Apr 13, 2020

Jane Einhorn Keeps Connecting with Clients and Community

PR Pro Helps Nonprofits and Businesses Navigate Rough Seas

By Ed Goldman
I don’t play tennis, I don’t play mahjongg and I don’t bake,” Jane Einhorn is telling me one recent afternoon. “I don’t have hobbies. So this is what I do.”

Dozens of companies, nonprofits and individuals are glad she does. 

When Einhorn decided to leave one of Northern California’s largest public relations and advertising agencies more than three years ago—after a 30-year career there and with a 30 percent ownership—she knew she wanted to continue the work she loved, which pretty much can be boiled down to PR: cultivating relationships with her clients, as well as their own clients, their stakeholders and the news media. She strategizes with them on advertising, image, branding and sometimes even social responsibility

Jane Einhorn photo by Ed Goldman.

“I decided I’d cap myself and only try to get from 10-12 clients,” she says. While that may have sounded like an overly confident goal, within a few months of going out on her own she landed three financial industry leaders (SAFE Credit Union, Tri Counties Bank and Golden Pacific Bank); the influential and booming Bardis Homes; expanding nonprofits including Girl Scouts Heart of Central California, Elica Health Centers and Goodwill Industries; the star-studded, immensely popular Sacramento Speakers Series; and social service organizations such as Shores of Hope and the Foster Youth Network.

All but one of those clients are still with her, even though some of them aren’t doing land-office business during the national shutdown caused by the Corona Virus pandemic. Asked for some fearless predictions, Einhorn doesn’t hesitate; she’s been doing what she calls “this stuff” for decades and, unlike some who can make the same chronological claim, Einhorn actually knows her stuff. 

“In the case of nonprofits,” she says, “I think the ones who had their fiscal house in order before this tragedy started will come out okay after it ends. For those who’ve always struggled, it may be very hard to come back.” 

Nonprofits “all rely on donations and grants,” she continues. “Many of the grants are still intact and will be extremely important. But in a climate where you can’t go meet with someone who may be in a position to help you—because you can’t go anywhere, period—it’s going to be a rough ride.”

Einhorn is feeling that pinch, as well—less in her pocketbook than in her need to advise and socialize. These days she’s continuing to do so but entirely by phone, email and text. (Her email is janeeinhorn@gmail.com, and her text number is 916.792.0025. “I guess maybe I should have a website,” she says, not entirely convinced she needs one “at this point in my career.”) 

“I just like meeting people, getting to know them,” she says, “Almost all of my clients become my friends because I take the time to establish a rapport with them and always make our getting together less about me than about them. It seems that anyone would understand this no matter what kind of business you’re in but I’m surprised by how many people in big agencies take the attitude that the client’s lucky to have them, instead of the other way around.”

Einhorn’s husband Jeff is also deeply involved in the world of nonprofits, but at an administrative level. He’s the chief executive officer of NonProfits’ United (NPU), which serves as a joint insurance pool for the organizations to purchase auto and workers comp insurance, as well as risk management. Married for 28 years, the Einhorns have three grown children: David (his from a previous marriage), Michael (hers) and Matthew (theirs).

During the pandemic, Einhorn’s been continuing to help her nonprofit clients “go through the weeds” to find grant money and other funds available through government stimulus packages. “But a lot of my work involves being out in the community,” she laments, “and these days, I can’t be out in the community. So I stay in touch in other ways.”

Einhorn disdains clichés so she won’t say she also believes in giving back and paying it forward, but that’s what she does. For example, she and a few other successful women in the Sacramento region—Golden Pacific Bank’s president and chief executive officer Virginia Varela (the bank is a sponsor of this column), Dr. Linda Farley, CEO of the aforementioned Girl Scouts, and Kathy McKim, a principal of Hawksbill Advisors—decided to form High Powered Women Meeting Other High Powered Women. The wryly named group is an informal, occasional networking get-together. “No agendas. No awards. No speeches,” promised the invitation to the group’s March 12 event—which was canceled the day before in anticipation of the pandemic-caused shutdown. From 200-250 people had already signed up to attend.

In addition to reaching out to colleagues and wannabes, Einhorn has been a volunteer member of a number of nonprofit boards—some of which, not surprisingly, turn around and hire her to handle their PR.

“I’m still very busy,” she says. “This is no time for business owners and nonprofits to relax, and I won’t, either.” Yes, it’s a good thing she doesn’t bake.

Ed Goldman's column appears almost every Monday, Wednesday and Friday. A former daily columnist for the Sacramento Business Journal, as well as monthly columnist for Sacramento Magazine and Comstock’s Business Magazine, he’s the author of five books, two plays and one musical (so far).