Account Manager at The Brandman Agency
- How did you get started in PR?
I studied both Journalism and Communications in college at Miami University in Ohio. I feel like if you have a genuine interest in following the media cycle, PR should come naturally to you. In school, I was leaning much more towards becoming a journalist. I envisioned myself as the next Christiane Amanpour, reporting from conflict zones all around the world.
- How did you find yourself where you are now?
When I first moved to New York in September 2009 a few months after graduation, I secured an internship as the digital intern at Condé Nast's Cookie magazine. After moving my entire life to New York City and after two weeks on the job as a magazine intern, unfortunately, Cookie magazine as well as a few other Condé Nast titles (including Gourmet and Modern Bride) all folded due to budget cuts. It was a defining moment for me. I could turn around and head home to Cincinnati – or I could stick it out in New York City and see if I could land on my own two feet. 2009 wasn't a great time for publishing – and as we all know, the media landscape has been changing ever since. Luckily, within those two weeks at Cookie I was able to make enough of an impression on one of the magazine's editors, who told me about a good friend's job in travel PR over coffee at The Bean one afternoon – as we were both freshly unemployed. I secured an internship at The Brandman Agency for the fall of 2009 and was quickly hired as an Account Coordinator in January 2010. I always say I found my dream job right out of the gate, because I’ve been at Brandman throughout my career thus far - almost 8 years (!!). But, when your job involves traveling around the world to luxury hotels – truly doing things I couldn't have imagined (or afforded…!) in my wildest dreams (spelunking in Belize, sampling cicchetti dishes in Venice, shopping the souks of Marrakech, stand-up paddle boarding on St. Moritz Lake in Switzerland …) – it makes it very hard to leave.
- What does your company do and what is your role within it?
The Brandman Agency represents some of the best hotels in the world: La Mamounia in Marrakech, Kulm Hotel and Grand Hotel Kronenhof in Switzerland, Round Hill in Jamaica, Ritz-Carlton (brand), COMO Hotels & Resorts, Rome Cavalieri, Park Hyatt New York .. and many more. I am an Account Manager at The Brandman Agency, specializing primarily in single, boutique properties. I love all my clients and working directly with the on-the-ground hotel team. When I visit my hotel properties, I'll connect with everyone from the owners, General Manager, chef, bartender to the housekeeping department. I'm constantly fascinated by hotels and how they operate.
At the agency, I manage teams of 2-3 depending on each client, making sure we’re surpassing our PR goals for the year and thinking of creative initiatives that generate buzz for my hotel clients – whether it be online, print, broadcast or social media. One of my favorite parts of the job is thinking of creative partnerships. A few years ago, my team and I coordinated an inspiration trip for high-end jewelry designer Temple St. Clair to my Marrakech hotel, La Mamounia. The result was an entire jewelry collection - aptly named ‘Nomad’ - inspired by the hotel. Most importantly – the collab produced lots of ink in fashion and design magazines, including a full page in Architectural Digest. It was a real win for everyone.
- What are you currently working on?
I’m always firing at all cylinders all the time. The work never ends, and you will never get through your entire to-do list in this job. I dearly love all my clients, which include La Mamounia in Marrakech; Grand Hotel Kronenhof and Kulm Hotel in St. Moritz, Switzerland; Jamaica Inn in Ocho Rios; Round Hill Hotel and Villas in Montego Bay, Jamaica; Andaz Peninsula Papagayo Resort in Costa Rica; InterContinental Hong Kong; LUMA in New York City; and helping with the re-launch of travel website, Travel Curator. Like any publicist, I wish there were more hours in the day so I could do even more for each of them.
- What is a recent success you're particularly proud of?
Earlier this summer (July 2017), I brought a group of ‘digital creators’ to visit my two Switzerland clients, Kulm Hotel in St. Moritz and Grand Hotel Kronenhof in Pontresina. We flew into Zurich and took the train three hours across the countryside to St. Moritz. Our trip itinerary involved sailing, e-bikes, stand-up paddle boarding, shopping in the local marketplace, visits to the incredible mountaintops – which still had snow in July – lots of cocktails, fine-dining and most importantly: spa treatments. The four digital creators were @tinyatlasquarterly, @nomadic_habit, @travelwritedraw and @dametraveler. I’m particularly proud of this group because I hand-picked each of them because of the quality travel content they produce. More recently, I steer clear of anyone who calls themselves an ‘influencer.’ It has become almost a ‘dirty word’ in the industry. All of the digital creators who joined the Switzerland trip were talented photographers, illustrators or videographers with the right audience following them. Not only was the travel content they produced genuinely beautiful, but for a moment I almost forgot this was my job. I think the moment your career stops feeling like work, you know you’ve done something right.
- What is most important in your work?
Relationships. Whether it's clients, media, digital creators/influencers, photographers, vendors - or even my colleagues - it's maintaining respectful, reliable and genuine relationships that will help you get further in PR - or any job, really.
- How would you say the media landscape in your field has changed since you started in PR?
When I first started in 2009, explaining to clients that online placements were equally (if not more) powerful than print placements was a frequent conversation. Now, that's all changed from an online placement being as substantial as one Instagram post from a digital creator. Media platforms have evolved so quickly over the past few years, if you don't adopt them quickly, you'll fall behind. I'm sure at some point this will get old, but I thrive on it.
- Where are your favorite places for business meetings or drinks with writers/clients?
I'm a huge fan of the early morning breakfast meeting. I really love breakfast at the NoMad hotel underneath the sunlit atrium - they have a hearty granola bowl and green juice option. And of course, great coffee. Café Cluny in the West Village is another great breakfast spot where you can easily have a conversation. For a fun dinner or drinks spot, I love Santina under the High Line.
- PR/Communications can be fast-paced and stressful, what is your favorite way of relaxing?
I'm a docent at Mmuseumm downtown a few times a month where it's nice to connect with visitors (both locals and well-read tourists) and be part of a creative team. Mmuseumm is located in a quiet alley, so when it's not busy, I'll read a book or a magazine during my shift.
- What are you reading these days?
NY Mag is my absolute favorite – I never miss an issue. For travel, Hotel Vulture just launched and aims to dig a bit deeper into current hotel culture and the motives behind activations, events, collaborations, etc. The site is moving away from straightforward hotel reviews – it’s very interesting and I’m excited to see where they go. A good media friend, Kara Cutruzzula, launched a motivational ‘no news’ newsletter called Brass Ring that I look forward to reading each morning. Sign up – it’s a quick read and she’ll often include industry job leads.
- What are you listening on repeat these days?
Maybe not on repeat, but I do get excited every time a new Reply All episode downloads into my podcast feed. If you’re not familiar, it’s an entire podcast dedicated to exploring Internet culture. There are a lot of episodes, so if you’re looking for a few starter episodes, try ‘The Russian Passenger,’ ‘Boy in Photo,’ ‘Vampire Rules,’ and ‘The Takeover.’
- What is the next event you're the most looking forward in the next months?
I always love New York Fashion Week in September – probably because I’m removed from fashion PR and can enjoy it as a consumer. Globally, I’m looking forward to the opening of the Yves Saint Laurent Museum in Marrakech in mid-October - it looks spectacular.