EMSI Team


Marsha Friedman

Marsha Friedman

CEO & Founder

Marsha 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.


Steve Friedman

Steve Friedman

Partner

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.


Rachel Friedman

Rachel Friedman

Chief Operating Officer

Rachel Friedman, chief operations officer for EMSI Public Relations, has 11 years’ experience in the public relations profession. She has helped gain publicity for clients in such publications as the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, USA Today, Forbes and People Magazine, and has helped arrange on-air appearances for them on Good Morning America and the Today Show, among other TV programs and radio shows.

Friedman, a Cuban-American, was born in Hialeah, Florida, one of the largest Spanish-speaking communities in the United States. She attended the University of Central Florida and began her career as an international corporate trainer for a well-known restaurant brand. In that position, Friedman traveled to such countries as Guatemala, Mexico and Chile, honing her skills in relationship management, information management and customer care.

After five years in that job, Friedman joined EMSI, a national firm that pioneered the guaranteed-PR model. Initially, she was a print campaign manager, but over the years worked in every phase of the company, including sales. She held the title vice president of media operations before her promotion to COO.

Friedman says her greatest passion is the excitement that comes from pitching a client to journalists and getting those journalists to respond. “It’s the chase that excites me,” she says. “It’s a challenge to figure out what pitch will get the response you want and I love it.”


Ronnie Blair

Ronnie Blair

Senior Creative Director

Ronnie 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.


Dan Dunkin

Dan Dunkin

Content Writer

Dan Dunkin, Content Writer, joins EMSI following a 30-year career in daily newspapers. As a sports writer he covered numerous major events and personalities. He also wrote features in education, business and lifestyles and was a guest on TV and radio. Dunkin won writing awards in each of the three markets he worked, including two national honors from the Associated Press.

A native of Indianapolis, Dunkin attended the University of South Florida. After graduating, his first newspaper job was in Paris, Texas, which didn’t have an Eiffel Tower, he reports, though it was a wonderful place to get his feet wet. Dunkin then moved home to The Indianapolis Star, where his beats included the National Basketball Association/Indiana Pacers and Indiana University/Big Ten sports. In suburban Philadelphia, Dunkin worked 16 years for the Bucks County Courier Times and Doylestown Intelligencer as a columnist, editor and general assignment reporter.

“I’ve had a passion for writing since before I learned how to type,” he says. “Journalism was a great way to learn about many things and people. Having worked at newspapers, I know how editors and writers think and what makes a good story.”


Miguel Casellas-Gil

Miguel Casellas-Gil

Print Campaign Manager

Miguel joined EMSI directly from Puerto Rico where he worked in public relations for almost 10 years, managing national and international clients. He is a vibrant, creative and passionate communications specialist with two Bachelor’s Degrees in Marketing and Corporate Communications from the University of Puerto Rico.

Having traveled the globe, Miguel brings a world perspective to EMSI along with a passion for diversity and cultures. He also is a dog lover and is involved with a number of organizations and initiatives such as Therapy Dogs and the FCI Youth, an international program that promotes a love for dogs among young people and societies around the world.


Cathy Hayes

Cathy Hayes

Print Campaign Manager

Cathy Hayes is a seasoned public relations and marketing professional with over 15 years of experience. She has been the recipient of the Silver Anvil Award, sponsored by the Public Relations Society of America.  She has lead a number of public relations campaigns and specializes in building brand recognition.

In her position as Print Campaign Manager at EMSI, she has received placements for clients in top media outlets such as: GQ Magazine, NBC News, US News & World Report and Glamour Magazine. Cathy says the best part about her job is building relationships with clients and witnessing the positive results from their campaigns. “Knowing that our efforts assist our clients in meeting their goals is incredibly gratifying!”  In her spare time she enjoys spending time with her family and friends, and volunteering in the community.


Elisabeth Azpeitia

Elisabeth Azpeitia

Print Campaign Manager

Elisabeth Azpeitia, Print Campaign Manager, brings to EMSI her experience in both public relations and marketing.  She began her career at the State of Florida, following which she was a marketing coordinator for a national, non-profit organization focused on education policy reform.  She then became an account coordinator for an agency where she represented a wide array of clients to the media as well as collaborating on brand partnerships.

Elisabeth is a Tampa native and enjoys spending time by the water and volunteering at the local animal shelter.


Shawn LaFata

Shawn LaFata

Radio Campaign Manager

A multi-faceted communications professional, Shawn LaFata comes to EMSI with experience as a writer, PR professional, social media specialist, graphic designer and marketer. In his last stop he handled all media relations efforts at Metropolitan Ministries, a non-profit organization that serves the homeless in the Tampa Bay area.

 

After beginning his career as a sports journalist, Shawn entered the realm of athletic media relations at his alma-mater, the University of North Florida. From there he moved to the Bay area, where he has worked in marketing and public relations both as a full-time employee and a freelancer.

A unique fact about Shawn is that he is the “human” behind the Twitter account of California Chrome (@CalChrome), the richest race horse in North American History and winner of the 2014 Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes.


Jay York

Jay York

Senior Digital Marketing Strategist

Jay 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.


Miguel Lantigua

Miguel Lantigua

Social Media Strategist

Miguel was born and raised in Puerto Rico and is a graduate of Ringling College of Art & Design.  He comes from a graphics and multimedia background that he honed since living in New York City where he worked with a myriad of clients in creating images, web designs, websites and social media presence.

He is very happy to be living in the Sunshine State again where he is closer to family and the beaches.  He spends his leisure time helping out on his uncle’s farm and on some weekends he performs with his musical group Tropico Blvd.


Jon McCutcheon

Jon McCutcheon

Business Development Executive

Jon came to EMSI with more then 20 years of Medical Consulting & Marketing expertise; working with small family owned businesses to fortune 500 companies. His honest & direct approach with a strong belief in empathizing with each client to understand their specific needs has been a vital tool to his success. With an appreciation for the difficulties of marketing in a digital age, he enjoys the opportunities at EMSI to help authors, business owners, and professionals to grow their personal brands while attaining national exposure.

A dedicated father and family man he enjoys his time with his children and soon to be wife Brooke.

Professionally driven by helping others, Jon loves the excitement that comes from his clients, once they see that the world can embrace their message and ideas. “I love seeing people achieve the success that they work for”


Marti Carlson

Marti Carlson

CEO’s Executive Assistant & Office Manager

Marti 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 17 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.


Brittany Thomas

Brittany Thomas

Executive Assistant to COO

Brittany Thomas first came to EMSI as a print campaign associate, helping to distribute articles about our clients to print publications far and wide. Before long, she earned a promotion and became one of our print campaign managers, landing clients interviews with such publications as the Wall Street Journal, the New York Times, USA Today, the Chicago Tribune, the New York Post and many others.  This experience is invaluable in her supporting role as Executive Assistant to EMSI’s COO.

Brittany says one of her favorite things about being part of the EMSI team is: “The job is different every day and every day presents a new challenge.  You never know what breaking news event will happen that might get the media contacting us, or inspire us to contact the media on behalf of a client.”


Cheryl Smith

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.


Nico

Nico

In Memory of our Company Mascot and Chief Security Officer

We were lucky at EMSI to have had Nico watching over us and ensuring the safety and security of our offices for years! Nico’s mommy and daddy are Rachel and Damon Friedman, and he had accompanied them to the EMSI offices over the years. He was a mini schnauzer, and as lovable as they came! The team misses him dearly and will never forget him, but they now have little Mila to secure our offices and keep his spirit alive.

Mila

Mila

Our New Company Mascot and Chief Security Officer

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