"If we can do more to create economic self-sufficiency for women, Columbus will be exponentially stronger."

 Future 50 Class of 2020

Heather Whaling

President and founder, Geben Communication

About: Heather Whaling founded her public relations firm 10 years ago to help emerging brands and forward-thinking companies excel in an increasingly social world. She merged the practice of social media and public relations and became a sought-after speaker on innovative communications strategies and workplace policies.

Over the past several years, Whaling grew tired of waiting for the government to catch up to the workplace policies needed in the country, so she launched “Rewrite the Rules,” a paid leave advocacy campaign that encouraged business owners of all sizes to submit their own paid leave policies into a database. By publicly sharing the database, Whaling encouraged other businesses to model their own policies off of them.

Geben's broad base of clients is split equally between B2B and B2C brands, including Donatos, McGraw Hill, Columbus Marathon, The Parking Spot and a range of health care and technology companies. Beyond traditional PR and social media, Geben's services include data analytics and insights, content marketing and crisis management.

Outside of work: Whaling has been active with the Women’s Fund of Central Ohio since 2011 and was appointed to the Columbus Women’s Commission in 2018. She has also supported Roosevelt Coffeehouse, Gladden Community House and the Human Service Chamber of Franklin County.

50 ideas to move the region forward. Here's who else is in the Future 50 Class of 2020.

What does Columbus need to thrive? “We need to make a concerted effort to ensure growth is working for everyone. The benefits of this growth will be more easily accessible by certain parts of the population; however, intentionality, in everything from convening to policy-making, will ensure the success benefits the community as a whole, not just a select group of individuals.”

Whaling’s idea: “I strongly believe if we can do more to create economic self-sufficiency for women, Columbus will be exponentially stronger. Other communities have something like a Gender Index to rate companies. Building something like this for Columbus would compel companies to do more to support women.”

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