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Founded by Meredith Emmanuel out of her garage, EBComs has grown to be the longest-serving below-the-line public relations firm, and has the awards to prove it.  

It’s not a scientific fact that if you start your company in a garage, you’ll go far. But considering some of the most successful and biggest companies of our time have indeed set up shop in one – Apple, Walt Disney, Amazon, Google, Microsoft, Dell, Mattel – anecdotally, it seems a decent starting point. 

In 1998, Meredith Emmanuel had already been working in the entertainment industry for 20 years when she was fired for the first time. While working for “the man”, as she describes it, at various media, record, talent agencies and production companies, taught her invaluable lessons, it also gave her a very specific vision – a roadmap to build a business unlike anything she’d previously worked for. She wanted to be better than them, and the fact that getting fired made her angry was the perfect fuel for what was to come. 

Within the year, Emmanuel founded Emmanuel Bates Communications, now EBComs, LLC. Working out of her garage in Los Angeles, it was a one-woman show while also parenting her young daughter on her own. Emmanuel, who was raised by her stay-at-home mum, never wanted her daughter to be a latchkey child, instead seeking to provide a similar support her own mother gave her while still seeking a career path. And she sought that for other parents, too. 

“[I wanted to build] a business where team members are valued for their passions and skills,” says Emmanuel. “Where we could work in a manner that best suited our lifestyle, values and personal ambitions; a workplace that gave us challenges and joy each day and where we truly felt we were making a positive difference in our colleagues and clients’ lives … with grace, humour, and integrity.” 

That one-woman agency out of Emmanuel’s garage has, over the last 25 years, turned into an international organisation with a global reach. EBComs is the longest-running niche public relations agency focusing on behind-the-camera artisans within the entertainment, media, and arts-industry markets. It specialises in elevating the work of directors, producers, cinematographers, editors, costume designers, and other craft artisans through its targeted PR campaigns, and, over the past three years, EBComs has expanded into representing those artists’ guilds, organisations, and related companies within the entertainment industry. 

In 2022, the firm earned two commendations from the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) for Events and Observance: Sports/Entertainment, and Public Service: Associations/Education. Over its existence, it has garnered two dozen Creative Arts Emmy nominations with its clients, and dozens of BAFTA and Oscar nominations.  

EBComs achieved its first Academy Award for cinematography in 2013 with client Claudio Miranda ASC ACC on Life of Pi; back-to-back in 2022 and 2023, clients Greig Fraser ASC ACS (Dune) and James Friend ASC BSC (All Quiet on the Western Front), respectively, won the same Oscar achievement; in 2019, production designer Hannah Beachler won the Oscar for her work on Black Panther, and editor Paul Rogers took the Oscar home for his work on last year’s Everything Everywhere All at Once

“As the child of an architect and an artist,” says Emmanuel, “I’ve been exposed to the artistic mindset and business of creative thought my entire life. Representing artists who are not always in the limelight and are often underappreciated is in my DNA.” 

In 2022, Emmanuel expanded the leadership team by promoting three senior team members to partners: Ranjinder Hans, VP of talent relations and awards; Mackinley Sullivan, chief operating officer and Mary Keeler, chief financial officer. 

Keeler has been with the company almost since its inception. “I remember us all out in that garage together, pitching our clients to any media who’d listen to us and championing their artistry as being as important as above-the-line talent,” she says. 

Sullivan considers it fate that she ended up with EBComs, having connected with Emmanuel in a Facebook group when she was still living and working in Arizona as an in-house PR rep for a travel/tourism organisation. Her first day with EBComs in 2019 was Oscar nomination announcements. 

“Oh, dear – had I been tossed into the lion’s den!” Sullivan laughs. “Working with below-the-line artists has a special type of satisfaction – [we’re] enhancing the way they connect to their public beyond what is on the screen, and growing their profile, or ‘brand,’ to amplify their voices and help support their ultimate career goals.” 

Hans also feels she was destined to cross paths with Emmanuel, joining the team the same year as Sullivan: “Meredith and I met by chance via a common client we shared in the past; it was meant to be.” 

Having worked in finance, accounting, PR, and event management for the past 20 years, Hans managed world-class events such as Formula 1 Grand Prix, MotoGP, WTA and international concerts. But it’s at EBComs that she fulfilled a dream she didn’t really know she had. 

“It is simply surreal, and I am always pinching myself when I realise I get to work with the crème de la crème of the industry on a daily basis,” says Hans. “It’s been both a blast and a blessing for that little girl who grew up in the rural, jungle-y parts of Malaysia, sitting on a linoleum floor, watching delayed telecasts of the Oscars back in the late ‘80s.” 

Over the last 25 years, EBComs has persevered through the dot-com bubble burst, the devastating terrorist attacks and the aftermath of 9/11, the global financial crisis of 2008 and its fallout, a worldwide pandemic and several industry-slowing strikes. But throughout it all, the company continued to champion its behind-the-camera talent. In fact, they’ve done it with such strong word-of-mouth references that EBComs has never needed to do traditional marketing to find new clients. 

“I love that we work at the intersection of news, fine journalism, popular culture, and the creative arts,” says Emmanuel. “The work we do can influence positive change in the world, and it’s tremendously rewarding.” 

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