Capitol Communicator is running a series featuring in-depth profiles of communicators in the mid-Atlantic. In this “Up Close and Personal” profile, we feature Frances Reimers. Photography for Capitol Communicator’s profile series is by Cade Martin. Wardrobe styling by Pascale Lemaire for THE Artist Agency; and hair and makeup was by Patti D Nelson and Janice Kinigopoulos for THE Artist Agency.
Please provide us a short bio and your current title.
As the Director of Corporate Visibility for PCI, a marketing and creative production agency in Alexandria, I wear a number of hats. I first joined PCI in 2010 as an Account Executive and, over time, crafted the position I am in today. Currently, I lead business and client development, individually managing over $2M in annual revenue. Through my content marketing and digital strategy efforts, the agency’s website traffic has tripled and our social media channels have seen double-digit increases. Additionally, I oversee projects for clients such as the Washington Redskins Charitable Foundation, the Washington Nationals, and the Department of Transportation. I also created and administer PCI’s corporate responsibility efforts through which the firm provides a year’s worth of in-kind marketing services to Washington, D.C.-based not-for-profit organizations.
Are you involved in any other organizations?
I am currently on the Advisory Boards for the Columbia Lighthouse for the Blind and the National Foundation to End Senior Hunger (NFESH). I also volunteer time to Urban Alliance and Georgetown University’s TFAS program.
What are the things you are most proud of?
There have been two accomplishments for which I am the most proud. First, after paying for my entire education, I became the only person in my immediate family to graduate from college. This has ultimately helped to keep me motivated. Secondly, I believe that social media and mental health are two issues that are growing yet not receiving enough attention. For that reason, I was honored to be able to use my personal story as a way to help others through a contribution to an article in the March 2014 edition of O Magazine, and a feature on CNN’s Live with Piers Morgan.
Who were your personal role models?
There are several individuals who challenge and inspire me. My dear friend Jenn Mapp Bressan, Brand Manager, Cibu For Hair/Ratner Co.; Owner/Blogger MappCraft.com, is my creative soul mate, and one of my fiercest professional allies. She constantly pushes me to do more and be more, and is often the voice in my head telling me to keep trying when I want to give up.
Secondly, my friend and long-time client Jessica Robinson, Director of Communications for the National Biodiesel Board, sets the gold standard in terms of relations with NBB’s constituents. She is always ready for any challenge and faces even the toughest critics with grace and humility.
Finally, for the past six years, my current CEO Robert W. Sprague has been the driving force behind my career, and for that I am eternally grateful. He is constantly driving me to be my best, one of my biggest cheerleaders, and one of my favorite conversation partners.
Did these role models offer professional advice that helped you in your career?
Their advice has come by observing them at their best, and trying to emulate those traits in a way that is authentic to me.
What professional advice do you have for others?
As a frequent guest lecturer for Virginia Tech’s Department of Communications, the advice I give students can be applied to anyone. First, be confident in your strengths and learn how to manage your weaknesses. No one expects you to be able to do everything, but you must know your limitations and find a way to work around them.
Secondly, always be prepared. There have been a number of times that good fortune has come my way simply because I was prepared for the opportunity.
Third, never stop networking. You can never know too many people.
Fourth, make sure you really love what you do. I wake up every day excited to go to work – I love my job and the amazing people I encounter – and that has become extremely important when times are tough.
Fifth, don’t be so hard on yourself. There are going to be rough days and sometimes you’re going to fail. But know that if you get back up, you’ve actually won.
What advice do you have about what’s appropriate attire at PCI?
At PCI, we feel that the staff should dress the brand. As an agency that values creativity and individuality, I believe the attire of our staff truly reflects that sentiment. We are a stylish group whose apparel truly reflects their role – spanning from causal to business formal. I believe people are more effective and engaged when they are comfortable, so I am open to allowing people to wear what they like.
Where do you buy most of the clothes you wear to the office?
My daily wardrobe spans retailers from Target to Ann Taylor, and Bebe to Michael Kors. I tend to hunt for pieces that flatter a curvier shape – and that often means searching from store to store. Color, cut, and fabric are important to me, so I tend to look for those attributes rather than buying by brand name only. With a personal style that could be described as a mix of full-on glam and classically chic, what I wear each day is entirely mood dependent. In the office, you will typically find me in vibrant colors, curve-hugging sheath dresses, and heels – the ultimate accessory.
Is there anything else you would like us to know about you?
Fashion, sustainability, and philanthropy are personal passions. In 2006, I founded the Greater Washington Clothing Swap (GWCS) as a way to stay fashionable on a budget by encouraging women to consume less by swapping clothes and accessories with other fashion-forward females. But I quickly discovered a larger mission. The GWCS entry fee is minimal, but we do require attendees to bring non-perishable items that are donated to a local food bank, and all leftover clothing and accessories following the swap are donated to Goodwill.