My journeys as part of the Louisiana Travel Association’s Louisiana Tourism Leadership Academy


Dear Carrie, Happy New Year! We are excited to have you as a student for our fourth year.

I returned to work after holiday break to this greeting in my inbox. It was a New Year, 2018, and I was beyond excited to learn that I’d be embarking on a year-long professional development journey exploring our great state of Louisiana (the boot), as part of the Louisiana Travel Association’s (LTA) 2018 Louisiana Tourism Leadership Academy (LTLA).

We’d represent a group of 28 strangers, picked to live in a house, work together and have their lives taped, to find out what happens when people stop being polite… and start getting real. Oops, sorry, flashback to my days binge watching MTV’s The Real World.

In reality, we were a group of 28 lucky tourism professionals from across the state, selected among a slew of applicants, to explore some of Louisiana’s best tourism assets in cities including New Orleans, Baton Rouge and Lake Charles, along with those lesser known, but just as enjoyable areas, like Natchitoches, Monroe-West Monroe and Avoyelles Parish.

The program’s mission is to build future tourism leaders, develop their leadership skills and strengthen their networks. And that it did!

Over the course of the year, I logged approximately 1,981 miles of travel, and committed 120 hours to the program. I learned about the importance of advocacy at the State’s Capital; I discovered the charm of Natchitoches (and learned how to pronounce it correctly!) and toured the church where Julia Robert’s character (Shelby) gets married in the movie Steel Magnolias; I shook the hand of the Mayor of Mansura, La., Kenneth Pickett, and tasted some of the best cracklins I’ve ever had at Durand Food Store – I would later place a special order to feature them at the rehearsal dinner of my wedding; I toured (tasted and enjoyed) Landry Vineyards – one of Louisiana’s few wineries; and I discovered a new found love for craft beer at Crying Eagle brewery in Lake Charles.

But more importantly, I made lasting connections with peers that I know I can call on at anytime for feedback, guidance or a favor. I went beyond my comfort zone of Baton Rouge and New Orleans, and visited areas that I’ll travel back to one day, and will encourage others to explore as well. And I saw firsthand the hard work of our tourism leaders to promote Louisiana, not just for their wellbeing, but for all residents and visitors.

I’m happy to extend my involvement in LTLA as a proud alumnus and as part of the LTLA Auction & Scholarship Committee. The two-year commitment is made up of six individuals representing each former LTLA class. As part of my involvement, I’ll be meeting with future LTLA classes. And so, these boots will keep walking…


Do you represent a destination you would like to promote? Our professionals are passionate about travel and tourism and DEVENEY would love to help, tweet us @DEVENEYMKTG to get the conversation started.



Spotify x DEVENEY associate

I used to wonder what the soundtrack to my life would be. Then I realized I couldn’t make a playlist long enough. So, I started with a day. Whether it’s my keyboard clicking beneath my fingers as I write a press release, or the rattle of the streetcar on its tracks during my morning commute to work, every day here is punctuated by sounds.  Our playlists reflect a lot about us, so this is a day in my life as a Public Relations Associate at DEVENEY, told through my daily Spotify playlists. 


Every morning, I wake up an hour before I leave the house. After a few hits on the snooze button, I play my favorite Wake Up playlist. I’m not naturally a morning person, so this playlist features lively tunes to kickstart my day. As an Associate at an engagement agency, I have to stay sharp. Things move quickly here, and a crisis project can happen anytime. Starting my day with this energetic flow pushes me into starting my day at my best.

I commute to work on the streetcar every morning and listen to different podcasts to pass the time. I love the Mindvalley podcast for tapping into my potential and productivity. Mindvalley helps me tap into my creative flow. This allows me to start my day with confidence and mental energy.

Before lunch, I listen to something calm to get me in the zone. I focus and organize myself, check my emails. start projects, go to meetings, and establish a flow. 


I don’t listen to music during lunch, but if I did it would be the DEVENEY happy songs playlist. This playlist captures the office atmosphere and the spirit of the neighborhood.  I love exploring the beautiful Lower Garden District neighborhood during my break and trying restaurants nearby. My favorite is Lilly’s, their spicy tofu is heavenly. 

In the afternoon to jumpstart my productivity and knock out any deadlines, I listen to POLLEN. This eclectic playlist feels fresh and sunny with interesting new songs that keep focused and alert. This playlist helps me channel creative flow into writing talking points, conducting client research, building media lists or assisting with speaker training binder development.

Music inspires me to reach my goals and put my best (tapping) foot forward.

