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July 20, 2021 42 min

In this episode, Raffi DerSimonian talks about his career doing public relations and marketing in the arts. As a Waterville native, Raffi talks about the renaissance going on in the city from arts to dining. Music has always been a passion of Raffi’s. He describes his musical career and helping found Waterville Rocks. In addition to doing public relations and marketing in the arts, Raffi is experienced in promoting higher education. Raffi and Nancy discuss how COVID-19 has impacted higher education as well as communicating during a crisis.

3:00 – Raffi describes the importance of a handwritten note.

7:05 – Raffi explains how COVID-19 has forced higher education to adjust very quickly and rethink its curriculum.

11:40 – Raffi shares how video can be used to drive measurable engagement in public relations and marketing.

18:29 – As a Waterville native and co-founder of Waterville Rocks, Raffi talks about the city’s renaissance.

23:37 – Raffi explains how Waterville Rocks was founded.

24:19 – Raffi describes how music has been an important part of his life.

29:00 – Raffi talks about his career marketing the arts.

32:09 – Raffi shares his advice for schools and colleges when promoting themselves.

36:28 – Raffi provides some times for communicating during a crisis.

39:31 – Raffi recommends a book.



“Video is a medium that gets me really excited personally. Over the years throughout my career, I've come to understand the emotive power of visual storytelling as a way to drive engagement. I think video is an amazing medium because it has the ability to pull us in by our imaginations, sometimes resulting in a physiological response like goosebumps, joy or sorrow.” – Raffi DerSimonian, principal at the RDS Group



Maine Media Workshops + College:

Colby College:

Thomas College:

Waterville Opera House:

Paul J. Schupf Art Center:

Colby College Museum of Art:

Waterville Creates:

Silver Street Tavern:


The Last Unicorn:

Waterville Rocks:

Maine Academy of Modern Music:

Providence Performing Arts Center:

Ikigai by H?ctor Garc?a:


Listen to Karl Strand’s PR Maven? Podcast episode to learn more about Sugarloaf.

Listen to Bill Green’s PR Maven? Podcast episode.

Listen to Steve McCausland’s PR Maven? Podcast episode to learn more about media training and crisis communications.

Listen to Jordan Rowan and Jesse Souza’s PR Maven? Podcast episode to learn more about Front & Main.

Listen to Jim Dinkle’s PR Maven? Podcast episode to learn more about FirstPark.

Listen to Nancy’s solocast, How to use a message map to build your brand, to learn more about message mapping or sign up for her Message Mapping Mastery online course.


Activate the PR Maven? Flash Briefing on your Alexa Device.?

Join the PR Maven? Facebook group page.?


About the guest:   ?

With over 20 years’ experience in results-oriented public relations, marketing, and communications, Raffi DerSimonian has cultivated a comprehensive understanding of the intersection between institutional marketing, communications, advancement, and the arts. His experience includes leading new brand launches, developing marketing strategies, and planning advancement campaigns for a diverse range of institutions and organizations. Via RDS Group, Raffi works in highly collaborative settings, which allows him to effectively navigate a range of complex and large-scale initiatives.

A proud Waterville native and double alum of Clark University, Raffi enjoys outdoor adventure and live music. He is also involved in Portland, Maine’s thriving cultural arts scene and has served on various community arts councils and boards in and around New England including Habitat For Humanity of Greater Providence, Worcester Arts Council, Creative Portland, Maine Academy of Modern Music, Yellow Tulip Project, Fork Food Lab, Portland Downtown, Armenian Cultural Association of Maine, Portland Bach Experience, and Maine Volunteer Lawyers for the Arts.


Looking to connect:          




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