With a 20-year history as a leading marketing communications firm, LaForce + Stevens provides innovative strategies for the world’s top brands in retail, technology, fashion, luxury, home, design, beauty and wellness.

Our uniquely collaborative culture and ever-evolving mix of services, provide our client partners with business-driving campaigns. Since making our name in media relations and publicity, L+S has evolved to provide multidisciplinary programs, which include digital and social strategy, partnerships, event production, media integration, and design services to enhance communications across a wide range of audiences.

Services

Media Relations

What we know, who we know, how we work.

LaForce + Stevens has a respected reputation among media decision-makers and top news organizations worldwide. We pride ourselves on knowing what journalists are looking for and when they need it. Our fresh story angles, and insightful perspective, consistently score positive coverage for our clients.

We believe an earned media impression will always trump a paid one and credible media outlets will best sponsored posts. L+S actively seeks coverage by and endorsement from credible, third-party sources by offering them compelling content.

Digital + Social Media

Engaging on all channels.

Our digital and social teams develop and execute strategies to deepen consumer relationships. We strive to cultivate new followers, accelerate traffic and increase conversion.

Mobilizing Evangelists

We are only as good as our network.

Through our ever-expanding network of personal and professional relationships, LaForce + Stevens engages celebrities, sports figures, artists, models and other social influencers, creating connection for our client brands. We reach the right audience, in the right way.

Experience

Events make news, activate influencers
and deepen engagement.

In an age when consumers are rarely separated from their screens, a brand experience can become an opportunity for engagement.  LaForce + Stevens is renowned for producing experiences that reach influential media, digitally-enabled consumers and tastemakers.  We conceive retail store openings, product launches, fashion shows, movie premieres and technology kick-offs to communicate a brand message, attract coverage and maximize media coverage and social traction.

Corporate and Business
Communications

Let your reputation precede you.

The LaForce + Stevens team guides corporate communications and executive profile campaigns for top-ranked companies in a range of sectors including technology, retail, wellness and hospitality.

Experience

HOME + DESIGN
With a history of representing top architects and interior designers, L+S maintains close ties in the shelter and home furnishings worlds. Our work with top home retailers keeps us front and center at design industry events.
CONSUMER HEALTH, WELLNESS + BEAUTY
From the latest in skin and hair care innovations, to top global healthcare brands, L+S is a leader in the wellness conversation. Our news-making lifestyle campaigns for top brands in consumer health set us apart from more traditional, packaged goods agencies.
TECHNOLOGY, DIGITAL + SOCIAL
Our digital campaigns seamlessly mesh with our client’s earned and paid strategies. Our integrated approach keeps brand conversations linked and consistent from one channel to the next. Our initiatives for leading technology and social companies keep us engaged with today’s innovations -- and current on upcoming platforms.
FASHION + RETAIL
For more than 20 years, L+S has been a leader in the international fashion community. From luxury timepieces and fine jewelry, to global ready-to-wear brands, our services range from fashion shows to global brand launches.
HOSPITALITY + SPIRITS
We represent top destinations, luxury hotels, spirits, food and wine. Our multidisciplinary culture and close ties to design, fashion, and entertainment influencers help us to create innovative alliances which define brands and create unforgettable experiences.

