PRofile: @AnitaGatto

Meet Anita Gatto, owner of New City PR, a PR company specializing in fashion, entertainment, lifestyle and personal brand building. Prior to starting New City PR, Anita worked in-house for some of the world’s most famous brands. In Canada, she worked for John Varvatos, Chip and Pepper, Victorinox Swiss Army and Tommy Hilfiger. In New York, she was Director of Communications for Robert Graham global head office. She studied Journalism in Canada at Sheridan College and her first job was writing for a newspaper in Toronto. New city PR invents experiences for brands that combine branded entertainment, strategic partnerships and “bottom line thinking” public relations. Here’s more of her story…

New City PR Anita Gatto

How did you get started in public relations?

While interviewing designing duo Chip and Pepper for one of Canada’s leading newspapers, they turned around and offered me a job to manage their PR in Canada with their distribution company. From there, more and more famous brands followed. I simply applied the ideas and stories I would want to be pitched as a journalist to what I was sending to press- no blasts, always researching their editorial calendars and it just felt right!

What is your average day like?

Being on the west coast and working with brands in New York or Europe, I usually start my day catching up to emails. I’ve tried to be better at waiting until I have a coffee before I respond. I try to make as many phone calls as possible, the art of picking up the phone has been lost and in PR so many emails get lost. If I have a good story to tell, press generally love to hear about it on the phone. I try to only send invites or meeting requests via email. Meetings with brand owners or new business clients are booked throughout the week, I like to make those meetings in the morning to be fresh thinking. My afternoons are writing, planning and reading emails mostly. Dinners are always a great way to bond with clients, I try and make them as much as I can.

New City PR Office

What’s your favorite part of working in public relations? 

My favorite moment that I still get a high from after 12 years, is the moment I have the “urge”. When an angle or fact is presented to me about my client and the right publication or show comes to mind and I just pick up the phone and pitch. No planning, no emails, no press release. It just comes to me and I go for it. 9 out of 10 times that has turned into a hit. The 1% was on vacation! There is nothing like the feeling of seeing my client’s story being told online or in print. I love that I was part of the process.

What’s the best PR advice you ever received?

James LaForce is huge mentor of mine, I respect what he has built at Laforce and Stevens, he also taught me how to value my work and not be afraid to bill for the time I put in for strategy and listening- it’s all part of building a brand story.

Any advice for those looking to get into PR?

Truly get to know the journalist’s style and story background. If they don’t seem to write about a particular angle you are working with, don’t send it to them. Be strategic and hands on, nothing gets done faster than a square peg in a square hole.

How is PR different in LA vs. NYC?

New York taught me how to hustle. Never stop paying attention to emails and turn emails around immediately. In LA, I have been exposed to more meetings and face time. So the combination has been excellent for me and my clients.

Find Anita and New City PR on Twitter and Instagram.

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PRofile: @Bollare

Meet Alle Fister  – the Principal of Bollare Communications, a bi-coastal beauty, fashion and lifestyle public relations and communications firm.

After graduating from Pepperdine University with a dual-degree in Communications and Marketing, Fister began her career as the in-house publicist at, a savvy women’s online retailer. Fister edited the site’s vast selection for fashion magazine editors and quickly gained a reputation for being on point with recognizing key trends.

Alle Fister

The site’s popularity grew exponentially and in 2006, purchased In the sale, Fister went on to found Bollare; taking her former employer as the first client. Over the past six years, Bollare has grown to a bi-coastal presence and worked with some of the best names in the fashion, beauty and lifestyle categories including Smythe, Erin Condren, Mink Pink, Vans, ghd, the BeachMint portfolio, BluePrintCleanse and Quiksilver.

Fister has made a splash in the industry being named one of LA Business Journal’s “30 Under 30” in 2010, contributing to the board of Step Up Women’s Network, and being profiled in various publications including The Wall Street Journal, Women’s Wear Daily and Chic-CEO. Fister has been called upon as an expert on style and trends, contributing content with publications such as Lucky, Glamour, Allure and US Weekly. To date, she has appeared in over 250 television segments with programs including Good Day LA, MTV, VH1, E! News and The Early Show.

When not working, Fister enjoys spending time with family, traveling and practicing yoga. She currently resides in Los Angeles, California with her husband, Don Popkes.

Alle Fister3

1. How did you get started in public relations?

Interned, interned, interned, interned! While in college at Pepperdine, I interned within different types of fashion and lifestyle PR opportunities to best help me understand the different facets one could work in within the publicity realm.

Upon graduating college, I wrote a letter to Bob Lamey of honing in on the skills I had learned from my college courses and internships, essentially pitching him on why I would be a good augment to the growing business! …cut to my moving from Malibu to Madison, WI to be on the early team of!

At Shopbop, I handled our PR and spokesperson work, but as a growing business, had the opportunity to wear many hats. I always took careful measure to make sure I was systematic about my approach and showing that my efforts were directly benefitting the business.

As Shopbop was acquired by Amazon (almost 9 years ago), I leveraged my pitching skills once again…this time presenting the idea of starting my own consulting firm, Bollare, and my first client would be my former employer, Shopbop!

Alle Fister4

2. What is your average day like?

The wonderful thing about publicity is that each day is dynamic and different – which I personally love! If I were to divide my efforts into different arenas it would look like this:

1. Spending time with my team. We’re now 60 team members between NYC and LA…and in the process of cementing roots in London as well!  We are so proud of the team we’ve built and one of my favorite things to do is to brainstorm with them on everything from client strategies to press day activations!

2. Meeting with current clients. We’ve built an incredible client roster of accessories, beauty, fashion, and lifestyle brands. I love hearing what our brands are launching next and being a part of the strategy to get the word out!

