A nonprofit publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

Mary Ellen Slone, KyF Brand Marketing Group assemble top creative services team

Mary Ellen Slone, who founded Meridian Communications as a two-person office and grew it into one of the most respected, full-service marketing services companies in Kentucky, has joined the KyForward Brand Marketing Group, planning to help create another successful enterprise.


Slone will become a principal in KYFBMG, a subsidiary of KyForward.


Mary Ellen Slone (Photo provided)

Mary Ellen Slone (Photo provided)

“We are so pleased to have the opportunity to work with Mary Ellen, who wrote the book on how to build a successful marketing agency,” said Judy Clabes, president of KyForward. “Establishing a marketing arm is a good strategic move for us, and we look forward to having Mary Ellen as key part of the team.”


As “captain” of the Meridian Communications team for 25 years, Slone combined an impressive mixture of marketing successes with significant “giving back” to the local community. She was named Lexington’s Businesswoman of the Year several different times while she and her team earned multiple local, regional and national awards for both creativity and successful marketing initiatives. Her “Have You Hugged Your Kid Today” campaign was adopted by the United Nations for its International Year of the Child.


She is a Certified Crisis/Reputational Mangement Counselor, assisted with Flight 5191 communications and raised funding for the memorial sculpture at the Arboretum – and has otherwise been deeply engaged in the community. In addition, she has always mentored numerous successful talents – her “alumni club” – who are engaged today in some category of creative endeavor locally and beyond.


“Over the years, Judy Clabes’ and my paths have often crossed – we even both served on the Federal Reserve Cincinnati branch board, albeit at different times, and on various University of Kentucky communications advisory groups. Now we are finally able to join our individually divergent skill sets to create something magical – and continue to give back to our community,” Slone said.


Clabes agreed. “We feel we can provide a full range of services, given our team of experienced professionals, to fill a need for both the business and nonprofit community,” Clabes said. “We think these services will complete the circle we have started with our online-only daily newspaper and makes optimum use of our combined talents and experiences.”


The team will include those already on the KyForward staff, as well as special talent specific to the marketing group, including Ernest Phillips, graphics artist and designer and Meridian “alum”; Chris Clabes, an experienced event planner and organizational consultant; Jacob Clabes, who’ll head the web design and awards/recognitions area; and Joel Rapp and his Right Place Media team for media buying and placement. On the video production side, KYFBM will team up with Kyle Lake of Prosper Media.

The range of professional services will include, but not be limited to, brand marketing, strategic planning (from concept to shelf), communications advice and services, creative and design services, reputational and crisis management counseling, social media marketing, event planning, website development, signage, awards and recognitions, and research.

Contact Mary Ellen Slone at maryellen@kyforward.com and Judy Clabes at judy@kyforward.com

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