Stern + Associates
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Holmes Report
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Stern + Associates

Holmes Report

The name of Carl Byoir & Associates is probably little known to many of those working in today’s public relations industry, but when Susan Stern left the agency in 1985 to launch her own firm it was the third largest in the world. While the Byoir brand has now (almost) vanished, many of its values—in particular its commitment to client service—live on at Stern + Associates, which its founder has built from a one-woman shop to a 25-person firm with offices in New Jersey, Boston and Nashville and a reputation for developing thought leadership campaigns on behalf of a wide range of clients, with particularly notable expertise in healthcare and architecture and design.


But what really makes Stern + Associates different is its culture, one defined by a passion for client service—listening, or more precisely “active listening” is a valued skill—and high achievement, balanced with a commitment to personal and professional growth and quality of life. The firm takes its values—commitment, collaboration, passion and enthusiasm, tenacity, forward thinking, integrity and respect—seriously.


Stern, who was the youngest vice president in Byoir’s history before setting up her own firm, can draw on more than 30 years of experience in the PR business as she leads the agency and several client accounts. She is joined by a strong senior team that includes consultant Danny Stern, who joined Stern + Associates in 2002 after 24 years in the lecture industry and manages business development in addition to providing client strategy; Nicole Gagnon, senior vice president, a former reporter for Forbes newspapers; and vice presidents Ned Ward, a veteran of several New York agencies; Tom Healey; and newcomer Sean Dougherty.


Major clients include B. Braun Medical, Bracco Diagnostics, Convia/A Herman Miller Company, Clay Christensen, London Business School, The Mohawk Group/Mohawk International, ORC Worldwide, Institute of Management Accountants and Workrite Ergonomics. New additions over the past 12 months include SimulConsult, Biotest Diagnostics, Michael Porter, Steven Spear, Robert E. Kennedy and Clay Christensen. Particularly notable assignments include work with B. Braun Medical on product-related issues and global health challenges, and support for Harvard professor and innovation guru, Clayton Christensen, best known for book The Innovator’s Dilemma.


“The Stern + Associates team is comprised of consummate professionals—the best in the business,” says Christensen. “They have been fair and firm, clear and considerate to me and to every client they represent whom I know personally.  The organization’s ability to manage not just my speaking engagements but the full range of public relations and publishing opportunities has made me much more effective, and has simplified my life substantially.” Adds Claire Londress, marketing manager for American Harlequin: “The industrious team at Stern + Associates provided us with a comprehensive plan to get us seen not only by our current customers, but also our future target markets. The results have been amazing, including new sales leads, increased visibility and more awareness of what we actually do. One more thing: you can’t get better value for the investment!”

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