Leadership

  • As co-founder of LaForce + Stevens and a highly-regarded media and communications consultant, James LaForce directs a range of communications programs across the agency’s diverse client roster.  With a nimble approach, he blends business savvy with an insatiable enthusiasm for the trends and temperaments of the ever-changing media landscape. LaForce was raised in Green Bay, Wisconsin, and studied English literature and writing at Columbia University.  Early in his career, he was fortunate enough to be mentored by the legendary fashion publicist Eleanor Lambert, who is often credited with putting American fashion on the global map.
  •  Over the years, he has guided and shaped campaigns for Gianfranco Ferre, OMEGA, Yves St. Laurent, Perry Ellis, Banana Republic, Tracy Reese, Swarovski Crystal and 3M.  LaForce is instrumental in promoting Target’s ground-breaking collaborations with top designers such as Alexander McQueen and Missoni.
  • LaForce and his husband Stephen Henderson spend weekends in Long Island, but he is happiest at his office sending out emails and “calling around to bug people.”
  • What do you love about L+S? Our work ethic and our shared desire to succeed.
  • Biggest opportunity? I try to remind myself that today is really the only opportunity we have.
  • Why do you do what you do? We can touch on just about everything going on in the world — it is all relevant to our work.
  • Leadership style? I would rather encourage and offer feedback than carry the flag.
  • Career advice? Remember there are people who know more than you do – this is a good thing!
  • Favorite NYC spot? Sitting at my desk in our new office just off Union Square.
  • If you could have had the starring role in any film? “The Sound of Music.” I have the governess uniform ready to go.
  • What city other than New York would you like to live in and why? I am currently very into Healdsburg in Sonoma.  It’s a fantasy.

 

James LaForce
  • Stevens is co-founder of LaForce + Stevens. She is passionate about her work, her colleagues and, perhaps most of all, the infinite array of creative clients she’s had the good fortune to represent. Known for her unconventional thinking, Stevens has conceived and executed campaigns in the fields of home/design, health/beauty, entertainment, fashion, hospitality and non-profit. She has worked with brands such as YSL, AT&T, Amazon, Elizabeth Arden and Virgin Mobile, among many others.  Her unbridled enthusiasm and perpetually positive attitude are among LaForce + Stevens’ greatest assets.
  • What do you love about L+S? The creativity, the camaraderie, the people.
  • Inspiration? The thrill of a new adventure.
  • Leadership style? It’s all about the team and empowering each individual to grow, learn, contribute and excel.
  • Career advice? Love what you do and you’ll never work a day in your life.
  • Hometown? Pennsylvania with roots in Texas.
  • Theme song? “I Will Survive.”
  • Next travel destination? The latest undiscovered spot.
  • Guilty pleasure? Theatre.
  • Teenage celebrity crush? Sean Connery AKA James Bond.
Leslie Stevens
  • Rebecca Gordon, Executive Vice President Operations and Chief of Staff
  • Leading the agency’s operations team, Rebecca Gordon supports and lends guidance to the entire LaForce + Stevens team.  Following a successful run in human resources at Ralph Lauren and management at Abercrombie & Fitch, Gordon joined L+S in 2008.  She’s played a crucial role in managing L+S’ consistent diversification and expansion.  Gordon created a cohesive unit comprised of HR, accounting, IT, graphics services, and facilities, providing clients with professional support across the L+S family.
  • Career advice? Aspire to reach beyond your comfort zone.
  • How did you get here? Combining my skills from both a human resources and operations background shaped my career in a special way. I keep an ‘open-door policy’ which means I’m always learning.
  • What is your karaoke anthem? Any song I can sing/yell at the top of my lungs.
  • What was your most regrettable fashion moment? 80’s Aqua Net sprayed bangs for my entire pre-teen, actually well into my teen, years.
  • If you could have any super power, what would it be and why? The power to read minds.
  • What was your first job? I was a box office cashier/concession stand operator/usher at the local movie theater. With only two of us on each shift, one ran the projector, the other sold the tickets, served up soda and popcorn, ushered everyone to their seats, and swept the aisles before jumping back behind the ticket booth for the next showing. I learned the art of multi-tasking.

 

