CFM Events

CFM Turns 25


CFM turns 25 this year and we plan to celebrate. We have added some silver glamor to our logo, redesigned our website with a storytelling format and launched "25 Stories" that characterize our work and passion for the past quarter century.

Later in the year, we will uncork a special-label wine produced by Willamette Valley Vineyards and unveil some other surprises.

While the past 25 years have been a blast and gone by all too quickly, our 25th anniversary celebration is also about marking our next 25 years of serving clients.

"We are proud of our work in the past 25 years," says CFM President and co-founder Gary Conkling. "But it is just the beginning of what CFM can do. We have a new generation of professionals at CFM who are upholding our ideals for integrity and delivering quality client service that gets results."

CFM began as a friendly spinout from Tektronix, then Oregon's largest private employer. CFM has evolved into one of the Pacific Northwest's leading public affairs and strategic communications agencies. The firm offers five business lines – state lobbying, federal lobbying, public affairs, marketing public relations and market and public opinion research.

"From the start, our vision was to offer clients seamless, integrated solutions to their communications challenges," Conkling says. "Some clients take advantage of multiple CFM services, while others just use one of our services. But our staff is engaged in all of our services, so they assist clients with a panoramic view of what's possible to solve a problem."

"When we started CFM 25 years ago, some doubted we would survive. We had a few doubts ourselves," Conkling recalls. "What made the difference was a commitment to help clients tell their story in energetic, authentic and factual ways. We looked at every challenge as an opportunity and every communications channel as a promising avenue."

"I can't imagine not doing what we do everyday," Conkling adds. "We come to work everyday with a chance to make a difference for clients we believe in."

CFM Offers Visual Marketing Workshop

Learn tips and tricks to tap the power of visual marketing.CFM’s Marketing PR team is offering a free workshop to give tips on how to market your food-related products and services using visual communications.

Your Brand Promise: Let It Show, Let It Show, the December 4 workshop in Portland, will explore the concepts behind visual communications, as well as provide practical skills to spruce up websites and social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest.

“Visual marketing works," says CFM Account Manager Suzie Giacomelli. "Showing off what you make or sell can add sparkle and spice to your holiday marketing — or marketing any time."

The workshop features hands-on opportunities to practice the tips presented. Giacomelli and CFM Digital Strategist Hannah Smith have made a similar presentation to food manufacturers and retailers.

"Suzie and Hannah brought an energetic approach to the subject of visualizing one's brand," said Gretchen Phillips of the Ashland Food Coop. "Their workshop was well-rounded with a full list of ways to reach out into the cyber world and uphold a brand's values, while appealing to the image-hungry smartphone generation."

"I walked away inspired with a list of free photo editing websites and a plethora of budding ideas," Phillips added. "These professionals know how to get people excited about the art of branding."

This value-packed visual marketing workshop will be Tuesday, December 4 from 5 - 6:30 p.m. at CFM’s Portland office. Tips and tricks will come along with hot chocolate and snacks. The workshop is aimed at food industry professionals, in-house marketers, consumer brand specialists, retailers and business owners.

RSVP* to Suzie Giacomelli, Marketing PR Account Manager, at or call 503.294.9120.

*Seats confirmed based on availability. RSVP today for the best opportunity to attend.

Conkling to Head International PR Network

The president of CFM Strategic Communications, Gary Conkling, will start a two-year term later this month as president of Pinnacle Worldwide, an international network of independently owned and operated public relations agencies.

More than 60 firms located in North and South America, Europe, Asia and the Pacific Rim are available to provide services through Pinnacle. “Typically, our agencies are the leading agencies in their markets,” Conkling says in a video posted on this website.

“We are a global network based on first-name partnerships with like-minded firms from Los Angeles to London,” Conkling says. Pinnacle is a benefit for CFM clients who operate in multiple states or emerging overseas markets, Conkling adds. Virtual PR companies may be created, blending their know-how to deliver customer messages.

