Staff Spotlight: Caliber CEO Grace Keith Rodriguez.

Kate Forster
Posted on May. 21, 2024

In this edition of our Staff Spotlight, we’re thrilled to feature recently appointed CEO of Caliber Corporate Advisers, Grace Keith Rodriguez. With nearly a decade of dedication to Caliber, Grace’s journey from a committed team member to the helm of our company highlights the power of hard work and vision. Caliber’s culture manager, Kate Forster, sat down with Grace to talk about her plans for the future, her unique insights on leadership and what continues to inspire her both professionally and personally.

Kate: Congrats on your recent appointment as CEO! What excites you most about your new role?

Grace: Having been at Caliber for nearly 10 years, I’ve been able to see and help direct how we’ve grown so far and I’m excited to take this next step to continue to inform that plan. I’m also proud to be a part of a company where with hard work and dedication, any position is available to you.

Kate: What are your vision and top priorities for the firm?

Grace: We’ve always focused on our team, whether that’s training, broader learning and development, connecting folks, especially in a remote-first environment, or a variety of other things. I want to continue to find ways to enhance the employee experience at Caliber and ensure that remains a differentiator for us as an agency. We do a really good job of that already so it’s just looking at new and different ways to continue to invest in culture.

From the client perspective, I’ve been the client before as an in-house comms person who worked directly with PR agencies, so I like to put that thinking into play when we determine how we evolve our client experience. While it’s been a few years since I was in that seat, I remember it well, so I want to make sure that I continue to use that experience and knowledge of being the client to the benefit of Caliber. Making sure that we’re thinking about all the ways that we can build and continue to grow our client experience are important factors in how we evolve to better meet our clients where they are today.

Caliber CEO Grace Keith Rodriguez Quote

Kate: How do you envision Caliber five years from now?

Grace: I really love how Caliber feels right now as a place to work, as a place to learn and as a place to grow, so I want to continue to make sure that we are viewed as that by every member of our team. I would love for us in the next five years to continue to diversify the work we do across the fintech, insurtech and proptech industries, with a focus on some of the more traditional financial services and insurance sectors. 

I’d also love to see us make strategic, intentional and thoughtful decisions about how we evolve our service offerings. We’ve done this every time we’ve added a service offering so far, so I imagine that’s exactly how we’ll add other services going forward, but we really need to stay and remain close to what our clients are saying they need and what we know we can deliver on. For the areas that are not our primary expertise, we can continue to build partnerships with other companies or agencies that do really good work in those spaces. I’d love it if at our Caliber offsite five years down the road, everyone would be just as excited about seeing each other as they were at our first.

Kate: How do you think our always-evolving industry will change in the coming years?

Grace: AI as it relates to how it can support really good and thoughtful PR and content will be something to watch closely, especially in the industries that we focus on. AI can’t replace the human knowledge and intel that goes into the way we think and talk about the nuances of the spaces we work in. You need human thinking, relationship building and intimate understanding of complex topics and data points to be able to tell a story like we do every day.

There will always be a value for that powerful human brain, especially in the industries that we support, which is great for us from a business perspective but also for the art of PR to make sure it is preserved — because there really is a combination of both art and science in everything we do. 

Kate: What makes CCPR, or Caliber’s College of Public Relations program, so effective?

Grace: CCPR was born out of a desire from our leadership team to ensure that the entire Caliber team had the benefit of training from our group of internal pros. We looked at how we could structure the program to meet the needs of every employee. We have level 100 for beginners and go up to the 300 level. I think that level of customization and that specialization of who we’re working with and what we’re teaching makes it unique. 

It’s also entirely, as I like to say, “homegrown,” meaning all of the professors are internal team members who have volunteered to lead a course. So it allows for our team to interact with each other in more meaningful ways, and opens the door to additional expertise to tap into across our team. It also allows for even more touch points between peers at the level of who’s in the course and also with managers and direct reports from a professor to student perspective. CCPR is something that I am really passionate about, and I was very excited to hand over the reins to Heather Valle as dean recently. Heather has run with it and made really smart adjustments, and bringing fresh thinking to the program that has already made and will continue to make CCPR more effective. 

Kate: Where do you consider “home”? What is special about it?

Grace: I’ve lived in New York state for 10 years now between the city and the suburbs, so technically that is home and where we’re raising our family. Home in terms of where I grew up is Baltimore, so I will always feel connected to that area and the state of Maryland. Though as everyone at Caliber knows, I am the only Ravens fan across the entire team. 

My family loves exploring new parts of New York and the nearby states. We love being outdoors so we especially love the springtime, but we also enjoy the winter for the snow and good sledding opportunities. We love that we’re so close to a big city where there is so much culture, art and great food options to explore, too. We happen to live in a suburb that has a lot of kid-friendly events every weekend so we definitely enjoy a lot of those with our two little ones. 

Kate: If you had to include one ingredient in every meal for the rest of your life, what would it be? 

Grace: Garlic is good in everything and adds a little extra spice. 

Kate: What’s one accomplishment from your childhood that you still brag about?

Grace: I often say my acting career peaked in high school. I was always very involved in school plays and musicals, and much to my own surprise, ended up being the lead in my high school’s play during my senior year. For a little bit, I thought I might pursue acting in college and beyond, but I figured out it wasn’t exactly my calling. Every once in a while I get to put that performance hat back on given what’s involved in the art of PR.

Kate: What’s something your colleagues don’t know about you?

Grace: I’m a pretty open book. I try to make sure I’m available to the team to talk about anything related to work and the work-life blend. I love the “work-life blend” concept and really enjoy connecting with our team and clients on more than just the work front because it really is always about bringing your whole self to the work we do.

Want to join Grace Keith Rodriguez at Caliber? Check out our job postings page for open positions! 

The Staff Spotlight Q&A series highlights Caliber team members for the stellar work they do each day and the important part we all play in the company. Read more Staff Spotlight Q&A posts to learn more about our top-tier team.

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