Rebecca Gordon
  • Olita Mills leads the design division at LaForce + Stevens.  She oversees communications campaigns for lifestyle, retail and consumer brands in a range of sectors.  Mills is a dynamic, charismatic leader with a passion for strategy, media relations and program management.  Mills’ client experience ranges from Valspar, 3M Company and Williams-Sonoma, Inc. to digital brands such as Zynga and LinkedIn. Prior to joining L+S in 2005, Mills managed consumer campaigns for emerging brands in the home/design sector.
  • Career advice? If you want something new, you must be willing to do things you’ve never done.
  • What inspires you to come to work every day? The intelligent and creative people who make up the L+S team.
  • Always in your refrigerator? Leafy greens.
  • Daily routine? Taking time to read The New York Times while drinking a cup of coffee before anyone gets to the office in the morning.
  • Favorite season? Fall is perfection. The crisp air, colorful foliage, and new fashions.  Need I say more?
  • Favorite workout? Barry’s Bootcamp!
Olita Mills
  • Known for her “lead from behind” management style, Forgang successfully manages L+S teams which focus on retail, fashion and accessory brands such as Target, OMEGA and Sperry Top-Sider, among others.  With more than 10 years in marketing communications, Forgang worked in-house and at agencies representing global brands before joining L+S in 2007.
  • Inspiration? The collaborative spirit of the people with whom I work.
  • Leadership style? Nurturing and strategic.
  • Next travel destination? Anywhere that has an amazing beach and a great massage.
  • First concert? The Monkees at the Garden State Arts Center.
  • Always in your refrigerator? Ricotta – I put it on everything.
Stacy Forgang
  • Heading the L+S entertainment and lifestyle division, Jennifer Hinchey combines expertise in event production and celebrity management with experience in consumer goods, spirits brands and retail.  Hinchey joined the agency in 2006 following a career track managing corporate communications for media and technology companies.  Jennifer’s work and leadership style is unique, combining business strategy and vision with unbridled enthusiasm, warmth and humor.
  • What do you love about L+S? All the quirky folks that I get to work with every day.
  • Leadership style? Equal parts tough and nice.
  • Career advice? Check your shame at the door.
  • Favorite dinner partner? The answer to this question depends on the day I’ve had – do I need several strong drinks or a civilized glass of wine?
  • If you were a shoe? A stiletto, because that means I’d be really thin.
  • First job? A grunt at The Wall Street Journal.
  • Teenage celebrity? Zach Morris and his giant cell phone.
Jennifer Hinchey
  • Known for her collaborative leadership style, McGinnis manages the L+S consumer brand team, leading program development and execution for a number of Johnson & Johnson brands, including Listerine, Rembrandt and Splenda, as well as Zumba Apparel and QOOQ.  With nearly 10 years in marketing communications, McGinnis is a dynamic and goal-oriented professional with deep experience in leading holistic, strategic and creative development, resulting in insight-driven programs that build business and brand equity for blue-chip companies across various lifestyle categories.  McGinnis’ experience includes the P&G oral care portfolio, including Crest, Scope and Oral-B. She has represented Swiffer, Mr. Clean, Johnson’s Baby, Reach and Band-Aid.
  • What do you love about L+S? I work on brands I’m passionate about. I feel empowered to rally my team to best serve our client partners.
  • What sets L+S apart? The entrepreneurial spirit of L+S sets us apart.
  • Hometown? I’m a Jersey girl.  I grew up in Closter (in Bergen County).
  • Daily routine? Walking into my apartment after a day of work and being greeted by my adorable, snuggly dog, Bo…and my husband, too.
Lauren Kennedy-McGinnis
  • Boothby brings nine years of public relations experience and has represented a variety of mass and prestige beauty brands, including Lubriderm, Dermalogica, StriVectin, Ferragamo Fragrances, Hermes Fragrances and Organix. Her strategic thinking and strong media contacts help her lead the agency’s beauty/wellness division. Boothby’s extensive global brand experience informs her team’s strategies and programming to suite each brand’s unique marketing goals.
  • Leadership style? Fair and approachable. Lead by example.
