A Knowledge Driven Approach

Baxter Group Advantages

Management Team



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A Knowledge Driven Approach

Baxter Group believes in being knowledge-driven, not assumption-driven.  We believe that real information - not guesswork or the acceptance of statements on face value - spurs real strategic thinking and positioning.  In turn, knowledge sets the foundation for developing creative and aggressive communications platforms, which help drive exceptional results.

We embrace primary and secondary research as a means to learn all we can about our clients, their marketplace and key audiences. We believe in testing the marketplace – buyers, influencers, channel partners -- for attitudes, willingness to believe and buy, and acceptance of our client’s positioning and messages. We research Wall Street’s views and predictions on industries and sectors.

In short, we understand the importance of obtaining feedback from the world outside a client’s door and in analyzing what we have learned to help our clients make strategic business decisions.

Baxter Group Advantages

Baxter Group prides itself on delivering the advantages of a full service boutique firm, including hands-on executive involvement through all phases of program planning and execution, while also offering the same broad communications capabilities as multi-national public relations firms.  Although many public relations firms lead their clients to believe in the advantages of scale as it relates to public relations, the stark reality of off-the-shelf programs is that they fail to deliver measurable results.  This is further compounded in many large agencies by the relative inexperience of the associates actually working on the account on a daily basis.

Baxter Group has a markedly different approach to client service.

Baxter Group executives lead and guide every step of the public relations process to ensure that in-depth research is conducted and the correct positioning, strategy and creative programs are developed to generate high-impact results. We also ensure that the actual outreach to key audiences - the buying marketplace, media, analysts, partners, and shareholders - is performed at the highest professional caliber.

We offer our clients several clear advantages:

· Speed to market for new products, services, campaigns
· Flexibility of approach; ability to quickly assess and switch tactics
· Responsiveness to client requirements
· Accuracy of message, via a knowledge-driven approach
· Focus on select industries to leverage knowledge base
· Creation of mind and market-share through highly effective campaigns

· Demonstrable return on investment


With our senior, seasoned people, our clients get premium service.  Baxter Group employees are located in San Francisco, New York, and Washington DC.  For our clients who require international support, Baxter Group offers a unique advantaged unrivaled amongst our competitors, and has an ongoing partnership with one of the country's largest public relations agencies.  With access to resources in their offices in New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Washington DC, Beijing, Guangzhou, Hong Kong, Shanghai, Singapore, Sydney, London, Paris, Tel Aviv, this partnership enables Baxter Group clients access to an international base of resources for specific projects that demand global execution.

Baxter Group Management Team

Melissa Toteda - Principal

Melissa has extensive strategy development experience in multi-national consumer goods as well as business-to-business technology, including work for Hitachi Consulting, Seagate Technology, Cisco Systems, MobileSys and Business Engine. She has been responsible for the development and execution of numerous award-winning public relations programs including PR Week’s Media Campaign of the Year (Women.Com),  Annual Report Competition (Seagate Technology), and the coveted CIPRA Award for Technical Excellence (California Milk Advisory Board).  As a former Vice President, Ruder Finn, and head of the technology public relations practice in the San Francisco office, Melissa rapidly grew the technology group to a multi-million dollar practice in under a year. She has a track record of successful work with client CEOs and senior executives to formulate positioning, messages, and communications strategies. Additional client work includes multi-national consumer goods company, The Clorox Company (The Brita Products Company, Armor All) Ghirardelli, and Shutterfly.

As founder of Baxter Group, Melissa Toteda has successfully positioned the firm on the cutting edge of public relations strategy by working closely with a small, but diverse group of high profile clients.  Above all, client service of the highest professional caliber remains the hallmark of the firm's successes. 

Lisa Henry - Senior Vice President

Lisa is a results-oriented 20-year communication’s expert specializing in media relations. She has created award-winning consumer programs for health, lifestyle, food, restaurant, travel and hospitality industries. As a former Vice President for Torme & Company, she has managed large, national multi-million dollar accounts and small, local non-profits. She has long term relationships with top editors and publishers of numerous national magazines and daily newspapers in top media markets. She regularly generates feature placements in key trade and consumer publications including, The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, Dallas Morning News, Los Angeles Times, and Chicago Tribune. Her experience includes the Brita Products Company, Ghirardelli, Germ Terminator, Shutterfly, Pacific Cheese, Walnut Marketing Board, C&H Sugar Company, California Milk Advisory Board, SocialTech, Boomerangit.com, and United Way of the Bay Area.

Bill Bennett - Senior Vice President, Strategic Planning

From positioning and product launches  to mergers and acquisitions, Bill has been a part of the advance guard of marketing in the Information Age.  At the leading edge of commercial implementation and the second wave of consumer adoption, Bill's creative skills include traditional media as well as alternative media such as blogging and pod-casting,  leaving no stone unturned in the quest to deliver client value.  Equally at home with consumer and technology clients, his work helped fuel the launches of the first Java programming language, and the use of the Internet as a streaming medium for music.  Over his 25 year career, he has led efforts developing creative solutions to media and marketing challenges confronting organizations as diverse as Levi Strauss & Co., Toshiba, The Smithsonian Institution, Bell Atlantic, Sun Microsystems and Business 2.0. He has created and implemented marketing and communications strategies for a broad range of technology (HP, Sprint, AT&T, NCR, Steeplechase Networks) and consumer goods companies (Levis, Dockers, Brita, Ghirardelli), including the development and management of advertising, public relations, investor relations, and market research programs. Bill began his career as a freelance journalist for The Washington Star.

Catherine Colton - Vice President, Media Relations

With more than 15 years of experience in public relations, Catherine has focused on technology clients. She has extensive media contacts among technology reporters and editors at technology publications, trade publications in numerous vertical industries and among daily newspapers and broadcast outlets in key markets. Among technology clients, Catherine has worked for Hitachi Consulting, A.T. Kearney, Information Builders and Nortel Networks (London). She was the international account director for Onstream where she managed the PR program with staff in The Netherlands, France, Germany and the UK. Among consumer clients, she has worked with Brita Products Company, Clorox ReadyMop, and Shutterfly. Catherine holds a Certificate of Marketing from the Chartered Institute of Marketing in the UK.

Sasha Bath - Senior Copy Editor

Sasha has over fifteen years of hands-on experience in writing, editing, and project management in both the trade and educational publishing worlds. Sasha has been a copy editor and managing editor at several major New York publishing houses, including HarperCollins, John Wiley & Sons, and Pearson Education, where she has managed the publication of books ranging from high-tech and business to health and education. She has extensive experience in writing press releases, educational brochures and other publicity material for high-impact public relations programs. For over ten years she has been a freelance editor for Boardroom Publication's hugely successful Bottom Line Personal and Bottom Line Health newsletters.

John P. Carroll, Food Consultant

John is a noted baking expert and cookbook author. He consults with our food clients and numerous Bay Area food companies, providing assistance with recipe development and testing, and is a longtime Taster's Choice judge for the San Francisco Chronicle. John also works for Wine Spectator and Williams-Sonoma.

John is the author of many books, including: Pie Pie Pie: Easy Homemade Favorites, Breads : At the Academy, Little California Cookbook, Mayo Clinic Williams Sonoma Cookbook and Outdoor Cooking, Healthy Cooking, Grilling, Pies and Tarts (Williams Sonoma series).




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