Robin A. Luymes, MM, APR
Growing up, my mom instilled in me a love for reading. My dad, meanwhile, was a masterful storyteller. Their influences on me are not difficult to find, as today I make a living as a writer and a storyteller leading communications for Davenport University.
I began my career as a reporter for the Grand Rapids Business Journal in 1990, covering manufacturing, banking and the economy. I wrote about companies like Steelcase, Herman Miller, Meijer, Wolverine Worldwide, Old Kent Bank, NBD and, of course, Amway. Within a few years I was approached by a prominent local PR agency to join their IR practice. I didn’t know much about PR but I accepted the position because it paid better and I had a growing family to support. Before I even started there, however, I received an even better offer from Amway Corp.
For Amway, I conducted product publicity campaigns for NUTRILITE nutritional supplements, LOC Multipurpose Cleaner, the Shaq Bar, and many other products. I also headed up community relations programs, sports sponsorships and more. I was among the first of more than 10,000 employees at Amway to be granted access to the newly public World Wide Web, tasked with researching the new channel to better understand its potential to boost or harm corporate reputation. I created the first web reputation analysis for the company, predicting its impact on Amway’s business in the following years. For the next 15 years or so, I was a member of or led teams tasked with creating Amway’s online presence, including its first website, its first e-commerce site, its online response to negative media coverage, its first blog, its first social media sites, and its blogging platform.
In 1999, I led the media launch for Quixtar Inc., resulting in the most positive media coverage in Amway’s 40-year history. I also led issues communications for the company, providing counsel on public response related to major lawsuits, product recalls, and security breaches. In the 2000s, I led a talented group of writers and editors who created all communications for Amway’s North American audiences.
In 2008-09, I managed PR, advertising and sponsorship activities related to the re-branding of Quixtar business to become Amway Global in the U.S. and Canada. My group launched the national “Inspire Wellness” campaign with the YMCA, launched mobile brand experience units to promote health and beauty brands, and sponsored Tina Turner’s final tour in 2008, traveling with her across North America. We launched national brand advertising campaigns to reintroduce the American public to Amway Global and its lead brands. We signed on with NEXT Models for a national model search for ARTISTRY, with the Rock N’ Roll Marathon series and top Track and Field events to provide exposure for NUTRILITE, with the San Jose Earthquakes of Major League Soccer and the Los Angeles Sol of Women’s Professional Soccer to provide exposure for AMWAY, and more. Net favorability for the Amway brand improved from -5 to +17 between 2008 and 2009 as a result of these efforts. [In other words, we polled thousands of people across the U.S. and, when you removed those who were neutral to Amway, out of of every hundred people there were five more who were negative about Amway than positive. A year later, there were 17 more who were positive compared to the negatives.]
In 2009, as new senior management took the reins at Amway’s U.S. affiliate, I left and began my own consulting company. Over the next year I worked with many West Michigan and national organizations, including Adoption Associates, Brann’s Steakhouse and Grille, DuPont, Gemini Publications, IMN, Rapid Transit System, ShowSpan, Worden Furniture, Zondervan and more.
In 2010, I joined Davenport University as Executive Director of Communications. Since arriving, I have helped re-brand the University, redesigned and relaunched all existing communication platforms including Davenport.edu, DU’s news site for student and employee audiences, and the alumni magazine. My team serves as the one-stop shop for all media relations, publications, social media, event scripting, community affairs, and government relations. Each year we take home numerous awards for our work from local and national organizations.
My experiences leading web reputation efforts provided me the opportunity to speak at numerous events for organizations such as the Word of Mouth Marketing Association (WOMMA), the Direct Selling Association (DSA), aimWest, and The Conference Board. In 2010, I served a second term as President of the West Michigan chapter of the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA), the organization through which I am Accredited in Public Relations. I also have served on the boards of Second Harvest Gleaners (now Feeding America West Michigan), Toys for Tots, and Grand Rapids Christian High School.
MORE ABOUT ME
I was born in Canada but have spent my entire professional life in the U.S. I earned a journalism diploma from Loyalist College in Belleville, Ont., before attending Calvin College, where I earned my bachelor’s degree in English. I earned the Master of Management degree from Davenport. Married to Kari for more than 25 years, our children are Amanda (and husband Tyler Elmergreen), Conner, Dillon and Jack. Plus two dogs named Finn an Rosie and one irritated cat named Danny.