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Building Relationships with Creativity and Trust

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Most of us can readily accept the idea of soul mates within a committed personal relationship, but after meeting Debbie Fitzgerald and Regan Petersen, partners at Fitzgerald Petersen Communications, I am convinced there is such a thing as business soul mates.

Together, Debbie and Regan form a strong alliance that has been built upon years of shared passions, visions, goals and dreams. With their combined experience, skills and knowledge, this innovative, engaging and detail-oriented public relations firm offers the expertise one would expect of a big name firm while simultaneously providing a genuine personal touch and extreme attention to details needed to successfully develop strategic marketing and communications programs that meet each client’s needs. Celebrating their tenth anniversary, Fitzgerald Petersen Communications has been a successful driving force behind every client they represent, taking each one to full throttle when it comes to reaping significant gains in terms of media visibility through effective, unique and exciting PR campaigns.

An integral part of this firm’s success points directly to the relationship between Debbie and Regan. They are truly each other’s biggest fans and have proven that to take a business relationship to the next level, there has to be a strong dynamic of give and take: give credit where it is due and take the blame when necessary. They continually honor their strengths and will always strive for perfection and growth so they can provide unparalleled service to their clients. And while each clearly boasts a noteworthy professional resume, they would much rather sing the praises of the other, making it abundantly clear that for each of these outstanding ladies, kindness and compassion are genuine instincts.

“I feel like this is where my heart is,” smiled Debbie, whose warm and welcoming demeanor immediately puts anyone at ease. With nearly two decades of media and public relations experience, complemented by a background in broadcast journalism, Debbie is a true force with which to be reckoned. This longtime Coloradoan began her career reporting on KHOW’s Tom Martino Troubleshooter show, which led to a production assistant stint at KCNC/CBS4 in Denver. After almost two years in the KCNC newsroom, she transitioned to a reporting position for the CBS affiliate in Boise, Idaho. She eventually circled back to her hometown, working initially at Webb Public Relations and later assuming the role of vice president and director of The Broadcast Media Group at Ogilvy Public Relations Worldwide, where she honed her skills for six years working in conjunction with high-profile clients such as Xerox, General Motors, Qwest and Coca-Cola.

While working at Webb PR, Debbie met Regan, with whom she developed an instant connection. Regan was immediately taken not only with Debbie’s friendly and engaging demeanor, but also with her keen insight and ability to act as a teacher, trusted advisor and confidant. “Deb was there prior to me and she actually interviewed me for the job,” noted Regan, who indicated it was her first job out of college outside of a brief internship with the ESPN XGames. “When I first met her, I knew she was exactly like I wanted to be. She taught me so much and was a true guide and mentor to me.”

During their time together at both PR agencies, they realized how much in common they shared in terms of their ideas, passion and interest in the world of public relations. Within 18 months of their initial meeting, both ladies transitioned to jobs at Ogilvy PR, furthering strengthening their respective skill sets and developing a cohesive team effort between the two of them. Regan was appointed Vice President for the agency’s Consumer, Entertainment, Healthcare and Technology clients, managing media and analyst relations, accounting strategy and planning for both national and local clients.

Debbie and Regan were an integral part of the firm’s growth, yet both began to feel the tug to move on to something else. After consulting with agencies in Denver, including Ogilvy PR and GroundFloor Media, Debbie and Regan trusted their instincts and decided to take that proverbial leap of faith and establish their own public relations agency, and were grateful to do so with full support from their employer. “We learned so much from these world class agencies and they were so supportive of our desire to go out on our own,” said Regan. “Both firms still refer us business and we’re so grateful for that.”

Striving for a healthy work-life balance, this decision seemed like the perfect idea. It would allow them to pursue their passions while still keeping a steady finger on the pulse of their family life. With six children between the two of them, it was important for each woman to have some sense of family stability while simultaneously embracing their love of public relations. While they give one another the complete freedom to be themselves, they also act in complete synchronicity with one another, as if they share the same thought processes at nearly every turn.

“We trust each other implicitly,” noted Regan. “And we often joke that we share the same brain. We work long and hard hours, but it has worked out well for us. It’s nice to know we have each other’s back. We love to brainstorm and think through how we can make a successful program for our clients.”

Employing their close and personal ties and years of strong business relationships with national and regional media, Fitzgerald Petersen confidently delivers the best media visibility possible for their clients. Every project they approach is met with senior experience, flexibility, a sense of urgency and complete respect for financial sensitivity toward the client. The team is completely hands on throughout each engagement and works with passion and enthusiasm.

A significant contributing factor to the successful engagements of Fitzgerald Petersen Communications is its focus on basic yet essential principles from which the firm refuses to waver. “We stay true to our principles,” said Debbie. “We are committed to being truthful, ethical, kind and pleasant. We want media representatives in all of Colorado’s newsrooms to say, ‘That was a great story and they were so darned pleasant to work with, too.’”

This firm has raving fans by which to prove that sentiment, too. “The team at Fitzgerald Petersen has an outstanding grasp of how to work with a newsroom to develop compelling stories for television, and, in turn, drive promotion for an event,” said Tim Wieland, News Director at News4/KCNC/CBS.

Away from the PR spotlight, Debbie and Regan enjoy many interests, some similar and some that take them in different directions. Both love to travel and also appreciate the time they can invest into their respective families and kids’ activities.

However, their passion for their work is always close at hand, and to that end they focus on true public relations, which is ultimately building relationships. “A big piece of PR is the experience of cultivating relationships with media outlets,” explained Debbie. “We are still continuing to learn and grow so that we can understand and know what the next big thing is for our clients.”

Regan emphatically agrees. “It is important to us to get the professional education we need so we can offer the best to our clients. We get so excited about the partnerships we develop,” she smiled.

Fortunately, they are operating a business in a city conducive to numerous PR opportunities. “We are thrilled to work in the booming Denver market,” smiled Debbie. “We are super excited about the future of Fitzgerald Petersen Communications.”

It is no wonder Debbie and Regan feel blessed by what they do. Excitement is always the order of the day and no two days are alike for this fun-loving and adventurous team that enjoys coloring outside the lines in terms of creative expression and communication prowess. They look forward to the next decade of stellar results for their clients. (You have been warned: elephants running the last leg of a marathon is not out of the question!)

“One day we could be up at 6:45 in the morning taking clowns to a media outlet and the next we may be accompanying a McDonald’s executive to an interview,” said Debbie. “But one thing is for certain: we hit the ground running with joy each day.” HLM

For more information on Fitzgerald Petersen Communications, go online or call 303- 332-3896.