“They [Pinnacle members] are led by senior PR professionals. They’re also good, solid teams that have a deep source of talent, a deep bench, that can do a wide variety of work,” Conkling says.

“I value the opportunity to sit and talk to my peers, to be able to share information, and to learn what they are doing for best practices for their clients,” he says. Conkling adds that he appreciates the chance to share information so that CFM really has a handle on what are the emerging trends, new tools and techniques that are effective.

CFM is the Oregon member of Pinnacle. Membership is by invitation only. Principals from member firms meet regularly to exchange ideas on best practices and discuss how to handle critical communications issues.

Conkling has served as CFM president since 1990, when he co-founded the firm. Based in Portland, CFM provides services in the areas of PR Marketing Communications, Public Affairs, Research and State and Federal Lobbying. Branch offices are located in Salem, OR and Washington, D.C.

CFM Sponsors ART’s 'God of Carnage'

CFM Strategic Communications is sponsoring the Portland premiere this fall of Tony Award-winning "God of Carnage," which will kick off the 2011-2012 season for the Artists Repertory Theatre in Portland.

"God of Carnage" tells the story of two sets of parents who meet to discuss a bullying incident. They start off intending to talk in a “civilized manner.“ But as the evening wears on, good intentions go awry, and the play turns ferociously hilarious, shocking and disturbing, as the parents battle for ethical superiority.

Written by Yasmina Reza, a French playwright, actress, novelist and screenwriter, “God of Carnage” was given the Tony award for Best Play in 2009. The play originally was written in French and first performed in English in London in 2008. Read a profile about Yasmina Reza in The New York Times (May 24). It also is being made into a movie expected to debut later this year.

CFM staff members have enjoyed a relationship with ART, assisting with strategic communications and attending plays at one of the most successful performing arts groups in Portland.

“Communications is our business,” says CFM President Gary Conkling. “There is no better form of communication than the theater."

The sponsorship is part of CFM's community commitment to partner organizations (See other community partners on the CFM website home page). "We value local organizations that enrich our community," Conkling says. "This is our way of saying thank you." Listen for CFM's sponsorship messages about the play on Oregon Public Broadcasting, also a CFM partner organization.

“God of Carnage” will be performed in Portland at ART from September 6 through October 9, 2011.

Performance information:

  • Box office: 516 SW Alder St, Portland, OR
  • Dates: September 6 - October 9
  • Performances: Wednesday - Sunday @ 7:30pm; Sunday @ 2 pm, 9/28 - Wednesday matinee @ 11 am. Opening Night is Friday, September 9
  • Website

CFM and Guests Donate to Kids’ Health Centers

CFM Senior Account Executive Ashley Sherrick and Wayne Paige from Wave One at the CFM Fall CrushA donation of $500 was contributed last week to two Portland-area children's health programs by guests attending the CFM Fall Crush 2010, a client appreciation event. The firm chipped in to help make the total gift.

An occasional event, the Fall Crush was held this year to observe CFM's 20th anniversary, as well as celebrate the firm's new name – CFM Strategic Communications.  "We also toasted our new website, logo and five new blogs," said CFM Partner Gary Conkling. "It was fitting we held the Crush in our newly renovated office space where we plan to be for quite some time."

CFM Hosts Public Speaking Seminar for Executives, Leaders

Kerry Tymchuk shares the four keys to memorable public speaking. See event photos in a video at the end of this post.Public speaking, snakes and death -- these rank as people's top 3 fears. But effective public speaking is key to success in today's business world. On September 30, local executives and leaders gathered at the University Club of Portland for "Raising Your Voice: Tips on How to Be a Public Speaker with Kerry Tymchuk."

Tymchuk has written countless speeches for some of America's best-known political figures, including Bob Dole, Elizabeth Dole and Gordon Smith. He also is well known for his abilities as a public speaker and master of ceremonies.