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Church’s Chicken - Most Innovative Woman of the Year


Gold Stevie Award Winner 2016, Click to Enter The 2017 Stevie Awards for Women in Business

Company: Church’s Chicken, Atlanta, GA
Entry Submitted By: Ink Link Marketing, LLC
Company Description: Founded in San Antonio, TX in 1952 by George W. Church, Church’s Chicken, along with its sister brand Texas Chicken outside of the Americas, is one of the largest quick service chicken restaurant chains in the world. The brands specialize in Original and Spicy Chicken freshly prepared throughout the day in small batches.
Nomination Category: Individual Awards Categories
Nomination Sub Category: Most Innovative Woman of the Year - Franchising

Nomination Title: Laura Reese, Sr. Director of Media, Digital & Public Relations

Describe for the judges the activities and accomplishments of the nominated woman since the beginning of July last year (up to 525 words):

Laura Reese is one of the hardest working women at Church’s Chicken, and her talent has been routinely rewarded with new challenges and responsibilities since joining the company in 2013. In 2017, Laura Reese was promoted to a new position, an innovative take on working with agency partners that, if successful, would ensure a powerful means of delivering the Church’s brand to anyone, anywhere. In the role of Sr. Director of Media, Digital & Public Relations (P.R.), Laura would take on management of Church’s traditional (TV, radio, OOH, print) and nontraditional (social, digital audio/video) media strategy, buying, and planning needs. She would also be working with the agencies and marketing department, making sure the brand is always portrayed in the best possible light and medium. Laura seamlessly interlays all of Church’s consumer facing content in ways that create deep, meaningful connections. With so much oversight, Laura discovered the opportunity to launch new initiatives for the brand, where several moving parts could now have a higher chance of reaching their mark and making a difference…but how did this initiative begin?

First, Laura went through a deep dive of the Church’s brand. She asked herself – who are we? What do we do? What does it mean? And most importantly, why does it matter? Together with her digital agency partners, she examined the archetypes most linked with the brand: Nurturers and Everyman. This lead to a “principles of authentic participation” for the brand’s digital presence, and ultimately resulted in her biggest find – It’s in Church’s DNA to help build communities and people through its food. With the data on her side, she launched a daring new digital campaign, “Church’s Loves Community,” a video/short film campaign which would require the utmost collaborative effort from everyone on her team. Laura brought partners and team members together to strategize a launching plan, designate the platforms to be used, spend, timing, targeting, communication plans, success objectives and measurement.

Fast forward to the present, the Church’s Loves Community series has created four amazingly well-received films – Church’s Loves San Antonio, Church’s Loves Compton, Church’s Loves St. Louis, and the most recent film which debuted in August, Church’s Loves Atlanta. The latest film gained a highly-coveted launch on, a site with five million viewers that serves as the go-to global video channel for screening the best in culture based films. The film boasts a 4.8/5 rating on Nowness, and has gone on to be showcased at the 2017 BronzeLens Film Festival in Atlanta. Millions of views have been garnered, recognition earned on industry trades, and it has reached success on social media channels through short teaser content on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.

Under Laura’s direction, the Church’s Loves Community series has been connecting consumers everywhere with the essence of the Church’s brand – through their values of progress, unity, hard work and resilience, Church’s continues to bring communities together. Pioneering an innovative new role for a 65-year old brand can be seen as a daunting task, but if the Church’s Loves Community series is any indication of the brand’s future, we can be excited for the changes which are still to come.

Provide a brief biography of the nominated woman (up to 125 words):

Before joining Church’s, Laura served as an Account Executive at Nielsen, a leading global marketing research firm, where she was responsible for sales and service for TV stations and advertising agencies throughout several key Southeastern markets. Prior to Nielsen, Laura held several positions within broadcast management, buying and account management for firms such as LevLane Advertising, Rubin Postaer and Associates, as well as Tausche Martin Lonsdorf.

Laura is a graduate of the University of Georgia’s Grady College of Journalism, where she graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Advertising, as well as a minor in Business and Social Sciences. She is actively involved in the Church’s Women’s Forum Mentorship program which only further proves her commitment to teamwork and Church’s Chicken pride.