At Tonight's State of the Union: Politicians, Dignitaries -- and a Marketing Exec

Indie Ad/PR Shop Founder Recognized for Agency's Financial Achievements, Charitable Work

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NEW YORK (AdAge.com) -- Usually guests of the president and first lady at a State of the Union speech include soldiers, educators, scientists and private citizens with a compelling story of struggle and sometimes triumph. And indeed, people fitting those descriptions will all be on hand tonight sitting with Michelle Obama, but this year they'll be joined by a marketing executive.

Trevor Yager
Trevor Yager
Trevor Yager, founder and principal of TrendyMinds, an independent Indianapolis-based advertising and PR shop, will be among the many politicians, dignitaries and honorees repeatedly getting up and down to clap for President Barack Obama during tonight's address. The agency was asked to attend by the White House because of its financial achievements as a small business and the amount of charitable work it does. In 2009 TrendyMinds, a National Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce-certified gay-owned business, grew by more than 200% while bringing in 15 new accounts and doubling the number of employees. This year the agency will give away $150,000 of in-kind work to 12 nonprofits.

Mr. Yager is not sure if he will be singled out by the president during his speech but said he's still very nervous, humbled and excited regardless. "This is a big honor to represent the LBGT community," he said. "And it's an honor to represent the small-business community and my company, so I feel fortunate and very blessed to be in this seat."

In one sense it's almost fitting that President Obama have a PR executive attend tonight's address since so many believe that the President's brand has taken a hit over the last couple of weeks. Mr. Yager said that if by remote chance he was asked for some PR advice by the president, he said he would tell him to make sure his message tonight addresses the concerns voiced by Americans. "His message needs to be that he is still inspiring help and change is happening and will continue to happen," Mr. Yager said. "He has to make sure his message is on point in that it addresses everything that's happening and of concern to the American people."

And as for all the standing ovations that are in store for him tonight, Mr. Yager said he just wants to make sure he stands, claps and sits all at the appropriate times. "I'm going to have to take cues from everyone around me to know when to start clapping and when to stop," he said.

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