In the News: Firesign Founder on Freeman Means Business Podcast

Katherine Hollar Barnard was recently a guest on the Freeman Means Business podcast Wonder Women in Business discussing all things Firesign, being an entrepreneur, walking the walk creating opportunities for women in business and more.

Freeman Means Business “Wonder Women in Business” podcasts serve to raise awareness about the great things incredible women in business are doing to serve others. The podcasts are carried by Apple Podcasts (iTunes), Spotify, Anchor, Google Podcasts, Breaker, RadioPublic and other podcast channels on the web.

Here the full interview here.

In the News: Firesign Shares Agency Update in the Shawnee Mission Post

Last month marked two years since legal marketing veteran Katherine Hollar Barnard launched Firesign to help attorneys attract, win and retain business. To mark the occasion the agency shared an update on its new headquarters, the new faces on the team and its latest service, Ellesquire, with the go-to source for local happenings, the Shawnee Mission Post.

Read the full article here.

Meet Ellesquire: Business Development For Women, By Women

As Women’s History Month draws to a close, Firesign is proud to share Ellesquire: a business development bootcamp for women, by women. The workshop combines practical, concise lessons with weekly coaching. Participants graduate with a comprehensive battle plan — and they see real results.

Learn more at, and check the video to see what our participants say.

Amy Nouri Joins Firesign

Amy Nouri has joined Firesign as the Vice President of Public Relations and Programming. Using the the four main elements of modern public relations – paid, earned, shared and owned media – Amy will work with Firesign clients to help them attract, win and retain business. She will also coordinate the marketing, delivery and social media engagement of Firesign and its educational programs.

Amy has nearly a decade of experience developing and executing strategic communication plans for professional service and consumer goods companies, including starting her career at AmLaw 200 firm Lathrop & Gage (now known as Lathrop Gage). At Lathrop & Gage Amy managed public relations and advertising tactics in local markets and nationwide; maintained firm social media accounts and website content; and coordinated production of numerous firm marketing materials. Her competitive nature drew her to especially revel in handling the nomination and submission for legal awards and rankings; she successfully placed clients in Benchmark Litigation, Chambers USA, ALM honors and multiple local recognitions.

At Garmin, Amy led global public relations campaigns for fitness, B2B and corporate wellness products. She then deepened her social media experience at Hallmark, working on content, calendaring and paid strategy for the branded social media platforms.

Firesign Moves into New Location

In an entrepreneurial milestone, Firesign has graduated from co-working space and settled into a permanent office in the heart of Prairie Village, Kansas. Our new space will allow us to continue adding new services and personnel – and to play the best of 1990s hip-hop guilt-free.

Find us now at:
4121 W. 83rd St., Suite 119
Prairie Village, KS 66208

Phone and email contacts remain the same.

Firesign Wins Public Relations Awards

For the second year in a row Firesign received top honors for outstanding achievement in communications by the Greater Kansas City Chapter of the Public Relations Society of America.

Firesign won two Gold PRISM awards the highest recognition in the categories of newsletters and video. The 2018 awards were announced at a gala September 20 at Studio Dan Meiners. A full list of PRISM winners and photos from the event are available here.

Erin Curtis-Dierks Joins Firesign

Firesign has added veteran communicator Erin Curtis-Dierks to the agency. Erin will serve as marketing project manager, developing rollout schedules, coordinating resources and balancing marketing strategy with business needs for Firesign’s law firm and legal tech marketing projects.

Erin brings more than 15 years of experience in marketing, having coordinated communications campaigns in media, consumer goods and education. She refined her project management skills at Quaker Oats and later led teams of marketing and public relations professionals at the University of Kansas and Baker University. Her time in academia particularly readied her for Firesign’s attorney clients as she honed her skill for capturing important information in a timely manner and distilling complex ideas into clear and relevant content.

Erin’s big-picture thinking, conscientious devotion to lists and schedules and healthy dose of levity ensure projects are executed with purpose to help attorneys attract, win and retain business.

Firesign Wins Social Media Club’s AMPS Award

Firesign’s CEO was escorted by the agency’s general counsel (and her husband).

On June 19, Firesign received its first AMPS Award from Social Media Club of Kansas City. The agency won Gold in the category of Email Campaign: Brand.

The AMPS Awards recognize the best social campaigns in the Kansas City region. Now in its fourth year, the program celebrates digital marketing campaigns from brands, nonprofits and government entities/educational institutions. Projects are judged by national social media professionals who evaluate campaign goals, implementation and results. More information on the AMPS Awards is available here.

The award was presented at a celebration at Boulevard Brewery.

