MindFire Communications, Inc.
Grill the Arsonist – Denise H.
August 22, 2023 | Inga Rundquist

Denise is our resident news junkie who left broadcast television and went to the dark side – public relations! She’s also a mom of two boys and enjoys being active in the Quad Cities community.

So, you are MindFire’s resident public relations (PR) professional. Tell us what a week in your work life looks like.

Every single day is different, depending on what client I am working with that day! Whether I am writing a press release, supporting with strategy or advising a client on messaging, there’s a new challenge every day. I also love blog writing, doing interviews and creative concepting. Typically, though, I am either going to be writing something or talking to clients about their specific needs and working with our team to help them implement new tactics.

You come to MindFire with a background in news, specifically anchoring newscasts, producing and reporting. How does your background in the newsroom relate to your current role?

People might be surprised to find out that an agency is a lot like a newsroom, because agencies are high energy and fast-paced. News is also about being very agile, because you have to shift in tone from a crime story to a lighthearted feature. We do the same for our clients, depending on their goals and the audience they’re trying to reach.

Because I worked in journalism for so long, I feel like I have a unique understanding of what a journalist is looking for when they get a PR pitch. I know what’s newsworthy and what a journalist’s goals are when they go out to interview someone. PR brings the message, and journalism has the platform; if we work together, we can use our unique strengths to support each other’s goals.

How do you stay up to date in the public relations industry?

The reason I got into news in the first place is because I love current events, so I keep that very top of mind when it comes to my role in PR. I make it a point to read and listen to current events every day. Anytime I can help a client tie their message to something that is currently relevant, the more likely it is for a journalist to pick it up.

What aspect of your work really “lights your fire?”

I really like the “inside track” of it all. I love knowing what our clients are up to. I love being in the know about how they are bettering their communities and the advancements they are making in their industries. When they have something they are very passionate about and I am able to take that message and refine it to meet their goals, that is very satisfying to me. I love being able to provide a solution and value to a client with our strategic support.

You’re also a boy mom. What are some of your favorite things to do with your family outside work?

I really love to exercise, so I have been introducing my oldest to running. The two of us will often go out and run together, which is often humiliating because he runs faster than me… He really likes to run 5Ks with me, so that’s been really fun! I am currently training for my first half marathon.

Because they both are little boys with boundless energy, we like to keep them active, but they also really like to create things. Watching their little imaginations bloom truly inspires me.

What is your go-to coffee order and from which coffee shop?

So, I have to give a shout-out to Cody Road in LeClaire because I love to walk down the beautiful LeClaire streets to get there. If I treat myself to Cody Road, I am going to get a lavender vanilla latte. If I am at my house and just trying to get my caffeination on, then I will just make plain coffee with cream and sugar. I try to be a coffee purist that way, but if I can get a fancy latte, even better!

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