3. Meeting with potential clients. I have a passion for the entrepreneurial journey – so meeting with potential clients, and hearing their stories on how they built their businesses is a personal favorite!

Alle Fister2

3. What’s your favorite part of working in public relations?

That each day is different and new! Some may find this tiresome, but I personally find it energizing!

4. What’s the best PR advice you ever received?

Be deliberate, from devising strategy, to message points, to how often and which way you communicate. Every point of interaction and every activity should be augmenting a direct goal!

5. Any advice for those looking to get into PR?

Be a sponge! I shudder when I see or hear young professionals not fully taking advantage of the learning experience. From listening astutely to volunteering for more opportunities – make your mark with your actions and seize every moment to learn and grow!

Follow Alle and Bollare on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

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PRofile: @WeddingPR

Be Inspired PR 3Meet Leila Lewis. A graduate from Santa Clara University’s business school and a Delta Gamma alumna, she’s a wedding and lifestyle publicist who started her own firm in 2007, Be Inspired PR. Be Inspired PR is a Los Angeles-based boutique agency specializing in marketing and public relations in the luxury wedding and lifestyle industries. Basically clients who have products and services they want to market to brides hire Leila and her team. She has since also expanded to take on lifestyle, fashion and fitness brands.

How did you get started in public relations? 

I originally worked in publishing when I graduated from college and learned what is was like to work with publicists and be on the editorial side of media. When I transitioned into the event industry, I saw that there was a need for someone to represent  wedding and event  focused businesses. I loved wedding and event production but what I loved even more was getting the events featured on TV and in magazines. I landed a wedding television series for a colleague who turned into my first client. I knew my calling was inspiring others and helping them achieve their goals and dreams. With that the first every wedding public relations firm was born!

What is your average day like?

Crushing emails, following up with media, social media strategy, staff meetings, consulting meetings, mixed in with a coffee break, a quick lunch on the go and if I’m lucky- a happy hour :)

What’s the best PR advice you ever received?

Treat others how you want to be treated! When you email someone and are warm it may inspire them to be kind right back and if not, brush it off and be better than them.

Be Inspired PR 1

Any advice for those looking to get into PR?

You are getting into an industry that is behind the scenes. A pat on the back from your client  or public recognition for your hard work may not happen as often as you’d like.  Be prepared to define your own success and be fulfilled by what makes you happy- no one else is going to do it for you in public relations industry!

Any advice for those looking to open their own PR firm?

The truth is…. It’s not super glamorous to have your own company. There are no real vacation days, you now have a greater tax liability, if you have employees there is so much responsibility to book more business so you can continue to afford them. Remember that its 24/7. When you work for a firm you are able to have to shut it off when you leave work and when you own your PR firm,  you don’t.

Be Inspired PR 2

What’s your favorite part of working in public relations?

Landing dream opportunities for clients. I am also a manager for some of my clients and handle their brand deals – being able to bring financial opportunities from companies they love and admire is so rewarding and exciting. 

Favorite part of owning your own firm?

I love being able to hand pick who I work with, it’s a blessing to have staff that I like to work with daily, and getting to decorate my own office space the way I like.

Find Leila on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, Google+ and Pinterest.

p.s. check out her awesome Gold Glitter party on the Um can we come to the next one?


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PRofile: @RobbinWatson

RobbinWatsonMeet Robbin, a graduate from the College of Charleston with a Communications degree, with a concentration on broadcast journalism. A friend of mine and PR girl that started her career in the Big Apple, Robbin landed her first job as a junior publicist for several daytime television hosts at NBC Universal and CBS. Her days were spent developing media plans, drafting pitch letters and press releases, while planning her biggest career event so far: a one-hour live episode taping in the middle of New York City’s Times Square, jumbotrons included.

Making her way to the West Coast, Robbin began working as the publicist for Sleeping Giant Music (SGM), one of Southern California’s premiere music agencies. During her time at SGM, she developed the company’s PR department, successfully building the local media presence of both the company and their artist roster.

Robbin currently serves as a Media Relations Manager at Alternative Strategies in San Diego, CA. She works with clients in the restaurant/bar, beauty and pet industry.

How did you get started in public relations?

Originally I thought I’d end up on the media side of the industry. In college, I interned at two news stations, created a demo reel and had been hired for freelance assignment desk editor jobs in the Charleston, SC market. While on the job hunt, I came across a Junior Publicist opening for four national TV talk show hosts. I figured why not? To be honest, I had no PR experience, except for my college courses and experience in the newsroom. After weeks of follow up (follow up is my second calling), I was offered the position and began my (hopefully long) career in public relations.

What is your average day like?

My average day consists of normally starting off with a local TV segment. I work mainly with restaurants and chefs, therefore, while on set, I make sure our client knows their talking points and present themselves in the best way possible. Once my morning segments are over, I head back to the agency’s office to continue my day of pitching based off our pitch calendar, following up with previous pitches, scheduling media visits, sketching out future TV segments and client meetings.

What’s your favorite part of working in public relations? 

I feel like every publicist says this, but I truly love the fast pace and how different each day is. One day I could find myself waking up at 4am for a live TV segment with one of our chefs…the next day I could be in the office pitching our clients to national TV shows for audience giveaways.

What’s the best PR advice you ever received?

Always follow up. I can’t stress it enough. I got my first job from incessant follow up. Also, don’t be afraid to pick up the phone. It’s easy to sit behind a computer all day, sending hundreds of pitch letters…but results come from following up with a phone call, re-selling your pitch and building relationships.

Any advice for those looking to get into PR?

Do your research and make yourself familiar with all local and national media outlets. It’s never smart go to into an interview and not know the local TV stations and newspapers, even if you’re only applying for an internship.

Make sure to follow Robbin on Twitter @robbbinwatson and Instagram @robbinwatson.