Public Strategies employees know strong relationships matter, an understanding that leads to stronger bonds in the workplace and in helping the people the firm serves.

Employees have seen firsthand the benefits that come from strong bonds professionally and personally, said Sammye Norvell Cravens, chief financial officer and chief operating officer for the Oklahoma City project management, consulting and marketing firm.

“The work we do really matters in the community,” Cravens said. “Community can be the United States, Oklahoma or Oklahoma City. It’s really all of the above for us.”

The organization provides training and technical assistance to government agencies and nationwide programs. Locally it offers workshops, education and case management to vulnerable Oklahomans.

“We focus on treating people with dignity and respect,” Cravens said, adding that Public Strategies wants to make sure every person who walks in its doors feels that way.

The organization’s workforce intentionally reflects the diversity of the community as a whole – culturally, professionally and in terms of life experiences – in order to meet the needs of the variety of people it serves, Cravens said.

“Maintaining diversity and ethics is vital when providing a place where people want to come to work, be highly productive, talk and laugh with their colleagues,” she said. “We wanted to be sure our workplace mirrors the community.”

Cravens has worked for Public Strategies for the last 16 years. When she started, the organization had about 17 employees; today they number nearly 100. Despite the growth, the company has intentionally looked for ways to give employees work-life balance and engage them at work.

During the summer, employees work longer hours from Monday through Thursday so they can work shorter hours on Friday. The organization accommodates flexible hours for appointments, student events and family needs. The entire company closes the week between Christmas and New Year’s Day to provide additional time with family. During the holidays, the executive team is generous with small gifts of appreciation, treats, time off and employee outings.

There’s a company vehicle available for personal use if someone’s car needs maintenance or is unavailable. The company also pays for wellness initiatives, including Weight Watchers and gym memberships.

Employee engagement also includes wearing jeans or OKC Thunder gear on certain days, hosting food trucks, supporting the community through charitable efforts, handing out Halloween candy in the downtown area, and more.