PR PROfiles: Sheila Tartaglia, Tartaglia Communications

Sheila TartagliaSheila Tartaglia

Chief Operating Officer
Tartaglia Communications (Somerset, N.J.)

Most poignant professional moment: I organized an awards gala for a client in New York, and invited the legendary New York Times photographer Bill Cunningham to photograph the honorees.  It was thrilling to watch him work, taking photos and greeting everyone. Our event photos were featured in the Times the following week. He was a kind and generous individual.

Best thing about working at my agency: We go all out for our clients, and we work with a stellar team who shares our passion, integrity, and commitment. We enjoying working together, and our clients reap the benefits.

What got you interested in a PR career: When I worked in marketing, I volunteered for many years in a PR capacity with the fundraising events of nonprofit healthcare organizations. It was exciting work, and I found that I was a “natural” at it. When my husband launched our PR agency, I was more than happy to come on board!

Sheila TartagliaSomething I wish people understood about PR: It’s not “spin,” and it’s not advertising. It’s all about building relationships.

Most outrageous client request: “Would you be willing to do part of this integrated communication program pro bono?”

Most interesting thing about your job: I get to work with a diverse and fascinating group of clients, from scientists looking for cures for Alzheimer’s, to doctors actually delivering that care and health policy groups looking at ways to improve health care for us all.

Best advice to a PR student: Join your school’s Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA) chapter, volunteer on committees, and attend exciting PRSA networking events. Learn to write well—your most valuable PR skill – and publish your work on LinkedIn, PRSay blog posts, and in industry publications.

Sheila TartagliaWhat do you read daily? I start off every morning reading Bulldog Reporter’s Inside Health Media, which arrives in my inbox by 9:00 a.m. I also read Google News articles, PR industry publications, social media updates, email, and articles from The New Yorker and Forbes. In the evenings, I like to read memoirs, non-fiction, novels, or poetry for pleasure.

Favorite way to de-stress: I’m a gardener at heart. I love planting and nurturing a vibrant, aromatic array of flowers, shrubs, and flowering trees.

The moment you realized PR is more fun than you thought it would be: When I got my first media “hit.” Successes like this provide instant gratification.

Three fun facts about me:

  • I took a ride at dawn in a hot-air balloon.
  • I’m first-generation American on my maternal side.
  • I shook hands with Muhammad Ali years ago at a client’s fundraising gala.

Sheila TartagliaMy first “real” job: As an eighth grader, I worked for tips bringing coffee and tea to people playing BINGO at my parish hall.  “Keep the change,” was music to my ears!

Childhood “dream job”: I dreamed of being a Pulitzer Prize-winning, best-selling novelist who travels the world writing novels about mysterious people living in exotic locales.  Maybe I’ll get to this when I retire.

Cocktail of choice: A Belvedere vodka martini with two olives—shaken, not stirred.  But of course.

Three people you’d love to invite to dinner: I would invite Former First Lady Michelle Obama, Lin-Manuel Miranda, and Gloria Steinem. I’d love to discuss American history and popular culture with them.

Your ideal Saturday: Strolling barefoot along a beach at dawn, ankle-deep in the tide. Perusing old bookstores and antique shops, catching a movie matinee, and dining by candlelight with my husband Dennis at a cozy restaurant overlooking the sea.

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