SAN DIEGO—Lewis has opened the doors of its new training academy, Rise, and pledged a $1 million investment in professional development. Centered around a series of two-week intensive course in San Diego, Cal., the academy is a global initiative designed to equip PR professionals with business, leadership and marketing skills.

According to Lewis founder and chief executive Chris Lewis, “Demand is growing from clients for integrated campaigns that include almost every aspect of marketing from media relations to lead generation. Managing these campaigns requires a broad set of commercial and strategic skills. You can’t grow without talent and you can’t have talent without training.” 

Lewis was part of a panel discussion focused on talent acquisition and retention at the recent Independent PR Firm Forum, where he urged firms to invest 10 percent of their income on training.

Rise also incorporates an art-based training technique developed jointly by Lewis and the Chelsea College of Arts in London. Delegates not only learn how to communicate more effectively using visuals, but are given practical art assignments that impact their approach to problem solving.

According to George Blacklock, dean of Chelsea College of Arts, “By awakening the right brain through practical art projects, people are able to see problems in a new light and come up with more creative solutions. Through several pilots, we have proven that art-based learning has a positive impact on delegates’ strategic, creative and leadership abilities.”