Jaggers Communications News

Celebrating New Office Space

By Jaggers Communications News

I have a blank wall before me in a fresh new office. That’s not a metaphor; we’ve moved into space at 820 E. High Street in Charlottesville. We quickly outgrew the last space we were in and this one allows for some future growth and accommodation of the current Jaggers Communications team. Sitting here this morning, unpacking a box and reorganizing files, waiting for a new, comfortable chair to arrive, reminds me of all the “new” offices I’ve had in my past.

There was the corner of the mailroom at Illinois History magazine, a job I held in high school and prized because it felt grown up, and was on the path I envisioned for myself back then. I hung a poster of Sting in my “office;” really a desk surrounded by filing cabinets.

I had a desk in the back room of a Sears store when I was a merchandise coordinator while in college. The area doubled as storage space and was depressed with florescent lighting and false retail cheer.

I sat in what appeared to be the receptionist’s seat, right inside the door in a tiny office of my first agency where I was an intern, then an associate. The desk was in the line of sight of the boss. She liked having me there. I couldn’t wait to leave.

Next I was in a fabulous downtown building in St. Louis — right near the riverfront with a fantastic view. The job sucked, though and I had that view for a short, miserable six months.

The next office landed me in suburban St. Louis for six years or so — hard to get to, musty, uncomfortable space that was made unpleasant by equipment that needed upgrading and fellow tenants who were either loud or smelly.

The next career jog spanned two offices, both decidedly “meh;” one with a windowless space painted industrial green.

The office I loved best was with Standing Partnership in Creve Coeur, St. Louis, Missouri. Spacious, individual offices for 20+ people, a useful conference room, a nice break room, clean, well-appointed restrooms. I was spoiled by that office.

After that I worked from home for five years. It was great, in a way. I have a very nice home office with a walkout, a nice view, a puppy at my feet and great furniture. I was happy in that office but it was awfully lonely.

I did a stint at OpenSpace, which I recommend to anyone who is a sole proprietor, working remotely or in need of a landing space to get work done in Charlottesville. Tell them I sent you.

I’m happy to have a fresh new office. It’s clean and pleasant; convenient and roomy. It has a great conference room and a decent kitchen. I think we’ll be very happy here for awhile.

What kind of offices have you had? What were your favorites? What were the worst?

Amy Eastlack joins the Jaggers Communications Team

By Communications, Jaggers Communications News

I am beyond thrilled to announce an addition to the Jaggers Communications family. You might know her from SuzySaid in Charlottesville or as a television star on C’ville Plugged

Amy Eastlack

Amy Eastlack

In, a segment that aired for more than a year on CBS-19, WCAV.

She’s Amy Eastlack, my good friend, a fantastic writer, a social media engagement specialist and the newest member of our team!

Amy has devoted her time to developing business and personal relationships in our community. Her background spans environmental health, health care, retail marketing and nonprofit work, making her experience a perfect fit for our business growth model. Her involvement locally has given her a broad network of contacts and numerous followers in the social space. Having her join the team just makes good sense! (Plus, it occurs to me just now that she’s the fourth team member with roots in the Midwest. We’re good old common sense, down to earth people at Jaggers Communications from a land where “all the women are strong, all the men are good looking, and all the children are above average,” as Garrison Keillor would say).

Amy will be providing support in client web monitoring, content development and plan management.

Please join me in welcoming Amy on board and say hello when you see her around Charlottesville!


By Jaggers Communications News

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (March 6, 2012) – Jaggers Communications, a strategic  communications firm with a growing presence in Charlottesville, announces that Center for Nonprofit Excellence (CNE) will be its local pro-bono community partner for 2012. The firm will develop an integrated, strategic communications plan to support the organization’s programs, events and member resources.

“We’re honored to have been chosen as this year’s community partner. Bringing increased awareness to the tools, training sessions and resources we offer will surely help strengthen our local nonprofit community,” said Cristine Nardi, CNE’s executive director.

Jaggers Communications provides a positive impact to the communities in which it has a presence by selecting a nonprofit organization to work with on a pro-bono basis each year. “We believe it is critical to give back to the communities where we live and work,” said Marijean Jaggers, president and owner of the firm. “We’re very excited to work with CNE as this year’s community partner. CNE works with local nonprofits to build the capacity of staff, board and volunteers to effectively manage and lead and to collaborate to increase mission impact. By supporting their initiatives we can effectively support the entire nonprofit community as well as local businesses.”

The firm has added several clients to its roster in 2012 including HemoShear, a biotechnology research company, telecommunications provider Lumos Networks, headquartered in Waynesboro, Va., the Charlottesville Albemarle Association of REALTORS® (CAAR), and Rebecca’s Natural Food, a supplement and organic grocery store based in Charlottesville.


 About The Center for Nonprofit Excellence
Center for Nonprofit Excellence (CNE) in Charlottesville, Va. is the area’s primary resource for nonprofit management, leadership and collaboration. CNE strengthens nonprofits to reach their potential by sharing information, providing training and professional development and encouraging collaboration to enable a healthy, vibrant community.

About Jaggers Communications
Jaggers Communications applies experience to help businesses and nonprofits reach their business goals through strategic marketing, content creation, public relations and social media. Jaggers Communications provides organizations in the health care, education,technology, travel and tourism industries with social media consulting, public relations support and reputation management strategy. The firm was founded in 2011 to serve businesses with a need for cost-effective, strategic communications with effective reach.


Jaggers Communications Adds Director of Client Services, Rusty Speidel

By Communications, Jaggers Communications News, Public Relations

Last year the most popular post on this blog was, sadly, not written by me. My good friend Rusty Speidel wrote it. So when it became apparent that it was time to expand the Jaggers Communications team, I didn’t have far to look; the right person for the job was right here all along.

He is the Felix to my Oscar; the Ernie to my Bert. I’m so happy to have him as part of the team!

Rusty brings a wealth of experience in brand positioning and management and a specialization in bringing products to market. A long-time digital communications expert, Rusty’s experience has focused on designing or improving user experiences and business processes that drive revenue, increase brand affinity and attract users.

Rusty’s background includes the creation of, the social network for NASCAR fans. As the vice president of social media for Rowdy, Rusty grew the network to more than 1.5 million views per month and launched the award winning #1 ranked iTunes podcast, which has more than 60,000 downloads per month.

As part of the team at Jaggers Communications, Rusty will be involved in client plan development, brand positioning, project management and client services, content creation and strategic communications planning and execution. His capabilities, interests in technology and the environment, and thought leadership in community development and go-to-market strategy enhance the firm’s product offerings and complement Jaggers Communications’ client service.

Eleven Lessons from the Entrepreneurial Life of 2011

By Communications, Jaggers Communications News, Social Media

Right around eleven months ago, I announced the launch of this business, Jaggers Communications. It was an emotional, then heady era, as I made the transition from employee to business owner beginning on January 1, 2011. I can honestly say I’ve loved every minute of the entrepreneurial life, even with its related stresses and increased responsibilities.   Here are eleven lessons I’ve learned in my first eleven months of being out on my own:

  1. Ask and ye shall receive. Don’t ask and you’ll never know what the answer would have been. I hemmed, hawed and stressed over asking my employer about allowing me out of a non-compete clause, providing a small list of clients with which to launch my business. I asked. They said yes. Everyone is happy!
  2. Pay people quickly. It’s awful when you’re a small business waiting for a check to arrive. I try to minimize the wait times on my vendors and freelance team members receiving their checks because I know the pain waiting can cause.
  3. Plan ahead, work ahead and manage your time closely. I’ve been fortunate to have worked in the agency atmosphere where time budgeting is as crucial as budgeting of resources. I’ve been trained to log time and evaluate where inefficiencies exist. It’s helped me to become an excellent time manager and is the answer to “how do you do it all?” a question I’m asked with frequency.
  4. Share the story of your business as a method of connecting with your community. I have continued to blog about social media, communications, PR, my business and my community throughout the year, between three and five times a week. My web traffic has increased 400% in the last year and is the leading method of marketing I use to promote my business and connect to prospective clients.
  5. Outsource your weaknesses. I’m not a great bookkeeper — that’s why I have an excellent one I pay an hourly rate to help me stay on top of Quickbooks and balancing my accounts. I also have individuals I turn to for Web development support, media advertising buys and technical troubleshooting.
  6. Delegate! I had a bit of unexpected and sudden surgery in late May — an occurrence that forced me to evaluate quickly what “needed” to be done by me, personally, and what I could delegate to the cadre of capable individuals with whom I work. Nothing like urgency to force changed behavior! I am happy to say that the delegation lesson worked beautifully and has encouraged me to continue to evaluate projects and tasks to shift them to the most appropriate team member.
  7. Spend the money on the stuff that matters. I wasn’t ready at the beginning of the business to invest in my brand identity and in fact, felt that the business was still evolving and settling its focus. This quarter it was time, and I happily made the investment to have my brand identity created the right way. Thank you, Watermark Design!
  8. When the client doesn’t fit the business, walk away. This is hard for any entrepreneur in a growth phase; you want to take all the business you can bear. Saying “no” to new work doesn’t fit the entrepreneurial spirit very well, but when the business at hand is not right for the firm, it is the right decision.
  9. Don’t freak out, just get busy. There were a few times during the year when a flush of uncertainty would come over me. I’d realize the workload in the coming months wasn’t as crystal clear as I’d like it to be; that the billable hours weren’t quite meeting my goals. I WOULD freak out, but just a little. Then I’d put my head down, and concentrate on publishing, speaking and promoting, ultimately drawing in new prospects and starting or resuming conversations that led inevitably to new business. It’s a process that works, and thanks to my business development manager, Erika Gennari, one that is keeping on track much more regularly!
  10. Keep putting your money where your mouth is. (Yes, I know; a grammatically incorrect colloquialism, but I’m making a point, here!). I am a big believer in walking the talk, practicing what you preach and (insert another tired cliche here). I encourage my small business clients to use social media to market their businesses and I consistently demonstrate the behavior I’m recommending. When I share my experiences as applied to their businesses, I am addressing it from a firsthand perspective.
  11. Believe in yourself. I don’t know if it’s hubris or arrogance on my part, but I believe in the quality of the work I do. Clients of mine, with sole proprietorships tell me of the struggle they face in marketing their businesses. It’s awkward, they say, because promoting the business is self promotion, and they’ve been raised to be modest! I think when you do something well and you know it, it’s a bigger crime to hide your talent and not share it with the world. Tell your story! You owe it to yourself and your business to help manage your own success.

I’m still learning the ropes as an entrepreneur, but I’m enjoying the journey as much as the work.