We’re picky about the artists we represent.
And we’re choosy about our music.
We give our talent the Royal Treatment
(because they’ve earned it).
There may be more to life than music,
but we can’t imagine a life without it.
(And we certainly wouldn’t want you
to wander around out there unaccompanied.)
Your brand has a story.
— We memorize it.
Your business needs storytellers.
— We train them.
You have compelling themes.
— We identify them.
You have ideas.
— We wrap powerful words around them.
You have characters.
— We develop them.
Charlene “Charlie” Fern has spent 26 years in communications — as a journalist in Texas in California; and as a press attaché and media advisor for elected officials and business executives in Texas, Washington, D.C., and New Jersey, as an adjunct professor of public relations, and as the founder and principal of a strategic communications consultancy, which is now in its 13th year.
Ms. Fern has worked as speechwriter in the Texas Governor’s Office, the Texas Attorney General’s Office, and the White House. She served as director of executive communications for Merck & Co., Inc (then the world’s second-largest pharmaceutical company). She has also taught public relations at the university level.
In 2003 Ms. Fern launched Charlie Fern Ink, LLC, a privately owned strategic communications consultancy. Her clients include musicians and celebrities, professional athletes, executives, diplomats, opinion leaders, global and government leaders, elected officials, corporate boards and CEOs, non-profit founders and leaders, and other writers, public speakers and public relations professionals. She provides strategic communications counsel in a broad range of industries including music and entertainment, health and medicine, government, education, high-tech startups, small businesses, national franchises, Fortune-500 to Fortune 10 companies, government agencies, trade associations, advocacy groups and non-profit organizations.
She has volunteered as a board member or advisor for causes including the Austin Children’s Shelter; Friends of Texas Public Schools (she co-founded and served as a board member for this statewide non-profit through 2008); A Happy Healthy Child; They Often Cry Outreach (TOCO); Mobile Loaves and Fishes; the Wright House Wellness Center and the Texas Book Festival. She has served as Chairwoman of the Texas Book Festival’s Children’s Entertainment Committee in 2009, 2011, 2012, and 2013.
Ms. Fern has served as an adjunct professor of public relations at St. Edward’s University in Austin, Texas, and she continues to lecture at colleges, universities, conferences and forums on subjects including leadership, the art of storytelling as a global business tool, writing and communications in life and management, effective leadership, public relations, strategic engagement and deployment of personal and professional communications, social media, event planning, and corporate, politics and government communications.
Charlie Fern Ink, LLC, is a strategic communications consultancy that provides services including public relations and publicity, tour and media management, strategic message development and deployment, media relations and media training, executive coaching, speech writing and public speaking coaching, event planning, social media strategy; cross-platform branding, and professional writing and editing with areas of expertise that include international relations, business, and diplomacy; government, education, non-profit/advocacy, music and entertainment, healthcare, biotech, technology, social media, entrepreneurial/startup and general professional communications. She presently lives and works from her home studio in Austin, Texas.
“This is like a big Hollywood party,” exclaimed NBC’s Chris Matthews after the entertainment at the Kuwaiti embassy dinner Tuesday celebrating Marvin Hamlisch’s birthday. Truth be told, it was actually more like a night on Broadway. What’s not to love: Hostess Rima Al-Sabah’s dinner … and Ambassador Salem Al-Sabah’s witty speech, incorporating titles of the honoree’s songs (“Nobody Does It Better,” “Ordinary People,” “Sunset, Lollipops and Rainbows”) introduced the show.
— The Washington Times, May 18, 2007
“Charlie Fern has the ability to take complex information and quickly turn it into meaningful material for the general reader. Her greatest talent is in her ability to create memorable language and with her assistance over the years she has opened many doors for me to be of greater service to this community.
“As a non-profit executive director her assistance has allowed me to effectively communicate with the media, government leaders on every level, grantors and big money donors. As a result there are hundreds of people in Austin living an enhanced quality of life. Whether it is an abused child, an individual living with HIV/AIDS or the hungry, Charlie Fern knows just how to craft the argument to get the attention of your audience. I could not recommend her more highly.”
– Susan Wills, MS, LPC Executive Director, the Wright House Wellness Center.
“Charlie Fern has a lot to offer a professional communicator. Her expertise in platform building and speech preparation helped our team provide a top-notch product to our CEO in a timely manner.”
– Linda Rutherford, Vice President, Public Relations and Community Affairs Southwest Airlines
“Outstanding. Top Notch. Best ever. These are some of the responses we received … on this year’s Zhone Tech…They also mirror the reaction from our staff, partners and organizers. What distinguishes my commentary from the others is my full awareness of the substantial role that you played in the terrific success that we enjoyed. I am grateful for not only your expertise and your exceptional gift for prose, but also for your patience and dedication in working under demanding and often unreasonable conditions. Throughout the ordeal you demonstrated nothing less than composure and professionalism. It has been my pleasure to have had the opportunity to work with you on this outstanding engagement.”
