“They ask the right questions that make you think about your business goals and how public relations can help. When I’ve talked with other PR firms, I’ve realized how lucky we were to find Olmstead Williams.”

–Director of Marketing,
Big Four firm

the challenge

With thousands of employees, this major financial firm was an established market leader but wasn’t effectively leveraging its extensive portfolio of reports, market analyses and industry-leading programs with the media, potential clients and the general public. OWC worked closely with the firm to strategize tactics to apply its thought leadership and differentiate the firm from its competition to gain visibility in San Diego, Orange County, Los Angeles, Northern California, Portland and Seattle. OWC arranges high-profile speaking forums and provides timely news hooks for the media to position the firm as a trusted source on its target industries including technology and life sciences.


To date, OWC has secured prominent speaking opportunities and board representation for the firm’s partners at the local and national level, including Out and Equal Workplace Advocates, YPO (Young Presidents’ Organization), The Asia Society, Human Rights Campaign, California Council on Economic Education and other key arts and civic institutions. OWC continues to arrange guest articles in accounting and regional vertical industry trades and business journals in California, Oregon and Washington. The agency ensures that the Big Four firm is included in all important roundups and lists in local market business journals, and featured in national media including The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, Los Angeles Times, The Huffington Post, and BNET, as well as alumni publications at major universities throughout the country.

“Growing up in the San Fernando Valley as the son of South Korean immigrants without high school degrees, Andy Park, tax partner at Ernst & Young, knew the importance of having a mentor. His older cousin Ted helped him stay focused on school when he was younger. “He didn’t go to college,” said Park. “He encouraged me not to select the path he went down.”

Looking ahead, [Tim Holl, a partner with Ernst & Young in San Diego] noted that there is likely to be some ups and downs in the stock market. That could make it harder for young companies to go public next quarter, which tends to influence the bets made by venture capitalists. … “If you look at the economy right now, Brexit has caused a bit of consternation. And if you look back to the last two or three election cycles, there is usually a pause” in IPO activity.

On the IPO front, there have been just 167 new stocks listed worldwide this year, raising just over $12 billion, according to consulting firm Ernst & Young, which called the last three months the slowest first quarter since 2009. The number of IPOs represents a 39% drop from a year ago. “With increased volatility in the markets and the uncertainty surrounding oil prices, interest rates and U.S. elections, we expected a stop-start year for IPO activities,” EY Americas IPO leader Jackie Kelley said.

“Data released this week from Ernst & Young confirms that a Washington state company has not gone public since 2014, and that IPO activity across the nation has plunged. Worldwide, 167 companies raised $12.1 billion in the first quarter of the year, a 70 percent drop from the same period a year ago. Funding activity is still down as well, said Greg Beams, a partner at Ernst & Young in Seattle, but he remains hopeful that funding and IPO activity will pick up in the region.”

Technology companies are starting to take a more cautious approach compared with the go-go funding mantra of the past several years, when startups raised as much capital as they could at the highest valuations possible. “I don’t think we’re where we were during the Internet bubble, but you do have people preaching caution,” said Jeff Grabow, who heads the U.S. venture capital practice at Ernst & Young.