If you’re interested in joining the team, apply now to the Associate Program. The opportunity lasts for 12 weeks, starting in January. Associates may work a maximum of 20 hours per week. Interested students should apply by October 31, 2018 to be considered. To apply, please send a cover letter, resume, relevant writing samples, and/or portfolio examples to 



In our latest one-minute and nine-second video, DEVENEY showcases some of our latest and greatest work.

Whether it is for the travel and tourism, hospitality, or food and beverage industries, we strive to make our clients top-of-mind across the nation.

DEVENEY has continued to shine as an industry leader – targeting highly sought-after millennials by incorporating social media influencers, Snapchat filters and strategic digital ads while continuing to foster traditional media connections along the way.

In the world of over-influence, we have been charged with standing out without losing the authenticity of our clients. For example, Windsor Court,  a New Orleans luxury hotel, offered a Royal Wedding Weekend Getaway for those who couldn’t make it across the pond to Windsor Castle for Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s nuptials.

Another interesting tactic we implemented for the hotel just one year prior focused on a vastly different topic. Since Windsor Court is pet friendly, we coordinated and hosted a local New Orleans mini pig influencer, (that’s right – I said pig) My Best Friend Hank, to enjoy the hotel’s amenities. You can even see the cute Snapchat filter we designed and implemented for a meet and greet with the pig around the :55 mark in the video.

We’ve talked about this until we’re blue in the face – this is the age of experiences. We are constantly searching for the best photo-op to post on Insta-stories or feeds. We’re asking how our trip to Iceland be better than that of our millennial friend or blogger/influencer. DEVENEY strives to answer those questions by curating top-notch creative content that tells stories in New Orleans and beyond. And we want to do it for you.

Like what you see and want to learn more? Ask us anything on Twitter using #DEVchat or @DEVENEYMKTG.


In the Douglas Adams series Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency, success isn’t something you can always see clearly, and it’s certainly not something you can control. The world is too complex for any one person or team to make sense of it or make everything turn out “right.” There aren’t many better metaphors for the current state of public relations, especially as the rise of digital media challenges what we thought we knew about communication.


Digital media isn’t fundamentally different from non-digital media; no one wins if you let the tools, rather than your story, guide the strategy. At the same time, social media represents a broader shift that moves attention away from companies and towards users, integrating user-oriented storytelling into everything from operations to finance. No matter how good you are, user perceptions of politics (Chic-fil-A), customer service (United Airlines), or environmental impact (Tyson Foods) can result in rapid breakdown as well as opportunities for innovation.


Communication professionals are usually still in silos that rarely interact and so can’t adapt quickly enough in a time of continual and aggressive shifts in competition and industry disruption. How often do we start with a coherent story that has buy-in from each team, and then work together to form that story into strategic initiatives before we get to tactics and implementation? How often do we rethink what we “know” about how customers view our core value and competencies? And how often does that turn into real innovation that spans multiple departments? While most of us would answer “rarely” to those questions, there are a few steps you can take to stimulate the innovative and entrepreneurial energy of your communication teams.


Step 1: Holistic Workflow

Hiring talent isn’t enough; collaboration should occur along every step of project development. Each team or account executive should brief the others on progress, team leads should brainstorm across silos, and documents should be shared along the way. Don’t just bring creative in at the end, and don’t pretend that engineering is completely separate from PR and marketing.


Step 2: Holistic Research

Immerse yourself with clients completely; understand when and how services/products are used, but also get to know the competition, how production and sales operations influence experience, etc. If you don’t understand how the whole process works, you have far less ability to propose or execute projects that fit an overall strategy. At the same time, getting to know the process gives your teams valuable time and space to interact with the whole operation, gaining goodwill and buy-in across the board.


Step 3: Holistic Pitching

Remember to let things go. In a constantly changing environment, you need to be able to be flexible. When clients change their minds or our research shows that a good idea won’t work, make it an opportunity to be creative and innovative. What would work, or when would that good idea work? Is it a fit for another project? Can you use this time to throw out a few more pitches and get feedback? While pitching lots of ideas that tie into multiple areas of communication might result in few leads (or maybe just a green light for the PR side or advertising side), the process also keeps you sharp and opens ideas for other clients or initiatives. It also means that you’ll have to let a lot of good ideas go.



DEVENEY is excited to announce its newest class of Spring 2018 Associates, Patrick Bailey and Janie Gelfond, and welcome back Alison Hanle and Samantha Krupicka of the Fall 2017 class, now Senior Associates! We wanted to get to know them a little better, so we conducted interviews to learn about their favorite DEVENEY and NOLA experiences.

First things first: What are your hometowns and job titles?

