By EMILY RAMSEY
INVALUABLE EXPOSURE: Shannon Wilburn of Just Between Friends Franchise and Adrienne Kallweit of SeekingSitters with CBS Early Show Anchors Rebecca Jarvis and Chris Wragge during an appearance in December 2011. Diane White PR has placed several clients on national TV.
GTR Newspapers photo
Diane White has taken years of news experience and turned them into a successful public relations career that has brought the spotlight on to many Tulsa businesses.
White spent 15 years as a consumer reporter and anchor after earning her bachelor’s degree from the University of Missouri School of Journalism.
“I have always loved hearing and telling stories,” she says. “I also enjoy knowing what is going on and where. All of those interests parlayed into a career.”
After years in the news field, White worked as a community relations manager with Marriott and gained public relations experience working for another company before beginning her own firm in 2010: Diane White PR.
“Public Relations is an interesting field, because it’s about building a brand over time,” White says. “PR can also include promoting specific events, but it’s more often about keeping a brand out there, reminding people regularly about your client.
“I love creating strategies and plans for clients in order to meet and, hopefully, exceed their goals.”
White has achieved commendable success after less than just two years of owning her own company. Her clients include local and national companies, many of which have appeared on national media outlets.
In December 2011, she placed two Tulsa-based companies—Just Between Friends and Seeking Sitters—on the Early Show.
White first contacted in March 2011 with the hope of placing the business owners on the show. White pitched story ideas to the network for over six months before they accepted a story.
“It’s such a rush for me when I help a client get placed locally or nationally or to simply help them get wherever they want to be,” she says.
The co-founders of the two companies appeared on the show to offer insights into starting a new business.
“Both of these Tulsa companies are great stories because these women basically started out of their living rooms,” White says. “The women who started these companies saw a need for a service and worked hard to fill it.”
Seeking Sitters was co-founded by Adrienne Kallweit, a mother who is a private investigator. She used her equipment to run a background check on a potential baby-sitter and was shocked at what she found.
The local company is now a national franchise with more than 50 locations. It provides babysitting referral services that includes an in-depth investigation and screening process of potential sitters.
White began working with Tulsa company Just Between Friends in 2007.
The company organizes community sales of gently-used children’s clothing, furniture and maternity items. A large amount of the money earned goes to local families; a portion also goes to charity.
The company was founded by Shannon Wilburn and Daven Tackett in 1997 and has expanded to include more than 120 national franchises.
White has seen her clients also appear on Good Morning America, Fox & Friends, MSNBC, , The Big Idea, and .
White credits her persistence as a large reason for her success.
She spent nine months trying to place Just Between Friends on Good Morning America. The network originally rejected her pitches, saying that it would never be interested.
However, after the recession began in 2008, coupled with White’s consistent story pitches, the network invited the company on the show in September 2008 and did a follow-up story in March 2011.
“What we do for our clients is a non-stop process,” says White. “We try to make it look easy, but it’s a lot of work to constantly pitch newsworthy stories.”
White’s persistence stems greatly from her belief and sincere interest in the clients she’s serving.
“I have to believe in what my clients are selling, whether it is a product or service,” she says. “And since most of our clients are small businesses, our approach is to be a true partner in helping them to grow their business and meet their goals.”
White has also been succesful from her understanding of the importance of networking in any business.
“It’s about having a great story, or idea, to pitch and finding the connections to reach the right media outlets,” she says.
Contacts that White has made at conferences and through social media, like LinkedIn, have helped her to make valuable contacts with news stations and to gain insights into new ways to pitch story ideas.
White also regularly pulls from her years of working with the news media.
“Reporters tell me that they enjoy working with me because I know how their field works,” she says. “I know that they need information fast, and I understand what they’re looking for in a news story to make it newsworthy and interesting.”
White credits her staff as a large reason for her company’s success. “I have three incredible full-time employees and two event planners who are professional and who work hard for our company,” she says.
White’s expertise continues to build her name inside and out of Oklahoma, but her current focus is on helping her clients expand and creating more local relationships.
“I love helping local businesses,” she says. “Right now I want to focus on helping my current national clientele grow their brands while also growing my client base here in Tulsa.”