for clients.
Jeni also has a background in art and design, which she has used to create logos and images for radio stations and shows alongside designing web pages for them. She is married to our Vice President of Media Operations, Alex Hinojosa, and they have a new baby daughter.
Kirsten Calandra, Social Media Strategist
Kirsten Calandra is a Florida native and graduated from the University of South Florida with a degree in public relations. During her undergraduate studies, she helped successfully launch the social media and marketing for New Student Connections as the Promotions Peer Advisor Leader. She also executed several public relations campaigns, including an awareness campaign for the Sulphur Springs Museum and Heritage Center. She interned in public relations as a senior and managed social media clients after she graduated.
Kirsten enjoys building relationships with others, especially each of her clients. She is passionate about social media and was featured in tbt* as an avid Facebook user. Her favorite thing about social media is that there are always new features to learn.
As EMSI’s Print Campaign Associate & Social Media Producer, Kirsten assists with coordinating the execution of print campaigns and offers social media campaigns tailored to the unique needs of each client. Kirsten is excited for the opportunity to work with an exceptional creative team and do what she loves at EMSI.
Josh Wheeler, Social Media Producer
Josh Wheeler brings to Florida years of experience managing social media accounts for radio shows and live event promotions. He comes to EMSI from Georgia, where he hosted FoxSports 1670 and produced WKLS Atlanta’s morning show. He especially enjoyed overseeing the shows’ social media networks, and the opportunities they offered for interacting with listeners.
A graduate of the Connecticut School of Broadcasting, Josh previously spent 10 years in retail management. He says his experience in promotions, communications and customer service drew him to social media – “the great equalizer” for those with a message to share.
Penny Carnathan, Creative Director and Writer
Penny Carnathan comes to EMSI following 30 years as a national award-winning editor, reporter and columnist at The Tampa Tribune in Tampa, Fla. She continues to write a weekly column, Diggin’ Florida Dirt, for The Tampa Bay Times.
As a features editor for the past 10 years, Penny received hundreds of press releases and story pitches daily. She knows what it takes to catch an editor’s attention and, more important, what likely will not get a look beyond the email subject line. With that in mind, Penny helps develop timely, newsy spins for clients’ books and products, looking for fresh angles on topics the media is hungry for today. Instead of writing a press release, she crafts a professional, Associated Press-style article that a newspaper editor can proudly publish as is. Or, editors may be so taken with the topic, they’re inspired to have their own reporters do a feature length story using our clients as their sources.
Harold Valentine, Content Writer
Harold 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.
Will Candler, Marketing Coordinator
Will 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 Coordinator. Will and his wife recently welcomed their first baby to the family.
Marti Carlson, CEO’s Executive Assistant & Office Manager
Marti brings a wealth of skills, experience and assets 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 10 years in public relations, responsible for the supervision of national programs of social betterment groups, plus 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.
Rachel Friedman, Executive Assistant to the President
Rachel came to EMSI fresh from her 5-year stint 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. Aside from this, Rachel has a client-care focus second to none. She has a keen eye in developing print angles, a knack for picking and targeting publications to get results.
Now as EMSI’s Executive Assistant to the President, Rachel assists EMSI’s sales team, keeping the area running like a well-oiled machine.
Rachel is married to Damon Friedman, Director of Business Development, and they have a son, Mason, and daughter, Daniella.
Cheryl Smith, Administrative Services
Cheryl 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.
Brian Ekl, Media Production Assistant
Brian enjoyed a career in radio prior to joining EMSI, producing a syndicated talk show and co-hosting his own weekly motorsports show. His wide range of experiences – writing and producing, using social media for promotions, running live broadcasts – enable him to provide multi-media support to all of our campaign managers. Brian is a graduate of the Connecticut School of Broadcasting, where he graduated at the top of his class. His radio career followed a 10 year career in the retail industry.
Nikko, Company Mascot and Chief Security Officer
We are lucky at EMSI to have Nikko watching over us and ensuring the safety and security of our offices!
Nikko’s mommy and daddy are Rachel and Damon Friedman, and Nikko 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!