PB: New Orleans, La.; Creative Associate

JG: Potomac, Md.; PR Associate

AH: Newport Beach, Calif.; Senior Digital Associate

SK: Memphis, Tenn.; Senior PR Associate

What’s the best part about working at DEVENEY so far?

PB: DEVENEY is keeping me busy with lots of creative work. There’s never a dull moment!

JG: I love the independence and autonomy that comes with the position, and the opportunity to learn from such a strong team to build my own professional portfolio.!

AH: It’s great being able to form collaborative and interactive relationships with my coworkers and achieve real experience with prominent clients.

SK: The amount of experience I’ve gotten at DEVENEY in under a year has definitely been the best so far. I have a pretty fleshed out portfolio at this point and look forward to continuously building on it.

What’s your favorite NOLA summer activity?

PB: Getting snowballs, fishing and beating the heat by exploring the many bars & restaurants in the city.

JG: Exploring the city during the day, getting snowballs and Free Fridays at Tipitina’s!

AH: Hitting all the rooftop pools and bars. Also, going to the Fly [waterfront portion of Audubon Park] and shopping on Magazine Street.

SK: Probably getting daqs [daiquiris] with friends and going to the Fly!

Okay, last question: What’s your go-to NOLA meal?

PB: It’s probably a po-boy from Parkway, but don’t sleep on New Orleans pizza. Mid-City Pizza and Pizza Delicious are top-notch.

JG: Anything from Milkbar (they have the best sandwiches and milkshakes). Or, during the spring/summer, there’s nothing better than a good crawfish boil.

AH: Sushi from Mikimoto, Bacos from Ba Chi Canteen, or any type of gumbo!

SK: DAT DOG! Or a District Donut – their flavors change every day.

No matter where they come from or what division they work in, all of our Associates are united by one thing: they love their work, and they love New Orleans!

Make this your #SummerofDEV and apply to the DEVENEY Associate or Summer Scholar Program by March 3rd!

The Associate Program at DEVENEY offers real opportunities, real clients and real experience in public relations, digital and creative. Associates collaborate with each other as well as DEVENEY’s full-time employees to gain skills to kickstart a career. The PR, Digital and Creative Associates will dive into a variety of projects and contribute the freshest perspectives from day one.

Read more about the Associate and Summer Scholar Programs at and check out our Twitter for a social media contest opportunity. To apply to either program, email a resume, cover letter, and writing sample to


Utilizing Interns

As a college student, I knew that the goal was to score a full-time position at the agency of your dreams, but to succeed, the small steps come first. Enter: The Life of an Intern. To work your way to the top, you have to start at the bottom (even as a college graduate). But guess what? The bottom isn’t so bad if you work for a company that treats you like an asset instead of an errand boy.

I love working for DEVENEY as an Associate (they don’t even call us interns) because they give me actual work. I feel that my presence is necessary, and that my time is being put to good use.

Below are the top 10 ways to best utilize your company’s interns from the perspective of, well, an intern.

Treat Them with Respect

There’s a saying here in New Orleans: “Be Nice or Leave.” Those are words to live by. The best places to work, including DEVENEY, have at least one thing in common: their employees get along and work well as a team. Keep in mind that people in the workforce will not always be nice—c’est la vie—but if you want your interns to work hard and turn out the best possible work, be nice to them. It feels good to be included, and when you feel good, you do your job well.

Be Clear, Concise and Timely

It is difficult to get to work when you don’t know what you’re working toward or how you’re going to get there. Be patient with your interns – some may still be in school and learning the ropes of the real world. Encourage them to think for themselves, but don’t shoot them down for asking a question about an assignment. After a briefing, send them an email to outline what you discussed. This way, they have in writing what you are expecting from them, how they should attack it efficiently, and when it’s due.

Teach Them What You Wish You’d Known

Interns are constantly learning, and it benefits both you and them to spread your knowledge about the profession, or what you wish you had known when you were their age. DEVENEY assigns “buddies” to all employees as part of a peer mentorship initiative, but they are especially useful for entry-level positions where every day can feel more overwhelming than the next. Make your interns listen, whether they like it or not. It never hurts to impart a little “back in my day…” wisdom.

Ask Them for Advice!

DEVENEY encourages “reverse-mentoring,” or the process by which seasoned employees attempt to learn a little about the ever-changing trends and practices of the younger generation from—you guessed it—the youngins themselves. Take advantage of their knowledge and experience.

Many brands are directly marketing to their age group, but their preferences and interests are constantly changing. Use this fluidity for the benefit of your internal and client relations. Maybe the company Instagram needs a touch-up, ask an intern, chances are they checked theirs less than five minutes ago.

