when innovation, creativity and results matter

See the 1st Degree team in action.

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.

Amy is our resident brand czar with unparalleled attention to detail and a flair for the dramatic.

1st Degree has the highest commitment to maintaining client brand standards and producing flawless work that reflects laser-focus attention to detail. As vice president of projects and brand integrity, Amy ensures campaigns are fulfilled efficiently, on budget and error free. She supports the marketing, public relations and event teams to achieve objectives in growth, profitability, workflow management and product quality.

With nearly 15 years of industry experience, Amy has a demonstrated ability to develop and maintain outstanding client relationships in both non-profit and corporate sectors. Amy holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Public Relations from George Mason University and makes the world’s best carrot cake.

Susan is a versatile leader who has a unique ability to bridge business needs, philanthropic goals, technology and people to create powerful relationships that deliver results.

At 1st Degree, Susan works with clients to build relationships and programs that highlight their mission and build opportunity. Following a successful 20-year career in corporate America, Susan was vice president of development at the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children®. Among her accomplishments, Susan led a five-fold increase in fundraising during her 10-year tenure and grew a portfolio of more than 50 strategic corporate partnerships. Growing brand recognition, her group managed an award-winning Ad Council Campaign, participated in Extreme Home Makeover on ABC, and created the NCMEC direct mail program.

Susan’s family and friends call her the “doer.” They rely on her to bring creativity to a problem and get the job done.

Ellen has strategized and executed marketing and corporate development programs in the nonprofit and veterans advocacy space for more than 15 years. She has helped small and large nonprofit organizations alike raise millions of dollars through corporate sponsorships, cause-marketing initiatives, capital campaigns, annual fundraising endeavors, direct mail and major gift solicitations.

Before joining 1st Degree, Ellen oversaw USAA’s military relationships, including The American Legion, Wounded Warrior Project and the Marine Corps Association. Additionally, Ellen has led multiple big brand campaigns partnering with nonprofit clients with the NFL, NBA, Hertz, PGA, Progressive, American Express, MasterCard, Visa, Allied Bank, Mutual of Omaha and Procter and Gamble.

Ellen holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Communications from the University of Wyoming. In her spare time she enjoys traveling the world and enjoying the great outdoors. Her favorite activity is snow skiing, conquering mountains throughout North America and other continents.