Becoming a working benchmark for success in any type of business takes hard work, fortitude, staying humble in the face of great achievement, and striking a balance between doing great things that benefit you, while also doing great things that benefit the community as a whole.
Looking back on RSE’s history, and the shattering of dozens of glass ceilings by its founders Jean Runyon and Estelle Saltzman, you would be hard pressed not to see this balance achieved time and time again in our work, but also in our founders’ reputation in the Sacramento business community.
RSE’s founder Jean Runyon, a gregarious, kind-natured supporter of the arts and party planner for Sacramento’s Music Circus, took the leap into public relations in 1960, a time when a woman working in that business, let alone starting her own, would have garnered its share of double-takes.
A little over a decade later, Jean brought on journalist Estelle Saltzman, who quickly established herself as the yin to Jean’s yang. Together, they officially formed The Runyon Agency in 1976, which by then had established itself as quite the anomaly in the Sacramento business world, having only hired its first male employee 20 years after its founding.
A natural balance was struck between Jean’s knack for making anyone she met feel like an old friend almost instantly, and Estelle’s keen sense of organization and detail in the delivery of work for RSE’s established and potential clients alike. Through their shared vision and determination, The Runyon Agency, which became known as Runyon Saltzman Einhorn (RSE) in 1983, became a cornerstone of not only Sacramento public relations and advertising community, but California’s as a whole.
After 54 years of continuous service to the city and its people, Jean Runyon passed away a Sacramento icon in 2009. But while she may no longer be with us filling the halls with her unmistakable laugh, it’s impossible to ignore her myriad accomplishments and lingering spirit that still embody everything RSE and its employees stand and work for every day in her absence.
Estelle Saltzman retired in 2019, having passed the torch to RSE’s current leadership team Chris Holben, a public relations/public affairs specialist who became an owner in 2005 and agency president in 2012; Scott Rose, a former legislative aide, who joined the firm in 1991, became an owner in 1999 and its public affairs director in 2012; and Paul McClure, a Sacramento advertising executive, who became an owner and agency advertising director in 2010.
While she may not be in the office every day, Estelle continues to impress her love of art and correct grammar onto the RSE culture and serve as a living reminder of where we started, and where we’re going.