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Roll Call: Rational 360, Peppercomm, Blackbird PR and More

Peter Barden, a PR and public affairs expert with more than 20 years of experience, has joined Rational 360 as a partner. Peter will work with the Rational 360 leadership team to expand the firm’s presence in New York and enhance the firm’s corporate, brand, public affairs and crisis management practices. Peter has designed and directed integrated public affairs campaigns for Fortune 500 companies and nonprofits in the energy, defense, media, manufacturing, environmental and finance industries. He currently serves as a senior strategist and director of communications for the Online Lenders Alliance (OLA) and will continue in that role in his new position at Rational 360. Previously, Barden was a managing director in Mercury/Clark & Weinstock’s Washington, D.C. public affairs practice, where he managed media relations, crisis communications and grassroots/grasstops advocacy for some of the firm’s top clients. (Release)

Peppercomm announced that Robyn Mait Levine has joined the firm as senior director of content strategy and development. In this newly created role, the former associate publisher will expand content service offerings and work with clients to create engaging content as a core principle of the agency’s Listen.Engage.Repeat strategy. The move reflects the agency’s philosophy of looking outside the traditional agency world to experts that help clients understand the needs of their audiences and develop strategies to drive meaningful engagement with those audiences. Mait Levine previously served as the associate publisher, integrated marketing for Redbook, a Hearst publication, where she was responsible for marketing strategy and cross-platform programs and partnerships for major advertisers. (Release)

Blackbird Public Relations announced the appointment of Kirsten Magen to vice president. Magen’s role at Blackbird includes senior-level communications strategy and media relations for Blackbird clients, as well as business development activity for the firm in key lifestyle sectors. Magen was formerly an account director at The Brandman Agency. With The Brandman Agency since early 2010, Magen brings more than more than 12 years of public relations and marketing communications experience in travel, tourism, hospitality, consumer products, government and other areas of expertise to her role. Prior to joining Brandman, she worked on the client side in a PR management position for InterContinental Hotels & Resorts. (Release)

National racial justice organization Race Forward announced award-winning journalist Akiba Solomon as new Colorlines editorial director. Colorlines is a daily news site featuring award-winning investigative reporting and news analysis, published by Race Forward. Solomon is an award winning journalist, editor and essayist who has worked with Ebony.com, Glamour, Essence, Vibe Vixen, The Source, Redbook, Vibe and Heart & Soul. She is a sought-after public speaker and has spoken at a range of institutions including The Schomburg Center for the Research in Black Culture, Stanford University, Yale University, Harvard University and The University of Chicago. (Release)

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