Hawthorn Latest to Look Beyond PR Biz for Management Talent
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Hawthorn Latest to Look Beyond PR Biz for Management Talent

Parman, who was previously CEO of Parman Easterday & Pitcock, a prominent Oklahoma City-based law firm, has joined The Hawthorn Group as group president.

Paul Holmes

ALEXANDRIA, November 1--Larry Parman has never practiced public relations, but he does have management experience in the professional services arena, and that qualifies him to be the new group president at Alexandria-based public affairs firm The Hawthorn Group, where he will be responsible for company operations including client service, professional practice, and administration.
 
Parman, who was previously CEO of Parman Easterday & Pitcock, a prominent Oklahoma City-based business and estate planning law firm with offices in four cities, is part of a new generation of managers imported to the PR business from other sectors. His appointment comes two weeks after high-tech PR specialist Applied Communications tapped Edward Callahan, former chief administrative officer for the School of Humanities and Sciences at Stanford University, as its new chief operating officer.
 
"Larry Parman brings unparalleled management skills to The Hawthorn Group," says Ashford. "He is an attorney by training, but he has served on our advisory board for several years and so he is familiar with the firm and the public affairs business."
 
Ashford says that he will now be focused on three main areas of activity: "Strategic planning for our company and our clients; new business development, and some VIP client relationships. What I don't need to do, and what I can find someone more qualified to do, is run the company."
 
Some of Parman's responsibilities were previously handled by Shaila Aery, the firm's president, who is devoting more time to an education practice she launched earlier this year. Aery, who was formerly commission of higher education in Maryland and Missouri, recognized an opportunity for the firm to get into a new area.
 
"She was convinced that high-tech learning product companies and testing companies needed the help of a firm that understood that selling their services in the education arena was not a marketing exercise but a political exercise," says Ashford.
 
Aery has since been joined by Nancy Keenan, former commissioner of education in Montana, who joined Hawthorn as senior vice president of government relations, and the new practice has contributed to an estimated 23 percent growth in Hawthorn's business this year. Says Ashford, "We were fortunate to miss the dot-com revolution, and the areas where we do a lot of business, like energy and the environment and healthcare have the same issues they have always had in the public affairs arena."
 
Also joining the firm this week is Joan (Jodie) Bernstein, a former director of the bureau of consumer protection at the Federal Trade Commission. She was named a senior adviser for special projects. She will work closely with agency vice chairman Esther Foer, who established the firm's international antitrust and litigation support practice.
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