As the first female-founded independent PR agency, we bet that technology would change the world — and that people would be at the heart of our business. More than 30 years later, those bets have paid off. Here’s how it happened.

Our passion for telling innovative stories begins with our founder, Melissa Waggener Zorkin. Her father, an engineer, taught her how things work; her mother, a social case worker, taught her how to use words to build human connection. Together, they taught her that nothing matters unless it’s done with purpose — with a “why” behind the “what.”

WE-Worldwide team photo at 10th anniversary celebration
WE founders Melissa Waggener Zorkin and Pam Edstrom with Bill Gates

As a young woman working in technology communications, Melissa saw that innovators in the space were talking to themselves instead of consumers. These brands’ products had the potential to change the world — but hardly anybody knew it, because hardly anybody could understand it.

In 1983, Melissa founded the Waggener Group, and began working with some of the companies that were breaking new ground in technology. Her first three clients were Mindset, Sequent Computer Systems and Microsoft. From semiconductors to oscilloscopes and cutting-edge computer graphics, we were translating complex ideas into powerfully human stories from day one.

Pam Edstrom: The partner WE needed

In 1984, The Waggener Group brought on a co-pilot: Pam Edstrom, whom PRWeek later called “the doyenne of tech PR.” This partnership became the backbone of the business, which soon changed its name to Waggener Edstrom Communications.

Pam and Melissa shared a common vision for business and life:

  • Values should drive decisions, always
  • Communications can move people to positive action
  • People are the core of our business
  • It’s always about doing our best work
  • The big question: what business problem are we trying to solve?
  • When harnessed to a common vision, people can accomplish anything

These foundational principles and core values continue to inform every action WE takes today. 

WE founders Melissa Waggener Zorkin and Pam Edstrom celebrate WE 30th Anniversary

Agency growth

With Pam and a growing team, we aimed to bring these untold tech stories out of the labs, boardrooms and testing facilities and to tell them, simply and powerfully, to the public. For three decades and counting, we’ve been building up from the blueprint Melissa and Pam created together: a fiercely independent company rooted in partnerships, humanity and purpose above all.

In 2015 the agency rebranded from Waggener Edstrom to WE. WE made this move to better reflect what the agency has always been. It was never only about Melissa or Pam, or any one individual. WE is about us — a community.

Today, we find ourselves at the threshold of an enormous opportunity. We have more and better communications tools than ever before — and we can use them to guide purpose-driven messages where they need to go, to build the momentum that brings meaningful change. And that’s the most important “why” there is.

Australia WE team