Deanne Roberts hands baton to Colleen Chappell
ChappellRoberts is the new name of the Tampa communications/public relations firm formerly known as Roberts Communications. The firm was founded 30 years ago by Deanne Roberts, a regional mover and shaker who has served as the rare woman elected to head the Greater Tampa Chamber of Commerce, has been a leader in the "creative communities" effort to blend business and arts as a regional development tool, and was one of the founders of the Emerge Tampa movement, a group for young business professionals. It is the catalyst behind a number of your business people's groups recently formed around the area, and statewide.
Roberts has battled cervical cancer (see my column about her efforts). But she is also anxious to step back from the day to day and, as chairman of the new ChappellRoberts, have time for some bigger picture projects (and maybe extra time to hang in her coastal Maine home). In a smart move that other small businesses should seriously think about, Roberts (left in photo) hired Colleen Chappell (right) in 2002 as her likely successor as company CEO. Now Chappell has taken that title and, deservedly, enjoys a newly branded name on the front door. Says Roberts:
"The best decision I've made in the history of this company was convincing Colleen to leave her corporate sales and marketing position and join me in the business. She has taken us
to a whole new level."
Here's the real clincher. Roberts says Chappell is now the sole owner of the PR/ad agency. Translation? Roberts has done that rare thing: Gotten her hard-earned equity out of her own company to do with what she wants. Roberts will remain at the company and lead its issues management practice.
I'll revisit what's happening with these folks and this firm shortly. ChappellRoberts has a party later today celebrating its 30 years in business and the new transition. Stay tuned.
--Robert Trigaux, Times Business Columnist
(Photo by David Degner of the St. Petersburg Times.)