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Our Story: How Anglin Became the First PR Firm in Oklahoma

Updated: Mar 12

In 1999 the World Wide Web was exploding, America was living in fear of Y2K, Oklahoma City was beginning its renaissance, we were spellbound with Harry Potter and Debbie Anglin was moonlighting.

Having graduated from the University of Oklahoma a few years prior, Debbie was working at one of the few advertising agencies in Oklahoma City and found herself helping aspiring business owners with their PR needs after they had been turned away from the firm.    

“I was told to reject a potential client, but I couldn’t bring myself to do it,” she recalled. “I was rooting for his success after our first meeting and I ended up helping the new restaurant on the side, in exchange for gift cards.”

Friends and family members caught wind of how she had used public relations to help a small business turn a profit, a promising new venture gain media attention and a local restaurateur launch a great new concept. Within a few months, Debbie had increased her client load and was working nearly 30 hours a week - in addition to the 40+ she was putting in at the advertising agency.

She gave her employer notice, helped the ad agency transition her duties to her colleagues and took a leap of faith.

“I’ve never been very risk averse,” she said. “I figured that while I was betting on other businesses to succeed, I should bet on my own as well.”

An orange background featuring the 3-looped Anglin logo. Text quoted from the article reads "I figured that while I was betting on other businesses to succeed, I should bet on my own as well."

From her living room, Debbie launched Anglin Public Relations in January 1999. While public relations firms were growing in markets like New York City, Los Angeles, and Chicago, they were virtually nonexistent in Oklahoma City. She often found herself explaining what PR is. While there was no local example she could follow, Debbie had a wealth of experience to lean on.

“I knew from the get-go that I wouldn’t be accepting every client that came my way,” she said. “Fit is important and I always carefully listen to a potential customer’s needs to make sure we can deliver exceptional results based on our specialties.” Some of those specialties were born from tragedy. A few years before launching Anglin PR, Debbie found herself utilizing her skills in public relations in a way she could have never foreseen.

Debbie was an employee of the American Red Cross of Oklahoma in 1995 when the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building was bombed, killing 168 people and injuring nearly 700. Initially tasked with organizing special events for the organization, on April 19, Debbie found herself working as a liaison between the Red Cross and media who were reporting the attack on local, national and international levels. She conveyed how Oklahoma City was responding, what support was needed and how the community came out in force to support rescue and recovery efforts in the weeks and months following the bombing.

“Red Cross volunteers would place mints on the beds of firefighters who were housed at the old convention center, so that when they came back from their long and emotionally draining days, they would have just a small reminder of our community’s appreciation,” she said. That effort became known as the Oklahoma Standard.

That standard, and the experience of seeing the community come together to respond with positivity, love and momentum after devastation, made a lasting impression on Debbie who continues to work for clients who strive to make a difference in the lives of others.

Over the past 25 years, Anglin has helped clients advocate for economic growth, job creation, higher education, affordable housing, criminal justice reform and remove the stigma surrounding mental health.

Debbie is a natural leader, a champion of her employees and their growth, and is committed to maintaining a work environment where people enjoy what they do, strive for excellence, find meaning in their work and see how their contributions make the community a better place. 

“I am proud of the team we have now, and the team members who have been with us during different eras of Anglin PR. They have all been a part of building the reputation Anglin has garnered in the community of being a firm that is results-oriented, fair, trustworthy, skilled and reliable. Over 25 years, we have grown from being the first dedicated public relations firm in the state to a powerhouse of professionals highly skilled in every facet of public relations, advertising and marketing.”


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