Lisa Hinson

President, Hinson Ltd. Public Relations

Retailers and real estate developers looking to do a market introduction in Columbus would be wise to put Hinson Ltd. Public Relations at the top of their call list.

“Because of my background in retail and my background in Easton, we’re specialists in those areas,” says company President Lisa Hinson. “We understand retail, we understand real estate and we’re able to provide them with that insight.”

The 46-year-old Hinson graduated from Ohio State University in 1989 with a bachelor’s degree in communication. An internship at Limited Brands her junior year eventually turned into a full-time position. Hinson worked in public relations as a coordinator, manager, government relations coordinator and, for her last five years, the director of PR for the company, known then as The Limited Inc. She also was very involved in the development of Easton Town Center, the brainchild of Limited Brands founder Les Wexner. “I like to say I grew up there,” Hinson says. “I got the best training somebody in my profession could ever hope for. It was a really exciting, fast-paced environment.”

After two difficult pregnancies, Hinson started her own firm in 1999, hoping that would provide her with more flexibility. However, success quickly put an end to the notion of more downtime. “The work, thankfully, came so fast and there were so many exciting things going on that I was a part of here that it was a complete disconnect between goal and reality,” Hinson says.

Today, clients include Easton Town Center, the New Albany Company, M/I Homes, Giant Eagle and the local Panera Bread restaurants. On the nonprofit side, Hinson works with the Girl Scouts, Boys and Girls Clubs, New Albany Community Foundation, New Albany Classic Invitational Grand Prix & Family Day and the Columbus Blue Jackets Foundation.

Juggling 14 to 20 clients at a time can be challenging for a five-person firm, but Hinson has no interest in building a bigger shop. “I never wanted an agency of 100 people, because I always wanted to be doing the work more than being a CEO. I wanted to focus on direct client service,” she says. Hinson still handles much of the legwork herself, whether it’s arranging a media interview or running the band schedule at the New Albany Classic.

Recently, Hinson helped Panera start the Step Up For Stefanie event, which raised $100,000 for the Stefanie Spielman Fund for Breast Cancer Research. “We figure out how to help retailers and restaurateurs do things in the community and increase awareness and drive brand loyalty,” Hinson says. “If you look at Easton, for example, anyone who has come here, it is a very rare case that we didn’t do their market introduction.”

Jack Kessler, co-founder and chairman of the New Albany Company, says Hinson is well-respected “because she’s good. She knows the media well, they respect her and she’s very professional and does a good job for her clients.”

Hinson sits on the boards of the James Foundation, Experience Columbus, Columbus School for Girls and the Columbus Foundation, where she serves on the Donor Development Committee. She is also co-chair and co-founder of the Girls with Gears peloton, which raised $50,000 last year for Pelotonia. Her awards include the Bob Crane Sr. Young Philanthropist Award from the United Way of Central Ohio, received in 2006, and being named a YWCA Woman of Achievement in 2010.

Reprinted from the April 2012 issue of Columbus C.E.O. Copyright © Columbus C.E.O.