Ackermann Marketing & PR today announced that Ryan Willis and Erin Freeman have been promoted to the role of Vice Presidents for the agency. Together, Willis and Freeman bring 30 years of experience in providing Ackermann’s portfolio of clients with strategic communications counsel, including crisis and issues communications, media relations, brand positioning, tactical planning, community affairs and more.
“Our firm is fortunate to have Erin and Ryan as senior members of our team,” said Cathy Ackermann, CEO of Ackermann Marketing & PR. “Their years of experience, strategic thinking and ability to really move the needle for our clients makes them sought-after counselors in this community and beyond.”
Willis joined the agency in 2006 after earning his master’s degree from the University of Tennessee and serving as a marketing assistant in the University of Tennessee Athletics Department. In addition to his years of experience in media and community relations, Willis provides clients with strategic marketing counsel and solutions along with tactical event planning and management. He has been an active member of the Knoxville community, serving on the Big Brothers Big Sisters of East Tennessee Board of Directors for the past five years and on multiple event committees since 2012. Willis has also served as a “Big Brother” to his “Little Brother,” Jamal, since 2012 as part of the non-profit’s community-based mentoring program. In 2017, he was named an “Outstanding Young Professional” as part of the 2017 Young Professionals of Knoxville’s (YPK) Impact Awards, and was also honored by the Greater Knoxville Business Journal as a 2017 “Top 40 Under 40” honoree.
Freeman joined Ackermann in 2012 specializing in media and community relations, strategic crisis communications planning and implementation, and perception management. Specific to Freeman’s media messaging expertise, she has served as the official spokesperson for many clients and has
secured major earned editorial placement features with national media outlets such as CNN, NBC, ABC, The New York Times, and more. Since 2016, she has served as the “Millennial Expert” for WBIR-TV (NBC-Knoxville) and as a Millennial subject matter expert for Guidepoint Global Advisors. Recognized as one of Knoxville’s leaders, she was a member of the Leadership Knoxville Class of 2017 and was honored by the Greater Knoxville Business Journal as a “Top 40 Under 40” in 2014. In addition, she was named “Public Relations Manager of the Year” by the Knoxville Chapter of the American Advertising Federation in 2017 and currently serves on the board of directors for the East Tennessee Historical Society, Nucleus Knoxville, and the Ronald McDonald House. She is a graduate of the University of Tennessee-Knoxville.