Our experience spans diverse issues and industries:
- Health Care
Saving Grady Hospital
In 2007, metro Atlanta’s Grady Memorial Hospital teetered on the brink of bankruptcy. Its demise would be catastrophic for patients and unleash a “patient tsunami” across Atlanta.
The Metro Atlanta Chamber and some of the nation’s most admired CEOs — the former chairman of Georgia-Pacific, the incoming chairman of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the CEO of H.J. Russell and Co. — created the Greater Grady Task Force. It recommended a restructuring plan that would turn over daily governance of the hospital to a nonprofit board.
As the chamber’s chief communications strategist, Campi managed round-the-clock media relations with an aggressive strategy to win public support by being open and transparent. Her team managed more than $1 million in TV coverage and hundreds of radio and print stories, including national outlets such as The New York Times.
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution endorsed the turnaround plan, and clergy, opinion leaders and other community stakeholders joined in. Finally, the two county commissions with authority over Grady agreed. In 2008, a new nonprofit board took the reins, inspiring more than $300 million in community support to save Grady.
- School-Board Reform
In 2008, the Clayton County public school system in Georgia made headlines by becoming just the second in the nation in 40 years to lose accreditation. A large part of Atlanta’s international airport — the world’s busiest airport and an economic engine for the entire Southeast — is in Clayton County. Students worried their degrees would be useless for college admission, and business leaders knew companies would not relocate to a city with failing schools.
At the request of the state’s board of education, the Metro Atlanta Chamber, the Georgia Chamber of Commerce and its partners formed a 90-day task force that included business leaders, educators and state representatives. It was led by GE’s vice chairman, a managing partner at PricewaterhouseCoopers, and BellSouth’s retired president. Their task: Study school boards across the nation and suggest reforms in Georgia.
Campi collaborated with partner organizations to craft a winning media strategy. The governor turned the task force recommendations – for greater accountability, training for school board members and the ability of the state to temporarily intervene in a failing system — into landmark legislation watched by education reformers across the nation.
- Housing Policy
As New York’s state rent laws were set to expire, Campi and her colleagues at Eric Mower and Associates communicated the need to retain sensible reforms on behalf of a New York City-based association of apartment building owners. The team steered a targeted direct-mail campaign that got the client’s message heard by sympathetic voters while not energizing opponents, crafted media messages highlighting absurdities in the system and maintained a constant media presence. The multi-pronged strategy produced results: The Legislature passed an eight-year extension bill that retained sensible reforms.
- Tobacco Taxes
One of Campi’s first clients at Eric Mower and Associates was the FACT Alliance, a coalition for equal cigarette-tax collection. When Campi took over the assignment, FACT was a loose band of small business owners with no media ID, strained governmental relationships and little experience in policy circles. Within weeks, Campi and her colleagues helped their client became a top source for reporters in the rough-and-tumble world of the New York capital press corps, lawmakers and gubernatorial staff. Campi’s strategy included linking FACT’s issue with the state budget and fostering an unlikely alliance between cigarette sellers and health groups.
- City Branding
In 2006, Campi’s team at the Metro Atlanta Chamber was handed a dense economic study that showed Atlanta making significant gains in attracting college-educated 25- to 34-year-olds. It was filled with complex data.
Campi read the study, boiled down its concepts, and devised a six-word mantra to explain it: “Atlanta is winning the talent war.” Termed the “Young & Restless,” this group brings long-term economic prosperity to cities. Campi put the study in the context of a fierce battle in which cities across the nation and world were competing for this hot commodity. The labor force was shrinking and Atlanta was outpacing other major cities in the race to attract the best and brightest.
With a six-word message to explain the complex study, Campi contacted national media outlets, cast the study as the latest salvo in America’s war for talent, and garnered major coverage for Atlanta in The New York Times, the London Financial Times, CNN and others.
- Economic Development
In 2009 the business leaders of metro Atlanta had a frank discussion. When the recession ended, some industries would be growing and others would have shrunk. Smart cities across the nation were being proactive, looking ahead to align their job-growth strategies with marketplace realities so they could play to win in this new economy. Atlanta, they vowed, would be one of those cities.
Working with Bain & Company, they formed a Metro Atlanta Chamber task force led by top executives for Southern Company, Equifax and Regions Bank. Its focus: How can metro Atlanta keep its economy strong over the next decade, as competition between cities grows fiercer every day?
Huddled shoulder-to-shoulder, business leaders, university presidents and industry experts identified fast-growing industry subsectors where Atlanta had a natural advantage, and crafted a plan to attract high-wage jobs.
Campi and her team took this plan, linked it to a larger conversation about what smart cities were doing to prepare for job growth after the recession, and garnered a major New York Times feature about Atlanta’s visionary approach.
In 2009, as part of a 20-year water dispute between Georgia, Florida and Alabama, a federal judge ruled that metro Atlanta could no longer use the federally controlled Lake Lanier for drinking water come 2012. The ruling was, in the judge’s own words, draconian.
While a host of attorneys began working on a legal appeal and a request for Congress to weigh in, Georgia’s leaders understood that they needed a Plan B. In trying to reach a settlement with Florida and Alabama, Georgia also needed to show these neighboring states that it was committed to conservation and negotiating in good faith. With an issue so fraught with political and legal challenges, the governor called on the business community. Coca-Cola Enterprises’ chairman and CEO agreed to co-chair a Metro Atlanta Chamber task force of business, government and environmental leaders from across Georgia.
With the clock ticking and a dozen expert consulting firms working pro bono, the group quickly delivered a package of recommendations. Campi and her colleagues helped brand it “the 3 Cs” — for conserving water, capturing rainfall with reservoirs, and controlling the region’s water destiny by finding sources of water not solely controlled by the federal government. In just weeks, these recommendations were turned into legislation. The “3 Cs” moniker stuck, more than $275,000 in TV coverage was generated along with saturation print and radio, and the team continued to explain complex water-policy issues in terms the media and public could understand.
The measure swiftly passed and was signed into law.
At Eric Mower and Associates, Campi gained a reputation for top-level media placements. During the August 2003 Northeast Blackout, Campi successfully booked an energy-expert client twice on CNN, and secured interviews with all major local print and broadcast press. On Earth Day 2003, Campi booked a client who sold pollution-free electricity on three local TV stations, and won feature coverage by The Associated Press. When a major hydropower client helped local officials save the lives of two fishermen near a rushing waterfall, Campi secured extensive second-day coverage touting contributions of the dam operator.