Social Media Club’s primary mission is to “expand digital media literacy, promote standard technologies, encourage ethical behavior and share best practices.” The Kansas City organization is the country’s most active chapter.

Six Survival Strategies for Introverts at Trade Shows

Crowd at trade show
If this photo fills you with dread, you need this article.

Conferences and trade shows can be a boon to your niche marketing and networking – but often they mean schedules packed with programming, presentations, exhibit hall chitchat, client meetings and more.

If you’re an introvert – and 60 percent of attorneys are – exhaustion can quickly set in at an event like this. While it may sound appealing to stay in your hotel room and cruise the event hashtag with room service, you’d be losing out on face time….and considerable conference ROI.

Jennifer Kahnweiler, the author of The Introverted Leader, says people often equate introversion with being shy or antisocial, but that when it comes to networking, introverts possess a key advantage over their extroverted counterparts: Skilled preparation.

Indeed, you do not have to change or be inauthentic to be successful; you just need a battle plan. Here are six ways to get the most out of your next conference or trade show:

One: Be selective. Determine why you are going to the event and whether it’s worth your time. Instead of attempting to hit every annual event for your industry, pick a few that you think will be the most lucrative for your business, so you can adequately prepare and give each event your full attention.

 Two: Plan and prioritize. Schedules and vendor lists are often available ahead of the trade show. Preparation is key, and you don’t need to visit every vendor or attend every seminar. Kahnweiler suggests researching the organizations and individuals ahead of time so you know exactly what booths to visit and exactly which connections to make going in to map out your day.

She also suggests scheduling interviews with potential clients in advance of the trade show. By knowing who you will be speaking with and when you can anticipate conversations and feel confident in your preparedness.

*Tip: If you are more productive during a certain time of day, plan to utilize that time for your most difficult networking opportunities to maximize your efficiency. If you already hate mornings, you will not be enthusiastic for breakfast meet-and-greets.

 Three: Build in breaks. While it is imperative to plan where you will be at a trade show, it is equally as essential for introverts to plan when they won’t be there.

Morra Aarons-Mele, a small business owner and author of Hiding in the Bathroom: A Roadmap to Getting Out There (When You’d Rather Stay Home), says monitoring your energy levels is the key to surviving a trade show. All of the smiling and schmoozing can “zap” your energy, Aarons-Mele says, so it is important to know your limits.

Stay at a hotel close to the event for a quick escape if you need downtime, Aarons-Mele says.  If you find yourself overwhelmed, take 10 minutes for a walk or a latte.

*Tip: Creating small rewards like skipping the cocktail hour after an event for room service and Netflix can be great motivation during a long day.

Four: Set goals. Aarons-Mele says that giving yourself a job or a goal can give you a sense of reward or purpose and help curb anxiety. Whether you are determined to meet a specific individual, collect a certain number of business cards each day, or volunteer to help with the trade show in some capacity, acting with intention and taking on a specific role can help introverts thrive in the hectic trade show environment.

 Five: Bring a buddy. Long days of networking can seem overwhelming for one person. Bringing an extroverted friend or colleague to share the limelight — or the burden of networking — can help introverts out of their shell.

 Six: Commit. If you go to a conference but do not clear your calendar, it will leave you feeling stressed and scattered, rendering you unable to get what you need out of both. Be present and commit fully to the event; this will ensure you are making the most of your time and your money.

Recommended reading:

The Haiku of What You Do: An Easy Format for a Better Elevator Speech

The elevator speech – that quick spiel you use to answer the old “What do you do?” question – is a hang-up for many lawyers. It’s hard to talk about yourself, and harder still to make it brief, meaningful and client-centric.

Turns out poetry can help – haiku, to be exact. (Although some practices may lend themselves to limericks, we know.) Matt Homann, one of my favorite legal innovators, developed a formula to craft a short, sweet and client-focused elevator speech that’s based on Japanese haiku. I love that it forces concision, and it focuses on the client.

The three questions, which must be answered within the specified number of words:

  • Who do I help? (Answer in five words)
  • What do I do for them? (Answer in seven words)
  • Why do they need me? (Answer in five words)

A sample response from a business lawyer could be:

I help small business owners

incorporate their businesses and protect their ideas

so they can sleep better.

Family law?

I help spouses in conflict

separate their assets and make parenting plans

to keep their kids secure.

Contrast that with the prototypical “I’m an attorney at Such & Such” introduction. The haiku version is human, real and action-oriented.

Break out a pen and paper, and try your own haiku. Think about how you can incorporate it into your firm bio or LinkedIn, profile, too – you now have a great starting point for your personal brand.

My haiku?

I help savvy law firms

Connect with clients who need their help

so they can grow purposefully.

Note: A previous version of this article appeared on Ms. JD.