March 22, 2016

Name: Natalie Pavlatos
Title: Senior Associate 
Time with CLS: 14 months

1. In your career, what is the best advice you’ve been given?

Don’t be afraid to take risks and put yourself out there. Some of the most rewarding projects I’ve worked on have been those that were different than anything I’d done before. 

2. If you weren’t in the PR industry, what would you be doing?

I’d probably be some form of foreign policy researcher or terrorism analyst. I did my graduate work in terrorism studies and it’s still a passion of mine. The bulk of my interest is in the nexus between terrorism, rhetoric and the media, so I’d still probably try to work communications in somehow.

3. What is your favorite use of social media in PR?

I love being able to find ways to engage with events, holidays and special occasions that have a broader conversation online. I have so much fun with every aspect of it – from finding opportunities such as the Super Bowl and Daylight Saving Time to figuring out the best angle to take. 

4. How did you get started in PR?

I took a class in college called ‘Rhetoric of Campaigns and Elections’ which that made me realize that a lot of my interest in politics was really based in communications. It inspired me to take a communications internship with Congressman Keith Ellison’s campaign, which then led to a full-time  position as a Finance and Communications Assistant… and the rest is history!

5. What has been a highlight moment in your career with CLS thus far?

My very first letter to the editor placement. I was still an intern at the time, so even though I’ve placed several other op-eds and letters since, that one sticks out as a really special moment that gave me the confidence to take on larger tasks!

6. What is your favorite sport? Sports team?

Depends on the season – if it’s spring, on any given night I’m probably watching the Minnesota Twins (or at least following along on Twitter). If it’s fall or winter, I’m cheering on the Minnesota Vikings. 

Yes, I’m from Wisconsin. No, I am not a Packers fan. 

7. What was the last book you read?

Notorious RBG – an absolutely fantastic biography of Ruth Bader Ginsburg by Irin Carmon and Shana Knizhnik. That inspired me to pick up my current read, America’s Women by Gail Collins, which has been equally wonderful so far and a great glimpse at a whole swath of American history that doesn’t get its due. I also recently finished and thoroughly enjoyed TransAtlantic by Colum McCann. 

8. If you can bring one fictional character from books, television or movies to life, who would you want to work with you at CLS?

Leslie Knope. We’d definitely be besties, drink too much coffee together and bond over Game of Thrones, Joe Biden and Madeleine Albright. 

9. What was the last movie you saw?

Star Wars: The Force Awakens. Twice. 

10. Dog person or cat person?

Dogs all the way! My family has a lab-collie mix and I lived with a golden retriever puppy after college (and his owner, too, I guess).



March 9, 2016

There’s one word that’s taking the UK by storm this spring: Brexit. 

Brexit, or ‘Britain exit,’ is the colloquial term that has been used to describe the debate taking place on whether or not the UK will leave the European Union. Recently, Prime Minister David Cameron and other EU leaders met to negotiate new terms for the UK’s EU membership, and on June 23, people across the UK will head to the polls and vote in a referendum which will decide the future of the UK’s status as an EU member. 

Although there have been calls for the UK to leave the EU for decades, recent political developments have led to renewed interest in a Brexit. Notably, contentious EU bailouts of member countries such as Greece, the refugee crisis spurred by the civil war in Syria and terrorism fears in the wake of the Paris attacks in late 2015 have all played a role in increased calls for the UK to split with the EU. Meanwhile, supporters of the EU point to the benefits of continued membership on the economy and for UK companies doing business across the region.

Whatever decision the voters make will impact a number of British policies, ranging from the obvious to the not-so-obvious. While immigration and trade policy will undoubtedly be impacted by a Brexit, it could also lead to increased support for the independence movement in Scotland, where EU membership is more popular, and eliminate funding for dozens of peace projects across Northern Ireland. Recent polls show that the country is split on whether to stay or leave, leading to a spirited debate that has pulled in average citizens, celebrities and politicians alike.

The issues raised by a Brexit are so complex and intertwined that the campaign has even divided traditional political allies. Prime Minister David Cameron, a member of the Conservative Party, is advocating for remaining in the EU, while Conservative London Mayor Boris Johnson and several members of Cameron’s cabinet have sided with the Brexit movement. Although the Labour Party as a whole has endorsed staying in the EU, a handful of its members of parliament have declared their support for leaving as well. 

The ultimate result of the Brexit referendum will depend on which campaign is better able to frame the UK’s relationship with the EU. Has membership spurred trade growth and allowed for companies to conduct business in several countries with a friendly regulatory environment? Or, as detractors argue, has it decreased the security of the EU and forced the UK to meddle in the financial affairs? Groups such as Vote Leave and British Influence are now tasked with making their case to the general public and convincing voters whether they are indeed Stronger In or if they are Better Off Out

The final decision that voters will make in the Brexit referendum in June remains to be seen, but one thing is certain: we’re in for a very lively debate over the coming months as stakeholders dissect all of its possible implications.