Firm News

Boardroom client Bal Harbour Shops is featured in this week’s Miami Herald Business Monday.

Opened in 1965 by retail visionary Stanley Whitman, the luxury retail center has withstood the test of time and is now evolving to keep up with the changing marketplace.

The article notes that last year the International Council of Shopping Centers found Bal Harbour Shops to be the most productive luxury shopping center in the world.

Today, Whitman, who is 94, still comes to work several times a week, but the day-to-day responsibilities for running Bal Harbour Shops and plans for expansion fall to his heirs, son Randy and Grandson Matthew.

More than 200 judges, attorneys, business professionals and child advocates attended last night’s Florida’s Children First (FCF) Broward Child Advocacy Awards and Reception, with a record breaking $125,000 raised so far! This marks the most successful FCF event to date.

FCF is the state’s premier child advocacy organization, and the event served to raise awareness and funds for the organization and its mission. Among this year’s inspiring honorees were children’s issues writer Carol Marbin Miller of the Miami Herald, Kirk Brown from Handy, Inc., Children’s Advocate Anne Alper, as well as Youth Honorees Brandon Burke, Breon Callins and Kaydrin Herbert.

A non-profit organization, FCF seeks meaningful and sustainable improvements in all child-serving systems, with a special emphasis on the foster care system. The organization is based in Coral Springs and has offices in Tampa and Jacksonville, and works all over the state. For more information, visi

As a former reporter who spent nearly 30 years on the other end of public relations pitches, I am often asked by colleagues what’s the best way to pitch a reporter?

The other day I overheard  someone in our office ask a reporter: “Did you get my press release?” When the answer she got was “Yes,” she said “Thanks” and hung up!

I turned and asked: “Did you ask if they planned to send a crew or someone to do the story?” “No,” was the reply.

When pitching reporters, it’s always good to be succinct and to the point since they are probably juggling several things at once. But it’s also important to establish enough of a rapport so that they will be more willing to take your call and talk to you long enough to gauge their interest.

While you can’t create a relationship with every reporter, there are several things you can do to ensure that your chances of getting a client in the news are more successful.

First: make sure the pitch is tailored to the medium you are pitching. I pitch a story differently to a business publication than I do to a lifestyle magazine. For a business publication, I focus on the dollars and cents aspect.

So, for example, when pitching a restaurant I might focus on its move into the marketplace, where the seed money came from, how many new people it will employ, what square footage it will take.

But if pitching to a lifestyle publication or blog I would shift my pitch to the type food served, are hamburgers and yogurt the new trend? What about the atmosphere? Who is their clientele? Are they frequented by celebrities?

While press release blasts have their place, I always follow up with the reporters who I know would be interested, just in case they missed it. It also gives me a chance to speak with them and perhaps suggest another angle they might not have thought of.

The key to that call is to listen first to how they are responding. Do they sound rushed? If they are and you keep pushing, then you are just going to irritate them. Did they simply say no, and you kept at it? The key here is, as Kenny Rogers once sang, to know when to hold them and know when to fold them.

Once my client’s news has been reported, I always tweet the story with a link to one or several of the media outlets that have written the story. It’s good for the client and gives a little shout-out to the reporter. I often do the same with LinkedIn and other social media.

Journalists may come and go, but you never know where they might land. And, more importantly, when you might need them again.  Approach them with the idea that you are creating a relationship that will endure the test of time, regardless of where they, or you, might end up working one day.

Susan Miller
Senior Account Executive
Boardroom Communications

PR is a lot like farming. At Boardroom Communications we cultivate the field (or in our case reporters), plant the seeds (story ideas) and then hope for a good harvest. It’s time consuming and sometimes our efforts pay off, but sometimes they don’t.

What clients must understand is that no story is too small and no reporter too insignificant. Case in point, many months ago we placed a small story in a local daily newspaper on one of our clients – VooDoo BBQ — and how they were tapping overseas investors to grow their restaurant business in South Florida.