– David Markowitz, VP Marketing, Zhone Technology
“Charlie Fern is an alliance partner of Excel Meetings and Events and provides speech writing and coaching to our corporate clients. She has an impeccable background and brings exceptional professionalism to her work. As an alliance partner, she is an invaluable asset to our business.”
– Jon Wollenhaupt, Vice President, Excel Meetings and Events
“I have been honored by the friendship of my colleagues in the White House speechwriting department: Michael Gerson, Pete Wehner, Matthew Scully…Charlene Fern… — altogether the finest presidential speechwriting team since Alexander Hamilton and James Madison collaborated on Washington’s Farewell Address.”
– David Frum, The Right Man: The Surprise Presidency of George W. Bush
A remarkable TED talk that challenges conventional wisdom about stress. In a few short minutes, the description says, “Psychologist Kelly McGonigal urges us to see stress as a positive, and introduces us to an unsung mechanism for stress reduction: reaching out to others.” Her research revealed a fascinating detail about what we have long considered
So. I developed a talent for editing when I managed the newsroom of a small chain of newspapers in San Diego in the early 90s. My ability to spot a mistake in type grew at roughly the same pace as my list of pet peeves. It seemed as if most of our reporters –
There it is, in black and white. Recently Jim Mitchem reminded me about an important date coming up on the calendar — a day he himself designated to celebrate the the idea of love by simply saying “I love you.” This celebration began back in 2009 as more of an experiment. In Jim’s words: I was
Now here’s another take on a song that some might consider to be a standard from the past… Just look how it not only claimed a place in pop culture back then, but also survived through a generation only to emerge years later, solid and true, in an entirely different arrangement for an entirely different
From the Indiegogo Campaign page: Jerome Schoolar, Producer and Co-Creator of the Emmy Award winning PBS show “The Biscuit Brothers” is calling on fans to support the building of a new Fine Arts Farm in South Austin that will be designed to provide music and arts education to the entire community. The proposed facility will
The Children’s Entertainment Tent is the only tent located on the Texas State Capitol grounds. You’ll find it on the western-most side of the grounds, near the intersection of 12th and Colorado streets.
Todd Simpson … a story you simply will not believe. Todd overcame incredible odds to even survive childhood, then faced challenging disabilities that he battles to this day. You wouldn’t know it to see him, though. At the still somewhat tender age of 18, he was inspired by a music video (Hendrix, no less) and decided
by me. Wind picks up Trees bow and curtsey ebb and flow ebb and flow Depending on the hour, soon, Sirens will wail as they always do After rain slicks streets And irreverent drivers pay no mind. Ride it out ride it out Go on about your business. Rain sprinkles on skin Cool toddy Candle
Ms. Fern has worked extensively in both the public and private sectors, with celebrities, musicians, government leaders, heads of state, corporate executives and board members. Her strategic communication consultancy includes speechwriting and coaching, public relations and marketing, media training, public speaking and teaching.
She delivers motivational speeches and informative lectures nationwide to groups of all sizes. Topics include leadership, strategic communication, public relations (including case studies), and her experiences as a speechwriter in the Texas Governor’s Office and at the White House (where she worked on 9-11).
Clients and Industries:
Ms. Fern works with clients on-site, on the road or virtually. She and her team handle each project and every client with the utmost care, professionalism and discretion. Our experience includes work in areas that include:
Colleges and Universities
Diplomatic Corps – Ambassadors and Heads of State
Education – Early Childhood to University Instruction
Embassies – worldwide
Entrepreneurs – CEOs and Boards
Foundations – Local to International
Fortune-500 to Fortune-5 Companies
Franchises – executives and Franchisees
Government – Federal
Government – State
Music and musicians – artists, songwriters and labels
Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs)
Oil and Gas
Professional athletes (NFL, olympic stars, etc)
Public Relations, Marketing and Advertising
Real Estate and Realtors
Central Texas HQ:
12400 State Highway 71 West, Suite 350-395 Austin, TX 78738
Phone: 1-800-349-9048 or 512-410-0383
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What do we do around here? The ABCs and 123s of this strategic communications consultancy include nearly every service you can imagine across the wide world of professional communication and human interaction. Our services include, but are not limited to:
Contact Charlie for more details.
As a journalist, Ms. Fern wrote and edited in all styles – hard news, lifestyles, sports, columns and editorials. More than 20 years later, she continues to write for all media and consults a national list of clients in the art and skill of writing and public communications, including public relations and strategic messaging. When she is not a featured writer, or featured as a writer in the news, she lectures at the university level and delivers seminars and motivational speeches to organizations and groups nationwide.
You will have heard Ms. Fern’s speeches on national television, national and international radio. You will have read her work in prominent newspapers and magazines worldwide. And on this Web site, you will find examples of her own writing on a myriad of personal and professional topics — from leadership and public speaking to storytelling and strategic communications. You’ll also find blogs, essays, and speeches, quotes, and writing tips by Charlie and her staff, here and elsewhere on this site. We hope you’ll find this information both useful (if you’re considering our services) and entertaining (if you’re just browsing for fun and inspiration). And if you want to stay put on this page, you’ll find a few samples below.
Personal Blog Posts:
Excerpt from memoirs: