when innovation, creativity and results matter

1st Degree is the creative force behind bold communication campaigns, powerful messages and shifts in social change. The essence of our agency is to provide highly-personalized service, attention to detail and unprecedented results.

Leveraging our brand attributes—trustworthy stewardship and top industry
talent—the 1st Degree team passionately works to deliver smart and uncommon solutions. Our reputation is stellar and work ethic unparalleled. As we push the boundaries of what’s possible, we use our creativity, skill and widespread resources to secure significant results on behalf of our clients.

1st Degree is a member of the Moore DM Group, one of the largest marketing firms in North America.

our work

At 1st Degree, we create compelling brand experiences that use effective storytelling to help our nonprofit, corporate and association clients communicate and deliver their mission. Our highly-trained team creates and executes individualized blueprints for each client to maximize the power of their brand.

Click on one of our services and discover how our integrated marketing solutions leverage traditional PR, social media, content marketing, celebrity engagement, creative services and analytics to achieve results that exceed expectation.

our leadership

Laura is an industry veteran with two decades of being on the front lines helping charities, companies and associations shape their communication strategies. She is the dynamic head cheerleader for 1st Degree that gets the job done.

Laura has designed and implemented award-winning public relations and marketing campaigns for clients including Shriners Hospitals for Children®, Marine Toys for Tots Foundation, USO, Toys “R” Us®, Jack Daniels®, General Mills, UPS, Boeing and Harley-Davidson.

She served as director of global public relations at MCI Telecommunications before leaving to start her own telecommunications company. Two IPOs and a successful merger later, her entrepreneurial spirit continued when she founded 1st Degree. Laura has an MBA from Georgetown University – McDonough School of Business and loves to cook and entertain for her children and friends.

Misti is a marketing and communications veteran who brings that unique blend of creativity and analytics to her clients and her programs. She is the 1st Degree strategist who thinks big and digs deep into the numbers to create breakthrough communications programs that deliver measurable results.

Over the past 25 years, Misti has worked with many of the most respected nonprofits and associations in country as well as corporate leaders in the retail, consumer packaged goods, hospitality, shipping, telecommunications, dining and manufacturing industries. Prior to 1st Degree, Misti was director of business development for MCI, forging groundbreaking affinity marketing partnerships with some of the nation’s largest consumer businesses.

Misti holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration from Indiana University of Pennsylvania and a Juris Doctorate from Georgetown University. She balances her hectic day with a daily dose of yoga and scrumptious food from her husband’s two restaurants.

An accomplished professional working within Fortune 500 Companies, small businesses, start-ups and nonprofits, Jerry has seen it all and planned most of it. He has designed and implemented special events for global brands such as Kraft, General Mills, Proctor & Gamble, General Motors, National Football League, History Channel and Ford Motor company as well as distinguished projects with The White House, Department of Defense and U.S. State Department.

Jerry has experience planning festivals, industry conferences and community-wide volunteer events for corporate, nonprofit and media clients. His background in the engineering field, business world and nonprofit sector give him valuable insight in planning events specifically tailored to a wide variety of needs and audiences.

Jerry is the chief of WOW at 1st Degree because any project he takes on leaves a lasting impression on our clients, their customers and the media. As a Texan, he has spent a lifetime perfecting his BBQ brisket and on more than one occasion used it to entice celebrities to support our clients.

Cheryl is passionate about the nonprofit industry and the work they do to make the world a better place. Starting her career in the news industry, she was touched by the stories of people and quickly made the transition to marketing, communications and fundraising for some of the biggest nonprofit brands in the industry, including the USO, Girl Scouts, Volunteer Centers and March of Dimes. Cheryl joined the 1st Degree team in 2015 and as our cruise director, plans marketing strategy efforts for clients that drive brand awareness that converts to business in all mediums.

In Cheryl’s free time, she can be found planning the perfect itinerary for her next travel adventure with friends and family.

Diane Parisi served for twelve years as part of the executive team at USO where she was responsible for corporate development and programming. During this time, she worked with corporate partners on cause-related marketing campaigns, special event fundraising and corporate sponsorships. She also served as vice president, community investment at BAE Systems, a top ten global defense contractor, where Parisi built mutually beneficial partnerships with nonprofit organizations on key strategic initiatives. Additionally, she has provided expert advice and counsel to a variety of nonprofits in governance, infrastructure and business operations.

With more than two decades of experience, Parisi is an accomplished industry veteran with a proven track record of success in corporate and program development and marketing services.