President and Founder
TCOPR (Los Angeles)
Length of PR career (so far): Almost 16 years
Your most memorable campaign: the #IWILLLISTEN campaign for NAMI-NYC Metro. The stigma against mental illness is so strong, but the city of Philadelphia embraced the campaign and #IWILLLISTEN Day. We literally had a line of press that were waiting to talk to Executive Director Wendy Brennan not only about the campaign, but the stigma they, friends and family have faced in their lives. Being a part of that campaign, which also included having Chris Noth host their annual gala was something very special to me and I’m very proud of being a part of it.
Favorite journalist to work with: I really can’t possibly play favorites, can I?
Number of 2 a.m. calls from a client this month: The only 2 a.m. calls I’ve gotten in a long time were my clients calling and checking on me when I was in Paris during the attacks. It’s a good feeling to know I work with people who care about you when you are “off” the clock.
Biggest complaint about social media: My complaint is also what I like about it—that it’s instant. That it can get important information out there, or completely false information as well. Everything operates 24/7 and there is really no going back once you put it out there. Blessing and a curse for a lot of people and brands.
Best thing about working at your agency: That there is never a dull moment!
Most misunderstood thing about PR: That anyone can do it and that you don’t need to pay for it. It’s about relationships, first and foremost. I can hand you my rolodex (did I just date myself) and I could say that 99% of those people wouldn’t reply to someone they don’t know. And if people are doing their own PR, how can they possibly have the time to do what they are supposed to be doing anyway?
Most outrageous client request: I had a client at Sundance, but he was a football player so no one knew him, he was just there for fun. He sent me a text because he wanted to see N.E.R.D. perform. When I replied back and asked when it was, he said “ten minutes.” I think that it took 22 minutes, but I got him in. I hate to say no to a client (but don’t tell them that!).
What got you interested in a PR career? When I moved to Las Vegas, it was either become a juvenile probation officer and use my degree in psychology, or go to work in PR and use the work experience I had from my college’s communications office. The week I arrived, a probation officer was beaten by a client. And… here I am. Michele Tell at Preferred Public Relations gave me my big break and I wouldn’t be who I am without her.
Most interesting thing about your job: That I have to stay on my toes all day, every day. Whether it’s watching pop culture or retail trends, or waiting on the White House to release a statement about prosthetics. I always have to stay ten steps ahead at all time.
Your nightmare client in 3 words: Entitled, cheap, disrespectful
Rate your math skills from 1-10: Math is hard.
Best advice to a PR student: Learn it all, respect that there are still newspapers and magazines. Treat your clients as if they are your only client, they notice and they care. You can juggle 20 at a time, but when you start using one client for excuses to another client, might as well try another career path. Think of it like dating.
Favorite way to de-stress: Yoga and SoulCycle—I would be lost without Aree Khodai in my life, and fighting for a front row bike Mondays at noon for Roarke Walker or Gina Meyers’ classes.
Brand that does the best PR/communications: I think that Virgin America always tops my list of best PR / communications. I’m a loyal flyer but I also notice what they are doing out in the “real world” and it’s impressive. They are also so great with customer service and they seem to get better at things every day.
Last book you read: Restless Souls by Alisa Statman. It’s about Sharon Tate and her family’s account of the Manson Murders. Read it all in one day, and I’m so lucky that I know the author, so I could gush to her about it and ask all sorts of questions. I highly recommend it.
Your first “real” job: delivering newspapers. 4 am wake up calls, getting the news out and chasing people for money. It’s like I was born to work in PR.
Three people you’d love to invite to dinner: Sid Vicious, Bono and Pope John Paul II
Your next big adventure: Mt Kilimanjaro in July. I think that I am more terrified of not having my phone on 24/7 than I am about climbing a mountain.
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