Member Spotlight - May 2015


What do you currently do for a living? President and Founder of Ketner Group PR + Marketing. 

What did you want to be growing up? My first ambition was to be a Disney cartoonist. I've always been a storyteller — I wrote my own stories even as a kid, and I haven't stopped, really. Nowadays, I tell stories for clients, and it's a lot of fun.

What motivated you to pursue a career in the communications industry? I was a journalist and editor for a number of years before jumping into PR, marketing and advertising. My professional strengths have always been in writing and communications. I had an opportunity a number of years ago in technology PR and marketing, and I've never looked back.

Where are you from? Where have you lived? I'm originally from Wichita Falls, Texas. I spent two years in Tucson, Arizona as a child and did a brief stint in San Antonio editing a magazine. Other than that, I've lived in Austin. I've seen many changes in the time I've been here.

What college(s) did you attend? University of Texas in Austin.

What was your first job in PR/communications? I worked as a writer and editor for several publications in Austin and San Antonio. My first "real" PR job was working for Julian Read of Read-Poland Associates during primary season — it was a fast-paced, demanding job, and I loved it. 

What is your best piece of advice to your fellow PR practitioners? Be a great storyteller. PR is essentially about the art of creating and telling great stories — PR professionals have to be able to shape good stories and communicate them effectively.

What is your most memorable experience as a communications professional? The time I got called on the carpet by an executive at a tech firm because a release had gone out and he didn't know about it (although the key contacts underneath him were well aware — they just didn't inform him)! I thought I was going to get fired — instead this same executive and I built a very good relationship moving forward. He asked our agency to do PR work for him several years later when he was leading a startup in Austin, and this opened up a whole new direction for us.

What publication/book/blog do you recommend others read (professionally or personally)? The New York Times. It's one of the gold standards for great journalism. And I also encourage PR professionals to support our local Austin publications; we're fortunate to have one of the healthiest daily newspapers in the country.

What are your favorite things to do in Austin? Favorite places to visit? Favorite restaurants? Fonda San Miguel is my favorite restaurant, hands-down.

What do you do in your free time? What are your hobbies/interests outside of work? I love gardening (herbs and tomatoes), going out for breakfast, spending time with my family and friends — and hanging out with our 3-year old Cavalier King Charles Spaniel. My wife named her Harper Lee — which is funny, since the "other" Harper Lee has been in the news so much lately with the pending publication of the long-lost Go Set A Watchman, the novel she wrote before To Kill A Mockingbird.

What is the best part about your job? I'm fortunate to work with a really great team here at Ketner Group — they make it fun to come into the office every day.

iPhone or Android? iPhone. Mac all the way.