  • What sets L+S apart? It’s a one-stop shop with a lot of resources and smart, approachable people under one roof.
  • What is your cocktail of choice? No cocktails. Prefer wine.
  • Celebrity doppelganger? I got Farrah Fawcett once, but more recently it has been Whitney Port. I don’t see either.
Kate Boothby
  • Candelaria is a creative and strategic marketer with a decade of experience in communications.  She joined L+S in 2008 and has managed campaigns for high-profile beauty, fashion and lifestyle brands, including Target, Orly, AT&T, Rimmel London and Ojon.
  • What do you love about L+S? The environment is intensely collaborative. Our newsroom setting allows us to constantly bounce ideas off of each other.
  • Best piece of career advice? The power of a “thank you” note is always noticed, no matter what.
  • Preferred dinner partner? My husband – I’m a newlywed!
  • Weirdest thing you’ve ever eaten? Cuy – otherwise known as roasted guinea pig. I tried it in Peru where it is a traditional dish. Let’s just say it’s definitely not part of my regular diet.
  • Guilty pleasure? Anything related to Disney – Disney World trips, Disney movies, the actual Disney channel…I could go on!
Ivy Candelaria
  • Katie Stephens Fagan has been at the agency for seven years working on a range of hospitality, wine and spirits clients, while producing large-scale events and product launches.  Fagan’s cup runneth over with experience working on Veuve Clicquot, Vikingfjord Vodka, Appleton Rum, Belvedere, Clos du Bois Winery, among others.  In addition to the full bar of brands, she has represented B. R. Guest Restaurants, Magnolia Bakery, Vikram Chatwal Hotels, David Burke Group and others in the hospitality industry.
  • What do you love about L+S? I was once told we can “let our freak flags fly.”  While that is a cliché phrase, here we really mean it.
  • Biggest opportunity? Being trusted to create our own opportunities.  I have never been pigeonholed or told what kind of marketer to be.  We are encouraged to work on programs that interest and inspire us.
  • Career advice? Read, read, read; you cannot pitch who and what you do not know.
  • Why do you love your job? LaForce + Stevens gives you skills across so many different industries; some days we work in finance, other days we are lawyers, graphic designers, bouncers, magicians, the list goes on!
  • Hometown? Shaker Heights, Ohio. I am an Ohio fanatic—because someone has to be.
  • If you could relive a year…? I don’t need to re-live a whole year, but to re-live July 14, 2012 would be a treat! I cannot get over my wedding day – BEST DAY EVER.
  • Daily routine? Our team’s morning dish sessions are the perfect start to the day: a good story, a bad date, the best cocktail, new restaurant, we share it all.
Katie Stephens Fagan
  • Lockhart has over eight years of public relations experience in the fashion category and has been with LaForce + Stevens for nearly five years. Utilizing her extensive background and knowledge working on a variety of brands, she has developed and led strategic programs for companies including NYDJ, Sperry Top-Sider, Ramy Brook, Wacoal and Raoul. In addition, Lockhart has extensive experience managing runway shows during New York Fashion Week for designers such as Rebecca Taylor, BCBGMAXAZRIA and Herve Leger by Max Azria.
  • What do you love about L+S Your team is like family. Everyone is there to support each other, collaborate, work hard and play hard!
  • Career advice? WORK! Put in the time, learn, listen and show your managers what you got!
  • If you could have had a starring role in any film? That’s easy, Dirty Dancing. It is a goal of mine to perform the finale dance! I got the lift during cheerleading in college, now I just need to learn the choreography.
  • karaoke anthem? “Separate Ways” by Journey. I’ve “performed” multiple times at the Cross Eyed Clam in Montauk.
Michelle Lockhart
  • Janelle Panebianco manages some of the agency’s key accounts with poise and confidence. Her open and candid nature is valued by her clients, partners, and teammates alike. With roots in communications, Panebianco pulls from her experience on brands such as Ann Taylor, Swatch and Gaiam to inform her savvy and strategic approach to consumer accounts like Johnson & Johnson’s Listerine, Rembrandt and Splenda brands, as well as Zumba Fitness. Always ensuring that her team delivers with excellence, Panebianco drives valuable, strategic and holistic programs for her clients.
