By Will McClure
When Stamford High School students get ready to take the next step after high school, many of them have big dreams, including to one day own and operate their very own business. Class of 2008 graduate Jessica Decker was one of these students. After spending the last two years working for a marketing firm in Kansas City, she recently returned to Stamford to open her own marketing firm, Oreana Communications. Offering many different forms of public relations and advertising including forms of digital and social media, Decker has been hard at work to get her company moving and establish her brand since first starting a few short months ago. With her company giving her a busy schedule during the week, Decker was able to sit down for a little while to talk about the beginning of her marketing career and how she eventually came to become president of her very own company.
After graduating Stamford High School in 2008, Decker went to school at Texas A&M for her undergraduate studies and eventually attended Oklahoma State University for her graduate work. After completing school, Decker took a position with one of the largest PR firm in the world, the Fleishman-Hillard marketing firm in Kansas City, Missouri, where she spent the last two years gaining valuable experience that would help her one day open her own company. When asked what helped her pursue the marketing field, Decker said that she had first wanted to pursue Ag Journalism/Ag Comm in college after working for the Stamford Star and the restarted Stamford American under Callie Metler-Smith during her senior year in high school and some time before college, becoming the first junior editor for the Stamford American. Once she entered college, she started to learn more towards Ag Comm and the public relations side of things, allowing her to pursue the area of PR. It was also during her time in Kansas City where she gained the most valuable experience that would help her with her company today.
"The best experience I've had so far, without a doubt, has to be some really great work I did at my old agency. My biggest client there was Bayer Animal Health. They're a livestock product company and they were just really great to work with and then also last August they launched this new product, a truly innovative product and there is nothing like it on the market," Decker said. "So getting to help work on that campaign was great because we helped write that campaign from the very beginning. We worked on that campaign for a year and a half leading up to the launch in August...We worked on it from the ground floor." Decker went on to say that they did a lot of things to help market the product from what they would emphasize to producers and how it would be said, using videos and a media event to help get the product out there.
During her time in Kansas City, Decker had the desire to open her own PR firm in the future, but imagined that it would still be several years away. However, after a former employer that she had interned with, the New Mexico Cattle Growers' Association, wanted to hire her, she decided to instead take them on as her first client as she would take the first steps in opening Oreana Communications.
Decker said that the decision gave her a great opportunity to start, feeling it was too good of an opportunity to start her company off on the right foot as the main thing the association needed was help in communications and marketing. With the ball rolling starting in April, Decker quit her job at Fleishman-Hillard in May and made the decision to relocate back to her hometown in Stamford, getting everything set up and running in a matter of three weeks. Decker said she spent the majority of the first month in New Mexico for meetings and helped with a convention. Decker said that while the majority of what she does right now is with the New Mexico Cattle Growers' Association, she has also been traveling to trade shows and setting up meetings to take on smaller projects to help build her company's reputation.
"What I do, specifically, is a general communications firm which, while some agencies are just PR and some are just advertising, I like both so I wanted to do both. So what I would do is any form of PR, marketing, advertising, that sort thing for companies and any form of digital and social work as well. I've had a lot of experience from clients I've had at Fleishman-Hillard. I did a lot of video and photo shoots for them, which was really a lot of fun, and then monitoring and handling social media accounts, working with media, holding different events, anything that has to do with communicating with someone, I will do," Decker said.
A lot to take on alone, Decker said that while she does not have any full-time employees, she has a group of people that perform freelance work for her in specialized fields, catering to her clients' needs. At the same time, Decker said she also acts as an advisor of sorts for any client, no matter how big or small the company is, to help them find the right ways to advertise or bring in PR in ways that will help them as well as fit into their budget, stating that the world of PR is so broad that it would be hard to focus on a specific area for each and every client. Decker said that while her specialty is working with agriculture and non-profit organizations, she can branch out to fit her clients' needs.
When making the decision to return to Stamford to set up her company, Decker said that she had always wanted to move back to Stamford, hoping that it would also allow her company to grow on its own and, eventually, be able to give back to the community. She said that one of the biggest challenges she faces at this point is that it is such a small company right now, making it difficult for her to break in with larger, more established, firms. However, Decker said that she wants her experience to speak for itself as she has had experience at a large firm and has helped produce results. She also said that, in particular with working with agriculture companies, she feels she has a different kind of experience as, having grown up working with agriculture all of her life, she has the ability to see what the consumer sees and, as she says herself, may even use the product herself as she continues to help on her parents' farm.
And so, as she begins this new venture in the world of PR and advertising, Jessica Decker has gained the valuable knowledge and experience that has allowed her to follow her dreams and open her own company, Oreana Communications. She says that work is being done to help her have a physical office, but most of her work can easily be done through the internet, but it will be nice to have a place for her clients to come see her in person. There is no telling what the future may hold, but it can be certain that Jessica Decker and Oreana Communications is up for the task. Welcome home, Jessica, and good luck!
For more information about Oreana Communications, feel free to visit oreanacomm.com or email Decker at email@example.com.