With deep experience in public affairs and global brand reputation management, veteran food and ag marketer will be based in California, significantly bolstering the agency’s West Coast presence.
MINNEAPOLIS (September 5, 2023) – Daren Williams, a veteran public relations and marketing leader with significant experience across food and agriculture, has been named to lead the PR and reputation management practice at Curious Plot. The appointment comes after an extensive nationwide search and as the team has grown significantly over the past two years in response to client demand.
“Daren is a highly respected communications leader with three decades of experience across the food and agriculture spectrum,” said Laurie Fleck, Curious Plot CEO. “He brings deep knowledge and expertise in all of our PR service areas, and he adds substantially to our expertise in crisis communications, corporate communications, public affairs and global brand reputation management.”
Williams will be based in Modesto and will significantly bolster the agency’s West Coast presence, including its footprint in California, the No. 1 food and ag state in the nation.
Williams’ experience spans significant work within both corporate and agency environments. He has worked for organizations including Agri/Washington, a Washington, D.C.-based agricultural public affairs and association management services firm; FleishmanHillard, Kansas City, Mo., where he was an SVP of corporate and public affairs in the food and agriculture practice; National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, Denver, where he was senior executive director, issues management and media relations; and Almond Board of California, Modesto, Calif., where he was senior director of global communications. Most recently, Williams served as director of corporate communications for Valley First Credit Union, also based in Modesto.
“I’m looking forward to combining the experience I gained from working at PR agencies in the first 20 years of my career with insights from the past 18 years leading communications on the client side and bringing them to bear for Curious Plot’s clients,” Williams said. “The PR team at Curious Plot has strong depth and knowledge of the food, agriculture and companion animal sectors, and I’m ready to lead the team forward into a new era.”
Throughout his storied career, Williams has helped steward the reputations of organizations and brands including BASF, Dairy Farmers of America, Farmland Industries, National Pork Board, Ocean Spray Cranberries, Omaha Steaks, Welch’s, the Apple Processors Association, the American Association of Grain Inspection and Weighing Agencies and the National Alliance of Independent Crop Consultants. Williams is a nationally renowned media trainer and issues management and crisis response professional. While at NCBA, Williams developed and led the Masters of Beef Advocacy program, which boasted more than 12,000 graduates by the time he left the organization and continues to recruit and train members of the beef industry to share their story in social media and everyday conversations. He also trained more than 2,000 state and national producer leaders, staff subject matter experts and third-party resources to serve as media spokespeople for the beef industry.
“Daren’s issues and crisis management experience is unmatched in our space,” Fleck said. “But beyond that, we’re equally excited about Daren’s experience in areas that are increasingly important for our clients, including sustainability, animal welfare, stakeholder management and aligning the interests of producers and consumers across the food and ag value chain.”
A native Kansan, Williams began his career on the 1988 presidential campaign of Senator Bob Dole (R-KS). When that effort fell short of the White House, he joined Agri/Washington, launching his career in agricultural communications. From 1988-2006, he got involved in a variety of issues in food production – including the Alar crisis in the apple industry – while representing clients in the halls of USDA, FDA, EPA and on Capitol Hill.
Williams is a long-time member of the Agricultural Relations Council and served as president of the organization from 2015-17.
About Curious Plot
Curious Plot is a marketing, communications and consulting agency that represents clients in the food, agriculture and companion animal care sectors. With a shared purpose of “We Believe in Better,” the agency’s 115+ team members deliver services including go-to-market strategy, public relations, creative, branding, social, digital and media. Anchored by office locations in Minneapolis (HQ), Indianapolis and Portland, Ore., Curious Plot team members are located coast-to-coast. Learn more at CuriousPlot.agency.