A reporter with a national publication spotted the story and decided to make it into a bigger trend piece. He put out an inquiry and we responded, not realizing that he was basing his story on the one Boardroom had gotten placed months earlier.When we spoke, we both realized where the seed for the story had originally been planted and by whom. We worked with this national reporter, getting him the interviews and information he needed, and a few months later a story appeared in Inc. Magazine.

For a public relations professional, that’s truly a bountiful harvest.

Matthew Whitman Lazenby, operating partner at Bal Harbour Shops, has been named one of the people to watch in 2013 by the South Florida Business Journal.

Whitman Lazenby, who joined the family business in 2003 as director of leasing, played a significant role in the deal to purchase the Church by the Sea, located next to Bal Harbour Shops. With this purchase, BHS is now able to expand its property – adding 200,000 square feet, to accommodate increasing demand.

Whitman Lazenby is the grandson of Stanley Whitman, who founded Bal Harbour Shops nearly 50 years ago.

Wishing all of our friends and clients Happy Holidays and a prosperous New Year!

On December 19, the Boardroom Team gathered at Brio for a holiday celebration. We wanted to share some photos from the lunch.

We toasted to another successful year and we enjoyed working with all of you!

Check out our Boardroom Facebook page to see the full album and full sized pictures!

This holiday season Boardroom Communications’ Don Silver, Teresa Shum and Jessica Shein, teamed up with Legal Aid Services of Broward County for our annual Adopt-A-Family. This year’s adopted family was the LeJiste family. Merlinda and her children Qwanell and Milena were greeted by smiling faces and hundreds of dollars worth of toys, clothing and gift cards wrapped and ready to put under their Christmas tree.

Mom, Merlinda, allowed the children to open one gift each. Qwanell, four years old, was pleasantly surprised with his basketball. Merlinda explained that his favorite team is the Miami Heat. While Qwanell loudly bounced his ball throughout their apartment, eleven-month-old Milena enjoyed playing with her Count n’ Crunch Cookie Monster toy.

Giving back to the community year round is a core principle at Boardroom. We were recently named one of South Florida’s most philanthropic companies. Giving back, especially during the holiday season, warms our hearts!

Happy Holidays!

Spreading the Holiday Spirit!!!

Boardroom Communication’s President Julie Talenfeld and her husband Howard are once again proud to  sponsor the JAFCO Hanukkah party at the JAFCO        village. As longtime supporters of the organization they have  sponsored the JAFCO Hanukkah party for the past seven  years.

The Talenfelds always look forward to the holiday season and all the joy it brings.  But they recognize that not  everyone  is    fortunate to experience holiday cheer – or even basic necessities like food, shelter and clothing.  The  couple  sponsors the  Hanukkah party so the dozens of foster children who live in the residences at the Sunrise Village  and out  in the community can  celebrate the holiday and enjoy its many traditions.

To make the party even more special, Julie and Howard bring in more than 10 tons of snow for the children to play  in.  The  children of JAFCO will also enjoy traditional jelly doughnuts and latkes.

Julie said, “When I think of the miracle of Hanukkah, I believe an even greater miracle occurs when JAFCO’s  wonderful  staff and  supporters do their part to make a big difference in these children’s lives.”

To learn more about JAFCO visit the website:

Happy Holidays!

The annual Herald Hunt (once known as the Tropic Hunt) began in1984, and the Bergs (Caren of Boardroom Communications, Peter of Transworld Business Advisors) have been participating for years and years.  Every outing is fun – great outdoor activities, lots of camaraderie and the proverbial a good time is had by all.  But it is ultimately excruciating to find out one little clue you missed.  We could have won – if only.

Along came2012, and the team of the Caren and Peter Berg, along with friends/clients Jamie Cole, managing director at Weiss Serota Helfman Pastoriza Cole & Boniske and his wife Debbie and daughter Julie, decided for the first time to register a team name – the Fiscal Cliff Hangers.  This was the start of something new.

And it there was indeed a new ending – winning, as Charlie Sheen once uttered!  After an estimated nineteen times (memories of Susan Lucci!), the puzzles and enigmas and clues and hints all clicked.  The stars aligned.  It all worked.

Next year can’t come soon enough!

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