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Six Years Later, Lauren Turner Still Lives to Tell

Mainland’s Director of Client Services shares her passion for building clients’ stories and making personal connections.

By Katie LaTourStaff Writer
SPONSORED 8:08AM 03/04/19

Pop into Mainland’s office in Chicago’s historic Prudential Building and you’ll quickly discover that there’s a lot to notice. 

You might initially focus in on the bold back wall emblazoned with LIVE TO TELL in bright red lettering, or overhear a quick round of Mario Kart being played on the flat screen behind the bar.  But for all the atmosphere of the office, nothing and no one better commands a room than Mainland’s own Director of Client Services, Lauren Turner.

Dressed in metallic ballet flats, chandelier earrings and a bright pink belt, Turner is no stranger to making a statement, both when it comes to style and to championing her clients’ brand stories. 

Flash back to 2013. Turner had been working for a PR firm in the north suburbs when she heard about No Limit Agency (now the PR arm of Mainland) and was intrigued by its reputation as a forward-thinking firm.

Turner reached out to contacts in her network. One such contact shared that No Limit was hiring, so she sent over her resume. Her interview was a little unorthodox.

Turner went to lunch with Nick Powills, the CEO and founder of No Limit Agency, as well as the firm’s digital publications 1851 Franchise and ESTATENVY. “We went to Union Sushi & BBQ Bar and it was really relaxed but we also covered my experience. It felt really natural,” Turner says.

After her lunch with Powills, Turner knew she was on board. Asked if she joined the team in an exclusively PR-oriented capacity, Turner clarifies: “Social has always been a part of Nick’s founding philosophy, but my realm was always PR.”

Turner started at No Limit pitching stories to the media, but also immediately jumped into working on client accounts.

“I had done some account work at my previous position, so it was a split between the two,” Turner explains. “At that time, the agency focused on social and PR but we’ve since evolved to also include creative design and development, content marketing, franchise consulting services and more.”

When asked what moments of personal and/or professional growth in development most stick out to Turner over the last six years, she grows thoughtful.

“Well, personally, it was always a big win on the pitching front to get national, meaningful press for clients. In my career here, I’ve secured  a Wall Street Journal article for Philly Pretzel Factory and Checkers, and I’ve also set up multiple Fox Business interviews and placements in Better Homes & Gardens and House Beautiful. Anything that’s a big win nationally is really exciting for me personally,” shares Turner.

As a Director now, Turner works with a talented team of account executives to cover pitching to the media.

“Yes, I have a team, but even if I’m not pitching and we get a hit for a client that helps move the needle, and it’s something the client requested, that’s a great feeling,” Turner explains. “You know you and your team contributed to raising [the client’s] brand awareness, and our goal is always to bring to light that client’s franchise opportunity.”

Life in the PR and content marketing worlds has not always been paved with wins, though.

“I’ve been here for six years, so there have definitely been learning opportunities,” Turner explains. “But those keep me growing. There’s so much that keeps me excited. I love what I get to do, and I love that I get to make a difference for my brands. I love working with Nick directly; I find him to be—which I hate to admit—a genius.” 

Turner and I laugh, though part of me waits for one or both of us to get hit in the back of the head by a Nerf gun shot by one visionary CEO.

“Really though, it’s amazing to be in a client meeting with him. He has so many good ideas, and working with him directly teaches me and helps me grow,” Turner says. “I think that, from that experience, I personally have been given a lot of opportunity to take the lead, to develop processes and become a leader within the agency.”

More than anything else, Turner emphasizes, it’s her relationships with her clients that keeps her just as passionate about the business as she was back in 2013.

“I love my clients,” says Turner. “I have such personal bonds with my clients—for example, when I got married last year, I received gifts from five of my clients. And that was neither expected nor necessary, but that just speaks to my relationship with them. It’s not uncommon to exchange a text or Snapchat with some of these friends—and I would use the word ‘friends’ over ‘clients’—that I’ve built such strong relationships with over the years I've been on their accounts.”

Rita Ude Kellen, Corporate Communications Specialist for senior care franchise Right at Home and a client of Turner’s, said that she has had “the most enjoyable experience working with Lauren.”

“In fact,” said Ude Kellen, “I hope she never leaves NLA! I am most impressed by her ability to take charge and get things done. I trust Lauren to follow through on an issue and do what she promised—in other words, she’s dependable, which is a valuable attribute to me.”

Ude Kellen continued: “Lauren is knowledgeable about the media relations industry, so I trust her opinion and guidance because she is an expert. And, her availability is a plus. While Lauren takes her job seriously, she has a sunny disposition and I appreciate that.”

Jena Henderson, Vice President of Growth for Saladworks, echoed this sentiment.

“Lauren is a true extension of the Saladworks team. She knows our business inside and out and works tirelessly to help grow our brand name and awareness across the country.”

Propped open next to our interview spot on the couch, Turner’s laptop is dinging with incoming messages, and she has a client call on the docket in the next few minutes. Her manner, though, isn’t at all frenzied, but focused.

“Honestly, the thought of not working with [my clients] anymore or of being on their team...that’s really hard for me,” Turner says. 

“I joke that, when I go to TWO MEN AND A TRUCK’s home office, I say I’m an actual home office employee, like ‘I don’t need to sign in, they know me.’ I wear my TMT hoodie around with pride.”

Six years later, that personal connection and conviction keeps Turner passionate about her work with Mainland.

“There are so many things that make me excited to come to work every day,” Turner shares. “I’m excited by the chance to help our brands through earned media that can excite them and help them achieve their goals. I’m excited by the opportunity to collaborate and work with such a fun, engaging and hungry team.”

Turner is also excited for the many opportunities for Mainland now on the horizon.

“There is so much to be excited for in the future,” Turner says. “I think we’ll continue to bring on more brands in the franchising space. I think we’ll continue to diversify beyond franchising, too. I think our approach to brand content will continue to be a strong differentiator; that we’ll continue to grow and continue to receive recognition for the outstanding creative work that we’re able to provide our clients. I think we’ll continue to get more recognition as the company that didn’t originally have a spot at the table, but that set out to do it. We’re The Little Engine That Could.”

So what’s on the horizon for Turner?

She grabs her laptop from the coffee table as she stands, off to grab a conference room for her client call. Over her shoulder, she looks back.

“Stay tuned. Wink.”

*This brand is a paid partner of 1851 Franchise. For more information on paid partnerships please click here.