Faces Behind the Fan: Meet the founder of Red Fan, Kathleen Lucente

When one flight lands, another takes off. Ten years ago, Kathleen returned to the United States after working in Hong Kong as JPMorgan’s Vice President of Corporate Marketing and Communications in the Asia Pacific Division. Upon arriving, she decided to pursue her vision of opening her own PR firm in Austin, Texas. Today, she is the founder of Red Fan Communications, an integrated PR agency with a successful portfolio and a vibrant office culture.

Kathleen’s curious spirit always keeps things interesting whether its checking out coffee breweries in Austin to inviting guests from colorful backgrounds to join Red Fan’s Breakfast Fridays. Learn more about Kathleen’s experience as a CEO of a boutique PR firm and her outlook on the future of Red Fan in her Faces Behind the Fan feature below!

RF: If you could be on the cover of a magazine, which magazine would it be and why?

KL: Fast Company or Entrepreneur because I’m an entrepreneur and I enjoy helping other entrepreneurs on a regular basis at various stages whether they are launching, growing or looking for an exit strategy for their business. To me, being on a cover of Fast Company or Entrepreneur would be like talking to my people. I’m the entrepreneur’s entrepreneur, so those two publications would be the perfect place for me.

RF: What did you love most about transitioning from running communications at JPMorgan’s Asia Pacific division in Hong Kong to becoming a CEO of a PR firm in Austin?

KL: One of the things I loved about my role at JPMorgan was creating PR efforts to support rebranding, IPO, spin-off and merger strategies for young companies in the e-finance space (Paypal, Financial Engines and Capital IQ). It was exciting to help rising entrepreneurs and startups establish a strong foundation. Through running my own agency, I get to continue my love of working with innovative companies and entrepreneurs and help them reach their business goals

RF: Red Fan is celebrating its 10th anniversary in 2018. What was the driving factor behind the agency’s growth?

KL: When I first started Red Fan, a lot of my clients were coming from New York and Boston because I’m from the Northeast. I wanted us to be able to transition towards more Texas-based companies who want national visibility and clients that our team could meet with face-to-face . This is why instead of renting a space downtown, I invested in the historic building, which now serves as our office space. This is a place where we can truly engage with each other and be creative, which has helped us really put our roots down in Austin. Another driving force behind our 10-year milestone is working with amazing companies that we can really commit to. When clients come in, they know exactly who is on their team and will have access to those team members. There will never be a bait and switch situation at Red Fan.

RF: Your office doors are always open. Why do you consider the open-door policy as an important part of the agency’s culture?

KL: I work better by bouncing ideas off of other people, and I think being a part of an agency means that the team can be a symphony together. Having the door open is important to me because I want other people to feel the energy going on around the agency. While the team members respect my time, they also feel free to come in and ask me questions or have quick brainstorms.I think closed doors can create insecurity in a team and I have seen that happen in different work environments. I think it changes the energy in the building and the mood of a team. With open doors, there’s a vibe that says I am always open to having conversations.

RF: Moving forward, what would you like to see Red Fan do or accomplish in 2018 and beyond?

KL: Well 2017 will be a difficult year to follow. The quality of clients, the synchronicity of our staff and the overall team energy was at its peak. We also saw a lot of companies renewing their contracts with us, so long-term relationships will continue to grow. In 2018, I’m looking to maintain a steady drumbeat on the companies that we have relationships with. We love coming up with creative ideas on how to make our clients champions and thought leaders in their industry.

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