Phyl Newbeck, Contributor
Nicole Junas Ravlin has always had an interest in news and used to wonder why certain topics were covered and others were not. “I wanted to find a way to be involved in the news industry without being a journalist,” she said. Ravlin studied public relations in college and has worked in the field for over 25 years. This year was a watershed one as she received both local and national recognition. Locally, Vermont Business Magazine named her firm Junapr the best PR firm in Vermont. Nationally, PR News placed Junapr in the “Elite Top 100” and Ravlin, herself, was honored by that organization as one of the top women in PR for the year.
Ravlin’s first job in her chosen field was at Cone Communications in Boston. “Carole Cone is arguably the founder of cause communication,” Ravlin said. “That’s a way for businesses to leverage themselves to support a non-profit or cause and do some good in the world.” Ravlin learned how to partner with news outlets to disseminate that information. “We served as a broker for stories,” she said. When Ravlin moved to Vermont 15 years ago, she and a partner co-founded People Making Good in Burlington. Two years ago, she left that firm to start Junapr.
For six years, Ravlin helped others learn about public relations as an adjunct professor at Champlain College. Although she is not currently teaching, she enjoyed the opportunity to work with those who wanted to get started in the field. “I’ve had some great mentors,” she said. “So, when I was asked to teach, I jumped at the chance.” Junapr also has an internship program with two interns from area colleges joining the company each semester.
Ravlin’s love of media has not abated. She spends an hour and a half every morning reading eight newspapers. “Journalism is important for a free society,” she said. “I’m passionate about our First Amendment rights.” To help promote independent journalism, Ravlin joined the board of Vermont Public Radio, eventually serving as chair. With the merger of VPR and Vermont PBS, Ravlin now serves as chair of the united board and is excited to be part of the new collaboration. “Every board member wants to make sure all Vermonters have access to education, entertainment and news,” she said. “I believe free public media is essential.”
In addition to her other awards, Ravlin was named a Woman of Influence in the Food Industry in 2015. “When you own an agency you get to decide what kinds of clients you want,” Ravlin said. “I’m an avid home cook and think a lot about agriculture and where food comes from, so food, chefs and restaurants were at the top of my list for potential clients.”
Junapr is headquartered in the new Charlotte Crossing building, “just around the corner” from Ravlin’s home. “My team loves coming here every day,” she said. “There’s a nice trail behind the office that goes into the woods and it’s close to Point Bay Marina where I keep my sailboat.” In addition to sailing and cooking, Ravlin enjoys skiing, but she is currently trying to spend as much time as possible with her two teenage boys—a sophomore and a senior at CVU—while she still has them at home.
In addition to her sons, Ravlin shares her home with Boggs, a dog named after the former Red Sox third baseman. An avid fan of Boston sports teams, Ravlin had the opportunity to meet former Sox star David Ortiz on the field at Fenway Park. “PR is an interesting job,” she said. “It can take you places you never thought of going.” The meeting with Ortiz was due to Ravlin’s work with Boloco, a Boston-based burrito chain. “Ortiz ate their burritos,” she said, “so we negotiated a deal where he designed a Big Papi burrito which was sold during his retirement season. A portion of the sales went to his foundation which helps pay for medical procedures for poor children in New England and the Dominican Republic.”
Ravlin is pleased with the awards she and her firm have garnered, including three gold Stevies from the American Business Association for their PR work on last year’s Masks4Missions and Vermont Mask Day campaign. She is also thrilled that her firm can do business from their location in Charlotte. “When we talk to clients across the country, they’re amazed that we can do our work from here,” she said. “We’re just happy to be part of the Charlotte community.”