Committed culture: Moore Communications Group

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Karen-MooreIn 1992 Karen Moore left a successful communications career in academia to scratch her entrepreneurial itch and open her own firm. Fast forward to today: Tallahassee-based Moore Communications Group is one of the largest independently owned communications firms in the Southeast with more than 30 employees and $7 million in annual revenue.

Moore’s secret sauce? A corporate culture that revolves around committed employees. “It’s about creating a great workplace that can attract and retain top talent,” she says.

Although Moore has been generous about benefits since day one, moving into second stage has enabled her to offer a wider, deeper pool of perks. Among these are:

  • 100 percent healthcare coverage, including dental.
  • A 401(k) plan where the company contributes up to 7 percent of the employee’s salary without requiring a match.
  • Shutting down the office between Christmas and New Year’s.
  • Flexible hours and telecommuting.

Perhaps the most popular benefit is “bring-your-pet-to-work Fridays.” On any given Friday, you might see a chihuahua, golden retriever, several mixed-breed dogs, a cat, and a goldfish named Jackson.

No surprise that Florida Trend magazine has named Moore Communications Group as one of the state’s best places to work for four consecutive years.

In addition to creating a quality workplace, Moore is adamant about community involvement. “As a startup, most of my clients were local, and it was a priority to give back to the community that was supporting me,” she says. “As we moved into second stage, we’ve expanded our Miami, Washington D.C., and Louisiana markets — which means our corporate responsibility has expanded as well.”

For many years the company’s philanthropic efforts focused on providing free services to nonprofit organizations in communities where it does business. In 2013 it added cash contributions. Employees pick the nonprofit group they’re most passionate about, and names go into a hat. Four are selected, with each nonprofit receiving $25,000 worth of marketing and public relations services — along with an additional cash contribution, provided by Moore and her husband. “Being in second stage gives you greater bandwidth to do this,” Moore observes. “When you’re a two- or three-person shop, that kind of philanthropy is hard to do.”

Moore and her employees also contribute hundreds of service hours to various community charities and nonprofits, resulting in the firm being represented on more than 30 boards and committees.

By 2018 Moore expects her company to surpass the $10-million mark in annual revenue. “Yet this is not just about numbers,” she says. “As a startup you want to do all things for all clients who are willing to walk in the door. Yet moving into second stage means you don’t want to be all things to all people. We no longer say ‘yes’ to every opportunity but are striving to be strategic and discriminating — and match clients to our strengths.”

Being discriminating also means taking on clients only if Moore believes in their products or services. “We take ownership of what our clients do and consider them to be a part of

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Second-Stage Rockstars

Because second-stage entrepreneurs are so focused on their businesses, their contributions often go unnoticed by the media, policymakers, economic developers and community stakeholders. With that in mind, celebrating growth entrepreneurs and communicating their value is part of the foundation’s entrepreneurship mission, which it carries out in a variety of ways.

Among these is Second-Stage Rockstars, a series of online articles that examines the ongoing impact of second-stage companies. These stories chronicle not only second-stagers’ economic growth, but also how they may be transforming their industry, creating empowering workplaces or excelling as corporate citizens. Below are some recent Rockstars; others can be found in our archives.