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PR PROfile: Jim Miller, Momentum Communications Group

Jim 1Jim Miller

President

Momentum Communications Group

Length of PR career (so far): 23 years

What got you interested in PR? I studied theater in college and always enjoyed the art of persuasion—whether of an audience to believe in my character or my peers to embrace my enthusiasms. A perceptive recruiter suggested I consider PR.

Your most memorable event: Setting up a giant robot vending machine in Times Square to introduce a high-tech clothing line.

Most poignant professional moment: Hearing firsthand from the children of incarcerated parents their stories of loss, adversity and incredible courage.

Jim AFA GuerillaBest payoff on an insight: For a client focused on math and science education, we discovered that many of the students they supported had a dual talent for science and music. So we staged a concert at Carnegie Hall – music played by young scientists. It was a great event that got great press, including both the Times and the Journal.

Favorite journalist to work with: Anderson Cooper. Gracious, down to earth and asked smart questions.

Your first “real” job: Cataloging a library of transparencies at a stock photo house on Union Square. I loved looking at great pictures all day.

Most distasteful professional moment: When an executive laughingly confided to me that the student we had just been speaking with was “the kind of kid I used to beat up in high school.”

Biggest complaint about social media: There’s a lot of talking, but how much listening?

Best thing about working at your agency: Collaborating with smart, ambitious people on complex, nuanced campaigns for organizations trying to do good.

Jim 3Your nightmare client in three words: High-expectations-no$

Best advice to a PR student: Love language and take pleasure in using it well.

Favorite way to de-stress: Bach and a bottle of red.

The moment you realized PR is more unpredictable than you thought it would be: A client flew me to Japan to taste a local pickle their product was derived from. To Japan. For a pickle.

Worst PR crisis this decade: Failure of the scientific community to persuade policymakers, business leaders and the public to tackle climate change as the existential threat to humanity it is.

Brand that’s done the best PR/communications: Marriage Equality. The strategists at organizations like Lambda Legal and Freedom to Marry succeeded beyond even their wildest expectations when they rebranded “special rights” with this bold rallying cry.

Jim 2Brand most in need of better PR: Gun Control. We’ve got to find a better way to get the culture behind curbing the plague of gun violence.

Last book you read: David Mitchell’s The Bone Clocks. It’s an epic hybrid of literary fiction and sci-fi. Entertaining, insightful, disturbing and beautifully written.

Favorite movie this year: Star Wars: The Force Awakens (here’s hoping).

Three people you’d love to invite to dinner: Three Stevens: Spielberg, Hawking, King.

Your next big adventure: Taking my four-year-old son on a 13-hour flight to Japan. Wish me luck.

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