Encourage Team Bonding

Invite your interns to casual lunches, after-work celebrations, or even out for drinks. An internship is an opportunity to get to know professionals in the workforce on more than just a “Hi, my name is…” basis, and it’s an opportunity for employers to get the word out about how great their company is to people who will soon be applying for full-time positions. Every day at the office can be like a networking event (but with less nametags and schmoozing), and a chance for your interns to build their resumes while also building your company’s reputation as a great place to work.

Give Them Real Projects, Not Just Busywork

It’s a waste of everyone’s time to hand out useless work. There is no need to spend your valuable (and billable) time making up assignments for interns who will be able to tell they are made up. Give them a project, or ask them to handle smaller tasks that will make your life easier.

DEVENEY requires all interns to handle the recruitment materials for the next class, providing us with our own concrete project complete with deadlines, deliverables, a timeline, as well as roles and responsibilities. If we don’t work together to get it done, it won’t get done, and that’s a lesson that needs to be learned quickly in any position.

Make Them Answer Their Own Questions (Sometimes)

If your interns learn how to think for themselves, they will turn out better work at a quicker pace. Although you should not receive questions with judgment or a poor temper, encourage interns to use their brains (oh, and Google) before they resort to sending you three emails regarding that question you’ve answered about 1,000 times. Always proof their work for mistakes, but I guarantee they will make less mistakes if they are taught to work for information rather than having it handed to them on a silver platter. Share with them a few examples of good work on the front end so they already have an idea of what you’re looking for. There is no need to reinvent the wheel with each assignment.

Listen to Their Ideas and Opinions

If interns feel like throwaway members of a team, they will not try. When interns aren’t trying, you are paying them to sit around. Plants make better decorative ornaments than people, I promise. Allow your interns to sit in on meetings (when acceptable) and take their ideas and opinions into consideration when deciding on next steps. Sometimes all it takes is one fresh pair of eyes to put a new and valuable spin on a certain element of a project. They will learn from their bad ideas, and you will learn from their good ones.

Require Them to Research! Research! Research!

Full-time employees and team leads do not always have time to devote to compiling information about a competitor or potential client. However, there is nothing like a well-organized overview of a topic to ignite work on a new project and allow employees to hit the ground running. Save yourself the time, and allow your interns to build their knowledge and their portfolios. Some of your best researchers may in fact be your interns. I lost count of the amount of research papers I wrote in college, and I would like to put those skills to use for the benefit of my coworkers. This tip also connects to #7 – the more they are required to research, the more self-sufficient they will become, meaning less emails in your inbox.

Give Them Positive AND Negative Feedback

Finally, let your interns know what they’re doing right and what they’re doing wrong. Some companies are inclined to shower their interns with indifference either due to lack of time (it’s broke, but I don’t have time to fix it) or obliviousness (Interns? We have interns?). It is beneficial to everyone involved to provide all types of feedback, and in a timely and organized manner. Do a first week check-in, a midterm review and a final review. Let your interns know what they did well, and what they could do better next time. Also, don’t be afraid to ask your interns what you can do to help them succeed – treat it like a collaborative performance review. When small things get done right, big things turn out even better.



As public relations professionals, we have a number of tools at our disposal- these items make our business lives easier as we strive to deliver on the objectives set forth for our brands each year. One tool that is often overlooked and sometimes considered unnecessary is media training.  Often, media training is not something that comes to mind for a business until absolutely necessary.

Media training IS necessary. Today, business leaders are expected to have the ability to easily navigate a media encounter- at times it is even considered a job requisite. But speaking to the media is not a skill that comes natural to most people, it’s a skill that needs to be practiced and honed.

DEVENEY offers a media training that is best-in-class and covers a variety of methodology including interview simulations with a journalist and film crew. The DEVENEY method teaches attendees how to control an interview, stay on message, utilize body language effectively and avoid the pitfalls of an overly inquisitive reporter. Our training sessions are uniquely tailored to your business needs and we work in conjunction with your team to specifically target each spokesperson’s strengths and weaknesses in communicating key messages to the media.

Other distinctive DEVENEY techniques include methods of messaging recall, weak language to avoid and tips for live interviews. After working through several media encounter simulations, trainees leave with a comprehensive binder of best-practices and tips, to encourage continued practice and improvement. We like to say that POISE comes with PRACTICE and our ultimate goal is to make training effective and efficient for you and your team.

Think that media training might be right for your business or organization? Get in touch with us at @DEVENEYMKTG