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Communications firm gets a makeover

Deanne Roberts, left, hired Colleen Chappell in 2002 to eventually take over the Tampa ad/PR business. Now, 30-year-old Roberts Communications has been renamed ChappellRoberts with Chappell as CEO and sole owner. Roberts remains with the company to work on bigger-picture issues.

DAVID DEGNER | Times

Deanne Roberts, left, hired Colleen Chappell in 2002 to eventually take over the Tampa ad/PR business. Now, 30-year-old Roberts Communications has been renamed ChappellRoberts with Chappell as CEO and sole owner. Roberts remains with the company to work on bigger-picture issues.



About 250 people showed up last Wednesday in Ybor City to celebrate the newly named ChappellRoberts communications/public relations firm. The business, formerly known as Roberts Communications, was founded 30 years ago by mover and shaker Deanne Roberts, a rare woman elected to head the Greater Tampa Chamber of Commerce, a leader in the "creative communities" effort to blend business and arts as a regional development tool, and one of the founders of the Emerge Tampa movement, a group for young business professionals. Now Colleen Chappell is CEO and sole owner of the newly branded business. Roberts successfully got her hard-earned equity out of her own company and will remain at the company to lead its issues management practice. On Friday, Chappell responded to a few questions about ChappellRoberts' plans.

"We'll continue to emphasize being a strategic partner — not a vendor," she said. "My favorite question to ask our clients is: 'What's keeping you up at night?' If we can help them close a gap in their business plan, we'll build long-term loyalty." But isn't this a nasty economic time to be CEO of any business? Said Chappell: "This is a great opportunity for our clients to gain share of mind, market and wallet. With so many companies pulling back, we are helping clients gain traction in the market now so when it does turn later, they will be far ahead of the competition."

Chappell still calls upon her past results-oriented approach. "My best experience was heading up business sales for Verizon Wireless, where I learned an ad has to do more than look really cool and creative. It needs to sell."

In her new role, Roberts, who battled cervical cancer in the past year, also hopes to sneak in a bit more time in her coastal Maine home.

Communications firm gets a makeover 11/16/08 [Last modified: Tuesday, November 18, 2008 3:53pm]
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