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Branching Out

No two days are alike for Meredith Lynn.

In her job as Orange Leaf’s director of public relations, the 2011 OC grad works with the national media, trade publications and social media promoting and managing the brand for one of the fastest-growing frozen yogurt companies in the world.

She travels all over the country to help franchisees with events, promotions and marketing; a recent trip took her to an grand opening event in New York City.

And to top it all off ... she has unlimited access to frozen yogurt at Orange Leaf’s ultra cool corporate headquarters in Oklahoma City.

What’s not to love?

While Meredith admits that landing her job was serendipitous, keeping up with her pace takes skill and energy. “Froyo” is fun, but marketing it is serious business.

Meredith’s work ethic propels the corporate brand, and it helps franchisees across the country ... Orange Leaf is closing in on 300 stores (including two in Australia), and has been listed No. 1 in growth and sales by trade industry watchers Technomic and MonkeyDish.

Originally from Colorado, Meredith landed in the public relations industry at a time when technology and the Internet have brought more direct interaction with customers.

Facebook, Twitter and other social media are important tools of the trade. Immediacy is often the name of the game.

“I want to be the first to respond to an email, or retweet or post to Instagram,” Meredith said. “Everyone is talking about what is happening now. It’s not about going to press tomorrow.”

The pace is quicker, but the principles are steadfast. PR remains as it is officially defined: the professional maintenance of a favorable public image by an organization.

She learned about it at OC.

“It is a credit to my department for pushing me hard. Professors, such as Dr. (Philip) Patterson and Mr. (Josh) Watson, nitpicked at my style mistakes and pushed me to do my best. I had the confidence and ability to work quickly because I had done it so many times,” she said.

Outgoing and adaptable, Meredith says part of the job is realizing everyone wants to be respected, even those who complain about the product.

“I like to think of myself as a good person. I know that is because of how I was raised, brought up in the church. I know how Jesus interacted with others,” she said. “At the end of the day, it’s about integrity. You have to respond with honesty and transparency. If you don’t, people will see right through it.”

This is a fast-paced, exciting time for Orange Leaf, where most of the staffers, including 35-year-old CEO Travis Reece are under the age of 40.

“We are creating a foundation for a company that is growing so quickly. We are aggressive and pursue new ideas and are always looking for fresh talent,” she said.

Two of Meredith’s colleagues also are OC alumni. Alex Awtry (01) is Orange Leaf’s director of franchise operations. Mario Richard (09) serves as a field service representative.

Interns from Oklahoma Christian also get the chance to learn the ropes of the industry … and test out the free yogurt in the lobby of Orange Leaf’s headquarters.

Admitting she has a tough time “unplugging” from her job – whether it’s monitoring the Internet, imagining new ways to stylize a new flavor in pictures, or answering a franchisee’s late-night question – Meredith is learning to set boundaries.

She said her sister recently reminded her that even Jesus took time away to recharge, so she’s committed to doing that so she can be true to something else she learned in college.

“OC taught me how to go on a mission in my own workplace. And take my Christianity into a world that I am in, but not of,” she said.

By Dawn Shelton (90)