  • Why do you do what you do? The ability to access people through multiple touch points. The best feeling is seeing a person read a newspaper or magazine article that I secured; or to hear people talk about one of my client’s campaigns. It’s amazing to know that your work is being seen by countless people that you don’t even know.
  • Inspiration? Knowing that I’m part of something so much bigger. My team’s work is part of what influences the success of some of today’s leading consumer brands.
  • What do you love about L+S? The style! Everyone looks amazing when they walk through the door.
  • Biggest Accomplishment? Becoming a mother to my son, Ethan. Everything else pales in comparison to the joy and satisfaction that you get from motherhood.
Janelle Panebianco
  • Lindsay Porter has been at L+S for seven years, representing a range of fashion, retail and hospitality accounts, as well as activating large-scale events and brand launches. Porter has led creative campaigns for clients ranging from H&M, Banana Republic, BCBGMAXAZRIA, Herve Leger and Veuve Clicquot.
  • Career advice? “If you’re gonna go down, go down in a big ball of flames.”
  • Why do you do what you do? The pace. Everything is constantly changing and evolving, and there is no exact science. It’s exciting and inspiring.
  • Favorite dinner partner? My parents.
  • Personal anthem? Paint it Black (the Rolling Stones), or Blue Sky (Allman Brothers).
  • Go back in time? Any time post-1876 (invention of the telephone).
  • First concert? Eric Clapton with my parents and brother.
  • Teenage celebrity crush? George Clooney, circa “E.R.”  Who didn’t!
Lindsay Porter
  • A dynamic thinker and leader, Solum oversees a diverse portfolio of brand programs for consumer packaged goods, retail and technology brands. With an extensive background in the consumer/lifestyle space, she has developed and led strategic programming for brands including 3M, LinkedIn, PepsiCo and Pepperidge Farm, among others.
  • Inspiration? I’m a news junkie and a passionate consumer. I’m able to combine these passions on a daily basis. It is a thrill, a challenge, but most of all, a main source of my inspiration.
  • Career advice? I’ve received several key pieces of advice that have been instrumental to my career – “Under promise and over deliver…”, “It’s all the in details…”, “Whatever you do, be authentic…”
  • Favorite New York moment? A stroll around Gramercy Park, followed by a drink at Pete’s Tavern.
  • First job? Camp counselor.
Shauna Solum
  • Following a high-profile run as a top fashion industry trade journalist with stints at DNR and WWD, Thomas joined L+S in 2010 to oversee strategy for a broad range of clients in the men’s wear and luxury category. He represents brands such as OMEGA, GANT, Bills Khakis, Perry Ellis and Haspel.
  • What do you love about L+S? The people, the collective intelligence, the fashion, fashion, fashion!
  • Biggest opportunity? To work and learn from the industry’s best, James LaForce and Leslie Stevens.*
  • *This is not a paid endorsement.
  • Why do you do what you do? We are storytellers, finding a compelling narrative for a brand and crafting a strategy around that narrative. The End. See? I’m a natural.
  • Favorite NYC spot? In a taxi, going home over the Brooklyn Bridge, one glass of wine in. Or three. I feel like such a New Yorker in those moments.
  • Time traveler? Ancient Rome. Pass the toga, please.
  • Celebrity doppelganger? Sean William Scott, aka, “Stiffler.”
Brenner Thomas
  • Leading the digital + social media team, Warner has a decade-long history in social marketing for top brands in beauty, fashion and luxury space, including Calvin Klein, Westfield Malls, Aveda, Lancôme, Target, Veuve Clicquot and Avon. With a focus on strategy, break-through creative and delivering ROI, Warner and her team evolve and diversify on pace with this exciting practice area.
  • Leadership style? I’m very protective but I’m also tough. I want to make sure my team is ready for the next level.
  • Career advice? Follow your gut.
  • How did you get here? Moving from marketing to digital was a big leap but I think it helps me understand a brand’s DNA. It’s the perfect marriage of offline and online thinking.
  • Super power? Invisibility – I am fascinated by people’s behavior when they think no one is watching.
Amanda Whittemore Warner

LaForce + Stevens

41 East 11th Street
6th Floor
New York, NY 10003

212.242.9353

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Business inquiries:
inquiries@lsagency.com

Career opportunities:
jobs@lsagency.com

 


New York Observer
Power 50 List 2013


Biz Bash
Reader’s Choice Awards 2011